News for Friday February 14th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
A bomb threat called in yesterday afternoon to Arthur F Smith middle magnet appears to have been a hoax. The call came in shortly before 3p leading to the safe evacuation of the building. Once secured a thorough search of the building turned up nothing suspicious. The investigation is ongoing.
Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to dole out nearly $1 million in pay raises to his staff, Cabinet secretaries and other high-level political appointees across state government.
In response to a request from The Associated Press, the Edwards administration provided the names of more than 150 top-level political appointees who have already received or are in line to receive salary hikes. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told lawmakers the employees hadn't received pay raises over the governor's first term. He says most of the raises are 4%.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the Louisiana Family Forum is honoring what they believe to be the couple with the longest marriage in the state with the 2020 Marriage Hall of Fame. For the second year in a row, Wallace and Gladys Menard from Duson have that distinction with 81 years. The couple met at a dance hall in Abbeville in 1937 and were married at ages 19 and 16 in 1938.
Nationally, marriage rates have dipped almost eight percent over the decade. In Louisiana, that number is almost 28 percent. LSU Health New Orleans clinical psychologist Amy Dickson says that doesn’t necessarily mean there are fewer people in committed relationships as you may find plenty of engaged couples. The divorce rate is also down nearly 20 percent nationally, with Louisiana down by 23 percent.
Louisiana has the 9th worst business tax climate in the nation according to the Tax Foundation’s 2020 report. Policy Analyst Janelle Cammenga says that’s largely due to Louisiana having the 3rd highest sales tax in the nation, an above-average corporate tax rate, and decentralized sales tax collection. Only Washington and Alabama rank worse in sales tax issues.
Covington Representative Mark Wright files an amendment to consolidate the Governor and Lt. Governor onto one ticket, instead of having voters chose them separately. Wright says for starters, the Lt. Governor’s job is nearly all tourism-related, and it would make for more efficient government if tourism was folded directly into the Governor’s administration. Wright says combining the ticket could open up some interesting political options for gubernatorial candidates who would now get to pick a running mate.
Webster Parish is welcoming a new manufacturing facility with the arrival of E.I. Williams Industries. President of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership Scott Martinez says the Canadian company specializing in sound-control equipment such as vent silencers, fan silencers, industrial silencers, and noise enclosures. Martinez says the $700,000 capital investment into an existing 50,000 square foot facility in the North Webster Parish Industrial District will result in 100 new jobs over the next five years, with an average salary of $37,400 plus benefits.
Attorney General Jeff Landry and his brother Ben Landry are accusing the Advocate of harassment and released video of Advocate reporters investigating Ben Landry’s home. Reports indicate the paper was investigating business dealings of some kind involving a Landry owned company.
DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson continues to urge drivers to put down the cell phone. Wilson says earlier this month, another DOTD employee, Dwayne Pitre, was seriously injured while picking up litter in a work zone near Carencro. Once again, distracted driving was believed to be a factor. Two DOTD employees have died since 2016 due to distracted driving.
A Lafayette man is facing felony theft charges after allegedly tricking a Shreveport man into paying 3,600 dollars for a pair of National Championship tickets that were only worth 525 dollars each. Caddo Sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says the victim was told the tickets he was buying were in section 104, but the tickets he was sold by Michael Simmons turned out to be nose bleed seats. Simmons was arrested for Felony Theft.
Its opening day of the college baseball season and at Alex Box Stadium the 11th ranked Tigers will face Indiana. This is Paul Mainieri’s 14th season as head coach of the Tigers. He’ll send sophomore right-hander Cole Henry to the mound as he’ll throw the first pitch of the season for the Tigers. Airtime tonight at 6:30 on KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM.