News for Wednesday 082317
By Dave Graichen
A Leesville man was killed in a two vehicle accident yesterday morning east of Pitkin on LA 10. State police report 54 Year old Timothy Philips was killed when he pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Philips, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. A passenger in Philip’s vehicle was reported to have minor injuries.
People all over Louisiana are rushing to get a Powerball ticket as tonight’s jackpot has reached 700-million dollars, with a cash value of 443 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says now that the jackpot is so high, many offices and friends join together to buy a pool of tickets for a better chance to win the prize. She says it’s a good idea to make sure one person is in charge of the tickets. Preferably someone you trust.
Governor John Bel Edwards says state officials are monitoring the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico named Harvey, and GOHSEP is setting up their crisis action team today. He says the storm could hit Southeast Texas sometime Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, so Southwest Louisiana should be on alert.
A 38-year-old Ruston man has been arrested for allegedly fatally shooting the mother of his children and injuring another woman and a one-year-old. Authorities say Frank Stringfellow is charged with one count of first degree murder. The 54-year-old injured woman and the baby are expected to survive.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says a 7-year-old boy who shot his aunt two times for not feeding him will not be charged with a crime. He says police responded to a home outside of Minden last week and found Amanda Gipson suffering from two gunshot wounds. She claimed it was an accident, but Sexton isn’t buying that. He says the child can’t be charged due to his age. Sexton says this was not an accident and he hopes this 7-year-old gets help.
President Donald Trump stated Monday night that America must fight to win the war in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been stationed since 2001. Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere says the United States should’ve never been in this war but he agrees with the president’s sentiments. The president did not say how many additional troops he would send into Afghanistan and seemed to agree with the Pentagon’s suggestion for sending in about 4-thousand soldiers. Villere says it’s time to fix this mess and end the war in Afghanistan.
LSU’s new mascot, Mike VII, appears to be right at home and loving his new habitat on campus since being introduced Monday. Formerly Harvey, the tiger was donated to LSU by the Wild at Heart Wildlife Center in Okeechobee, Florida. Jeremy Hargett is the co-owner of the rescue facility. He says when they re-home big animals like Mike, they pray that they end up in a good, thriving situation. He says now that Harvey has a new home in Baton Rouge surrounded by love and LSU fans, they aren’t worried about him one bit.
News for Tuesday 082217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines is not expected to appear in court Thursday for his arraignment, pending the results of a pre-sentencing investigation requested by the court. However, he is still expected to resign from his job this week as part of a plea deal. Grines was arrested June 23 after a multi-jurisdictional drug investigation.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie is telling his colleagues that he will wait until his doctors give him the okay, before he returns to the Capitol. A spokesperson for the Republican lawmaker says Scalise was on a conference call with GOP legislators today to discuss spending bills. Scalise was shot in June in the hip and is undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, after undergoing several surgeries.
A report by Caring.com finds Louisiana is the 32nd best state to grow old. Caring.com Vice President Tim Sullivan says Louisiana did not rank anywhere close to the top 10, because of the quality of life in senior care facilities. The study incorporated statistics on senior living community reviews, nursing home costs, in-home care prices and elderly well-being assessments. In case you’re wondering, the report found Utah is the best state to grow old.
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to meet with new FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says Edwards would like to discuss how local, state, and federal authorities can partner to prepare the city of New Orleans for another devastating flood. Of course last year’s flood will also be an issue for the two to discuss. During the floods of 2016, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. FEMA was on hand to help with emergency response and the rebuilding.
The Department of Children and Family Services announces over half a million dollars of child support payments have been paid through MoneyGram in the first six months of the year. Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says they’ve seen an increase in participation after allowing electronic payments. She says it’s made it easier for noncustodial parents, who do not have bank accounts, to pay their child support, because they can now make payments in cash. Payments for the first six months of the year totaled more than $530,000.
A 20-million dollar annual federal grant has been awarded to the state Department of Education to help struggling public schools. Educations officials say schools over the next few weeks will apply for the money and those with the best plans for progress will receive the funds. A struggling school is defined as a school that earned a performance rating of a D or an F for the last three years and currently 225 schools in Louisiana fit this description.
Michael Tyler, better known as Louisiana rapper Mystikal, has turned himself into authorities in Caddo Parish after a warrant for his arrest was issued. Sgt. Paula Farquhar (far-kwar) with the Shreveport Police Department says Tyler along with a 26-year-old Texas man have been charged with first degree rape. Authorities are still searching for 42-year-old Tenichia Wafford, of Texas, who is charged with one count of Accessory after the fact to first degree rape for allegedly trying to convince the victim to drop the charges against the rapper.
Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody will not bring back a bill seeking to protect Confederate monuments. Carmody attempted to pass a proposed law during the last legislative session to require a public vote, before a military monument could be taken down. It passed the House, but died in a Senate committee. Four Confederate monuments have been removed in New Orleans, but there are still ones standing in Shreveport, Lafayette, Tallulah and here in Alexandria.
Big day on the LSU campus Monday, as classes started and a new live mascot is wandering around in his habitat. The 11-month-old male tiger arrived last week in Baton Rouge and was confined to his night house until his debut yesterday.
There were no winners of Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot drawing, and the big prize now goes to $650 million dollars. The cash value of the Wednesday jackpot is $411.7
An announcement could come as early today as on who will be the Tigers starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU. Senior Danny Etling is expected to get the nod, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada likes what he’s seen from freshman Myles Brennan.
News for Monday 082117
By Dave Graichen
Millions of Americans are getting ready to watch today’s total solar eclipse. LSU astronomy professor Michael Cherry says this is the first time since 1979 a solar eclipse has been visible from the US. He says the total eclipse will be visible in a path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina. Cherry says most of Louisiana will see about 80 percent of the sun blocked during the eclipse. He says the best time to view it will be between 1 and 2 p.m.
The Louisiana SPCA advises pet owners to bring their fur babies inside during today’s solar eclipse. Pets don’t normally stare at the sun, but just to be on the safe side, best to leave them indoors. Experts recommend bringing them in 30 minutes before the eclipse begins, and waiting until 30 minutes after it ends to let them back out.
The first ever live broadcast of a solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon will take place in Illinois by the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, a NASA based program of LSU students. Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Physics and Astronomy Department Dr. Dana Browne says by hanging an HD video camera underneath a weather balloon, they will be able to see the shadow of the moon crossing over the earth’s surface. Browne says the video will be sent from the balloon to the ground station through a wireless transmitter and then live streamed.
Louisianan’s unemployment rate is falling. According to the AP, the jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent in June from 6.2 percent a year ago. One hundred ten thousand people in Louisiana are unemployed, down from 115,000 in July. The Bayou State’s unemployment rate is still the third highest in the country.
It’s expected there will be a big need for industrial plant workers in Baton Rouge through 2018. Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance Executive Director Connie Fabre says the demand for skilled employees will be so high because of all the new facilities that will be coming online over the next couple of years. Fabre says industrial crafts in most demand are things like pipe fitting, welding and electrical and instrument technicians…:
The 96th Cadet Class began the Louisiana State Police Training Academy on Sunday. For about 20 weeks, thirty-six men and women from a variety of backgrounds will undergo an intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says after graduating, the new troopers will participate in a 10 to 14 week field training program.
Voter registration week begins today, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging citizens to take part. He says new voters and those who have just moved back into the state should register. Louisiana will be electing a state treasurer this fall as well as hosting many local elections, propositions and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Schedler says you can register online at sos.la.gov
No more confederate statues will come down in New Orleans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu says taking down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were the right thing to do but removing Andrew Jackson is a step too far. Landrieu says the Andrew Jackson statue was put in place for all the right reasons.
The state department of transportation has redesigned the concrete walls on new interstate projects. Secretary Shawn Wilson says two inch tall openings will be put in the walls every so many feet to allow water to flow though. Three projects currently underway will feature the new design.
The homeowner assistance program for flood victims has been expanded by the Restore Louisiana Task Force. Office of Community Development executive director Pat Forbes says this means all homeowners impacted by the flood now qualify for assistance. Members of the board approved the changes recommended by Governor John Bel Edwards without objection.
The Saints defense flexed its muscles last night in 13-7 victory over LA Chargers in Week 2 of the Preseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan and running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson did not play Sunday night, marking the second straight game.
News for Wednesday 081617
By Dave Graichen
A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent who was shot in the line of duty in Morehouse Parish has returned to work. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot four times while conducting a traffic stop in January. 31-year-old Amethyst Baird and 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette have been charged in the shooting and are awaiting trial. Tuesday was Wheeler’s first day back on patrol duties
The BESE board meets behind closed doors today to discuss the job status of state Education Superintendent John White. Board member Kathy Edmonston of Gonzales says she would like the entire panel to vote to whether or not White stays in the position he’s held since 2012. White makes 270-thousand dollars a year and works month to month, as the board has yet to extend his contract.
A new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds Louisiana along with 11 other Southern states are slacking when it comes to implementing policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The report finds over 24-thousand people in Louisiana will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 9-thousand will die from it.
A man has been charged in a double homicide after calling the cops on himself. Maj. Steven Williams with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says John Nichols fatally shot Anthony and Rachel Denicola outside their home. He says two juveniles were inside the residence at the time. Nichols called police after the incident to report the shooting.
Governor John Bel Edwards once again met Attorney General Jeff Landry in a court room, as the battle continues over an anti-discrimination executive order. Edwards issued the order in April to protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination in state offices. A judge ruled the order is unconstitutional, but Edwards appealed the ruling. An appeals court heard arguments yesterday. No word on when a decision may be rendered by the court.
39 year old Raven Desoto was I’d as a suspect in an Aug. 8 the burglary of a Kolin home. Authorities didn’t have to go far to arrest her, she was already in jail on unrelated charges. She was rebooked on charges of criminal trespassing, criminal damage of less than $500 and burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
After peaking over the last couple of weeks, gasoline prices appear to be leveling off, according Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy. DeHaan expects gas prices may level off for the next few weeks before they really start to drop in mid- to late-September. Louisiana has the ninth lowest gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $2.16 a gallon.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves after a man was ticketed for flipping off a state trooper on I-20 near Rayville. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the man was charged with felony public intimidation. Esman says as rude as it may be, giving someone the finger is a First Amendment right. The charge was dismissed by the state attorney who reviewed the case.
Two arrests have been made in the case of a 22-year-old Houston man who was brought to Louisiana to die. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Dustin Hammons was last seen with the two suspects, 22-year-old Ashlyn Brown and 45-year-old Boyd “Lurch” Hagood, both of Baytown, Texas. The two are charged with second degree murder. Police are saying the incident was drug related.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is looking for answers after a three-legged dog was shot and killed in Acadia Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says it takes a sick person to take the life of a little three-legged dog who means so much to his family. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
A study out of Harvard Medical School and the University of California finds about 55-percent of people say they are faced with unpleasant and potentially hazardous conditions at work. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says less educated individuals typically face tougher workplace conditions. He says nowadays, to get paid a decent wage, you need a college education.
Saints coach Sean Payton said of the rumors that the team was planning to trade Delvin Breaux, that he would never comment on that kind business. But added it’s normal to discuss players or possible trades during training camp.
Just a day after announcing his departure from LSU, quarterback Lindsey Scott already has a spot on another team. The Zachary High star signed with East Mississippi Community College Tuesday. EMCC has won three junior college national championships under Coach Buddy Stephens.
The New Orleans Pelicans schedule is out and they are slated to play the Warriors and Cavs in their first two home games of the season. The Pels start their season on October 18th on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, then make their Smoothie King Center debut for 2017-2018 against the NBA Champ Golden State.
News for Tuesday 081517
By Dave Graichen
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is still optimistic the Senate can pass a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller have constructed a measure, which Cassidy says is the only instrument the Republicans have left. He says their solution is to give the power to the states by giving them federal health care dollars through a federal block grant.
Cassidy says right now we have a system that is not working and is not sustainable.
Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham said in an interview with the Fox network that he does not stand by any of the comments made by David Duke who was on hand at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Fellow Republican Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia blamed the violence on outsiders from states like Louisiana, like Duke. Abraham said he’s offended by the comment and that the former KKK grand wizard does not speak for Louisiana.
Members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and the governor toured Denham Springs with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson Monday, and praised him for efforts in cutting red tape during flood recovery. Carson says he is very pleased and impressed with the progress south Louisiana has made since last August. Although he says the money allocated will be well spent for flood recovery, Carson acknowledges regulations could be improved.
LSU has announced that fans will have to wait a little longer to take pictures and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches, as the annual Fan Day has been moved to the spring. Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said there are many construction projects taking place on campus which just didn’t make Fan Day feasible this fall.
An audit of the state’s foster care program revealed that understaffing has led to increased caseloads for workers at the department of children and family services. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they lost 2,000 workers in the Jindal Administration, which left workers with an average of 16 cases at a time. Karen Leblanc with the legislative auditor’s office says they found not all foster care providers had the required criminal background checks. They either had no check, or they were not completed in a timely manner.
The American Duchess paddle wheeler made her maiden voyage up the Mississippi River Monday, leaving out of the Port of New Orleans and making stops at historic sites and attractions. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says it’s a 166-guest ship offering inland cruises. This is the third vessel in the American Queen Steamboat Company’s fleet.
Cable barrier installation is set to begin this week in Caddo and Desoto Parishes along I-49, according to the state department of transportation. Erin Buchanan with DOTD says this is one of the larger cable barrier projects in the district with a total 41 miles to be installed. Most of that will be in Desoto Parish
News for Friday 081117
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Trout yesterday morning. Troopers say a pickup, driven by 47 year old Christie Kilgore, was westbound on LA Hwy 500 when Kilgore lost control and exited the left side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a tree. Kilgore, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police is investigating a fatal ATV crash in Avoyelles Parish that claimed the life of a man, and injured two young children. They believe 30-year-old Jeremy Armand of St. Martinville crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic on a roadway, and collided head on with a van traveling in the other direction. Armand died, and an 8-year-old and three-year-old on the ATV were injured. None of those on the ATV were wearing helmets.
One year ago today, torrential rains began pouring down on south Louisiana. By the time the rain stopped ten days later, 20 parishes had been declared federal disaster areas, and 13 people lost their lives. Livingston Parish was one of the most devastated, with 75 percent of the homes deemed a total loss. Parish President Layton Ricks says the parish is making a good comeback.
Louisiana has moved up two spots to number two in Insure-dot-com’s ranking of states with the most expensive auto insurance rates. The website says Louisiana drivers average annual rate is 19-hundred dollars, 46-percent higher than the national average. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an excessive amount of litigation is one big factor.
The Department of Transportation has found a contractor to widen Interstate 10 from Highland Road in Baton Rouge to LA 73 in Ascension Parish. It will take around two and a half years to widen the interstate by one lane in each direction. The $72 million project is being funded through a combination of state and federal funds.
A man is behind bars in connection with the death of a Tennessee truck driver who was killed in an armed robbery on Tuesday morning. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely says this wasn’t 18-year-old Landry Carter’s first robbery. Carter is charged with four counts of armed robbery and one count of first degree murder.
More flooding is a possibility in New Orleans, as a turbine at a pumping station caught fire last night and heavy rains are in the forecast. Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an emergency declaration for Orleans Parish.
3rd district Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is glad President Donald Trump is taking a stand against continued threats from North Korea. Higgins says previous administrations have dealt with aggression from North Korea with a, “kick the can down the road” mentality, but it’s about time to get serious. Higgins believes Mr. Trump is carefully targeting exactly what would needed to hit, and hit hard.
In Livingston Parish, Walker Police are looking for eyewitnesses who saw a 26-year-old woman jump out of a moving pickup truck Wednesday night as it was traveling on an I-12 entrance ramp. Captain John Sharp says 26-year-old Whitney Cotton is in critical condition. Foul play however is not suspected.
An Acadiana High School student is in trouble with the law and the school he attends after he allegedly repeatedly punched a school safety officer. Police say 17-year-old Robert Hebert of Duson got in trouble in the first place, because his hair was dyed red and in violation of the school’s dress code.
As Louisianans gear up to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, doctors remind the public to do so safely. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana Dr. James Sandifer says in Louisiana, only a partial eclipse will be visible, which is why it’s so important for viewers to protect their eyes. Sandifer says the only safe way to view the partial eclipse is with approved eclipse glasses. He says looking directly at the sun can damage or destroy the photoreceptors in the retina. He says that can cause permanent damage to the eye.
The Saints lost their season opener to the Cleveland Browns last night.. the final 20 to 14.
Former LSU Coach Les Miles says he’ll be a member of the media this football season. The mad hatter’s first assignment is with the SEC Network as he’ll serve as a guest analyst on SEC Nation, which will be in Arlington, Texas on September 2nd for the Michigan-Florida game.
LSU’s Kevin Toliver is the likely starting cornerback opposite of Donte Jackson. Coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida, Toliver was considered as one of the nation’s top corner prospects. In two seasons at LSU, Toliver has one interception and missed the final four games of last season due to a shoulder injury. Toliver says he’s ready to be an impact player this season.
News for Thursday 081017
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines faces arraignment date Aug. 24 on a felony malfeasance in office charge. Grines was arrested on June 23rd outside the Alexandria City Court complex after a multi-jurisdictional investigation. In addition to the malfeasance charge, Grines was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence and illegal carrying of a weapon.
NOAA now says there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic Hurricane season, up from May’s prediction of 45 percent. NOAA lead hurricane season forecaster Gerry Bell says wind patterns are conducive for storm development and sea surface temperatures are well above normal. The prediction now calls for 14-19 named storms.
State officials are starting the conversation about how to address the looming fiscal cliff in 2018 when more than a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been spreading the word at meetings around the state to bring the issue to the public’s attention. He says if lawmakers decided against replacing the $1.3 billion in revenue that is set to go away in July, the administration would be forced to reduce funding by 20 percent for every area of state government. He says that would be drastic for higher education, healthcare, prisons, and public schools.
Despite a slight decrease in revenue, the Louisiana Lottery reported its third best year ever. Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the corporation brought in nearly $455 million in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, the lottery saw a $53 million decline in revenue from the previous year. But still, the Louisiana Lottery transferred nearly $160 million to the state treasury this year for public education.
The search continues for the gunman who fatally shot a Tennessee truck driver during a robbery as the victim was changing a tire in a parking lot on Tuesday morning. Sgt. Don Coppola says 49-year-old Keith Odom was shot after he turned over his possessions to the robber. Odom died at a local hospital.
Bossier Parish authorities say three 18-wheelers collided with each other on Highway Two near Plain Dealing Wednesday morning. Deputies say it appears the first 18-wheeler stopped for another vehicle and the other two trucks hit the first one from behind. The truck drivers suffered only minor injuries.
School is back many students, which means school buses are returning to the road. State Farm spokesperson Kip Diggs reminds drivers it is never safe to pass a stopped school bus. Louisiana law requires vehicles to stop 30 feet away when children are getting on or off the bus.
Louisiana’s public schools performed only slightly better on ACT scores compared to last year, but with an average of 19.6 — that’s up from 19.1 since 2013.But, still below the national average. State Superintendent of Education John White says African Americans did better statewide, scoring an average of 17.5 this year. The number of students who qualify for TOPS also grew at every level of the award this year.
Louisiana parents of autistic children have a new resource after the Baton Rouge Area Foundation helped to launch a website full of information about benefits and resources. Director of civic leadership initiatives Lauren Jumonville says they hope to help point parents in the right direction. Jumonville says they went around the state cataloging all the resources that exist for people with disabilities. She says the website La.ExceptionalLives.org offers a variety of resources, including traditional ones like physicians and therapists, as well as others.
South Louisiana authorities are still looking for Lafayette businessman Lawrence Michael Handely, who is wanted in the kidnapping of a woman. Detectives believe two men who drowned when evading West Baton Rouge Parish Deputies were involved in the crime. How all of this connects remains unknown at this time. The Lafayette Police Department has only said that the woman’s abduction stemmed from an ongoing domestic dispute” between her and Handley.
A Lafayette Parish grand jury has indicted a man with murder in connection with the death of Jacqueline “Daisy Lynn” Landry. 22-year-old Malik Davis is accused of second degree murder. Family members and friends still cannot find Daisy Lynn since she was last seen in May. Little else is known about this case, including Davis’ involvement and what may have happened that lead to the murder charge and indictment.
A federal judge has blocked a current state law saying foreign born applicants can’t obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate filed a suit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.
The NCAA says Grambling State will not have to vacate its 2011 SWAC Football Championship. An internal investigation determined Grambling’s athletic program used ineligible players in eleven sports from 2010 to 2015, but it has determined that the 2011 championship team didn’t use ineligible players so the title will not be vacated. Grambling went 8-4 that season and beat Alabama A-and-M in the championship game.
News for Wednesday 080917
By Dave Graichen
This school year, some Louisiana teachers will face evaluations that are tied, in part, to student test scores. A poor rating could cost teachers their tenure and even their job. Brigitte Neiland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the principal will determine which teachers remain in the classroom. About 15,000 of the state’s 50,000 educators will be reviewed by the Value Added Model.
The controversy over how the pumps operated in the city of New Orleans during the weekend flooding event is not over. The city council called a meeting just before Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement saying he’d learned his staff hadn’t been honest about the event. The board originally said 7 pumps were out of service the night of the storm, but then came back and said 14, including 8 drainage pumps, were not working.
Mandeville Police have arrested a 25-year-old man accused of brutally raping a 53-year-old woman inside her home. Chief Gerald Sticker says they were able to catch up with Ronald Moore Jr. of Lacombe at his home after releasing to the media a photo of him on surveillance video.
West Baton authorities say they are certain the two bodies recovered from the Intracoastal Canal Monday are the suspects wanted in a Lafayette kidnapping. The Sheriff’s department announced yesterday the two males were speeding down the shoulder of I-10 when the interstate was closed. After a chase, their van got stuck, and the two fled on foot, apparently drowning in the canal.
A man in Caddo Parish has been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly fatally shooting his neighbor’s dachshund, because he thought it was an alligator. Caddo Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Bobby Herring says the dog was found in the pond with multiple gunshot wounds. Tommy Collinsworth Jr told cops he thought the dog was an alligator.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastwide Nutria Control Program is looking for south Louisiana landowners and hunters to help combat the invasive rodent. LDWF Biologist Catherine Normand says these pests can cause serious damage to an already vulnerable coast. Normand says the goal is to reduce Nutria induced marsh damage by removing about 400-thousand rodents per season.
