News for Tuesday 042418
By Dave Graichen
You may have heard the helicopters flying overhead last night. It’s all part of the ongoing search for a Boyce man suspected of shooting a homeowner and kidnapping a female early Sunday. The RPSO considers Albert Micklus armed and dangerous and asks anyone with information to contact their office..
Five fired Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputies will be arraigned on May 16. The five were terminated after a complaint was filed by an inmate complaining of excessive force. At their arraignments, the defendants will enter pleas to the charges against them. Future court dates might be set at that time.
A proposal to increase fees for hunting and fishing licenses failed to get the necessary 70 votes yesterday to pass the House. The legislation would raise an additional six-point-eight million dollars a year for Wildlife and Fisheries, who says the increase is necessary to help sustain the department for years to come. The vote on the bill was 54-27. It needs 70 votes to pass, because it’s a fee increase. The measure can be brought up again.
The Senate Finance Committee has begun discussions regarding the House approved budget that calls for a 20-percent cut in TOPS and it will result in deep cuts to health care services. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne asked the panel not to pass this budget and wait to approve a spending proposal when revenues can be raised in a special session…
A measure that could free up several hundred million dollars in state spending that is set by law and cannot be adjusted in the annual budget progress narrowly cleared its first hurdle Monday. In a 6-4 vote, the Senate Finance committee approved a slightly watered-down version of a bill that would reclassify the funds in the Treasury. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
US Senator John Kennedy is asking Louisiana officials to cancel state contracts with Citigroup and Bank of America after the banks announced that they would enforce restrictions on companies that sell firearms. Kennedy says the restrictions are a form of political discrimination. Governor John Bel Edwards responded to Kennedy’s divestment request saying: “The only contract with a direct cost to the state was signed by Kennedy himself during his tenure as state treasurer. This contract is with Bank of America.” As such, the governor called for “less posturing on the issue.”
Governor John Bel Edwards and Formosa Petrochemical Corporation announced an agreement to build a 9.4 billion dollar facility in St. James Parish. Once the ten year project is completed, officials say it will generate 1,200 full time jobs with an average pay of 84,500 dollars a year. 8,000 construction jobs are expected to be created while the facility is built.
Huge economic development news as Formosa selects a site in St. James Parish near the Sunshine Bridge to build a nine-point-four billion dollar chemical manufacturing complex. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says the 24-hundred acre site is branded as the Sunshine Project and it would create 12-hundred jobs.
Pierson says construction should begin next year.
Starting Today, The Louisiana Department of Health will offer free S-T-D testing and treatment at parish health units around the state. Assistant State Health Office Doctor Parham Jaberi says go to L-D-H’s website to find out when the parish health unit in your area is participating. Testing here in Rapides parish will be this Wednesday at the parish health unit on Coliseum Blvd.
A 15-year-old boy was found dead by deputies in a mobile home Sunday in Paradis (Par A Dees), and his mother is in critical condition. The child’s father is the suspected killer. Deputies found the boy, and his mother, both with multiple gunshot wounds. A spokesman with the St. Charles Parish Sherriff’s office says the boy’s father, Ed Veillon Jr. has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Despite getting swept at South Carolina, LSU remains a game back of the division lead in the SEC West. The Tigers are 9-9 in league play, while the Rebels and Razorbacks are 10-8. LSU is at Ole Miss this weekend.
Tonight it’s LSU tiger Baseball as they play host to Lamar 7p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
Tonight, it the Houston Astros @ LA Angels 6:35p 94.7 ESPN
News for Monday 042318
By Dave Graichen
The search continues for 29 year old Albert Mickulas who the RPSO reports allegedly broke into a residence early Sunday morning, shot the home owner and kidnapped the female that was with the victim. The victim was transported and treated at a local hospital for superficial injuries. He has since been released from the hospital. The Kidnapping victim was discovered unharmed early Sunday evening.
Louisiana had three months run of good jobs numbers with unemployment down to 4.4 percent. According to March employment figures, 46-thousand people have joined the workforce over the last 12 months. Workforce Commission Executive Director Ava Dejoie (DAZE-WW-AH) says that puts us number one in the nation for adding new jobs.
A House floor vote is scheduled today on a proposal to raise the cost of a basic resident hunting and fishing license by a few dollars. Wildlife and Fisheries officials say the increase is needed to offset a 65-million dollar loss in state funding since 2009. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the proposal is having a difficult time passing, because it needs 70 votes from the 105-member House
A bill that would allow riverboat casinos to expand onto land is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate today, after being pulled from consideration last week. The bill would remove restrictions for Louisiana’s 15 floating gambling halls. Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty says more profitable casinos means more revenue for the state. Duty says Louisiana is the only state that requires casinos be seaworthy, and that’s holding back the local industry.
The chairman of Senate Finance has no desire to approve the budget the House passed last Thursday. Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur says he can’t support a spending plan that would kick 46-thousand elderly and disabled people from nursing homes. But Republicans on the panel have a different view. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt says the legislature should pass a budget, so they have a better idea on where the budget gaps exist.
Legislation that lets public school teachers pray with students cleared the Senate Education committee. The bill would further existing law that allows school employees to volunteer to supervise voluntary student-initiated, student-led prayer. Bossier City Senator Ryan Gatti introduced the law that he says will make it easier for the kids to do what they want to. The measure moves to the Senate floor.
U.-S. Senator John Kennedy says he’s asked the Trump administration to give full consideration to the inclusion of Chinese crawfish and shrimp in additional tariffs.
He added that a higher tariff on Chinese crawfish and shrimp would help our seafood industry, which has a 2.4 billion dollar impact on Louisiana’s economy. Earlier this month, President Trump asked the U.-S. Trade Representative to consider whether 100-billion dollars in additional tariffs would be appropriate.
While the Federal tax deadline passed last week, the Louisiana individual income tax deadline is May 15th. The Louisiana Department of Revenue has already issued over 400,000 individual income tax rebates to those who have sent in their returns. Filing state taxes electronically is faster with refunds typically being sent out within 60 days. Those filing paper forms should get their refund within 98 days.
A probation officer was fired and arrested on Friday for sexual battery. 28 year old, Sirrena Martin of St. Gabriel was reportedly having sex with an inmate. According to the Department of Corrections, Martin was turned in by another corrections officer. Martin faces counts of sexual battery, malfeasance in office and introducing contraband into a penal institution.
The volunteer firefighter who stands accused of setting a house fire that killed his wife and her service dog has had his charges upgraded to First Degree Murder, along with his existing charges of Aggravated Arson, Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, and Aggravated Cruelty to Persons with Infirmities. Police say Richland Parish volunteer Kenneth Fulford set his house alight, to “end his ailing wife’s suffering” last Monday.
A new supplement wrapped up testing at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and claims it can help improve gut health that is lacking in most modern diets. New Orleans Native Dr. Mark Heiman says there’s a lot of research showing Americans are lacking the proper bacteria in their stomachs.Heiman says between processed foods and low carb diets, people are losing out on nutrients are that crucial to helping your body stay healthy, slim, and regular.
A 41-year-old Slidell woman faces up to ten years in prison after she was found guilty of using another woman’s I-D to get a job as a human resources manager, a job that paid her six figures. Diversified Food and Seasonings knew something wasn’t right when Cindy White wasn’t able to do the jobs she claimed to do on her resume, which she stole from LinkedIN and got the rest of the victim’s identity from another website.
Four former LSU students pleaded not guilty in the Maxwell Gruber hazing case. 20 year old Matthew Naquin faces negligent homicide charges, Sean-Paul Gott, Patrick Forde, & Ryan Isto were charged with hazing. Naquin faces up to five years while the other three are facing 30 days. All four were indicted last month by an east Baton Rouge parish grand jury for the alcohol related death of Maxwell Gruber in September. District Court Judge Beau Higginbotham has set a September trial date.
After the Spring Game, it remains unclear who will be the Tigers starting quarterback when LSU faces Miami in the season opener. Head Coach Ed Orgeron says Justin McMillan had the best performance out of the three candidates on Saturday. Orgeron says the offense as a whole has to execute better.
The Pelicans took care of Portland in four games and its on to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Tough weekend in LSU baseball.. South Carolina swept the weekend series against the tigers. LSU dropped to 24-17 overall and 9-9 in conference play.
The Tigers are in third place in the SEC Western Division, but just one game behind division leaders Ole Miss and Arkansas (both 10-8).
News for Friday 042018
By Dave Graichen
Authorities say more arrests are expected after the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office charged 10 people in burglaries and thefts in the Bordelonville and Moreauville areas.
All in all seven adults and three juveniles were charged. The APS says the arrests cleared 14 property crime cases in the parish. The burglaries and thefts from homes and vehicles began around January.
The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command investigating the killing of an 18-year-old soldier at Fort Polk. A Lake Charles newspaper now reports the gunshot wound that claimed his life was not self-inflicted. Private Jacob Malcolm of Hedgesville, West Virginia, was fatally shot on April 12 in a residence at the base. Malcolm enlisted in Feb. 2017 and was serving as an infantry rifleman.
The House narrowly passed a budget that would fund TOPS at 80% and maintain higher ed funding, but would implement deep cuts in healthcare funding, potentially ending public-private partnership hospitals that care for the poor. The proposed spending plan goes to the Senate Finance Committee who will meet Sunday. It’s possible the Senate may not even vote on a budget, and wait on a special session.
House GOP Chairman Lance Harris says the budget is the best they could do with the funds they have available.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the proposed state budget that was approved by the House is a non-starter, and if it reaches his desk, he’s not signing it. The budget maintains higher ed, and funds TOPS at 80 percent, but includes steep cuts to healthcare that could shutter public-private hospitals that care for the poor. Edwards says it’s a budget unworthy of the people of Louisiana. Edwards says there’s only one way forward now under the state’s constitution: and that’s returning to a special session where additional revenue can be generated to replace the 648 million dollars that are missing from the current budget. Reports indicate lawmakers are planning on returning for a special session in mid-May.
The Senate Education committee rejected a House approved measure that attempted to end what is known as lunch shaming. State Representative Patricia Smith’s legislation would prohibit public schools from penalizing students or embarrassing them if their parents have failed to pay for school lunches.
The state House approves legislation supporters say will help the Cajun Navy and other volunteer groups have a greater impact during a disaster. The legislation gives the Cajun Navy access to state equipment and training. The measure heads to the Senate for its consideration.
The State Fire Marshal has arrested a Richland Parish volunteer firefighter in connection with a mobile home fire that injured his medically disabled wife. Kenneth Fulford was booked into parish prison on multiple offenses. State Fire Marshal spokesperson Ashley Rodrigue says it’s unfortunate one of their own was charged.
The victim’s service dog was killed.
Hall of Fame Quarterback Brett Favre is in a new PSA addressing dangerous behavior behind the wheel. Property Casualty Insurance Vice President of State Government Relations Joe Woods worked with Favre to bring the PSA to life. He says his organization is pushing to increase penalties for drivers who use their phone while driving. Distracted driving was responsible for over 700 Louisiana deaths in 2016.
A ceremony is being held today for a Korean War Veteran from Ferriday whose remains are being returned home after 68 years. 19-year-old Sergeant Lester Walker was deployed to Korea with an anti-air craft weapons battalion.
A seven year old policy barring inmates from talking to the media about their cases has been lifted by the Louisiana Department of Corrections after a challenge from the ACLU. ACLU Staff Attorney Bruce Hamilton says the gag order was a gross violation of inmates civil rights. The suit was brought on behalf of Darold Hines, an Angola Inmate, who was denied the right to speak to LSU reporters who were investigating his case. Hamilton says just because they are prisoners, doesn’t mean they don’t have rights.
The LSU baseball team begins a three-game series tonight at South Carolina. The road has not been friendly to the Bayou Bengals as they are 2-8 away from Alex Box Stadium. LSU will start Zack Hess on the mound. Airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970 / 100.3 HD3
The Pelicans could walk away with their first round of the NBA Playoffs. That after their 119 to 102 win over the Trailblazers last night.. Just one more game and they are on to round 2. That chance will come tomorrow afternoon at 4.
Same scenario for the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. Golden state leading that series 3 to nothing. The Raptors go in to tonight’s game with a 2 to nothing advantage as does the Boston Celtics over the Bucks.
It’s one all as Round one of the NBA playoffs continue tonight with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers Airtime 5:30p 94.7 ESPN
News for Thursday 041918
By Dave Graichen
Deneise Means the manager of the Pitt Grill on Mac Arthur Drive announced yesterday they hope to have the restaurant back open this evening or Friday at the latest. Cleanup and rebuilding is underway to the restaurant, that after a car crashed in the building Tuesday Night. Means says she is thankful that no one, not even the driver who hit the building, was injured. But, Means herself had a very close call. She had just left her office moments before that car struck the building destroying her office..
Medical marijuana licenses for Monroe, Shreveport and Alexandria were awarded by the Louisiana Pharmacy Board Wednesday. The board also awarded a license for the southeastern Louisiana region Wednesday. Five licenses were awarded Tuesday.
Here in Alexandria The Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy, at 403 Bolton Ave, will be will be local dispensary.
The full House will consider a budget today that funds TOPS, but includes deep cuts in healthcare and higher education. The budget has come under fire from leading Democrats, including Governor John Bel Edwards who says the cuts are a massive blow to crucial state services. But GOP House Delegation Chairman Lance Harris says the budget has one success, and that’s fully funding TOPS. Harris says the budget being discussed is not final, and a great tool for identifying where to start in a future special session.
The state’s legislative auditor has completed a sexual harassment survey of thousands of state workers and concluded that the state should do a better job of educating its workers on the issue. Auditor Daryl Purpera says without a standard procedure the issue may continue. Senators are working on legislation that would put in place anti-harassment training and policies. The audit also found that 77-percent of state employees never reported harassment they felt they experienced.
The full House has approved legislation that gives residents a chance to vote on whether fantasy sports betting should be legal. Currently, fantasy sports websites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel do not allow Louisiana residents to play their contests. River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot says his legislation legalizes it in parishes, if it’s approved by a majority of residents in November. The measure still needs Senate approval.
On a 97-1 vote, the House passed legislation that would permit companies like Uber to operate across the state, without needing to make local agreements. The bill, by Speaker Taylor Barras, would bring Louisiana in line with the vast majority of other state’s rideshare regulations. Barras says it’s a big benefit with a small price tag.
The bill moves onto the Senate.
The state education board approved a plan to include opioid abuse prevention education in Louisiana public school curriculum. Press Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Education Sydni Dunn says the program will be tailored to younger audiences, and is aimed at explaining the dangers of opioid abuse. Dunn says the education will be folded into existing substance abuse programs already in place at public schools.
Entergy customers should see a reduction in their electric bill starting in May and by the fall season, Entergy says average customers should save six bucks a month.
The savings are due to a trillion dollar federal tax cut, plus upgrades to Entergy’s infrastructure. Customers should see another drop of about two dollars a month after Katrina/Rita costs fall off their electric bills in October.
The Pelicans are rolling back into New Orleans up 2-0 in their first round playoff series against the Trailblazers. Game three tips off tonight at 8pm with a potential series clinching game four on Saturday at 4pm. Airtime tonight 7:30p on 94.7 ESPN
After stomping the Seattle Mariners yesterday 7 to 1 the Houston Astros will attempt to do it again today.. air time 2:05 on 94.7 ESPN
The Tulane baseball team scored three runs in the ninth inning to complete another comeback win last night against LSU.
News for Wednesday 041818
By Dave Graichen
A mess at the Pitt on Mac Arthur Drive last night as a car plowed into the front of the restaurant. Witnesses say the driver of the car struck another vehicle before hitting the restaurant. The driver then fled the scene of the crash but was captured a short time later by the APD.
The IRS is giving all taxpayers an extra day to file after its website went down on deadline day. The agency announced that individuals and businesses with a filing or payment that was due Tuesday now have until midnight Wednesday. It said no additional paperwork is needed to get the extension. The agency’s website for making payments and gaining access to other key services crashed amid the filing flood. The website appeared to be back to normal late Tuesday.
Efforts to change the state’s gun laws died in the House Criminal Justice Committee. A proposal to ban bump stocks, which was used by the Las Vegas gunman, was shot down by the panel. A measure to enact a 10-day waiting period before purchasing a gun was also voted down and so was a measure to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
The leaders at LSU’s medical schools urged legislators on the Senate Finance committee not to pass a proposed budget they say would devastate healthcare in Louisiana. LSU Health New Orleans Chancellor Larry Hollier says a budget moving to the House Floor would result in a mass exodus of medical professionals and would cut funding for the five statewide residency programs by 43 percent. Hollier pleaded with legislators to go into a special session, so they can pass tax bills to fund a more responsible budget.
A Senate committee approves legislation that would prohibit abortions in Louisiana after 15 weeks from conception, but there are concerns the legislation could bring upon unintended consequences. Kaplan Senator Jonathan Perry urged the bill’s author to work on the language of the bill with an attorney, before bringing it up to the Senate floor. During discussion, an attorney said if “Roe versus Wade” is overturned, this legislation could actually weaken Louisiana’s pro-life laws.
Legislators expressed concern Tuesday with a potentially unfair application process the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy is conducting to determine which locations throughout the state are granted permits to distribute medical marijuana. The Pharmacy Board already has held hearings and was busy Tuesday awarding the first five regional licenses Tuesday for Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Lake Charles. Licensing continues today for Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria and the north shore. The Governor-approved group is composed of 16 people from eight districts, and one public member.
It doesn’t look like sports betting will be legal in Louisiana anytime soon. A measure that would have allowed voters in parishes with riverboat and land-based casinos to decide whether sports bets should legally be taken in their parish, was rejected on a six-to-three vote in Senate Finance. Opponents are concerned about expanding gambling.
A bill allowing judges to inform juries about whether or not a victim in a car crash was wearing a seat belt died in a Senate Committee. The bill was promoted as potentially leading to smaller settlements in some cases, which would drive insurance rates down.
But the bill received opposition from Bossier City Senator Ryan Gatti, who says the bill punishes victims with lower settlements in crashes that weren’t their fault. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, who supported the bill, could not guarantee that insurance rates would go down as a result of the bill.
A bill to ban drivers from using their phone with their hands while on the road failed to pass the House floor after an, at times, contentious debate. The legislation by Breaux Bridge Representative Mike Huval was inspired by the traffic deaths of a constituent’s child. Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey says the bill was unnecessary nanny state legislation.
The National Weather Service confirmed 20 tornadoes touched down in Louisiana between Friday and Saturday. The severe weather hit 13 parishes, and generated an EF-1 Tornado that was responsible for the death of a Bossier Parish infant.
The campaign for St. Landry Parish Congressman Clay Higgins reports the freshman U-S Representative has raised 218-thousand dollars in campaign finance dollars during the first quarter of the year and has 211-thousand dollars on hand. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Higgins will need to raise a lot more. Republican attorney Josh Guillory and Democrat Phillip Conner, a physician from Lake Charles, are two candidates raising money to challenge Higgins this fall.
Tonight, it’s LSU Baseball as the Tigers travel to Tulane . Tonight’s game begins a stretch of seven of the next eight games on the road. You can hear the game tonight starting at 7p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
The New Orleans Pelicans are now up two games to nothing in the NBA playoffs.. They beat the Portland Trailblazers last night 111 to 102 in Portland. The Pels head home to the Smoothie King Center for game three tomorrow night.
Tonight the NBA playoffs continue as the Indiana Pacers visit Cleveland Cavaliers airtime 5:30p on 94.7 ESPN
News for Tuesday 041718
By Dave Graichen
The National Weather Service confirms three tornadoes touched down in Acadiana Saturday morning. Parishes affected included Lafayette, St. Landry and St. Mary Parish, with the strongest tornado touching down north of Carencro. Debris cleanup is also ongoing in the northern parts of Bossier Parish, with most of the damage occurring just north of I-20 near Red Chute. Also, a two-year-old was killed in Haughton when a tree fell on her mobile home.
The House Appropriations Committee approves a budget that would fully fund TOPS, while making cuts to education & healthcare.. Governor John Bel Edwards was quick to express his opposition to the proposed spending plan. Edwards says TOPS should be fully funded, but so should public colleges, health care for seniors and the disabled and public-private hospitals. He says this budget document is not worth the paper it’s printed on and it’s another reason why a special session is needed to replace expiring revenue.
The budget will be discussed by the full House on Thursday.
The full House takes up a bill on today that would prohibit you from holding a cell phone while driving. Jennifer Smith, the C-E-O of Stop-distractions-dot-org is pushing for this legislation. 15 other states and Washington D.C. currently have a similar law. Opponents to the bill, claim they need access to their phones at all times while driving. Many note the map feature is something they use on a regular basis while behind the wheel.
Louisiana has some of the highest insurance rates in the country. Experts say one reason why is large settlements that are paid out in civil cases. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt has a bill that will be heard in Senate Committee on Tuesday afternoon that would give judges the authority to let juries know if a crash victim was not buckled up.
Hewitt says it’s less likely a crash victim will receive a large settlement if it’s known their injuries could have been reduced if they were buckled up.
Louisiana Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is back in the hospital for a series of planned surgeries on the gunshot wound he suffered during last summer’s shooting attack. He’s expected to remain hospitalized for several days and his doctors say he’s already eager to return to work.
U-S Army officials announce an investigation is underway into a fatal shooting that happened at a residence at Fort Polk. Private Jacob Malcolm of West Virginia was pronounced dead on Thursday night by the Vernon Parish coroner. He was only 18 years old. The U-S Army Criminal Investigation Command is investigating the circumstances of his death.
A report from the Reilly Center at LSU’s Manship School says Louisianans have a pretty favorable view of their local media. 78 percent of those polled said they trust their local media’s information a lot, or some. Public Policy Research Lab Director Mike Henderson says local media also got high marks in getting the facts right. Henderson says maintain trust between the media and public is critical for preserving our system of governance.
In an effort to improve traffic flow in Baton Rouge, a House committee passed a bill that requires 18-wheelers to stay in the right lane from 4 to 7 PM every weekday while traveling on the interstate in East Baton Rouge. The measure heads to the House floor for more discussion.
The Pelicans can take a commanding two games to none series lead tonight when New Orleans faces Portland in Game 2 of their best of seven playoff series. Head Coach Alvin Gentry says it was great to win Saturday, but the immediate goal is to advance to the Western Conference semifinals. Here the game tonight 9pm on 94.7 ESPN
News for Monday 041618
By Dave Graichen
A 2-year-old girl in Haughton was killed Saturday morning when severe storms caused a tree to fall on her family's RV. The girl was sleeping at the time. Four adults, as well as a 15-month old child were also in the RV at the time; none were hurt.
Tax day has arrived and a survey from offers.com finds most Louisianans wait until the very end to file. Some 53 percent wait until the day before or the final day to file. Offers-dot-com’s Carson Yarbrough says most people don’t want to pay their taxes and some say they would go to extreme measures to avoid doing so. According to the I-R-S, the average person who qualifies for a refund will get over 31-hundred-dollars.
An LSU Public Policy Research Lab survey finds a majority of Louisiana residents support two of Governor John Bel Edwards’ major policy issues – criminal justice reform and Medicaid expansion. Of those surveyed, 61-percent say they support the sweeping changes made last year. 69-percent of the respondents approve of Medicaid expansion, which took effect in June of 2016. Some 430-thousand Louisiana residents enrolled in the government funded health insurance. Henderson says since the approval ratings are high on these two major policy changes, it could help the governor get re-elected…
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve a budget today for next fiscal year that will contain 648-million dollars in cuts from the current fiscal year. When the budget process started, lawmakers had a nearly billion dollar budget deficit, but an increase in tax collections has led to a much smaller fiscal cliff. Governor Edwards is pushing the legislature to end the regular session early, so a special session can begin in May to approve tax bills that can lead to more revenue and reduce the budget gap.
The House Judiciary Committee failed to advance a bill that would have created an oversight committee for the state’s 41 district attorneys. The bill is done for this session.
Did you know that switchblade knives are illegal in Louisiana? The state legislature is taking steps to get that ban off the books. It’s been against the law to own or posses a switchblade knife, except for law enforcement officers, since the 1950s. A bill to repeal the ban was approved unanimously by the House today and heads to the Senate for more discussion.
The police officer who shot and killed Alton Sterling during a struggle has appealed his firing. Attorney John McLindon filed the appeal of a local civil service board on behalf of Blane Salamoni who shot Sterling nearly two years ago. McLindon says Salamoni wants to clear his name. If the termination is thrown out, Salamoni could become a police officer in another jurisdiction.
State officials have talked about spending billions of dollars on redirecting sediment carried by the Mississippi River to rebuild the state’s vanishing coast. However, a study out of Tulane says the diversions will produce new land, but not fast enough. Lead author of the report Elizabeth Chamberlain says their findings doesn’t mean river diversions shouldn’t be utilized at all, but it’s important the river diversions are positioned in areas that have the greatest land building potential.
The No. 19 LSU baseball team trailed Tennessee 7-3 entering the top of the ninth inning, but the Tigers rallied to score six runs, highlighted by a three-run walk off homer by freshman designated hitter Daniel Cabrera, to secure the series sweep, 9-7, Sunday evening in Alex Box Stadium.
It was a tough weekend at home for the Houston Astros, as they lost 2 of three to the Texas Rangers. The Astros kick off a three game series on the road in Seattle against the Supersonics tonight 8:35 on 94.7 ESPN.
Round One Game one of the NBA Playoffs Saturday night the Pelicans got past the Portland Trailblazers 97 to 95. Game two is tomorrow night in Portland.
News for Friday 041318
By Dave Graichen
The northern half of the state is under a slight to enhanced risk of severe weather today and the risk for severe storms shifts to southeast Louisiana for tomorrow. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a strong cold front will once again bring us chilly air for the weekend and along with that the possibility of large hail, strong winds and twisters. He says flash flooding is also a concern.
Early voting for April 28 elections starts Saturday. Here in Rapides Parish drainage, fire protection, schools and a runoff for Alexandria city marshal are among the items on the ballot.
The revenue shortfall the state is facing has declined from 994-million-dollars to 648-million-dollars, as a result of the state collecting more income taxes due to the federal tax overhaul. House Speaker Taylor Barras says the extra money would likely go for higher education and the TOPS program. But, Governor Edwards is proposing using the additional 346-million-dollars for several programs including 25-million-dollars to fully restore the higher education budget, 50-million-dollars going towards TOPS, 20-million for Sheriff Departments to house inmates and another 20-million for the D.O.C. Remaining funds would go to health care programs, senior citizen programs and other state projects.
The proposed Federal Farm bill contains work requirements for able-bodied 18 to 59-year-olds who receive SNAP benefits. A beneficiary would have to work or be enrolled in a work training program at least 20 hours a week. Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham says the requirement will filter out persons who choose to take advantage of the welfare system. Exemptions would be given to caretakers with children under six-years-old, pregnant women and those mentally or physically disabled.
The House Health and Welfare committee heard hours of testimony on a statewide smoking ban that would include casino’s and bars. The bill by Opelousas Democrat Dustin Miller was voluntarily yanked, so he can work on the language of the measure. If passed it would virtually ban smoking in just about every public building in the state. Miller says he will bring the bill with the revised language back in two weeks.
A stand-off in the Caddo Heights neighborhood resulted in the death of a woman and the injury of a Shreveport police officer Thursday Morning. According to media reports, a shooting suspect, 36 year old Jonathan Robinson is in custody. The officer was shot in the arm and his injury was not life threatening.
For the second time in the last five months, a family from Acadiana has claimed a Powerball jackpot prize. Louisiana Lottery spokesperson Kim Chopin says an attorney came in this week to claim a 56-million dollar prize that was won by a Lafayette family and last fall they had a winner from Eunice.
The largest free outdoor festival in Louisiana, the 47th Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is expected to draw up to 300-thousand people this weekend. There will be food, music and rides for everyone to enjoy. Spokesperson Donald Lanier says since there is no cover charge, it has led to a very successful outdoor festival year after year. So if you are bored and don’t know what to do, Lanier invites everyone to Ponchatoula for a full weekend of fun
Individuals suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, chronic pain, severe muscle spasms and P-T-S-D would be able to receive a prescription for medical marijuana under legislation that was approved by the full House. The bill is sponsored by Baton Rouge Representative Ted James. In 2016, the state legislature set up the framework for the legal dispensing of medical marijuana and 10 different conditions would be eligible for a prescription. James bill will add to that list and he hopes it will result in more people using medical pot, instead of pain killers.
Former Saints special teams standout Steve Gleason is under considering for the Congressional Gold Medal. Gleason is battling A-L-S and has been a leader on efforts to develop and provide technology for those suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The 19th ranked LSU Tigers begin an SEC series versus Tennessee tonight at Alex Box Stadium. Zach Hess will start on the mound tonight for LSU and freshman Ma’Khail Hilliard will get the ball on Saturday. Hear all three games this weekend on KSYL 970AM & 100.3 HD3FM tonight’s game starts at 7:30
The Houston Astros begin a three game home stand hosting the Texas Rangers game one of the series is tonight starting at 6:35p 94.7 ESPN
The New Orleans Pelicans begin play in the NBA playoffs tomorrow night against the Portland Trailblazers. It’s a late game starting at 9p on 94.7 ESPN
News for Thursday 041218
By Dave Graichen
State police report A 71-year-old Winn Parish woman died Wednesday afternoon after she and another man exchanged gunfire with deputies in the Chee Chee Dam area of Winn Parish. Winn Parish Sheriff's deputies had gone to the area to serve a civil arrest warrant on 50 year old Kendall Lemoine. But, When the deputies arrived, the two were "standing outside the residence both armed with guns. Shots were exchanged, resulting in both subjects being shot. Betty Lemoine died at the scene. Kendall Lemoine was taken to an Alexandria Hospital with critical injuries.
State Police report a Ferriday Man Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash Thursday morning on US 65 just south of Clayton, Louisiana. Troopers say an 18 wheeler swerved from the lane of traffic and struck a Pickup on the side of the road, killing that vehocles driver 57 year old Richard McLain. McLain died from injuries sustained in the crash. A passenger in the pick-up, 56-year-old Louis White of Clayton, received moderate injuries. Impairment is not suspected. A routine toxicology sample was taken. This crash remains under investigation.
The Pineville City Council approved a zoning variance Tuesday that clears the way for a new Dollar General store on Louisiana Highway 107. The store, which will be approximately 9,100 square feet, will be located near the intersection with Stilley Road.
The variance was needed because a part of the proposed store property was zoned for residential use only. It will be the fourth Dollar General Store in Pineville.
In Washington, the announcement of House Speaker Paul Ryan decision not to seek re-election has sparked debate over who might be the next Speaker. New Orleans area Congressman Steve Scalise’s name has popped up for consideration. Political analyst Clancy DuBos says if it were up to President Trump, Scalise would have the job. Scalise told the Associated Press that now is not the time for people to talk about what titles they want.
The legislative session is one month into it and lawmakers are nowhere close to passing any meaningful legislation. Political observers say the milk-toast session has had very little highlights so far. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the main goal at this point is still to wrap up the regular session early, so they can immediately return in a special session to deal with the budget. But he says there doesn’t seem to be much urgency.
The Revenue Estimating Conference meets this morning to give an update on how big the revenue shortfall is for next fiscal year. Previous estimates put the deficit around a billion dollars, but Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s likely the R-E-C will recognize an additional 300-million dollars in revenues, because the state is collecting more income taxes as result of the federal tax overhaul. Edwards says even if the shortfall is reduced to 700-million dollars, a special session is needed to pass a tax plan to fund critical priorities.
Senator John Kennedy wants to hold Facebook and it’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable for any breach in privacy. He is testifying before House Energy and Commerce Committee about a data breach affecting as many as 87-million Facebook users by a data firm with ties to President Trump’s campaign. Kennedy, who apparently believes he is speaking for all Face Book Users, says any trust that users placed in Facebook is no more after this incident. Kennedy also feels Facebook pushes it’s own political agenda.
Speculation continues over who will run against Governor John Bel Edwards as we are 18 months out from the primary. Two Republicans have come to the forefront, U.S. Senator John Kennedy and U.S. Senator Ralph Abraham. Both say they are exploring the idea of running. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says based on what Kennedy has said in the last few months, indicates to him Kennedy will make a run for the Governor’s Mansion. But, if he plans to, he needs to make his intentions known soon. Abraham has also been critical of Edwards and seems poised to start a campaign. But Pinsonat says if Kennedy decides to run, he’ll be the main GOP challenger…
The House Criminal Justice Committee voted down a bill seeking to end the death penalty in Louisiana. Bossier City Representative Raymond Crews says there needs to be severe consequences for first-degree murder and raping children under the age of 13. The vote failed on a 10-8 vote, but a similar bill is still alive in the Senate.
