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KSYL Local News Archives for 2020-05

Good Morning... News For Friday May 29th, 2020

News for Friday May 29th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is encouraged by the state’s recent COVID-19 numbers, but as for a decision on Phase Two reopening that will have to wait. Edwards says the data is still being analyzed, but it’s encouraging to see the number of hospitalizations has fallen below 800. He hopes to make the announcement on June 1st on possible movement to Phase Two, Phase One is currently in effect until June 5th. The number of patients who are hospitalized dropped by another 37 on Thursday to 761.

 

Legislation is heading to the governor’s desk that will ask voters on November 3rd if sports betting should be legalized in their parish. Metairie Senator Cameron Henry says if a parish approves the referendum, then lawmakers will vote next year on the regulation and taxation of sports wagering, which will be controversial. An effort to legalize sports betting failed in the legislature last year. Henry says by putting the issue before the voters, lawmakers can then decide how they should vote when the sports betting and taxation bills come before them in 2021…

 

A bill that removes many restrictions on who can be prescribed medical marijuana is nearing final legislative passage. On a 28-to-six vote, the Senate approved the measure that would allow a state-licensed doctor to recommend the treatment for any debilitating health conditions. Under current law, cannabis can only be used to treat a specific list of diseases or disorders that includes cancer, seizures, Parkinson’s, and PTSD. Before the bill goes to the governor’s desk, the House will need to approve Senate changes to the measure.

 

A House-approved bill allowing a concealed handgun permit holder to bring a gun into a church without informing the congregation heads to the Senate floor for final passage.

The legislation still requires a concealed carrier to ask the pastor or other leader of the house of worship for permission to carry while on the premises. Churches can currently allow concealed carry, but the congregation must be informed who is carrying. Under this bill parishioners would not be informed.

 

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association delayed summer training dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic but 12 schools are under investigation for violating the start date. The association changed the date from May 17th to June 8th to fall in line with the Governor’s proposed timeline of reopening the state. LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine declined to name the 12 schools and says the executive committee will meet June 3rd to discuss the situation. Schools and coaches could receive, fines, suspensions, or probation.

 

Legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk that would create a 300 million dollar grant program for small businesses. The money will be drawn from an 800 million dollar CARES Act payment sent to Louisiana. New Orleans Representative Gary Carter, one of the critics of the bill, says this money was supposed to help save local governments.

 

A Louisiana district judge has ordered Treasurer John Schroder to transfer more than $32 million in unclaimed property money to cover government operating expenses.

Judge Richard Moore sided with Gov. John Bel Edwards in a lawsuit over the money.

Moore said the Republican treasurer improperly withheld the money from the state general fund after lawmakers appropriated it for spending on state programs and services.

 

A registered nurse formerly employed with the VA Medical Center in Pineville has pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulently obtaining Hydromorphone, a powerful opioid designed to relieve pain. While working at the VA Medical Center Urgent Care Clinic, the Department of Justice says 40 Jolie King of Alexandria, used her position to access the clinic’s narcotics supply cabinet and retrieve vials of controlled substance medications. As a part of the plea agreement reached, King admitted that she used the drugs for her own personal use. King faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

 

The smallest ever baby to born in Louisiana made history this week by being discharged from the hospital.  Dionna Ambrielle  Miracle Taylor was born January 27th weighing just 11 ounces at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. She left the hospital yesterday and currently weighs 4 pounds and 13 ounces.

 

An autopsy of African American COVID-19 victims by a team of LSU pathologists reveals new information about how the disease damages your lungs by causing hemorrhaging. LSU Health New Orleans head of Pathology Research Dr. Richard Vander Heide says they’ve performed 26 autopsies and surveyed the victim’s lungs. He says they found heart disease, obesity, and other comorbidities in nearly all of those studied which may be linked to the blood clotting.

 

Sports..

 

Dates and times for Saints preseason games have been set. The Black and Gold will kick off the preseason in Los Angeles on Friday, August 14th. 9 PM is the start time. The next week, New Orleans travels to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on a Sunday night. In week three of the preseason, New Orleans hosts Houston on Saturday, August 29th. The Saints conclude the preseason on Thursday night, September third against the Miami Dolphins.

 

Louisiana Tech plans to begin voluntary football workouts on June 8th. Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says players are allowed back on campus next week…

 

Conference USA and the Sun Belt have announced their bowl lineup for the next six years starting with the 2020 season. The Sun Belt will have five bowl tie-ins, but the New Orleans Bowl will no longer have the first pick. That will go to a bowl game owned and operated by ESPN, such as the Boca Raton Bowl, Cure Bowl and SERVPRO First Responsder Bowl in Dallas.

 

Conference USA says they will continue to send teams to the Bahamas Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl on an annual basis.

 

LSU assistant baseball coach Eddie Smith says 21 Tigers will participate in summer leagues this season. Several players will play in the South Florida League, which begins play on June 12th. They are Collier Cranford, Cade Doughty, Alex Milazzo, Cade Beloso, Zach Arnold and Giovanni DiGiacomo.

 

Northwestern State pitcher Kyle Swanson has been named the Southland Conference Baseball Student-Athlete of the Year. The Texas native graduated with perfect 4.0 GPA in health and human performance and had a 1.04 ERA in seven appearances and four saves in 2020.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday May 28th, 2020

News for Thursday May 28th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana drops below 800 total people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Wednesday’s update, down from the peak of 2134 people on April 13th. 443 new cases were also reported along with 21 new deaths bringing the state’s total number of fatalities to 2,617. At his briefing yesterday, Governor John Bel Edward said the state is getting closer to its goal of testing 200-thousand people this month.

 

Louisiana reports its first death linked to a rare disease, believed to be caused by COVID-19, in children and young adults. Governor Edwards says the state has reported 13 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome with patients ranging in age from 0-19 years old. No information will be shared about the victim due to their age.

 

The Louisiana House has approved a 30-billion-dollar spending plan for next fiscal year. It contains nearly a billion dollars in federal aid that are being used to avoid deep cuts to state services. The proposal fully funds TOPS, K-through-12 schools, and social services. The budget heads to the Senate, but final approval is not expected until a special session that will start on Monday night.

 

A House committee plays host to a fiery debate over coastal lawsuits filed against the oil and gas industry by local governments. Houma Senator Michael Fesi’s bill would bar local governments from filing a suit.  Former state senator and current director of the Port of Iberia Craig Romero says the lawsuits are a big problem for the industry. But, St. Benard Parish president Guy McInnis says if you don’t want to get sued then don’t pollute. The bill was approved and is headed to the House floor.

 

The House will consider final passage on a bill allocating 200 million dollars of the 1.8 billion dollar CARES Act federal funding for the state to small business grants. The National Federation of Independent Businesses backs the legislation. But Governor John Bel Edwards says that money needs to be set aside to help local governments cover revenue losses from the shutdown. Edwards says it is the intent behind those federal funds.

 

The Senate voted 28-6 Wednesday to approve a bill to make medical marijuana more widely available across the state. The bill would lift regulations that require doctors to register with the state to recommend it and that limits its use in treating diseases.

Under the bill, any state-licensed physician could recommend medical marijuana for the treatment of debilitating health conditions. The Senate approved several amendments to the bill, which had already passed the House, so it will now go back to the House for final consideration.

 

The Louisiana House has rejected a proposal that would have banned handheld cell phone use while behind the wheel. The measure failed on a 40-59 vote. New Orleans Representative Gary Carter voted against the legislation over concerns it could lead to racial profiling. Carter says if the bill became law, a police officer could pull over a vehicle just because he saw the driver holding a cell phone. Other lawmakers also complained the legislation is a violation of our civil liberties. Texting while driving is already illegal in Louisiana.

 

Medicaid recipients in nursing homes are entitled to keep stimulus checks. Attorney General Jeff Landry is issuing a major advisement to nursing home residents and a warning to anyone trying to defraud them. Landry is advising nursing home residents and their loved ones to be vigilant against having their federal stimulus payments improperly taken from them. General Landry notes that while Medicaid recipients may have to sign over resources, in some circumstances, to nursing homes where they reside, this does not apply to stimulus checks from the CARES Act.

 

Tropical Storm Bertha forms Wednesday off the coast of the Carolinas marking two named storms for the year before the 2020 hurricane season even begins. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this has only happened five times previous to this and warns that history shows storm activity this early in the year is often a harbinger of a busy season to come.

 

Three people were killed and one was injured after a 23-year-old man who struggled with mental illness opened fire on his family and then shot himself in St Helena Parish  Wednesday. Authorities are not sure what led to the shooting.

 

The Louisiana Department of Education announces every childcare provider in the state will receive free supplies to help ensure a healthy reopening following the COVID-19 outbreak. Assistant Superintendent Jessica Baghian says the state worked with vendors to acquire supplies for 16-hundred childcare providers. The supplies include no-touch thermometers, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and other cleaning products.

 

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in conjunction with the Helis Foundation have pooled funding to help support humanity organizations impacted by COVID-19. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities President and Executive Director Miranda Restovic says so far they have tallied a loss of $30-million from 60 applications that have been submitted. She anticipates that number will grow as closures continue.

The grants range between $3,000 and $20,000 and Restovic says so far 42 humanities organizations in the state have been awarded funding.

 

Sports.

 

The Saints have reportedly added some depth to their offensive line as they’ve inked 28-year-old James Hurst to a one year deal. The Ravens released Hurst after six seasons in Baltimore. He’s played in 90 games in his NFL career and has made 44 starts at multiple positions on the o-line, except at center. But he’s suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

 

Crescent-City sports-dot-com reports the LHSAA is investigating four New Orleans-area schools for holding summer workouts. The association has said that summer practices cannot take place until June eighth and schools who violate this rule could face sanctions. The report did not name the schools that are under investigation.

 

Today NFL owners are scheduled to vote on an alternative to the onside kick. The proposal says teams should have the option of trying to convert on fourth and 15 after a score instead of going for an onside kick. In the last two years, less than 10-percent of onside kicks succeeded.

 

Tulane right-hander Braden Olthoff has been named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. The California native was 4-0 in four starts with a 0.32 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 28 innings. Northwestern State right-hander Logan Hoffman was also named to the second team. The junior from Canada did not allow a run in 28 innings of work and finished with a 4-0 record.

 

LSU pitchers Devin Fontenot and Jaden Hill were named 2020 third-team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball. Fontenot was 1-0 with 0.90 ERA and four saves. Hill allowed just one hit in 11.2 innings. Louisiana Tech center fielder Parker Bates was also named a third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. The senior from Tyler, Texas hit .422 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs.

 

Former LSU basketball player Skylar Mays has been named the H Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year. It’s the highest academic honor an SEC athlete can receive.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday May 20th, 2020

News for Wednesday May 27th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

New reported COVID cases and deaths continue to slow to a fraction of the pace they were just a month ago. Only 11 new COVID fatalities were reported yesterday, along with 245 new positive cases. 831 are hospitalized, down 16 from Monday and vent usage increased by one to 103.

 

Former south Louisiana Congressman and international pharma lobby head Billy Tauzin believes there will be an effective, non-vaccine treatment for COVID-19 by September. Tauzin says those treatments are focused on three categories: plasma infusions from COVID survivors, “decoy” proteins, and lab-created antibodies. Tauzin notes current plasma treatments appear to be effective for about 50 percent of patients.

 

A Senate-backed tort reform bill that supporters say will lower auto insurance premiums is heading to the House floor. However, Democrats are skeptical whether or not insurance companies will pass any savings along to consumers.  River Ridge Senator Kirk Talbot says the bill will lower the jury trial threshold which will settle cases for a more reasonable amount thus lower rates. Democrats would rather see laws passed that would prevent a person’s credit score, gender, or marital status from qualifying a person’s auto insurance rates.

