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KSYL Local News Archives for 2020-04

Good Morning.... News For Thursday April 30th, 2020

News for Thursday April 30th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

After decades of service to our community, Rapides Parish says good bye and thank you to Sheriff William Earl Hilton. In total Sheriff Hilton was at the helm for 24 years. Today he passes on that job to the new Sheriff, Mark Wood, who will be sworn in this morning at 10,

 

Governor Edwards met with President Donald Trump Thursday in the Oval Office and afterwards praised the federal government’s commitment to supply Louisiana with enough test kits so that it can test at least 200,000 individuals a month for the coronavirus.  Edwards says that’s a critical piece in their COVID-19 response efforts.

Edwards is hopeful the state can begin a phase one reopening of the economy on May 16th.

 

Not all Republicans are happy with Governor Edwards and his extension of the stay at home order, some are looking at overriding the state’s emergency declaration. Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh believes they can get 53 lawmakers in the House to sign the petition since there are 69 Republicans in the lower chamber. He says Edwards could not veto and the petition can prevent the governor from issuing an even more restrictive order for the next 60 days. The governor’s executive council sent a letter to legislative leadership informing them that rescinding the governor’s order would threaten billions of dollars in federal funding to Louisiana and would change unemployment provisions.

 

President Donald Trump says the federal government will not be extending its social distancing guidelines when they expire Thursday at the end of the month. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday that the coronavirus guidelines will be “fading out” because of work that governors are doing in their states. Vice President Mike Pence said the guidelines issued 45 days ago have been incorporated into guidance provided to the states on how they can begin the process of gradually reopening their economies.

 

Early estimates show the state budget for the next fiscal year will likely have a hefty shortfall due to the COVID shutdown and the collapse of oil prices. House Appropriations Chairman Jerome Zeringue says that equates to about a 500 million dollar budget shortfall, but at least this year’s budget shouldn’t be impacted. The session is set to resume Monday and Zeringue anticipates budget discussions will start the week after, meaning they’ll have a brief three weeks to craft the spending plan before the session ends on June 1st.

 

Governor Edwards is expected to provide additional guidance today ahead of tomorrow’s order allowing customers to eat take out outside of restaurants. Louisiana Restaurant Association President Stan Harris says despite the lack of details, Harris says he is glad the state is allowing it. He says the restaurant industry is taking heavy losses and any chance to offer more services is appreciated. The down side, Harris says only about four percent of state restaurants have patio dining. The Governor has suggested he could implement Phase One, allowing restaurants to open at 25% capacity, by mid-May.

 

Raising Cane’s CEO Todd Graves predicts many of the restaurant industry changes made due to the coronavirus outbreak will stick around long after the virus fades. Graves says the industry is notorious for having workers come in even when sick, and that’s unlikely to be the case going forward. He also pointed to additions like sneeze guards in drive-throughs. Graves adds sanitation and food safety practices implemented during this time are also likely to be maintained due to public demand.

 

The road to recovery for Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Derrick Maglone, who was wounded in a shootout that left another officer dead, continues.  Former State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson is Maglone’s uncle and says Maglone is able speak in short sentences. While they are still respecting social distancing guidelines in visiting, Edmonson believes the interaction Maglone has had with other officers at the hospital has been helpful. Maglone was shot during a standoff on Sunday while looking for a suspect in a homicide earlier that day.  A 21-year veteran of the BRPD, Lt. Glenn Hutto Jr. was killed in the shoot-out.

 

Shopping malls have already had a tough time competing with e-commerce, but following the pandemic, the challenge of retaining a customer base will likely grow even more.  LSU marketing Professor Dan Rice says enclosed malls will be the most at-risk for permanent closure. Rice says the malls will have to figure out ways to make their brick and mortar establishments a destination that consumers feel compelled to visit.

 

Personal finance website WalletHub says their survey shows 43 percent of Americans are comfort buying, spending more on non-essentials now than they were before the pandemic. Around 60 percent of people aged 30-44 report comfort buying compared to just 32 percent over the age of 59. Analyst Jill Gonzales says in terms of the non-essential purchases, most of it is related to entertainment.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday April 29th, 2020

News for Wednesday April 29th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state announced yesterday 61 additional fatalities due to Covid-19, that bring the death toll to 1758. Total reported cases: 27,286, up by 219 from Monday. Both hospitalizations and ventilator usage have gone down.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss the state's response to the coronavirus in Washington, D.C. today. The governor says he looks forward to having a substantive conversation with President Trump about Louisiana’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, our plans to re-open additional businesses next month, and our ongoing needs as we surge our testing capacity to 200,000 tests per month beginning in May.

 

Governor Edwards announces the feds have committed to provide Louisiana with the resources needed to be able to administer 200,000 COVID tests a month. Louisiana Department of Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says that’s great because they’re testing more potential asymptomatic carriers who work or live with those in high-risk groups. First responders and those who work in nursing homes were targeted for potential increased asymptomatic testing.

 

Louisiana residents will soon be able to travel into Texas without self-quarantining for 14 days. Texas Governor Greg Abbott plans to lift the order restricting travel on Friday.

Gov. Abbott issued the executive order back in March to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. The travel restrictions will remain in place for people traveling from California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Miami.

 

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory addresses Governor John Bel Edward’s decision to extend the stay-at-home order.  Guillory says he knows the call may have been a disappointing or frustrating development, believes the Governor is acting in good faith. Guillory remains optimistic the state will move into phase one reopening when the Governor’s stay at home order extension expires, but calls on the public to make that happen by continuing to play it safe.

 

Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says he’s disappointed in the Governor’s decision to extend the stay at home order to May 15th. Waguespack says the Governor should trust business owners to implement rules that would limit viral spread on their properties. LABI is asking the state to use the extra time to develop a comprehensive plan to allow all businesses to open by May 15th at the latest.

 

University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson says he’s planning on having students back on UL campuses for the fall semester. Henderson says it is important to have the students back in class so they can continue their education and not suffer further setbacks. LSU Interim President Tomas Galligan says they’re planning on doing the same at the flagship campus. Despite the pandemic throwing most plans out the window, Henderson says applications and admissions are up across the board.

 

According to Nola.com, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is not ruling out canceling Carnival celebrations in 2021 as the city continues to recover from the novel coronavirus. In an interview with the Washington Post, Cantrell said data about the disease's spread and how severely it impacts the city's bottom line will guide decisions about the Carnival season next year. Next year's season begins on January 6 with Mardi Gras Day set for February 16.

 

A survey from Lending Tree indicates that 91 percent of coronavirus-impacted homeowners, who asked for assistance or forbearance on their mortgage are successful. Lending Tree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz says unemployment relief and stimulus checks are helpful, but they trickle in, receiving immediate assistance from creditors is more effective. But, you have to ask.. The survey also indicated only 1 in 5 people knew to contact their lenders for such assistance.

 

The Associated General Contractors of America says the pandemic has hit the construction industry hard.  Spokesperson Brian Turmail says nationally, 68 percent of construction firms report having at least one project that was underway canceled or delayed and Louisiana is part of that trend. New Orleans saw construction jobs dip by 2,800 from March 2019 to March 2020, a 10 percent drop. The bugs will be swarming for roughly the next two to three months.  The swarms begin at dusk and Sun says one of the best mitigation techniques is limiting outdoor lighting. The termites generally dissipate by 10:30 PM, at which point you should be able to turn back on outside lights.

 

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday April 28th, 2020

News for Tuesday April 28th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor Edwards extends the statewide stay at home order to May 15th citing concerning levels of case growth outside of the Metro New Orleans epicenter. Cases have recently increased in northeast Louisiana, Baton Rouge, and Acadiana, and Edwards says every doctor and scientist advising him agreed with the extension. Vice President Mike Pence was informed of the plan and agreed with it as well. Edwards says the stay at home order has not been a failure, and it helped the state avoid a worst-case scenario but it hasn’t slowed case growth fast enough just yet.

 

Three minor changes were announced yesterday.  People will be allowed to make pickups outside of mall-based retail stores, customers will be able to eat takeout orders outside of restaurants if seating is available, and beginning Friday all employees working with the public will be required to wear a mask.

 

Speaking of masks, starting today Rapides and Grant parish are supplying fire departments and many schools with masks, each to give out to residents in a drive-thru type style. Due to short supply, the masks will be limited to heads of households. A complete list of locations can be found on our websites…

 

27 more people are reported to have died from COVID-19 in the state bringing the state total to just under 1,700 fatalities. As of yesterday’s totals, the state had 27,068 cases of Covid-19 in the state, 1,683 Hospitalizations and 17,303 recovered..

 

The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association warns the sector is on pace to be hit harder than previously thought, and oil futures are likely to again trade in the negatives. President Gifford Briggs says estimates show the world is producing 30 million barrels of oil a day more than it can consume. He says more than half of state wells are set to shut down as a result. Briggs says roughly 33,000 people earning wages over three billion dollars directly work in the industry. He says surveys indicate 70 percent of those jobs will now be lost. That’s a little over 23,000 people.

 

The APD reported yesterday that two people have been arrested in connection with Sunday's shooting of a 1-year-old in the 3000 block of Culpepper Road. 21 year old  Kendrick Williams and 22 year old Krystal Jones, both of Alexandria, were arrested and charged with second degree cruelty to a juvenile. This incident is still under investigation.

 

LSU interim president Thomas Galligan says the plan is for students to be back on campus this fall. Galligan says the university needs to get back to business, but they ‘ll do it in a safe manner. Galligan says he’s hopeful football will be played in Tiger Stadium this fall, but the Tigers will only take the field when it’s safe to do so, Galligan says delaying the start of the season is a possibility…

 

Many dentist offices opened back up again Monday along with time-sensitive elective medical surgeries. Former Louisiana Dental Association President Dr. Kristi Soileau (swallow) says the only work not being allowed is cosmetic dentistry that is for the sole purpose of enhancing someone’s appearance.

