News for Thursday 083117
By Dave Graichen
No Public school Thursday in the following parishes.. Rapides Parish, Vernon Parish, LaSalle Parish & Beauregard Parish. Also closed, Catholic schools in Rapides and Natchitoches parishes. Classes are cancelled at LSUA, all campuses of NSU, Central Louisiana Technical College's Alexandria, Winnfield, Natchitoches, Many, Jena and Leesville campuses &The Learning Center for Rapides Parish.
Classes will resume today in Avoyelles Parish, St. Landry & Grant Parish public schools and at Louisiana College.
The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s office is strongly advising residents on the western side of the parish to evacuate. That’s because the Sabine River Authority opened all of the flood gates at Toledo Bend Lake by one foot because of rising waters. The authority says they may continue to raise the gates in one-foot increments to provide a controlled release.
Harvey continues to move to the North East, out of the state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately Louisiana has been spared from much of the flooding seen in Texas. He says that’s because the system ingested dry air. Keim says the greatest rainfall total from Houston is nearly 52 inches, while the Bayou State has topped out at around 30 inches in extreme southwest Louisiana.
High water a problem on I-10. If you’re trying to get to Texas, be advised I-10 Westbound at milepost 4 near the Texas state line is closed due to flooding on the Texas side of the Sabine River.
Louisianans who want to help with the Harvey relief efforts both in Texas and Louisiana can find ways to give at VolunteerLouisiana.gov. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says thousands have already signed up to give their time and resources to those in need.
Members of the Louisiana National Guard continue to help with search and rescue efforts in Texas, as flood waters will not recede for some time. Col. Ed Bush says it’s a great feeling to be able to help our neighbors in need. Bush says hundreds of rescues have already been conducted, and many Texans are now in shelters in Lake Charles.
Calcasieu Parish survived Tropical Storm Harvey without any widespread flooding. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says the rural areas on the western side of the parish took on some water, but all things considered, it could have been much worse.
Harvey is finally moving out of Gulf Coast, but forecasters are now keeping an eye on a tropical disturbance near southern Mexico. Andy Tingler with the National Weather Service says there is a low chance this system could develop into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days. There is also Tropical Storm Irma, which is currently gaining strength in the Atlantic and is located off the western coast of Africa. Tingler says there’s a good chance Irma could develop into a hurricane over the next few days.
Congress will be tasked with reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program once lawmakers reconvene in September. This has become an even bigger priority as hundreds of thousands of homeowners cope with the flood waters left by Harvey. US Senator John Kennedy says the NFIP is the only option for homeowners to cover homes for flooding. He says the amount of flooding from substantial rainfall has doubled in the past decade. He says virtually no one in the country today is immune from flooding, no matter where you live.
New Orleans received minimal impacts from Harvey and the city is in good shape to host the LSU-BYU football game on Saturday. Ticket sales are underway for the LSU-BYU season opener at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Fans who purchased tickets for the game in Houston, season ticket holders and students have first priority. LSU Ticket Manager Brian Broussard says the general public can now buying tickets online through Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range from 40-dollars to 250-dollars
News for Wednesday 083017
By Dave Graichen
Public schools in Rapides Parish, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Grant, Natchitoches, St. Landry and Vernon parishes will be closed Wednesday as tropical storm Harvey moves across the state. Also closed today Catholic schools in Rapides, Avoyelles and Natchitoches parishes, Alpine Christian School , Grace Christian School, University Academy, St. James Episcopal Day School, Montessori Educational Center & Alexandria Country Day School. Louisiana State University of Alexandria, Louisiana College, the Learning Center for Rapides Parish, Northwestern State University campuses and Central Louisiana Technical College's nine campuses are all closed.
Southwest Louisiana will likely see the biggest impact from Tropical Storm Harvey, but the entire state will be affected. In northwest Louisiana, a flash flood watch is in effect through Thursday evening. Lisa May with the National Weather Service in Shreveport expects periods of heavy rainfall through the end of the week. May says the area could also see gusty winds and isolated tornadoes as Harvey treks through the area.
Cleco is ready for Tropical Storm Harvey’s arrival in Louisiana as five of the energy company’s operational regions are in the path of the storm. Jennifer Cahill with Cleco says they are doubling the number of crews available to safely restore power if need be. She says Cleco is reminding customers to stay safe and beware of rising water and downed power lines.
Cameron Parish braced for impact yesterday as Tropical Storm Harvey prepared to make a second landfall and start it’s treks north through the state. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Danny Lavergne says the biggest threat from the storm is the water, as the parish received about 30 inches of rain in just the last two days. Forecasters are saying the costal parish could see another 10 to 20 inches of rain before the storm moves through.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the Cajun Navy’s work in Texas is receiving praise from local authorities. So how do they do it? Penny Shar with Project We Care Louisiana works in conjunction with the Cajun Navy 2016 and she says they use the Zello Smartphone App to communicate with nearby boats to help find stranded residents. Shar says they will work closely with officials here at home to organize efforts rescue efforts as well.
The Cajun Navy is working hard to assist Texas authorities with ongoing search and rescues. While volunteers work to rescue people in Texas, the North Louisiana Red Cross is giving them a place to stay once they are safe. Executive Director Michelle Davidson says the shelter at Morning Star Baptist Church will house up to 250 individuals.
State Police is investigating the shooting of a Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s deputy. The suspect in the case was fatally shot. Authorities say a deputy was shot while conducting a traffic stop near Simsboro High School. His bullet proof vest deflected the bullet. The state police says the deputy returned fire, killing the suspect.
LSU says fans who bought tickets for the season opener against BYU in Houston will have their money refunded automatically. Athletic Director Joe Alleva says those who had tickets, will get first priority to purchase tickets for the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, then LSU season ticket holders, students followed by the general public.
News for Tuesday 082917
By Dave Graichen
Harvey has strengthened as it moves over the Gulf along the Texas coast. John Cangialosi with the National Hurricane Center says the biggest concern is the continued rainfall over eastern Texas and western Louisiana with isolated totals reaching 50 inches in some areas. He encourages everyone to stay up to date on advisories issued in their areas.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the worst is yet to come in Louisiana with Tropical Storm Harvey. He says in southwest Louisiana, forecasters say 10-15 inches of additional rain could fall on already saturated grounds through Friday.
The National Guard has mobilized about 60 soldiers to Southwest Louisiana to assist with the possibility of flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey. High water vehicles and boats are prepositioned in eight of the state’s western parishes.
The Cajun Navy is assisting with the flood response in Texas and additional resources are on the way. Penny Shar is with Project We Care Louisiana, she says about 100 people with boats and high water vehicles left from Baton Rouge, and more are leaving from Lafayette. Forty Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents are also in Texas assisting authorities with search and rescue efforts.
Several roads are under water in south Louisiana. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has told citizens in the Crescent City to stay home today and off the streets.
Three men from St. Tammany Parish are heroes. The had just arrived in Houston to help flood victims when they spotted an elderly woman face-down in the floodwaters brought by Tropical Storm Harvey. Joshua Lincoln said he and fellow "Cajun Navy" members Ricky Berrigan and Donnie Davenport were able to pull the woman, 73-year-old Wilma Ellis, into their boat and get her breathing again in relatively short order. They say it was a case of just being in the right place at the right time.
It’s official, LSU’s season opener against BYU will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is set for 8:30, and the game will be televised by ESPN. Tickets and parking passes purchased through LSU’s ticket office will be automatically refunded tomorrow. The LSU ticket office will work to set up a purchasing structure for that event, and fans will be alerted when tickets are available. The game was moved from NRG Stadium in Houston because of epic flooding from Harvey.