 

A package of budget bills was passed by the House Tuesday calling for a 30 billion dollar spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1st. The budget now heads to the Senate with only a week left in the regular session, and it is not expected that the Upper Chamber will sign off on it before the regular session ends June 1st.  It is because of that a special session will begin immediately after the regular session ends. The State’s  constitution requires the budget be balanced and passed by July 1st.

 

Louisiana’s new state education superintendent will receive an annual salary of $285,000.  Cade Brumley, was chosen last week by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to oversee public schools. His pay package was approved by the joint House and Senate and Budget committee Tuesday. However, his job confirmation must still be approved by the Senate.

 

The Manning Passing Academy scheduled for next month in Thibodaux has been canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Manning Passing Academy attracts over 12-hundred campers and over 200 coaches, trainers, and support staff. College and pro football analyst Mike Detillier says the Louisiana Line Camp held at Nicholls State has also been canceled for this year.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to receive $73 Million in Federal Assistance to help the state’s fishing industry offset financial losses from freshwater flooding in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic. LDWF Assistant Secretary Patrick Banks says the total estimated loss to the industry from flooding last year is $338 million, but any assistance appreciated. Banks says LDWF must develop a spending plan for the funds before they are received.

 

State officials said Tuesday day care centers already reeling because of the coronavirus pandemic face a new challenge: How to lure teachers who make an average of $8.95 per hour to return to the classroom, and give up unemployment benefits that have more than doubled their pay. Jessica Baghian, assistant state superintendent of education, said the health crisis has shined a spotlight on the "untenable level of payment" for those who work in centers that largely care for infants and children up to age 5.

 

LSU officials are excited to welcome students back to campus in fall but warn campus life, while vibrant, will not be the same. Interim President Thomas Galligan says alongside their notebooks and other class supplies students will need to pack a mask before leaving their dorms. Galligan says it is certainly possible people will have to wear masks at football games.

 

 

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday May 26th, 2020

News for Tuesday May 26th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

As of yesterday at noon, the state reported 37,809 cases of Covid-19 in the state. 2,585 people have died and 847 are in the hospital. Here in Rapides Parish, 654 cases have been reported and 21 people have died.

 

State Lawmakers will enter a special session after the regular session ends June 1st with 41 items on the menu for consideration. The budget highlights what will potentially be a busy month, but many of the proposals listed in the call are tax reforms, eliminations, or suspensions for businesses who’ve been hammered by the COVID shutdown. Senate GOP Caucus Chairwoman Sharon Hewitt of Slidell says one big topic of conversation will be the potential elimination or suspension of the state’s corporate franchise tax. The franchise tax is levied against a business’s total net worth and would cost the state an estimated 10 million dollars in lost revenue.

 

The state economy is being battered by COVID-19 and Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says the pandemic is further proof that rural residents need access to better internet or just some internet at all. Louisiana is in line to receive an estimated $600 million from the feds over the next decade to assist in that.

 

Louisiana State Police Trooper George Baker, who was struck by a Hammond Police vehicle while pursuing a suspect, has died of his injuries. Baker and other troopers were removing a tire flattening device set up to stop a suspect’s vehicle when he was struck by Hammond Police. Baker was 33-years-old and a 10 year law enforcement and military veteran.

 

A House bill that would expand concealed handgun access in churches is awaiting debate in the Senate. Thibodaux Representative Bryan Fontenot’s  legislation passed the House on a 72-24 vote. Louisiana law currently allows a concealed handgun in a house of worship, but the congregation must agree on who is allowed to carry concealed weapons. Fontenot’s measure would only require a pastor, priest, or rabbi to grant permission. Gretna Representative Joseph Marino was one of two dozen House members to vote against the legislation. Marino believes the way the measure is written, a church leader would not be allowed to ban guns inside their place of worship.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is getting the only drug approved to treat COVID-19. The governor said Friday that a new shipment of remdesivir means the state will have received enough of the drug to treat about 1,200 patients. He said it is being sent to all hospitals with at least five COVID-19 patients - 47 at present. Edwards said other hospitals can request the drug if they feel a patient would benefit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared emergency use of remdesivir for severely ill people.

 

State Fire Marshal deputies are investigating a fatal mobile home fire in Ville Platte Sunday night.. The structure was a mobile home. After putting out the fire, the fire marshal's office says crews discovered a body inside. No further details were released.

 

Good Morning... News For Friday May 22nd, 2020

News for Friday May 22nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports 1,188 new COVID-19 cases, but only 506 of them appear to be from recent tests and the rest are from a testing backlog. Total cases: 36,504. Total fatalities: 2,506… an increase of 21. Ventilator usage: 103, down by 3. Hospitalizations: 884, down by 47. LSU Infectious Diseases expert Doctor Catherine O’Neal estimates that it will be early spring before a successful vaccine can be mass-produced. She says that will help protect the vulnerable population, but there will still be a risk.

 

The Alexandria Mall announced Wednesday that the shopping center will re-open next  Tuesday. The hours will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The food court area and children's play area will remain closed for now..

 

The House will take up a few controversial gun rights bills this morning. Capitol observer Clancy DuBos says HB 140 by Erath Representative Blake Miguez would block local governments from limiting where guns can be carried. HB 334 allows concealed carry in houses of worship. Bill sponsor Thibodeaux Representative Bryan Fontenot says it is only with the permission of the house of worship, but DuBos says the legislation makes no mention of needing permission… Another bill by Miguez would bar local governments from restricting the sale or transfer of guns and ammo during a public emergency. Miguez says it was partially inspired by a declaration of emergency in New Orleans that restricted those rights. HB 781 also eliminates state and local government’s ability to seize firearms and ammunition during an emergency which Miguez says was an issue during Hurricane Katrina..

 

There are less than two weeks left in the session and lawmakers are reportedly having difficulty securing the two thirds veto proof majority vote needed in the house for tort reform aimed at lowering auto insurance rates to pass. Governor Edwards says if Republicans are willing to compromise a deal can be reached…

 

House Appropriations passes the Governor’s budget for the next fiscal year with an amendment that blocks state funding for COVID contact tracing programs that require mandatory participation.  A Louisiana Department of Health spokesperson told lawmakers they have no plans to arrest or penalize infected people who refuse to answer questions about who they have been in contact with.

 

NOAA predicts a busy hurricane season in 2020 with the potential of 13 to 19 named storms, six to ten hurricanes, and three to six major hurricanes. NOAA’s lead hurricane season forecaster Doctor Gerry Bell says they do not anticipate an El Nino forming, which can suppress hurricane activity. NOAA acting administrator, Doctor Neil Jacobs, says they are also upgrading their weather research and forecast system and other models and will also incorporate new data from satellites and radar.

 

The CDC now indicates that coronavirus is not easily spread through contaminated surfaces.   Assistant state health officer Doctor Joseph Kanter says it is still important to keep surfaces clean, even if it’s less of a threat that human-to-human transmission.

Kanter says despite the change of wording concerning surface transmission, Kanter says it’s still a good idea to keep on high alert when it comes to hygiene.

Kanter says the human-to-human transmission is still the predominant means of spread and the risk fluctuates based on the proximity between individuals as well as the duration of that contact.

 

New unemployment claims across Louisiana continued to slow down and dropped by nearly 29% last week, while those continuing to receive jobless benefits nudged past the 326,000 mark. There were 28,545 newly filed claims across the state for the week ending May 16, down from 40,125 in new claims the week before. By comparison, only 2,296 initial claims were filed for the week ending May 18 in 2019.

 

The Louisiana Senate narrowly passed a measure Wednesday night that opponents said was a disguised attempt to kill lawsuits filed by seven coastal parishes against oil and gas companies. Supporters of Senate Bill 440 denied that, saying it was merely an attempt to ensure that any money collected from a settlement with oil and gas companies would go for coastal restoration. sSB440 now passes to a House committee for consideration after a 20-15 vote, which was the minimum number of votes needed to pass a Senate bill. The Senate needs 26 votes to override a veto by Gov. John Bel Edwards, a supporter of the lawsuits

 

More Louisiana residents are occupying their time during the COVID-19 pandemic by going fishing according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  The sales of fishing licenses has seen a sharp uptick.  LDWF spokesperson Ed Pratt says basic fishing license sales has seen a 53% increases over the same time last year.

 

A Livingston Parish court filing this week marks the fourth time a family has sued a former deputy, his teacher wife and the school board over an accusation that the law officer tainted cupcakes that his wife later served to students. 44 year old Dennis Perkins and 35 year old Cynthia Perkins were arrested in October on charges including allegations of rape, sexual battery, video voyeurism, mingling harmful substances, obscenity, and producing child pornography.

 

Sports…

 

LSU’s 2021 recruiting class is up to a dozen commitments and the class has its first in-state verbal pledge. Four-star defensive end Saivion Jones from St. James High School has announced his commitment to LSU. Jones had 90 tackles and 13 sacks last season as a junior as he helped St. James go undefeated and win the Class 3A Championship game. Jones is the third defensive linemen in the class.

 

Daniel Luquet has been named as the new head football coach at Hahnville High School. Luquet was the Tigers offensive coordinator last season and he replaces Nick Saltaformaggio who is the new head coach at Holy Cross. Luquet is a former quarterback at Destrehan and has previous head coaching experience at Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge.

 

One of the state’s most successful girls basketball coaches is leaving the prep ranks to become an assistant coach at Stetson University. In 10 years at John Curtis, Barbara Farris won five state championships.

 

In an effort to cut costs, The Southland Conference has announced postseason changes for baseball, women’s soccer, softball and volleyball. In those four sports, only the top four regular-season finishers will play in the Southland postseason tournament. The regular season champion will host the tournament. Baseball and softball will be double-elimination. .

 

The NCAA Division One council has reportedly voted to allow football and basketball players to begin voluntary workouts on college campuses starting on June 1st. LSU officials hope to get football players back on campus next month and SEC campus leaders are set to vote on Friday whether their schools can reopen their facilities in early June.

 

The Saints have hired a new head athletic trainer. Shone Gipson is replacing Scottie Patton. Gipson was an assistant athletic trainer in Cleveland the last two seasons, before that he was the head athletic trainer with the Buffalo Bills. Patton had been the head trainer since 2000.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday May 21st, 2020

News for Thursday May 21st, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana reported 27 new COVID-19 fatalities Wednesday. On the positive side, the number of COVID-19 patients in Louisiana hospitals has dropped below 1,000 for the first time since late March. On his monthly call in radio show yesterday Governor John Bel Edwards noted that just over a month ago the state recorded 2,134 individuals were hospitalized for COVID-19 and as of noon yesterday the number was 931. Vent usages is also down by two to 110, the lowest since March 25th.

 

The Department of Health is investigating a COVID-19 outbreak that’s infected about 100 people at three Acadiana crawfish farms. Crawfish Promotion Board Chairman David Savoy says the migrant workers live in communal spaces where social distancing is not possible, and he does not believe the industry could have done anything differently to avoid the outbreaks.

 

Two State Police Troopers are injured after being dispatched to assist Hammond Police with a pursuit around 2:15 Wednesday morning. A tire deflation device was deployed, disabling the suspect’s vehicle, and upon the troopers’ retrieval of the device, they were struck by a Hammond Police unit involved in the pursuit. One trooper has been treated and released, the other, identified as Trooper George Baker, is in critical condition.

 

The state’s top school board selects Jefferson Parish Schools superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley as the state’s new education superintendent. Brumley will fill the position once occupied by John White. The Sabine native was one of 21 applicants . Brumley has led Jefferson Parish Schools since 2018

 

With less than two weeks remaining in the regular session the budget for next fiscal year is finally set to be taken up this  morning in House Appropriations. Between federal funding and the use of rainy day funds, the budget deficit for the next fiscal year has shrunk to only 80 million dollars from an initial projection of nearly a billion. Despite that easier to handle fiscal situation political analyst Bernie Pinsonat believes it is a safe bet that a special session will need to be called. The regular session ends June 1st and a budget must be passed before July 1st.

