News for Friday 092917
By Dave Graichen
Early voting begins tomorrow for the October 14th election, but Secretary of State Tom Schedler doesn’t expect a big turnout. Three constitutional amendments, the state treasurer’s race and a few big local elections are on the ballot. However, Schedler says there has not been much publicity. There is also a vacant Public Service Commissioner seat on the ballot for many voters in south Louisiana, as Scott Angelle left his post to work for President Donald Trump. Early voting is from 8:30 am to 6 p.m. and starts Saturday and continues through October 7th, except on Sunday.
Voters should be aware of three constitutional amendments on the October 14thballot. Amendment number one establishes a property tax exemption for construction work in progress. Amendment two would give surviving spouses of first responders who died while on duty a property tax exemption. And amendment three would create a construction subfund of the transportation trust fund that would force any new revenue from any future increase in the state gas tax to go towards road and highway construction projects and nothing else.
The state Department of Transportation’s Motorist Assistance Patrol Program, or MAP program, is headed to Alexandria to help with serious congestion problems in the region. Deidrea Druilhet with DOTD says the goal of introducing the MAP program to this central Louisiana area is to get traffic back to peak capacity by providing free help to drivers. Druilhet says the MAP program has proven successful in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans. She says patrols will be out to assist on local highways, not just I-49.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was greeted with a roaring ovation yesterday when he returned to the U.S. Capitol for the first time since he was shot by a gunman in the left hip The Metairie native says while it was an evil act, he was able to see the goodness of people. 60 minutes will have a feature on Scalise on Sunday night.
A UNO statewide poll finds a majority of Louisiana voters believe NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be punished. But Researcher Tony Licciardi says there was a stark difference between black and white respondents, 70-percent of whites say they should penalized, while only 34-percent of blacks felt the same. He says big racial divides in polling are not uncommon. The survey also found 49-percent approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, while 45-percent disapprove.
The two suspects wanted in the fatal stabbing of an 82-year-old woman in Shreveport are in a jail in Texas awaiting extradition back to Caddo Parish. Shreveport Police say Roy Narcisse and Kiana Williams of Ville Platte were located in San Angelo, Texas and they were still in possession of the victim’s vehicle.
West Baton Rouge officials say a 5 year old Lafayette boy passed away Thursday from the injuries he sustained in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 on Tuesday. Xander Cruz clung to life for two days after an 18 wheeler struck three vehicles on Tuesday. His grandmother says the boy’s organs will be donated to others.
One week after multiple Louisiana Sheriff’s Offices announced a lawsuit against several opioid manufacturers, the state Health Department has filed its own lawsuit claiming these drug companies helped fuel a severe opioid epidemic. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it could be difficult for the plaintiffs in a trial, because opioids are regulated and approved by the FDA and prescribed by doctors.
Parkway High School in Bossier Parish has told students that any school athlete that kneels or disrespects the flag during the national anthem could be kicked off the team. Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie Esman says the laws of our country do not allow the schools to prohibit students from peacefully protesting in this manner. Esman says they haven’t heard of any other school districts prohibiting students from this type of protest. But she says they issued a statement so other schools thinking of taking similar action know what the law is.
LSU faces Troy for homecoming tomorrow night. After losing the season opener to Boise State, the Trojans have won three in a row. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Troy is not a team you can overlook…LSU is coming off an uninspiring victory over Syracuse. Moran says he’ll look for improved play from the offensive line, after they struggled to pass block last week. You can hear the game starting at 4 on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Thursday 092817
By Dave Graichen
Cleco announces a new two year, 130-million dollar project to improve customer service and it will also help stimulate the economy. Spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says they are calling it the START program and it will create 221 jobs, as they will replace Cleco’s core technology of multiple systems with one primary system. She says the START program will improve efficiency and also help the state and local economies.
Crime Stoppers is asking for information on the robbery of the South Circle Pawn shop in Alexandria last Thursday. The APD reports a large quantity on fire arms were taken in the overnight robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 443-7867 or go to rpso.org/crime-stoppers. A reward is being offered and all information is confidential.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says although he’s on an official trip in Europe to promote Louisiana tourism, he’s decided to not attend the Saints Sunday game at Wembley Stadium. This is due to some Saints players failing to stand for the national anthem. Nungesser says he’s worked with people who have lost loved ones in war.
Nungesser says he won’t support anyone who disrespects the national anthem.
Meanwhile, though some lawmakers have called on the state to cut tax benefits to the Saints organization Senate President John Alario says that would be just as un-American as not standing for the anthem. Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s unfortunate to see NFL players not stand for national anthem, but that doesn’t mean the state can end its current agreement with the Saints.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot at a Republican Congressional Baseball team practice last June, will appear on 60 minutes Sunday to discuss his road to recovery.
St. Bernard Parish authorities say a 56-year-old man attacked his ex-wife with an ax as she left her home for work Wednesday morning, killing her. 48-year-old Kimberly Owens suffered fatal injuries as her mother watched from the home. The sheriff says Kimberly Owens had a restraining order against Mark Owens, who turned himself in.
Shreveport police detectives are trying to determine who fatally stabbed an 82-year-old woman who lived alone. Kathleen Cates was pronounced dead at the scene, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Neighbors say a man and woman performed yard work at the home before she was killed. They are considered persons of interest.
17-year-old Vincent Cummings has been arrested in connection to the death of an 8-month-old girl in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola says Cummings admitted to police that 8-month-old Katelyn Carter was acting strange so he picked the child up and squeezed her extremely hard. He is charged with second degree murder and cruelty to a juvenile.
Lake Charles Police have charged a former Angola prison inmate with the fatal shooting of a 10-year-old child and his 17 year old brother who was also injured in the shooting incident. Authorities arrested 50-year-old Felton Thompson in New Orleans overnight. He served 24 years in Angola for armed robbery. A motive for last weekend’s shooting is not known.
Defensive end Cam Jordan was one of the ten Saints players who sat during last Sunday’s playing of the national anthem prior to the victory against Carolina. Jordan says he respects the flag and our troops and he loves everything about our country, but he felt they needed to do something after President Donald Trump said players should be fired for protesting during the anthem. Jordan says the demonstrations are to highlight social injustices that occur in America and they are not trying to create a rift, but they are pushing for unity.
Quarterback Drew Brees says if you’re an American, you should stand with your hand over your hear during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Brees says before this Sunday’s Dolphins game in London, the team plans on being unified during the national anthem.
News for Wednesday 092717
By Dave Graichen
Jury selection will begin on Monday morning in Marksville as scheduled in the trial of Norris Greenhouse Jr. The attorney for Greenhouse asked the 12th district court, due to the extreme media coverage of the story, to move the trial during a hearing on Monday. Yesterday, Judge William Bennett ruled the only way to know if Greenhouse can receive a fair trial in Avoyelles Parish is to question potential jurors. Greenhouse faces charges of attempted second-degree and second-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2015, shooting of Christopher Few and his son, Jeremy Mardis.
The latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act pushed by Senator Bill Cassidy is over for now as the votes are not there in the U.S Senate. However, Cassidy says on a bi-partisan level, lawmakers believe Obamacare is not doing well, so he’s not giving up. Cassidy’s bill would have given block grant health care funding to states for them to decide how to use it.
Now that Senate GOP leaders have decided not to vote on a bill that would repeal Obamacare, Louisiana’s Junior Senator John Kennedy says it’s time for Congress to focus on tax reform. He says cutting taxes is the only thing that will get the economy moving again. Kennedy says citizens are taxed on just about every single thing they do, and over-regulation is strangling the economy. He says his goal is to implement tax cuts, both for middle class Americans and for businesses, by November.
The push back continues over the decision by ten Saints players not to stand for the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game against Carolina. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser told two media outlets he’s boycotting the team. Nungesser says not standing for the anthem is un-American and offensive to the military.
Another lawmaker has voiced her disapproval of multiple Saints players refusing to stand for the national anthem. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges wants to examine the team’s agreement with Louisiana that contains state subsidies. She’s called for a discussion to take place during next month’s legislative budget meeting.
Hodges says the American flag is not a political symbol for NFL players to use to protest. She says it’s un-American to see players kneel, some with their fists in the air.
It’s been a month since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and gas prices are slowly starting to go down after about 28% of refining capacity was knocked out because of the storm. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, says with the switch-over to winter-blend gasoline, demand beginning to slow and Gulf Coast refineries coming back, consumers can expect to see much lower prices at the pump next month.
