News for Wednesday 121317
By Dave Graichen
Police have identified the woman found in a lake in St. Landry Parish. 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan was reported kidnapped over the weekend while visiting Alexandria. Authorities say a white man’s body was also found Tuesday in the 2007 Ford Taurus that was pulled from Lake Dubuisson. (du-bah-son). The St. Landry Sheriff’s Office says he appears to be in his late 20s to early 30s. His identity is unknown.
A bi-partisan group of 12 governors, including Governor John Bel Edwards, is urging Congress to reauthorize funding for a popular children’s health insurance program as soon as possible. Fresh funding for the $14 billion CHIP program ran out October 1st. In a letter the governor’s say resources are nearly exhausted and some states already have begun to inform families that their children’s coverage may end on January 31.
In order to address the state’s high rates for teen pregnancy and STDs, the Louisiana Public Health Institute has started a new campaign to promote comprehensive sex ed in public schools and at home. Associate Director Kristie Bardell says parents, students, teachers and legislators can log on to geaux-talk-dot-org to receive tips on how to have informed conversations about the value of sexual health. She says a recent study shows 84 percent of Louisiana parents and caregivers believe sex ed is an important part of their students’ curriculum. However, in many school districts in the state sex ed is a low priority.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury was informed Monday the recent sale of SMG, the company that manages the Coliseum, will have little if any effect on day to day operations. SMG, which took over management of the coliseum in September, announced Monday that they had been bought by Canadian private equity firm for an undisclosed amount. The Police Jury turned to SMG when the coliseum struggled to meet revenue projections in the months following a $23 million renovation of the facility. SMG has more than 230 facilities under management, making it a global leader in the industry.
State police report a man driving the wrong way on a Sabine Parish highway collided with another car Monday night. 50 year old Wallace Brumfield from Many was killed in the crash. The driver of the other vehicle received moderate injuries. Troopers believe Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
A Lafayette attorney has claimed the $191 million dollar Powerball prize on behalf of a three-member family partnership from the winning ticket in the October 25th drawing sold in Eunice. Louisiana Lottery spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin says the group opted for the cash prize. That boils down to about $119.4 Million dollars. Chopin says the family wants to remain anonymous but released a statement saying they are obviously elated. The payout represents the largest single prize ever won in the Louisiana Lottery’s 26-year history.
The Louisiana Board of Regents has given Grambling State University the green light to proceed with plans to establish the first cybersecurity degree program in the state. Grambling State University President Rick Gallot says an estimated two million cybersecurity workers will be needed by 2019. Once the components are in place, the university will have to go back to the Regents for final approval of the new degree program.
There’s buzz about the possibility of Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish running for governor in 2019. He says it’s an option he’s considering, but will run for re-election in the 5th Congressional District next year. He says he’d run for governor because he’d like to see less government oversight on a state level.
Small business optimism nationwide is near a record high, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says we haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, when the economy was booming during the Reagan administration. Starns credits the positivity to the push for tax reform in Washington D.C.
A Saints season ticket holder is asking for a refund due to the National Anthem protests. Lee Dragna of Morgan City is seeking a refund for the tickets and attorney fees. He says he and his family are not able to enjoy the games due to players not standing for the National Anthem. He claims the rowdy, angry reaction of the people around his seats during the protests have made the tickets unusable.
A coalition of student groups called Renew LSU is pushing for university leaders to rename two prominent buildings on campus, Murphy J. Foster Hall and the John M. Parker Agriculture Coliseum. Parker served as governor, but participated in an 1891 lynching of 11 Sicilian immigrants who were allegedly involved in the murder of a New Orleans Police Chief. The group’s spokesperson Savanah Dickinson says because of his actions, they want to rename it in honor of Dr. Pinkie Gordon Lane.
Louisiana’s original craft brewery Abita Brewing Company is helping to celebrate New Orleans’ Tricentennial next year with a new brew called Maison Blanc. Brewmaster Mark Wilson says the concept comes from the area’s long standing history with French culture and lifestyles. They expect to have the new brew available statewide by the first of the year. He says Maison Blanc is combining the best of wine and beer, making it into one delicious recipe.
College football’s first ever early signing period begins a week from today. From December 20th to 22nd, schools can sign high school prospects to national letters of intent. The next signing day will be February 7th. LSU has 20 commitments and Coach Ed Orgeron says it’s their anticipation they’ll sign most of their verbal pledges next week. Orgeron says over half of their commitments are linemen.