Today marks 12 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, and Texans are facing a similar situation now with Harvey. State climatologist Barry Keim says both made landfall as a major hurricane, but Katrina reached Category 5 strength in the Gulf and weakened, while Harvey continued to strengthen until landfall. Keim says the biggest surge from Harvey so far is 6.8 feet, while Katrina caused the biggest surge ever measured in the western hemisphere at 28 feet. Keim says Harvey has been meandering around at about 2 miles per hour. He notes the storm has only moved about 100 miles since last Friday.
Today marks the 12 year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Over 15-hundred people died in Louisiana from the powerful storm. But, former Governor Kathleen Blanco says it could’ve been a lot worse if they hadn’t of evacuate one million people from New Orleans. Some people decided not to leave. Many of them were casualties of the storm. She says so many Louisiana residents worked feverously to help each other during that difficult time. When asked about the situation in Houston, Blanco said she doesn’t understand why a city the size of Houston has no evacuation plan in place.
News for Monday 082817
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is not out of the woods yet when it comes to Tropical Storm Harvey. Edwards asks residents to stay vigilant and pay attention to local news reports. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Harvey will eventually move towards Louisiana. Keim says rainfall from Harvey is Louisiana’s biggest threat.
Lake Charles could still see upwards of 12 inches of rain. Here in Central Louisiana 4 to 6 inches and New Orleans up to 8 inches are possible through the end of the week.
As Tropical Storm Harvey delivered a wallop Sunday to Louisiana’s neighbors in Texas, Louisianans remembered the many disasters that have struck home and Texans were always there to help. The Pelican State managed Sunday to avoid most of Harvey’s fury. But around Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other parts of the state, members of the Cajun Navy sprang into action to return the neighborly love. Many who spent last August wading around south Louisiana’s floodwaters in boats packed them up Sunday and headed west to help rescue Texans caught in the floods.
The FAA has announced Houston's Hobby Airport, a key piece of New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport and Southwest Airlines' travel schedules, is closed until Wednesday morning at the earliest. Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which files to both New Orleans and Baton Rouge's airports, is also closed. The FAA expects that airport might reopen today.
With Louisiana in a state of emergency due to Harvey, the Attorney General’s Office warns consumers to be wary of price gouging. Deputy Director of Public Protection Mike Dupree says once the governor declares a state of emergency, price gouging laws go into effect. Dupree says that does not include price changes like a few cents increase for a gallon of gas, which could go up due to the market. But he says if the price of emergency supplies spikes overnight, consumers should be suspicious. He encourages anyone who suspects a business of price gouging to report it immediately.
The Shreveport City Council will soon consider a proposal to construct a 30-million dollar sports complex in the downtown area. The goal of the complex, which would be right next to a proposed mixed use development site, is to lure the New Orleans Pelicans G-League team to the arena. Local banker Rich Holland says different entities are now gathering their plans for presentation. There is also talk of the facility being used as a practice facility for the New Orleans Saints.
For the second straight preseason game, the Saints defense did not allow an offensive touchdown. The Saints held the Texans to 246 total yards and 13 first downs in a 13-0 victory over Houston on Saturday night.
LSU is scheduled to play BYU this Saturday, but athletic director Joe Alleva doubts it can be played in Houston. Alleva says a number of alternate locations are being considered and a decision should be made early this week.
News for Friday 082517
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane Harvey is expected to reach Category 3 strength by the time the storm makes landfall in Texas. Eric Blake with the National Hurricane Center says the storm isn’t expected to move far inland, as it makes landfall early Saturday morning. Models show Harvey moving east towards Louisiana after making landfall, and Governor John Bel Edwards has already declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm. Extensive rainfall is expected, and the governor says citizens should prepare now.
Edwards says the biggest concern is in southwest Louisiana, but the entire state could see high rainfall totals.
More jobs are coming to Union Parish, as Foster Farms announces a $30 million expansion that will result in 50 new direct jobs and 42 indirect jobs. Farmerville Mayor Stein Baughman says this is huge for the parish. The poultry processing facility will also maintain over 1,000 existing jobs.
A southwest Louisiana mother of four is now a millionaire after winning $2 million in the Powerball. The woman works as an assistant manager at the Tiger Mart in Lake Arthur. Store manager April Lemaire says if anyone deserves to win, it’s her. The Tiger Mart will receive a bonus of 20-thousand dollars for selling the ticket. Lemaire says the assistant manager plans to keep working at the convenience store.
The state Department of Education announces a new program has launched that would let experienced teachers statewide get training to become mentors to aspiring educators. They say beginning in the fall and over the next three years, Louisiana will establish at least 2,500 professionals equipped with the necessary skills to help guide a new generation of teachers.
Louisiana is home to the third worse drivers in the nation, according to a report by SmartAsset. Vice President of Financial Education AJ Smith says they looked at vehicle fatalities, insurance rates, and Google searches to determine the rankings. She says the Bayou State did not fare well in any of those categories. Smith says at 86 percent, Louisiana has the 16th lowest rate of insured drivers in the country. Florida and Mississippi were the only states that had worse drivers than Louisiana.
Louisiana customers who use Walmart to conduct money transfers can use a new feature called Express Money Services. The company says instead of filling out paperwork at the store, you can enter the information into the Walmart app. Customers will use a dedicated Express Lane at the store to complete the transaction.
A third relative has been arrested in Webster Parish in the bizarre case of a seven-year-old who shot his aunt twice. The child’s grandmother, 64-year-old Cheryl Lee of Shreveport was booked on obstruction of justice as she allegedly tried to cover up the shooting. The boy’s mother and grandfather are also facing charges.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office has ruled the death of a 53-year-old man whose body was found in the backyard of a home in an overgrown area, as a homicide. They say Dale Sands had been reported missing by the Sheriff’s Office, and officials say he was shot in the chest and head. Investigators have not yet established a motive or suspect.
The Saints are set to the play the Texans in exhibition game number three. Quarterback Drew Brees is expected to get his first action of the preseason and he’s excited to finally play in a game. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson is expected to make his preseason debut as well. Brees says he’s been impressed with the future Hall of Famer during camp.
News for Thursday 082417
By Dave Graichen
Keeping an eye on Harvey.. Now a tropical storm.. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this system will likely be more of a rainmaker for most of Louisiana, but areas across the coast are looking at more complicated circumstances. Keim says Harvey should make landfall around the central-Texas coast sometime Friday evening. He says once that happens, the system is expected to turn eastward, and slow down. There’s the potential that over 20 inches of rain, with Houston/Galveston being ground zero. Keim says once the storm stalls, it could sit there for a couple of days.
Most of the schools in the Rapides Parish School District are eligible now to participate in a federal program that allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. The Community Eligibility Program helps individual schools or entire districts in some cases to feed every student for free without families submitting an application for free or reduced meals. All but 16 of the 49 Rapides Parish schools qualify to participate in the program.
The Pineville PD reports the Dollar General on Main Street in Pineville was held up at gunpoint yesterday afternoon about 5 p.m. Employees told investigators that the unidentified suspect entered the store brandishing a firearm and demanding money from the cash register. They complied. Police are asking anyone with information to please contact them. The robber was described as a black male wearing blue shorts and a dark-colored hoodie. He was last seen running along the railroad tracks on Main Street in the direction of Melrose.