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham will hold a listening session on Friday morning at Rayville High School to receive input from farmers and ag leaders on what they want included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Abraham wants to know what is working and what could be improved. State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and the Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson will attend the listening session.
East Baton Rouge authorities found a body underneath a truck early Tuesday morning. Now, Stephen Herbert is charged with DWI and negligent homicide in the death of his brother Kirk Hebert. EBR Sheriff spokesperson Casey Hicks says Stephen Hebert admitted that he and his brother had been drinking. She says that beyond that, the suspect did not remember much.
Lafayette Police say an Oklahoma man broke into a woman’s home, sexually assaulted her and forced her to withdraw money from an ATM. Corporal Karl Ratcliff says 22-year-old Devon Bell had only been in the area for a few days. The victim alerted police after the suspect fled from her vehicle.
An Arcadia Councilwoman faces up to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of stealing water bill payments when she served as the town’s clerk. Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street says Patricia Hampton used the public’s money for her own personal use. Hampton will be sentenced on November eighth and she’s been automatically suspended from public office, pending an appeal.
Five teenagers are accused of damaging over 50 Christmas trees at the Shady Pond Farm in St. Tammany Parish. Owner Clarke Gernon says 10 trees were destroyed during Labor Day weekend and the perpetrators came back last weekend, but this time the state forestry department set up motion-detection cameras and the vandalism was caught on video. Gernon says damage was in excess of six thousand dollars.
News for Tuesday 092617
By Dave Graichen
A total of six suspects have now been charged in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old De'Juan Ledet last Wednesday on Duhon lane. Two were charged the day after the shooting, while two more were charged over the weekend. Monday afternoon, the APD announced 17 year old Donerious Roy and 19-year-old Devontae Chism were being booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery. The department arrested 19-year-old Marcel Jones and an unidentified 16-year-old over the weekend.
A hearing was held yesterday on a change of venue in the case of Norris Greenhouse Jr. Last week, Greenhouse, Jr.'s attorney, George Higgins, filed a motion for a change of venue citing too much pretrial publicity. Greenhouse faces a murder and attempted murder charge for the 2015 death of 6 year old Jeremy Mardis and the shooting of his father, Chris Few. Following the hearing, no decision was made by Judge William Bennett, but a decision could come as soon as today.
Once again Louisiana ranks in the top five for the rate of women who are murdered by men. The Violence Policy Center looked at the latest data available, which is 2015, and found the rate in Louisiana is double the national average and the Bayou State has the third highest rating in the country. Executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mariah Wineski, says one factor is inadequate funding for domestic violence services, for those seeking immediate safety. Another factor is easy firearm access for abusers. She says state and federal law prohibit many abusers from possessing firearms, but Louisiana lacks any consistent process for actually implementing these prohibitions.
Ten Saints players sat on the bench during the national anthem prior to the team’s win over Carolina, now a state lawmaker says it’s time for Louisiana to stop giving the professional franchise taxpayer dollars. St. Francisville Representative Kenny Havard says these players have a right to protest, but they should not do it during the anthem.
The Saints receive millions of dollars in tax dollars, exemptions and credits.
Dozens of NFL players didn’t stand during the anthem following comments made by President Donald Trump at a rally in Alabama. Mr. Trump said the NFL should fire players who sit or knee during the anthem. Saints QB Drew Brees disagrees with the President. But Brees wishes the protests for social inequality didn’t involve sitting during the anthem.
A 10-year-old was killed and a teenager was injured in a shooting that happened Sunday night in Lake Charles. Deputy Chief Mark Kraus says this is not a case where two children were playing with a gun and it accidentally discharged. He says someone shot these kids. The 10-year-old child that died is Jaylyn Citizen and the 17-year-old is in stable condition, after undergoing surgery.
State Police say a 7 year old was killed in a single vehicle crash in St. Charles parish. Trooper Melissa Matey says they believe the driver, 32 year old Islam Ezzo was impaired when he ran off of the roadway. State Police say the child was not properly restrained.
Six Winnfield Senior High School students were recognized on the House floor by Congressman Ralph Abraham after serving as pallbearers for a World War II veteran. 93-year-old Thomas Hunter had no close family so the football players stepped up after learning about the situation. Abraham says this is an inspiring story about a community rallying to honor a hero.
There’s yet another reality show with northeast Louisiana ties that is quickly becoming the latest TV craze. Rednecks 4 Hire follows three men who do nasty jobs that nobody else wants to deal with. David Yelton says he and Mike Myers and Kevin Dodd will do almost anything. Yelton says the three of them know each other from church, and decided to work together to help people out. He says everything you see on the show actually happened the exact way it’s presented. Yelton says so far they’ve filmed 6 episodes which air on the CW at 6:30am on Saturdays, and 12:30pm on Sundays. You can also watch the show through their YouTube Channel
25th ranked LSU continues preparations today for its final nonconference game of the year as the Tigers will host Troy on Saturday night. Last week, LSU focused on not committing penalties and they only had three called against in the Syracuse game. Head Coach Ed Orgeron says they look to get more consistent on offense this week.
LSU has announced the game time for the away Florida game on October 7th. The Gators and Tigers will kickoff in The Swamp at 2:30pm central time on CBS.
News for Monday 092517
By Dave Graichen
A hearing is set for today on a motion to change the venue of Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s trial. He and Derrick Stafford, former Marksville City Marshals, are accused in the death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis. Stafford was already convicted for attempted manslaughter and manslaughter in Avoyelles Parish. Legal Analyst Tim Meche believes there’s a good chance Greenhouse’s trial will be moved, due to a glut of publicity. Greenhouse is facing charges of attempted second degree murder in the injuring of the father, Christopher Few, and second degree murder for the death of Mardis.
Arizona Senator John McCain has announced he opposes the health care bill that’s co-authored by Louisiana’s senior senator Bill Cassidy. In a statement, McCain says we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats. D-C observers say McCain’s opposition is a significant setback in Cassidy’s efforts to get the legislation passed this month.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore sent an email to local school administrators alerting them police have seen an increase in possession of alcohol and intoxication among high school students at LSU home games. Moore says law enforcement agencies that provide security on LSU game days will increase their presence. The letter comes as the campus is reeling from the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver fraternity pledge.
Meanwhile Governor John Bel Edwards is requesting university officials to review their hazing, drug and alcohol abuse policies, in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver at a fraternity. Edwards does not want to see another student die as a result of a possible hazing incident.
The first police report on Gruver’s death was released by LSU-PD and indicates the freshman was found unresponsive at the fraternity house, then later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Southern University announces that the contract for medical marijuana cultivation and production has been awarded to Advanced Biomedics out of Lafayette.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is visiting Germany and the United Kingdom, leading a mission along with 17 tourism partners, to promote Louisiana and the direct flights into New Orleans. Nungesser says so far the international flights have been extremely popular. Nungesser says Germans are required to take 24 days of paid vacation every year, and he wants them to come to Louisiana.
The US Supreme Court is expected today decide today whether to accept a petition
by a New Orleans man who was convicted on a 10-2 vote of murder in 2015.
Louisiana is one of two states where a unanimous decision is not necessary for a
felony. Dale Lambert, who received a mandatory life prison sentence, wants the high
court to hear his challenge of the Louisiana law that allows felony convictions
by a vote of less than 12 jurors.
The Lafayette Police Department says a 25-year-old man allegedly shot and killed his father. The victim is identified as 48-year-old John Adams. The suspect, Damarkus Adams, is under arrest on the charge of Second Degree murder.
A Breaux Bridge Police officer is under arrest for allegedly having sexual interactions with a 16-year-old. 29-year-old Craig David is charged with carnal knowledge of a juvenile, computer aided solicitation of a minor and malfeasance in office.
LSU’s Speech Language Hearing Clinic has a program that allows people with a medical condition like ALS to bank their voice. Speech Language Pathologist Sara Green Mele (me-lee) says individuals with a degenerative disease come to the clinic and record their voice in a sound proof booth using a third party recording software. WAFB news anchor Donna Britt was recently diagnosed with ALS and has banked her voice. The process takes about six to eight hours. Mele says with ALS, even with the loss of voice, a patient’s cognition remains strong.
So does LSU have a quarterback controversy? Starter Danny Etling was 10-of-17 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, but freshman Myles Brennan entered the game in the third and led the Tigers on a touchdown drive, but he also threw an interception. The two quarterbacks did enough good things to help the Tigers beat Syracuse 35-26, as LSU improved to 3-1. Coach Orgeron says it was a good win after losing by 30 points the week before….