 

Ouachita Parish Sheriff Deputies arrest a West Monroe man for allegedly firing shots at the home of Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson. O-P-S-O spokesperson Glenn Springfield says 38-year-old Daniel King Jr. has been charged with aggravated assault for the drive-by shooting that happened Friday afternoon. Springfield says surveillance cameras provided important evidence in leading to a quick capture of the suspect.

 

A Baton Rouge Police Officer is dead and another is fighting for his life after responding to tips about a domestic violence homicide suspect.  Chief Murphy Paul says the two officers were shot during a four-hour standoff with the suspect, 36-year-old Ronnie Kato, on Sunday. Kato has been booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail. Kato was a suspect in a homicide that occurred earlier on Sunday and affidavits indicate Kato has previously made threats against law enforcement.

 

Fatal crashes were up eight percent from March 16th to April 20th compared to the same time last year despite an estimated 30 to 40 percent fewer cars being on the road.

Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Lisa Freeman says it appears the more open roads are bringing out the worst in some motorists. The state counted 66 fatal crashes during that March to April period.

Good Morning.. News For Monday April 27th, 2020

News for Monday April 27th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The APD was called to the 3000 Block of Culpepper road late yesterday afternoon in reference to a report of a one child being shot. During the initial investigation it appears as if there were small children playing with a loaded handgun when the firearm discharged hitting a one-year-old. The child was transported to a local hospital by Acadian Ambulance. The condition of the child is unknown at this time.

 

Louisiana is now reporting the number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19. The state health department estimates there have been nearly 15-thousand recoveries. As of Sunday, Louisiana has 26,773 positive cases and 1,670 people have died as a result of the virus.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards could announce today new restrictions on residents and businesses that will go into effect on May 1st. Public Affairs Research Council President Robert Travis Scott says a big question is whether Louisiana’s coronavirus testing capacity can stay ahead of the epidemic. Scott says childcare social distancing guidelines and the availability of such services may create hurdles for parents that have a chance to return to work. Many businesses are eager to re-open. But Scott says there is an underestimated problem in getting commerce and industry going again and that is the potential legal liabilities against a business if an employee or customer gets COVID-19.

 

The Dean Lee Research Center in Alexandria will need to be rebuilt after taking direct hit from a tornado on Wednesday night. LSU AgCenter Central Region Director Tara Smith says the damage will impact the research and extension programs. Smith says thankfully the LSU-Alexandria campus did not suffer any major damage and no injuries were reported. She says the mega-shelter that the state uses during hurricanes also took a direct hit.  Smith says they working with other units in the Ag Center community to gain access to equipment so research continues

 

Senator Bill Cassidy says the feds are looking at investments that could allow economies to become close to fully functional even before a coronavirus vaccine is available. The 1,200 dollar stimulus checks helped float many through the first month of the shutdown, and Cassidy says if we can expand testing enough we won’t need a second round. Cassidy says aggressive, preemptive testing in hotspots will need to be funded. He says the key to reopening the economy safely is tracking transition rates and adjusting reopening accordingly.

 

For the first time in a month, many elective medical surgeries are set to proceed in Louisiana. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says emergency procedures have been happening, but medical centers will now be allowed to catch up on much need time-sensitive, but less pressing surgeries. Governor Edwards says now that cases have plateaued we have to resume normal medical care. The Governor also adds these elective procedures are the economic lifeblood of hospitals that have taken a huge financial hit over the last month.

 

One of the two Baton Rouge Police officers who were shot Sunday at a house in the city's Howell Park neighborhood has died of his injuries. Police told the Baton Rouge Advocate that the officers, who have not been identified by authorities, were shot while responding to a call Sunday afternoon. The shooting occurred inside a house after officers had arrived on scene and made contact with the suspect. The second officer was still hospitalized and "fighting for his life" Sunday evening.

 

"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson said his family was the victim of a drive-by shooting Friday where eight to 10 shots were fired from the road into his estate in West Monroe. One of the shots went through the bedroom window of the home where son John Luke Robertson lives with his and their infant child, but nobody in the family was injured.

 

A team from LSU develops a smartphone app to help track medical equipment and supplies that are in transit around the state.  LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute director Brant Mitchell says ComTrac 2.0 was developed to follow the same idea of tracking resources after a hurricane. Mitchell says almost all of the development for the application was done by LSU students and says with classes being out, it allowed them to have extra time to dedicate to the building process which would normally take about six months.

 

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says the city has been blessed by many charitable acts since the Easter tornado hit. A Monroe, New Jersey resident anonymously mailed the city a $100 donation after hearing of the tornado’s impact on the town. Mayo says he was deeply touched by the letter from a total stranger. The money will be used at a local food bank.

 

The Saints 2020 draft class consists of just four players, but the franchise believes it will be a successful class. In the first round New Orleans drafted Cesar Ruiz, a center from Michigan and then traded multiple picks to select two players in the third round, Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun and Dayton tight end Adam Trautman. G-M Mickey Loomis says it’s about the quality of the picks, not how many you made… These rookies will not have the benefit of an offseason conditioning program or O-T-As. But Saints coach Sean Payton doesn’t believe they will be too far behind when training camp starts. The Saints sent their fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh-round draft picks to Minnesota to take Trautman with the 105th pick. The F-C-S tight end had 70 catches for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. Trautman was a quarterback in high school but switched to tight end when he got on Dayton’s campus

 

The Saints made a trade with the Texans to get a seventh round pick and used that select Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens. He has a lot of athleticism for someone who is six-foot-five and could play a Taysom Hill role for the Black and Gold.

Good Morning... News For Friday April 24th, 2020

News for Friday April 24th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Here In Rapides Parish authorities have released the name of a Lecompte woman who was killed Wednesday night as a line of severe weather moved through the area. 67-year-old Becky Roberts was killed when her home was destroyed by a potential tornado. National Weather Service forecaster Seth Warthen says the suspected supercell was highly unusual for the area. Warthen says the potential tornadoes, and yes there were two, were part of a supercell that appeared to have traveled a long distance. At least 7 dead as storms hit Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.

 

Cleco reports the Wednesday night and Thursday morning storms caused power outages for roughly 6,900 customers. As of 4:30 yesterday afternoon Cleco says there were still about 1,850 customers without power. Close to 900 of those were here in Rapides Parish.

 

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to approve replenishing the fourth round of stimulus funds amid the spread of COVID-19. The bill was approved by the House by a 388-5 margin. It previously passed the Senate by a voice vote, and now awaits President Donald Trump's signature.

 

The state reported 67 more COVID-19 deaths Thursday, bringing the death toll to 1,540. During his daily COVID-19 briefing, Governor Edwards says the state continues to flatten the curve. Louisiana reported 481 new cases and the number of patients hospitalized and on ventilators continues to decline. Edwards was asked if there will be high school football this year. The governor says he’s optimistic…

 

Louisiana’s Senate President Page Cortez from Lafayette has told the Advocate he tested positive for the coronavirus last month, but had a mild case and is fine now.

 

Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt starts a petition urging Governor Edwards to allow parishes to make their own decisions on when and how they reopen their economies.

Hewitt says the Governor’s preference to issue stay at home orders on a statewide basis is not working for areas of the state with low case counts. The stay at home order is set to end April 30th, but New Orleans has already extended the order locally until May 16th.

 

The coronavirus pandemic could result in an unemployment rate above 20-percent in Louisiana. The Tax Foundation estimates about 16-percent of the workforce have applied for or are receiving unemployment benefits in Louisiana. Economist Loren Scott says low oil prices will prevent Louisiana from bouncing back as fast as other states. Scott made the comments during the first meeting of the Louisiana Economic Recovery Taskforce which legislative leaders formed in an effort to provide the Legislature with policy recommendations on how to jump-start the economy.

 

The Louisiana Supreme Court extends an order delaying all jury trials until June 30th.

The order was initially filed April 6thand there’s some fear that a three-month delay in cases will create a nightmare of a trial backlog, but Legal Analyst Tim Meche says Louisiana learned from Katrina and Rita. Mid-March was an unlucky time for anyone to get locked up but Meche says DAs and sheriffs have made an effort to release low-risk detainees who are awaiting trial. Meche also said it’s unlikely the extended delay will result in any legal or constitutional challenges that would impact the court once trials resume.

 

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office has lifted the burn ban issued on March 25, effective immediately. State officials are asking residents to please remain aware of their surroundings and be compliant with any local restrictions on open burning.

 

As expected the Cincinnati Bengals welcome Ohio native Joe Burrow back home, making him the school's third number one overall selection, and first since 2007 when the Raiders drafted quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

 

Car dealerships are seeing slow sales and not as much work for their service departments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association President Will Green says car shoppers should be able to find great deals…

Green adds that implementing social distancing guidelines means they are moving the transactions from the showroom to the internet and car buyers can have a vehicle delivered to their home for a test drive.

 

Few department stores are likely to survive following the coronavirus pandemic, according to retail experts at Columbia University’s Business School.  New Orleans consultant of real estate valuations Wade Ragas says department stores have already had a tough enough time keeping up with e-commerce in recent years. Ragas says even if the brick and mortar stores begin to disappear, it is possible to shift familiar brands into the e-commerce space.

 

While there is limited evidence cats can suffer from COVID-19, the Louisiana SPCA is asking owners not to seek tests for their pets.CEO Anna Zorrilla says right now we want to make sure COVID testing is focused on humans, who have a more critical need.

