News for Friday 041219
Compiled By Dave Graichen
A forgotten gas can appears to be the link that led investigators to the alleged St. Landry Church arsonist. Court documents show the can was left behind at one of the arsons, and was eventually traced by to an Opelousas Walmart, where it was sold to a 21-year-old Holden Matthews, the son of a St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s deputy, just hours before the first fire. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says a motive has not been determined. The first church to burn down was the St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre on March 26. Two more churches were torched in early April in Opelousas.
A Grant Parish Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a report of a woman walking in the middle of the road trying to flag down passing vehicles near Dry Prong. When the Deputy arrived, she noticed that the woman was extremely impaired. During her investigation, she discovered drugs on the woman. 32 year old Brandie Hatfield of Dry Prong, was arrested for Possession of C.D.S. II, Possession of C.D.S. I, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Disturbing the Peace by Intoxication.
State Police report a Scott man was killed early yesterday morning on I-49, just south of the Avoyelles/Rapides Parish line. 60 year old John Domingue was killed when his pickup left the highway and collided with an embankment. Troopers say he may have lost control because the left front tire possibly failed. Domingue was ejected during the crash and was pronounced dead.
State Sen. Sharon Hewitt made it official yesterday by saying she won't run for governor, instead she has deciding to seek reelection to the Senate. Hewitt's decision to stay out of the governor's race likely sets the field with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham and wealthy Republican Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone.
The owners of Fred's discount stores announced yesterday plans to close159 stores nationwide by the end of May. The Fred’s store in Pineville was one of the stores facing closure. However, the Tioga store will remain open.
Republican state lawmakers grilled the Department of Health about irregularities in the Medicaid expansion population, but it appears the policy is popular as 73 percent of Louisianans support the expansion according to the fourth installment of the 2019 Louisiana Survey. The survey also found 74 percent of Louisianans support protections for pre-existing conditions in health insurance.
The Revenue Estimating Conference’s updated revenue forecast gives lawmakers 110 million dollars extra to spend for this fiscal year, and 119 million dollars more for the next fiscal year. Everyone at the Capitol appears ready to back a 1,000 dollar teacher pay raise, and 500 dollar support personnel pay raise, which could eat up most of these surplus funds. The forecast showed a 308 million dollar budget surplus from the fiscal year ending on June 30th.
At a forum in Baton Rouge on Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards and Republican Candidate Congressman Ralph Abraham both made their case as to why they deserve to be in the Governor’s mansion. Edwards cited that voters know that the state is in a better position today than it was when he took office following the 2015 election.
Abraham brushed off the claims of Edwards by saying he’s grown government and increased taxes to achieve the surplus but isn’t seeing much else that has been done with the extra tax money.
Walmart says they will spend 73-million dollars this year remodeling 15 of their stores in Louisiana. Company spokesperson Anne Hatfield says grocery store pick up will also be expanded. Shreveport, Natchitoches, Minden, Leesville, Winnsboro, Thibodaux and Mansura are also among the stores seeing the upgrades.
A trial in the a fatal march hit and run of a Zachary Firefighter sparked an unusual incident as a state judge slammed a “disgraceful” defense lawyer in court and issued a warrant for him. Lead attorney Martin Regan says the outburst and warrant was an outrageous response to an ongoing legal dispute in the trial. District Judge Beau Higginbotham says the outburst was promoted by the “disgraceful” handling of the case, and what he said was defense co-counsel Harry Ward ineffective and unprepared representation.
Suspended LSU basketball coach Will Wade will finally meet with LSU athletic director Joe Alleva today. Alleva has been waiting for a month for Wade to discuss with him the purported FBI wiretap that has the LSU coach discussing what he calls a strong offer made to a recruit. Word was yesterday Wade may not be called to testify in the upcoming trial.
The 8th ranked LSU baseball team begins a three game SEC series matchup with Missouri tonight. The Tigers will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s upset loss to Southern. Airtime this evening at 5:30. Saturday’s game starts at 4 and Sunday’s at 11am. Hear all three games on KSYL 970am / 104.9fm.
Freshman Guard Javonte Smart’s name came up in that wiretap conversation and Thursday the Baton Rouge product announced he’s entering the NBA draft. Smart becomes the fourth member of the 2018-19 SEC Championship team to declare for the draft. He averaged 11 points a game this past season.
A Florida television station reports former LSU and current Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was arrested for driving on a suspended license. His license was reportedly suspended because of an unpaid traffic ticket.
Louisiana Tech has cancelled Saturday’s spring game, because severe weather is in the forecast for the Ruston area. Coach Skip Holtz says he hates that the university made this decision, but unfortunately the weather forecast for Saturday is not cooperating.
La Tech begins a huge series at Florida Atlantic tonight. The Owls are in first place in Conference USA with a 11-and-1 record. Tech is 8-and-4 and they’ve lost just one league game since they were swept by Southern Miss in the opening weekend of conference play.
On the air today…
Houston Astros @ Seattle 8:35p 94.7 ESPN
LSU Baseball @ Missouri 5:30p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM
Houston Astros @ Seattle 7:35p 94.7 ESPN
LSU Baseball @ Missouri 4p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM
Houston Astros @ Seattle 2:35p 94.7 ESPN
LSU Baseball @ Missouri 11a KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM