News for Friday 111816
By Dave Graichen
Get ready for a big change in the weather. State climatologist Barry Keim says a significant cold front is sweeping over the state today, which will usher in much colder air. He says tomorrow is expected to be cool and breezy, with temperatures dropping even more by the end of the weekend. Keim says the kickoff temperature for LSU is expected to be 59 degrees. He says Saturday will be one of coldest days we’ve experienced in quite a while.
Governor John Bel Edwards has released a statement on the state’s $313 million budget shortfall yesterday. The governor says Louisiana is still recovering from years of mismanagement, and unfortunately our options are limited. He says they are working with government agencies to prepare for more cuts. He says if lawmakers can work together in the next session, Louisiana will be in a strong financial position in the future.
Public colleges in Louisiana will have to absorb an 18-million dollar cut in state funding for this fiscal year. It’s part of Governor John Bel Edwards plan to reduce a 315-million dollar deficit. The governor is also proposing to delay 152 million dollars in payments to health care providers who care for Medicaid patients.
There are statewide gains in student achievement, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s annual school report cards. But Superintendent John White says at the same time there are challenges the school grading system doesn’t reveal. He says the system doesn’t fully reflect the gains made by many schools that are making progress. The report finds the number of schools receiving A grades has increased to 16, up from 10 last year. More Rapides Schools earned A and B letter grades, helping move up the district's overall performance score by several points.
The Restore Louisiana Taskforce meets today to discuss how they will distribute the first round of federal disaster aid for flood victims. Congress approved 438 million dollars worth of assistance for Louisiana. The governor’s deputy chief of staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says unfortunately this first sum of cash from Congress is not enough to help all homeowners and businesses who experienced flood damage. She says the state wants to first provide relief for those, who are most at risk of losing their home due to lack of immediate resources. Payer says they still anticipate that Congress will approve another round of federal aid before the end of the year to help all flood victims.
Republicans in Congress are looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish says one of their top priorities will be to replace the Affordable Care Act. He says GOP leaders in Congress have a bill that takes out provisions from Obamacare that are raising costs and hurting healthcare. Scalise says they also want to work on a strong border security bill, as well as go after radical Islamic terrorists. He says the GOP also wants to work to halt the flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S. because right now there’s no enforcement of the border.
The Baton Rouge Police Department arrested a mother for allegedly trying to kill her 8-year-old son by slitting his throat. Cpl. L’Jean McKneely says 40-year-old Gloria Ross’ two other children and the victim were able to escape and call 911. He says when Ross was questioned she told investigators she had a reason. She told officers Jesus told her to kill the boy.
The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The West Monroe Robertsons say they are hanging up their reality show Duck Dynasty following this final season and 130 episodes. The family says it was a joint decision by them and A&E.
Surveys by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries find there are over twice as many ducks in Louisiana as there were at this time last year. State waterfowl study leader Larry Reynolds says they really aren’t sure why there are so many more ducks this year.
Reynolds says based on their flyovers, they estimated there’s three-million ducks in the state, which is almost two million more than their November 2016 projection.
Entergy Louisiana says it intends to break ground in August on a new $869 million dollar power station in St. Charles Parish, in an effort to increase power supply for the growing market. The electricity provider has been given the green light by the Public Service Commission to build the natural gas-fired power plant about 30 miles from New Orleans.
There was no Powerball jackpot winner on Wednesday, so the jackpot for Saturday’s drawing has now soared to $320 million dollars with a cash option of $202 million.