News for Monday 113015
By Dave Graichen
There are six weeks remaining in Bobby Jindal’s final term as Governor of Louisiana. Jindal has said that he and his family will remain in Baton Rouge after his term ends, but what’s ahead for him professionally? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Jindal will probably use his expertise in government to pick up a job with a national company as a consultant. As far as the governor’s political future, Pinsonat says Jindal’s current unpopularity in Louisiana will probably keep him from running for office for quite a while.
The Attorney General’s Office has some tips to keep online holiday shoppers secure. Assistant Attorney General Lisha Landry advises people to make sure they’re using private wireless connections that are password protected, not unsecure wifi from coffee shops or other public locations. She says also make sure the website you’re using is secure before entering credit card information. Landry says always pay my credit card rather than using money orders or debit because there is an added protection. She says make sure to keep records after making online purchases.
As Louisiana ushers in a new Democratic governor, some political activists are hoping that John Bel Edwards’ election signals an opportunity for more progressive priorities that have been impossible to pass under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. One of the key distinctions in the election between Edwards and his Republican rival, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, was their positions on the minimum wage. Edwards thinks it should be higher. Vitter, who suffered a landslide defeat, disagreed. On the campaign trail, Edwards promised he would push for the state to set an increased minimum if the federal government doesn’t act. Louisiana is one of five states that doesn’t have a minimum wage, meaning it defaults to the federal government’s current $7.25 rate.
Even with the dry summer, the supply of real Christmas Trees in Louisiana is still plenty. Christmas Tree Farmer Clark Gernon, owner of Shady Pond Tree Farm in Pearl River, says the trees are fine, just not as tall as they typically would be.
State Police say the Thanksgiving holiday started with five fatalities on the roadway in two separate wrecks. Trooper Melissa Matey says early Thanksgiving morning in Plaquemines Parish a single vehicle crash resulted in the deaths of the vehicle’s driver and two passengers.
All were pronounced dead on the scene. The other fatality crash took place Wednesday night in Iberia Parish.
Les Miles is still the coach of the LSu football team despite a couple of weeks of speculation that he will be fired at the end of the regular season. But Athletics Director Joe Alleva announced after Saturday’s win over Texas A&M that Miles will remain the Tigers coach.
Miles and the Tigers ended a three-game losing streak by beating Texas A&M 19-7.
Louisiana Tech’s regular season ended in a frustrating manner as the Bulldogs turned it over seven times in a 58-24 loss to Southern Miss. The defeat keeps the Bulldogs from playing in the Conference USA Championship game. Head Coach Skip Holtz says it was a disappointing way to end the year. Tech finishes the regular season with an 8-4 record.
The Saints dropped their third straight game on Sunday as the Houston Texans topped New Orleans 24-6. Offensively, the Saints could only muster two field goals, so for the first time in 155 games the Saints failed to score a TD.
News for Tuesday 112415
By Dave Graichen
The Curtis-Coleman Bridge over the Red River will be closed between 8 a.m. and noon today, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. The bridge on U.S. highways 71 and 165 will be closed for the demolition of concrete piers on the old O.K. Allen Bridge. The closure was moved to today from Monday. Also, all traffic on the Red River will be shut down both 30 minutes before and after the demolition.
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards names state senator Ben Nevers of Boglausa as his chief of staff when he takes office on January 11th. In his first address since winning election, Edwards told teachers Monday that he entered the race because he wanted to improve education, but his first focus will be on the state budget. He told the annual convention of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers that he wouldn’t ban vouchers and wouldn’t close charter schools as his election opponents repeatedly claimed during the campaign. But he would insist on greater accountability of charter schools.
Lake Charles business owner Laura Leach, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, Baton Rouge senator Sharon Weston Broome, former legislator Taylor Townsend and Baton Rouge businessman Richard Lipsey are also on the Governor Elect’s transition team.
US Representative John Fleming of Minden has joined fellow Republican Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany in letting voters know that he plans to run for US Senate next year. Boustany, state treasurer John Kennedy and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle are other candidates could run for Vitter’s seat as the former gubernatorial candidate has announced he’s not seeking re-election in 2016.
Lt. Gov.-elect Billy Nungesser visited his soon-to-be state offices Monday, assuring employees they would still have a job after his January inauguration if they wanted it.
Nungesser said he may bring a couple of people who worked in his campaign to Baton Rouge, but he says he’s not in a hurry to make any decisions.
With rumors swirling that LSU’s Les Miles will be fired at the end of the regular season, the head coach addressed the situation at his weekly Monday news conference. Miles says his focus is not on his job status, but on the players and coaches and getting them ready to play Texas A-and-M on Saturday night. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Miles’ 15 million dollar buyout isn’t much of a determining factor because those who want him gone are willing to front that money.
When the state legislature reconvenes for a new term there will be two more republicans in the House, bringing the total to 61 GOP members in the lower chamber. Democrats picked up a seat in the Senate, dropping the number of republicans to 25.
New Orleans Police announce the arrest of the suspect wanted in the Friday shooting of a Tulane medical student. Video surveillance shows 25-year-old Peter Gold trying to help a woman who was apparently being mugged by 21-year-old Euric Cain. Cain pulled a gun on Gold and shot him in the abdomen. Cain then pointed the gun at Gold’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed. Cain is charged with attempted first degree murder, second degree kidnapping, and armed robbery.
Not many tips are coming in after the shooting at Bunny Friend Playground that left 17 people injured in front of about 500 people. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says this was an act of domestic terrorism. He says there were a lot of onlookers recording on their cell phones and isn’t sure why more people haven’t come forward with information.
Bossier Parish authorities are investigating why a mother fatally shot her son and injured another woman while driving down Interstate 20. Bossier Parish officials say 47-year-old Dora Blake of Minden took out a handgun and shot the two people in the front. Blake, who was highly intoxicated, was booked into Bossier Maximum Security Facility on a one million dollar bond.
The two men arrested in Florida for the killing of a Baton Rouge couple, whose bodies were found at a Hammond truck stop last month, are expected to be transported back to Louisiana in the coming days. A Broward County, Florida State’s Attorney spokesperson says arrangements are being made to extradite both Frank Garcia and Ernesto Alonso to face murder charges in the deaths of Denis and Suzanne Duplantier. Alonso stopped resisting his extradition last week. Garcia waived extradition yesterday.
For the fourth year in a row, the cost for a traditional Thanksgiving meal has increased. The LSU AgCenter surveyed Baton Rouge retailers and found the cost of items to prepare a meal for 10 was $49.81, a $1.31 increase from last year. Economist Kurt Guidry says a rise in turkey prices led to this year’s price increase. He says, on the wholesale level, the price of turkey is up 9-percent from a year ago.
According to a recent poll, a record number of people plan to shop local for Small Business Saturday. Dawn Starns, the Louisiana state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says this is so encouraging because this is the time of year where small businesses are in competition with big name stores. She says shoppers are often looking for unique gifts and items and that’s where your small business retailer comes in handy. Starns encourages shoppers to keep local stores in mind this holiday season, because says the money spent at a small retailer goes right back into the local economy.
News for Monday 112315
By Dave Graichen
A state representative from Amite is the next governor of Louisiana. John Bel Edwards defeated Republican David Vitter by double digits, becoming the first Democrat to win a statewide election since 2008. How quickly elections can change. About a month ago, Vitter was the odds on favorite to be the next governor of Louisiana. The then two gubernatorial candidates had asked legislators to reject the plan.
Republican Senator David Vitter has decided to not seek re-election to the US Senate next year. Vitter made the announcement during his gubernatorial election concession speech Saturday night. Vitter said when he decided to run for governor, he wanted to pursue challenges outside the Senate, no matter the outcome of this election. Vitter said he had reached his personal term limit in the Senate.
Two-term Republican incumbent Buddy Caldwell was defeated in the Attorney General’s race as fellow Republican and former Congressman Jeff Landry won by 12-percentage points. Caldwell says he’s proud of the work he’s done as the state’s top lawyer. Landry says he’s thankful for the support he’s received and now plans to bring honor and integrity to the Attorney General’s office.
Rapides Parish voters approved a parish wide senior citizens tax on Saturday, along with three district taxes. Voter turnout, only 28.8 percent.