Livingston Parish students and teachers are looking forward to a year of normalcy as they begin classes today just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the August flood. School superintendent Rick Wentzel says crews worked extensively on 8 flood damaged campuses throughout the summer. Three of those are complete, but five in the Denham Springs area will not be fully rebuilt for some time.
Contract details are out for new LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade. His six year deal will pay him 15 million dollars, that’s two-point-five million a season. The 34-year-old will be one of the highest paid basketball coaches in the SEC. Wade is also eligible for bonuses based on performance on the hardwood and in the classroom. The contract also does not include a buyout.
The Saints did not practice yesterday as they are two days away from the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. But a depth chart has been released. Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram are listed as co-starters at running back. It’s unclear how much they’ll play against the Browns, along with quarterback Drew Brees.
LSU Senior Quarterback Danny Etling likes the progress the Tigers are making during preseason camp. The Bayou Bengals are in training camp mode for the rest of this week and next and then school starts on Monday August 21st. Etling says the goal is to get better every day.
News for Tuesday 080817
By Dave Graichen
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a meeting with business and industry leaders to devise a plan for addressing a looming $1.3 billion fiscal cliff when temporary taxes expire in 2018. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the governor is looking to hear from the business community what types of policy changes may be palatable, specifically tax increases. He suspects the governor is looking for a starting point.
New Orleans officials say the roughly 10 inches of rain that fell on Saturday was too much for the city’s pump stations to handle. Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board Cedric Grant says the pumps were running at full capacity, despite the rising flood waters. The system is designed to pump out one inch of water in the first hour and half an inch for each subsequent hour.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish announced yesterday a body found under a Natchitoches Parish bridge Sunday has been tentatively identified as 31-year-old Anthony Rainey. Rainey has been the subject of a missing person’s case in Red River Parish since July 31. Officials now are investigating the death as a homicide.
Small business owners impacted by the 2016 floods are not completing the flood recovery survey as quickly as state officials had hoped. Lasonta Davenport with the Office of Community Development says only 423 businesses have completed the survey that will help shape the small business loan program. The survey is online at restore.la.gov.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the inaugural Flambeau Fest coming to Ascension Parish is another example of how tourism is alive and well in the Bayou State. He says the October 7 and 8 shows could begin another tradition that one day attracts visitors the way Jazzfest and Bayou Country Superfest do.
LSU will give some members of the faculty and staff a raise in the fall semester. The school is giving each department a 3-percent merit pay raise pool and each department head will determine how the raises will dispersed. University President F. King Alexander said in a letter that this is an effort to keep and attract quality talent to LSU.
West Baton Rouge officials have reportedly recovered a body from the Intracoastal Canal. The body was discovered by kids on a wave board who contacted authorities. Cause of dead has not yet been determined. The male body has not been identified, but the sheriff says it’s possible it could be one of the suspects wanted for an aggravated kidnapping in Lafayette. The kidnapped woman was reportedly found safe in Baton Rouge early yesterday.
A Sabine parish mother facing a murder charge after her two-year-old drowned and then tested positive for methamphetamine. Authorities say 23-year-old Christina Rivers’ son Mason was found in a neighbors Jacuzzi in June. She reportedly told authorities she left her son alone for a brief time, but autopsy confirmed he was in the hot tub for at least an hour.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping to get more tourists to visit the rural areas of the Bayou State. That’s why he’s scheduled meetings in small Louisiana towns to find the best way to promote local attractions. He says these rural areas don’t always have the money or expertise to market their town. Meetings will be held in Tallulah, Opelousas, Houma, and Hammond. Nungesser has already started promoting the rural areas of the state with the Louisiana Trails and Byways, which seeks to motivate travelers to take the backroads and see what the state has to offer. Nungesser says with more direct international flights into New Orleans, they need to find a way to get those visitors out of the big cities and into other parts of the state
Congress has recessed for the summer and many lawmakers are disappointed not much was accomplished. U.S Senator John Kennedy believes some good was done with the approval of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But he says his biggest disappointment was the failing to repeal and replace Obamacare by one vote. He says in the fall, Congress has a lot of work to accomplish.
LSU made the top 20 in Forbes’ annual list of colleges that dominate athletically and academically. Stanford came in at No. 1.
USA Today has released its 2017 conference projections, and Coach O and LSU are expected to have a great season. The Tigers are picked second in the West, with a projected 10-2 overall record and 6-2 conference record.
Louisiana Tech is picked to win the C-USA West with a 8-4 overall record and 6-2 in conference.
UL-Lafayette got 7th place in the Sun Belt with a projected 5-7 record overall, and 4-4 in conference action.
News for Monday 080717
By Dave Graichen
A 20-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested on charges of second degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting a 29-year-old man Friday. Police say Desmond Harris was found by police at around 7 p.m. Friday, after they responded to a shooting that took place just before 2 in the afternoon. Bond for Harris has been set at $1 million.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish are working to identify a body that was found under a bridge Sunday afternoon. Authorities say it appears the body had been there for several days.
State police say a DeRidder man had been issued his 4th DWI after he caused a crash while driving with a toddler in his car Saturday on Interstate 210 between Sulphur and Lake Charles. Brandon Fowler, who had his 2-year-old child in the vehicle with him, showed signs of impairment after he side swiped another vehicle.
With some New Orleans neighborhoods seeing 8 to 10 inches of rain falling in just a few hours Saturday the rainfall overwhelmed the ability of the City’s 24 pump stations to keep up, though all were operating, city officials said Sunday. The neighborhoods of Lakeview, Gentilly, Mid City and Treme were hit the hardest. City officials warn of more potential flooding in storms forecasted for today.
Today is the 90th birthday of former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards and he’s still going strong. During an appearance on Talk Louisiana, Edwards credits his long life to good genes, as two of his grandparents lived to be over 100-years-old. The Silver Fox says he’s lived a blessed and wonderful life. A birthday bash for the former governor is planned for August 12th at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton. The Cajun Prince has five children and has been married three times.
The state Department of Health reminding parents to make sure their kids are up to date on their vaccinations as the new school year approaches. LDH Immunization director Doctor Frank Welch says students entering sixth grade also need a meningitis vaccine. Louisiana law requires children age four or older entering kindergarten, pre-k or Head Start programs to receive vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis and chicken pox.
More students are getting their education at home instead of traditional classrooms. According to the state department of education, 26,000 students are homeschooled, while 4,000 more are enrolled in online charter schools. About 9,000 more students studied at home in 2016 than in 2010.
Two years from today, candidates will be qualifying for the governor’s race. So who will challenge Governor John Bel Edwards? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans are waiting to see what US Senator John Kennedy will do. Kennedy is 65-years-old and Pinsonat says if Kennedy wants to run for governor, it’s now or never.
If Kennedy doesn’t run, Pinsonat says Edwards’ chances of reelection look better. He says several congressmen, like Garret Graves, could raise plenty of campaign dollars, but he expects the back up front runner for the GOP would be Attorney General Jeff Landry.
President Donald Trump has nominated state Judge Terry Doughty of Rayville and Lafayette attorney Michael Juneau as federal judges in the Western District of Louisiana. There are now four vacancies in that district now that Patricia Minaldi retired to seek treatment for alcoholism.
The state legislative auditor has started an investigation into the East Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s office. There are allegations Sharon Weston-Broome’s administration misused federal grant money for a crime-fighting program. U.S. Senator John Kennedy also wants more information from the mayor’s office on this subject.
The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State increased their storm prediction total by one and now anticipate 11 named storms for the remainder of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the total number of storms has been increased to 16. He says this isn’t a big change but it still shows conditions are conducive for an active season. The forecast says eight of those eleven storms will become hurricanes.
The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will honor football legend Dr. Billy Cannon with a statue on the Baton Rouge campus. Cannon hopes the statue looks like he did in his glory days, young with a lot of hair. Cannon won the university’s only Heisman in 1959.
News for Friday 080417
By Dave Graichen
The trial of a man accused in a fatal DWI crash last December that killed a child has been set for November. Keaton Spurlin pled not guilty Thursday during a pretrial conference in the 9th Judicial District Court. Spurlin is charged with DWI, vehicular homicide, five counts of vehicular negligent injury, having an open container, careless operation, running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. The deadly accident occurred on Dec. 28, 2016, near the intersection of Bayou Rapides Road and Vandenburg Drive. Authorities say Keaton hit the rear of a van carrying six members of a family coming home from church.
Parents stocking up on back-to-school supplies can save a few dollars this weekend during the annual sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state Department of Revenue says most purchases are only subject to three percent of the state sales tax this Friday and Saturday.
National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says she hopes small businesses will see an increase in business but it was more beneficial for retailers when the law allowed for tax free weekend. She says they hope legislators will one day change it back so consumers can have a couple of days to purchase items tax free.
A federal lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge alleges two Orleans Parish inmates were kept in jail for five months after their sentences were served. Attorney Emily Washington with the Macarthur Justice Center says both men, in jail on a first offense, were eligible for release in August 2016, but they stayed in the River Bend Detention Center in Lake Providence until January of this year. Washington says officials knew these men were supposed to be released, but they took no action to do so.
The body of a 7-year-old boy was found in Shreveport yesterday, after he was swept away in a storm drain on Tuesday. The little boy was last seen playing near a ditch just before heavy rains began.
US Senator John Kennedy sent a letter to East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome about misuse of federal dollars. Kennedy says the BRAVE funds are meant to reduce crime and support police, but instead they’re going to people like Arthur Silky Slim Reed, who recently said justice was served when a gunman killed three police officers. A spokeswoman for Mayor’s Office said the mayor received the letter and “will be in communication with the senator.”
Four teenagers connected to the shooting death of a 61-year-old Walker man are in the Livingston Parish jail today after they were arrested in Texas. Rick McBride was fatally shot in his home when two individuals attempted to steal money and guns from him on July 23rd. A fifth person and possible gunman was also arrested in late July.
Crawfish have been found in Michigan and that state’s Department of Natural Resources is not happy. They say the red swamp crayfish damage earthen structures and compete aggressively for food and habitat, disrupting the food chain for many species in the water. Crawfish are extremely fertile and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time and reproduce twice a year. That means, there could be the chance of a Red Swamp Crayfish population becoming established in Michigan.
News for Thursday 080317
By Dave Graichen
One person is dead and a Red River Parish Sheriff’s deputy was injured during a shootout at a home south of Coushatta Wednesday morning. A state police spokesperson says the deputy was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the male suspect died at the hospital. The deputy visited the home in reference to a welfare concern.
The APD reports a Pineville woman has been arrested after she left a voicemail threatening to kill everyone at a local advocacy group. 74-year-old Charlotte Webb, left a lengthy voicemail with the group's office that included "multiple, profane threats of killing everyone in the office." Webb was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center, but was later released on a property bond.
The Alexandria Police Department now is asking residents of the Good Earth subdivision to check their vehicles and report anything that might have been stolen.
Police say a homeowner detained a burglary suspect for police after he woke up to find a man inside his truck. The suspect, one of three charged after being captured early Tuesday, later was found to have a suspected stolen gun and ammunition in his backpack.
22-year-old Tyler Alexander of Alexandria was arrested yesterday after he led APD officers on a short chase. Authorities say Alexander was jealous that his girlfriend gave someone a ride and reacted by kidnapped her. Police found Alexander hiding under a shed. Alexander was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with disturbing the peace, domestic abuse battery and a long list of other charges.
After posting racial comments on Facebook, the Assistant Police Chief in the Acadia Parish town of Estherwood has resigned. Welsh referred to Muslim women as trash bags and posted racially charged memes.
Membership has been announced for a task force that will examine the 350-million dollar TOPS scholarship program for the first time since it was established 20 years ago. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish will chair the committee. He says the panel consists of an array of lawmakers representing both parties and all corners of the state.
The task force’s first meeting is September 6
Baton Rouge police arrest a 42-year-old man for the stabbing death of his 41-year-old ex-girlfriend. Sara Hernandez was found dead in her Baton Rouge home on Sunday. Sergeant Don Coppola says detectives quickly learned Miquel Angel Lopez was their main suspect and they learned he suffered injuries during the attack. Authorities believe Lopez stayed with Hernandez’s body 10 to 14 hours before fleeing the scene.
Citing money problems, The Salvation Army homeless shelter in Monroe, the only one in the area, will close later this month. Spokesperson Jon Kalahar says church services and weekly prayer meetings will continue, and so will basic social services. About 30 homeless people sleep at the shelter every night.
This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest one yet. LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais says the oxygen-depleted region is about 8,800 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. She says many of the stations, especially those close to the shore, were close to no oxygen. Rabalais says the area may actually be even bigger, but they had to stop mapping before reaching the western edge.
U.S District Judge Patricia Minaldi of Lake Charles is retiring. The federal judge took a medical leave in December to receive alcoholism treatment. According to court records, Minaldi’s drinking got so bad that a colleague asked the court to rule she cannot take care of herself. Minaldi said a few months ago that her alcoholism didn’t impact the outcome of her cases.
Officials with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office say the body of 13-year-old Jarrett Varnado of Franklinton was recovered from Gray’s Creek. Officials say the boy was swimming when he disappeared below the water.
The massive construction project on Bourbon Street is two months behind schedule. New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan blames a rainy June and the exact location of almost all the utility lines underneath the historic street were either missing or inaccurately depicted on their plans. It might be until Halloween before all of the work is completed.
News for Wednesday 080217
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk reports a deal should be in place soon to turn over management of the Rapides Parish Coliseum to a private company. The Police Jury voted Tuesday to authorize a group of legal counsel Greg Upton, jurors Craig Smith and Joe Bishop and parish Treasurer Bruce Kelly to negotiate a contract with SMG to manage the Coliseum.
Since the Police Jury recently agreed to the broad strokes of a deal with SMG, a contract is expected to be quickly presented to jurors for final approval. SMG executives hope to officially take over management by Sept. 1.
Louisiana’s domestic abuse laws now include dating partners, as a new law took effect yesterday. Previously these abusers could only be charged with simple battery, but the new law creates the crime of battery of a dating partner.
LSU says they may have found a new live mascot at a sanctuary in Florida. Ginger Guttner with the LSU Vet School says the prospect is a nine-month-old, 160 pound male tiger. Guttner a major renovation project on the school’s Tiger habitat is nearing competition. She says if LSU gets the Tiger, it will be donated by the rescue facility, so no cost to the university.
The resident of the third home to be completed under the Restore Louisiana program is about to be home. Lillie Gumm of Baton Rouge was one of the first people to complete the flood recovery survey at restore.la.gov. She says throughout this ordeal, she’s learned about taking deep breaths. Money from the homeowner assistance program first went to the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals.
The author of the failed gasoline tax increase proposal says the state needs to look at other ways to repair the state’s decrepit roads and bridges. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter recommended a 17-cent gas tax hike, but the support was not there in the legislature. Carter says next year’s session is general and no tax bills can be filed. The following year is a fiscal session, but taxes are unlikely to pass during an election year. He says until lawmakers find a way to fund the state’s growing infrastructure needs, the problems will only get worse.
Two Minnesota teens are well on their way to becoming the youngest team to kayak the entire Mississippi River. Matt Rens and Jesse Richard are paddling through the Bayou. The pair has raised a little over 4-thousand dollars to help fund cleaner water in a village in a third world country.
Colorado authorities say a Baton Rouge area fire captain committed suicide in Durango, Colorado. The coroner says 48-year-old Rudi Shoats died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shoats was wanted in Mississippi for fatally shooting his wife. 45-year-old Khristie Rollins Shoats was found dead in a vehicle outside her in Woodville, Mississippi on Sunday.
More and more women are heading to court, as the American Bar Association finds an uptick in the number of female attorneys. Women account for 35 percent of lawyers in the state, a 7 percent jump since 2004. President of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Dona Renegar (Doh-na, not Donna) credits a more accommodating environment for female attorneys with family responsibilities. Baton Rouge is slightly ahead of the national average with females representing 38 percent of attorneys in the city.
A survey finds most parents’ believe their children are performing better than what their test scores actually show. Nine in 10 parents believe their children are at or above grade level, but data shows the number is really closer to one-third. Public Relations Chair for the Louisiana PTA Stacey Simpson says with the school year about to start, review your student’s test results and to help improve your child’s academic achievement make sure you stay involved. For a full list of the Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves visit be a learning hero.org
During a question and answer session with season ticket holders, Jets safety and former LSU Tiger Jamal Adams said the football field is a perfect place to die. Adams made the comment after he was asked about player safety. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was part of the Q-and-A session.
LSU Quarterback Danny Etlin says he feels a lot better than he did in the spring. Etling underwent a back procedure earlier this year and the senior from Indiana says he’s close to 100-percent…
News for Tuesday 080117
By Dave Graichen
Six people have been charged with helping an Alexandria man after he escaped from the Rapides Parish Courthouse last week. 37 year old Kenneth Johnson was captured two days later in Lafayette after a traffic stop. All six were charged with being an accessory after the fact, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Two were also charged with parole violations.
A new law takes effect today that seeks to curb the litter problem in Louisiana. It lowers the fine for littering from $1,000 to $900. Fines for littering were doubled in 2015, which triggered jury trial provisions that made enforcement less likely. However, the new law doubles the amount of community service time for a new offender.
Other laws set to go into effect today…Children can bring sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note. An unmarried minor seeking an abortion will not only need a notarized note from their guardian, but proof of identity as well. And portions of Governor John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reform package takes effect.
Drivers should no longer receive speeding tickets in the mail from hidden speed cameras thanks to a new law that goes into effect today. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation requires signs to be posted ahead of speed enforcement camera in order to collect on the fine. He says if the goal of these cameras is really to stop speeders, municipalities should have no problem posting warning signs.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with White House officials Monday afternoon to discuss proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico reports the Cassidy-Graham proposal would maintain protections for individuals with pre-exisiting conditions, keep most of the taxes connected to the Affordable Care Act, send federal health care funds to states in block grants, but end the requirement all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a tax.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the American Creosote Deridder, an environmentally contaminated site in Deridder, to the Superfund National Priorities Site. Greg Langley with the state Department of Environmental Quality says once this Beauregard Parish site is added to the list, it’s in line to receive federal funding that can go towards cleanup efforts. The state currently has 27 other Superfund sites.
Most juvenile killers will no longer be eligible to receive life sentences without the chance for parole, as a new law goes into effect today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the law was needed because the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that murderers convicted as juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole. Claitor notes that just because a lifer is given a chance for parole, it doesn’t mean they will be released.
A former Livingston Parish teacher admits to having a sexual relationship with a teen student. 33-year-old Lynsie Pendarvis was arrested last June when police discovered her relationship with a 15-year-old student at Walker Freshman High School. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says Pendarvis pleaded guilty to all charges. Pendarvis received a five-year-prison sentence, which was suspended and she must register as a sex offender for 15 years.
It was a deadly weekend in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says two teens were killed when a drug deal went wrong on Sunday evening. He says a woman was also found stabbed to death in a home on Sunday morning.
A school teacher from the Baton Rouge area and a principal from Acadiana are the Louisiana State Teacher and Principal of the Year, which is awarded annually by the state Department of Education. Kimberly Eckert, a 9th grade English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge, received the teacher of the year honor. This fall, Eckert will enter her 10th year of teaching. Tommy Byler, the principal of North Vermilion High School, received the honor of Principal of the Year. Byler has been in education for 26-years.
News for Monday 073117
By Dave Graichen
The investigation is ongoing into the death of a female inmate at the Rapides Parish Detention Center 1 Saturday morning. Authorities say 59 year old Rachel Smith was discovered, shortly before 4am, unresponsive in a cell. Investigating deputies determined Smith was killed as a result of an altercation with 35 year old Nicole Chandler. Chandler was booked for second degree murder.
Here’s an amazing statistic. A gun is stolen from a private owner every 67 minutes in Louisiana, according to the Center for American Progress. The non-profit’s Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy, Chelsea Parsons says data from the FBI finds from 2012 to 2016, 718 guns were stolen from firearms dealers in the state. But, it gets worse. Between 2012 and 2015, 31-thousand guns were stolen from individuals in Louisiana.
Claiborne Parish authorities say a prisoner abducted and fatally stabbed the assistant wardens stepdaughter after walking away from a work assignment last Thursday. Sheriff Ken Bailey says the inmate’s life eventually ended during a standoff on prison property. The prisoner, 39-year-old Deltra Henderson, was serving time for different offenses including aggravated burglary. The victim has been identified as 19-year-old Amanda Carney.
US Senator John Kennedy says a failed vote to repeal Obamacare is a loss for the American people. But the Louisiana Budget Project is relieved because they say it would have jeopardized the healthcare many Louisianans depend on. It’s unclear what direction healthcare discussions will take from here.
Beginning tomorrow, smoking will no longer be permitted at bars in Lafayette, as a ban approved by the city-parish council goes into effect. CEO of the Smoking Cessation Trust Mike Rogers calls the new ordinance a victory. He hopes this will help more people kick their smoking habit. Opponents to the ban call it government overreach. But Rogers says as more and more smoking bans are enacted around the state, they’re seeing more smokers put down their packs. Lafayette is the 11th Louisiana city to ban smoking in bars.
The Mermentau Police Chief has been charged with theft and malfeasance in office after allegedly making illegal withdrawals from the police association’s bank account. State Trooper Brooks David says they will hold Chief Amos Crader accountable for his crimes. Crader was booked into the Acadia Parish Jail on three counts of theft and three counts of malfeasance.
SWEPCO plans to use wind energy to provide power to its customers in northwest and central Louisiana. Company spokesperson Scott McCloud says SWEPCO will own 14-hundred megawatts from a wind farm currently under construction in Oklahoma. He says this project will save all SWEPCO customers more than $5 billion over the 25 year life of the windfarm.
A federal appeals court has ruled a Louisiana inmate can keep his dreadlocks as part of his faith. Christopher Ware, who is serving a 40-year sentence for sexual battery, took a vow not to cut his hair to adhere to the Rastafari religion. A three-judge appellate panel said the department of corrections policies, as applied to Ware, violates federal law.
Another LSU football season is underway as the Tigers have reported for preseason camp and they’ll practice for the first time today. Ed Orgeron is beginning his first full season as the head coach.
News for Friday 072817
By Dave Graichen
Jared Lee Nelson, a Rapides inmate on a work crew who walked away on Wednesday morning in the Sieper area, has been recaptured after a search with helicopters. The RPSO says He was found in a pasture off La. Highway 121.