67 year old Walter Smith Sr. of Pineville turned himself into Tuesday following an investigation into complaints about home improvement fraud. Smith was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on five counts of home improvement fraud greater than $1,500. He later was released on a $15,000 bond.
Twenty-five years ago today one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history made landfall in Florida and then crossed the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near Morgan City. Andrew slammed into Louisiana on August 26th, 1992. It left extensive damage in its wake in St. Mary and Iberia Parishes and across a good portion of south Louisiana. Private property damage was estimated at one billion dollars.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling is excited about being named the starter when the Tigers hit the field September 2nd against BYU in Houston.
Confederate monuments should be replaced with statues of Britney Spears according to a Louisiana woman who has thousands of people that agree with her. Rayne native and petition creator, Kassie Thibodeaux, says the Change.org petition has over 4500 signatures and she hopes the governor notices.
A 38-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting an elderly man in Opelousas in a road rage incident. Police Chief Donald Thompson says they arrested Joshua Babineaux this morning after the public recognized him from surveillance video released to the media. Babineaux is charged with aggravated second degree battery and simple battery of the infirm.
Baton Rouge Police are looking for a man from Ponchatoula accused of shooting and killing a 19-year-old woman. They say 20-year-old James Seymore is believed to have been playing with a hand gun in the back of a vehicle when it accidentally fired striking the victim, Briana Hornsby while she was driving. Seymore fled on foot and remains at large. Hornsby died from her injuries.
Southern Lab High School will have to vacate its 2016 and 2015 state championship football titles, plus its runner-up trophy in 2014 after it was learned the Baton Rouge school violated the LHSAA’s recruiting rules. The school has been banned from postseason play for the next two years and their head coach has been fired and suspended by the LHSAA for one year.
St. Martinville hopes to become “The Pepper City of the World.” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Fuselier says they will ask the state legislature to pass a resolution giving them the prestigious title. He says for nearly a century, St. Martinville has had a pepper industry, like Pepper’s Unlimited. St. Martinville is also known for the company Cajun Chef, which produces 250 different products. Fuselier says they also have been home to a pepper festival for the last 26 years. He says the town is a big tourist attraction and adding this title will only boost visitors.
News for Wednesday 082317
By Dave Graichen
A Leesville man was killed in a two vehicle accident yesterday morning east of Pitkin on LA 10. State police report 54 Year old Timothy Philips was killed when he pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Philips, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. A passenger in Philip’s vehicle was reported to have minor injuries.
People all over Louisiana are rushing to get a Powerball ticket as tonight’s jackpot has reached 700-million dollars, with a cash value of 443 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says now that the jackpot is so high, many offices and friends join together to buy a pool of tickets for a better chance to win the prize. She says it’s a good idea to make sure one person is in charge of the tickets. Preferably someone you trust.
Governor John Bel Edwards says state officials are monitoring the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico named Harvey, and GOHSEP is setting up their crisis action team today. He says the storm could hit Southeast Texas sometime Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, so Southwest Louisiana should be on alert.
A 38-year-old Ruston man has been arrested for allegedly fatally shooting the mother of his children and injuring another woman and a one-year-old. Authorities say Frank Stringfellow is charged with one count of first degree murder. The 54-year-old injured woman and the baby are expected to survive.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says a 7-year-old boy who shot his aunt two times for not feeding him will not be charged with a crime. He says police responded to a home outside of Minden last week and found Amanda Gipson suffering from two gunshot wounds. She claimed it was an accident, but Sexton isn’t buying that. He says the child can’t be charged due to his age. Sexton says this was not an accident and he hopes this 7-year-old gets help.
President Donald Trump stated Monday night that America must fight to win the war in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been stationed since 2001. Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere says the United States should’ve never been in this war but he agrees with the president’s sentiments. The president did not say how many additional troops he would send into Afghanistan and seemed to agree with the Pentagon’s suggestion for sending in about 4-thousand soldiers. Villere says it’s time to fix this mess and end the war in Afghanistan.
LSU’s new mascot, Mike VII, appears to be right at home and loving his new habitat on campus since being introduced Monday. Formerly Harvey, the tiger was donated to LSU by the Wild at Heart Wildlife Center in Okeechobee, Florida. Jeremy Hargett is the co-owner of the rescue facility. He says when they re-home big animals like Mike, they pray that they end up in a good, thriving situation. He says now that Harvey has a new home in Baton Rouge surrounded by love and LSU fans, they aren’t worried about him one bit.
News for Tuesday 082217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines is not expected to appear in court Thursday for his arraignment, pending the results of a pre-sentencing investigation requested by the court. However, he is still expected to resign from his job this week as part of a plea deal. Grines was arrested June 23 after a multi-jurisdictional drug investigation.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie is telling his colleagues that he will wait until his doctors give him the okay, before he returns to the Capitol. A spokesperson for the Republican lawmaker says Scalise was on a conference call with GOP legislators today to discuss spending bills. Scalise was shot in June in the hip and is undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, after undergoing several surgeries.
A report by Caring.com finds Louisiana is the 32nd best state to grow old. Caring.com Vice President Tim Sullivan says Louisiana did not rank anywhere close to the top 10, because of the quality of life in senior care facilities. The study incorporated statistics on senior living community reviews, nursing home costs, in-home care prices and elderly well-being assessments. In case you’re wondering, the report found Utah is the best state to grow old.
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to meet with new FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says Edwards would like to discuss how local, state, and federal authorities can partner to prepare the city of New Orleans for another devastating flood. Of course last year’s flood will also be an issue for the two to discuss. During the floods of 2016, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. FEMA was on hand to help with emergency response and the rebuilding.
The Department of Children and Family Services announces over half a million dollars of child support payments have been paid through MoneyGram in the first six months of the year. Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says they’ve seen an increase in participation after allowing electronic payments. She says it’s made it easier for noncustodial parents, who do not have bank accounts, to pay their child support, because they can now make payments in cash. Payments for the first six months of the year totaled more than $530,000.
A 20-million dollar annual federal grant has been awarded to the state Department of Education to help struggling public schools. Educations officials say schools over the next few weeks will apply for the money and those with the best plans for progress will receive the funds. A struggling school is defined as a school that earned a performance rating of a D or an F for the last three years and currently 225 schools in Louisiana fit this description.
Michael Tyler, better known as Louisiana rapper Mystikal, has turned himself into authorities in Caddo Parish after a warrant for his arrest was issued. Sgt. Paula Farquhar (far-kwar) with the Shreveport Police Department says Tyler along with a 26-year-old Texas man have been charged with first degree rape. Authorities are still searching for 42-year-old Tenichia Wafford, of Texas, who is charged with one count of Accessory after the fact to first degree rape for allegedly trying to convince the victim to drop the charges against the rapper.
Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody will not bring back a bill seeking to protect Confederate monuments. Carmody attempted to pass a proposed law during the last legislative session to require a public vote, before a military monument could be taken down. It passed the House, but died in a Senate committee. Four Confederate monuments have been removed in New Orleans, but there are still ones standing in Shreveport, Lafayette, Tallulah and here in Alexandria.
Big day on the LSU campus Monday, as classes started and a new live mascot is wandering around in his habitat. The 11-month-old male tiger arrived last week in Baton Rouge and was confined to his night house until his debut yesterday.
There were no winners of Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot drawing, and the big prize now goes to $650 million dollars. The cash value of the Wednesday jackpot is $411.7
An announcement could come as early today as on who will be the Tigers starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU. Senior Danny Etling is expected to get the nod, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada likes what he’s seen from freshman Myles Brennan.
