News for Wednesday June 3rd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The health department releases new covid-19 numbers for the state; hospitalization rates continue to decline. A decrease of 22 from Monday with 639 now recorded. Vent usage also decreased down by 3 with 83 on record and fatalities increased by 34 for a total of 2,724. Case numbers increased by 405. The Governor Announced Monday that the state will move to Phase Two of reopening this Friday.
A hearing in the Kayla Giles' second-degree murder case has been reset for Aug. 5.
Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Greg Beard on Monday granted the joint motion to reset the hearing for Giles, who is accused of shooting her estranged husband on Sept. 8th of 2018, in the Coliseum Boulevard Walmart parking lot in Alexandria. Her trial was to have been held May 4 but didn't happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent court shutdown. No new date has been set yet.
Two St. Landry Parish deputies have left the department - one fired and one who resigned - over social media posts related to the George Floyd incident. One deputy, who posted several memes, was fired. Among the memes he shared on his Facebook page was one of a semi-truck with what appears to be blood on the front of its cab with the caption "Just drove through Minneapolis, didn't see any protesters. The other deputy, who resigned, wrote a comment urging those who support violent protests to "go burn down the projects where black on black crimes happen every day."
Legislators manage to pass tort reform aimed at lowering auto insurance rates by ten percent but Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat believes Governor Edwards will veto the session’s signature bill. Edwards has long expressed concerns that the bill would not actually lower rates and was frustrated when the Legislature blocked efforts to prevent insurance rate discrimination on gender or class grounds. The legislation did not pass with a veto proof majority and Pinsonat says that may have doomed their effort, despite a mandate from voters to lower auto insurance rates.
Another piece of controversial legislation made it out of the Legislature in the last minutes of the session: a 300 million dollar grant program for small businesses. Democrats opposed the grant program saying the Louisiana Congressional Delegation sent us that money to aid local governments, and Amite Representative Robby Carter says Louisiana businesses have already received 7 billion dollars in Payroll Protection Program funds…
Tropical Storm Cristobal forms in the Bay of Campeche, but it’s expected to remain stationary over the next few days. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the current forecast calls for the storm to move to about 200 miles south of Morgan City on Sunday morning and tracking northward. Keim says its never too early to be prepared.
The casino industry is responding to the Senate’s decision not to confirm the re-appointment of Ronnie Jones as chairman of the state’s gaming control board. Casino Association of Louisiana executive director Wade Duty was surprised by the decision and says Louisiana benefitted from his time at the helm of the board. he retired state police deputy superintendent has held the job since 2013. Duty says Jones captured the respect of those within the state’s gaming industry and beyond. Since the decision was made during executive session, there’s no public record on why Jones was ousted.
Tattoo shops are reopening in Phase Two and the artists behind the ink are ready to get back to work on Friday. But, the Tattoo experience will be quite different with customers needing to set an appointment, as walk-in business will not be available in the near future. Both the Tattoo artist and Customers will need to wear masks.
As the nation reacts to the violent death of George Floyd, Governor John Bel Edwards says he appreciates citizens of Louisiana keeping protests civil and nonviolent. Edwards says Floyd’s death was unnecessary and he says the procedure used to restrain Floyd is not approved in police training.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering a 6,000 dollar reward for information leading to arrests in the shooting death of a black bear just south of Franklin. LDWF spokesperson Adam Einck says the bear was discovered in a ditch by passersby May 17th. The Humane Society along with the Acadiana Chapter of Safari Club International pitched in for the reward. Einck says the bears were taken off the endangered list a few years ago but are still protected.
Saints and Pelicans Owner Gayle Benson announces the formation of a Social Justice Leadership Coalition. Players from the two professional franchises will be on the task force. Saints linebacker Demario Davis, along with Pelicans guards Lonzo Ball and J-J Redick will be on it, but Benson says anyone can join. She says we have a lot of work to create meaningful change.
Just over a year ago Louisiana Tech’s baseball stadium was destroyed by an E-F three tornado. But next year, Tech will host the Conference USA Baseball championship tournament at a rebuilt J-C Love Field at Patterson Park next year. It will mark the first Conference USA championship that La Tech has hosted since it joined the league in 2013.
In other Conference USA news, the Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reports the field for the Conference USA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments next year will be dropped from 12 to eight teams.