Over 65-hundred students who took Advanced Placement Tests this year scored well enough to earn college course credit. State Superintendent of Education John White says that’s a 10-percent increase from last year and a 137-percent increase from 2012.. White says black students have made great strides in AP credits, with a 17 percent increase in students who earned college credits. On the down side, only 19 percent of Advanced Placement exams given in Rapides Parish last year earned high enough scores for students to be awarded credit by Louisiana colleges.
The Catholic Diocese of Alexandria announced Thursday the principal of Holy Savior Menard High School in Alexandria has resigned. Joel Desselle, who has served as Menard's principal and head football coach since 2007, has accepted a job as assistant principal at Marksville High School in Avoyelles Parish. Dwayne Lemoine, who was recently hired as assistant principal at Menard, will serve as acting principal during the search for a new leader.
Saints and Pelicans Owners Tom and Gayle Benson are getting into the beer business as they’ve announced the purchase of Dixie Brewing Company. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the brewery that once made Dixie Beer, but the plan is to get the New Orleans brewery up and running again.
UL-Lafayette had a statewide economic impact of $379 million in FY-15, according to a study by the New York-based consulting firm Appleseed. University president Dr. Joseph Savoie says the college offers about a 7 to 1 return on investment for the state.
Savoie hopes this will help higher education leaders make the case for increased state funding during difficult budget times. He says the university contributes to the economy in a variety of ways, from employing nearly two thousand people to buying local.
The Cajun music community is saddened over the death of D.L. Menard who has passed away at the age of 85. Executive Director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Mike Shepherd, says Menard was known as the Cajun Hank Williams. His hit “The Back Door” has sold over half a million copies.
It will be a fun-filled weekend across the Bayou State, as events are taking place in both north and south Louisiana. In Grand Isle, the Tarpon Rodeo is underway. Event president Barry Kern says it’s the oldest fishing tournament in the country in its 89th year. In north Louisiana, the 54th annual Farmerville Watermelon Festival kicks off.
One teen is dead and another was injured after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while walking on LA 784 in Red River Parish. State Police say 19-year-old Lacy Ross sustained minor injuries, and 17-year-old Rachel Barnette was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver 47-year-old Kenneth Morse was charged in the incident.
Two Capitol Special Agents and three officers from Alexandria, Virginia Police received the Medal of Valor for their bravery during the shooting spree that occurred while House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were at a park on June 14th. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award a public safety officer can receive.
New ULM athletics director Nick Floyd laid out his vision for the department Thursday during his introductory press conference. He takes over a program that is known as the lowest funded in the country out of the 128 FBS schools. Floyd says running a program with the highest degree of integrity is his number one priority.
There is a lot of talk this week about a new study which found brain damage in 99 percent of participating former NFL players. The report says CTE occurs after repeated blows to the head, and it causes things like memory loss, depression, and dementia. But Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine director Dr. Greg Stewart believes the report is a stretch. The Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine is one of only four medical facilities in the nation chosen to take care of the physical and mental health of former pro-players. Stewart says one of the things they’ve seen is that once a player leaves the league and isn’t playing anymore, they stop taking care of themselves physically and mentally.
News for Thursday 072717
By Dave Graichen
The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office reports a man and woman were found dead Tuesday in a Montgomery home. It’s believe 61 year old Ray Brown Killed 42 year old Rachel Flanagan and then turned the gun on himself. Officials say autopsies will be performed.
Sammy Truck Auto Plaza and Casino in Bunkie was robbed early Tuesday morning. The FBI reports 4 armed masked men entered the facility just before 3am. Two of them pointed the guns at customers and demanded their wallets the other two kicked and broke a window that separated the casino floor from the teller's cage, making off with most of the money from the cash drawer. The good news is nobody was injured. A reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to arrests and indictments in the case.
Good news regarding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip on June 14th. The Congressman, who represents much of southeast Louisiana, has been discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital and he’ll begin a period of intensive inpatient rehabilitation, once completed, he can return to work.
West Nile activity is picking up in Louisiana as the state Office of Public Health says seven individuals have been diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease this month. Three cases have been reported in the Baton Rouge area and the others are in in Bossier, Ouachita, Rapides and Morehouse. Two deaths were reported from the West Nile Virus in 2016 and so far none have been reported this year.
Transgendered people will no longer be able to serve in the military after an announcement from President Trump. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham says this change makes sense. He says if someone decides to undergo a gender transformation surgery while enlisted, it could hinder their service to the military. But the ACLU of Louisiana says this is clear discrimination.
A Gallup poll finds 51 percent of Louisiana voters approve of the president’s job performance. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says that’s not surprising since Mr. Trump carried Louisiana in the election with a whopping 58 percent.
A vote from the Public Service Commission means Entergy Louisiana customers will have upgraded meters at their homes by 2021. Entergy spokesperson Greg Guilbeau says customers will be notified when crews will change their meters, but they should not see a noticeable disruption in service. Guilbeau says Entergy will start installing the new meters in 2019. He says this new technology will also help with outage detection. Cleco customers have had the, so called, smart meters for several years.
A 10 and 12 year old are facing charges after they allegedly robbed a wireless store in Shreveport. Corporal Marcus Hines says video shows the youngsters breaking into the store on Monday night and taking phones and they returned again on Tuesday night.
All of the stolen items were recovered.
US Senator John Kennedy has filed amendments to the healthcare bill that would require abled bodied adults without children to work in order to receive Medicaid. The amendment would exclude people under age 19, those who participate in addiction treatment programs, and young adults in school and work training programs.
Today, LSU head football Coach Ed Orgeron told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club quarterback Danny Etling will have to earn the job during preseason camp, which starts next week. He says the other quarterbacks on the roster will have a chance, including incoming freshman Myles Brennan.
Former LSU Tiger Booger McFarland will be seen this fall on ABC as an in-studio analyst. McFarland has been working at the SEC Network since 2014.
Can the Saints return to the playoffs this year? For the last three years, the Black and Gold have finished with a record of 7-and-9. Coach Sean Payton says he likes the additions they’ve made on defense and they are deep in the secondary, which should help out their offense. Payton says there’s a lot of work ahead for this team, because they play in a tough division and the beginning of the schedule is difficult.
News for Wednesday 072617
By Dave Graichen
A seven year old boy was found dead in Winnsboro Monday night after he was apparently electrocuted by his neighbor’s fence. Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb says the parents of Brandon McFarland reported him missing after he was last seen playing in his front yard. Authorities say McFarland tried to cross the fence to get his ball and was then electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. It appears the neighbor had electrified the fence because he was trying to prevent his dog from digging underneath it.
As Congress is set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance program in September, the Natural Resources Defense Council is urging a shift to moving homeowners to a safer area rather than rebuilding properties that repeatedly flood. Rob Moore with the NRDC says they recommend that the National Flood Insurance Program provides homeowners a guaranteed buyout if they no longer want to rebuild. Louisiana leads the country for the number of repeated flooded properties.
The U.S. Senate is gearing up to debate the healthcare plan to replace Obamacare. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy proposed several amendments to the GOP replacement bill, with little support. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says as a doctor, Cassidy understands the risks of taking away health insurance. Senator John Kennedy has proudly stated he will vote to repeal the ACA even without a replacement.
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks’ campaign ad using audio from the shooting that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is making waves. Political analyst Silas Lee says Brooks might lose some middle of the road voters from this. The ad touts Brooks’ support for the second amendment. Scalise’s chief of staff tweeted that Brooks’ ad makes his stomach turn.
An LSU study found the NBA All-Star game in February brought nearly 45 million dollars to the state. Co-author of the report Dr. Stephen Barnes says their report shows that local and state government should the necessary resources to attract big events like this to the Bayou State.
More people than ever are lying on resumes to get a job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 85 percent of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or application, up from just 66 percent five years ago. UNO business professor Mark Rosa blames a competitive job market. Rosa says some applicants may only embellish a little bit, like adding a few years to their experience, while others go as far as to make diplomas from fake universities. But he says employers are getting better at catching them, because most things on a resume are verifiable. Rosa says the internet is helping employers weed out untruthful applicants, which increases the risk of getting caught.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced his retirement Tuesday and will become a talk show host for WWL Radio in New Orleans. Normand has been a law enforcement officer since 1977 and is excited about his new career. Normand will replace Garland Robinette, who is also retiring.
A new startup out of Lafayette called Short and Fat offers more clothing options to men with a different build. Co-founder Jeff Martin says men who are “vertically challenged and horizontally blessed” have to resort to shopping at big and tall stores. But they often end up trading one solution for more problems, like trying to find a shirt that fits around the neck. Short and Fat has a $15,000 goal on Kickstarter that Martin says will help them launch their own website.
The Saints look to get back to the playoffs this season as they report for training camp. The New Orleans franchise has finished 7-and-9, the last three seasons. And NFL analyst Mike Detillier projects the Saints will once again be solid on offense with Quarterback Drew Brees at the helm. One of the big off-season additions was the signing of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Detillier says hopefully this means head coach Sean Payton will be more committed to the running game this year.
News for Tuesday 072517
By Dave Graichen
Gas prices are about 10 cents higher now than they were this time last year. That’s according to Don Redman with AAA, who says prices will continue to climb as we get closer to Labor Day. He says refineries are struggling to keep up with record high demand. The statewide average is about $2.08 a gallon.
In a move that doesn’t surprise many in the Capital City, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie has announced his plans to retire immediately. Newly elected Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome promised a new top cop, in the hopes of easing tensions between the community and police following the shooting of Alton Sterling. The Mayor has talked about firing Dabadie since she was elected, but civil service laws prevented her from doing so. Broome named Lt. Johnathan Dunnam as interim and says he is not going to apply for the permanent position.
New Orleans and Baton Rouge are among the most segregated cities in the nation, according to a report from 24/7 Wall Street. New Orleans came in at number six on the list, and Baton Rouge ranked thirteenth. Editor-In-Chief Doug McIntyre says in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the black poverty rate is roughly 30 percent, while the white poverty rate is only about 10 percent. In New Orleans, about 43 percent of the black population lives in black neighborhoods, compared to 32 percent in Baton Rouge.
A plane crash in Union Parish has claimed the life of a 73-year-old man from Monroe. Sheriff Dusty Gates says David Lockard’s small, private plane crashed into Lake D’Arbonne yesterday afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration is one site, trying to determine a cause for the crash.
Calcasieu Parish authorities make an arrest in the 2009 murder of 19-year-old Sierra Bouziard. Her body was found on the side of the road in Moss Bluff. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says 31-year-old Blake Russel was taken into custody today after police work and DNA technology helped connect him to Bouziard’s murder. Russel was charged with second-degree murder.
The Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a fatal hit and run crash in Rayne. They say 42-year-old Ivy Roger had been charged with driving while intoxicated five times before, and was booked last night after hitting a bicyclist and fleeing the scene of the crash. The victim, 61-year-old Ricky Joyner, died at the scene.
A veteran New Orleans Police officer has been shot for the third time in his career. Authorities say Christopher Abbott is recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was in uniform working off-duty private security patrol when someone from a dark SUV fired one shot at him. The search is on for the shooter.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken says former LSU head coach Les Miles is extremely interested in the head coaching vacancy at Ole Miss. Miles has reportedly made his interests known to influential Ole Miss boosters.
National watchdog, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, believes the 100-thousand dollar fine against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for animal abuse at its New Iberia research center does not go far enough. This is the fifth largest fine levied against a laboratory in the U.S. University spokesperson Kathleen Thames released a statement saying these incidents occurred as part of routine housing and care of nonhuman primates. But animal rights experts disagree, as there are multiple occurrences of monkeys being neglected or killed.
The state Department of Environmental Quality will distribute 12 million dollars from the Volkswagen settlement to projects proposed by public agencies that offer long term benefits to the community. Thursday is the last day to submit a proposal.
News for Monday 072417
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash claimed the lives of two people early Sunday morning on LA 112 when the driver lost control, left the highway and struck some trees. Troopers say the vehicle burst into flames. The identities of both occupants are being withheld, at this time, pending positive identification by DNA analysis. It is unknown, at this time, if seat belts were used by the occupants or if the driver was impaired.
The investigation remains ongoing.
A former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lieutenant was officially indicted Friday after a July 2016 arrest for soliciting prostitutes, as well as other charges. An investigation revealed Stacy Bender, likely on duty at the time, had an ongoing relationship with a prostitute. Bender pleaded not guilty Friday to six counts of malfeasance in office, two counts of solicitation of prostitution, two counts of inciting prostitution, two counts of unlawful use of criminal records and one count of obstruction of justice.
More than two thousand soldiers from Fort Polk will complete anti-terrorism operations during a deployment to Iraq this fall. Base spokesperson Kim Reischling says 60 percent of the base will deploy, leaving less than two thousand men and women of the combat team on the base. The 3rd Brigade Team has trained for this deployment for the past year.
Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows Louisiana has added nearly 21-thousand jobs since June 2016 and the unemployment rate is down to a three-year low. State officials say Lake Charles continues to be the fastest growing job market with an increase in 55-hundred jobs over the last year. Baton Rouge, Monroe and New Orleans also saw job gains over the last year.
Louisiana’s FastStart workforce training program has been named the best in the nation by Business Facilities magazine for a record eight years in a row. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this can help LED bring more companies to the Bayou State. Business Facilities also ranked Louisiana third for infrastructure, seventh for cost of doing business, ninth for exports and economic growth potential, and tenth for industrial electricity rates.
The US has reached an agreement with China that will allow Louisiana and other states to export rice to China for the first time. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain expects Louisiana farmers will benefit from the new trade agreement. The US Department of Agriculture predicts China will import 5 million tons of rice in 2017 and 2018.
A poll on the State Treasurer’s race finds it to be a wide open contest. The October 14th election features three well-funded Republicans, Angele Davis, Neil Riser and John Schroder. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillon says the GOP candidates are polling in the high single digits. There is a major Democrat in the race, New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards. Couvillon says in the horse race portion of the survey, Edwards polled at 18-percent, which is higher than the three GOP candidates. Couvillon says the biggest number from his poll is the undecided, which is at 60-percent…
State Police report two Shreveport business owners have been arrested in connection to a multi-state human trafficking investigation. After receiving a call from the Missouri State Police alerting authorities, the owners the Palm Massage were arrested after police found evidence indicating that Chinese women were trafficked from the east coast to Louisiana and forced to work.
Multiple agencies are investigating a fire in St. Tammany Parish in which a woman’s body was discovered. It was initially believed Nanette Krentel died in the fire, but autopsy shows she actually died of a gunshot wound. The investigation by both the sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office is heating up, as Krentel is the wife of the local fire chief.
The Department of Children and Family Services launches a program aimed at improving the foster care system. On any given day, there are more than 4,000 Louisiana children in foster care. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they want to raise expectations for foster parents and caregivers through the new Quality Parenting Initiative. Walters says this initiative is about allowing foster parents to act more as parents instead of temporary caregivers, while expecting more of those foster parents.
News for Friday 072117
By Dave Graichen
A Vernon pan has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. 35 year old Rodney Bailey Jr is believed to be responsible for the death of 2 year old Willow Rain Molina-Renteria whom he was babysitting earlier this year. The child’s mother came home to find her daughter and Bailey, the babysitter, missing. The girl's body was found the next day in a remote area of Beauregard Parish, after Bailey had been taken into custody.
Governor John Bel Edwards has written a letter to House Speaker Taylor Barras that says now is the time to discuss proposals to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in revenue that will expire July 1st, 2018. The governor suggests Barras form a working group of Republicans and Democrats. The governor also says he plans to hold meetings across the state to discuss how to address the fiscal cliff.
Lt. Bruce Simmons is back to work at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, just over a year after being shot in the police ambush. Casey Rayborn Hicks with the sheriff’s office says Sheriff Sid Gautreaux welcomed Simmons back by promoting him from sergeant to lieutenant and his fellow deputies gave him a standing ovation.
A lawsuit filed yesterday claims Louisiana prison officials blocked attorneys from investigating "alarming" allegations of inmate abuse, including claims that mentally ill prisoners were forced to kneel or bend down and bark like dogs to get food. The federal suit, filed by the Advocacy Center, said the New Orleans-based nonprofit also has received reports that disabled prisoners at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer have been slapped, punched, kicked, sprayed with mace and bleach and stripped of clothing during the winter. The suit seeks court-ordered access to the prison so attorneys can fully investigate conditions at the facility.
Work began this week on water proofing the first six floors of the exterior of the State Capitol building. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says new technology gave engineers a closer look that pieces of limestone were coming loose from the 80-year-old building.
The Jefferson Parish coroner says an elderly woman who died in Metairie was not strangled, but instead died of natural causes. The hunt was on for a suspect and a motive after the coroner said physical findings suggested strangulation. However, the evidence shows 84-year-old Pauline Balloon actually died of natural causes.
A Crime Prevention Research Center report finds more women and minorities are receiving concealed handgun permits compared to white males. Wade Duty, co-owner of Precision Firearms in Baton Rouge says he’s seen the exact same trend in recent years. He credits this spike to the increased awareness of domestic violence issues.
The national report finds permits for men grew 22-percent from 2012 to 2016 and permits for women increased by a whopping 93-percent.
Louisiana elected officials says they are praying for Arizona Senator John McCain’s who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Neuro-Oncologist Dr. Aaron Mammoser with LSU Health New Orleans says glioblastoma is the most common primary brain tumor doctors see, and unfortunately it’s also the most aggressive. He says there are more than 15,000 of these tumors diagnosed every year in the US. Mammoser says the average survival is somewhere in the 16 to 18 month range. He says McCain will be surrounded by a remarkable medical staff at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.
A veteran lawman assigned to a New Orleans-based federal drug task force pleaded guilty Thursday to pocketing thousands of dollars seized during drug raids, admitting to significantly reduced charges in a clear indication that he is cooperating with a secretive U.S. Justice Department probe into law enforcement misconduct. Karl Newman was a federally deputized member of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force that has been accused of shaking down informants and stealing and distributing drugs seized during federal narcotics investigations.
Southern University Vice Chancellor Brandon Dumas has been fired following a tumultuous period for the university. But Dumas, who oversees student affairs and enrollment management, will appeal the termination at a hearing before the Southern University Board of Supervisors today. The top Southern administrator was placed on administrative leave on June 23, also without explanation from the university about why officials were taking that step.
News for Thursday 072017
By Dave Graichen
It’s official, almost. A private company will begin running the Rapides Parish Coliseum in September. The Rapides Parish Police Jury agreed to terms with SMG Wednesday. The company, which specializes in managing publicly owned facilities. The terms include a $125,000 yearly management fee for SMG, up to $50,000 a year in performance incentives and a 15 percent commission on advertising and sales. SMG is deferring this year's fees to 2018 and 2019, and kicking in a $100,000 grant for marketing and incentive funds to entice acts to the Coliseum. The Police Jury also voted Wednesday to dissolve the Coliseum Authority on July 31, on the condition that the contract with SMG is finalized.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents not to fall for a scam in which callers try to convince people they face fines for missing jury duty. Callers are telling people they can be arrested and prosecuted for not reporting for jury duty in federal and state courts. The callers, of course, tell people they can pay a fine at the federal courthouse in downtown Alexandria to clear up the issue. But the victim then will receive a follow-up phone call with an offer to expedite the issue if the victim buys a Green Dot Visa card. The sheriff's office reminds people that no law enforcement agency would try to collect a fine in this manner, and neither would the courts system.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a heat advisory for the northern half of the state through 7 PM tonight. Forecasters indicate hot and humid conditions could lead to temperatures that climb into the mid to upper 90s with heat index values up 108 degrees. They urge residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.
Zachary Police say they have made an arrest in the case of a fatal home invasion that occurred Tuesday night. Chief David McDavid says the deceased, 20-year-old Damon Hayes Jr, allegedly broke into an elderly residents home with 20-year-old Jordale Carter and possibly two other suspects. The resident opened fire killing Hayes. Carter was booked on many charges including murder because his accomplice died during a crime. McDavid says two other suspects are still at large.
Three months ahead of the October 14 election, more than half of the races have already been settled. Candidates in 41 races had no opponents, while 16 saw no candidates at all. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they saw a similar rate just over a year ago when 44 percent of the races were settled before reaching the ballot.
Schedler blames the public’s frustration with government for the disinterest in running for public office. Plus, he says these positions don’t pay much and they come with a lot of stress.
Could state Education Superintendent John White’s job be in jeopardy? Governor Edwards says White was not reconfirmed by the Senate during the session. Over a dozen people filed a lawsuit alleging White needed that confirmation, but a judge dismissed the case. The judge noted few elected officials have the legal authority to file a petition to fire White, and the governor is one of those.
Governor John Bel Edwards is not endorsing Damon Baldone in the public service commissioner race. Edwards appointed Baldone to serve as interim when Scott Angelle vacated the position in June. A longtime Democrat, Baldone qualified in the race as a Republican. Election Day is October 14.
Louisiana’s Congressional delegation is getting behind an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Congressman Clay Higgins is one of the co-sponsors and the Republican from St. Landry Parish says the proposal would protect policyholders from skyrocketing premiums. The current National Flood Insurance Program expires on September 30th, which is why there is a big push to reauthorize the program for another six years. Higgins says it’s their desire to limit rate increases to no more than 10 percent a year.
Governor John Bel Edwards is pleased with job growth and creation in the Bayou State. On his monthly radio call in show, the governor said several sectors of the economy are improving, especially health care thanks to expansion of the Medicaid program. Edwards says in January of 2016, the state’s unemployment rate was at 6.2-percent and the latest numbers show the unemployment rate in May of 2017 was 5.7-percent and predicts that will drop even lower when the June numbers are released.
Authorities say an 84-year-old woman at a senior living center in Metairie was choked to death and the search is on for suspects and a motive. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office says the victim was found dead Tuesday night. Detectives at first thought it was a death by natural causes, but an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be strangulation.
Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes announces his plans to retire. Holmes said in a news conference he has been thinking about returning to teaching for quite some time. News outlets had reported that Mayor Jamie Mayo asked for a resignation, but he says that’s absolutely not true. Mayo says Holmes will remain chief until July 30 while his office works to find someone to serve in the interim. Holmes has served as Monroe’s top cop since 2011.
A man rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital missed the birth of his child after being arrested in Rapides Parish. Creola Police Chief Health Landry says one of his officers clocked a vehicle doing 108 in a 55 mph speed zone. He says the officer witnessed more dangerous driving as he attempted to pull over Zak Evans. Landry says the officer radioed ahead to Pineville, where officers set up a road block because Evans would not stop. He says when officers finally pulled over Evans and got him out of the vehicle, he was livid. An ambulance took Evans’ wife Bridget to a local hospital, and Evans was arrested on charges of flight from an office and careless operation, as well as ticketed for speeding.
Female military veterans will have a new support system, as the state Department of Veterans Affairs is set to launch monthly Coffee Conversations in August. Female veterans outreach coordinator Alex Juan says this will offer a safe space for military women to talk about the issues affecting them. She says the discussions will be live streamed and open to all of female veterans in the state. Louisiana is home to more than 32,000 women veterans.
Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday federal funding for flood control projects in the Baton Rouge area. Edwards says 220 million dollars will go to local governments in the Capital region as part of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Edwards says each parish will submit a plan to FEMA before the money will be allocated. He says some of the money will be used to buy back significantly damaged homes from last year’s flood and make it a green space.
News for Wednesday 071917
By Dave Graichen
Tropical Storm Don degenerated to an open wave in the far southeastern Caribbean Sea late Tuesday evening after spreading bands of heavy rain and gusty winds across the Windward Islands Tuesday. Don became the fourth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season Monday afternoon.
A national poll finds the governor’s approval rating is up to 58 percent. Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat says being in the upper 50s is good for any governor, but especially a Democrat in a red state. Edwards’ approval rating was at 54 percent in May.
Yesterday Governor Edwards, along with a bipartisan group of governors, issued a statement recommending a bipartisan approach to improving the nation’s health care system that engages governors across the United States in the process. It indicates that they feel it’s critically important that governors are brought to the table to provide input, and that they stand ready to work with lawmakers in an open, bipartisan way to provide better insurance for all Americans.
According to a WWL-TV report, Efforts by a group of Louisiana State Troopers to have Gov. John Bel Edwards remove State Police Commissioner Calvin Braxton have reignited after the state police said Braxton used his position to ask for special treatment from law enforcement for him and his family. The incident is connected to the arrest of Braxton’s daughter for drunk driving last year in Natchitoches. Braxton reportedly chastised the then Commander of Troop E saying the arresting trooper "should have given his daughter a professional courtesy as well as utilizing discretion in not arresting her."
As the race for State Treasurer is underway, now might be a good time to start the conversation about eliminating the position for good. That’s according Jeremy Alford, the publisher of LaPolitics.com, who says this is the first time in 17 years there has been an open race for the seat. Alford says there are currently 16 states that don’t elect their state treasurer. Alford says many voters have come to view the post of state treasurer as an unofficial watchdog to second guess and review the governor and legislature’s spending.
Three Louisiana cities are among the most stressed in the country, according to a new study from the personal finance website Wallethub. Shreveport came in at number ten on the list. Jill Gonzales with Wallethub says Shreveport did particularly badly in the health category. New Orleans, which came in at number 19, and 21st ranked Baton Rouge are also seeing similar problems related to health and work stress.
A Baton Rouge man turned himself into police after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend. 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of shooting 41-year-old Monique Maxie, who later died because of her injuries. Police believe Antoine fired multiple shots at two people, and Maxie was struck exiting a car. The suspect faces charges of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, aggravated battery and illegal use of a weapon.
Another court hearing has been set for a Shreveport man accused of killing a police officer. Grover Cannon is accused of shooting Officer Thomas LaValley six times in 2015. The 29-year-old had a hearing with a judge yesterday, and another is set for August 24. His trail is slated to begin in April of 2018.
Tulane University is the latest Louisiana school to trademark its own brew, after partnering with NOLA Brewing Company to release the Green Wave Beer. Brewery president Kirk Coco says the partnership with Tulane Athletics was a no brainer because the school is such a big part of the city, and NOLA Brewing is all about New Orleans.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves expressed his frustrations over the barrier between lanes of I-12 at a FAST Act hearing in Washington. Graves says the barrier seemed to contribute to flooding in communities north of I-12. He says something has to be done to address drainage concerns on the highway. Graves says there was about a six foot difference in water levels on the north and south sides of the interstate.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation names LSU head gymnastics coach DD Breaux the Most Outstanding Coach in Louisiana. Breaux just completed her 40th season in 2017. She says being recognized by people outside of gymnastics means a lot. LSU finished as the NCAA National Runner-up for the 2nd straight year this past season.
New Orleans has been named the number four city in the US by readers of Travel and Leisure. Kristian Sonnier with the New Orleans CVB says the magazine ranked cities based on six categories, including culture, friendliness, shopping, and overall value
Sonnier says the CVB works around the clock to ensure New Orleans remains at the top of these rankings.
No-frills discount carrier Frontier Airlines is adding direct flights from New Orleans to four U.S. cities as part of a broader expansion that will boost its network to 82 destinations. Starting in October, Frontier will offer nonstop service from Louis Armstrong International Airport to San Antonio and Austin, Texas to Long Island New York and Providence, Rhode Island. For a limited time, Frontier is selling introductory, one-way fares on some flights starting at $39.
The Environmental Defense Fund is suing the Trump Administration for extending the red snapper season. Director of the Gulf of Mexico Oceans program, Robert Jones, says his hope is to get rid of fixed seasons because they do not benefit anglers. He says this suit is a catalyst for change towards more flexible access. The group fears overfishing will hurt the snapper population, but opponents say that shouldn’t be a problem.
News for Tuesday 071817
By Dave Graichen
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham says the Defense Budget bill passed late last week by the House, can put the US back on the path to military superiority. Abraham, who is Louisiana's only member of the House Armed Services Committee, says Louisiana's federal military bases and troops would thrive under the bill, which he said would stave off any reductions or closures in the state. The bill, passed Friday, still has a long way to go, it still needs to pass the Senate and President Trump must sign it before it becomes law.
It’s been a full year since an out of state shooter gunned down six law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. Three of those officers lost their lives that day. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says even a year later, the tragedy has put officers on high alert.
Deputy Brad Garafola, Officer Matthew Gerald, and Cpl. Montrell Jackson were killed in the ambush.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier continues to defy the odds. Nick has made tremendous strides in his recovery after being shot three times by a gunman who ambushed Baton Rouge police officers. His father James says Nick underwent major abdominal surgery last week to help with the infection he’s been battling since the shooting. He says Nick is able to move his arms and legs, and about a month ago he even said the word hello out loud, which are strides Nick was never supposed to make.
Governor John Bel Edwards has launched a new program called Constituent Services on the Geaux to give Louisiana residents a chance to meet face to face with someone from the office to answer questions. Constituent Services receives nearly 1,000 inquiries each week. But, the new program that launches today will take the program on the road. The Governor’s office says they are working with local and statewide elected officials to alert residents in their districts when the program is coming to their town.
This summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be the largest ever and Louisiana aquatic life will suffer most burden of the effects. LSU Professor of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences Nancy Rabalais says an increased load of nitrates were carried by the Mississippi River during the spring leading to the hypoxia, or dead zone. She says this is a lack of oxygen in the water and it is deadly for marine life.
The state’s Cyber Crime Unit has arrested a man on over 100 counts of child pornography. They say 27-year-old Cameron Fairley of Sulphur was booked on 80 counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children and 29 additional counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children under the age of 13.
State officials are ramping up efforts to boost participation in the flood recovery survey. Pat Forbes with the Office of Community Development says they’re bring the forms to the ground level and going door to door. He says this is the first step for flood victims to get the aid they need. The survey can be found online at restore.la.gov.
According to a recent study, sleep deprivation is costing Americans billions. Dr. Jake Rodi with Ochsner says people are more sleep deprived than ever. He says the biggest medical cause of sleep loss is sleep apnea. The study from Rand Europe finds the US loses over 1 million working days a year to sleep deprivation.
A man is behind bars on an attempted murder charge after a heroin overdose on LSU campus. Police say the 25-year-old was found unresponsive in a bathroom stall with a needle in his arm. 33-year-old Joshua Brian is accused of giving the drug to the victim, and making no attempt to call for help after the overdose. The victim was resuscitated by EMS. Brian also faces a slew of drug-related charges.
A Ouachita Parish man was arrested after allegedly punching a pregnant woman over meth. The victim reportedly told police she fell asleep in the car on the way to 47-year-old William Chapman’s residence. Police say she woke up to Chapman and an unknown woman punching her and yelling at her to return the 36 grams of methamphetamine they believe was stolen from the home. Chapman was booked on one count of simple battery.
The Baton Rouge Police Department is looking for a man they say fatally shot and killed his ex-girlfriend. Sgt. Don Coppola says 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of opening fire on two individuals early Saturday morning. He says Antoine should be considered dangerous.
A Kinder man has been arrested after he was caught dumping a load of kittens off on the side of the road. Deputy Christopher Ivey with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says they were able to retrieve the kittens from the ditch and all have been adopted.
A St. Helena Parish grand jury has indicted a woman on a murder charge in the death of her sister, whose body was found in a shallow grave. 38-year-old Deborah Palmer of Amite, will face one count of second-degree murder in the death of her sister, 36-year-old Rebecca Blades of Greensburg.
Beginning this month, children with incarcerated parents can get backpacks full of school supplies through the Louisiana Corrections Association’s Kits for Kidz program. Vice President Angela Whittaker says these kids are thrilled when they get their backpack full of goodies. $15-thousand worth of supplies will be handed out this year.
News for Thursday 071317
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is once again out of ICU nearly a month after being shot at a Congressional baseball game. Scalise underwent surgery last week for an infection and was readmitted to the intensive care unit, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He remains in serious condition.
The state Department of Education announces 33% of students scored mastery on LEAP tests in 2017, which is the same as last year. But Superintendent John White says more must be done to close gaps between advantaged students and historically disadvantaged students. 45 percent of white students achieved mastery this year compared to 19 percent of black students.
34 year old John Cupp of Dry Prong man is facing drug and other charges after a traffic stop. Cupp was reportedly driving left of center when he was pulled over. Crystal meth was found in the vehicle. Cupp was arrested and charged with possession of crystal meth with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving left of center and felony probation violation.
A 21-year-old is facing a murder charge after police say she stabbed another female multiple times. Terrebonne Parish authorities say Miranda Gilley was arguing about a man with 24-year-old Jessica McGehee when a fight broke out. That’s when Gilley allegedly stabbed McGehee, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three out of four farm recovery grant program meetings are scheduled for today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses as a result of the March and August 2016 floods. Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says during these meetings, the guidelines and application process for receiving recovery grant money will be discussed. The meetings take place today in Welsh, Crowley and Opelousas and more information can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website. Strain says meetings in North Louisiana are in the process of being scheduled
The U.S. Geological Survey has found the long term rate of Louisiana wetland loss is slowing. Research Geographer Brady Couvillion says analysis finds rates of land area loss have continued to decrease since the 1970s. He says one possible reason for this is the lack of major hurricane activity over the past 8 years. About half of the country’s wetlands have been lost over the last 200 years, with the greatest losses in Louisiana where an area the size of Delaware has been lost since the 1930s. The report does point out that these findings do not indicate that coastal wetland loss has ceased to be a serious issue
The Waitr app is making its debut in Monroe today. The food delivery service has become wildly popular in south Louisiana and other states after its 2015 launch in Lake Charles and is picking up steam here in Cenla. Co-founder and Launch Director Addison Killebrew says after adding new markets like Baton Rouge, they’re thrilled to put another Waitr location on the map. Killebrew says they’re eager to expand their options in Monroe, and they hope to have over 100 restaurants in the system in the near future.
A Vermilion Parish man will spend 45 days in federal prison and pay a $2500 fine for killing a whooping crane in 2014. Adam Einck with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they offered a $10,000 reward for information when the protected bird was found shot, and multiple people reported 21-year-old Lane Thibodeaux.
The August recess for the US Senate has been delayed by two weeks, and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy is glad lawmakers can keep working. He says the Senate hasn’t accomplished much, and he would feel guilty about taking four weeks off work.
Kennedy and others urged Senate leadership to cancel the recess, but he says he’ll settle for meeting halfway.
A one-year-old is in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle in Walker. Authorities say the toddler was transported to an area hospital. The child has been identified as Tavein Parker, and the child’s family says he was struck on private property in Livingston Parish. The investigation is ongoing as police try to piece together what led to this tragic incident.
Former “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden pleaded no contest to two rape charges in Livingston Parish today. Hayden was sentenced to life in prison for an aggravated rape charge and 10 years for aggravated incest. The new sentences come after Hayden received a life sentence in April for aggravated rape and forcible rape in East Baton Rouge Parish.
News for Wednesday 071217
By Dave Graichen
The APD has charged a 17-year-old in connection with the fatal Friday shooting of another teen in Alexandria. Tykarius Laneheart has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of another 17-year-old just after noon Friday in the 70 block of Louisiana Avenue. A warrant was issued for Laneheart, an Alexandria resident, on Monday, and he surrendered to detectives on Tuesday. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, as was 32-year-old Shondrika Laneheart, also of Alexandria. She was charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.
The public boat launching ramps (operated by the Red River Waterway Commission) located in Grant, Rapides, and Avoyelles Parishes have been closed due to high water caused by heavy rainfall. These include the ramps at the Colfax, Red Bayou, Boyce, Fort Buhlow, Alexandria Levee Park, Poland, Ben Routh, and Brouillette recreation areas. The boat launches will be re-opened as soon as conditions permit the public to utilize the ramps safely. For up-to-the minute information, visit www.redriverwaterway.com
State Troop E has a new man in charge. Jason A. Smith was appointed to the position of Captain over Troop E. on Monday. Prior to his appointment, Captain Smith held the rank of Lieutenant. Troop E is headquartered in Alexandria and serves 10 parishes
The girlfriend of the man who was fatally shot by an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been released from jail after posting $75,000 bond. State Police say 21-year-old Dequince Brown attacked the deputy during the struggle with 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory who was killed in the incident. Brown’s lawyer, Joe Long, says Guillory was begging for his life when he was shot. State Police say they are reviewing dash cam video of the incident.
Qualifying begins today for the October election. Yesterday New Orleans Representative Walt Leger announced he will not run to be the next mayor of the city. He said in an email that, “despite a clear path to victory” he wants to keep his public service focused on working hard and studying issues within the state legislature. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell also said his ongoing work in the capitol will keep him out of City Hall.
Qualifying begins today for the state treasurer race, after John Kennedy vacated the office to become a US Senator. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this is the first time this post has been open since 2000, so it should be interesting. He says the fact that Kenner Representative Julie Stokes dropped out, could open it up to other contenders. Cross says many politicians see this office as a stepping stone to higher positions, as Kennedy did when he moved to the US Senate.
Small business optimism is declining as federal lawmakers are gridlocked on plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. That’s according to a survey from the National Federation for Independent Business. State director Dawn Starns says businesses can’t plan for the future with all the uncertainty on the federal level.
Louisiana drivers are jerks on the road according to a driving awareness campaign that promotes courteous driving. Speeding up to prevent someone from passing us and failing to use our turn signals puts us 4th worst in the US.
A grand jury handed down a murder indictment against 25-year-old Christopher Landry of Denham Springs, who is accused of killing a sensual massage therapist at his home last month. Landry reportedly told authorities he strangled 24-year-old Kayla Denham because she tried to steal his wallet. Landry is being held in the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a $250-thousand bond.
An Amite Walmart that was set on fire last weekend sustained over a million dollars in damage. That’s according to Sheriff Daniel Edwards, who says much of the damage was to the inventory in the store, not structural damage to the building. He says 45-year-old Larry Schouest of Hammond combined chemicals to start the fire. Edwards says the chemical smoke from the fire ruined all of the contents in the building. Schouest is accused of setting a string of fires in south Louisiana Walmart’s, beginning in Ponchatoula on June 27. From there, Schouest allegedly set fire to the Amite Walmart and one in Hammond on Saturday.
Elio Motors in northwest Louisiana has been fined over half a million dollars by the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission who says the three-wheel car making company violated state law. Commission spokesman Keith Marcotte told KEEL in Shreveport that vehicle makers or sellers in Louisiana have to have a manufacturers and dealers license. Elio has yet to produce a vehicle, but they have a pre-purchase program which the commission says is breaking laws against car companies selling directly to consumers. Attorneys for Elio said they view their system as taking reservations for vehicles. The $545,000 fine was handed down Monday.
New Orleans-based Glo Airlines has decided to suspend service beginning Saturday while it searches for a new operator. GLO Founder and CEO Trey Fayard said he will return to its Mid-South cities once the right partner is found.
The Jeanerette Police Department announces one of their officers has been arrested on a Medicaid fraud warrant out of East Baton Rouge by officials with the state Attorney General’s Office. She is identified as 38-year-old Shekeitha Lewis. Lewis has been placed on administrative leave. An Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy was booked on the same charges and fired according to reports.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a 10 foot tall yard giraffe that was stolen from a local storefront. Authorities say the statue weighs 200 pounds and is valued at one thousand dollars. Anyone with information on the missing giraffe is encouraged to contact police.
It looks as though this year will be a good one for the brown shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA’s annual forecast, the harvest is expected to yield 44.2 million pounds, which is above the predicted value for the last two years.
News for Tuesday 071117
By Dave Graichen
Since 2001, the state’s electorate has become more diverse. That’s according to John Couvillion with JMC Analytics and Polling. He says black voter registration comprised of 29-percent of the electorate at the start of President George W. Bush’s administration and is 31-percent today, but there has been much bigger gains with other racial groups.
Couvillion says his research finds there’s been a decline in white Democrats and a steady gain in registered Republicans and Independents.
Former Governor Bobby Jindal’s ex-budget chief, Angele Davis, joins the pool of candidates running for state treasurer. Republican state senator Neil Riser, Republican former state representative John Schroder and Democratic attorney Derrick Edwards are the others seeking the post vacated by U.S. Senator John Kennedy. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says none of the candidates are known statewide. Qualifying begins tomorrow.
State Police has released more details about last week’s fatal shooting involving an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy. Authorities says the man who was fatally shot, 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory, allegedly stole a four-wheeler and struck the Deputy in the head during a traffic stop. L-S-P says during a struggle, is when the Deputy fatally shot Guillory.
A 16-year-old has been arrested after allegedly beating an elderly couple with a hammer inside their Kenner home. Police responded after a 70-year-old woman walked to her neighbor’s home covered in blood asking for help for she and her 89-year-old husband. Kenner Police Lt. Brian McGregor says the teen also stole the victims’ vehicle. McGregor says teen was upset that the elderly couple he performed odd jobs for did not allow him to borrow their car.
65% of high school seniors submitted FAFSA paperwork this year compared to 58% last year. Senior Educational Technology consultant with the department of ed, Stephanie Marcum, says the numbers should continue to grow, because it will be a requirement next year for all seniors to complete the forms for federal financial aid..
The U.S. Senate is waiting on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make revisions to proposed legislation that would repeal and replace the nation’s health care law. Republican Bill Cassidy says the initial Senate healthcare plan doesn’t have enough support, so he hopes McConnell uses some of the ideas the senior Senator from Louisiana suggested months ago. Cassidy says since there are 52 Republicans in the US Senate, they need to come up with a bill that has the support of some Democrats.
President Trump is urging Congress to pass a health care bill before they leave for the August recess.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana has a new way for its members to make an informed decision when it comes to getting a medical procedure. It’s called Smart Shopper and David Hochheiser (Ho-heiser) says it’s available on the Blue Cross website. Hochheiser says if a customer needs an MRI they can use SmartShopper and they’ll likely notice a wide range in costs for the same medical service.
The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Workforce Commission will host a series of workforce summits as they seek to hire qualified individuals to work with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Executive Management Officer for the Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Tiffany Dickerson says summits are scheduled to take place Thursday in Lafayette and Friday in Alexandria. Dickerson says the outcome of the summits is to streamline and improve the hiring practices of providers, bring down onboarding costs and identify training opportunities.
News for Monday 071017
By Dave Graichen
One of the officers wounded in the deadly ambush on cops in Baton Rouge last year is suing leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. On July 17th, 2016, 29-year-old Gavin Long killed three officers and wounded three others in a targeted attack. The suit accuses Black Lives Matter of inciting violence. But legal analyst Tim Meche doesn’t see this going far. The lawyer for one of the defendants says Black Lives Matter doesn’t have anything to sue.
Congressman Ralph Abraham has secured a $1.5 million federal grant to boost the CenturyLink-IBM Century Village project in Monroe. The funding would create a new access road that would link Century Village and IBM. Abraham said the grant could stimulate up to $20 million in economic development and create at least 80 new jobs.
Sen. Bill Cassidy says the initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health law is probably "dead" and President Donald Trump's proposal to just repeal it appears to be a "non-starter". At this point Cassidy says They don't know what the plan is, But Clearly the draft plan is dead. Sen. John McCain said Sunday it may now be time for Republicans to come up with a new proposal with support from Democrats.
Abortions in the Bayou State have decreased by 4-percent from 2015 to 2016, according to numbers by the state Department of Health. Nearly 9-thousand abortions were performed in 2016 down from 93-hundred in 2015 and just over 10-thousand abortions reported in 2014. According to the data, women categorized as “nonwhite” accounted for 70-percent of abortions performed in 2016, 35 were under the age of 15.
The oil and gas industry seems to be coming back slowly but surely. The number of rigs in the US increased by 12 this week to 952, including 2 in Louisiana. Only 440 rigs were active the prior year.
Raising Cane’s has been named the fastest-growing fast food chain in the US by Nation’s Restaurant News. Cane’s has nearly 330 locations, including 50 in Louisiana.
The State Police report a payroll supervisor bilked the Louisiana Supreme Court of $116,000 by setting up an elaborate web of fake judicial appointments and far-flung bank accounts. Authorities say 38 year old Misty Wood embezzled the money in a string of transactions between April 2016 and February 2017. The fraud was discovered after the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office conducted a routine audit of pay records.
Four jockeys from Texas have been arrested by State Police for a hazing incident that took place in a locker room at Delta Downs race track in Vinton. Authorities say they shaved off a juvenile male’s eyebrow and threw hot sauce on his genitals. The victim was a race track employee.
The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office says a volunteer firefighter was killed when responding to a blaze in the Mt. Hermon area. They say 54-year-old Ronda Varnado of Franklinton was in a fully loaded firetruck when it ran off the road then tipped causing the water tank to crash into the cab.
Have you ever thought of your pets as being fat or skinny? A recent State of Pet Health report found Louisiana ranks No. 5 for non-obese dogs, and No.6 for slim cats. But Dr. Nancy Welborn with the LSU School Of Veterinary Medicine says while your pet may not be obese, even an overweight furry friend faces serious health risks. The report found that one in three pets who visited vets in 2016 was overweight or obese.
LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron returns to SEC Football Media Day today in Hoover, Alabama. Orgeron’s last appearance was in 2007 as the head coach of Ole Miss. The Rebels went 3-9 that year and Orgeron was fired. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Coach O will be asked numerous times today how he’s changed as a coach.
