News for Monday 103116
By Dave Graichen
The lack of rain during the month of October in Louisiana has caused drought conditions to develop throughout the region. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the US drought monitor shows 73% of the Bayou State is in drought, and the remaining 27% is considered abnormally dry. Keim says this is considered the 5th driest October since 1895, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any more rain this week either.
State Police is giving parents some tips to make sure their trick-or-treaters have a memorable Halloween. Trooper Bryan Lee says it’s a really exciting holiday for kids, so whether you’re taking them out or driving down the roads, it’s important to be vigilant. He says always make sure kids are visible.
Louisiana is facing another round of budget cuts because of last fiscal year’s 313-million-dollar deficit. The state has asked agencies to look where they could make cuts. ULM Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the oil and gas industry is struggling and a lot of people aren’t spending money. The Edwards’ administration has said they could possibly use the rainy day fund to help offset some of the deficit.
Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Joe Rallo is visiting north Louisiana this week to engage stakeholders and learn about issues facing that region of Louisiana. Rallo says he will provide an overview and an update on the realities of higher education. He says the upcoming legislative session and how it will impact universities will be a big topic of discussion. Rallo says his message will be that public higher education is an investment, not a cost and hopes people will talk with their legislators to ensure it doesn’t faces more cuts.
51-percent of Louisianians believe the state is heading in the wrong direction. That’s per a University of New Orleans Survey Research poll. UNO Pollster Ed Chervenak says the survey finds 64-percent of Republicans are unhappy with the direction the state is headed compared to only 32-percent of Democrats.
Authorities say a substitute teacher at Pineville High School has been accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with two students. 37-year-old Donnie Woodson of Deville has been charged with two counts of prohibited sexual contact between an educator and student by the Pineville Police Department. An investigation opened after school officials reported the allegations to police. Both incidents were said to have occurred off school grounds.
The U.S. Justice Department has granted Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies with 1 million dollars to help with costs after the July shootings and protests. Overtime reached an all-time high after the death of Alton Sterling, a black man, who was shot by two white officers and then the ambush of three law enforcement officers. BRPD will receive 929-thousand dollars and the EBR Sheriff’s Office will receive 71-thousand dollars. Analysts expect the one million dollars will not cover the total cost of overtime.
A Korean War veteran from Crowley was laid to rest yesterday in his Louisiana hometown. Army Sgt. First Class Lawrence Smith died 65 years ago in a North Korean P-O-W camp. Alex Juan with the state Department of Veteran’s Affairs says they welcomed him home with open arms and hopes this brings his family peace. Smith died when he was 26-years-old.
It will be summer 2018 at the earliest when it comes to the availability of medical marijuana for Louisiana patients. That’s what LSU’s vice president for agriculture Bill Richardson said at a public meeting that was attended by those companies and businesses interested in helping the school grow and distribute medicinal cannabis. No state dollars will be used in the production, so investors are needed.
Monroe TV station K-N-O-E TV is reporting we could get some sort of confirmation next week about a reported merger between Fortune 500 company, Centurylink, which is based in Monroe and Colorado based Level 3 communications. So far both companies and the state are not commenting. It’s not clear what this could mean for CenturyLink in northeast Louisiana.
The HPV vaccine is a great way to limit a child’s chance of future cancer. That’s according to CDC Director of Immunization Services Dr. Melinda Wharton who says during the ages of 11 and 12, children should be receiving the two-shot vaccine. Wharton says the protection received from this vaccine is long lasting and will continue into adulthood. But she says nationally, only about 63-percent of girls have received at least one dose and that number is even lower for boys and the numbers for Louisiana children are similar.
The Saints put together an efficient, hard-fought, 25-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, The win was the Saints' third in their past four games and keeps them in the NFC South race.
News for Friday 102816
By Dave Graichen
A mother has been arrested in the death of her 6-year-old daughter who died in a fire in Jena early Wednesday morning. Chief Deputy Brant Thompson with the State Fire Marshal’s Office says the child’s mother 29-year-old Wendy Blasingame, was not in the camper home when the fire broke out, and it’s unclear how long the child was left alone. He says they have confirmed that the mother was shooting up drugs in an abandoned house while her daughter was in the burning home.
The family of a 6-year-old autistic boy who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Avoyelles parish is suing the city of Marksville. Jeremy Mardis was killed by police when officers open fired on his father’s vehicle. The suit reportedly claims city officials improperly trained officers to use deadly force, and alleges that the officers did nothing to alleviate the boy’s suffering.
More bad budget news for Louisiana. The books are balanced from last fiscal year and the state ended up with a 313-million dollar deficit. That has resulted in the Edwards administration asking state agencies and colleges to prepare for budget cuts of seven to ten percent. Lagging business tax collections is the reason for the deficit and it’s still not clear how state officials will address this shortfall. Dollars from the the rainy day fund might be used to soften the budget cuts.
Today, Camp Minden officials will begin burning off volatile explosives that are stored in three bunkers at the Louisiana National Guard Facility in Webster Parish. Col. Ed Bush says 200-thousand pounds of explosives are left of the 320-thousand pounds that have been stored at Camp Minden since the company that was storing them improperly went out of business. He says they plan on burning one of the three bunkers today.
The LSU AgCenter will pitch its plan to grow the state’s medical marijuana today at a public meeting that will be attended by potential private investors. LSU Vice President for Agriculture, Dr. Bill Richardson, says they have about 450 people signed up to come to the meeting. LSU and Southern University have agreed to grow medical marijuana in line with the plan that was established by state legislators earlier this year
The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a cold case dating back to 1991. Sheriff Brett Stassi says 61-year-old Tommy Francise of Plaquemine was booked in Lafayette as a fugitive from justice for the murder of a man in 1991 and another in 2002.
Stassi says they believe the two victims had done work for Francise and at some point an altercation led to their deaths.
Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick announced today that a grand jury has returned an indictment for first-degree murder against Joshua Every for the killing of Raising Canes manager Taylor Friloux in Kenner. He said in a news release that his office has decided to seek the death penalty. Friloux died on June 29th after being stabbed multiple times during an armed robbery of the business.
The Baton Rouge River Center has been renamed the Raising Cane’s River Center. The Baton Rouge based food chain signed a 10-year naming rights deal worth 4 million dollars. CEO and Founder of the chicken finger company Todd Graves hopes the Raising Cane’s River Center will become an even better entertainment venue.
People nationwide have been loading up on seafood, as new stats from NOAA show the average American ate nearly a pound more in 2015 than the prior year. Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Karen Profita, says Bayou State seafood is in high demand around the country, and people don’t mind paying more for it. NOAA says this is in line with how much fisherman brought in last year — 9.7 billions pounds of fish and shellfish, an increase of 2% from 2014.
The Attorney General’s Office announces the arrest of three Louisiana men on over 550 counts of child pornography. The AG’s Cyber Crime Unit says thousands of computer crimes that victimize children have been investigated by multiple agencies throughout the state.
A new poll from the University of New Orleans shows Republican John Kennedy with a strong lead in the US Senate race at 22-percent. UNO pollster Ed Chervenak says Republican Charles Boustany and Democrat Foster Campbell are tied for second at 15-percent.
Republican John Fleming polled at 11-percent to come in fourth place. Democrat Caroline Fayard polled at 10-percent.
The first World Series Game to be played at Wrigley Field in 71 years takes place tonight. The best-of-seven series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs is tied at a game apiece. The Cubs haven't been in the Fall Classic since 1945, when they lost. They last claimed a Series championship in 1908.
News for Thursday 102716
By Dave Graichen
State police are investigating two separate accidents yesterday that claimed the lives of two Cenla Women. 39 year old Natalie LeBlue of Kinder lost her life when she lost control of her vehicle on Highway 165 in Allen Parish around 1 am and struck a tree. About 15 minutes later 43 year old Cindy Nugent of Trout was killed when her vehicle left LA 8 in LaSalle Parish and also struck a tree. Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.
Early voting for the November 8th election has just started and it’s already breaking records for voter turnout. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the 2012 election set voting records in the state but Tuesday’s turnout topped that. Schedler says his office is getting record calls from voters concerned the election is rigged, which he says it is not. He blames campaign rhetoric for the outrageous claims. Early voting runs until November 1st, except for Sunday.
A poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Republican John Kennedy is still leading in the U.S. Senate race with 22-percent, and Democrat Foster Campbell came in right behind Kennedy with 16-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the number of undecided voters for the senate seat is 15-percent, down from the last poll.
The 110th Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport kicks off today with tons of new and different activities. The fair runs until Sunday November 13th. Fair President and General Manager Chris Giordano says they have changed the days the fair is open to accommodate the festivalgoers and will now only be closed on Mondays. Giordano says they have the largest carnival in Louisiana with 60 rides.
Two former Angola state prison employees have been arrested for theft, according to the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office. 45-year-old Shirley Whittington of Angola and 51-year-old Deborah Leonard of Amite are accused of stealing 160-thousand dollars from an employee recreation fund. Both women turned themselves in to authorities Wednesday.
A Union parish high school student is suing the LHSAA for not allowing him to play his senior year, because he was held back in the 6th grade. An LHSAA rule states that if a student is held back a year in middle school, he or she can only play three years of high school sports. The student’s attorney, Brian Blackwell, says the LHSAA’s decision violates the American with Disabilities Act, because the student repeated sixth grade because of ADHD. The LHSAA has not issued a statement on the case, but a court hearing is set for Friday.
Governor John Bel Edwards along with local lawmakers begin a two-day tour today where they’ll fly over the Louisiana coast and then visit offshore oil and gas facilities. State Rep. Jerome Zeringue of Houma will be with the governor and says trip’s primary purpose is to help the oil and gas industry and coastal restoration co-exist.
