News for Tuesday 062618
By Dave Graichen
Summer is back with a vengeance as State Climatologist Barry Keim tells us we can expect higher than normal temperatures through the week due to a high pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico which will see higher humidity levels and reduced cloud cover.
A Rapides Parish Sheriff's corrections officer was arrested on Sunday after an inmate made sexual misconduct allegations against him. 32 year old Jonathan Deville was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of sexual battery and malfeasance in office. Deville later was released on his own recognizance. The complaint was received through the Prison Rape Elimination Act hotline on Sunday. Deville was terminated by the Sheriff’s department.
It was announced yesterday that Gray Television, the owner of KALB-TV5 and Raycom Media have entered into an agreement to combine their companies in a transaction that will create the single largest owner of top-rated local television stations and digital assets in the country. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The parties expect to close the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2018.
After two years and seven special sessions, the state now has a path forward on revenue that as of now provides enough money to fully fund most state services at their current levels. Most of the tax plan has a seven-year sunset, setting up another round of budget battles in 2025, unless a permanent tax reform plan can be enacted. There’s growing interest in a constitutional convention to facilitate that reform, but Political Analyst Clancy DuBos says many opponents are worried about just who would run the convention.
The legislature has appropriated four-million dollars to begin operating a new juvenile justice facility in Bunkie. Once fully funded at 12 million dollars, the site will host 72 beds, and emphasizes rehabilitation methods to deal with young offenders. Office of Juvenile Justice Deputy Secretary Dr. James Bueche (Bush) says he trusts that, if the new facility gets fully funded, they’ll be able to show the same positive results that have been produced in other states.
Even with the sales tax plan that will see the state sales tax rate go from 5 percent to 4.45 percent coming up July 1st, economist from the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says residents still pay the most expensive sales tax rate in the nation. However, even though the sales tax rate is as high as it is in the state, Drenkard says Louisiana does have more desirable tax rates in other areas, such as property taxes and income taxes.
Higher education is celebrating the passage of the budget and tax plan that saves universities and TOPS from further budget cuts. Without the passage of the 4.45 percent sales tax, TOPS was on the block for a 30 percent cut, with higher ed looking at tens of millions in reduced funding. Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Reed says a mobilization of students helped push the bill over the finish line.
Following a stop at a gas station in Grand Coteau this weekend, someone is now $2 million richer. The St. Landry Parish convenience store has produced other big lottery winners in recent months and word has spread. The 1 Stop store owner says more people are showing up at his business with high hopes.
A man and woman are in critical condition after being found shot on the side of I-55 in the Amite area. First responders were dispatched for a welfare check and found the two wounded by a vehicle on I-55 North. The man was airlifted to the hospital and the woman was taken by ambulance. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.
The Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s office is investigating the death of a 20-year-old woman. Investigators say the door of the home belonging to Madeline Falgout was kicked in and she was found unresponsive inside her home at yesterday morning. No arrests have been made.
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