There was some hope pitcher Alex Lange would return to LSU for his senior season, because he had yet to sign a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted him in the first round. But Lange and the World Champs got a deal done before a 4 PM deadline Friday.
News for Friday 070717
By Dave Graichen
District 79 State Representative Julie Stokes has announced she will no longer make a run for State Treasurer because she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her doctors have determined she must undergo at least five months of chemotherapy. Qualifying for the race is next week, Republican state legislators John Schroder and Neil Riser are the main candidates.
U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in the hospital in serious condition following surgery Thursday to try to treat infection related to the wounds he sustained in a mass shooting last month. Officials with the MedStar medical center in Washington released a statement yesterday saying the Congressman tolerated the procedure well," adding that further updates would be provided as appropriate. The 51 year old Scalise was readmitted to the intensive care unit at the Washington, D.C. hospital on Wednesday and his condition downgraded from "fair" to "serious."
The Tax Foundation has updated its national review of sales tax rates and Louisiana continues to rank number one with a combined state and local sales tax rate averaging just above 10-percent. Director of state projects for the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says the Bayou State has high sales taxes, because its property taxes are lower than most states thanks to the Homestead Exemption. Drenkard says when you combine sales, property and income taxes, Louisiana is one of the least tax burdened states in the country.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the deadly August south Louisiana flood, the head of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, Pat Forbes, says they are ramping up on spending the federal grant money designed to help flood victims get back in their homes. Forbes says a majority of grants that have been handed out, went to individuals who have finished rebuilding.
Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies arrested two women and a man participating in a healthcare protest involving about 20 people at U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's offices in Metairie on Thursday morning. Deputies booked the trio on a count of remaining in a place after being forbidden, a form of criminal trespassing in Louisiana. That offense is a misdemeanor that can carry up to six months in jail as well as a maximum fine of $500.
Louisiana will pay $5.4 million to the federal government to settle a debt tied to former Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of the charity hospital system, far less than the $190 million federal officials originally said the state owed, under a settlement released Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2014 ordered Louisiana to repay the money for pieces of the initial privatization deals that the Medicaid agency, known as CMS, rejected as improper. Louisiana officials have been haggling over repayment terms ever since.
Education leaders are letting teachers and students know what policy changes can be expected when they head back to class in August. Debbie Meaux, Louisiana Association of Educators President, says a new law was recently signed by the governor that would limit testing time, to 2% of a student’s learning time. Meaux also says that teachers and administrators will be engaging with a new accountability system.
A two-year-old Lockport boy is another child who has died in a rash of drownings around Louisiana. Lt. Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says around noon on the 4th of July deputies responded to a call of a child found unresponsive in the bottom of a pool. He says the family of little Kevin Cortez III was visiting the home. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy has been injured and one man is dead after an officer involved shooting in Mamou. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says the deputy was called to investigate an attempted burglary when an altercation took place between the officer and 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory and Guillory was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agents arrested five boaters for allegedly operating their vessel while intoxicated during their Operation Dry Water Weekend. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents were on patrol during the fourth of July holiday with a heightened awareness for impaired boat operators. Those arrested ranged in ages from 21 to 47.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office announces an arrest in the death of a nine-month-old infant. 28-year-old Benjamin Joseph Carter Senior of Hammond has been charged with second-degree murder. An autopsy shows the toddler died from blunt force trauma.
LSU pitcher Eric Walker will not pitch in 2018 as he needs Tommy John Surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his throwing elbow. Recovery time is usually one year. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Walker’s injury means there will be three new weekend starters for the 2018 season. Walker first complained of discomfort in his forearm before the College World Series.
Michael Federico was introduced as ULM’s new head baseball coach today. The former assistant at Southern Miss will have the difficult task of building a program that won just 12 games last season. There are reports that Christian Ostrander is leaving Louisiana Tech to replace Federico as Southern Miss’ pitching coach.
You can add another layer to the fuming rivalry between LSU and Florida on the gridiron. The Gators have announced their homecoming game will be the LSU game on October 6th.
Many running back AJ Carter can’t make his mind on where he wants to play football in college. He originally committed to UCLA, then switched his commitment to LSU and now he’s switched back to UCLA
News for Thursday 070617
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have updated their annual hurricane season predictions, calling for above average activity for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. CSU forecasters are calling for 15 named storms, eight of which will become hurricanes. Three of those classified as major.
On the one-year anniversary of Alton Sterling’s death, seven New Black Panther Party members were arrested while protesting outside of the Baton Rouge Police headquarters. Police say members of the party tried to storm the police barricade and one party member allegedly had a Taser in his hand. Those arrested are facing misdemeanor charges.
Minden Representative Gene Reynolds has decided not to step down from his position as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus, saying he will finish out his term as chairman. He says many people from both parties reached out and asked him to stay on and make sure the person who moves into the position knows what all goes on behind the scenes.
It looks as there is a mayoral shift moving through the state as five of Louisiana’s biggest cities have experienced a change in power over the last two years. That’s according to, Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com, who says Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and soon to be New Orleans have recently seen a change. Alford says the most interesting thing about these elections is only one candidate was able to flip a seat, Republican Nic Hunter replaced Democrat Randy Roach in Lake Charles. He says New Orleans residents will select a new mayor in the fall.
Days after an interview that suggested she was preparing for a last-minute entry into the New Orleans mayor's race, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has told supporters she won't be jumping in after all. Peterson posted her decision on social media Wednesday.
Peterson, head of the state Democratic Party and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, has long been seen as a potential contender to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who can't run for re-election because of term limits.
Sometimes what’s lost is best lost. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office reports a suitcase checked into the lost and found today at Louis Armstrong Int’l airport in New Orleans. Inside, close to 10 pounds of marijuana. Deputies were called to the airport and a short time later arrested 3 people who showed up to came the suitcase.
A two-year-old boy is now the fourth child to die in a rash of drownings in Tangipahoa Parish. The state Department of Children and Family Services is advising parents of water safety during the summer months. Mona Michelli with the DCFS Division of Child Welfare says this is a time to be vigilant. Louisiana had the second highest rate of drownings in the nation from 2013 to 2015 with 71 children dying, according to the state Health Department.
South Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins has apologized for posting a video inside a gas chamber used by Nazis. In the five-minute video, Higgins said he wanted to use the back drop of a prison camp to show Americans why our military must be invincible. But the director of a global Holocaust research center says making a political statement where thousands of Jews were killed is not appropriate. The video has been taken down.
Louisiana is now on board with Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Utah and Washington, as Governor Edwards signed into law a measure to allow students to bring sunscreen to school. Supporters hope this law brings awareness to the dangers of skin cancer, along with the choice to bring sunscreen to school. School districts across the country have in place a ban on any non-prescription medication being brought to school. This law would make it okay in the case of sunscreen.
Arguments were heard yesterday before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Christopher Ware, a Rastafarian inmate with dreadlocks, who doesn’t want to cut his hair as prison rules state, because he says it goes against his religious beliefs. ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman says religious discrimination against prisoners is prohibited.
LSU pitcher Eric Walker will meet with a physician with the Texas Rangers tomorrow. Walker’s season ended during the College World Series, because of discomfort in his throwing arm. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says if the injury to Walker keeps him out of the 2018 season or forces him to miss an extended period of time, it opens another spot in the weekend rotation.
In NBA news…free-agent guard Nick Young has signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. The Pelicans fron office was interested in signing the 32-year-old after he averaged 13 points a game for the Lakers a season ago.
Former Saints Kicker Morten Andersen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month. It was announced today that his son will present his Dad in the Hall.
News for Wednesday 070517
By Dave Graichen
Secretary of State Tom Schedler will not turn over voter identification information as requested by President Donald Trump’s voting commission. Schedler says voter information like Social Security numbers, birth dates and mother’s maiden name should remain private. The Republican calls the request by Trump’s commission an overreach and politically motivated. Schedler says state law allows anyone to purchase limited voter information, which would include names, party registrations, voter histories, but not how a person votes.
A suspect who shot at a sheriff’s deputy in Ouachita Parish has been taken into custody. The shooting happened at about 4:30 Tuesday morning in south Monroe during a traffic stop. A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Office says the deputy was not hit when two shots were fired.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy is among 10 Senate Republicans calling for the cancellation of the August recess. Kennedy says Congress has three months to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires September 30th. He says a budget and 12 appropriations bills before that date also has to be approved to avoid a government shutdown. No word if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will cancel the August recess.
About 38-thousand state workers will see a pay raise this fiscal year. The higher wages will cost the state an additional 48-million dollars, but state civil service director Byron Decoteau says the raises combat a high turnover rate in state government, which is also costly. Decoteau says prison guards and probation officers are among the state workers that will see an even higher pay on January 2nd.
The state department of transportation is mourning the loss of one its employees who was killed while fixing potholes near New Iberia. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says 63-year-old Paul Featherston was standing behind a dump truck when he was struck. The State Police are investigating the fatal accident. At this time, no charges have been filed against the 88-year-old driver.
Sgt. Staty Lewis with the St. John Parish Sheriff’s office is lucky to be alive after he was hit by a drunk driver. Sheriff Mike Tregre says 29-year-old Davis McGirt of Baton Rouge was travelling at high speeds when he slammed into the police unit. McGirt is charged with DWI, vehicular negligent injury, and careless operation. Lewis was assisting with an accident on the side of I-10 when he was hit. He was airlifted to an area hospital and treated for head, neck, and back injuries.
A traffic stop by the Grant Parish Sheriff’s led to the arrest of a Pollock man for several drug charges. 36 year old Tillman Terrebonne, Jr was arrested for Possession of C.D.S. crystal meth, Possession of Hydrocodone, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and a Probation Violation.
Public school students will learn to write cursive this year, as a law by Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell has gone into effect. Mizell pushed the bill through last year because she was worried kids won’t be able to sign their names or read cursive writing. The requirement was delayed until this year to give schools time to prepare.
Farmers and ranchers impacted by last year’s floods could be eligible for recovery grants. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says the state has $10 million to help affected farmers. He says to qualify, you must have had at least $10,000 in uninsured losses.
LSU announces outfielder Antoine Duplantis will wear the jersey number eight next year. That jersey goes to the upperclassman who exemplifies leadership and dedication to the program.
The LSU men’s basketball program recently picked a verbal commitment from one of the top point guards in the country. Ja’Vonte Smart from Scotlandville High School in Baton Rouge has chosen to stay home and play for the Tigers.
News for Friday 063017
By Dave Graichen
Plastipak Packaging announces its adding production lines at its manufacturing facility in Pineville. Plastipak makes plastic containers for food, beverage and consumer products. The state’s economic development office says Plastipak’s 15 million dollar investment will result in over 30 new direct and indirect jobs.
Louisiana ranks ninth in the country for structurally deficient rural bridges, according to the transportation research group TRIP. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says that’s not surprising, as he just had to close a bridge in Vernon Parish.
The report found 15-percent of rural bridges in Louisiana need to be repaired or replaced.
LSU Health New Orleans unveils a plan to reduce cancer deaths over the next five years. Director of the Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control program Donna Williams says with expanded access to Medicaid more individuals should get screened and they’re also working in communities to reduce factors that contribute to cancer, like obesity and smoking. Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation in cancer deaths.
A jury trial is set for December in the case against a Louisiana private investigator accused of trying to illegally obtain Donald Trump's tax returns before last year's presidential election. Jordan Hamlett's trial is scheduled to start Dec. 4. U.S. District Judge James Brady set that trial date on Thursday. Earlier this month, Brady refused to suppress statements that Hamlett allegedly made to federal agents before his arrest on a charge he misused a Social Security number.
The US has reached a new sugar trade agreement with Mexico. General Manager of the American Sugarcane League Jim Simon says Mexico flooded the US market with subsidized sugar, and this agreement should end Mexico’s illegal dumping practices.
Simon says the market flooding deflated prices, which hurts local farmers.
The state office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control suspends the alcohol permit for Reggie’s Bar, a popular establishment near the LSU campus. On Monday night, Baton Rouge police arrested 37 individuals in a sting operation for underage drinking.
Schools.com ranks the University of Louisiana at Monroe the best four year college in the state. ULM president Dr. Nick Bruno says it is exciting and satisfying to be recognized this way. He says ULM is a small institution that has a very big attitude.
The ratings are based on factors like affordability and variety of degree programs.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore will provide more details today on last July’s ambush on police officers in Baton Rouge. Moore has called a 10 AM press conference in which more details will be learned about Gavin Eugene Long, the gunman who ended up killing three officers and injuring three others. Former East Baton Rouge prosecutor Prem Burns says she’s not sure how those details would serve the community. She says she doesn’t understand the need for a media event because the ambush is still painful to many people.
Today a north Louisiana legend is being laid to rest, as funeral services for Johnny Huntsman begin today at 2 p.m. in Oak Grove. Huntsman opened the first Johnny’s Pizza House in 1967 in Monroe, which has grown into an empire spanning several states.
LSU baseball had its most successful season since winning the national championship in 2009 and Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the pieces are in place to make it to Omaha again next year. Moran says the biggest question is with the starting rotation as the Tigers top two starters, Alex Lange and Jared Poche, are moving on to pro ball.
This year’s College World Series set numerous multi-year total live audience viewership highs, and shattered streaming records over the course of the 10-day, 16-game event, according to LSU. The CWS Finals featuring the Tigers and Florida was the second most watched two-game finals ever, and when LSU lost in game 2, viewership peaked at more than 2.6 million people.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is launching a co-ed youth flag football league called Football N America that he says would be an alternative to tackle football. He says flag football is a safe, fun and friendly way to get your kids involved with the sport.
Registration begins today at PlayFNA.com.
News for Thursday 062917
By Dave Graichen
At the request of President Trump, Governor John Bel Edwards has been reappointed to the council of Governors. The Governor made the announcement earlier in the week saying it was a true honor and that he is looking forward to continuing to working alongside other dedicated governors in service to our nation. Edwards said the Republican president once called him "his favorite Democrat," though the governor admitted he didn't know whether the president was joking or not.
The RPSO is reminding people who are planning to shoot off fireworks this holiday weekend, there are a few rules you need to be aware of… Fireworks are prohibited within 25 yards of a public road or any residential sub-division. Fireworks are also prohibited within 50 yards of a church or school. Also, be sure to check with your local laws if you live INSIDE city limits.
The National Safety Council ranks Louisiana the tenth safest state in the country overall, but the state receives an F rating for workplace safety. President and CEO Deborah Hersman says the state has lots of improvement to make in this category. Louisiana earned an A grade for roadway safety and a C for home and community safety and a “C” grade when it comes to safety policies and legislation that can help reduce preventable deaths.
When is a Police Chase not worth the risk… A two-year-old is among the three dead after a car chase ended with a crash in New Orleans east. Louisiana State Police spokesperson, Trooper Melissa Matey, says state police units attempted to stop the vehicle in downtown New Orleans for a stolen license plate. Matey says the driver fled the scene and collided with a truck and ran off the road. Two people were thrown from the vehicle, including the 2-year-old. Both were killed. Matey says a third person took their own life after the crash.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission unanimously approved construction for a new Entergy plant in Westlake. Entergy spokesperson Michael Burns customer savings are expected to exceed the $872 million cost of the plant in less than a decade. Burns says the new plant will also be cleaner and more energy efficient than older natural gas-fired plants. The plant should be up and running by June of 2020
All four suspects in the brutal beating and robbery in New Orleans are behind bars. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says it was only a matter of time before these men were tracked down. Footage of the incident went viral, which helped law enforcement identify and locate the suspects. Police records indicate one of the victims suffered a serious brain injury. The other victim is going to be okay.
A Minden woman will spend 40 years in prison for fatally shooting her 22-year-old son while she was intoxicated. Forty-eight-year-old Dora Blake was sentenced Tuesday for shooting her son in the back of the head as he drove her home after she was kicked out of a casino.
Residents of St. John the Baptist Parish could have an increased risk of cancer, as the EPA finds the Denka Performance Elastomer plant in Laplace is releasing carcinogens into the air. Air testing found residents had been subjected to 88 times the concentration of chloroprene the EPA allows. EPA inspectors found 31 valve leaks in the plant, which did not have the proper tools to measure the chemical emissions. Denka officials could face criminal charges if the company is determined to have been negligent.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says he’s filed a common-sense approach to reforming the food stamp program that would impact able-bodied adults without dependents. Graves says his bill would connect SNAP recipients with job search and job training programs to help them find work opportunities. Graves says the national debt is more than $20 trillion, and a majority of that is a result of these welfare programs. He says we need to incentivize people to work, not to stay home.
News for Wednesday 062817
By Dave Graichen
The baseball season is over for LSU as they dropped game two of the College World Series Championships to Florida. The final, 6 to 1 . The win, was the first in the in the school’s history. Florida joins Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA as the only schools to have won a national championship in baseball, football and basketball.
Lawyers representing Alton Sterling’s children have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baton Rouge, it’s police department and police chief and the two white police officers involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of the black man. Attorney Chris Stewart says a culture of racial bias among Baton Rouge cops fueled the shooting
The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed in state court. A federal investigation has already determined no criminal charges should be brought against the officers.
Jimmy D. Long Sr. School of Math, Science, and the Arts is the new official name of the Natchitoches high school, as the governor signed the bill adding the name of the late state lawmaker to the school’s title. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson authored the legislation. Thompson says there will be no expense associated with the name change. Long is one of the school’s founding fathers.
For the third year in a row, the overall graduation rate of students in Rapides Parish high schools has improved. The state department of education recently released graduation rates for 2015-16. The data shows 76.7 of parish students graduating in four years from Rapides Parish high schools. The statewide average is 77 percent.
This year’s Fourth of July gas prices are the lowest since 2005. Senior petroleum analyst Patrick Dehaan with GasBuddy.com says prices usually peak around May when refineries finish up maintenance and transition to summer grade gasoline, and we usually see a slight decline after that. The statewide average of $2.06 a gallon is well below the national average of $2.25.
Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes a bill to provide freedom of expression on college campuses. In his veto message, Edwards said the legislation by Alexandria Representative Lance Harris was a solution in search of a problem. But Harris says freedom of speech is under siege on many college campuses around the country. The bill would have created a protocol for Louisiana universities to handle controversial speakers on campus.
Governor John Bel Edwards signs into law measures aimed at keeping both motorists and police officers safe during a traffic stop. The new laws set to go into effect August 1 would require driver’s education courses to teach soon to be drivers about what to do during a traffic stop. The Governor says while police officers receive training on how to conduct the stops, it’s important for us as citizens to react appropriately as well.
Tiger fans will soon have a new brew of their own, as Louisiana’s own Community Coffee gears up to launch an LSU Blend full-bodied special dark roast coffee. Spokesperson Jodi Conachen says the Baton Rouge based company wanted to honor its roots. Conachen says the LSU Blend will be available next month.
Warrants have been issued for the final two suspects in the brutal beating in New Orleans that left one victim with acute brain injury. Two suspects have turned themselves in, and the remaining two are still at large. Police encourage the suspects to come forward.
The state will study what would happen if the legal smoking age was raised to 21. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman authored the resolution calling for the study. He knows there will be some pushback but says former smokers will approve. The study will be completed before the start of the next legislative session.
LSU pitcher Jared Poche’s father helped save a Florida fan’s life at Game 1 of the College World Series finals. Dr. Jerry Poche says the 87-year-old man had no pulse when he was alerted by the family. Poche helped perform CPR on the man until medics arrived. The unidentified man is reportedly in good condition.
Authorities in Tangipahoa Parish believe they have found the body of the little 9-year-old girl who went missing in the river Sunday while swimming. They say Gabriell McCoy was recovered about two miles where she was last reported to have been seen. The body was taken to the Tangipahoa Parish Corner’s Office for positive identification.
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance and the State Treasurer’s Office launch a new savings program to help people with disabilities. Tyana Dequana with LOSFA says the LA ABLE program enables people with disabilities to put money aside for future expenses. Dequana says people can save up to $14,000 a year without losing those benefits. But once the account reaches $100,000, social security payments would end until the amount goes back under that threshold. She says this comes as a relief to many with disabilities who will finally be able to do something to help themselves for the future.
News for Tuesday 062717
By Dave Graichen
The LSU tigers lost game one of the College World Series Championship Game last night by a score of 4 to 3 to Florida. Tonight, it’s win or go home.If the tigers do win, the rubber game will be played Wednesday. Airtime tonight 6:30p on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm
Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy urging them to oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which is the Senate GOP health care plan. In the letter the governor says the bill would result in the loss of coverage for millions of Americans, punishes Louisiana for running a lean Medicaid program, and effectively eliminating the state’s Medicaid expansion.
The US Senate’s version of the federal healthcare bill has some worried about the future of healthcare in Louisiana. State Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says if passed as is, the bill would result in up to 500,000 Louisianans losing their insurance. Gee says this bill also does not address one of the biggest concerns that came after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, like the rising cost of health insurance. She says the Senate’s plan will actually drive up insurance costs even more.
Students who attend seven of the nine schools that make up the University of Louisiana System will pay higher fees for school next fall. The increase will cost students an extra 108-dollars on average. But UL System President Doctor Jim Henderson says college students will pay less for their education this year, because TOPS is fully funded.
In the long-running debate over vouchers, a report issued Monday says voucher recipients in Louisiana bounced back from dismal scores initially in math and English.
The study follows an earlier review that said voucher recipients did "significantly worse" than their peers in the first year, and "slightly less negative" after year two. The latest review said that, after three years in the program, voucher recipients were performing roughly the same as their public school peers in math and English/language arts. Around 7,100 students get the aid, and 87 percent are African American students, according to the study.
Even after lawmakers passed two laws aimed at addressing the state’s opioid epidemic, experts say more can be done to solve the growing problem. East Baton Rouge Parish coroner Dr. Beau Clark says the new laws are phase one, which is to stop creating new addicts by limiting opioid prescriptions. But he says many people are already living with an addiction, and they need treatment. Clark says the challenge with treating these people is that rehabs are not funded on the state level, which is why many addicts end up in prisons. He says addiction is an illness that belongs in a medical facility, not the judicial system.
One of four suspects in a brutal New Orleans beating and robbery has been arrested. Police say 21-year-old Dejuan Paul of Kenner surrendered under suspicion of second degree robbery. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says two victims from Boston were in town visiting when the incident occurred on Saturday night. Authorities say they have identified the remaining suspects and encourage them to come forward.
