News for Wednesday July 22nd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards extends the state’s current Phase Two order and COVID health restrictions for another two weeks as Louisiana reported another 1,700 cases Tuesday, along with the highest level of hospitalizations since early May. Here in Rapides Parish, 58 new cases were reported and 2 news deaths.
Governor John Bel Edwards extends Phase Two by two more weeks. Not everyone is a fan of the announcement. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry expressed their disappointment in the decision. Edwards cites the positivity rate of new tests as another red flag. However, the governor says his biggest concern is the hospitalizations per capita, over the last couple of weeks numbers have been climbing in all regions of the state.
Qualifying for the November ballot begins today and as of now, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy does not face a major Democratic challenger, but Outgoing State Democratic Party Director Stephen Handwerk says we may be surprised by a prominent member of the party signing up this week due to the high level of energy in the party right now…
Antoine Pierce, a Baton Rouge progressive activist, and New Orleans teacher Peter Wenstrup are the two announced Democrats so far.
The 5th District Congressional seat held by the retiring Ralph Abraham should be competitive. ULM Poli Sci Professor Josh Stockley says there are three well-known Republicans running, Abraham’s Chief of Staff Luke Letlow, Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, and Ouachita Police Juror Scotty Robinson.
As expected the Alexandria City Council passed an ordinance yesterday to remove the confederate statue located in front of the Rapides Parish Courthouse. The ownership of the monument is still pending in the 9th Judicial District Court. The statue’s future will be decided once ownership is determined.
The National Hurricane Center has upgraded the chance of development for a tropical wave currently over western Cuba and making its way into the Gulf. State Climatologist Barry Keim says there’s a medium chance the disturbance will develop into a tropical depression over the next five days. The system is set to move into the central Gulf tomorrow, and the northwestern Gulf Thursday and Friday.
New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell says one of the bodies that has been trapped in the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site is likely to be recovered by the end of the week and the other by the middle of next week. McConnell says the rubble is very delicate and potentially dangerous to recovery workers. It’s been ten months since the construction site partially collapsed, killing three.
Homeschool advocates say interest in homeschooling is surging with the fate of K-12 education still up in the air. Coalition for Responsible Home Education Director Rachel Coleman says homeschool families must have a caregiver who can commit to homeschooling full time. If not, consider virtual enrollment through your district. Coleman says if you’re committed to home school for the coming semester you need to submit a form to BESE and be approved. But keep in mind, the Louisiana Department of Education does not provide funding or resources for homeschooling.
Monroe has a new mayor with the swearing-in of Friday Ellis. Ellis takes the position after defeating Jamie Mayo who held the position for 19 years. Ellis says the city will now embark on a new journey that will create jobs and move the area forward.
The Pelicans hold their first scrimmage game tonight against Brooklyn. Still no word on when rookie sensation Zion Williamson will return to the NBA’s bubble in Orlando. Williamson left last week to attend to a family emergency and there’s been no new information. Hear tonight’s game starting at 5:30 on 94.7 ESPN
The coronavirus has had a significant impact on sports, and now football is beginning to see the virus affect the sport. NFL Network reports that the league and players’ union agreed to not hold a preseason this fall, which would have gotten underway next month.
The decision comes with the likelihood of teams playing in front of no or a limited number of fans during the regular season. Several states have said that large gatherings will be limited into the fall. NFL Network added the league will expand training camp rosters, and there will be an opt-out for players at a “high risk” of having coronavirus complications.
Since the SWAC has postponed its football season to the spring that leaves Louisiana Tech looking for another opponent. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Prairie View A-and-M for their home opener on September 19th. Tech athletics director Tommy McClelland says they are talking with other programs about filling that open slot on their home schedule.
The Outland Trophy Watch List was unveiled today and it features several interior linemen. LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin is on that list and so is Louisiana Tech center Kody Russey, along with Ragin Cajuns sophomore offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence.