News for Monday June 1st, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Cenla Broadcasting notes the tragic loss of twin brothers’ Ben & Blake Cooper. The two were tragically killed in a private plane crash Sunday afternoon just after taking off from Pineville Municipal Airport at Lake Buhlow. Ben, a mental health hospital administrator, and Blake, the Executive Director of the Central Louisiana Regional Port) were both popular in the Cenla Community. Each leaves behind a spouse and children. One son of Blake was also on board and is said to have survived the crash. Although no medical status is known of the boy at this time.
The Alexandria Police Department reports a homicide in the city yesterday. Police were called to the 700 block of Harold Glen shortly after noon to find the body of a man who had been shot several times. The identity of the victim is not being released at this time pending notification of next of kin. This incident is still under investigation.
If anyone has any information, please contact the APD.
Today is the first day of the 2020 hurricane season and there’s the possibility we could see a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. National Weather Service Forecaster Stephen Carboni, says what was Tropical Storm Amanda in the Pacific is moving over Central America and into the Southern Gulf. The National Hurricane Center says there’s a 50% chance we’ll of something develop over the next five days. Carboni says if it does develop into a storm, it will be called Cristobal, the third named storm of 2020 and the hurricane season is just starting
30 year old Cody Richardson, a former Correctional Officer with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Detention Center 1, in Alexandria, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in court Friday to three counts of using excessive force against pretrial detainees housed at the facility. According to documents filed in connection with the guilty plea, Richardson, while on duty as a correctional officer, tased three different detainees who were restrained and/or not resisting.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to announce at 2:30 today whether the state is ready to move into Phase 2 of reopening the economy. Edwards says the metrics used to make the decision to move into phase one are still in play for determining whether the state is ready for phase two. Edwards says they are also looking at active cases and testing capacity, which he says continues to improve. He says even if the state goes to phase two that doesn’t mean COVID-19 has left the state. The state reported six more deaths yesterday to bring the total to 2,686 statewide.
Families of children who receive free or reduced-price meals are eligible for Pandemic EBT cards to help offset those meals lost when schools closed early, but they need to act fast. Syndi Dunn, Louisiana Department of Education spokesperson says applications must be completed by June 8th. Participation in other relief programs will not disqualify students from the P-EBT program. Dunn says so far approximately 60 percent of eligible families have applied for the benefits thus far. For more information go to the Louisianabelieves.com and click on Covid-19 Information and Resources.
Legislation blocking coastal local governments from suing the oil industry for damages dies in the House as the bill sponsor admits they just ran out of time to pass it this year. Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs says it is a frustrating outcome, and the lawsuits will never lead to a windfall for local governments and is just a trial lawyer scheme. Local government leaders say the lawsuits will be instrumental in undoing industry damage.
Tort reform legislation that supporters say will lower auto insurance rates is expected to be sent to the Governor today. Governor Edwards is not in favor of the bill and UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says if it hits Edwards’ desk he expects it to be vetoed even though it passed by veto-proof majorities. Cross says a veto override has not been completed in Louisiana since 1993.
Legislation allowing delivery services that use contract workers to deliver alcohol is headed to the Governor’s desk. The bill amends last year’s alcohol delivery law. Bill sponsor Franklin Senator Bret Allain says if it’s signed into law it could really take off in a state like Louisiana.
Newly drafted LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow calls for all Americans to show support for the black community in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In his Twitter post Friday, he says “The black community needs our help. They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.” The tweet has over 400-thousand likes.
Mental health advocates warn that the reopening of the economy may lead to more anxiety as people try to adapt to the new normal. Dr. Tonya Hansel with the Tulane School of Social Work says, to start, limit your news intake, so as not to overstimulate yourself while trying to safely navigate the outside world. Hansel says another way to relieve stress is to reconnect with friends and family outside of your household in safe, outdoor environments…
There will be several changes when college students return to campus in the Fall due to COVID-19. University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson says it’s all designed to protect the students, staff, and faculty. For example, changing the calendar so students will complete the semester before Thanksgiving.