News for Wednesday February 12th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Wild weather is in the forecast for the state today. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a pesky stationary front has been parked across Louisiana for the past couple of days, keeping it cloudy and dreary with the occasional rain. Keim says the Storm Prediction Center puts much of Louisiana under a slight to marginal risk for severe weather.
Fire erupted late last night a Mobile Exxon refinery in Baton Rouge. The fire turned the night sky a shade of orange and sent a large plume of smoke into the air. No injuries were reported. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the fire. A spokesman for the Baton Rouge Fire Department says there is no off-site impact. The refinery is the fifth largest in the United States.
It’s been a long time coming, but construction is set to start soon on a roundabout at the intersection of Jackson St., Twin Bridges Rd. and Horseshoe Drive here in Alexandria. The state DOTD said they will start construction on the roundabout in early March and that the intersection will be completely closed during construction. They hope the project will be completed in the early summer.
Saints owner Gayle Benson’s sudden and forceful statement Monday that none of her donations to New Orleans’ archdiocese had financed clergy abuse settlements came just days after attorneys for an alleged victim subpoenaed financial records from her charitable foundation. The Feb. 6 subpoena gave the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation until March 3 to hand over a trove of documents, including any detailing the funding of “settlements of claims for clergy abuse within the archdiocese from 2010 to present.” In a statement released to the public well ahead of that deadline, Benson said neither she nor her late husband ever gave money to the church for such a purpose, saying the mere insinuation was offensive.
The State Legislative Auditor is asking the Legislature to consider implementing a water management plan to keep the state’s aquifers from running dry, or falling prey to saltwater intrusion in the future. Audit Manager Gina Brown says water depletion has increased 63 percent nationwide since 1951, and 579 percent since 59’ for the Gulf Coast region. 49 percent of current usage going to energy production, 25 percent to industry, and 12 percent heading to irrigation.
The two newly elected leaders of the Louisiana Legislature on Tuesday told the state’s largest business lobby they want to tilt the state’s legal system in favor of businesses through tort reform, but they will aim to get a bill to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk that he will be willing to sign to avoid trying to override his vetoes. Edwards, meanwhile, said the way to actually lower insurance rates is by preventing insurance companies from charging more to people based on their gender, marital status and whether or not they are a veteran. But he also indicated he's open to negotiating with Republican lawmakers on the issue.
The story of Keiosha Felix, a 15-year-old who vanished in 2012, gets the national spotlight tonight on the show “In Pursuit with John Walsh,” which airs on Investigation Discovery. Show producer Michelle Sigona says Keiosha disappeared from her aunt’s home in Duson in April 2012. Sigona has hope the episode can lead to Keiosha’s whereabouts as the program has a history of successfully tracking down fugitives and missing children.
A judge in East Feliciana Parish declined Tuesday to hold a new trial and delay sentencing for alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe, even though his attorney argued the U.S. Supreme Court could void the jury's 11-1 decision convicting him of first-degree murder. Sharpe was convicted in December in the killing of Brad DeFranceschi, one of three men authorities said Sharpe gunned down from his car during a killing spree across East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge parishes in 2017.
LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron has hired former Rams head coach Scott Linehan to be the Tigers new passing game coordinator. Linehan has also been a former offensive coordinator in Dallas, Minnesota, Miami, and Detroit. Tiger Rag Editor Ron Higgins says most of Coach O’s coaching hires have worked, so we’ll have to wait to see if Linehan can help keep LSU’s offense humming along.