The state Senate unanimously approved legislation requiring public schools to display “In God We Trust” in their buildings. The proposal also calls for educators to teach students about the motto. Schools would be required to have the motto displayed by the 2019-2020 school year. The measure heads to the House next.
The Advocate newspaper reports the state Ethics Board has cleared four State Police troopers who were disciplined for taking a side trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon when they drove to a conference in San Diego. The ethics board says it was former State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson who told them to make the over night stops.
The House Criminal Justice Committee approves legislation that would allow fantasy sports players in Louisiana to collect money if they win contests hosted by groups like Fan Duel and Draft Kings. Gretna Representative Joseph Marino says each parish will have a chance to decide if they want to authorize fantasy sports wagering. Several religious groups across the state have already come out against the bill. The measure heads to the House floor for more debate.
A Tulane study finds grade school students can benefit from yoga classes to help them manage stress and anxiety. Principal author Alessandra Bazzano (Ba-zon-no) says P.E. time has been reduced at schools nationwide, the study showed that students, no matter what age, need to be allowed other activities that take them out of the classroom…Bazzano says more schools are participating in yoga sessions and their research finds it can improve a child’s well-being and emotional health…
Chicago has decided not to match the Saints offer for wide receiver Cameron Meredith, which means the free-agent will join the Black and Gold on a two-year deal worth 10 million dollars.
It was a heart breaker of a game yesterday as the Astro’s Lost to The Minnesota Twins 9 to 8. The Astros have the day off today before starting a three game series at home Friday against the Texas Rangers..
The Pelicans last night crushed the San Antonio Spurs 122 to 98 in the last regular game of the season. That brings us to game 1 of the NBA playoffs. Saturday Night in Portland against the Trailblazers.
News for Wednesday 041118
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana students performed poorly on the National Assessment of Education Progress exams. The state’s fourth-graders had the worst math scores in the nation and finished 49th in reading. Eighth graders didn’t perform much better, 50th in math and 48th in reading.
Governor John Bel Edwards and state Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee unveiled a report on the economic impact of Medicaid expansion. Edwards says according to the LSU report, Louisiana is saving 317-million dollars in state money and providing medical care to those who can’t afford it… The report says Medicaid expansion through the infusion of one-point-eight billion dollars in federal dollars has created over 19-thousand jobs in the health care sector, resulting in nearly three-point-six-billion-dollars in economic activity.
The number of eligible graduates in Louisiana achieving TOPS reaches an all-time high. More than 19,200 senior high school students qualified for at least one scholarship, up from 18,373 in 2016. But, Superintendent for the Office of Student Opportunities Ken Bradford says there is a problem for TOPS candidates. Bradford says if TOPS funding is cut due to a one-billion-dollar budget shortfall, a lot of high school students hoping for a scholarship may be disappointed. Bradford says many graduating seniors are ready to attend a college or university, the hope is that they can afford it…
The Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday legislation that would ban the sale of assault weapons for those under age of 21. State law already forbids the sale of assault weapons to 18 year olds and it's already illegal for people younger than 21 to purchase handguns from licensed dealers. Senate Bill 274 would have made illegal the sale of assault weapons to people under the age of 21
A bill to eliminate the death penalty in cases of first degree murder, child rape, and treason has cleared a senate panel. New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell’s legislation would apply to offenses after August 1st. Catholic Bishop Shelton Fabre (FOB) testified in favor of the measure. Capital crimes would receive a life prison sentence under the legislation approved by the Senate committee.
A bill to allow the state’s 15 licensed riverboats casinos to expand their gaming operations on to land and change the rules regarding gaming space has been sitting on the Senate floor for over two weeks, but a vote in the upper chamber could happen today. Senator Troy Carter says many senators are concerned about the numerous pieces of legislation that seek to expand gambling…
A bill to extend foster care benefits in Louisiana from 18 years old to as much as 21 years old in some cases was passed by the Senate Finance Committee. The money committee agreed to the legislation, even though it will cost the state an additional million dollars. Bossier City Senator Ryan Gatti says it’s a tragedy that a foster child gets put on the street once they turn 18. Gatti believes that most 18-year-olds will stay in foster care if benefits are extended to 21. One-million-dollars from the BP settlement would be used to finance the extension. The bill next heads to the Senate floor.
A Senate bill that requires juveniles to wait until they are 18 before getting married cleared committee today. Current law allows kids to get married with their parents consent as early as 12 years old. Ginger Lecompte is with Women United she says 70 percent of child marriages don’t.
Lawmakers are considering making it illegal for drivers to hold a phone as a measure cleared the House Transportation committee. Breaux Bridge Representative Mike Huval says the legislation allows you to use a hand free device to talk on the phone, but the measure prohibits the use of holding a phone. The bill heading to the House floor calls for a 125-dollar fine for first offenders and after a third violation your driver’s license could be suspended.
The department of wildlife and fisheries wrapped up a two year investigation resulting in one man and one juvenile being charged with numerous crimes. 25 year old Kaenon Constantin and an un-named juvenile have been charged with violating the endangered act by killing two endangered whooping cranes, hunting from a public road, and obstruction of justice. Constantin faces 65 thousand dollars in fines and up to ten years in jail.
A lawsuit, being brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, claims Louisiana authorities have illegally detained a teenage boy for nearly one year after his arrest on a burglary charge. The suit seeks the 15-year-old boy's immediate release from a juvenile detention center in Monroe. The boy was 13 when he was arrested in 2016.
On air today..
The Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins in game three of their series.. 11:35 om 94.7 ESPN
New Orleans Pelicans vs San Antonio Spurs 6:30p 94.7 ESPN
In LSU Baseball, the Tigers shout out LA 2 to 0. Up next, a three game home stand against Tennessee.
News for Tuesday 041018
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports reports criminal scammers are at it again and local citizens are being targeted by phone calls threatening them with arrest and prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. The sheriff’s office says people are being instructed to get a "Green Dot Visa card" to pay the $1,495 fine. Tommy Carnline the public information officer with the Sheriff’s office says remember, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office or any other law enforcement agency will never attempt to collect any monies and instruct anyone to get a "Green Dot Visa Card."
A Ville Platte man who led law enforcement on two chases within days before being captured Monday is being held on multiple charges . 36 year old Samuel Lee was taken into custody after a chase ended in Pine Prairie just before 11:30 Monday morning . Lee had been sought since he led officers from multiple agencies on a chase in a stolen vehicle into Rapides Parish on Sunday morning. Authorities are still looking for Ashley Lamb, who police say fled from the Saturday chase into some woods here in Rapides Parish.
Governor John Bel Edwards is continuing his pledge to end the regular legislative session early, so a special session can begin to take up revenue raising measures that he says are needed to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. But chairman of the House Republican Legislative delegation, Lance Harris, says we’ll have a better idea on how much money the state has available to spend when the Revenue Estimating Conference meets Thursday. Harris says the House Appropriations Committee plans on approving a spending plan for next fiscal year next week.
Emotional testimony is expected in the House Transportation committee today as a bill will be heard, requiring drivers to use only hands free communication devices. Suzanne Salter from will testify in favor. Salter says her daughter was killed in 2014 by a teenage driver who was texting at the time of the fatal crash.. Salter says the doesn’t say you can’t talk on a cell phone while driving, it just can’t be in your hand. Currently state law says you can’t text while you drive.
To listen to the political pundits you would think Louisiana has one of the highest tax rates in the country.. Truth is, it is quite the opposite. A 24-7 Wall Street report shows Louisiana is one of the least taxed places to live in the country. Louisiana taxpayers are tied for fifth in the least amount of taxes paid to local and state governments when compared to other states, Paying just 8-percent of their income to state and local governments.
The full Senate approves a bill to allow children to wear bulletproof backpacks at school. Believe it or not, It’s currently illegal to wear body armor on school property. The author of the bill is West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth who says he filed the bill after a shooting at a Florida school shooting killed 17 people. The measure moves to the House for more discussion.
Gas prices usually rise in the spring time as refineries shut down operations to switch from a winter grade gasoline to a summer grade. Triple-A fuel analyst Don Redman says the price at the pump has increased 11-cents over the last month, but much of that increase occurred in the weeks leading up to Easter weekend. The current statewide average is $2.44 a gallon. Redman says there could be a slight increase in the price when the summer driving season arrives.
The Senate approves a bill that makes it clear bestiality is illegal in Louisiana. There is a law that says people can’t have sex with animals, but it’s unenforceable, because it’s contained in legislation that was ruled unconstitutional in 2003, because it criminalized sex between two males or females. Morrell says its important the state has a way to arrest someone for bestiality. Morrell says the law protects thoes who have to touch animals in private areas, because they are either a doctor or for scientific research.
Legislation that increases penalties for teachers who engage in sexual relationships with students is set for a hearing in a Senate committee today. Bossier City Senator Ryan Gatti says it makes such an offense a felony and it also expands the law to include coaches and team managers and doctors. Gatti says under this law a teacher could face a prison sentence between 5 and 40 years.
A case of measles is confirmed Monday by Louisiana state health officials. A traveler from the United Kingdom was hospitalized over the weekend in New Orleans. Test results for measles came back positive. The virus is known to be highly contagious with symptoms that can include high fever, runny nose, followed by red spots on their skin. The Louisiana Department of Health says the best protection against measles infection is vaccination.
A promising start to the week for the LSU baseball team ended with a thud, as the Tigers dropped the final two games of their road series against Texas A&M to finish the week 2-2. The top-25 rankings took notice of those final two games, as the Tigers dropped across the board. LSU fell two spots in Baseball America's rankings to 19. Four in Perfect Game's to 22 and six in D1 Baseball's to 23. Tonight, the tigers play host to LA Tech. airtime 7p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
After taking three games from the San Diego Padres over the weekend and the first of a three game series from the Twins last night, the Astros continue their series in Minnesota tonight It’s the Astros and the Twins. Airtime 6:35 on 94.7 ESPN.
The New Orleans Pelicans clinched their spot in the Western Conference playoffs with a 113-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night . The Pelicans will be heading to the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season and improved their record to 47-34 with one game left in the regular season.
News for Monday 040918
By Dave Graichen
State Police report that a single vehicle crash Saturday night claimed the life of a Trout woman. The accident occurred shortly before eleven Saturday night, on highway 8 near Fishville, when 37 year old Misty Clark lost control, left the highway and struck a culvert. Authorities say Clark, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The full Senate could hear arguments today on a bill that would strip local jurisdictions of the ability to mandate real estate developers set aside a certain portion of their housing as lower rent. Metairie Senator Dan Martiny, the bill’s sponsor, says affordable housing initiatives should be voluntary, not mandatory. Martiny says rent prices and housing availability should not be subject to local control.
An LSU survey finds 70-percent of state residents believe women face a lot or some discrimination in society and that’s a seven-percent increase from a year ago. LSU Public Policy Research Lab director, Doctor Michael Henderson, says most Louisiana residents agree gender inequality is a real problem in this state.
Louisiana is receiving a 1.2 billion dollar block grant from the federal government to construct flood protection projects in southeast Louisiana. There’s been a push for this funding after the 2016 August flood caused an estimated 8.7 billion dollars in damage. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says the block grant will go right to the state and skip the red tape. Graves expects the money to be available by summer.
Authorities have charged a juvenile with attempted carjacking after he allegedly tried to steal an unmarked State Police unit in New Orleans last week. Sergeant Jared Sandifer says an on-duty trooper was sitting in the vehicle at the time and fired his weapon at the teen after he tried entering the vehicle. No one was injured..
That wasn’t the case in Baton Rouge Sunday morning when a man attempted to break into a vehicle in an apartment complex parking lot and was shot and killed by someone sitting inside the vehicle who then took off. Surveillance video showed the 18 year old man attempting to break into several vehicles before picking the one that cost him his life. Authorities say they have no suspects yet in the case..
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has yet to detect any cases of chronic wasting disease in Louisiana deer. L-D-W-F Deer Program Manager Jonathan Bordelon says they’ve tested 188 deer in East Carroll, Madison and Tensas Parishes after C-W-D was found in a buck just five miles away from the Louisiana-Mississippi border. Bordelon says C-W-D is a neurodegenerative disease and it causes irreversible brain damage and infected deer can spread the disease even before symptoms develop.
On Air Today..
The New Orleans Pelicans merely held their ground on Saturday night by tallying a crucial 126-120 road win over the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena. But with two games remaining, the Pelicans are just a single victory from cinching their first playoff berth since 2015. Tonight the Pels are at LA to play the Clippers.. Airtime 9pm on 94.7 ESPN.
In LSU baseball it was a tough weekend as the Tigers lost the series to Texas A&M. Up next, the Tigers will meet LA Tech tomorrow night. Airtime 7p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
News for Friday 040618
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO has arrested a Deville man and charged him with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, after he allegedly fired a shot gun at a vehicle carrying his child and the child’s mother. Authorities say no one was injured. 35 year old Dewayne Terrell was arrested after an investigation by detectives and crime scene investigators. He remains in jail on a half million dollars bond.
Colorado State Researchers predict above average activity for the upcoming hurricane season, but nothing like the historic 2017 season that devastated the Gulf. 14 named storms are predicted for this year, below the 17 named storms last year. Dr. Michael Bell says there’s a one in three chance the Gulf Coast gets hit this season.
A bill that would force students who lose TOPS to repay the value of the scholarship passed a house committee on an eight to five vote. The legislation by Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo would charge students who drop out, or lose eligibility while in school. But New Orleans Representative Joseph Bouie says the bill targets working class students who often times lose eligibility after a few years when bills start piling up. The bill heads to House Appropriations.
A bill that expands illnesses that medical marijuana can be prescribed for clears a House Committee. State Representative Ted James bill adds Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, muscle spasms, and intractable pain to the list of illnesses that Doctors will use to determine is a patient is eligible to be prescribe medical marijuana, when it becomes available in Louisiana. A separate bill that would legalizing the use of medical marijuana for children with autism passed on a 71 to 21 vote.
A renewed bid to give colleges and universities limited authority to raise tuition again failed in the Louisiana House. The measure, House Bill 418, fell on a vote of 16-75.
Under current rules, colleges and universities have to win approval from the Legislature to boost tuition. The bill would allow the LSU Board of Supervisors and other governing boards to increase tuition up to 10 percent per year, and not more than 20 percent in four years.
The Cajun Navy Relief will hold their first Search and Rescue Games on Saturday in Henderson Bay in the Atchafalaya basin. The games are being used as a training exercise and how to handle disaster rescue scenarios for dispatchers and onshore dispatchers. Spokesperson Amy Jones says they will be able to train on newer equipment that is vital for search and rescue operations.
Wrestlemania 34 will be held Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It marks the first time WWE has visited the Crescent City since 2014. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the last event drew 75,000 fans from 50 states and 36 countries.
Baton Rouge Police officer Howie Lake was back at work Thursday for the first time in nearly two years. He was one of the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. Since that time he was on paid administrative leave and then served a three-day suspension starting on Monday. It’s unclear what his role will be on the force going forward.
The Governor announced yesterday Louisiana will get $1.2 billion in federal flood-control funds. A number of long-stalled U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects in the state, including the Comite River Diversion Canal, New Orleans-area flood protection projects or parts of the Morganza to the Gulf levee system, could get funded through the massive federal allocation. Just which projects will be in line for the funds remains unclear. State officials are waiting for details from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency handling the grant, on exactly how the dollars can be spent.
Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter has filed a bill on behalf of the governor’s office that’s designed to prevent hazing on college campuses. Carter says the legislation requires colleges and universities to provide hazing education and prevention during orientation.
Lakeview residents living along Canal Boulevard in New Orleans say their cars are getting hit for speeding tickets by a nearby traffic camera. The only problem? Their cars aren't moving. A WWL-TV report says one resident estimates he's been tagged about 10 times in the last seven years. A still image from the traffic camera in question even shows the man’s car parked outside his home in the latest so-called offense, where the camera picked up his license plate instead of that of the car that was speeding. City officials say the ticket has been dropped and the city's contractor will reinforce and train their technicians in proper vehicle identification techniques.
LSU Tiger Baseball tonight as the tigers are in College Station for game two of a three game series against Texas A&M. Airtime 6:30p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
The New Orleans Pelicans are on the road tonight @ Phoenix to play the Suns. You can hear that game starting at 8:30p 94.7 ESPN
News for Thursday 040518
By Dave Graichen
Two children, ages seven and eight, in Bastrop were killed in a home fire Wednesday morning. The parents were able to escape the blaze and authorities believe the mother sustained injuries trying to rescue her children.
The House Criminal Justice committee shot down a proposal to allow certain teachers or school staff to carry weapons in school. Chalmette Representative Raymond Garofalo says his bill would only allow teachers to possess a gun after extensive training. He says gun free signs on campuses are invitations to kill. Shreveport representative Barbara Norton argues that she would be more concerned for her grand-daughters life, if the bill passes and teachers are allowed to carry guns to schools.
A bill to allow concealed handgun permit holders to carry guns on college campuses also failed to get out of committee Wednesday.
The state Senate has passed a measure that would let voters decide if Louisiana should move to unanimous jury verdicts for a conviction in felony trials. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says unanimous verdicts were a foundational part of the American justice system. Louisiana is one of two states that allows 10 of 12 jursits to agree on a guilty verdict. The measure still needs House approval.
Monroe Representative Marcus Hunter has filed legislation to pave the way for a riverboat casino to come to Monroe. The state has 15-licensed riverboat casinos and for a casino to be located on the Ouachita, the license would have to move from another location in the state. But Hunter wouldn’t say what gaming operator is interested in moving to northeast Louisiana. Ouachita Parish voters would have to okay a casino in Monroe.
The House Governmental Affairs committee approved a bill to make it easier to recall an elected official. Covington Representative Paul Hollis’ measure would lower the required number of signatures from voters in larger cities and parishes to trigger a special election. Hollis says it’s nearly impossible to recall an elected official now. The bill now moves to the House Floor.
Slidell police have charged 24-year-old Zachary Brooks with negligent homicide and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, after his four-year-old son drowned in a pool. Chief Randy Fandal says the home was in a deplorable condition and Brooks was doing drugs at the time of the drowning…
LSU Health New Orleans has released a first of its kind report that allows Louisiana residents to see if people in their local area are more or less prone to cancer. Louisiana Tumor Registry broke the state up into 1,148 sectors, and compared their rate of cancer to the state average. Wana know if your home is in one of those problem areas? Check out the full map and report by googling Louisiana Tumor Registry 2018.
New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno’s bill to allow surveillance cameras inside nursing home patient rooms passed unanimously in the House. Moreno says her legislation will not only give residents and their family peace of mind, but it will protect employees also.The patient’s family would be responsible for cost of installing the video camera.
After a big 10 to 1 win over Nicholls State Tuesday night, LSU will travel to Texas A&M for a three-game series beginning tonight in College Station. Hear all three games on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD2. Tonight’s game starts at 6:30p
The Houston Astros wrapped up a three game series yesterday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles with a 3 to 2 win. Thus sweeping the series.. the Astros have the day off today before beginning a three game home series against San Diego and the Padres on Friday.
The Pelicans Blew Out The Memphis Grizzlies last night in New Orleans.. the final 123 to 95. The birds leave the nest for their next match up tomorrow night against the Phoenix Suns.
News for Wednesday 040418
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana NAACP plans to protest daily at the offices of Attorney General Jeff Landry in an effort to convince the A-G to allow a grand jury to hear the evidence in the Alton Sterling Shooting. State Director Michael McClanahan expects groups to get larger and remain camped out for longer stints. Landry announced a week ago, the officers involved in the shooting of Sterling would not face criminal charges. While at the same time releasing, what many believe to be incriminating video of the officers involved, for the first time.
The personal-finance website Wallethub names Louisiana as the most stressed state in the nation. Spokesperson Jill Gonzales says many in Louisiana swim in credit card debt and pay high interest rates. Then there’s the high percentage of population living below the poverty line, its divorce rate, crime rate and fewest number of psychologists per capita…
A House committee will hear a bill today by Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds that would require the state to provide adoption information to women considering abortion. Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Ben Clapper says women seeking to terminate their pregnancy at abortion clinics would receive this information. Clapper says both pro-life and pro-choice Louisianans should be able to get behind the bill.
A Governing Magazine Report says Louisianan’s saw a 2.9 percent increase in per capita income last year. The report says the big parts of that gain were the state’s 8.3% increase in benefits received due to the Medicaid expansion. However, the inflation rate, or how much less a dollar buys you, rose two percent last year. So in the end, we are less than 1% ahead of the game.
The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Louisiana kicked off it’s Smoke Free Louisiana Campaign, as Opelousas Representative Dustin Miller filed legislation to ban smoking in bars and casinos statewide. A smoking ban for restaurants has been in effect since 2007. Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death nationwide as an estimated 480,000 die nationwide each year from either smoking or breathing second-hand smoke.
A measure heading to the Senate floor would prohibit the sale of assault weapons to those under the age of 21. It passed out of a Senate committee on a four to three vote and New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison was on hand to testify in support…
Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur is not moving forward with legislation that would allow 18 to 20-year-olds purchase alcohol if they’ve been educated on the dangers of drinking too much. State officials say lowering the drinking age puts the state in jeopardy of losing federal funds. LaFleur says his bill is an attempt to curb underage binge drinking.
A bill that would give voters a chance to legalize sports betting at gaming establishments passes out of a Senate committee. The proposed legislation sets up the opportunity to place bets on sporting contests at any facility that currently has gaming, including bars and restaurants with video poker machines.
A bill prohibiting inmates guilty of first or second degree murder from receiving medical furloughs passed out of a Senate committee. Legislation passed last year that allowed convicted murderers the opportunity to get released from prison temporarily for medical reasons. The bill heads to the Senate floor.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Britanny have filed a lawsuit against a San Diego jeweler claiming the business scammed them out of nine-million dollars over a seven year period by grossly over charging them for diamonds. An attorney for the jeweler says his client did nothing wrong. According to the suite, the diamonds were supposed to appreciate in value, but did not.
LSU is hosting it’s pro day today for 25 NFL hopefuls. The former Tigers will start the day off with some measurements, before moving on to weight tests, speed and agility drills, and positional work. LSU Analyst Mike Detillier says it’s a great opportunity for some unheralded talents to show scouts what they’ve got.
After a big 10 to 6 win last night, It’s an early day of baseball today as the Houston Astros finish out a three game home stand against the Baltimore Orioles airtime 12:35 on 94.6 ESPN
Tonight New Orleans Pelicans will take on the Memphis Grizzlies hear the game 94.7 ESPN airtime 8pm
News for Tuesday 040318
By Dave Graichen
A deadly two vehicle crash Late Friday claimed the lives of two people. The APD reports the crash happened on the Broadway Avenue / I 49 overpass. It’s reported the female driver of one of the vehicles was pronounced dead at the scene. A six-year-old who was a passenger in the vehicle died a short time later.. No other information has been released by authorities yet..
Charges are pending in a two-vehicle crash that killed a Ferriday woman Sunday afternoon. State police say 28 year old Michael Higgins of Monterey was eastbound on La. 568 when he lost control and crossed the center line and struck a vehicle being driven by 72 year old Betty Johnson. Johnson, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene. Higgins, who was wearing a seat belt, sustained moderate injuries.
A suspect has been arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection to a weekend shooting in Natchitoches. Police spokesperson Kelly Parks says 21-year-old Jaquarious Ardison of Campti shot Jamel Haskett after an argument at a Shop Right on Saturday night. Haskett was shot multiple times.
A suspect involved in a reported domestic disturbance in New Llano (New Lan-no) was shot dead by a Vernon Parish Sheriff’s deputy on Easter Sunday. Sheriff Sam Craft says 60-year-old Bobby Hinton tried to shoot an unidentified sheriff’s deputy moments after he arrived on the scene.
A gun control bill will be heard in Senate Judiciary C today that would raise the minimum purchasing age for assault weapons to 21. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter, calls himself a gun enthusiast, but says his legislation is one step forward in curbing gun violence. But Louisiana Shooting Association Lobbyist Wade Duty says the bills are flawed, because it’s not so easy to determine what constitutes an assault weapon. He also says it’s not fair that 20-year-olds can serve in the military, but would be barred from purchasing assault weapons.
Louisiana will receive 5.8 million dollars from the federal Election Assistance Commission to purchase thousands of new voting machines as part of a proposed 50 to 60 million dollar plan to overhaul the state’s aging voting equipment. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says we have a looming crisis with our decade old voting booths.
Bids will begin for the new machines May 1st.
Severe weather is expected across much of Louisiana as a strong cold front is expected to move through tonight. State climatologist Barry Keim says the entire state is under a risk of tornadoes. Keim says the next 24 hours will be critical as the cold front enters the state and will drop temperatures by as much as ten degrees in some areas for Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to rebound by the latter part of this week.
A group is rallying for justice in the Alton Sterling case. Several protesters have marched into Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office asking that a special grand jury choose the fate of officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake. After an internal BRPD investigation, Salamoni was fired and Lake was suspended for three days. Videos released by Landry’s office show Salamoni yelling obscenities at Sterling, then shooting him at least six times.
A bill that calls for a statewide referendum to legalize sports betting in Louisiana will be heard in a senate committee today. Metairie Senator Daniel Martiny says the argument against his legislation is that it expands gambling, but it can help generate a stable revenue source for state government. Martiny also has a bill up for discussion that calls for a statewide referendum to legalize internet gambling. The referendum elections on these two bills would be held in November, if they pass the state legislature.
Louisianans for Prison Alternatives is actively lobbying the legislature to not only maintain the 2017 justice reforms passed but to enact even more measures to reduce the prison population by 50-percent over the next 10 years. Colleen Gielskie (gel-skie) is looking to have the three strike and mandatory minimum sentencing laws changed.
Baton Rouge Police investigators have decided against charging a man in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old. Sergeant L’Jean Mckneely says the teenager pointed a gun at a 25-year-old and tried to rob him, as he walked out of a convenience store. The man pulled his gun and fired at the would be robber, killing him. Mckneely says they are turning over their evidence to the District Attorney’s office, leaving open the possibility that the D-A could pursue charges…
LSU Baseball Head Coach Paul Mainieri is not happy about the team’s RPI rating of 81. The Tigers have tumbled down the NCAA’s rating index despite an 18 and 11 record. Mainieri says he’s befuddled by the extraordinarily low rating. LSU is 1-4 on the road so far, one of the worst road records in the SEC. LSU takes on Nicholls tonight.
The Houston Astros continued their winning ways last night as they defeated the Baltimore Orioles 6 to 1. Tonight, game two of that three game series.. airtime 6:35 on 94.7 ESPN
News for Monday 040218
By Dave Graichen
A settlement has been reached in the civil lawsuit against two law enforcement officers that have been convicted criminally in the death of a six-year-old autistic boy during a traffic stop in Marksville in 2015. An attorney for the family of Jeremy Mardis says he can’t disclose the terms. Derrick Stafford was sentenced to 40 years, while Norris Greenhouse is serving 7-and-a-half years behind bars.
Baton Rouge Representative Pat Smith’s legislation that would prevent schools from taking lunches away from students with unpaid school debts is moving to the House floor. Smith says her legislation would prevent schools from publicly rejecting lunches for students, and stop them from “shaming” kids whose parents are either negligent or unable to afford the meals.
The parents of Maxwell Gruver, who died last year in an alleged hazing incident at LSU, are expected back at the state capitol to show support for a bill that would stiffen criminal penalties for those found guilty of hazing. The “Max Gruver Act” passed through committee without objection and is set to be heard today on the House floor. Gruver’s father Steve says this is the bill will save lives.
Work has begun on a major road and bridge renovation project on Interstate 10 from LA 347, the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge to LA 77 in Grosse Tete west of Baton Rouge. Construction will run day and night to have the project finished by June 2019. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallet says a lot of work needs to be done. The most disruptive periods will occur at night, and some lane closures are expected later in the process.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul has announced that officer Blane Salamoni has been fired, while Howie Lake has been suspended for three days after an internal review into the shooting of Alton Sterling. Paul says Salamoni violated the use of force policy and displayed poor temperament. Graphic body camera video has been released and it shows a violent struggle before Salamoni fired six gun shots into the body of Sterling.
Former LSU football head coach Les Miles is dipping his toes into the Louisiana film industry, looking to take his distinctive character to the silver screen. Patrick Mulhearn a Senior Director at Louisiana Economic Development says the transition from pigskin to productions should be smooth for the Mad Hatter. Miles will appear in a film inspired about the 1986 Challenger explosion called Angry Men.
It’s a sad reality, there are thousands of Louisiana families who have a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Adrienne Mullens, with the Alzheimer’s Association Louisiana Chapter, says they estimate there are 232-thousand people in Louisiana who care for someone with Alzheimer’s. Mullens says they are calling on the state legislature to provide assistance for those families who miss hours at work to care for Alzheimer patient.
In LSU Tiger Baseball, the tigers won their weekend series against Mississippi State, taking two of the three games.. Tomorrow night, the Tigers play host to Nichols state.
The Houston Astros took 3 out of 4 over the weekend from the Texas Rangers.. Tonight, the Astros open a three games series at home against the Baltimore Orioles. You can hear the games starting at 6:45 tonight 94.7 ESPN
Lafayette High School is receiving financial assistance from Shaquille O’ Neal to help renovate their weight room. The school is looking to raise 42-thousand dollars and head football coach Rob Pool says Shaq has come forward and has pledged to help attain that goal with a financial contribution. O’ Neal’s donation will come during a South Louisiana Giving Day Event, which is May 10th.
News for Wednesday 032118
By Dave Graichen
State police report the body of a Ville Platte man was discovered Monday morning more than 24 hours after he died in an early Sunday morning single car crash on U.S. Highway 167 near the St. Landry and Evangeline parish line. Sunday morning around 3am state police, responding to a call, found an unoccupied Silverado in a ditch against a fence. I wasn’t until Monday morning around 9 the body of 24 year old William Morein was found. Morein wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Congratulations going out today to Jimbo & Ms Sandy the owners of a Central Louisiana Landmark.. Tunk's Cypress Inn on Kincaid Lake today marks its 40th anniversary.
A Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday passed a bill that would allow citizens to vote on whether Louisiana should require unanimous juries for felony convictions. Currently, only 10 of 12 jurists are needed to convict someone of a felony. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell argued that research done by the Innocence Project, a group that helps overturn wrongful convictions, proves unanimous juries help safeguard civil liberties.
Louisiana and Oregon are the only two states that do not require a unanimous jury.
2016 flood victims are now eligible for a bigger tax break. If you lost more than 500 dollars that wasn’t covered by insurance or government grants, you can deduct the difference from your 2016 income tax return. Some residents could see a significant refund. That’s according to Baton Rouge area CPA Bryan Lagarde. Lagarde suggests flood victims to get the help of a tax preparer to help amend your 2016 tax returns.
A House bill to establish a rebate for first time home buyers in Louisiana passed the Ways and Means Committee. Baton Rouge Representative Paula Davis told the committee that young people are strapped with a heavy economic burden these days that this could help. Monroe Representative Jay Morris says the state doesn’t have money to fund the 15-million-dollar rebate plan.
A Senate committee approved legislation Tuesday that gives riverboat casinos the opportunity to move on land. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns says his legislation is not an attempt to expand gaming. The measure allows the 15 riverboat casinos to conduct gambling activities within 12-hundred feet on land from where the riverboat is berthed. The bill, facing opposition from religious leaders, now heads to the Senate Floor.
Senate Judiciary B has passed a proposal to the Senate floor that would allow a local vote to be had on permitting river boat casino to be built in Tangipahoa Parish. The potential casino would be built along the Tangipahoa River, near the Robert exit on I-12. If it passes through the legislature, a parish wide vote would be held on the matter.
Alexandria Representative Lance Harris has reached out to his constituents with a Facebook video to remind them the state republican party is watching the budget. Harris is the chair of the House Republican Delegation. Republicans have insisted the actual deficit is closer to 700-million dollars. The Revenue Estimating Conference is expected to finalize a number in the coming weeks.
