News for Thursday June 25th, 2020
Compiled By Dave Graichen
Coronavirus in Louisiana: 52,477 cases | 3,039 dead | 631 in hospital | 39,792 recovered
The Acadiana region is outpacing other regions of the state in new COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday’s case report, of the tests taken in the region, 11.1% came back positive, higher than the federal recommendations in moving forward in economic reopening. Dr. Tina Stefanski, regional medical director of the Office of Public Health in Acadiana, says the age groups that are the most problematic are the younger demographics. Wednesday’s statewide total case count increases by 882 to 52,477.
State Police report a 16 year old Otis Boy lost his life yesterday in a two vehicle accident on Highway 28 at highway 121. Connor Lemoine was traveling westbound on Hwy 28, when while attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Hwy 121, he was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Lemoine sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, two adult passengers, and one juvenile passenger in the other vehicle sustained minor injuries. The accident is still under investigation.
The Alexandria Police Dept. arrested an Alexandria man in connection with a stabbing and robbery that occurred Sunday in the 2000 block of North Mall Drive. 25 year old Dakota Lee Erwin of Alexandria was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted second degree murder and armed robbery. This incident remains under investigation. If anyone has any information about the incident, please contact the APD.
Governor Edwards’ new proclamation of extending Phase Two reopening for another 28 days is officially issued today. Edwards says when ranking of states by per capita COVID-19 cases, Louisiana is ranked 7th, down three spots from its previous best ranking. 245,000 tests have been done in the state this month with no plans to slow those efforts down.
Governor Edwards is alarmed by the growing numbers or younger individuals testing positive for the virus and encourages them to take mitigation efforts seriously. Edwards says while younger people think they may be untouchable by the virus, they can suffer poor health outcomes, including death. They can also bring the illness to older friends and family.
Heated moment Wednesday afternoon in the House as lawmakers took up a resolution to create a task force dedicated to studying policing policy. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says the Black Caucus and Republican leaders struck a deal to pass the resolution in exchange for stripping it of any mention of George Floyd and agreeing not to hold floor speeches on policing. The resolution, by Baton Rouge Senator Cleo Fields, heads back to the Senate for approval of the House made changes.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration and Treasurer John Schroder said Wednesday they have struck an agreement ending a three-year dispute over Louisiana's unclaimed property money that has tied up millions of dollars earmarked for government programs in litigation. The resolution is contained in Senate Bills 12 and 18 by Houma Republican Sen. Mike Fesi, which won easy support Wednesday from the House Appropriations Committee and is only steps from final passage. The plan will free up millions to spend in the upcoming budget as Edwards wants, but keep the unclaimed property dollars locked up in a trust fund in the future as Schroder wants.
The House approves legislation protecting public and private schools from civil suits by students or teachers who say they got COVID on school grounds. Amite Representative Robby Carter says a school board superintendent told him this bill was vital to actually having students back in classrooms come fall. The vote was 82-17.
A bill that places an eight-percent tax on net revenue from online fantasy sports contests is heading to the governor’s desk after it received final legislative approval. The money would generate about 375-thousand dollars a year. River Ridge Senator Kirk Talbot says all of the money will go towards funding early childhood education. In 2018, voters in 47 of the 64 parishes legalized fantasy sports betting. Residents in parishes who voted for it have been waiting for lawmakers to pass the tax component.
The family of a gay teenager stabbed in the neck and wrists believes 18-year-old Holden White of Kaplan is the victim of a hate crime. Police have arrested 19-year-old Chance Seneca and charged him with attempted second-degree murder, but no hate crime charges have been added. White is in intensive care, but his family says his condition is improving.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announces the city will enforce the use of face masks, due to the uptick of coronavirus cases. Health officials report the increase in cases is a result of community spread. Cantrell says Police officers will be provided masks to hand out to those in need of one. The mayor also says the city will also be shutting down any businesses that are out of compliance with current guidelines.
The state’s only current medical marijuana grower announces it will lower its prices as a result of a new law that greatly expands access to the treatment. Wellcana CEO John Davis says the price reductions will allow pharmacies to sell the product at the average price for the nation’s more mature markets. The law expanding access goes into effect on August 1st.
In Homer, a confederate monument that was once prominent at the Claiborne Parish courthouse lawn has been removed. The Claiborne Parish Police Jury voted unanimously last week to have the 9-foot-tall, eight-thousand-pound monument removed. The monument had been on the courthouse lawn since 1940.