News for Thursday 030216
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards plans to present a criminal justice reform plan to lawmakers that looks at reducing minimum sentences for some nonviolent offenses. Edwards says the state is looking at proven strategies that have worked to reduce the prison population in other southern conservative states. Edwards says we have to find a way to lower the state’s incarceration rate, because Louisiana spends $600 million a year on the Department of Corrections, which is a costly number during these tough budget times. It will be a tough sell since many district attorneys across the state oppose reducing minimum sentences.
Sources say Louisiana native Paul Rainwater is one of two candidates to become the next director of the Federal Disaster Management Agency. Rainwater has an extensive background when it comes to disaster recovery from his time as a city administrator in Lake Charles to when he was former Governor Bobby Jindal’s Chief of Staff. The other candidate is reportedly Mark Merritt, a private consultant from Atlanta. A final decision on who Trump will nominate to direct FEMA may not be made until April or May.
Louisiana’s Republican delegation believes President Donald Trump sent the right message in Tuesday night’s address in front of Congress. Mr. Trump laid out his plans to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, increase military spending and create jobs. Early national polls indicate that a majority of viewers approved of the speech and more optimistic about the future of the country.
Grambling President Rick Gallot is back from his trip to Washington where he met with President Trump on making historically black colleges and universities a priority. Gallot says, from a funding standpoint, it makes a huge difference when the White House has promised to be involved. HBCU Presidents are calling for a $25 billion investment.
A man is dead following an officer involved shooting in Houma on Tuesday night. State Trooper Jesse Lagrange says the Houma Police Department was involved in an incident with a barricaded subject when the shooting occurred. Lagrange says they are not releasing the any details about the deceased man or what led to the incident at this time.
An escaped work release inmate is once again behind bars after a high speed chase in Webster Parish that ended with a vehicle going airborne. Webster Sheriff Gary Sexton says deputies set up a roadblock to catch 18-year-old Kevonte Austin. Sexton says the woman was not hurt, and Austin was apprehended.
A Baton Rouge man convicted of killing his 5-year-old son will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Last month 38-year-old Vernell Day, Jr. was found guilty of second degree murder for beating his son to death in 2014. Police say the child was taken to the hospital after suffering multiple blows, and the child died two days later.
Two Sulphur residents are dead after a fire broke out in their home early Wednesday morning. Sulphur Fire Chief Dan Selph says the fire was called in by a neighbor and a witness who saw it from the interstate. He says when crews arrived it was evident that entering the home was not an option. The victims were a 58 year old woman and a 68 year old man.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the case of a man who died in a house fire in St. Mary Parish on Mardi Gras Day. They say initial indications are that the deadly blaze was caused by an electrical wall outlet in the wood-framed home, and claimed the life of 79-year-old Lionel Bonin Jr. The victim’s wife told investigators that her husband saved her first, then ran back into the residence.
The Department of Corrections and the Louisiana Department of Health are teaming up to get health coverage for newly released inmates. DOC Medical Director Dr. Raman Singh says they are helping incarcerated inmates enroll in Medicaid so that once they are released, they can continue to receive the care they need. Singh says DOC is all about reentry and making sure released offenders succeed in their communities.
The LSU Tigers broke their 15 game losing streak last night with an 99-82 win over Tennessee at the P-Mac. LSU will finish the regular season and try to make it two in a row at Mississippi Saturday afternoon.
Big win for the Pelicans last night as they defeated Detroit 109 to 86. Up next, San Antonio, Friday night.
2017 GEICO Red River Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament officially gets underway today and continues through Saturday at the Rapides Parish Coliseum. The tournament, with a six-team single elimination bracket, has the #1 Ranked LSUA Generals scheduled to play the lowest remaining seed at 5:30 Friday afternoon. Tournament tickets are available, free of charge, first come first served, from 9 to 4 today at the Cenla Broadcasting studios on Texas avenue. Saturday afternoon is the Championship Game starting at 4:30p
Making the rounds on a social media is a claim by Saints running back Mark Ingram that he and several other New Orleans’ players were turned away from a club in London for being, “too urban.” Ingram said they had reservations, but the establishment issued a statement saying they would never dismiss anyone based on race, however they’re an exclusive members club where entry is not guaranteed to anyone.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, former LSU running back Leonard Fournette weighed in at 240 pounds. During his time at LSU, Fournette’s listed weight was 235 pounds. He’ll run the 40 and perform in other skill drills on Friday.
The Saints are reportedly set to release high-priced safety Jairus Byrd. Byrd has three years left on a six-year, 54-million dollar contract. The move will save the Saints a reported three-point-two million dollars in cap space.