The joint legislative budget committee approves Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposal to close a 487-million dollar budget deficit. The plan calls for cuts to state agencies, patchwork financing and tapping into the rainy day fund. Senate president John Alario says it’s not a perfect plan, but it puts something in place until a new governor takes over in January.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate rose slightly to six-point-two percent in October based on figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, that’s lower than last October when the unemployment rate was seven-percent. The Louisiana Workforce Commission says the civilian labor force lost nearly 12-thousand workers from September to October. The two main factors, low oil prices and a decline of government workers.
NOPD reporting at least 16 people were hospitalized in New Orleans Sunday evening, following a shooting during a party at a city park. The shooting broke out at Bunny Friend Park in the Upper Ninth Ward where about 500 people were gathered at the playground for the impromptu shooting of a music video. The victims were all in stable condition.
According to the personal finance website, Kiplinger, Louisiana ranks fourth for best state to live in for low taxes and it’s also eighth for retirees. Kiplinger Senior Associate Editor Sandra Block says the Pelican State has a variety of tax friendly policies. Plus, Block says Louisiana’s income tax is also one of the lowest in the US.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has kicked off their Thanksgiving holiday Click it or Ticket campaign. State Police Trooper Michael Reichardt says nobody wants to remember the holidays tragically and buckling up has been proven to save lives. He says in addition to checking for seatbelt violations, troopers will also be on the lookout for motorists drinking and driving. Reichardt says there will be increased patrols through November 29th.
The President of the University of Louisiana System is stepping down. Sandra Woodley gave no explanation for her resignation. In a released statement, Woodley says she is proud of what the system has been able to accomplish during her presidency which began in January of 2013. Woodley will leave her post at the end of the year. She will remain on board to serve in a transitional capacity through March 31st.
A man from Denham Springs will spend the rest of his life behind bars for shooting up his fiancee with a lethal dose of heroin. 26-year-old Jarret McCasland was found guilty of second-degree murder. East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore says evidence against McCasland was overwhelming and the jury didn’t take long to return a verdict. 19-year-old Flavia Cardenas died of a heroin overdose in July of 2013
Is Les Miles getting ready to coach his last game in Tiger Stadium? It’s a possibility after the Tigers suffered their third straight loss in an embarrassing 38-17 defeat to Ole Miss. Coach Les Miles says his job status didn’t affect his players’ performance. This is the first time LSU has lost three straight games with Miles as the coach. A published report in the Advocate last week said Miles was coaching for his job after suffering losses to Alabama and Arkansas. The head coach says he doesn’t know if he’s in danger of losing his job.
News for Friday 112015
By Dave Graichen
Funeral services for former Northwestern State University President Randall Webb will be Monday at 10am in Prather Coliseum on the NSU campus. Visitation will be Sunday from 3pm-6pm in the Prather Coliseum arena. School officials say the 72-year-old died Wednesday after a long illness. At 18 years, Webb was the longest-serving president in the history of Northwestern State.
Governor Bobby Jindal is calling on the candidates for Governor to outline specific budget proposals instead of criticizing the one his Administration has laid out. Both Republican David Vitter and Democrat John Bel Edwards say they would reject Jindal’s plan to address the current year budget deficit. Jindal says neither candidate is suggesting detailed solutions and they should have the guts to say what their plan is.
Officials gathered in New Orleans Thursday morning to assure citizens that there is no terrorist threat imminent in Louisiana. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says there are no credible threats from any of the Syrian refugees there. FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet (sa-LET) says there is a very strong Joint Terrorism Task Force in the state. He says their job is to protect the citizens of Louisiana from attacks like the ones in France.
Saturday is election day in Louisiana. The statewide ballot is highlighted by the gubernatorial runoff between Republican David Vitter and Democrat John Bel Edwards. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says, with this election falling on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, there’s concern that some activities may keep some voters from the polls. However, early voting numbers have Schedler predicting a 42-percent voter turnout for the runoff, up from the primary election’s 39-percent. The Lt. Governor and Attorney General’s races will also be on Saturday’s ballot. Polls will be open from 7AM to 8PM.
Retired Gen. Russel Honoré, once thought to be a possible wildcard in the governor's race, has endorsed Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards. In a robo-call that started yesterday Honore’ says he has seen Edwards’ honorable character first hand, he goes on to call Edwards a "dedicated family man" and "statesman" who is "independent." The retired general is best known for his work in rebuilding New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Baton Rouge Police report a second man has been arrested in the slaying of an elderly Baton Rouge couple whose bodies were discovered at a Hammond truck stop last month. Lt. Johnny Dunham says 48-year-old Frank Garcia was arrested in Florida and will be charged with two counts of first degree murder. Dunham says this is still an active investigation and it’s possible more arrests could be made.
Gas prices keep dropping in Louisiana. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $1.91 according to GasBuddy with the lowest price in New Orleans at $1.58.
The City of Natchitoches officially kicks off their Christmas Festival season tomorrow with its “Turn on the Holidays” event. Entertainment, shopping and food vendors will be showcased throughout the day, then that evening, hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights will illuminate the Natchitoches Historic Landmark District. The event marks the beginning of the city’s preparation for the 89th Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival on Saturday, December 5th.
Louisiana fishermen have the rare opportunity to catch red snapper in state waters in November and December. Randy Pausina, assistant secretary for the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, says a fall red snapper season begins today, after it was determined Louisiana did not reach its maximum number of red fish harvested for 2015. The fall season will run seven days a week in state waters and should remain open through the end of the year.
The LSU football team looks to snap its two-game losing streak on Saturday when they visit Ole Miss. The Tigers offense has struggled to put points on the board the last two weeks. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron says they want to get the running game going after attempting to throw the ball 40 times last week.
News for Thursday 111915
By Dave Graichen
31 Year old Casey McClain of Alexandria is under arrest in Grant Parish after Sheriff’s Deputies found methamphetamine in his pocket and two syringes in his vehicle. McClain is charged with possession, fourth offense, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Grant parish Sheriff’s office says McClain also had four outstanding warrants from other agencies.
Just in time for your holiday travels, the State police has announced extra law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for seat-belt violations in Louisiana as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign. State Police troopers will be on the roads Nov. 22-29 to enforce Louisiana’s mandatory seat-belt law.
Governor Bobby Jindal is back in Louisiana after ending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. At a Governor’s Mansion news conference in Baton Rouge, Jindal said he has no regrets seeking the nation’s highest elected office. He stated that the failure of his campaign rests solely on his shoulders. The governor, who has a little over seven weeks left in his second and final term, said he’s not sure what his political future holds. Jindal said he is not getting involved in the governor’s race.
The Jindal administration releases its plan to solve a 487-million dollar budget deficit. It calls for 150-million dollars in cuts to state agencies, dipping into the state’s “rainy day” fund and using revenues from lawsuit settlements. The plan does NOT call for cuts to higher education or state worker layoffs. However, the proposed deficit reduction plan calls for a 130-million dollar reduction in state spending by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Folks will be preparing for the Thanksgiving Holidays in a week and vacationing motorists will enjoy low gas prices. In Louisiana, the statewide average for a gallon of regular is just $1.94 according to the American Automobile Association.
According to officials with Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge, a gun threat came in because they help Syrian refugees resettle in Louisiana. State Police Col Mike Edmonson says a phone call came in from out of state and they are taking it very seriously. As concerns over the Syrian refugee situation continue to grow, Edmonson says several other Catholic Charities in other states have also received threats and that’s unacceptable.
Five straight losses to Alabama and a possibly seven-win regular season might not be acceptable to LSU athletics director Joe Alleva. The Advocate is reporting Coach Les Miles is coaching for his job in the next two regular season games. On today’s SEC coaches teleconference, Miles says there is no added pressure to win. Miles’ contract runs through the 2019 season, but LSU can buy him out of his remaining years, but it would cost them at least 12.9 million dollars.
The former president of Northwestern State University Dr. Randall Webb has passed away at the age of 72. Webb was the longest serving president in the history of the University, serving for 18 years, from 1996 to 2014. State Senator Gerald Long of Natchitoches knew Webb for almost 50 years and says he had a great love for the school and for life itself.
A Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force in Ouachita Parish has netted 75 arrests in cities including Monroe, West Monroe, Sterlington and Bastrop. Cops say totals for narcotics seized in the operation were six pounds of marijuana, 2.5 grams of crack, 28.7 grams of cocaine, 7.1 grams of meth and 22 units of prescription pills. They added this operation is not over.
