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KSYL Local News Archives for 2020-03

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 31st, 2020

News for Tuesday March 31st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

1,158 Louisianans are now hospitalized with COVID-19, and 385 of them are on ventilators as statewide cases cross the 4,000 mark. 185 people have now died due to coronavirus related causes, an increase of 34 in the past 24 hours. Governor John Bel Edwards says by the end of this week the New Orleans area could reach its ventilator capacity. Edwards says he’ll likely extend his stay-at-home order beyond April 13th as Louisiana ranks second in the nation in per capita deaths related to COVID-19….

 

Drive through testing is available in Cenla Today.. In Alexandria, testing is available this afternoon from 1 to 3 in the parking lot of the Rapides Parish. In Natchitoches, drive-thru testing starts at 10 A.M. and runs until until noon in the parking lot of Central Louisiana Technical College (CLTCC) on Highway 1. This is the first day of testing in Natchitoches. Thereis no out of pocket expense, but you will need to bring your ID and insurance card. Patients do not need a doctor's order or a negative flu test to receive testing. The only requirement is a fever above 100.4 degrees

 

Edwards reiterated his calls for social distancing, but one church in Central refuses to comply having hosted over a thousand people Sunday night. But, the governor says he won’t be breaking up those services. Reportedly residents from five different parishes were bused in for Sunday service at Life Tabernacle Pentecostal Church in Central.

 

Legendary Saints kicker Tom Dempsey is reportedly positive for COVID-19. Dempsey had been living at Lambeth House, a nursing home in New Orleans that was one of the earliest reported hubs for coronavirus activity, and now one of 28 nursing homes in the state to get the virus. Dempsey is best known for his, at the time, record breaking 63-yard field goal in 1970 that lifted the Saints over the Lions.

 

President Donald Trump has extended the nation’s social distancing guidelines that were set to expire today for another month through April 30th. Senator Bill Cassidy says the restrictions will likely extend into May, unless the curve is flattening or scientists discover a treatment. Over 11-hundred COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. Cassidy says hospitals are doing what they can to keep up with the surge in cases

 

Congressman Ralph Abraham says more than $650,000 in grants will be disbursed to the cities of Alexandria and Monroe for the coronavirus response. These funds can be used in a variety of ways to build infectious disease response capacity and mitigate the effects on the surrounding community. Alexandria will receive $248,000 while Monroe will receive $436,000

 

State Rep. Ted James, a Baton Rouge Democrat and one of the area delegation's most influential voices, is hospitalized with pneumonia after testing positive for the coronavirus.

 

LSU’s medical school has received approval to begin clinical testing of hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment for COVID-19, State officials  announced yesterday the state has received 400,000 hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets from a donation.

 

Food stamp recipients who are not currently receiving the maximum total possible on their SNAP cards will now start receiving the max. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walter says only 37 percent of recipients currently receive the maximum. The max for a single individual recipient is $194 a month. The Department is also waiving redeterminations, interviews, and the work requirements for SNAP. Walters says if you have SNAP, you don’t have to worry about losing it right now. If you need to apply for the SNAP program, the best way to do that is on line.. Visit DCFS.LA.GOV/GetSnap or text get SNAP to 898-211

 

Some state lawmakers will reconvene today to try and set a new date to get back into session.  The 2020 session came to a halt three weeks ago over coronavirus concerns.  Senate President Page Cortez says he’s got no definitive date in mind. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says today’s business will not require a full house since they are not voting on any bills adding that although they may be exceeding a congregation of 50 people, they will be practicing social distancing. Both Cortez and Schexnayder remain optimistic that a special session could be avoided, but that decision hinges on the rapidly changing COVID-19 outbreak.

 

After a two-week break, LSU’s spring semester resumed Monday, but all classes have been moved online. English Professor Kevin Cope says the transition to online learning has gone about well as it could considering the short notice. Cope says those in traditional liberal arts classes will likely fare the best under the new online-only curriculum, and those in lab heavy courses, as well as those in sociology, education, and social work will likely lose the most in the transition. LSU’s campus is currently set to stay closed at least through the end of May.

 

ESPN reportedly offers Saints QB Drew Brees the Monday Night Football analyst position once he retires from the NFL. Brees recently signed a two year contract with the team.

 

In more Brees news, the QB recently posted about taking long nature hikes during the COVID-19 shutdown, including one where he ran into a rattlesnake. Coach Sean Payton shot back that he should pick a new trail.

 

The F-B-I wiretap that reportedly has LSU basketball coach Will Wade discussing a strong offer made to a recruit is expected to be aired tonight on an H-B-O Documentary titled “The Scheme.” Wade missed the NCAA Tournament because of the FBI wiretap scandal but was reinstated in May.

 

ESPN is reporting that the SEC is allowing its football coaches to have two hours of virtual instruction and video conferencing per week. That includes film review. It’s an attempt to make up for the loss of spring football. But ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit says he would be shocked if we have an NFL or college football season this fall.

Good Morning.. News For Monday March 30th, 2020

News for Monday March 30th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

President Donald Trump says his administration is extending their guidelines on social distancing until April 30, after stating the COVID-19 death rate in the U.S. would likely hit a peak in two weeks.

 

President Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic relief package into law Friday after a near-unanimous action by Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic. As of the latest report, there are 3540 Cases of the virus in the state, 151 people have died and 1,127 Hospitalized with 380 of them on Ventilators.  

 

The growing number of cases of COVID-19 in the state and especially in the New Orleans area prompts the need for additional healthcare workers and the state in the process of opening a 1,120-bed facility at the Morial Convention Center. The Governor is asking healthcare students and recent grads along with retired nurses and doctors to volunteer for the fight against coronavirus, and fast-tracking new licenses to get them into the field.  Volunteers can sign up at COVID-19LAvolunteers.org.

 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday announced orders restricting travel to Texas from certain COVID-19 hot spots including Louisiana. Abbott said road traveling coming into Texas from Louisiana will be restricted to those handling essential services. Anyone else coming in will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks. The mandate will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety at entry points into the state.

 

Governor Edwards is begging the public to stay indoors and to not congregate after the state saw several reports of mass gatherings over the weekend in defiance of state orders. Edwards says it’s not an easy situation but the public needs to comply, and understand we could be enduring this past the initially estimated April 13th reopening of the state. Louisiana currently has the second-highest COVID-19 mortality rate per capita of any state in the country.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on Saturday the death of 33-year-old staff member April Dunn who succumbed to complications from COVID-19. April Dunn served in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs

 

Unemployment applications continue to inundate the Louisiana Workforce Commission.  Executive Director Ava Dejoie says the department has had a total of roughly 136-thousand claims come in over the last two weeks. Dejoie says the best way to file is still online at louisianaworks.net  and recommends that filers practice some patience with the process.

 

Louisiana Economic Development opens a COVID-19 Help Desk that will provide information for businesses on what the federal $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill means for them. LED Secretary Don Pierson says businesses can find out info online at opportunitylouisiana.com.

 

Our Lady of the Lake infectious disease specialist Catherine O’Neal says since a vaccine for the Covid-19 could be over a year away, our best hope to stop coronavirus is for people to slowly build up “herd immunity”. When you get a virus and recover, you make antibodies that prevent you from getting the virus again for a period of time. O’Neal says because 80 percent of cases are mild or asymptomatic. She warns we do not currently know how long those anti-bodies will last once formed. O’Neal says she expects even with social distancing and shelter in place orders in effect, a majority of Louisianans are still expected to catch the coronavirus.

 

With new hospital restrictions limiting visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak, some expectant mothers are seeking alternatives and reaching out to midwives. Kyra Kana (Con-yah) of The Natural Birth House in Broussard says they’ve seen an increase in the number of new patients. To locate a midwife Kana recommends social media and the Louisiana Midwives Association Facebook Page.

 

 

Good Morning... News For Friday March 27th, 2020

News for Friday March 27th, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has now surpassed the total number of cases in China, the country that previously had the most people sick due to the coronavirus.

 

At the county or parish level, Orleans Parish now leads the nation in per capita deaths, more than twice as many as the 2nd highest county. The 46 coronavirus linked deaths in the parish add up to roughly 1 in 10,000 residents. That’s as the state total rose to 83 fatalities Thursday and 2,305 total positive tests.

 

Governor Edwards sounds the alarm about the increasingly alarming situation in the New Orleans area, saying current projections show the region’s medical system running out of ventilators by late next week, and out of hospital beds by the week after that.

This information has led him to authorize turning the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans into a stand-up hospital, aiming to eventually house 1,120 beds at the location at peak capacity. 676 COVID patients in the state are in the hospital, 239 on ventilators.

 

5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham, a doctor currently doing volunteer shifts at a clinic in his native Richland Parish, to call for the expanded use of experimental drugs like the oft-talked about anti-malarial Hydroxychloroquine (hy dorxy cloro keen).  The President has also touted the treatment, but small scale studies of the drug on COVID-19 patients have yielded mixed results. 

 

A Pineville man is in custody and another man is wanted in relation to a kidnapping incident in the 100 block of Sunset in Alexandria on Thursday evening. According to APD, witnesses claim that 23 year old Darius Mitchell, armed with a handgun, forced a victim into a red vehicle and left the area. APD, with assistance from the Pineville Police Department, eventually located the victim and a second suspect, 22 year old Jammie Simmons in Pineville. The victim had minor injuries. Simmons was charged with second-degree kidnapping.A warrant has been issued for Mitchell. If anyone has any information on his whereabouts, please contact APD

 

Parts of the state could see record highs today, and that’s led some armchair virologists to speculate that the state could see a dip in COVID-19 cases as a result. Our Lady of the Lake infectious disease specialist Catherine O’Neal says that’s a dubious claim that’s not supported by research. Some of the misinformation about potential dips in COVID rates over the summer likely stems from false assumptions that it behaves like Influenza. O’Neal says that’s not the case. That means we’re unlikely to be bailed out of this pandemic just because of a change in seasons.