A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research shows Republican Donald Trump winning the Presidential race in the Bayou State. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says neither candidate is well liked. 53-percent of voters have an unfavorable view of Trump, while 60-percent dislike Clinton. The poll also found six in ten voters give Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards a favorable rating.
State Officials have finished a 2-day meeting discussing the importance of coastal restoration in Louisiana before it’s too late. The master plan for restoration needs to be immediately revised and Governor John Bel Edwards thinks the cost of this plan will go up substantially. Officials believe they will have at least 10.7 billion dollars for the first 15 years of the 50 year plan.
A Baton Rouge man has been arrested after setting his wife on fire in September. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says 28-year-old John Harleaux got into an argument with his wife and evaded police since the dispute. He says thanks to tips from Crime Stoppers they were able to locate Harleaux and he was booked in the parish prison. The victim suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her arms, shoulder, and back.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man wanted for the shooting death of his ex-wife outside of her home in Hammond. 53-year-old Jerry Williams, Jr. faces multiple charges including Second Degree Murder and a Protection order violation. 50-year-old Linda Williams was pronounced dead at the scene after a neighbor called authorities reporting she saw the woman lying lifeless in the yard and saw Jerry William’s red mustang leaving the scene.
A Baton Rouge high school student is facing felony sex charges for allegedly recording his 14-year old girlfriend performing a sex act on him in a classroom at McKinley High School. 18-year-old Jonathon Moss is in jail on pornography involving juveniles and carnal knowledge of a juvenile charges.
News for Wednesday 102616
By Dave Graichen
There’s talk about building an interstate that would run east and west through central Louisiana. Malcolm Morris of Leesville, who is with the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, says they are awaiting for a possible route to receive a federal designation and once a corridor is selected, it will be at least another 10 years from being constructed. He says the plan is for I-14 to run mostly along Highway 28. He says I-14 could help drive economic development in central Louisiana and help Fort Polk as well.
A Pineville man facing trial on armed robbery and bank fraud charges was caught Tuesday after he led police on a chase from Grant Parish into Alexandria. 38 year old Eric Cleveland, was wanted on warrants issued just weeks ago when he failed to show for a court date on two counts of armed robbery and one of bank fraud. He was accused of robbing two Alexandria convenience stores in late 2015.
An Avoyelles Parish judge will hold a hearing on Nov. 7 on a motion filed Friday by the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury that asks him to reconsider his decision allowing their funds to be spent on the defense of Derrick Stafford, one of two men accused in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy. Attorneys representing the jury filed the motion to reconsider on Friday. Jurors declined to foot a bill for more than $4,300 for an accident reconstructionist, whom Stafford’s defense attorneys. hired after 12th Judicial District Judge William Bennett approved their motion for funds. In early August, Bennett approved motions that declared Stafford was indigent and, because of that, he could have access to public funds to hire the reconstructionist.
We’re two weeks away from Election Day, and party leaders on both sides are facing similar struggles. Candidates for US Senate have been going at it with opponents from their own party. Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party Stephen Handwerk says those vicious blows will make it harder for the party to come together after November 8th.
After Senate candidate and former-KKK leader David Duke qualified to participate in next week’s Senate debate, Handwerk and Louisiana GOP executive director Jason Dore agreed that if he polled high enough, he should be included. Oh, by the way, Selfies in the voting booth have been a big topic this election cycle. Both party leaders encourage people to exercise their First Amendment rights and selfie if they like. Dore says social media is a huge part of the world today and sees this as an extension of that.
Louisiana ranks fifth in the country when it comes to the percentage of cancer deaths that are attributable to smoking. The percentage is 33-percent and it’s higher for men. Chronic disease director with the Louisiana Department of Health, Melissa Martin, says the state is doing what it can to decrease exposure of second hand smoke. Martin says the state also offers a free comprehensive quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Louisiana flood victims have received over one billion dollars in flood insurance payments in less than three months after the historic flooding. Wayne Berggren (Berg-gren) with the National Flood Insurance Program says they’ve seen over 29-thousand claims submitted for review and payment and of that 48-percent have been closed out. Berggren says the average payment a homeowner covered under the National Flood Insurance Program is about 68,000. He expects when all claims are reviewed, flood victims overall will have received a little over two billion dollars.
The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center is making donations to community groups assisting with flood relief efforts in south Louisiana. Executive Director Cashauna Hill says $200-thousand dollars from their Baton Rouge Revitalization Fund will be distributed among faith-based and nonprofit organizations.
The LSU-Alabama game is still over a week and a half away and the hype is building. Tigers running back Leonard Fournette appeared on SEC Now with Peter Burns and played a game of “fact or fiction.” Leonard was asked if LSU will beat Alabama this year and Fournette said fact.
A dangerous couple is behind bars following a traffic stop in Covington that led to a disturbing discovery. Capt. Daniel Seuzeneau with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office says Monroe Myers and his girlfriend, Winter Flowers, were pulled over for a missing taillight. He says detectives discovered methamphetamine, heroin, and paraphernalia, as well as a gun that was disguised as a children’s toy.
A Baton Rouge teacher is under arrest amid allegations he made lewd sexual comments to a student after watching a video of her twerking. The Sheriff’s Office says 32-year-old Christopher Shepard, now on leave from Scotlandville High, was booked on a a misdemeanor charge of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student.
LSU Health New Orleans is offering free well water testing in areas affected by the historic flooding in August. Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Adrienne Katner says test kits that could be used to analyze for metals and coliform bacteria will be distributed on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Katner says the main side effect of drinking contaminated water is diarrhea. She says a contaminated well can be cleaned through shock chlorination.
The Shreveport Times reports that workers at the Oscar award-winning animation studio, Moonbot Studios, have been laid off. Co-founder Brandon Oldenburgh has declined to comment, citing a non-disclosure agreement. There’s been speculation that Moonbot Studios was leaving Shreveport. The studio is known for its short films, commercials and mobile apps and they won an Academy Award.
The Cleveland Indians take game one of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.
The Pelicans tip-off a new season tonight as they host the Denver Nuggets at 7 PM inside the Smoothie King Center.
It will be awhile before the next time the LSU football team plays again. The Tigers next game is November fifth against Alabama. It will be a primetime kickoff as CBS has decided for the sixth consecutive season to air the game at night. In an interview with Peter Burns of the SEC Network, Leonard Fournette played a game of “fact or fiction” and said it’s a fact that LSU will beat Alabama.
The Saints defense has struggled this season, a big reason why New Orleans is 2-and-4 on the year. But maybe they’ll have a good game this Sunday when they host the Seahawks. Seattle has scored 111 points in six games, which is tied with the Chicago Bears for the fewest in the NFL. Kick-off is at noon.
In the Stats FCS Top 25 poll, Grambling has moved up one spot to number 21. McNeese and Southeastern are receiving votes.
In the High School football polls, three new teams are ranked in Four-A, Woodlawn-Shreveport, Rayne and Loranger are ranked 8th, 9th and 10th respectiviely.
The Cleveland Indians take game one of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.
News for Tuesday 102516
By Dave Graichen
Early voting begins today for the Presidential election. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says polls will be open at their parish Registrar of Voters Office or at other designated locations from 8:30 am until 6 pm everyday but Sunday through November 1. He reminds voters that Election Day is on a Tuesday, so it might be easier for people to early vote. Schedler says there are 220 races statewide involving more than 700 candidates, as well as 6 constitutional amendments and 78 propositions in 38 parishes. Schedler says voters can use the Geaux Vote app to find out where they can cast their ballots. Here in Rapides parish you can early vote at the Registrar Of Voters Office In The Courthouse and in Pineville at the Keys Park Rec Center.
A tragic fire in Vermilion Parish claimed the lives of two young children, aged 1 and 3, and the woman who was trying to save them. State Fire Marshal’s Office spokesman Brant Thompson says the blaze broke out just prior to 5am on Sunday. 3 of the 6 occupants, including the mother of the children, escaped from the home. He says a second adult and close friend of the family, 22-year-old Felicie Cloteaux, did not leave the house when the fire broke out but instead ran to the children’s bedroom. Thompson says Cloteaux’s body was recovered from the home still clutching the two small children in her arms. Investigators suspect an electrical malfunction sparked the blaze. There were no working smoke alarms in the home at the time.
Recent polls show Republican Donald Trump will defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Louisiana on November 8th. But Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Stephen Handwerk, says they are not throwing in the towel yet. But Executive Director of the Louisiana Republican Party, Jason Dore, believes Louisiana will be dark red on November 8, fully supporting Donald Trump. Dore says Trump is energizing voters. He says they have seen record high participation in the Trump campaign in Louisiana.
Usually competitive elections have their fair share of negative TV commercials, but that’s the not case in the 4th Congressional District race. LSU-Shreveport political science professor Jeffrey Sadow it’s likely the lone Democrat on the ballot, Marshall Jones, will make the run-off and the negative ads will come leading up to the December 10th runoff.
The Pegasus Equine Guardian Association is raising concerns about Fort Polk’s efforts to rehome over 700 horses that roam on the Army base. PEGA President Amy Hanchey says about 150-thousand American horses are sent to slaughter houses each year, and they’re afraid that’s where these horses will end up because the horse market is already flooded.
PEGA suggests heard management techniques and fertility control methods to keep the horses away from training areas and reduce the population. Hanchey says these horses have been roaming this land for nearly a century. Hanchey says they respect that the soldiers need to train, but they feel that in the Kitsatchie National Forest’s 600-thousand acres surrounding Ft. Polk, there should be room for the horses.
Basketball Hall of Famer and former LSU star Shaquille O’ Neal has signed a deal to become the global spokesman for Krispy Kreme’s Orginal Glazed doughnut. He’s also purchased a franchise in Atlanta. If you follow Shaq on social media, you know he’s outspoken for his love of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. You’ll also notice he has put on a few pounds. Coincidence?
