News for Friday 081619
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall has announced the Alexandria Amphitheater will get a face lift. The work will include the addition a hard covering to the stage area. Mayor Hall says that will allow them to add stage lighting. The plan is to also add security cameras and additional lighting for safety as well. The project is a joint endeavor with the Red River Waterway Commission, who will pay for 80% of the project. The mayor says the project should be done sometime next year
The State Bond Commission has approved a 450-million dollar financing plan to pay for renovations to the 44-year-old Superdome. The state will spend 90-million dollars on the project, the Superdome Commission 210-million dollars and the Saints will put up the rest. Governor Edwards to the media earlier this week the planned improvements will improve the fan experience, expanded concourses, more concession stands and replace the ramps with escalators and elevators. The 4-year overhaul process will begin after this football season.
The state Democratic Party will issue it’s official endorsements tomorrow night, hoping to find the right candidates to knock out a slew of GOP incumbents. State Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk says this year they’re celebrating the fact that 43 of the 77 women running for the state legislature are Democrats. Currently only 15 percent of Louisiana legislators are women, the third-lowest rate in the nation.
The Louisiana State Police Academy is on the cusp of a milestone, they are prepping to recruit men and women for their 100th Cadet Class. Since LSP’s conception in 1936 the department has had several hiring freezes over the years and so it’s taken a bit longer to reach this mark. Sgt Melissa Matey says to reach potential troopers for the 100th cadet class the department is using modern recruitment methods like Facebook and they are not limiting the themselves to just the Bayou State.
Former State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson has been cleared in an investigation into his alleged repeated misuse of department funds during his tenure. Edmonson left State Police two years ago after coming under fire for findings of a Legislative audit. Edmonson Attorney Gray Sexton says any actions his client did take did not meet the threshold of an ethics violation.
Superintendent of Education John White receives a favorable rating from the Board of Elementary Secondary Education for the seventh year in a row. White says he’s proud to continue his work in Louisiana, and says the education system’s ability to get 5,000 more students TOPS than the year that he started is his proudest achievement. The state saw an 81.4 percent high school graduation rate last year, the first time the state has ever cracked 80%.
The US Department of Health and Human Services awards nearly $400 million nationally in grant funding to combat the opioid crisis with nearly $5 million coming to Louisiana. Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health Dr. Alex Billioux says
while the state’s number opioid overdose deaths continues to grow, the rate of growth has slowed down. Billioux says much of the spending will lay infrastructure to continue with other health goals linked to drug use, including eliminating hepatitis C within the next five years.
Former St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain pleads not guilty to charges of aggravated rape, aggravated incest, indecent behavior with a juvenile, and sexual battery. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says at this point the trial moves into discovery as the defense tries to get a hold of police reports and evidence. The allegations carry up to a mandatory life sentence.
Former Lake Charles Police officer Robert Hammac has pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom to using excessive force during a police chase in 2017. Hammac will be sentenced in November and The DA says the 45-year-old faces up to ten years in prison.
LSU freshman offensive guard Kardell Thomas will reportedly miss the next two months because of an ankle injury suffered in Wednesday’s practice. Thomas was the nation’s number one offensive guard in the 2019 recruiting class. He was not getting reps with the first team, but Coach Ed Orgeron has been encouraged by his development.
Orgeron is reportedly bringing in former Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson to coach the LSU Tigers D-Line. Current defensive line coach Dennis Johnson is in a wheelchair after badly injuring both knees while playing basketball.
LSU football will hold its second scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow. Sophomore linebacker Damone Clark from Southern Lab High School was the leading tackler in last week’s preseason game and Coach Ed Orgeron says Clark is pushing Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen for one of the starting inside linebacker spots. Michael Divinity who started at outside linebacker last year will start at one of the inside spots.
ESPN reports former Pelican and current Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins suffered a serious knee injury while working out in Las Vegas. Doctors fear the four-time All Star tore his ACL. It would be Cousins third major injury since tearing his Achilles while playing with the Pelicans in 2018.
LSU basketball lost to the Dominican Republic 92-88 in an exhibition game in Spain. Sophomore forward Emmitt Williams led LSU with 28 points.
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