Legislation to prevent an abortion after 15 weeks of a pregnancy is waiting for debate in the Louisiana legislature. A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order preventing a similar Mississippi law from going into effect. Shreveport Senator John Milkovich says he still plans on going through with his legislation.
A bill that increases the penalty for hazing by increasing fines and jail time goes before the House Criminal Justice Committee today. Three students responsible for the suspected hazing death of LSU student Maxwell Gruver were indicted last week and the maximum penalty they face is a 100 dollar fine and up to 30 days in jail. Lafayette Representative Nancy Landry says it’s not enough. A fourth person was indicted on negligent homicide.
The LSUA Generals were one dunk away from winning the NAIA chanpionship last night. But, it just wasn’t meant to be.. Graceland defeated the Generals in overtime 83 to 80. Congratulations to the guys for an incredible season..
LSU and Tulane meet for the 314th time on the baseball diamond tonight as the Tigers host the Green Wave. Airtime 7pm on KSYL 970 AM / 100.3 HD3 FM
Tonight, it’s a makeup game for the Pelicans after being rained out by a leaky roof earlier in the year. The Pels host the Indiana Pacers. Airtime 6:30p on 94.7 ESPN.
News for Tuesday 032018
By Dave Graichen
The Senate Finance committee will soon discuss legislation that would provide the families of teachers and school employees with 250-thousand dollars if they are killed while performing their duties at school. Families for first responders like fire and police officers are covered by a similar law.
A Senate Committee hears a constitutional amendment today from New Orleans Democrat J-P Morrell that will require a jury’s verdict in a felony trial to be unanimous for conviction. Louisiana and Oregon are the only states that allows for ten out of twelve jurors to agree on a guilty verdict.
Today marks the start of spring in Louisiana. Our winter produced two snow events and a warmer than usual February. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the La Nina effect will dictate our weather the next few months, as it pushes all the rain and colder temperatures to the north. A very rainy February left the Mississippi, Ouachita and Red rivers inundated. Keim says the record rainfall amounts will benefit many.
That new car in the neighbor’s driveway probably has you thinking that their tax return came in, but if you’ve filed and are getting worried about where your money is, the Department of Revenue wants to remind you not to worry, it’s on its way. Spokesperson Byron Henderson says even if you filed on day one, your return won’t technically be late until the end of this month. Those who filed a paper return could have to wait up to 14 weeks.
Marksville Representative Robert Johnson is the new House Democratic Caucus Chairman. The third-term legislator says his caucus has to look beyond short-term problems – including the massive budget deficit. Johnson says the key to a better Louisiana is a united House, one not separated by party lines. Johnson replaces Gene Reynolds who stepped down at the end of the latest special session.
Budget hearings continued Monday in the House. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain expressed concern about not having enough money to fight wildfires across the state.
Strain says the most pressing issue is outdated equipment.
Shreveport-Bossier will play host to both this year’s Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, with Miss USA confirmed for May 21st. It’ll be the first time both pageants have ever been held at the same location back to back, and Miss USA will air live on FOX at the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum.
A four-year-old girl on Monday did not get dropped off at her Baton Rouge elementary school as usual and instead spent all morning asleep on her school bus until she was discovered asleep under a tree in a nearby parking lot. The bus driver was fired, and an internal investigation is still ongoing.
Mississippi's governor signed a law Monday banning most abortions after 15 weeks' gestations, the tightest restrictions in the nation. House Bill 1510's only exceptions are if a fetus has health problems making it "incompatible with life" outside of the womb at full term, or if a pregnant woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened by pregnancy. Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest aren't exempted.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s book about removal of four Confederate Monuments comes out today. It’s called “In the Shadows of Statues.” The outgoing mayor told WWL TV he never expected the statue controversy to be stirred up for so long and he said he’s not using the book as a launch towards a run for president.
A Ruston man has been arrested and charged with 7 counts of attempted second degree murder after allegedly plowing his truck into a crowd of people Saturday night. Two people suffered minor injuries. 47-year-old Jason Rockett was arrested later that night.
The LSUA Generals are heading to the NAIA Finals after the defeated William Penn last night 84 to 75. Tonight they’ll face the Graceland Yellow Jackets starting at 6:45.
It wasn't a happy night for LSU basketball coach Will Wade as his first season ended with a 95-71 loss at Utah in the second-round of the NIT. LSU finished the season 18-15.
Tonight, the New Orleans Pelicans face off against the Dallas Mavericks. Airtime 6:30p on 94.7 ESPN
New Saints linebacker Demario Davis is thrilled with the opportunity to play for a winning organization. The Mississippi native says playing close to home was also a huge factor in his decision to ink a deal with the Black and Gold. He told reporters on a conference call that he plans to be an aggressive player.
News for Monday 031918
By Dave Graichen
It is official, The Alexandria Downtown Post Office will cease operations at the end of May. The branch is located inside the federal courthouse on Murray Street. A spokesperson from the U.S. Postal Service says they have no plans to open another Post Office downtown. Instead, customers will be diverted to the main office, located on Odom St.
A report from America’s Health Ranking says the rates of maternal mortality and teen suicide have risen over the last two years in Louisiana, but the good news those numbers are expected to improve due to a big drop in the uninsured rate among women. United Health care Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Peters says we are one of the worst states when it comes to taking care of expecting mothers. The uninsured rate for women 18-40 was down 34 percent. Peters attributes this to the Medicaid expansion in 2016.
A bill that would prevent businesses from requiring employees to sign agreements blocking them from going to court over sexual harassment claims passed the House Labor Committee. The proposal by Representative Robert Johnson is part of a nationwide effort, Johnson says victims stand a better chance to reach a favorable conclusion if they seek litigation for sexual harassment claims instead of potentially more company friendly options. He says when human dignity is on the line, a judge needs to be called.
Only 46 percent of LSU Health New Orleans graduating medical students participating in the National Resident Match Program this year chose to remain in Louisiana. That is down from 49 percent staying in state last year and 64-percent in 2012. Dr. Steve Nelson says it’s a trend that could cost Louisiana some great doctors. National studies find a high number of physicians set up their permanent practices in areas where they complete their residency program. Nelson says a decline of 18 percent in the last five years is a concern and it’s up to the legislature to provide a stable source of funding for higher ed…
Louisiana is two million dollars short on its funding for voucher students this year. The money is appropriated every June, and covers the cost of state students to attend charter and private schools, instead of public schools. Department of Education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says if the legislature doesn’t come up with another two-million dollars to fill the shortfall for this academic year, schools that are educating voucher students would be on the hook to pay for their educational expenses.
Despite talk of budget cuts to public colleges and TOPS, a record 23-thousand students have applied for entry at LSU for the academic year that starts in August. The school’s chief enrollment officer, Jose Aviles, says they hope for an incoming freshman class of 58-hundred, but TOPS funding is a factor.
Rodney Arbuckle has retired as sheriff of DeSoto Parish. Arbuckle says he’s looking forward to being around his granddaughters and spending time outdoors. Arbuckle has served as sheriff for 17 years. Chief Deputy Jayson Richardson has been appointed as the new sheriff.
Details of Tom Benson’s last will are coming out. According to the Advocate newspaper, Benson made it clear in 2015 that his daughter or grandchildren would never receive another penny from him. Mr. Benson has also left all of his property to a trust and he also made it clear that he wanted his wife, Gayle, to run both the Pelicans and the Saints. Visitation for Benson will take place Wednesday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Thursday 8 AM through 1 Pm at Notre Dame Seminary. A private funeral will take place Friday March 23rd, from noon until 1 PM at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the family of Victor White against Iberia Sheriff Louis Ackal and a deputy. White was fatally shot when handcuffed inside a patrol car in 2014. The coroner ruled it a suicide, White’s family disagreed. Terms of the settlement are not known.
A federal appeals court rules construction can resume on the Bayou Bridge pipeline in the Atchafalaya Basin. Environmental groups were successful in getting a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction. Rising water in the swamp could lead to another work stoppage.
LSU faces Utah tonight in the second round of the NIT. The Utes are 20-11 on the season and Tigers Coach Will Wade says they are very good on the defensive end of the floor. LSU has lost seven straight road games. Wade says his young team is still trying to learn to win away from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Here the game this evening on KSYL 970 AM & 100.3 HD3 FM
The LSUA Generals advanced into the FAB Four over the weekend in the NAIA tournament with decisive victories over Peru State College Friday and Georgetown College on Saturday. Tonight the Generals will face 4th Ranked William Penn University. Airtime 7:45 on 94.7 ESPN.
LSU freshman right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard gave up his first two runs of the season in the first inning, but that was it, as Hilliard pitched a six solid innings to help the Fighting Tigers beat Missouri 7-5 in the rubber match of the three-game series. Coach Paul Mainieri says it’s nice to take the series, but they have to play better to win on the road at Vanderbilt next weekend…
News for Friday 031618
By Dave Graichen
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson has passed away at the age of 90 from complications of the flu. Benson bought the Saints in 1985 after building a car dealership and real estate empire that started in San Antonio, and expanded to his hometown of New Orleans. When the team went up for sale in 1984, then governor Edwin Edwards says he had one priority: finding a buyer who would keep the team in town, and he found that man in Benson. Edwards considered Benson a friend, and the two worked together to make the team a staple of Louisiana culture.
A well known and loved teacher at Brame Middle School has died. Erin Smith taught eighth-grade science and coached cross country at Brame four years. The 33-year-old died Tuesday of apparent heart complications after collapsing during a run.
According to data released yesterday, Louisiana's debt load has continued its steady rise, hitting another record for how much the state owes for each resident and outpacing the national average. The latest debt report presented to the Bond Commission showed Louisiana carried a debt load of $1,558 for every man, woman and child in 2017. That’s an increase of $19 per person from the prior year and a more than 30 percent rise from a decade ago.
The governor dropped by the Senate Labor Committee yesterday to testify on behalf of bills he says would help Louisiana families. He spoke for bills that would raise the minimum wage, mandate equal pay for women, and allow employees to openly discuss pay with other employees without retribution. The equal pay proposal would expand the Louisiana Equal Pay Act to private employers. The Governor says the gender pay gap in Louisiana, one of the widest in the country is a disgrace. The bill was passed 6-1
The committee also passed a minimum wage hike to 8.50 along party lines. Edwards says right now, 7.25 can barely buy you enough to eat.
The Louisiana survey from the LSU has found 50-percent of respondents believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, a 10-percent increase over last year. The poll of 850 residents also found 60-percent believe elected officials should work with other elected officials they disagree with for the better of the state.
Shreveport Senator John Milkovich’s legislation that would give teachers more freedom to decide how to handle bullies in public schools passed through the Senate Education Committee. Milkovich says it’s time to stand against schoolyard abusers. Milkovich says the bill was inspired by a meeting he had with two parents whose daughters had committed suicide. The Senator says the parents reported the bullying several times to the school, but after months, nothing had been done. Milkovich says his legislation would provide educators with new avenues for dealing with classroom abusers.
The man convicted in the road rage shooting death of former NFL player Joe McKnight was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday. 56-year-old Ronald Gasser was facing 40 years for his manslaughter conviction. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says the publicity around the case led to a longer sentence. Gasser shot and killed McKnight at a traffic light in Jefferson Parish in 2016.
An East Baton Rouge grand jury has indicted four young men in the alleged hazing death of Maxwell Gruver. Ten people were originally charged, but the grand jury declined to act on several of those. Matthew Naquin was indicted on negligent homicide and three others were indicted on a hazing charge.
Senator John Kennedy has co-sponsored the WOOFF act which stands for welfare of our furry friends act. He’s aiming to curtail the deaths of animals on airlines like the one last Monday on a United flight. Kennedy says he expects to get some answers from the airline that was responsible for the dog’s death. But Lamar White, publisher of bayou brief says Kennedy is looking for some cheap publicity.
On the air today…
LSUA faces Peru State College today In the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City 12 noon 94.7 ESPN
In baseball, LSU plays host to Missouri tonight in the 1st of a 3 game SEC series. 7:30p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
Houston Astros vs NY Yankees 5:20p 94.7 ESPN (Spring Training)
Spicy comments were made in the postgame press conferences following LSU’s 84-76 win over UL Lafayette in the first round of the NIT. Tigers Coach Will Wade took exception to what Cajuns Coach Bob Marlin said before the game, Marlin says he stands by the comments he made on Monday when he said the Cajuns should have hosted the game, because they had the better season and had more wins.
News for Thursday 031518
By Dave Graichen
Several Louisiana schools took part in a national walkout against gun violence at 10 AM yesterday. It lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people killed in a south Florida school shooting a month ago. Here in Alexandria / Pineville, students came together as one in solidarity with victims and survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, Holding assemblies and moments of silence.
The severe flu season in Louisiana has relented, as health officials report fewer cases, than in late December and January. Over one in ten doctor visits were flu related at one point. State Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says it’s now down to 3.5 percent. He credits an aggressive flu shot drive for the decrease. The CDC says the flu season can last as late as May. Welch says if you have so far avoided the flu, don’t count yourself out just yet.
A somber Tom Schedler spoke for the first time yesterday since allegations of Sexual harassment were brought against him. Schedler says since this suit is in litigation, he can’t comment on it now, but assures the public that the truth will eventually come out. Schedler has admitted to having a relationship with the victim, but insists he didn’t harass or stalk her. Governor John Bel Edwards and even some in his own party have asked Schedler to resign as Secretary of State immediately.
Public Service Commission staffer Hunter Coleman is being hailed as a hero, after he dove into cold water in Shreveport to pull a motorist out of vehicle that crashed into a pond on Monday night. Four people, including three children, were saved, but the driver died at nearby hospital. Coleman says he doesn’t remember much, from the heroic effort. He also says several neighbors jumped in and helped as well..
US Senator John Kennedy is urging the pardon board not to grant a medical furlough today to convicted killer Clyde Giddens, who was convicted in the brutal murder of Urline Bamburg in Red River. Giddens was sentenced to life in prison in 1964 after pleading guilty. Kennedy says the crime is so grotesque that Giddens does not deserve a second chance. Giddens has a chance at freedom as part of the 2017 Louisiana criminal justice reform package that allows for inmates with “limited mobility” to apply for a medical furlough that would set them free if approved.
An Opelousas woman is in jail after allegedly killing her uncle because of his “constant chattering.” St. Landry Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says 49-year-old Melissa Ann Credeur (Cra-ter) initially accused, John Ray Gautreaux, of raping her while she slept. Guidroz says he had some contact with her recently when she admitted to some mental issues, which he says may have led to this murder.
A Denham Springs man was arrested on 130 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography. 56-year-old Jesse Sloane was located by state police a couple of months ago after a video reported shared by Sloane involved juvenile porn. The case remains under investigation and more charges are pending.
Now that Saints QB Drew Brees is sticking around, he has confirmed he was offered more money to play elsewhere. Brees says he wanted to make sure the team had the financial flexibility to build a roster capable of making the Super Bowl. Brees new two year deal is worth 50 million dollars with 27 million guaranteed the first year.
Yesterday was the first day of free agency in the NFL and the Saints were busy. The Black and Gold reportedly signed free agent linebacker Demario Davis to a three-year contract. The six year vet had 97 solo tackles and five sacks with the Jets last season.
In basketball, LSU advanced to the second round of the National Invitational Tournament yesterday with an 84 to 76 win over Louisiana Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajuns. The Tigers will face Utah UC Davis in Round Two..
In LSU Baseball, The Tigers Beat South Alabama Last Night 9 to 4. Friday they travel to Missouri for a three game SEC matchup.
For the third straight season, the LSUA men's basketball team will enjoy an extended stay in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament. They defeated Lewis & Clark yesterday 77 to 71. Up Next, Round 2 and a TBA team. You can hear the game Friday afternoon at 12:15 on 94.7 ESPN.
News for Wednesday 031418
By Dave Graichen
Baton Rouge area Law enforcement are saddened over the death of a Zachary firefighter and reserve police officer Christopher Lawton, while on duty in an hit and run Monday night. Authorities have arrested two suspects who allegedly ran the 41 year old officer over in a Wal Mart parking lot in Baker. Lawton was in the process of making an arrest when he was struck.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is warning lawmakers they can NOT cut their way to a balanced budget for next fiscal year. Dardenne testified in front of the House Appropriations Committee today and reiterated the governor’s call to wrap up the regular session in early May, so a special session can be called to raise revenue to close a large budget gap. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry has expressed optimism they can pass a budget while making large cuts.
If the legislature decides to cut its way through the billion dollar budget gap, private health care providers warn the consequences would be dire. If the Department of Health sustains the kinds of cuts being discussed, public-private facilities would be on the chopping block. Our Lady of the Lake President Scott Wester says those cuts would mean the end of their partnership with the state, LSU, and LDH. Wester says that would end care for tens of thousands of patients with a variety of health issues. Wester says the cuts would also damage rural hospitals and nursing homes.
House and Senate committees will meet Wednesday to discuss legislation that would trigger a constitutional convention. Much of the interest is due to the state’s current law that restricts cuts to only higher ed and health care when faced with a budget deficit.
1974 was the last time Louisiana had a constitutional convention.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that Type 2 charter schools are public schools and can continue to receive Minimum Foundation Program funds from the state.
There are 42 Type 2 charter schools in Louisiana. The ruling reverses a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals that Type 2 charters do not meet the state constitution's definition of public schools. Louisiana Superintendent John White applauded the ruling.
Governor John Bel Edwards was in St. Joseph yesterday to unveil a new water plant. The small town in Tensas Parish had been under a perpetual public health emergency declaration because of brown colored tap water and without running water for more than a year. The project cost over 8-million dollars and it was funded by state and federal dollars.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments Tuesday on whether construction should resume on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in the Atchafalaya Basin. Environmental groups argue the project will result in irreversible environmental damage. The company says they have received blessing from the Corps of Engineers to construct the pipeline in the swamp.
Louisiana State Police say a 12-year-old shot and killed his seven-year-old brother in Lake Providence Monday. Trooper Michael Reichardt says the two youngsters were together when the shooting occurred. They are still investigating how the older juvenile got a hold of a weapon. Six children were at home at the time of the shooting while their mother was at work.
Authorities report 43-year-old Ricardo Diaz shot and killed 31-year-old Lydia Johnson in Walker, then led police on a chase to the Mississippi River Bridge where he jumped to his death. Both left behind seven children. Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says sadly this case ended in tragedy even with a protective order in place.
Quarterback Drew Brees has agreed to a reported 50-million-dollar, two-year-deal, with the Saints. Saints radio color analyst Deuce McAllister says in actuality it’s a one year deal as there’s a team option after the first year. Sources say Brees will receive 27-million dollars in guaranteed money.
The Ragin Cajuns basketball team seems ready for tonight’s 6 PM N-I-T match-up between UL-Lafayette and LSU. This will be the 47th meeting on the hardwood between the two south Louisiana schools, but it’s the first time they’ve played each other since 2009 hear the game this evening starting at 5:30 on KSYL 970 AM & 100.3 HD3 FM.
The 16th ranked LSU baseball team hosts South Alabama tonight in its final non-conference game before SEC play begins. LSU will begin conference play on Friday when they host Missouri.
The LSUA Generals are in the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City. Today they’ll meet Lewis & Clark. You can hear the game starting at 10:45a on 94.7 ESPN
The New Orleans Pelicans are back in the winning was.. they defeated the Charlotte Hornets last night at the Nest by a score of 119 to 115. The Pelicans play next, Thursday night, in San Antonio against the Spurs..
News for Monday 031218
By Dave Graichen
The first violent weather of the spring rolled through Cenla Sunday morning. Strong winds and heavy rain was responsible for the downing of trees and for the destruction of a home in Fifth Ward in Avoyelles parish. The family, in that home, was inside when it began to disintegrate. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.
The Alexandria Police Department has arrested two people for the murder of Joseph Roy on Bolton Avenue last Thursday. 33 year old Demarcus Scales and 32 year old LaToshia Thomas were arrested without incident on Saturday. Both will be charged with second degree murder. The victim, Joseph Roy, was the father of four.
Early voting began Saturday for the March 24th election. You can early vote from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. all this week. In Rapides, you can vote at the Rapides Parish Courthouse downtown, or in Pineville at Kees Park. Early voting ends this Saturday.
The regular session kicks off today, and Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping the legislature gets more accomplished than the special session that ended without a clear solution to the fiscal cliff. The special session was notable for its stark partisan divides, which Edwards says were the worst he’s seen in a decade. Legislators are not allowed to address revenue issues in this regular session, so the fiscal cliff will have to wait for another special session to be called afterwards.
The regular session begins today less than a week after the special session crashed and burned. Fiscal cliff negotiations will be put on hold while a slew of other issues take center stage. There are several gun control bills filed. But Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin doesn’t see any of the measures to restrict who can purchase an assault rifle passing. 18 states raised their minimum wage this year, and a few major companies are following suite. Erwin says while the national landscape is tilting in favor of higher wages, he doesn’t see it happening in Louisiana.
Governor John Bel Edwards released his legislative agenda aimed at improving the well-being of children and seniors. One of the bills included is West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman’s proposal to reduce the requirements necessary for public school teachers to obtain tenure. Hoffman says the current requirements are unfair to educators.
The removal of four Jim Crow-era monuments in New Orleans took center stage in the national media again Sunday night as "60 Minutes" used the drama surrounding the effort to take down the statues here last year as a springboard into debates over Confederate icons in other cities. There was really nothing new in the report. The interview was largely a condensed history of the four monuments’ removal for a national audience, most of which would be familiar to anyone who followed the efforts locally.
With the onset of spring comes seasonal allergies and this year could be a very long season. For those who suffer from hay fever, it spells many weeks of sniffing, sneezing, watery eyes and post nasal drainage. Physician Dr. Peter Boggs says the allergy season started early due to record breaking warmth in February. But there is still a lot of pollen to go around.
Four people are under arrest in connection with the deaths of a cow and three calves near the levee in St. Landry Parish. All four were charged with simple criminal damage to property and aggravated cruelty to animals.
A Bossier City pastor was arrested on drug charges after deputies found Methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at his house. Andy Harris was the senior pastor of The Church of the Cross in Haughton, and was charged with possession. Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Davis says Harris was being questioned about a separate investigation when the subject came up.
Authorities in St. Tammany parish report a 5-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool in the backyard of his grandmother's home in Covington on Saturday afternoon. When the grandmother realized the child was missing she was not immediately alarmed because the child commonly liked to play hide and seek. The boy's mother arrived at the home a short time later, and they began searching for the child. They found him floating in an above-ground pool in the backyard.
Spring football is underway at LSU and so is the competition to be the Tigers starting quarterback in the fall. Head Coach Ed Orgeron says soon to be junior Justin McMillan made a good first impression on Sunday, the first practice of spring. The LSU coaching staff is also looking for a featured running back to emerge in the spring. Orgeron says since there’s no Leonard Fournette or Derius Guice on the roster, they will be an offense that depends more on its passing game.
LSU thundered its way to a series win Sunday, thrashing Hawaii 14-1 and setting a new season high with 17 hits at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers started out the three game series on a sour not losing to Hawaii 4 to 2, but came back Saturday with a 5 to one win. The 11 & 6 Tigers play host Wednesday night to South Alabama..
After winning 10 in a row, the Pelicans have now lost two straight. Utah came into the Smoothie King Center yesterday and beat the Pels 116 to 99. During the 10 game win streak, New Orleans was averaging about 125 points a game, but in the last two, they’ve failed to score 100.
News for Friday 030918
By Dave Graichen
The country cares for St Jude Radiothon is going on right now on 100.3 KRRV Call 1-800-573-5425 to become a Partner in Hope! You can also become a Partner in Hope now by texting KRRV to 785833! Or visit the website at krrvonline.com
The search is on to find a replacement for Jon Grafton, the head of the England Authority. The Board of Commissioners has decided to hired a search firm, ADK Consulting Inc., at a cost of just under 35 grand to do just that. Grafton announced his resignation last month after 24 years on the job.
Alexandria Police are investigating the apparent murder of a 42 year old man on Bolton Avenue. Police report the body was found shortly after 2 Thursday afternoon near Madison Street. Police closed a portion of Bolton Avenue for about an hour as they investigated. Other than saying the victim was shot, there is no word yet on any suspects or on the identity of the man.
Early voting starts Saturday for the election scheduled for March 24. There are numerous issues on area ballots, including the Alexandria City Marshal race and a parish-wide tax renewal for the health unit in Rapides Parish as well as elections for Colfax mayor and Aldermen positions, Marksville aldermen positions and Bunkie police chief.
Target and Walmart workers will see more money in their paycheck. Walmart says Associates in Louisiana will receive 13.7 million dollars in bonuses today, while Target announced it’s raising its minimum hourly wage to 12-dollars this spring and 15-dollars by the end of 2020. UNO Business Professor Mark Rosa says this is the effect of the recent federal tax overhaul.
New Orleans Democrat Senator Troy Carter has filed a bill to raise the state minimum hourly wage to $9.50 for businesses with more than 50 employees by August 2019. 18 states started the year with increased wages and an additional 19 states adopted higher wages in 2017. Carter says in light of WalMart’s recent announcement of employee bonuses and Target raising their minimum wage, it’s time for Louisiana to step up.
A State Trooper’s kindness has gone viral after he found a wallet on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras in New Orleans and personally paid to send it back to the owner. Senior Trooper Melissa Matey says Alexandria Master Trooper John Jett truly showed what being a state trooper is all about. The Reddit post showing the wallet and a personal letter from Jett has been viewed nearly 100-thousand times
Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor will be bringing two constitutional amendments to the floor. Currently, State judges are not allowed to be elected after the age of 70. Claitor says it’s time to level the playing field. He has proposed a constitutional amendment that prohibits any person over the age of 70 from running for a statewide position or the legislature. Claitor also has also filed a constitutional amendment that would allow a person over the age of 70 to be elected as a judge. He says he’s filed the two to start a conversation. Several state lawmakers are already coming out against the ammendments.
West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman is proposing two bills as part of Governor John Bel Edwards’ plan to improve the well-being of Louisiana children. One bill would lower requirements for obtaining teacher tenure, and the other would reduce the percentage of a teacher’s evaluation that is comprised of growth in student achievement.
Baton Rouge Representative Pat Smith wants to send some convicted criminals home if they have kids to take care of. It’s part of House bill 264 that would give judges more flexibility on deciding how to punish parents who have committed non-violent crimes. Smith says, if passed, it will be up to district court judges to determine how they serve their punishment.
US Representative Clay Higgins is proposing two bills aimed at investigating and improving the quality of law enforcement protection at public schools. After the revelation that the school resource officer present at the Florida shooting fled, Higgins says it’s time to reevaluate just who is charged with protecting students. His second bill would establish national training standards for SRO’s.
Louisiana’s attorney general sued a local school board Thursday over a meeting disrupted by the video-recorded arrest of a teacher being roughly handcuffed on a hallway floor after she criticized the district superintendent’s pay raise. Attorney General Jeff Landry’s lawsuit accuses the Vermilion Parish School Board and its members of violating the state’s Open Meetings Law by stifling public debate at the Jan. 8 meeting.
The suit asks a state court to nullify all actions taken by the board during that meeting, including its vote to raise the Schools Superintendent ‘s salary by roughly $30,000
The Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish is in operation for the 12th time since the 1930s. Water from the rising Mississippi River is flowing into Lake Pontchartrain, Colonel Mike Clancy of the Corps New Orleans office says they are easing levee levels by opening eight of the 350 bays on the flood control structure.
The NFL is reportedly looking into the some of the questions former LSU running back Derrius Guice received while speaking with teams at the Draft Combine. Guice told SiriusXM Radio he was asked whether he likes men and whether his mom sells herself.
The Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Department is seeking information in finding persons responsible for the death of a cow and three calves at a levee near Port Barre.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Agriculture Department, Livestock Crimestoppers or the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office.
People looking to eat healthy might be surprised to find out one of their best bets might be a crawfish boil. Not counting drinks, the boiled corn, potatoes, and crawfish comes out to a pretty balanced, low calorie meal. Nationally regarded Baton Rouge chef Holly Clegg says the mudbug is the perfect lean meat.
LSU basketball is out of the SEC tournament in game 1. They lost last night to Mississippi state 80 to 77
LSU Baseball hosts Hawaii for a weekend series beginning tonight at Alex Box Stadium. It’s the final non-conference series for the Tigers, before they begin SEC play next weekend against Missouri.
The Pelicans won their tenth straight game Wednesday night as they defeated Sacramento 114 to 101. Anthony Davis left the game in the third quarter after rolling his ankle. X-rays taken were negative. New Orleans hosts the Wizards tonight. Hear the game starting at 6:30 on 94.7 ESPN.
News for Thursday 030818
By Dave Graichen
It is something the staff at our sister station KRRV does every year and it all begins today.. it’s the country cares for St Jude Radiothon. Every year the listeners of KRRV open their hearts and give to this great cause. To become a Partner in Hope please call 800-573-5425 if you can’t write the number down right now, you can go to any of the Cenla Broadcasting websites for more information. The Radiothon continues through tomorrow night at 6..
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is investigating whether a containment vessel at Clean Harbors Colfax, that was breached in heavy rain last week, may have contaminated some nearby creeks, ponds or groundwater in the area. The storm water runoff previously has been shown to contain higher-than-allowable amounts of toxins.
An amended complaint was filed March 1 in a federal lawsuit that claims Louisiana College wouldn't hire a coach because of his Jewish heritage. The new evidence includes what appears to be a text message exchange between the man suing and the school's head football coach. Joshua Bonadona's lawsuit is against the private Baptist college and its president, Rick Brewer.
They call them copycats and there have been more than 600 of them across the country since the deadly shooting in Florida. They’re Teens making threats against their schools. Here in Cenla, a 15-year-old Avoyelles Parish student was arrested Tuesday while four more students were arrested Wednesday for making threats against three different Avoyelles Parish schools.
A federal appeals court has scheduled a hearing next week to take a look at a judge’s order that stopped construction on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Shelly Dick sided with environmentalists when she issued a preliminary injunction stopping the pipeline’s construction, after reviewing environmental reports that showed the pipeline could disrupt the local ecology, and increase the loss of Louisiana’s wetlands.
The Bonnet Carre Spillway will be opened for just the twelfth time today as the Mississippi River swells, and threatens to tops levees across southeast Louisiana. The spillway is expected to run at about half capacity for three weeks, and will drain the river into some of the 320 pods that are controlled by timber locks. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Michael Clancy says the construction is old tech, but runs just fine.
St. Tammany Sheriff Randy Smith has provided more details on the arrest of four people who are connected to the deaths of Raegan Day and Dustin Hartline. They were found in a Camaro submerged in water near the East Pearl River Boat Launch on Monday. The coroner determined both were shot in the head in what appears to have been a carjacking gone wrong..
A bill has been filed in the regular session to legalize sports betting in Louisiana. The U-S Supreme Court could soon issue a ruling that legalizes sports betting across the country. New Roads Representative Major Thibaut says several other states are preparing to allow sports betting and he believes Louisiana should be prepared to regulate it to. Under Thibaut’s bill, sports betting parlors would be allowed at the state’s four horse racing tracks.
West Virginia teachers won a five percent raise for all state workers after a nine day strike. In the wake of reports showing Louisiana teachers are paid 2,000 dollars less than the regional average, Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Larry Carter says if all other options are exhausted to get better conditions for teachers, he would support a strike. However, Carter says no local discussions have been had about a strike.
Monroe based CenturyLink’s chief executive is retiring in May. Glen Post had originally said he would stay on until the end of the year. Post has served as CEO for 26 years of his 42 year career. President and COO Jeff Storey will take over after May 23rd. Under Post’s leadership, annual revenues went from 218-million in 1991 to 24-billion last year.
Republican U-S Senator John Kennedy has sent out a statement praising House Republicans for saving Louisiana families, from what he calls, Governor Edwards’ tax increases. And Kennedy adds the fault lies with the governor and Democracts for refusing to fully embrace basic budget reforms.
A Lafayette woman is facing criminal charges after she allegedly stole another student’s diploma during last December’s LSU graduation ceremony. LSU Police say Bianca White actually walked across the stage and accepted a purple diploma cover and graduation diploma that belonged to another student. When confronted that day, White said she gave the real diploma to another person. She’s finally been booked on several charges including theft.