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office continues to search for a man they believe fatally shot his ex-wife Sunday morning in front of a home in Hammond. If caught, Jerry Williams Junior will be charged with second-degree murder. Linda Williams, was found on the ground, with a gunshot wound to her head. Jerry Williams is considered armed and dangerous.
A 22-year-old New Orleans man has pleaded guilty to the shooting of a Tulane medical student who tried to stop an attempted kidnapping of a woman in the Lower Garden District. Authorities say Euric Cain shot Peter Gold once and tried to shoot him again, but the gun jammed. Cain will be formally sentenced next week to a 50-year prison sentence.
A study by Tulane University finds that women and racial minorities are not widely present in Louisiana’s judicial system. The report shows that while women make up 51-percent of Louisiana’s population, only 30-percent of state judgeships are held by women. Political scientist Sally Kenney with Tulane’s Newcomb College Institute says we need to start conversations about women and minority inclusion.
Louisiana Tech looks to make it five victories in a row when they host the Rice Owls on Saturday. Rice has struggled this year as they just 1-and-6. Rice won its first game of the season last week, as they defeated Prairie View A-and-M 65-44. You’ll be able to hear the Saturday game on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3 starting at 4:30
News for Monday 102416
By Dave Graichen
A Raycom Media Poll on the US Senate race has Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy and Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell leading the large field of candidates. In the survey of 625 registered voters, 24 percent say they will vote for Kennedy, while 19 percent say Campbell is their choice. That same poll also found that 55-percent of the voters believe Governor John Bel Edwards is doing either an excellent or good job.
That same poll has Republican and former KKK leader David Duke polling at five-percent in the senate race, which means he’ll get an invite to a televised debate on November second. ULM political science professor John Sutherlin says Duke, who ran for US Senate and Governor in the early 90s, still has good support in rural areas. But Sutherlin doesn’t anticipate Duke making the run-off.
James Tullier, the father of Nick Tullier, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy that was critically wounded on the July 17th ambush of police officers by a gunman, tells CNN that they believe Nick is listening to them as he lies comatose in a Baton Rouge hospital. Nick Tullier was shot three times, once in the head. The family remains hopeful that Deputy Tullier can recover and be transferd to a rehabilitation facility in Houston.
The state is now asking for four billion dollars in federal flood disaster aid to help south Louisiana recover from the destructive flooding in August. The governor previously requested two-point-eight billion dollars. Edwards says they have a better grip on the amount of damage to homes and businesses.
Louisiana Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says there’s growing support to increase the state’s gasoline tax. Wilson says that’s based on conversations with residents during meetings around the state. He anticipates several different proposals to increase the gasoline tax will be discussed during next year’s legislative session. Several that will be adjusted for inflation.
An effort to change the process in which an elected official is recalled in Louisiana is gaining steam due to Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni’s sexting scandal. In Louisiana petitioners, must collect thirty-three and a third percent of the total number of registered voters to be successful. Many other states’ base signature requirements on the percentage of people who voted.
Former KKK leader and Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Duke has been invited to participate in a November 2nd televised debate because he received 5-percent of the vote in a Raycom Media poll. Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party Stephen Handwerk says they’re using this as an opportunity to raise money to get the word out to voters that Duke has this much support. Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, issued a statement saying Duke’s destructive rhetoric is a distraction from the campaign, which is about our future, not our past.
LSU has created a merit based scholarship for incoming freshman whose mom or dad graduated from LSU or are employed by the school. The Louisiana Tiger Legacy Scholarship Program will be a fixed amount that is only available to Louisiana residents. Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships Amy Marix says the scholarship program starts with the fall 2017 incoming class.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter is leaving a guidebook for the person who will follow him into office.
The Republican incumbent, who isn’t seeking re-election on the Nov. 8 ballot, sent major candidates in the Senate race the comprehensive, 102-page guidebook. The document includes information about how he handled town hall meetings, flag and tour requests, satellite office hours and constituent communications. It outlines how to connect people to government agencies that handle individual problems, like issues with Social Security payments and veterans’ affairs. Vitter’s guide offers tips for using social media and Senate rules for mass mailings.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is trying to determine how a dead whale washed a shore in Cameron Parish. It’s a very rare occurrence. Marine biologist Mandy Tomlin says they took several samples from the whale’s body in the hopes they can figure out why this animal died and they hope to learn more about the sperm whale itself. Tomlin says it was young calf and somehow got separated from her mother.
It was a historic night in Tiger Stadium on Saturday as running back Leonard Fournette rushed for a school record for 284 yards as LSU defeated Ole Miss 38-21. Fournette missed the two previous games, because of a bad ankle and says he’s still not 100 percent. Head Coach Ed Orgeron says it was good to have Fournette back.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to overcome several mistakes that led to a 27-21 win for Kansas City. New Orleans was penalized 10 times and had two critical turnovers. Coach Sean Payton says they don’t have enough talent to overcome those kinds of errors.
News for Friday 102116
By Dave Graichen
It’s been a long time coming, but City Council President Lee Rubin announced yesterday during a candidate forum, that the that those long-awaited utility rebates are coming up for council consideration within a couple of months. If approved the rebates, which come from the 2010 Cleco settlement, would most likely apply to city utility customers from 1995 to 2005. The rebates have been delayed for years because due to related litigation.
A much-anticipated cool front has made its way through the state and temperatures are much more fall-like. Freddie Ziegler, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says the temps are about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than they were the day before. Ziegler says the humidity is also much lower. He says we expect high temperatures in the 70s this weekend and we’ll see the lows dip into the 40s for the northern part of the state.
Attorney General Jeff Landry has filed a suit seeking to block Governor John Bel Edwards executive order mandating that anti-discrimination clauses for the LGBT community be included in state contracts. Landry is asking the court to decide if Edwards can circumvent the Legislature to create his own law, after a judge already dismissed a suit by the governor seeking to force the AG to sign off on contracts with the language. Edwards criticizes Landry for giving businesses the right to discriminate.
A new poll on the US Senate race has Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell leading the large field of candidates. The poll was paid for by Raycom Media. Republican David Duke received five-percent in the survey and that will allow him to participate in a televised debate at Dillard University on November 2nd.
One of many lesser-known candidates in the US Senate race has dropped out less than three weeks before the election. Attorney and former-investment banker Abhay Patel is the first candidate to back out of the crowded field. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat isn’t surprised he withdrew, since he polled poorly. After dropping out of the race, Patel endorsed Republican Congressman Charles Boustany.
A grand jury in Beauregard Parish decided not to file charges in the case of two sheriff’s deputies who were involved in the shooting death of Eric Senegal in January. Investigators said the cops were at a residence serving a drug search warrant when gunfire erupted and Senegal and a dog were killed. The grand jury found the officers were justified in their actions under the circumstances.
The head of the Louisiana NAACP spoke before the House Judiciary Committee to provide ideas on how law enforcement and the public can work better together. Ernest Johnson says there needs to be more interactive relationships between police officers and the community. He suggests officers should be very familiar with everyone in the area they patrol. Johnson also advises elected officials should host more town hall meetings where police officers attend in plain clothes. The House Judiciary Committee yesterday wrapped up two days of hearings on interaction between law enforcement and citizens.
Tourism officials say it’s a game changer for tourism and economic development that a new nonstop flight connecting London Heathrow and New Orleans is coming to Louisiana. British Airways Senior Vice President Simon Brooks says this will be a delightful flight that lands in London, but gives passengers limitless travel options. They announced this morning the flights will leave four times a week beginning March 27, 2017.
LSU’s school newspaper has made the decision to cut back from a daily newspaper to a once-a-week publication starting next semester. Reveillie editor in chief Quint Forgey says the decision was not easy, but the future is still bright for the newspaper and the students involved.
Forgey says you also expect more of a digital presence at l-s-u-now-dot-com.
An arrest has been made in the case of an elderly man who was found shot to death in his own driveway in Houma. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says shortly after the death of 87-year-old Anthony Lirette, an arrest warrant was issued for 21-year-old Deandre Pharagood. Authorities say they are not releasing a motive at this time, but did add the two did not know each other.
The DWF is reporting that a dead whale was found washed up on a beach in Cameron Parish, and that the state department of wildlife and fisheries believes it is a young calf at 21 feet long. They are trying to determine what happened.
A new Gallup poll shows 60% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, almost double the number of people who thought pot should be legal in 2000. David Brown is the director of a group called Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana, or SMPL. Nine states are slated to decide whether to expand legal access to pot in the November election. State officials are currently hammering out a plan to get medical marijuana into the hands of patients who suffer certain specific ailments. But Brown feels that Louisiana will be one of the very last states to get on board with recreational legalization.
Spending on Halloween costumes, decorations and candy will reach a record high 8.4 billion dollars this year. That’s according to the National Retail Federation. Spokesperson Ana Serafin Smith says more than 171 million Americans are planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year. Smith says the Presidential election is also driving up costume sales as many people are dressing up as either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Pelicans star Anthony Davis says he’ll play tonight in the preseason finale against Orlando. Davis has been out of action since rolling his ankle about a week ago.
News for Thursday 102016
By Dave Graichen
Funeral arrangements for longtime Louisiana political fixture Clyde Holloway have been announced. Visitation will be Tomorrow from 2-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. at Elwood Baptist Church in Forest Hill. The funeral service will be at the Forest Hill festival grounds at 11 a.m. Saturday. After a private burial, a reception will be held in Forest Hill Town Hall where the public is invited to share memories and stories of their experiences with Holloway. Holloway, the chair of the Louisiana Public Service Commission and a former congressman from Forest Hill, died at his home Sunday night at the age of 72.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has said the November 8th election has been rigged by the media and at the polls to favor Democrat Hillary Clinton. Republican Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler calls Trumps comments irresponsible and says,
in Louisiana, we haven’t had a problem with a voting machine count in decades. Schedler says he is confident that the Presidential election will go off without any major problems and they have protections in place to protect against voter fraud.