 

An attempt to lower the state’s 247 dollar a week unemployment benefit is shelved after Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Ava Dejoie testifies against the move, saying the reduction would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds. Representative Gerald Beaullieu (beau-you) admitted to not even consulting with LWC before filing the legislation.

 

A bill significantly expanding medical marijuana access is nearing final passage. Under the legislation any condition a doctor considers “debilitating to an individual patient” would be eligible to receive medical marijuana. New Iberia Senator Fred Mills says the current limitations are too strict. The legislation lifts the requirement that a doctor is specifically licensed to prescribe medical marijuana.

 

Today NOAA announces its initial outlook for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season that starts June 1.  State climatologist Barry Keim anticipates a forecast that leans towards an above normal season with the primary factor being the sea surface temps in the Atlantic. A normal season is twelve named storms.  Keim anticipates NOAA will call for a wide range of 10 to 16 named storms. 2020 has already seen the formation of Tropical Storm Arthur that has stayed offshore.

 

The feds award Louisiana 190 million dollars to expand COVID-19 testing and establish antibody testing in the future once the FDA approves a procedure. Governor Edwards has expressed optimism the state will move into Phase Two in June. Congressman Garret Graves says this funding ensures we have the testing capacity to meet the federal benchmarks to do so.

 

Casinos are experiencing a promising start to reopening after being closed since mid-March.  Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones says players are showing up and are not pushing back against virus spread mitigation efforts of wearing masks and social distancing. Jones adds that people were lined up at the doors waiting on the casinos to reopen on Monday. In Marksville the Paragon Casino opened at noon yesterday. The Jena Choctaw casino in Grant Parish will open on Friday.

 

Burl Cain, the well-known and embattled former warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, is heading east. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced Wednesday, May 20 that Cain has been hired as the new head of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Cain, who is now 77 years old, spent more than 20 years as prison administrator and warden at Louisiana State Penitentiary. He retired in January of 2016 amid a series of investigative reports by The Advocate newspaper.

 

Sports..

 

The NCAA Division One council has reportedly voted to approve voluntary athletic activities in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball beginning on June first. The rest of the sports will be acted on at a later date according to Yahoo Sports. LSU officials have said they hope to get football players back on campus next month and the SEC is set to vote on Friday whether their schools can reopen their team facilities on either June 1st or June 15th.

 

Hopes are increasing that football players can get back on campus next month for offseason workouts. New LSU starting quarterback Myles Brennan is hoping this is the case as he looks to take over for Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Brennan will have two proven receivers to target in the passing game, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Junior. Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger says he thinks Racey McMath can have a breakout season in 2020 and he likes the speed that a lot of the young receivers have shown…

 

The Athletic is reporting that Disney World in Orlando has emerged as the host site for NBA games if the league decides to move forward with resuming the season. Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith reports that Disney has started to adjust its hotel space to accommodate players, coaches and staff. The NBA has also considered Las Vegas. According to the Athletic report, a second training camp will begin in mid-June and games would resume in mid-July.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday May 20th, 2020

News for Wednesday May 20th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported 18 new COVID fatalities and 329 new cases on Tuesday, along with declines in ventilator use and hospitalizations.

 

Alexandria Police made an arrest Monday in connection with a shooting investigation that occurred on May 1, at Levin and Mary Streets. 42 year old Jerrol Marshall of Alexandria was charged with attempted first degree murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting an officer and three counts of contempt of court. The case remains under investigation.

 

House Republicans pass legislation telling Governor Edwards to reconsider his blanket 25 percent occupancy cap on businesses during Phase One. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the limit is a one size fits all solution that doesn’t work for places like restaurants.

 

But Governor Edwards says the limitations are a public safety requirement that will cautiously guide the state economy back into action without risking a new wave of cases. The Governor says if we continue seeing lower caseloads through the end of the month it is likely the state will progress into Phase Two in June. Edwards says they’ll use two weeks of data to determine if Louisiana is still doing a good job in stopping the spread of COVID-19

 

Cal-Maine foods, an egg producer, donates 280,000 eggs to five food banks across the state. The eggs will be distributed to food banks in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Monroe, New Orleans, and Shreveport by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. Commissioner Mike Strain says Cal-Maine has a surplus of eggs right now and found donating to be a better use than disposal.

 

A House committee shoots down a proposal allowing all registered voters in Louisiana to vote by mail. Vote by mail advocate and recent LSU grad Catherine McKinney says the legislation would have allowed all voters to request the Secretary of State’s office mail them a ballot. Voters would have to submit their license to file their vote. The proposal ran into opposition from Republicans like Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges who says vote by mail is more prone to fraud than showing up at a booth. But McKinney countered that actual voter fraud is incredibly rare under all voting systems in the state.

 

Louisiana receives an additional $58 million in fishery disaster funding due to the impacts of the Bonnet Carre opening in 2019.  Congressman Garret Graves says of the three states receiving funding from the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening, Louisiana is receiving 2/3 of the allocated $88 million. There is an additional $12 million to be allocated at a different time.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy is one of two lawmakers introducing bipartisan federal legislation aiming to deliver $500 billion in emergency funding to states and communities with the State and Municipality Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act.  Cassidy says the first payment could go out immediately, the second would go out at the end of June, and the third at the end of the year.

 

Forbes Magazine reports Mercedes Benz will not renew its naming rights deal with the Superdome when it ends in 2021. UNO Senior Associate Dean and Marketing Professor, Paul Hensel, says it’s tough to say what corporation would like to put its name on the side of the iconic sports arena right now with the economy in shambles. The Superdome is scheduled to host its next Super Bowl in 2024.

 

Police conducting a welfare check late Tuesday morning, at a Baton Rouge Apartment complex, found a man and woman dead, launching a homicide investigation Few details were available hours later, including how the victims were killed. Police are considering the incident as a homicide.

 

Two measures described as making it easier for people convicted of crimes to find and retain jobs edged closer to final passage Tuesday in the Louisiana Legislature. A House-backed House Bill 77 would allow probation and parole officers to use their cellphone or other electronic devices to check on people under supervision, rather than requiring an in-person hearing. The proposal also requires probation and parole officers to accommodate a person's work schedule when scheduling those check-in meetings.

The measure won approval from a Senate judiciary committee Tuesday, sending it to the full Senate for debate.

 

 A bid to help legalize sports betting in Louisiana is steps from final legislative passage, though the wagering still would be a year or more away. Senate Bill 130 which won easy passage Tuesday from the House criminal justice committee would let voters in each parish determine on the Nov. 3 ballot whether to allow sports betting in that parish.

 

More workers are returning to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to continue building rockets for the Artemis Program, which aims to put the first woman on the moon by 2024. Michoud Director Robert Champion says some technicians returned Monday after a long hiatus. Champion says they’ll still be under 25 percent of their full production capacity as they enter NASA’s Stage 3 Return to On-site Work.

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday May 19h, 2020

News for Tuesday May 19th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The Department of Health reported 15 new COVID-19 fatalities yesterday, bringing the state’s total death toll to 2,440. On Sunday, the state reported just 12 fatalities. Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s been since the end of March that the state has reported daily death totals this low. The total number of cases increased by 277 to 34,709.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health has made public a list of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities where residents and or staff have tested positive for COVID-19. Governor Edwards says you can find the 12-page document on LDH’s coronavirus webpage and click on the tab that says nursing homes. Louisiana is reporting 4,084 total resident cases in nursing homes along with 987 resident fatalities and 1,737 staff cases.

 

And the Acadiana region is reporting an uptick in COVID cases. Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says around 100 people at three crawfish farms have tested positive…

 

The Rapides Parish Courthouse reopened to the public yesterday with new guidelines in place to prevent the spread of covid-19. The Police Jury enacted a statute that requires everyone who comes into the courthouse to do business to wear a mask, and people who work at the courthouse who come into contact with the public are also required to wear a mask. In accordance with phase one orders, the courthouse will only be allowing up to 150 people in the building at a time, and all foot traffic must come and go only through the front entrance. Anyone entering the building will also be screened.

 

27-year-old woman is dead, and nine people are being treated at a hospital from severe weather that hit a rural area in northeast Acadia Parish Sunday night. The one fatality took place on Prudence Highway north of Church Point.  Sheriff KP Gibson says the loss of life could have been much worse as many residents were unprepared for the impact of the severe weather. The NWS has confirmed the storm was an EF3 Tornado with 150 mph winds.

 

J.C. Penney will close almost 30% of its 846 stores as part of a restructuring under bankruptcy protection. The ailing department store said Monday that it plans to close about 192 stores by February 2021, and then 50 additional stores in the year after that. No list has been released yet by the company showing what stores are on the chopping block.

 

One of the signature fights of the Legislative session, tort reform, easily clears the Senate on a veto-proof 29-8 vote. The legislation lowers the jury trial threshold from 50,000 dollars to 5,000 dollars, increases the prescriptive period for filing a suit, and implements a swath of other lawsuits reforms. Author River Ridge Senator Kirk Talbot says these changes will save auto insurers money and bill requires they pass on a minimum ten percent savings to customers. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau took issue with the bill. He says it has been written with loopholes that allow insurers to skip out on passing along tort related savings.

 

Louisiana public school students who received free or reduced-priced meals at school can now receive 285-dollars per child to offset the loss of those meals due to COVID-19 school closures. Louisiana has been approved by the USDA to issue Pandemic EBT cards to help feed approximately 600-thousand students.

 

Rosier economic forecasts push oil prices above 30 dollars a barrel yesterday, a two month high for the commodity. Oil started the year over 60 dollars a barrel, and while that is unlikely to return this year LSU Center for Energy Studies Executive Director David Dismukes says the industry can survive at these prices. Dismukes says Monday’s notable 11 percent spike was the result of new positive news related to vaccine development.

 

The price of oil may have rebounded but it still sits far below the level needed to maintain revenue for the state budget in the next fiscal year, and that combined with the COVID economic shutdown has left Louisiana with a billion dollar deficit. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is working with the administration to craft a balanced budget and says they’ve begun identifying ways to utilize federal dollars to reduce that deficit. Dardenne says a portion of the rainy day fund can be used as well, leaving just 80-million dollars in cuts. Dardenne warns that 80 million will largely have to come out of the Louisiana Department of Health’s budget.

 

The search continues for the gunmen involved in a mass shooting that wounded 13 people in Bogalusa on Saturday night. Major Wendell O’ Berry says between 500 to 800 people gathered at an intersection to remember the life of Dominique James, who was recently murdered. O’ Berry says as the crowd grew shots were fired. O’ Berry says 12 of the 13 victims were male and some are critically wounded.

 

A woman is dead and two juveniles were taken to the hospital after a train collided with their stalled out vehicle in Webster Parish. State Police Trooper Brent Hardy says 51-year-old Rebecca Woodard of Minden and one juvenile were attempting to push the vehicle when the train came into view. Woodard was transported to the hospital where she later died. The juvenile in the vehicle sustained moderate injuries.

 

The Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU has hosted a PPE production facility for about the last month and now the operation is wrapping up.  Director of Economic Development at LSU Greg Trahan says during that time, they made a big impact on the PPE needs of the state’s healthcare workers.

 

Sports..

 

LSU added its 11th commitment to the 2021 recruiting class today as four-star safety Khari Gee announced his verbal pledge to the Tigers. The Atlanta native chose LSU over Clemson. He’s rated as the ninth-best safety in the country.

 

The Pelicans practice facility is opened to players Monday for the first time since March 20th, but there are restrictions in place. No more than four players can be in the facility at one time. Players can work out with one staff member, but not the head coach or an assistant. And the staff member who is working with the player must wear gloves if that person is rebounding for the player. The TV voice of the Pelicans Joel Myers believes the season will resume in July. New Orleans is 3.5 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 18 games left.

 

The Saints have announced the signing of running back Ty Montgomery. The former Stanford star was drafted as a wide receiver in 2015 but made the move to running back in Green Bay. He’s also played for the Ravens and Jets. In career 58 career games and 16 starts, he’s rushed for 1,035 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s also caught 120 passes for 982 yards. Montgomery can also return kicks.

 

And the LHSAA announces if a high school begins summer workouts before June 8th, it could result in the school being placed on probation, suspended, or fined.

Good Morning.. News For Monday May 18th, 2020

News for Monday May 18th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Starting today, casinos and video poker truck stops throughout the state begin to reopen. However, Diamond Jacks Casino and Hotel in Bossier City will not be among them as they have announced a permanent closure. Ownership cites the sudden, unforeseeable market conditions from the COVID-19 pandemic for prompting the decision. According to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the casino brings in $7.5 million to the state and $1.5 million to Bossier City in tax revenue. More than 300 will be without a job. The Paragon Casino and Resort in Marksville plans to reopen on Wednesday and the Jena Choctaw Casino on Friday.

 

Starting today, the Office of Motor Vehicles will begin limited office services at eleven locations throughout the state, including the issuance or renewal of driver’s licenses and photo IDs, ordering a duplicate title, renewing vehicle registrations, and title transfers. Customers are still encouraged to make use of the OMV website, expresslane.org, when possible. The Alexandria OMV office is the only one opening in Cenla for now.

 

Governor Edwards says if you get a call from a number that reads 877-766-2130, it’s a contact tracer. Edwards says it’s important you answer the contact tracer’s questions because they will inform you that a person you’ve been in contact with has tested positive for the coronavirus. The state previously had 70 contact tracers employed, but they’ve just trained about 300 more.

 

Movies theaters are allowed to welcome customers back under the Governor’s Phase One reopening plan, however, most of the marquees remain dark. President of the Tristate Independent Theatre Association, Adam Holland says theatres didn’t know when Phase One would actually go into effect until the announcement on May 11th and they also have to coordinate with studios for product. Due to a lack of new releases to show and business procedures that must be implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Holland says most theaters will open next month.

 

The CDC warns physicians to be on the lookout for a possibly COVID-linked illness that has impacted over a hundred children across the country. Ochsner Lafayette Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Katherine Lindle says the symptoms do not look like COVID-19 in adults. Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome appears to take hold in many patients after their initial COVID-19 infection has passed. Lindle says sometimes it’s several weeks later. Ochsner reports having treated three such cases in Louisiana, and Lindle says fatal outcomes for children afflicted by the disease are rare.

 

The full Senate is scheduled to tackle two major bills today, one being tort reform aimed at reducing auto insurance rates and the other revoking local governments’ ability to sue oil companies for coastal damages. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says there are enough votes in the upper chamber to pass tort reform. The coastal land loss lawsuit legislation had strong GOP support, but Pinsonat says local leaders are pushing coastal Republicans away from the bill. Pinsonat says it is possible the bill will be shelved today due to a lack of votes.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser calls on Louisianans to kick start the tourism economy by making 2020 the “Year of the Louisiana Road Trip”. Nungesser says if Louisianans can prove you can safely tour the state more out of state visitors will return.

 

 

Good Morning... News For Friday May 15th, 2020

News for Friday May 15th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports 827 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest single-day case count increase in over a month, due in part to an influx of old results from labs that are just now being reported, including a large lab reporting over 600 cases from tests as far back as March. Total cases as of noon Thursday: 33,489. Total fatalities: 2,351, up by 36

 

Many businesses can resume operations today at 25 percent capacity as the state enters Phase One. Fire Marshal Butch Browning says churches can resume indoor services, but worshipers will be spaced out six feet in every direction between your family and fellow attendees. Most dining rooms will be allowed to open as well, however  Self-service and buffets will not be allowed under Phase One. Movie theaters, hair salons, gyms, and many nonessential businesses also open today. Browning says following social distancing guidelines will be key to determining whether we can expand that list in the future…

 

The Louisiana Department of Education releases guidelines on how childcare centers and summer schools should proceed under Phase One. The guidance calls for new procedures for pick up and drop off, separating children into smaller groups, and requiring workers to wear masks. Mask-wearing is recommended for children “as able”.

Children under two, or children with breathing difficulties should not wear masks per the CDC.

 

Louisiana saw 40,000 new unemployment insurance applications last week, down from 50,000 new applications the week before. The record-breaking case application numbers are being processed by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, whose executive director Ava Dejoie received rave reviews from a House Committee earlier Thursday. One LWC model predicts the trust fund paying out state benefits only has about another four months of money in it if claims were to remain at current levels, but those claims should dip as the state enters Phase One of the limited economic reopening.

 

LSU executive deputy athletics director Verge Ausberry says it will be the SEC and university leaders, not the NCAA, who will determine if the Tigers will kick off their football season in September. Ausberry hopes student-athletes can get back on campus in June and says the football coaches returned to their offices about two weeks ago.

 

The Sabine Parish town of Many will not actively enforce the Governor’s new proclamation according to Mayor Kenneth Freeman.  Freeman believes the residents of Many are doing a good job with mitigation efforts without law enforcement intervention. In a message to residents, Freeman says if someone needs to shelter at home, that is their choice and he encourages that to continue.  For those that resume life as normal, Freeman still advises them to continue to take spread mitigation efforts seriously. Freeman believes citizens deserve the credit for Sabine Parish currently having only 29 COVID-19 cases and no fatalities on record.

 

For the second day in a row, the state Senate voted Thursday to allow individual parishes to decide whether to legalize sport wagering. The vote was 23-9 and the proposal, Senate Bill 378, next faces action in the House. On Wednesday the Senate approved an identical bill by Sen. Cameron Henry. Sen. Ronnie Johns of Lake Charles, sponsor of the latest measure, said his plan will serve as a backup in case Henry's legislation encounters problems. The session ends June 1.

 

The Alexandria Museum of Art says that they will remain closed until the state enters phase two, expected in early June if COVID-19 cases continue the downward trend. AMOA says they're following directives set forth by LSUA, which calls for only essential employees to come back to work.

Good Morning.... News For Thursday May 14th, 2020

News for Thursday May 14th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports its biggest single-day COVID-19 case count increase since May 1, with 612 new cases. The Department of Health says 317 of those come from labs that are new to reporting and are now reporting their historic lab results electronically, meaning 295 cases came from the regular reporting across the state. Total cases: 32,662. 34 new fatalities bring the state’s death toll to 2,315. One confirmed positive trend is that the state has now dropped below 1,200 COVID hospitalizations for the first time since March.

 

After most of Tuesday was consumed by lawsuit reform arguments the Legislature managed to get some other issues moving through the process Wednesday. Legislation banning handheld use of mobile devices while driving clears the Senate and is headed to the House.

 

And the full Senate also overwhelmingly passed a bill giving voters a chance to decide if they want sports betting legalized in their parish. Metairie Senator Cameron Henry says if his proposal gets full legislative approval, the proposition will appear on the November third ballot. Henry says if residents in a parish vote for this proposition, then the legislature will decide how it will be taxed and regulated during the 2021 fiscal session…

 

A Louisiana House committee Wednesday advanced three “gun rights” bills including one that would allow people to carry guns into churches, regardless of what congregants say, as well as another that would remove a local government’s ability to regulate firearms at playgrounds, public buildings and commercial establishments in its jurisdiction.

 

Express Employment Professionals is hosting a drive-thru job fair today at Keys Park in Pineville from 9am until 4pm.  It is a safe way to get the people displaced by the Covid-19 crisis moving forward. If you have a resume, feel free to bring along -- If not, they will  help you create one.  

 

KALB reports 20 year old Akeeley Blade of Alexandria, who is serving a life sentence for a 2017 first degree murder, second degree robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery conviction, has become the first person in Rapides Parish to file a motion to request a new trial based off a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring unanimous jury decisions. Blade was convicted by a jury on the murder charge in a non-unanimous verdict for the 2016 beating death of Michael Butler, who was staying at the Motel 6. That conviction carried an automatic life sentence.

 

While the House Appropriations Committee awaits a budget proposal from Governor Edwards lawmakers are planning what they hope will be an expedient path to passage. The proposal must include a billion dollars in cuts due to the COVID and oil related deficits, and House Appropriations Chairman Jerome Zeringue says the unfortunate reality of a billion-dollar deficit is that our constitution is clear on where those cuts must come from, that being healthcare and education. A balanced budget must be passed by the start of the next fiscal year, July 1st.

 

Today a slate of minimum wage and equal pay for women bills will be taken up by a House Committee that is known for routinely shooting down such efforts.

 

The LHSAA is withholding all activities until at least June 8th. The league sent a release Wednesday night saying it was freezing all sports, despite the Governor moving Louisiana into Phase 1 of its reopening plan on Friday. In that release, director Eddie Bonine stressed a concern for uneven implementation of return. The LHSAA gives the schools the power over summer workouts, but not all parishes are created equal, and he worried some schools would be able to return faster than others.

 

Two patients at a secure state mental hospital in East Feliciana Parish sued the state Wednesday, begging for release in light of a massive coronavirus outbreak that’s resulted in nine patient deaths. They say the hospital in Jackson, which has for years sought state funding to replace its decaying facilities, isn’t maintaining basic hygiene or isolating patients with coronavirus. Janitorial visits have become so rare that maggots grow in drains.

 

Republican Louisiana legislators said this week that many of their constituents are uneasy about contact tracing, a key tool in the state’s COVID-19 recovery plan to determine who has been in contact with someone who tests positive for the virus so they can quarantine and prevent further spread. As Louisiana residents have become eager to return to work and see economic revival, Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced what he sees as a reopening plan based on advice from health experts and White House guidelines. The plan includes ramping up the state’s COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing capacities to enter the first phase of reopening tomorrow.

 

Barbershops and hair salons will partially reopen tomorrow and the experience is expected to be drastically different. Setting hair appoints may become necessary. Director of the State Board of Cosmetology Steve Young says capacity limits will likely mean that waiting inside the business will not be an option, so waiting in the car will be the next best thing. Barbershops and salons have been closed since March.

 

The idea of axing Mardi Gras 2021 in New Orleans has been discussed, but in Lafayette, the outlook is to stick to business as usual.  President and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission Ben Berthelot says if guidance is issued on how to best handle Mardi Gras closer to Carnival season, those measures will be taken. Fat Tuesday falls on February 16 in 2021.

 

Congressman Ralph Abraham pens a letter to Tesla founder Elon Musk inviting the tycoon to relocate his California based company to north Louisiana. Musk reopened his Tesla production facility in spite of California’s statewide stay a home order shuttering all non-essential businesses and is facing potential legal action. Abraham says a 1,400-acre site called Franklin Farm in his home parish of Richland would be perfect for the electric car manufacturer. Abraham says the I-20 corridor is ripe for a tech boom given the nearby technical schools and recent high tech investments.

 

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announces the reopening of 18 of the state’s historical sites, and 18 of the 21 state parks this Friday.  Nungesser says state parks have lots of cancellations, so there has never been a better time for locals to enjoy what state parks have to offer. Nungesser says state parks are incentivizing residents to staycation and check out all the trails, the fishing, and more. On Saturday, the state’s nine museums will also reopen at 25% capacity.  Welcome centers will reopen in phase two.

 

Some business advocates are frustrated that tattoo parlors, bars, and spas will not be allowed to open for business Friday. But Louisiana Department of Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says it’s just not safe to open those sectors yet, and cited White House guidelines recommending places like bars remain closed. Billioux says the Phase One reopening still calls for extensive social distancing and only focuses on businesses deemed “low risk”.

 

The United Way is asking families how is the COVID-19 crisis impacting them financially? Louisiana Association of United Ways President Sarah Berthelot says you can go to launitedway.org to complete the ten-minute survey. She hopes to receive several hundred responses from every region of the state. Berthelot says they launched the survey on Tuesday and they’ve already had about one-thousand respondents.

 

The longstanding tradition of the Louisiana Farm Bureau holding its annual convention in New Orleans is not happening this year.  Under normal circumstances, 1500 members and their families would congregate, but Farm Bureau spokesperson Avery Davidson says the 98th annual convention will be replaced by an event that looks much different. This year, a new Louisiana Farm Bureau president will be named.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy says the feds need to dedicate more resources to figuring out how we can get kids back in school. He says younger students are losing critical time in the classroom, and parents are struggling with them at home…

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday May 13th, 2020

News for Wednesday May 13th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

As the state moves towards a phase one reopening of the economy, the state health department reports a slight increase in the number of COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized. The number increased by ten to 1,320. The state also reported 235 additional coronavirus cases and 39 more deaths yesterday.

 

A resolution ending the Governor’s stay at home order was shelved upon news the state will enter Phase One Friday. House GOP Chairman Blake Miguez says his instrument isn’t going away and he will revive the effort if the Governor does not swiftly move the state through the federal reopening plan.

 

Casinos in the state will be allowed to reopen Monday but with new rules and regulations as part of the Phase One reopening plan. Louisiana Gaming Control Broad Chairman Ronnie James says gaming venues will only be able to operate at 25-percent capacity and they will have to incorporate screening guidelines of patrons to enter their facility.

 

KALB reports The Alexandria City Council is moving forward with plans to get a closer look into the Alexandria Police Department. At Tuesday's City Council meeting, the Council voted 4-2 to "investigate hiring, firing and disciplinary practices of the Alexandria Police Department along with organizational structure. The vote came after Councilman Malcolm Larvadain had written a letter to the Council last week asking for the resolution to be added to the May 12 agenda. Larvadain has yet to say publicly why he asked for the resolution.

 

The Revenue Estimating Conference projects a billion dollar decline in state revenues for the next fiscal year. That means state lawmakers will have to make significant reductions in state spending. Legislators will try to complete that task before the regular session ends on June 1st. There’s hope that federal dollars can help plug the budget deficit. Senator Bill Cassidy is pushing to address some of Louisiana’s, and other states’, COVID-related deficits by directing 500 billion dollars to state and local governments over the next two years.

 

The University of Louisiana System says they are planning to have students on campus this fall. Nine schools make up the U-L system and President Jim Henderson says there will be temperature checks, increased testing and a heightened focus on sanitation on their campus.

 

The session’s major lawsuit and insurance reform omnibus bill is headed to the House Floor. The legislation lowers the jury trial threshold and bill sponsor, Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo says auto insurers have promised rate reductions if it passes. Lawyer and former Congressman Don Cazayoux says the changes will pressure victims into settling for less than they deserve by requiring lengthy jury trials.

 

One person is dead after fleeing from law enforcement following the discovery of apparent street racing activity in Shreveport.  Trooper Brent Hardy says around 2am Monday, State Police showed up to disperse the crowd and a pursuit ensued with a Chrysler 300 driven by a 19-year-old. After crashing the vehicle the driver was pronounced dead at the scene and the vehicle’s five other passengers, ages 16 to 20, sustained a range of moderate to serious injuries.

 

Sports..

 

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s executive committee will meet via a conference call tomorrow to discuss what it means for high school sports that the stay at home order will be lifted on Friday. LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine says he also plans to talk with state education officials tomorrow. The association does not govern summer activities, but they can give schools a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to offseason training and other issues.

 

ESPN reports the NBA Players Association has started polling players to find out where they stand on whether the league should return to play this season. The question being asked only requires a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Commissioner Adam Silver says a decision on resuming this season can wait until June and if games are played, they could behold in Orlando or Las Vegas. The Pelicans will reportedly begin individuals workouts on Monday at the training facility in Metairie. Only four players involved at a time.

 

In recruiting news, LSU has landed a commitment from four-star running back Corey Kiner of Cincinnati. He’s the first running back to give his verbal pledge for the class of 2021, which is currently ranked as the 12th best by 24-7 sports.

 

And Louisiana Tech has received a verbal pledge from Ruston High running back Ke’Travion “Bull” Hargrove. Hargrove also had scholarship offers from Boston College, Michigan State, Houston, and S-M-U.

 

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday May 12th, 2020

News for Tuesday May 12th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Latest Covid-19 Stats as of Noon Monday..

31,815 Cases | 2,242 Deaths | 1,310 Hospitalized | Recovered 22,608  | Monday 12p

 

Starting Friday restaurants, churches, gyms, casinos, and other establishments closed by the stay at home order will be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity. Governor Edwards says the numbers show it is safe to end the stay at home order and implement federal Phase One guidelines. Edwards says employees dealing with the public must wear a facemask. The state is scheduled to remain in Phase One until June 5th, with a decision about potentially moving to Phase Two being made June 1st.

 

Currently, the Governor’s administration says they will not be revisiting the decisions of reopenings until June 1st. Louisiana Associations of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says he’s glad the beginning of the recovery has begun, but it’s a steep curve as over 300,000 are unemployed in the state. Employees are required to wear face masks when they are dealing with the public and Waguespack says businesses are okay with adapting to guidelines aimed at mitigating the spread.

 

The Revenue Estimating conference informed lawmakers Monday to expect a billion-dollar revenue shortfall for the next fiscal year’s budget. Tax collections have taken a significant hit as many businesses have been shuttered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Legislature’s Chief Economist Greg Albrecht says our condition may not improve soon either.

 

The Revenue Estimating Conference has agreed to dramatically lower the revenue forecast for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. The Legislature’s Chief Economist Greg Albrecht says not only are tax collections down, but 310-thousand people have filed for unemployment and a recent study found that one out of every four people are out of work in New Orleans.

 

The state budget may be facing a historic cliff but some lawmakers believe Louisiana must implement hundreds of millions of dollars in severance tax suspensions to save the oil industry in the state or things could get much worse. Ways and Means Chairman Stewart Bishop says giving the industry a year of severance suspensions could save it in the long term, even as the budget faces calamity. The industry has been hammered by a combination of the ongoing price war and COVID economic shutdowns.

 

The University of Louisiana system announces plans for the nine-member institutions to resume in-person instruction this fall. UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson says “The University Experience is more than just attending class and we are optimistic with the right safeguards in place and following the guidance of health experts they we will be able to safely return to campus in August.”

 

At the grocery store you have probably noticed some empty shelves since COVID-19. LSU Ag Center Professor of Nutrition and Food Science Louise Wicker says before the outbreak more than 50 percent of the food Americans’ consumed was from restaurants.

Wicker says an average of 13 percent of our food dollar was spent dollar at the grocery store, and COVID-19 changed the dynamic of food distribution overnight.

 

The House Transportation committee approves a ban on hold handheld devices while driving, similar to a Senate effort that has moved to the Upper Chamber floor.

 

Attorney General Jeff Landry wants to see a probe of the Chinese government’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic.  Landry says it is time the House to put the same energy used in investigating the President into focusing on something that is actually impacting the country. Landry is among 18 state AGs to write a letter to the US House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee and other Congressional leaders asking for Congressional hearings to help better understand the origins of the virus.

 

Louisiana’s business lobbyists are cautiously optimistic about the reopening of some of that state’s businesses but feel more needs to be done. National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says operating at 25% of capacity is still a huge hurdle, and doesn’t believe employees should count against that number.

Starns says some of the logic behind why some businesses can reopen and others can’t is unclear. Starns adds that the guidance set by the White House doesn’t fit for small business.

 

Effective immediately, testing will be scheduled at the Coliseum site from 9 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, there will not be testing at the Coliseum site this Thursday (May 14).In addition, testing will again be offered from 9 a.m. until noon Friday, May 15, at Frank O. Hunter Park.

 

On Friday, several businesses in Mamou were damaged as severe storms moved though the area. That severe weather has now been confirmed as a EF1 tornado which produced winds at 100 mph.

 

Sports…

 

LSU has received a verbal commitment from a four-star running back out of Ohio by the name of Corey Kiner. Kiner is entering his senior season at Roger Bacon High in Cincinnati. He’s already rushed a school-record 52-hundred yards and 81 touchdowns. Former LSU Tiger and current running backs coach Kevin Faulk gets the credit for landing a verbal pledge from the five-foot-ten, 208 pounder.

 

Major League Baseball owners have agreed on a proposal for an 82-game regular season that would start the regular season around July fourth. 14 teams would make the playoffs, instead of ten and the designated hitter would be expanded to the National League. Games will be played without fans and the goal is for the games to be played at the team’s home ballpark. The trick now is to get the players to agree on a proposal to split revenues 50-50 between the players and the owners. The players will receive the proposal tomorrow.

 

Now that the governor has lifted the stay at home order starting, the Pelicans will reportedly re-open their practice facility a week from today. No more than four players will be allowed inside the practice facility at one time. Former LSU great Shaquille O’ Neal has said the NBA should just scrap this season.

 

Former LSU football standout Booger McFarland and play-by-play man Joe Tessitore will reportedly not return to the Monday Night Football booth this season. ESPN has yet to announce their replacements.

 

LSU fans will want to Set their DVR for 6:30 on the SEC Network Wednesday night. That’s when the documentary “One for the Ages” will debut. The one-hour documentary promises to give behind-the-scenes and a cinematic glimpse of the just concluded Fighting Tigers national championship football season.

 

NCAA President Mark Emmert says fall sports, including football can not be played this fall if there are no students on campus. Meanwhile Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby disagrees.

Good Morning... News For Friday May 8th, 2020

News for Friday May 8th, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana reported 41 new COVID-19 deaths and 253 new confirmed positive cases yesterday, continuing this month’s trend in lower death rates and fewer new positive cases.

 

709 of the state’s 2,135 COVID-19 Deaths, or a little more than a third, come from nursing homes. that according to new data released by the Louisiana Department of Health. The report also shows 179 of the state’s 276 nursing homes have been impacted.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to give a more in-depth look into the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing procedures this afternoon.  Edwards says the state is bringing on 700 workers to process the data receiving from testing. Edwards says after talking with a COVID-19 patient, a tracer will connect with anyone that may have been in contact with the patient for further questioning. Edwards says as the state reengages, there will be more person to person contact even with mitigation efforts in place, so  contact tracing is vital in catching cases early before they can spread further.

 

KALB TV reports the Alexandria City council members will be discussing the discipline of Alexandria police officers at their council meeting on Tuesday. The station reports Councilmen Malcolm Larvadain wrote a letter addressed to the council asking for an agenda item to be added. Civil Service Board Attorney Brian Cespiva says this matter is normally something the Civil Service Board would handle and that the agenda item comes as a complete surprise to the civil service board. Cespiva also said, at this time he was unaware of any complaints against Chief King or any supervisory personnel at APD.

 

The Louisiana Legislature gathered in their respective chambers Thursday night for their first substantive meeting since reconvening earlier this week. The House and Senate voted on about three dozen bills and resolutions, though none of the big measures were on the agenda. Neither was the resolution, approved in committee Wednesday night, that would strip Gov. John Bel Edwards of his ability to enforce the various directives that have led to the closures of businesses and limited gathering to 10 people or less.

 

The Capitol may have been closed for 49 days but Louisiana lawmakers were still paid their 161 dollar daily per diem throughout that period.  Advocate Bureau Chief Mark Ballard says despite the compressed schedule legislators will still collect 14,000 dollars aimed at reimbursing expenses for lawmakers while in session.  Ballard says many lawmakers argue that they were doing legislative work during that period, even if it wasn’t at the Capitol.

 

An emergency election plan aimed at addressing voting during the coronavirus pandemic, which Republican lawmakers altered to limit the expansion of mail-in ballots, has drawn a federal lawsuit seeking a more robust expansion of absentee voting. The lawsuit, brought by the NAACP, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice and four individual voters, says the reasons voters can access mail-in ballots under the plan fall short of protecting voters of the coronavirus, which has taken an outsized toll on Louisiana. It calls the plan “unduly restrictive” and seeks to repeal the requirements that voters present an excuse to receive an absentee ballot.

 

Republican state lawmakers Thursday rejected a proposal that would require many Louisiana businesses to provide paid sick leave to their workers. House Bill 832l by New Orleans Rep. Matthew Willard, a Democrat, was killed by the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee in a 10-5 party-line vote. Republicans voted in a bloc against the measure, saying they opposed placing a financial mandate on businesses.

 

Louisiana Department of Health warns that current COVID regulations mean this Mother’s Day will have to be quite different than usual. Capital Area Regional Medical Director Dawn Marcelle says many moms and grandmas are at high risk of severe COVID cases. Marcelle says if your loved one falls into that category you may want to consider an alternative way to meet. Marcelle says if meeting in person you’ll need to resist the temptation to hug your mom and maintain six feet of separation. She says you also need to wear a mask.

 

The gaming experience will be different next time players step into a Louisiana casino.  Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board Ronnie Jones says temperature checks, mandatory hand sanitizing, and a series of screening questions will be asked before setting foot on the gaming floor. Casino operations ceased on March 16th and were not specifically named in any of the phases of the reopening plans, but Jones is hoping that maybe things will begin to open up by the end of the month. Casino entry will likely be limited to 25% to 50% of normal capacity. 

 

On a five to one vote, the Senate Transportation Committee approved a proposal to make it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving. Covington Senator Patrick McMath says distracted driving causes numerous wrecks and the phone is what distracts most drivers. McMath’s measure heads to the Senate floor, but similar bills have failed to pass in previous sessions. The legislation has the support of the Department of Insurance. 

 

DOTD is set to take advantage of the lull in traffic cause by the COVID shutdown to clean up some problem areas. Spokesperson Rodney Mallet says for the next two weeks they’ll be dedicating extra daytime crews to removing litter, and removing tree limbs and vegetation that block line of sight. Normal DOTD operations such as pothole filling and other roadwork have not been impacted by COVID-19 according to Mallet.

 

Vidalia Mills, a Louisiana-based producer of yarns and fabrics is adding to its production portfolio with the purchase of an automated surgical mask making machine and two automatic N-95 mask making machines to help manufacture PPE.  Managing partner Dan Feibus says the machinery should arrive by the end of the month and will be up and running by August.

 

Police Corporal Derrick Maglone was released from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital Thursday afternoon after being shot two weeks ago in the line of duty. His partner, Lieutenant Glenn Hutto, was killed in the same incident. Corporal Maglone is expected to make a full recovery.

 

The South Louisiana Community College announced on Thursday that it had received a resignation letter for its chancellor, Dr. Natalie Harder, and is now searching for her replacement. Harder also reveals that she has accepted a job offer as president of Coker University in South Carolina and her last day with SLCC will be May 29.

 

Sports..

 

The New Orleans Saints have released the schedule for their 2020 season. The 2020 preseason begins Aug. 13-17 with the regular season beginning on Sunday, Sept. 13. Week one of the regular season will see the Saints hosting the Tampa Bay Bucks and Tom Brady.

 

LSU basketball announced yesterday they will face South Florida in Atlanta on December 12th. The neutral-site game will be part of a quadruple-header that will also include Clemson versus Alabama, Mississippi State against Dayton, and Auburn versus Memphis. Organizers are calling it a Holiday Hoopsgiving and it will also include a high school showcase and charitable events.

 

Turner Sports announced Thursday that the golf match involving Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson, along with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will result in a ten-million-dollar donation to coronavirus relief efforts. The round of golf will take place on May 24th at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. Woods’ will be Manning’s golf partner and face a team featuring Mickelson and Brady.

 

ESPN reports that Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts will host a call for all players today. Which happens to be the same day some teams will be allowed to reopen practice facilities. A handful of players at a time will be allowed to work out as long as they socially distance from each other. Sources say the call will allow players to address any concerns or ask questions.

 

And Major League Baseball is expected to offer its players’ association a return to play proposal within a week. A second spring training will reportedly start in mid-June and an 80 to 100-game season could start in early July.

 

Good Morning.... News For Thursday May 7th, 2020

News for Thursday May 7th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

A House committee was home to a lengthy, and often heated debate about the future of the Governor’s stay at home order Wednesday. House Republican Caucus Chairman Blake Miguez’s resolution suspending the Governor’s ability to enforce the statewide stay at home order passed House and Governmental affairs after hours of debate. The resolution heads to the House floor next. It would only need a simple majority of the House and Senate for passage and could not be vetoed by the Governor.

 

Yesterday 52 additional fatalities were reported due to Covid-19, bringing the death count to 2094. Total cases were up by 403 to a total of 30,399. Hospitalizations, down by 47 to 1,465.

 

The Senate Insurance Committee rejected legislation yesterday prohibiting auto insurance rate making based on gender, credit score, and whether a person is a widow. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon opposed the legislation and says the bills will not lower our rates, which are among the highest in the nation. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau, who brought the legislation forward, did score one victory. His bill prohibits insurance providers from setting rates based on whether a person in the military is deployed for more than six months. That bill heads to the Senate floor for more discussion.

 

Covington Senator Patrick McMath will introduce a bill to prohibit the use of handheld devices when you’re behind the wheel in a Senate transportation committee Wednesday in an effort to reduce accidents on Louisiana’s roadways. McMath says in 2018 and estimated 25 to 35 percent of serious crashes were caused by distracted drivers. McMath says states that have enacted similar legislation have seen a significant decrease in serious accidents as a result.  The goal of the bill is to have drivers keep their hands on the wheel and off their phones. Louisiana currently has a, seldom enforced, no texting and driving bill already in effect.

 

Last weekend the Grand Isle beaches were packed as visitors flocked to the southernmost tip of the state. tourism Commissioner Louise LaFont says Tourism is the lifeblood of that small community and since they opened to vacationers Friday the crowds have rapidly grown.

 

Murder hornets have captured the spotlight after the giant Asian insect was detected in the northern parts of Washington state, but experts say the level of concern is relatively low. LSU AgCenter entomologist Kristen Healey says Louisiana’s climate would be suitable for murder hornets, but the hornet’s ability to migrate is limited due to being a social insect in need of a queen to maintain a colony. While human deaths have been attributed to the murder hornet, Healey says those are normally linked to an allergic reaction.  It’s the ability to kill mass amounts of honeybees rapidly that is the most concerning.

 

The Louisiana Public Health Institute and Department of Health are hosting a regional series of tele-town halls with two taking place today. Deputy Director of LDH’s Office of Community Partnerships and Health Equity Earl Benjamin-Robinson will serve as a moderator and says the meetings will address COVID-19 response measures and the phased re-opening approach. A list of the town halls can be found at LPHI.org.

 

In a memo to high schools, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said that graduating seniors cannot receive an extra year of eligibility, because of COVID-19. Bonine added that if Louisiana enters Phase one of the reopening of the economy, summer workouts could possibly begin on May 17th, but final decisions will have to be made on the local level. Bonine says since there was no spring football, schools will get an extra week of preseason practice. The LHSAA’s executive committee will meet on June 24th to talk more about the 2020-21 athletic year.

 

During LSU’s national championship run in football, fans loved watching the hype videos released during the dream season. But the man behind the videos is leaving LSU. Will Stout announced on Twitter that he will be the new assistant director of football video production at U-S-C. Stout says it’s always been a dream of his to work in Los Angeles.

 

Basketball Hall of Famer and Louisiana Tech legend Karl Malone and his family along with dozens of volunteers have helped deliver 80-thousand pounds of food to families in Union Parish. The Summerfield native says it fills his heart to help out families who are struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday May 6th, 2020

News for Wednesday May 6th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The number of COVID-19 deaths here in Louisiana has surpassed two-thousand as the state reported 51 more fatalities Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 2,042. The Louisiana Health Department also reports 323 new cases of the virus as the total number of cases is just shy of 30-thousand.

 

Three more deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday in Central Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. The new deaths, one in each parish, were in Catahoula, Rapides and Natchitoches parishes. With these three deaths, the total across Cenla rises to 45.

 

Governor Edwards will address the state this afternoon at 2:45 to pass along the latest information on covid-19 in the state. You can hear that press conference on KSYL 970am / 104.9fm.

 

The House Governmental Affairs committee hears a resolution today that seeks to suspend the Governor’s public health emergency as it relates to the coronavirus. House Republican Caucus chairman and  Erath Representative Blake Miguez says the objective is to put local leaders in control of reopening the economy. A legislative petition is circling that would also end the public health emergency, but many fear it would result in a substantial loss of federal funds. Governor Edwards has labeled the effort “misguided” and does not believe the House and Senate will pass it…

 

Researchers at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication found that most Louisiana residents report they are complying with state and federal stay-at-home orders. They also expressed anxieties about the pandemic and the economy, but they support continued efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

 

The APD reports a mother rescued her child as an Alexandria woman allegedly tried to kidnap the child from in front of their home on Monday afternoon. Officers found that Heather Dalrymple (Dal-Rimple)  "took an autistic child from the sidewalk in front of their residence and started walking away from the home. After the mother got her child, Dalrymple allegedly exposed herself and cut herself with glass before leaving. Dalrymple was found nearby by APD officers. She was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center

 

Anyone who believes they have symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested by the state Office of Public Health on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at Frank O. Hunter Park on Willow Glen River Road in Alexandria. If you have had symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, loss of taste and/or smell, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, then you can be tested. Bring photo identification and an insurance card, if you have one. While drive-up service is preferred, walk-ups will be allowed.

 

A Baton Rouge man’s 2006 non-unanimous conviction for rape and kidnapping will be taken up by the US Supreme Court in a challenge to the constitutionality of previously decided non-unanimous jury verdicts.  Thedrick Edwards is serving multiple life sentences on a series of 11-1 and 10-2 convictions that were decided along racial lines in the jury. His attorney Andre Belanger says the conviction was unconstitutional.

 

Attorney General Jeff Landry is pushing for the Governor to greenlight the reopening of barbershops and hair salons.  Landry encourages the Governor to issue guidance for the reopening and says spread mitigation techniques can be implemented into the hair cutting process.

 

After a record breaking 53.2 million people visited Louisiana in 2019 the state is scrambling to save the tourism industry. Cities and parishes are cash strapped and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says to save tourism the Legislature needs to authorize more tourism assistance to local governments. Nungesser says tourism is the fourth largest industry in the state.

 

The University of Louisiana System announces a special tuition rate for adults wanting to return to school to finish their degree through the Compete LA program. UL System President Jim Henderson says the new rate provides an average discount of $450 per course, adding the process of finding the right path to a degree doesn’t get much more convenient. Henderson says the program gives employers a bigger talent pool to hire from and will generate more revenue…

 

A Senate committee approves legislation that would give voters the opportunity to decide in November whether sports betting should be legal in Louisiana. A similar proposal failed last year after heated debate. Metairie Senator Cameron Henry says it’s time to put this issue before the voters. The measure heads to the Senate floor for more consideration. If it receives legislative approval the proposition would appear on the November 3rd ballot.

 

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has paid over a billion dollars in unemployment payments since March 22nd. LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie says they’ve issued over 250 million dollars in state unemployment and over 840 million in federal dollars from the CARES Act to 400,000 Louisianans. LWC paid out 151 million dollars to 103,000 claimants in all of 2019.

 

The New Orleans Fire Department and City Hall announced an emergency declaration to demolish three buildings near the Hard Rock Hotel collapse. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the developers cannot stall demolishing the site any longer. The emergency declaration means demolition can begin without permission from The Historic District Landmarks Commission. The plan to demolish the site will use cranes with a traditional demolition, instead of an implosion, taking down the site piece by piece.

 

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) has awarded $75,000 worth of grants to the families of Lt. Glenn Hutto Jr. and Cpl. Derrick Maglone. Officers Hutto and Maglone were shot Sunday, April 26 during a confrontation with a murder suspect. Hutto lost his life and Maglone is currently recovering in a Baton Rouge hospital. The East Baton Rouge First Responders Fund granted $50,000 to Hutto’s family and $25,000 to Maglone’s.

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday May 5th, 2020

News for Tuesday May 5th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Clean up will begin today after a fire broke out Monday evening at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse. The fire reportedly caused damage to the lobby of the assessor's office and some soot damage to the actual office itself. The courthouse will be closed until it is cleaned. There were no reports of any injuries.

 

Details are still forthcoming after the Grant Parish Sheriff’s office arrested the Creola Chief of Police. GPSO says 68 year old Donald Crooks of Pollock was being investigated after they had received several complaints involving him about ten days ago. Crooks is being charged with 13 counts of injuring public records, 16 counts of misdemeanor sexual battery, three counts of felony sexual battery, and malfeasance in office. He is being held at the Grant Parish Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says the state’s fight against the spread of COVID-19 is seeing encouraging numbers.  Edwards says over the last three days, the numbers of deaths have been the lowest seen in over a month, adding that the drop is credited to residents taking mitigation efforts seriously. The state reported 22 deaths on Monday, after reporting 19 on Sunday and 23 on Saturday. The number of COVID-19 deaths is up to 1,991.

 

The 2020 regular legislative session restarted yesterday after a month-long COVID-19 hiatus with 78 of the House’s 104 members in attendance. The Legislative Black Caucus had called for a postponement of legislative work until the 15th, but House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says they can’t wait any longer. The Lower Chamber will be missing one member for the rest of the session: freshman Representative Reggie Bagala of Lafourche Parish died from COVID-19.

 

A Senate Committee will hear several sports gambling-related bills Today. Lake Charles Republican Ronnie Johns has a proposal that calls for a proposition election on sports wagering to be held in every parish in November. If parishes were to legalize sports gambling, the activity could not begin until the Legislature approves the tax structure during next year’s fiscal session.

 

The House Appropriations, Ways and Means, and Transportation Committees are set to meet today starting at 9 AM. Appropriations will be taking up a few, preliminary budgetary procedures. Throughout the day Senate Judiciary A, B, and C will meet. Along with the gaming bills they’re scheduled to tackle, video poker, alcohol delivery, fantasy sports, and a proposal that would bar seizure of federal COVID relief money by an individual’s debtors. Senate Ag will also convene.

 

The Legislature’s chief economist tells the House Appropriations Committee not to expect a quick economic recovery once the coronavirus pandemic ends. Greg Albrecht anticipates a significant loss in state revenues for the fiscal year that begins in July.  He says all you have to do is look at the price of oil.

 

Attorney General Jeff Landry is requesting that the governor reconsider keeping cosmetology services closed for the duration of his stay at home order. In a letter sent to the Gov. John Bel Edwards on Monday, Landry says his request comes after substantive discussions with the Louisiana Board of Cosmetology and with small business owners. The letter states that the salons and barbershops should be allowed to reopen with "common sense and reasonable" guidelines to preserve public health.

 

Businesses can sign up to receive updates about changes to business restrictions and guidance for reopening at Open-Safely-Dot-LA-Dot-Gov. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning encourages business owners to sign up. Browning says those that do will be put on a list for in-person compliance checks, but you don’t have to wait for that inspection to open. Once you register your business you’ll be offered a poster you can put up in your business that shows customers you are in compliance with new COVID regulations. Browning says the site also offers the public an online tool for reporting non-compliant businesses.

 

Just over half of Louisiana Oil and Gas Association members feel bankruptcy is likely due to low oil prices. Association spokesperson Kati Hyer says the combo of a price war and the drop in demand from COVID-19 has dropped oil prices through the floor.

Employees have seen cuts in salary ranging from 6% to 20%. Hyer says oil producers have been obligated to reduce 23% of their workforce already and 77.5% of operators are taking steps now to shut-in production.

 

Louisiana school systems receive a 260-million-dollar coronavirus relief grant from the feds, with guidance on how to use the funds coming from The Louisiana Department of Education. says with this funding districts can develop a plan for the upcoming school year to ensure every student hears from an educator every day.

 

Nearly two-hundred employees at the Georgia-Pacific lumber facility in DeQuincy will be out of a job soon. That’s because Georgia-Pacific says it’s ceasing operations at that facility.

 

Carnival Cruise Lines has canceled all North American cruises through July. A date has not been given on when Carnival will re-start operations at the Port of New Orleans.

 

Grammy Award winner and Louisiana native Lauren Daigle will perform the National Anthem during the Louisiana State University Virtual Graduation on May 15. According to LSU's website, the university will hold a graduation watch party on the LSU Facebook page on May 15 at 10 a.m. to wish its newest class of proud Tiger alumni congratulations and appreciation for their hard work and continued determination through trying times.

 

Sports….

 

LSU football has received a verbal pledge from a quarterback out of Texas. Four-star prospect Garrett Nussmeier from Flower Mound, Texas said in a video message today that he wants to play for the Tigers. His father, Doug Nussmeier, played for the Saints in the late 1990s. Garrett Nussmeier is listed as the 16th best player in the state of Texas. He also had offers from Texas, Texas A-and-M and Miami.

 

An NFL coaching legend has passed away. Former Dolphins head coach Don Shula has died at the age of 90. He’s the NFL’s all-time winningest coach with 347 victories and coached in six Super Bowls, winning two titles. Shula retired following the 1995 season and entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. Saints Owner Gayle Benson says Shula embodied everything that so many of us love about the N-F-L. Saints Coach Sean Payton says we’ve lost a football legend. Shula is the only coach to guide an NFL team through a perfect season when Miami went 17-and-0 in 1972.

 

There will be no NFL games in London or Mexico City this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Roger Goodell says he made the decision after talking to the teams, national and local governments, the NFLPA, medical authorities and international stadium partners.

 

The NFL is planning to release a 2020 schedule this week that would have the first regular-season game on September 10th and the Super Bowl on February seventh in Tampa. But the schedule will have contingencies built-in because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The Dolphins say they’ve come up with a plan on how fans will enter and exit their stadium and still adhere to social distancing guidelines. Hard Rock Stadium can hold 65-thousand fans, but the Dolphins says they might only have 15-thousand at their games this season.

 

Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette will likely be a free agent after the 2020 season. The Jaguars declined to pick up the fifth-year option on the former fourth overall pick. Fournette rushed for 11-hundred yards last season and led the team in receptions, but only scored three touchdowns.

Good Morning.. News For Monday May 4th, 2020

News for Monday May 4th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Deaths statewide from COVID-19 are now far outpacing those annually from the flu and other diseases. The first COVID-19 death in Louisiana was reported March 14 and the death toll hit 1,969 by Sunday. The roughly two-month run of the virus in the state has accounted for more fatalities so far than had any single year's worth of deaths from diabetes, kidney disease, drug overdoses or the flu between 2014 and 2017, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

As of Sunday at noon there were 29,340 reported Cases of covid-19 state wide, 1,969 have died and 1530 remain Hospitalized.

 

The state is ramping up COVID-19 contact tracing this month and that means you may be getting a call from a health official if you or someone close to you tests positive.   Governor Edwards says contact tracing is critical to stopping the spread of the virus. If you test positive, Edwards says the state will want information from you that could help identify others you may have infected.

 

State lawmakers return to Baton Rouge today for the resumption of the 2020 legislative session. Legislators have been away from the State Capitol since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic and safety concerns still exist. The biggest issues on the table are the budget, COVID-19 related bills and legislation to help the economy. Before the coronavirus pandemic, auto insurance rate reform was the big topic. Senate President Page Cortez still expects the tort reform bills to be heard. Cortez says they do not plan on discussing a proposed budget until after May 11th. The Revenue Estimating Conference will meet that day to give legislators a projection on how much money is available for next fiscal year. The session must end at 6 PM on June 1st. If a budget is not approved, a special session will be called.

 

As the state House gavels in at 9 AM this morning, Baton Rouge Representative Ted James will not be present.  James was hospitalized with COVID-19 and pneumonia a month ago and says the House chamber is not a safe environment. James has since recovered but noted there’s no confirmation currently that those who’ve caught the virus once can’t be reinfected.

 

About 250 protesters showed up at the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday demanding Louisiana immediately drop the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus and allow the unfettered reopening of businesses and churches.

No masks, no gloves and no social distancing were in evidence among the overwhelmingly white crowd, many of whom wore pro-President Donald Trump paraphernalia; shook homemade signs with slogans such as “I trust God with my immune system”; and waved American flags.

 

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a daunting set of new challenges at Louisiana and New Orleans area emergency planners gearing up for what is expected to be a busy hurricane season. Planning for the expected combination of pandemic and hurricane threats began early in April, when Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered state agencies to outline issues they expected to face and adaptations that needed to be made to existing hurricane preparedness plans.

 

A Lafayette drug testing company reaches a deal with suppliers to provide a test that will show patients within ten minutes whether they have coronavirus antibodies. Global Data Fusion Founder and CEO Ed Roy says the test process is easy and only requires participants to give a small prick of blood from their fingertip. Global Data Fusion is set to offer the test to hospitals and other companies and is not offering individual tests to the public. The tests, from a Chinese producer, will be shipped to Lafayette sometime this week.

 

It’s official, The New Orleans Archdiocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as the institution is facing mounting legal costs caused by litigation stemming from decades-old incidents of clergy abuse. Archbishop Gregory Aymond says the action will not affect individual church parishes or their schools…

 

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture introduces a new online tool for those looking to get their hands on farm-fresh foods.  It’s called the Louisiana Farm Food Map and Directory.  Manager of the Louisiana Farm to School Program Johannah Frelier says the tool can be found in the coronavirus information center section of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s website and can help shoppers find fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, seafood and more. Frelier says there has never been a more vital time for the immune system to get the nutrient product that farmers offer.

 

The Mississippi River has receded enough to prompt Friday’s closure of the final bays of a spillway north of New Orleans. The Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened April 3 after the river was at a high enough level to threaten New Orleans’ levees. The opening marked an unprecedented third straight year and the fifth time this decade that the spillway was open.

 

 

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING

 

 

on… Monday, May 04, 2020

The stories and information below are aggregated from various news sources and are for planning purposes only.

 

T OP STORIES

 

C ORONAVIRUS – DOMESTIC ANGLE

 

LATEST NUMBERS

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported 1,122,486 U.S. cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 29,671 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,452 to 65,735.

 

PROMISING EARLY COVID-19 TREATMENT WILL BE ROLLED OUT THIS WEEK: CEO

Remdesivir, a tentative treatment for the novel coronavirus, will be rolled out to hospitals in the coming days, the CEO of the company behind it said on Sunday. “We are now firmly focused on getting this medicine to the most urgent patients,” Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO Daniel O’Day told CBS’ Face the Nation. “We intend to get [remdesivir] to patients in the early part of this next week, beginning to work with the government which will determine which cities are most vulnerable and where the patients are that need this medicine,” he said, adding that 1.5 million vials that could treat up to 200,000 patients would be donated to the government.

 

DHS REPORT: CHINA HID VIRUS’ SEVERITY TO HOARD SUPPLIES

U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show. Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable. Not classified but marked “for official use only,” the DHS analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states. The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a

 

contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.