 

As the coronavirus forces the economy into a freefall, oil and gas prices continue to drop. Patrick DeHann, Head Petroleum Analyst with Gas Buddy dot com says the average price for a gallon of gas in Louisiana is currently $1.85, with speculation that the price could drop as much as another 50 cents in the coming months.

 

Saints QB Drew Brees and his wife committed $5 million dollars to help feed Louisiana residents who are struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Second Harvest Food Bank President and CEO Natalie Jayroe says Second Harvest currently has the ability to crank out 2,000 meals per day and the contribution will help to increase that number.

 

Four people in Baton Rouge have died after a car traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into a house. A two-year-old in the vehicle is one of the victims. Two other people in the car died and a person inside the home was also killed.

 

In addition, protecting the community the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office is now offering to pick up and deliver groceries to at-risk members of the community who can’t leave their homes due to the coronavirus. Public Information Officer Mathew Henderson says the response has been tremendous so far and the deputies say they enjoy it too…

 

Cleco announced on Thursday that it had donated $1,500 to Louisiana College to support the college’s efforts to make face shields for health care facilities that are facing supply shortages amid the Corona Virus Disease outbreak. The shields are being made with the assistance of 3-D printers, which take about an hour and 15 minutes to complete each shield. Cleco states that is donation will help make about 300 face shields.

 

KALB Reporting Last Night With the spread of COVID-19, the Food Bank of Central Louisiana is still open and fully operational at this time. The Food Bank is distributing boxes Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until noon and again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at their location on Baldwin Avenue. The Food Bank is now incorporating a drive-through style pick up. When you drive up, you won't even have to leave your vehicle. Volunteers will load everything into the car for you. If you're interested in getting set up at the Food Bank and have never gotten food from them before, all you need to do is call and fill out an application. Don’t need food? A donation would be most welcome.

 

The Pelicans are trying to adjust to life under the threat of COVID-19 and maintain the momentum that had them challenging for the 8th seed before the season was suspended. Pelicans VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin says things were going well until the NBA closed all practice facilities last Thursday. Griffin expects the Pelicans haven’t played their last game this year and says he hopes fans get to see the conclusion of what’s been an encouraging first season with the new-look team.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday March 26th, 2020

News for Thursday March 26th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state is now reporting 1,795 positive cases of COVID-19 and the death toll has reached 65.  23 of the 65 deaths are less than 60 years old. Louisiana now that the third-highest rate of confirmed cases per capita and yesterday saw the largest single-day rise in the state since the discovery of the first case just over two weeks ago. Governor Edwards calls the jump sobering and concerning.

 

The Bayou State is the fourth state to receive a federal disaster declaration due to the coronavirus. Governor Edwards requested the designation Tuesday night, adding Louisiana to a list that includes California, Washington, and New York.

 

Governor Edwards is looking for options to unburden hospitals before they reach overflow of COVID-19 patients. Edwards says an official decision is expected to be announced in the next day or two. An option is moving people who are COVID-19 positive but aren’t in critical condition out of the hospitals and into other isolation facilities to recover to free up more hospital rooms and intensive care units for patients in urgent need.

 

LSUA officials report a student at the university has tested positive COVID-19.

The student is only enrolled in one on-campus course, does not live on campus, and has not been on campus since March 9. The student is currently in self-isolation and is reportedly recovering well.

 

The White House and Senate leaders have agreed on a two-trillion dollar emergency funding bill that will provide cash to most Americans. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says the legislation calls for adults who make less than $75k annually to receive $1,200 check, Married couples with a household income under $150,000 will receive $2,400 and each child will receive $500.This particular legislation only calls for a one-time payment to citizens, but Graves says Congress isn’t ruling out the possibility of another payment in the future.

 

Officials with Ochsner New Orleans say they are treating 271 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and nearly 300 more patients who potentially have the virus. Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas says not only are they seeing more COVID-19 patients but their stay in the hospital is more extended.

 

Schools have been shut down for a week and a half and will remain that way through at least April 13. The federal government has already granted the state’s request to suspend end-of-year testing and school and district performance scores. Governor Edwards says it’s upsetting that kids are not in school, but keeping children at home will help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

LSU Health Shreveport opens a COVID-19 test processing lab that at peak capacity will be able to process 1,000 tests a day with a turnaround of only 24-48 hours. Currently, the turnaround is more like 3 to 5 days.  Chief Innovation Officer Drew Mouton says the team has been pulling 18 to 20-hour days to get the facility online. The lab will not gather samples on-site; it has samples shipped to them from other locations.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday March 25th, 2020

News for Wednesday March 25th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The newest numbers of COVID-19 cases from the state brings the total to 1,388 and 46 deaths. That’s an increase of 216 cases and 12 additional deaths. Of the current cases 271 are hospitalized and 94 of those patients require ventilators. 

 

Governor John Bel Edwards requests a major disaster declaration for Louisiana from the feds, citing numbers showing the state has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita.  Edwards says new projections indicate the New Orleans area will run out of healthcare capacity by April 4th. President Trump has indicated he wants to get Americans out of their homes and working again by Easter, but Edwards says the only timelines he will follow are those given by the medical community. The Governor  reiterated his calls for “flattening the curve”, and says he’s encouraged by how serious the public has taken his call to stay home and limit interpersonal contact…

 

State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon issues an emergency rule designed to expand access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Donelon says the rule means that insurance agencies must cover a telemedicine visit as they would for an in-person visit to the doctor and it requires insurers to cover mental health telehealth services as well.

 

Yesterday was the first full day of Governor John Bel Edwards stay at home order. But Edwards says that doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in your house, you can spend time outside in the year and playing with the kids, taking walks and exercising.  Office of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Jim Hussey says to help stay sane and healthy during this period you should make a daily schedule, and keep to it.

 

Louisiana residents are prepared for hunkering down for flooding and hurricanes, but staying at home through April 13th can still feel like a daunting tasking to prepare for. LSU AgCenter registered dietitian Sandra May says while it’s a good idea to have some snacks,  it’s important not to go crazy with junk food. May says it is vital to have a balanced diet to keep the immune system at peak performance.

 

All buildings and overnight facilities at Louisiana State Parks are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. Buildings at all state historic sites are also closed. The closure will remain in effect until April 13. Officials say no new reservations will be accepted prior to April 13.

 

In times of crisis, scam artists will prey on your emotions and your wallet and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau of Louisiana is warning residents not to respond to emails that say you are receiving a government check and they need your banking information. It is a scam plain and simple, do not reply.  Albert says fraud schemes are running rampant with the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

All of LSU's May commencement ceremonies, including the vet school and the law school, have been postponed. In a letter to students, Thomas Galligan, Jr., LSU Interim President, writes that students will be able to "graduate" eventually and he promised all graduating students will have the opportunity to participate in a future commencement ceremony.

 

COVID-19 is also having an impact mental health as we try to cope with stress and anxiety from the pandemic. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Michelle Moore with LSU Health New Orleans says a majority of workers in the state are working from home and some find themselves unemployed and/or caring for children at home. If you feel you need counseling, you can call the Louisiana Department of Health’s Keeping Calm Through COVID Hotline at 1-888-310-7977

 

Evictions and foreclosures may be on hold in Louisiana due to the shutdown of courts, but that situation doesn’t get tenants off the hook when it comes to paying rent or a mortgage. Spokesperson for the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center Maxwell Ciardullo says the future seems dire without housing assistance from the federal relief bill being negotiated.  Ciardullo hopes landlords will work with tenants.

 

A shortage of hand sanitizers has some craft beer breweries and distilleries churning out the disinfectant. Founder of Acadiana-based Bayou Teche Brewing Karlos Knott says they just received the greenlight from the feds for production.  The brewery is purchasing spirits from a local distillery and chemicals from local suppliers for the initial 55 gallon batch.  It will be donated to healthcare facilities. Knott says the only thing standing in the way of making more is a slowdown in the supply chain.

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 24th, 2020

News for Tuesday March 24th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state is up to 1,172 cases of the coronavirus and at least 34 deaths have been reported.

 

Here in Rapides Parish, health officials have confirmed the first death from the virus. According LDH, the fatality was a 76-year-old. Over the weekend, the state’s youngest victim, a 38 year old man from Catahoula Parish passes away from complications from the virus.

 

Louisiana on Monday released figures on the number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in the state as of Sunday, with 240 of the 860 positive cases confirmed at the time requiring hospitalization.

 

The state discovers another cluster of coronavirus cases at a Donaldsville retirement home. Five positive COVID-19 cases were discovered there.

 

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. In his statement Aymond says that throughout the pandemic he had been feeling fine until he recently began to experience mild symptoms including fever. After taking the test, Aymond says his results came back positive for the coronavirus. Archbishop Aymond says he has self-quarantined and has notified any of those he has been in close contact with.

 

Medical professionals and the Governor took on some of the public’s biggest questions Monday night about what we now know about COVID-19 just over two weeks since the state’s first reported case.  The President has touted the potential of existing medications for COVID treatment, but Our Lady of the Lake Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Catherine O’Neal says they need further testing. Louisiana Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says the state’s rate of case increase is remarkably high, and even with the containment measures that may not change in the next few days. 

 

According to a UL-Lafayette study, Louisiana has one of the fastest growth rates of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world. Dr. Gary Wagner, a Business Economist at UL-Lafayette, has a few theories on why Louisiana is seeing a large rate of cases compared to other areas, In Two words Mardi Gras. Another reason is the fact that the state was late in starting testing. Wagner says, once you see the number of cases exceed a couple of thousand, the numbers increase so quickly, it is impossible to get ahead of them.

 

The National Federation of Independent Business says 76% of small businesses are now being negatively impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, up from 23% ten days ago. The state has ordered that many businesses shut down in an effort to slow the spread, NFIB State Director, Dawn Starns she says commends Governor Edwards handling of the pandemic because he’s done everything possible and in the process kept businesses in the loop.

 

State Police and other law enforcement agencies have been inundated with phone calls pertaining to rumors of road closures related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19.  Lt. Nick Manale says while there may be road closures, it’s not because of some of the far-fetched rumors found on social media. Manale insists that the public get information from trusted, reliable sources.

