News for Tuesday 042214
By Dave Graichen
The former executive director of the Rapides Parish Coliseum is facing theft and malfeasance charges. Kimberly Neal-Townley was booked into the the Rapides Parish jail yesterday. Lt. Tommy Carnline says after a year long investigation that included a review from the legislative auditor's office, Neal-Townley is facing several criminal counts. The legislative auditor's office report came out in February and alleges Neal-Townley paid herself 30-thousand for hours she did not work and for leave hours she did not earn. The audit also says Townley gave herself a pay raise without coliseum authority. Neal-Townley served as the executive director of the coliseum from 2010 until she resigned in February 2013.
A shooting in Colfax has left one woman dead, and a man charged with her death. Seventy year-old Loretta Williams was shot and killed over the weekend. Twenty-six year old Alex Hall was identified as the alleged shooter, and he's been charged with second-degree murder.
An accident yesterday on Barron Chapel Rd in Pineville claimed the life of 38 year old Brenda Starns of Holden. Starns was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 18 year old Trinity Sullivan. Sullivan was arrested and was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. State Police suspect Sullivan was driving impaired, but routine toxicology tests are pending. An investigation continues
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he’s scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana’s official state book. Republican Rep. Thomas Carmody told the House of Representatives that he wouldn’t pursue the measure. He said lawmakers had told him they were worried the bill was becoming a distraction from more important debates, like on the state budget and education issues.
A State Judiciary Committee will hear a bill by New Orleans Senator JP Morrell Tuesday that would lessen the penalty of marijuana possession to a max 6 months in prison and a $100 fine -- no matter the number of offenses. It faces strong opposition from the Louisiana District Attorney Association and Executive Director Pete Adams who says the bill takes discretion away from DAs who often use marijuana possession offenses as a tool to remove career criminals from the streets. Morrell says if his bill passes, it would save the state millions of dollars each year.
Retirement eligibility would change for state employee and teachers hired after July 1 under a bill that cleared the Louisiana House on Monday. The retirement age would increase to 62 with at least five years of service, Today it is age 60 years of age with at least five years. The House voted 91-3 for House Bill 38.
With Monday’s check on gas prices, the American Automobile Association says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $3.49. That's up over 4 cents from last Monday and up 20 cents from this time last month.
Tickets for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival are now on sale. The price is now $55 for any single day ticket but if you're waiting to see what the weather will do, you'll have to pay $70 at
the gate for the shows which begin this Friday.
Ninety-nine runners from Louisiana participated in yesterday’s Boston Marathon, the first one since last year's deadly bombing near the finish line. One of the athletes was the son of Colonel Mike
Edmonson, the Commander of the Louisiana State Police. It took Michael Edmonson Junior about three hours to finish the 26-mile race.
The full House approves a bill that would require abortion clinics to provide a pamphlet to women seeking an abortion that describes the possible psychological effects of ending a pregnancy. The bill passed on an 80 to 10 vote.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office has identified the man who attacked a woman last week in Opelousas with a cane knife and ended up dying during the attack. His name is 52-year-old Phillip Manuel of Opelousas. A cause of death is not known and it's also not known if Manuel knew his victim. The sheriff's office says the victim remains in stable condition, recovering from her wounds.
The state Senate rejected legislation Monday that would restrict the use of unmanned aircraft in Louisiana. Senate Bill 330, which died with 15 voting for it and 21 voting against it, was an attempt to sync Louisiana law with evolving technology. Other states already have adopted legislation addressing drones. The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to figure out how drones can coexist with commercial airplanes.
A Bunkie man tried to escape Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents Wednesday by swimming across a bayou, but he was quickly caught while in the water. 30 year old Shannon Stevenson jumped into Bayou Rouge near Bunkie after agents tried to check his license as Stevenson was fishing from more than 140 crawfish traps from the bayou's banks.
There's some good news out regarding the New Orleans Saints defense today. The Black and Gold has announced exercising the fifth year option for Pro-Bowl Defensive End Cameron Jordan. Twenty-five year-old Jordan led the Saints with 12 and a half sacks last season.
The LSU baseball team is ranked in the top 10 in three of the major college baseball polls heading into a five game home stand. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 12 and in 11 of those games they have given up 5 runs or fewer.