The Saints put together one of their better performances in a long time as they defeated NFC South rival Carolina 34-13. Quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and the defense forced three turnovers and held a struggling Panthers offense to 288 total yards. Coach Sean Payton says the Black and Gold had a good week of practice and it showed in their performance on Sunday. Carolina came into the game ranked number one in the NFL in total defense.
News for Friday 092217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy made it official yesterday at his weekly briefing, Fire Department Veteran Larry King is now the city’s new Fire Chief. King said he looks forward to the challenge and that he hopes to take the best from the three chiefs he has worked under in his 29 years with the department. Up next for the city, deciding upon a new Police Chief.
Two Alexandria teens have been arrested and charged in connection with a Wednesday night shooting in the city that claimed the life of an unidentified 19 year old. The APD says the shooting took place around 11 p.m. in the area of Richard Avenue and Duhon Lane. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he died. The 17-year-old has been identified as Brian Booker-Allen of Alexandria. The other accused is a 16-year-old and his name has been withheld.
A new report just released by the USDA shows Louisiana is the second hungriest state in the nation. “Bread for the World” President David Beckmann says the hunger problem in the state is concentrated among African Americans where about 1 out of 3 families may run out of food before the end of month.
Positive state budget news has been difficult to find lately, but at least one recent financial fact is encouraging. Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana had a 143-million dollar surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. Edwards thinks it’s a sign the state’s economy is improving.
Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards are encouraging schools to participate in the school breakfast challenge to help reduce childhood hunger. Donna Edwards says schools that take action and make sure kids eat breakfast can win up to one-thousand dollars in cash and other great prizes. Edwards says research shows one in four children in Louisiana struggles with hunger. The First Lady knows as a former teacher that if children have a healthy start to their day, it will lead to better results in the classroom. Schools can register online at Louisiana-school-breakfast-dot-org.
In response to the death of fraternity pledge Maxwell Gruver, LSU held a Rally Against Hazing Wednesday afternoon on the steps of the Memorial Tower. LSU Student Government wanted to bring together student organizations, as well as individual students, so the campus can begin “honest and progressive conversations about putting an end to hazing.”
An off-duty Slidell Police Lieutenant riding a motorcycle was killed Wednesday night in a traffic accident. State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight gave details. The driver of the vehicle that turned directly into the path of 52-year-old Ray Dupuy received a citation for improper turning.
Sad story out of Livingston Parish, a five-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle after leaving an ice cream truck. Denham Springs Police spokesperson Amber Fairburn says the driver indicated he did not see the child. As of now, no charges have been filed against the driver.
This is Louisiana Craft Brewers Week, designated to commemorate beers brewed right here in the state, and the people who make it possible. Cary Koch (COKE), Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, says when this designation was made by the State Legislature in 2013, there were just 7 breweries that took part, and three brewpubs. Koch says Louisiana now has over 30 breweries and brew pubs — and establishments in every corner of the state are opening up their taps and shelves to carry these locally made beers. He says these brewers make it a priority to use as many Louisiana-made products as possible…:
The state department of transportation is hopeful that the major overlay project on I-20 in Webster Parish will wrap around the Thanksgiving weekend, which would be ahead of schedule. DOTD spokesperson Erin Buchanan says the westbound lanes are complete and contractors are working in the eastbound lanes. Buchanan says once the work is complete, motorists will experience a greatly improved travel experience for this section of I-20…
LSU football Coach Ed Orgeron is promising a better performance on Saturday night when his Tigers host Syracuse. The Bayou Bengals suffered their worst loss ever to Mississippi State last week in a 37-7 drubbing. Orgeron says he’s on a mission for his team to play better. LSU is a 22.5 point favorite to beat Syracuse
The Saints look for their first win of the year on Sunday when they visit Carolina. The Panthers are 2-and-0 and they rank number one in the NFL in total defense, allowing less than 200 yards a game. Frustration level among Saints fans is probably the highest it’s been since Head Coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived.
News for Thursday 092117
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrests a former inmate accused of stalking a woman who had previously worked at the jail where the suspect was incarcerated. They say 31-year-old Jerome Ferrell of Alexandria allegedly started sending the victim and her family messages when he was released from the Rapides Detention Center and threatened to harm her. Ferrell was arrested on nine counts of Cyberstalking and six counts of stalking.
Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed on his monthly call in radio show that Amazon is set to build a distribution center somewhere in Louisiana, but details are limited at the time. He says either way, it’s great news that the online retail giant is bringing a part of its operation to the state. The state has also said they are very interested in being the home of the second Amazon headquarters which the company said would bring an investment of $5 billion dollars and 50,000 jobs. Edwards says the state is still working with Amazon in order to finalize the site selection…
U.S Senator Bill Cassidy told CNN he is sorry that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel does not understand his health care legislation. Kimmel said on his show Tuesday night that Cassidy lied to his face when it comes to passing a health care bill that protects people with pre-existing conditions and lowers premiums for middle class families. Cassidy says his bill does cover pre-existing conditions and it will lead to more Americans covered by health insurance. However, Insurance experts say pre-existing coverage will be up to the individual states to decide.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne announces the state ended up with a 100 million dollar surplus from the fiscal year that ended in June. The surplus is the result of higher than anticipated personal income and sales tax collections. But, he cautions the 100 million surplus will not offset the looming fiscal cliff. That is right at $1 billion.
A former East Baton Rouge Parish Parks Commissioner was found shot to death outside of his home in Pride at around 5:45 Tuesday night. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says when police arrived they attempted to resuscitate the man, 66-year-old Carroll Breeden, but he died at the scene. She urges anyone who may have seen something to contact the police.
The State Police are investigating an officer involved in a shooting in Bernice. The L-S-P says Tuesday afternoon the Union Parish Sheriff’s office was sent to a home in response to a disturbance and made contact with a male subject. They say at some point during the incident, the suspect was shot and died at the scene.
After a long wait, the car-sharing service, Uber, is finally available in Monroe, West Monroe and areas governed by Ouachita Parish. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says his office has spent the last six months working on a contract with Uber and he knows the city is excited it’s finally official. Mayo says he’s also hoping to work out a deal with Lyft as well.
Louisiana Tech University has set an enrollment record for this fall as nearly 13-thousand students are taking classes this fall, which is 17-percent increase since the fall of 2013. Jim King is the Vice President for Student Advancement says the average ACT score of 24.71 for first-time freshmen is also a university record.
New Orleans attorney Scott Sternberg has concerns with parts of LSU’s suspension of Greek activities in the wake of the death of a fraternity pledge. Sternberg says the students’ first amendment rights are being taken away when not allowed to gather in groups of 10 or more to tailgate and he also questions the prohibition of wearing Greek attire. He says a lawsuit may be pending.
A startling statistic, The state department of children and family services says the number of babies born in Louisiana who are exposed to alcohol and drugs in the womb has tripled from 2008 to 2016. Last year, that number reached nearly 17-hundred.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is hosting job fairs at 25 locations across the state today for young adults. Executive Director Ava Dejoie says Walmart is one of the companies participating and the national retail giant plans to hire 12-hundred workers in Louisiana for the holiday season. Dejoie says this is a great opportunity for those 18 to 24.
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says star running back Derrius Guice is very questionable for Saturday’s home game against Syracuse. Guice reportedly has a knee injury. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran believes LSU is being cautious with its best offensive player. Moran says this gives senior Darrell Williams a chance to start. There is some positive injury news. Orgeron says starting defensive end Rashard Lawerence should play against the Orange.
News for Wednesday 092017
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports a 16 year old student at Peabody Magnet High was arrested yesterday by a School Resource officer after it was discovered he brought a gun to school. School administrators were the ones who alerted the officer to Tuesday's incident. While the investigation continues, the boy was charged with one count of carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon on school property.
The APD reports three suspects accused in a series of attempted vehicle burglaries early Sunday now face more charges after police were able to determine a wallet found with them had been stolen. All three were charged with simple burglary.
Governor John Bel Edwards released an email poll asking if Louisiana residents support raising the minimum wage. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says this survey is more about fundraising, as many of his supporters already want to increase the state’s minimum wage, which is $7.25. Stockley says this message was also sent out to raise awareness that this is a campaign pledge the governor ran on and he continues to support it. He says Edwards is looking for more public support, as this issue is not gaining traction in the legislature.