Fall weather is finally set to return to Louisiana, thanks to a cold front that will move through the state today. State climatologist Barry Keim says the cold front will also likely bring us some rain, which is much-needed given the drought-like conditions the state has been experiencing. But he says it probably won’t be enough to break out the rain boots. Keim says once the rainfall moves through, fall weather will return. He says you’ll really start feel the cool temperatures tomorrow.
An Alexandria man has been arrested for the 79th time, with the latest charge accusing him of simple burglary. But, police didn’t have to go far to arrest 41 year old Lucius Williams Jr., he was already in jail when arrested Monday by Alexandria Police detectives on the burglary charge. Williams was arrested on a warrant after detectives connected him to the Sept. 24 burglary of a grocery store in the 1500 block of Vance Street.
Good news if you are a coffee fan. CC's Coffee House is coming to Alexandria. The popular South Louisiana coffee shop chain will open a store in the strip mall anchored by Johnny's Pizza on Jackson Street Extension. CC's currently has 31 locations and seven more expected to open soon. Company officials say the Alexandria store is expected to open by Christmas.
The Town Talk reports today A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge denied a motion Wednesday by Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC to pay its creditors by borrowing against the property in Pineville where its parent company says it will build an aluminum mill. Revolution Aluminum Propco, which bought the property in March, was forced into bankruptcy court by three petitioners who say they lent the company money to buy the land. Revolution Aluminum Propco sought to borrow $5.7 million to pay the petitioners in the bankruptcy case and settle other financial obligations. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Law enforcement, elected officials, and the public gathered at the House Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday to discuss ways to improve community relations with police. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says he’s been meeting with law enforcement around the country to learn more about practices implemented in other areas. Edmonson says they also want to address how the public responds to police officers, especially young adults. He says many young people don’t know what to do if they get pulled over.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the Jefferson Parish Council, members called for parish President Mike Yenni’s resignation and gave him a vote of no confidence. But the embattled politician says it is his job to move the parish forward and asks that the council let him do his job. He says he has never taken his oath to the parish or the people lightly. A recall petition has been started to remove Yenni from office
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is coming up with new ways to combine Louisiana’s seafood with tourism promotion. He says they are getting close to releasing details about a social media program where all Louisiana residents can be an ambassador for the seafood industry.
He says seafood and tourism combined account for 14-billion dollars in annual revenue for Louisiana.
The Department of Agriculture says its getting millions of dollars from the federal government to help keep your food safe. The FDA says Louisaina will get more than $3 million dollars to help meet new safety standards. Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain said he will use some of the money to create a partnership with the federal government, which could mean more training for some farmers.
During Governor John Bel Edward’s monthly call-in show, he addressed several topics including a new Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, the future of the film tax credit program, and coastal parish lawsuits against the oil and gas industry. Edwards says a new bridge is a huge priority for Baton Rouge. The Transportation Task Force is meeting today to discuss the matter. Edwards says he doesn’t think the $180 million cap that lawmakers placed on the Film Tax Credit program in 2015 a problem. He says a lot of movie producers had concerns about Louisiana’s commitment to the future of the industry, and expects lawmakers will address those concerns in next year’s legislative session. Edwards also touched on the lawsuits filed by several coastal parishes against the oil and gas industry for the destruction of the coast. He says he supports the suit because it’s not enough to say these companies create jobs and boost revenue if they’re expediting coastal erosion.
News for Wednesday 101916
By Dave Graichen
A Monroe television station is reporting that the principal and a teacher at Caldwell Parish High School have been suspended and placed on administrative leave. The sheriff’s office has been investigating complaints that students were stripped searched as school officials looked a missing 42 dollars.
Flu season is just around the corner, and the Louisiana Department of Health urges everyone to go out and get their flu shot. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says despite what some people may think, getting a flu shot will not give someone the flu, and everyone needs to get vaccinated even if they got the shot last year. In years past, people had an option to get protected from flu in the form of a nasal spray, rather than an injection. But Welch says the nasal vaccine is not be available this year. The flu causes 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations every year in Louisiana.
Louisiana Senate candidate Rob Maness said Tuesday he was asked to drop out of the race and throw his support to GOP opponent John Fleming in return for significant funding in a future race. Maness told The Advocate that he met Paul Dickson Monday afternoon. There, Dickson, who identified himself as the person “running the John Fleming PAC” and a decision maker with the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, offered support to Maness’ future political endeavors. But, Maness says there was a catch. If I didn't do it before last night’s statewide televised debate he’s be finished as a politician. Maness says the unethical threats and power play were shocking even by Louisiana standards.”
With 24 candidates in the US Senate race, it may come as a surprise that many Louisiana voters struggle to name even one. Louisiana Network asked Louisiana residents if they knew any of the two dozen candidates. Some respondents were familiar with one candidate, David Duke, but more for his controversial past than his current campaign. Analysts have said that voters are paying much more attention to what’s happening with presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
A state legislative committee meets today to discuss on lawsuits against oil and gas companies by five coastal parishes, claiming these companies polluted and destroyed their land. House Natural Resources Chairman Stuart Bishop of Lafayette says there has been a lot of talk about these lawsuits and he wanted to have a public discussion. The parishes filing suit are Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Vermilion and Cameron. A state law requires oil and gas companies to maintain and restore land used back to its original condition. Any money gained from a suit would go to restoring over 1,900 square miles of damaged coast.
Shreveport police have identified four suspects, including a seven-year-old girl, who were involved in a break-in at a Judson Elementary School on Monday morning. Detectives say two dozen I Pads were among the items stolen. Authorities have arrested 18-year-old D’Angelo Walker and he’s facing several charges.
Following a judge’s ruling that Attorney General Jeff Landry does not have to sign off on contracts that prevent LGBT discrimination, the Governor’s Office issued a statement saying they are reviewing their legal options. Landry believes the executive order banning discrimination in state offices is overreaching. The Governor’s statement adds the ruling does not impact the executive order.
A Louisiana man is suing over a state law that requires couples seeking marriage licenses to present a birth certificate, which can pose a problem for those born outside the US. 31-year-old Victor Vo of Lafayette has lived in this country since he was 3 months old and became a U.S. citizen when he was eight and recently had his marriage license application rejected by a court clerk. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges wrote the 2015 law in question. She says it’s an effort to prevent marriage fraud.
The state House Judiciary Committee begins two days of meetings today to discuss universal training for police officers, as well as de-escalation tactics. Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson says the goal of the hearings is to improve the trust between police and the public, especially African-Americans who feel they’ve been targeted by law enforcement. Jackson says they plan to discuss community partnerships with law enforcement that can enhance respect for law enforcement in the communities they police.
A 14-year-old boy fighting a liver disease was made an honorary Saint yesterday during an appearance on Good Morning America. Jarrius Robertson is a big fan of the Saints and Coach Sean Payton personally invited Jarrius and his Dad to travel with the team to Sunday’s game at Kansas City. Payton said Jarrius’ job would be to take care of social media during the game.
In the race for the 3rd Congressional District, it appears as though, it’s GOP Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle’s race to lose, as he’s raised more than rest of the field combined. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Third Quarter Federal Elections Commission records show Angelle has over $1 million dollars in receipts through the third quarter, followed by little known Gus Rantz with more $620,000. Cross says Clay Higgins, a former police captain with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, is arguably the second best-known candidate in the race.
News for Tuesday 101816
By Dave Graichen
As many here and across the state remembered yesterday the Chairman of the Public Service Commission and former Congressman Clyde Holloway of Forrest Hill. Holloway passed away over the weekend. Former state representative and close friend of Holloway, Woody Jenkins, says Holloway was the type of man who took the initiative and didn’t wait for someone else to tell him what needed to be done. In a statement, Governor John Bel Edwards said Holloway always remained accessible and a powerful voice for his constituents. Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party Roger Villere says Holloway was one of the founders of the conservative movement in the state… Holloway is survived by his wife of 50 years, Cathie, four children, nine grandchildren and six siblings. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. Clyde Holloway was 72 years old.
The APD has yet to release any information about a shooting on Levin Street Friday that injured four people, including a child. Two of the males shot Friday remain in the hospital, and the third male shot has been released. A child, who suffered minor injuries from broken glass but was not shot, was also released from the hospital. Police are saying Anyone with information related to the shooting is asked to call the Alexandria Police Department.
The RPSO is conducting an investigation after an inmate was found dead in his cell in the Rapides Parish Detention Center in downtown Alexandria early Sunday. Foul play is not suspected at this time in the death of 37 year old Cory LaFleur of Alexandria. LaFleur was found unconscious and not breathing during a routine check of his cell.
Five of the 24 candidates for US Senate will go head to head tonight in the first statewide televised debate of the race. Republicans Charles Boustany, John Fleming and John Kennedy, along with Democrats Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard are the candidates who will participate tonight. The debate begins at 7 PM on LPB.
JMC Analytics has released a new poll that shows Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell leading with 23-percent in the upcoming US Senate race. John Couvillon says Republicans John Kennedy, John Fleming, and Charles Boustany are all on each other’s heels for the second spot. He says right now Kennedy is one point ahead of Fleming, but Fleming could make the runoff. The poll was commissioned by the Fleming campaign.
A poll of 800 likely Louisiana voters shows the presidential race in the state is tightening up. The survey conducted by JMC Analytics finds Republican candidate Donald Trump at 45-percent, but Democrat Hillary Clinton has creeped up to 38-percent. In July, Trump had a 15-percentage point lead. Pollster John Couvillon says white female Democrats are helping to narrow the gap.