The site of the Lafayette movie theater shooting is reopening tonight and a series of events are happening beforehand to honor victims and first responders of the tragic summer shooting. A small vigil will take place at 6pm, the ribbon cutting is at 6:25 then the newly renovated Grand 16 Theater box office will open at 6:45.
A man from Thibodaux was arrested for allegedly using a spare key to enter a woman’s home and watch her take a shower. Thibodaux PD says 21-year-old Brandon Polkey knew a mutual friend of the victim and he knew where she kept a spare key. He is charged with unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling and peeping tom.
News for Wednesday 111815
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal has announced he’s dropping out of the 2016 Presidential race. In a statement, Jindal says now is not his time. The governor says he’ll go back to work at the think tank he started a few years ago, called America Next. Jindal’s second term as governor ends in January.
The debate on whether or not to accept Syrian refugees has become an issue in Louisiana’s gubernatorial race. In a new TV commercial, Republican David Vitter claims Democrat John Bel Edwards has pledged to work with President Obama to bring Syrian refugees to Louisiana.
Edwards has fired back at Vitter claiming the senator missed key votes regarding the Syrian refugee issue.
Gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards will campaign in Alexandria and Marksville on Thursday. Edwards will attend a rally at 10 a.m. Thursday at Spirits Food and Friends restaurant, on Texas Ave. in Alexandria. At 1 p.m. Thursday, he will be at a rally at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse in Marksville. The rallies are open to the public.
The Arts Council of Central Louisiana is taking over management of the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center in downtown Alexandria. The Alexandria City Council on Tuesday adopted an ordinance authorizing Mayor Jacques Roy to enter into a cooperative endeavor with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana for a lease and management agreement of the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. The center has been managed by the Central Louisiana Community Foundation.
Two Opelousas men were arrested Tuesday by Louisiana State Police, accused of trying to funnel drugs into the Avoyelles Correctional Center through work-release inmates. When the pair was arrested Tuesday, they had more than 50 bundles of synthetic marijuana and more than 20 packages of cigarette paper.
Fatal crashes in Louisiana are on the rise. The state Highway Safety Commission says in 2014, 739 people died on Louisiana’s roadways, up 2% from the prior year. Stats also show the number of 18-24 year olds dying in alcohol related crashes is up as well.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue says they are suspending the 2015 Tax Amnesty Program until December 1st. They say there was a mistake with the information included in some of the amnesty invitation letters so they decided to stop the period until the letters can be corrected.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana ranked number two nationally for worker safety in 2014. They survey showed Louisiana improved to 2 incidents per 100 full time workers. The national average is 3.2. Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eyesink credits business and industry in the state as well as their employees
Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control commissioner Troy Hebert announces he will be leaving his post at the end of 2015 after having served as the head of the ATC the past 5 years. In a statement, Hebert says he looks forward to spending time with his family and added, “Who knows. I may have one more political race in me.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has implemented new guidelines that calls for 100% screening of imported seafood before it enters the country. The new policy comes after U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy questioned the FDA when studies showed large amounts of bacteria in imported seafood. Cassidy says our Louisiana producers are required to follow strict safety measures and we should demand that other countries do the same. He hopes this new policy will help local shrimpers.
Another one of the big items on the 2015 runoff ballot on Saturday is the race for Lt. Governor. In a recent forum, both Republican Billy Nungesser and Democrat Kip Holden were asked what was the first thing they planned to do if they were elected to the state’s second highest post. Holden said he’s going to travel the state and find out what people want for their cities Nungesser says he’s going to put together a package to present to the legislature that would restore cuts to the state’s parks, museums and historical sites…
News for Tuesday 111715
By Dave Graichen
Natchitoches Mayor Lee Posey, during a press conference yesterday announced that the Confederate Flag will not be a part of that city’s Christmas parade as it has been for the past 20 plus years. Posey said Monday that he knew controversy would surround his decision, but “the decision was made because it was the right thing to do.” Posey said he attempted to work out a compromise by agreeing to allow other Confederate flags, but not the “flag of controversy” , in the parade, but to no avail. Posey did want to make it clear that the city of Natchitoches has not banned the Confederate flag from public display. Just from being a part of the parade.
A flash flood watch is in effect for a good portion of Louisiana today and forecasters say there’s a good chance we could see severe storms as result of massive weather system that will move through the bayou state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says be ready for anything. Keim says we’ve seen strong storm systems move through the state over the last couple of weeks, but this one has the greatest potential to produce damaging storms
It what was most likely their last debate before the runoff election Saturday, Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter faced off Monday night in what turned out to be a very disorganized shout fest. Over the hour, the candidates talked over each other and the moderators in often angry tones. The live audience yelled over some of the questions, becoming rowdy to the point that it became hard to hear their answers. Most political pundits across the state agree little if anything new came out of the event.
The latest JMC Analytics survey on the Louisiana gubernatorial race shows Democrat John Bel Edwards with 51% of the vote, Republican David Vitter with 35% and 13% still say they are undecided. The poll, which was conducted November 14th-16th, also shows Republican Billy Nungesser leading Democrat Kip Holden by 11 points in the Lt. Governor’s race, with 21% undecided.
The Department of Revenue’s 2015 Louisiana Tax Amnesty period officially began yesterday. Over the next 30 days people have the opportunity to bring overdue taxes up to date with lessened interest charges. Deputy Secretary Jarrod Coniglio (ca-nig-lee-oh) hopes people will take advantage of this amnesty period because state law dictates another one cannot be offered for at least 10 years.
A strange Monday in the Saints’ world began with coach Sean Payton shooting down a report from Fox Sports that the team was firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. It ended with Payton announcing that Ryan had been fired after all. It wasn’t unexpected, but Payton apparently wasn’t willing to announce it when he first met with local media not long after Fox first ran its report. On Monday evening on his WWL Radio show, Payton confirmed that Ryan was out and that Dennis Allen will take over as defensive coordinator.
Governor Bobby Jindal issued an executive order Monday telling state agencies to not accept the resettlement of any more refugees of the Syrian civil war into Louisiana. The order comes after the US State Department said 14 Syrian refugees had been resettled in Louisiana so far this year. It called on State Police to “monitor and avert threats within the State of Louisiana.”
A month after Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles sent out 1.2 million pre-collection notices to drivers with lapsed auto insurance causing an outcry over what some residents called a money grab by the state the agency sent 700,000 new letters Friday warning delinquent drivers they are one step closer to being forced to pay up. Recipients of the 700,000 letters, some of which are repeats of the 1.2 million originally sent, will have 30 days to pay the penalties for expired insurance, he said. Fines range from $125 to $525, according to the initial notices.
The 17th ranked LSU football team will look to snap a two-game losing streak this Saturday in Oxford where they’ll take on the 25th ranked Ole Miss Rebels. The Tigers no longer have a chance at winning a national championship or an SEC title, but Coach Les Miles believes there’s a desire within the program to finish the regular season with two more wins. Miles is in his eleventh season as head coach and frustration within the fan base maybe at an all-time high since the mad hatter arrived in Baton Rouge.
News for Monday 111615
By Dave Graichen
Following a request from Gov. Bobby Jindal for more information about Syrian refugees after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, the State Department confirmed Sunday that 14 Syrian refugees have been allowed into Louisiana this year. The State Department confirmed to WWL TV in New Orleans Seven Syrian refugees have resettled in Kenner, six in New Orleans and one in Baton Rouge. On Saturday, Gov. Bobby Jindal wrote a letter to President Barack Obama asking him for more information about Syrian refugees, saying the state has been “kept in the dark.” Multiple blogs reported earlier this month that 10,000 Syrian refugees had settled in New Orleans
Governor Jindal will reportedly not endorse a candidate in the runoff. The Republican Presidential candidate said voters can make up their own minds without him announcing who he is backing. A recent UNO poll of likely voters in Louisiana showed Jindal had a 70 percent disapproval rating, so analysts say it’s not likely his endorsement would have helped either candidate.
Early voting for Saturday’s runoff elections for governor and other offices is up 16 percent from primary figures, with the largest increases in urban areas. Elections officials said 257,021 of Louisiana’s 2.89 million registered voters had cast ballots by the time early voting ended Saturday. Saturday’s ballot is topped by the race for governor between Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter. Political analyst John Couvillon said the early voting figures suggest that a 44 percent turnout is likely Saturday, up from 39 percent in the Oct. 24 primary. Increases were higher among African-Americans and registered Democrats than among whites and registered Republicans.