 

The state Department of Education opens the Child Care Assistance Program to support essential critical personnel during the response to COVID-19. Assistant State Superintendent of Education Jessica Baghian says the help is available to individuals in various critical roles. Baghian says the local resource and referral center has access to a list of which licensed childcare facilities are open. Baghian says the program pays a subsidy and any difference between that amount and the price the care facility charges is the responsibility of the parent. The program is available for kids 12 and younger.

 

Beginning today  until April 13, the Lottery will close its Baton Rouge headquarters, regional prize payment offices and distribution center to both employees and the public in order to comply with the Governor's stay-at-home mandate. During this time of emergency, the Lottery asks that players hold on to any winning ticket of $600 or more until prize payment offices resume operations with the reassurance that all prize claim deadlines will be extended for an additional 90 days. For all other prize levels, players can visit www.louisianalottery.com/claim for information on ways they may claim in the interim.

 

Furloughs begin this week for employees of The Advocate and Times Picayune newspapers. Editor Peter Kovacs announced yesterday that the newspapers have seen an increase in online subscriptions, but have taken a deep hit in advertising revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The furloughs will affect about a 10% of the papers 400 employees.

 

LSU says they will only have a limited number of essential personnel on campus as part of the governor’s stay-at-home order. Interim President Dr. Thomas Galligan says campus is set to remain a ghost town through the end of the spring semester. Many are worried some of LSU’s most essential staff may not be taking the field come August if COVID-19 is still an issue by them. Galligan says if football must be canceled, they will, but hopefully, it won’t need to be…

 

While much of the state’s workforce has been told to go home, Louisiana’s chemical plant employees are still on the job producing goods needed to fight the virus. 

Life at the plants looks a lot different these days. Bowser says access to facilities is being limited, worker’s temperatures are being checked on entry, shift sizes are now smaller.

Good Morning.. News For Monday March 23rd, 2020

News for Monday March 23rd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor Edwards issues a statewide shelter in place order, and ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in Louisiana saying drastic measures are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order, which takes effect a 5pm this afternoon does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and allows for restaurants to serve takeout or drive-through meals. A complete listing of ordered closures is available at gov.Louisiana.gov.

 

All state offices will be closed to the public until further notice. State workers will receive their marching orders from their direct supervisors. Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall announced yesterday that all City of Alexandria buildings will be closed to the public until further notice. City workers will continue to report to work as scheduled and services will continue to be provided but public interaction will be held to a minimum.

 

In yesterday’s press conference the Governor said there will be no checkpoints or enforcement of travel restrictions, but the Governor is asking people to be good neighbors and follow the order to shelter in place. Edwards says two weeks ago we had zero COVID-19 cases. One week ago we had 91 confirmed cases. As of Sunday 837 confirmed cases and twenty deaths, a ten times increase in seven days.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards will take to radio and television airwaves Monday at 7PM for a one-hour broadcast to address Louisiana’s fight against the spread of COVID-19. Edwards’ spokesperson Shauna Sanford says there will be no audience at the LPB studio, but Edwards and a health professional along with other guests will answer questions from the public that were sent in over the weekend. You can hear the program tonight on KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM and on KISS 98.7 and you can watch it on L-P-B.

 

The Rapides Parish School Board is planning a special meeting for Monday with just one item on the agenda. The 12:25 p.m. meeting is for the purpose of adopting an emergency declaration and to "temporarily suspend all other open public board meetings and action until further notice."

 

Unemployment insurance claims are skyrocketing. Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Ava Dejoie says the department has received over 30,000 new claims last week and that number is expected to greatly increase this week. Dejoie says staffing of the department has been shifted from other divisions to help process the new claims. The first checks are anticipated to be sent out next week. The maximum unemployment benefit is $247 per week. Dejoie says the best way to file a claim is online at LAworks.net.

 

LSU announcing yesterday they will close the campus except for an extremely limited number of essential personnel and those students who have received permission from Residential Life to remain in on-campus housing.

 

The statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline has dipped to $1.93 and are expected to continue to drop. COVID-19 economic impacts, as well as overproduction between OPEC and Russia, are the main factors.  Oil prices are at their lowest levels since the early 2000s.

 

Ochsner Health CEO Warner Thomas says their health system is prepared to handle a potential influx of COVID-19 patients. Despite reports of hospitals lacking personal protective equipment and not enough respirators, Thomas says they are in good shape right now. Thomas says their estimates show the system can handle patients without being overloaded, assuming every Louisianan heeds the Governor’s call to for social distancing.

 

As children prepare to venture into the world of online learning, the experts are recommending a few tips and tricks for making the transition away from the traditional classroom an easier one.  Head of Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy Danielle Scott says make sure children have a designated area for learning. Children need a routine, so Scott says it is important for parents to create a schedule together with their child

Good Morning... News For Friday March 20th, 2020

News for Friday March 20th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Yesterday afternoon the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported the first case of COVID-19 in Rapides Parish and two cases in St. Landry Parish.

 

One of the newest reported cases is Saints head coach Sean Payton, who says he wasn’t feeling well so he went and got tested. The result came back positive despite the fact that he was not running a fever. Secretary for the State Department of Transportation and Development, Shawn Wilson, has also tested positive for the virus. Wilson says he has been in self-quarantine since Sunday, March 15. He began feeling bad and tested negatively for the flu on Sunday; he learned Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Louisiana Congressmen Steve Scalise announces he is in self-quarantine after extensive contact with one of the first two members of congress to be diagnosed with COVID-19. The Republican representative issued a statement that he has chosen to go into to isolation based on the guidance of the attending physician of the US Congress, but is not currently showing any symptoms of the virus.

 

The OMV is now closing all offices effective today as a result COVID-19. On line services at the OMV will remain up and running.

 

A staggering number of Louisianans have filed unemployment claims as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the world economy. By noon Thursday, 30,000 people had applied for unemployment insurance this week, versus 1,700 for all of last week. Laid-off workers can apply online at laworks.net or by calling 1-866-783-5567.

 

All this COVID-19 concern has Louisianans flocking to gun stores, but Gun shops are finding it hard to keep their shelves stocked. According to ammo.com, Louisiana’s increase in ammo sales is only being outpaced by Delaware and Oklahoma.

 

Governor Edwards warns healthcare capacity in the New Orleans area could be surpassed within the next seven to ten days under a worst case COVID-19 spread scenario. Edwards says it is early but the region’s trajectory of case growth is basically the same as Italy’s was in the same period of the outbreak. Italy has surpassed China to lead the world in COVID-19 related deaths with over 3,400. Texas is reporting 278 total positive tests so far, while Arkansas has 62, and Mississippi has 50. Louisiana has 392.

 

Three state parks are being used to house people who are awaiting their coronavirus test results.  Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser says the test subjects that are being brought are those from nursing homes, the homeless, and people that just don’t have anywhere else to go. Nungesser says the use of individual cabins is a better idea than using hotel rooms for the same purpose.

 

The price of oil is hovering in the mid 20 dollars a barrel, prices not seen since the early 2000s.  The price collapse is hammering the industry, and Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs warns that even if the COVID crisis breaks in the next few weeks, the American oil industry is still threatened by Russia and OPEC, who are deliberately overproducing to deflate prices.

 

Senate Republicans are preparing to unveil their emergency stimulus plan to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It’s expected to cost around $1 trillion. Under the measure Americans who made $75,000 or lower last year would be eligible for $1,200 payments and those payments would increase by $500 for each child the person has.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health is offering free counseling for anyone experiencing stress or anxiety from the COVID-19 outbreak. Medical Director for the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health Dr. James Hussey says the line is open 24 hours a day with trained counselors. You can call the hotline at 1-866-310-7977

 

The crawfish industry is suffering major losses as the state goes into partial shutdown during the heart of crawfish season. Vermillion Parish farmer Christian Richard says Lent is always their best time of the year, but not this year with the closing of all of the state’s restaurants. Richard says if the governor wants to help out farmers, he’d allow food stamp recipients to use their benefits to buy crawfish.

 

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists of a speed limit change on Hwy 165 from Kingsville to the north end of Ball. Speed studies were conducted that produced results favoring the increase of the speed limit from 45 mph to 55 mph along this corridor. Signage is scheduled to be installed next week.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday March 19th, 2020

News for Thursday March 19th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state’s number of coronavirus cases is up to 281. St. James Parish officials announced late Wednesday that a patient there has died from the virus, bringing the total to 8 deaths statewide. Governor Edwards expects the number of coronavirus cases to increase dramatically over the next 24 to 36 as the state plans to receive about a thousand tests results. Edwards continues to implore Louisiana residents to wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing. First two cases of coronavirus in Lafayette were confirmed yesterday.

 

On Wednesday Attorney General Jeff Landy joined Governor Edwards during coronavirus his update. Some say the Governor is overstepping his authority by closing some businesses and limiting public gatherings. In a bipartisan stance, Landy backs the Governor. Republican Congressman Clay Higgins has been extremely vocal about the Democratic Governor’s authority during the pandemic. Landy says the Governor has the authority under the present situation. Landry also warned the public, especially seniors, that scam artists are taking advantage of the situation and preying on unsuspecting people.

 

Blood centers across the state are reporting that COVID-19 is causing a critical shortage of blood donations. Lifeshare Blood Center says March is usually a busy month for blood centers, but not this year. The arrival of the virus and fear has led to a loss of 4,000 scheduled blood donations during March, the biggest hit coming from the suspension of schools. 1 in 5 donors are teens. Donations are being accepted at Alexandria’s Lifeshare center on North Blvd. 

 

Governor Edwards says they’re expecting serious economic damage as a result of the need for social distancing but they are looking to help residents. The Governor has requested Small Business Administration disaster loan assistance for all 64 parishes and the suspension of eviction and foreclosure notices for now to prevent homelessness.