The LSU AgCenter will use a nearly one million grant from the USDA to study what could be impacting honeybee colonies. Entomologist Kristen Healy says one possible factor is mites, because they transmit pathogens to the bees, like the deformed wing virus. Healy says it’s important to protect the bee population because one out of every three bites of food we eat relies on bees for pollination.
A New Iberia father and son have been charged with killing a Louisiana black bear. The Louisiana Black Bear was killed near Lyida in 2015. LDWF officials say through ballistic testing they were able to determine that 59-year-old Elie Dupre owned a rifle that shot the fatal bullet which killed the black bear. It was determined his 15-year-old son was present during the shooting. The father and son face a significant fine and possible jail time.
Governor John Bel Edwards has signed the bill into law that allows students in public schools to apply sunscreen themselves without a doctors note. School employees would also be able to apply sunscreen to students.
News for Monday 062617
By Dave Graichen
People close to Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines say they are in shock over his arrest Friday afternoon on drug charges. The APD reports the 49 year old Grines was arrested around 5 p.m. near the Alexandria City Court complex. He was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence, malfeasance in office and illegal carrying of a weapon. Authorities say the arrest was the result of a lengthy multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional investigation.
After an amazing weekend.. The Tigers will go for their seventh national championship and second under coach Paul Mainieri. The Tigers will play at home tonight and tomorrow in Gainesville. If a third game is needed, it’s back to Baton Rouge. Airtime tonight, 5:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3 fm.
More Louisiana students are graduating high school than ever before, as the state’s graduation rate is up to 77 percent. Education Superintendent John White says that is a result of the state’s hard work to increase the number of graduates and the education levels of those grads. Over 35-hundred more students graduated this school year than in 2012.
The Alliance for Excellent Education ranks Louisiana’s education plan one of the most promising in the country. Erin Bendily with the state Department of Education says Louisiana students are just as capable as students from other states. She says that’s why their plan sets ambitious but achievable goals for students and school systems.
State Education Superintendent John White says this plan is one of the reasons Louisiana’s high school graduation rate is higher than ever at 77 percent.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has moved out of the ICU, according to an update from MedStar Washington hospital. MedStar says the Jefferson Parish Congressman remains in fair condition as he continues to recover from a gunshot wound to a hip sustained in a shootout on members of congress at a ballpark.
The LSU board of supervisors accepted a recommendation to award the medical marijuana project to Las Vegas-based GB Sciences Inc. When finalized, LSU Ag Center head Dr. Bill Richardson says it could mean $3.4 million over five years, or 10% of gross receipts, whichever is higher. LSU and Southern University are the only institutions allowed to grow cannabis in the state..
Citing opposition from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, state Attorney General Jeff Landry has quietly abandoned his much-hyped effort to fight crime in New Orleans using a special task force of state agents. The task force generated at least 16 arrests and a heap of controversy over its short lifespan. The most recent criticism came earlier this month, after the task force had been disbanded, when a federal judge said Landry’s agents had no authority to make arrests in Orleans Parish.
A Hammond man is being held on more than a $70 million dollars bond for allegedly filming sexual videos of children and posting them online. 23-year-old Nicholas Paul Duvic is charged with 300 counts of possession of child pornography, 300 counts of distribution of child pornography, one count of production of child pornography involving children under 13 years old and 24 counts of video voyeurism.
A 79-year-old former Secretary of State employee has been arrested for possession of child pornography on his state issued computer. State Trooper Michael Reichardt says the department took immediate action against Bruce Barron. Reichardt says Bruce Barron was booked into the Union Parish Correctional Center on one count of possession of child pornography involving juveniles.
They call it Vaping and now many experts say it may not be the best way to kick your cigarette habit. Josselin Carter, with Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, says vaping can end up being a substitution for the same habit because many juices contain nicotine. Carter adds doctors aren’t sure vaping is safer than cigarettes, as there is no long-term data to support that claim. To get more information on how to quit smoking, visit SmokingCessationTrust.org
Tulane University’s Upward Bound Program has received a 2.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help high school students who hope to become their first in their family to go to college. Upward Bound is a program aimed at helping prospective college students academically prepare for higher education.
News for Friday 062317
By Dave Graichen
The APD announced yesterday that their top man, Chief Loren Lampert, is resigning, effective July 15th. Lampert has been Chief of Police since September of 2011. Lampert says he plans to work as an assistant district attorney in another parish. Details of that will be announced at a later time.
31-year-old Joseph Roy of Marksville was arrested Wednesday night after he crashed his vehicle on Jackson Street Extension. The APD reports upon arriving at the scene of the crash officers found a syringe on the floor of the vehicle. During the on scene investigation, the officer found that the Roy had been injecting heroin while driving to work, and the effects of the drugs contributed to the crash. He was charged with second-offense DWI and a long list of drug charges.
Southern University was warned last week that it could lose its accreditation that is required for the school to offer degrees and receive federal dollars. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Southern University on a warning list during its June board meeting. Southern received the sanction because the school missed benchmarks related to its faculty, student achievement, "institutional effectiveness," and student complaints. The university will have a year to make necessary changes.
LSU students will have to pay more out of pocket in fees to attend school this fall.
With very little discussion and no objections, the LSU Board of Supervisors approved Thursday a student-fee increase of about 2 percent across the board. Depending on the program and the school the increase will be anywhere from a $4 per credit hour “athletic fee” for LSU Alexandria students to $270 for those attending the LSU Law School to $600 per semester “student excellence” charges at the LSU Vet School. The 30,000 or so undergrads on the flagship’s Baton Rouge campus will pay $270 more.
Louisiana will get a new medical school, as the Board of Regents grants a license to New York Institute of Technology, which will be hosted on the ULM campus. ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno says the Stubbs Hall building on campus could be the new home of the med school. ULM is also the only publicly funded pharmacy school in the state.
LSU and No.1 Oregon State play today at 2pm in the College World Series. With a win, the Tigers will force an elimination game versus The Beavers on Saturday. With a loss, the 2017 LSU baseball season will come to an end. The Tigers will start All-SEC pitcher Alex Lange, who says he’s ready to go.
The 67th Annual Ruston Peach Festival begins today at noon. Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Judy Copeland says even though the peach harvest wasn’t good this year, visitors can try a large variety of different peach flavored foods. She says all vendors are required to have a least one item on their menu with peaches.
Copeland says about 23-thousand people come to the festival each year. Uncle Kracker is the headliner for Saturday night.
The National Safety Council has launched a vehicle recall campaign to allow motorists to enter in their VIN number to determine if a there has been a manufacturer recall on the vehicle. President and CEO of the National Safety Council Deborah Hersman says Louisiana has the third highest rate of open recalls in the country, with one in four vehicles on the road in Louisiana have an open recall.
The Louisiana Nursing Home Association announces 18 facilities in the state have been chosen as a recipient for the Bronze-Commitment to Quality Award. This achievement spotlights providers who have demonstrated commitment to quality care for seniors.
The 18 facilities that received the achievement are located throughout the state from Bossier City to Houma.
Angola inmate John Floyd has been set free after spending 36 years behind bars after a U.S. District Court judge tossed his life in prison conviction. Judge Sarah Vance believed there was evidence that Floyd was wrongly convicted in the 1980 murder of William Hines, a proofreader with the Times- Picayune.
News for Wednesday 062117
By Dave Graichen
The APD reports a car hit the Public Safety Complex building Tuesday morning, putting a rather large hole in the side.. Police believe the 81-year-old woman driving the vehicle hit the gas instead of the brake. Causing her car jumped the curb and strike the building. The woman received injuries and was taken to a local hospital. No on in the building was injured.
Flash flood watches are in effect across Central Louisiana through Thursday night as Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to make landfall in the next two days. State Climatologist Barry Keim says storm surge could be an issue in coastal areas and there is a possibility of tornados. But he says rain and potential flash flooding will be the biggest problem.
The National Weather Service's office in Lake Charles is forecasting 2-3 inches of rain in the Alexandria area through Thursday, as well as higher-than-normal wind gusts.
Parts of Central Louisiana to the west of Alexandria should see somewhat heavier rain. CLECO is urging residents to be prepared. The Utility says they will have crews on standby to restore power if the need arises.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that prevents public schools from physically punishing students with developmental disabilities. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says this allows the administration to take a step back and realize certain students are not allowed to receive corporal punishments. 38 out of 69 public school districts in the state permit paddling or spanking.
The Department of Education announces new applicants will be placed on a waiting list starting July 1st as the demand for state childcare assistance rises. Assistant superintendent of early childhood development Jenna Conway says this program offers subsidies for working families to choose a childcare provider. The program grew exponentially when the DOE lowered the work threshold for families to qualify, from 30 to 20 hours a week, and the lack of funding keeps them from accommodating everyone.
A survey by the Society for Human Research Management finds one third companies are willing to provide employees with better benefits in order to attract more talented workers. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says this can be a more beneficial way to entice people over an increase in salary. Rosa says 401K’s and many company benefits went away during the recession but now those are coming back. He says businesses are adding even more benefits as they are trying to attract the right employees.
There is a new law that allows the state Office of Tourism to sell naming rights or grant leases for state parks to add new attractions. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state parks have always been a burden on taxpayers that never brought in any money. But he says this new law should change that and allow them to upgrade park attractions. Nungesser says they’ll ensure that whatever businesses they bring in to these partnerships does not compete with local business.
St. Tammany Parish authorities say a suspected murderer is behind bars after he was found walking down a wooded area of I-59. 40-year-old Jason Magee III is wanted in the death of his ex-wife and her boyfriend, who were fatally shot at home Monday evening. Police say the investigation into the deadly shooting is ongoing.
LSU faces Florida State again tonight in the College World Series. This time the loser will be eliminated. The Tigers defeated the Seminoles 5-4 in the opening round of the College World Series. In two games in Omaha, the Tigers have driven in just four runs.
News for Tuesday 062017
By Dave Graichen
State Police report an Olla man died Monday morning after his vehicle crossed the center line and hit a loaded log truck. 29 year old Nick Harris died at the scene of the wreck on La. Highway 8 in Fishville.
State officials are preparing for potential flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moves towards the southwestern coast of Louisiana. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says heavy rains and potential flash flooding are the biggest threat. The National Weather Service is calling for three to six inches of rain across much of the state, with some areas a foot of rain. Steele encourages the public to prepare for the coming storm now.
Wounded Congressman Steve Scalise was elected US House Majority Whip three years ago, and experts say that no matter his condition the lawmaker from Jefferson Parish still has a bright political future. Analyst Clancy DuBos says Scalise is a classic Louisiana politician in the best and highest sense. Dr’s report the congressman’s condition continues to improve.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he may not issue the call for a special session where lawmakers could address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018. Edwards says House Republicans did not support any of the recommendations from the tax reform task force in the regular session, nor did they propose a plan of their own. He’s skeptical anything would be accomplished in another special session. Edwards says he’s not giving up. He says he will continue to work with lawmakers to try and find common ground where a compromise can be reached.
Louisiana needs to improve the way it serves older adults and those with disabilities, according to a scorecard from AARP. Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl, says Louisiana has an unbalanced long term care system because Medicaid dollars tend to go towards nursing homes when many older adults want to stay at home with help from family and friends. He says as a state, we have a lot of work to do.
Louisiana is the first state in the country to ban the box on college admissions asking if a prospective student has a criminal record. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the measure into law. Research finds two out of three people with convictions stop filling out their college application after seeing this box.
The Supreme Court struck down a law in North Carolina which bans sex offenders from using social media. The law in Louisiana specifically applies to people convicted of sex crimes with children. Justices say taking Twitter, Facebook and other popular accounts away all together would prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights.
The 10th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off gets underway today at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says this is a great way to showcase the fresh seafood of the Bayou State. He says a dozen Louisiana chefs will compete in the cook-off. This is the first year the event will be held in Acadiana, as it usually takes place in New Orleans.
Louisiana’s craft beer industry is growing rapidly. That’s according to Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, Cary Koch, who says we’re on track for more growth if the state fosters a good business environment. He says 6 new breweries opened last year, and even more are in the planning stage.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Springhill teen is charged with second degree murder for allegedly shooting another teen Sunday in Plain Dealing following an ongoing dispute. The suspect is identified as 19-year-old Phillip Woods, and the murdered victim is 16.
LSU fell and fell hard last night in the college world series, 13-1 to No. 1 seed Oregon State. But they are not out yet.. The Tigers will have to win two games to win now, starting with an elimination game against Florida State at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
News for Monday 061917
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana Legislature finally passed a budget for next fiscal year. Senate Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur calls it a smart and reasonable spending plan that adequately funds the state’s biggest priorities. With the passage of the budget, the special session ended Friday afternoon. But another special session will most likely be called early next year to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in temporary taxes.
UL System President Dr. Jim Henderson calls this legislative session one of the most successful for higher ed in nearly a decade. He says he’s thrilled lawmakers approved a budget that fully funds TOPS, after failing to do so for the first time in the program’s history last academic year. The spending plan is the first in nearly a decade that did not reduce funding to higher education.
Doctors remain encouraged over the progress Jefferson Parish Congressman Steve Scalise has made over the last few days as he’s recovering from a gunshot wound to the hip. Director of Trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Dr Jake Sava says Scalise has a long road ahead of him but is expected to be able to walk and even run again.
Louisiana’s economy is picking up as nonfarm and private sector jobs are improving. Over the month of May, nonfarm employment gained 10,500 jobs, the best one month gain since July of 2011. Private sector jobs increased by more than 9-thousand over the month. The Bayou State is among four other states with the largest percentage gains in jobs.
Louisiana officials were in a federal courtroom seeking to have a lawsuit thrown out that challenges recent laws that restrict abortions in the state. The laws extend waiting periods, ban certain procedures and restrict which doctors can perform abortions. Pro-choice organizations say the regulations interfere with the constitutional right that allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy.
It’s expected the governor will call a special session early next year so legislators can address the fiscal cliff. Alford says the governor may propose ideas recommended by a task force that studied the state’s tax code, but that doesn’t mean the legislature will agree to those proposals. A big portion of the temporary taxes that will expire next year is the additional penny put on the state sales tax last year by legislators to address a massive budget shortfall. Alford says the easiest thing for lawmakers to do is to keep the fifth sales tax penny on the books.
Attorney General Jeff Landry announces 51 people have been arrested on child exploitation charges under Operation Broken Heart. With the work of numerous police departments, sheriff’s officers and state and federal agencies these individuals from all around the state were arrested. The charges range from possession of child pornography to Solicitation of minor.
Bayou Teche Brewing has a newly expanded Arnaudville brewery. President Karlos Knott says they added 50-percent more floor space, including new office space and an automated keg washing system. The expansion was needed to increase sales of their year-round LA 31 beers and seasonal beers. This brewhouse, made by an Italian firm, is the first of its kind in the country.
The Beauregard Parish Police Jury hopes to transfer the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard from New Orleans to their parish. Police Jury President Rusty Williamson says it’s the right place for the monument to be, given the fact that the parish is named after the Confederate General. Members of the Beauregard Community Coalition do not support moving the statue to Beauregard Parish. But Williamson says they determined bringing it to the parish was the best idea to avoid the namesake statue ending up in the trash. He says there are a variety of places to erect the statue other than the courthouse.
Something has to give in tonight’s College World Series winner’s bracket matchup between LSU and Oregon State. The Tigers have won 17 in a row, while the Beavers have won 22 straight. Both teams rallied from behind to win in the opening round of the C-W-S and Coach Paul Mainieri says expects another hard fought battle tonight.
First pitch is scheduled for 6p tonight on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.
News for Friday 061617
By Dave Graichen
A day after he was shot in the hip by a lone gunman who fired into a crowd of Republican lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise remained in critical condition Thursday evening after undergoing another lengthy third surgery, this one aimed at repairing a broken bone and other internal injuries caused by the bullet. The MedStar Washington Hospital Center reported last night The Metairie congressman, who serves as House majority whip, “has improved in the last 24 hours”. They say the Congressman will require additional operations and will be in the hospital for some time.
New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond says it is time to ramp up security for federal lawmakers, after a shootout at a baseball park in Virginia left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise seriously injured. Richmond says in these polarizing times, Congressional leaders need to be aware of the potential danger of their positions.
There’s a chance the special session could end today as a budget deal is near. The Senate Finance Committee approved the nearly 29-billion dollar spending plan yesterday, one day after the House approved it. So if the full senate passes the budget today without any changes, it will go the governor for him to sign it.
An extensive criminal justice reform package approved by the legislature is now law as the bills associated with the overhaul were signed by Governor John Bel Edwards Thursday. Edwards says many of these measures were successful in other states when it came to reducing the prison population. The bills signed into law will lead to shorter sentences for many non-violent offenders and expanded rehabilitation programs.
The LSU AgCenter selects a vendor for the medical marijuana program. AgCenter Chancellor Dr. Bill Richardson says this is the last major hurdle to getting the drug into the hands of those who need it. He says the details of the agreement have not been released, but the plan is to contract with a biopharmaceutical research company from Las Vegas called GB Sciences. Richardson says the Board of Supervisors will act on the plan at their June 22 meeting. He says they hope to have the product available to the patients by early 2018.
I will be a busy red snapper season for Louisiana anglers. Under an agreement with the federal government, fisherman will get 39 days, beginning today until September 4th,to fish for red snapper in federal waters on weekends. Recreational anglers will be permitted to start fishing 200 miles off the coast of Louisiana for red snapper every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 4th, also included are July 3rd and 4th and Labor Day.
State Police say a trooper is under arrest for allegedly using excessive force when taking someone into custody in New Orleans. They say Trooper John Neal is accused of kicking the suspect and bashing his head into a window while the suspect was handcuffed. Neal has been on forced leave since the February incident and is booked with on one count of simple battery.
The LSU Baseball team arrived in Omaha yesterday ahead of College World Series play that begins against Florida State on Saturday night. If the Tigers win it all, it would be the school’s seventh national championship, but head Coach Paul Mainieri says they will take it one game at a time. Mainieri told his players it’s been a great season regardless of what happens in the CWS.
News for Thursday 061517
By Dave Graichen
New Orleans area Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is recovering after surgery after he was shot in the hip while at practice for a charity baseball game yesterday. The Illinois man identified as the shooter belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.” 5th district congressman Ralph Abraham said yesterday, it’s a sad day in America. The gunman was killed by Capitol police officers. St. Landry Parish Congressman Clay Higgins says that’s just fine with him and he wishes his colleague a full and speedy recovery.
President Donald Trump spoke at the White House about the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise. The two have developed a close relationship as Scalise has been a huge ally in the U.S. House in the President’s attempt to overhaul health care and reform the nation’s tax code. Mr. Trump says he has offered full and complete support to the Scalise family.
Legislators have taken a significant step towards ending the budget impasse and the special session. On a 56-44 vote, the House has approved a budget that allocates 100-percent of the available money. A large contingent of House Republicans wanted to withhold at least 100-million dollars, because the state constantly has midyear revenue shortfalls. But New Orleans Representative Walt Leger said if the state didn’t allocate all of the available dollars, cuts will occur to areas of the budget that could least afford it. The 28-billion dollar budget proposal will be heard in the Senate finance committee today, and it has the support of the Governor.
A Marksville man threw his girlfriend under the bus, so to speak, after the pair paid for fast food, at a North Blvd. restaurant, with a counterfeit $100 bill. The fake bill was immediately reported to the APD who responded to the scene and found the couple still in the restaurant’s parking lot. The man inside the truck, 26-year-old Chancey Johnson, denied knowing the bill was fake, telling officers he got it from his girlfriend. Both were arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
A new law that limits first time opioid prescriptions may not address Louisiana’s opioid epidemic as much as we hoped. St. Tammany Coroner Charles Preston says according to numbers he’s seen; only four to 13 percent of patients will misuse their opioid prescription, and four percent of those will go on to use harder drugs. He says that means less than one percent of those who receive opioid prescriptions will abuse drugs.
Preston says this new law is a positive step. But he hopes it doesn’t cloud the importance of funding addiction treatment programs.
State Police say a Baton Rouge Police officer shot and killed a passenger who allegedly got out of a vehicle during a traffic stop with a gun last Tuesday night. The investigation is ongoing. The deceased is identified as 35-year-old Jordan Frazier.
Tulane researchers have found Louisiana is sinking at a rate of just over one third of an inch per year, which is 50-percent faster than what was estimated two years ago. Geology professor and co-author of the report, Tor Tornqvist, says we’ve always known the state is sinking, but they developed a map of coastal Louisiana to determine how rapidly it’s going underwater and where. He says this research should alarm all residents about future of Louisiana’s coastline.
Good news for Baton Rouge area motorists, as the state Department of Transportation announces plans to widen Interstate 10 from four to six lanes in East Baton Rouge and Ascension Parishes. The project also includes the replacement of the LA 42 overpass. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says construction will begin early next year. The $72 million project is funded through a combination of state and federal funds.
The LSU Tigers leave for Omaha this morning. It’s their first trip to the College World Series since 2015. LSU pitcher Alex Lange will start versus Florida State on Saturday night. Lange says everyone is excited about the opportunity to win the school’s seventh national championship. Saturday Airtime for the game is 6:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3
News for Wednesday 061417
By Dave Graichen
Allen Parish Sheriff’s deputies have located the body of a 12-year-old who possibly drowned in the Calcasieu River Sunday evening. Authorities believe the child tried to swim across the river, went into distress and went under.
A Pollock firefighter has been accused of making more than $11,000 in purchases for herself with the department's credit card. 39 year old Christy was charged by the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office with unauthorized use of an access card and malfeasance in office.
The House Appropriations Committee approved a 28-billion dollar budget that spends more than what they proposed in the regular session, but still less than what the Senate and governor wanted. Chairman Cameron Henry says the new proposal represents nearly 99 percent of the state income forecast. Under the latest proposal, $100 million would be left on the table as opposed to $206 million. The full house will debate the budget today.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the House’s idea to withhold money from the budget in case of a shortfall is not a responsible approach. He says any money not appropriated cannot be spent later. Edwards adds that money can also not be used in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood.
Col. Kevin Reeves has been named as the permanent superintendent of Louisiana State Police, after serving as interim since March. Reeves says he remains committed to the public. Reeves began his career with State Police as a motorcycle trooper in 1990.
The Agenda for Children ranks Louisiana 48th in the country for overall child wellbeing in their KIDS COUNT report. KIDS COUNT Coordinator Theresa Falgoust says Louisiana made strides in some key areas, like more parents having high school diplomas and full-time jobs, fewer babies born with low birthweights, and other areas.
Falgoust adds 96 percent of Louisiana children now have health insurance and that’s a major improvement.