A pro-life movie that highlights the journey of Metairie native and current LSU law student David Scotton meeting his birth parents for the first time will premiere online tonight. Scotton, says “I Lived on Parker Avenue” tells the story of his adoptive parents and his journey to find his birth mom in Indiana and her choice of choosing adoption over abortion. The film will premiere on Scotton’s website at i-lived-on-parker-ave-dot-com tonight starting at 7pm.
There is a new way to grocery shop in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas without leaving your home. California-based Instacart begins home delivery service for over 600-thousand Louisiana households starting today. Area Manager Ethan Mergen says you can let Instacart do all the work. They have teamed up with chains Albertson’s, Costco, CVS, Petco and Rouse’s Market. These two markets are their first ventures in Louisiana.
LSU basketball begins play tonight in the SEC Tournament as they’ll tip it off against Mississippi State at 6 PM. The Tigers just beat the Bulldogs by 21 points. LSU can receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament if they win four games over the next four days. Coach Will Wade admits that will be tough for his team.
ate at 6 PM. The Tigers just beat the Bulldogs by 21 points. LSU can receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament if they win four games over the next four days. Coach Will Wade admits that will be tough for his team.
News for Wednesday 030718
By Dave Graichen
The APD continues to investigate the death of a 54 year old man who was struck and killed while walking along Mac Arthur drive Monday night.. Fire department and ambulance personnel arrived and transported the man to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police have yet to release the victim’s name and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Authorities in St. Tammany Parish report the bodies of a man and a woman who had been missing since February 15th were found in a submerged car at the East Pearl River boat launch on Monday. The Victims have been Identified as 28-year-old Dustin Hartline and 20-year-old Raegan Elizabeth Day. The case is under investigation as a double homicide.
With the special legislative session over, lawmakers are looking ahead to the regular session that starts Monday. The question is how the legislature will react to a highly fractured House after accusations of mistrust among members. Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey says he can’t see any scenario during the upcoming session where legislators pass a budget. Governor John Bel Edwards agrees that it will be difficult to pass a budget for next fiscal year in the regular session, because lawmakers will see the cuts will be too deep, without raising additional revenue. He says that’s why another special session is likely
Now that the special session concluded without a solution to fill a one-billion-dollar budget shortfall in July, TOPS funding could be cut by 80-percent. There are nearly 48-thousand TOPS students. Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says many parents can’t afford to send their kids to college without some financial help. Those college prospects are looking elsewhere to get their education. Rallo says if funding for Higher Education and TOPS is wiped out, it will hurt more than just the students, their families and faculty. It could cripple the state’s economy.
Jefferson Parish Representative Kirk Talbot has filed a bill for the regular session, that would let voters decide in October if internet fantasy sports betting should be legal in Louisiana. Opponents might say they don’t want another mode of gambling to come to Louisiana, but Talbot says legalizing online sports betting would provide the state with another source of revenue… Louisiana is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t allow online gambling.
The Manship School at LSU has created a game that lets taxpayers put forward their own plan on how to address the billion dollar fiscal cliff. “Solve The Budget” presents players with a list of budget items that can be cut or funded, and tax proposals that can be adopted to rejected to close the budget gap. Manship Dean Jerry Cepos is encouraging everyone to hop online and give it a try. The website is solvethebudget.com the information gathered on the site will be passed on to lawmakers.
The Trump Administration is backing a plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The plan is aimed at making American metal production more competitive at home, but Director of State Projects at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation Scott Drenkard says as a port state, the proposal hits Louisiana particularly hard. The Tax Foundation estimates the tariffs would cost the US 9 billion dollars a year.
Livingston Parish deputies have charged 27-year-old Chad Horsley with a hate crime. The Denham Springs man is accused of targeting a Muslim owned convenience store, while impersonating an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy. Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard says after being confronted with evidence, Horsley cooperated and admitted he picked that store for a reason.
Work anxiety is causing sleepless nights and are taking a heavy toll on employees. According to new research from Accountemps, 44-percent lose sleep over work due to a number of factors including overwhelming workloads, looming business problems and strained co-worker relationships. The study identified 50-percent of respondents are overwhelmed with work and the amount of hours devoted to their job.
Sports on air tonight….
LSU Baseball @ Lafayette 6p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
New Orleans Pelicans @ Sacramento Kings 8:30p 94.7 ESPN
News for Tuesday 030618
By Dave Graichen
Another cold front will bring back cooler temperatures to Louisiana this week. Pierre C. Shadeaux, Louisiana’s rodent weather forecaster predicted an early end to winter back on ground hog day, but State Climatologist Barry Keim says the nutria’s prediction was premature. Temperatures will rebound somewhat by this coming weekend.
After over two weeks of bickering, name calling and passing the buck, The Louisiana legislature on both sides informed the Governor, yesterday they were going home without a plan in place to raise taxes to bridge a one billion dollar budget deficit.
Governor Edwards has said if no compromise was found, TOPS education funding, health care and several other services would be drastically cut. The one-cent sales tax will fall off the books the end of June, causing the shortfall. Once the regular Legislative session starts next Monday March 12th, no tax bills will be able to be discussed.
Leaders from both sides are pointing fingers after the special session crashed and burned after 15 days of failed negotiations, leaving the state with no certain path to solving the one billion dollar fiscal cliff. Republican Representative Cameron Henry says
the governor failed to communicate exactly what he wanted, or how large of a shortfall that needed to be made up. But Edwards is placing the blame on House Speaker Taylor Barras who he says reneging on a deal that was cut before the special session started.
The state legislature went home after spending 15 days in a special session and failing to find a solution to the one billion dollar fiscal cliff. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says legislators spent a lot of taxpayer money for very little return. The session is expected to cost the state nearly a million dollars, 50-to-60-thousand dollars a day.
Vernon Parish Sheriff John Craft announced plans to close the Vernon Correctional Facility on March 31. Craft says they have thoroughly investigated every possible avenue to avoid closing the facility. But, with the number of inmates they currently house, (201 as of Monday) Craft says it is no longer financially feasible to remain open. The state currently pays $10 per day per inmate, which is much lower than most states. The budget that would start in July is looking at cutting the $10 a day figure in half.
The Corps of Engineers is recommending opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway just outside of New Orleans this Thursday as Mississippi River levels are expected to steadily rise after several weeks of intense rains in the Midwest. Colonel Michael Clancy says the Mississippi is getting close to topping the New Orleans levee system. The river is currently at 14 feet. Once it reaches 15 feet, an forecasters say it will, recreation and work near the levees will be restricted.
Louisiana drivers are getting a bit of a break with falling gas prices over the last few weeks. The statewide average for regular unleaded gas is $2.33 a gallon, but Triple A’s Don Redman says don’t get too comfortable with these lower prices as we move into the warmer months. Earlier this year, the projection was for $3.00 a gallon in Louisiana, but Redman says the increase won’t be as much as first thought.
Baton Rouge Representative Edmond Jordan is seeking to introduce a bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana and set up a way to tax the sale of cannabis. Jordan says this legislation could help with the state’s constant budget deficits. Baton Rouge and New Orleans recently approved ordinances that decrease the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. He says making it legal statewide is the next obvious step.
Rayne Police say they plan on arresting several suspects involved in the shooting of an 11-year-old girl. The child was shot in the leg and was treated and released at a local hospital. Authorities say the girl was an innocent bystander in a gunfight involving multiple people on Sunday afternoon.
A man wanted for second-degree murder out of Iberia Parish has been arrested in Houston. Authorities say the U-S Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force apprehended Akeam Daniels. He’s accused of fatally shooting 29-year-old Courtland Hall, who was dating the mother of his child. The incident resulted in an Amber Alert involving their two month old child, but the infant was found unharmed.
Site Selection magazine ranks Louisiana eighth on a per capita basis, among states with the most new and expanded facilities in 2017. It’s the ninth consecutive year Louisiana has landed in the top 10. However, just last week, another study listed Louisiana dead last in the nation for it’s business climate.
LSU’s Zack Hess has been named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Magazine. Hess struck out a career-high 13 in LSU’s victory over Toledo on Friday.
The Pelicans Anthony Davis has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week. A-D averaged 34 points a game last week as New Orleans is currently riding an eight-game winning streak, which has moved them into fourth place in the Western Conference Standings. New Orleans faces the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. Airtime 8:30 on 94.7 ESPN.
After 12 seasons, Dave Simmons is out as head coach at McNeese State. The Cowboys missed the Southland Conference Tournament after finishing with a 8-10 league mark.
News for Monday 030518
By Dave Graichen
So, how wet was February? According to the National Weather Service February’s rainfall Louisiana set a record going back to the 1870’s. Flood warnings remain in effect for the Mississippi, Ouachita and Red Rivers until further notice.
Partisan bickering is complicating efforts to address a one billion dollar fiscal shortfall. All hope appears lost that the state legislature will pass any tax measures in this special session to address a nearly one-billion dollar shortfall. A sales tax bill that would provide nearly 300-million dollars in revenues was defeated soundly for a second time last night. As you may suspect, Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for failing to do anything besides collecting a check for their efforts or lack thereof. .
A sort of “Re-do” bill has been pre-filed for the upcoming legislative regular session by Metairie Senator Conrad Appel. Senate Bill 31 disqualifies would be candidates from running for office after convicted of a felony for at least 15 years after they have served a sentence. Voters approved this legislation before, but the Louisiana Supreme Court tossed it out, because the version that appeared on the ballot was different than what legislators approved. So Appel wants to put it on the ballot again.
A Monroe woman who pleaded guilty to attempted first degree murder of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Agent Tyler Wheeler was sentenced to a total of 120 years in prison. 32-year-old Amethyst Baird Rathore shot Wheeler during a traffic stop in Morehouse Parish last year leaving him for dead. Rathore entered the guilty plea last October. There are three different sentences that will run concurrently.
The Louisiana School Board Association is asking the state legislature for an increase of 70-million-dollars to provide better school security and increase safety measures. LSBA Executive Director Scott Richard says the increase would allow schools to put their local funds to better use. In light of the Florida school shooting that killed 17, all schools are on high alert. Even if the request is not granted, Richard says it’s a good time for schools to look over protocols currently in use.
A new report finds the majority of Louisiana’s young people are un-fit for military service. The Pentagon reports that more than 70 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 cannot join the United States military – 26 million young Americans for various reasons. The percentage in Louisiana is 75 percent. The reasons, overeating, drugs and criminal records. Admiral David Callahan says this is a national security issue and the best way to address this problem is to properly fund early child care and education.
A road crew in Cameron Parish made a grisly discovery. A severed human head was found inside of a bag alongside Louisiana Highway 27. Sheriff Ron Johnson says it appears the head has been there quite a while, with no other evidence at the scene. Johnson says the coroner is trying to determine the age and sex.
Bestschools.org has ULM as the only Louisiana college to be ranked in the 100 Best Online Colleges, coming in at number 58. Online Programs coordinator Katie Dawson says the commitment to excellence the professors provide on campus spills over to the online program, which is a big part of the program’s success.
LSU backed up multiple excellent pitching performances with just enough offense, knocking off Southeastern 4-2 Sunday to preserve its first undefeated weekend of the 2018 season. The (8-4) Tigers completed their three-game sweep of Toledo, Sacred Heart and Southeastern allowing just three runs the entire weekend.
LSU basketball finished the regular season on a high note with a 78-57 win over Mississippi State on Saturday. Coach Will Wade’s team will play the Bulldogs again Thursday night in the 2nd round of the SEC Tournament.
News for Friday 030218
By Dave Graichen
A manhunt has been ongoing in south Natchitoches Parish for Rapides Prison escapee Brandon Clark. Authorities say the 39-year-old white male stole a 2018 Ford F-250 and led State Police and Rapides deputies on pursuit into Natchitoches Parish, where he ditched the vehicle and fled in the woods near the Marco -Lena areas.
The Reverend Billy Graham will be laid to rest today in North Carolina. There is a Louisiana connection. The 99-year-old evangelist will be buried in a coffin made by prisoners at Angola. Former inmate David Bacon says Graham was so impressed with the caskets they made for those who died while in prison, he ordered one on the spot.
Bacon says his life wouldn’t be what it is today, had he not had the opportunity to meet Graham while he was at Angola. Graham’s wife Ruth, who died in 2007, is also buried in one of the Angola caskets.
The House is set to try again today on passing tax proposals that will go towards closing a one-billion dollar budget deficit. A sales tax bill that would generate 300-million dollars annually was soundly defeated on Wednesday, but House Speaker Taylor Barras says that measure is still a critical part of addressing the fiscal cliff. Lawmakers are running out of time as the special session to pass revenue generating measures must end Wednesday night.
Partisan politics are complicating state budget talks while the one billion dollar shortfall gets closer. Chairman of the House Republican Legislative Caucus, Lance Harris, blames Governor Edwards for poor negotiating tactics. But, Republican Barry Ivey of Baton Rouge says GOP legislators simply are not willing to work with a Democratic governor.
House Speaker Taylor Barras says the House will reconvene Friday to consider tax bills. He says there is some progress, but there is still plenty of work to do and stressed that the clock is ticking. The special session is nearly through it’s second week and it must end no later than next Wednesday.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents are offering a 55-hundred-dollar reward for information about who killed two black bears last month in St. Mary Parish in the Atchafalaya Basin. Spokesman Adam Einck says the bears were about a half mile apart. There’s no evidence as to why they were killed
A state Department of Children and Family Services report finds there has been a 77-percent increase in the amount of juvenile human trafficking victims aged 12 or less. Juveniles account for over 52-percent of the 681 identified victims in 2017. Author of the report Walter Fahr says once a victim is identified, they ask qualified organizations to help provide services they need…
Gus Mijalis (Muh-Jail-Us), a Shreveport businessman and noted close friend of former Gov. Edwin Edwards, has died. Mijalis family owned the Farmers Seafood Company which opened in 1918. Former Governor Edwin Edwards remembers Mijalis in an adversarial position when they first met. But things quickly changed and they became fast friends. A memorial service is scheduled for Monday and the former governor says he will attend.
A judge who halted the construction of the Bayou Bridge oil pipeline says her decision was designed to prevent further irreparable harm to wetlands. U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick issued a temporary injunction after environmentalists, including the Louisiana Bucket Brigade expressed concerns about it’s effect on the economy and wildlife. The line would pass through the Atchafalaya Basin between Lake Charles and St. James.
Four months of construction work will begin Saturday on the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles. DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallet says 8.5 million dollar project will initially close the inside eastbound lane so crews can replace expansion joints on the nearly 60-year-old structure. Motorists are advised to use I-210 as a detour while work takes place.
We will find out Sunday if two movies filmed in Louisiana will win an Oscar. Mudbound was filmed in New Orleans and rural St. James Parish, while Logan was filmed in several locations including Amite, Ferriday, Hammond and New Orleans. Mary J. Blige, who recently received the key to the city of Baton Rouge, is nominated for best supporting actress and original song for “Mighty River” for the movie Mudbound.
U.S. News & World Report has released it’s "Best States" rankings and again, Louisiana did not fare well. The yearly ranking "draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens," in a variety of categories like health care, education, and the state's economy. In all, Louisiana received 47th in health care, 49th in education, 44th in economy, 50th in opportunity, 44th in infrastructure, 48th in crime & corrections, 48th in fiscal stability, and 42nd in quality of life.
The LSU lady tigers are in the SEC tournament this weekend. They’ll face Texas A&M this afternoon starting at 2pm. You can hear the game on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3fm.
LSU baseball will play three different teams at Alex Box Stadium this weekend, starting tonight when they host Toledo out of the Mid-American Conference. Tomorrow, the Tigers play Sacred Heart and Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday. The entire series can be heard on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3
News for Thursday 030118
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards calls the next 24 hours critical for the state House to get behind tax bills to address a looming one billion dollar deficit. With one week to go in the special session, the House has yet to pass any revenue generating proposals.
The special session called to address a looming one-billion budget shortfall is on the verge of getting nothing accomplished. The House overwhelming rejected a sales tax bill that would have generated an additional 300-million in revenues. The special session must end March 7th and it looks like there’s very little chance anything of substance can come out of this special session. There’s been some accusations that legislators were not willing to go along with substantial tax reform, because it would make Governor Edwards look good when he runs for re-election.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards joined Republican state senator Sharon Hewitt in calling for Secretary of State Tom Schedler to step down. An employee in the Secretary of State’s office has filed a harassment suit against the official who oversees elections in this state. Edwards says the alleged harassment casts doubt on the integrity of the Secretary of State’s office. Schedler has no comment on the calls for his resignation.
LSU President F. King Alexander announced Wednesday the adoption of recommendations made from the “LSU Task Force on Greek Life.” Alexander took a hard line by adopting the policies and adding some of his own. There will be no more grey areas, any hazing means mandatory expulsion. Alexander says the implementation could be as soon as immediate or wait until the fall semester.
Ruston-based Hunt Forest Products and Tolko Industries will build a state of the art 115-million-dollar mill in the LaSalle Parish town of Urania. heart of the state’s 11-billion-dollar forest products industry. Mayor Terri Corley Corley says the sawmill will employee 110 people. Hunt is getting a performance based forgivable loan of one-million-dollars under the Economic Development Award Program. The proceeds will be used to construct a rail spur to the mill. Construction is expected to begin in April and operations will begin next year.
A Mason Dixon Polling and Strategy poll finds that Democrat Governor Edwards has a 55 percent approval rating. 31 percent disapprove and 14 percent answered they were unsure. But Pollster Brad Coker says the high approval rating doesn’t mean he’ll be re-elected in 2019, if his opponents are either House Majority Whip Steve Scalise or Republican Senator John Kennedy. Republican Ralph Abraham has been weighing whether or not he will make a run for the state’s highest office. Coker says his poll finds the U-S Representative would not do well in a head-to-head matchup with Governor Edwards…
Republican U-S Senator John Kennedy says he doesn’t plan on voting for any of the gun control bills that may come before the Senate in reaction to the deadly mass shooting at a Florida school two weeks ago. Kennedy says statistically gun owners are not the problem. Kennedy says if we enforced the laws on the books many of the shootings, including the one in Florida would not have happened.
Walmart joined another national chain, Dick’s Sporting Goods, yesterday in announcing that they would no longer sell guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21. The decision comes amid billowing pressure on political leaders and business executives to take action to stem gun violence. Walmart said it would make the policy change "as quickly as possible".
State Senator Troy Carter has filed a bill for the regular session that raises the age to purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21. Carter says this is in response to the Florida school shooting which killed 17. The New Orleans Democrat says he believes in the Second Amendment rights, but he doesn’t believe the founding fathers could have imagined semi-automatic rifles.
The consequences for getting caught smoking pot in Baton Rouge could soon become less drastic. Police and city prosecutors would have the option of treating people they find with marijuana similar to those they catch speeding, with summonses and fines instead of jail time. The East Baton Rouge Metro Council voted Wednesday night to overhaul its marijuana penalties to make them essentially mirror a New Orleans law adopted in 2016.
The Mississippi River is rising because of heavy rains to the north, with forecasts suggesting that it might swell enough to require opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway later in March. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local levee authorities have already begun twice-weekly inspections of the levees in the New Orleans area as they brace for a river that could crest at about 17 feet in New Orleans by the third or fourth week of March.
Last night, LSU rallied in regulation, but couldn’t pull it out in OT against South Carolina; The tigers lost 83-74 upnext, LSU plays host to Mississippi state Saturday..
LSU Baseball.. the tigers lost last night to South Eastern Louisiana 5 to 4
Good night last night for the Pelicans. The defeated San Antonio 121 to 116
On Air Tonight…
NBA Philadelphia @ Cleveland 6:30p 94.7 ESPN
News for Wednesday 022818
By Dave Graichen
Local authorities arrested a 14-year-old Pineville high student yesterday after a tip led to the discovery of a BB pistol in his backpack. The pistol was rendered safe and the juvenile was taken into custody by the SRO. The case was turned over to the Sheriffs Juvenile Detective for further action.
The House of Representatives was quiet Tuesday as members are taking as one lawmaker termed it, a “mental health day” off. Fingers have been pointing all over the capitol in explanation of why the budget crunch cannot be fixed. Baton Rouge Black Caucus member Ted James says his caucus will not cow-down to pressure of putting a financial burden on the poor by passing a sales tax bill. Jonesboro Republican Jack McFarland says a day off was necessary so all sides can take a deep breath as the deadline to pass revenue generating bills to close a billion dollar deficit is a week away.
Will the state House come to an agreement on solving a looming one-billion dollar budget deficit as a result of expiring state sales taxes? It’s believed Democrats will agree to a bill that would place the state sales tax rate above four-percent, if Republicans agree to income tax bracket changes or cutting a tax break for middle and upper income wage earners who itemize their deductions. Governor John Bel Edwards met with legislative leaders yesterday and remains optimistic a deal can be struck before the special session ends a week from today.
State and local officials are keeping an eye on rising river levels along the Red River, Ouachita and Mississippi Rivers. Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bossier, Caddo, Grant, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita and Rapides parishes are under a state of emergency. GOHSEP spokesperson Mike Steele says the declaration allows the state to coordinate response efforts with local officials. River flooding is also a concern in southwest Louisiana. The Calcasieu River at Oberlin is six feet above flood stage and flooding is also anticipated in Kinder.
Rep. Terry Landry, former head of the Louisiana State Police, plans to co-author a bill with Rep. Helena Moreno to ban the sale of assault rifles in Louisiana. Landry, a democrat from New Iberia, admits the bill is a long shot in the Sportsman's Paradise.
Congressman Steve Scalise is remembering the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, as they resume classes today, two weeks after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz went on a shooting rampage, killing 17 people. Scalise says today will not be easy for students returning to a place where such a horrific tragedy occurred. Scalise is frustrated the FBI did not investigate Cruz after getting reports from others about his violent nature.
A former school principal at a Christian school in Franklin Parish has been indicted by a grand jury on eleven counts of sexual misconduct. District Attorney Mack Lancaster says 41-year-old Stephen Couch of Winnsboro was a teacher, later a principal, at the Tabernacle Christian School in Winnsboro when the crimes occurred. Lancaster says the crimes with the male victims who attended the school, stretch back years. All the victims were aged 14 to 18 at the time the offenses occurred.
The state Department of Agriculture and Forestry is teaming up with the LSU AgCenter to fight citrus canker disease. The disease is spread by wind driven rain, causing lesions on the leaves and fruit. It was first found in the state in 2013 at City Park in New Orleans. State Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says there is no cure right now, but hopes their research will produce results to slow the disease. The citrus economy has an over six-million-dollar impact to the Louisiana economy annually.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office has released the names of three people arrested in last Friday’s shooting on the Southeastern Louisiana campus that left two people injured. One of the individuals is on the S-L-U basketball team.
Tiger Baseball in a game heard Last night on KSYL, The Tigers beat Grambling 10 to 3
LSU has confirmed there is no active investigation on the Tiger basketball program after Yahoo Sports reported there was an NCAA inquiry to learn more about Coach Will Wade’s recruiting efforts across the country. Wade says the press will say what they want to say, and as the leader of the program, he can’t let that distract him from doing the job at hand. LSU stated they continue to stand for full compliance and partnership with the NCAA and the SEC.
On the air tonight..
The Pelicans @ San Antonio. Air time 7p on 94.7 ESPN.
LSU Basketball @ South Carolina 5p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
News for Tuesday 022718
By Dave Graichen
An Alexandria couple has been charged with attempted murder after police say their newborn baby was discovered in a trashcan last week. Alexandria Police were called to the 1700 block of Bush Ave. when emergency personnel, who had been summoned to a report of a miscarriage, discovered the baby. The baby is still on life support. Detectives determined that the baby had been placed in the trash by its parents, who waited an hour before calling for help. 30 year old Thelma Kirkland and 31 year old Carl Hall were arrested Friday and have been charged with attempted first degree murder.
A local Pastor is branching out.. James Greer, a local businessman and pastor of Journey Church, upon approval of the England Authority, appears to be the new owner of the Parc England Hotel and the Bistro on The bayou Restaurant. Greer recently won an auction for the leases on Properties. It’s expected the Authority Board Of Commissioners with give the green light at their Thursday meeting. If it is, Greer said, he will move forward quickly with a full reopening of the hotel.
A slew of last minute amendments added to some revenue generating bills in the House Ways and Means Committee has bogged down the special session. Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh tacked a number of changes that did not go well with Democrat Marcus Hunter. Hunter says the amendments are so in-digestible that this group of legislators might as well just go home. The congressional black caucus is refusing to back a vote until the amendments are removed. The House has recessed until Wednesday.
Ag Commissioner Mike Strain is warning livestock and farm equipment owners in north Louisiana to be prepared for flooding. Heavy rain is forecast for today and tomorrow and those living near a creek or river need to be prepared in case it becomes necessary to move livestock and equipment to higher ground. Meanwhile the Governor has declared a State of Emergency for Avoyelles, Beaurgard, Bossier, Caddo, Grant, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita and Rapides Parishes.
For the first time in 14 years, a new chairman is at the helm of the Louisiana Republican Party. Louis Gurvich was elected Saturday in a first round victory winning 97 of the 177 votes. One of the first things Gurvich will begin working on is to find a Republican opponent to run against Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards in 2019.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is facing a budgetary crisis. After years of operating as a self-sufficient agency, the predicted annual budget of 19.8-million-dollars will not be enough to keep up. Cole Garett, Executive Counsel for the LDWF, says they are proposing a bill in the regular legislative session to get rid of most of the current 117 different licenses. By raising some fees, this will help them get matching federal funds . LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet says they hate to increase the fees, but it’s the only way they can remain solvent in the future…
A parent group at Bowling Green School, a K-12 in Franklinton is using a gun raffle that includes two AR-15s to raise money for a program to keep seniors safe on graduation night. 30 guns in total will be given away. But Executive Director of the Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition Victoria Coy says while she supports Project Graduation efforts, she can’t get behind putting more weapons in the community. Coy says putting on a gun raffle, especially one with assault rifles, undermines the parent group’s objective of keeping their children safe.
There has been an increase in the amount of organ donations from opioid addicts. In Louisiana, there has been a 40 percent increase in the last two years. Louisiana Organ Procurement Association spokesperson Kirsten Heintz says the opioid crisis is now colliding with another health crisis. That of the need for life saving organs. There are nearly 21-hundred recipients on the list who need a donation in Louisiana.
Yahoo Sports reports NCAA Enforcement officials have looked into LSU Basketball Coach Will Wade’s recruiting tactics. But a source says the inquiry has stalled because of a lack of on-the-record specifics. The report says the investigation into Wade began shortly after he was hired last March. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says so far it doesn’t look like LSU is any significant trouble.
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is said to be in stable condition as he continues to battle the flu. He was admitted to Ochsner Medical Center last week.
On Air Tonight..
College Basketball Florida @ Alabama 5:30pm 94.7 ESPN
LSU Baseball vs Grambling 7p KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm
News for Monday 022618
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana College President Rick Brewer has denied claims that he refused to sign off on hiring a football coach because of the man’s Jewish heritage. Brewer says he was not nearly as upset as he was hurt by the allegation. Joshua Bonadona sued LC and Brewer on Wednesday, accusing them of violating his civil rights. The suit claims that Coach Justin Charles told Bonadona that Brewer refused to approve his hiring because of what Brewer called his “Jewish blood.”
Two tax bills that will help the state overcome a looming one billion dollar budget deficit are heading to the House floor. Some Republicans were seeking to make permanent a quarter of a temporary one-cent sales tax. But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh didn’t like the permanent part, so he changed the legislation so a quarter of the temporary one-cent sales tax stays until mid-2021. The measure also temporarily eliminates some sales tax breaks.
Former prison Avoyelles Prison warden Nate Cain and his ex-wife are asking a federal judge to throw out information key to their indictments for making fraudulent purchases on the Avoyelles prison's dime, arguing that the evidence was illegally obtained. Nate Cain, the eldest son of legendary retired Louisiana jailer Burl Cain, and his ex-wife have asked that evidence obtained from the inspector general's search warrant be suppressed. The Cains' attorney, John McLindon, said the judicial system has not yet expressly ruled on the legality of search warrants filed by the Inspector General. Nate Cain resigned as warden in May 2016 amid multiple investigations and newspaper articles exploring nepotism and possible misconduct, some of a potentially criminal nature.
Long time Louisiana Republican Leader Roger Villere relinquished his role Saturday after 14 years. When he took over as GOP Chair, the only Republican statewide official was the late Secretary of State Fox McKeithen. Now it has completely flipped the other way. Villere says there’s also been an increase in registered Republican voters…
Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator is asking the Caddo Parish School Board, to allow some faculty and administrators to carry guns on campus. Most Caddo Parish schools have a security guard or a resource officer, but he feels it’s not enough. Prator says schools are an open door to criminals with weapons. Teacher union groups oppose Prator’s proposal. President of the Red River United Union, Jackie Lansdale, says teachers are there to educate students and going beyond that to protect students is more than what they signed up for. Prator says school staff that would be allowed to carry guns, must undergo several hours of training to make sure they can handle a weapon in a crisis situation.
Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor is proposing a bill that would fine reckless drivers for creating potentially dangerous wakes while driving through flooded areas. The bill would add a new specification to existing law that would fine drivers up to 500 dollars, with potential for 90 days in jail. Claitor says the legislation was inspired by flood horror stories from his constituents. The bill would also extend these laws to watercraft used during flood situations.
Planned Parenthood wants a federal judge to force Louisiana’s health department to allow its New Orleans clinic to perform abortions. The Associated Press says the lawsuit filed claims the Edwards’ administration, through the Louisiana health department, has put up unconstitutional roadblocks to prevent them from moving forward. The lawsuit challenges as unconstitutional both the delays in approval of the abortion clinic license and a 2016 law pushed by Edwards to block Medicaid financing for entities that perform abortions in Louisiana.
A Baton Rouge Federal judge has closed the valve on construction of the Bayou ridge crude oil pipeline through the Atchafalaya Basin. The lawsuit was at the request of environmental groups opposed to the project. U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick issued the order Friday halting all work on the pipeline until quote…”the issue can be tried on its merits.”
Taxes are down 14 percent for utility companies in the wake of the federal tax overhaul, but Louisianans haven’t seen lower rates. The Public Service Commission says they anticipate lower rates as a result, but Commissioner Lambert Boissierre says you could be waiting until summer to see the change. Boissierre says the new tax structure means the PSC will have to redo its previous analysis that it sets every six months to a year for rate changes.
A recent report by the LA Times states that an actor in the popular series Breaking Bad was investigated by New Orleans police last year for sexual assault. Dean Norris was investigated after a woman said he sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors decided not to file charges, a spokesman for the Orleans Parish DA’s office says there wasn’t enough evidence to merit prosecution.
For the second straight Sunday, LSU was blown out at home. Texas trounced the Tigers 11-1 to prevent a three-game sweep by the Tigers. LSU won the first two games of the series by scores 13-4 and 10-5.
News for Friday 022318
By Dave Graichen
A 15 year old Rapides Parish Student was arrested yesterday and has been charged with five counts of terrorizing and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly sending threatening emails to several schools in the parish. Authorities are not saying what school the teen attended or because of his age, his name. The student is believed to be responsible for emails threatening Alexandria Senior High School, Bolton High School and Northwood High School.
City of Alexandria utility customers have recently reported receiving fraudulent calls from individuals claiming to be City representatives inquiring about utility rebates and rebate credits and asking for personal information. The City reminds all customers that it will not call customers asking them for personal or credit information or to make a credit card payment or wire money for any fees or bill payment.
Gridlock continued at the Capitol Thursday as state lawmakers did not move any closer to closing a nearly one-billion dollar budget deficit that’s caused by expiring sales taxes. Medicaid reform bills that House Republican leaders are pushing failed to get out of a committee. Legislation that would raise revenues are also not moving.
Medicaid reform legislation was pulled from consideration in the House Health and Welfare Committee before it could be voted on, maintaining the special session’s current run of inaction. The bill would have implemented work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Opelousas Democrat Dustin Miller says the proposal was similar to Kentucky’s Medicaid reform that is currently estimated to cost that state roughly 300 million dollars to implement. Hoffman says the Medicaid program is burdened by a noticeable amount of unemployed people who lack the motivation to work, but Miller says the numbers don’t back that up.
In the wake of the Florida school shooting that left 17 dead, Chalmette Representative Raymond Garafalo is planning to reintroduce a bill in the regular session that would allow school educators to carry weapons on campus if they have proper training. In the wake of recent threats and attacks, Garafalo says allowing guns in the classroom may prevent future mass school shootings. Garafalo says faculty who choose to voluntarily carry, would be trained appropriately.
