News for Wednesday 032719
Compiled By Dave Graichen
After a three day State Police criminal enforcement detail, which was aimed at identifying and apprehending individuals engaged in criminal activity, 63 individuals have been arrested in Rapides and Natchitoches Parishes. Along with the 63 individuals arrested, law enforcement officers also seized various illegal drugs and several firearms.
The Office of Juvenile Justice cut the ribbon on a new, modern rehabilitation facility in Bunkie Yesterday after months of delays. The first 12 incarcerated youths will be housed in the facility which is set to expand over the next few months to 72 The new facility may be needed sooner rather than later, as an LSU study predicts the juvenile prison population will increase in 2020 when 17-year-old violent offenders are no longer prosecuted as adults.
A Pineville man who pleaded guilty Tuesday in the attempted robbery and shooting of a local doctor, Jeffery Garrison, has been sentenced to 40+ years behind bars. 21 year old Roy Dewayne Hayes Jr pleaded guilty to reduced felony charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary. The armed robbery conspiracy sentence of 40 years is to be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
Louisiana received 18 dollars per person in federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic last year, for a total of 82 million dollars from over 50 different revenue streams according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. State Medicaid enrollees made 1,858,000 emergency department stays from June 2017-18, 40% of those with opioid use disorders are on the government-run health insurance. Louisiana’s rate of 9.3 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2017 was noticeably lower than the southern regional average of 14.1.
A new poll on the governor’s race shows John Bel Edwards at 44%, but Republican challenger Ralph Abraham not far behind at 33%. Abraham’s campaign funded the survey. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the poll also shows Abraham with a 23-point lead over fellow Republican candidate Eddie Rispone, who is at 10%. 13% of those polled are undecided.
The governor’s office says based on the numbers released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the state’s personal income growth increased by 4.5 percent for the fourth quarter of 2018 and 3-point-eight percent for the year. John Bel Edwards says that means Louisiana personal incomes hit a record high of 215-billion dollars in 2018.
After repeated delays, the Louisiana Association of Therapeutic Alternatives has demanded that medical marijuana be available by May 15th. It was almost four years ago when the state legislature approved the framework for dispensing and L-A-T-A executive director Jesse McCormick says it’s time for the product to hit the shelves. The L-A-T-A group made their request at a stakeholders meeting involving state ag commissioner Mike Strain, who says testing will be a critical part of the process.
Three men are behind bars following accusations they managed to heist over 100 iPhones from a Best Buy in Baton Rouge. The total cost of the phones was over 6 figures. An SUV seen on security footage was later spotted at a hotel where the arrest was made.
The Louisiana Dairy Industry is having a cow over the rise of almond “milk”, saying the label is not accurate, so Delhi Senator Francis Thompson has filed a bill to prohibit non-dairy products from describing themselves as milk. Thompson says the false advertising tricks some into buying the less nutritious dairy alternative. While Thompson’s bill only specifically addresses “milk”, the Senator says it’s not the only labeling dispute that he’s considering pursuing. The Delhi Democrat says products like cauliflower “rice” and lab grown “steak” need to change their labeling as well.
The Bonnet Carre Spillway is closing after opening many of it’s bays a month ago to relive pressure on the Mississippi River levee system. The levees were in danger of overtopping thanks to the substantial amount of water crashing down from upriver spring rains and snowmelt. At it’s peak this year, 206 of the 350 bays were opened. The river level in New Orleans is expected to continue to drop over the next few weeks.
The identities of the two bodies discovered following a welfare check in Tangipahoa Parish have been released. Sheriff Daniel Edwards says 41-year-old Mica Fitzhugh and 44-year-old Robert Wolf were discovered yesterday morning in a Ponchatoula residence. A Preliminary investigation indicates the incident to be domestic in nature. The investigation is on-going.
After days of speculation, the Saints yesterday announced the signing of 2018 Pro Bowl tight end Jared Cook. The 32-year-old has reportedly received a two-year contract worth 15.5 million dollars. Cook caught 68 passes for the Raiders last year.
NFL owners discussed several different proposals yeaterday, inspired by the infamous “No Call”, that would potentially expand the use of replay and challenges. Saints coach Sean Payton, who sits on the competition committee, has led the charge for replay expansion, says the NFL cannot fear change, and warned leadership about the dangers another blown call in a significant game could pose to the league’s image and integrity.