News for Friday 122217
By Dave Graichen
Cleco has named Bill Fontenot as the new CEO effective January 1st. Fontenot has been with the company for 31 years, working in various capacities including business development, commercial operations and utility operations. He says he’s honored to help keep the focus of the utility on their customers. Fontenot’s family has a long history with the Pineville-based utility company. The father worked for the utility for over 30 years and son Bill followed in his footsteps. Cleco serves about 288-thousand customers in Louisiana.
For the seventeenth year in a row State Police troop E out of Alexandria will be delivering gifts to children who are stuck in the hospital for Christmas. The troop plans to meet Christmas Eve morning to start wrapping gifts to deliver to kids later that night. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says the troop works on the toy drive all year long.
Moreau says any hospitalized child, regardless of background, will be getting a gift…
Moreau says it’s his troops way of spreading a little holiday cheer.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards has his highest approval numbers since taking office nearly two years ago at 65-percent. It eclipses his previous high of 63-percent and is higher than the 54-percent approval rating in May. Governor Edwards says he’s grateful for the trust the voters have placed in him. He says the first two years have seen it’s share of challenges, but he is looking forward to the future.
This will be a record setting holiday for traveling this Christmas. Over 103 million Americans will take to the roads and skies between now and the first of the year. Part of the reason behind the surge in travelers is low gas prices. Triple-A’s Don Redman says prices are higher than they were last year, but travelers feel more confident about the economy. Airline fares are seeing a drop. Some six million are expected to take to the skies during the final week of the year, a one-point-five-percent increase over 2016.
The roads will be packed this weekend with holiday traffic, and the Louisiana State police want everyone traveling to stay safe. Trooper Glen Younger says the stress and extended traffic times can stress drivers and sometimes lead to road rage. He says if you are driving, expect longer travel times. And of course, if you plan to drink, keep a designated driver handy.
Congress’s 1.5 trillion dollar tax overhaul has many wondering how this will impact their finances. The wholesale changes touch everything from investment returns to charitable donations, and radically alters tax season for most Louisianans. Baton Rouge area CPA Brandon Lagarde says the bill should lower taxes for most in the state. He says in any case, the changes will keep CPA’s very busy…
This will be a big weekend for Christmas present crunch time, and retailers are rolling out plenty of last-minute deals to get that holiday dollar. The last Saturday before Christmas is known as Super Saturday, and LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says it’s a big day for brick and mortar stores because it’s too late for online shopping in most cases. About 126 million people, or 53 percent of consumers, plan to shop on Saturday
A Zachary man is charged by a grand jury with first degree murder in the deaths of three people last month. 36-year-old Taurus Ike Hamilton allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and two others in East Feliciana Parish. He has not yet been charged with a fourth murder in East Baton Rouge. His mother Belinda Folse is charged with accessory to second degree murder, after allegedly taking Hamilton across state lines…
Nearly 64,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses, leading to a decline in life expectancy for the second year in a row, according to the CDC. Addiction Policy Forum President and CEO, Jessica Hulsey Nickel, blames the exploding opioid epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, The United states now ranks below several dozen other countries in average life expectancy.
Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro has been placed on injured reserve as a result of a groin injury, which means he’ll miss the rest of the season. He suffered the injury on November fifth and a source says it never healed correctly and it will require surgery.
The Saints can qualify for the playoffs with a win over NFC South rival Atlanta or a Carolina loss this weekend. New Orleans has the easiest road to the post season of any NFL team still trying to qualify, only needing to win one of the next two to play in January. Quarterback Drew Brees says he would love to wrap this up and win in front of the home crowd.
It’s another case of people being more upset than the victim. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has apologized for the choke gesture he made towards Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. TV cameras caught the incident when the two teams met two weeks ago in Atlanta and the two teams are set to meet again this Sunday. In a conference call with Atlanta reporters, Payton said he let his emotions get the best of him. Freeman says he’s not bothered by Payton’s actions.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Hennigan passed away Wednesday. Hennigan, a Northwestern State graduate, still holds two NFL receiving records and is in the top three of three more. A native of Bienville, Hennigan will be laid to rest there Saturday. Charlie Hennigan was 82.
News for Thursday 122117
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards held an end of the year press conference yesterday and set a deadline of January 19th for an agreement in principle with House Republican leaders regarding the one-billion dollar budget deficit the state is facing in 2018. If no agreement, then the governor will not call a special session to approve various proposals to close the budget gap. Edwards says if they are unable to reduce the deficit, he’ll have no chose but to propose deep cuts to education and health care. He says there is nowhere else to cut…
U-S Senator Bill Cassidy says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress does more than just cut taxes for working families. Cassidy says the legislation also allows victims of last year’s floods in North and South Louisiana to deduct all of their personal casualty losses from their taxable income, which could mean thousands of dollars…
Cassidy says the bill also doubles the Child Tax Credit to two-thousand dollars.
The head of the Tiger Athletic Foundation is waiting to see what kind of impact the federal tax reform legislation will have on college athletics. TAF President Rick Perry says LSU season ticket sales for their major sports could be impacted since fans will no longer be able to deduct 80 percent of their donations to the athletic program for the right to buy season tickets.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds only 19 percent of registered Louisiana voters believe their taxes will decrease with the passage of the Republican tax reform bill. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans say the average wage earner will see more money, but taxpayers are skeptical. According to the survey of 500 likely Louisiana voters, 42-percent of respondents believe their taxes will increase. Pinsonat says the massive tax reform legislation will have a major impact on next year’s federal mid-term elections.
An appeals court has ruled against the Rapides Parish School Board, which had appealed the reinstatement of a tenured teacher fired in 2001 and a more than $1 million judgment for her. The case of Patricia Powell was sent back to the 9th Judicial District Court "for a determination of the exact amount of damages awarded, along with appropriate interest and costs. In September of last year, District Judge Thomas Yeager ruled that Powell had been the victim of political retaliation and awarded her more than $1 million in damages. The school board appealed that decision to the 3rd Circuit.
The state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday the athletic director and basketball coach at Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau has been arrested on various sex crimes, including indecent behavior with a juvenile. 51-year-old Mark Aune of Opelousas was booked into the St. Landry Parish jail with the help of Texas authorities.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed two controversies yesterday involving former members of his administration. A legislative audit accuses former State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson of abusing his power and possible illegal activity. The Governor defended his living arrangement at state police headquarters. But, said that other findings revealed by both the State Police Internal Affairs and a legislative audit revealed troubling behavior. Edwards former aide, Johnny Anderson, recently resigned over sexual harassment allegations. Edwards says the issue was handled swiftly.
Lottery tickets may seem like a great Christmas gift with adults buying them for children as stocking stuffers. But Quinetta Womack, director of Problem Gambling Services, says it gives the juvenile a false sense of dreams and ideas that can lead to gambling addiction. Womack says it’s much better to give a child a gift that will promote their creativity, based on real values.
LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist Kenneth Gravois believes this will be a record breaking year for sugarcane production in this state. Gravois says 2012 is the record for production, 84-hundred pounds per acre harvested and he believes they’ll beat that this year.
The selections for the 2018 Pro Bowl were announced Tuesday night and they include six New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan, receiver Michael Thomas, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been named to the team.
A good night last night for Louisiana Tech in the first ever Frisco Bowl. The Bulldogs Squashed the SMU Mustangs 51 to 10
News for Wednesday 122017
By Dave Graichen
The U-S House and Senate approves a one-point-five trillion dollar tax package that supporters say will provide tax relief for working families, but opponents say only the rich will see tax breaks. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana says on average, families will see over two-thousand dollars more in their paychecks every year that will benefit them directly. The day was not without hiccups as several small provisions in the tax bill were found by the Senate parliamentarian to violate the budget rules that Republicans must follow to pass their bill through a process that shields it from a Democratic filibuster. As a result, the House will need to vote again on the tax bill, probably today, since both chambers must approve identical legislation.
State police report a 15-year-old girl died Monday night after losing control of the truck she was driving. Troopers say the accident happened shortly after 9pm on U.S. Highway 71 near Campti in Natchitoches Parish. Kristyn Hoffpauir, from the village of Atlanta in Winn Parish, died at the scene of the crash. A passenger in the vehicle received serious injuries and was transported to Rapides Regional.
A federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of DeJuan Guillory’s family claims an Evangeline Parish sheriff’s deputy fatally shot the then 27 year old Guillory on July 6 as Guillory tried to crawl away, posing no threat to the deputy. An Evangeline Parish grand jury on Dec. 13 declined to indict Lafleur in the shooting, which followed a fight between Guillory and Lafleur during a 4 a.m. traffic stop where Guillory and his girlfriend, Dequince Brown, had been riding an all-terrain vehicle. Brown, who jumped on Lafleur around the time the gun went off, is now charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
The future of two major safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana is close to being secured. Ochsner Health Systems signed a non-binding agreement to take control of the facilities from BRF. The hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe are set to enter into a public-private partnership between LSU and Ochsner, after years of criticism over BRF’s practices. State Officials say a contract could take a few months to complete.
According to an ULM economic impact study released, commercial use of the Ouachita River produces billions in revenue and several thousand jobs in North Louisiana. Ouachita River Valley Association President Randy Denmon says they will be able to use this study to ask the federal government to keep the river open and navigable.
A university of Kansas study says Uber customers are increasingly choosing the ride service for trips to the emergency room, over an ambulance. Chief of Emergency Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans, Dr. Keith Van Meter says sometimes people feel their illness is not that significant and just need an Uber driver to get them to the hospital, but that could be a mistake.
According to Trust for America’s Health, Louisiana achieved only four out of ten indicators for public health preparedness. The criteria is based on weather related events, flu vaccination rate, paid sick leave and other benchmarks. CEO John Auerbach says Louisiana’s flu vaccine rate is the seventh lowest in the nation.
Governor Edwards revealed his plan to help cover a one-billion-dollar deficit. It includes taxing services such as cable TV, but also reducing the state sales tax from five to four percent. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the House Republican delegation is still discussing the best options to address the fiscal cliff. Edwards plans on calling a special session in February to consider his tax proposals.
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director James Waskom says they plan to work towards having the state officially partner with the Cajun Navy for future disasters. Waskom says it would be beneficial for GOHSEP to know who these people are, and where they are being dispatched to during an emergency.
A River Ridge vet has been arrested after allegedly shooting her neighbor’s dog. 35-year-old Kelly Folse says she killed the dog due to excessive barking and was aggressive. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says the dog died a day after being shot. Authorities say they didn’t find evidence the dog was aggressive. Folse is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and possession of narcotics.
Louisiana Tech can finish with a winning record for the 2017 season if it can beat SMU in the Frisco Bowl. It’s been an up and down season for the Bulldogs, who fell short of playing for the Conference USA title. But Bulldogs Coach Skip Holtz says finishing 2017 with a three-game winning streak would be great. You can hear the game this evening starting at 5:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
LSU is expected to sign nearly 20 players over the next three days as part of the college football new early signing period. In the past recruits had to wait until February to sign, now they can do so in December.
News for Tuesday 121917
By Dave Graichen
The APD reported yesterday that four people have been arrested and charged in connection with a shooting in the city Saturday night that left a 19 year old man on life support. The department announced it had charged 18 year old Donterio Wilson and 17 year old Kevin Thompson, plus two juveniles with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Both Wilson and Thompson were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, while the juveniles were taken to a juvenile detention facility.
You may have notices if you were stuck standing in line.. But, Monday was the busiest day of the year for the U-S Postal Service. Spokesperson Twana Barber says If you want your gifts to arrive by Christmas Day, the deadline for first class mail is today.
The Cajun Navy has a new mission, getting people back in their homes in time for Christmas. A February 15th FEMA deadline is looming, where residents who are living in temporary housing face the possibility of paying rent to stay in their FEMA homes. Sondra Richard, a volunteer with the Cajun Navy says the mission is a grassroots, completely volunteer effort to get people back into their homes. They are looking for people who can help with rebuilding and transportation of supplies. The United Cajun Navy is accepting volunteers, more information can be found on their Facebook page.
Governor John Bel Edwards outlined his proposals for closing a $1 billion dollar budget gap, also known as the fiscal cliff. The governor proposes higher sales taxes on utilities that businesses pay, new sales taxes on various services like cable TV and changes to individual income tax brackets. He does not support the renewal of a one-cent temporary sales tax that will expire on June 30th. The governor says he plans to unveil a budget proposal on January 19th, but it will include $1 billion in cuts, since no decision on tax reform will be made until an anticipated February special session.