In the 2015 University of New Orleans Louisiana Gubernatorial Runoff survey, polls show Republican Bill Nungesser in a 10 point lead over Democrat Kip Holden in the Lt. Governor’s race. Ed Chervenak, director of the UNO Survey Research Center, says the poll also showed that two-thirds of people feel Louisiana is headed in the wrong direction and Governor Jindal with a 70 percent disapproval rating. This was the same poll that found Democrat John Bel Edwards with a 22 point lead over Republican David Vitter.
Republican David Vitter and Democrat John Bell Edwards will meet in another televised debate this evening. The debate will begin at 6PM and is being hosted by Nexstar Television stations.
Lawyers for Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his estranged heirs have agreed to mediation over Benson’s lawsuit to remove them as future owners of the teams. Legal analyst Tim Meche believes this is a sign that the judge presiding over the case indicated to Benson’s lawyers that they would not win the case during trial. . Benson’s lawsuit seeks to take back stock in the team from his heirs and force them out as non-voting owners of the teams. Meche says, at the end of the day, both parties are going to have to sit together and come to some understanding.
Due to this year’s outbreak of avian influenza, will there be enough turkeys for Thanksgiving? Professor and Poultry Extension Specialist with the LSU Ag Center Theresia Lavergne says the last confirmed case of this flu was in June and it affected almost four percent of turkeys in the country. She says but you’ll still be able to find a turkey. But, it will cost, we could see a 20 to 40 cent increase per pound for the bird.
LSU is in jeopardy of having its once promising football season spiral out of control. The Tigers were manhandled for a second straight week on Saturday, this time by Arkansas, who beat LSU 31-14. It was a rough game for the offense line as LSU only rushed for 59 yards and allowed five sacks.
It was a brutal performance for the Saints on Sunday as they were routed by the Redskins 47-14. Coach Sean Payton says it will be hard to look at the tape and find anything that went well. The Saints defense set the tone for this one, as they allowed Washington to march 96 yards down the field on its first drive and score a touchdown. New Orleans allowed 514 yards of total offense. The Saints are entering the bye week with a 4-6 record.
News for Friday 111315
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana has a nice weekend coming up with cooler temperatures as a front moves through the state today. Meteorologists say the air is going to be dry and temps are expected to me in the mid to upper 60s for the next several days.
The father of the six-year-old who was killed in an officer involved shooting last week in Marksville has reportedly been released from the hospital. Chris Few was said to be critically injured by gunfire that ended the life of Jeremy Mardis. Two city marshal deputies are the accused shooters and one of them is in the process of trying to bond out.
A gag order remains in place when it comes to information authorities can release to the public about last week’s fatal shooting by two Marksville deputy marshals. State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson visited with District Judge William Bennett and Edmonson says the judge is adamant that no evidence can be released. An attorney for Few says police body camera footage shows Few with his hands up, but Edmonson says only a select group of people have seen the video.
The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office says one of the Marksville officers involved in the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy was not bonded out yesterday because of a technical issue. It’s reportedly due to a state law banning attorneys from bonding out defendants. Sheriff Doug Anderson says the father of 23-year-old Norris Greenhouse Jr., who is an attorney, was preparing a million dollar property bond to get his released. It appears it may be Monday before that happens..
A new poll on the governor’s race published by The Advocate shows Democrat John Bel Edwards’ double-digit lead over Republican David Vitter slipping a bit. According to the survey, conducted by Market Research Insight, Edwards beats Vitter, 52 to 38 percent, if roughly 26-percent of African-Americans vote in the election. The survey shows Edwards support among white voters has fallen 10-percent while Vitter gained 8-percent support. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this could signify some backlash over Edwards’ negative “prostitutes over patriots” ad.
A telephone poll of 600 likely voters conducted by the University of New Orleans found that Democrat John Bel Edwards has a 22-percent lead over Republican David Vitter in the governor’s race. UNO survey research center director, Doctor Ed Chervenak, says the unpopularity of Governor Bobby Jindal seems to be spilling over into the governor’s race. Jindal had a 70-percent disapproval rating in the poll.
According to fundraising totals released Thursday, Edwards has received $4.5 million in contributions since the primary while Vitter raised $2.6 million during the same time.
Republican gubernatorial candidate David Vitter is out with a new ad which features he and Willie Robertson of the Duck Dynasty clan. In the commercial, Robertson says he knows Vitter has made some mistakes but adds, “Who hasn’t?
Early voting ends tomorrow and Secretary of State Tom Schedler urges everyone to go out and exercise your right to vote. Schedler says it’s important to early vote, because November 21st is the weekend before Thanksgiving, which will be a busy time for many. Schedler says the number of early voters is outpacing what we saw in the primary. Total voter turnout in October was 39-percent and he says we could possibly have the anomaly where the general election receives a better turnout than in the primary.
Gas prices in Louisiana continued to creep up Thursday as the statewide average is about to reach the $2.00 mark for a gallon of regular. Petroleum analysts say the creep up is the result of volatility in oil prices at the end of October. As of this morning, Louisiana gas prices are still among the lowest five states in the nation.
Some seafood shops will be selling crawfish this weekend. Alan Matherne, with the LSU AgCenter, says farmers have recently flooded their ponds and the crawfish they caught are holdovers from last year’s season, so they have good size to them, but they will be a little pricey. He says January through March is typically when the harvest is at its peak.
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds the nation’s obesity rate has climbed to almost 38-percent, which is up from 32-percent ten years ago. Department of Health and Hospitals Assistant Secretary of Public Health JT Lane says Louisiana’s obesity rate is at 35 percent and although they’d like to see it lower, we’re heading in the right direction. The C-D-C found the obesity rate for women in the country is now higher than men. Lane says in Louisiana the obesity rate for women is 36-percent and for men it’s 33-percent. He says there is an even greater disparity between white and black adults.
The Thibodaux Police Department says a woman who has been convicted on theft charges five times is under arrest again this time for allegedly stealing crayons and ink pens. Since 36-year-old Janell Davis of Franklin has been convicted 5 times for theft of goods within the past 10 years, the theft of the crayons is a felony.
LSU basketball tips off a new season filled with high expectations tonight as they host McNeese State. Many believe the Tigers can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
You can hear that game tonight beginning at 6:30 on 970 KSYL.
The 4-and-5 Saints visit the Washington Redskins, who also has a losing record at 3-and-5. New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees says with the playoffs fast approaching, now is the time to string some victories together. After the Sunday’s game against the Redskins, New Orleans will have a bye week. Brees says with an open week coming up, it makes it even more important to get a victory. That game Sunday morning starting at 10 on 96.9 kzmz.
News for Thursday
By Dave Graichen
Fall weather is definitely on its way, as a cold front finishes passing the state today and gets rid of the humidity. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the air is going to be dry and cool with high temperatures in the mid to upper 60s for the next few days. Keim says come Saturday and Sunday, we’ll see low temperatures in the 40s. He says for the next three days, it’s time to break out the sweaters and jackets. Keim says make sure you’re well prepared on Saturday when tailgating for the LSU- Arkansas game because it will be the chilliest game of the season.
One of the Marksville officers involved in the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy and injuring of his father, is reportedly set to be released on a million dollars bond today. Apparently 23-year-old Norris Greenhouse Jr.s’ dad is securing property to come up with the bond. Greenhouse and Derrick Stafford are each charged with second degree murder in the fatal shooting of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis.
You’ve probably noticed we’re dealing with a major mosquito problem in Louisiana right now, even this far into November. Colby Colona, President of the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association, says blame the weather. She urges folks to protect themselves from mosquitoes until things really start to cool off. Colder temperatures are expected to move in over the next several days.
At this time last year, three-percent of all doctor visits were because of the flu. That’s according to Dr. Frank Welch, with the Department of Health and Hospitals. Welch says this year they are seeing fewer cases. Welch says it’s not hard to explain why we saw more flu cases at this time last year. He says last year’s flu shot was ineffective against the strain going around, which led to more cases. The doctor says this year’s flu vaccination should be more successful.