A Baton Rouge judge has ruled in favor of Attorney General Jeff Landry for his refusal to sign state contracts that protect against LGBT discrimination, in spite of an executive order signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in April. Legal analyst Clancy Dubos says Landry is clearly trying to make a political statement, and in this case the judge has agreed with him. The governor could appeal the court’s decision or file another lawsuit. Dubos says even after this ruling; it still remains to be seen how this will play out.
Like the rest of the country, Louisiana has a graduation rate that’s higher than it’s ever been. The White House released a report showing the state’s graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year is up almost three percentage points from the prior year. State Superintendent John White says there is mixed news. Louisiana’s rate of almost 78-percent is still well below the national average of over 83-percent.
Two interstate highways that stretch across Louisiana are ranked among the most dangerous roads in the country, according to a new report from the finance website ValuePenguin. Interstates 10 and 20 came in at numbers four and 8 respectively on the list. Research analyst Craig Casazza says I-10 is the second darkest interstate, and it’s also known for drunk drivers.
The report found that Louisiana has the third most fatal stretch of I-10, with a fatality rate of nearly 55 deadly accidents per 100 miles. Casazza says I-20 came in as the fifth darkest and eighth most dangerous highway with a fatality rate is 43 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
A new quarterly food cost survey by the American Farm Bureau shows the cost of groceries has gone down 13-percent over the last year. Louisiana Farm Bureau specialist Neil Melancon says they’ll release another survey before Thanksgiving, and he expects that trend to continue.
Whole milk prices are down 10-percent, and the cost of eggs dropped a shocking 51-percent.
Another creepy clown has been arrested in Louisiana. Authorities say three witnesses called to report that 21-year-old Bradley Mock of Deridder was wearing a clown mask and brandishing a gun inside a vehicle in Vernon parish. When Mock was arrested, police learned the firearm he had was actually an air-soft gun resembling an M-4. Mock has reportedly been arrested on one count of terrorizing, and his bond was set at $50-thousand.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has ruled Belaire High School must forfeit all five of its wins this season for scholastic rules violations. The school principal and coach were placed on paid leave while the LHSAA investigated whether an ineligible player was used after his grade was changed.
After missing the last two games because of an ankle injury, LSU running back Leonard Fournette is expected to play this Saturday against 23rd ranked Ole Miss. Starting left guard Will Clapp could also play this Saturday after missing the Southern Miss contest with an arm injury.
News for Monday 101716
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry are in court today after the governor sued the AG for blocking state legal contracts that had wording to protect members of the LGBT community from workplace discrimination. Jeremy Alford of Lapoltics.com says it’s very unusual to see one statewide elected official sue another. He says this could be a tough case for the judge to decide.
Louisiana ranks second in the nation for accidental shootings involving minors, nearly three times more than the national average. That’s according to new data from the Associated Press and USA today. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says what we don’t know is how kids are getting their hands on these weapons. Alaska was the only state to top Louisiana on the list. The report found Baton Rouge had more accidental shootings than any other city in the Deep South. Moore says often times parents know or suspect that their child has a gun, but they don’t do anything about it.
Voters will have a lot to consider on November 8th. In addition to the federal elections and local races, six constitutional amendments are on the ballot. The Public Affairs Research Council published a guide that explains the proposals to voters. PAR president Robert Travis Scott says three of the amendments will have a big impact on state policy, and one will affect college tuition. You can find a link to that guide at ksyl.com
LPB has announced it will broadcast A forum for U.S. Senate candidates in Louisiana Tuesday night from 7 to 8 p.m. LPB and the Council for A Better Louisiana are sponsoring the forum called “Decision 2016: The Race for the Senate,” which will originate live from the campus of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. The program will be hosted by CABL President Barry Erwin and LPB President and CEO Beth Courtney.
The Restore Louisiana Task Force met for the second time Friday and were told that they need to decide quickly how to disperse the $438 million dollars to flood victims. Congressman Garret Graves says the effort to get even more money to Louisiana would be easier if they could tell Congress how the dollars are being spent. Graves says Louisiana’s congressional delegation will seek additional funding from Congress after the November election.
The deadline for flood victims to register for the Shelter at Home program has been extended to this Friday. Residents who are eligible should visit shelterathome.la.gov.
Louisiana officials are urging residents to aggressively protect yourself from mosquitoes. The Louisiana Department of Health has been able to confirm 30 cases of the West Nile Virus that’s four more cases than what the state agency reported towards the end of September. Seventeen cases are the more serious form of the disease that can impact your brain and nervous system. The good news is, so far none of the cases have proved to be fatal.
The ACLU of Louisiana is looking into the incident at Caldwell Parish High School where students were apparently strip searched by school officials who were trying to locate stolen money. The organization says that was an invasion of privacy and due process rights of students and that the school should apologize to the 9th graders and uphold the law. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.
Camp Minden officials plan to burn off volatile explosives in an effort to prevent any more spontaneous explosions. The Louisiana National Guard has been burning off M6 propellant in contained burning chambers. DEQ Secretary Chuck Brown says nearly 200-thousand pounds of CBI will be destroyed, as well as 40-thousand pounds of M6 propellant.
Lights, camera, action! Those words haven’t been spoken at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge in over a year, but that could change soon, as Louisiana’s film industry is starting to show signs of life. Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn says calls are starting to come in from companies who want to film in Louisiana. He says it’s encouraging to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
A 14-year-old and 12-year-old have been arrested for damaging grave sites at a cemetery in Independence. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office says the juveniles also dumped seven urns containing human ashes. The juvenile offenders are facing multiple charges.
The former assistant principal in Baton Rouge who is accused in the death of a pregnant woman has bonded out of jail. 39-year-old Robert Marks pleaded not guilty in court on October 11th, and bond was set at $500,000. Marks allegedly shot 40-year-old Lyntell Washington and was arraigned on charges of second degree murder and first degree feticide.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an 87-year-old man who was found with several gunshot wounds in his own driveway in Houma. They say they are looking into the incident as a homicide and anyone with information on the murder of Anthony Dale Lirette is urged to contact authorities.
Baton Rouge police say a 20-year-old man accidentally shot and killed his mother during an argument. Cpl. L’Jean McKneely says when authorities arrived at the scene, Dexter Clay Jr. was applying pressure to the wound on his mother. He says Clay fully cooperated with police.
Melissa Clay was taken to a local hospital where she later died.
LSU and Southern Miss were tied at ten at halftime on Saturday night in Death Valley, but the Tigers erupted for four 3rd quarter touchdowns and defeated the Golden Eagles 45-10.
The Saints have a winning streak. New Orleans raced out to a 21-0 lead over the defending NFC championship Carolina Panthers and had to hold for a 41-38 victory.
News for Friday 101416
By Dave Graichen
The LSU-Florida matchup will happen after all. The two SEC teams are scheduled to play in Tiger Stadium on November 19th, when LSU was scheduled to play South Alabama at home. As part of the agreement, the Tigers will play in The Swamp next year and in 2018. The Gators were scheduled to host Presbyterian that week, and it’s been reported Presbyterian might play South Alabama instead.
State Department of Environmental Quality has ordered Clean Harbors Colfax to shut down a water retention pond at the site and replace it with a system that will provide greater protections to human health and the environment. The pond, which holds rainwater with residue from chemicals on the facility’s burn pads, will be replaced by a storage tank/treatment system. A company official says it could take upwards of six to nine months” to replace the pond.
A judge has ruled against US Senate candidate Troy Hebert’s lawsuit to attempt to get into next week’s debate conducted by LPB and the Council for a Better Louisiana. Hebert attempted to sue the organizations because he claimed their restrictions on the upcoming debate are unfair. To participate in the debate, a candidate must have polled at least 5-percent
We’re halfway through October, but you wouldn’t know it by the weather. State climatologist Barry Keim says we are running abnormally warm and dry this month. He says a lack of clouds and rain is keeping temperatures higher than usual for this time of year. Keim says there is a possibility of a front coming through towards the end of next week, which could bring some rain and lower temperatures.
Parents of some freshmen at Caldwell Parish High School are fuming their children were strip searched at school because $42 was stolen from a student. The boys were reportedly taken to a bathroom where they were instructed to drop their pants and raise their shirts, while the girls were allegedly told to strip down to their underwear in a classroom.
Louisiana will receive 437-million dollars in flood aid. The money is part of the 500-million dollars that was approved by Congress last month. The state office of community development is looking at how they'll get the federal aid into the hands of flood victims. Officials have said assistance to help flood victims rebuild is a major priority.
An East Baton Rouge Parish flood victim has won $1 million from the Powerball. Louisiana Lottery spokesperson Kim Chopin says when they heard a man in Central had won the prize, they were hoping it would go to someone who really needed it. She says they were thrilled to find out 72-year-old James Lapeze was the winner. Chopin says after federal and state withholdings, Lapeze will take home $700-thousand.
An arrest in Tangipahoa parish put an end to a violent drug induced 36-hour crime spree. Sheriff Daniel Edwards says over the past few days, 30-year-old Brian Anthony has committed a murder, an attempted murder, a drive by shooting, arson and car theft. He says even though Anthony is now behind bars, their investigation is far from over. Anthony was arrested on more than 10 charges.
The Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation has purchased $70-thousand in equipment to protect Baton Rouge police officers. Vice Chairman Clay Young says they purchased helmets, shields and thicker bulletproof vests. The money was raised through donations from citizens and businesses.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney is seeking the death in the killing of a cop. That word comes after an indictment in the case today. Grand jurors found that Jerman Neveaux should stand trial for first degree murder in the killing of Deputy David Michel. The grand jury also charged Neveaux with aggravated assault with a firearm, illegal possession of a stolen firearm, and two counts of resisting arrest by force or violence.
News for Thursday 101316
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Health Unit will conduct a “Drive Through Flu Shot” Clinic. Today until 2pm at the Coliseum Blvd facility. The event is open to everyone age 19 and older, but it is especially intended for those at high risk of flu. The shots are free with an insurance card and for a $10 maximum charge without an insurance card. Those getting shots are asked to bring their insurance cards with them.