Hunger Free America has just released a report showing that Louisiana is tied with Mississippi for the second highest food insecurity in the country. Spokesperson Magen Allen of Hunger Free America says the survey shows that 14 percent of working adults in Louisiana suffered from food insecurity at some point between 2014 and 2016. Food insecurity is defined as “when a person is without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Another segment that is suffering silently is senior citizens in the state
The ACLU of Louisiana has filed a suit challenging the Webster Parish School District’s alleged practice of subjecting students to school sponsored Christian prayer and other religious rituals. The suit was filed on behalf of Webster Parish parent Christy Cole. ACLU attorney Bruce Hamilton says the suit alleges that Christian prayers are broadcast during morning school . Hamilton says graduation ceremonies have been held inside churches and at times resemble a church service. He says the teaching of evolution and creationism have become blurred at Webster Parish Schools.
The White House says judicial nominee Matthew Peterson has withdrawn his nomination. Peterson failed to answer basic legal questions when questioned by Republican Senator John Kennedy. Kennedy says he had no idea that Peterson had no litigation experience, and said that’s why the Senate holds hearings.
State Representative Chris Broadwater has announced he’s stepping down from the state legislature, so he can spend more time with his family. Broadwater has represented Hammond and parts of Tangipahoa Parish for the last six years. The GOP legislator has a reputation of working with both Republicans and Democrats. We’ve seen a lot of resignations lately because of sexual harassment, but Broadwater made it very clear, a possible scandal is not why he’s stepping down.
Penn National Gaming has purchased Pinnacle Entertainment for 2.8 billion dollars. Pinnacle operates the L’auberge in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, and Boomtown in New Orleans and Bossier City. Wade Duty of the Casino Association of Louisiana says that the buyout won’t lead to big changes for players. He does not anticipate Penn National Gaming expanding their new properties in Louisiana.
A state audit finds the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, created by the state legislature in 2002, has yet to achieve the National Cancer Institute designation, which would open up additional federal funding to improve research and how cancer is treated. The audit notes changes are needed in their administrative structure of the research center in order to achieve the designation.
News for Monday 121817
By Dave Graichen
The flu season is ramping up in the Deep South with the highest number of cases in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. The State Health Department’s Dr. Frank Welch says Louisiana has already hit the CDCs highest criteria of widespread for flu activity. The Influenza A strain can make people extremely sick and can even be fatal. Keep in mind, even if you have been vaccinated, this year’s shot is only 30 percent effective against this particular strain. But doctors still recommend you getting it, because the shot protects you from other strains.
The deadline to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act has come and gone. Persons need to have health insurance in place for 2018 or pay a penalty. The State Director of Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana Brian Burton says premiums increased for this year, but the government has helped with more subsides, making it more affordable in the long run.
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office says they found a man dead inside his vehicle in a cow pasture near Zwolle. 34-year-old Adam Lloyd Jeter was found with several gunshot wounds. Police don’t have a suspect in custody and the investigation continues…
Questions remain surrounding the death of two people found in a St. Landry Parish lake last week. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says the initial autopsy finds that 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan of Shreveport and 30-year-old Anthony Michael Murray of Rapides Parish drowned in Lake Dubbusion. Kazan was reported missing while visiting friends in Alexandria. Guidroz says the investigation continues and they are waiting for the toxicology reports…
A Governor’s Task Force to study the state’s sexual harassment policies was chosen Friday. The seven member panel will look at current polices into all state agencies which are under the direction of the Executive Branch. Their first meeting is today. They are required to report back to Governor John Bel Edwards with recommendations no later than March 1st. Their goal is to make sexual harassment policies the same across all offices…
Republican US Senator John Kennedy is receiving national attention for how he grilled a President Trump judicial nominee who had trouble answering basic questions regarding the law. Kennedy says he was just doing his job as he will not just blindly support Matthew Peterson, just because a Republican president nominated him. A vote has not been taken on Peterson’s confirmation.
An LSU Ag Center researcher believes he’s made a breakthrough when it comes to combating chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease and C-J-D, which is found in one-eighth of Alzheimer’s patients. Dr. Frank Bastain has developed a way to grow a bacteria that causes these diseases which makes it possible to develop tests and vaccines for them. Bastian says he hopes to begin working on a vaccine that could potentially cure the disease, especially in humans suffering from C-J-D. It develops in persons between 40 and 80 years old and ninety percent of those infected die with a few weeks to a year.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade plans to put their bodies in the way of a proposed pipeline that would stretch 162 Miles across south Louisiana. Energy Transfer Partners only needs a couple of permits before they can start construction on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Bucket Brigade Director Anne Rolfes says they will resist non-violently. Rofles says Energy Transfer Partners has a long history of damaging the environment and shouldn’t be allowed in Louisiana…
The Saints made some mistakes.. but a win is a win.. 31-19 was the final score yesterday as the Sainte defeated the New York Jets. The Saints are now 10 and 4 on the season.
News for Friday 121517
By Dave Graichen
An appeals court has reversed the dismissal of a suit brought by former Cleco shareholders, clearing the way for the three-year-old class action petition to continue.
Plaintiffs in the suit allege that Cleco executives and directors breached their fiduciary duty by pushing through the sale of the company from public to private hands for their own financial benefit, resulting in shareholders receiving less than full value for their shares. The full story can be found online at thetowntalk.com
Former Governor and University of Southwestern Louisiana graduate Kathleen Blanco will give the Commencement address at UL-Lafayette today. Blanco announced last week she is fighting liver cancer. University President Joe Savoie says the plans for her to speak today were made before her latest diagnosis Savoie says Blanco has not only been a great political leader, but is a great person and looks forward to seeing her values shine through in the speech.
Republican U.S. Representative Mike Johnson along with Democratic Florida Representative Charlie Crist have established a bi-partisan Honor and Civility Caucus to restore trust and confidence in American politics. Johnson, who represents the northwestern parishes of Louisiana, says it’s time to change the tone of the way politics is done. Johnson authored the “Commitment to Civility” that’s been signed by over 120 bi-partisan members of Congress to commit to setting an example of personal integrity and mutual respect. He says it’s sad that an issue has to be made about this topic to remind people to be polite.