A New Orleans organization advocating for low-income residents urged Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to end a new minimum work requirement enacted for more than 60,000 food stamp recipients. The group Stand With Dignity sent a complaint letter to Jindal and his Department of Children and Families Services secretary, Suzy Sonnier, calling the work requirements “unreasonably harsh.” The Jindal administration let a federal waiver expire on Oct. 1 that allowed adults aged 18 to 49 without children to receive food stamps without a work requirement. They will soon be required to work at least 20 hours per week or be enrolled in a federally-approved job training program to receive benefits.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says a man is dead and another is behind bars after a fight escalated between the two over a dog. They believe the suspect, 38-year-old Danny Breaux of Raceland, arranged to buy the dog from 39-year-old Duong Tran, but ended up not paying for it. Cops say during a fight over the matter, Breaux beat Tran to death. He will be booked on a charge of second-degree murder.
State Police say an “on duty” Shreveport Firefighter has been placed under arrest and charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile, computer aided solicitation of a minor and prostitution. They say 35-year-old Brian Garza believed he had set up a sex encounter with a 13-year-old and her mother together, but when he left the fire station to meet up, he was met by troopers and arrested.
Joe’s Crab Shack, which has locations across the country including Louisiana, is the first major restaurant chain to experiment with dropping tipping wages for its servers, and paying them higher, fixed, hourly wages. Don Kasten is an Assistant Professor at Nicholls State’s Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. He expects this to become a trend. The Joe’s Crab Shack owner said front house workers at select restaurants will now earn hourly wages of around $12-$14, and prices on the menu increase around 15%.
The New Orleans Saints and Pelicans’ owner has donated $20 million to expand the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center. The money is on top of the $5 million gift Tom Benson gave to create the center in 2010. The money will go toward growing cancer care services and advancing clinical research at Ochsner’s main campus in Jefferson Parish. Since its creation, the center has served patients from eight states and seven countries. Last year, 24,000 patients were treated. In 2008, Benson underwent surgery there to remove a cancerous mass on his left kidney.
News for Wednesday 111115
By Dave Graichen
Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside each year to honor those who have served in the US Armed Forces. Louisiana National Guard Col. Pete Schneider says Veterans Day is a day of reflection and thanks, but it’s also a day to celebrate those who served and kept us free… He says Veterans Day is not only a day to thank those who serve, but their families for the sacrifices they make, too. Schneider says there are about 10,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard and many have been deployed overseas. If you happen to see a veteran today, Schneider encourages you to thank them for their service.
Republican David Vitter and Democrat John Bel Edwards spent a lot of time attacking each other’s record during an hour long televised debate last night. Edwards made the case that Vitter is a very ineffective senator and says if he’s elected governor, he’ll just continue Governor Bobby Jindal’s failed policies. Vitter claims Edwards is completely misrepresenting his record, when in fact on many occasions he publically disagreed with Jindal. He says Edwards hasn’t ever stood up against his party leader, President Barack Obama.
During the debate the candidates did talk about education, Medicaid, transportation and workforce development. The conversation got testy towards the end when Vitter’s prostitution scandal was brought up. Edwards made reference to his “Patriots over Prostitutes” commercial. Vitter says Edwards is acting “holier than thou,”
The FBI is reportedly assisting in the case of the Marksville officer-involved shooting that killed a 6-year-old and left his father, Chris Few, injured. A judge issued a gag order and the media is being denied requests for public records. It’s also reported that the condition of the father, Few, is now listed as “confidential” — meaning there will be no more updates provided on his condition.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he’s seeing more participation during early voting in this election than for the primary. Schedler says typically the general election receives less votes than the primary, but numbers are looking good during this early voting period, even though there will be no voting today because of Veteran’s Day. Schedler says he thinks voters are much more engaged with the runoff election, possibly because the ballot is smaller and the candidates are more recognizable. Voter turnout for the primary was 39-percent. Schedler says he’s not ready to say we’ll see a higher turnout for the runoff.
A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity says Louisiana gets an F in a look at states on transparency and accountability. States were graded on things like access to public information, ethics enforcement and government accountability. Overall Louisiana ranked 41st in the CPI State Integrity Investigation.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand releases new information regarding the spying scandal involving a person hired by the David Vitter Campaign. Normand says he’s been able to recover deleted recordings from the device of PI Robert Frenzel. He says one of the videos shows the owner of the PI firm trying to coerce someone into saying a blog written by Jason Berry on Vitter’s previous relationship with a prostitute, was false. Normand says they also uncovered a secret video on Frenzel’s device, which shows a conversation with a potential witness to discredit the Wendy Ellis/Cortez prostitute’s story about her relationship with Vitter.
Normand says they will be meeting with the FBI on Thursday to discuss the findings.
LSU of Alexandria hired Richard Thiberville, Jr. Tuesday as its first sports information director. Thiberville comes to LSUA from Loyola University of New Orleans where he has served in the school's sports information department for the previous five years. Thiberville will take over updating the statistics for all LSUA athletics, managing the athletic website, coordinating press releases and press conferences as well as managing social media sites.
The music industry is mourning the death of New Orleans icon Allen Toussaint, who was a songwriter, performer and producer. Toussaint (Two-Saint) was on tour in Europe when he reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack after a performance in Spain. Louisiana Music Hall of Fame President Mike Shepherd says Toussaint was not only one of the biggest international figures in music, but was also a true gentleman. Toussaint (Two-Saint) was 77-years-old.
The US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Louisiana can keep the final Angola 3 inmate in jail and try him again in the 1972 killing of a prison guard. This would be the third time Albert Woodfox would have to face trial as the other two convictions were thrown out on technicalities. Legal analyst Tim Meche says lawyers of Albert Woodfox and those who believe he is innocent, have been very successful in getting the public and the media on their side…:
Woodfox is the last incarcerated member of the Angola 3.
The acts for this year’s Bayou Country Superfest were announced. The annual country musical festival in Tiger Stadium will be three days long during the Memorial Day Weekend. The headliners are Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Eric Church. Producer Quint Davis says if you missed the six previous bayou country superfests, this is the year to go. Tickets go on sale one week from today.
CBS Sports reported Tuesday that the LSU/Alabama game in prime-time this past Saturday was the highest-rated and most-watched college football game so far in the 2015. Nielsen reports that 11.2 million people tuned in to view Bama’s 30-16 victory over the Tigers.
The rumors of New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton leaving the team after this season are not over. Yahoo Sports reporter Charles Robinson says he’s heard from a source that there’s a 50-50 chance Payton will not return for the 2016 season and a lot of the decision depends on the legal battle with Owner Tom Benson and his former heirs.
News for Tuesday 111015
By Dave Graichen
The Associated Press is reporting that the lawyer for the man who was gunned down allegedly by Marksville City Marshals when his 6-year-old child was killed, had his hands up and posed no threat. The report indicates the lawyer says the body cam evidence shows it. Bond was set at one million dollars for both Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr. on changes of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder.
Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter went toe to toe during an hour long debate at the Baton Rouge Press Club. The two candidates for governor made the case on why they should be elected November 21st. Edwards says if elected, he will govern in a way that is bi-partisan and that reaches out to everyone across the state. Edwards says as governor, he will be the leader that puts Louisiana first. He says after 8 years of Governor Jindal’s failed leadership and disastrous polities, it’s time for a change. Vitter says he and Edwards have starkly different voting records and will take the state in opposite directions.
The first televised debate between gubernatorial candidates Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter will air tonight on LPB stations around the state. The debate will be from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. U-L Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross predicts the candidates will be aggressive, especially because of recent attack ads.
Monday, State Police honored the four people who rendered aid to Trooper Steven Vincent while he was critically wounded during a traffic stop in August. Vincent was shot and killed while trying to assist a motorist with his vehicle. Master Trooper Brooks David says the actions of these men were over and above what anyone would have expected. One being recognized is Robert LeDoux who subdued the alleged shooter, 54-year-old Kevin Daigle, and held him until officers arrived.
Governor Bobby Jindal once again fell short of making the main stage for Tonight’s Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jindal will join New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in a one hour 2nd tier debate that will air at 6pm on the Fox Business Network. This is the fourth televised debate among Republican presidential hopefuls and the fourth time Jindal has failed to qualify for the main event.
Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel says the movie theater where a man opened fire on a crowd of people in July, will open its doors for the first time since the shootings in 9 days. On July 23rd, a crazed man shot and killed two women and injured several others at the Grand 16 shortly after a film had started. Durel says this is a symbolic development. Durel says The Grand Theater will open on November 19th at 7pm.