News for Monday 082117
By Dave Graichen
Millions of Americans are getting ready to watch today’s total solar eclipse. LSU astronomy professor Michael Cherry says this is the first time since 1979 a solar eclipse has been visible from the US. He says the total eclipse will be visible in a path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina. Cherry says most of Louisiana will see about 80 percent of the sun blocked during the eclipse. He says the best time to view it will be between 1 and 2 p.m.
The Louisiana SPCA advises pet owners to bring their fur babies inside during today’s solar eclipse. Pets don’t normally stare at the sun, but just to be on the safe side, best to leave them indoors. Experts recommend bringing them in 30 minutes before the eclipse begins, and waiting until 30 minutes after it ends to let them back out.
The first ever live broadcast of a solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon will take place in Illinois by the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, a NASA based program of LSU students. Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Physics and Astronomy Department Dr. Dana Browne says by hanging an HD video camera underneath a weather balloon, they will be able to see the shadow of the moon crossing over the earth’s surface. Browne says the video will be sent from the balloon to the ground station through a wireless transmitter and then live streamed.
Louisianan’s unemployment rate is falling. According to the AP, the jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent in June from 6.2 percent a year ago. One hundred ten thousand people in Louisiana are unemployed, down from 115,000 in July. The Bayou State’s unemployment rate is still the third highest in the country.
It’s expected there will be a big need for industrial plant workers in Baton Rouge through 2018. Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance Executive Director Connie Fabre says the demand for skilled employees will be so high because of all the new facilities that will be coming online over the next couple of years. Fabre says industrial crafts in most demand are things like pipe fitting, welding and electrical and instrument technicians…:
The 96th Cadet Class began the Louisiana State Police Training Academy on Sunday. For about 20 weeks, thirty-six men and women from a variety of backgrounds will undergo an intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says after graduating, the new troopers will participate in a 10 to 14 week field training program.
Voter registration week begins today, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging citizens to take part. He says new voters and those who have just moved back into the state should register. Louisiana will be electing a state treasurer this fall as well as hosting many local elections, propositions and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Schedler says you can register online at sos.la.gov
No more confederate statues will come down in New Orleans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu says taking down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were the right thing to do but removing Andrew Jackson is a step too far. Landrieu says the Andrew Jackson statue was put in place for all the right reasons.
The state department of transportation has redesigned the concrete walls on new interstate projects. Secretary Shawn Wilson says two inch tall openings will be put in the walls every so many feet to allow water to flow though. Three projects currently underway will feature the new design.
The homeowner assistance program for flood victims has been expanded by the Restore Louisiana Task Force. Office of Community Development executive director Pat Forbes says this means all homeowners impacted by the flood now qualify for assistance. Members of the board approved the changes recommended by Governor John Bel Edwards without objection.
The Saints defense flexed its muscles last night in 13-7 victory over LA Chargers in Week 2 of the Preseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan and running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson did not play Sunday night, marking the second straight game.
News for Wednesday 081617
By Dave Graichen
A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent who was shot in the line of duty in Morehouse Parish has returned to work. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot four times while conducting a traffic stop in January. 31-year-old Amethyst Baird and 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette have been charged in the shooting and are awaiting trial. Tuesday was Wheeler’s first day back on patrol duties
The BESE board meets behind closed doors today to discuss the job status of state Education Superintendent John White. Board member Kathy Edmonston of Gonzales says she would like the entire panel to vote to whether or not White stays in the position he’s held since 2012. White makes 270-thousand dollars a year and works month to month, as the board has yet to extend his contract.
A new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds Louisiana along with 11 other Southern states are slacking when it comes to implementing policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The report finds over 24-thousand people in Louisiana will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 9-thousand will die from it.
A man has been charged in a double homicide after calling the cops on himself. Maj. Steven Williams with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says John Nichols fatally shot Anthony and Rachel Denicola outside their home. He says two juveniles were inside the residence at the time. Nichols called police after the incident to report the shooting.
Governor John Bel Edwards once again met Attorney General Jeff Landry in a court room, as the battle continues over an anti-discrimination executive order. Edwards issued the order in April to protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination in state offices. A judge ruled the order is unconstitutional, but Edwards appealed the ruling. An appeals court heard arguments yesterday. No word on when a decision may be rendered by the court.
39 year old Raven Desoto was I’d as a suspect in an Aug. 8 the burglary of a Kolin home. Authorities didn’t have to go far to arrest her, she was already in jail on unrelated charges. She was rebooked on charges of criminal trespassing, criminal damage of less than $500 and burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
After peaking over the last couple of weeks, gasoline prices appear to be leveling off, according Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy. DeHaan expects gas prices may level off for the next few weeks before they really start to drop in mid- to late-September. Louisiana has the ninth lowest gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $2.16 a gallon.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves after a man was ticketed for flipping off a state trooper on I-20 near Rayville. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the man was charged with felony public intimidation. Esman says as rude as it may be, giving someone the finger is a First Amendment right. The charge was dismissed by the state attorney who reviewed the case.
Two arrests have been made in the case of a 22-year-old Houston man who was brought to Louisiana to die. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Dustin Hammons was last seen with the two suspects, 22-year-old Ashlyn Brown and 45-year-old Boyd “Lurch” Hagood, both of Baytown, Texas. The two are charged with second degree murder. Police are saying the incident was drug related.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is looking for answers after a three-legged dog was shot and killed in Acadia Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says it takes a sick person to take the life of a little three-legged dog who means so much to his family. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
A study out of Harvard Medical School and the University of California finds about 55-percent of people say they are faced with unpleasant and potentially hazardous conditions at work. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says less educated individuals typically face tougher workplace conditions. He says nowadays, to get paid a decent wage, you need a college education.
Saints coach Sean Payton said of the rumors that the team was planning to trade Delvin Breaux, that he would never comment on that kind business. But added it’s normal to discuss players or possible trades during training camp.
Just a day after announcing his departure from LSU, quarterback Lindsey Scott already has a spot on another team. The Zachary High star signed with East Mississippi Community College Tuesday. EMCC has won three junior college national championships under Coach Buddy Stephens.
The New Orleans Pelicans schedule is out and they are slated to play the Warriors and Cavs in their first two home games of the season. The Pels start their season on October 18th on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, then make their Smoothie King Center debut for 2017-2018 against the NBA Champ Golden State.
News for Tuesday 081517
By Dave Graichen
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is still optimistic the Senate can pass a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller have constructed a measure, which Cassidy says is the only instrument the Republicans have left. He says their solution is to give the power to the states by giving them federal health care dollars through a federal block grant.
Cassidy says right now we have a system that is not working and is not sustainable.
Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham said in an interview with the Fox network that he does not stand by any of the comments made by David Duke who was on hand at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Fellow Republican Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia blamed the violence on outsiders from states like Louisiana, like Duke. Abraham said he’s offended by the comment and that the former KKK grand wizard does not speak for Louisiana.
Members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and the governor toured Denham Springs with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson Monday, and praised him for efforts in cutting red tape during flood recovery. Carson says he is very pleased and impressed with the progress south Louisiana has made since last August. Although he says the money allocated will be well spent for flood recovery, Carson acknowledges regulations could be improved.
LSU has announced that fans will have to wait a little longer to take pictures and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches, as the annual Fan Day has been moved to the spring. Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said there are many construction projects taking place on campus which just didn’t make Fan Day feasible this fall.