Through an Executive Order, Governor John Bel Edwards has the created the Governor’s Justice Implementation Oversight Council as a part of the sweeping criminal justice reform effort. A main aspect of the reform effort is the lowering of the state’s incarceration rate, which the Governor’s office says will save the state 78-million-dollars over ten years. The money will be reinvested for programs designed to rehabilitate former inmates into becoming productive citizens.
The state legislative auditor releases findings that point to possible misuse of state dollars and abuse of power by the former Superintendent of State Police Mike Edmonson. During a meeting of the legislative audit advisory council, an auditor who worked on the report gave an example of how Edmonson allegedly used public resources to run errands for his family. The report also details improper use of New Orleans hotel rooms during Mardi Gras. State Auditor Roger Harris says Edmonson and his family lived in a state owned building without proper authority. Edmonson says he plans to respond to the audit by January 15th and believes Louisiana residents will not prematurely reach conclusions until all facts are presented.
A grand jury met for the first time Thursday to determine if 10 LSU fraternity members should be charged in connection with Maxwell Gruver’s suspected hazing death. Gruver’s mother, Rae Ann, spoke on ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday saying the Phi Delta Theta brothers should be charged with murder. The Ten frat members are facing a charge of hazing and one of the accused is also charged with negligent homicide
The U-S Post office says time is running out to make sure your holiday gifts get to your loved ones on time. Spokesperson Twana Barber says all first class mail needs to be at the Post Office by December 19th, priority mail December 20th and December 22nd
for Priority Mail express. She says make sure the name and address of where the gift is going can be clearly seen.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is underway for the holiday season. Executive Director Katara Williams says law enforcement officers will be cracking down on drunk driving. She says they want Louisianans to celebrate the holidays responsibly.
A man faces sentencing next month afer he was found guilty of killing a man who allegedly sexually assaulted his then girlfriend. 21-year-old Jace Crehan killed and stuffed 47-year-old Robert Noce Jr. of Zachary in a barrel. Noce pled no contest to the claims of sexual assault before his death.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s office has confiscated an eighth-grader’s guns as a result of a threatening Instagram post. Sheriff Brett Stassi says the student admits to taking the picture showing him holding a rifle, but did not write the text telling students to stay home that had parents and law enforcement concerned. Stassi says the Math, Science and Arts Academy campus was opened, once they realized there was not a threat. Stassi says this appears to be a prank that went awry.
The 9-and-4 Saints are preparing to host the New York Jets Sunday. New Orleans is in a tie in the NFC South with Carolina after losing last Thursday to Atlanta. Quarterback Drew Brees says the long week has allowed the team to heal and prepare for the final four games of the regular season.
News for Thursday 121417
By Dave Graichen
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office is trying to figure out how two bodies ended up in Lake Dubbuisson near Ville Platte. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says they are working with Alexandria Police, because they believe 30-year-old Anthony Michael Murray of Rapides Parish kidnapped 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan in a motel parking lot.
Autopsies on the bodies will be conducted today.
Governor John Bel Edwards was a surprise visitor at yesterday’s House Republican delegation retreat in New Orleans. Edwards says he spoke to legislators about the looming fiscal cliff as the state is facing a one-point-one billion dollar budget deficit. The governor says the state can make up that revenue by removing dozens of sales tax exemptions. Edwards says it’s his goal not to raise taxes, but some republican legislators say eliminating tax breaks is a tax increase.
Col. Mike Edmonson is under public scrutiny for how he spent taxpayer money during his time as the leader of state police. The legislative auditor has released a preliminary report that shows Edmonson may have received special taxpayer funded treatment for housing, food and chauffer service for his wife.
Louisiana once again ranks 49th out of 50 states in a health ranking report. America’s Health Rankings Annual Report analyzes 35 health guidelines. CEO of United Health Care of Louisiana Joe Ochipinti says the Bayou State ranks near the bottom because a quarter of it’s residents smoke and that in turn raises other health related problems.
Ochipinti says education and healthy lifestyles are the key to lowering sickness and death rates.
A “Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools” gives Louisiana schools a “D”, down from a “B” grade just two years ago. Minden State Representative Gene Reynolds authored a 2016 law that requires financial literacy to be taught in high schools, but it appears some schools are only teaching personal finance as another existing course of study.
A white man accused in two racially motivated murders in Baton Rouge pleaded not guilty yesterday to all charges against him. Kenneth James Gleason allegedly fatally shot two black men in September and also fired shots into a home that was occupied by a black family. A trial date has not been set. Prosecutors can seek the death penalty in this case.
The Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office says they’ve arrested and fired one of their deputies after he allegedly wrecked his patrol car while driving intoxicated early yesterday morning. Commander Lonny Cavalier says authorities responded to calls of a vehicle in a ditch and it turned out to be 22-year-old Deputy Joseph Edward Repp of Pierre Part. Cavalier says Repp blew a .09 on the breath test, which is just above the legal limit.
The headquarters for the state Department of Transportation in Baton Rouge were vandalized Tuesday night. Windows on the east side of the building received damage from the gunshots. Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says steps have been taken to ensure the building is secure and it is monitored by the Department of Public Safety.
A Tulane researcher has received a 414-thousand-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to study why males have more impulse control issues than females. Director of the Tulane University Brain Institute Jill Daniel says if are able to determine why males are more vulnerable to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and addiction, it will lead to better treatment. Daniel says they know impulsive behavior issues start when a person is a child and continue into adulthood.
A Boutte man is thanking his beloved pup, Rusty, for saving him from a house fire. Calvin Baldwin says he fell asleep on his couch after a long day of watching the high school football championship games in New Orleans when he was woken by Rusty pawing at his hands. Baldwin saw smoke near the bathroom and was able to get out of the house with the dog. It’s believed the fire was started by an electrical spark.
The who man serves as LSU’s General Manager for the football program, Austin Thomas, is leaving for the same job at Tennessee. Thomas is a Tennessee native and has been a critical part of LSU’s recruiting efforts. He was with LSU for four and a half years.
A Kentucky state lawmaker facing sexual assault allegations has apparently killed himself. Officials say Republican Dan Johnson shot himself on the side of a road outside Louisville. A woman told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting that Johnson sexually assaulted her in 2013. Police did not file any charges against Johnson. The report was published on Monday. Johnson denied it the following day.
News for Wednesday 121317
By Dave Graichen
Police have identified the woman found in a lake in St. Landry Parish. 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan was reported kidnapped over the weekend while visiting Alexandria. Authorities say a white man’s body was also found Tuesday in the 2007 Ford Taurus that was pulled from Lake Dubuisson. (du-bah-son). The St. Landry Sheriff’s Office says he appears to be in his late 20s to early 30s. His identity is unknown.
