Compiled by Dave Graichen
It started as a robbery in Natchitoches. That led to a car chase and gunfire that ended in Alexandria early Tuesday morning. 53 year old Carmello Casciari of Lena told police he was robbed at an unknown location in Natchitoches Parish, he then got into his truck and pursued a jeep filled with people who he said robbed him. He and his wife then followed the jeep to Alexandria, where gunfire was exchanged between the two vehicles near Airbase Rd. Casciari's truck went off-road on Highway 1 and into a ditch. RPSO officers perused the jeep, which was reported stolen. After the driver refused to stop, four males and one female got out of the jeep and ran away. Detectives are still investigating the incident.
If you haven’t gotten it yet, the Department of Health says it’s time to go get your flu shot as 6 percent of recent hospital visits were reportedly for flu like symptoms. LDH flu bug expert Dr. Frank Welch says the main strain going around is a very serious strain known as H1N1. Welch adds while there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of catching the flu, the best protection is to get the flu shot.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning residents in south Louisiana about canine distemper, which is a rabies-like disease that veterinarians are seeing in raccoons and other animals. Complaints have been reported from Lafayette to the Florida parishes. L-D-W-F says the disease is spread among susceptible animals through contact with body fluids or droppings from an infected animal.
Filing your taxes will be a bit different from recent years with 2018 being the first year of the Trump administration’s implementation of a new tax plan. CPA Carrie Grinnell says the taxpayers will notice the standard deduction is higher, but the forecast is that a majority of taxpayers may see that offset by the lack of itemized deductions. Grinnell says she’s heard from the IRS that tax refunds should be processed and distributed just as timely as it was in past years despite the recent government shutdown, but, another shutdown looming.
There’s been a rash of measles outbreaks across the country, and Louisiana Department of Health Immunization Director Frank Welch says it’s a great reminder to make sure you and your children are vaccinated against the virus. Welch says before mass vaccinations, measles was a serious threat to young children, and could leave them permanently disabled or worse. Welch says the vaccination is highly effective, and recommends children get two, the first when they turn one, and the second when they turn four.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards has announced the establishment of Operation Angel, a program where individuals suffering from addictions can turn to local law enforcement for help in getting to rehab. For those that might be paranoid that it could be a trap, Edwards says part of the program is working with the permission of the DA’s office, and those in need of help need not fear legal ramifications. Other parishes are looking at starting similar programs.
The jaguar that escaped his cage at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and killed nine other animals last summer is back on display after a half-year hiatus. Vice president of the Zoo Joel Hamilton says after the tragic breakout, they redesigned the exhibit to make it safer, and more appealing, and that Valerio is an important part of the zoos mission to educate the public about the rapidly disappearing population of wild jaguars and other large felines. Valerio was born in San Diego in 2015, and moved to New Orleans in 2017.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine gets 11 and a half million dollars in funding to launch the Center for Lung Biology and Disease. LSU Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development Dr. Gus Kousoulas says the state is swamped with lung disease issues, and further research into the biology of how the body reacts to initial infections and fights them off will be crucial to addressing those problems.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, and since it appears the Pelicans are not interested in moving forward with any of the Lakers trade proposals for Anthony Davis, Los Angeles has reportedly put on hold its efforts to acquire A-D. There have been reports the Pelicans are seeking six to eight picks, contract relief, and young talent for their All-Star big man and may prefer to wait until the summer to see what other deals are out there. Boston, who has a treasure chest of attractive assets, is reportedly set to make an offer after the season.
LSU has the 6th ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports heading into National Signing Day today. 247Sports analyst Billy Embody says at the top of the list is the battle for one of the best defensive tackles in the nation, Ishmael Sopsher from Amite in the perpetual recruiting battleground of Tangipahoa Parish. Sopsher isn’t the only Amite star the Purple and Gold are racing to lock up. Four star prospect, cornerback/wide receiver Devonta Lee is also reportedly leaning towards Baton Rouge.