News for Thursday 060817
By Dave Graichen
A partially blind Boyce man, who had been reported missing Tuesday by his family, has been found in a wooded area near St. Clair Road, says the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office. The RPSO says 48 year old Charles Pickering suffered minor injuries and exposure, but should be fine. Family members thanked authorities and the media for helping to find Pickering.
With the school year just ending, the shuffling of school principals were announced by the school board yesterday. Catherine Lewis is the new principal at Horseshoe Drive Elementary in Alexandria. She replaces Denise Cater, who retired at the end of the year. Lewis was an assistant principal at Martin Park Elementary. Northwood High in Lena and Carter C. Raymond Elementary in Lecompte, are swapping principals. Kelli Welch will take over at Northwood for Jill Summers who became principal at the school in 2015. Summers will go to Carter C. Raymond where Welch has been principal since 2008.
The 2017 regular session comes to a close today, and Capitol observers say not much was accomplished. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the state has been dealing with budget deficits for the last decade, and this was supposed to be the year to address the problem. But, that didn’t happen. Erwin says a special session is imminent to address a looming fiscal cliff. The House plan calls for cuts to health care, public colleges, state prisons and child welfare.
Budget negotiations continue at the Capitol, but the House and Senate say they plan to fully fund TOPS next fiscal year. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says education leaders are still holding their breath until the session ends this evening. He says funding TOPS gives students some certainty, but its possible scholarship recipients will pay some money towards tuition costs. Rallo says all of the uncertainty surrounding TOPS and higher ed funding in Louisiana could impact enrollment numbers. He says other states like Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama are trying to recruit Louisiana students.
Former-FBI Director James Comey is slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today on his role in the investigation into possible Russian hacking in the presidential election. US Senator John Kennedy says he’s anxious to hear what Comey has to say. President Donald Trump fired Comey last month, amid the investigation that alleges Russia hacked into Democratic Party emails, which may have helped Mr. Trump win the election. Kennedy says we have to get to the bottom of what Russia did during the election.
The Eunice Police Department says they’ve arrested a teenager in a bizarre series of criminal acts including a 7-year-old passerby being shot and injured. Chief Randy Fontenot says the first shooting happened around 8pm Tuesday when 17-year-old Jamie Ned allegedly shot at a car. When combined with a later shooting, Ned is charged with five counts of attempted first-degree-murder.
The Livingston Parish Coroner has released the autopsy findings for the massage therapist found dead in a vacant building in Livingston Parish. 24-year-old Kayla Ann Denham reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head associated with strangulation. Bond has been upgraded to $250-thousand for 22-year-old Christopher Landry, who is charged with second degree murder in connection with Dunham’s death.
Congressman Clay Higgins stands by his Facebook post that said “every conceivable measure” should be used to hunt down and kill anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical. Suspected seems to be the word that has upset many people. Some saying statements like that from elected officials could be used as propaganda by terrorists to fuel radicalization.
Three Jennings men have been arrested for allegedly shooting alligators from the bed of a pickup truck. Adam Einck with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the three were cited for illegally hunting gators, among other things. The men were also cited for taking frogs using illegal methods, as they were shooting the frogs as well. Einck says one of the men posted a video of the incident on Facebook. He says LDWF agents were informed about the post and made contact with the suspects.
Colleges would be prohibited from asking students about their criminal history when filling out an application under legislation heading to the governor’s desk. Executive Director of Operation Restoration Syrita Steib-Martin spent nine years in prison on a theft charge. Once released, she applied to the University of New Orleans where she checked the felon box on her application. She was turned down for admission.
Martin says a few years later, she applied to UNO again with exact same information and was admitted because she did not check the box on her application. She says education plays a big factor in an individual’s success after being released from prison.