A bi-partisan group of 12 governors, including Governor John Bel Edwards, is urging Congress to reauthorize funding for a popular children’s health insurance program as soon as possible. Fresh funding for the $14 billion CHIP program ran out October 1st. In a letter the governor’s say resources are nearly exhausted and some states already have begun to inform families that their children’s coverage may end on January 31.
In order to address the state’s high rates for teen pregnancy and STDs, the Louisiana Public Health Institute has started a new campaign to promote comprehensive sex ed in public schools and at home. Associate Director Kristie Bardell says parents, students, teachers and legislators can log on to geaux-talk-dot-org to receive tips on how to have informed conversations about the value of sexual health. She says a recent study shows 84 percent of Louisiana parents and caregivers believe sex ed is an important part of their students’ curriculum. However, in many school districts in the state sex ed is a low priority.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury was informed Monday the recent sale of SMG, the company that manages the Coliseum, will have little if any effect on day to day operations. SMG, which took over management of the coliseum in September, announced Monday that they had been bought by Canadian private equity firm for an undisclosed amount. The Police Jury turned to SMG when the coliseum struggled to meet revenue projections in the months following a $23 million renovation of the facility. SMG has more than 230 facilities under management, making it a global leader in the industry.
State police report a man driving the wrong way on a Sabine Parish highway collided with another car Monday night. 50 year old Wallace Brumfield from Many was killed in the crash. The driver of the other vehicle received moderate injuries. Troopers believe Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
A Lafayette attorney has claimed the $191 million dollar Powerball prize on behalf of a three-member family partnership from the winning ticket in the October 25th drawing sold in Eunice. Louisiana Lottery spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin says the group opted for the cash prize. That boils down to about $119.4 Million dollars. Chopin says the family wants to remain anonymous but released a statement saying they are obviously elated. The payout represents the largest single prize ever won in the Louisiana Lottery’s 26-year history.
The Louisiana Board of Regents has given Grambling State University the green light to proceed with plans to establish the first cybersecurity degree program in the state. Grambling State University President Rick Gallot says an estimated two million cybersecurity workers will be needed by 2019. Once the components are in place, the university will have to go back to the Regents for final approval of the new degree program.
There’s buzz about the possibility of Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish running for governor in 2019. He says it’s an option he’s considering, but will run for re-election in the 5th Congressional District next year. He says he’d run for governor because he’d like to see less government oversight on a state level.
Small business optimism nationwide is near a record high, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says we haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, when the economy was booming during the Reagan administration. Starns credits the positivity to the push for tax reform in Washington D.C.
A Saints season ticket holder is asking for a refund due to the National Anthem protests. Lee Dragna of Morgan City is seeking a refund for the tickets and attorney fees. He says he and his family are not able to enjoy the games due to players not standing for the National Anthem. He claims the rowdy, angry reaction of the people around his seats during the protests have made the tickets unusable.
A coalition of student groups called Renew LSU is pushing for university leaders to rename two prominent buildings on campus, Murphy J. Foster Hall and the John M. Parker Agriculture Coliseum. Parker served as governor, but participated in an 1891 lynching of 11 Sicilian immigrants who were allegedly involved in the murder of a New Orleans Police Chief. The group’s spokesperson Savanah Dickinson says because of his actions, they want to rename it in honor of Dr. Pinkie Gordon Lane.
Louisiana’s original craft brewery Abita Brewing Company is helping to celebrate New Orleans’ Tricentennial next year with a new brew called Maison Blanc. Brewmaster Mark Wilson says the concept comes from the area’s long standing history with French culture and lifestyles. They expect to have the new brew available statewide by the first of the year. He says Maison Blanc is combining the best of wine and beer, making it into one delicious recipe.
College football’s first ever early signing period begins a week from today. From December 20th to 22nd, schools can sign high school prospects to national letters of intent. The next signing day will be February 7th. LSU has 20 commitments and Coach Ed Orgeron says it’s their anticipation they’ll sign most of their verbal pledges next week. Orgeron says over half of their commitments are linemen.
News for Tuesday 121217
By Dave Graichen
The St. Landry Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 21-year-old whose body was found by a fisherman in Lake Dubuisson. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says the woman’s purse was found and shows a Shreveport address but they believe she was visiting friends in Alexandria. Family members notified deputies she was abducted while here. Guidroz says deputies are hoping to finds a lead to identify a suspect. Authorities are asking anyone who has any information to please contact them.
The RPSO reports criminal scammers are targeting local citizens with phone calls threatening them with arrest and prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. In the calls, recipients are pressured to bring a "fine payment" for missing jury duty to the Federal Courthouse in Alexandria. Then the victim receives a phone call to "expedite the process" to put the money on a Green Dot Visa Card. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office reminds you that this is a scam and something law enforcement would never ask you to do.
A 32-year-old Lafayette man faces up to five years in prison after he admitted to using Donald Trump’s social security number in an effort to get the president’s federal tax information. Court documents say Jordan Hamlett was unsuccessful. He’ll be sentenced at a later time. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says Hamlett will likely get probation or very little time. He says no harm was done by Hamlett’s actions.
Two time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is coming to Baton Rouge early next year to star in a World War Two era film entitled “Greyhound”. Louisiana Economic Development’s Don Pierson says it will employ over 250 persons in Baton Rouge.
Pre-production started this week and crews are expected to film aboard the U-S-S Kidd on the Mississippi River and other Baton Rouge locations next March.
Gasoline prices are on the decline for the first time in several weeks. Usually they start to fall in October after the summer driving season, but there was a still a strong demand for gasoline in the fall. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says the current statewide average is $2.26, which is four-cents lower on the week.
Democrat Justin Dewitt of Baton Rouge has announced he plans to run against Republican Congressman Garret Graves next year. Dewitt was born in Sulphur and moved to Zachary, where he graduated from Zachary High School. He says he’s running because Graves does not represent the interests of the 6th Congressional District. As a victim on last year’s historic flood, he says he plans to seriously address flood control. Dewitt says he’s only accepting individual contributions for his campaign.
Totals are in from Friday’s historic snow event. Kentwood saw the most in the state with 6 and a half inches. That’s according to Shawn O’Neil with the National Weather Service in Slidell, who says parts of the Baton Rouge area saw three to five inches.