A high school student was arrested and two other elementary school students have been suspended from their respective schools in LaFourche Parish for alleged threats. Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Brennan Matherne says a 15-year-old male threatened to kill a South Lafourche High School teacher.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler faces accusations of sexual harassment. A lawsuit filed in state court in Baton Rouge alleges that Schedler sent a female state worker love letters, made sexual advancements and gave her unwanted gifts, including sex tapes. Defense attorney Jill Craft says her client was punished after she rebuffed his repeated advances.
An LSU study paid for by the waterway and shipyard industries found that the downturn in oil prices resulted in a loss of 21-thousand jobs and 1.4 billion dollars in wages from 2014-2016. The closure of the Avondale Shipyards in Jefferson Parish resulted in five-thousand lost jobs alone.
There are some big Louisiana Lottery winners that haven’t claimed their prizes, which are in some cases at least 50-thousand-dollars. Lottery spokesperson Kim Chopin says they are seeking a winner who matched four of the five white ball numbers on September 2nd. Their ticket is about to expire. So what happens to the unclaimed lottery winnings? Chopin says there are roughly between nine and 11-million-dollars in unclaimed money annually that can be won again.
Two college baseball powerhouses meet this weekend at Alex Box Stadium as 14th ranked Texas visits 22nd ranked LSU. Tigers Coach Paul Mainieri says he has a lot of respect for the Longhorn program and their six national title. Texas is 3-1 on the season, while the Tigers are 2-and-2. Zack Hess will start on the mound for the Tigers tonight.. airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970am / 100.3 hd3 fm
In Basketball.. LSU has a chance to build on its NCAA Tournament resume on Saturday when they visit Georgia. It’s a winnable game for the Tigers who is trying to become one of the 68 teams in the Big Dance. But Coach Will Wade says has asked his team not to focus on the tourney talk. LSU has lost five straight road games. Wade says they’ve been competitive in most of those contests, but he says they are not finishing…
In NBA action, the Pelicans Play host to the Miami Heat tonight. Airtime 6:30p on 94.7 ESPN.
News for Thursday 022218
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards yesterday addressed the issue of gun control in the wake of the latest mass shooting in Florida. The Governor said he would like to see a more robust background check system for firearm purchases and would like to see a purchasing ban for those on the No-Fly list, those who commit violent crimes, and have a history of mental illness. Edwards also came out against aftermarket additions that alter the capabilities of legally purchased rifles.
The special session grounded to a halt yesterday after a vote on a tax reform bill that would have kept a quarter of the one penny sales tax intact, and remove some of the special sales tax exemptions for specific industries was postponed indefinitely. LaPolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says it was the bill with the most momentum, and its failure could tank the entire session. Lawmakers were optimistic heading into the capitol Monday, but Alford says the political realities of an impending election and a bitter partisan divide didn’t take long to grind the session to a halt.
Police are reporting copycat type incidents throughout Louisiana since the mass school shooting in Florida. LSU Pediatric psychologist Joy Osofsky (Oh-saf-ski) says there is a danger that kids are becoming star stuck by these killers, relishing that they are in control. The latest threat was made against Northwood High School in Blanchard in Caddo Parish…
State Police is asking the public not to share unsubstantiated threats through social media. Senior Trooper Dustin Dwight says they encourage citizens to report suspicious activity, but they ask the public not to share unsubstantiated threats through social media because it creates chaos and panic. Dwight says if you do see a threat and if it’s viewed as an imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1. If there is more investigation needed, other agencies will step in. He says citizens are more scared than usual right now.
The State Department of Education is launching the “Be Irreplaceable. Be a Teacher” campaign. It’s an effort to convince high school and college students to make a career in the teaching profession. But Teacher of the Year Kim Eckert says it’s a challenge to bring in new teachers to Louisiana due to lower teacher pay. She’s urging teachers to speak openly with lawmakers and education officials and it starts with this campaign…
A bill to require Medicaid patients to pay a copay if they use an emergency room for non-emergency treatment is expected to be heard Today in a House committee. Supporters say visits to the E-R for minor medical issues drives up health care costs, but opponents say the bill will result in low-income individuals not getting the care they need.
Next week it’s the girls state high school basketball championships in Alexandria and the week after it will be the boys turn in Lake Charles. But the LHSAA is having trouble having enough basketball referees during the season. Assistant Executive Director Keith Alexander says unfortunately rowdy fans can prevent some from wanting to be a ref.
Owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Tom Benson is in the hospital. The 90- year old has flu like symptoms and is in ICU, but is resting comfortably.
News for Tuesday 022018
By Dave Graichen
Recent above normal temperatures are making it feel more like Spring, but a pesky front is expected to move into North Louisiana starting this evening, which State Climatologist Barry Keim says will bring the temperatures closer to normal in that area for the remainder of the week and along with that the good chance for rain through the weekend.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the legislature, calling on the state’s governing body to put party politics aside to fix the impending fiscal cliff that triggers July 1st after a series of sales taxes expire. If no deal is struck, TOPS, higher Ed, and healthcare would see massive cuts. Edwards says it’s time to put party aside for the future of the state.
The governor called on lawmakers to adopt his plan that would reduce the state sales tax, and replace the funds by widening the tax base, removing certain business sales tax exemptions, and compressing income tax brackets. Edwards says funding popular state programs should be every legislator’s objective.
The Senate Democratic Caucus offers a solution on solving the one-billion dollar shortfall. Chairman Troy Carter proposes compressing income tax brackets, removing sales tax exemptions that benefit some businesses and expand the sales tax base, so certain services are taxed. But anti-tax critics say proposal would raise income taxes on the middle class.
LSU president F. King Alexander is calling on legislators to find a budget solution that funds higher ed and TOPS by the end of the February special session.
Alexander says there was a noticeable impact the last time the state failed to properly fund TOPS in a timely manner. He says if lawmakers wait until June to solve the one billion dollar fiscal cliff, the damage will already have been done for the 2018-2019 school year.
At least three Louisiana schools received social media threats over the weekend, with Ville Platte High receiving one Monday morning. That threat forced a lockdown for several hours. Dutchtown and Ponchatoula High Schools were threatened in social media over the weekend.
North Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham made no bones about his intentions to take a hard look at running for Governor. On the day when Governor John Bel Edwards took center stage at the capitol and opened the special legislative session, Abraham took a swipe at his potential opponent while speaking to the Baton Rouge Press club.
Abraham says in the days of lightning fast social media, Louisiana voters are less likely to consider where a candidate is from and more likely to hear his message.
The State Transportation Department will begin work on the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles on March 3rd. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says they will replace the expansion joints on the bridge, initially closing one eastbound lane. Mallett says this work is part of a large scale job they plan to perform. The project is expected to be completed in four to six months.
Sad story out of Pointe Coupee Parish as a female employee at False River Academy was killed when her 74-year-old husband accidentally pinned her between his truck and a school bus. 66-year-old Edith Atkinson died from her injures at a local hospital.
A 71-year-old Louisiana inmate serving a life sentence for the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy was denied parole Monday by a three-member panel of the state’s parole board. Henry Montgomery just turned 17-year-old when he fatally shot an East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy in 1963. He received a parole hearing thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling that juvenile homicide offenders should have an opportunity at parole.
News for Wednesday 022118
By Dave Graichen
We’ve been telling you for some time now that this is a very deadly flu season. That claim was confirmed by Rapides parish Coroner Jonathan Hunter this week. Hunter confirmed that The flu has claimed the lives of at least six people in Rapides Parish alone since October. Rapides Regional Medical Center is reporting 230 confirmed flu cases between October 2017 and January 2018, compared to 98 between October 2016 and January 2017. Best defense is still to get the shot.
Schools in Evangeline Parish were closed yesterday because of social media threats. Officials say the schools have been cleared. A 15-year-old was arrested for posting one of the threats. All in all, Six threats were reported. All school campuses in Rapides Parish were placed on "soft lockdown" Tuesday morning while authorities investigated a potential email threat.
Four parishes in northwest Louisiana, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne and Webster, are under a flash flood watch through Thursday morning. Forecaster Brandi Hughes, with the National Weather Service in Shreveport says several inches of rain are possible.. And more rain could be coming. Hughes says the long range forecast looks wet for the next several days, which could add to already swollen creeks and rivers.
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on a series of bills that would make changes to the state’s tax code as part of the effort to plug the billion dollar budget shortfall. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says the current system, which provides tax breaks for businesses in certain industries, is unfair. But Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey says he’s concerned that the current push to fix the fiscal cliff by taxing business will hurt the state’s economy. He says it could result in jobs heading out of state. No agreement has been reached on a detailed proposal to solve the fiscal cliff, as legislators have shied away from specifics in the first two days of the special session.
Automotive insurance rates are on the rise again, after the Louisiana Department of Insurance approved double-digit hikes last year for at least six insurance companies. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says State Farm Insurance accounts for 30 percent of Louisiana insured drivers and it’s customers are paying on average ten-percent more starting this month. Donelon advises motorists to shop around if they think their rates are too high.
New data is out that shows salaries for Louisiana public school teachers is 17-hundred dollars less than the Southern Regional Average. Legislative Director for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers Cynthia Posey says it’s disappointing to see this, when ten years ago, educators were paid about the same as other southern states. Posey hopes lawmakers can stabilize the budget, so more money can be available for teacher salaries.
A bill to create a transparency tool called Louisiana Checkbook passed the House Appropriations committee, and may be considered on the House floor later this week. The program closely mirrors Ohiocheckbook.com, where Ohio residents are presented a detailed report about state expenses.
Tangipahoa Parish School Board member Mike Whitlow is facing heavy backlash for posting a picture of a noose on his public Facebook page. The picture had the caption: “If we want to make America great again, we will have to make evil people fear punishment again.” Whitlow says the post was not racially motivated, he says it was about criminal justice.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry have agreed to coordinate efforts in the State of Louisiana’s litigation against opioid manufacturers.
Under this agreement, the Attorney General’s office will take over primary responsibility for the suit filed by the Louisiana Department of Health in the 19th Judicial District Court. Furthermore, the AG’s office will lead the efforts with other state agencies and departments to pursue all claims Louisiana has as a result of the opioid crisis.
Emile the crawfish will be allowed to live his life out peacefully thanks to Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser who picked “Emile” to be pardoned for their “annual pardoning of the crawfish” in New Orleans yesterday.
After poor starting pitching performances in the series loss to Notre Dame, LSU Coach Paul Mainieri is making changes to his weekend rotation. Mainieri says Zack Hess will start on Friday against the Texas Longhorns, instead of Caleb Gilbert. Thibodaux native Cam Sanders will start on the mound tonight against UNO. Airtime 6p on KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm.
News for Monday 021918
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk is reporting a shortage of substitute school bus drivers in Rapides Parish has become so severe that there are days the district isn't providing transportation for some students. according to Director of Transportation Velt Edwards the shortage has been a growing problem for about three years. Among the factors compounding the issue is the district's dependence on substitutes to drive routes full-time. Some of those substitutes are quitting after a year or more of performing the same job as salaried drivers, while making $67 a day with no benefits.
The special state legislative session kicks off today to address a one billion dollar budget shortfall. Lawmakers have until March 7th to find a fix to the looming fiscal cliff or else cuts will occur in the areas of higher education and health care. Governor Edwards is calling for the replacement of the expiring sales taxes with permanent tax reform that would eliminate certain deductions for businesses, and the GOP wants spending reductions. Political analysts have warned the special session could be a political minefield, with Republicans attempting to make sure the governor does not leave with a “win” that could propel him to another term in office.
Louisiana is taking more taxes out of workers’ paychecks. The state constitution allows for it, if the federal government lowers their tax brackets, which they did last month. Baton Rouge area CPA Brandon LaGarde says The state tax wage adjustment is automatic as it is built into the Louisiana Constitution. LaGarde says your employer has nothing to do with the change. LaGarde says the federal tax break outweighs the state’s updated tax withholding tables, meaning you still take home more than you did last year.
Governor Edwards and state lawmakers are in Baton Rouge for the special session to find a solution to the looming fiscal cliff that threatens to gut popular programs like TOPS. The governor is seeking tax reform, and Republicans want spending reductions. Erath Representative Blake Miguez says the GOP caucus is demanding the creation of the Louisiana Checkbook. He says the program would increase transparency, and would closely resembles Ohio’s Ohiocheckbook.com. Along with implementing Medicaid copays, tighter eligibility, and work requirements, Miguez says he also wants to see a state spending cap that is tied to private sector economic performance.
Democrats say they will not allow a full renewal of the expiring one penny sales tax, as they feel it unfairly targets the poor.
Springtime is acceptance letter season for most college bound high school students, and the state’s budget uncertainty is causing many to rethink whether they want to attend school in Louisiana. LSU president F. King Alexander is calling on legislators to find a budget solution that funds higher ed and TOPS by the end of the February special session. Alexander says there was a noticeable impact the last time the state failed to properly fund TOPS in a timely manner. Alexander says if lawmakers wait until June to solve the one billion dollar fiscal cliff, the damage will already have been done for the 2018-2019 school year.
Many Americans are swimming in debt and getting in deeper than ever. One report suggests total household debt has risen to 13-trillion-dollars for 2017. Louisiana appears to be America’s capital of past due debt, with almost half of its residents in debt that has gone into collections. Professor of Economics at Xavier University of Louisiana Dr. Jose Bautista says a lot of workers aren’t making enough money. Another reason credit debt is so high is the lack of a savings account. Dr. Bautista says most are left with no choice but to use credit cards for emergencies, but it starts a slippery downhill slide. Medical bills are a large part of financial distress, especially if there isn’t enough insurance coverage. Dr. Bautista says get coverage to cover all your medical needs…
Debates are raging about school safety in the wake of the Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead by a mental unstable teen. Since the shooting, calls for increased mental health treatment in school have grown louder, But Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Larry Carter says when state budget cuts come in, one of the first things on the chopping block tends to be social work programs. Carter says along with an increased investment in counseling programs, we need to be taking a look at improving the layout of schools to improve security.
The Baton Rouge police officer shot by a man described as mentally ill a week ago is out of the hospital. Doctors say he should fully recover. Cpl. Shane Totty was admitted after sustaining a gunshot wound from Eugene Thomas Jr. Thomas is charged with four counts of attempted first degree murder, attempted first degree murder of a police officer and a felon in possession of a firearm.
Rough start to the baseball season, as the LSU Tigers lost two of three from Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish clinched the series victory with an 11-3 drubbing of LSU. The Bayou Bengals had a dramatic come from behind victory on Friday, but it was all downhill from there. Coach Paul Mainieri says it’s hard to find any positives…
News for Friday 021618
By Dave Graichen
Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham has introduced a bill to allow rural communities direct access to more than two-billion-dollars in FAST ACT grant funding. The money can be used to build better highways, bridges and utilities including broadband internet. Abraham says the money is available for these projects but current FAST ACT dollars are not making it to rural Louisiana. His bill would allow local governments to apply for FAST ACT dollars without much red tape.
In response to the 2017 death of LSU student Maxwell Gruver, Lafayette Representative Nancy Landry is proposing a bill that would increase legal penalties for campus hazing related incidents. She says the current penalties of a 100 dollar fine or less and 30 days in jail isn’t enough for such a dangerous activity…
The latest campaign finance report for Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry shows he has one-point-two million dollars on hand. There’s speculation Landry will run for governor in 2019. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards reported five million dollars in his campaign account earlier this month.
LSU and GB Sciences Louisiana has found a location to grow medical marijuana that can be distributed to patients who have specific conditions. Director of the LSU AgCenter’s Therapeutic Cannabis Program Ashley Mullens says a 36-thousand square foot warehouse near Highland Road and Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge will house the plants. Mullens says medical cannabis should be available to patients in late summer.
Hollywood superstars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson will be in Louisiana over the coming weeks filming a movie called Highwaymen which details the chase for Bonnie and Clyde. Tom Hanks’ World War Two movie will also soon start shooting in Baton Rouge. Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment Chris Stelly says the state’s reformulated film tax credit incentive is encouraging movie producers to reconsider Louisiana.
Most persons are happy with their jobs. A recent Bankrate-dot-com survey finds the average worker rates their job satisfaction at a seven out of ten. And half of those gave a rating of at least eight. And there is no surprise in this stat, the survey found higher income earners with higher average levels of workplace happiness.
Some crawfish crazies are heating up over the higher prices and smaller size of the crop this year. LSU Ag Center Professor Greg Lutz says suppliers aren’t trying to rip you off, farmers are just having a hard time finding enough crop after the historic winter to justify pulling their traps. Lutz says the crawfish survived the winter just fine, but the little fellas are just taking some extra time to develop. Lutz says if you don’t want to pay the inflated prices, give it a few weeks, the cost of a boil should be returning to normal.
The Young Leadership Council partnered with ArcGNO this carnival season to collect beads and recyclables on the parade routes through uptown New Orleans. After a Nola.com story revealed that the city removed more than 64 tons of beads from a five block stretch of St. Charles, YLC Recycles Project Leader Hannah Kincannon says it’s a public safety issue. About 200 people worked the ground, passing out recycling and collection bags over the programs two weekends. Kincannon says two and a half tons of Mardi Gras beads were collected on the first day alone.
LSU’s Paul Mainieri begins his 12th season as the head coach of the Tigers tonight as the Bayou Bengals host Notre Dame. Mainieri says opening day always brings out some anxiety, because there are a lot of unknowns. We will have the entire three game series starting tonight at 6:30 on KSYL 970 am / 100.3 HD3 fm
News for Thursday 021518
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana Department of Health is extending its free flu shot drive after initially planning to end the program Monday. Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says they were excited to extend the program after a very successful two week run. This year’s flu shot has been criticized for having a potentially lower than normal effectiveness. Welch says despite some claims to the contrary, getting the flu shot is still a great idea.
A series of Mardi Gras day shootings in New Orleans left three dead and five injured. None of the shootings occurred on an active parade route. New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says the shootings shouldn’t mar an otherwise positive carnival season. Harrison says despite Tuesday’s shootings, there’s been a decrease in violence in the city thanks to increased police efforts.
Three Cenla restaurant managers were cited after allegedly selling swai fish and calling it catfish. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says Robert Fant, Mollie McDowell and Michael Rhodes all of Pineville, used the swai fish at Rosie Joe’s and Debarges’s Crawfish in Alexandria and Crazy Cajun in Tioga. Truth of the matter, most people can tell the difference between the two.
Catholics are cutting back on eating meat for the Lenten season, in most places, that’s a sacrifice, but for spoiled bayou Catholics, it’s not too tough. Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board member Chalin Delaune says there’s a good supply of seafood, but the cold weather could keep crawfish prices high.
Shreveport Police are looking for a man who is robbing elderly women and assaulting them with a baseball bat. The robberies started in late January and have continued since. Detective Richard Turpen says since the attacks started, police have become more concerned since the suspect has been acting more aggressive. Turpen says a few of the victims have been able to describe their attacker, but the description police are working with isn’t much since the attacks are from behind
The LSU Vet School is providing care for a goose who was pierced with an arrow. The wounded goose was found near the LSU Lakes and captured by Wildlife and Fisheries crews. Since there is no identification on the goose, they will not give the goose out for adoption. Spokesperson Julie Thomas says once he has recovered, he will live in the wild again. Officials do not know by whom or where the goose was shot.
Livingston Parish deputies have arrested three men in connection with the death of a 19-year-old female. The body of Emily Rodgers was found Tuesday in a wooded area off Catfish Landing Road in Maurepas (more-a-pa).
News for Wednesday 021418
By Dave Graichen
The State Police report an accident yesterday morning on Highway 28 east of Gardner killed 79-year-old Imogene Jones of Ball. Troopers say she was traveling in the wrong lane when she struck a pickup truck head on. The driver of the truck, 45-year-old Joseph Bordelon of Alexandria sustained moderate injuries and was taken to Rapides Regional Trauma Center.
The Louisiana Family Forum is honoring the top ten Louisiana couples married the longest on this Valentine’s Day. For the third year in a row, the longest married couple is Lawrence and Varrie (Very) Player of Benton, married for 83 years. The second longest married couple is Wallace and Gladys Menard of Duson married for 79 years.
A survey ranks Louisiana 49th in well-being. The Bayou State only finished ahead of West Virginia in the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Researcher Dan Witters says their survey found many in Louisiana are not proud of where they live or believe they are living in the good place. Witters says the Bayou State also ranks low in their index, because about a quarter of those surveyed admit not having enough money to buy food for their family. Witters says they asked Louisiana residents if they felt safe and secure in their community and most said no.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses says the Small Business Optimism Index set a record in January, with small business owners saying now is a good time to expand. Louisiana NFIB Director Dawn Starns says they have found owners are enthusiastic about investing the extra money they are getting from federal tax reform into their business. Starns says while it might be a good time to expand because of less federal taxes and regulations, small business owners are concerned about finding qualified workers for open positions.
A survey by offers-dot-com finds the average consumer will spend 55-dollars on Valentine’s Day this year. Spokesperson Sarah Hollenbeck says many will get their sweetheart something for their sweet tooth.
Chronic wasting disease in deer has been detected in Mississippi and Louisiana wildlife officials are concerned the fatal disease will end up in the Bayou State. A four-year-old buck was found dead of C-W-D near the Louisiana border. State Wildlife Veterinarian, Doctor Jim LaCour says East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parish landowners should curtail supplemental feeding of deer. C-W-D is similar to mad cow disease and L-D-W-F is working with Mississippi wildlife officials on sampling and containment. LaCour says there’s no evidence C-W-D can infect humans, but there are concerns about eating deer that had the disease.
Global sports entertainment leader Topgolf is coming to Baton Rouge in late 2018. The ten-million-dollar entertainment venue will feature 15-hundred square feet of private event space and 72 climate controlled hitting bays. Spokesperson Caroline Jerome says it is the ultimate family experience. It will bring 325 jobs to Baton Rouge.
The Baldwin Police Department was heavily damaged and a prisoner was injured after a fire yesterday afternoon. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it will be a while before normal operations can resume as the police department sustained quite a bit of damage. Browning says they continue to conduct interviews and will talk with the jailed man when he has sufficiently recovered.
Panola Pepper and Providence Foods founder Grady Wyly “Bubber” Brown Sr. will be laid to rest today. The 83-year-old from Lake Providence died Saturday. Panola Pepper was founded in 1983 so that Brown’s farmhands would have work through the winter. Lake Providence Mayor Bobby Amacker says he made the first batch on his mother’s stovetop. Amacker says Brown’s death leaves a big hole in the community
News for Tuesday 021318
By Dave Graichen
It’s Fat Tuesday and there’s big parades in south Louisiana and Mardi Gras activities in Shreveport as well, but unfortunately there’s a chance of rain. State Climatologist Barry Keim says you might need a poncho. Keim says temperatures are expected to reach in the upper 60s in New Orleans, but it will be a little cooler in southwest Louisiana for their Mardi Gras festivities. Keim says after today we’ll see high temperatures get into the 70s.
Over a million visitors will be enjoying Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year, but it’s not the only place to celebrate the last day before Lent. The town of Mamou will keep the chicken run tradition alive this year and in Lafayette parades will run throughout the day.
The federal government has declared this year’s flu season as the worst breakout since the 2009 swine flu epidemic. Estimates say nearly half a million people around world will die from the flu this year. State Health Secretary Rebeka Gee says if you’re concerned about potential mercury in the flu vaccine, you’re misinformed. There is none.. Gee says there is a lot of misinformation about vaccines and the flu. She says get trustworthy advice from your doctor.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is celebrating Mardi Gras, he’s just not in Louisiana. He’s helping to promote Louisiana’s new travel tourism slogan “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul.” The new brand is being promoted in several states, including the Nation’s capital. Atlanta, Dallas and Houston are also participating in helping to roll out the new brand with food trucks and King Cake.
An 83-year-old grandmother is the first Louisiana Lotto jackpot winner for the year. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says Josephine Prendergast of Gonzales thought she won only 600-dollars. Prednergast was quite surprised when she found out at the lottery office she won 525-thousand-dollars. Ms Prendergast said first thing she was going to do was stop and get a good cup of coffee.. The ticket was bought at a store in Breaux Bridge and they will get a reward for selling the winning ticket.
A man is under arrest after allegedly firing shots at a Baton Rouge Police Department officer and some family members. Cops located 34-year-old Eugene Thomas Junior about 15 minutes after the initial shooting and Sgt. Don Coppola says that’s when the suspect started shooting at the officer. The officer was rushed to the hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery.
A Shreveport woman was arrested and charged with exploitation of persons with infirmities and felony identity theft after an investigation by Caddo Parish deputies. 37-year-old Dorothy Edwards was a caregiver for a disabled 65-year-old-woman and is accused of stealing more than 20,000 dollars.
Rayne Police have arrested 41-year-old Raushe Turner after he allegedly stabbed a woman multiple times inside a vehicle. Turner was charged with attempted second-degree murder. Authorities did not say why the attack occurred and did not provide an update on the victim’s condition.
The man who brought flavor to Louisiana in the form of Panola pepper has died. Bubber Brown died Saturday at 83 years old. Brown began Panola back in 1983 to give his workers year-round work. The company operates in East Carroll Parish just outside of lake Providence.
An invasive species of snail is posing a threat to crawfish harvests. The apple snail is indigenous to South America, and can devour vegetation crucial to the development of Louisiana crawfish. An abundance of apple snail shut down a 220 acre farm in Acadia Parish. LSU Ag Center Agent Mark Shirley says so far, there is no solution to the problem. The invasion is being blamed on aquarium owners who decided to dump the snails into the water way.
The LSU Tigers have another tough test on the road tonight in the SEC as they visit Alabama. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 28-point win over at the time 15th ranked Tennessee. LSU is coming off an 82-66 victory over Ole Miss. Airtime 7:30 on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3.
News for Monday 021218
By Dave Graichen
The weather decided to cooperate Sunday allowing the 25th annual Alexandria Mardi Gras Association Krewes Parade starts on schedule. A few small sprinkles of rain were felt early on, but not enough to dampen the spirits of spectators. Saturday’s Children’s parade was not so lucky. Heavy rains Saturday morning forced officials to call the event off..
Governor John Bel Edwards has called for a special session to start on February 19th. The 17-day special session is being called to address a one-billion-dollar fiscal cliff facing the state starting July 1st when a one-cent sales tax drops off the books. His plan calls for structural changes to the budget and tax policy. He is proposing to replace 994-million-dollars to keep TOPS and healthcare funded. The GOP has said the Governor’s excessive spending needs to stop. However, they have not made any solid suggestions as to where those cuts should be made.
Legislative leaders are optimistic the February special session will end with a deal to fill the one billion dollar budget gap that’s the result of the expiration of sales taxes in July. The session will begin February 19th, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds says the two sides are getting close on an agreement. Governor Edwards has pushed for replacing the expiring one cent sales tax by eliminating certain sales tax deductions that benefit certain businesses.
Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers alleging that the Corps expanded the Intracoastal Waterway in Vermillion Parish beyond the borders set in a 1920s agreement. He says even though there are agreements that allow states to construct new waterways, Landry says those states wouldn’t have allowed the Corp to over expand. The Governor says he’ll review the suit, but is concerned Landry did not consult with him, or the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
Out of the eight members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, only three of them voted for the spending bill that reopened the federal government after a brief shutdown. US Representative Ralph Abraham was one of those three yes votes, because he says it increases federal funding for our military. Senator John Kennedy voted against the measure, because he says the bill increases the federal debt.
Governor John Bel Edwards and State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington to discuss infrastructure plans with the Trump Administration. Reports indicate the President could soon unveil a massive new infrastructure spending plan. Wilson says today’s roundtable discussion is a great opportunity to bring attention to the state’s aging infrastructure. The reports indicate the President could be seeking as much as 1.5 trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending.
Mangers and operators of Raising Canes attended a conference recently in Baton Rouge, celebrating the company’s success since opening their first store near the LSU campus in 1996. CEO Todd Graves had an exciting announcement for attendees. Some big expansions are taking place. 80 new locations are planned for this year. Stores are also operating overseas in the Middle East.
A Monroe man has designed a product called Streamleash to help you have better control of your dog. Ian Blaylock says as a runner, if his dog quickly ran in one direction, he would lose his balance and control of his pet. So far, the Kickstarter project has raised 21-hundred-dollars. Blaylock says orders made through the website will begin being delivered in May.
Al Wester, the first radio voice of the Saints, whose local and national broadcasting career spanned more than 60 years, died last week in a New Orleans hospital. Along with broadcasting the Saints games from 1967-70, Wester was the sports director at WDSU-TV for several years beginning in 1952 when he came to New Orleans from Greenville, South Carolina. Al Webster was 93.
News for Friday 020918
By Dave Graichen
Many Mardi Gras revelers will keep one eye on the parades and one eye on the skies as threatening weather may put a damper on their celebrations The National Weather Service says rain, heavy at times, is predicted for southeast Louisiana. Here in Cenla, the forecast calls for a 90% chance of rain Saturday and an 80% chance on Sunday..
Here in Cenla we will keep our fingers crossed in the hopes mother nature cooperates. This afternoon it’s the 2018 Hixson Classic Cars and College Cheerleaders Parade. It rolls in downtown Alexandria staring at 4:30 p.m. and will travel down Murray street to, Fifth, then to Jackson, Third and St. James.
Saturday The Alexandria Mardi Gras Association Children's Parade starts at 10 a.m. and follows the same downtown route as the Cars and Cheerleaders Parade.
Mardi Gras at the Alexandria Zoo is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Sunday, The 25th annual Alexandria Mardi Gras Association Krewes Parade starts at 2 p.m.
There will be an expanded presence of state police troopers in New Orleans as Mardi Gras ramps up for the final weekend. They have committed 165 troopers to working the French Quarter and the metro area. Senior Trooper Melissa Matey says they will perform a variety of assignments. Last year, State Police and New Orleans Police confiscated dozens of firearms along parade routes.
A Tioga man who had been facing 50 counts of pornography with juveniles pleaded guilty to one reduced charge on Monday and avoided jail time. Terry Lee Adams Jr. pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obscenity and the 49 other charges were dropped. Adams was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $495 in a plea deal.
A 27-year-old Mansura man was arrested for distribution of child pornography on Wednesday. Dustin Novo is being held at the Avoyelles Parish Detention Center on a 100,000 dollar bond. State Police spokesperson Scott Moreau says deputies were tipped off about a month ago. A warrant for Novo’s residence was served, and after a search of the premises, he was arrested and charged.
House Republicans are looking at renewing at least some or all of the temporary one cent sales tax as a way to address a looming one billion dollar shortfall. But the governor says he will not support any plan that maintains the current sales tax rate, which is currently five-cents.
Today is the deadline for Governor John Bel Edwards to call a February special session to address the looming one billion dollar budget hole resulting in the expiration of sales taxes. The governor said he would not call the session without an agreement in principle on a fiscal cliff deal, but LAPoltics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says the governor is being pushed to call the session. Because it’s a revenue issue, the fiscal cliff can only be addressed in a special session.
The Humane Society of Louisiana has a facebook page where you can adopt horses that appear in Mardi Gras parades this week. H-S-L Director Jeff Dorson says 19 horses are up for adoption this year after 17 horses were adopted last year, keeping them from heading to a slaughter house. The facebook page is New Orleans Mardi Gras Horses Available for Adoption.
Governor Edwards will be in Washington D-C on Lundi Gras for a White House event to discuss President Trump’s plans to improve infrastructure. Edwards, along with Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, will participate in a roundtable with federal, state and local leaders.
Mandeville Representative Paul Hollis has filed legislation that would make it easier for voters to recall their elected officials. Currently, 33 percent of registered voters in districts with more than 100,000 voters must sign the recall petition before a special election is triggered. Hollis says his bill would cut that number down to 20 percent. If adopted, Hollis says it’ll still take a serious effort to unseat an official. Hollis had a similar bill that failed in the legislature last year.
Drax Biomass is relocating its headquarters from Atlanta to Monroe, in what Governor John Bel Edwards is hailing as another big win for Louisiana’s economy. Drax already operates two wood pellet manufacturing facilities and a shipping operation in the state. Monroe Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Nicholson says that means 150 good paying jobs are on the way.