Two cats tested positive in New York City, but the CDC reports there is no evidence cats can transmit the virus back to humans. If your pet is suffering from what appears to be COVID-like symptoms Zorrilla says talk to your vet before doing anything else.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday April 24th, 2020

News for Thursday April 23rd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Severe weather rolled across the state yesterday afternoon and evening, leaving in its wake 2 people dead. We should have more information later today in the death of a Woodworth woman last night on Robinson Bridge Rd. In Mansfield,  in Desoto Parish, a man was killed when he was washed away by high water. In the storm last night, a large tornado traveled from East Texas into Louisiana near Rosepine, just south of Leesville. That same storm spun off another Tornado Just south of Alexandria.  That tornado caused some heavy damage on the LSUA Campus.

 

The latest numbers from the state are in and currently, the state has recorded 25,258 positive cases of COVID-19, up 404 from the previous day. The State is now reporting 1,473 fatalities up 68 from Tuesday.

 

The Resilient Louisiana Commission began its work Wednesday in coming up with recommendations on how the state can jump-start its shuttered economy. The commission will examine 15 different sectors of Louisiana’s economy that include energy, manufacturing, health care, tourism, and education and provide the governor with strategies on how they can be more resilient.

 

Governor Edwards says  some businesses could re-open on May 1st, if the state sees a downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases, reported flu-like symptoms and hospitalizations. But the governor says life will not return to pre-COVID right away. Edwards says he plans to announce early next week what restrictions will be in place starting on May 1st.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on Louisiana residents to “mask up” which means wearing a face mask in public places. Edwards says wearing a mask reduces the chances of asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic people unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. Guidelines still call for anyone feeling sick to self-quarantine, even if they have a mask. Edwards says while masks are recommended for the public, gloves are not. He says they can cause more harm than good.

 

Since March 27th, the Louisiana Workforce Commission has paid out more than $561 million in unemployment benefits to 302,000 claimants.  LWC executive director Ava Dejoie says when putting it into perspective with last year, it showcases just how much the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the state’s workforce. Last year, there were only 103,000 claimants. Dejoie says they are currently in the process of adding an additional server to its network to be able it to handle more online volume.

 

A bill that would expand mail-in voting for the July and August elections heads to the full House and Senate. The legislation expands voting options, doubles the early voting period, and more, but it didn’t have unanimous support. In House Governmental Affairs, State Representative Rodney Schamerhorn of Vernon Parish says his constituents oppose any election rule changes.

 

According to Gas Buddy the average price of gasoline in Louisiana is $1.64 a gallon today and in some areas of the state it’s getting close to a dollar a gallon. Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan predicts prices could drop another twenty to forty cents a gallon in Louisiana. There have been some prices as low as $1.05 a gallon already in New Orleans.

 

Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette is one of the many events canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of trying to push back to the fall, a virtual music festival will happen instead. Festival spokesperson Carly Viator says they will stream musical performances starting tomorrow through Sunday. This would have been the 34th year for the festival and the live stream takes place on the event’s Facebook page.

 

A UL Lafayette student’s face mask sewing operation receives the national spotlight from CBS.  Sewing with Savoie founder Christine Savoie set up a Facebook page for the operation to help in distributing sewing patterns, take requests, and donations of resources. Savoie says it has been rewarding seeing the pictures of people wearing some of the different masks she has made.

 

Tulane is set to study whether hydroxychloroquine can be used to help prevent people who’ve been exposed to coronavirus from developing COVID-19. Tulane School of Medicine Infectious Disease Epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Kissinger says the treatment has shown promise, but it needs to be proven in a human clinical trial. Tulane hopes to enroll 500 local participants.

 

At least four members of the 2019 national champion LSU football team will be selected in the first round of tonight’s NFL draft. Football analyst Mike Detillier says Joe Burrow will be the first pick and Justin Jefferson, K’Lavon Chaisson and Patrick Queen will also go in the first round. Detillier says safety Grant Delpit could also be a first-round pick, even though his production fell off last seasons. Detillier says the Saints could use the 24th overall pick to take former LSU linebacker Patrick Queen.

 

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday April 22nd,, 2020

News for Wednesday April 22nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana’s COVID-19 death toll increases by 77 in the latest report, rising to 1,405. Total cases: 24,854… up by 331. Hospitalizations increases to 1,798, up by 4.

 

Louisiana saw small crowds of protesters in the Capital over the weekend calling for the state to end its stay at home order, with more protests apparently set for this weekend.

Governor Edwards says those complaints about the shutdown won’t shake him from the position that the stay at home order will hold until April 30th. Edwards says the criteria for reopening remain firm: A measured 14 day period of declining cases.

 

The Resilient Louisiana Commission announced by Gov. Edwards last week will meet for the first time today. The commission will look at what is needed by businesses and organizations to restart the state. Two meetings will be held today via teleconference. 

 

The beleaguered Louisiana Workforce Commission appears to be getting better at sending out payments to jobless workers, a huge relief for the nearly 300,000 people who have filed claims with the state agency. In all, the Workforce Commission sent out a total of $243 million to laid-off workers Monday and Tuesday of this week. That was 54% more than the $158 million the Workforce Commission reported sending out in the first two days of last week.

 

A $483 billion coronavirus aid package flew through the Senate on Tuesday after Congress and the White House reached a deal to replenish a small-business payroll fund and provided new money for hospitals and testing. Passage was swift and unanimous, despite opposition from conservative Republicans. It now goes to the House, where lawmakers have been summoned back to Washington for votes on Thursday. The bill is expected to pass easily.

 

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has submitted a new emergency election plan to lawmakers that rolls back voters’ access to absentee ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, following Republican pushback over an initial plan that would have extended mail-in ballots to more people. Ardoin, a Republican, presented his initial plan to lawmakers last week. Originally, the plan would have allowed absentee ballots for those 60 or older, those subject to a stay-at-home order or those unable to appear in public due to concern of exposure or transmission of COVID-19 . The new plan does away with all of those reasons..

 

Senator Bill Cassidy is pushing for a 500 billion dollar relief package in Congress aimed at aiding local and state governments who are facing coronavirus related fiscal cliffs.

Lafayette is expecting to lose 35 percent of its expected revenue for the year, and Monroe and New Orleans are facing one million and 150 million dollar deficits respectively. Cassidy says the money would be distributed based on how severely a locality has been hit by both the virus and the economic impacts of virus-related shutdowns. Localities with populations over 50,000 would be given the money directly to manage without having to go through state government.

 

A survey of crawfish producers shows the decreased demand for their crop has pummeled the industry at a time when producers usually make their most money. The normal crawfish production season starts near the end of December and will go through the middle of June, but LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry says some producers have already pulled the plug on their season or will end it by the first week of May because of prices falling below their breakeven point.

 

The Louisiana Department of Education will award nearly 10 million dollars to childcare providers who are hurting for cash during the coronavirus shutdown. Assistant State Superintendent Jessica Baghian says only about 30 percent of childcare centers are still open, and even the ones still open are bleeding cash. A report indicates child care providers have already experienced a 1.7 million dollar loss in revenue since the shutdown began.

 

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is studying lifestyle changes as a result of social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions.  Researcher Leanne Redman says a 15-minute online survey includes questions about work changes, physical activity, diet, sleep, and well-being. Redman says the goal is to get one million responses to the survey and so far they’ve received 6,000 from participants from all over the world.

Redman says anyone over the age of 18 can participate in the survey, just go to pbrc.edu/covid19andyou

 

The Bengals are expected to select former LSU Q-B Joe Burrow with the number one pick in tomorrow night’s N-F-L draft. If that’s the case, Burrow will play for a franchise that has not won a playoff game since 1991. LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says Burrow will look forward to the challenge in making Cincinnati a winner.

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday April 21st, 2020

News for Tuesday April 21st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana reports a slight increase in the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time since April 13th, and 32 more Louisianans are also reported to have died from COVID-19. To date 24,523 cases have been reported and 1,328 fatalities. 56 percent of the fatalities are African Americans, who make up just a third of the population.

 

Louisiana House GOP Leader Blake Miguez says Louisiana needs to reopen its economy on a parish by parish basis, but Governor Edwards disagrees. Miguez wrote a letter to the Governor calling on him to implement Phase One of the federal reopening plan after the stay-at-home order ends April 30th. The Governor says he plans to announce what restrictions the state will keep days before the current stay at home order expires on April 30th.

 

Governor Edwards gives the go-ahead for some time-sensitive elective medical procedures that have been canceled under the stay at home order to resume next Monday. The relaxed restrictions are a result of lessening pressure on hospitals due to a flattening of the curve, but State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says not every procedure will be deemed necessary. National reports show a growing problem of people canceling vital treatments that are needed for chronic issues. Guidry says this order helps encourage those folks to get back to a doctor.

 

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections announced yesterday that Sandy McCain, the warden of the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport  passed away earlier in the day following a lengthy battle after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 66. I was also announced that Dr. Casey McVea, the Medical Director at the Correctional Center, also died this past weekend from COVID-19 complications.

 

Oil prices have collapsed to the lowest point ever recorded as the economy screeches to a halt and an international price war rages on. Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs many Louisiana wells are planning to shut off 100 percent of production because they can’t find a place to sell…The cost of a barrel ol oil yesterday closed the day in negative territory. Another words, at this point oil is worth less than nothing.  Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs says the only way these prices can bounce back to reasonable levels is if the economy is restarted, and drastic tax cuts on the industry are enacted. Oil started the year at over 60 dollars a barrel.

 

The US Supreme Court rules all felony trials must be decided by a unanimous jury verdict in a 6-3 ruling of a case brought by Evangelisto Ramos, who was found guilty of killing a woman in New Orleans in 2014 on a 10-2 vote that he appealed on constitutional grounds. The decision will likely result in some high-profile retrials of people on direct review. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says one of those will likely be for Ronald Glasser who was convicted of murdering NFL running back Joe McKnight in 2016.