An audit of the state’s foster care program revealed that understaffing has led to increased caseloads for workers at the department of children and family services. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they lost 2,000 workers in the Jindal Administration, which left workers with an average of 16 cases at a time. Karen Leblanc with the legislative auditor’s office says they found not all foster care providers had the required criminal background checks. They either had no check, or they were not completed in a timely manner.
The American Duchess paddle wheeler made her maiden voyage up the Mississippi River Monday, leaving out of the Port of New Orleans and making stops at historic sites and attractions. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says it’s a 166-guest ship offering inland cruises. This is the third vessel in the American Queen Steamboat Company’s fleet.
Cable barrier installation is set to begin this week in Caddo and Desoto Parishes along I-49, according to the state department of transportation. Erin Buchanan with DOTD says this is one of the larger cable barrier projects in the district with a total 41 miles to be installed. Most of that will be in Desoto Parish
News for Friday 081117
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Trout yesterday morning. Troopers say a pickup, driven by 47 year old Christie Kilgore, was westbound on LA Hwy 500 when Kilgore lost control and exited the left side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a tree. Kilgore, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police is investigating a fatal ATV crash in Avoyelles Parish that claimed the life of a man, and injured two young children. They believe 30-year-old Jeremy Armand of St. Martinville crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic on a roadway, and collided head on with a van traveling in the other direction. Armand died, and an 8-year-old and three-year-old on the ATV were injured. None of those on the ATV were wearing helmets.
One year ago today, torrential rains began pouring down on south Louisiana. By the time the rain stopped ten days later, 20 parishes had been declared federal disaster areas, and 13 people lost their lives. Livingston Parish was one of the most devastated, with 75 percent of the homes deemed a total loss. Parish President Layton Ricks says the parish is making a good comeback.
Louisiana has moved up two spots to number two in Insure-dot-com’s ranking of states with the most expensive auto insurance rates. The website says Louisiana drivers average annual rate is 19-hundred dollars, 46-percent higher than the national average. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an excessive amount of litigation is one big factor.
The Department of Transportation has found a contractor to widen Interstate 10 from Highland Road in Baton Rouge to LA 73 in Ascension Parish. It will take around two and a half years to widen the interstate by one lane in each direction. The $72 million project is being funded through a combination of state and federal funds.
A man is behind bars in connection with the death of a Tennessee truck driver who was killed in an armed robbery on Tuesday morning. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely says this wasn’t 18-year-old Landry Carter’s first robbery. Carter is charged with four counts of armed robbery and one count of first degree murder.
More flooding is a possibility in New Orleans, as a turbine at a pumping station caught fire last night and heavy rains are in the forecast. Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an emergency declaration for Orleans Parish.
3rd district Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is glad President Donald Trump is taking a stand against continued threats from North Korea. Higgins says previous administrations have dealt with aggression from North Korea with a, “kick the can down the road” mentality, but it’s about time to get serious. Higgins believes Mr. Trump is carefully targeting exactly what would needed to hit, and hit hard.
In Livingston Parish, Walker Police are looking for eyewitnesses who saw a 26-year-old woman jump out of a moving pickup truck Wednesday night as it was traveling on an I-12 entrance ramp. Captain John Sharp says 26-year-old Whitney Cotton is in critical condition. Foul play however is not suspected.
An Acadiana High School student is in trouble with the law and the school he attends after he allegedly repeatedly punched a school safety officer. Police say 17-year-old Robert Hebert of Duson got in trouble in the first place, because his hair was dyed red and in violation of the school’s dress code.
As Louisianans gear up to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, doctors remind the public to do so safely. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana Dr. James Sandifer says in Louisiana, only a partial eclipse will be visible, which is why it’s so important for viewers to protect their eyes. Sandifer says the only safe way to view the partial eclipse is with approved eclipse glasses. He says looking directly at the sun can damage or destroy the photoreceptors in the retina. He says that can cause permanent damage to the eye.
The Saints lost their season opener to the Cleveland Browns last night.. the final 20 to 14.
Former LSU Coach Les Miles says he’ll be a member of the media this football season. The mad hatter’s first assignment is with the SEC Network as he’ll serve as a guest analyst on SEC Nation, which will be in Arlington, Texas on September 2nd for the Michigan-Florida game.
LSU’s Kevin Toliver is the likely starting cornerback opposite of Donte Jackson. Coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida, Toliver was considered as one of the nation’s top corner prospects. In two seasons at LSU, Toliver has one interception and missed the final four games of last season due to a shoulder injury. Toliver says he’s ready to be an impact player this season.
News for Thursday 081017
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines faces arraignment date Aug. 24 on a felony malfeasance in office charge. Grines was arrested on June 23rd outside the Alexandria City Court complex after a multi-jurisdictional investigation. In addition to the malfeasance charge, Grines was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence and illegal carrying of a weapon.
NOAA now says there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic Hurricane season, up from May’s prediction of 45 percent. NOAA lead hurricane season forecaster Gerry Bell says wind patterns are conducive for storm development and sea surface temperatures are well above normal. The prediction now calls for 14-19 named storms.
State officials are starting the conversation about how to address the looming fiscal cliff in 2018 when more than a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been spreading the word at meetings around the state to bring the issue to the public’s attention. He says if lawmakers decided against replacing the $1.3 billion in revenue that is set to go away in July, the administration would be forced to reduce funding by 20 percent for every area of state government. He says that would be drastic for higher education, healthcare, prisons, and public schools.
Despite a slight decrease in revenue, the Louisiana Lottery reported its third best year ever. Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the corporation brought in nearly $455 million in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, the lottery saw a $53 million decline in revenue from the previous year. But still, the Louisiana Lottery transferred nearly $160 million to the state treasury this year for public education.
The search continues for the gunman who fatally shot a Tennessee truck driver during a robbery as the victim was changing a tire in a parking lot on Tuesday morning. Sgt. Don Coppola says 49-year-old Keith Odom was shot after he turned over his possessions to the robber. Odom died at a local hospital.
Bossier Parish authorities say three 18-wheelers collided with each other on Highway Two near Plain Dealing Wednesday morning. Deputies say it appears the first 18-wheeler stopped for another vehicle and the other two trucks hit the first one from behind. The truck drivers suffered only minor injuries.
School is back many students, which means school buses are returning to the road. State Farm spokesperson Kip Diggs reminds drivers it is never safe to pass a stopped school bus. Louisiana law requires vehicles to stop 30 feet away when children are getting on or off the bus.
Louisiana’s public schools performed only slightly better on ACT scores compared to last year, but with an average of 19.6 — that’s up from 19.1 since 2013.But, still below the national average. State Superintendent of Education John White says African Americans did better statewide, scoring an average of 17.5 this year. The number of students who qualify for TOPS also grew at every level of the award this year.
Louisiana parents of autistic children have a new resource after the Baton Rouge Area Foundation helped to launch a website full of information about benefits and resources. Director of civic leadership initiatives Lauren Jumonville says they hope to help point parents in the right direction. Jumonville says they went around the state cataloging all the resources that exist for people with disabilities. She says the website La.ExceptionalLives.org offers a variety of resources, including traditional ones like physicians and therapists, as well as others.
South Louisiana authorities are still looking for Lafayette businessman Lawrence Michael Handely, who is wanted in the kidnapping of a woman. Detectives believe two men who drowned when evading West Baton Rouge Parish Deputies were involved in the crime. How all of this connects remains unknown at this time. The Lafayette Police Department has only said that the woman’s abduction stemmed from an ongoing domestic dispute” between her and Handley.