A regulation that calls for aspiring teachers to complete a full-year residency has been approved by the BESE board. BESE president Jim Garvey says some teachers have already gone through the apprenticeship as part of a pilot program and gave positive reviews. Supporters of the program say it will better prepare teachers for the classroom. The residency will be required for certification beginning in July of 2018
About 23-percent of Louisiana adults have at least a four-year degree, according to a new report from 24/7 Wall Street. That’s 8 percentage points below the national average. Demographer Greg Rigamer says the low rate is due in part to Louisiana’s jobs. He also says Louisiana has a high poverty rate and some families need to work instead of go to school. The report found New Orleans has the highest concentration of college grads in the state.
The deadline for August flood victims to apply for FEMA aid or low interest loans from the Small Business Administration has been extended until to November 14th. FEMA spokesperson Kurt Pickering says so far, individual households in Louisiana have received 699 million dollars in grants to repair their homes. Pickering says by applying for FEMA aid, it also starts the process to receive an SBA loan, which can provide flood victims up to 200-thousand dollars and up to 2 million dollars for businesses.
Over six weeks and three thousand miles later, three escaped Natchitoches parish inmates are once again behind bars. Capt. Tony Moran with the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office says 35-year-old Walshea Mitchell, 24-year-old Michael Elliot, and 34-year-old Willie Ethridge were all captured in different states, and they’re working to figure out how they managed to get that far. He says the inmates escaped from Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on August 27th.
A petition has been filed to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni from office, in the midst of a sexting scandal with a 17-year-old boy. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the petition will need 87-thousand signatures for a recall vote to occur, but they recommend petitioners try to get more. He says if the petition gets enough signatures, it will go to the governor for the final decision.
Livingston Parish deputies fatally shot a suspect after he allegedly shot at officers during a traffic stop, then fled into a barn and pointed his weapon at officers. LPSO spokesperson Lori Steele says 31-year-old Blaine Beason was wanted on several charges.
Fatalities on Louisiana’s waterways are well above what they were at this time last year, as 7 people died in boating accidents in September alone. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says there have been 22 deaths this year, compared to only 13 through September of last year. He says most of the deaths could have been prevented.
Tulane University researchers are teaming up to learn more about the brain in a new collaboration called the Brain Institute. Tulane Vice President for Research, Dr. Laura Levy, says understanding the brain is one of the true frontiers of the life sciences. She says scientists don’t know much about the brain, and they hope this university-wide collaboration will help them learn more.
In the wake of two historic floods in Louisiana, Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana wants the public to know that research shows child abuse rates usually go up three months to a year after a disaster. Executive Director Amanda Brunson says tensions tend to rise as the family experiences more stress. She says parents can call their KIDLINE at 1-800-CHILDREN.
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says it’s likely star running back Leonard Fournette will miss his second straight game due to an ankle injury. Fournette hasn’t played since the 18-13 loss to Auburn. Coach O said on the SEC coaches teleconference that it’s taken Fournette longer to recover than they thought.
The LSU Tigers are getting closer to taking the field after not playing last Saturday because of Hurricane Matthew. The Bayou Bengals face Southern Miss on Saturday night in Death Valley in just the third ever meeting between the two teams. LSU is a 26-point favorite.
The NFL’s competition committee says Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks will draw a flag if he continues his bow and arrow touchdown celebration. The league says the gesture mimics a violent act. Cooks says he plans to continue to do the celebration in some form and he’s surprised the NFL is cracking down on what he said started as sign of his faith in God.
The Saints welcome the defending NFC Champs to the Superdome this Sunday as they’ll battle the Carolina Panthers at noon. Carolina is a disappointing 1-and-4 on the season.
New Orleans comes into Sunday’s contest with a 1-and-3 record, but they went into an open week by beating San Diego on October 2nd.
In college basketball…Natchitoches Central star Brandon Rachal committed to the LSU Tigers today. Six-foot-six wingman has led the Chiefs to Class 5A state title appearance twice in the last three seasons. The four-star prospect averaged 15 points and six rebounds a game last year
News for Wednesday101216
By Dave Graichen
LSU announces that its live mascot, Mike VI, was euthanized yesterday at the age of 11 following a four-month battle with cancer. LSU says there will not be a formal memorial service for Mike VI, but fans are encouraged to share their memories, stories and photos on social media using #MikeVI. PETA has reiterated its call for LSU to end the use of live mascots.
Following the death of Mike VI.
A new poll finds that 15-percent of Americans say their health insurance has gotten better in the last year, but twice as many say it got worse. Doctor Jay Kaplan of New Orleans is the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians and he says deductibles are rising and this is leading to a higher cost for patients. Kaplan says deductibles have risen over 40-percent in the last several years.
Senate candidate Troy Hebert’s legal attempt to force LPB and the Council for a Better Louisiana to include more candidates in next week’s Senate debate gets a hearing today in a Baton Rouge courtroom. Political consultant and Former-Secretary of State, Jim Brown, says Hebert is right on the money for filing the suit after only 5 of the 24 candidates were scheduled to be in the debate. For a candidate to participate, he or she must have polled at least 5-percent and raised over $1 million in campaign funds.
The Grant parish Sheriff’s department reports the arrest of a man who neighbors had reported seeing walking around in his yard wearing nothing but a bath towel and wielding a large knife. 26 year old David Maxwell told a deputy that there were people in the tops of the trees in his yard and ghosts in his house. The deputy didn’t see any trace of the ghosts in the home but, he did find drugs. Maxwell was arrested and charged with a laundry list of drug related charges.
The US Justice Department has released a statement to update the status of the criminal investigation into Alton Sterling’s death by Baton Rouge Police Officers. US Attorney Walt Green says it’s ongoing and there is no timetable on when the investigation will be finished. He says a team of career federal prosecutors, FBI agents and support personnel have devoted hundreds of hours to the investigation.
The new Republican Party deputy chairman of Louisiana, Tim Breaux, says he will stand by Presidential candidate Donald Trump amid an 11-year-old recording recently released with the businessman making lewd comments about women. Breaux, from Lafayette, says he’s been around Trump on many occasions and says his wife also works closely with Trump’s businesses and has never felt uncomfortable or heard him make inappropriate comments. He believes the republican candidate still has a good chance to win.
David Duke, who is running for the U.S. Senate, lost his campaign coordinator Monday over a disagreement about how the former Ku Klux Klan leader should present himself to the public. Mike Lawrence was hoping to engineer a political comeback for Duke, whose career height was in the early 1990s with credible runner-up showings in races for the U.S. Senate and Louisiana governor.
Blue Bell Creameries is recalling all of its ice cream products that contain cookie dough from an Iowa-based supplier. The move announced Monday night comes after Aspen Hills recalled cookie dough supplied to ice cream makers after finding potential listeria bacteria contamination. The Blue Bell recall involves half-gallons and pints of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Blue Bell Cookie Two Step sold to retailers.
News for Tuesday 101116
By Dave Graichen
Only 28 days are left until the November election, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler reminds voters that today is the last day to register to vote. He says other than the presidential and senate races, there’s also plenty of local and congressional races, as well as proposed changes to the state constitution. He says people can register at GeauxVote.com
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been released from the hospital after he was admitted Saturday with what he called pressure in his chest. It’s unclear when the governor’s chief budget officer will return to work, but he says he’s taking his doctor’s advice and resting.
The Department of Children and Family Services has received federal approval for a second month of disaster food assistance for the 11 parishes most heavily impacted by the August flooding. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says anyone who received aid last month will automatically have their card reloaded this month. She says recipients will have benefits loaded no later than October 18th.
Four people, including one 10-year-old, are in the hospital after a 20 foot obstacle collapsed at the Warrior Dash in St. Francisville. Brant Thompson with the State Fire Marshall’s Office says the so-called Diesel Dome came down with 20 people on top of it, and investigators are working to figure out why. Thompson says over 5-thosuand people registered for the 5k obstacle course.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to promote roundabout safety tips. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallett says roundabouts are a one-way circular intersection that are designed to improve safety and efficiency. DOTD has instated about 30 roundabouts and 100 more have been proposed, including two here in Alexandria. Mallett says motorists slow down, but don’t stop when entering a roundabout so it helps with congestion. He says this type of intersection is also much safer than a stop light.
The Louisiana National Guard deployed eight helicopters to Florida and South Carolina for Hurricane Matthew response operations. The massive storm took the lives of at least 20 people in four states.
Will LSU and Florida be able to reschedule their game that was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew? There’s been talk of LSU giving up its November 19th home game to South Alabama to make it happen, but Athletic Director Joe Alleva says that’s not happening. If LSU and Florida can’t reschedule the game, it will hurt their chances of winning their respective divisions.
A new taskforce aims to address the epidemic of opioid abuse in Louisiana. Bob Johannessen with the Department of Health says the Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse was established in the 2016 legislative session, and they just had their first meeting. He says Louisiana has the seventh highest rate of painkiller prescriptions in the country. Johannessen says the 38-member commission is made up of representatives from medical, law enforcement, and pharmaceutical communities. He says Louisiana has also received more than $2 million in federal dollars to assist with this effort.
A statement released by Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni says he won’t be resigning after allegations surfaced he sent sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old boy. Yenni says he has taken responsibility for his poor judgement but this is a personal matter and does not affect is ability to govern his parish. He adds he has not broken any laws and has not been contacted by any agency conducting an investigation.
News for Monday 101016
By Dave Graichen
The state DOTD held a public meeting last Thursday to discuss plans for the improvement of traffic flow on Jackson Street extension. The plan would include the installation of not one, but two “Roundabouts”. On at the end of the roadway where it intersects with Horseshoe drive, Twin Bridges and Lodi. The other at its intersection with Versailles Blvd. State officials say construction is probably still 2-3 years away, however the process of buying property is expected to start soon.