The Louisiana Association of Educators says a poll of Louisiana parents finds that 65-percent believe the state places too much emphasis on student testing. L-A-E President Debbie Meaux says parents and their children are not excited about filling out bubbles on a test. The L-A-E survey also found 55-percent of respondents believe a student’s test performance should not play a major role in determining a teacher’s effectiveness. Meaux says tomorrow a new 25-member panel will meet to examine whether public school students are over tested.
Multiple reports say an Adolf Hitler speech was found at the home of Kenneth Gleason, who was booked today in Baton Rouge for the murders of two black men. East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore says Gleason could face the death penalty for last week’s fatal shootings. Gleason has also been charged for allegedly shooting up the home of a black family.
Senator Bill Cassidy’s bill to issue block grants to states as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act has support from Louisiana’s junior senator. Republican John Kennedy not only wants to vote for the legislation but he plans to propose an amendment to prevent states from accepting block grants to establish a single payer health insurance system. Kennedy says he would prefer to have private insurance companies provide coverage that could help lower healthcare costs.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he can’t support Senator Cassidy’s legislation, because he says it will lead to the elimination of the Medicaid expansion. Edwards says he’s working with Republican and Democratic governors to promote a solution that makes health insurance more stable and affordable.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has received a grant to increase the number of child welfare workers. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says her staff has decreased by 600 employees over the last 10 years and this is an opportunity to address the high turnover rate. Nearly half of the child welfare workers who left DCFS in 2016, had less than three years of service. Walters says there is a direct correlation between the case load and the turnover rate.
A Bawcomville man is facing two counts of aggravated assault after chasing two water meter readers with a golf club. The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says 53-year-old Tommy Bouwell was allegedly intoxicated when yelled at the victims accusing them of coming at him with a weapon, and that’s when he returned with a golf club and started swinging.
After LSU’s 30-point loss to Mississippi State last Saturday, some are wondering if Head Coach Ed Orgeron was the right man to choose for the job.
But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says one thing to keep in mind is that Athletic Director Joe Alleva’s fate lies with the Board of Supervisors. Worsham says right now it’s a little too early to guess if there will be any changes in leadership with the athletic department, as there has only been one SEC game this season. But he says the hire of Coach O was strictly a call made by Alleva, and if things remain bleak there will be consequences.
The dangers of hazing have become an important conversation in the wake of LSU freshman Max Gruver’s death. Gruver was pledging at Phi Delta Theta and high amounts of alcohol were found in his system. Executive Director of HazingPrevention.org Emily Pualwan says hazing has been around for centuries. She says it’s different than bullying. Pualwan says universities can look back and see a pattern of hazing, but only realize the escalation after something as terrible as a death occurs. LSU has temporarily shut down their entire Greek system after Gruver’s death.
News for Tuesday 091917
By Dave Graichen
Four sheriff’s offices in Louisiana have filed lawsuits against drug companies and physicians for allegedly helping to grow the opioid crisis. Attorney David Laborde says the defendants have misrepresented the proper use of opioids which has led to an epidemic and an uptick in crime. Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides have filed lawsuits in state courts in their respective parishes. Laborde says the sheriff’s offices are seeking to recoup the money law enforcement has spent on dealing with the opioid epidemic.
The Louisiana Democratic Party opposes U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy’s and three other Republican lawmakers bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Party Spokesperson D’Seante Parks says this legislation would end the Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 430-thousand Louisiana residents. Senator Cassidy’s proposed legislation would give block grant funding to each state if it passes. However, the money would not be dedicated as it is now.
According to the U.S. Census data Louisiana’s uninsured rate is 10.3 percent. These were the numbers of uninsured Louisiana residents in 2016. That’s a small decline from 11.9 percent in 2012. The trend comes after Louisiana’s Medicaid program was expanded by Governor John Bel Edwards to offer government-financed health insurance to over 430 thousand low-income adults.
The LSU AgCenter has finalized its contract with GB Sciences which will grow medical marijuana for Louisiana patients who have specific conditions. The marijuana-based medication made by the company is required to be put in oil based medical products. GB Sciences Louisiana will renovate the production facility and availability to patients is expected by mid-2018.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded a 6.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study military nutrition and metabolism research. Researcher Dr. Jennifer Rood (Rude) says they will focus on how to ensure a healthy and fit military. Rood says this research could change the eating habits of soldiers.
A Baton Rouge man considered a person of interest in the shooting deaths of two black men last week, has bonded out of jail. 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason was arrested over the weekend on drug charges. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says Gleason has yet to be cleared of the homicides. He says it’s a possibility that these murders were racially motivated.
The national Phi Delta Theta organization has removed the charter from the Beta Chapter at LSU, where a pledge recently died in a possible hazing incident. The organization said it suspended operations based on information in the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver which found some chapter members were in violation of the alcohol-free housing policy. No charges have been filed and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says that could take a while.
An explosion in a home injured three people Monday including 92 year old Dwena Henry, an alderman for the village of Stanley in DeSoto parish and her daughter Sharon Fletcher who is the mayor. Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says William Roe, a friend of the family was also injured. Arbuckle says Henry suffered third-degree burns to over 50-percent of her body and is fighting for her life. Reportedly, Henry was cooking when Roe and Fletcher smelled gas.
The White House held a summit with presidents of black colleges today but Grambling State President Rick Gallot was not there. Gallot says that he was not boycotting, but there’s a lot happening on the Grambling campus between the start of the a new semester and football season.
News for Monday 091817
By Dave Graichen
The median household income in Louisiana declined by over 2-percent in 2016, the largest decrease in the nation according to Census Figures. Dr. LSU Economist Loren Scott says this decrease is a result of the struggling oil and gas industry. He says we have three metropolitan areas that are in a recession, Houma, Lafayette and Shreveport. Louisiana looks to be improving as we gained 24,200 nonfarm jobs since August of last year.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate has now declined for four consecutive months according to data released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. At 5.2%, the current rate is the lowest it’s been since August of 2008. That figure is also 0.9 percentage points lower from a year ago.
Gas prices have started to decline. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is $2.39.
Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting consumers to be on the lookout when buying vehicles, as nearly one million vehicles were flooded in Texas and Florida during recent hurricanes. Landry says these flood-damaged vehicles could end up on the streets and sold to unsuspecting car buyers. He advises consumers to obtain a vehicle history report. Landry says if you suspect someone is knowingly selling a flood damaged vehicle, contact your local authorities or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark has released preliminary autopsy findings on the body of the 18-year-old LSU student who died in what the university had called a possible hazing incident at his fraternity. Clark says they did not find any internal or external signs of trauma on Maxwell Gruver. Clark says Gruver was driven to the hospital in a private vehicle from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and was later pronounced dead. His office will provide a comprehensive toxicology test which takes as long as four weeks to complete.
The state lawmaker who admitted to taking money from his campaign fund to fuel a gambling addiction will have to pay a $37,000 fine to the state treasury under an agreement reached Friday. The Louisiana Board of Ethics also said that Representative Dee Richard will no longer be allowed to draw from his war chest. Richard had said his compulsive gambling was a side effect of medication he was taking for Parkinson’s disease.
Today, Governor John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington D.C. to meet with the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal, a flood control project for the Baton Rouge area. Wilson says the state has committed a significant amount of resources for this project, and it’s time for the Corps to do their part.
The principal wanted by Baton Rouge police after allegedly locking a 5-year-old in a closet has turned himself in to authorities. Authorities say 31-year-old Shafeeq Deen has been charged with cruelty to a juvenile and false imprisonment. Other students at Laurel Oaks Charter School are coming forward now claiming Deen punished them in similar ways.
And here’s a bizarre story out of Terrebonne Parish. Houma Police arrested a man and woman who were allegedly caught having sex in a library. Authorities say 33-year-old Elizabeth Jernigan and 35-year-old Rex Jernigan also recorded themselves and uploaded the video to a porn site. Through their investigation, it was determined the couple recorded themselves doing similar activities at other businesses.
Authorities say a prison guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola fatally shot an inmate after first firing a warning shot. The state department of Corrections says 35-year-old Brandon Lizotte was among a group of prisoners being escorted to work when he aggressively ran towards a correctional officer. The officer fired his service weapon striking Lizotte. Lizotte was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in Tangipahoa Parish in 2006.