A Lafayette Parish grand jury has indicted a man with murder in connection with the death of Jacqueline “Daisy Lynn” Landry. 22-year-old Malik Davis is accused of second degree murder. Family members and friends still cannot find Daisy Lynn since she was last seen in May. Little else is known about this case, including Davis’ involvement and what may have happened that lead to the murder charge and indictment.
A federal judge has blocked a current state law saying foreign born applicants can’t obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate filed a suit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.
The NCAA says Grambling State will not have to vacate its 2011 SWAC Football Championship. An internal investigation determined Grambling’s athletic program used ineligible players in eleven sports from 2010 to 2015, but it has determined that the 2011 championship team didn’t use ineligible players so the title will not be vacated. Grambling went 8-4 that season and beat Alabama A-and-M in the championship game.
News for Wednesday 080917
By Dave Graichen
This school year, some Louisiana teachers will face evaluations that are tied, in part, to student test scores. A poor rating could cost teachers their tenure and even their job. Brigitte Neiland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the principal will determine which teachers remain in the classroom. About 15,000 of the state’s 50,000 educators will be reviewed by the Value Added Model.
The controversy over how the pumps operated in the city of New Orleans during the weekend flooding event is not over. The city council called a meeting just before Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement saying he’d learned his staff hadn’t been honest about the event. The board originally said 7 pumps were out of service the night of the storm, but then came back and said 14, including 8 drainage pumps, were not working.
Mandeville Police have arrested a 25-year-old man accused of brutally raping a 53-year-old woman inside her home. Chief Gerald Sticker says they were able to catch up with Ronald Moore Jr. of Lacombe at his home after releasing to the media a photo of him on surveillance video.
West Baton authorities say they are certain the two bodies recovered from the Intracoastal Canal Monday are the suspects wanted in a Lafayette kidnapping. The Sheriff’s department announced yesterday the two males were speeding down the shoulder of I-10 when the interstate was closed. After a chase, their van got stuck, and the two fled on foot, apparently drowning in the canal.
A man in Caddo Parish has been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly fatally shooting his neighbor’s dachshund, because he thought it was an alligator. Caddo Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Bobby Herring says the dog was found in the pond with multiple gunshot wounds. Tommy Collinsworth Jr told cops he thought the dog was an alligator.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastwide Nutria Control Program is looking for south Louisiana landowners and hunters to help combat the invasive rodent. LDWF Biologist Catherine Normand says these pests can cause serious damage to an already vulnerable coast. Normand says the goal is to reduce Nutria induced marsh damage by removing about 400-thousand rodents per season.
Livingston Parish students and teachers are looking forward to a year of normalcy as they begin classes today just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the August flood. School superintendent Rick Wentzel says crews worked extensively on 8 flood damaged campuses throughout the summer. Three of those are complete, but five in the Denham Springs area will not be fully rebuilt for some time.
Contract details are out for new LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade. His six year deal will pay him 15 million dollars, that’s two-point-five million a season. The 34-year-old will be one of the highest paid basketball coaches in the SEC. Wade is also eligible for bonuses based on performance on the hardwood and in the classroom. The contract also does not include a buyout.
The Saints did not practice yesterday as they are two days away from the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. But a depth chart has been released. Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram are listed as co-starters at running back. It’s unclear how much they’ll play against the Browns, along with quarterback Drew Brees.
LSU Senior Quarterback Danny Etling likes the progress the Tigers are making during preseason camp. The Bayou Bengals are in training camp mode for the rest of this week and next and then school starts on Monday August 21st. Etling says the goal is to get better every day.
News for Tuesday 080817
By Dave Graichen
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a meeting with business and industry leaders to devise a plan for addressing a looming $1.3 billion fiscal cliff when temporary taxes expire in 2018. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the governor is looking to hear from the business community what types of policy changes may be palatable, specifically tax increases. He suspects the governor is looking for a starting point.
New Orleans officials say the roughly 10 inches of rain that fell on Saturday was too much for the city’s pump stations to handle. Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board Cedric Grant says the pumps were running at full capacity, despite the rising flood waters. The system is designed to pump out one inch of water in the first hour and half an inch for each subsequent hour.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish announced yesterday a body found under a Natchitoches Parish bridge Sunday has been tentatively identified as 31-year-old Anthony Rainey. Rainey has been the subject of a missing person’s case in Red River Parish since July 31. Officials now are investigating the death as a homicide.
Small business owners impacted by the 2016 floods are not completing the flood recovery survey as quickly as state officials had hoped. Lasonta Davenport with the Office of Community Development says only 423 businesses have completed the survey that will help shape the small business loan program. The survey is online at restore.la.gov.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the inaugural Flambeau Fest coming to Ascension Parish is another example of how tourism is alive and well in the Bayou State. He says the October 7 and 8 shows could begin another tradition that one day attracts visitors the way Jazzfest and Bayou Country Superfest do.
LSU will give some members of the faculty and staff a raise in the fall semester. The school is giving each department a 3-percent merit pay raise pool and each department head will determine how the raises will dispersed. University President F. King Alexander said in a letter that this is an effort to keep and attract quality talent to LSU.
West Baton Rouge officials have reportedly recovered a body from the Intracoastal Canal. The body was discovered by kids on a wave board who contacted authorities. Cause of dead has not yet been determined. The male body has not been identified, but the sheriff says it’s possible it could be one of the suspects wanted for an aggravated kidnapping in Lafayette. The kidnapped woman was reportedly found safe in Baton Rouge early yesterday.
A Sabine parish mother facing a murder charge after her two-year-old drowned and then tested positive for methamphetamine. Authorities say 23-year-old Christina Rivers’ son Mason was found in a neighbors Jacuzzi in June. She reportedly told authorities she left her son alone for a brief time, but autopsy confirmed he was in the hot tub for at least an hour.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping to get more tourists to visit the rural areas of the Bayou State. That’s why he’s scheduled meetings in small Louisiana towns to find the best way to promote local attractions. He says these rural areas don’t always have the money or expertise to market their town. Meetings will be held in Tallulah, Opelousas, Houma, and Hammond. Nungesser has already started promoting the rural areas of the state with the Louisiana Trails and Byways, which seeks to motivate travelers to take the backroads and see what the state has to offer. Nungesser says with more direct international flights into New Orleans, they need to find a way to get those visitors out of the big cities and into other parts of the state
Congress has recessed for the summer and many lawmakers are disappointed not much was accomplished. U.S Senator John Kennedy believes some good was done with the approval of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But he says his biggest disappointment was the failing to repeal and replace Obamacare by one vote. He says in the fall, Congress has a lot of work to accomplish.
LSU made the top 20 in Forbes’ annual list of colleges that dominate athletically and academically. Stanford came in at No. 1.
USA Today has released its 2017 conference projections, and Coach O and LSU are expected to have a great season. The Tigers are picked second in the West, with a projected 10-2 overall record and 6-2 conference record.
Louisiana Tech is picked to win the C-USA West with a 8-4 overall record and 6-2 in conference.
UL-Lafayette got 7th place in the Sun Belt with a projected 5-7 record overall, and 4-4 in conference action.
News for Monday 080717
By Dave Graichen
A 20-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested on charges of second degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting a 29-year-old man Friday. Police say Desmond Harris was found by police at around 7 p.m. Friday, after they responded to a shooting that took place just before 2 in the afternoon. Bond for Harris has been set at $1 million.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish are working to identify a body that was found under a bridge Sunday afternoon. Authorities say it appears the body had been there for several days.
