News for Monday 091619
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Authorities in Zachary have arrested two Pineville men in connection with the murder of an Alexandria woman. The body of 33 year old Whitney Durant was found in a home in East Baton Rouge Parish on September 13. Durant had been shot with a .40 caliber weapon. 27 year old Steven Ortiz-Morales was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. EBRSO officials later said 43 year old Zebbie Berthelot had also been arrested in connection with the crime and charged with second-degree murder, accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice and felon in possession of a firearm. EBRSO officials say while being questioned, Ortiz-Morales admitted to murdering the woman.
An updated forecast shows Louisiana will run an anticipated 500 million dollar surplus for the last fiscal year, up from the previously expected 300 million dollar surplus. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says they plan to use some of the funds to help replenish the state’s depleted “Rainy Day” savings fund, which was drained in the Jindal years. The administration defended the surplus saying it was larger than expected do to better than expected economic performance from the state, and the federal tax reform.
An independent poll shows 82 percent of Louisianans say TOPS should be a funding priority for legislators. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat, who conducted the survey, says it’s clear that TOPS is an absolutely untouchable government program that has widespread support. The program pays for the in-state tuition of all Louisiana high school grads who earn a 2.5 GPA and 20 or higher on the ACT.
A statewide charity is encouraging those hunters that need to clear their freezers of last year’s bounty to donate that meat to those that may be less fortunate. Hunters for the Hungry executive director Julie Grunewald says they are hoping to double the already massive amounts of donations received last year. For more details on drop off locations, visit cleanoutyourfreezer.com.
Governor Edwards is outpacing his gubernatorial challengers in fundraising, pulling in over twice as much as the top polling Republican in the race Ralph Abraham. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the latest campaign finance reports shows Abraham with one-point-four million dollars on hand and he’ll have to spend nearly all of that to secure a spot in the run-off. Fellow GOP challenger Eddie Rispone has six-point-three million dollars on hand, most of it is his own, while Edwards has five-point-seven million dollars to spend.
Opelousas Police are investigating an early Sunday Morning shooting, that has left a 15-year-old victim is in critical condition. Chief Martin McLendon says the victim was walking home from a party at about 1 a.m. with some others, when a car pulled up to their group and someone shot at them. Detectives believe there was a fight at that party that might be related to the shooting.
The Coast Guard rescued a man after his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday.
The crash happened about 8 miles southeast of Southwest Pass. The Eighth Coast Guard District received a distress alert from an emergency locator transmitter at 11:46 a.m. The Houston Traffic Control Center also reported that a Southwest Airlines flight had relayed a mayday call from an unknown aircraft. The helicopter crew arrived on scene at 1:04 p.m. and located the man, who was the only person aboard the plane. The man was in the water and wearing a life jacket. The aircrew hoisted the man and transported him to West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero in stable condition.
Plant-based shrimp could be the next big thing if Tyson Foods recent investment into New Wave Foods is any indication. Tyson is the world’s second-largest processor of chicken, beef, and pork, and now moving into the plant-based realm. The product is aiming to launch next year and look like a peeled, deveined and tailless shrimp. It’ll be hypoallergenic, lower in calories and cholesterol, and higher in fiber. Roll out of the product is expected next year.
The state continues to collect data on the impact of aquatic life in southeast Louisiana as a result of the record long opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Harry Blanchet says some of the most widespread impacts are in the state’s oyster beds, some areas seeing a 100% mortality rate.
Oyster populations will take years to regenerate. Blanchet says the brown shrimp harvest was down as well, but that population can bounce back much quicker.
The Saints suffer a frustrating defeat to the Rams as another officiating call goes against them, plus they lose quarterback Drew Brees to a thumb injury in a 27-9 loss.
Brees suffered the thumb injury in the first quarter and how much time he’ll miss is unknown. Teddy Bridgewater came in and threw for 165 yards. Payton says the rest of the offense, especially the o-line, didn’t play well around him. The Saints next game is at the Seahawks, so the team will spend the week in Seattle getting ready for the game on Sunday.
Fourth-ranked LSU started slowly but eventually rolled to a 65-14 win over Northwestern State on Saturday night. The defense allowed the Demons to score two touchdowns in the first half and it took a while before the offense got into a rhythm.
LSU will begin SEC play on Saturday when they visit Vanderbilt for an 11 o’clock kick-off.
The Times Picayune and Advocate announced over the weekend the New Orleans Saints and Sean Payton have reached an agreement on a 5-year contract extension for the head coach. The deal will keep Payton in New Orleans through the 2026 season.
Payton and quarterback Drew Brees will forever be linked, but having Payton in place ensures stability for if/when Brees eventually retires. The 55-year-old Payton joined the Saints in 2006, taking over a team that went 3-13 in 2005.
The Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild wants to see more local brews sold at Tiger Stadium. Currently, the only Louisiana beer on sale inside Death Valley is Abita’s Strawberry Lager. And Guild executive director Cary Koch says of the seven beers offered, two are from a neighboring state.