“Tell the truth Monday” will not be kind for the LSU Tigers after they were embarrassed 37-7 by Mississippi State. The Tigers were beat at the line of scrimmage, the defense had blown assignments and LSU also committed 9 penalties for 112 yards. LSU is back in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night as they host Syracuse.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Saints have started 0-2 as they dropped a 36-20 decision to the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady scorched the New Orleans defense for 447 yards and three touchdowns. On offense, the Saints converted just 33% of their third down opportunities. The Saints have now lost 11 of their last 12 games in the month of September. They travel to Carolina this Sunday.
Louisiana Tech rallied back from a 22-13 4th quarter deficit to beat conference rival Western Kentucky 23-22. Jonathan Barnes 22-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Bulldogs an important win as they look to win the Conference USA western division.
News for Friday 091517
By Dave Graichen
42 year old Kenneth Seth Thomas of Deville, a police officer with the Alexandria Police Department, was arrested yesterday and charged with malfeasance in office, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of a firearm in the presence of the drugs. An investigation led by the State Police and the APD revealed Thomas had engaged in illegal activities by having sex with at least one woman, while on-duty, and distributing illegal drugs. He was arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. The investigation remains active and ongoing.
State police report Two men died Thursday morning after a head-on collision between a car and an 18 wheeler truck on Louisiana highway 124 near the Winn and LaSalle Parish line. The fatal crash took the lives of 22 year old Logan Franklin from Olla and 26 year old David Lincecum of Grayson. It’s reported both victims were not wearing a seat belt.
The US attorney’s office reports a Georgetown woman will spend two years in prison for counterfeiting $20 bills in Alexandria last year. 20 year old Gena Marie Armstrong was sentenced on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old LSU freshman from Georgia has died in what university officials are calling a possible hazing incident at Phi Delta Fraternity House. LSU System President F King Alexander says the death of Maxwell Gruver is tragic and untimely
Gruver was pronounced dead at a local hospital and Alexander says it is believed alcohol is involved. Phi Delta has been suspended by the school and national organization.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith says Fire Chief Steve Krentel has been cleared in the murder of his wife Nanette, who was found in burned home with a gunshot wound to the head in July. Smith says Steve Krentel was their initial primary person of interest. Sheriff Smith says they worked this case as a homicide since day one and will continue to do so.
After a both a regular and special legislative session earlier this year, the state still faces a fiscal cliff in July of next year. That’s when a billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire. Yesterday House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says get ready to hear scare tactics coming from the governor’s office. In a video posted to his Facebook page, the Republican from Metairie says he expects Governor Edwards to start threatening cuts to important programs like TOPS. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Richard Carbo, says Henry is intent on continuing partisan gridlock in the House.
Starting with tonight’s games, several Louisiana high schools are taking in part in “Touchdowns Against Cancer,” an initiative which directly benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign lets their fans pledge a donation for every touchdown scored. The effort is in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and runs through the end of the month.
An arrest has been made in the murder of a St. Martin Parish woman who was eight months pregnant. Major Ginny Higgins says authorities arrested 32-year-old Toni Trimble Thomas and she is charged with one count of first degree murder and one count of first degree feticide. The suspect’s brother was the boyfriend of the victim, 24-year-old Ashley Nicole Meche.
Louisiana Community and Technical College System president Monty Sullivan would like the state to have a scholarship program that would benefit adults who want to attend one of their two-year campuses. Sullivan calls it a wise investment and can help a mother of two who makes eight dollars an hour receive the training that can lead to an 18-dollar an hour job.
Neville High School in Monroe has been named the most beautiful public high school in Louisiana by Architectural Digest. Dana Jefferson, Executive Director of the school’s Alumni Association, says the school has undergone many renovations to preserve the 86-year-old building. Jefferson says Neville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that’s something the students and staff are really proud of.
Louisiana Tech jumps into league play tomorrow by facing the defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. W-K-U is led by senior quarterback Mike White, who is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country. These two teams met twice last year. Tech won at home 55-52 and then lost in the Conference USA title game. It’s the eighth meeting between the two teams and Tech leads the all-time series four to three. You can hear the game beginning at 4:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3.
LSU gets its first test in the SEC tomorrow night when they visit Mississippi State. The voice of the Tigers, Chris Blair, believes this game will be won in the trenches. LSU had success throwing the football down field last week and Blair anticipates the Tigers opening up the playbook even more tomorrow. Hear the game beginning at 4p on 970 KSYL & 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Thursday 091417
By Dave Graichen
Although it doesn’t resolve the issue, a decision by the Rapides Parish police jury to allocate $200,000 to move prisoners from DC1 to other facilities will take the pressure off for now. The Sheriff's Office is under a mandate from the State Fire Marshall's Office to reduce the population of facility to its capacity of 348. Even though the number of prisoners in the DC1 is down from a high of 395 on Monday, the number is still above the max capacity. Sheriff Hilton sent a letter to the Fire Marshall's Office Wednesday detailing plans to reduce the population. He also asked for a temporary increase to the jail's capacity.
Many people in Alexandria are upset over higher than usual electric bills. The City yesterday announced it has been lengthening its billing cycle for residents charged for utilities from about 28 to 40 days. Why? The city says it is short staffed, with 6 of it’s 9 meter reading positions open. According to a press release, contracted workers are expected to be hired soon until the meter reader vacancies are filled.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is a co-author of the last ditch effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy says the legislation repeals individual and employer mandates, and it gets rid of the medical device tax. The Republican says their proposal also eliminates the inequity in which three states receive 37-percent of Obamacare funds. He says this proposal gives the power back to patients.
House Speaker Taylor Barras has told the Associated Press he believes the House can come up with a plan by January to address the loss of one-billion dollars in tax revenue that expires next summer. Barras says if there’s enough agreement, a special session could be held early next year. There’s been a stalemate between the House and the governor on how to address the fiscal cliff.
Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says the first LaSTEM Advisory Council meeting was successful in discussing how to increase the amount of students who will succeed in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Rallo says right now, if we don’t engage, Louisiana will not catch up with neighboring states when it comes to STEM jobs. He says the council agrees STEM education needs to be a pipeline, starting in Kindergarten and continuing through high school.
One month from today is the general election for State Treasurer. Three Republican candidates are raising money. There’s also a Democrat and Libertarian on the ballot. Publisher of La-politics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says Columbia Senator Neil Riser has been the most active in tv advertising. Ex state legislator John Schroder and former Commissioner of Administration Angelle Davis are the other Republicans fundraising. But Alford says none of the candidates have enough money to run TV commercials statewide, which will lead to a low voter turnout on October 14th
The Oil and Gas Industry is helping with recovery efforts in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. President of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Chris John says when Harvey hit, it knocked out about 12-percent of the refining capacity for this nation. John says they are making progress with getting Texas refineries back on line. He says Louisiana has tried to produce as much product as possible while Texas plants are recovering.
Authorities made an arrest in the homicide investigation of Ashely Nicole Meche. The St. Martin Parish Sheriff department arrested Toni Trimble Thomas of Breaux Bridge. Trimble Thomas is the sister of the victim’s boyfriend. The 24 year old Meche was eight months pregnant at the time she was killed so Trimble Thomas is charged with second degree murder and second degree feticide. It was determined that her boyfriend, Mark Trimble was not present or involved in the homicide.
Louisiana remains one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, ranking No. 5 in Area Development magazine’s annual Top States for Doing Business survey. This is the second year in a row the publication has ranked Louisiana No. 5.
The St. Tammany Parish Coroner has ruled the death of s fire chief’s wife in July, as a homicide. The body of Nanette Krentel, wife of Fire District 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was discovered in the rubble of the couple’s home which had burned to the ground on July 7th. Coroner Charles Preston said it was determined from the start Mrs. Krentel died from a gunshot wound. But the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office said in a media advisory that it does not necessarily support the coroner’s conclusion. The sheriff will provide an update on the investigation during a news conference today.
Authorities say they arrested the man shown in a video punching out a student on the LSU Parade Grounds before last Saturday’s football game. He’s been identified as 18 year old Casen Maggio of Prairieville and he been charged with aggravated battery. The official report says several bones in the student’s face were broken.
A homeowner shot and killed an alleged intruder in LaPlace Tuesday night. St. John the Baptist Parish authorities say the homeowner told detectives he heard voices in his yard and went to investigate. When he opened the back door, he was face-to-face with the intruder. No charges have been filed against the homeowner. The whole episode was captured on the home’s video surveillance camera.