The city of Hammond says its police chief, Roddy Devall, has been removed from his position as the result of a pending disciplinary matter. A letter cited the reasons for the firing were over civil service violations in a dispute over how the police department handled an officer’s arrest.
The new CFP rankings come out tonight and Jerry Palm with CBSsports.com believes there’s still a chance that LSU will be one of four teams to make it to the College Football Playoff, even after the loss to Alabama. He says having one loss doesn’t automatically mean you don’t make the playoffs and he doesn’t think that all of the teams will be undefeated anyway. LSU still has to play and win against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M to stay alive.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette is not discouraged and gives credit to Alabama for holding him to 31 yards in Saturday’s loss to Alabama. Fournette says it was obvious from the beginning of the game, the Crimson Tide were going to do all they could to stop him. Fournette says the team needs to move past this one and look forward to Saturday’s contest at home against Arkansas.
LSU star running back Leonard Fournette’s used jersey that was allowed to be auctioned off following the displaced South Carolina game to benefit flood victims, went for a whopping $101,000. The high bidder’s user name on the auction website is Coach.
News for Monday 110915
By Dave Graichen
Two men working as City Marshals in Marksville were arrested by State Police for their roles in the killing of a 6-year-old child on the night of November 3rd. The investigation into the death of the boy, Jeremy Mardis, and the injuring of his father, Chris Few, who were fired upon inside their vehicle, is ongoing. Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford were booked on charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. The little boy, Jeremy Mardis, will be laid to rest today in Mississippi . His father, Chris Few, remains hospitalized.
Early voting for the November 21st runoff is now underway. Polls will be open from 8:30AM to 6:00PM through November 14th — but will be closed Wednesday in observation of Veterans Day. The marquee races on the ballot are for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General.
An administrative law judge will hear testimony from both sides on the proposed sale of Cleco Corp. during hearings in Pineville this week in one of the final steps before the transaction is ultimately approved or rejected. The hearings start today in the Pineville City Council Chambers and could continue through the week. The hearings are public, but only previously entered witnesses will be allowed to testify.
Social media was outraged last night over a banner hanging in Alabama which read “Finish what Katrina started” — ahead of the the LSU/Alabama. The Alabama University student newspaper, The Crimson White, reports the banner was at an off-campus apartment complex and was quickly taken down.
Louisiana Congressmen Ralph Abraham of Alto and Cedric Richmond of New Orleans introduce a bill which tries to prevent death of high school football players. Abraham says the bill will require the CDC to ask for input from parents, coaches, athletic trainers and other health care professionals to discover new methods to prevent future serious injuries or death.
Abraham says the proposed bill would not impose any new regulations, it only directs existing federal agencies to study the issue and offer recommendations for solutions.
During the LSU-Alabama game, Democratic candidate for governor John Bel Edwards unveiled a new TV attack ad accusing Republican opponent David Vitter of answering a prostitute’s call after skipping a vote to honor soldiers killed in the line of duty. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Edwards is on the attack, because internal polls must be showing Vitter is gaining ground. The polls on the governor’s race that have been made public, show Edwards with a double-digit lead over Vitter. Pinsonat expects the November 21st race to be tight and the Edwards campaign has decided to go on the offensive.
Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Don Briggs is not surprised President Barack Obama said no to a proposal to build the Keystone Pipeline. Obama’s decision ended a seven-year debate over the Canada-to-Texas project that energy advocates said would create thousands of jobs and lower gas prices. Briggs says the President has never liked the idea of this pipeline. Environmental groups applaud the President’s decision as they had concerns for the communities along the pipeline’s route.
The US House has passed a $325 billion dollar transportation package, and has now formed a conference committee with the Senate so that Congress can compromise on how to fund it. They have until November 20th to complete a report for the President’s desk, when highway funding is set to expire. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves is on the compromise committee. The highway bill approved by the House calls for spending $261 billion on highways and $55 billion on transit over six years. The Senate passed similar legislation that guaranteed highway funding for three years. Graves says they are pushing programs for upgrades on nationally significant roadways that should be a priority — such as I-10, I-49 and I-12
A devastating disease of roses caused by the rose rosette virus has been confirmed for the first time in Louisiana. Rose rosette disease was discovered at a commercial landscape in Bossier City. LSU AgCenter “Plant Doctor” Raj Singh says this disease is very deadly to all different kinds of roses. He says rose enthusiasts should make themselves aware of the symptoms of rose rosette disease.
The LSU Tigers are still ranked in the top 10, but their chances of winning the SEC or being involved in the college football playoffs took a serious hit after losing to Alabama 30-16. The Bayou Bengals couldn’t stop Bama running back Derrick Henry, who rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns, while LSU’s Leonard Fournette rushed for 31 yards. LSU is ranked 9th in the latest AP poll. They can still win the SEC West, but the Tigers will have to hope Alabama losses another SEC game and LSU will have to win out.
Disappointing loss for the Saints on Sunday as they allowed Tennessee to come into the Mercedes Benz Superdome and leave with its 2nd victory of the season. The Titans topped New Orleans 34-28 in overtime. Saints Coach Sean Payton says they made too many mistakes to win…
News for Friday 110615
By Dave Graichen
State Police say the man who was driving the vehicle when a 6-year-old passenger was fatally shot several times in Marksville, was not armed. Avoyelles Parish Coroner Dr. LJ Mayeaux reported that 25-year-old Chris Few was fleeing from city marshals who opened fire on the vehicle at the end of the chase. The little boy was killed. Edmonson said there is video of the incident, but they aren’t releasing any further information at this time. State Police Col Mike Edmonson says as of Thursday afternoon, two day after the incident, nobody involved in the incident has been interviewed.
Attorneys for DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert are challenging a Baton Rouge’s federal judge ruling which indefinitely blocks Governor Bobby Jindal’s order to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. Jindal issued a written statement Thursday saying Louisiana has the authority to determine which organizations are qualified Medicaid providers which he says Planned Parenthood is not.
A slow-moving cold front is going to bring a lot of rain across the entire state over the next few days. Mike Marcotte Forecaster with The National Weather Service in Lake Charles says they’re anticipating 24 to 36 hours of moderate to heavy rains into Saturday. Marcotte says this rain event is going to cause temperatures to drop about 10 to 15 degrees into Monday. Forecasters says we’re in one of the strongest El Nino patterns in history and that is the main reason for the heavy rainfall we’ve seen over the past three weekends.
After 3 decades of operating Harlow’s Donut & Bakery in Pineville, the owner of that tasty institution, Roy Burr Sr., has passes away. Burr died Wednesday at age 76. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday in First Baptist Church in Pineville.
Early voting for the November 21st runoff election begins statewide Saturday. Polls will be open from 8:30AM to 6:00PM through November 14th. Early voting locations will be closed Sunday and again Wednesday, in honor of Veterans’ Day. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says now that we’re in the runoff, hopefully more Louisiana voters will cast their ballot. Only 39-percent of voters turned out for last month’s primary election.
A wave was made today in the governor’s race as Republican Jay Dardenne announces he’s endorsing Democrat John Bel Edwards over his fellow Republican David Vitter. In accepting the endorsement, Edwards says he’s grateful for Dardenne’s friendship and counsel. Dardenne finished fourth in last month’s primary election. He says electing Vitter as governor would do further damage to the Republican brand in Louisiana.
The Republican party of Louisiana is not happy with Republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne’s endorsement of Democrat John Bel Edwards for Governor. Chairman Roger Villere says he feels as if this is an act of betrayal to the Republican Party for all the years they supported Dardenne as a Republican elected official.
State Police has a man is in custody accused in the fatal hit and run crash that caused an 18-wheeler to crash through the guardrail on I-10 and into the Pearl River near the Mississippi line. They believe 25-year-old Daniel Coy of Gulfport was in the at-fault vehicle and he was apprehended today in Mississippi and when he gets back to Louisiana will be charged with Negligent Homicide, Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Felony Hit and Run.
A study finds five years after the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, dolphins are still having a hard time having babies in Barataria Bay in the gulf. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wildlife epidemiologist Lori Schwacke says in other studies, they also discovered an increased amount of stranding of these animals and the higher mortality rate within the oil spill footprint. Schwacke says the oil spill not only immediately caused a loss of many dolphins but now many suffer from long lasting abnormalities, hindering their ability to procreate.