News for Thursday 020818
By Dave Graichen
Pineville-based Cleco Corporate Holdings has acquired South Central Generating LLC, which includes nine utility cooperatives and eight generating assets in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, totaling one-billion-dollars. Spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says they will be able to significantly increase the scale of their operations in Louisiana with the ability to provide over 35-hundred megawatts of power in all three states. The sale is expected to close by the end of the year.
More on that Alexandria daycare center that was shut down by the state this week. The Department of Education shut the doors at Jumpin’ Jacks Development Center after receiving several reports of children escaping or nearly escaping the facility. DOE Spokesperson Sydni Dunn says a complaint from a parent in December was the final straw. Dunn says the center failed to report 55 incidents of non-compliance over the last two years. There were lesser violations, but the amount of them served sent up a lot of red flags. Providers who have had their licenses revoked are ineligible to apply for another license for two years from the date of the revocation.
The TOPS task force formed five months ago to find a long term solution to funding the scholarship program has decided against endorsing a single position, and instead is submitting a series of proposals for the legislature to consider. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says he hopes the results will help legislators when voting on potential changes to TOPS in the upcoming regular session.
24-7 sports ranks LSU’s recruiting class as 15th best in the nation. The worst ranking for LSU since 2005, which was Les Miles first class. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Orgeron’s staff did well in adding depth to the offensive and defensive lines, but signed just one five-star prospect Wednesday.
Governor John Bel Edwards says FEMA has agreed to his request to help ease the financial burden of flood survivors living in Temporary Housing Units. Starting March 1st, rent for the units will be reduced to $50.00 a month which will last through the new deadline of May 14th when the program is scheduled to end. Edwards says he will continue to request extensions as needed.
The Coast Guard rescued four people from the Lower Atchafalaya River south of Patterson yesterday after an emergency landing of a twin-engine plane. Petty Officer Lora Ratliff says the pilot made a valiant effort trying to avoid the emergency landing, but realized he couldn’t make it to an airstrip. One person suffered a minor injury.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is considering whether or not a 2016 Louisiana law that would ban women under 21 from dancing naked at strip clubs is too broad in its application. Opponents are concerned that the law was so vaguely written that it could outlaw 18, 19, and 20-year-olds from some theatrical or ballet productions that involve nudity. Proponents argue that the law protects young women from sex trafficking. The court has not indicated which way it is leaning.
A biologist at LSU is working to develop biodegradedable beads in a push to stop the environmental damage that occurs after millions of pounds of beads end up in landfills every year. His solution involves growing large ponds of algae that will develop oils that can be refined into degradedable material. Four to five million pounds of beads are thrown every carnival season.
Once every few years, holidays important to Louisianans fall in the same week. This year, Mardi Gras will be Tuesday, February 13th and Valentine’s Day will fall on the next day. It may prove to be interesting for restaurants to get couples to eat out on the second most popular holiday. Erika Burns with the Louisiana Restaurant Association says if you are considering taking your sweetheart out for dinner Wednesday, it’s best to make sure you have a reservation so you’re not left out.
News for Wednesday 020718
By Dave Graichen
It’s going to be an upside down day with weather in the Bayou State. It’s a type of day that occurs once in a while when a cold weather front moves through. State Climatologist Barry Keim says many areas in Central and south Louisiana will see their high temperatures early in the day and temps will fall throughout the day. After some wet weather today, a dry day is on tap for Thursday. Then Keim says another front is moving in just in time to put a damper on Mardi Gras weekend.
The Louisiana Department of Education on Tuesday revoked the license an Alexandria child care center, Jumpin' Jacks Development Center on Metro Drive, after receiving a complaint from a mother who said her child nearly escaped from the child care center. The parent explained it was not the first time such an incident had occurred. The center, which has a history of noncompliance, failed to report the critical incidents. The state also terminated the center’s public funding.
Can you imagine opening your water bill to find that you owe more than $40 thousand dollars? Up to 60 Pineville residents have had that experience after a computer malfunction sent out bogus bills. Chief of Staff Rich Dupree says something went wrong, when information from a meter-reading device that wasn't working properly, had to be manually entered into the billing system. The problem has been resolved. But, city officials say anyone with concerns are welcome to contact the utility office.
With a one billion dollar state budget gap looming, Governor John Bel Edwards has a self-imposed Friday deadline on whether he will call for a Legislative special session before the regular session starts on March 12th. A group of 14 bipartisan senators have sent a letter to Governor Edwards urging him to call a special session this month, so legislators can solve the shortfall the state faces on July 1st. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward says solving the fiscal cliff now will make it easier for legislators to pass a budget in June. Governor Edwards is expected to make a call for a special session by Friday.
Workers are starting to see a difference in their paychecks. The federal tax reform bill has kicked in, giving the average worker an additional one-point-six-percent more in take home pay. But not everyone is seeing the increase just yet. Co-owner of Metairie based Crescent Payroll Solutions Sanders Offner says some of the income tax bracket changes are just getting to some employers.
U.S. Republican Senator John Kennedy has joined Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware in introducing the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. Kennedy says in 2015, the Social Security Administration made nearly ten-billion-dollars in improper payments. After contacting the Social Security Administration as to why they couldn’t share their dead person’s database with the Treasury Department, Kennedy was told they didn’t have the legal authority to do so. Kennedy says this bill will allow them to trade that information, stopping the waste of billions of dollars.
Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey is proposing legislation for the regular session that would require state agencies to publish all of their expenditures online for the public. The measure would create a “Louisiana Checkbook” that Ivey says it’s all about transparency. The proposal seeks to replicate Ohiocheckbook.com, where all Ohio state expenditures are logged, and available to view using a user-friendly interface. Ivey says an online checkbook would provide citizens with the ability to keep a close eye on every single transaction the state makes.
Topcashback.com surveyed thousands of adults asking their opinion on Valentine’s Day gifts that may have some of you scrambling for the receipts. Chief Communications Officer Natasha Rachel Smith says according to their results, materialistic gifts are out, and quality time is in.
Investors are concerned with the recent drop in the Stock Market. Monday’s drop of 1,175 points of the Dow Jones Industrial average was the biggest one day point decline and percentage wise the largest loss in six years. Financial analyst Fred Dent says if you find yourself concerned about your portfolio, don’t sell out. He says it’s a good time to talk with a financial adviser to reevaluate your portfolio.
Search crews recovered the body of a St. Martinville man from Bayou Amy Tuesday morning in St. Martin Parish. LDWF enforcement agents and the St. Martin and Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Offices recovered the body of 54-year-old Richard Pellerin. Officials were notified about a capsized vessel found in the Bayou. Upon recovery there was no personal flotation device found on the body.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says a student at Barbe High School brought a weapon to school Tuesday. The 15-year-old boy brought the firearm that belonged to a sheriff’s deputy, identified as a family member. The weapon was taken without the deputy’s knowledge. The juvenile was arrested and the sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation in reference to the firearm.
A Krewe of Oshun horse rider was given a citation for animal cruelty after he were filmed abusing his horse Friday during the uptown Mardi Gras New Orleans parade. SPCA Communications Director Alicia Haefele says the video was a disturbing example of animal abuse. The horse is in good condition and is being transferred to SPCA control.
Today marks National Signing Day, but it’s not like how it used to be. LSU signed 21 players during the first ever December signing period and they will likely sign four more players today to complete the 2018 recruiting class.
News for Tuesday 020618
By Dave Graichen
Investigators with Louisiana State Police and the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office were at the town of Ball's offices Monday morning, reviewing records of former police chief Nate Ussery. Ussery resigned on Friday night amid an unspecified investigation by an unidentified agency or agencies. A statement from Louisiana State Police said it was asked to "assist the District Attorney's Office with a potential complaint against Ussery. "The matter remains ongoing and active."
In a rather unusual day Monday two Rapides parish inmates took off from their work crews. This first inmate was captured within an hour of walking away from his crew in Pineville. The second, Richard Allen Morris, who walked away from his work crew at the Pentecostals of Alexandria, was captured later in the day without incident. Officials are now investigating whether or not the two cases were connected.
State Immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says the flu outbreak has eased up somewhat over the past week. He says people getting their flu shots have helped. And those that are sick are heeding the advice to stay away from others. But he says even if you have recovered from the flu, you are not out of danger. With three different strains reported in Louisiana, you still have the chance of catching the flu again. The best protection still is the flu shot. If you haven’t gotten it, you should.
One man died and another hospitalized after a Mardi Gras parade route shooting in Jeanerette on Sunday. Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Major Wendell Raborn says there are a lot of potential witnesses, but no one has come forward with any information. There is no word on the condition of the second person shot.
Shreveport police say a Good Samaritan trying to help in an accident on I-20 was killed Sunday afternoon. A major accident had occurred in the westbound lanes between a tractor trailer and a pickup truck. The pedestrian stopped to help, attempting to cross both eastbound lanes of traffic when he was struck and killed. The victims in the initial accident were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
President Trump has asked Congress to pass a one-point-five-trillion-dollar infrastructure funding bill. But will Louisiana see any of those dollars if it passes? State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson is worried because Louisiana doesn’t have enough state transportation dollars to match what the federal government might be willing to offer. The state currently has a backlog of 13-billion-dollars in infrastructure repairs and projects.
The stats are very slow in coming. But, it appears Louisiana’s number of work related fatalities decrease in 2016. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there were 95 fatalities, down from 112 in 2015. Injury rates also saw a decline from 5.8 per 100,000 full time workers in 2015 to 5.0 in 2016. Most of the fatalities occurred in trade, transportation and utilities.
State Police arrest a 20-year-old Kaplan man for a hit and run crash that killed two high school students. Sergeant Jared Sandifer says Tyler Meaux was driving a Ford F-150 and heading the wrong way on U-S 167 Sunday night when he slammed into a Honda Civic, carrying four teenagers. Sandifer says they believe Meaux was drunk. Those killed are identified as 16-year-old Alana Duhon of Abbeville and 15-year-old Sydney Colomb of Maurice.
A Port Allen high school volunteer has been accused of having sex with a 15-year-old-student. Reports say the 30-year-old Ronald Barbier has been charged with one count of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and five counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. The reports say Barbier worked as an athletics volunteer. Barbier is being accused of communicating with the minor through social media.
The LSU Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences has developed a new treatment for heart disease using antioxidants from red wine. Research has indicated that having a glass of red wine could be good for your heart, but with Professor Tammy Dugas’s program, even the sober can get those benefits. Dugas developed a stent that can be inserted into arteries that releases antioxidants directly into problem areas.
Experts have recommend having two glasses a day to start noticing the heart health benefits.
Many Entergy Louisiana customers have suffered sticker shock after seeing their most recent bill, following the extreme cold snap in late December and January. For many, the normal storm restoration fee went up. Entergy says they are working with customers to set up payment arrangements if they are having problems paying for their last bill.
The LSU men’s basketball team is in a five-way tie for eighth place in the SEC standings as they get ready to play Florida tomorrow night in Gainesville. The Tigers are 13-9 overall, 4-6 in the SEC and Coach Will Wade says his team still has an opportunity to make a postseason tournament. LSU is coming off a 94-86 win over Arkansas.
News for Monday 020518
By Dave Graichen
Pineville Police Friday requested the public’s assistance in locating a 94 year old man who was last been seen on Main Street in Pineville on Wednesday. Saturday, The body Landry Chatelain was located by divers at the Red River Boat Landing behind Buhlow Lake. Next of kin has been notified and more information will be released pending further investigation and an autopsy.
A highway traffic safety enforcement program that resulted in some state troopers receiving overtime pay when they were at home has been reinstated after new rules were put in place. The investigation by WVUE-TV in New Orleans led to the suspension of three troopers. State Police Major Doug Cain says changes have been made to prevent payroll fraud. The investigation found one Trooper made 240-thousand dollars a year by abusing the LACE program.
The governor’s deputy chief of staff says another meeting could take place today between Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras. Edwards is waiting on Barras to provide him with a list of revenue generating tax proposals that republican legislators could support in a possible special session this month to address a one-billion dollar shortfall for next fiscal year. Barras has already provided the governor with recommendations on how to reduce state spending.
Employees of the DeSoto Parish School System will soon receive a one-time salary supplement for a job well done. In recognition of the district earning an “A” rating from the Louisiana Department of Education, the School Board authorized a $2,000 bonus for all full-time employees. The DeSoto Parish School System was ranked 49th in Louisiana in 2010, but is now ranked 9th.
Peninsula Pacific is evaluating the prospect of moving it’s Diamond Jack Casino in Bossier City to Tangipahoa Parish. The company is looking at moving the casino to the Tangipahoa River at the Robert exit. The move would require a difficult series of local and state requirements to be met and approved before the project could be initiated, but Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller says it’s a great opportunity for the parish. The project could cost north of 100 million dollars.
Monroe-based CenturyLink is opening a new outbound sales center bringing 150 jobs to the area. The center will be located on Forsythe Avenue. CenturyLink spokesperson Anne Marie Sartor says the center will focus on small businesses throughout the country in helping them with their communication needs. A job fair will be held later this month in Monroe to help fill the new jobs.
State Police have announced charges against a man who was shot by a Bienville Parish Sheriff’s deputy as they were attempting to arrest him. 41-year-old Steven Hulion has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault of a peace officer and one count of aggravated battery.
3rd District Congressman Clay Higgins has 50-thousand-dollars in the bank for a re-election bid and still needs to repay seven-thousand-dollars in debt from his 2016 campaign. Political analyst Bernie Pinosnat says even though Higgins is well liked in southwest Louisiana, he needs more funds to get re-elected. Higgins has the fewest dollars on hand out of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation as mid-term elections take place in November.
A Louisiana chef has found a solution to the invasive and very large Asian Carp. It involves a little white wine and butter. Fishermen have been asking what to do if a 100-pound Asian Carp jump out of the water and into their boat, which has been known to happen. Chef Philippe Parola has developed a way to cook the huge fish. Parola says if you catch an Asian Carp, don’t toss it back, toss it in Tony’s. He says if cooked right they have a wonderful flavor, similar to lemon fish.
February is American Heart Month, dedicated to the education and prevention of heart disease. Louisiana ranks fifth in the nation in heart disease deaths. Dr. Tiffany Powell-Wiley with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says to turn the tide around, start with small steps.
News for Friday 020218
By Dave Graichen
U-S Senator John Kennedy proposes a way to finance large infrastructure projects like a new Jimmie Davis Bridge in Shreveport, widening I-10 in New Orleans and finishing the Comite River Diversion Canal. Kennedy says the state can generate 150-million dollars if it leverages noncash securities held by the state’s Unclaimed Property Division. Governor John Bel Edwards calls it an unrealistic proposal and urges Kennedy to help pass a funding bill that would pay for major projects.
Governor John Bel Edwards filed his annual campaign finance report today showing about $5 million dollars cash on hand at the halfway point of his term. Edwards raised nearly $2.2 million in 2017 and spent about $310,230. His campaign says 85 percent of the contributions came from Louisiana citizens.
CNN anchor Don Lemon’s sister has been identified as the woman who died in an accidental drowning in Denham Springs. Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says 58-year-old L’tanya Grimes drowned in a neighborhood pond. Foul play is not suspected.
Alabama tourism claims the city of Mobile is “America’s original Mardi Gras.” That’s at least what they are saying in billboards that can be seen in New Orleans and southern Mississippi. Mardi Gras expert Arthur Hardy disagrees. Hardy says no one should be unduly upset about the claim being made by Alabama. Both have terrific celebrations. Plus, He says the country knows where the birthplace of Mardi Gras really is.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled state corrections officials do not have to prevent the heat index from going above 88 degrees on Angola’s death row. Attorney General Jeff Landry says Louisiana argued on appeal that the inmates do not have a constitutional right to be comfortable in jail.
Shreveport police say they are investigating the discovery of male body found in a trunk of burned out vehicle. Corporal Marcus Hines says The Shreveport Fire Department responded to a call and found the 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis on fire Wednesday night. Hines says they are hopeful some witnesses will come forward to help them solve this strange case. He says due to the severity of the burns, they can’t identify the victim.
Starting this month, Louisiana State Police will be adding Dodge Chargers to their fleet with a twist. Some of the new vehicles will be fully marked, while others will be semi-marked and a few will not be marked at all. State Police Lt. J.B. Slaton says the new less visible vehicles will allow Troopers to blend in with traffic and stop drivers who are reckless. He says it’s not about handing out tickets. It’s about highway safety.
One northwest Louisiana private school is rooting hard for Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52 Sunday. The Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson was the head coach for Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport between 2005 and 2009, leading them to their first ever district title just two years after taking the helm.
The iconic Voice of the Saints Jim Henderson is retiring after a storied career calling the most triumphant and heartbreaking moments in Black and Gold history. The announcement came as a shock to many, as the Saints are a team on the rise, full of young talent, but Henderson says that’s exactly why he chose this moment to leave.
Henderson says he’s looking forward to just being a fan again.
The LSU Board of Supervisors is expected to approve today new contracts for LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Ensminger will make much less than his predecessor Matt Canada who collected 1.5 million dollars last season. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Ensminger’s contract is 800-thousand dollars a year and will run through March of 2020. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s annual salary will go up to 2.5 million dollars. And LSU Pitching Coach Alan Dunn will receive a one-year contract extension, but no raise.
News for Thursday 020118
By Dave Graichen
An Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress to a retreat in West Virginia, including Senator Bill Cassidy and Representative Garret Graves collided with a garbage truck near Charlottesville, Virginia. Cassidy says he was fortunate and he and his wife Laura were not injured, but says other passengers felt the brunt of the collision, which derailed the train. One person in the garbage truck was killed and five others are reportedly injured.
Gas prices keep going up, which could signal high prices in the future. Triple A fuel analyst Don Redman says with price increases coming on a daily basis, we may be paying much higher prices during the busy travel season this spring, like around $3.00 a gallon. Regular gas is at 2.43 a gallon on average in Louisiana.
A task force’s recommendations, to alter the TOPS scholarship, is taking fire from advocates for lower income students. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish’s proposal would cap payments to lower performing high school students. Taylor Foundation Executive Director Dr. James Caillier says Morrish’s proposal will have a negative effect on poor students. Caillier says the proposal takes money from poor families to line rich student’s pockets. The TOPS task force will vote on adopting several different proposals February 7th.
Yesterday was the deadline for retailers to mail notices to Louisiana residents who purchased products online, but did not pay sales tax at the time of purchase. Customers are required to include these forms so they can pay those taxes when they file their taxes this year. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesperson Byron Henderson says if you fail to report these taxes, it’ll cost you. The good news, Louisiana customers won’t need to worry about Amazon, as they charge sales tax at the time of purchase.
Louisianans looking to buy local products at their grocery store should look for a new logo. Louisiana Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says they have overhauled their Certified logo program with flashier, more diverse logos to further highlight goods made in the Bayou State. He hopes it spurs more interest in Louisiana goods.
A Jefferson Parish man imprisoned for nearly four decades is free after being cleared in a 1979 rape. 58-year-old Malcolm Alexander’s conviction and life sentence were thrown out Tuesday by a state judge in Gretna.
Monroe-based CenturyLink is being relied upon to keep the lights on, and the broadcast rolling for this year’s Super Bowl. U.S. Bank Stadium is a new stadium built from the ground up with state-of-the-art technology, mostly by CenturyLink. Director of Smart Solutions Jesse Sullivan says it’s a project years in the making. CenturyLink will handle all of the major network video streams coming out of the stadium, as well as the massive data load of 72,000 fans sending snaps, Facebook videos, and Instagram selfies. Tech giant CenturyLink employs 2,700 Louisianans, with a payroll over 200- million dollars a year.
The St. Landry Parish Crime Stoppers program has been awarded the 2017 Best “Crime of the Week” segment in the nation for cities up to 250-thousand people. The program is responsible for assisting in 60 arrests in 50 different cases in 2017.
The Louisiana movie industry is seeing a revitalization after lawmakers reworked the state’s film tax credit program in 2016. The state offers a 150-million-dollars-a-year-cap on credits issued, or 20-million-dollars per production. Louisiana Economic Development says producers spent an estimated 668-million-dollars in 2017, up from 365-million-dollars the year before. Secretary Don Pierson says Oscar winner Tom Hanks has chosen the Capital City to film the World War II movie “Greyhound”. Pierson says shooting will begin in Mid-March aboard the U.S.S. Kidd and other Baton Rouge locations.
A tough game last night for the LSU Men’s Basketball team as they fell to The Tennessee Volunteers. The final 84 to 61. The Tigers will attempt to pick up the pieces before they host Arkansas Saturday afternoon..
News for Wednesday 013118
By Dave Graichen
The State Health Department is making available free flu shots at more than 60 parish health units between 1 and 4:30pm today. The vaccinations are in response to one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. The flu shots will be available at Parish Health units in Rapides, Grant, Natchitoches, La Salle and Avoyelles parishes.
Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras provides Governor John Bel Edwards with budget cutting proposals as part of the negotiations to solve a nearly billion dollar shortfall. House Republican delegation chairman Lance Harris says in an effort to reduce health care spending, they would like to see work requirements for certain people who receive Medicaid. Governor Edwards responded to the proposals saying while none of these measures accomplish fixing the fiscal cliff, he views them as a positive development in their ongoing discussions.
A TOPS task force will vote on a series of recommendations today they hope will bring long-term sustainability to the popular scholarship program. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says under his proposal many TOPS students would not have their tuition fully paid for anymore. Morrish proposes a 4,000 dollar stipend for TOPS Opportunity recipients, those are incoming freshman that have a C average high school grade. He says students that have a higher GPA and ACT score will receive higher financial awards. Morrish’s proposal would need legislative approval during the regular session. He says if enacted, it would save the state 20-million dollars a year.
A 14-year-old Lafayette girl who is battling cystic fibrosis got the thrill of a lifetime, being a special guest in attendance at the State of the Union address last night. Bella Reed was a guest of St. Landry Parish Congressman Clay Higgins. He says having Bella in attendance hopefully will bring more awareness to the disease as he introduces legislation supporting ongoing research.
New Orleans city officials are getting ready for Mardi Gras. Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced today NOPD will be on the streets at 100% capacity. He also says there is a ban on closed tents along parade routes. The Mayor says it’s because someone fired a gun from inside a port-a-potty last year. They won’t be allowed on parade routes either and anyone with a port-a-potty will be fined 250 dollars.
Members of the Lafayette Cajun band The Lost Bayou Ramblers are back in Louisiana today after a couple of days of celebrating their Grammy in New York City. “Kalenda” won the group a gramophone for Best Regional Roots Music Album. Co-founder Andre Michot says they’ve been playing non-stop for almost two decades, and now the guys would like to take a vacation. A Louisiana artist has won the Regional Roots award six times in the 7-year-old category.
The state Department of Revenue is suing three companies for tax evasion for not withholding and remitting appropriate payroll taxes from employee earnings. The companies are Elliott Roofing Services in Metairie, Antunez Painting in Baton Rouge and Extreme Cars and Trucks in Monroe. LDR Spokesperson Byron Henderson says fraud robs the state.
The port of New Orleans set a record in 2017 for cruise passengers as 1.1 million moved through the Big Easy last year alone. Spokesman Donnell Jackson says this marks the fourth consecutive year of more than a million passengers at their terminals. They are expecting additional growth this year, with Norwegian Cruise Line replacing the Norwegian Pearl. Jackson says these yearend results validate the continued appeal of cruising from The Crescent City.
The mother of the woman who went overboard a Carnival cruise ship says she has yet to hear from her son-in-law. KLFY TV says Marilyn Winfrey has not heard from Scott Brooks since her daughter Juwanna Brooks fell from the ship on January 21st. Witnesses says the couple was observed fighting just before she went missing. The Mexican Navy has since called off the search for Juwanna.
A group in New Orleans which fought the removal of Confederate monuments created a Mardi Gras bead to commemorate the Robert E. Lee statue which was taken down last May. But they are now gone as Forever Lee Circle said on Facebook that the beads bearing their name are sold out.
State Police has arrested an animal control officer in West Feliciana Parish for allegedly charging Entergy for performing his job duties while he was being paid by the sheriff’s office at the same time. 57-year-old Daniel Klein of St. Francisville is charged with four counts of abuse of office and one count of malfeasance in office — all felonies.
After losing by 25 points to 11th ranked Auburn on Saturday, LSU gets another chance at a ranked team tonight when they visit 18th ranked Tennessee. LSU is 3-5 in the SEC, while the Volunteers are 5-3. You can hear the game this afternoon starting at 5 on KSYL 970am & 100.3fm.
News for Tuesday 013018
By Dave Graichen
President Trump’s first official State of the Union address is tonight. It is believed the President will stress bi-partisanship with Mr. Trump himself calling it an “important speech.” Senior Administration officials have been quoted saying it will be an “optimistic speech.” You can hear the State Of The Union speech tonight starting at 8p on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3fm.
President Donald Trump invited a very special guest to his first State of the Union address tonight. Cajun Navy founder Jon Bridgers will be in attendance along with a section of 15 other special guests. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says Bridgers’ volunteer group has been credited with rescuing thousands of people during Hurricane Harvey and the 2016 floods. Bridgers was invited by President Donald Trump.
Tax filing season began yesterday. There are several ways to file, including using a tax preparer. If you decide to use a tax preparer to file your return, state department of revenue spokesperson Bryon Henderson says it’s important to find a reputable preparer. Your federal tax return is due April 17, state returns are due May 15.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ “Doomsday Budget” proposal has state agencies scrambling to shore up state funding, with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Center looking at a potential 600,000 dollar cut. John Kirwan, who was named executive director last month, says the budget issues threaten to drive off talented researchers. Kirwan says the budget cuts threaten Pennington’s groundbreaking research on diabetes and pre-diabetes, which he says effects nearly 50 percent of the state’s population.
Officials cut the ribbon Monday on the new LSU Center for River Studies, which has a state of art model of the Mississippi River. Director Clint Wilson says it gives coastal scientists a powerful tool on how sediment diversion can help in the fight against coastal erosion. The project is the result of a collaboration between LSU and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
The head of Louisiana’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control says they’ve suspended the liquor licenses for eight French Quarter strip clubs, because they found evidence of prostitution, drug sales and lewd acts. New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says the investigation’s target was not prostitutes, but human traffickers. He says no one has been charged with human trafficking, but the investigation continues. Hearings are scheduled in February to see if the clubs who had their liquor licenses suspended will get them back.
This winter’s extremely cold weather in Louisiana has stunted or even killed many of the tropical plants that normally flourish in Louisiana. Horticulture expert Dan Gill with the LSU Ag Center says it’s a good idea to not be in a hurry to give up on a plant this soon after the extreme cold snap. He says they aren’t used to the chilly weather, but could rebound. He says some plants won’t begin rebounding until March or April and in some cases like trees, it could be summer before you can properly assess if they are still alive.
News for Monday 012918
By Dave Graichen
House Republican Caucus Chairman Lance Harris of Alexandria is still waiting on specifics from the Edwards administration on how to fix the fiscal cliff. The governor would like to call lawmakers into a special session, so changes can be made to our tax code to address a billion dollar shortfall. The governor is proposing a reduction in tax breaks for businesses as a way to bridge the one-billion-dollar budget deficit. But Harris says they should look at making more cuts in state spending first. Governor Edwards told legislators last week he’s made 600-million-dollars in cuts in his first two years in office. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says it’s time for the legislature to “put up or shut up” and present a proposal on where additional cuts need to be made.
Several of the nation’s largest corporations announced they are giving employees a bonus as a result of federal tax reform. Walmart, who employs tens of thousands of Louisianans, announced they are increasing bottom salaries from nine dollars to 11 dollars, and authorizing up to a thousand dollars in bonuses for employees.
Walmart has come under fire in recent years for paying workers poverty level wages. Making Change at Walmart Director of Communication Amy Ritter says Walmart’s thousand dollar bonus headline was fairly misleading. Since most employees will receive less than $400. Ritter says even with the pay increase, hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers will still be below the poverty line. She says the costs for impoverished workers falls back on the taxpayer…
Gretna telecommunications contractor Ronald Gasser was found guilty of manslaughter Friday night for fatally shooting ex-NFL pro Joe McKnight at a Terrytown intersection a little more than a year ago. A Jefferson Parish jury returned the verdict about 8 p.m. after more than seven hours of deliberations. Gasser now faces up to 40 years in prison. He would have faced mandatory life imprisonment if found guilty of second-degree murder, as charged. Sentencing will take place March 15th.
UL-Lafayette has been named one of the Top 25 in U.S. News and World Report’s list of, “Universities and Colleges Where Students are Eager to Enroll.” Coming in at No. 24, UL-Lafayette was the only school in Louisiana named to the list.
The Trump administration says they will speed up the approval of a key coastal restoration project. The agreement would reduce the permitting process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project from five years to two. Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana spokesperson Jimmy Frederick says it’s a big win. The state intends to pay for much of the project using funds it received from BP after the 2010 oil spill.
It’s been a year of repairs, replacement and testing for the water system in the town of St. Joseph in Tensas Parish, but it appears it is about ready for public use again. A public health emergency was declared in late 2016 forbidding use of the water after high amounts of lead was discovered. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says there has been a complete overhaul since then. The system is expected to be in full operation sometime in February.
The bodies of two adults and a child from West Feliciana Parish were found after their pontoon boat capsized while they were duck hunting early Sunday in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Authorities say the hunters had two boats and were using their pontoon boat as a duck blind. The pontoon capsized as the people were trying to step onto it, causing them to become trapped underneath. A dog also died during the accident.
Rough News for the New Orleans Pelicans. Even after a thrilling victory over the Rockets Friday night, All-Star Demarcus Cousins went down and ESPN reports is out for the season with a torn Achilles. Cousins was averaging 25.4 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists.
News for Friday 012618
By Dave Graichen
Due to the increasingly critical flu season, the state Health Department has announced no cost flu vaccines will be held at 55 Parish Health units across the state January 31st. The walk-in clinics will administer flu shots to anyone who has not done so yet. State Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says get the shot earlier if you can. He says one huge reason they are sponsoring the free clinics is the influx of people coming to the state to celebrate Mardi Gras next month. Louisiana has one of the highest flu rates in the nation.
A former Monroe children’s TV show host known as “Mr. Wonder” will now have to register as a sex offender as part of a plea deal for inappropriate conduct with a child back in 1979. 78-year-old Frank Selas pleaded guilty to indecent behavior with a juvenile earlier this month, but was not required to register due to a misunderstanding of the law. Selas could be paroled as early as this summer. If so, the former TV star plans to move back to California.
The Town Talk reports, The Rapides Parish School Board is considering a plan to create new feeder systems within three proposed school zones in Alexandria and Pineville by reconfiguring 12 elementary and middle schools. Administration is proposing to create new Community School Zones to change the way students are distributed. About 4,500 students are within the area that would be encompassed by the proposed system. The complete story can be found on the Town Talk’s Website.
Louisiana receives a green light for having nine critical traffic safety laws on the books. The Bayou State is one of seven listed as a “best state” in the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety report. Tara Gill, the Director of State Programs, says the ignition interlock offender law for convicted drunk drivers is one reason Louisiana scored high. Gill praises the efforts of the state in enforcing no texting while driving legislation. But, Gill says while the state ranks well in many areas, it’s critical Louisiana enforce better child restraint laws…
Congress has reached an agreement to hold a vote on the Dream Act before it expires in March. The Dream Act provides temporary legal status to people who were brought to the U.S. as children. A proposed deal would see funding for President Trump’s border wall in exchange for a Dreamer resolution, and Senator Bill Cassidy says drug traffickers can pay for the wall. Reports indicate that billions of dollars in drug money cross the border each year. Cassidy says the US is only intercepting a fraction of it. He says we need to step up our enforcement and confiscated more of it. Cassidy says the fate of Dreamers is dependent on what deal can be struck for building the wall..
The jury in the trial involving the death of Joe McKnight visited the defendant’s car Thursday. McKnight was fatally shot by Ronald Gasser, and prosecutors reconstructed what they believe the scene would have looked like after the shooting. The defense says Joe McKnight tried to lunge at Gasser through the passenger side window after a fit of road rage. The prosecution is attempting to demonstrate that the car would not have allowed for that. McKnight was shot on December 1st of 2016
A new study out of Tulane finds that Louisiana is making slow progress in electing minorities and women to judgeships. Professor of Political Science Sally Kenney says racial minorities are 36% of the state’s population, but non-white judges were only at 22 percent. She says women judges comprised less than 32 percent of all state and federal judges in Louisiana. She says there has been a gradual increase, but it’s up to citizens to commit to equal justice under law and keep vigilant that this progress is not reversed.