 

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy says the federal government is working to get more testing kits out. A drive-thru testing site in Baton Rouge had to suspend operations Tuesday after it ran out of testing kits. Cassidy says finding out who has the virus is critical to stopping the spread.  Congress is working on a massive economic stimulus package that will result in Americans receiving a direct payment from the federal government. Senator Cassidy says he supports Governor Edwards’ dramatic measures to close down schools, restaurants and bars. He’s been in contact with hospitals to make sure they are ready as the virus is showing no signs of slowing down…

 

New Orleans ranks second only to Seattle among US cities in per capita coronavirus cases.  Health experts say Mardi Gras was the ideal combination of factors to dovetail the number of infections.  Chair of the Global Community Health Department of Tulane’s School of Public Health Dr. Richard Oberhelman says the first factor is the international attraction of tourists. When Carnival season wrapped three weeks ago, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, but asymptomatic carriers may have relayed the spread to others in the time since.

 

The state has established a staging area for coronavirus patients who don’t need ICU care at Bayou Segnette state park.  Edwards says they are considering doing that at other state parks as well. The Governor has deployed 400 National Guard soldiers in response to the crisis, many of whom are manning posts at Bayou Segnette. Lake Bistineau and Chicot State Park are also being considered for use in COVID quarantines, but Edwards says finding room isn’t the biggest problem, it’s finding enough healthcare workers.

 

A capital region church is continuing to hold services as normal, defying the ban of gatherings of 50 or more people. The Life Tabernacle Church in Central had an around their average attendance of over 1,100 on Sunday. Rev. Tony Spell says police have shown up after services at the church, telling them next time it’ll be the National Guard that will disband the gathering.

 

The Department of Children and Family Services has seen a doubling in the usual number of food stamp applications. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says part of the surge in applications is likely because people think the program is being expanded as it does in natural disasters, but that’s not the case. SNAP sends benefits to roughly 770,000 Louisiana residents currently.

 

Beginning Thursday, March 19th through Monday, March 30th, the Louisiana State Capitol will be closed. Senate President Page Cortez and Speaker of the House of Representatives Clay Schexnayder, in coordination with other agencies housed in the building, have agreed that closure is necessary to ensure the health and welfare of the public and staff.

 

Sports..

 

LSU football Coach Ed Orgeron calls on citizens to follow the game plan in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Coach O participated in a unified command meeting with Governor Edwards. Orgeron says he knows this will be a challenge, but adds this is not the time to be selfish and urges young people to stay home. Orgeron says Louisiana residents are tough and resilient adding there is no better way to prove that than by beating down the spread of coronavirus.

 

It appears veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins will return to the Saints. NFL insider Ian Rapoport reports New Orleans is close to signing Jenkins, who has spent the last six years in Philadelphia. Jenkins was a standout rookie for the Black and Gold when the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009. He also helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl 2018. The former Ohio State Buckeye had 81 tackles last season, 2.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

 

Saints cornerback Eli Apple has reportedly signed with the Oakland Raiders. Apple has spent the year and a half in New Orleans and had mix results, 28 tackles, two interceptions and 13 pass breakups. New Orleans is set to play the Raiders this season.

 

Nick Underhill with New-Orleans-football-dot-com says the Saints have restructured the contracts of wide receiver Michael Thomas and tackle Terron Armstead to open up more cap space.

 

Instead of getting ready for Mississippi State this weekend, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is sitting at home wondering about the future of his program. The NCAA is expected to give an extra year of eligiblity to the two seniors on his team since their season was cut short after 17 games. Mainieri says that would be a good move by the NCAA, but that will bring more challenges when it comes to managing the roster…

 

 

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday March 18th, 2020

News for Wednesday March 18th, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

In the last update for the day, the Louisiana Department of Health reveals that 196 cases of COVID-19 have been found in the state so far up from 136 Monday. 136 are found in Orleans Parish. East Baton Rouge also finds it’s first case. Four people have so far died from the virus, with two of the victims coming from a New Orleans nursing home that’s seen a number of cases.

 

Chicot State Park in Evangeline Parish will be utilized as an overflow area for possible COVID-19 patients from certain regions of the state. Liz Hill, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security for Evangeline Parish, confirmed Tuesday night that the state park is being set up for those who may need to be quarantined due to the virus, but who cannot return to their homes or residential facilities. Hill said those that will be able to stay at the park will come from Regions 4, 5, and 6, which is the Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Alexandria area. There, Hill says, patients will be cared for by health care providers.

 

The Governor ordered the closure of a number of businesses Monday, and restrictions on restaurants as a result of the growing number of cases, and the 2020 Legislative Session was suspended until March 31st as a result. Southwest Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins isn’t happy about that decision. Higgins says it’s an infringement on people’s rights and questioned the Governor’s authority. The Governor’s office has responded saying Congressman Higgins clearly cares more about Facebook views than Louisianans.

 

The restaurant industry is having to adapt to the precautionary closings of dining areas.  President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association Stan Harris says there is a fear of the unknown within the industry as questions remain as to how long this could last. The Governor’s proclamation deems operations may be able to resume on April 13, however, the situation will be reevaluated a week prior to that date. Restaurants are still allowed to serve food via drive-thru window, curbside pickup, or delivery.  Restaurants are adapting and Harris says the industry is grateful for these exceptions.

 

With many workers being laid off the Louisiana Workforce Commission is expediting results on COVId-19 related unemployment insurance claims and loosening requirements for those collecting benefits. LWC is waiving the requirement that workers wait a week from their last paycheck to file a claim. The easiest way to file a claim is online at www.louisianaworks.net/hire.

 

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says committee hearings are already scheduled and bills are in order to start moving when the legislative session is scheduled to resume on March 31.  Schexnayder says he and Senate President Page Cortez have worked on a contingency plan in the event that COVID-19 slows down things even worse, but he does not foresee that being an issue.

 

Congress and the President are discussing a massive series of potential bailouts and financial aid packages to counter the economic devastation being caused by COVID-19. A growing number of lawmakers and the President are backing a plan to send every American a check in the next few weeks. Senator Bill Cassidy says that is one of the plans would send a check to every American. Lawmakers are debating how much the check should be, but the most common number proposed is 1,000 dollars. The price tag for this economic intervention is huge, likely over 800 billion dollars, but Cassidy says it must be done and can be done responsibly..

 

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says state companies are getting hammered right now as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns. LABI President Stephen Waguespack says the crisis is an major threat to the state’s 450,000 small businesses that employ 900,000 people whose jobs are now threatened. LABI is also encouraging residents to buy gift cards from local impacted businesses, and order online to support them. Waguespack says if you want to see those businesses reopen, you have to support them.

 

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is seeking a waiver so they can cancel standardized exams for this year, which would also mean test scores would not be part of a teacher’s evaluation. BESE President Sandy Holloway says certain requirements for graduating seniors have also been set aside. BESE has already decided that annual school performance scores will not be announced next year.

 

Here's something positive on a grim news day: Jazz Fest will happen this fall. The annual two-weekend festival held in New Orleans was canceled because of COVID-19, but organizers announced Tuesday that it will be rescheduled for the fall. No dates are set yet, but more details and new dates will be announced soon, they say.

All purchases for the original dates will be honored for the fall dates.

 

Drew Brees and the Saints have reportedly agreed to a new two-year 50-million dollar contract to keep the future hall of famer in New Orleans. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says he’s getting old but Brees can still win games. There are some Saints fans who believe the team should turn to backup Teddy Bridgewater. But Bridgewater is reportedly finalizing a deal with Carolina.

 

 

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 17th, 2020

News for Tuesday March 17th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana is up to 136 positive COVID-19 cases, and is now reporting it’s third death, a victim at a New Orleans area nursing home.

 

Governor Edwards yesterday issued a new series of business restrictions, calling for the closure of gyms and bars, along with the closure of dining rooms for restaurants. Restaurants will be confined to providing curbside pickup take out options until April 13th, with a 13-day extension possible. All gatherings of 50 or more people are banned by the state, while are gatherings of ten or more are not recommended by the CDC.

 

Rapides Regional Medical Center announced yesterday, that as of today, visitors for most patients will not be allowed.  The only visitors allowed will be one parent/caregiver for pediatric or mentally disabled patients who can't be left alone, one partner for active labor and delivery patients during delivery only, one caregiver/driver for outpatient surgery or cath lab patients and one family member for patients being given end-of-life care.

 

After the recommendations of the CDC, the Louisiana Legislature has adjourned until at least March 31.  Lafayette Republican Stuart Bishop spoke to the House and says mathematically, there is no way to get business done if following CDC guidelines.

Lake Charles Republican Phillip Tarver objected to the adjournment saying it is the wrong message to send to citizens and it is the duty as leaders of the state to conduct business. The resolution of adjournment was adopted a 100 to 1 vote.    Bishop says the move is in the best interest of the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says initially the plan was for the session to continue, with social distancing enforced and to check those who enter the Capitol for a fever but it’s the right call because it only would have taken one positive test to shut down the Capitol. Pinsonat says the compressed schedule is likely going to result in non-essential legislation being abandoned. However a budget will still need to be passed by July 1st.

 

Casinos in Louisiana have ceased gaming operations for at least the next two weeks as the coronavirus continues to impact Louisiana.  Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board Ronnie Jones says the casinos were notified this was likely to happen, adding owners have been very supportive. Jones estimates the lost state revenue will be about $1.6 million each day of the closure. The closure is not enforceable at any of the state’s Tribal Casinos, however It appears most have either closed or will close later today.

 

The Louisiana Department of Education will continue serving meals during the statewide school shutdown.  Assistant State Superintendent Catherine Pozniak says the food service is made possible by waivers from the federal government, adding that more schools are working out the details of exactly how to best serve food. Schools will remain closed until April 13th

 

Louisiana Public Broadcasting officially launches "At-Home Learning," with the Louisiana Department of Education. If you are a parent or teacher of students in grades Pre-K-12, LPB has resources available to help make your students' time at home more educational and productive. The information can be found at lpb.org/athome.

 

Ag Commissioner Mike Strain is asking Louisianans not to abandon their pets during the COVID-19 crisis and if you do get infected, to hand them over to friends or family. Strain says unless you absolutely cannot care for your pet, don’t turn it over to the state, or set it loose because shelters are beginning to fill up, and if you receive a pet from an infected family member, Strain says you need to disinfect it. A good soapy bath will do that..

 

Festival International in Lafayette has been called Off for this spring. The music festival was scheduled for April 22-26. Festival organizers of the five day event say they are looking at the possibility of moving the event to the fall.. 