The Shreveport City Council has rejected the mayor’s proposal to build a sports complex in the downtown area. The vote was unanimous. Councilman Oliver Jenkins says 30 million of the city’s dollars would be used along with 139 million in private finances. He says they would like to present this project to the public in a different light, because many didn’t know it could bring in a minor league basketball team.
Two weeks into the season and the Ragin Cajuns defense ranks as the third worst out of the 129 F-B-S teams. UL Lafayette has allowed nearly 12-hundred yards. But Head Coach Mark Hudspeth says there’s a great desire to turn things around. The Cajuns gave up 66 points in a loss to Tulsa last week.
News for Wednesday 091317
By Dave Graichen
Pineville PD report rumors of a student making threats to shoot up Pineville High School were unfounded. The student accused of making the threat as well as potential witnesses were interviewed late Monday by Pineville Police, which traced the issue back to social media where rumors of an alleged threat began circulating after school hours.
A 29-member panel meets today in Baton Rouge to discuss ways to get more students interested and improve achievement in the areas of science technology, engineering and math also known as STEM. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt is behind this effort to grow STEM programs in schools. Hewitt says major employers, like Amazon who is looking to build a second headquarters, are seeking workers who could perform STEM related jobs.
The Edwards Administration gives the private operator of two state owned north Louisiana hospitals, BRF,45 days to correct alleged violations of a contract. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the state spoke with Ochsner Health System, which could help BRF run the hospitals. BRF says they anticipate resolving the contract disagreement without being ousted and they’ll use legal action if removed as operator of University Health in Shreveport and University Health Conway in Monroe.
Hundreds of cancer patients and survivors were in Washington D.C. Tuesday to urge Congress to help with the fight against cancer. Louisiana resident Amber Stevens says they are urging lawmakers to support palliative care and hospice education training. She’d like to see funding for cancer research reach 36 billion dollars, a two billion dollar increase over current spending.
Recovery continues in Calcasieu Parish after Tropical Storm Harvey left major flood damage in some areas. OEP Director Dick Gremillion says in the days before the storm made landfall in Calcasieu, a torrential downpour left nearly 500 houses with some water inside. He says flooding also occurred when the Sabine River came out of its banks. Gremillion says they are still waiting to find out if Calcasieu flood victims will be available for federal assistance.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says Louisiana will receive nearly seven million dollars as part of a multi-state settlement with Mylan, which manufacturers EpiPens. Landry says Mylan knowingly overcharged taxpayers for Epipens dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries.
A new study finds that Louisiana’s lawsuit climate is the worst in the nation, and also showed this ranking is not good when it comes to attracting new businesses. Harold Kim is the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. He says the survey found that 85% of company attorneys said a state’s lawsuit climate is likely to impact decision making. Kim says the areas Louisiana ranked poorly were the in the competence and impartiality of its judges, the fairness of its juries and quality of appellate review.
Northwestern State University’s fall enrollment has reached its highest ever in the school’s 133-year history, with 10,572 students. NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio says this is one of the most meaningful milestones in the school’s long history. He credits this achievement to the university’s academics. Also,A number of renovations to dormitories on the main campus have made NSU more appealing to students.
LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron has signed an advertising deal with Baton Rouge-based Raising Cane’s. Orgeron will be featured in commercials, billboards and in-restaurant signage for the fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken fingers. Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles had a similar agreement with Cane’s for eight years.
Louisiana lawmakers are working to free a Shreveport man from a Guatemalan jail after he was arrested in March for bringing hunting ammunition in his luggage. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with the country’s ambassador to discuss the case of Zachary Wilson. Johnson says Wilson suffers from ulcerative colitis. Wilson’s family says it is extremely difficult to ship his medication to Guatemala and he is running out of his prescription. Johnson says they understand Guatemala is a sovereign nation and respect the rule of law but the charges brought against Wilson are not justified.
The Saints spent Tuesday breaking down the tape of Monday night’s 29-19 loss to Minnesota. Head Coach Sean Payton says it was not a fun exercise, because of how poorly the team played. This was the 5th time in 6 years the Saints started off the season with a loss.
A few of LSU’s young wide receivers had a chance to shine in last Saturday’s victory over Chattanooga. Stephen (STEF-ON) Sullivan and JaCoby Stevens each caught their first passes on the college level and Drake Davis was wide open when he caught his first TD Pass. However, after two games, LSU is the most penalized team in the SEC, with 21.
News for Tuesday 091217
By Dave Graichen
The maximum capacity of the Rapides Parish jail is 348. But Friday of last week it was determined the population of the jail was well above that figure. The State Fire Marshall’s office gave the sheriff department until 4pm yesterday to resolve the issue. There were meetings between Sheriff Hilton and the Police Jury, the DA and several judges. But at the end of the day, the jail population was still at 395. According to Sheriff Hilton the department now has seven days to get to or below 348 inmates, or it will be assessed a fine of $500 a day
35 year old Mark Thomas, who was indicted as part of the Triple M Murder Team again tried on Monday to remove his attorney, but was denied for the second time. Thomas now faces a Nov. 6 trial on first-degree murder, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and racketeering charges. He was one of 14 members or associates of the Alexandria-based gang indicted after an investigation that lasted more than two years and involved federal, state and local agencies.
The statistical peak of hurricane season is behind us, and State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s likely we will exceed earlier predictions. But he says right now, it looks as if things are calming down compared to last week. He says there have already been 11 named storms so far in 2017, and if we doubled that it would rank among the second busiest in history.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is deploying employees and coordinating assistance from other state agencies for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts. GOHSEP spokesman Mike Steele says there is a wide range of needs right now in Florida and Georgia, and ongoing cleanup in Texas, and the state is happy to help. Steele says the state-to-state system was developed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. He says Louisiana has a lot of experience in what to do after a storm hits.
Kaplan Police Chief Boyd Adams has been arrested on charges of theft and malfeasance in office after an investigation by the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The audit showed the Kaplan Police Recreation Account had not been included in the financial statements for the town, which means it was never audited and that there were no records to support the expenditure of over 19-thousand dollars. The State Police allege Adams used nearly $7000 in funds for himself.
After 9/11 , former Governor Mike Foster started a campaign for Louisianans to raise money to donate new firetrucks to the New York City Fire Department. Enough money was donated to build four firetrucks at the Ferrera Fire Apparatus facility in Livingston Parish. Former owner, Chris Ferrera says 1.2 million dollars was raised and all of the trucks are still in use 16 years later. Ferrera says it’s so amazing that the people of the Bayou State came together and, her says, the legacy continues.
A popular bar for LSU students to attend is apologizing after pictures surfaced on social media that showed a noose hanging from the ceiling and cups with a Blue Confederate flag on them were handed out to patrons. Reggie’s Bar issued a statement that says they apologize to anyone offended.
Thibodaux Police have arrested a man who they found passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through of a restaurant. They say 37-year-old John Sewell Jr allegedly tried to drive off when cops woke him up, but his key had already been removed by officers. The man apparently told detectives he was tired and high. He was booked for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
The Saints started out the season on a sour note last night with one in the second column. They were whooped by the Vikings 29 - 19
News for Monday 091117
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is under orders to reduce the parish jail's occupancy by 33 inmates before 4 this afternoon. The jail was found early Friday to have been over occupancy limits for seven days straight, at which point it is violating State Fire Marshal code.
Louisiana utility crews are heading to Georgia to help with any potential power outages from Hurricane Irma. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says crews are meeting at the St. Tammany Service Center Today to make the trip to Macon, Georgia. Cahill says Cleco also assisted Georgia Power following Hurricane Matthew.
75 Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard’s 165th Combat Sustainment and Support Battalion are set to deploy to Afghanistan. Bossier Parish Community College gymnasium will hold a deployment ceremony today for family and friends to bid farewell. Col. Ed Bush says these troops will be overseas for about a year.
Congress approves a measure to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for the next 90 days, as federal lawmakers work on a long-term solution for the program. US Senator John Kennedy says while this was not his first choice, he’s glad congressional leaders didn’t let the clock run out on the program that expires September 30. Kennedy filed a bill to reauthorize the program for the long term that he says has bipartisan support.