Governor John Bel Edwards has announced the replacement for former Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle on the LSU Board of Supervisors. In a statement, the governor says Mary Werner will take over the vacated seat for the remainder of the term representing the 3rd Congressional District. Angelle left his role as public service commissioner after he was named director of the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Although increasing slightly nationally, gas prices are dropping in 30 states and Louisiana is one of those seeing a decline in prices at the pump. That’s according to AAA spokesperson Don Redman, who says prices are slightly lower than at this time last year. The statewide average of $2.14 a gallon is well below the forecast for June of $2.40 a gallon. Redman says how low it will go is hard to predict. He says we’re seeing higher demand like we typically do for summer, but refineries have kept up with the demand.
A suspect has died following an officer involved shooting in St. Martin Parish. Authorities say deputies attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect, when the male subject pulled a gun. Shots were fired at the suspect, and he was transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Three people have been arrested for allegedly sneaking drugs into Angola after police received a tip about a package containing what is believed to be marijuana and tobacco products. Police say the three Morgan City suspects are charged with criminal conspiracy to introduce contraband into a penal facility. Officals say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could be made.
The Department of Children and Family Services encourages Louisiana residents to pre-register for disaster food stamps in preparation for hurricane season. Kim Matherne with DCFS says pre-registering gets your information in the system and makes things move smoother following a disaster. She says people can pre-register at dcfs.la.gov
The pairings and game times for the first two days of the College World Series have been announced. LSU will take on Florida in the second game in Omaha on Saturday at 7pm. The first game that day is scheduled to begin at 2pm, and will feature Cal St. Fullerton against No. 1 national seed Oregon St.
The city of Omaha is excited LSU is back in the College World Series. Tracie McPherson with Visit Omaha says they always enjoy when Tiger fans visit because the Purple and Gold Nation love a good party. The Tigers will face Florida State on Saturday at 7pm.
Thirty-two-year-old running back Adrian Peterson says he’s ready to catch passes in the Saints offense. Peterson caught 241 passes during his 10 seasons in Minnesota and doesn’t know why people say he can’t be a pass catching running back. Peterson has nearly 12-hundred rushing yards during his Hall of Fame career and he says he’s looking forward to playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees this season.
News for Tuesday 061317
By Dave Graichen
Lawmakers are back at the state capitol trying to iron out a budget for next fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne went before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday and said he doesn’t understand why they didn’t support the Senate’s spending plan, which would have spared cuts in many areas. But Covington Representative John Schroder says needs and wants are not relevant, but this is about what the state can afford. A budget must be approved before the special session ends, which is June 19th. Discussion of the spending plan will continue on the House floor today.
It’s been 17 years since the legislature adjourned a regular session without passing a budget, until this year of course. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne was there nearly two decades ago, as chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Dardenne says 17 years later, we’re having many of the same discussions. He says this session was their chance to implement the reform they promised, and lawmakers failed to do so.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden wants to see a more balanced representation on the Republican-dominated House Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees. He believes more Democrats or even moderate Republicans could change some of the voting patterns.Reynolds says currently these committees are not structured for success.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed three bills to help with the state’s growing opioid abuse problem. One of new laws prohibits a doctor from prescribing more than a seven day supply of opioids for a first time prescription for acute pain. The two other bills signed into law creates a task force to study how to prevent opioid abuse and another requires doctors to look at a statewide prescription monitoring system to make the sure the patient is not “doctor-shopping.”
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves files legislation aimed at providing financial relief to 2016 flood victims. Graves says he’s spoken with many flood victims who had to tap their retirement savings to rebuild their homes or replace lost items. He says his bill also provides some financial relief for extra costs associated with drawing from retirement savings prematurely. The legislation which has bi-partisan support, would help flood victims from both the March and August floods.
A Shreveport man in serious condition getting shot while driving on Interstate 20 this morning. Shreveport police corporal Marcus Hines says detectives are still searching for a shooter and a motive.
For the first time in 20 years, the legendary band U2 is coming to New Orleans. The Mercedes Benz Superdome announced on their website that an additional concert on the Joshua Tree Tour has been added to include The Big Easy on Thursday September 14th.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approves a proposal to open the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters for the next 12 weekends as part of a compromise with the federal government and four other Gulf Coast states.
Louisiana fishermen are upset over the current three-day federal red snapper season.
The reason for the strict federal season is to ensure the once depleted red snapper population has time to grow.
LSU is considered one of the heavy favorites to win the College World Series. The Tigers have won 16 in a row and Coach Paul Mainieri likes his team’s chances as well. LSU will play Florida State this weekend. Top-seded Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton are the other two teams on LSU’s side of the bracket. LSU brings a 48-17 record to Omaha and they are five victories away from a national title
News for Monday 061217
By Dave Graichen
With one special session started, another one is already looming in the future. The goal of the current special is to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, but the governor says another one will be needed to implement tax reform and address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018. Over $1 billion in temporary taxes that were approved last year are set to expire in 2018.
The House convenes at 9 a.m. as lawmakers try again to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year, after failing to do so in the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says his recommendation is that lawmakers pick up where they left off with the conference committee report. The big debate over the budget came down to lawmakers arguing over how much, if any, of the revenue forecast to withhold in case of midyear cuts. The House wanted to hold back about $200 million, while the Senate pushed to spend more.
Democratic lawmakers are calling for a change of leadership in the House after what many call a grueling session. Some blame House Speaker Taylor Barras and Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry specifically for not approving a budget. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says currently there is no leadership in the House.
But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh says he absolutely disagrees with that. He says the House has the perfect leadership.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is challenging a move to charge state employee smokers a surcharge on their health insurance policies. The Louisiana Department of Justice, or DOJ, letter asks House and Senate leaders to allow the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to intervene on efforts by the state Office of Group Benefits to impose the smoking surcharge and other changes to cover a budget shortfall. OGB oversees nine different health insurance plans for about a quarter million state workers, school teachers, public employees, retirees and their dependents.
A New Orleans Senator told a north Louisiana Representative to shut the f up on the House floor. Haughton Representative Dodie Horton says she would never disrespect her colleagues like that. She called the ordeal with Senator Karen Carter Peterson embarrassing. The Louisiana Republican Party is calling for Peterson to step down as chair of the state Democratic Party.
According to city records, it cost more than $2 million to remove the four confederate monuments in New Orleans. City officials say half of the money was from public funds, while the rest came from private donors. The city cut $90-thousand in costs to remove the Liberty Place monument, but the contractor who took three of the four statues down was out more than $200-thousand after the city refused to cover additional costs.
At least two cases of dog flu have been confirmed in Louisiana, as canine influenza is rearing its head in Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Dr. Phillip Cancellari says some early symptoms include coughing, running nose, and red eyes. He says the virus can look a lot like allergies, so it’s important to get your pet checked at the vet. He says typical backyard dogs probably aren’t at much risk of contracting the virus.
Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says the evidence doesn’t “fully” support claims made by Christopher Landry that Kayla Denham tried to rob him during a home visit for sensual massage services. Landry told police he left the room and returned to find the 24-year-old sealing his wallet. That’s when he allegedly hit her in the head with a pipe and choked her. Landry is charged with second degree murder, and the investigation is ongoing.
For the 18th time in program history, the LSU Baseball team is Back Home in Omaha!
LSU scored six runs in the fifth inning to break open a close game and complete a two-game NCAA Super Regional sweep of Mississippi State, 12-4, early Monday morning at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers will take a 16-game winning streak to the 2017 College World Series. LSU will face Florida State in its CWS opener on either Saturday or Sunday.
News for Friday 060917
By Dave Graichen
Lawmakers have entered another special session because the legislature failed to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year during the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says it was a failure of leadership in the House that led to this unnecessary special session because lawmakers put partisan politics ahead of the people’s business. The governor says he will keep the legislature in Baton Rouge as long as it takes to pass a budget that fully funds state services. This is the fourth special session of Edwards term, and it must end by June 19.
The US Inspector General reviewed 225 cases of suspected Medicaid fraud in Louisiana, and the state had a 100% compliance rate. That’s according to Chief of Staff with the Louisiana Department of Health, Andrew Tuozzolo. He credits the use of state-of-the-art software to look for potentially fraudulent billing practices. Louisiana is one of only four states to pass this audit since 2014.
Murderers convicted as juveniles will be eligible for parole after 25 years, as a bill by Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor wins final passage. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juveniles could not be sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole. Crowley Representative John Stefanski says without this bill, Louisiana could be subject to litigation for not complying with federal law. The measure finally passed on a 67 to 34 vote. It’s one of the 10 bills that are part of the governor’s criminal justice reform effort.
More charges have been filed against the Baton Rouge man accused of running over and killing a 12-year-old boy during a police chase. State Police had already charged Joshual Hilton with manslaughter for running over the child, but BRPD has just released its report on the initial investigation of the suspect. Those findings lead to additional charges of obstruction and possession and distribution of drugs. Bond is now $307,500.
More mosquitos are possible as a result of all of the rain that has fallen across the state over the last week. LSU Ag Center Entomologist Kristen Healy says while we haven’t seen local transmission of the Zika Virus yet, that’s still a possibility. Healy recommends taking the proper precautions from getting bitten by a mosquito.
In case you didn’t hear, there were no jackpot winners in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing. That rises the estimated prize to $435 million dollars for tomorrow night’s drawing.
A report from Time Magazine finds New Orleans is one of the top five metro areas in the country for millennials to live. Demographer Greg Rigamer says it’s obvious that when you’re in the Crescent City the main age group is 25 to 34 and many businesses target that demographic. The survey from Urban Land Institute finds the city saw a nearly 9-percent increase in millennials from 2010 to 2015.
News for Thursday 060817
By Dave Graichen
A partially blind Boyce man, who had been reported missing Tuesday by his family, has been found in a wooded area near St. Clair Road, says the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office. The RPSO says 48 year old Charles Pickering suffered minor injuries and exposure, but should be fine. Family members thanked authorities and the media for helping to find Pickering.
With the school year just ending, the shuffling of school principals were announced by the school board yesterday. Catherine Lewis is the new principal at Horseshoe Drive Elementary in Alexandria. She replaces Denise Cater, who retired at the end of the year. Lewis was an assistant principal at Martin Park Elementary. Northwood High in Lena and Carter C. Raymond Elementary in Lecompte, are swapping principals. Kelli Welch will take over at Northwood for Jill Summers who became principal at the school in 2015. Summers will go to Carter C. Raymond where Welch has been principal since 2008.
The 2017 regular session comes to a close today, and Capitol observers say not much was accomplished. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the state has been dealing with budget deficits for the last decade, and this was supposed to be the year to address the problem. But, that didn’t happen. Erwin says a special session is imminent to address a looming fiscal cliff. The House plan calls for cuts to health care, public colleges, state prisons and child welfare.
Budget negotiations continue at the Capitol, but the House and Senate say they plan to fully fund TOPS next fiscal year. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says education leaders are still holding their breath until the session ends this evening. He says funding TOPS gives students some certainty, but its possible scholarship recipients will pay some money towards tuition costs. Rallo says all of the uncertainty surrounding TOPS and higher ed funding in Louisiana could impact enrollment numbers. He says other states like Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama are trying to recruit Louisiana students.
Former-FBI Director James Comey is slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today on his role in the investigation into possible Russian hacking in the presidential election. US Senator John Kennedy says he’s anxious to hear what Comey has to say. President Donald Trump fired Comey last month, amid the investigation that alleges Russia hacked into Democratic Party emails, which may have helped Mr. Trump win the election. Kennedy says we have to get to the bottom of what Russia did during the election.
The Eunice Police Department says they’ve arrested a teenager in a bizarre series of criminal acts including a 7-year-old passerby being shot and injured. Chief Randy Fontenot says the first shooting happened around 8pm Tuesday when 17-year-old Jamie Ned allegedly shot at a car. When combined with a later shooting, Ned is charged with five counts of attempted first-degree-murder.
The Livingston Parish Coroner has released the autopsy findings for the massage therapist found dead in a vacant building in Livingston Parish. 24-year-old Kayla Ann Denham reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head associated with strangulation. Bond has been upgraded to $250-thousand for 22-year-old Christopher Landry, who is charged with second degree murder in connection with Dunham’s death.
Congressman Clay Higgins stands by his Facebook post that said “every conceivable measure” should be used to hunt down and kill anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical. Suspected seems to be the word that has upset many people. Some saying statements like that from elected officials could be used as propaganda by terrorists to fuel radicalization.
Three Jennings men have been arrested for allegedly shooting alligators from the bed of a pickup truck. Adam Einck with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the three were cited for illegally hunting gators, among other things. The men were also cited for taking frogs using illegal methods, as they were shooting the frogs as well. Einck says one of the men posted a video of the incident on Facebook. He says LDWF agents were informed about the post and made contact with the suspects.
Colleges would be prohibited from asking students about their criminal history when filling out an application under legislation heading to the governor’s desk. Executive Director of Operation Restoration Syrita Steib-Martin spent nine years in prison on a theft charge. Once released, she applied to the University of New Orleans where she checked the felon box on her application. She was turned down for admission.
Martin says a few years later, she applied to UNO again with exact same information and was admitted because she did not check the box on her application. She says education plays a big factor in an individual’s success after being released from prison.
News for Wednesday 060717
By Dave Graichen
A Grant Parish caregiver is behind bars after allegedly stealing $37-thousand from one of her cancer patients. Police say 42-year-old Jennifer Lintzen of Colfax is charged with unauthorized use of an access card, forgery, theft, and exploitation of the infirmed.
Drug felons will soon be eligible to receive food stamps upon their release from jail. In the 90s, offenders with drug related charges were barred from the program for one year after their release. The bill by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno lifts that ban. LSU School of Public Health criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says this gives newly released inmates the chance to get back on their feet, which means they are less likely to return to prison.
A bill heading to the governor’s desk provides parole eligibility for murderers convicted in the 70s. Houma Representative Tanner Magee says when these people were sentenced, they had parole eligibility, but the legislature later removed it. He says this bill simply rights that wrong. The bill would affect around 160 inmates serving life sentences.
A 22-year-old has been arrested after the body of a missing massage therapist was discovered in a vacant building in Denham Springs. Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says 24-year-old Kayla Ann Denham never returned home after meeting Christopher Landry at his residence for a massage. He says this was the first time the two had met.
Former U.S. Senator David Vitter has joined a New Orleans law firm. Butler Snow says Vitter will practice in the firm’s business department and focus on business and economic development in the energy sector. Vitter will also continue his work with the lobbyist group Mercury Public Affairs.
Disabled students will no longer be subjected to paddling in public schools, thanks to a bill that won final passage in the legislature. Allison Badgerow testified in support, saying her autistic son is thriving in school after switching to a school district that does not allow spanking. She says her son was showing violent tendencies in a school where physical punishment is allowed.
And the legislature has passed legislation that says students can bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves without a doctor’s note. Seven other states have approved similar legislation.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy is backing legislation in Congress to support small breweries in Louisiana by reducing their federal excise taxes. Kennedy says the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 helps to grow jobs and the economy by creating a fair and comprehensive tax structure for small independent brewers. Kennedy, who is a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, says there are over 52-hundred breweries in the U.S. and if the bill passes it would create 9-thousand jobs in the first year.
The sister of the missing 18-year-old from Lafayette is pleading for answers in the case of their beloved family member known as “Daisy Lynn.” Jacqueline Landry left home with a friend on May 23rd and has not been heard from since. Her oldest sister, Lori Sonnier, says they’d do anything to have Daisy Lynn back home. Twenty-two-year-old Malik Davis of Lafayette has been charged with second degree murder in connection with Daisy Lynn’s disappearance. But Sonnier says they still don’t have any answers or closure.
A state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist says they are receiving an increase in calls from the public who are concerned about foxes near their home. Melissa Collins says it is normal to see foxes in urban areas. Collins says it’s unlikely they will attack humans and they tend to stay away from pets. She says do not to feed them, because many times that tempts them to stay close to your home.
It will be LSU versus Mississippi State in the Super Regionals and it will get underway Saturday night at 8 PM. The Bulldogs advanced out of the Hattiesburg Regional by beating Southern Miss twice yesterday. The Tigers and Bulldogs met in the final weekend of the regular season in Starkville and LSU swept them to win a share of the SEC Regular season championship.
News for Tuesday 060617
By Dave Graichen
The legislative session concludes Thursday night and zero tax reform bills designed to help stabilize Louisiana’s budget will make it to the governor’s desk. That means another special session could happen again next year to address what would be a one-billion dollar budget deficit. But Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey doesn’t see any real tax changes coming in a special session either. Ivey had several bills in this session to change the state’s tax structure. All were shot down.
Three significant bills that are part of the governor’s plan to reform the state’s criminal justice system received approval in the House yesterday. The proposals would reduce sentences for mostly non-violent offenders and expand probation and parole opportunities for some offenders.
A proposal to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts nears final passage. The Natchitoches school would be named Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in honor of the late state lawmaker. The bill was amended to allow the original name on diplomas and transcripts.
The measure passed the House, but there are still plenty of alumni who oppose the bill.
A measure that suspends child support payments for individuals incarcerated for over 180 days nears final legislative passage as the bill heads to the House for approval of Senate changes. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny is a co-author and says it’s virtually impossible for a parent behind bars to pay child support. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau supports the measure saying this gives an incarcerated parent the time to build up funds to actually pay child support. The bill is one of 10 different proposals that make up with governor’s criminal justice reform package.
The Pineville PD reports the arrest of an Alexandria man, who according to police, blocked a woman's vehicle, climbed inside and stole it while two children were inside. The incident occurred Saturday afternoon. Police arrested Malvin Torres-Carrero and charged him with disturbing the peace, simple obstruction of a roadway, false imprisonment, domestic abuse, child endangerment and carjacking.
He remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
A report from Credit Suisse (s uu – EE s) finds at least one in five U.S. shopping malls will go out of business within the next five years, because of the growth in online sales. LSU Marketing Professor Dr. Dan Rice says attracting shoppers to physical stores is still possible, as retail sales are higher than ever. Credit Suisse estimates 86-hundred stores will close by December.
Search crews are out in full force looking for Jacquelyn “Daisy Lynn” Landry, the 18-year-old girl from Lafayette who was last seen on May 23rd. Acadian Search and Rescue Director Jeffery Istre says they are encouraging the public to spread the word far and wide. Twenty-two-year-old Malik Davis has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her disappearance.
Congressman Clay Higgins is coming under fire for controversial statements the former Cajun John Wayne made on Facebook. Higgins suggested that anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical should be killed.
Testing on a water sample from puddles on Bourbon Street finds more than just spilled Hurricanes and Hand Grenades. Milwaukee-based Microbe Detectives finds traces of fecal-related bacteria. Another words poop.. but, it appears, for the most part, the nasty stuff is from the police horses used to patrol the area.. While no pathogens were found, officials are still advises people not to drink the so-called Bourbon Gumbo street water. Was that ever an issue??
News for Monday 060517
By Dave Graichen
The investigation continues into a traffic accident that claimed the life of a Montgomery man late Saturday night.. State police report a vehicle being driven by 22 year old Jacob Kuhlman was traveling at a high rate of speed on US Hwy 71 north of Montgomery, when it appears Kuhlman lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway, striking some trees. Kuhlman was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Kuhlman was not wearing a seatbelt.
The regular legislative session ends Thursday at 6 p.m. and lawmakers are optimistic a special session will not be needed 30 minutes later. LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says to avoid a fourth special session since Governor John Bel Edwards took office, the legislature will need to approve a budget for next fiscal year and a financing bill for construction projects. The Senate approved a budget on Saturday, but it differs from what the House has approved. The Senate’s proposal spends more money in an effort to avoid cuts to various state agencies.
The current legislative session has not addressed tax reform or the loss of one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes next year and the Daily Advertiser blames House Speaker Taylor Barras. The Lafayette newspaper is calling for him to step down as Speaker. But conservatives in the House say Barras has shown great leadership.
Today the House takes up three Senate bills aimed at implementing criminal justice reform lawmakers promised to deliver during the session. The measures would provide parole eligibility for more prisoners and reduce sentences for first-time offenders. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny says he understands it’s a hard vote because everyone wants to be tough on crime. Louisiana currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
They are calling it Traffic stop educate. Two bills that would require driver’s ed teachers to tell student drivers how to conduct themselves if they are pulled are waiting for the governor’s signature.
Covington Representative Paul Hollis is upset his bill to make it easier to recall elected officials died without a fair hearing. Hollis says he only had 7 minutes to present his measure in committee after the controversial confederate monuments bill. Hollis plans to bring the measure back up next year.
A bill to revamp the film tax credit program has received final legislative passage. The measure makes it easier for film makers to redeem these credits. Proponents say that would help grow the industry. There will be a 180-million dollar limit on the amount tax credits that will be handed out for TV and movie productions.
The Louisiana legislature approved the 2017 Coastal Master Plan and now implementation can begin. Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Spokesperson Jimmy Frederick says thanks to bi-partisan support this plan was developed with the best science available to help preserve Louisiana’s coast. Frederick says between 640 to 800 million dollars a year is expected to be spent on coastal restoration projects for the next four years,
Inmates would get a break on their child support payments while incarcerated under a House-approved measure. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says it’s hard for inmates to walk out of jail and find a job, and this will give them a chance to get financially stable. The proposal still needs Senate approval, and the legislative session ends Thursday.
Drivers could soon have warnings if speed enforcement cameras are in place. A bill waiting on the Governor’s signature requires signs to be posted several hundred feet ahead of speed cameras, or the ticket is void. Senators gave the bill unanimous final passage, and it would take effect August 1.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office has announced the arrest of three people for not seeking medical attention for a child who was burned by melted wax. The child’s mother, and two others face charges after deputies responded to a report of the child unsupervised outside with severe burns on the arms and legs. The three adults are charged with cruelty of a juvenile.
LSU defeated Texas Southern, Southeastern Louisiana and then the Owls for the program’s 23rd Regional title. They’ve won 14 straight. The Tigers will find out today who they’ll play in the Super Regionals. It will be either Mississippi State or Southern Miss.
News for Wednesday 053117
By Dave Graichen
A Texas Girl Scout group needed help from federal, state and local officers after they were stranded at Saline Bayou in Natchitoches Parish. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says the group left around 4 PM Sunday afternoon and few hours into their journey, a strong thunderstorm hit and then it got dark and they were not able to get back. The group was found early Monday morning.