 

Good Morning.. News For Monday March 16th, 2020

News for Monday March 16th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Congratulations to all involved in the KRRV Country Cares for Kids, St Jude Radiothon. The event, held last Thursday and Friday raised more than $103, 000. 

 

All public schools are closed today through April 13th.

CLTCC postpones classes as part of COVID-19 response

 

In a little over a week, Louisiana has gone from having no reported cases of Coronavirus to, as of 7 last night, having 104 positive cases and two people dead. The number of positive cases comes from only 284 people tested statewide. More tests should be available this week and it is expected the number will go up substantially. The big concern now for  viral experts is that those how are not showing outward signs, and therefore would not be tested, will spread the virus.

 

Louisiana saw it’s first two COVID-19 deaths over the weekend, and Governor Edwards says data now shows per capita the state has the third or fourth-highest number of infections in the nation. Governor Edwards says the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people is serious, and is being done to flatten the curve.  “flattening the curve” refers to spreading the number of infections out over a longer period of time so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system.  The CDC recommends that gatherings of 50 people or more in US be canceled or postponed in next 8 weeks because of coronavirus.

 

As a resident of a facility serving people with developmental disabilities, 58-year-old Ives Green, who had limited had limited contact with the outside world, Saturday became the first person in Louisiana to die from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.  A second patient at that same facility, a 53 year old man, also died over the weekend. Health officials also report a 45 year old attorney in Kenner is in critical condition with the virus.

 

State lawmakers return to the capitol today for the second week of the legislative session. Ten committee hearings are set for today. The three-month long session will end June 1st. But because of the spread of the coronavirus, there’s a chance the session could end early, so lawmakers are putting more of an emphasis on bills that must be passed.  Public access into the building will be limited. Fewer people will be allowed in the committee rooms and in the House and Senate chambers. Also individuals entering the capitol will have their temperature checked. If a person has a fever, they will not be allowed in.

 

Walmart has now joined a growing list of grocery and discount store chains that are changing their operating hours in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Walmart announced over the weekend that all of its stores, including Neighborhood Markets, would be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. The company says this will give employees more time to clean stores and restock shelves. Kroger, America's largest supermarket chain will move now be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

As the COVID-19 cases continue to add up, health experts recommend preparing the immune system to fend off the ailment.  Chief of community and population medicine at LSU Health New Orleans Dr. Benjamin Springgate says in addition to good hygiene, the body’s intake is key to being as healthy as possible. Eat healthy, limit alcohol intake and limit smoking. Springgate also recommends getting plenty of sleep. Springgate anticipates there will be companies hoping to cash in on the epidemic and will sell whatever they can that will land them a buck, regardless of effectiveness. Do your homework before you purchase anything and know there is no miracle cure.

 

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell says New Orleans has been selected for a federal pilot program to expand COVID-19 testing in the city, with implementation set for mid-week. Testing won’t be available to all, with first responders prioritized, and followed by high-risk groups.  The city has released a list of restrictions on restaurants which includes a requirement to reduce seating by 50 percent, and mandated early closures. The ballooning number of NOLA based cases didn’t keep French Quarter revelers from packing into bars over the weekend.

 

The coronavirus is impacting the crawfish industry.  The season saw a slow start before Carnival celebrations, and now people aren’t congregating for a crawfish boil because of the pandemic. President of the Crawfish Research and Promotion Board David Savoy says the harvest of crawfish has been bountiful and the prices have been relatively low all season already, so he doesn’t anticipate this price going down much further.

 

 

 

 

Good Morning... News For Friday March 13th, 2020

News for Friday March 13th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Five more people have presumptively been sickened by the new coronavirus in Louisiana, bringing the statewide total to 19.

 

As of Thursday evening, Louisiana had tested just 64 people for COVID-19, largely because of the paltry number of test kits provided to states by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yesterday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases acknowledged the government's efforts to track the virus are "failing."  Many Louisianans, including medical professionals, are worried that the testing bottleneck is helping to mask a much wider spread of the coronavirus than has yet been reported. It should be noted, Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaking before State Lawmakers yesterday said he feels confident Louisiana has enough testing available in the state.

 

Louisiana Department of Health is now working with the statewide 211 network to answer questions about the coronavirus outbreak.   Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says the 211 service is one of the most trusted points of information for the public when it comes to health and human services. (9)

 

LSU and Southern announces that all classes are now going online for the remainder of the spring semester as coronavirus fears worsen. The step follow similar announcements from Loyola, Tulane, and UNO.  The move also affects UL Lafayette, LSU Shreveport, LSUE and LSUA

 

Rapides Parish Superintendent of Schools Jeff Powell released a statement regarding concerns over COVID-19, saying that as of now schools in the Parish are set to remain open.

 

Here in Cenla, word that tonight’s performance of the Harlem Globetrotters at the Rapides Parish Coliseum has been postponed.  The Globetrotters encourage all ticket holders to hold on to tickets, as the team will make every effort to reschedule as soon as possible.

 

COVID-19 continues to dominate events at the Capitol, where the Governor hosted US Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Adams touched on whether or not Louisiana has enough testing kits, saying he thinks we’re fine. But Adams, along with Governor Edwards, stressed that unless you are showing symptoms, you should not try to get tested. After adjournment, the House Speaker had all members of the media, public, and House staff removed according to the AP to talk to House members about COVID-19 in private.

 

A contingency plan was reportedly discussed about Capitol operations and the session, a contingency that for now is on hold as the session is expected to continue despite the closures of Universities and the cancelations of events across the state. Members were told to stay at home if sick, wash their hands, and disinfect frequently.

 

Roughly 24,000 people were warned in mid-February they could lose Medicaid eligibility due to income requirements, with those cancelations set to happen mid-March right as COVID-19 is ramping up. Louisiana Budget Project Executive Director Jan Moller says it would be hard to find a worse time to kick people off of Medicaid. He’s calling for the program to freeze all coverage suspensions. LDH Health Secretary Stephen Russo told the advocate when asked about the topic that “there has not been any talk that we would delay any of that.”

 

In a bit of out of state COVID-19 Legislative news, the Georgia Legislature has decided to suspend their session after Friday.

 

All SEC sports events have been axed through March 30th.  LSU Baseball coach Paul Mainieri says after the hard work being put in by everyone involved with the team, the timing is discouraging but says he’s explained to the players about putting this into perspective.

 

The NCAA announced the cancelation of March Madness, including the Women’s Final Four that was scheduled to take place in New Orleans. Governor John Bel Edwards says every Louisiana resident has a role to play in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus. Edwards says the virus can be spread by a person who doesn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms. 

 

SWEPCO announces that an employee at their downtown Shreveport office has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is quarantined. The electric company says most of their downtown Shreveport office employees are working from home until further notice.

 

COVID-19 is provoking anxiety in many as the number of cases continues to grow internationally, and locally. LSU Health New Orleans professor of Clinical Psychology Michelle Moore says one way to reduce anxiety is to make sure that you are getting your news from a legitimate source. Moore says logging off of social media, for the time being, is another way to reduce anxiety.

 

Louisiana is restarting its stalled effort to replace its voting machines, with the solicitation for bidders expected to go out shortly. But, according to Sec. of State Kyle Ardoin, new machines won’t be in place quickly. Louisiana will continue casting ballots this fall on the same types of voting system that it has used for 15 years, without the paper backup advocated by many elections security experts. Allegations of improper bid handling derailed a previous effort to replace Louisiana’s voting machines, so the secretary of state’s office has had to redo its vendor search process.

 

 

Good Morning.... News For Thursday March 12th, 2020

News for Thursday March 12th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a worldwide pandemic. Louisiana now has 13 presumptive cases of COVID-19, a number that’s ballooned from just one reported case Monday.  The elderly are at risk for the most devastating impacts of coronavirus. With that in mind, The Louisiana Nursing Home Association is asking the public not to visit nursing facilities across the state until further notice, in order to limit potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

 

Cases of the virus are now being found around the state and Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says it appears people are now contracting the illness within Louisiana.

 

COVID-19 was the talk of the Capitol yesterday as the Senate Health and Welfare Committee questioned the State health officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry. Guidry and other health officials at the meeting begged business owners to prepare work-from-home options, and to not pressure workers into coming in sick.  Guidry says know that your workforce is likely to shrink…

 

The nationwide spread prompted a historic decision by the NCAA to bar fans from attending all Men’s and Women’s NCAA tournament games, including the Women’s final four set for April 3rd and fifth in New Orleans.

 

Tulane, Loyola, and UNO have also announced they are transitioning to online teaching.

 

The NBA has confirmed its season has been suspended after a player has tested positive on Wednesday for coronavirus.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is criticizing New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrel’s decision to cancel several city events, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade set to roll this weekend. Nungesser says until the Governor or feds call for events to be canceled such a declaration is only going to hurt the tourism industry, and tell tourists that Louisiana is not open for business.

 

With the cancellation of those New Orleans events there’s growing interest in whether or not other major festivals like French Quarter, or Jazz Fest, would also be axed. State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry says those events and more are being looked at.

 

Lawmakers in D.C. are considering their options for potential economic stimulus if coronavirus fears lead to a prolonged economic slowdown. President Trump has floated the idea of a substantial payroll tax cut. Senator Bill Cassidy says they haven’t seen any firm plans for it yet, and he’s unsure about the idea. There are growing fears the lack of sick days and hourly pay of the service industry could result in sick workers spreading the virus because they can’t afford to miss work. Cassidy says that’s a real concern.

 

The state will be receiving $7.8 million in funding in support of the COVID-19 response. The funds are part of a national funding package signed last week.

 

Parks Senator Fred Mills files legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, which would align state law with the federal law that was enacted in December 2019.  Mills says the clock is ticking to comply with the federal legislation. The federal law holds retailers responsible for underage sales, and applies to vape sales as well.

 

A Baton Rouge woman accused of stealing a truck with a dog inside and then abandoning the vehicle on a hot summer day, resulting in the canine dying, has pleaded to several criminal charges. 30-year-old Leslie Aguillard will be sentenced in June.