Amazon seeks a location for new corporate headquarters, as the online mega retailer plans to open a second corporate location. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Louisiana has a lot of strengths to offer should we throw our hat in the ring, and its likely we will. Amazon is reportedly looking for a metropolitan area with more than a million people near an international airport with access to mass transit. New Orleans could be a perfect fit. Pierson says the number one rated LED Fast Start program can also offer skilled employees. Pierson has said a prime location could be between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Amazon’s second headquarters will employ 50-thousand workers.
New Orleans plans to make a bid to host World Cup soccer games if North America is named as a host site for one of the biggest sporting events in the world in 2026. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jay Cicero, says the Big Easy has so much to offer to international sports fans. US Soccer plans to announce in the fall a list of potential 25 host cities.
The state department of transportation says there’s been an alarming increase in accidents on I-10 from Lafayette to the Atchafalaya Basin, where two rehabilitation and widening projects are ongoing. DOTD spokesperson Deidra Druilhet says motorists need to slow down. Durilhet says they’re also putting a solid line through the construction zone to deter lane changes.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking the public to limit the transportation of Roseau cane, as the species is rapidly dying off. The plant helps to protect the Mississippi River delta and the coastal region. LDWF Biologist Manager Vaughn McDonald says the Roseau cane scale, which is a bug, is killing off the beneficial plant life.
The LSU football team is 2-0, but the Tigers still have a lot to work on as they head into this Saturday’s SEC opener versus Mississippi State in Starkville. While kicking field goals have been a problem, quarterback Danny Etling has looked sharp. Through two games, he’s completed 71-percent of his passes for nearly 400 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Coach O says Etling looks like a different player this season.
An intriguing matchup to start the season for the Saints as they visit the Minnesota Vikings to kick-off the 2017 campaign. New Orleans led the NFL in total offense last year, while the Vikings had the league’s third-ranked defense, and return most of their starters from 2016. Saints Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a tough match-up to start the season. Hear the game this evening on 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Friday 090817
By Dave Graichen
The APD has arrested a suspect in a shooting death that took place over the weekend. 19 year old Braylon Dozier of Alexandria was charged with first degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm for an incident on Beatrice Street Sunday night that left a man dead. Dozier was also charged with two additional counts of armed robbery with a firearm for two other incidents. The victim in the Sunday night shooting has been id as Steven Allen. Family members say he was making a pizza delivery at the time he was shot.
Louisiana has been pretty lucky this hurricane season, even after two tropical storms made landfall in the Bayou State. State climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately neither Cindy nor Harvey did much damage in Louisiana. But Keim says we aren’t out of the woods yet, as three storms are currently churning in the Atlantic. The peak of hurricane season is this Sunday.
In the coming weeks and months, Harvey victims will need help navigating the red tape to getting federal aid, and Louisianans are coming to the rescue. CSRA was enlisted by the feds to establish a call center for helping disaster victims. Spokesperson Mimi Hedgcock says 500 of those call agents will be based in Bossier City. A $95 million grant will fund the temporary call center which will open early next week after the new agents receive the proper training.
The Governor’s Office is holding a statewide blood drive today amid a supply shortage following Hurricane Harvey. Tina Martinez with LifeShare Blood Centers says because of the hurricane’s destruction, many communities have not been able to donate blood to support the medical needs of local patients. Blood drive locations have been set up in all the major Louisiana cities, and donors can also go by any LifeShare location to donate.
Both of Louisiana’s US Senators voted to appropriate 15-billion dollars in disaster aid for victims of Harvey, which nearly doubles what President Donald Trump requested .
The vote was 80-17 in the Senate and now heads to the House for their approval.
High school students in Louisiana did not perform as well on the ACT compared to students in other states. The national average composite score was 21, while Louisiana averaged a 19.5. The Bayou State reportedly ranks 43rd in the country for ACT test scores.
A recent report finds LSU graduates have higher early- and mid-career earnings than graduates of other Louisiana universities. President F. King Alexander notes many of the universities below LSU on the list charge higher tuition and their students have more student debt. LSU grads have early career earnings of more than $52,000 and mid-career earnings of over $100,000.
Governor John Bel Edwards held another roundtable meeting yesterday, this time with business leaders and local officials in the Houma area to gather input on how the state can stabilize the budget for the long-term. Louisiana is facing a looming fiscal cliff, as a over a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire July 1st. Edwards says his meetings with stakeholders have been extremely productive.
Entergy is teaming up with Cleco to build a new transmission line in southeast Louisiana that can withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says this is an important project because customers want their power restored immediately after a storm. The project should be complete by fall of next year.
Louisiana Tech is gearing up for a big home game this Saturday as the Bulldogs will host Mississippi State from the SEC. The last time these two teams met in Ruston, Tech defeated State 22-14 in 2008. Coach Skip Holtz says hosting an SEC team is a great opportunity for their football team. You’ll be able to hear that game Saturday afternoon starting at 5 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
12th ranked LSU is coming off a dominating performance over BYU and will host Chattanooga Saturday evening at 6:30 in the home opener for the Tigers. You can hear that game on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ
News for Thursday 090717
By Dave Graichen
Major refineries in Texas are starting to come back online, and gas prices across the nation are finally starting to level off. Patrick Dehaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, says Louisiana saw a 16 cent increase over the last week. Today’s statewide average is $2.39.
A task force examining all aspects of the TOPS scholarship met for the first time Wednesday at the state capitol. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the purpose of today’s meeting was to get a general overview of the taxpayer funded scholarship program. The task force will issue a report in February.
Governor John Bel Edwards is urging Congress to clear a road block that has touched thousands of homeowners who flooded in Louisiana over the past year, and could also impact Texans as they recover from Hurricane Harvey. Currently, residents are blocked from using federal assistance money to pay off SBA loans that they take out after disasters. But Edwards says removing that restriction would provide badly needed relief for people rebuilding their lives.
Tomorrow the Louisiana Board of Ethics decides the fate of Thibodaux Representative Dee Richard, who gambled $37-thousand in campaign funds between 2012 and 2015. He says he was never a gambler before he started taking medication for Parkinson’s, and the drug was later linked to gambling addiction. He says he’s prepared to pay back the money, but he’d like to finish out the remaining two years of his last term.
The woman accused of shooting a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison on separate charges. Amethyst Baird of Monroe got 10 years for possession of stolen items and 10 more for a second methamphetamine possession charge. Baird is also accused of shooting LDWF Agent Tyler Wheeler five times during a traffic stop in January.
Many Louisianans have likely noticed a serious uptick in the amount of lovebugs we’re seeing. LSU-Shreveport Associate professor of Biological Sciences Beverly Burden says the relatively mild summer can be to blame for this. She says these last few months are wetter and cooler than we typically see this time of year. Burden says while the lovebugs are a major nuisance she expects the population to decline in the next 10 to 14 days.
Rural parishes in Louisiana are struggling more than major cities to combat the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Linda Meredith is the research and development manager for the advocacy group HEROES. She says rural regions account for 15 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in the state. Meredith adds the mortality rate is 1.6 times higher in northeast Louisiana than near major cities. Addressing the epidemic has been difficult because funding is tight, especially in the poorest corner of the state. Louisiana ranks first in the country for new HIV infections.
A third sperm whale has been found stranded off the Louisiana coast. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Mandy Tumlin says they are working to determine the cause of the increase in dead animals washing onto Louisiana beaches. She says an autopsy will soon be conducted on this mammal found beached on Grand Isle. This latest sperm whale is a female and is one of five of the endangered species found in the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past year.
News for Wednesday 090617
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested six suspects in a ring of burglaries in and near the Kellyland subdivision. The residential burglaries were reported over a period of several weeks. The suspects, juveniles thru 18 years of age, were located and arrested after RPSO personnel received a report of several people carrying flat-screen TVs in the area.
Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines officially resigned from his job yesterday. The resignation comes on the heels of a criminal investigation where Grines faces a series of felony charges including malfeasance in office, 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.
He is set to be arraigned on Friday.
Alexandria police report a 25-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday evening in the city.
APD officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 1700 block of Beatrice Street at around 10 p.m. Sunday. They found the victim moaning but unresponsive.
He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm moving through the Caribbean, but state climatologist Barry Keim says Irma should be Florida’s problem, not Louisiana’s. He says a cold front will move over the state today pushing the storm away. Keim says the storm certainly bears watching, because things can change, but for now Louisiana appears to be in the clear. He says the cold front will bring delightful conditions to the Bayou State that will last through the weekend.