There’s a nearly limitless variety of king cakes available, reflecting the hundreds of years bakers have been cooking up that classic Mardi Gras desert. There’s traditional, fruit fillings, cream cheeses, almond, and now, cricket. Audubon Insectarium Curator of Animal Programs Zack Lemann says there’s over 30 grams of protein in a pound of crickets, and Lemann says the snack is quite filling. The cakes are baked from scratch at the insectarium. You can order one there, or this Sunday at the King Cake Festival in Champions Square in New Orleans.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis told reporters at the Senior Bowl they want Quarterback Drew Brees to return next season. Brees is coming off a season where he completed an NFL record 72-percent of his passes, but his contract will expire in March. Brees is one of seven Saints players that will play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.
LSU’s all-time leading rusher and three time Super Bowl Champion Kevin Faulk has been named as the Director of Player Development for the LSU football program. He believes his life experiences will help develop these players not only for football but for whatever else life may present them. Faulk played for the Patriots for 13 years.
The LSU men’s basketball team gets a chance at beating the first place team in the SEC on Saturday when they visit the 19th ranked Auburn Tigers. LSU Coach Will Wade believes Auburn is one of the ten best teams in the nation. Auburn is 18-2 on the season and they lead the SEC in scoring, averaging 86 points a game. Wade says he wants to keep Auburn off the free throw line.
News for Thursday 012518
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has declined for the eighth straight month to 4.6 percent in December. That’s the lowest unemployment rate in nearly a decade. Over 2.1 million Louisianan’s are currently working.
The American Lung Association has released their “State of Tobacco Control” and shows Louisiana lags behind the nation in reducing tobacco use. The report card gives the state “F”s in four out of five key categories. The report estimates that 72-hundred deaths in Louisiana are directly related to smoking with 23 percent of residents who regularly use tobacco, making it the 6th highest in the country.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ worst-case-scenario budget calls for a 76 million dollar cut in state funding for the Department of Corrections. The cuts are a combination of attrition, canceling of infrastructure repairs, and the lowering of per diems paid to local sheriffs who house state inmates. Corrections Secretary James Leblanc says the per diem cut in particular is dangerous. Leblanc says the cuts could lead to unsafe conditions for both inmates and corrections officers.
A mother who was 16 years old at the time her 27-day old baby died was sentenced to 17 years of hard prison labor. Donasty Cohen of Alexandria was convicted late last year in the death of her son Ashtyn Cohen. Cohen was facing second degree murder charges. The judge in sentencing Donasty prefaced her decision saying she didn’t take her decision lightly, but said an innocent baby died from severe abuse.
Deaf students have filed a discrimination suit against the Louisiana Community College System, alleging Delgado Community College denied sign language interpreters and other accommodations. Plaintiffs’ attorney Andrew Bizer says Delgado violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bizer says the discrimination directly led to a loss of financial aid.
Retired State Police Superintendent Mike Edmondson’s attorney has responded to a legislative audit that found evidence of misconduct and tax evasion throughout his nine year tenure. The letter touted Edmonson’s character and leadership, but Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says there was one notable omission.
Edmondson’s was accused of using a state facility for housing, and not reporting it on his taxes. Ciolino says finding a defense for that accusation will be difficult.
Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s Congressional delegation, state legislators, and lobbyists, are in DC this week for the annual Washington Mardi Gras. It’s a tradition that sees movers and shakers from the state throw a miniature Mardi Gras in the heart of the nation’s capital. LAPolitics publisher Jeremy Alford says it’s one of the hottest tickets in town.
A Lafayette tv station reports the person who fell off a Carnival Cruise Line near Mexico over the weekend has been identified as 44-year-old Juwanna Brooks. KLFY interviewed the mother Marilyn Winfrey who says the cruise was a Christmas gift from Brooks’ husband. Mexican officials are still looking for Brooks but haven’t found any evidence since she fell off the cruise ship on Sunday.
State police report a Fort Polk soldier injured in a November crash that killed a fellow soldier has been charged with vehicular homicide and reckless operation. 26 year old Alejandro Galvan Jr. was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail on Friday. The crash back on Nov. 30 of last year claimed the life of a 22 year old West Virginia man.
Tallulah has been struggling with water issues and now an electrical transformer failure has left the city without water today. Hard freezes hampered the system earlier this month. Administrative Assistant to the Mayor Yvonne Lewis says water was restored to the city Just Tuesday and Thursday the transformer failure knocked it out again. It is hoped water will start flowing again later today.
A mobile trailer fire in Hammond has claimed the life of one man. Preliminary findings from the state fire marshal’s office indicates the deadly blaze was a result of the resident using an outdoor cooking burner to heat the trailer.
News for Wednesday 012418
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edward’s worst-case-scenario budget is making waves across the state, from both inside, and outside of government. The budget is the result of the expiration of a billion dollars in sales taxes this summer, and Edwards says the revenue will need to be replaced to avoid the deep cuts. The governor’s proposal to fill the billion dollar gap leans heavily on eliminating tax breaks for businesses. President of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Stephen Waguespack, says Edwards refuses to consider spending cuts. The state has until July 1st to address the fiscal cliff.
University of Louisiana System President Doctor Jim Henderson is not happy to see the governor proposing a budget for next fiscal year that cuts TOPS by 80-percent. Henderson says cutting TOPS would be a betrayal of hard working students. Henderson is hopeful TOPS will be fully funded when legislators approve a budget in June.
Aerosmith, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Lionel Richie and Aretha Franklin will be headliners for this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which takes place every year on the last weekend of April and the first of May. Bonnie Raitt and Smokey Robinson are also scheduled to perform during the two weekend festival.
Republican Congressman Clay Higgins is cosponsoring legislation that seeks to make immigration and border security reforms. Higgins says there’s also provisions in the bill that would punish sanctuary cities. New Orleans currently prohibits police officers from asking suspects about their immigration status. Higgins says he’s tired of these cities disrespecting federal laws. However, back in November, the Justice Department found no evidence that New Orleans is out of compliance when it comes to immigration laws.
Tulane Law School graduate Wendy Vitter was nominated by President Donald Trump today to fill a federal judgeship in New Orleans. Vitter was the campaign manager for her husband David Vitter’s three US House elections, and has served as general counsel for the Archdiocese of New Orleans since 2012.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has unveiled a new brand to promote Louisiana. Formerly Pick Your Passion, the new slogan is now, “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul.” Nungesser said the brand will offer travelers a new outlook – that you may come to Louisiana hungry, but you’ll leave with your soul full of all the rewarding experiences we offer.
The recent cold snap could mean a delay in the strawberry harvest this year, and a possible increase in price at the grocery store. Whitney Wallace, LSU AgCenter agent in Tangipahoa Parish, says many of the blossoms on the plants that weren’t protected will have to regrow again, which is a 21 day process. Strawberry production in Louisiana is valued at an estimated 17-million-dollars.
A study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center finds that walking, even if only ten minutes per day, can be beneficial. Dr. Tim Church says a group of 464 women who walked for 72 minutes a week for six months improved their heart health and fitness. Church cautions if you are looking to lose weight, you might need to exercise more than just ten minutes a day. A person’s metabolism can be elevated for one to three days following a workout. Church says this short burst of exercise is a start.
Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis is right around the corner, so when will New Orleans host it’s 11th NFL Championship Game? President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jay Cicero, says Super Bowl host sites are booked through 2022, but New Orleans would like to host the game in 2023. New Orleans put in attractive bids to host the Super Bowls in 2018 and 2019, but lost to Minneapolis and Atlanta, who have new stadiums. Cicero says they’re not sure what the NFL will be looking for when they ask for bids for the Super Bowl in 2023.
The LHSAA Annual Convention convenes today and on Friday, high school principals will vote on a number of proposals. A vote will NOT be taken on whether to end the split playoff in football.
News for Tuesday 012318
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards presented a proposed spending plan to lawmakers Monday that reduces state funding for TOPS by 80-percent and slashes another 656-million dollars from the state health department’s budget. Edwards says the cuts are necessary, because the state is set lose about a billion dollars of revenue in July.
Edwards is considering a February special session so lawmakers can pass a tax reform plan to address the fiscal cliff. But Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt says before raising taxes, the state should consider lowering state expenditures. It’s unclear if a February special session will happen.
A study finds the military has an economic impact in Louisiana totaling over seven billion dollars. The Trump Administration has made it know they want to build up the nation’s military. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says that would be huge for Louisiana. Pierson says there’s 77-thousand military related jobs in the state.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise returned to the Capitol yesterday following surgery related to a shooting which injured him last summer shattering bone and striking internal organs. He says he feels great following the January 10th procedure which was quote “very successful, but it took a long recovery.
Gas prices have seen a big jump throughout the nation and the state over the past few weeks. The current average in Louisiana is $2.36 a gallon, which is up 6 cents from the prior week.
LSU crawfish researcher Doctor Greg Lutz is hopeful last year’s deep freeze in south Louisiana will not have a huge impact on this year’s mudbug harvest. However, Lutz says to help improve the crawfish supply for the days leading up to Mardi Gras a long stretch of sunny, mild days is needed to warm up the ponds.
Entergy Louisiana has broken ground on a new 872-million dollar plant near Lake Charles. The natural gas fired plant is expected to be operational in June of 2020. Entergy spokesperson Michael Burns the state-of-the-art plant is expected to run much cleaner than previous plants. Entergy projects the project will directly employ over 700 people during peak construction. Entergy says they selected Lake Charles due to the region’s rapid growth.
The U.S. is pumping out over ten-million barrels of oil per day, topping a nearly 50-year record. And forecasts show production could climb to eleven-million barrels a day by the end of 2019. President of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Chris John, says markets such as China are hungry for more fuel and Louisiana’s 170 offshore operators are showing they can keep up with demand. Crude oil topped $60.00 a barrel for the first time in over two years. John says the cost of oil could top $70.00 per barrel before long.
A nationwide non-profit to help veteran’s in their post military transition to the workplace is coming to New Orleans. NextOp represents veterans by placing them in jobs in industries and companies throughout the region. Louisiana Regional Manager Ben Armstrong says the challenge for veterans is not in obtaining work, but getting the type of jobs they need to support their families. Following their launch on February 1st, they are looking at expanding statewide.
The LSU men’s basketball team will look to snap a three-game losing streak tonight when they host Texas A-and-M at the PMAC. Airtime 7:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson is the first person with ties to Louisiana to serve as a head coach in the Super Bowl. Pederson was a head coach at Calvary Baptist in Shreveport from 2004 to 2008, and is also a former ULM quarterback.
News for Monday 012218
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards will unveil a budget today that will show the effects of one-billion dollars in cuts to state agencies. Reports say healthcare and education will be the hardest hit, with the possibility of a 100-percent cut in funding to TOPS. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says it’s not the budget the governor wants, but it’s the budget he is constitutionally required to present. The budget is the result of a billion dollar shortfall generated by the expiration of a one cent sales tax, passed two years ago. So far, GOP legislative leaders and Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards have been unable to settle on a plan to address the fiscal cliff.
The Commissioner of Higher Education Joe Rallo is concerned about the possible lack of funding for the TOPS program. Governor Edwards will present his budget proposal on Today. Rallo says if funding for TOPS is eliminated, it will be devastating for students who benefit from the program. Rallo says if TOPS doesn’t get funding, it could affect Louisiana’s job market. The Governor, by law, must submit a balanced budget.
A 9.7 million dollar grant was awarded to a UL Lafayette consortium to study the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale oil deposit that stretches across central Louisiana into the Florida parishes. A study from the 80s indicated that Louisiana could be sitting on nearly seven billion barrels of crude oil. ULL Professor Mehdi Mokhtari (med-e mowk-tari) says the grant will help scientists unlock the shale’s potential.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission wants to know why utility customers were asked to reduce energy consumption for a time last Thursday morning over concerns the grids may not be able to handle the high demand in the cold. PSC Chairman Eric Skrmetta says nobody’s power was going to be shut off. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which manages the flow of electricity, said they had set a record Wednesday morning for peak winter power usage.
Emerge Louisiana chooses 25 Democratic women that will train on how to run for political office. They come from across the state and will get 70 hours of in depth education over six months. Executive Director Melanie Oubre says with Districts being redrawn following the 2020 census, it will be a great time to have newly graduated women starting to create their new active roles in government, increasing the amount of female Democrats in office. Since the program started in other states, more than 150 Emerge America alums have been elected to office.
Vermilion School Board President Anthony Fontana has announced he is resigning immediately. This comes amid the controversy surrounding school teacher Deyshia Hargrave and her arrest two weeks ago. A non-partisan group CrowdPac is concerned about the recent volatile actions of the board and wants to see changes. Crowdpac spokesperson Mason Harrison says Fontana’s resignation is perfect timing for a seminar coming to Abbeville to train citizens to become prepared to run for a school board position.
With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and the Executive branch, Republican Congressman Clay Higgins issued a statement declaring “The shutdown of the federal government belongs to the democrats. While Senator Bill Cassidy’s statement read, “They voted to shut down the government just to appease the pro-illegal immigration extremists in their party.” Both Representative Higgins and Senator Cassidy said the measure voted down would have funded the U.S. military and the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
A state judge will hear a dispute next month between Governor Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry over which party should control the state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. Edwards’ administration filed a lawsuit in September against more than a dozen drug companies. Landry filed a request to stop the suit since it didn’t include how it impacts other agencies. Landry says his office can supersede the state health department.
New Year’s resolutions are starting to fall by the wayside for many as day to day realities clash with their bold plans. LSU Ag Center nutritional specialist Elizabeth Gollub says many who start new diets plans can get frustrated with the changes and fall back on old habits with a binge. Gollub says one day of mistakes doesn’t mean you should abandon long-term healthy choices. Gollub says the key to making a long term positive change is to start with a series of smaller healthy habits.
A mysterious package left at a Slidell Post Office caused police to block off the area for the bomb squad to respond. The package was dropped off around 4 pm and after approximately 4 and half hours later the Slidell Police department said the contents of the package was about seventy pounds of human feces. Authorities say the person being questioned is thought to have mental health problems.
The couple found guilty of murdering a Zachary man and stuffing his body into a barrel were sentenced Friday. 23-year-old Jace Crehan was convicted of second degree murder and 19-year-old Brittany Monk, was sentenced to manslaughter. Both were from Walker. The victim, Robert Noce, was found guilty of sexually assaulting Monk for nearly ten years. Noce pleaded no contest to the charges two weeks before he was found in the barrel.
News for Friday 011918
By Dave Graichen
The north Louisiana TV show personality known as Mr. Wonder in the 70s will serve five years in prison. Frank Selas sexually assaulted a child while on a camping trip in Rapides Parish in 1979. All parties agreed a plea agreement with two years credit for time served. He will not have to register as a sex offender as that law was not in effect in 1979.
The freezing grip from the polar vortex is about to loosen in Louisiana. Forecasters say last night was the last night we’ll see temps below freezing as warmer temps will start to move in over the weekend. State climatologist Barry Keim says this weekend will feel like paradise after nearly a month of below normal temperatures… Saturday temps will be near 60, Sunday near 70..
Temperatures will return to the 50s today, but cold weather-related issues remain, especially in southeast Louisiana where many communities are dealing with low water pressure. The record breaking cold busted pipes and forced many to run their faucets to fight the freeze. Governor John Bel Edwards says water systems need a couple more days to catch up.
Residents in Louisiana were asked by their utility companies to conserve power for a few hours Thursday morning as energy demand was getting close to being more than what the power grids could handle. Entergy spokeswoman Sheila Pounders says they don’t foresee any future demand that would exceed the supply over the next several days as temperatures will be rising.
A man was found frozen outside his home in Crowley early Wednesday morning. The 56-year-old man was found by neighbors lying face down in his yard. Police chief Jimmy Broussard says they are interviewing neighbors to try to determine why he was outside and if health issues were related to his death. The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of the victim’s family.
Jury selection in the second-degree murder trial involving Joe McKnight’s shooter should conclude today. The former NFL and John Curtis running back was shot by Ronald Gasser on a roadside in Jefferson Parish in December of 2016. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says the defense will likely claim McKnight tried to enter Gasser’s car after a road rage incident. Gasser was involved in another aggressive incident at the same intersection a decade ago.
A legislative task force recommends Louisiana loosen its restrictions on the gaming industry. The task force put forward two recommendations to make bayou gaming more nationally competitive. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns says one of those proposals involves allowing riverboat casinos some inland real estate. Existing regulations only allow a certain square footage of “gaming space”, and Johns says this requirement is antiquated considering the size of new slot machines. These proposals will go before legislators during the upcoming legislative session.
Governor John Bel Edwards has moved the unveiling of his budget proposal to Monday due to winter weather in Louisiana. He had intended to show the administration’s proposed spending plan today but moved the meeting to next week because of concern about how lawmakers would get to Baton Rouge.
The chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $83,000 from the tribe. 40 year old Joey P. Barbry pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Dee Drell to one count of theft from an Indian tribal organization. Barbry faces five years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine.
There are nearly 50 boil advisories issued in the state right now due to water pressure concerns from excessive use and bursting frozen pipes. Louisiana Department of Health Chief Engineer Amanda Laughlin (Loff-Lin) it’s important to follow the orders because when pressure is low, bacteria could potentially enter the distribution system. She adds that the advisories are only precautionary.
LSU nose tackle Greg Gilmore has been added to the Senior Bowl. He’ll be one of four Tigers in the game on January 27th in Mobile. Defensive lineman Christian LaCouture, running back Darrel Williams and receiver DJ Chark have also received invitations.
And former LSU standouts Russell Gage and Frank Herron will play in the N-F-L-P-A Collegiate Bowl on Saturday in the Rose Bowl in Pasedena.
News for Thursday 011818
By Dave Graichen
After a very cold start this morning, most Cenla Schools will reopen today. I-49 has reopened has reopened in all areas with the exception of Shreveport.. but there are still major problems in south Louisiana.. I-10 between Breaux Bridge and Slidell is still closed as is I12 in the Baton Rouge area..
Wakefield’s Fire Chief died in the line of duty Wednesday morning. 48-year-old Russell Achord of St. Francisville was killed while responding to another accident on Highway 61 in West Feliciana Parish. He was struck by an oncoming vehicle on an icy road.
An eight month old baby died yesterday when the car her mother was driving slid off the roadway and plunged into a canal in Metairie. The mother is listed in critical condition
Cold temperatures claimed the life of a man in New Roads early Wednesday. Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres says they were notified by a neighbor that 84-year-old Paul Maker was found dead due to hypothermia in his home. They had some space heaters, but Maker and his wife were afraid to run them at night for fear of fire. The home’s temperature when police arrived was 20 degrees.
State Police report a single vehicle crash on Highway 167 South of Dry Prong claimed the life of a sergeant with the Alexandria Police, 53 year old Travis Lowe. Troopers say Lowe apparently lost control of his truck, causing him to leave the highway and strike some trees. Lowe, who was not wearing a seatbelt was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
LifeShare Blood Center has a critical shortage, and hours are being extended this weekend so people can donate. All blood types are needed from both first-time and current blood donors. The center on North Mall Drive in Alexandria, will be open Today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon.
Multiple fire departments and police responded to a house fire yesterday morning on Mayflower Boulevard in Alexandria. The home belonged to Adam and Liz Jonson. The couple, their two children, and their dog were in the home when the fire started. All of them got out safely. Both Adam and Liz are employees at LSUA, and Adam is a member of the Rotary Club. LSUA faculty, and Rotary Club members are currently gathering donations for the family. Also, a Go Fund Me Account has been set up to help the family get back on their feet.. LINK
Louisiana continues to suffer through its worst flu season on record, with nearly 10 in 100 doctors’ visits in the last month for flu related symptoms. State Health Department Immunization Director Frank Welch says in his 20 years of doing this, he’s never seen so many cases. Welch says if you come down with flu like symptoms, you need to isolate yourself. Only after you have been without a temp for 24 hours are you no longer contagious. Welch says complications from the flu kills roughly 700 Louisianans a year.
Travel review website RewardExpert finds people vacationing in Louisiana are the “happiest and most satisfied of tourists.” The site found that 98-percent of visitors to the Bayou State are happier with their trip here than other states. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser credits Louisiana’s hospitality. The Los Angeles Times also listed Louisiana as one of 25 must-see places this year and the New York Times says New Orleans is the number one place to go this year as the city celebrates its 300th birthday.
Last night in a game heard on the New 94.7 ESPN after winning their last two, The Pelicans dropped one to the Atlanta Hawks 94 to 93. Up next, the Pels play host to the Grizzlies Saturday night..
Former LSU great Kevin Faulk will reportedly re-join the program and work with the football support staff. The Advocate says his hiring would need approval from the SEC, because he’s currently an assistant coach at Carencro and can’t have any ties with current players or walk-ons.
McNeese announces Lance Guidry will remain the head coach of the Cowboys after talking with Florida State about becoming an assistant for the Seminoles. A-D Bruce Hemphill says he’s excited Guidry is staying.
Tough loss for the LSU Tigers Tuesday night as they fell to Georgia by one point. The Bayou Bengals are now 2-and-3 in the SEC and all three losses have come at home. LSU will now play three of the next four on the road. On Saturday, the Tigers visit Vanderbilt and then return home to face Texas A-and-M on Tuesday.
News for Wednesday 011718
By Dave Graichen
Some of the coldest temperatures Louisiana has seen so far are being observed this morning. Some areas are reporting near single digit temperatures while coastal areas are not warmer than the 20’s to start the day off. Lake Charles National Weather Service forecaster Robert Megnia (meg-knee-a) says after bottoming out this morning, temperatures will slowly rebound across the state over the next 48 hours…
Due to Icy Road conditions, most schools across Cenla are closed again today. Public Schools in Rapides, Avoyelles, Grant, Vernon, LaSalle and St. Landry Parishes are closed. Catholic schools in Avoyelles, Rapides and Natchitoches parishes Closed. Alexandria Country Day School, Louisiana College, Northwestern State University, LSUA and University Academy are closed..
All State Offices are closed today.
Iced roads and closed schools have many workers asking if they have to go to their jobs today. Baton Rouge Attorney Yigal Bander says if your boss threatens you with a pink slip for skipping out, you don’t have many legal options. Louisiana, like most states, is employment at will. Bander says outside of gender, race, religion, and other protected areas, this means your employment status is wholly up to your boss…
A statewide poll by UNO shows President Donald Trump beating Oprah Winfrey by double digits in a hypothetical general election matchup. Trump gathered 60 percent of support in the poll of 722 Louisiana voters. Pollster Ed Chervenak says part of the reason is the president’s high approval rating in the bayou…
Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced he’ll be in Louisiana this week on a domestic trade mission. Scott says he’ll try to convince Louisiana businesses to move to Florida. Scott says he will share with Louisiana companies how the Sunshine state is making it easier on families and job creators.
The State Revenue Department says online retailers outside of Louisiana which delivered goods or services to Louisiana addresses will soon notify shoppers to pay sales taxes on those purchases. LDR’s Byron Henderson says a 2016 makes it mandatory for customers to pay sales tax on shipped items if they didn’t at the time of purchase. Amazon, the nation’s leading online retailer, started charging the sales tax after the bill passed.
A legislative task force today recommended moving riverboat casinos onto dry land, and Republican State Senator Ronnie Johns of Lake Charles said he would draft bills based on the suggestions. The only casino on land now is Harrah’s in New Orleans. The proposed legislation would lift the requirement that the paddle wheels operate and that the boats be manned with a captain and other marine crew.
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says taxpayers could save millions, if electric companies and cities convert to new energy efficient environmentally friendly LED streetlights. Campbell is proposing that the PSC conduct a comprehensive review of streetlight technology and how cities can save money by changing over. For example he says 40 percent of Shreveport’s electric bill is for their 35,000 street lights…
Drew Brees’s contract is a huge question mark for the Saints this offseason. The quarterback turned 39 on Monday, and is a free agent in March. Brees and the Saints front office have been coy so far about contract negotiations, but Brees says he hopes to have a deal before the free agent deadline.
News for Tuesday 011618
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana is bracing for winter weather as winter storm warnings and watches are in effect through this evening. Snow accumulations as much as four inches are possible in northwest Louisiana, while central Louisiana could see about an inch.
With the icy weather in the forecast, Rapides Parish public schools will be closed today.
Public schools in Avoyelles, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches and Vernon also will also be closed.
Classes are also canceled today at all Catholic schools in Rapides, Avoyelles and Natchitoches parishes, LSUA, Louisiana College in Pineville and all Northwestern State University campuses.
Road conditions in north Louisiana could deteriorate quickly once this storm system begins producing ice then snow later. DOTD’s Rodney Mallet says they are already preparing for the storm and have a good idea where the trouble spots will be
Temperatures will get back into the teens on tonight for much of Louisiana. Mallett says to check L-A-5-1-1 before heading out to see if the route you are taking is open.
A strong cold front has moved through north Louisiana into central Louisiana this morning. The storm has already brought ice and snow to parts of Bayou state. National Weather Service meteorologist Kent Kuyper says as the front heads south, the chances of freezing precipitation continues as temperatures will drop throughout the day leading very cold temperatures overnight tonight. The good news is above normal temperatures are expected in Louisiana by this weekend.
State police have arrested a Montgomery man, 28 year old Christopher Welch and charged him with felony Hit and Run in connection with an incident back on November 26th of last year in which 21 year old Hunter Thomisee was killed. Welch was arrested and charged based on information obtained during the fatal crash investigation that killed Thomisee. He was booked into the Winn Parish Jail.
Governor Edwards will reportedly present a budget to lawmakers on Friday that includes a 100-percent cut to TOPS. The governor is constitutionally required to propose a balanced budget, and the spending plan presented on Friday would reflect what would happen if the state does not replace the money generated by an expiring one-cent sales tax. The governor’s office is also preparing a budget that would show how the state would spend its money, if the billion dollar shortfall is resolved.
It appears unlikely House legislators and Governor John Bel Edwards will come to a fiscal cliff agreement before a Friday deadline. The deadline was set by the Governor, who was hoping to enter into a February special session with an agreement in principle to fill a one-billion dollar budget shortfall. The GOP is requesting a budget with less spending, while the governor wants to replace the sales tax by eliminating certain business tax breaks. Edwards says a key piece of these negotiations is getting his tax reform plan passed.
Don Briggs’ 26 year run as the President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association is coming to an end. Briggs says he’ll remain active, because he is concerned about the lost jobs in the industry. Briggs hopes there will be changes so the oil industry can operate without so many regulations that will encourage jobs growth in Louisiana. Briggs’ son Gifford Briggs will officially become president during LOGA’s annual meeting in March.
163 employees at CB and I in Livingston Parish are losing their jobs. The pipe fabrication facility in Walker says they are cutting costs due to a lack of available work. The Business Report says the decision was made after the company announced a six billion dollar merger with McDermott International. The layoffs go into effect February 19th.
The LSU men’s basketball team hosts Georgia tonight. The Tigers are looking for their first win at home in SEC play. Coach Will Wade says they need more from junior guard Brandon Sampson, who is averaging just four points a game in SEC contests and has yet to make a three-pointer. LSU lost to Alabama on Saturday 74-66.
News for Monday 011519
By Dave Graichen
The Saints season ended in heart breaking fashion in Minnesota last night. A 61-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game gave the Vikings an improbable 29-24 victory over New Orleans. It appeared New Orleans had just completed a successful comeback from a 17-0 halftime deficit to win 24-23. But that touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs ripped the hearts out of the Who Dat nation. Despite the devastating loss, Drew Brees believes the Saints can be a playoff team again next year…
There is the possibility of some nasty weather on Tuesday in the form of sleet and freezing rain.. With that in mind, Officials in Grant Parish have announced schools will be closed there on Tuesday as a precaution..
Governor John Bel Edwards announces the state will seek 600 million dollars in loans to pay for major highway projects. If accepted, the bonds will finance a major expansion of I-10 in Baton Rouge, the I-10 Loyola interchange in Kenner, and construction of an interchange into Barksdale Airforce Base in Bossier City. Edwards says the state will use federal highway money to pay back the loans…
The Legislative Women’s Caucus is investigating to see if it is necessary to overhaul sexual harassment policies for the legislature and state government employees. Chairman and New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno says the current policies are antiquated and need to be changed. She hopes if persons are found guilty of sexual harassment allegations, they’ll be held accountable.
Broussard and Lafayette Police say murders in their cities are possibly related. Broussard Police say the body of 23-year-old Skyler Barry of Lake Arthur was found lying face down under a home undergoing renovations Friday. Lafayette Police say earlier, they found the body of 28-year-old Justin Zeno of Lafayette lying beside a burning vehicle. Police say both people sustained gunshot wounds. Both departments are assisting one another in the investigation.
Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it’s an example of the new criminal justice reform measures put in place last year. A 26-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison after plowing into a crowd of parade goers while intoxicated during a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. He pled guilty to 11 felony counts of vehicular negligent injuring and 13 misdemeanor counts.
The Louisiana Heroes Project is asking folks to send some Fat Tuesday love to our troops serving in locations throughout the world who can’t be home this Carnival season. Mission Mardi Gras from Afghanistan coordinator Tawney Tallo, says their goal is to make sure all service members deployed from Louisiana receive a Carnival package before February 13th. If you would like to send a Mardi Gras Box to a deployed soldier, visit the Louisiana Heroes Project on Facebook for details.
It’s been a colder than normal winter to say the least in Louisiana and it might affect the insect population this summer. LSU Entomology Professor Timothy Schowalter says it’s expected that there will be a reduction in mosquitoes this year since some adults were more than likely killed in the December cold snap. Lovebugs on the other hand will more than likely survive these recent cold snaps.
Sportsman will be unable to renew their hunting and fishing licenses at retail stores for two months starting January 30th while the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries transitions to a new system. Spokesperson Rene LeBreton says the state has a new vendor for licensing. They will be available again at retail stores April 2nd.
The Louisiana Family Forum is celebrating the 2018 Longest Married Couple in Louisiana. The reigning champions, Lawrence and Varrie Player will be celebrating their 83rd anniversary this year.
A two year old child choked and died while at the Early Learning Center at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Gentily. Seminary Spokesman Gary Meyers says the child was eating lunch when she chocked on food. Isabella Magee’s cause of death is under investigation
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana has ruled in favor of LSU, dismissing claims made by Teresa Buchanan in a lawsuit against the university. Buchanan filed the suit after she was fired for allegedly making inappropriate comments during classes. The court ruled her comments were not protected by the First Amendment and that the university’s policies are constitutional, and that she received due process.
A police department in Ohio is trying to spread the word that they are not the Vermilion where a teacher was removed from a school board meeting this week for questioning the superintendent. Cops in Vermilion, Ohio say they have received angry and profane messages from people reacting to the controversial arrest of Deyshia Hargrave which actually happened in Vermilion Parish. The Ohio department said to please stop sending hate mail.
News for Friday 011218
By Dave Graichen
Dr. Frank Welch , the state's immunization director, says he fears 600 to 700 people will die in Louisiana this year from flu-related deaths. According to Welch, Louisiana is suffering its worst flu season in decades. He says he has been doing his job for 20 years and he’s never seen the flu season here so aggressive so early. The best protection is still the Flue Shot. Welch said even those who have already suffered from the flu should get the vaccine because it could protect them from a second strain. He also said even if the vaccine doesn't prevent the flu it can make symptoms be less severe.
A state lawmaker is proposing to change TOPS scholarship amounts. Students who meet the minimum eligibility would receive a four-thousand-dollar payment for the year, but students who achieve a very high ACT and GPA get a full scholarship, plus a stipend. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says four-thousand-dollars may seem low, but it’s still the most lucrative college tuition program in the U-S.
WalMart announces a minimum wage increase to 11 dollars but also announces the closings of 63 Sams Clubs in 10 states. One of those stores is in Louisiana. The Sam’s Club near Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge is closed and has displaced about 175 workers.
Teachers from multiple parishes have gathered in Abbeville yesterday afternoon to show their support for middle school teacher Deyshia Hargrave, who was arrested at a school board meeting after questioning a raise given to the Vermilion Parish Schools superintendent. Superintendent Jerome Puyau says he, his staff and family have received death threats over the incident. He also says he should have stood up for Hargrave.