State police say a DeRidder man had been issued his 4th DWI after he caused a crash while driving with a toddler in his car Saturday on Interstate 210 between Sulphur and Lake Charles. Brandon Fowler, who had his 2-year-old child in the vehicle with him, showed signs of impairment after he side swiped another vehicle.
With some New Orleans neighborhoods seeing 8 to 10 inches of rain falling in just a few hours Saturday the rainfall overwhelmed the ability of the City’s 24 pump stations to keep up, though all were operating, city officials said Sunday. The neighborhoods of Lakeview, Gentilly, Mid City and Treme were hit the hardest. City officials warn of more potential flooding in storms forecasted for today.
Today is the 90th birthday of former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards and he’s still going strong. During an appearance on Talk Louisiana, Edwards credits his long life to good genes, as two of his grandparents lived to be over 100-years-old. The Silver Fox says he’s lived a blessed and wonderful life. A birthday bash for the former governor is planned for August 12th at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton. The Cajun Prince has five children and has been married three times.
The state Department of Health reminding parents to make sure their kids are up to date on their vaccinations as the new school year approaches. LDH Immunization director Doctor Frank Welch says students entering sixth grade also need a meningitis vaccine. Louisiana law requires children age four or older entering kindergarten, pre-k or Head Start programs to receive vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis and chicken pox.
More students are getting their education at home instead of traditional classrooms. According to the state department of education, 26,000 students are homeschooled, while 4,000 more are enrolled in online charter schools. About 9,000 more students studied at home in 2016 than in 2010.
Two years from today, candidates will be qualifying for the governor’s race. So who will challenge Governor John Bel Edwards? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans are waiting to see what US Senator John Kennedy will do. Kennedy is 65-years-old and Pinsonat says if Kennedy wants to run for governor, it’s now or never.
If Kennedy doesn’t run, Pinsonat says Edwards’ chances of reelection look better. He says several congressmen, like Garret Graves, could raise plenty of campaign dollars, but he expects the back up front runner for the GOP would be Attorney General Jeff Landry.
President Donald Trump has nominated state Judge Terry Doughty of Rayville and Lafayette attorney Michael Juneau as federal judges in the Western District of Louisiana. There are now four vacancies in that district now that Patricia Minaldi retired to seek treatment for alcoholism.
The state legislative auditor has started an investigation into the East Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s office. There are allegations Sharon Weston-Broome’s administration misused federal grant money for a crime-fighting program. U.S. Senator John Kennedy also wants more information from the mayor’s office on this subject.
The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State increased their storm prediction total by one and now anticipate 11 named storms for the remainder of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the total number of storms has been increased to 16. He says this isn’t a big change but it still shows conditions are conducive for an active season. The forecast says eight of those eleven storms will become hurricanes.
The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will honor football legend Dr. Billy Cannon with a statue on the Baton Rouge campus. Cannon hopes the statue looks like he did in his glory days, young with a lot of hair. Cannon won the university’s only Heisman in 1959.
News for Friday 080417
By Dave Graichen
The trial of a man accused in a fatal DWI crash last December that killed a child has been set for November. Keaton Spurlin pled not guilty Thursday during a pretrial conference in the 9th Judicial District Court. Spurlin is charged with DWI, vehicular homicide, five counts of vehicular negligent injury, having an open container, careless operation, running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. The deadly accident occurred on Dec. 28, 2016, near the intersection of Bayou Rapides Road and Vandenburg Drive. Authorities say Keaton hit the rear of a van carrying six members of a family coming home from church.
Parents stocking up on back-to-school supplies can save a few dollars this weekend during the annual sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state Department of Revenue says most purchases are only subject to three percent of the state sales tax this Friday and Saturday.
National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says she hopes small businesses will see an increase in business but it was more beneficial for retailers when the law allowed for tax free weekend. She says they hope legislators will one day change it back so consumers can have a couple of days to purchase items tax free.
A federal lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge alleges two Orleans Parish inmates were kept in jail for five months after their sentences were served. Attorney Emily Washington with the Macarthur Justice Center says both men, in jail on a first offense, were eligible for release in August 2016, but they stayed in the River Bend Detention Center in Lake Providence until January of this year. Washington says officials knew these men were supposed to be released, but they took no action to do so.
The body of a 7-year-old boy was found in Shreveport yesterday, after he was swept away in a storm drain on Tuesday. The little boy was last seen playing near a ditch just before heavy rains began.
US Senator John Kennedy sent a letter to East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome about misuse of federal dollars. Kennedy says the BRAVE funds are meant to reduce crime and support police, but instead they’re going to people like Arthur Silky Slim Reed, who recently said justice was served when a gunman killed three police officers. A spokeswoman for Mayor’s Office said the mayor received the letter and “will be in communication with the senator.”
Four teenagers connected to the shooting death of a 61-year-old Walker man are in the Livingston Parish jail today after they were arrested in Texas. Rick McBride was fatally shot in his home when two individuals attempted to steal money and guns from him on July 23rd. A fifth person and possible gunman was also arrested in late July.
Crawfish have been found in Michigan and that state’s Department of Natural Resources is not happy. They say the red swamp crayfish damage earthen structures and compete aggressively for food and habitat, disrupting the food chain for many species in the water. Crawfish are extremely fertile and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time and reproduce twice a year. That means, there could be the chance of a Red Swamp Crayfish population becoming established in Michigan.
News for Thursday 080317
By Dave Graichen
One person is dead and a Red River Parish Sheriff’s deputy was injured during a shootout at a home south of Coushatta Wednesday morning. A state police spokesperson says the deputy was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the male suspect died at the hospital. The deputy visited the home in reference to a welfare concern.
The APD reports a Pineville woman has been arrested after she left a voicemail threatening to kill everyone at a local advocacy group. 74-year-old Charlotte Webb, left a lengthy voicemail with the group's office that included "multiple, profane threats of killing everyone in the office." Webb was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center, but was later released on a property bond.
The Alexandria Police Department now is asking residents of the Good Earth subdivision to check their vehicles and report anything that might have been stolen.
Police say a homeowner detained a burglary suspect for police after he woke up to find a man inside his truck. The suspect, one of three charged after being captured early Tuesday, later was found to have a suspected stolen gun and ammunition in his backpack.
22-year-old Tyler Alexander of Alexandria was arrested yesterday after he led APD officers on a short chase. Authorities say Alexander was jealous that his girlfriend gave someone a ride and reacted by kidnapped her. Police found Alexander hiding under a shed. Alexander was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with disturbing the peace, domestic abuse battery and a long list of other charges.
After posting racial comments on Facebook, the Assistant Police Chief in the Acadia Parish town of Estherwood has resigned. Welsh referred to Muslim women as trash bags and posted racially charged memes.
Membership has been announced for a task force that will examine the 350-million dollar TOPS scholarship program for the first time since it was established 20 years ago. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish will chair the committee. He says the panel consists of an array of lawmakers representing both parties and all corners of the state.
The task force’s first meeting is September 6
Baton Rouge police arrest a 42-year-old man for the stabbing death of his 41-year-old ex-girlfriend. Sara Hernandez was found dead in her Baton Rouge home on Sunday. Sergeant Don Coppola says detectives quickly learned Miquel Angel Lopez was their main suspect and they learned he suffered injuries during the attack. Authorities believe Lopez stayed with Hernandez’s body 10 to 14 hours before fleeing the scene.