O’Neil says it’s the biggest snow event in south Louisiana since December of 2008.
Twin brothers who are Gonzales firefighters will appear in the next season of the CBS reality show “The Amazing Race.” 33-year-old Daniel and Eric Guiffreda said they competed against world champion skiers, NBA players, and competitive eater, Joey Chestnut. The show premieres January 3rd on CBS for its 17th season.
An anonymous donor gave one-million-dollars to the University of Louisiana at Monroe. It was given as part of the SOAR Capital Campaign to support the School of Education at ULM. Development Officer of the fund raising effort Morgan Patrick says the donation gets them closer to their 54-million-dollar goal. Dr. Eric Pani, Vice President of Academic Affairs is awed that the donation was given by a retired teacher in the Monroe area who is also a ULM alum.
News for Monday 121117
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana officials on Sunday offered prayers and support to former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who announced she is fighting melanoma in her liver, for which she said there is no cure. The former governor, who served from 2004 to 2008, said she has begun a treatment program but no cure exists for this type of melanoma. She asked for “prayers and loving support” as she continues to undergo treatment.
Court officials say a senior federal judge in Louisiana has died, days before he was to preside over the trial of a private investigator accused of trying to get Donald Trump's tax returns illegally during the presidential campaign. Judge James J. Brady died over the weekend after a short illness. Brady was to preside as jury selection began Monday in the trial of Jordan Hamlett. Brady was nominated to the bench in 1999 by then-President Bill Clinton. Judge Brady was 73.
LaPolitics Weekly reports 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham is considering a run for governor in 2019. Abraham says he hasn’t made any decisions, but a number of people are asking him about it. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says the Richland Parish physician will need to boost his name recognition. U.S. Senator John Kennedy, Attorney General Jeff Landry and Congressman Garret Graves are a few GOP politicians that are suspected to run against current Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
The face-off between state Attorney General Jeff Landry and New Orleans Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell over Cantrell’s possible abuse of a city credit card has sparked accusations of political motivations and set off a round of musical chairs at Criminal District Court over which judge may handle the case. And that’s before Landry has filed any charges over the matter, if he ever does. Landry’s preliminary digging, which apparently is focused on Cantrell alone and comes even as the state legislative auditor is looking into the credit card spending of all seven members of the City Council.
After a timeout in August, the Louisiana Board of Regents is set today to consider tightening the rules on how high school students can earn college credit, without unduly curbing access to the popular classes. The board delayed action on the initial proposal at the request of Gov. John Bel Edwards' office and amid concerns by Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System. Henderson said the revised draft is far better than the proposed changes unveiled in August, which he said would have overly restricted access to the courses.
The LSU AgCenter has developed a milk-based meal replacement powder to help consumers lose weight. Studies show drinking meal replacement shakes for 12 weeks instead of meals is a safe way to drop pounds. Director of the AgCenter Food Incubator Gaye Sandoz says they’ve developed the powder and now LSU’s Pennington Research Center will test the product.
A Baker woman left an autistic child in a truck with the engine off in 35-degree weather while she played bingo on Friday afternoon, according to a Baker police report.
An anonymous caller told police Friday that someone had been sitting in a truck outside the Baker Bingo Hall for nearly four hours. When officers arrived, they found the person inside the vehicle was a non-verbal, autistic child, according to the police report. The child’s mother was booked in Parish Prison on improper supervision, cruelty to juveniles and child endangerment.
A dozen juvenile whooping cranes have been released at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge as part of an ongoing effort to protect them from extinction. Biologist Sara Zimorski with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they are joining eleven juveniles that were released a couple of weeks ago in Vermilion Parish. Whooping cranes are the tallest bird in North America, standing on average five feet tall.
Multiple reports indicate fewer people are watching as much pro football than they used to. Baton Rouge-based Todd Advertising Agency owner Deborah Todd says it’s not just national anthem protests, she says viewer fatigue has also set in, because of an over saturation of NFL games. Todd says cord cutters, households who get rid of cable or satellite TV, is also hurting NFL viewership. She says internet based apps like Netflix, Hulu and Directvnow, is helping to further divide people’s attention away from professional football and it’s cheaper.
News for Friday 120817
By Dave Graichen
A few schools districts decided to play it very safe and are closed today due to the threat of nasty weather overnight.. Avoyelles Parish public and Catholic schools are closed.. as are St. Landry parish public schools, Beauregard parish, Vernon and Evangeline Parish schools .. All Schools in the Alexandria Pineville area are open..
If you are planning on attending the Pineville Christmas parade tonight, bundle up, it will be cold… The parade starts at 7:00 pm at Huey P. Long Hospital Blvd. it will then travel up main street and end at the Trotter Center at Claiborne. The Annual Christmas Parade in Ball it tomorrow starting at 2:30p. And the Alexandria Christmas parade is set for Sunday at 2p
Thursday afternoon it took a 9th Judicial court jury less than an hour to find Akeeley Blade guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Michael Butler during a motel room invasion back in August of last year. No sentencing date was set yet because a hearing will have to be held to determine if Blade, who was17 at the time of the crime, should receive life in prison or be declared eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
The reward for information on the death of a St. Tammany Parish Fire Chief’s wife has been increased to ten-thousand-dollars. Nanette Krentel, the wife of Fire District No. 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was thought to have died when the couple’s house burned down, but her death was later ruled a homicide.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed 231-to-198 the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to allow a person with a concealed carry permit issued in one state to carry a firearm in another state. U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson says by passing this bill, there will be less confusion as to which states allow concealed carry and those that don’t.
With Christmas right around the corner, the Louisiana SPCA encourages people to give the gift of a home to a pet in need through adoption. Spokesperson Alicia Haefele says they’re offering a 50-dollar adoption special until December 23rd. She says last year 222 animals found forever homes during the holiday season. Haefele says this service is available around the state. She says it’s important to make sure everyone adopting a pet understands it’s a life time commitment, not just a holiday gift.
Louisiana Tech in Ruston has been granted 1.3 million dollars to enhance its cybersecurity programs. The money was awarded by the National Science Foundation. U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham of Alto says LA Tech is a leader in training the next generation of professions that will be tasked with protecting our nation. Louisiana Tech is the first university in the country to establish a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Engineering degree program. Abraham says Louisiana Tech is looking toward the future.