The state department of children and family services is loading up Harvey survivors and sending them home to Texas, as the shelters in Shreveport and Alexandria are closing. Families are the first to head home, and there’s even space on the bus for small pets. Most of the storm victims are from the Orange, Texas area. The move to a shelter in Dallas should be completed Thursday.
State Officials got together yesterday to discuss Louisiana’s response plan should another storm hit us while Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says we are still in the heart of hurricane season, and resources in Louisiana could be strained. He says as part of the exercise, state agencies and emergency managers were asked to take actions without support from Texas.
Tropical Depression number 13 has formed in the Bay of Campeche. It’s expected to become a tropical storm today, but only impact Mexico. Still, Mike Steele, with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says we still need to be prepared.
The state department of corrections is exploring new safeguards to prevent work release inmates from escaping. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Adult Services, Perry Stagg, says they’re looking at a variety of options from more supervision to ankle bracelets. Stagg says the department has seen a decrease in inmates walking off their jobs in recent years, and this is an effort to continue that trend. In 2016, 70 of the more than 5,000 work release participants escaped.
The Lafayette Sheriff’s daughter and babysitter are safe and sound after the two went missing in a canoe overnight. John Mowell with the sheriff’s office says 21-year-old Juliana Brooks and 7-year-old Cora Garber were found near an oil well in the Lake Martin area after an all-night search.
UL-Lafayette’s petroleum engineering department was ranked seventh best in the nation and thirteenth in the world by CEOWORLD magazine. Department Head Dr. Fathi Boukadi says it’s an honor for the program to be ranked among the best in the world, and he hopes to continue to improve the department. Job placement was a key factor in the report, as UL students get lots of hands on experience.
Two Louisiana State Police troopers avoided suspension and received only minor discipline for taking an unauthorized "side trip" last year to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon while driving across the country to attend a law enforcement conference in California. In doing so, they charged taxpayers for thousands of dollars in overtime — as they traveled to San Diego for the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.
News for Tuesday 090517
By Dave Graichen
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, 12,000 more people are holding down jobs in the state compared to last year. LSU economist Loren Scott attributes the increase to an industrial boom in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge and improvements in the construction sector. Construction employment is at an all-time high in the state.
Hurricane Irma strengthened overnight but it isn't clear if the storm will threaten Florida. The storm's 145 mph winds are expected to lash the Leeward Islands, the U-S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday. Forecasters expect the storm to turn north at some point. Where that happens will determine if or where it hits the U-S mainland.
The state Department of Children and Family Services says they’ve decided to open a second mega-shelter for flood victims from Texas, this time in Shreveport. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they’re also taking care of nearly 2000 Lone Star State residents in Alexandria.
I-10 is now open in both directions at the Texas state line, according to State Police. But some other roads remain closed due to flooding, and you can check 511la.org for an up-to-date map of closures around the state.
Louisiana has the fifth highest obesity rate in the country, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health. President and CEO John Auerbach says perhaps even more troubling is the finding that Louisiana ranks fourth in the country for childhood obesity of 10- to 17-year-olds, at 21 percent.
Relief efforts are ongoing amid the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey, and many are asking how they can help those affected. Chairman of the Board for the Greater Baton Rouge Red Cross, Desiree Lemoine says donating money is the easiest way to give because the Red Cross can buy in bulk. She says those who wish to donate can specify what they want their donation to go towards. To donate or volunteer, go online to RedCross.org.
A weekend boating incident in Cameron Parish took the life of a little boy. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents say 11-year-old Griffin LeBlanc and another 11-year-old boy were jumping off a boat on Lake Calcasieu when they jumped into the path of an oncoming vessel. LeBlanc’s body was recovered, and the other boy was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is seeking volunteers to clean up the 2.5 mile stretch of beach on Elmer’s Island later this month. Spokesperson Alma Robichaux says the event is in coordination with the international coastal cleanup that happens every September. To sign up, visit b-t-n-e-p.dot-org.
A Monroe-native is launching a new streaming TV network next month. Ro Wright says CONGO TV launches online on October 1. He says the network will be available through a variety of streaming options. Wright says he hopes to help local actors showcase their talent in feature films. He says the network will also feature local program based on where users log in, as well as original films and reality shows.
A Baton Rouge General Doctor is one of the first physicians in the country to perform a successful new stoke prevention procedure. Dr. Vince Weaver says this is a minimally invasive procedure that reverses the blood flow through the brain to divert blood clots and plaque away from the brain to prevent blockage and stroke. Three procedures have already been successful and several more are scheduled. Weaver says the previous procedure for high risk patients involved open surgery, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. He says this treatment option is significantly safer.
The 2017 season is off to a good start for the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals blanked BYU 27-0 as the Tigers outgained the Cougars 479-to-97. It’s the first time the Tigers have shutout an opponent since 2014 and first opening game shutout since the 2007 national championship team. Coach O was a happy guy.
News for Friday 090117
By Dave Graichen
Nearly 900 disaster victims from Texas are taking shelter in Louisiana. That’s according to Governor John Bel Edwards, who says the state is prepared to take in 3,000 more of our neighbors, who can be housed at shelters in Lake Charles, here at the evac-center in Alexandria, and in Shreveport
Irma is now a category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic with winds up to 115 miles per hour. Forecasters say Irma will be a major hurricane by the time it reaches the Caribbean early next week. Governor Edwards says while we aren’t sure where the system will go, there is a chance it could head for the Bayou State.
The western half of Calcasieu Parish is under a voluntary evacuation as flooding from the Sabine River is possible. Tom Hoefer with the parish police jury says fewer than one thousand homes and camps are included in the evacuation. He says residents in the area have plenty of time to get out of their homes. The river is extremely swollen after the flood gates were opened at the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
The Department of Agriculture’s mobile pet shelter has been deployed in Lake Charles to help with pet evacuations. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says they will do whatever they can to ensure pets are safe, while their owners are coping with the disaster. He says currently they have 86 pets in their care and they are preparing for an additional 500 pets in here in Alexandria. He says donations of dog and cat food are welcome. The department is providing 200 soft sided carriers for pets traveling by bus.
Prices at the pump jumped three cents overnight as storm-impacted refineries shut down in Texas. Don Redman with AAA says the statewide average is about $2.22 a gallon, up from $2.14 a week ago. Redman says prices could reach up to $2.40 a gallon in the coming weeks before the refineries reopen. But he says once they do, there’s an ample supply of gasoline for plants to distribute.
This weekend Louisiana hunters can enjoy a tax break on their guns and ammo during the 2nd Amendment sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state department of revenue says eligible items will be fully exempt from local sales taxes and subject to only three percent of the state sales tax. The sales tax holiday runs this Friday through Sunday throughout the state.
The Cajun Navy is hard at work rescuing disaster victims in Texas, and the Cajun Gravy is making sure they are well fed. The Cajun Gravy is serving up Louisiana delicacies like jambalaya to first responders in Orange, Texas. The group consists of cooks from Baton Rouge, Gonzales, and Donaldsonville.
The original owners of the Hodges Garden State Park are taking back the 948-acre recreation area in Sabine Parish because the state department of tourism can’t afford to maintain the facility. The assistant secretary in charge of the state park system, Robert Braham, says the state is transferring Hodges back to the Hodges Foundation, effective the last day of September. The state took over the park in 2007. Barham says there have been issues with upkeep due to continued budget cuts for Louisiana’s state parks. He says in the last 10 years, the department has seen a 40 percent reduction in funding.
A team of 10 Baton Rouge area firefighters are heading to Port Arthur, Texas, to assist with the Harvey relief efforts, as the city is reportedly underwater. Task Force 2 consists of seven firefighters from Baton Rouge, two from Hammond, and one from Zachary. The team of trained rescuers will be in Texas for two weeks.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is urging Louisiana residents to purchase flood insurance as we’re seeing an uptick of historic flooding events. He says when congress reconvenes next month, he will push for significant changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says a high school teacher is under arrest in Jennings for allegedly having an improper relationship with a student. They say deputies received a complaint about 26-year-old Rachel Gillespie, and an investigation led detectives to request a warrant. She was booked for indecent behavior with a juvenile.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau is gearing up for a busy weekend as the LSU-BYU season opener takes at the Mercedes Benz Superdome at 8:30 p.m Saturday. Kristian Sonnier with the CVB says even though the game was relocated last minute due to Harvey, they are expecting a big crowd. He says the Decadence Festival will be underway at the same time. Sonnier expects about 50,000 people will be in the Crescent City for the game that they were not anticipating.
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