 

On the air today…

 

The Athletic Director 2p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday March 12th, 2020

News for Wednesday March 10th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Authorities in Avoyelles parish report an 18-year-old Pineville High School student died Sunday in a single vehicle accident in Effie. Corry Barbay, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and passengers were wearing seatbelts and alcohol is not a suspected factor in the crash.

 

Pineville mayor Clarence Fields put the rumors to rest yesterday on Talkback 970 when he was asked by Host Matt Dunn whether or not he would run for reelection. That mayor said yes, he plans to run again for another term, unless something happens that says he can no longer function or do his job. Mayor Fields said he wife Rosa says he needs a job.

 

Cenla Broadcasting would like to take a moment to congratulate some of our own. At yesterday’s Louisiana Association of Broadcasting awards banquet, KRRV’s Melissa Frost and David Atwood received the award for Best Radio Personality/Team.  On Magic 100.9 Murphy, Sam and Jodi won the Best Morning Show in the state for the 3 year running. Congratulations!

 

The Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office has confirmed that a body found Tuesday afternoon is believed to be that of James Gunnels, the man who went missing from Alexandria on February 13.Authorities say a local farmer and his employee found a body in a field Tuesday, a few hundred feet from the spot where Gunnels truck was found on February 14th

 

Governor Edwards announced Tuesday afternoon two more presumptive cases of coronavirus, bringing the grand total to three in Louisiana.  All are in the New Orleans area. Keep in mind only 17 people have been tested in the entire state.

 

While the focus of many may be on coronavirus, Louisiana is still dealing with an intense flu season. Assistant state health officer Dr. Joseph Kanter says the seasonal flu is should still not be taken lightly as it can be devastating for both age extremes in both younger and older people. In a typical flu season, the regional baseline for the percentage of doctor visits for flu-like symptoms is just below 4 percent. Here in Louisiana that number is now at 10%. The best protection from the flu is getting vaccinated.

 

Some of the biggest festivals in the nation are getting cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus. Could we see that here in Louisiana?  State Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says they are monitoring the situation and working with event organizers.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival takes place over the course of ten days and welcomes around 400,000 visitors each year. All of the St. Patrick’s parades in New Orleans this weekend have been canceled.

 

Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects the legislature will have a bitter fight this session over the right for local governments to sue oil and gas companies for damage to their coastlines. The oil lobby is pushing hard for the change. Pinsonat says Governor Edwards has always supported the lawsuits, and he may come out swinging against the proposed change.

 

Six people have been arrested in a human trafficking sting executed by north Louisiana law enforcement.  Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Davis says the arrests took place at an area hotel. Three of those arrested were also hit with drug charges.

 

Washington Parish Sheriff’s deputies make an arrest in the shooting death of 17-year-old Ja’Quarius Taylor.  Taylor was shot in the head three times in January and his body was found in a wooded area near the town of Angie.  Chief Deputy Mike Haley says their suspect is the victim’s cousin, 20-year-old Jo’Andre Dawson. Haley says the family suspected the suspect  was someone Taylor knew. Bond is set at $800,000.

 

A New Iberia woman is dead and her boyfriend, 59-year-old Luis Valdez is charged with second degree murder. Authorities have not released how 38-year-old Stephanie Worley was killed.

 

A series of bills has been filed by Houma Rep Beryl Amedee that would require doctors disclose more information to patients about vaccines, and bar employers from requiring employees be vaccinated. Amedee says current events are likely to raise the bill’s profiles….

 

19th ranked LSU hosts South Alabama tonight before it begins SEC play on Friday at Ole Miss. We’ll see if sophomore Gavin Dugas is back in the line-up tonight. The Houma native hit two home runs on Sunday in a come from behind six to four win over U-Mass Lowell.

 

 

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 10th, 2020

News for Tuesday march 10th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The Louisiana Department of Health has confirmed the state’s first presumptive positive case of the COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus. The patient is a Jefferson Parish resident who is hospitalized in Orleans Parish. Governor Edwards reaffirmed that his office will announce all confirmed cases and that the state is being as proactive as possible to contain the virus. The governor’s office says 15 tests have been completed in Louisiana. State immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says anyone who experiences symptoms should call their doctor to see if they fit the profile for someone in need of testing.

 

Kayla Giles, the woman who shot and killed her estranged husband, Thomas Coutee, Jr. in an Alexandria Walmart parking lot in September of 2018, must now spend 30 days in the Rapides Parish Jail, abide by a curfew and other rules, that after she broke conditions of her bond.  Judge Greg Beard stated yesterday that Giles’ trip to Oklahoma to visit her daughter was not permitted by the Court, and ultimately broke her bond conditions. The order comes after Giles' attorney asked Judge Beard to reject a motion filed by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office to revoke Giles’ bond.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards tells legislators on the opening day of the session that it’s unacceptable for Louisiana to continue to have the largest gender pay gap in the country. Edwards is asking lawmakers to pass a pay transparency bill that would prevent anyone from losing their job for discussing their salaries. Since Edwards became governor in 2016, he’s pushed to raise the minimum wage, but he has not been successful. Edwards says this year he’s supporting New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation in an effort to see that happen.

 

The collapse in the price of oil has lawmakers concerned the state’s energy-dependent budget could take a big hit. The Governor’s budget calls for a 128 million dollar increase in general fund spending, including 25 million for early childhood education, and 39 million for K-12 spending. It’s feared falling oil prices could impact those priorities… This week’s drop in the price of oil was the largest since 1991.

 

Oil prices have tumbled and the price for a barrel of oil is now in the 30s. Associate Director of the Tulane Energy Institute Dr. Eric Smith says a big part of the collapse is news that Russia and OPEC will both ramp up oil production in an apparent price war, suppressing global prices. Smith adds it won’t harm all Louisiana drilling, as liquid natural gas exists in a separate market.

 

Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham’s Chief of Staff, Luke Letlow, formally announces he’s entering the race to replace his boss who’s not seeking reelection for the 5th Congressional District. Letlow, was immediately endorsed by Abraham and If elected Letlow says he would seek a committee seat on the House Agriculture Committee.

 

Louisiana drivers are seeing savings at the pump during a time of year when prices traditionally increase.  A significant drop in oil prices has now sent the price per barrel into the 30s.  GasBuddy.com petroleum analyst Allison Mac says the spring and summer months usually bring an added expense for transitioning to summer grade gas, but not this year. Louisiana started the workweek with a statewide average at $2.07 for a gallon of regular gasoline and Mac foresees more drops in the near future.

 

The Safety and health of cruise passengers and crew members are a top priority for the Port of New Orleans after the State Department’s advisory was issued in reference to the coronavirus. The port of New Orleans issued a statement that they are working with the Coast Guard and the CDC. Cruise lines at the port are now administering temperature checks and screenings before passengers embark on all vessels.

 

Sports..

 

LSU’s Gavin Dugas hit two home runs Sunday to help the Tigers complete the sweep of U-Mass Lowell six to four. The Tigers host South Alabama on Wednesday.

 

The LSU men’s basketball team finished the regular season over the weekend with a 94-64 win over Georgia to finish in a tie for second place with Auburn. LSU will play again on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. They’ll face either Vanderbilt, Arkansas or South Carolina.

 

The NFL Players Association is giving its members a couple of extra days to vote on a new collective bargaining agreement that calls for a 17-game schedule. The voting window has been extended from Thursday night to Saturday at 10:59 PM central time.

Good Morning.. News For Monday March 9th, 2020

News for Monday March 9th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Today marks the beginning of the 2020 legislative session.  Over a third of the lawmakers are brand new, adding some mystery as to which direction the session may go.  Political analyst Clancy DuBos says the abolishment of the death penalty is back up for discussion, this time with potentially more lawmakers in favor of ending the practice.  DuBos expects the Governor will push lawmakers in the direction of taking action on various bills associated with equal pay for women and increasing the minimum wage.

The lion’s share of legislation is expected to focus on lowering auto insurance rates in Louisiana.

 

The session’s omnibus tort reform bill would lower the jury trial threshold to 15,000 dollars. But Real Reform Louisiana Executive Director Eric Holl says lowering the threshold is just a handout to the business lobby, and has nothing to do with auto insurance rates.

 

A Deville man is dead following a crash near Buckeye High School early Saturday morning. The State Police say 49 year old Michael Miles died when the pickup he was driving left the road on LA Highway 1207. Mile was wearing a seatbelt but died from his injuries after being taken to a local hospital. The crash remains under investigation.

 

The body of 53 year old Keith Pennington was found in Iatt lake Friday afternoon. The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were investigating a possible boating death after an unoccupied boat was found going in circles on Iatt lake in Grant Parish late Thursday evening. An autopsy will be performed; however authorities believe the death was accidental or medical-related.

 

Senator John Kennedy requests the President extend the deadline for REAL ID another year, citing concerns not nearly enough people will have the new national ID by October 1st. REAL ID was passed 15 years ago, and Kennedy says he wants to use the year to find out whether or not it’s even needed. So far, he says he’s not convinced.  125 million people are estimated to not have the REAL ID yet.

 

Baton Rouge police have arrested the parents of an 11-week-old infant after their son was brought to the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center Thursday with horrific injuries that appeared to be from abuse. McNeely says the hospital called the police and alerted them of the possible crime by the child’s parents Cole Autry and Rachel Flores.

 

UL-Lafayette has canceled its Study Abroad program in Italy for the Summer 2020 semester. The news comes as the university continues to monitor the ongoing situation concerning the coronavirus. This decision does not affect the summer Study abroad programs in England and Costa Rica. Students who were scheduled to travel to Italy this summer will receive full refunds.

 

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation announces a three-year, $600,000 grant investment into the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Monroe. Foundation President Michael Tipton says money will help expand their Prevention On the Go program with services in 12 parishes. Tipton says the area is one where there are often late cancer diagnoses due to a lack of prevention screenings.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy introduces legislation that would end the “Windfall Elimination Provision” that penalizes public sector workers like teachers on their Social Security benefits. The Louisiana State Employees Retirement System backs the change, which would reverse the policy that blocks Social Security from counting income you receive from the state for benefits. If passed, the changes would impact social security checks for current retirees. Cassidy says that likely would mean higher social security checks for many retired teachers. Only 16 states have laws that enforce the “Windfall Provision”, Louisiana being one of them.