We’re starting to see gas prices inch back up. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular jumped two cents overnight to $1.97 according to AAA
Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert issued emergency suspensions to four more French Quarter bars found in violation during the Agency’s “Operation Trick or Treat” investigation. He says the New Orleans businesses must immediately stop selling alcohol after the agency uncovered illegal drug sales at two bars and prostitution and drug activity at two strip clubs.
The LSU football team leaves today for Alabama where they’ll take on the Crimson Tide tomorrow night in a Saturday night showdown in Tuscaloosa. LSU is looking to keep its perfect season intact and Coach Les Miles wants his players to leave it all on the field. Miles says whoever controls the line of scrimmage will be the winner in this game…
News for Thursday 110515
By Dave Graichen
State Police says City Marshals from the Ward 2 office in the central Louisiana town of Marksville were involved in a shooting following a pursuit. When the dust settled, a 6-year-old child was dead and his father critically injured. Trooper Scott Moreau says the initial investigation revealed that officers fired on the vehicle after the chase. Avoyelles Parish Coroner, Dr. L.J. Mayeux, says the driver, Chris Few, was ramming the cop car at the end of a dead end road in an effort to escape. That’s when they fired, striking Few and the little boy. State police say the boy, was shot several times. The exact reason the Ward 2 marshals were in pursuit of Chris Few is unclear.
The Pineville City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the sale of Cleco to an investment group The vote was taken at a special meeting Tuesday night. The resolution has no direct effect on the sale approval, which should be voted on by the Louisiana Public Service Commission early next year.
State police arrested a Marksville man last night after an 8 hour standoff. Troopers say 32 year old Will Ray Lachney spent most of Wednesday holed up in his mother's home off Eddy Street. It’s believed the incident started when Lachney, a man who has been arrested several times over the past few years, stole a shot gun. During the standoff Lachney accidentally shot his own mother in the arm. She was airlifted to an Alexandria hospital. Her condition is unknown. Charges are still pending in the case.
State Police says an Alabama man was killed when his 18-wheeler went over the guardrail and plunged into the Pearl River in St. Tammany Parish Tuesday night. Investigators are calling it a fatal hit and run and the search is on for a dark colored pickup truck that attempted to pass another 18-wheeler on the right shoulder, which caused a chain reaction of events to occur.
Republican state lawmakers have endorsed Senator David Vitter in the gubernatorial runoff, but members of the GOP on the Senate side aren’t happy about some of Vitter’s campaign tactics. However, House caucus Chairman, Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, says this is typical political rhetoric and the lower chamber fully supports Vitter.
Republicans leaders in the House endorse David Vitter, but the Senate side isn’t so certain yet. The US Senator is running a campaign commercial trashing lawmakers and Senate Republican caucus Chair, Metairie Senator Danny Martiny, says Vitter isn’t running against the state legislature.
Former Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster officially announced Wednesday his endorsement of Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter in the Louisiana governor's race. Vitter faces Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the Nov. 21 runoff election.
Republican Jay Dardenne is expected to endorse Democrat John Bel Edwards in the Louisiana governor’s race today. Edwards’ campaign had said it planned to make a “major campaign announcement” but offered no other details on Wednesday. Multiple sources close to both Edwards and Dardenne have confirmed to The Advocate that the plan is for Dardenne to endorse Edwards during a news conference.
A new statewide poll shows tight races for Lt. Governor and Attorney General. The survey of 600 Louisiana voters was paid for by Nextstar television stations and conducted by JMC Analytics. Pollster John Couvillon says in the AG’s race, Republican Jeff Landry has a slight lead over Republican incumbent Buddy Caldwell, 38 to 34-percent. He says 29-percent are undecided. In the Lt. Governor’s race, Billy Nungesser is barely ahead of Kip Holden, coming in at 40-percent to Holden’s 39-percent. Couvillon says we’re seeing a huge percentage of undecided voters in these two elections but expects that number to change closer to runoff.
WalletHub has released their list of the Fattest States in America and Louisiana comes in at number two. The personal finance website unveiled their list in conjunction with National Diabetes Awareness Month. Spokesperson Jill Gonzales says a big factor in Louisiana’s ranking is the number of children in the state who are overweight or obese. Louisiana ranked 6th in the percentage of adults who are obese, 2nd in the percentage of adults eating less than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day, and 1st in the percentage of residents with hypertension. In case you were wondering, Mississippi ranked as the fattest state in the country.
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office is putting a warning out about a batch of poisonous heroin on the streets. They say 2 known drug abusers were found dead this week at a home in Luling after injecting heroin. Sheriff Greg Champagne says recently in Chicago, 74 people overdosed on a “bad batch” of heroin in a three day period and he is fairly confident that’s what happened with the Luling double death overdose.
The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control says a judge has ruled in their favor and has reinstated the suspensions of three French Quarter strip clubs. Commissioner Troy Hebert originally ordered a suspension of the businesses’ alcohol permits after uncovering drugs and prostitution there. His ruling was overturned, but put back in place Wednesday. An administrative hearing is scheduled for these strip clubs on Monday in New Orleans. He says the effort to clean up this criminal activity in the French Quarter is far from over and they expect there will be more alcohol suspensions issued as their undercover operation continues
New Orleans has been selected to host the college football national championship game in January 2020.Executive director of the CFP, Bill Hancock also announced that Atlanta will host the championship game in 2018 and Santa Clara will host the title game in January 2019.
News for Wednesday 110415
By Dave Graichen
Word yesterday that State Police investigators are looking into possible “serious improprieties” by a Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office employee. According to parish DA Phillip Terrell, it appears the improprieties have been ongoing on for more than 20 years. He said State Police officials have asked him not to identify the employee or give details about what actions are being investigated. Terrell did say, “The employee in question immediately resigned in lieu of termination”.
The Alex Winter Fete got the official stamp of approval Tuesday from the Alexandria City Council. The council voted 4-2 to authorize spending of up to $100,000 in recreation-tax funds for the new festival, to be held Dec. 3-5 in downtown Alexandria.
Another poll shows Democrat John Bel Edwards with a double-digit lead over Republican David Vitter in the gubernatorial runoff. The Baton Rouge Advocate published a poll from Market Research Insight, which found Edwards leading Vitter 54 to 38-percent if African-American voter turnout is at 25-percent. U-L Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Vitter is in trouble, but the race isn’t over yet. The MRI survey was conducted by pollster Vern Kennedy and it was paid for by an independent group of private business leaders, including Advocate owner, John Georges.
In the Lt. Governor’s race, state senator Elbert Guillory, who finished fourth in the primary in the Lt. Governor’s race, announced his endorsement for Republican Billy Nungesser over Democrat Kip Holden.
A new Public Policy Poll on the Republican Presidential nomination shows Governor Bobby Jindal is now ahead of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in Iowa. The PPP survey puts Jindal’s numbers in Iowa at 6% which ties him for fifth with Mike Huckabee and puts him a point ahead of Bush and Fiorina.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says a Pineville man is under arrest accused of vandalizing a church. They say agents followed the vehicle of 21-year-old Charles Melancon and he claimed the loud noise they heard was gunshots coming from the woods. Investigators later discovered the church door was kicked in and the suspect later admitted to the crime. Melancon was booked by Grant Parish deputies for unauthorized entry and simple criminal damage to property.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office says former NFL player Marvin White, a Port Barre native, has been arrested again and booked with theft and resisting an officer. Capt. Clay Higgins says the 31-year-old walked into a gas station and allegedly took some candy then didn’t pay for it before telling the cashier, “Call the cops, I’m Marvin White. I’m the best.”
Thousands of Tiger fans will make the trip to Tuscaloosa for the November 7th LSU-Alabama matchup. Jason Ramezon, Vice President of LSU Alumni Relations, says this is one of the most highly anticipated games of the season. He says the LSU Traveling Tigers will leave Friday morning and stay in Birmingham. LSU is ranked number 4 and Alabama is number 7.
Tulane has been awarded a $6.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the long term impact of Hurricane Katrina. Researchers will investigate the long term health, demographic, and socioeconomic impacts of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the entire region. The goal of the study is to create a picture of where the city and different groups of survivors stand more than a decade removed from Hurricane Katrina.
The 86-year-old woman in Slidell who was looking for her wedding ring that’s been missing since Halloween night found the jewelry in her yard. She asked for help from Slidell PD thinking it could have fallen in a kid’s candy bag, and they solicited the help of the public. Sgt. Daniel Seuzeneau says her husband passed away years ago and the ring has a lot of sentimental value.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they’ve recovered the body of a missing boater from the Atchafalaya River. They say 56-year-old William Seal of Butte LaRose had not been seen since he set off for a day of fishing Sunday morning. His body was turned over to the St. Martin Coroner’s Office to determine a cause of death.