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday shoppers will spend about 967 dollars a person on gifts this year, up 3.4-percent from in 2016. Mark Rosa, Professor with the UNO School of Business, says everybody gets excited during the season and wants to be generous but we have to resist the urge to overspend. He says it’s easy to put purchases on credit cards. It’s much more difficult to pay them off..
News for Thursday 120717
By Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards has established a seven member task force to review sexual harassment and discrimination policies in state agencies. They will review current polices, identify the most effective mode of training to prevent harassment and develop a protocol for new employees The report must be submitted to the Governor no later than March 1. This all comes after Governor Edwards’s staff member Johnny Anderson resigned following sexual harassment allegations…
A new study from the University Council on Gender Equity finds that LSU male professors make more money than female professors. Assistant Accounting Professor Christine Cheng says the data is missing variables such as experience, education and other market factors. But she says additional research needs to be done when outside information is used…
The embattled National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on Friday if Congress doesn’t take some sort of action. The House has already passed a five-year re-authorization of the NFIP, but the Senate is very wrapped up in dealing with the tax reform legislation right now. Lafayette Congressman Clay Higgins predicts there will be a brief extension to buy some time.
Louisiana’s Medicaid program is spending at a slower pace than expected. The forecast shows they may spend as much as 650-million-dollars less, which could give the program a surplus in six months. 30-million-dollars of that money would go to a state general fund surplus that could be spent elsewhere in state government.
You may be thinking about using heaters and fireplaces to keep you warm now that winter weather has arrived. The chances for house fires increases, especially if proper precautions are not followed. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it’s not advisable to use space heaters for an extended period of time.
The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time but can often be overwhelming, causing seasonal depression. Our Lady of the Lake Psychiatric Nurse Glenda Natale says this time of year, they receive more calls for help dealing with the holiday blues. She says we live in a perfectionist society. Natale says people who feel like they don’t have a strong support system are at a higher risk for developing holiday depression. She suggests getting out to volunteer or befriending a neighbor, rather than dwelling on past memories with people who are no longer with you.
The 2017 Allstate Sugar Bowl—L-H-S-A-A Prep Classic begins today and runs through Saturday at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Nine state champions will be crowned over the next three days and Association Executive Director Eddie Bonine says they anticipate several close games.
The recent cold snap could bring central and south east Louisiana some wintry precipitation tonight into Friday morning. State Climatologist Barry Keim says even though the air temperature will stay above freezing, you may still see freezing precipitation. Sunny but still cold weather is expected to return by the weekend. Temperatures will remain in the 50’s for the majority of the state.
The New Orleans Saints are set to square off against the Atlanta Falcons tonight in a key NFC South showdown. Quarterback Drew Brees says the short week can make it difficult to prepare, but he knows the Falcons will be ready with some new tricks up their sleeve. Kickoff is tonight at 7:25 at Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta. Saints running back Mark Ingram is listed as questionable with a toe injury.
News for Wednesday 120617
By Dave Graichen
Health officials are concerned that Louisiana might have a severe flu season. There are more cases of flu here and in Alabama than elsewhere in the country. Louisiana Department of Health Doctor Frank Welch says there are more medical visits for the flu than there should be this early in the season. Some officials warn this year’s flu vaccine may only be ten percent effective against the “A” strain of the virus. Welch is concerned that this influenza will cause several problems the current vaccine does not immunize against.
A cold front has crossed the state, bringing Louisiana its coldest weather of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says we can expect to see clouds and lingering rain through tomorrow. He says break out the sweaters and winter coats as highs won’t get out of the 40’s today. Keim says by Friday and over the weekend, we’ll see temperatures in the 30s in the morning with afternoon highs in the 50s.
Over the past few weeks, he has made two trips to Washing DC to testify that Louisiana’s voting system is unhackable. But now Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they are looking at replacing the state’s voting machines. Schedler says tampering with the current machines is remote, but a new system would further decrease the chances of tampering. He is awaiting approval from the state Division of Administration.
John Schroder was sworn in last night as Louisiana’s next state treasurer after being chosen by a record low number of voters in the November 18th runoff. John Kennedy stepped down from the position to become a U.S. Senator.
Singer John Mayer cancelled last night’s New Orleans show with Dead and Company, a Grateful Dead revival band after he underwent an emergency appendectomy. There is no word on when a concert will be rescheduled. Ticket holders can either ask for a refund or use their tickets at the rescheduled show.
Two Slidell Junior High School students are arrested after allegedly bringing a firearm to school. Police received a crime stoppers tip that a 14-year-old boy brought the weapon while a 12-year-old boy showed the weapon to several students. The younger boy also went as far as pointing it at another student and making threats on social media. Both suspects are in custody at the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center.
Denham Springs Police have arrested a man who allegedly tried to rob a woman at gunpoint during a sale of an XBOX video game. The victim told police that she met Michael Mitchell at a bank parking lot, when Mitchell drew a gun. The victim screamed and Mitchell fled from the scene in a car. He was later found at a Baton Rouge restaurant where he was taken into custody. The victim identified him in a police lineup. He is in custody on a 100-thousand-dollar bond.
State Police and the FBI seek the public’s help in the apprehension of suspects involved in two bank robberies in north Louisiana. The Guaranty Bank in Epps was robbed November 10th. Seventeen days later the Barksdale Federal Credit Union in Cotton Valley was held up. State Police say the suspected man and woman hid their identities, but they believe both robberies are connected. A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrests of the suspects.
Facebook plans to launch a new app for kids so they can message their friends with the approval of their parents. It’s called Messenger Kids and is aimed at children under 13 LSU Mass Communications Professor Lance Porter says this new app is a way to reduce the exposure to things kids are not ready to developmentally deal with.
The Richwood Rams of Monroe in Ouachita Parish will play in the 3A State Championship against West Feliciana at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Friday. There are many fans that want to go watch, but can’t afford to make the long trip. Tyron Dickens is trying to help raise money through his non-profit program K-9 Outreach and he says donations have started coming in. This is the first time since 1974 that the Rams have been involved in a state championship game.
There has been a lot of buzz over the Instagram post by LSU star running back Derrius Guice which says he will decide whether to enter the draft after the Citrus Bowl against Notre Dame. The junior is expected to be selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft if he leaves early. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says he would be shocked if Guice stayed another year..