Citing money problems, The Salvation Army homeless shelter in Monroe, the only one in the area, will close later this month. Spokesperson Jon Kalahar says church services and weekly prayer meetings will continue, and so will basic social services. About 30 homeless people sleep at the shelter every night.
This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest one yet. LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais says the oxygen-depleted region is about 8,800 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. She says many of the stations, especially those close to the shore, were close to no oxygen. Rabalais says the area may actually be even bigger, but they had to stop mapping before reaching the western edge.
U.S District Judge Patricia Minaldi of Lake Charles is retiring. The federal judge took a medical leave in December to receive alcoholism treatment. According to court records, Minaldi’s drinking got so bad that a colleague asked the court to rule she cannot take care of herself. Minaldi said a few months ago that her alcoholism didn’t impact the outcome of her cases.
Officials with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office say the body of 13-year-old Jarrett Varnado of Franklinton was recovered from Gray’s Creek. Officials say the boy was swimming when he disappeared below the water.
The massive construction project on Bourbon Street is two months behind schedule. New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan blames a rainy June and the exact location of almost all the utility lines underneath the historic street were either missing or inaccurately depicted on their plans. It might be until Halloween before all of the work is completed.
News for Wednesday 080217
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk reports a deal should be in place soon to turn over management of the Rapides Parish Coliseum to a private company. The Police Jury voted Tuesday to authorize a group of legal counsel Greg Upton, jurors Craig Smith and Joe Bishop and parish Treasurer Bruce Kelly to negotiate a contract with SMG to manage the Coliseum.
Since the Police Jury recently agreed to the broad strokes of a deal with SMG, a contract is expected to be quickly presented to jurors for final approval. SMG executives hope to officially take over management by Sept. 1.
Louisiana’s domestic abuse laws now include dating partners, as a new law took effect yesterday. Previously these abusers could only be charged with simple battery, but the new law creates the crime of battery of a dating partner.
LSU says they may have found a new live mascot at a sanctuary in Florida. Ginger Guttner with the LSU Vet School says the prospect is a nine-month-old, 160 pound male tiger. Guttner a major renovation project on the school’s Tiger habitat is nearing competition. She says if LSU gets the Tiger, it will be donated by the rescue facility, so no cost to the university.
The resident of the third home to be completed under the Restore Louisiana program is about to be home. Lillie Gumm of Baton Rouge was one of the first people to complete the flood recovery survey at restore.la.gov. She says throughout this ordeal, she’s learned about taking deep breaths. Money from the homeowner assistance program first went to the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals.
The author of the failed gasoline tax increase proposal says the state needs to look at other ways to repair the state’s decrepit roads and bridges. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter recommended a 17-cent gas tax hike, but the support was not there in the legislature. Carter says next year’s session is general and no tax bills can be filed. The following year is a fiscal session, but taxes are unlikely to pass during an election year. He says until lawmakers find a way to fund the state’s growing infrastructure needs, the problems will only get worse.
Two Minnesota teens are well on their way to becoming the youngest team to kayak the entire Mississippi River. Matt Rens and Jesse Richard are paddling through the Bayou. The pair has raised a little over 4-thousand dollars to help fund cleaner water in a village in a third world country.
Colorado authorities say a Baton Rouge area fire captain committed suicide in Durango, Colorado. The coroner says 48-year-old Rudi Shoats died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shoats was wanted in Mississippi for fatally shooting his wife. 45-year-old Khristie Rollins Shoats was found dead in a vehicle outside her in Woodville, Mississippi on Sunday.
More and more women are heading to court, as the American Bar Association finds an uptick in the number of female attorneys. Women account for 35 percent of lawyers in the state, a 7 percent jump since 2004. President of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Dona Renegar (Doh-na, not Donna) credits a more accommodating environment for female attorneys with family responsibilities. Baton Rouge is slightly ahead of the national average with females representing 38 percent of attorneys in the city.
A survey finds most parents’ believe their children are performing better than what their test scores actually show. Nine in 10 parents believe their children are at or above grade level, but data shows the number is really closer to one-third. Public Relations Chair for the Louisiana PTA Stacey Simpson says with the school year about to start, review your student’s test results and to help improve your child’s academic achievement make sure you stay involved. For a full list of the Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves visit be a learning hero.org
During a question and answer session with season ticket holders, Jets safety and former LSU Tiger Jamal Adams said the football field is a perfect place to die. Adams made the comment after he was asked about player safety. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was part of the Q-and-A session.
LSU Quarterback Danny Etlin says he feels a lot better than he did in the spring. Etling underwent a back procedure earlier this year and the senior from Indiana says he’s close to 100-percent…
News for Tuesday 080117
By Dave Graichen
Six people have been charged with helping an Alexandria man after he escaped from the Rapides Parish Courthouse last week. 37 year old Kenneth Johnson was captured two days later in Lafayette after a traffic stop. All six were charged with being an accessory after the fact, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Two were also charged with parole violations.
A new law takes effect today that seeks to curb the litter problem in Louisiana. It lowers the fine for littering from $1,000 to $900. Fines for littering were doubled in 2015, which triggered jury trial provisions that made enforcement less likely. However, the new law doubles the amount of community service time for a new offender.
Other laws set to go into effect today…Children can bring sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note. An unmarried minor seeking an abortion will not only need a notarized note from their guardian, but proof of identity as well. And portions of Governor John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reform package takes effect.
Drivers should no longer receive speeding tickets in the mail from hidden speed cameras thanks to a new law that goes into effect today. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation requires signs to be posted ahead of speed enforcement camera in order to collect on the fine. He says if the goal of these cameras is really to stop speeders, municipalities should have no problem posting warning signs.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with White House officials Monday afternoon to discuss proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico reports the Cassidy-Graham proposal would maintain protections for individuals with pre-exisiting conditions, keep most of the taxes connected to the Affordable Care Act, send federal health care funds to states in block grants, but end the requirement all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a tax.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the American Creosote Deridder, an environmentally contaminated site in Deridder, to the Superfund National Priorities Site. Greg Langley with the state Department of Environmental Quality says once this Beauregard Parish site is added to the list, it’s in line to receive federal funding that can go towards cleanup efforts. The state currently has 27 other Superfund sites.
Most juvenile killers will no longer be eligible to receive life sentences without the chance for parole, as a new law goes into effect today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the law was needed because the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that murderers convicted as juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole. Claitor notes that just because a lifer is given a chance for parole, it doesn’t mean they will be released.
A former Livingston Parish teacher admits to having a sexual relationship with a teen student. 33-year-old Lynsie Pendarvis was arrested last June when police discovered her relationship with a 15-year-old student at Walker Freshman High School. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says Pendarvis pleaded guilty to all charges. Pendarvis received a five-year-prison sentence, which was suspended and she must register as a sex offender for 15 years.
It was a deadly weekend in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says two teens were killed when a drug deal went wrong on Sunday evening. He says a woman was also found stabbed to death in a home on Sunday morning.
A school teacher from the Baton Rouge area and a principal from Acadiana are the Louisiana State Teacher and Principal of the Year, which is awarded annually by the state Department of Education. Kimberly Eckert, a 9th grade English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge, received the teacher of the year honor. This fall, Eckert will enter her 10th year of teaching. Tommy Byler, the principal of North Vermilion High School, received the honor of Principal of the Year. Byler has been in education for 26-years.
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