Authorities say FEMA has awarded nearly $700 million in disaster aid since the flood in south Louisiana. Nearly 150-thousand people in the 22 affected parishes have registered for federal assistance, but the deadline to apply is approaching. FEMA reminds the public that they must apply by October 13 in order to be eligible for FEMA assistance.
Federal and state agencies are combining forces to investigate and prosecute cases of fraud as a result of the devastating flooding in south Louisiana. Attorney General Jeff Landry says his office and the US Attorney’s Office have established a national disaster fraud hotline.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness announces more than 1-thousand flood victims have had their homes repaired as part of the Shelter at Home program. GOHSEP spokesperson Mike Steele says this is a huge milestone for the program.
Steele says they have seven contractors and several more subcontractors working on homes throughout the affected area. He says while this program may not be the right fit for everyone, it’s been an enormous help to those that are eligible for Shelter at Home.
State Police report an Elmer woman died Saturday night in a single vehicle crash. 61-year-old Theresa Wise was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by 64-year-old Leroy Wise when he lost control and ran off the road and struck a tree. Theresa Wise was pronounced dead at the scene. Leroy Wise sustained moderate injuries.
Two of Louisiana's leading Republican Senate candidates called Donald Trump’s comments from 2005 about his treatment of women “reprehensible" and "unacceptable," but they stopped short of saying they will no longer support him as the GOP's presidential nominee.
A new report from the finance website 24/7 Wall Street finds Monroe is the fourth poorest city in the country. ULM economics professor Dr. Robert Eisenstaedt says this isn’t surprising because Louisiana as a whole is a poor state, and the northeast part of the state tends to be even poorer. According to the 24/7 Wall Street report, Monroe has a poverty rate of about 24-percent and an unemployment rate of just over 6-percent.
A report by the Society for Research in Child Development finds over 160-thousand students in 19 states, including Louisiana, where kids are being subjected to corporal punishment in their schools every year. Developmental Psychologist with the University of Texas, Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, says African American children are 50-percent more likely to be smacked than white students. Her research found one in five Louisiana schools still use corporal punishment, with the majority being in rural areas.
The entire Jefferson Parish Council is calling for Parish President Mike Yenni’s resignation after he admitted to sexting with a 17-year-old boy. Legal analyst Tim Meche says he doesn’t think the council could force him to resign, because he didn’t break any laws.
Many LSU fans say the SEC dropped the ball in allowing the LSU-Florida game to be postponed. Fox Sports college football writer, Stewart Mandel says this is particularly troubling because LSU is no stranger to being the displaced team. He says last year Tiger Stadium played host to a flooded South Carolina home team. Mandel says he doesn’t see why the game couldn’t have been moved.
Pineville-based utility company, Cleco, will break ground this month on a new clean energy plant in St Mary parish. Spokesperson Robbyn Cooper says a partnership between Cleco and Cabot Corporation will allow them to produce energy without any emissions at the 80-million-dollar facility in Franklin. Cooper says the new St. Mary Clean Energy Center will provide power for 17-thousand homes across Louisiana. Cleco expects it will be operational by March 2018.
News for Friday 100716
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane Matthew is tracking northward just off Florida's Atlantic coast. It is now a category three storm with top sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. National Hurricane Center specialist John Cangialosi says the southeast will experience only a fraction of its strength. It is expected to stay off shore and gradually make a slight Northeasterly turn hugging the Georgia and Carolina coastline.
Yesterday was a day to pay respect to a man who gave so much of his life to make Alexandria a great place to live and raise a family, Former Mayor Ned Randolph. Hundreds of well-wishers paid their final respects to Randolph’s family Thursday during a public viewing and wake at Alexandria Convention Hall. Today, a day of regrouping for the Randolph family. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Tomorrow in First United Methodist Church in Alexandria. Visitation will run from 8:30 a.m. until time of services Saturday in the church. Burial will be in Greenwood Memorial Park.
It’s a decision that has many LSU fans irate. The SEC has decided to postpone Saturday’s scheduled game at Florida, because of Hurricane Matthew. The league says they will attempt to try and reschedule the game for later in the year, but it will take the reshuffling of games. But a source tells Tiger Rag-dot-com there’s zero chance the game will be rescheduled. The Tiger Rag report also says LSU offered Tiger Stadium, it’s charter plane and buses to accommodate a possible relocation to Baton Rouge.
Some are concerned that potential damage from Hurricane Matthew could impact Louisiana’s fight to get more federal aid for flood relief. Congress is expected to return in December to discuss more financial flood relief for Louisiana and what will need to be down to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Louisiana has already received over $400 million in federal disaster aid, Governor John Bel Edwards has requested $2.8 billion.
Northwestern State University President Jim Henderson has been appointed president of the University of Louisiana system by the Board of Supervisors. Henderson says he would like to have a more hands on relationship with students in the UL system. He says he also wants to see more student involvement at the system level to give them a voice in policy decisions.
The US Supreme Court has declined to hear former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s appeal of his 2014 public corruption conviction. Legal analyst Chick Foret says this means Nagin will have to serve out the remaining 8 years of his 10-year sentence, because there is no other court that can hear his appeal. Nagin was convicted on 20 counts of bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, and filing false tax returns.
Saturday marks one month until election days, and political experts say the US Senate race is tightening in Louisiana. ULM political science professor Dr. John Sutherlin says campaign ads are starting to roll out, but mainly on the Republican side. He says the two major Democrats in the race Caroline Fayard and Foster Campbell are working on get out the vote campaigns.
Sutherlin says Early Voting begins October 25th and that will be a critical time for the 24 candidates running for US Senate.
Republican Congressman Charles Boustany is outraged at an ad that he says was released by a third-party group supporting State Treasurer John Kennedy’s campaign. The ad alleges Boustany voted to send tax dollars to Iraq and Pakistan, which the commercial says are breeding grounds for terrorists. The ad also claims that one of Boustany’s biggest supporters is a company that builds weapons for Middle Eastern regimes. Boustany says the company they’re referring to is Swiftships, a company that employs 200 Louisianans in Morgan City.
Embattled Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni is no longer in the state. He’s a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve and has been deployed to respond to Hurricane Matthew. He has yet to address allegations that he sent sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old boy. But his media consultant says Yenni will respond to the accusations in a commercial that will air on New Orleans TV stations.
It’s officially sugar cane grinding season in Louisiana and the harvest is expected to be better than last year. General Manager of the American Sugar Cane League Jim Simon says it’s still early in the season but there are indications that the sugar content of the cane is very good. He says the mild winter last year really helped the crop get off to a good start.
The West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says a traffic stop along I-10 in Port Allen resulted in the seizure of millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine. They say 44-year-old Jesus Alberto Villafranco, of Deer Park, Texas, was arrested after a search of his vehicle turned up nearly 70 pounds of cocaine hidden in a compartment beneath a tow trailer. Authorities said the total street value of the drugs is more than $3 million.
No LSU football game this weekend. The Tigers and Gators contest scheduled for Saturday has been postponed because of Hurricane Matthew. Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron says the team is disappointed. Orgeron says they’ll treat the postponement as a regular open date, which will give them a chance to focus on recruiting and game planning. LSU’s next game is October 15th at home against Southern Miss.
News for Thursday 100616
By Dave Graichen
Saying Good Bye.. Today the city of Alexandria will host a wake and an opportunity for citizens to pay their respects to the late Mayor Ned Randolph, who passed on Tuesday. Randolph’s body will lie in repose beginning at noon Today in Alexandria Convention hall, the public is encouraged to pay their respects. Tonight, a public wake ceremony. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Saturday in First United Methodist Church in Alexandria. Visitation will run from 8:30 a.m. until time of services Saturday in the church.
Hurricane Matthew's winds have strengthened to 125 miles per hour - which is a Category three hurricane. Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia are bracing for the storm next. National Hurricane Center forecaster Robbie Berg says storm surge is a big concern for Florida. Right now Matthew is about 60 miles south of Nassau, Bahamas.
Northwestern State University President Jim Henderson is expected to become the new president of the University of Louisiana System, as he is the only candidate that will go before the Board of Supervisors today. Henderson says though if the job doesn’t allow him to continue to work with Northwestern, he won’t even consider it. Henderson has been the Northwestern president since January of 2015.
Despite Hurricane Matthew’s threat on the east coast, the LSU-Florida game is still scheduled to be played in Gainesville, but it’s unclear whether it will kick-off at 11 AM on Saturday. Officials say a final decision on the start time will be made by noon central time tomorrow. But there are no plans to move the game out of Gainesville.
Sad news yesterday about L-S-U’s live mascot, Mike the Tiger. His veterinarian, Doctor David Baker, says the tumor on his face has resumed growing and his cancer has spread, and the 420-pound Tiger only has one to two months to live. Baker says Mike will no longer receive radiation treatment and their plan is to give the LSU community time to say their goodbyes. The doctor says they plan to euthanize Mike, once it gets to become too painful for him to live. Baker added that LSU has instructed him to find another live mascot.
According to research from the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity, Louisiana is one of eight states that has more opioid prescriptions than residents. Dr. David Holcombe with the state Office of Public Health says pharmaceutical companies push these pills as being safer than they are, and there’s a problem with patients demanding the painkillers.
Louisiana’s opioid prescription rate was 1.03 per capita in 2015.
The federal government has set a goal for zero traffic fatalities within the next 30 years. The Transportation Department has outlined a plan that includes increasing seatbelt use and more rumble strips. Louisiana Highway Safety Commissioner Dr. Katara Williams says that’s the perfect ultimate goal, because even one traffic fatality is one too many. Williams says the first step to reducing these deaths is raising awareness about safe driving habits. She says drivers must put down their cellphones when they’re behind the wheel, buckle up, and never drive drunk.
