News for Wednesday 121218
Compiled by Dave Graichen
This Morning's News...
The RPSO reports eleven Alexandria residents have been arrested after a months-long investigation spurred by heroin and fentanyl overdoses and deaths in the parish. A release announcing the arrests states a "fairly organized" group was selling heroin all over Alexandria, but was "primarily centered" around the Third Street area near Broadway Avenue. As the investigation is ongoing, more arrests are "imminent.
The Grant Parish DA’s officer reports 55 year old Ricky Murphy will go to prison for more than nine years after being convicted in October for a Thanksgiving 2017 assault.
Murphy was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years at hard labor on each count of aggravated assault with a firearm and five years at hard labor on each count of attempted aggravated assault. The sentences will be served concurrently.
It appears the Red River Charter Academy will open in 2019 in Avoyelles Parish for students in sixth through eighth grades. Seven members of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted in favor of the academy’s application Tuesday during a committee meeting. A procedural vote at today’s board meeting will take place, but the results are expected to be the same.
A Sabine Parish teacher has been arrested for allegedly molesting a female student at the school in which he worked. 50 year old James Jones, a teacher at Pleasant Hill High School, surrendered to authorities after learning there was a warrant for his arrest. The warrant was issued after an investigation by Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives found that he allegedly had sexual relations with a 13-year-old female student on five different occasions.
A female trainer at Opelousas high school has been arrested and charged with having sex with a student. Opelousas police report 28 year old Laura Huval of Crowley has been arrested and charged with felony prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student. Huval had been working for a company in Lafayette that provides trainers to schools and had been assigned to Opelousas High. Opelousas Police Chief Donald Thompson said another employee of the company reported the conduct.
Jim Bernhard, former president of the Shaw Group, says his private equity firm is willing to finance the cost of a new bridge over the Mississippi, and estimates the project would take about seven years to complete. Bernhard says the numbers look good for financiers investing in the project. But before the billion dollar project could be initiated, Bernhard says access roads and additional infrastructure leading up to the structure will need to be approved. He estimates waiting another five years on the project could inflate its cost by another 200 million dollars.
An 11-month-old child is dead following an infection from untreated burns. Emergency services received a call of an unresponsive child on Sunday in DeRidder, and found the child with burns covering the lower portion of the body. Police Chief John Gott says the injuries were sustained when the mother’s boyfriend gave the child a bath. Gott says the mother and her boyfriend had attempted to home remedy the child’s burns but it clearly didn’t work. While it is unknown why neither adult got the child proper care, authorities believe it was out of fear of legal ramifications.
A Farm Bill is in conference committee with votes expected on a final version in Congress later this week. The bill houses the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or food stamps, along with farming policy for the next several years. Congressman Ralph Abraham says he’s disappointed the bill leaves out SNAP work requirements, but overall it’s a good bill. The bill has the support of Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy and Congressman Steve Scalise. Senator John Kennedy says he won’t vote for it due to its lack of work requirements.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health has received a $23.1 million State Opioid Response grant. Assistant Secretary at the Louisiana Department of Health in the Office of Behavioral Health Karen Stubbs says the grant will fund a multitude of programs to the benefit of those suffering from opioid use disorder. Stubbs says the next step is increasing access to treatment through community outreach.
According to a report by the Commonwealth Fund workers and their families in Louisiana are spending the largest share of their income on health care compared to the rest of America. Vice President for Healthcare Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund Sara Collins says what an employer has to pay on the overall premium is lower than the national average, but the issue stems from what an employee has to pay.
The man wanted for the shooting of a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy over the weekend was captured this morning in New Orleans. There had been a manhunt for 38 year old Tynonne Louis since Sunday. Lopinto credits the help of Crime Stoppers for getting the tip that lead to the arrest.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received 12 juvenile whooping cranes at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge as they attempt to reestablish a flourishing population to the Bayou State. The state’s population of the bird at one point was as high as 10,000, but dropped to just one in the 1950s.
LSU All-American linebacker Devin White remains undecided on whether he’ll skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. White, who won the Butkus Award which goes to the nation’s best linebacker, says he still has some unfinished business. White could be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft, if he decides to enter.