News for Wednesday March 4th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
A stationary front is currently draped across central Louisiana which will bring rain on and off throughout the day. Thunderstorms will be particularly problematic this afternoon. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the Storm Prediction Center has the state in the slight risk category for severe weather. Keim says this same frontal system was responsible for the tornado outbreak in Tennessee.
Cenla broadcasting notes the passing of two individuals who gave a lifetime public service to Cenla. Longtime Rapides Parish Registrar of Voters, Joanell Wilson. Wilson worked in the Rapides Parish Registrar of Voters' Office for nearly 50 years. She first served as Chief Deputy and was later appointed as Registrar of Voters. She retired in July of 2015. Joanell Wilson was 73.
Also word yesterday of the passing of former Alexandria Police Department Chief Charles David Ezernack. Ezernack began his career with the APD in Aug. 1961, became chief in Aug. 1977, and retired as the chief of police in May 1983 after 22 years of service. Ezernack was 79.
Plans to discuss ways for the City Of Alexandria to refinance $140 million in utility bonds have been put on hold again, this time until the end of the month. The city plans to meet with the state bond commission in two weeks. The bonds were initially issued back in 2013 and 2014 to make improvements to the utility system as well as infrastructure improvements. With rates as low as they are today, the city expects to get a much better rate on the bonds.
Today the US Supreme Court will take up a 2014 Louisiana law requiring abortion clinics to have admitting privileges to operate, a law opponents say would close all but one Bayou State clinic. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry will defend the law in court. AG spokespersons Deanna Wallace says it’s not an undue burden on clinics.
But Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Counsel TJ Tu says all leading national medical groups, including the AMA, say that’s false. He says most doctors don’t need or have admitting privileges, because abortion is so safe it’s almost never needed. He says if upheld, it’s an assault on women’s rights.
The legislature will debate whether or not college athletes should be able to profit off of their likeness while enrolled at Louisiana schools, legislation similar to a recently passed California bill. Marrero Republican Patrick Connick filed the Senate bill and says it would open up the opportunity for athletes to sell merchandise. If passed, the proposal would go into effect January 1, 2023. Just a few years ago, the NCAA exceeded one-billion dollars in revenues, but the association does not allow college athletes to receive money for what they do on the field or court.
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan to give nearly $1 million in pay raises to his staff, cabinet secretaries and other political appointees ran into questions Tuesday from state lawmakers who noted Louisiana’s long list of needs. Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee scrutinized the raises as the panel started digging into the details of Edwards’ $32 billion budget proposal for the financial year that starts July 1. The Edwards administration said most of the salary increases are 4%
Twenty-one people have applied to be the state’s next education superintendent. Jefferson Parish school superintendent Cade Brumley and Central Louisiana Technical Community College Vice-Chancellor Heather Poole are among the local candidates. There are also several out of state candidates as well. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet in April to make a selection.
LSU-Shreveport Poli Sci Professor Jeff Sadow says polls show the democratic primary could be all but over by the time Louisianans vote on April 4th. Louisiana usually holds it’s primary the weekend after Super Tuesday, but Sadow says we got kicked back about a month because other local elections on the ballot could lead to an inconvenient time for potential run-offs.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is now involved in the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. Pathological Sciences Department Head Dr. Gus Kousoulas says developing and testing the vaccine will be a team effort in tandem with Tulane. The Tulane National Primate Research Center has been cleared by the CDC for coronavirus testing.
According to the career resource website Zippia, Louisiana ranks as the least happy state in the nation. Among the metrics considered, the ranking looked at depression rates, employment factors, and marriage rates. Zippia spokesperson Kathy Morris says
the state’s unemployment rate is also contributing to the rating. Louisiana’s average household income only exceeds that of Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico and Arkansas. Other southern states that made the top five least happy states were Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.
31-year-old Mandy Rochelle was arrested after allegedly torching a home she was renting, while her three children were still inside. Investigators say Rochelle had just had an argument with her estranged husband prior to the arson, but that the husband was not currently at the home at the time of the fire. She was booked into the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail. Her three children are 12, 9, and six. No injuries were reported in the fire.
In an Ascension Parish courtroom yesterday, a Dutchtown High School Teacher pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent behavior with juveniles. Thirty-two-year-old Mark Ebarb is accused of sending inappropriate messages and photographs to underage students. He’s a former Ascension Parish teacher of the year.
LSU Ag Center researchers are warning farmers that stink bug numbers will be high this year because of a series of mild winters. Stink bugs are capable of destroying soybean fields and other crops. LSU Entomologist Doctor Sebe Brown says early season control is vital…
LSU basketball enters the final week of the regular season tied for second place with Auburn in the SEC standings. The Bayou Bengals are at Arkansas tonight. Airtime 5:30 on KSYL 970AM/104.9FM
Pelicans @ Dallas 8p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM