KSYL Local News Archives for 2020-07

Good Morning... News For Friday July 31st, 2020

News for Friday July 31st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

New COVID numbers for the state showed an increase in cases of 17-hundred yesterday. Hospitalizations decreased for the third day in a row, down by 20. The use of vents also decreased, down by 16. however Fatalities increased by 42. Governor Edwards says that’s due to our spike in cases over the past few weeks.

 

Unions and citizens’’ groups rallied yesterday outside the offices of U-S Senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy demanding they vote for a coronavirus relief package that continues the 600-dollar weekly benefits for unemployed workers. Cassidy has said there needs to be a greater focus on moving unemployed people into available jobs. But many protesters say they can’t find a job that pays the rent. Democrats are in support of continuing the 600-dollar a week unemployment checks.

 

Several bar owners in Acadiana have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Governor Edwards over his emergency order that bans onsite consumption at bars. Attorney Jimmy Faircloth is representing the plaintiffs and he says several of these bar owners met with the governor to find out why casinos are allowed to remain open, but a small bar owner can’t have ten patrons inside their establishment. The state health department has traced 464 confirmed coronavirus infections to 41 bars.  Governor Edwards says bar closures were a necessity in spread mitigation and have the support of the feds.

 

Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder says thousands of small business owners from across the state have started the application process for a grant from the state’s Main Street Recovery Program. Each grant, worth up to $15,000, helps business owners cover unforeseen costs from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this spring, the Louisiana Legislature created the $275 million Main Street Recovery Program. The program prioritizes businesses that have not received financial help from their insurance companies or the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Schroder says more than 15,000 businesses started the application process in the first two days of the program. He says the initial demand indicates just how bad businesses have it right now.

 

It was announced yesterday that the Baton Rouge region "erased a decade of job growth in a month" because of coronavirus, marking a drop in progress not seen since the Great Recession began in late 2007.

 

Beginning Saturday access to medical marijuana will increase dramatically in Louisiana. Legislation passed this year that allows physicians to prescribe without having to obtain a special license. LSU medical marijuana licensee Wellcana CEO John Davis says as, with other medications prescribed in the state, marijuana dispensaries have access to the state’s prescription program to reduce abuse. Medical cannabis is not currently covered by health insurance, but some lawmakers are hoping to change that.

 

Beginning tomorrow, state law will allow for year around nighttime hunting of feral hogs on private property.  Jonesboro Republican Jack McFarland authored the measure and

says the bill would also extend to other damaging species such as armadillos, nutria, beavers, and coyotes. Hunters would be required to contact the parish sheriff’s office within 24 hours prior to the attempted nighttime take.  McFarland says feral hogs will eat anything and have negative impacts on farmland as well as other wildlife.

 

The number of first-time unemployment claims in Louisiana dropped sharply last week, but the number of people who continued to get jobless benefits rose. There were 18,511 initial unemployment claims filed during the week ending Saturday, according to figures released yesterday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. That’s down from the 32,079 first-time claims filed the week ending July 18. In comparison to more typical numbers, just 2,022 first-time claims were filed this week last year.

 

SEC presidents approve a plan that would reduce the football schedule from 12 regular-season games to a ten-game season against conference opponents. According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the ten-game schedule would begin on September 26th and the SEC title game will be held on December 19th.

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

News for Thursday July 30th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported 69 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 3,769. Louisiana’s health department also reported 17-hundred new cases, but for the third time in four days, the state reported fewer COVID patients in the hospital. Here in Rapides Parish we say 31 news cases of the virus for a total of  2,817  The Parish also hit the Century Mark for fatalities with the report of 2 more deaths.

 

Sports Illustrated reports SEC Athletics Directors have agreed to join the Big Ten and PAC 12 in moving to a conference only schedule for the upcoming college football season. The plan is not set in stone yet though as school presidents must approve it. They are scheduled to meet virtually tomorrow to discuss the proposal.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation to consider funding Louisiana’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in the current proposal for COVID-19 relief legislation. Edwards says if the fund gets to the point where it needs to borrow money from the feds, that borrowing is available interest free, but a mechanism has to be set up to pay it back. Under Louisiana law the Louisiana Workforce Commission must impose a surtax on businesses up to 30% on taxable payroll.

 

The state graduation rate declined from 81.4 percent for the class of 2018 to 80.1 percent for the class of 2019. New Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley says it’s a disappointing development after years of gains in the graduation rate. Louisiana high schools did graduate a record 42,650 students for the class of 2019. In some good news, the number of students graduating with college credit or industry credentials went up ten percent. Brumley says further increasing that number will be a focus during his tenure. Just over half of all students in the 2019 class graduated with college credits or credentials.

 

Business Facilities Magazine ranks Louisiana Economic Development’s FastStart program as the top workforce development program in the nation for the eleventh consecutive year.  Executive Director of the FastStart program Paul Helton, says there is no secret to the success, they just produce results. The magazine also ranks Louisiana number one for best industrial electricity rates, New Orleans number one among logistics leaders, and the Port of South Louisiana number one for imports.

 

A Minden Senator is asking the Edwards administration to allow clergy members into healthcare facilities to tend to sick and/or dying patients. The current public health emergency bars family from entry, but Robert Mills says clergy should be considered mental health support personnel. This would include nursing homes, hospitals, and adult residential facilities. Mills says it’s not just a quality of life issue, but a quality of death issue for those with little time left.

 

The state Agriculture Department has received about 300 calls from Louisianans who’ve received mystery packages of seeds from China and Eastern Europe. Commissioner Mike Strain says it’s part of some kind of nationwide plot. He says the items come in marked a jewelry, ear buds or other small items. The fear is the seeds could be from an invasive species that could damage crops. If you get a package, do not open it and call the Ag department.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says Louisianans are pouring into state parks in numbers never before seen. After breaking records earlier in the pandemic Nungesser is celebrating the fact that last weekend was the biggest attendance weekend in Louisiana State Park history. Attendance records were first recorded in 2008.

 

A mystery philanthropist makes a 20 million dollar donation to Xavier University, a historically black college in New Orleans. Xavier President Dr. Reynold Verret says representatives of the anonymous donor requested that the funds be used to create a tuition endowment. The Associated Press suggests the donation may have been made by MacKenzie Scott, the recently divorced former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

 

Sports..

 

LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron says he’s preparing his team for the season to start on time with the season opener in Tiger Stadium versus U-T-S-A on September 5th. Orgeron says if the schedule changes, they will not blink. Orgeron made the comments during a Facebook Live Interview with the Baton Rouge Rotary Club.

 

Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry says Zion Williamson will be a game-time decision tonight  when New Orleans restarts its season versus Utah. Williamson practiced for the first time yesterday after leaving the NBA bubble to attend to a family emergency. Gentry says the team’s medical staff will determine if Williamson will play.

 

Saints players are getting tested this week for the coronavirus. The players will need to test negative for COVID-19 three times in a four-day period. If they do, they will undergo a physical this weekend. Even though there was no offseason conditioning program, Coach Sean Payton expects the players will be in great shape. Payton also says despite efforts to promote social distancing and wearing masks inside the team’s training facility, he expects there will be games that will not be played this season because of outbreaks that occur within a team.

 

The ACC has announced that its schools will play a 10-game conference schedule starting the week of September seven to 12. Notre Dame will be part of that conference schedule and will be eligible for the ACC Football Championship game. ACC schools can also play one non-conference game, but the game must be played at that school’s home state.

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

News for Wednesday July 29th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports 1125 new COVID cases Tuesday, the lowest daily case count in three weeks. Fatalities rose by 26 to 3,700. Hospitalizations are down by 17. Governor Edwards announced yesterday that the state is now number one in per capita new cases. Baton Rouge now has more cases of COVID-19 than New Orleans.

 

In a weekly report compiled by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, 51 Louisiana parishes, including all of Cenla, are being classified in a so-called ‘Red Zone’, suggesting further restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the state. For parishes in the ‘Red Zone,’ the White House Coronavirus Task Force suggested people wear a mask at all times outside the home and to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer. The task force also suggests that public officials “close bars and gyms, and eliminate inside dining. It was thought going into the Governor’s press conference yesterday that he would announce more closures, however, he did not.

 

Louisiana’s COVID-19 testing has hit another hurdle with the turnaround time on getting results.  Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says the timeliness makes the difference in stopping the spread versus just adding numbers to the stats. Early in the pandemic, there was a lack of nasal swabs to conduct tests, but now Billioux says some labs are struggling with the supply chain for supplies need to process the tests.

 

The country’s second biggest teacher’s union threatens to back strikes in areas that are not doing enough to ensure school safety for teachers and students. That came from the American Federation of Teachers and their Louisiana Chapter President Larry Carter says in hotspots across Louisiana union members are actively discussing that as an option of last resort. The AFT earlier this month adopted a resolution backing the reopening of schools only in areas where the positivity rate for tests was under five percent. Over the past few weeks, the rate has hovered around ten percent but has recently dropped under eight percent.

 

The last 600-dollar weekly enhanced unemployment benefits are being sent out Friday, and the Louisiana Workforce Commission is encouraging those set to lose benefits to apply for a new job on the LWC website. Congress is currently debating whether to renew the benefits. Republicans are seeking to reduce it to 200 dollars a week, Democrats want to extend the 600 for the rest of the year. Unless the feds renew the enhanced benefits people receiving state unemployment will be capped at 247 dollars a week, and those receiving PUA assistance will be capped at 107 dollars a week.

Those looking for a job should visit laworks.net

 

The Louisiana Department of Revenue is busy reviewing applications and prepping to send out the first $250 frontline worker checks this week. Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue Kimberly Robinson says if you are eligible there’s still time to  apply. A variety of workers are eligible, for example, grocery clerks, garbage collectors, and healthcare workers, people who worked during the stay at home order and make less than $50-thousand a year. As of Tuesday, the department says they’ve received approximately 205-thousand applications for the Hazard Pay Rebate.

 

Pineville PD are looking for 39 year old Jason Maricle on multiple Charges after a fire yesterday afternoon on Edgewood Drive caused extensive damage to a home and injured two people. When fire fighters arrived at the scene, they located an unconscious male victim near the front of the house and a female victim nearby. They were both transported to a hospital. Their condition is unknown at this time.

 

Four bars are facing permit suspensions following noncompliance with Governor Edwards’ emergency order aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The permits are for the Sand Dollar Tiki Bar in Grand Isle, Frosty Factory in Lake Charles, Pelican Pub in Gonzales, and Wo-de’s Chill Spot in Harvey. Hearings are set for August 5th and 6th.

 

Former LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow has reportedly signed a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals worth 36-million dollars. And the deal includes a 24-million dollar signing bonus.

 

There’s some good news for those hoping we will see high school football this fall. The LHSAA will allow schools to hold seven on seven practices starting on Monday, but you can’t have more than 25 players involved in one group. Players can wear shoulder pads on August sixth and teams will be allowed to do more activities in larger groups once the state moves into phase three

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

News for Tuesday July 28th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The Main Street Recovery Program will begin accepting applications at 9 AM today from small businesses impacted by the pandemic. State Treasurer John Schroder says Eligible businesses can receive up to 15,000 dollars, and the money will be sent out on a first-come-first-served basis. For the first 21 days, the program will only disburse funds to businesses that did not receive federal assistance or insurance payments. But, it is likely the money in the fund will not last more than a week. Businesses must have a brick and mortar location and fewer than 50 employees to be eligible.

 

In a rather bizarre story, people around the country have been receiving seed packages that appear to be from China or Eastern Europe. At this point officials are not saying whether or not they are dangerous, what they are saying is if you’ve received a mystery package please not open it, and if you already have, do not dispose of the seeds or plant them. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says authorities will come to you to handle the disposal of the mystery seeds. The issue appears to be nationwide.

 

Former Vernon Parish Sheriff and former State Representative Frank Howard has died at the age of 81 due to complications from COVID-19.  Howard was Sheriff for 24 years. Following a few years of retirement from law enforcement, Howard was elected to be a state representative and served three terms in that position before being termed out in 2019.

 

According to a study from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a rise in chronic conditions is putting more Louisiana residents at risk for colorectal cancer.  Medical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Dr. Jeremy Wigginton says there has been a substantial uptick in cancer cases for those with inflammatory colon conditions.

Wigginton says someone with a history of such conditions should talk to a doctor about when to get screened.  Wigginton adds that the screening process has become much easier in recent years and people just need to get it done. Wigginton says early detection is key.

 

The Acadiana area is seeing the addition of nearly 400 new jobs as educational software company SchoolMint announces it will be moving their headquarters from San Francisco to Lafayette.  Governor John Bel Edwards was on hand for the announcement has says this is further evidence of the state’s economic growth for the 21st century. The move comes following SchoolMint’s acquisition of Lafayette-based Smart Choice Technologies in 2019. 

 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany announced on Monday that the two will be donating $5 million to build multiple health care centers throughout Louisiana in a partnership with Ochsner Health. The money will come from the Brees Dream Foundation and their personal giving.

 

Veterans on the Saints report for training camp today but it will be a few days before they get on the field. Players must pass three COVID tests during a four-day period before they can enter the team’s training facility in Metairie. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says the Saints are positioned well to handle this unique season. The NFL and its players’ association have agreed to an extensive list of health and safety protocols and players will be tested often. But Detllier says there will be no preseason games this year and training camp rosters are 80 players, instead of 90.

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

News for Monday July 27th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Health officials in Louisiana are now reporting there are 107,574 cases of COVID-19 That number went up by 3,840 since Friday. There have been 3,651 deaths, that up by 48 over the weekend. Some good news, statewide the number of those hospitalized and those on vents over the weekend went down. Here in Rapides parish the number of cases increased by 102 over the weekend and there were 2 more deaths.

 

SEC presidents and athletic directors will hold a series of virtual meetings this week to discuss fall sports plans. College football insider Brett McMurphy says because so many states are struggling to contain the coronavirus, it’s unlikely the college football season will kick off Labor Day weekend. Voluntary workouts for college football teams began in June and some teams were hit with an initial cluster of COVID cases. But McMurphy says there’s a concern for community spread when students return to campus. The PAC-12 and Big 10 have already made the decision to play conference only football schedules this season. The SEC has said they plan to make a decision in late July. McMurphy expects the ACC, Big 12 and SEC to decide on a shorter schedule, filled mostly with conference games.

 

As hospitals across the state reach capacity with COVID-19 patients, some healthcare facilities have enough beds, but they are having staffing issues to provide adequate care for patients.  As daily case counts continue to set records across the state with community spread, many hospital workers and coming down with the virus as well, making the shortage of staff even worse. Late last week Governor Edward asked FEMA for approximately 700 healthcare workers.

 

The C-D-C has changed the guidelines for returning to work after a person tests positive for COVID. Instead of having to quarantine for 14 days, the C-D-C says a person can return to work 10 days after the first symptoms appear. Also, the CDC no longer recommends a person to get repeatedly tested before returning to work.

 

Hopefully School is set to begin soon. The Louisiana Department of Health is trying to get the word out that some students need to get up to date on vaccinations. State Immunization Director Doctor Frank Welch says because of the pandemic, some parents have put off getting the necessary vaccinations. Welch says not every kid needs a vaccine every year and the best thing to do is to ask your child’s pediatrician what may be needed.

 

There's a good chance that the next tropical depression of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will form this week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters say a broad area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave several hundred miles west/southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands has a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression today or tomorrow and an 90% chance of developing within the next five days. Hurricane Hanna made landfall along the lower Texas coast over the weekend.

 

The ACLU is looking for Louisianans who feel they were the victim of racist policing to help them file lawsuits challenging discriminatory policies. ACLU Louisiana Legal Director Nora Ahmed says this includes racially motivated traffic stops, searches, seizures, detainments, and incidents where police dogs were used to assault people on racial grounds. The recruitment initiative is part of ACLU Louisiana’s Justice Lab project that includes the participation of 35 law firms and 14 law schools working together to challenge racist criminal justice policies. Interested participants can reach out via email to Justicelab@LAACLU.org.

 

A study from the career website Zippia polled 2,000 people nationwide to find out how likable their bosses are and the top things they hate about their bosses.  Head of content at Zippia Kathy Morris says in Louisiana, 18-percent of workers disliked their boss. Nationally, the most disliked traits about bosses were micromanaging, never being available, and incompetence. Morris says 59% of workers have quit a job because of a bad boss, which is one of the biggest expenses in hiring and adds Louisiana has one of the higher monthly quit rates in the nation.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration will send millions of dollars to Louisiana’s local government agencies in August to reimburse their coronavirus spending, but that reimbursement money is slated to run out this fall without another influx of federal aid.

State lawmakers earmarked $525 million in direct congressional aid for the COVID-19 outbreak to reimburse municipalities for expenses related to their response, in a program managed by the Edwards administration. More than $127 million has been paid out already, and the second round of multimillion-dollar payments will start going out Aug. 1.

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

News for Friday July 24th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana surpassed 100,000 total confirmed COVID positive cases since the pandemic began Thursday as the count continues to grow at a rapid pace. 2,300 new cases were reported yesterday alone. Governor Edwards says that grim accomplishment should inspire residents to redouble their spread mitigation efforts. A conspiracy theory questioning whether that figure includes multiple tests from one person is gaining steam. Edwards called it a disinformation campaign aimed at minimizing how serious the situation is. Edwards’ Phase Two order has been extended for another two weeks with added restrictions on bars and the mask mandate. He says it’s the only way we can get back to a sense of normalcy.

 

Healthcare officials in Acadiana warn the public that they are running out of regional healthcare capacity due to COVID-19 case growth. Lafayette General Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amanda Logue says their system hospitals and ICUs are full of COVID patients. As of Thursday, the Lafayette General Health system had 143 COVID patients. That number was only 20 six weeks ago. Our Lady of the Lourdes CMO Dr. Henry Kaufman says their healthcare workers have seen a 300 percent increase in cases in this second wave compared to the first wave.

 

New unemployment claims and existing claims both increased again last week, with more than 313,100 workers remaining on the unemployment rolls across Louisiana.

There were 32,079 first-time unemployment claims filed last week, up from 26,351 one week before. State officials shuttered bars in recent weeks in an attempt to curb the spike in new coronavirus cases and ease the squeeze on local health care systems. That move is being reflected in the unemployment claims, with first-time claims in the food services and accommodation sector jumping more than 6,100 last week.

 

The National Hurricane Center says a tropical depression heading towards Texas has developed into Tropical Storm Hanna overnight and is expected to produce heavy rains in Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the tropical storm could produce about an inch of rain here in central Louisiana through Monday, two to four inches along the I-10 corridor and four inches along the coast. The forecast calls for the storm to make landfall on Saturday between Houston and Brownsville, Texas.

 

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins officially qualifies to challenge Senator Bill Cassidy.  Perkins, a Democrat says his decision to run rose from the concerns he has about how Congress is handling the coronavirus pandemic and this moment calls for strong, decisive leadership in DC. Perkins says DC is moving too slow in helping families and cites legislation sent from the House to the Senate over two months ago that would have provided much-needed relief to working families.

 

Local governments have been reimbursed 127 million dollars so far as part of the CARES Act. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the money did not reimburse revenue losses for local governments and only paid for COVID-related expenditures. Dardenne says the bulk of the money reimbursed so far has gone to southern parishes hit hard in the early days like Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. The funding comes from a 524 million dollar fund for local governments.

 

The U-S Senate is about to begin debating the fifth coronavirus relief package, which will likely come with a trillion-dollar price tag.  Senator John Kennedy expects there will be additional help for unemployment compensation, but it will not be at the same $600 per week level that it has been at. Not all Republican lawmakers are in agreement with the latest relief effort as some feel the cost is too much with a national debt that continues to climb.

 

 

Good Morning.... News For Thursday July 23rd, 2020

News for Thursday July 23rd, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports 60 new COVID-19 fatalities in the latest COVID report yesterday, the highest daily addition since May 1. Total statewide death toll: 3,558. The state also added another 2,800 cases and is on course to surpass 100,000 total cases today.

The state is nearly back to where it was in late April when it comes to hospital bed usage, and several regions of Louisiana are now actively working to move ICU patients into less slammed areas. Some have called the recent concern over ballooning cases hysteria caused by higher overall testing but Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says that’s false, and the state now has an over ten percent positive rate for COVID tests.

 

A Remington Research Group poll commissioned by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder shows wide and bipartisan support for the Governor’s mask mandate and public health emergency declaration. 76 percent of those surveyed last weekend support a government mask mandate. UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says

57 percent of respondents agreed with the way the state government has handled the pandemic so far, only 26 percent disapproved. 61 percent of Louisianans oppose canceling the public health emergency declaration while only 22 percent agree. Cross says that’s a blow to legislative efforts to accomplish that.

 

Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins will challenge Republican Senator Bill Cassidy in the November 3rd election. Before he got into politics, Perkins served in the Army and is a former student body president at West Point and Harvard. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Cassidy cannot underestimate Perkins. Perkins says Washington’s poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak persuaded him to jump into the Senate race. Pinsonat says Perkins is a qualified candidate, but running as a Democrat for a statewide office is a challenge in the Bayou State.

 

Seven candidates for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District seat qualified on Wednesday, looking to fill the position currently held by Ralph Abraham who is not pursuing an additional term.  Among them is Abraham’s Chief of Staff Luke Letlow.

Republican Ouachita Police Juror Scotty Robinson announced his bid for the position last November. Clinical social worker, addiction counselor, and small business owner Candy Christophe lives in Alexandria and is running as a Democrat. Chief Operating Officer of Grambling State University Martin Lemelle of Ruston enters the race as a Democrat with a focus on education and helping local small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, a Republican, says he sees a bunch of career politicians in DC and touts his balance of holding elected office and being a business owner as the reason voters should cast a ballot for him. Additionally, Allen Guillory of Opelousas and Matt Hasty of Pineville, both Republican, qualified on Wednesday.  The primary election is scheduled for November 3rd.

 

A tropical system in the Gulf has a good chance of developing into a tropical cyclone and dumping a good bit of rain on the southern portion of the state on its way to Texas. National Weather Service forecaster Donald Williams says parts of Louisiana could see some impacts as soon as this afternoon. In the form of showers and thunderstorms. Williams says the system is not expected to develop into a hurricane, and at most may become a weak tropical storm.

 

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell files paperwork seeking a fourth term in the office representing northwest Louisiana. Campbell is one of the state’s longest-serving elected officials, first elected to the State Senate in 1975. Campbell says he wants to continue his work serving the working people of the state. Campbell has made several attempts to run for federal and statewide offices but has not been successful, his most recent effort a loss to now-Senator John Kennedy in 2016.

 

LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine posted a letter on Wednesday, July 22, intended to let parents and athletes know the association is committed to fall sports.

“The LHSAA is committed to conducting fall sports to the direct benefit of your student-athletes. However, we will not put schools in conflict or in harm’s way,” Bonine wrote. “We have no intention of canceling fall sports unless schools are closed or the pandemic dictates that it is not safe to play.”

 

Hancock Whitney posted a $117.1 million loss in the second quarter, or $1.36 per share, that reflects the bank’s decision to sell off $497 million in energy loans and increase its reserve for possible credit losses as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In comparison, Hancock Whitney posted a profit of $88.3 million in the second quarter of 2019, or $1.01 per share.

 

Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett says they are planning to proceed with the upcoming football season as scheduled. Burnett says they expect a full slate of games will be played on Labor Day weekend. Burnett says university presidents and athletic directors continue to meet and the health and safety of the student-athletes is their top priority…

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

News for Wednesday July 22nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor Edwards extends the state’s current Phase Two order and COVID health restrictions for another two weeks as Louisiana reported another 1,700 cases Tuesday, along with the highest level of hospitalizations since early May. Here in Rapides Parish, 58 new cases were reported and 2 news deaths.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards extends Phase Two by two more weeks. Not everyone is a fan of the announcement. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry expressed their disappointment in the decision. Edwards cites the positivity rate of new tests as another red flag. However, the governor says his biggest concern is the hospitalizations per capita, over the last couple of weeks numbers have been climbing in all regions of the state.

 

Qualifying for the November ballot begins today and as of now, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy does not face a major Democratic challenger, but Outgoing State Democratic Party Director Stephen Handwerk says we may be surprised by a prominent member of the party signing up this week due to the high level of energy in the party right now…

Antoine Pierce, a Baton Rouge progressive activist, and New Orleans teacher Peter Wenstrup are the two announced Democrats so far.

 

The 5th District Congressional seat held by the retiring Ralph Abraham should be competitive. ULM Poli Sci Professor Josh Stockley says there are three well-known Republicans running, Abraham’s Chief of Staff Luke Letlow, Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, and Ouachita Police Juror Scotty Robinson.

 

As expected the Alexandria City Council passed an ordinance yesterday to remove the confederate statue located in front of the Rapides Parish Courthouse. The ownership of the monument is still pending in the 9th Judicial District Court. The statue’s future will be decided once ownership is determined.

 

The National Hurricane Center has upgraded the chance of development for a tropical wave currently over western Cuba and making its way into the Gulf. State Climatologist Barry Keim says there’s a medium chance the disturbance will develop into a tropical depression over the next five days. The system is set to move into the central Gulf tomorrow, and the northwestern Gulf Thursday and Friday.

 

New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell says one of the bodies that has been trapped in the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site is likely to be recovered by the end of the week and the other by the middle of next week. McConnell says the rubble is very delicate and potentially dangerous to recovery workers. It’s been ten months since the construction site partially collapsed, killing three.

 

Homeschool advocates say interest in homeschooling is surging with the fate of K-12 education still up in the air. Coalition for Responsible Home Education Director Rachel Coleman says homeschool families must have a caregiver who can commit to homeschooling full time. If not, consider virtual enrollment through your district. Coleman says if you’re committed to home school for the coming semester you need to submit a form to BESE and be approved. But keep in mind, the Louisiana Department of Education does not provide funding or resources for homeschooling.

 

Monroe has a new mayor with the swearing-in of Friday Ellis.  Ellis takes the position after defeating Jamie Mayo who held the position for 19 years.  Ellis says the city will now embark on a new journey that will create jobs and move the area forward.

 

Sports..

 

The Pelicans hold their first scrimmage game tonight against Brooklyn. Still no word on when rookie sensation Zion Williamson will return to the NBA’s bubble in Orlando. Williamson left last week to attend to a family emergency and there’s been no new information. Hear tonight’s game starting at 5:30 on 94.7 ESPN

 

The coronavirus has had a significant impact on sports, and now football is beginning to see the virus affect the sport. NFL Network reports that the league and players’ union agreed to not hold a preseason this fall, which would have gotten underway next month.

The decision comes with the likelihood of teams playing in front of no or a limited number of fans during the regular season. Several states have said that large gatherings will be limited into the fall. NFL Network added the league will expand training camp rosters, and there will be an opt-out for players at a “high risk” of having coronavirus complications.

 

Since the SWAC has postponed its football season to the spring that leaves Louisiana Tech looking for another opponent. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Prairie View A-and-M for their home opener on September 19th. Tech athletics director Tommy McClelland says they are talking with other programs about filling that open slot on their home schedule.

 

The Outland Trophy Watch List was unveiled today and it features several interior linemen. LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin is on that list and so is Louisiana Tech center Kody Russey, along with Ragin Cajuns sophomore offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence.

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

News for Tuesday July 21st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The number of people hospitalized from COVID-19 is back above 15-hundred as 39 additional people had to be hospitalized because of the virus from Sunday to Monday. The state also reported 31-hundred new cases, but officials say about half of the cases are from a two-month backlog. Here in Rapides Parish 5 more people were reported to have died since Sunday’s report was released.

 

The Southwest Athletic Conference will explore playing football in the spring as the conference announces Monday it will postpone all fall sports. The schools met Monday to vote. According to a conference release, football will seek a seven game schedule proceeded by an 8-week training period that begins in January.

 

After receiving 40-thousand applications, the state has temporarily suspended a 24-million dollar program to provide rental assistance. State officials say 24-million dollars can only help 10-thousand households who are behind on their rent. Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center director Cashuana Hill estimates it will take 500-million dollars to address the impending rental crisis. No word on what the state is trying to do to get more funding.

 

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring three tropical waves, but none of the disturbances are a serious threat to Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a weak low pressure area south of the Texas-Louisiana border has caught the attention of forecasters. Keim says there’s another disturbance way out in the Atlantic and the other is over Cuba and heading towards the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The back and forth between Governor Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry continued Monday. Landry sent another letter to Edwards criticizing him for cheering on the recent social justice protests even though they could have contributed to the latest surge in coronavirus cases. Landry is not happy the governor chose to shut down bars, but Edwards says contact tracing has shown that bars contributed to hundreds of new cases.

 

The Louisiana Restaurant Association predicts a 25-30 percent drop in restaurant revenue for 2020 due to the pandemic. LRA CEO Stan Harris says they projected 11 billion dollars for the year before the pandemic, generating over a billion dollars in state and local taxes. That’s no longer the case. Harris predicted 25 percent of the state’s  restaurants could permanently close due to the pandemic.

 

A study shows more than a third of Louisiana residents are food insecure, meaning they lack access to an adequate food source during the pandemic.  Center for Planning Excellence is behind the analysis and CEO Camille Manning-Broome says the state has had a half million people fall into this category since the pandemic started. Manning-Broome says nearly half of the newly food insecure communities are small towns and unincorporated rural areas, but metropolitan areas are also feeling the burden.

 

Chevron will take over Noble Energy for $5 billion in the first big deal announced since the coronavirus pandemic shook the energy sector. The total value of the deal is $13 billion, with Chevron assuming Noble’s debt. Chevron has been shopping for assets since last year and with crude prices down more than 30% this year, it jumped Monday with its all-stock offering for the independent Houston oil and gas driller.

 

Eldorado Resorts, the owner and operator of the Belle of Baton Rouge, has completed its $17.3 billion purchase of Caesars Entertainment Corp., which operates the Harrah’s land-based casino in New Orleans. The deal closed Monday, after the New Jersey Casino Commission approved the merger Friday. New Jersey was the last state to sign off on the transaction. The combined company, which goes by Caesars Entertainment Inc., is now the largest casino operator in the U.S. Caesars now owns five properties in Louisiana.

 

Baton Rouge Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that killed a domestic violence suspect at his Tigerland apartment early Monday morning. The identities of the officers and the deceased have not been released. Four officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave. A K-9 officer injured in the gunfire is in stable condition. The suspect was wanted on a warrant obtained in May and the said they officers had tracked him down to the apartment complex after a tip given to CrimeStoppers.

 

Sports..

 

Saints Quarterback Drew Brees has joined a social media campaign that features several players calling on the NFL to follow the advice of health experts when it comes to safely playing football during the coronavirus pandemic. Brees and the other players used the hashtag We Want to Play. Veterans will report to training camp next week and the NFL and its players association have not reached an agreement on the proper protocols to promote player safety.

 

The Monroe News-Star reports that Louisiana Tech has had ten positive COVID-19 cases involving football, basketball and volleyball players. Tech officials say three of the ten student-athletes have recovered, while the other seven are in self-quarantine.

 

LSU’s Jacoby Stevens and Derek Stingley are on the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list. The award goes to the nation’s best defensive back in college football. ULM’s Corey Straughter is also on that list.

 

 

The Pelicans’ first scrimmage is Wednesday night versus Brooklyn. That game will be streamed on the team’s website. So will Saturday’s scrimmage against Denver. The final tune-up before the re-start is a week from tonight against Milwaukee. You can hear that game on Alexandria’s 94.7 ESPN airtime 5:30p

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

News for Monday July 20th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Coronavirus in Louisiana: 91,706 cases | 3,433 dead | 1,469 in hospital | 53,288 recovered. Here in Rapides Parish we’ve had a total of 2,278 cases, an increase of 77 over the weekend. Also 2 more deaths were reported bringing the number to 85 dead.

 

Louisiana reported a weekend total of 3,116 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, pushing the state's coronavirus tally above 90,000. Louisiana has now reported a total of 91,706 cases and is considered by the White House to be a "red zone" state for increasing cases and the percentage of positives among tests. The state reported a two-day total of 56 new hospitalizations Sunday for a total of 1,469. Hospitalizations have more than doubled during the past month. Thirty-four new deaths were reported Sunday for a total of 3,433.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says he will consider the implementation of new White House COVID-19 guidelines.   Louisiana is one of 18 states in the red zone for cases and one of 11 in the red zone for testing positivity.  Edwards feels the state already is covering the most prioritized spread mitigation efforts from the CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force. The recommendations call for red zone states like Louisiana to close gyms, put tighter restrictions on indoor dining capacity to 25%, and limit gatherings to 10 people.

 

Louisiana Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says a CDC investigation into an incident in Missouri shows the effectiveness of masks. Health officials say two hairstylists tested positive for the coronavirus, but none of their 136 customers and co-workers got the virus, because everyone involved wore a mask. The two COVID positive workers had gotten tested for COVID, but went back to work while waiting for the results during this period. The hairstylists spent on average over 15 minutes within six feet of their customers, which is considered “close contact. Billioux says it’s a remarkable discovery…

 

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder is asking fellow Republicans to reconsider their efforts to revoke Gov. Edwards’ pandemic state of emergency, saying an override would be a “grave decision with potentially dire consequences.” Schexnayder sent a letter to Republican House members discouraging support of Shreveport GOP Rep. Alan Seabaugh petition. Schexnayder’s letter states both Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump administration supports the mask mandate.

 

After only four days, Louisiana had to shut down the $24 million program to help residents pay their rent after the program was inundated with applicants seeking aid amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program unveiled Thursday was expected to benefit about 10,000 residents by providing up to three months of direct payments to landlords of eligible tenants, but was soon hit with four times as many applications and had to be suspended. The housing advocacy group HousingLOUISIANA said the inundation of the program was to be expected, given an estimated 142,000 unemployed renters across the state who are in need of its services.

 

Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders are expected to discuss this week on a 5th coronavirus relief funding bill.  Senator John Kennedy says it’s unclear what this round of aid may look like, but he doubts it will be as broad as past COVID stimulus bills. Kennedy says he’s concerned about the rate of spending on COVID economic bills and he says the only way for the economy to survive is for Americans to get back to work. Kennedy is also pushing school districts to resume in-person education once the fall semester begins. Kennedy says young people don’t often suffer fatal outcomes when they develop COVID-19. Kennedy says the rewards of continuing kids’ social and academic development outweigh the risks of having them more exposed to the virus.

 

The SEC announces that student-athletes who choose to not play sports in the fall due to COVID-19 concerns will not lose their scholarships. According to the statement released Friday, those who sit out will have their scholarships honored and will remain in good standing with their team. LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward also released a statement of support for the announcement and student-athletes’ in their decision if they choose to compete or not.

 

Baton Rouge Rep. Ted James announces his candidacy for chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Current party Chair Karen Carter Peterson, a state senator from New Orleans, says she will not seek reelection. James said the Democratic Party must speak for those who “feel invisible to the politics of today” to energize the party.  Katie Bernhardt, a Lafayette small business owner, previously announced her candidacy. The chair is elected by party leadership and will be chosen August 29th.

 

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is celebrating the tort reform legislation signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards that aims to lower auto insurance rates.  LABI President Steven Waguespack says the measure will lead to lower claims, lower settlements, and lower insurance rates for commercial drivers. Waguespack says the history of high auto insurance rates has been devastating for  Louisiana businesses.

 

Toward the middle or end of the week, the National Hurricane Center says there's a 20% chance a tropical wave could develop into a depression in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday’s update indicates that a tropical wave located over Hispaniola and the southwestern Atlantic is expected to enter the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by late Tuesday, move across the central Gulf on Wednesday and reach the northwestern Gulf on Thursday. By then, conditions are expected to be marginally conducive for development.

Good Morning... News For Friday July10th, 2020

News for Friday July 10th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana reported 1,843 more coronavirus cases Thursday and hospitalizations also rose by 20. The state reported 16 more deaths. The state has reported 151-thousand test for this month, but the huge surge in testing has led to delays in people getting their results back. Governor John Bel Edwards says they are working on trying to speed up the process. Here in Rapides Parish there were 47 new cases yesterday and 1 death.

 

State contact tracing data has identified 16 outbreaks linked to restaurants leading to at least 68 known cases. Assistant health secretary, Doctor Alex Billioux, says compliance checks are happening, but he’s unaware if any business has been cited. That data has also identified that Bars lead the way with 36 outbreaks that have produced at least 393 cases.

 

The number of people hospitalized as result of COVID-19 has nearly doubled over the last month. According to the state department of health, there are just over 40 ICU beds available at each of these three regions, central Louisiana, the River Parishes and Acadiana.  As of yesterday, the number of ICU beds available in southwest Louisiana was down to 27.  Governor Edwards says some hospitals also report a low supply of Remdesivir, which is an approved therapeutic drug for severely ill COVID patients. Edwards says hospital officials say they are seeing more younger white males hospitalized as a result of COVID-19.

 

LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron says coronavirus cases involving his players are under control as his team goes through voluntary workouts. At one time LSU reportedly had at least 30 players in quarantine, but in an interview on WWL Radio, Orgeron said that was inaccurate. The Big 10 announced today that they’ll only play conference games this fall.

 

According to the U-S-A Today, Teurlings Catholic offensive lineman Jacob Lemaire has spent four days in the intensive care after being infected with COVID-19 and developing pneumonia. Lemaire’s mother tells the USA Today that her son is on oxygen, but he’s doing really well.

 

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers is asking the state mandate facemask usage while on school campuses, instead of the current policy of recommending their use.

Some localities and parishes have adopted mandatory face mask usage while in businesses and public buildings, but most have not.

 

Louisiana’s K-12 schools and colleges will be shielded from most civil lawsuits if a student or teacher contracts the COVID-19 disease. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday he has signed the new liability limitations into law. The measure will keep people exposed to COVID-19 at a school or school facility from being able to sue for damages unless they can prove the high legal standard of “grossly negligent or wanton or reckless misconduct.” The protections cover public and private K-12 schools; charter schools; and public and private colleges and universities. The new law is retroactive to March 11.

 

LSU Interim President Tom Galligan says school officials are working to ensure international students meet the necessary requirements to avoid being deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). New guidelines coming from ICE say that international students can be deported to their own countries if their courses move mostly to online classes. Some international students at LSU feel they have more to fear than getting sick.  Earlier this week, ICE made modifications to its Student Exchange Visitor Program which says students who are strictly taking online classes will be deported.

 

New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson is stepping down as chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. She’s led the party for the last eight years. Candidates to replace Peterson have emerged. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says he may run and Lafayette lawyer Katie Bernhardt has already announced her candidacy. An election is set for August 29th

 

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is developing a smartphone app aiming to make it easier for consumers to stick to their diet plans by gauging calorie consumption.  Co-principal investigator Dr. Corby Martin says the PortionSize app helps tackle a critical problem in weight management, getting people an idea of what they are actually eating.  How long it will be before the app ends up in the hands of the public is still to be determined.

 

Saturday is Election Day for the Presidential Preference Primary.  The voting process will look a little different than other elections.  Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin says there will be spread mitigation efforts in place and they’ve recruited poll workers that are less susceptible to poor outcomes from COVID-19 exposure.

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

  

News for Thursday July 9th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

For the first time in a week and a half the state sees a decrease in the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19, even if it’s only three. Total new reported cases jumped sharply though, up nearly 1900,  putting our total number of cases since the pandemic began at over 70,000.  Just over 10 percent of all tests today are positive, a benchmark the feds use to track problem areas. 20 additional fatalities are also being reported.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is heading in the wrong direction in its battle to stop the spread of COVID-19, but he is not contemplating a statewide mask mandate. But Edwards says you should wear a mask when interacting with others outside of your home. The state health department reports over 70-thousand coronavirus cases since the pandemic started and one-thousand COVID patients are hospitalized.

 

Governor Edwards on Wednesday announced that he has signed the state's budget for the FY 2020-2021. The state House and Senate approved the $34 billion spending plan on June 30, the final day of a 30-day special legislative session. The budget sets aside funding for healthcare, workforce and education services that are needed during the pandemic.

 

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Edwards announced that he has ordered cabinet agencies to prepare for possible mid-year budget cuts by sequestering at least 10 percent of their budgets, and recommends the same for the judicial and legislative branches. He will also issue an executive order to freeze hiring of state employees.

 

Oil City Representative Danny McCormick denounces masking mandates in a video posted to Facebook as Shreveport becomes the latest municipality to enact a mask mandate while inside a business.  In the clip, McCormick compares mask-wearing to the holocaust and brandishes a chainsaw and blow torch.   McCormick says a mask mandate is a gateway to other government efforts of overreach.

 

The Alexandria Police Department is currently investigating a shooting incident that occurred in the 2900 block of Masonic Drive on yesterday. APD says that two people got into a fight, leading to one of them pulling out a handgun and shooting the other. The gunshot victim was transported to a local hospital. The one that fired the weapon is still at large. APD requests that anyone with information regarding this incident to call them.

 

Authorities say a West Monroe man wanted for shooting at a State Trooper during an attempted traffic stop was killed early Wednesday morning during a gun battle with law enforcement at a motel in Monroe. Master Trooper Michael Reichardt says they’ve been looking for 31-year-old Erroll Johnson since the first shooting incident on Sunday. No troopers were injured during the exchange of gunfire.

 

Hurricane researchers at Colorado State have increased their projected storm total for this year from 19 to 20 as we’ve already seen five named storms this year. Jhordanne Jones says sea surface temperatures are above normal and there’s no El Nino to suppress storm development…

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that $50 million through the CARES Act Fund is now available for K-12 schools and Higher Education. Approximately $35 million will be made available to the Louisiana Dept. of Education and $15 million to the Board of Regents.

 

A OnePoll survey of Americans finds two-thirds of people admit to gaining weight since the pandemic began with most saying its due to snacking. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Public Health Melinda Sothern says that’s not surprising because there’s a lot of scientific literature explaining why we’re snacking more often now. 69 percent of respondents said the increased snacking was due to boredom. Sothern says this is a really bad time to be packing on the extra pounds as COVID tends to be worse in people who are overweight.

 

Houma Representative Tanner Magee submits a letter to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Sandy Holloway requesting that the board does not consider a recommendation to cancel high school sports at this time. Magee says among the reasons to continue moving forward with sports is to motivate many of students to stay in school and to combat the health concerns of those struggling with adolescent obesity. The LHSAA released a statement late Wednesday afternoon that said they are fully committed to the safe return of high school sports in the fall.

 

A white East Baton Rouge Parish school system elementary school PE teacher was arrested after allegedly pulling a gun on a black family driving through her neighborhood, and beating their car with a bat. It happened during a period of heavy rain and flooding. A social media video shows the alleged aftermath with 38-year-old standing near the car with a gun. She claims people driving through the flooded neighborhood were forcing flood waters into the homes.

 

Sports..

 

The Pelicans are in Orlando and head coach Alvin Gentry is with the team. ESPN reports Gentry was cleared to be inside bubble that the NBA has set up in Orlando for 22 teams to resume the season. Gentry is 65-years-old and the league is concerned about those over 65 entering the bubble.

 

The 2019 LSU football team has received their championship rings and they got three of them. One for winning the SEC Championship, one for winning the college football playoffs and another for winning a national championship. For the players and coaches who are no longer with the program, they had their rings shipped to them.

 

The NFL and its players association have begun discussing the rules for the likelihood of players opting out for the 2020 season. The Baltimore Ravens say if fans are allowed at their games, they’ll have no more than 14-thousand in the stands.

  

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

News for Wednesday July 8th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The number of people hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 has surpassed one-thousand as the state health department reports another 61 hospitalized today because of the coronavirus. The number of total cases rose by 2, 040 and deaths increased by 23 to 3,211. Here in Rapides Parish the number of positive cases rose by 60 with four more deaths reported. Rapides by far leads Cenla in the number of cases and fatalities.

 

Add Shreveport to the list of local governments requiring masks for everyone inside a business. Mayor Adrian Perkins’ order goes into effect today at 5 PM

 

KALB reports with a six to three vote, the Rapides Parish School Board has voted to accept a substitute motion that was offered during the July 7 meeting regarding the recent controversy with Pineville High School’s “Rebel General” mascot. Supt. Of Schools Jeff Powell says the hope is with this substitute motion is that in September the administration from the school is going to be able to bring to the School Board a unified recommendation, based on what the Pineville High School community wants.

 

The Alexandria City Council is asking the city to release the body cam footage from last year’s arrest of Daquarious Brown. Brown was arrested after a chase with Alexandria police back in March of 2019. It resulted in him hitting an occupied vehicle and then fleeing on foot. A year after the fact, he filed a federal civil suit claiming excessive force.

 

Over 103-thousand people early voted in person for Saturday’s presidential primary and at least another 76-thousand sent in a mail-in ballot. JMC Analytics Pollster John Couvillon says those are huge numbers for a presidential primary already decided.

Couvillon says it’s also newsworthy that more blacks than whites voted early based on numbers posted Sunday by the Secretary of State’s office. JMC estimates this year we could see turnout at 70 percent in the general election.

 

A team of scientists that includes researchers at LSU Health New Orleans believe they’ve discovered a new class of pipeline drugs that can relieve pain and reduce fever without the danger of addiction. Doctor Nicholas Bazan says they also believe their drugs are less toxic to the liver and kidneys than the painkillers on the market. Bazan says the drugs they discovered need FDA approval.

 

The Pelicans depart for the NBA Bubble in Orlando today with a few players having mixed feelings about the restart of the NBA season. Forward Brandon Ingram was asked if he was confident about the bubble experiment working out and the season actually finishing. He says he’s not confident about that. The Pels start the season July 30th against the Jazz and are 3.5 games back of the 8th seed with eight games to be played.

 

Redshirt freshman quarterback Peter Parrish is no longer listed on the roster on LSU’s website. That leaves Myles Brennan as the only Tiger quarterback with college playing experience. Parrish was suspended from the football team in mid-March for an unspecified violation of team rules. Parrish is from Alabama and we do know that a lawsuit has been filed against LSU by a football player from Bama because he believes is rights were violated.

Good Morning.. News For Tuesday July 7th, 2020

News for Tuesday July 7th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana adds just over 11-hundred new COVID-19 cases Monday.  The state reports 44% of those cases are from people 29 and younger and 98% of the new cases are from community spread. Here in Rapides Parish we saw 11 new reported cases yesterday and one additional death. The daily percentage of positive tests statewide are currently at 9.84%.

 

The Rapides parish Police called off last nights meeting after an announcement earlier in the day that several jurors and essential staff members had tested positive for COVID-19 or are currently awaiting test results. An update is expected for the July 13 meeting as the Police Jury monitors and assesses the situation.

 

Federal judge Dee Drell  ruled yesterday afternoon that the City of Alexandria and the Alexandria City Council must accommodate 4th district Councilman Harry Silver by allowing him to attend council meetings virtually. The decision comes after a Thursday virtual hearing in which attorneys for the 98-year-old Silver argued that he was being discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act.

Silver has missed city council meetings since February due to shoulder surgery and the COVID-19 pandemic, of which he is highly susceptible to contracting due to his age and existing medical conditions. Judge Drell wrote in his 12-page ruling that “Mr. Silver seeks a reasonable accommodation,” and that his attendance “benefits the public’s interests.”

 

Due to COVID-19 four Office of Motor Vehicle locations will be closed to the public due to the positive testing of an employee. The offices are here in Alexandria, Lafayette, Monroe and Shreveport. Customers are encouraged to use the website expresslane.org for any services. These closures are in addition to previously closed offices.

 

An economist says an LSU football season without fans will cost the school and local economies millions of dollars. Financial statements indicate the LSU football team produced a profit of 57-million dollars for fiscal year 2019. Doctor Loren Scott says not having fans in the stands or no football at all, would severely impact the other sports at LSU as well. A rise in coronavirus cases is raising doubts the college football season will start on time. Major decisions are expected later this month from the leaders of the SEC and LSU regarding whether football will start Labor Day weekend and if there will be fans.

 

A Louisiana state senator has called for all athletic activities to be canceled for K through 12 public schools in Louisiana through December because of COVID-19.

Senator Cleo Fields, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, made the request in a letter sent to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Monday. Fields says the issue is “too critical” to leave up to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) to decide. BESE will meet July 14 to discuss emergency rules for the coming school year in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

 

State Farm will cut auto insurance rates in Louisiana by 9.6%, The rate cut has been approved by Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. State Farm, is considered the largest auto insurance company in the state when ranked by market share with nearly one-third of all policies. The rate reduction is set to go into effect August 24 for renewal and new policies. The reduction has nothing to do with the recently passed tort reform legislation.

 

In the tropics Edouard became a named storm, setting the record for the earliest formation of a fifth named storm of a season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Louisiana is currently experiencing unstable weather influenced in part by another  system that is moving over the Florida Panhandle. Keim says the pattern will be bringing rain to Louisiana over the next few days.

 

There was little action on police reform in the recent special session but reform advocates say that is not going to be the case in the fall or 2021 session. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James they will revive an effort to revoke qualified immunity for officers. He says the effort to allow cops to be held liable for misbehavior in civil court will be a major part of reform discussions. A push to end qualified immunity did not get out of committee in the recent session.

 

Yesterday we mentioned Casino’s in Louisiana have announced mass layoffs are coming. The L’Auberge casinos in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge are cutting more than 600 jobs between the two following the Covid pandemic. The Treasure Chest in Kenner is also reliving 340 people of their employment and Boomtown in Harvey is cutting right at 200 jobs.

 

Legislation is awaiting the Governor’s signature that would allow electric co-ops to create their own hi-speed internet networks in rural areas that lack broadband access.

If signed into law co-ops would be able to make broadband companies under separate entities from their current power companies so that utility funds were not used for internet service. The FCC has committed to spending over 20 billion dollars on expanding rural broadband.

 

The East Feliciana Police Jury has rejected a proposal to uproot a more than century-old statue of a Confederate soldier from its perch in front of the parish's antebellum courthouse and move it to a cemetery. Police jurors swept aside a resolution that sought to remove and potentially relocate the Confederate monument in a 5-3 decision at its Monday evening meeting, a vote that in ways mirrored the community's divide over the structure and its location.

 

The coronavirus is putting stress extra on relationships and many are calling it quits. In addition to family practice lawyers seeing an increase in business, the pandemic is also having another effect on divorces. Baton Rouge Attorney Nancy Sue Grégoire says those who were already in the process of a divorce before the pandemic began are having even more complications. Grégoire says the pandemic has caused many to lose their employment and healthcare and it is making the process of divorce even more difficult. 

 

Sports..

 

Plans are still on for LSU and Louisiana Tech to play each other in men’s basketball on November 24th at the CenturyLink Center. Officials announced Monday that tickets will go on sale for the game at 10 AM on Thursday.

 

The Pelicans have added depth as they prepare to leave for the NBA’s bubble in Orlando on Wednesday. Forward Sindarius Thornwell has inked a deal with New Orleans and he’ll serve as a substitute player. The 25-year-old last played in the NBA G League, averaging nine points, five rebounds and five assists for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

 

One of the state’s most successful high school football coaches is leaving the sidelines. Neville’s Mickey McCarty has accepted the job as the school’s principal and former St. Frederick head coach Jeff Tannehill will replace McCarty as the Tigers new head football coach. McCarty spent 18 years as Neville’s head coach, winning 197 games and four state championships. Tannehill, who is a Neville grad, led St. Fred’s to a state title game in 2013.

 

And big news out of the NFL today as the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes have reportedly agreed to a ten-year contract extension that will pay the superstar signal caller over 400-million dollars. Mahomes and the Super Bowl champion Chiefs will be in the Dome on December 20th to the face the Saints.

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

News for Monday July 6th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

State Health officials are reporting the number of Covid-19 cases in the state increased by just short of 2,000 over the weekend Saturday and Sunday. There have been 3,180 deaths so far in the state. Here in Rapides parish we saw 25 new reported cases of the virus and one new death.

 

The Fourth of July holiday weekend began Saturday with some sobering numbers in the Sunshine State: Florida logged a record number of people testing positive for the coronavirus. State health officials reported 11,445 new cases, a single-day record since the pandemic began earlier this year. The latest count brings the total number of cases in the state of Florida to more than 190,000.

 

On Friday a Boyce man has been arrested on multiple charges after a high-speed pursuit. Authorities say an officer with the Boyce Police Department witnessed a car being driven without headlights. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver refused to pull over, leading to a high-speed pursuit. The driver was eventually stopped. The officer located, upon searching the vehicle, three pounds of Marijuana, 2k in cash and a scale. The driver, identified as 22-year-old Dezmon Eddie was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

 

An estimated 13 percent of Louisiana motorists are uninsured, and a Bogalousa Representative says increasing the minimum wage would lower that number.

The business lobby has never been a fan of raising the minimum, but Representative Malinda White says if the working poor got a living wage they could afford insurance, lowering rates for everyone. Tort reform advocates say recently passed legislation will lower rates by 10-15 percent, but if that number holds up Louisiana would still rank among the highest rates in the nation.

 

L'Auberge has reported it will lay off 441 workers at its Lake Charles casino. L’Auberge Baton Rouge is also set to lay off 161 workers. The company made the announcement to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, as the state's casinos struggle to rebound during the coronavirus. The LWF reports Casinos in Louisiana have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. By mid-August it’s anticipated about 4,000 casino workers will be laid off in Louisiana.

 

If you’ve had significant exposure to a person with COVID-19 but still test negative should you go back to work before your 14-day quarantine ends? Health experts say no. Ochsner Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Sandra Kemmerly says if you get exposed and immediately seek a COVID test the answer may not be helpful. Significant exposure is having contact with a COVID positive person within six feet for longer than 15 minutes. Kemmerly says that’s because the virus can take days, or even over a week to build up in your system enough to actually be detected by current tests. So if you are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days a negative COVID test does not release you from that quarantine.

 

The AARP indicates the state is not doing a good enough job with the basic COVID-19 precautions needed to stem the loss of life and protect residents and staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. AARP State Director Denise Bottcher says in recent weeks, the AARP has learned that about a third of facilities are not in compliance with regular testing of residents and staff, but non-compliance has been an issue for quite some time in different areas of cleanliness. The AARP also opposed any sort of immunity from accountability for facilities with issues linked to COVID-19.

 

Governor Edwards is expected to sign a bill placing an eight percent tax on net revenue from online fantasy sports wagering.  Crowley Representative John Stefanski authored the legislation and says after it is signed into law, the gaming control board then has the ability to set rules. In 2018, voters in 47 of the 64 parishes legalized fantasy sports betting and have been waiting for lawmakers to pass the tax component in order to win cash prizes with services like FanDuel and DraftKings.  Stefanski says those companies are standing by ready to implement regulation.

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

News for Thursday July 2nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor Edwards warns the state is on a bad trajectory of COVID case growth that could, if it were to continue, have him consider putting some restrictions back in place.  Louisiana reported over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the 3rd largest single-day increase since the pandemic began and the highest since April 4th, the peak of the pandemic. We now have over 60,000 positive tests since March. 14 more people have been hospitalized as well, along with 17 new deaths.

 

Rapides: 1,578 cases (+42) / 62 deaths (+3)

 

Baton Rouge will now be one of three locations selected by the feds to ramp up testing by 5000 more tests per day. Governor Edwards says the uptick in coronavirus metrics has garnered the attention of the White House, especially in the Capital Region. Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has mandated the use of face coverings while inside of businesses.

 

State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry calls a pop theory advocating for the purposeful COVID infection of people under the guise of creating herd immunity a “myth”. Guidry says the theory has no evidence to back it up and ignores just how volatile viruses can be. To obtain herd immunity a population would need 60 percent immunity. Even in New York City, the worst single epicenter in the country, herd immunity is believed to be under 20 percent. Guidry says the theory is also based on a faulty assumption that if you can’t get infected more than once. Around the world many people are reportedly showing positive for a second time.

 

Sheriff-Elect Mark Wood officially took the title as Sheriff in the police jury room at the Rapides Parish Courthouse. Wood, who’s been in office for two months already, was first sworn in at the end of April, and a second time on Wednesday, since July 1 is officially when his term begins.

 

Also yesterday, Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain was sworn in to 3 tern as sheriff. On July 1, 2012, Steven McCain proudly took the oath of office as the new Sheriff of Grant Parish.  At the age of 34,  McCain was the youngest Sheriff in Louisiana.

 

KALB reports The Rapides Parish School District will be assuming control of all Head Start operations here in the parish effective immediately . This means that the program will be the responsibility of the Rapides Parish School Board for the next five years. The school board will serve a total of 850 children, a little over 600 of those being in the Head Start program, a little over 200 in the early Head Start program, and 18 pregnant moms. The school board will be posting several job openings over the next several weeks, looking for anything from teachers to paraprofessionals, school food service workers as well as janitorial staff. They also plan to host a job fair in the near future.

 

The Legislature approved a series of tax breaks for COVID-impacted businesses. Governor Edwards says he has his concerns with passing tax breaks at a time when revenue is already suffering. Proponents of the tax breaks say they are necessary to save businesses on the brink right now financially.

 

State Treasurer John Schroder announces that small businesses can begin applying for $275-million dollars’ worth of grants to supplement losses from COVD-19 towards the end of the month. Eligible businesses can receive up 15-thousand dollars. Schroder says his office will begin accepting applications on July 28th. The funding is on a first come first serve bases.

 

Southern University unveils its line of THC-based medical marijuana products known as AYO (I-O).  The launch sees the release of six different products including tinctures for use under the tongue.  Southern University President Ray Belton says the products have the ability to contribute to the health and welfare of the state and so much more.

Southern becomes the first HBCU to have THC and CBD product lines.

 

Eighteen private law firms have teamed up with the ACLU of Louisiana in a litigation campaign to challenge discriminatory policing practices. Legal Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Nora Ahmed says they are trying to capture cases that were not economical to be taken to court. The initiative is called “Justice Lab: Putting Racist Policing on Trial” and over time it seeks to bring up to 1000 cases in Louisiana challenging the constitutionality of the situations. Law firms will be handling cases on a pro bono basis. Ahmed hopes to form a blueprint for litigation that could be used across the nation.

 

To help keep students engaged in the learning process over the summer, the Louisiana Department of Education will partner with LPB and offer televised math instruction. Director of Math Science STEM, Jill Cowart says the instructional programming is designed for all students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Through the partnership with LPB, more families will now have access to resources beginning July 6th with a focus on keeping students engaged.

 

The Louisiana Department of Veteran’s Affairs is asking citizens to participate in a letter-writing campaign to show support to those in veteran’s homes. Currently, there are more than 600 residents living in five veteran’s homes across the state. LDVA spokesperson Brandee Patrick says  you can find a listing of addresses at VetAffairs.LA.Gov.

 

Sports..

 

The Saints Preseason could be set to get two games shorter according to a report from Pro Football Talk. The two most likely games appear to be the 1st and fourth games, which means an away game in Los Angeles against the Rams August 14th and a home game in the dome against the Dolphins September 3rd. This comes as the league is preparing to move ahead with its schedule for the regular season despite a nationwide spike in COVID cases.

 

Pels rookie sensation Zion Williamson will be one of three cover athletes for NBA 2k21, the long-running basketball video game. Williamson called it a dream come true in an interview with ESPN, saying he’s wanted to grace the cover of that game since he was a kid. Williamson will feature on the front of game boxes for next-gen ps5 and Xbox X consoles, while Portland star guard Damien Lillard will feature on the current-gen ps4 and Xbox One games. A final cover athlete has yet to be announced.

 

ESPN reports the NBA will not have an age limit for coaches heading into the “bubble” in Disney World for the restart of the NBA season. The league assured coaches and staff that those with those who are high risk for other reasons may be told to stay home.

 

LSU Pitcher Ben McDonald, second basemen Todd Walker, and shortstop Alex Bregman have been named to the ESPN all-time college baseball team.

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

News for Wednesday July 1st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported one-thousand new cases of Covid-19 yesterday as the state’s total case number surpassed 58-thousand. Governor John Bel Edwards’ next COVID-19 press briefing is this afternoon at 2:30. Edwards has said he’s looking for more compliance from businesses. Assistant State Health Officer Doctor Joseph Kanter says the governor would rather see everyone do more when it comes to spread mitigation efforts, than returning the state to Phase one coronavirus restrictions…

 

According to the state health department, only 59% of those who tested positive from COVID-19 since mid-May have responded to phone calls from contact tracers and only one-third are answering calls within the crucial first 24 hours after the test results.

 

State police report a  Plaucheville woman is dead following a three-vehicle crash yesterday in Avoyelles Parish.  According to the report 62 year old  Patricia Guillory was traveling north on Hwy 1179 when she failed to negotiate a curve near Duplechain Road and went off the highway. She then hit a tree and two unoccupied vehicles parked at a home. Guillory was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

 

KALB reports Cool Planet, an agriculture technology company that develops and markets products for soil health, is shutting down its Alexandria facility, according to multiple sources. The Central Louisiana Regional Port confirmed to KALB that yesterday was Cool Planet’s last day on its property. The company recently opened its new warehouse facility back in of last year.

 

Orleans and Jefferson Parish have issued mandatory mask-wearing ordinances for those visiting parish businesses. Jefferson Parish President Lee Sheng says their proclamation takes effect today and is the only way the parish will be able to one day move into Phase Three. Sheng says the parish is still working out the details of how it could be enforced, and what punishments would be handed out to businesses in violation.

 

The special Legislative session has concluded and many tort reform advocates are celebrating a deal cut in the final few hours of the session that led to the passage of a reform bill that supporters say will lower auto insurance rates. The bill sets the jury trial threshold at 10,000 dollars, limits when insurance company’s names can be mentioned in court, removes a ban on mentioning a crash victim’s seatbelt status, and make other adjustments to collateral source, which appeared to be the biggest stumbling block in negotiations between the GOP and Governor Edwards signaled his approval of the legislation, complementing Republicans for compromising.

 

The Legislature wrapped up work on the 34 billion dollar budget. Despite the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in CARES Act money Governor Edwards warned there will still have to be some cuts due to COVID-related revenue shortfalls. Edwards also indicated he is concerned about the revenue impact of a series of tax cuts for businesses that passed…

 

Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart announces a grand jury has returned an indictment against eight Shreveport police officers for allegedly using excessive force against two men who were apprehended back on January 24th. A written report from Stewart’s office says dash camera video from a Caddo Parish Sheriff’s deputy vehicle shows the eight Shreveport police officers physically striking two individuals at the end of a police chase. Stewart says the eight men charged have been booked and released on bond.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy says he expects another federal stimulus package to be passed sometime in late July. Cassidy aims to have CARES 4.0 focused on covering the estimated 500 billion dollars of lost revenue for local governments nationwide. Cassidy says Senators are evaluating whether they will maintain federal unemployment assistance set to expire July 31st but feels it won’t be necessary if economies can reopen. When asked how big the next stimulus might be, Cassidy expressed concern that about 50 percent of the money allocated for COVID recovery hasn’t even been spent yet.

 

Any Louisianan planning on heading to New York or New Jersey for the 4th of July may have to change their plans. Both states are now urging travelers from a number of other states, Louisiana included, to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry. New York and New Jersey were early epicenters of the pandemic but have seen cases drastically fall off. State health officials there say they don’t want travelers from growing hotspots to undo the progress they’ve made.

 

Sports..

 

New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin said today that three Pelicans players tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The unidentified players are in self-isolation and are tested daily. They need to have two negative tests before they can play. The 22 NBA teams that will resume their season in Orlando, must turn in a roster by the end of tomorrow. Griffin does not expect any Pelicans player not to play. 65-year-old head coach Alvin Gentry, who is a cancer survivor, also said he plans to be in Orlando with the team. But Griffin says Gentry’s status is to be determined.

 

ESPN announced today that former LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears will appear daily on NFL Live when the network relaunch’s the show in August. The sports network also says Spears has signed a new multi-year ESPN extension. The Baton Rouge native says it’s a pinch myself moment to talk NFL five days a week.

 

LSU linebacker Marcel Brooks has told the Athletic his decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal is because of family, but he didn’t elaborate. Brooks was expected to play a big role on the Tigers defense in 2020, but it appears he’ll look to continue his college career at a school closer to his Dallas home.

 

Former LSU safety Eric Monroe has reportedly decided to transfer to Texas Tech. Monroe was a highly rated defensive back out of the Houston area. In three seasons at LSU, Monroe had 21 tackles, most of those tackles occurred during his redshirt freshman season.

 

The Monroe News-Star reports Ruston High School has suspended football workouts for two weeks after a player tested positive for coronavirus.

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