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.