 

A Main Street America survey shows nearly 60-percent of small businesses in the state are in danger of closing permanently due to COVID-19 in the next six months. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is co-chair of the Resilient Louisiana Commission tasked with reopening businesses across the state. Nungesser says the commission is looking at options of phases that would slowly reopen businesses.

 

Nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing are now being 3-D printed at LSU Health Shreveport. The swabs, which are a crucial part or the testing kit, have been in short supply.  Molecular and cellular physiology professor Dr. Steven Alexander hopes the extra swab availability will lead to an expansion of testing eligibility. Alexander says they have obtained the swab design printing files to produce the resin polymer nasal swabs and hope to be producing nearly 1,000 swabs daily.

 

Police have issued an arrest warrant for the controversial pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana. The warrant accuses pastor Tony Spell of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police in Central say Spell allegedly backed up a church bus into the direction of a person protesting in front of Spell’s church Sunday. Video of the alleged incident shows the bus coming to a stop just short of where the protestor was standing. There is also a second warrant out for the arrest of the person driving a white truck that appears to swerve off the road in a separate attempt to hit a protester standing on the side of the road near the church. Over the weekend, The Rev. Spell asked congregates to donate their stimulus checks to the church.

 

The Department of Education releases a survey showing all 69 school districts are offering some level of distance education in public schools while campuses are closed.  Department spokesperson Sydni Dunn says the survey looked at both traditional and charter schools handling of the pandemic. A big problem, 28% of students do not have access to a school-issued or personal tablet or computer and only 66% have home internet access.

 

 

Good Morning.. News For Monday April 20th, 2020

News for Monday April 20th, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

1,296 people are now confirmed to have died of COVID-19 in Louisiana as the state tallied another 412 fatalities last week. Despite the growing loss of life the spread of the virus appears to be slowing consistently as ventilator use and hospitalizations are down. Last week we saw 2,912 new cases of the virus in the state, however the number of hospitalizations decreased by 386.

 

The Trump Administration issued last week guidelines to states on how to reopen their economies in three “phases”. Phase one continues to encourage social distancing but allows activities like limited dine-in access to restaurants. Governor Edwards says any implementation of these phased reopening will be done on the advice of his Resilient Louisiana Commission that will study the potential tradeoffs of opening the economy. The plan is the slowly open up businesses on the first of next month.

 

Seems hard to believe but today marks ten years since the BP Oil Spill ravaged the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, leaving behind environmental scars that exist to this day.

National Wildlife Federation Gulf of Mexico Restoration Director David Muth says the overall ecological impact remains horrific, but the one silver lining to result from the calamity was the more than 16 billion in fines that paid for coastal restoration projects.

Muth says Louisiana received over eight billion dollars in payments as a result of the spill.

 

The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation is raising money to help bar owners stay afloat and keep your favorite local watering hole alive through the COVID Crisis.  Many small businesses are keeping the lights on by taking advantage of federal programs like the CARES Act.  LHF Executive Director Jennifer Kelley says, unfortunately, bars have a very unusual business model and in most cases haven’t been able to qualify for the government assistance.

 

The state health department says I-C-U doctors should receive credit for helping to lower the number of COVID-19 patients who need ventilators. On April 4th, the state reported 571 of their COVID-19 patients needed ventilators, now that number is 349. Assistant state health officer Joe Kanter says the mortality rate for someone placed on a ventilator in Louisiana is between 40 and 60-percent, while New York and Seattle are over 80-percent. He says are I-C-U doctors have learned how to better treat the disease.

 

The Louisiana agency overseeing oil and gas drilling has seen a 50% increase in "orphaned" wells the state must pay to plug because they’ve been abandoned by their operators, according to a new audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office. The audit also said the Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation also is behind in forcing operators to plug disused wells that are yet to be abandoned, and has failed to conduct required reinspections of hundreds of out-of-compliance wells.

 

A Louisiana Tech freshman is 3-D printing ear guards for medical personnel.  Medical engineering major Avereigh Barras says the she was inspired to start creating the devices after seeing a Canadian boy scout’s invention intended to relieve the pressure of elastic bands from masks on the ears. Barras says as of now, she’s created just over 1,600 and hopes to hit the 2,000 mark in the first two weeks of manufacturing.  Barras recently started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the cost of the shipping and manufacturing which she says has seen an abundance of support.

 

Some schools are organizing drive-through pickup for caps, gowns, and class rings for juniors and seniors who are missing out on some of the seminal events of their high school years. Jostens sales rep Jim Raab says his company is working with schools to establish drive-by locations where parents can bring their kids to get some semblance of pomp and circumstance. Raab says they’ve taken precautions to maintain social distancing and all employees are wearing at least gloves. He says it’s not mandatory, but if you do come he asks you to put on a mask…

Good Morning... News For Friday April 17th, 2020

News for Friday April 17th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state’s virus death toll increases by 53 yesterday, bringing the total to 1,156. Total cases of the virus increased by 581 to a total of 22,532. The only good news, hospitalizations decreased by 29.

 

Governor Edwards announced yesterday who will serve on his Resilient Louisiana Commission. Edwards says this panel will make recommendations on how the state can grow its economy again. The governor is looking at loosening some of the rules of his stay at home order and this panel will receive input from business leaders on how best to do that. The Commission Co-Chairs are Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson, and healthcare executive Terrie Sterling.

 

An elderly member of Life Tabernacle Church has died of COVID-19 and Pastor Tony Spell is disputing the coroner’s findings saying the man died of other medical conditions. And one of Spell’s attorneys, Jeff Wittenbrink of Baton Rouge, is currently hospitalized with the coronavirus after reportedly attending two events at the church earlier this month. Spell continues to hold large services.

 

The Paycheck Protection Program which provides loans to small businesses to keep their workers employed has run out of money. Congressman Steve Scalise of Metairie says the President is asking Congress to appropriate 251-billion dollars so the program can process loan applications again.

 

LSU Health Shreveport is bringing testing online that will allow them to check people’s blood for antibodies that may indicate they are immune to coronavirus. But Immunology Professor Matthew Woolard says it’s not just enough to know if you have anti-coronavirus antibodies, we need to know how effective they are, and how many are needed to be effective. If a person is found to have effective antibodies they could return to a normal life without fear of getting themselves or others sick. Woolard says their work will also be to document over time the rate at which a person loses antibodies by retesting a person’s blood every so often.

 

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says 13 of the top 20 auto insurers doing business in Louisiana are providing premium reductions and rebates to policyholders since people are driving less. He says the rebate programs are resulting in 187-million dollars back into the hands of consumers.

 

Historically, school systems have had assessments to determine promotion for students.  In the absence of those assessments this year, Assistant state superintendent Ken Bradford says the Department of Education is advising districts use other tools on the local level to make the determination as to a student’s advancement.

If a student is borderline on their ability to advance, Bradford says there needs to be a sit-down discussion between the parents, teachers, and counselors to hammer out how they can be caught up in time for next school year. Bradford says the districts can have the freedom to allow teachers to break away from the traditional time restrictions that are normally in place during a regular school year, allowing them to help students during the summer.

 

The cancellations of Jazz and Essence Fest will pummel New Orleans’ expected 2020 tourism revenue, with more festivals likely to announce similar decisions in the near future. CEO of New Orleans and Company, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau, Mark Romig says the loss of those iconic events is a blow, but they’ll be back.

475,000 visitors attended Jazz Fest last year for an estimated 400 million dollar total economic impact.

 

Baton Rouge Representative Ted James has mostly recovered from COVID-19 but says his recovery was grueling and the disease should not be taken lightly. The 37-year-old Democrat says he became symptomatic March 22nd when he woke up in a pool of sweat, and a week later he was suffering in a hospital with pneumonia. James says his history of asthma and sinus issues may have contributed to his severe case despite his young age and good health.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday April 16th, 2020

News for Thursday April 16th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The number of people who have died after testing positive for COVID-19 in Louisiana rose by another 90 on Wednesday to 1,103. 16 of the victims lived at a Veterans Home in St. John the Baptist Parish. Deputy Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Julie Baxter-Payer says 26 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Baxter-Payer says the facility saw its first resident show symptoms less than a month ago on March 19th. Again confirming what health experts are saying worldwide, nursing homes are the perfect breeding grounds for the virus.

 

The governor’s current stay at home order lasts through April 30th and Governor John Bel Edwards has indicated he could extend it. He says when the green light is given to open up more businesses, social distancing will continue, along with other measures. Edwards says the new normal will also have reduced occupancy limits…

 

At his briefing yesterday afternoon Governor Edwards reaffirmed that K-12 school campuses across the state will remain closed for the remainder of the current school year for students. However, students will continue education via remote learning.  Acting State Superintendent Beth Scioneaux (Si-no) says the local districts will be tasked with the decision on criteria that will determine a student’s advancement in grade level, also  how to grade students will also be left in the hands of the districts.

 

Eleven U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement staffers at the agency’s facility at the Alexandria airport have tested positive for coronavirus, the largest outbreak among staff at any ICE facility nationwide. The ICE Alexandria Staging Facility is normally used as a holding pen for immigration detainees as they await deportation flights out of the Alexandria International Airport.

 

In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell extends the stay in shelter order for the city until May 16th. Cantrell previously mentioned there would be no large events in New Orleans for the rest of 2020, but the Saints organization says it’s planning operations under the assumption there will be games.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state is working on a set of guidelines to potentially get restaurants and other service industry businesses open in May. But Nungesser warns that even if we do reopen next month an estimated 5.9 million tourism-related jobs will have already been lost nationwide.