News for Tuesday 110315
By Dave Graichen
Here in Rapides Parish clean up continues after severe weather ripped through the area over the weekend. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Tommy Carnline says there was a confirmed tornado that touched down in Elmer knocking down powerlines and damaging several homes. He says thankfully nobody was injured but there is plenty of cleaning up to do. There were also reported tornadoes Saturday out of Livingston and Tangipahoa Parish.
22 year old Christopher James Blakeney of Pineville is in hot water after leading police in both Rapides and Grant parishes on two chases in as many days. Blakeney faces a laundry list of charges, including attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. Three others also face charges in connection to the incidents.
According to a recent survey by JMC Analytics on the Louisiana governor’s race, Democrat John Bel Edwards is leading Republican David Vitter by 20 percentage points. The WVLA poll shows Edwards ahead of the US Senator 52 percent to 32 percent. The two will face off in a statewide debate on Monday November 16th.
The Voice of the LSU Tigers will miss the first game of his broadcasting career this weekend as No. 4 LSU takes on No. 7 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Jim Hawthorne, who has called every LSU game since 1984, underwent surgery last week and several sources are reporting he could miss the rest of the season. He’s retiring after this year. A spokesman for LSU says Hawthorne’s status the remainder of the season has not been determined.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donleon is issuing some reminders to the public, now that the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period is underway. He says during enrollment, which runs November 1st through January 31st, 2016, families that do not receive healthcare through their employers can sign up through the online Health Insurance Marketplace.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s office says Louisiana is ranked as having the 4th best business climate in the nation by Site Selection, which is 2 spots down from the prior year. They say it is the sixth consecutive Top 10 ranking for Louisiana in the annual Site Selection report and reinforces the state’s reputation as a top location for business investment and job creation.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office says an 81-year-old homeowner perished in a residential blaze over the weekend in Claiborne Parish. They say firefighters found the home completely engulfed in flames upon arrival and later the body of Mary Bryant of Homer was located. The investigation into how Bryant died and how the fire started is ongoing.
46 year old Terry Adams Jr. of Tioga has been indicted by A Rapides Parish grand jury has on 50 counts of pornography with juveniles. Adams was originally charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with 100 counts of pornography with juveniles when arrested in September.
The grand jury decided to indict Adams on 50 counts.
The 2015 Louisiana Tax Amnesty program will run November 16th to December 15th. Jared Coniglio (ca-nig-lee-oh), deputy secretary with the Department of Revenue, says this gives people the opportunity to bring their delinquent taxes up to date with lessened interest charges and penalties for 30 days. Coniglio says, in the past two amnesty periods, they collected more than their goals of $150 million in 2013 and $104 million in 2014.
November has just begun and many retailers are already beating the Christmas shopping season drum. Many stores are already setting up Christmas displays and advertising Christmas specials. Dan Rice, LSU Marketing Professor, says it appears stores are starting the Christmas season earlier and earlier each year. Rice says many companies are not just going to have “Black Friday” deals for the holidays. He says some are giving holiday deals that are good for a longer period of time, up to several weeks in some instances.
Another statewide race headed into the November 21st runoff is between incumbent Republican Buddy Caldwell and fellow GOP challenger Jeff Landry for the office of Attorney General. Landry, a former Congressman and Tea Party favorite, says Caldwell is in for a difficult fight because the AG’s office is currently filled with cronyism, nepotism and corruption.
Caldwell has held the position since 2008. He says Landry has never tried a case and is unqualified to be the state’s lawyer.
Only 14 Louisiana House seats remain to be decided in the Nov. 21 runoff election, after another seat was settled when a candidate dropped out of the race. Chad Brown, a Democrat from Plaquemine, won a vacant House seat when his opponent, James Barker of Plaquemine, withdrew from the race.
The University of New Orleans Presidential Search Committee will hold a public forum Nov. 9 to collect input about the characteristics people hope to see in the school’s next president. The forum will begin at 11 a.m. in the Homer L. Hitt Alumni Center on the UNO campus. The committee is looking for a successor to President Peter Fos.
LSU is ranked No. 4 in this week’s AP Top 25 and USA Today’s Coaches Top 25. The Tigers received five first place votes in the AP Poll and one in the Coaches Poll. Alabama remained No. 7 in both polls, setting up a top ten matchup in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. The LSU and Alabama SEC battle is set to kickoff at 7:00 p.m.
News for Monday 110215
By Dave Graichen
The Jindal administration told lawmakers Friday that the state finished last fiscal year with a 117-million dollar deficit. Jindal administration official say the deficit is the result of a higher than expected tax refunds and credits. The gap must be closed within eight months and it’s expected Governor Jindal will address the issue before he leaves office in January.
Democrat John Bel Edwards was joined by sheriffs from the around the state Friday as he received the endorsement of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association. Also Friday The National Federation of Independent Business announced its endorsement for David Vitter. Early voting for the runoff election begins November 7th.
Republican David Vitter and Democrat John Bel Edwards have a agreed to a televised debate on Nov. 16. WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge will host the event. WVLA oversaw a debate during the primary as well, but Vitter did not appear at that one.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is rolling out enhancements to its online system for Louisiana job seekers and employers. LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink says the improvements are being made to the HiRE employment system. Eysink says these upgrades will better connect unemployment insurance to workforce development and job matching. He says Louisiana will be the first state in the country to launch a system where all the unemployment business conducted will ride on the same system as their job matching and skills development. Eysink says, with these enhancements, the re-employment process will begin immediately.
WVUE-TV in New Orleans reports the US Department of Education is investigating how LSU handles cases of rape and sexual assault. The report reveals 16 rapes were reported to an LSU campus advocacy group last year, but very little was done to protect the victims or punish the perpetrators. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell has written legislation addressing this issue and he says universities are required by law to have a Title nine coordinator to handle situations like this. In a statement, LSU says it cannot discuss matters pertaining to a pending investigation or any specific alleged incidents.
The Christian Science Monitor has named Louisiana’s START College Savings Program the 5th best plan in the country. State Treasurer John Kennedy says START is an underutilized program that allows money to grow over time without being taxed. He says over the past eight years tuition has gone up 70-percent and this is a great way to help students pay for college.
Kennedy says all a parent needs to do to open a START account is ten dollars and then the money is professionally managed for future educational expenses. He says for more information on Louisiana’s START saving program, visit latreasury.com…
Daylight Saving Time ended Sunday and Louisiana State Police reminds motorists to stay safe on the road as you adjust to the new time schedule. Trooper Dustin Dwight says it will take a little time for our bodies to adjust to the new time change. As the sun begins to set earlier in the day, it may throw some drivers off who are not used to driving in darker conditions.
As flu season is rapidly approaching, the Tulane University School of Medicine is working on more effective vaccines after receiving a 1.6 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health. Tulane immunologist Dr. Elizabeth Norton says their goal is to make a better vaccine for people regardless of the strength of their immune system. Norton says the grant will support research until 2020.
Cops say a gymnastics coach from Jefferson Parish has been arrested and booked with video voyeurism and possession and production of child pornography. Kenner Police say they executed a search warrant at the home of Brian Townsend and found several images of female juveniles engaging in sex acts. Townsend worked at several dance studios in Kenner and Metairie.
The State Department of Health and Hospitals says the deadly amoeba found in an Ascension Parish water system this summer has now been eradicated. Officials have been working for weeks to treat the water with chlorine into the lines outside Donaldsonville. Since 2011, three deaths in Louisiana have been attributed to the harmful strain of amoeba, prompting the Department of Health and Hospitals to order the state’s water systems to raise their chlorination levels.
The New Orleans Saints, left for dead three weeks ago, have pulled themselves up out of the grave. Behind the best day of Drew Brees’ career, the Saints won 52-49 in spectacular fashion Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, evening their record at 4-4. Brees was brilliant all day, throwing for a career-high 511 yards and tying an NFL record with seven touchdown passes.
The Kansas City Royals have won the World Series for the first time in 30 years. Kansas City Defeated the N.Y. Mets in a stunning 7-2, 12-inning ambush, in game 5 of the series, to claim the title of champs.
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