 

Saints Quarterback Drew Brees helped raise money for a Boston children’s hospital by shaving his head. “Saving by Shaving” raised $7 million thanks to Brees, former Boston Red Sox player David “Big Papi” Oritz, and several players from the New England Patriots. Brees joked it will be a lot easier to wash his hair.

Good Morning... News For Friday March 6th, 2020

News for Friday March 6th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The Louisiana Division of Administration had to spend 2.3 million dollars, mostly on personnel, responding to cyberattacks last year. Spokesperson Jacques Berry says last year’s series of attacks are evidence that the threat to public sector entities from cyberspace is growing. He says the 2.3 million dollar figure does not include local government spending on the responses. 1.7 million of it went towards response to the massive ransomware attack that crippled the Office of Motor Vehicles in November for three weeks.

 

Louisiana volunteers are helping in the aftermath of a deadly tornado outbreak in Nashville, Tennessee.  United Cajun Navy founder Todd Terrell says his organizations is feeding about 500 people with basic hotdogs and hamburgers for now, but Cajun cuisine is on the way. At least 24 people are dead as the result of the early Tuesday morning tornado outbreak and many are still unaccounted for. Terrell says they are accepting financial contributions on their Facebook page.. United Cajun Navy.

 

Coronavirus is on the radar of the Lt. Governor’s office as tourism in Louisiana could see big losses from the spread of the illness.  Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser says one international convention has already decided to pull the plug on their New Orleans event. Some of Louisiana’s biggest festivals, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, are happening within the next few months.  While no cases have surfaced in Louisiana yet, Nungesser says an outbreak could be devastating.

 

The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office is warning of a new scam involving text messages.

The text messages are being sent to cell phones with an access code. A second text message will then appear and request that you enter the access code into your phone.

Authorities are saying do not respond to these messages.

 

This Sunday, time springs forward by an hour for Daylight Savings Time.  If Haughton Republican Dodie Horton had her way, time would never change back.  Horton introduced a House bill that would adopt Daylight Savings Time as the standard all year long in Louisiana.  Horton says three other states have passed similar legislation, but any sort of change would hinge on federal law. Horton says constituents have requested the change for years.

 

Denham Springs Representative Valerie Hodges brings legislation that would mandate all Louisiana public schools to provide students the opportunity to recite the pledge of allegiance as a group. Hodges says if the law passed students and faculty would not be forced to recite the pledge, but schools must find a time to offer the chance. Hodges says she’s heard of schools in other states that do not recite the pledge but is not aware of any in Louisiana that do not.

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren drops out of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary, making the race a tight two way contest between Senator Bernie Sanders and former VP Joe Biden. State Party Director Stephen Handwerk says expect to see both candidates visiting Louisiana in pursuit of it’s critical 54 delegates April 4th. The last day for non-Democrats to register online as a Democrat for the closed primary is March 14th.

 

Louisiana Tech receives a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to foster computer science education in north Louisiana. Dean of the College of Education at Louisiana Tech Don Schillinger says the money will help attract students into fields of study to become STEM educators. Schillinger says the money will also help in providing freshmen and sophomore students with internship opportunities to give them a taste as to what it is like to be a STEM educator.

 

The 20th ranked LSU baseball team will host U-Mass Lowell for the final weekend series before SEC play begins next week. The Tigers are 8-and-5 and Coach Paul Mainieri would like see his team gain confidence before his team heads to Ole Miss next weekend. Her tonight’s game starting at 6:30 on KSYL 970AM/104.9FM

 

On the air..

 

Today

LSU Baseball vs UMASS 6:30p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM

Pelicans vs Miami 6:30p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM

 

Saturday March 7th

Houston Astero @ St. Louis 11:50a 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM

LSU Basketball vs Georgia 12:30p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM

 

Sunday March 8th

LSU Baseball vs UMASS 1:30p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM

Pelicans @ Minnesota 2p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM

 

Good Morning.... News For Thursday March 5th, 2020

News for Thursday March 5th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana’s 2014 law that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals went before the U-S Supreme Court Wednesday. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says this is the first major abortion case for the Supreme Court since President Trump’s appointment of two conservative judges. Reporters who attended the hearing say the court appears divided and Chief Justice John Roberts could be the deciding vote. A ruling is expected in June.

 

A big night Tuesday night for former Vice President Joe Biden makes it likely the Democratic primary will remain competitive by the time Louisianans head to the polls April 4th. JMC Analytics publisher John Couvillon says Louisianans will likely be picking between Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Senator Elizabeth Warren in April, despite Biden’s big night. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had a sizeable presence in Louisiana, dropped out and endorsed Biden.

 

The US Army is investing over $26 million into Fort Polk for barracks renovations and infrastructure replacements.  Congressman Mike Johnson says the needs were critical and this is just the beginning of continued investments.

 

There are now three announced candidates seeking to replace the retiring Ralph Abraham as Louisiana’s Fifth District Congressman. State Representative Lance Harris of Alexandria entered the race Wednesday, joining the other announced Republican Ouachita Police Juror Scotty Robinson. Candy Christophe of Alexandria is the lone announced Democrat in the race at this point. Abraham’s chief of staff Luke Letlow is also expected to throw his hat into the ring. Qualifying for the race is in July and the primary is in November.

 

As many as 31,000 Louisiana food stamps recipients could lose their benefits this summer.  April 1st marks the beginning of a new Trump administration rule requiring some recipients to meet stricter work requirements to continue receiving benefits for more than three months within a 36-month period.  DCFS Secretary for Family Support Sammy Guillory says previously, a federal waiver covered the whole state. Fourteen parishes, most of them in northeast Louisiana, will not be affected by the changes, because they have an unemployment rate much higher than the national average.

 

A new report shows the diagnosis rate for early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in Louisiana between 2013 and 2017 is one of the highest in the nation.  The findings come from a new report released by Blue Cross Blue Shield, ranking Louisiana 42nd in the nation. Blue Cross Blue Shield Spokesperson Robin Mayhall says early on-set rates increased not only in the Bayou State but across the nation. The average age for a person living with either form of dementia is 49.

 

The State Police says a Winnsboro man lost his life in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 17 just south of Epps in Richland Parish this morning. Troopers say 24-year-old Ryan Lee crossed the center line and smashed into a commercial truck. Lee was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say he was not buckled up.

 

 

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday March 4th, 2020

News for Wednesday March 4th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

A stationary front is currently draped across central Louisiana which will bring rain on and off throughout the day.  Thunderstorms will be particularly problematic this afternoon. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the Storm Prediction Center has the state in the slight risk category for severe weather. Keim says this same frontal system was responsible for the tornado outbreak in Tennessee.

 

Cenla broadcasting notes the passing of two individuals who gave a lifetime public service to Cenla. Longtime Rapides Parish Registrar of Voters, Joanell Wilson. Wilson worked in the Rapides Parish Registrar of Voters' Office for nearly 50 years. She first served as Chief Deputy and was later appointed as Registrar of Voters. She retired in July of 2015. Joanell Wilson was 73.

 

Also word yesterday of the passing of former Alexandria Police Department Chief  Charles David Ezernack. Ezernack began his career with the APD in Aug. 1961, became chief in Aug. 1977, and retired as the chief of police in May 1983 after 22 years of service. Ezernack was 79.

 

Plans to discuss ways for the City Of Alexandria to refinance $140 million in utility bonds have been put on hold again, this time until the end of the month. The city plans to meet with the state bond commission in two weeks. The bonds were initially issued back in 2013 and 2014 to make improvements to the utility system as well as infrastructure improvements. With rates as low as they are today, the city expects to get a much better rate on the bonds.

 

Today the US Supreme Court will take up a 2014 Louisiana law requiring abortion clinics to have admitting privileges to operate, a law opponents say would close all but one Bayou State clinic. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry will defend the law in court. AG spokespersons Deanna Wallace says it’s not an undue burden on clinics.

But Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Counsel TJ Tu says all leading national medical groups, including the AMA, say that’s false. He says most doctors don’t need or have admitting privileges, because abortion is so safe it’s almost never needed. He says if upheld, it’s an assault on women’s rights.

 

The legislature will debate whether or not college athletes should be able to profit off of their likeness while enrolled at Louisiana schools, legislation similar to a recently passed California bill. Marrero Republican Patrick Connick filed the Senate bill and says it would open up the opportunity for athletes to sell merchandise. If passed, the proposal would go into effect January 1, 2023. Just a few years ago, the NCAA exceeded one-billion dollars in revenues, but the association does not allow college athletes to receive money for what they do on the field or court.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan to give nearly $1 million in pay raises to his staff, cabinet secretaries and other political appointees ran into questions Tuesday from state lawmakers who noted Louisiana’s long list of needs. Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee scrutinized the raises as the panel started digging into the details of Edwards’ $32 billion budget proposal for the financial year that starts July 1. The Edwards administration said most of the salary increases are 4%

 

Twenty-one people have applied to be the state’s next education superintendent. Jefferson Parish school superintendent Cade Brumley and Central Louisiana Technical Community College Vice-Chancellor Heather Poole are among the local candidates. There are also several out of state candidates as well. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet in April to make a selection.

 

LSU-Shreveport Poli Sci Professor Jeff Sadow says polls show the democratic primary could be all but over by the time Louisianans vote on April 4th. Louisiana usually holds it’s primary the weekend after Super Tuesday, but Sadow says we got kicked back about a month because other local elections on the ballot could lead to an inconvenient time for potential run-offs.

 

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is now involved in the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. Pathological Sciences Department Head Dr. Gus Kousoulas says developing and testing the vaccine will be a team effort in tandem with Tulane. The Tulane National Primate Research Center has been cleared by the CDC for coronavirus testing.