 

COSTCO TO REQUIRE FACE COVERINGS, GO

BACK TO NORMAL HOURS STARTING MAY 4

Starting Monday, May 4, Costco will require workers and guests to wear face coverings while shopping in its warehouse, according to a statement on its website. The coverings must cover the nose and mouth at all times. Costco said the mask policy will not apply to children younger than 2 or those unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions. Costco also announced that most stores and gas stations will return to normal operating hours starting May 4. Costco will continue giving priority access to front line workers at its stores. Select Costco stores will open early, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., for those aged 60 or older or those with disabilities.

 

MACYS REOPENING IN 68 STATES

Macy's plans to reopen 68 stores in states where restrictions placed to stem the spread of coronavirus have been lifted. The retailer will institute several significant changes to the shopping experience, including "no-touch" consultations in beauty departments and the suspension of alteration services.

 

SELECT STARBUCKS STORES OPENING MONDAY, 90 PERCENT TO BE REOPENED BY JUNE

Some Starbucks branches in the U.S., nearly half of which have been closed following the COVID-19 outbreak, will begin reopening from Monday with restrictions. The selected locations will be offering expanded pick-up, drive-thru and delivery order options, the company confirmed in an updated statement. Thirty stores reopening from next week will not be offering in-store seating, while the company considers local government restrictions and infection curves as it reopens branches, the company's chief operating officer, Roz Brewer, told the Associated Press (AP).

 

BMW RESTARTS PRODUCTION AT ITS SPARTANBURG PLANT IN SOUTH CAROLINA

BMW restarts production at its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, which has been closed in recent weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Measures have been put in place to protect employees at the plant, while work will at about half the factory's capacity before production is gradually increased.

 

MORE AIRLINES REQUIRING FACE COVERINGS STARTING MONDAY

Spirit Airlines is the latest domestic airline to require passengers to wear face coverings to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Starting Monday, passengers on United, Delta and JetBlue will have to wear them as well. Spirit's new policy will take effect on May 11, the same day as American, Southwest and Alaska. Frontier Airlines said it will require passengers to wear face masks starting May 8. United said it would provide the required face coverings to passengers starting Monday. Spirit passengers will have to bring their own masks, and will have to wear them at the airport and throughout the flight. Very young children will be exempt.

 

MALLS TO REOPEN IN 10 STATES BY MAY 4

Simon Property Group (SPG) plans to reopen 49 malls in 10 states between May 1 and May 4, according to an internal memo cited by CNBC. The reopenings will comply with state-by-state shutdown rules in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemics. SPG will reopen over 21 malls in Texas opening May 1, 10 in Indiana opening May 4, and a few malls each in mostly Southern states like Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina. The Indianapolis-based SPG, the biggest mall operator in the United States, will require employees to wear masks, keep limited hours to allow for overnight cleaning, and provide temperature testing using infrared thermometers. Customers will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks,

 

and tenants will be encouraged to use contactless technology. Traffic will be limited to one person per 50 square feet, though was not clear how that would be enforced.

 

STATES PARTIALLY REOPEN:

 

ARIZONA

Gov. Doug Ducey on April 29 extended the state's stay-at-home order through May 15, with some businesses reopening on a limited basis as early as May 4.

 

Two county sheriffs in Arizona say they will not be enforcing Gov. Doug Ducey's (R-Ariz.) stay-at- home order amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to the Arizona Republic, Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb have both said they will not arrest or hand out fines to those violating a stay-at-home order issued by Ducey that seeks to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, which data shows has infected thousands in the state and killed hundreds in recent months.

 

ARKANSAS

Arkansas' barbershops and beauty salons, which have been closed since March 25, may reopen for business May 6, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said May 1. The announcement applies to barbers, cosmetologists, massage therapists, tattoo artists and medical spa services. Barber colleges and beauty schools will remain closed at this time, Hutchinson said. Hutchinson said April 30 that gyms, fitness centers and indoor athletic facilities may reopen on May 4. Such facilities will be required to screen both its staff and its patrons for COVID-19 when they reopen. Face masks will be required for staff and patrons except when actively exercising, hand sanitizer must be made readily available and all equipment must be sanitized after each use, the governor said.

 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announces decision on whether to begin lifting restrictions on places of worship and larger venues, which have been subject to social distancing measures to help combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

COLORADO

Colorado allows up to 50% of office staff in any one place of work to return to work in-person, as long as social distancing protocols are followed, as part of the state's 'Safer-at-Home' coronavirus (COVID-19) containment phase. Critical businesses have been permitted to remain open with strict precautions throughout the lockdown.

 

FLORIDA

Florida 'Safer at Home' order expires, unless extended, with a new order coming into place that allows some business to reopen, subject to certain restrictions to help combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The new order, signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, allows restaurants to reopen with full outdoor seating, and indoor seating allowed at 25% of building capacity. On-site sale and retail businesses can also operate at 25% of capacity, subject to appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures, but bars, nightclubs and gyms remain closed, as do personal care services, though portions of those business with on-site retail sales may reopen at 25% capacity. Groups remain limited to 10 people or fewer. The revised order also allows sporting venues to operate without spectators, and outdoor exercise and recreational activities are allowed if consistent with social distancing guidelines. Beaches remain open, with a phased-in reopening of state parks.

 

INDIANA EASES CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS, AS MORE BUSINESSES OPEN

'Stage 2' of Indiana's 'Back on Track' plan takes effect in most of the state, except Cass, Lake, and Marion counties. Under the revised order, essential travel restrictions are lifted; social gatherings with 25 people may take place following the CDC social distancing guidelines; public libraries can reopen; and shopping malls may open at 50% capacity with indoor common areas at 25% capacity. Indiana residents are recommended to wear face coverings in public settings, and those 65 and over and those with high- risk health conditions should remain at home whenever possible * Cultural, entertainment, sports venues, and tourism still remains closed.

 

KANSAS

Gov. Laura Kelly announced April 30 that she will allow many Kansas businesses to reopen the following week if they can maintain social distancing; she hopes to lift all coronavirus-inspired state limits on mass gatherings and other restrictions by June 15. Kelly unveiled her framework for reopening the state by phasing out restrictions for businesses and social activities over the following six weeks while ramping up efforts for virus testing and tracing. Kelly's three-phase plan begins with the May 4 expiration of her statewide stay-at-home order.

 

MISSOURI

Much of Missouri may begin reopening May 4 under relatively lenient statewide orders, but local governments can impose stricter rules if they want. The state's stay-at-home order expires May 3 at midnight, but St. Louis and Kansas City are set to remain under stay-at-home orders, for example.

 

MONTANA

Montana lifts some hospitality industry lockdown restrictions, including the reopening of restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos, as long as strict physical distancing and reduced capacity protocols are followed. Gyms, pools, cinemas, and music halls remain closed.

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Hospitals, which had largely been restricted to treating COVID-19 patients and emergencies, can start performing time-sensitive procedures such as CT scans and knee and hip replacements for chronic pain starting May 4.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Gov. Henry McMaster announced May 1 that a mandatory stay-home order will be lifted May 4, the same day that outdoor dining at restaurants will be allowed to resume.

 

VERMONT

Gov. Phil Scott on May 1 announced additional steps to ease restrictions under the state's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order issued in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Effective May 4, manufacturing, construction and distribution companies will be able to re-open with a maximum of 10 employees. The following week, on May 11, those same sectors, will be allowed re-open at full operations with as few employees as necessary.

 

WASHINGTON

More than 100 parks, trails, and boating sites will re-open Tuesday in Washington state as some coronavirus restrictions are eased, but many popular sites remain closed indefinitely. The state parks that open will be limited to daytime use only and parking spaces will be limited at some urban parks to discourage crowding. All ocean beach parks and parks along the Columbia River Gorge on the

 

Washington-Oregon border will remain closed. The re-openings are being made under the first phase of Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to ease rules imposed to prevent the spread of the virus. Beaches and campgrounds would re-open under the second phase of the plan, although large gatherings would still be banned.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on April 30 said he is lifting the statewide stay-home order next week as part of his plan to ease coronavirus restrictions. A new rule will go into effect May 4 encouraging people to stay home but not requiring them to do so. The move coincides with the reopening of small businesses, outdoor dining at restaurants and barbers.

 

NORTHEAST STATES INCLUDING NEW YORK AND DELAWARE FORM PPE SUPPLY CHAIN

Good Morning... News For Friday May 1st, 2020

News for Friday May 1st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana reported 60 new COVID fatalities yesterday. But, the good news is we continue to see a decline in total hospitalizations. 341 new positive tests were reported as well putting the total above 28,000.

 

Beginning today, restaurants can have outside dining with no wait service. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says all restaurants that provide outdoor patio venues must adhere to strict mitigation standards.

 

Governor Edwards calls a legislative petition aimed at ending his stay at home order and public health emergency “completely irresponsible and nonsensical”, but a petition proponent says they already have more than half the signatures they need to pass the veto-proof instrument. Petition supporters appear to be all Republicans but not everyone in the GOP is on board. Baton Rouge Representative Barbara Freiburg supports the Governor’s decision. She says she’s been in frequent meetings with health officials and says the data shows reopening now wouldn’t be a good idea.

 

LaSalle Parish is planning to reopen today, defying the Governor’s statewide stay-at-home order extension through May 15th.  A day after West Feliciana Parish unveiled plans to allow restaurants to serve diners and to let other businesses reopen, the parish president said Thursday he plans to follow the governor's new coronavirus orders that were extended for two more weeks.

 

Senator John Kennedy says he’s not in favor of rubber-stamping federal legislation to help state and local level governments cover expenses without seeing some indication as to how much revenue is expected to be lost.  Kennedy thinks some mayors and governors will see spending money that they don’t have as being the new normal.

 

The Central Police Department warns their phone lines are clogged with out of state callers protesting the house arrest of Life Tabernacle Church Pastor Tony Spell.  The call to action was posted on a Facebook page claiming to be Magi Spell. Police Chief Roger Corcoran says it’s a dangerous stunt that could prevent people from reporting emergencies.

 

Attorney General Jeff Landry is encouraging Governor Edwards to allow the reopening of churches.  Landry says there is becoming some social unrest and one of the first steps to helping that is to allow churches to reunite their congregations. Edwards responded to the letter saying he’s not considering allowing churches to open before May 15th.

 

Louisiana legislative leadership made official Thursday afternoon their plans to reconvene the session that was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Lawmakers are returning to the State Capitol Monday, giving them 28 days to pass an operating budget for state government, advise and consent on about 300 appointees, and reconfirm several state agencies that are about to “sunset” or close unless allowed to continue operations. The session is scheduled by law to adjourn by 6 p.m. June 1. The state Constitution requires that a state budget be approved by the Legislature and signed into law by July 1 or spending must halt.

 

Natchitoches officials report an early morning Thursday fire caused damage to two businesses on Main Street. Mayeaux’s Steakhouse and All Tangled Up Salon had severe damage from the fire but no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is preparing to file bankruptcy as today. The Advocate is reporting that the bankruptcy filing comes as the mounting cost of unresolved clergy-abuse lawsuits and the shutdown of church services due to the coronavirus deliver crushing blows to church finances. The 227-year-old local institution serving half a million New Orleans-area Catholics will join 26 other American dioceses and Catholic religious orders that have sought financial protection from creditors and claimants since the clergy-abuse scandal reached a fever pitch in 2002

 

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has released data for initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending April 25 are down by 28% over the previous week.

 

The Kisatchie National Forest has canceled its annual fishing derbies scheduled for May and June. This cancellation comes as the USDA Forest Service is taking necessary measures to safeguard the health of employees and the public.

 

LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade is like many coaches, hoping there will be a season next year. Wade says at this time he’s optimistic. If the Tigers are able to get on the court next season, LSU should have a good team. Wade signed the fifth best-recruiting class in the country according to 24-7 sports.

 

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