 

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee has asked Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin to revise his plan for the July 11th presidential primary over concerns that his proposal that expands mail-in voting gives that option to too many people. Shreveport Senator Barry Milligan is concerned about voter fraud. The emergency election rule would allow anyone to mail in an absentee ballot if they are concerned they could be exposed to the coronavirus. On a five to one party-line vote, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee has asked Ardoin to bring another emergency election proposal to them that would lower the number of people would be eligible to vote with a mail ballot. Note: Their exact words.

 

The Social Security Administration announced Wednesday that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with no qualifying children will receive federal stimulus payments automatically directly from the Treasury Department. The treasury anticipates the payments to be made no later than early May. SSI recipients with qualifying children under the age of 17 should visit the IRS website. Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability insurance beneficiaries (who don’t normally file taxes) also qualify for the automatic stimulus payments, expected to arrive around the end of April.

 

The U.S. Coast Guard is reporting that more than two dozen offshore workers on seven out of 680 platforms have now tested positive for the coronavirus. NOLA.com  is reporting that Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement  has not established any protocols for what companies should or must do when an offshore worker displays symptoms of coronavirus. The agency says that it is working to develop mitigations to reduce the risk of exposure for its own employees traveling offshore, four of whom have tested positive for coronavirus.

 

The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance is urging the class of 2020 to complete applications for federal student aid as part of the newly launched FAFSA Now campaign.  LOSFA spokesperson Tyana Daquano says the FAFSA form can feel like a daunting task, but they are now offering virtual assistance with completing the paperwork. the FAFSA application will not only help unlock federal aid but state and institutional aid for students as well. The assistance tool can be found at MyLOSFA.LA.gov.

 

The Advocate reports the future of a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal near Lake Charles is unclear after a deal for its parent company to be acquired was canceled. According to the report, LNG Ltd., which is an Australian company that proposed building Magnolia LNG, was slated to be taken private by a Singapore-based company  in a $75 million deal, but investors withdrew their bid after an initial bridge loan fell through. According to company officials, by retracting their bid, LNG Ltd. is now able to negotiate with other interested parties on strategic alternatives, which is already ongoing.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday April 15,, 2020

News for Wednesday April 15th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor Edwards struck a somber tone yesterday as the state reported crossing the 1,000 COVID-19 death mark, but noted the curve of new infections has flattened. A single day record 129 COVID deaths were logged yesterday, and while Edwards says much of the spike was the result of a reporting backlog, it is not any easier to process.  The total number of cases in the state sits at 21,518

 

Covington Republican Representative Mark Wright is calling on Governor Edwards not to further extend the stay at home order that is set to end April 30th. Wright says it’s an economic imperative that Louisiana being to reopen and says the state needs to look at easing restrictions like our neighbors in Texas and Oklahoma and starting May 1st reopen as much as possible. Federal models call for the continuing of stay at home orders nationwide through May to avoid another major reoccurrence of COVID-19.

 

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell recommends no more festivals for the remainder of 2020 due to the coronavirus. If that becomes a reality, it would mean the cancellation or postponement of events such as Jazzfest, Essence Fest, French Quarter Fest, and Voodoo Experience. Cantrell expressed concern over not only the local efforts to flatten the curve, but how other states where visitors live are preventing further spread of the virus.

 

The National Weather Service has confirmed at least seven tornadoes ravaged north Louisiana on Easter Sunday. N-W-S Meteorologist Brad Bryant says the most powerful twister started in West Monroe and traveled for about eight miles. Unlike neighboring Mississippi, Louisiana had no fatalities from the storm activity.  Bryant says it is surprising that there was no loss of life in the state.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health announced yesterday the passing of state  Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard earlier this week. Ratard devoted 43 years of his life to public health and spent over 26 of those years with the Office of Public Health. No word was released as to cause of his death. 

 

The Center for Reproductive Rights is suing Louisiana for the state’s attempts to close abortion clinics as part of a shutdown of all services deemed non-essential. President Nancy Northup says attempting to force clinic closures violates due process and equal protection. She says abortion services are time-sensitive and essential. Ohio, Oklahoma, and Alabama have had similar suits filed against them.

 

Large numbers of jobless workers complained on social media Tuesday that they received only one of the two $600 extra payments the federal government owed them in their Louisiana Unemployment checks. Robert Wooley, assistant secretary for unemployment benefits , says the agency is aware of the problem and will ensure that everyone receives what they are due. The agency sent $89 million to jobless workers Monday in state and federal benefits and another $69 million Tuesday.

 

The Department of Corrections has created a review panel that will determine if certain inmates nearing the end of their sentence should be released in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus within jails.  1,200 inmates are eligible for the program.  Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says the first group of inmates up for consideration have a pre-existing medical condition and meet certain criteria.

 

There’s activity underway again at the PMAC on LSU’s campus but it’s not the norm. Ashley Arceneaux, Chief of Staff for the LSU President says the university community is working together to support medical providers and the facility has become a production center for PPE, like reusable gowns from billboard vinyl with locally donated materials.

Arceneaux says the vinyl is donated by Lamar Advertising and Circle Graphics.

 

LSU Health New Orleans has enrolled its first patient in a clinical trial that will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine alone or with Azithromycin as a treatment for COVID-19. The study may enroll up to 600 at University Medical Center, if they have enough patients eligible.

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday April 14th, 2020

News for Tuesday April 14th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state health department reported 44 more COVID-19 deaths Monday at noon, bringing the total number of deaths to 884. There are over 21-thousand positive cases.

 

Governor Edwards says the curve has now been flattening for at least a week, but it won’t stay that way if residents go out and ignore social distancing like they did over the Easter weekend. Edwards says it appears as the rate of new infections slow, many people are taking that as an excuse to stop staying home.

 

Governor Edwards says he will make it official today, that all schools across the state will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019 / 2020 school year. . Edwards said yesterday during a press conference that physical school locations will remain closed for the rest of the academic year but online-learning will still continue..

 

With many employers still shut down due to the risk of spreading the virus, a record number of workers have filed for unemployment insurance. Governor Edwards encourages all Louisiana residents who have lost work or hours to file for unemployment at Louisiana-works-dot-net. This week the first of the 600 dollar federally enhanced unemployment checks began going out.

 

Families and businesses are picking up the pieces following a tornado outbreak on Easter. The system killed 11 in Mississippi, while Louisiana escaped without any fatalities, but it did do an estimated 25-30 million in damages at the Monroe Regional Airport. Congressman Ralph Abraham says he saw debris littered runways, destroyed buildings, and the remains of small jets poking out from under a collapsed hangar. Abraham says it could be some time before it gets back up and running.

 

The Marksville Police Department is investigating what appears to have been a murder / suicide on Easter Sunday.  Police say 50 year old Terry Dupuy was found shot multiple times. 21 year old Eden Dupuy died from a single gunshot wound. The investigation is ongoing.

 

OPEC and Russia reach an agreement with the US to cut production of 9.7 million barrels of oil a day in an effort to stop the ongoing rapid oil price collapse. But LSU Center for Energy Studies Executive Director David Dismukes warns it’s just not enough of a reduction to save oil prices, and too little too late given the scope of the problem.

After the announcement was made, the price of a barrel of oil barely budged from its holding pattern in the low 20s. Dismukes says the deal will likely not prevent a substantial reduction in investment in new oil projects in Louisiana or the loss of more oil sector jobs locally.

 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuhcin said yesterday that 80 million Americans will receive stimulus checks via direct deposit by Wednesday. Mnuchin added that those who do not receive their check by Wednesday will need to report their banking information to the IRS if they want their check via direct deposit. Previously, the IRS said an online tool that will help speed up getting stimulus checks to many Americans will be launched on April 17. Mnuchin suggested the website will be available on Wednesday. The website will be for those who do not have their bank account information on file with the IRS. The IRS will use the information to distribute checks via direct deposit. The online tool will also allow for Americans to check the status of their stimulus check.

 

The beef industry is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as processing plants are slowing down.  Chair of the Louisiana Beef Industry Council Amelia Kent says some of the slowdown is coming from sick workers while others are pausing operations to undergo deeper sanitation measures. Kent says the disruption is trickling back to the farm level as cattle are coming out of feed yards having no way to advance into harvesting. Much like toilet paper and disinfectant products, there has been a large consumer demand that has seen shoppers buying up all the meat at the store.  Kent says the slowdown at the processor level will only intensify meat shortages.

 

 

Good Morning.. News For Monday April 13th, 2020

News for Monday April 13th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Since March 9th Louisiana has reported 20,595 coronavirus cases, and as of Sunday at noon 2,084 people are currently hospitalized with 458 of those requiring the use of ventilators. To date, 840 people have lost their lives in Louisiana due to the Novel Corona Virus.  Numbers are updated daily at noon on all of our station websites.

 

Governor Edwards says the state will look at its options for potentially partially reopening Louisiana next month as coronavirus infections continue to level off. The curve is flattening, but fatalities remain high. Edwards says tough times are still ahead.

 

Starting Today, Louisianans who lost their job or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 will receive federally enhanced unemployment insurance payments in addition to unemployment payments they already receive from the state. Contract workers who did not previously qualify for the state’s unemployment now qualify for the federal benefits as well. State benefits cap out at 247 a week, but the feds are adding an extra 600 dollars a week on top of that. BTW it is retroactive (05a)

 

Most of Louisiana was spared any damage from the cool front that moved across the state yesterday. But, that wasn’t the case in Monroe. Communities around the Millhaven area of Monroe and Interstate 20 have been severely damaged by a tornado that hit the area on Sunday. The City of Monroe is reporting major damage at the airport. There was also damage to 300 + homes and other buildings in the Monroe area. The same storm system killed at least 6 people in Mississippi.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy says the feds are drawing up plans to conduct mass coronavirus immunity testing as one way to expedite a return to normal life. Cassidy says for life to return before a vaccine is created, we need to know who is and is not a potential coronavirus carrier. Immunity is thought to last for at least a year, meaning a person could interact with others without fear of getting sick or getting others sick. Cassidy says outside of antibody testing it’s likely that in a few months you could begin allowing those under 30 without underlying conditions back out into the world because they rarely have severe symptoms.