An unbuckled 19-year-old was killed in a single vehicle crash after her vehicle was split in half in Catahoula Parish. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says police responded to a crash in Harrisonburg, Tuesday morning involving, Reagan Rainey of Jonesville. Police say she lost control of her vehicle and hit a tree.
A Grand Jury in Baton Rouge has formally charged the former assistant principal accused in the death of Lyntell Washington and her unborn baby. 39-year-old Robert Marks was handed a true bill for second degree murder and second degree feticide. Washington was positively identified as the badly decomposed body found in a ditch in Rosedale, and autopsy reports show she died from a gunshot wound to the head.
The final shelter set up for victims of the south Louisiana flood is now closed. Red Cross spokesperson Todd James says they will help anyone who is still in the Baton Rouge shelter at Celtic Studios find their next place to go.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office arrests a woman accused of trying to kill her ex-boyfriend. They say 49-year-old Lisa Snowten allegedly broke into her ex’s house and attacked him before pointing a gun at him and shooting it — but it didn’t discharge. Cops say Snowten then went to the victim’s current girlfriend’s place of employment where she was apprehended and arrested on charges of attempted second-degree murder and domestic abuse battery.
Louisiana Tech hosts Western Kentucky in a big Conference USA matchup at Ruston tonight. The Hilltoppers are considered one of the favorites to win the league and they have won 12 straight conference games. Tech Coach Skip Holtz says it’s important Bulldog nation comes out tonight, because they need that home field advantage. You can hear the game this evening at 5:30 on Alexandria’s ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Tuesday 100416
By Dave Graichen
Independent U.S. Senate candidate Troy Hebert has filed a lawsuit in an effort to have Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana to include more candidates in an October 18th televised debate. The five candidates invited are Republicans Charles Boustany, John Fleming, and John Kennedy, along with Democrats Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard. Along with having raised one million dollars, candidates must have polled at least 5-percent in a non-partisan survey. CABL President Barry Erwin says with so many candidates in the race and being only three weeks away from the election, there has to be some criteria for participation.
The APD reporting a Jena man has been arrested in connecting with a shooting in the city last week. 21-yearold Cameron Jackson was booked into the LaSalle Parish jail on 2nd degree murder charges in the death of 27 year Jarvis Jackson last Friday.
Cleco is warning customers that scammers are trying making fraudulent phone calls that demand immediate payment and threaten disconnection of power. “Cleco reminds customers that the do not make personal calls demanding payment of overdue accounts, do not suggest a payment method and do not demand that customers use certain locations for payment. If you think you are being scammed, call CLECO
Many flood victims in Denham Springs could be forced to elevate their homes. Mayor Gerard Landry says about 1200 residents were informed by mail over the weekend that initial FEMA assessments show the structure was “substantially damaged” by the flood. Landry emphasizes that these FEMA assessments are just an initial snapshot of the damage each home likely received.
A report by ProPublica finds many state leaders along with residents are very frustrated with the Red Cross’ flood response efforts in Louisiana. The report stems from email’s from state officials showing concern with the organization, as well as many attempts to resolve the issues. Staffers with the governor’s office reportedly met with officials from the Red Cross yesterday.
While flood victims in south Louisiana are struggling to recover from the August flood, many north Louisianans have still not recovered from the flooding there in March. Monroe Police Juror Pat Moore says many people still have not gotten back into their homes. She says some of the people didn’t know how to get the assistance they need. Moore estimates as many as 20-percent of the people in her district couldn’t get federal aid.
A committee searching for a new president of the University of Louisiana System has made a recommendation to the full board for consideration. Northwestern State University President James Henderson was the only person submitted for review by the committee. If chosen, Henderson will fill the position vacated by Sandra Woodley in December.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful has released a new slogan that aims to raise awareness about the state’s litter problem. Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Susan Russell, says they hope “Love the Boot, Don’t Pollute” will provide a consistent message to Louisianans not to trash the state. She believes it’s a fitting slogan for the Bayou State, especially the word love.
Rogers says the slogan appears on bumper stickers that will be placed on 12-thousand state vehicles.
Louisiana residents are now able to purchase REAL ID licenses today from the Office of Motor Vehicles. Once October 2020 hits, you’ll need a REAL ID to fly domestically without a passport. OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain says in order to get a REAL ID, your birth certificate, social security card, and proof of residency are needed and they look similar to the current licenses. REAL ID licenses cost 13 dollars for a four year duplicate and 17 dollars for a six year duplicate.
Louisiana has received a $67 million federal grant to better prepare new teachers and provide more support for rural school districts. Assistant Talent Superintendent Hannah Dietsch says much of the grant money will go towards making sure teachers are prepared for the classroom before they begin their careers in education. The money will be dispersed among 16 rural school systems, reaching a total of 137 schools as part of an effort to better prepare educators.
Part of Taylor Swift’s $1 million dollar pledge to Louisiana will go to the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge’s Early Head Start Center. CEO Dianna Payton says the Early Head Start program provides comprehensive early childhood and family services for low-income children up to three years of age. She says they are very grateful for the pop star’s gift.
The first campaign ad attacking a candidate has been released by Republican Congressman Charles Boustany. UL-Lafayette Pearson Cross says it’s not surprising the target of the attack is GOP State Treasurer John Kennedy. He says it’s likely only one Republican will make the runoff, so it’s a dogfight of a race among the top GOP contenders.
LSU Health New Orleans researchers found a link between certain kinds of cancer and sugary drink consumption. Dr. Melinda Sothern with LSU Health New Orleans says it’s recommended that people do not have more than three 12 ounce sugary drinks per week. She says there is also a link to obesity and cardio-metabolic diseases with these drinks.
Bossier Parish authorities report a 16-year-old student has been arrested by Caddo Sheriff’s deputies for posting threats about students and teachers on her Instagram account. The posts said that students and teachers would be kidnapped and killed. Account followers reported the messages to the Sheriff’s office. The teenager was booked into Caddo Juvenile Detention Center.
News for Monday 100316
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane Matthew could dump as much as 40-inches of rain on vulnerable areas of Haiti. The eye of the approaching Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph is expected to pass to the east of Jamaica and then cross over or be very close to the southwestern tip of Haiti late today or early Tuesday.
Governor John Bel Edwards, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain, and other state officials will be in Cuba today on a trade mission. Strain says representatives from LSU will also join them, because they want to trade more than just commodities. Strain says Cuba will import up to $2 billion worth of food next year, and as much as $1 billion of that could be from the US. He says they believe Louisiana is in a prime position to capture a lion’s share of that trade.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards plans to sue Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry for blocking state contracts that contains clauses preventing L-G-B-T discrimination. Edwards says Landry is over stepping his constitutional authority. But Landry says state lawmakers have refused numerous times to pass laws to prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity and he’s protecting the will of the legislature.
There have been to reported incidents involving Local law enforcement officers being refused service at different restaurants. The first, at the Taco Bell in Kingsville Thursday night when employees waved a stuffed pig at the officer and made oink sounds. The second at Johnny Carino’s in Alexandria Saturday night, when employees refused to take the officers orders. A Facebook post from Carino’s management they were deeply sorry for the miscommunication.
The LSU AgCenter is continuing with plans to grow medical marijuana and hope to have seeds in the ground early next year. AgCenter President Dr. Bill Richardson says they should have a business plan in place this month and they are working closely with law enforcement to ensure they are comfortable with every aspect. Richardson says no students and no one under 21 will be able to work in the growing facility and security is their number one priority.
The City of Natchez must hire more firefighters to avoid a drop in its fire insurance rating.
The Natchez Democrat reports that the Mississippi State Rating Bureau notified the city last month that the city’s fire protection no longer warrants its current rating: five on a scale of one to 10. When ratings drop, residents’ insurance rates can go up. A tight city budget has prevented the hiring of all the needed firefighters so far.
Deepwater Horizon was a success at the box office this weekend and just in time for the release of the movie is a new study looking at how coastal marshlands recovered from the 2010 environmental disaster. Marine conservation biology professor at Duke University, Brian Silliman, says patches of marsh grass nearly covered by oil never recovered. Silliman says marshes with less than 90-percent oil coating did not erode as quickly as they expected, but 40 to 50 acres of marsh is permanently lost and can’t be brought back without active restoration.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is concerned about the rising number of deaths from prescription opioid overdoses in Louisiana, and the costs associated with prescription pill addiction. Donelon says for the first time since the Vietnam War, the life expectancy has gone down for white males ages 25 to 35, and he says that’s due in part to the opioid epidemic in the US. Donelon says in 2014, 750 people died of opioid overdoses in Louisiana. He says a rising cost of insurance for injured workers is the least of the concerns with this issue.
Louisiana State police say four people have been arrested in a human trafficking investigation that began more than a year ago. State police says a victim in the case was rescued in August of 2015, when two people were arrested. The subsequent investigation led to the recent jailing of four others accused of holding the victim against her will and forcing her to participate in sexual activity. Suspects are being held in East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes on human trafficking and other charges.
What a debut by Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron as he guided the Tigers to a 42-7 thrashing of the Missouri Tigers on Saturday night. LSU’s offense, which was stagnant through the first four games of the season, rolled up 634 yards of total offense, which is a school record for total offense in SEC games.
It wasn’t flashy, but Louisiana Tech picked up a much needed victory on Saturday with a 28-7 win over UTEP. Ryan Higgins threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns and Coach Skip Holtz says it was nice to get a win after losing two straight on the road
For the second straight week, UL Lafayette lost in overtime on the road. New Mexico State beat the Cajuns 37-31 in double overtime on Saturday night to drop U-L-L’s record to 2-3
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