Meanwhile it’s been learned that the marshal who arrested Hargrave was previously sued for excessive force. Reggie Hilts was working as a police officer in the city of Scott and was named as a defendant in the 2012 lawsuit. The suit was eventually settled in 2016. Hilts left the Scott Police Department before the lawsuit was filed.
The Louisiana Property Assistance Agency will resume its monthly state surplus property auctions in Baton Rouge this weekend. The auction will feature a wide variety of items once used by state agencies. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says there’s something for everyone. Berry says the proceeds from the auction, go back to the state to take care of a large portion of their transportation needs.
The auction will start Saturday at 8am.
In 2017, poison control centers dealt with more than 10,000 reports of children eating detergent pods. Authorities report they now seeing an increasing number of teenagers ingesting the colorful cases with the hope of getting high. Louisiana Poison Control President-Elect Mark Ryan says there is nothing in the pods that could do that. Ryan says the pods aren’t dangerously poisonous, but could trigger a reaction that will put you in the hospital. He says if one of your children or friends ingests a pod, call the national poison hotline.
Wildlife and Fisheries agents have arrested a Point Coupee Parish man for allegedly killing a protected black bear. The bear was a part of the Louisiana Black Bear Management and Research project. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents responded after the tagged bear set off an alert. He says 28-year-old Ronald Kimble is a convicted felon and is not allowed to possess a firearm in the first place.
Officials broke ground Thursday on a major I-10 widening project which will affect travelers between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The job will stretch over a six mile portion of the interstate from Highland Road to Highway 73. Officials encourage drivers to visit 511LA.org for traffic and road closure info.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron introduced his new offensive coordinator Thursday, Steve Ensminger. Ensminger is an old face around Tiger Stadium, having been with the team since 2010, and having captained LSU to three bowl games in the late 70s at quarterback. Ensminger was LSU’s interim offensive coordinator in 2016.
News for Thursday 011118
By Dave Graichen
Get ready for a return of cold temperatures. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a strong cold front will move through the state today, dropping temperatures and keeping highs below 50 degrees for the weekend, with night time lows in the 20’s. The cold air is expected to stick around all weekend long and into next week.
A woman in Ouachita Parish has died as the result of a pit bull mauling. Ouachita Parish Sheriffs spokesperson Glen Springfield says deputies arrived at the Happy Hounds Hotel, a West Monroe area pet boarding facility, and found Laura Ray had been severely injured. No further details have been released about the incident, and Springfield says the pit bull is being held by Ouachita Parish Animal Control.
Former Ball police officer David Wayne Gagnard has been charged again, this time accused of extortion, fraud and more. The 46 year old Gagnard was booked yesterday into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on four counts of malfeasance in office, abuse of office, extortion, injuring public records and insurance fraud. That's in addition to a long list of charges from his December. The arrest happened after Ball Police Department Chief Nate Ussery requested an investigation back in December.
A lot of LSU news in a short story.. Steve Ensminger has been named Matt Canada’s replacement as LSU offensive coordinator. The Baton Rouge Advocate obtained the separation agreement between LSU and Canada which state’s the former OC’s $1.7 million dollar settlement would be voided if he interferes with the football program. In other Tiger news, Derrius Guice announced yesterday he’d be entering the NFL Draft.
US Senator John Kennedy says he’s considering a run for governor in 2019, as the GOP in Louisiana hopes to keep Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards from the post for a second term. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this is a very conservative state, so you can expect plenty of Republican candidates to line up for next year’s election. Other Republican names that have been mentioned include US Congressman Ralph Abraham, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Eilers and Krejcik Gaming says Louisiana is one of 18 states that could discuss legislation to legalize sports betting, if the U-S Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, which is challenging the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Author of the report, Chris Grove, says legalizing sports betting would be a budgetary boon for the state.
The elementary school teacher who was arrested after speaking out against the Vermilion Parish superintendent’s raise has released a video statement. Deyshia Hargrave says by being asked to leave, the school board is attempting to silence an issue that effects the entire community. Governor John Bel Edwards said Wednesday he did not see that Hargrave did or said anything that warranted that type of action against her.
Who has the best King Cake in Louisiana? The website King Cake Snob is set to find out this carnival season. Jay Connaughton, CEO of Mandeville-based Innovative Advertising, says the competition will award the top “traditional” and “filled” King Cakes this year by separating the best from the rest. The site for people to submit reviews is at king-cake-snob-dot-com.
The Saints face their biggest challenge of the year this Sunday, as they head to Minnesota for a rematch of the season opener that they lost 19 to 29. The Vikings boast the best defense in the league, and have routinely suffocated even the best offenses, keeping both the Falcons and Rams in the single digits The Saints will be rolling into a raucous US Bank Stadium full of fans who know their team is only two wins away from the first ever home Super Bowl. The game kicks off at 3:40 Sunday afternoon.
News for Wednesday 011018
By Dave Graichen
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise undergoes another surgery today as he continues his recovery from a gunshot sustained while practicing for a charity baseball game. The bullet struck several of the Congressman’s internal organs. Scalise mentioned the surgery in a press conference on Tuesday. He says he’s looking forward to getting back to work on Capitol Hill and getting business done in the session that started this week.
A Monroe Police officer who died while on duty early Sunday morning apparently shot himself before crashing The Monroe News Star says it’s unknown if 26-year-old Officer Chris Beaudion accidentally shot himself or committed suicide. State Police are investigating the wreck while the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of death.
After failing last year to raise Louisiana’s gas tax for road improvements, Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter has a different idea this year by planning to file a constitutional amendment that would allow a region of the state to decide if they want a higher gas tax for their area. Carter says there’s not enough support for a statewide gas tax increase.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to President Trump asking him to defend Louisiana’s ability to offer medical marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ending a federal mandate that kept federal authorities from cracking down on legalized pot. St. Martinville Senator Fred Mills authored the law authorizing the regulation of cannabis treatment in Louisiana. The state Board of Pharmacy plans on issuing permits soon for nine selected pharmacies around the state that will be able to dispense the medical cannabis.
Officials say they will not press charges against a Vermilion Parish middle school teacher who was removed and then handcuffed after she spoke out during a school board meeting Monday night. English teacher Deyshia Hargrave opposed a pay raise for the superintendent. After asking several questions, Hargrave was led out by a marshal.
U-S Senator John Kennedy opposes a bipartisan bill designed to improve the national background check database. The legislation would penalize federal workers who fail to report relevant records to the database, and provide incentives to states that increase reporting levels. Kennedy says we don’t need legislation asking federal workers to do their job.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds says he and fellow Democrats came away frustrated after meeting with the GOP on how to prevent falling off a fiscal cliff when one-billion-dollars in revenue comes off the books June 30th. Governor John Bel Edwards is saying he will present a budget no later than January 19th, whether or not the one-billion-dollar shortfall is accounted for. Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats are going about this all wrong and is disappointed in the way Edwards and his party are discussing ways to tackle the budget.
Congressman Steve Scalise of Metairie says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is already having a positive impact on families. Scalise lists over 100 businesses on his House Majority Whip website that have given bonuses, pay raises or made new investments as a result of the federal tax overhaul. Scalise says local businesses in southeast Louisiana are following suit…
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is the highest it’s ever been to start off 2018. NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says the federal tax reform legislation, de-regulation of businesses and the defeat of U-S Labor Department overtime rule have led to the high optimism rating. The rule would have required businesses to pay overtime to millions of workers.
State Police are warning motorists driving newer cars that their bright headlights, could increase the risk of accidents. Trooper Glen Younger says LED headlights are a particular problem, and motorists need to keep their distance while driving in bad weather with your bright light on. Many new cars come equipped with sensors that will automatically turn headlights on and off, but Younger says you still need to check your headlights when the weather clears up. He says driving with your high beams on could lead to you getting a ticket.
News for Tuesday 010918
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards met with House Speaker Taylor Barras again Monday to discuss solutions to a looming one-billion dollar budget deficit. Edwards would like to call a special session in February to pass a revenue-neutral tax plan to address the fiscal cliff. The governor is working on proposing a budget that reflects a billion dollars in cuts, if he can’t reach an agreement with legislators on a tax plan. In a twitter post, Governor Edwards outlined for the GOP what he would like to see accomplished.
What is going on in Baton Rouge? The Capitol city for the past two years a seen a major jump in the number of homicides. In 2017, that number eclipsed the number of homicides, per 100,000, in the city of Chicago. The number of parish wide homicides, defined by the FBI as intentional, not justified nor accidental, killings, increased by 70 percent from 2016, when 62 homicides were counted. And looking even beyond that one-year jump, 2017 still marked a 50 percent increase from an average of the previous five years.
State Police say an officer with the Monroe Police Department has died following a Sunday wreck. They say 26-year-old Chris Beaudion was involved in a single-vehicle crash while on duty in the early morning hours. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Beaudion leaves behind a wife and two children. He had been with the department since August 2016…
One person is dead, two others injured after a home invasion in Madison parish that happened Sunday night an apartment complex. Authorities have yet to make an arrest and they have not identified the victims. Investigators believe it was a random murder.
Governor John Bel Edwards has several items he would like to accomplish in the 2018 regular legislative session when it convenes March 12th. Edwards will once again ask legislators to increase the minimum wage. 18 states increased their minimum wage January 1st. He says $7.25 an hour is not enough for hard working Louisiana families. The Governor also feels there is an overabundance of state licensing boards, 71 of them to be exact and the Governor believes most need to be eliminated. By doing so, he says it would help small businesses trying to start up in Louisiana.
Saints fans following the team to Minnesota will be lucky if they experience temperatures above zero. Minneapolis is expecting arctic temperatures all weekend long, but the game itself will be played indoors.
The former Police Chief for the Town of Killian in Livingston Parish was paid for time he did not work, received excessive compensation and used work credit cards for personal use, according to a recent state audit. Investigative Audit Manager Greg Clapinski says they found that Dennis Hill submitted time sheets for overtime that he did not work.
News for Monday 010818
By Dave Graichen
Based on records released by the Division of Administration the state paid out one-point-three million dollars since mid-2009 to settle sexual harassment claims involving state officials and employees. There were 27 payouts ranging from 55-hundred dollars to 150-thousand dollars. University professors, judges, employees in the state prison system were among the ones accused in the settlement cases.
LSU athletics reportedly paid 1.7 million dollars to buy out the final two years of Matt Canada’s contract. So the search is on for a new offensive coordinator. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham believes Athletics Director Joe Alleva is willing to spend a lot on a new play caller. Worsham says finding Canada’s replacement will be very important for Orgeron, because if he misfires again, it could mean the end of his tenure at LSU.
The New Orleans Saints advanced to the NFC Divisional playoffs next Sunday at Minnesota with a heart stopping, 31-26 victory over Carolina in the Wild Card playoffs Sunday afternoon at the Superdome.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards will meet with Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras today to continue negotiations centered on the looming fiscal cliff. Edwards set a January 19th deadline to come up with an agreement in principle on a plan to address a one billion dollar shortfall. The governor’s plan includes allowing the fifth penny of the state sales tax to expire, but removes some sales tax exemptions businesses enjoy. The plan echoes the recommendations of a bipartisan taskforce.
New Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul will be sworn in today and has a huge task ahead. East Baton Rouge recorded 104 murders in 2017, most were in the city limits of Baton Rouge. LSU Sociology Professor Matthew Valasik says Paul must heal any animosity between police and citizens, before progress can be made. Paul is a 19-year law enforcement veteran coming from Louisiana State Police. Valasik says this will enable Paul to bring experience and a different perspective.
Republican U-S Senator Bill Cassidy says the Trump’s administration plan to expand offshore oil and gas production to areas currently restricted would mean hundreds of thousands jobs. Cassidy says the job growth for Louisiana would about 31-thousand jobs. But Democrats and environmental groups are pushing against the plan, because of possible negative impacts to the environment.
East Baton Rouge sheriff deputies arrested a 29-year-old man after he allegedly stabbed his wife and three children with scissors. Sheriff’s office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says the victims fled and told neighbors to call 9-1-1. The suspect is in police custody.
It's been a billion-dollar lottery weekend after a lone Powerball ticket sold in New Hampshire matched all six numbers and will claim a $570 million jackpot, one day after another single ticket sold in Florida nabbed a $450 million Mega Millions grand prize.
Water has been distributed to residents in Tallulah as a state of emergency has been declared in Madison Parish because many residents are without water. Numerous pipes have busted because of the cold weather. Tallulah Mayor Payton Branch says the city’s water plant is 70 years old and they plan to rebuild it this year.
Since Christmas, Louisiana has seen 16 people die in home fires. That’s according to State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, who says many of the fires started because of misusing space heaters. He says some outlets can’t handle a space heater and another electrical item plugged into them. Browning says space heaters should also not be plugged into an extension cord.
State wildlife and fisheries says we could see fish kills throughout coastal Louisiana as a result of the arctic blast that produced freezing water temperatures. Biologists say many fish that may have been killed by the freeze would still be on the bottom of water bodies and may not be visible for a week or more.
The arctic blast halted crawfish farming, caused a rash of house fires, but it looks like this year’s strawberry crop should escape with minimal damage. The strawberry crop is a 15 million dollar a year industry for the state.
News for Friday 010518
By Dave Graichen
Former Louisiana College President Dr. Joe Aguillard is suing the school again .The suit filed in in U.S. District Court in Alexandria claims Aguillard was discriminated against for his "disability" , he had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery in 2011. Aguillard resigned from the presidency publicly stating health reasons. Aguillard also is claiming discrimination based on his religious beliefs, claiming current LC president, Rick Brewer, is a Calvinist.
Qualifying ends today for the March 24th election. So far, five men have qualified for the Alexandria city marshal race. Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields and five council members have drawn no opposition and no one has qualified yet for the Ward 10 justice of the peace contest.
The arctic blast is expected to start receding this weekend, sending the state back to its usual mild winter weather. Low temperatures this week sat in the lower 20s for much of Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s one of the coldest weeks on record.
The federal tax reform bill slashed taxes for different businesses, and the state believes those tax savings could be passed on to utility customers. Governor John Bel Edwards has asked the Louisiana Public Service Commission to see if the state’s utility customers should see lower rates as a result of the recently approved federal tax overhaul legislation. P-S-C member Foster Campbell says Edwards is right and that will be a focus of their first meetings of 2018. Edwards says Dominion Energy in South Carolina has already announced plans to lower its rates, because of the new federal tax law.
Saturday’s Powerball jackpot and tonight’s Mega-Millions drawing are some of the largest jackpots the history of the multi-state lottery games. Louisiana Lottery spokesman Dustin Annison says a lot of money is on the line. Over $440 Million for tonight’s Megga Millions Drawing and $550 million for the Saturday’s Power Ball Drawing. Annison says the large jackpots are drawing people across state lines helping to increase the size of the jackpots.
Cleanup continues at the scene of a train derailment in Pointe Coupee Parish along LA 1 between New Roads and Morganza. The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office reports that 23 train cars were involved in the derailment the occurred Thursday. No leaks or injuries reported.
The 96th Louisiana State Police cadet class will graduate today with 27 men and women being assigned to the ten different troops around the state. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says the new troopers will help drivers throughout the Bayou State. This was the first time in many years that LSP conducted two cadet classes at the same time. As the 96th is wrapping up, the 97th class began their over 20 week training program.
Three people, a mother and her two children, were killed in a mobile home fire in Zachary late Wednesday night. Zachary Fire Chief Danny Kimble says firefighters reported to a fully engulfed trailer shortly after 11pm. A cause of the blaze hasn’t been determined the but the State Fire Mashal says the below freezing temperatures have led to a surge in fire-related deaths.
A teenager who was found yesterday with multiple stab wounds inside a Lafayette home has died from his injuries. A 32-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in the case. Lafayette Police Corporal Bridgette Dugas says they believe an argument between the teen and 32-year-old Lawrence Allen the Second escalated into murder. Allen has been booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
A television series about the life of the men and women who live in the wilds of Louisiana will begin airing on a new channel this weekend. The Discovery Channel has signed “Out Da’ Bayou” for 13 episodes after five years on CST and the Sportsman Channel. Host John Jackson says the show puts you right in the middle of some of the toughest jobs in the state. Jackson says even if you were born and raised in the bayou, you’ll probably learn something new about your home state. The show airs Saturdays at 7:30am.
One of the top defensive coordinators in the country will stay in Baton Rouge. LSU and Dave Aranda have reportedly agreed to a four-year deal. Aranda was already the highest paid assistant college football coach in the country and now he’s set to make on average 2.5 million dollars a year.
A key member of LSU’s defense has declared for the NFL draft. Arden Key told fans on social media that he’ll skip his senior season. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Key left the team during spring football to deal with a personal matter and also missed five games during his junior campaign, because of injuries. We’re still waiting to hear if running back Derius Guice will enter the NFL draft. He has until January 15th to decide.
New Orleans is nearly a touchdown favorite to beat Carolina on Sunday in their NFC playoff match-up. The Black and Gold already own two victories over the Panthers this season. The Saints have won seven straight inside the Superdome.
News for Thursday 010418
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana remains one of the states with the most confirmed cases of influenza during the early half of the flu season. Department of Health’s Dr. Frank Welch says he is very concerned at the early aggressiveness the flu is showing this year. Louisiana sees on average about 8,000 hospitalizations and 700 deaths per year as a result of the flu. Welch says not all flu cases are serious enough to go to the hospital, but stay away from people if you are sick.
The national price at the pump is at its highest in nearly five years after the busiest holiday travel season on record. The average here in Louisiana is 2.26 a gallon for regular gas, up nearly four cents over last week, but AAA spokesperson Don Redman says he doesn’t expect the price to hold. Redman says he believes gas will come down at least ten cents in the next month
Parts of coastal Southeast Louisiana saw snow early Wednesday morning. Measurable snow fell in Grand Isle and areas of south Plaquemines Parish. Alek Krautman with the National Weather Service in Slidell says the last time snow stuck to the ground in that area was December 1989
The Louisiana SPCA says they are getting numerous reports of pets left outside in this extremely cold weather. Some pets are being seized by authorities and owners are being charged with animal cruelty.
Dr. Joseph Johnson, one of the most influential alumni and presidents in Grambling State University’s history passed away yesterday. Johnson was instrumental in a 1981 consent decree that led to an increase in funding for the school, facilitating the creation of the Grambling School of Nursing, and the university’s first doctoral program. He was the university’s third president, serving from 1977 to 1991, and nearly tripled the institutions enrollment during his tenure.
A new component of driver’s education is a section on how to respond to being pulled over by a police officer. The additional curriculum is the result of a new law that went into effect January 1st, aimed at decreasing fatalities resulting from police interactions during traffic stops. Along with educating new drivers on how to talk to police, the new program will emphasize how to be prepared if you get pulled over.
As Louisiana tourism enters 2018, there are some glaring concerns as to how to encourage more visitors to come to the Bayou State. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state’s tourism budget is facing a ten percent cut if legislators are unable to resolve the fiscal cliff issues. Nungesser says the Lt. Governor’s office has seen massive cuts the last several years and is afraid further cuts will reduce the ability to keep the state park system operating…
Three are under arrest in the shooting death of a man found near Gonzales in Ascension Parish. The body of 20 year old Francisco Nieves was found in a ditch near a trailer park Tuesday. Police say the shooting didn’t occur in Gonzales, but happened in Jefferson Parish. 20-year-old Archie Armstrong of Marrero is charged with second degree murder while two others face accessory to second degree murder charges…
Texas A&M is not taking no for an answer and is coming after LSU defense coordinator Dave Aranda again. Aranda turned down their original offer of 1.85-milllion dollars to make him the highest paid college assistant coach in the country. An LSU source says the new offer may be closer now to 3 million and Aranda would have the flexibility to hire his own defensive staff.
Kentucky beat LSU in Basketball last night.. the final 74 to 71 Up next, Texas A&M Saturday..
The Pelicans beat the Jazz last night, 108 - 98
News for Wednesday 010318
By Dave Graichen
2018 is off to a very cold start. Lows the last two mornings were in the teens to low 20s and wind chills were in the single digits in some areas. It was so cold yesterday that snow fell in parts of Southeast Louisiana in the areas of Morgan City, Houma, Grand Isle and Raceland. Phil Grigsby, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says this arctic air mass is not going away. We’ll have to wait until this weekend before the Bayou State can finally thaw out.
Two people were found dead Tuesday at the site of a house fire in Baton Rouge, bringing the total to seven houses fire across the state in just 24 hours. The State Fire Marshal is warning residents to use extra care in using heating devices in the face of this unusually cold winter weather, and to make sure you check your fire alarms before going to sleep tonight. Few things can do more to save your life in a fire.
An audit found that some Boyce Police Department officers may have been given improper pay raises and that some are working excessive hours, including one officer who clocked more than 25 hours in one day. The town already has turned over the matter concerning the excessive hours to the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office and a review of the pay raises is under way.
The arctic blast is keeping Louisianans indoors and is threatening this year’s crawfish harvest. The state’s winters are usually wet and mild, perfect conditions for breeding plenty of big crawfish, but the near record lows have halted production. Last year’s crop came with a low profit margin and Louisiana Crawfish Promotion Board President David Savoy says expect much smaller crawfish this year.
A few national corporations announced they’d be giving holiday bonuses last week as a result of the GOP tax bill, but on a local level the response has been somewhat more muted. LSU economist Loren Scott says the bill is a substantial reduction in corporate and business taxes, and is aimed at enticing foreign businesses to relocate to the USA, and inspiring domestic businesses to expand. Republicans say the bill will help maintain the current three percent growth in GDP, and Scott says if that happens, it would be a big boost to the Louisiana economy.
2018 could be a volatile year in Louisiana politics. It’s a somewhat quiet year for elections, but UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the Legislature and Governor John Bel Edwards have a long road facing them after the one cent sales tax falls off the books June 30th, leaving Louisiana with a one-billion-dollar deficit. The Louisiana Congressional delegation appears to be solid going into the mid-term elections this year. Cross feels 3rd District Congressman Clay Higgins faces the most opposition…
The looming fiscal cliff has party leaders preparing for a series of tense negotiations ahead of a January 19th deadline imposed by Governor John Bel Edwards. That deadline was set with the hope that legislative leaders would have the framework for a deal to address an imminent one billion dollar shortfall. State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere is not happy with the governor’s deadline. Edwards wants a deal in principle by January 19th so he can call a special session in February to pass new tax laws to address the budget deficit. The Governor says he wants a revenue neutral plan, but Villere says Edwards is really calling for a tax hike.
Fourth District Congressman Mike Johnson and Attorney General Jeff Landry have released the “Louisiana Student Rights Review.” Johnson says the publication found at mike-johnson-for-Louisiana-dot-com answers legal questions and clears up misconceptions about religious expression on school campuses. Johnson says the Constitution protects the rights of students to live out their faith in a public school.
Many find it hard to be motivated at work after taking time off for the holidays. And with the extended cold snap, it may be challenging to get out and go back to work. But once you get there, CEO of Mid-America Careers Nick Murphy says do not be too hard on yourself as you get back into “work mode” If you are in a job that you truly are not happy with, it may be a good time to make a change. Many employers are starting to hire with new budgets in place.
The LSU men’s basketball team has made great strides during the first year with Will Wade as their head coach. The 9-and-3 Tigers are coming off a road win over Memphis, tonight they face 17th ranked Kentucky. You can hear that game starting at 7 this evening on KSYL 970AM & 100.3 HD3FM.
News for Tuesday 010218
By Dave Graichen
All of the state starting the day in a deep freeze, with temps in the mid-teens here in Cenla. The cold weather plans to stick around for a while. 18 is the predicted low for tonight.
Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson looks ahead to road projects coming and continuing into 2018. He says major progress will take place on the work being done on I-10, west of the Basin Bridge to Lafayette. Wilson says there is a major construction boom happening in Southeast Louisiana this year where over 100,000 people pass through each day, so motorists need to expect delays for at least the entire year.
Many people make quitting smoking one of their New Year’s resolutions. Louisiana is 47th out of 50 states for tobacco use, with over 22-percent of adults light up, one of the highest percentages in the nation. Smoking Cessation Trust CEO Mike Rogers says one of the main reasons people don’t succeed is they try to go it alone. He adds if you don’t succeed this time, to keep trying. An average person quits at least eight times before succeeding.
A new year can mean the start of several new things, including how you handle your finances. Trying to keep your financial house in order can be tough, if you are not aware of where you are spending your money. Baton Rouge CPA Layne McDaniel says one way to try to squeeze a little more out of your budget is knowing how you spend. How much to save is the big question. McDaniel says even though it’s an old cliché, he says to “pay yourself first”.
The number of Craft Breweries in Louisiana has more than doubled in the last five years, and with the recent corporate tax cuts as a result of the tax reform legislation passed by Congress, we could see a few more. Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild Cary Koch says a provision in the new tax law will have big returns for local brewers.
Disappointing finish to the season for the LSU Tigers as Notre Dame scored a late touchdown to beat the Bayou Bengals 21-17.
Despite a 31-24 defeat at Tampa Bay Sunday afternoon, the Saints still won the NFC South and still will host Carolina in a Wild Card playoff game Sunday afternoon in the Superdome. The Saints-Panthers winner will advance to play at either No. 1 seed Philadelphia or No. 2 seed Minnesota.
News for Friday 122217
By Dave Graichen
Cleco has named Bill Fontenot as the new CEO effective January 1st. Fontenot has been with the company for 31 years, working in various capacities including business development, commercial operations and utility operations. He says he’s honored to help keep the focus of the utility on their customers. Fontenot’s family has a long history with the Pineville-based utility company. The father worked for the utility for over 30 years and son Bill followed in his footsteps. Cleco serves about 288-thousand customers in Louisiana.
For the seventeenth year in a row State Police troop E out of Alexandria will be delivering gifts to children who are stuck in the hospital for Christmas. The troop plans to meet Christmas Eve morning to start wrapping gifts to deliver to kids later that night. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says the troop works on the toy drive all year long.
Moreau says any hospitalized child, regardless of background, will be getting a gift…
Moreau says it’s his troops way of spreading a little holiday cheer.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards has his highest approval numbers since taking office nearly two years ago at 65-percent. It eclipses his previous high of 63-percent and is higher than the 54-percent approval rating in May. Governor Edwards says he’s grateful for the trust the voters have placed in him. He says the first two years have seen it’s share of challenges, but he is looking forward to the future.
This will be a record setting holiday for traveling this Christmas. Over 103 million Americans will take to the roads and skies between now and the first of the year. Part of the reason behind the surge in travelers is low gas prices. Triple-A’s Don Redman says prices are higher than they were last year, but travelers feel more confident about the economy. Airline fares are seeing a drop. Some six million are expected to take to the skies during the final week of the year, a one-point-five-percent increase over 2016.
The roads will be packed this weekend with holiday traffic, and the Louisiana State police want everyone traveling to stay safe. Trooper Glen Younger says the stress and extended traffic times can stress drivers and sometimes lead to road rage. He says if you are driving, expect longer travel times. And of course, if you plan to drink, keep a designated driver handy.
Congress’s 1.5 trillion dollar tax overhaul has many wondering how this will impact their finances. The wholesale changes touch everything from investment returns to charitable donations, and radically alters tax season for most Louisianans. Baton Rouge area CPA Brandon Lagarde says the bill should lower taxes for most in the state. He says in any case, the changes will keep CPA’s very busy…
This will be a big weekend for Christmas present crunch time, and retailers are rolling out plenty of last-minute deals to get that holiday dollar. The last Saturday before Christmas is known as Super Saturday, and LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says it’s a big day for brick and mortar stores because it’s too late for online shopping in most cases. About 126 million people, or 53 percent of consumers, plan to shop on Saturday
A Zachary man is charged by a grand jury with first degree murder in the deaths of three people last month. 36-year-old Taurus Ike Hamilton allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and two others in East Feliciana Parish. He has not yet been charged with a fourth murder in East Baton Rouge. His mother Belinda Folse is charged with accessory to second degree murder, after allegedly taking Hamilton across state lines…
Nearly 64,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses, leading to a decline in life expectancy for the second year in a row, according to the CDC. Addiction Policy Forum President and CEO, Jessica Hulsey Nickel, blames the exploding opioid epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, The United states now ranks below several dozen other countries in average life expectancy.
Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro has been placed on injured reserve as a result of a groin injury, which means he’ll miss the rest of the season. He suffered the injury on November fifth and a source says it never healed correctly and it will require surgery.
The Saints can qualify for the playoffs with a win over NFC South rival Atlanta or a Carolina loss this weekend. New Orleans has the easiest road to the post season of any NFL team still trying to qualify, only needing to win one of the next two to play in January. Quarterback Drew Brees says he would love to wrap this up and win in front of the home crowd.
It’s another case of people being more upset than the victim. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has apologized for the choke gesture he made towards Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. TV cameras caught the incident when the two teams met two weeks ago in Atlanta and the two teams are set to meet again this Sunday. In a conference call with Atlanta reporters, Payton said he let his emotions get the best of him. Freeman says he’s not bothered by Payton’s actions.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Hennigan passed away Wednesday. Hennigan, a Northwestern State graduate, still holds two NFL receiving records and is in the top three of three more. A native of Bienville, Hennigan will be laid to rest there Saturday. Charlie Hennigan was 82.
News for Thursday 122117
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards held an end of the year press conference yesterday and set a deadline of January 19th for an agreement in principle with House Republican leaders regarding the one-billion dollar budget deficit the state is facing in 2018. If no agreement, then the governor will not call a special session to approve various proposals to close the budget gap. Edwards says if they are unable to reduce the deficit, he’ll have no chose but to propose deep cuts to education and health care. He says there is nowhere else to cut…
U-S Senator Bill Cassidy says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress does more than just cut taxes for working families. Cassidy says the legislation also allows victims of last year’s floods in North and South Louisiana to deduct all of their personal casualty losses from their taxable income, which could mean thousands of dollars…
Cassidy says the bill also doubles the Child Tax Credit to two-thousand dollars.
The head of the Tiger Athletic Foundation is waiting to see what kind of impact the federal tax reform legislation will have on college athletics. TAF President Rick Perry says LSU season ticket sales for their major sports could be impacted since fans will no longer be able to deduct 80 percent of their donations to the athletic program for the right to buy season tickets.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds only 19 percent of registered Louisiana voters believe their taxes will decrease with the passage of the Republican tax reform bill. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans say the average wage earner will see more money, but taxpayers are skeptical. According to the survey of 500 likely Louisiana voters, 42-percent of respondents believe their taxes will increase. Pinsonat says the massive tax reform legislation will have a major impact on next year’s federal mid-term elections.
An appeals court has ruled against the Rapides Parish School Board, which had appealed the reinstatement of a tenured teacher fired in 2001 and a more than $1 million judgment for her. The case of Patricia Powell was sent back to the 9th Judicial District Court "for a determination of the exact amount of damages awarded, along with appropriate interest and costs. In September of last year, District Judge Thomas Yeager ruled that Powell had been the victim of political retaliation and awarded her more than $1 million in damages. The school board appealed that decision to the 3rd Circuit.
The state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday the athletic director and basketball coach at Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau has been arrested on various sex crimes, including indecent behavior with a juvenile. 51-year-old Mark Aune of Opelousas was booked into the St. Landry Parish jail with the help of Texas authorities.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed two controversies yesterday involving former members of his administration. A legislative audit accuses former State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson of abusing his power and possible illegal activity. The Governor defended his living arrangement at state police headquarters. But, said that other findings revealed by both the State Police Internal Affairs and a legislative audit revealed troubling behavior. Edwards former aide, Johnny Anderson, recently resigned over sexual harassment allegations. Edwards says the issue was handled swiftly.
Lottery tickets may seem like a great Christmas gift with adults buying them for children as stocking stuffers. But Quinetta Womack, director of Problem Gambling Services, says it gives the juvenile a false sense of dreams and ideas that can lead to gambling addiction. Womack says it’s much better to give a child a gift that will promote their creativity, based on real values.
LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist Kenneth Gravois believes this will be a record breaking year for sugarcane production in this state. Gravois says 2012 is the record for production, 84-hundred pounds per acre harvested and he believes they’ll beat that this year.
The selections for the 2018 Pro Bowl were announced Tuesday night and they include six New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan, receiver Michael Thomas, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been named to the team.
A good night last night for Louisiana Tech in the first ever Frisco Bowl. The Bulldogs Squashed the SMU Mustangs 51 to 10
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