 

Business owners are feeling the pressure of the halted economy. Oil City Republican Rep. Danny McCormick feels that businesses need to open sooner than later.  McCormick says small business owners have reached out to him indicating the state absolutely must start to get back to normal by May 1st. McCormick says the economic recovery has to start soon and it can be done with the public health’s best interests in mind.

 

You might want to check your bank account for some extra money. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said in a tweet on Saturday that it has deposited its first wave of coronavirus stimulus checks into the bank accounts of qualifying Americans. The agency is starting with people who have provided banking information while filing taxes the past few years, also those on Social Security. However, people who haven't used direct deposits will get checks by mail. That could take weeks or even months.

 

LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor Dr. G.E. Ghali urges those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma so it can be used to treat critically ill patients. Ghali says donors must have tested positive for the virus, but are now symptom-free for two weeks and tested negative, or symptom-free for 28 days. Ghali says it’s early, but so far results are encouraging and recruiting donors is vital. To participate, your physician must complete documents verifying your diagnosis and recovery before donating to a Lifeshare Blood Center.

 

A survey of the state’s childcare providers shows that roughly a third of childcare facilities that closed do not see a path to reopening.  Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Executive Director Libbie Sonnier-Netto says a majority of childcare centers have reported losing revenue. She adds that more funding will be needed that goes beyond SBA loans and Payroll Protection in order to ensure the stability of what she says is an important factor in the economy.

 

St. Mary Parish Coroner Dr. Eric Melancon confirmed over the weekend 15 residents at Legacy Nursing Home in Franklin have tested positive for COVID-19. Five employees (4 CNAs and 1 LPN) are also COVID-19 positive, with three pending employee results. Those 3 pending cases are quarantined at home.

 

ESPN reports Drew Brees will take a position as a Sunday Night Football studio analyst after he retires from the NFL. NBC won the bidding war for the highly sought after talent. He will also do game day analysis for Notre Dame games.

 

If the world had not been hit by COVID-19, LSU football would play a spring game on Saturday. Instead, the players are working out on their own. LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt says for players who do not have weights, they have to be creative to stay in shape.

 

Good Morning.... News For Thursday April 9th, 2020

News for Thursday April 9th, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

DHH Numbers yesterday show the state now has just over 17,000 COVID-19 cases, and a total of 652 fatalities, That’s up 70 from Tuesday.  State health officials are encouraged to see the number of COVID-19 patients who require ventilation has gone down, four days in a row. Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health Alex Billioux says we are seeing now the results of public behaviors that started two weeks.

 

The state has now received funding from the CARES Act to pay additional unemployment benefits. Those will now include an additional $600/weekly through July and will cover gig workers, 1099 workers, and the self-employed. Payments will start Monday. The cash influx will be a big boon for the hundreds of thousands who’ve filed in the last month. Governor Edwards says between March 1st and April 4th there were 277,000 claims filed in Louisiana.

 

Here in Rapides Parish school officials say they will be contacting High School seniors and their families individually and given an update on final grades and what that means for the students graduation process. Students will have options available to help them improve their final grades before May 8, the original last official day for seniors. When it comes to Graduations, the plan right now is to delay graduations until schools are ready to hold them again.

 

Senator John Kennedy anticipates Congress will authorize additional funding for a Small Business Administration loan program designed to prop up companies during the coronavirus shutdown. The 250 billion dollar program has been highly popular so far, so popular that Kennedy says they’ll need to double the size of the program. Companies that qualify the loan can have it partially or fully forgiven if it is used mostly to maintain payroll. The Senate isn’t scheduled to meet again for several weeks, but Kennedy says this legislation could get passed by “unanimous consent” so that the Congress could abide by social distancing guidelines.

 

The LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Farm Bureau are surveying crawfish producers to determine the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry says the information collected will be turned over to the U-S-D-A in an effort to get assistance for the industry. Crawfish producers have been hurt by a glut of crawfish because restaurants can only offer carryout or delivery service.

 

A Louisiana Oil and Gas Association survey projects more than 23-thousand jobs in the industry are at immediate risk. Association President Gifford Briggs calls for the suspension of state severance tax collections for one year, oil and gas storage capacity expanded and legislation to end government-led coastal lawsuits

 

State health officials are encouraged to see the number of COVID-19 patients who require ventilation has gone down, four days in a row. Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health Alex Billioux credits I-C-U doctors who are learning better methods in treating the virus.

 

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says he expects other car insurers in Louisiana to follow Allstate’s lead and offer rebates to customers for premiums paid during the stay at home order. Allstate is paying back customers in the state 13 million dollars in rebates. Donelon says it’s because the company is saving a lot of money right now.

Donelon says the company is paying back roughly 600 million dollars to policyholders nationwide.

 

The COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in an unprecedented dilemma for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations during one of the holiest times of the year.  LSU Associate Professor of Religious Studies and History Michael Pasquier (pass-cay) says

a message from religious leaders to congregation members can go a long way in letting them know they are doing the right thing by their faith by staying home to mitigate the spread of the virus. Pasquier says the mindset of those that are still going to church is usually set by the pastor.

 

A team from LSU is creating personal protective equipment for healthcare workers including much needed masks and gowns.  LSU Biomedical Engineering senior Meagan Moore says they’ve been hammering out ways to do field expedient work with base-level materials including cardboard, hot glue, and trash bags. Moore says they even got a call from Lamar Advertising, who is donating old billboards to make gowns and they’ve up a website, onelouisiananow.org, where the public can connect with the team if they believe they’ve got materials to contribute.

 

Authorities in Ville Platte yesterday reported multiple arrests made in connection with a string of nearly 30 burglaries between January and the end of March. The break in the cases came in mid-March, when a patrol officer stopped a vehicle that had several juveniles and a bag of burglary tools inside. This stop led to information and evidence to a string of break-ins and burglaries

 

The question is being asked more and more, will there be a college football season in the fall. College football insider Brett McMurphy at the Stadium Network has surveyed the 130 F-B-S athletic directors and he believes the best option is a football season starting next spring. McMurphy says there will be consideration to play games in the fall without fans, but he believes A-D’s would prefer to wait until the spring so they can sell tickets.

 

The Saints' Drew Brees told Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday that the "American people need sports right now." Brees was joined by his wife Brittany on Wednesday's show and pointed out that sports are often coping mechanisms people use in difficult times, something that they cannot lean on during the coronavirus pandemic.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday April 8th, 2020

News for Wednesday April 8th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported 70 new COVID deaths Tuesday , the new single-day high for fatalities, along with now having over 16,000 confirmed cases, and just under 2,000 COVID hospitalizations. Of those hospitalized a fourth of those patients are on ventilators. Two-thirds of the cases are still being reported in the New Orleans region, but Shreveport/Bossier and Baton Rouge have a growing caseload.

 

Governor Edwards says despite Tuesday’s  record high reported death toll, the general data suggests we are flattening the curve of new infections, and it appears the stay at home order is working to stave off a nightmare scenario where the New Orleans region will run out of ventilators.

 

It’s been just over two weeks since the state’s stay at home order was implemented and Governor Edwards says it appears the order has resulted in a recent flattening of the curve. At Tuesday’s press conference the Governor hinted at the fact that the order may have been even more effective at slowing the spread than they had hoped for and that’s great news for the state. Monday saw the state’s highest reported death total at 70, but Edwards noted that ventilator use is down, and the number of new hospitalizations is slowing. The Governor says current measures are working, but if people take this news as a sign that they can start slacking on social distancing it’ll all be for naught.

 

70 percent of the people in Louisiana who have died from COVID-19 were African Americans, a group that only makes up a third of the population. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Public Health Dr. Jim Diaz says one reason is that COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for this demographic is that they are more likely to be a risk for certain underlying conditions, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and obesity. There’s also the issue of health insurance, or a lack there of, that leys many of their medical conditions go untreated.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday signed a proclamation related to unemployment and other issues related to the Louisiana Workforce Commission as it seeks to manage the influx in unemployment claims due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many requirements, including weekly qualifications and proof of job searches, have been waived to speed up the process.

 

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson and Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, M.D. sent a letter to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Tuesday urging that the agency take decisive action to address the COVID-19 outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale. According to the letter, the lawmakers seek answers to specific questions regarding the bureau's plans to mitigate the spread of COVD-19 to inmates, officers and staffers.

 

Texas is maintaining it’s policy of quarantining visitors from out of state that cross into Texas, and having troopers stop some drivers at the border with Louisiana. Governor Edwards says restricted travel is playing a big part in lowering transmission rates, which is why he isn’t faulting Texas for screening some drivers.

 

A survey from Public Policy Polling shows 68 percent of Louisianans approve of Governor Edwards’ handling of the coronavirus crisis. When asked if Governor Edwards or President Trump is doing a better job Edwards lead 46-41 percent.  UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says that’s because the question led to a generic partisan split.

 

Allstate says auto insurance policyholders will see a rebate on their April and May premiums due to the lack of driving during the coronavirus pandemic. Real Reform Louisiana, Executive Director Eric Holl says tech companies are showing data that driving is down an average of 55-percent across the state and in some of the more populated areas like New Orleans driving is down as much as 75-percent, Holl says fewer cars means fewer accidents.