News for Tuesday 120517
By Dave Graichen
It’s going to get cold real fast in the Bayou State as a major weather system begins affecting the state today. National Weather Service says thunderstorms are a good possibility with this arctic blast…Temps will peak early and will begin to drop during the afternoon. The good news is, after the front moves through, the clouds will give way to a sunny, but cold temperatures for the latter half of the week into the weekend.
The Department of Health has gotten better about erroneously making Medicaid payments to deceased recipients over the last four years, but still has work to do. A new report from the state’s Legislative Auditor found LDH made nearly $718,000 in improper payments between July 2013 and August 2017. Performance Audit Manager Chris Magee says LDH has improved since 2013.
Louisiana is one of a dozen states asking the US Supreme Court to block a California law which states any eggs sold in California must come from hens who have been able to stretch their limbs in their cages. In most cases, chickens we eat and get eggs from live in cages so small they can’t turn around. State Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says California can pass whatever law they want, but saying that their standards should apply to all eggs shipped into their state violates the Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. Strain says, at the end of the day, this would inhibit the free flow of products across state lines.
Three people, including the President of the East Baton Rouge Parish NAACP have sued Baton Rouge Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wilson and the city. They claim they were allegedly removed during a public comment portion of a council meeting after wanting to discuss the Alton Sterling case. Their attorney says since it was during the public comment part of the meeting, they had a right to speak, even though it wasn’t on the agenda.
Allegations against Louisiana State Police have been flying after investigations into the LACE program and troopers taking a side trip while driving to a conference. Superintendent Kevin Reeves says changes have been made when it comes to deciding disciplinary action. He says now a case goes before the Disciplinary Review Panel. Reeves says the Panel ensures that all decisions regarding troopers’ actions are decided in a way where no one receives special treatment from the Superintendent.
Funeral services have been announced for Acadiana area visionary and UL-Lafayette supporter Judge Kaliste (collie) Saloom Jr., Saturday at 10am at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette. The 99-year-old former Lafayette City judge died over the weekend following a short illness. Visitation will be Friday at Martin and Castile’s downtown Lafayette location.
Southern Mississippi and Florida State will play in Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport on Wednesday December 27th. The Seminoles won’t have head coach Jimbo Fisher who left for Texas A & M. I-Bowl spokesman Stefan Nolet says they hope this game marks the beginning of better times for Florida State and their fans.
Louisiana Tech is heading to a bowl game for a fourth consecutive season as they’ll play SMU in the first ever Frisco Bowl on December 20th in Frisco, Texas. Bulldogs Head Coach Skip Holtz says they look forward to the matchup against the 7-5 Mustangs.
News for Monday 120417
By Dave Graichen
The Alexandria Zoning Commission will meet today at 4 to discuss the possibility of rezoning the former Cavalier Motel property on Masonic Drive from part commercial, part single family housing to entirely commercial. The Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority, which owns the property, has agreed to sell it to a developer for a new Family Dollar store, but the zoning variance must be granted before the sale is finalized.
Over the weekend, Alex Winter Fete had an incredible run. The near perfect weather and an amazing line up of family entertainment led to large crowds each night. Estimates have the crowds at over 40,000 for the event. All in all, a great success..
In Natchitoches, record crowds were also reported for that city’s Christmas festival.
Both of Louisiana’s U-S Republican Senators voted for the tax bill that was approved on a 51-49 vote. Senior Senator Bill Cassidy says it will cut taxes for working families in Louisiana. John Kennedy says the non-partisan Tax Foundation says Louisiana will see an increase of 12-thousand jobs and the average family will gain 18-hundred dollars in after-tax income. But Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moller says only the wealthy will get a tax break, while low-income and middle-class Americans would face a tax increase.
For the second straight year, LSU is headed to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando and this year they’ll play Notre Dame. Last year the Tigers trounced Louisville 29-9 on New Year’s Eve. This year’s game will be played on New Year’s Day at noon in Camping World Stadium.
Shreveport police have arrested a 16-year-old who allegedly threatened to shoot his classmates at Caddo Magnet High School. Investigators say the troubled teen also surfed the internet on how to make bombs and watched videos of other school shootings. Authorities seized undisclosed items from his home and the suspect was booked on one count of terrorizing.
There are reports Smoothie King is looking at moving its corporate headquarters from Metairie to Texas. A five-year deal between Louisiana and the fruit drink maker expires at the end of the year. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says under the deal set to expire, the state pays Smoothie King, who employs about 60 people, hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives. Pierson says Louisiana Economic Development will work with Smoothie King to explore all options for them to remain in the state.
After a third consecutive losing season, UL Lafayette has fired head coach Mark Hudspeth. Athletic Director Bryan Maggard informed Hudspeth of his decision Sunday morning following the team’s 63-14 loss to Appalachian State. Hudspeth directed the school to four straight New Orleans Bowl titles from 2011 to 2014, but because of NCAA sanctions, UL Lafayette was forced to forfeit 22 victories, including two bowl wins.
Broussard Police say the man that held up the First Community Bank on Monday is now in custody. 29-year-old Jeremi Raymond of New Iberia allegedly wounded one of the bank tellers when he fired his weapon. Broussard Police Chief Brennan Decou says Raymond, who is a convicted felon, faces several charges.
A newly released 300-page State Police report provided to the Advocate, shows former LSP Superintendent Mike Edmonson retired last March after learning some troopers were being internally investigated after claiming overtime and expensive hotel stays in Arizona and Nevada on taxpayers money. President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission Rafael Goyeneche (go-en-nech-che) says Edmonson’s tampering with key evidence could bring felony charges, including obstruction of justice…
A new addiction treatment center is opening on the Northshore. The ten-million-dollar Longbranch Recovery Center will open around the first of the year in Abita Springs. Longbranch Healthcare CEO Chris McMahon, sober for 17 years, says he wants to do his part in helping those who need it the most. McMahon says the location of the facility was as important as treating the patient. He says the former Longbranch Hotel in Abita Springs is a now a 32-bed facility that will be able to house patients during 30 to 90 day treatment programs
The Saints regained control of the NFC South with a convincing 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Atlanta Falcons also lost, so now New Orleans has a one-game lead over the Panthers and a two-game lead over the Dirty Birds for the division lead. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 269 yards and one touchdown in the victory. The Saints are 9-3 heading into a Thursday night showdown with the Falcons.
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