News for Friday 121319
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Downtown Alexandria is the focal point of holiday spirit this weekend in Rapides Parish with the Alex Winter Fete. There is no shortage of arts and craft vendors for holiday shopping, a gumbo cook-off, and Interim Director of Community Services TJ Nash, Sr. says for those feeling they need to burn holiday calories, an ugly sweater 5k. Festivities run through Sunday and more details can be found at alexwinterfete.com.
The state Office of Public Health says only 25-percent of healthy adults have received a flu shot this year. Immunization medical director, Doctor Frank Welch, says Louisiana is already close to matching the peak of last year’s flu season and that was one of the worst in years. He says the B strain of flu is going around Louisiana, while the rest of the country is getting sick from the more severe A-strain. During the 2018-19 flu season, 15-hundred Louisianians died from the virus.
The Board of Regents and BESE sets a goal of ensuring that every high school freshman by 2025 will graduate with at least one college credit or job skill credential. Higher Education Commissioner Kim Hunter Reed says making sure all high school grads have post-secondary credits will inspire more of them to attend college. The state has set the goal of doubling the number of post-secondary credentials by 2030.
Conservatives in the US Senate are signaling they may not support a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada that is backed by Democrats in the House and President Trump. The US Trade Representative is briefing Senate Republicans, hoping to allay concerns that the deal is too liberal after it won the backing of a major labor union. Most of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and Ag Commissioner Mike Strain support the USMCA deal. Senator John Kennedy though is not onboard at this time.
Fifty-four years after the storm’s landfall on southeast Louisiana, Hurricane Betsy is upgraded to the Category 4 storm. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the reclassification comes as weather researchers are reanalyzing Atlantic hurricane seasons and are having a better interpretation of historic data. Hurricane Betsy was blamed for about 75 deaths and was the first storm to surpass a billion dollars in US damage.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has been named Associated Press College Football Player of the Year. Burrow received 50 of 53 first-place votes. On Saturday, Burrow is expected to win the Heisman Trophy and Governor John Bel Edwards will be on hand in person to see it. The governor’s office says Edwards is leaving for New York today.
Former Saints wide receiver Joe Horn is among a group of NFL retired players involved in an alleged scheme to defraud an NFL health care benefit program. Prosecutors say these former players submitted false claims to the plan and received money for expensive medical equipment never purchased. Horn could be charged with fraud.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees will appear in an episode of the C-B-S TV Show Undercover Boss. Walk-on’s founder and co-owner Brandon Landry along with Brees will be on the season premiere show on January 8th. Brees is in disguise, with long hair and a beard and goes by the name of “Chris.” Chris will be a busser and dishwasher.
The 2019 LHSAA Prep Classic kicks-off today in the Superdome. Six championship games over the next two days. The Class 2A title game between Many and Ferriday is the only one featuring a one versus two seed. Two teams will try to complete undefeated seasons. At 7 PM tonight, St. James will face Jennings for the 3A title.