 

With the recent news that a tiger in the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for COVID-19, concern about transmitting the virus from humans to pets has grown.  State public health veterinarian Dr. Gary Balsamo says it’s a rare occurrence, but sometimes animals can get sick from exposure. Balsamo says the virus survives best on smooth surfaces such as stainless steel, so it is a relatively low threat for animals to carry the virus in their fur. But, there are steps to reduce the risk of pets becoming ill from exposure. Avoid face to face contact and wash your hands often.

 

The ongoing crisis is crippling the economy and putting a growing number of Americans out of a job, depriving them of the ability to pay their rent. Staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Hannah Adams says the Governor made it illegal to evict people at least through April, and if your landlord is threating to call the police and have you evicted, just know that’s not within their jurisdiction.

 

The LA Wallet app, Louisiana’s digital driver’s license, now allows you to renew your driver’s license in the app itself and have an updated digital result in just 24 hours.

App users will not be charged any additional fees that wouldn’t be charged to those using the standard online renewal process. OMV offices are closed as long as the stay at home order is in effect so now is a good time to try the app, especially considering it is currently free.

 

The public is invited to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Ray P. Authement at a drive-by memorial Friday at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Authement, who died last Sunday, became UL Lafayette president in 1974 and served for 34 years, making him the nation’s longest-serving public university president at the time of his retirement in 2008.

Good Morning.. News For Monday April 6th, 2020

News for Monday April 6th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

In yesterday’s covid-19 update 68 new coronavirus deaths in the state, marking biggest day-to-day jump.  Health officials in Louisiana are now reporting there are 13,010 cases of coronavirus in the state, with 477 deaths reported.

 

Governor Edwards says Louisiana has the highest death rate in the nation for COVID-19 and based on what we know about hospital admissions and coronavirus fatalities, the virus is more prevalent than initially thought.  Underlying health conditions are a major factor. Louisiana’s modeling data shows the state is on course to require 2,500 new hospitalizations a day in the New Orleans area by mid-May if the public does not adhere to mitigation measures.

 

Now the CDC is recommending you wear a mask if you do go out and about to take care of essentials, Governor Edwards says feel free to make a DIY mask, but save the N95s for healthcare workers who need them most. Most online tutorials say you only need some cloth, like handkerchiefs, and elastic bands to make the most basic DIY mask.

 

92% of small businesses are reporting a negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic according to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business.  NFIB state director Dawn Starns says some businesses are choosing to forego the use of loans from government programs because they don’t want to get tangled in the extra paperwork or debt.

 

Businesses with under 500 employees can now apply to receive a Small Business Administration loan from the feds to help cover payroll, and some other expenses for the next two months.  CPA Ben Vance says businesses who qualify get a loan amount that is determined by the SBA.

 

With the Governor’s extension of virus spread mitigation measures through April keeping many businesses closed, unemployed Louisiana residents are wondering where their next paycheck is coming from.  Governor Edwards says the financial impact of COVID-19 is something that weighs heavy on his mind, adding the state is doing everything it can to expedite relief to those without an income. Governor Edwards says in addition to loan programs available at the federal level, the state is working with banks to back loans to keep businesses afloat. Edwards says the timeline of getting the economy back on track is reliant on what happens with the virus’s spread.

 

New testing is starting to become available for those who may have been an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive carrier and now have recovered and likely have immunity.  State immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says the testing is not yet widely available in Louisiana, but could be more available in the coming months.

Welch says this testing could be most useful in strategic hospital staffing.

 

Ray P. Authement, who served as president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for 34 years, has died. He was 91 years old. Authement died Sunday with his wife, Barbara, at his side after "an extended illness," according to a statement from the university. Under Authement's leadership, UL became a major economic force in Acadiana. Authement was president of the university from 1973 thru 2008.

 

The deadline to submit ACT scores for TOPS qualification has been extended to September 30th as the ability to take a test is non-existent at the moment. LOSFA Executive Director Dr. Sujuan Boutte says the traditional April national ACT test was delayed until June, and Boutte says they’re working with ACT to try to make June a possibility even if restrictions are still in place. If a student has already taken an ACT, LOSFA will begin running eligibility on those scores in June. Many school districts are now moving to Pass/Fail grades for classes due to school closures.

 

The COVID-19 outbreak is not only impacting our physical health but mental as well. Unlike other disasters the uncertain reality we are all facing makes it extremely challenging for families to reassure children.  LSU Psychology Asst Professor Dr Anna Long says during this period be sure to reaffirm your child’s physical wellbeing and give them a perception of safety. Long also says most importantly set a routine and stick to it.

Good Morning... News For Friday April, 3rd, 2020

News for Friday April 3rd, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Most of the State’s residents got a text blast from the Governor informing them the statewide shelter in place order has officially been extended through April 30th.  Along with that, an offer to sign up for direct alerts on vital COVID-19 info from the state. This comes as the state yesterday crossed the 9,000 case mark, and adds 37 new official COVID fatalities.

 

Governor Edwards says a model used by the White House predicts 1,834 Louisianans will die of COVID-19. The Governor says the model is predicated on the idea that we continue mitigation measures through May, instead of the current reopening date of May 1st.

 

The CDC releases new guidelines and is now recommending wearing protective masks when in public. The state is reporting 37 additional COVID-19 deaths today and over 27-hundred new cases. The death toll is up to 310 and Governor John Bel Edwards says 9,150 total cases should be a wakeup call for anyone still doubting the pandemic’s severity.  1,639 COVID patients are hospitalized, with 507 on ventilators, an increase of 17 from yesterday.

 

If life wasn’t already difficult enough, Colorado State University Hurricane researchers predict an active 2020 hurricane season. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. But C-S-U forecaster Jhordanne Jones says their forecast calls for 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes.

 

Avoyelles Parish has officially declared a curfew in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Starting today adults must be off the streets between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. For minors, the hours are from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. However, if the minor is in the company of an adult, the 10 p.m. deadline applies. The curfew will remain in effect through the end of the health emergency.

 

A nurse at New Orleans East Hospital becomes the state’s first healthcare worker to die after testing positive for COVID-19.  Larrice Anderson passed away on Wednesday.  Executive Director of the Louisiana State Nurse’s Association Thea Ducrow says the death sends a shockwave through the nursing community.

 

Four inmates have now died from the coronavirus at the Oakdale federal prison in Allen Parish. There are nearly one-thousand male offenders at Oakdale and at last report eleven of them have tested positive, 19 others are in the hospital suspected of having the virus.

 

A Louisiana lawmaker whose constituency includes Grand Isle has been put on a ventilator to assist his breathing as he battles the new coronavirus. Before his setback  state Rep. Reggie Bagala had hoped to be discharged by this weekend. The 54 year old Bagala is at least the second member of Louisiana’s House of Representatives to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

Legendary Peabody high school basketball coach Charles Smith has been named the Class Four-A Boys Basketball Coach of the Year after leading the Warhorses to a state championship for an eighth time.

 

Ochsner Health chief Warner Thomas says they continue to increase the number of intensive care beds to keep up with the surge in COVID-19 patients. Thomas says adding to the strain is that COVID-19 patients spend over a week in the I-C-U. Thomas says 85-percent of their COVID patients in the ICU are on ventilators.

 

Department of Education issues guidance for school districts on how to handle the impending graduating class of high school seniors. Assistant Superintendent Ken Bradford says seniors won’t have to worry about taking the usual standardized tests graduation, but districts will have to make a call on how to handle course credits and other graduation requirements. Bradford says students may elect to receive a pass/fail credit over a traditional letter grade for classes this semester, but it will not be factored into a GPA. All requirements to receive TOPS have remained the same.

 

The State Treasurer is shipping out four million dollars’ worth of unclaimed property checks to Louisianans this week. John Schroder says by working with the Department of Revenue they’ve identified tens of thousands of recipients who are owed money they can use right now. Unclaimed property can be everything from payroll checks to old bank accounts, royalties, deposits, interest payments, and more. Schroder says the average check is no small fortune, but it is worth about nine hundred dollars. Schroder says about one in six Louisianans is owed unclaimed property by the state, and you can speed up the process of getting it to you by visiting latreasury.com

 

Later today the U.S Army Corps of Engineers will open the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

The Army Corps says that heavy rain in the Mississippi Valley and rising Mississippi River water stages and flow are prompting the opening.

 

The Department of Children and Family Services is not relaxing child support payments due to the pandemic.  Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says non-custodial parents will still be on the hook for money owed despite their employment status, but no enforcement actions will be taken. If a parent loses a job and can’t make a payment, Scales recommends they call their child support worker and let them know that their circumstances have changed.

 

Beams and other load-bearing structures on the upper floors of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans were not properly designed, causing structural problems ahead of the building's collapse, according to citations issued against the engineers in charge of the project. The firm was fined about $154,000.

 

Sports..

 

It’s unique times and that’s no different for the Saints who are preparing for this month’s NFL draft with a small group of coaches and front office personnel at the Dixie Brewery in New Orleans East. Coach Sean Payton says they are practicing social distancing in their draft war room. Payton says he feels good after testing positive last month from the coronavirus. He says he never had the respiratory issues that many patients suffer from.

 

The Saints have announced they’ve re-signed cornerback P-J Williams.

 

Court records show LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron filed for divorce from his wife Kelly on February 26th after 23 years of marriage. In the filing, Coach O is living at the former couple’s home in Baton Rouge, while Kelly has been granted exclusive use and occupancy of their Mandeville home.

 

The family for former Saints kicker Tom Dempsey says the 73-year-old is receiving hospice care. Dempsey is one of several residents at the Lambeth House Senior living center in Uptown New Orleans to test positive for coronavirus. According to Dempsey’s daughter, her father’s fever has gone away, but his oxygen levels are low and he’s lost his appetite.