 

According to the career resource website Zippia, Louisiana ranks as the least happy state in the nation. Among the metrics considered, the ranking looked at depression rates, employment factors, and marriage rates. Zippia spokesperson Kathy Morris says

the state’s unemployment rate is also contributing to the rating. Louisiana’s average household income only exceeds that of Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico and Arkansas. Other southern states that made the top five least happy states were Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.

 

31-year-old Mandy Rochelle was arrested after allegedly torching a home she was renting, while her three children were still inside. Investigators say Rochelle had just had an argument with her estranged husband prior to the arson, but that the husband was not currently at the home at the time of the fire. She was booked into the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail. Her three children are 12, 9, and six. No injuries were reported in the fire.

 

In an Ascension Parish courtroom yesterday, a Dutchtown High School Teacher pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent behavior with juveniles. Thirty-two-year-old Mark Ebarb is accused of sending inappropriate messages and photographs to underage students. He’s a former Ascension Parish teacher of the year.

 

LSU Ag Center researchers are warning farmers that stink bug numbers will be high this year because of a series of mild winters. Stink bugs are capable of destroying soybean fields and other crops. LSU Entomologist Doctor Sebe Brown says early season control is vital…

 

Sports..

 

LSU basketball enters the final week of the regular season tied for second place with Auburn in the SEC standings. The Bayou Bengals are at Arkansas tonight. Airtime 5:30 on KSYL 970AM/104.9FM

 

Pelicans @ Dallas 8p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM

 

 

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 3rd, 2020

News for Tuesday March 3rd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The investigation continues into the weekend house fire in Alexandria that killed four people, including three children. Alexandria Fire Department Chief Larry King yesterday said that the deadly blaze started late Saturday night in the living-dining room and no one was able to escape. Investigators say it may take several days before they determine a cause of the blaze. There were reportedly no working smoke detectors in the home.

 

State Police have found the body of a missing deaf and mute Ville Platte woman and have made an arrest in the case. Search teams found the body of Jody Thomas along I-49 between Sunset and Opelousas. Phillip Dewoody has been arrested in connection with her death.

 

Pineville PD arrested a man late Sunday afternoon in connection with a shooting incident on Melrose street that left one man with an injury to the face. Police say their investigation led to the arrest of 57 year old Ernest Fair. It’s reported an argument between the two men escalated and led to the victim being shot in the face. The unidentified man is hospitalized and in stable condition. Fair was arrested for attempted second degree murder and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards laid out his top legislative priorities yesterday at the Baton Rouge Press Club, naming minimum wage, pay secrecy, and auto insurance as his primary, non-budgetary focuses. Edwards threw his weight behind New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s minimum wage bill that would lift the state from 7.25 to nine an hour by January 2021 and ten dollars an hour by July 2021. He came out in favor of a series of bills by Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau that bars auto insurance companies from charging customers more based on their gender, credit, or military service. Republicans are pushing to lower the jury trial threshold to 15,000 dollars, but Edwards says he believes the current 50,000 dollar level is adequate.

 

With voter registration deadlines fast approaching, officials want to remind voters that only registered Democrats and Republicans will be eligible to vote in the April 4 Presidential Preference Primary. There are regular elections in 24 parishes on that same day. The in-person or by mail registration deadline is Wednesday, March 4, and the online registration deadline is Saturday, March 14. Go to geauxvote.com for more info or to register.

 

The legislature will consider a bill that bans schools from allowing transgender athletes who were not assigned as a woman at birth to play on women’s sports teams.

The legislation was brought by Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell who says women’s sports are a women’s rights issue and should be for women only. She says she’s concerned about the competitive advantage that trans women have over someone who was assigned female at birth.

 

One person is dead after being shot in the chest with a crossbow and two others have been arrested by Caddo Parish deputies in connection to the killing.  Caddo Parish Sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says the body was discovered by two teens shortly after 4PM Saturday near Wallace Lake in Shreveport. Chadwick says the body was left near the parking lot at Cameron Park early Friday morning.

 

Sen. John Kennedy announced Monday a $6 million grant from the Department of Agriculture to transform a former nursing home into a new psychiatric hospital in Lecompte. As an acute mental health care facility, Mercy Behavioral Hospital will provide psychiatric evaluation, individual therapy, education classes, aftercare planning, relapse prevention and outpatient services for follow-up care.

 

Federal and state officials are ramping up preparation efforts for a possible Coronavirus outbreak in Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards reports there are a few dozen people in Louisiana who have recently visited coronavirus epicenters and have been asked to stay in their homes for a 14 day period to make sure they don’t show signs of infection. Edwards says they will inform the public if a Louisiana case is discovered, and only trust official sources like LDH and CDC when seeking out virus news.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy is proposing legislation that would change telehealth practices so doctors can send healthcare workers out to those who feel they might have the symptoms of the virus, so they out of waiting rooms and not expose others. The number of cases in America is at 90.

 

Houma Republican Tanner Magee files a House bill that would allow local companies to use independent contractors to deliver alcohol, whereas previously you had to be an hourly employee of the delivery company. Magee says his bill is important because of the state’s need to keep up with modern times adding one of the problems that have held the state back is the unwillingness to change.

 

President Donald Trump has announced his support for Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's reelection bid in Louisiana. A Monday tweet made it official. Pres. Trump thanked Cassidy for supporting his agenda and tweeted that Cassidy has his “complete and total endorsement." The Louisiana GOP senator is running for a second six-year term in the Nov. 3 election.

 

Sports..

 

On the air today….

 

The Athletic Director 2p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM

 

LSU Baseball vs Southeastern 6p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM

 

Pelicans vs Minnesota 6:30p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM

 

The Pelicans 122 to 114 loss to the Lakers last night means that New Orleans has lost all four games this season to the top seed in the Western Conference. The Pelicans could face the Lakers in the first round, but they’ll need to get in the postseason. Sunday night’s loss, puts New Orleans three games back of Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West.

 

The SEC announces that LSU’s Spring Game on April 18th will kick off at noon on ESPN Two. The game will take place on Southern University’s campus due to the resurfacing of the field in Tiger Stadium.

Good Morning.. News For Monday March 2nd, 2020

News for Monday March 2nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

A 48-year-old woman and three children died in an early Sunday morning fire on Wainwright Street in Alexandria. The State Fire Marshal reports that firefighters recovered the woman’s body from the home along with the bodies of a 7-year-old girl, a 4-year-old girl, and a 4-month-old girl. It’s believed the woman was the grandmother of at least one of the children. The cause of the fire has yet to be released and remains under investigation.

 

The State Fire Marshall’s office is investigating a second fatal fire the occurred over the weekend. In East Baton Rouge Parish a man was found dead inside of his burnt-out home early Saturday morning.

 

A Shreveport woman is dead after being attacked by two pit bulls on Thursday night.  The victim has been identified as 64-year-old Geraldine Hamlin.  Shreveport Police say the woman shared a home with her son and the dogs. The victim was taken to a hospital where she died on Friday morning. Authorities say it is unclear as to what, if anything, provoked the animals to attack..

 

Governor Edwards will lay out his legislative agenda today at the Baton Rouge Press Club, exactly one week before the start of the 2020 session. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects the Governor will continue pushing a minimum wage increase and equal pay for women. The Governor’s budget recommends a 25 million dollar increase in early childhood education spending as well. Lawsuit reform is expected to dominate the upcoming session. Pinsonat says despite his past opposition, he feels Edwards has little choice but to come out with some compromise offers today.

 

LSU Manship School of Mass Communication professor Len Apcar relaunches a website that aims to help spot fake news and disinformation.  The website, detectfakenews.com, is a curated resource guide on the latest developments in fake news.  Apcar says the website is full of tips on how to fact check with do-it-yourself tools and information. Apcar says fake news is all around us, but it’s a small percentage of the overall amount of information out there.  However, it is increasing.

 

According to AAA, in 2019, Louisiana households saved nearly $46 a month at the pump compared to 2018.  AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says coronavirus fears are driving prices down again, so we may see savings this year over last year.

 

A 19-year-old frat member has been arrested, accused of breaking into Tiger Stadium on separate occasions and causing $8000 in damages to the field with an ATV. The field was under construction and without grass at the time and just had a new drainage system installed.

 

Louisiana is set to play a pivotal role in the future of abortion access in the country, as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up its first major abortion case of the Trump era this week. Louisiana's Act 620 would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. It overwhelmingly passed the Louisiana Legislature in a bipartisan vote in 2014 and has since become the crux of the reproductive rights debate nationally.

It's already being trumpeted by supporters and opponents as a law that, if upheld, could pave the way for states to pass laws that tightly restrict, or potentially even ban, abortion,  upending the court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

 

A total of 21 people have applied to be state superintendent of education, including both public school and higher education professionals. State Superintendent of Education John White, who has held the job for eight years, is set to resign next week.

 

Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans scores a 2.6-million-dollar grant to help expand capacity. The money was won in part because of the work of Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves, who sits on the House Subcommittee on Aviation. Graves says the airport has received nearly ten million dollars in grants since November of 2019. Two taxiways at the airport are also set to undergo construction in the fall, part of a 40 million dollar project.

 

New Orleans State Senator Troy Carter files a bill that will ban “hate-related” throws at Mardi Gras parades. Earlier this month a father was stunned when his son caught a racially-themed throw at the Mystic Knights of Adonis parade in Gretna. The throw was a caricature of a black man holding a watermelon with a noose around his neck.

 

The Advocate reports State education leaders are scrambling to help half a dozen rural school districts suffering from sharp drops in enrollment, financial problems and trouble recruiting teachers.  Another 15 school districts are listed by state officials in the second tier of troubles, including the City of Baker and the Assumption, East Feliciana and Pointe Coupee parish school systems. What it means is that 21 of Louisiana's 34 rural schools districts, nearly half the state, are either experiencing a "financial crisis" or expected to do so shortly, according to a recent report by the state Department of Education.

 

Actor and Director Tyler Perry has ordered a second autopsy for his nephew, Gavin Porter, who died at the Union Parish Detention Center last week. Porter who was found dead in his cell died of an apparent suicide according to the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office says Porter was placed in solitary confinement after a fight involving several inmates.

 

On the air today…

Tiger Talk 4 to 6p  96.9 KZMZ

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