News for Monday 122214
By Dave Graichen
Today is the first full day of winter and many have not forgotten last year’s winter, which saw colder than normal temperatures and a few rounds of frozen precipitation. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the climate prediction center’s forecast for the next three months indicates we could see a repeat. Keim says the wildcard right now is the El Nino which has been in the forecast for a while, but hasn’t formed yet. He says the climate prediction center is giving the system a 60% chance of forming sometime this winter Keim says if the El Nino does form the way they think it will this winter, we’ll get more rain and even possibly some freezing rain like we saw last winter.
New employment numbers are out and Louisiana’s labor force grew to a record 2,179,837 in November. The number of people employed in the state jumped by 59,419 over the year. LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink says people are responding to Louisiana’s strong and sustained job growth by joining our workforce in record numbers
Eysink says, over the month of November, we added about 7,000 people working in Louisiana. He says this is outpacing a national trend.
A group called Senate Conservatives Action is sponsoring radio ads that target Republican Metairie Congressman Steve Scalise. The ads accuse Scalise of siding with President Obama instead of standing on the conservative platform. LaPolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says this attack stems from the Congressman’s efforts to help pass a $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill. Alford says this is interesting since Scalise was able to capture the whip position because he was a favorite of the tea party movement, where the Senate Conservatives Action finds its roots. He says there is a bit of political intrigue here as this group supported Rob Maness in his run for the US Senate. Rumors are circulating that Maness may challenge Scalise in 2016.
A new poll shows that Republican Senator David Vitter’s change in position on Common Core is popular with voters. Vitter announced earlier this month he opposes the new educational testing standards and a Southern Media and Opinion Research survey found that 64-percent agree with Vitter. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the testing standards will be a main issue in the governor’s race. Another Republican gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, says he supports the controversial education standards.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has reached an agreement with the Secretary of State’s office to archive state employee health insurance program’s records. They had stopped sending claims for several months, because of privacy concerns. Now, the new agreement will have those records in a facility that is under Federal laws protecting personal information.
State Police troopers are urging drivers to use extra caution while on the highways during this holiday period. Sergeant Nick Manale says driver error is responsible for many of the wrecks they are seeing. Manale says since Thanksgiving week, State Police have worked fatal wrecks that resulted in 66 deaths. Manale says in most of the fatal wrecks they’ve investigated, the victims were not buckled up.
Here in the final days of 2014, there are some things taxpayers can do to put them in a better financial position in 2015. John Theriot is an accountant with the Louisiana Society of CPAs and he says business owners should accelerate expenses, because anything they can pay before year’s end will get the 2014 deduction. Theriot says now would also be a good time to let your employer know you want to up your contribution on your 401K or change your filing status on your W4. He says before the new year, you also might want to think about making charitable donations, so you can deduct it on your 2014 tax form.
The LSU Tigers are back at practice this week as they continue preparations to play Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl. Even though the Bayou Bengals have some extra time to prepare for this game, Coach Les Miles says don’t expect many changes when it comes to game planning for this game. The other issue hanging around the LSU football program….Is how many underclassmen will leave for the NFL? There’s a report LSU cornerback Jalen Collins plans to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft, but Miles is optimistic they won’t see as many juniors leaving for the pros early as previous seasons.
For the fourth straight season, the Ragin Cajuns have ended the year by winning the R-and-L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. U-L Lafayette defeated Nevada 16-3 on Saturday in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Coach Mark Hudspeth has now led the Cajuns to four straight…nine-win seasons.
Louisiana Tech holds its first practice in Dallas today leading up to its game against Illinois in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas bowl. Bulldogs Coach Skip Holtz says the team is looking forward to bowl week preparations. Holtz says the message to his team is that playing in a bowl game is great, but winning it, is even better
The Saints had a chance to win the NFC South on Sunday, but instead the Black and Gold’s season came to an end with a bitter 30-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. What makes it hurt even more is that, New Orleans finishes the year with five straight losses at the Dome.