 

LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is still not exactly sure what his roster might look like in 2021. Mainieri says senior pitchers Matthew Beck and Aaron George will be able to return, because the NCAA is giving them another year of eligibility. But he’s not sure how many players or recruits he’ll lose to the draft, because Major League Baseball has yet to decide how many round the draft will be.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday April 2nd, 2020

News for Thursday April 2nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The reported death toll has risen by 34 from COVID-19 in Louisiana, down from Tuesday’s high of 54, but still one of the highest days on record. We’re now over 6,400 confirmed state cases with 1,500 hospitalizations for COVID-19. The state’s total reported fatalities: 273. Here in Rapides Parish 4 people have died from the virus.

 

The New Orleans region is now projected to run out of ventilators for COVID-19 patients on April 6th, and the state is scrambling to try and secure more. 490 COVID-19 patients are on ventilators in Louisiana as of the Wednesday’s noon update.

 

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has announced a second death at the Oakdale federal prison related to COVID-19. The first death was reported three days ago. Officials say

43 year old Nicholas Rodriquez died Wednesday after being on a ventilator since Friday.

 

Ellis Marsalis Jr., the jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of one of New Orleans’ great musical families has died. The 85-year-old jazz piano legend was hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19. He had been tested for coronavirus and results were pending.

 

Governor Edwards paints a grim picture of just how long, and how severe the coronavirus epidemic could get in Louisiana as the nation braces for estimated 100,000-250,000 COVID deaths. The state is tentatively set to lift the shelter in place order April 30th, but Edwards says it’s likely that life will not return to normal for quite a long time. Edwards warns even if the statewide stay at home order is lifted in the near future, other countries have shown there’s no guarantee it won’t be needed again.

 

The Treasury Department and IRS announce the distribution of the economic impact payments will be sent out in the next three weeks. The IRS will be using the most recent info on file to get recipients their money. Social Security recipients will automatically receive their economic impact payments, with no needed extra paperwork.

 

Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves is encouraging small businesses to get a jump on filling out applications for the Payroll Protection Act. Small businesses can apply to receive low-interest loans, with money that is used for payroll being forgiven. Graves says applications will be accepted starting April 3. The program is part of the $2.2 trillion emergency relief legislation, but this particular allocation is subject to a funding cap, adding to the urgency of filing quickly.

 

As oil prices continue to drop the outlook for Louisiana workers in the industry continues to look bleak. Oil is trading in the low twenties and President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Gifford Briggs says if prices do not recover by June first, storage facilities for oil will reach capacity and that’s when the industry will most definitely see a reduction in workers. Some gas stations in the southern part of the state are selling their gas at below a dollar.

 

Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and two-time U.S. Senate candidate, will serve as an adviser for a Central pastor, and his church, during expected litigation over the religious leader's defiance of state orders limiting public gatherings to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Moore and the Rev. Tony Spell said Moore would represent Spell and the church, though it isn't clear yet in what capacity. Moore is a licensed lawyer in Alabama but isn't licensed to practice law in Louisiana.

 

The state’s seafood industry is hurting with restaurant business taking a dive because of COVID-19.  Now, they are getting help in offloading their catch direct to consumers with the help of the marketing tool LouisianaDirectSeafood.com.  LSU AgCenter coastal agent Rusty Gaude (GO-TAY) says they’ve set up the website to connect the fishermen with those looking buy the catch. Again that website LouisianaDirectSeafood.com

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning folks not to fall for fake news about bans on fishing or other outdoor activities during the coronavirus shutdown.

LDWF spokesperson Renee LeBreton says outside of the seizure of a few state parks for COVID patients, nothing has changed when it comes to what you can do outdoors.

LeBreton says in fact LDWF is encouraging people to go exploring nature, maybe catch some fish, or go hunting. He says it’s a great way to stay away from other people.

 

NOLA.com reports that at least 2 Zulu members, possibly more, have died from coronavirus. The chairman of the club’s Board of Directors, City Councilman Jay Banks, estimated Wednesday that roughly 20 of the organization’s 800 or so members are either hospitalized, self-quarantining or have recovered from the highly-contagious COVID-19 virus. Banks says seven members have died during the pandemic.

 

Sports..

 

Saints Coach Sean Payton called himself a big dummy today when speaking to reporters on a conference call. Payton said he misspoke when he said on ESPN that Quarterback Drew Brees would be playing in his final season in 2020. The coach says nothing has changed with Brees, and that the 41-year-old is taking it year-by-year.

 

LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward says nothing has changed with basketball coach Will Wade’s employment. The H-B-O documentary the Scheme aired the FBI wiretap of Wade talking with a federally convicted middleman about the strong offer to get guard Javonte Smart to sign with LSU. Woodward says they are aware of the documentary and they’ll continue to cooperate with all reviews into the matter. A Sports Illustrated report says NCAA investigators watched the documentary and took notes.

 

You will not be able to watch Wimbledon this year. The big tennis event at the All England Club has been canceled for the first time since 1945.

 

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said previously that he hoped the NBA could re-start its season in mid-May. But Cuban said today on ESPN’s Get Up he has no idea on when teams can return to the court. Cuban says the only thing he knows is that they’ll put safety first and they will not take any chances.

 

In college sports. the NCAA has extended the recruiting dead period through May 31st. So that means no unofficial or official visits for high school or transfer prospects. So a lot of the players in the transfer portal might have to make a decision on a school without ever physically visiting the school.

 

And here’s a nice gesture, Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will give each minor leaguer in the Rangers organization one-thousand dollars during this shutdown. Major League Baseball ahs said that minor-league players will get 400-dollars a week through May 31st.

 

Also, the London Series, between the Cubs and Cardinals in mid-June has been canceled.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday April 1st, 2020

News for Wednesday April 1st, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana saw by far its largest jump in total cases and new COVID-19 related deaths in a 24 hours period yesterday, evidence that the state has yet to begin flattening the curve. 1,212 new positive tests were reported and 54 deaths occurred in just a 24 hour period from mid-Sunday to min-Monday. Governor Edwards says for those who haven’t been socially distancing need to start now! The new numbers put the state above 5,000 total cases. Edwards says the jump in cases and deaths is alarming. Here In Rapides Parish the death rate rose to three yesterday.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards plans to extend his stay at home order until April 30th, which means schools will remain closed for at least the next month. The state has already waived standardized tests for this year, but what if school does not resume this year. How can you decide if a child should be promoted to the next grade or if they are eligible to graduate high school?  Edwards says the state department of education is trying to figure out those questions…

 

Due to the critically low blood supply right now, LSUA will be partnering with LifeShare Blood Center to host a blood drive. The drive will take place today from 10:00am to 2:00pm, or until all donors are finished at the LSUA Allied Health Building at 807 Jackson Street..

 

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has given the green light to eligibility for gig economy workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers to apply for unemployment assistance.  LWC executive director Ava Dejoie says if someone has recently applied and been denied, for being a 1099 employee, waiter or waitress, or rideshare driver, eligibility will be retroactive.

 

Legislators returned to the state capitol Tuesday, introduced some bills and left about an hour later. It’s unclear when they’ll return. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says because of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak, they are not setting a return date. The 2020 legislative session must conclude by June 1st and a budget must be approved by July 1st.

 

Due to Louisiana’s hotbed of COVID-19 cases, Texas’s Governor is attempting to mitigate the spread with a mandate requiring quarantine for Louisiana travelers coming into the Lone Star State. Louisiana State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight says anyone who has a previously scheduled medical trip along with a few other exemption statuses can skip the quarantine. So far, no checkpoints have been set up along the Texas State Line.

 

Legal ramifications have come down on Rev. Tony Spell, the pastor at the helm of the Life Tabernacle Church in Central that has repeatedly defied the Governor’s ban on large gatherings with congregations regularly exceeding 1,100.  Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran says Spell was arrested yesterday and charged with six counts of violation of the emergency order. Rev. Spell though went ahead with an evening religious service Tuesday night just hours after city police cited him over allegations he violated a state order to limit crowd sizes during an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

 

AARP Louisiana is holding a Telephone Town Hall Meeting This Morning to answer seniors concerns about the coronavirus. State Director Denise Bottcher says Dr. Benjamin Springgate with LSU Health Sciences will be on the call to answer health-related questions. Bottcher says LaVonda Dobbs of 211 will also be on the call to speak about services that are available to seniors. The call is open for anyone to participate in. To do so you call 1-877-229-8493. It will take place at 10:10 am.

 

The Bonnet Carre Spillway could be opened as soon as Friday to divert part of the Mississippi River's flow into Lake Pontchartrain, thanks to continued heavy rains along the mid-Mississippi and Ohio River basins that are expected to raise the river to 17.1 feet in New Orleans by April 11. The Army Corps of Engineers will make a decision on opening the spillway by Friday.

 

Sports..

 

During an interview on ESPN’s morning television show “Get Up”, Saints Coach Sean Payton said 2020 will be Drew Brees final season. Brees signed a two-year contract earlier this month, but the final year on the deal is voidable. Payton says back-up Taysom Hill views himself as a starting Q-B and so do the Saints.

 

NFL owners voted Tuesday to expand the number of playoff teams to 14, one additional team from each conference will get in the postseason. The team with the best record in each league will get a first-round bye. So on wildcard weekend, there will be three playoff games Saturday and three more Sunday.

 

And the NFL’s president and general counsel Jeff Pash said Yesterday it’s there expectation that the season will start on time, with fans in the stands, despite the global coronavirus pandemic. They plan to release a full schedule by May 9th.

 

NCAA President Mark Emmert announces that he and his top executives will take a 20-percent pay cut as a result of lost revenues. Last week the NCAA announced that its distribution to Division One schools this year will go from 600 million dollars to 225 million dollars.

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