A vote is expected in the House today to raise the state’s gasoline tax to fund more highway construction projects. State Representative Steve Carter originally called for a 17 cent a gallon hike, but he’s willing to amend it to a 10 cent increase. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says lowering the proposed tax means fewer megaprojects will be completed. The Republican Party of Louisiana has asked residents to call their legislators and ask them to vote against it.
A measure to prohibit local or state government from removing military monuments, including Confederate, without a vote of the people will be heard in a Senate Committee today, but Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody says the votes are not there for it to pass. Critics of the bill say the state shouldn’t get involved in decisions made by local elected officials.
A Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a proposal to end so-called sanctuary city policies in Louisiana. New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison spoke out against the bill saying it’s all about building trust. He says if the measure passed, it would hurt their ability to maintain public safety. Proponents says the bill would increase public safety.
Baton Rouge lawmaker Barry Ivey has ended his attempt to change the state’s tax laws. Ivey says his legislation would improve a tax structure that’s complicated and features too many loopholes. But the majority of lawmakers are not in the mood this session to pass any tax bills.
A bill to put statewide regulations on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is dead for the session. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard filed the bill in an effort to have standard rules, with the hope these companies would expand to smaller cities. Opposition came from New Orleans lawmakers, who were concerned the city would lose out in two-million dollars as part of existing agreements they have with Lyft and Uber.
A study out of Australia finds late night phone usage could hurt teens’ sleep quality and mental health. LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans clinical psychologist Michelle Moore is not surprised by the findings and says parents shouldn’t allow their kids to have cellphones in their rooms at night.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says one of their deputies has been fired after being charged with felony third degree rape. The suspect is identified as former Deputy old Bradley Smith of Calhoun.
Alzheimer’s disease deaths have increased 55 percent in the last 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medical investigator for Alzheimer’s research, Dr. Patrick Gahan with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center says this is the most costly disease we face as a country, and it has no treatment options. He says Pennington has multiple drug trials, and they’re looking for patients over the age of 50 with a family history of Alzheimer’s to participate.
The LSU Tigers have begun preparations for this weekend’s Baton Rouge Regional. The Tigers first game is Friday at 2:30 against Texas Southern at Alex Box Stadium. The other two teams coming to Baton Rouge are Southeastern Louisiana and Rice. And if LSU wins the B-R Regional they’ll face the winner of Hattiesburg Regional, which features Southern Miss and Mississippi State.
CBS has released a partial TV schedule for the upcoming season. Once again the network plans on a doubleheader for the Saturday that LSU plays Alabama, televising one game at 2:30 and the other at 7 PM. Which means the Tigers-Crimson Tide game could be televised at 7 PM, but we won’t know for sure until October. Also, CBS says it will televise the Arkansas-Missouri match-up on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so that means it’s likely LSU-Texas A-and-M in Tiger Stadium will be November 25th
News for Tuesday 053017
By Dave Graichen
The severe weather that rolled through the area Sunday night has left two people dead. In DeSoto Parish a tree fell and hit a vehicle in which 21-year-old Demontre Lewis was a backseat passenger. An 18-year-old in Caldwell Parish was killed after a tree fell on his home. It’s reported that an estimated 27-thousand people are without power after the storm passed.
A Senate committee will hear the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill today. The House-approved measure would prohibit cities that do not fully cooperate with immigration authorities from receiving certain state grants. It took two votes for this bill to pass the lower chamber. Opponents believe it would unfairly target Hispanics. New Orleans could be impacted by this legislation, if it becomes law.
There’s 10 days left in the regular session and very little has been accomplished. Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden says he’ll meet with Republican leaders to see what can be done in the final days. He says with only 41 votes in the House, it’s hard for Democrats to get anything through the process.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Democrats are pushing for tax reform, because 1.3 billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire July 2018. But Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats haven’t presented a plan that the legislature and the public can get on board with. It’s likely a special session will be needed to address the fiscal cliff.
A bill to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts in Natchitoches has sparked a big discussion and will be heard in House Education on Wednesday. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson’s proposal would change the school’s name to Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Thompson says Long helped open the school in 1983. But many LSMSA alumni oppose the name change saying the school would lose its identity, especially with prestigious colleges.
There’s a new program from Louisiana Economic Development to help military veterans start a business after returning home. Secretary Don Pierson says the idea for the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program came after hearing LSU’s Baton Rouge campus was helping disabled veterans in a similar way. There are plans to expand the program to other regions of the state.
Pet owners will soon have more time to claim their lost pets after a natural disaster. A measure awaiting the governor’s signature gives pet parents 30 days to claim their animals following a state of emergency. Currently, local laws only gives 10 days.
An Alabama man was killed in a skydiving accident in Slidell on Sunday. St. Tammany deputies say 53-year-old Benjamin Leroy Crowell was training another person when he lost consciousness shortly after jumping out of a airplane. Witnesses say the two men hit the ground hard. The trainee was airlifted to a hospital and his condition is not known.
A note on a napkin saved a woman’s life in West Monroe. Authorities reports a woman was being held hostage by her boyfriend at a motel. She reportedly convinced 30-year-old Dennis Griffin to take her to Chili’s. While returning from the bathroom, she passed a note to her server asking for help. West Monroe Police responded immediately.
Thirteen people have been arrested and three are still at large after an insurance fraud investigation by State Police. Master Trooper Brooks David says all 16 individuals were involved in a number of fictitious crashes. David says it’s possible more arrests could be made.
The LSU Tigers are a number four national seed in the NCAA Tournament and they’ll start regional play this Friday at Alex Box Stadium against SWAC Tournament champion Texas Southern. The other two teams in the Baton Rouge regional are Southeastern Louisiana and Rice. The Lions are a number two seed with a 36-20 record. The Owls received an automatic bid after winning the Conference USA Tournament.
LSU softball is heading back to the Women’s College World Series after coming back from one game down to beat Florida State in consecutive games to win the super regional series over the Seminoles. It’s the third consecutive trip for the Tigers and the fourth with Head Coach Beth Torina at the helm. LSU will play UCLA at 1:30 in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
News for Friday 052617
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk is reporting the city of Alexandria is alleging more improper use of funds by former employee Daniel Williams. Williams, the city's former Director of Community Services, was charged in March with using a city credit card to pay for a $3,000 personal vacation. In a lawsuit filed on behalf of the city Thursday, Williams is accused of using the card for more than $2,600 in additional improper purchases. The lawsuit alleges Williams falsified the details of purchases to make them look like city business.
NOAA is calling for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season as their forecasters predict 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes. Acting administrator Ben Friedman says we can’t prevent hurricanes, but we can prepare. Hurricane season begins next week.
A sales tax discount is available for hurricane preparedness items this weekend. Eligible items like batteries, storage coolers, and portable generators will be subject to only 3-percent sales tax, a 2-percent discount from the normal 5-percent state sales tax. The Department of Revenue says the exemption was put in place to encourage people to buy emergency supplies before a storm hits.
The 2017 Memorial Day travel period, which began Thursday, is at its highest level since 2005, according to AAA. Spokesman Don Redman says they project 39.9 million Americans are taking to the roads, skies, rails and water this weekend, which is a million more than last year. He says it’s attributed to an improving economy.
Students with disabilities would be protected from corporal punishment in public schools under a proposal heading to the Senate floor. The bill has already been approved by the House and received the backing of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.
Lawmakers and the governor say it’s likely another special legislative session is necessary to solve the state’s looming 1.3 billion dollar fiscal cliff. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana Barry Erwin says there’s been very little movement in the current session to address the over one billion dollars in temporary taxes that will expire next year.
The circle of politics continues to spin at the Capitol as criminal justice reform bills have been temporarily put on hold because Republicans aren’t happy that Democrats are holding up an unrelated measure dealing with state-financed construction projects.
Concertgoers at this weekend’s Bayou Country Superfest can expect even more security after the attack at a concert in Manchester. Producer Quint Davis says safety is always the number one concern, and everyone should feel comfortable attending the event. Davis says this is the 9th annual B-C-S, but it’s the festival’s first time in the Superdome.
The author of a bill to raise the state’s gasoline tax by 17-cents continues to work on the legislation so it can receive the 70 votes necessary to get approval from the House. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter says he is looking at a variety of options, like lowering the proposed increase. But he says not everyone is pleased with that. Many Louisianans are worried the revenue generated from the proposed tax increase would not go to improving roads or new infrastructure projects.
The House rejects a proposal to prohibit children under 12 from handling Uzis and automatic weapons. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton authored the measure after a child in Arizona accidentally killed a gun safety instructor with an Uzi. The measure failed on a 59-21 vote.
The man accused of killing former NFL player Joe McKnight in an apparent road-rage incident was involved in a similar heated exchange while driving 10 years ago, and a judge said that can be used in court. But Legal analyst Tim Meche says the ruling to allow this as evidence is wide open for reversal on appeal. He says Ronald Gasser’s defense could even use it to their advantage. A trial date has not yet been set.
The principal at a New Orleans school has been fired after he wore Nazi symbols in a video posted online. Crescent Leadership Academy issued a statement saying Nicholas Dean will not return to his position. A video surfaced today of Dean wearing symbols associated with Nazism and white supremacy while being interviewed earlier this month at protests surrounding the removal of confederate monuments.
In LSU baseball, the Tigers shutout the University of Kentucky last night in the SEC tournament. LSU now advances to Saturday’s semifinal game. Airtime 11:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
News for Wednesday 052417
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Councilman Joe Fuller is requesting a Legislative audit of all City’s credit card purchases from the past five years. Fuller sent a letter to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor asking that the audit look into charges made at hotels and restaurants as well as other ones related to travel. Fuller, as a result of an employee's alleged misuse use of funds, says he’s concerned that the city has a credit card problem. The city maintains though its internal audit following the alleged misuse showed no cause for further concern.
The APD has arrested and charged 18-year-old Demetrice Welch with second-degree murder in connection with the death of an unidentified man whose body was found early Saturday morning in the 4600 block of West Sandy Bayou Drive in the city. Welch, who is from Alexandria, was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on Tuesday.
Today lawmakers in the House are expected to debate raising the state’s gasoline tax for the first time in 27 years. A proposal by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter would up the tax by 17 cents a gallon. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana, Barry Erwin says more revenue is needed to pay for better roads.
Vice President Mike Pence will be in the state today to discuss health care, jobs and the economy. The White House says the Vice President will participate in a listening session with local business leaders in the Baton Rouge area and he’ll make remarks afterwards at Cajun Industries in Port Allen. The governor’s office says John Bel Edwards plans on meeting with the Vice President at the Baton Rouge airport.
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would end oil lease royalty payments to Louisiana before they even begin. The proposal repeals the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which splits offshore revenue among Gulf States. Managing Director with the America’s Wetland Foundation, Val Marmillion says Louisiana stands to lose a lot of money if the act is repealed. Gulf States would lose a total of $3.6 billion over the next decade. US Senator Bill Cassidy released a statement saying that taking this funding away from Louisiana’s coastline is a nonstarter.
A Senate Judiciary committee voted to raise the fees for individuals on probation and parole in Louisiana to increase salaries for parole officers. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris’ measure would up the fee by 37-dollars to 100 dollars. Harris hopes this would be an incentive for parole officers to stay in their position.
The bill that would require students starting 9th grade this fall to have at least a 2.75 GPA in order to receive the TOPS scholarship advanced on the House floor. The current requirement is 2.5. A concern about this bill by opponents was that it would cut out poor kids who need help paying for college the most. The bill heads to the Senate on a 53-32 vote.
A bill that would include dating partners in Louisiana’s domestic violence laws advances in a Senate committee. Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White raised concerns about situations that could arise, like a boyfriend pushing his drunk girlfriend into the car after a night out. The measure was sent to the Senate floor without objection.
The House Health and Welfare Committee approves a proposal to require parents of minors seeking an abortion to show a photo ID at the clinic. Currently minors only need a notarized statement from a legal guardian. The Senate-approved bill adding the picture identification requirement now heads to the full House for consideration.
Authorities in Lafourche Parish are looking for a man accused of living in the attic of his ex-girlfriend to stalk her. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Brennan Matherne says 21-year-old Taylor Broussard has nine active warrants for several felony crimes including stalking, auto theft, battery, and aggravated assault.
The full House will vote on a Senate approved measure that would give drivers a warning before an upcoming speed camera. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter says local municipalities shouldn’t have a problem with this if they argue that the devices are meant to deter speeding. Carter’s bill has been approved by the Senate and awaits final passage on the House floor.
Authorities are investigating the death of an 8-month-old in Baton Rouge. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner says the infant died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen. Police say no charges have been filed at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.
Freshman right-hander Todd Peterson will start on the mound today as the LSU Tigers begin play in the SEC Tournament. Peterson will make his fourth start of the season. Airtime set for 12:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm
McNeese State heads into the Southland Conference Tournament in Sugar Land, Texas as the top seed after winning the league’s regular season championship. The Pokes will take on Lamar today after taking two of three from the Cardinals last week.
News for Thursday 052517
By Dave Graichen
With only two weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are not close to agreeing on a budget for next fiscal year and addressing the loss of over a billion dollars in temporary taxes set to expire in July 2018. That’s according to Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com. Alford says the majority in the House despise creating new taxes to solve a looming budget deficit, while the majority in the Senate and the governor believe that is the solution. He says there is no clear path for where this session will end.
On the House floor Thursday, democrats mustered enough votes to prevent the passage of a construction financing bill in the hopes that it will lead to serious negotiations on tax reform.
As expected, the Senate Finance committee rejected a proposal to increase Louisiana’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 an hour by 2019. Republicans on the panel raised concerns about how this legislation could lead to layoffs, while Democrats say $7.25 is not a living wage. The author of the bill says he’ll bring the bill back next year. Governor Edwards issued a statement expressing his disappointment by saying the Legislature had the opportunity to actively value families, but it failed.
House debate on a 17-cent gas tax hike proposal has been delayed until next week. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter told NOLA.com he’s a considering a change to the legislation so that the gasoline tax would gradually increase.
Vice President Mike Pence echoed many of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises when he told a crowd in Port Allen yesterday the administration will make America prosperous again. He says the president’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference in the economy. He says businesses are responding to the president’s call to buy American and hire American. Pence also says it remains the President’s priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on the Louisiana congressional delegation to oppose President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says they’re disappointed the budget repeals the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which entitles Louisiana to a portion of offshore drilling revenue for oil leases. Carbo says they understand the need to balance the budget, but this spending plan does it in a way that’s harmful to Louisiana and its citizens.
The Senate Education Committee will discuss today whether a task force should be formed to study how to ensure the TOPS scholarship program’s long-term liability. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the taxpayer funded program has not been examined since it was created over 20 years ago. Morrish says the task force’s findings will provide good information for lawmakers when they consider proposed changes to the scholarship program in the future.
More people may have been affected by the Great Flood of 2016 than we thought, according to a recent LSU survey. Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says 18 percent of the state’s residents took on water during the March and August floods. He says 30 percent of workforce was also impacted. Henderson says respondents did not give favorable ratings to FEMA or the state government for their response to the floods.
The 7-year-old who was accidentally shot at an elementary school in Moss Bluff is doing well after undergoing surgery for a second time. The family of the first-grader says the child will remain in the PICU for a few more days. According to Calcasieu Parish authorities, the shooting occurred on May 15th when another student brought a gun to school and it accidentally went off and struck the 7-year-old.
A deadly virus is threatening Louisiana crawfish. Aquaculture specialist Mark Shirley with the LSU AgCenter says the white spot syndrome originated in shrimp ponds in Thailand and Southeast Asia in the early 1990s. Shirley says this virus can greatly affect a crawfish farmer’s income by killing off the harvest. But he says it’s not a threat to humans.
The search is over for a south Louisiana man accused of living in his ex-girlfriend’s attic, as 21-year-old Taylor Broussard is behind bars. The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Larose woman reported her ex had stolen her vehicle after brandishing a knife. State troopers located the suspect in Baton Rouge Wednesday. Broussard faces 9 charges in Lafourche Parish including stalking, domestic abuse battery, vehicle theft, and home invasion.
The LSU Tigers beat Missouri 10-3 last night to faces Kentucky in the SEC winners bracket this evening. Now a reminder, it is a floating start time.. But, we should take to the air at 7:30 on KSYL 970a and 100.3 HD3.
News for Tuesday 052317
By Dave Graichen
Yesterday we told you of an investigation that was underway into the death of an 18 year old man in Alexandria early Saturday morning. But yesterday, the APD announced that another man was killed within a few hours of the first. Officers responded to a report of a vehicle crash on a parking lot in the 3500 block of Lee Street. According to the APD a 36-year-old man, had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his abdomen and was unresponsive. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigations into both incidents are continuing. Neither victim has been identified by police.
Lawmakers in the House are expected to take up a proposal today that would raise the minimum GPA requirement for TOPS. The measure by Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil increases the requirement from a 2.5 to a 2.75. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this would knock out about 30 percent of the students currently eligible for the scholarship. Pinsonat says he doesn’t expect lawmakers to approve the measure. The governor also opposes the bill.
State Police raises concerns about proposed budget cuts to the law enforcement agency. Major Doug Cain says the House has proposed a 23-million dollar cut in funding from this fiscal year, which would force them to cut a cadet class and make it difficult to replace patrol vehicles and 60-percent of them have over 100-thousand miles on their odometer. Cain says its State Police’s hope the Senate will fund their agency to the level that the governor recommended.
A Mississippi lawmaker called for Louisiana leaders to be lynched after four confederate monuments were taken down in New Orleans. State Representative Karl Oliver also said in the Facebook post that the statues were removed in a “Nazi-ish fashion.” Courtney Carter with News Mississippi says state Republicans do not condone the public post. Oliver has since apologized for the post.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser had a meeting yesterday with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu about the future of the confederate monuments that were removed. Nungesser would like to put the monuments at a historic battlefield, but the mayor said that if the state office of tourism wants them, they’ll have to submit a financial bid. But it’s possible they could leave the state. Courtney Carter with News Mississippi says there’s been talk of rehoming them at the Beauvoir estate there. The estate is already home to many confederate-era memorials.
Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle has been chosen to head the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in the Trump Administration. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this will give Angelle national name recognition after a disappointing loss in the gubernatorial and congressional elections.
Angelle will have to resign from the PSC, as he begins his new position on Today.
It’s been reported that Vice President Mike Pence will visit Baton Rouge on Tomorrow. The visit comes just as President Donald Trump releases the proposed budget. The Vice President is expected to meet with business leaders in a listening session. A spokesperson for the governor, John Bel Edwards, plans to meet with Pence at the airport. A location for the event has not yet been released.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has launched a new Horse Tourism Initiative to bring visitors to Louisiana racetracks, campgrounds, therapeutic riding centers and state parks. Nungesser says Texas and Mississippi have great horse shows, but Louisiana is also home to some of the finest equestrian services in the country. Nungesser says the Louisiana is one of the top three horse producing states in the country. He plans to put a statewide circuit together to bring national and international horse competitions to the state’s world class facilities.
The LSU baseball team is in Hoover, Alabama preparing for the SEC Tournament. The Tigers will play tomorrow against the winner of today’s game between Missouri and Texas A&M. The Tigers are co-champs of the SEC Regular season. LSU heads into tournament play winners in 11 of its last 12 conference games.
Louisiana Tech is the 5th seed in the Conference USA Tournament and they’ll face Charlotte on Wednesday night at MGM Park in Biloxi.
News for Monday 052217
By Dave Graichen
The APD continues to investigate the death of an 18-year-old man who was found dead early Saturday. Police say the found the unidentified man dead when they arrived at the scene near West Sandy Bayou Drive and Bennett Street shortly after midnight Saturday. It’s expected more information will be released today.
Al Ater, who as interim secretary of state was instrumental in ensuring voters evacuated to other states after Hurricane Katrina were able to participate in local elections, passed away in Houston Sunday evening from complications with brain cancer. Ater was 63 and had lived in Concordia Parish. He was in Houston for treatment for a brain tumor. He died at the Houston Hospice.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping his office can take ownership of the four confederate monuments that were taken down in New Orleans. Nungesser is meeting with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu today to try and come to an agreement. Nungesser is optimistic Landrieu will let the Office or Tourism, Recreation, and Culture take the monuments, as the mayor has said publicly that’s where they belong.
The Senate Finance committee has started hearings on the proposed spending plan for next fiscal year. Senate President John Alario says the budget the House approved does not properly fund the Department of Children and Family Services. Alario says the House did not allocate 206-million dollars that’s available to spend and they may use some of that money to fill the budget gaps.
Senate President John Alario says the upper chamber is committed to fully funding the TOPS scholarship program. Alario says the budget plan approved by the House takes money away from the Department of Health to fully fund TOPS and they are taking a close look at that proposal. Alario also says the Senate also disagrees with a House bill to raise the minimum GPA in order to receive the TOPS scholarship.
The Click It or Ticket campaign kicks off today in Louisiana. State Police Sgt. Jared Sandifer says during this wave of enforcement, drivers can expect to see more officers on the road making sure that everyone is buckled up. Sandifer says not only is wearing your seatbelt the law, it could also save your life. He says your chances of being killed or sustaining bodily injury are greatly reduced if you buckle up.
The full House has approved a measure that would require higher training standards for police officers. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James’ bill would require cops to receive at least 400 hours of basic POST training before entering the field. James says he’s worked with law enforcement to come up with the best practices to prepare officers for work in the field.
With the rain that fell over the weekend, officials and residents are keeping a close eye on the Mississippi River as water levels continue to rise. Crews in St. Francisville put down large sandbags near a tributary of the river, Bayou Sara, that is expected to flood in the coming days. Army Corps of Engineers says as the water rises, their flood fight will be upgraded.
“The most brutal attack I have ever seen”…is how Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi described the alleged kidnapping and rape of a woman by a man from Golden Meadow. 33-yer-old Joshua Penny is accused of taking the victim to a secluded wooded area and causing injuries to her that required multiple surgeries and other procedures. Penny was booked on charges including first-degree rape, domestic abuse and false imprisonment.
Louisiana’s film industry could rebound if the state’s film tax credit program is stabilized. That’s according to executive director of Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge, Patrick Mulhearn, who says a bill is being heard today that would do just that. He says TV in particular could be promising if the back-end cap on the program is fixed.
The peach harvest is extremely slim this year thanks to a warm winter. Owner of Mitcham Farms in Ruston, Joe Mitcham, says the crop needs a lot of cold hours, temperatures under 45 degrees for a majority of the winter in order for the fruit to properly develop. He says a fungus in the soil is also killing many of his peach trees.
LSU wrapped up the regular season over the weekend by sweeping Mississippi State with an 11-7 win Saturday night to earn a share of the SEC title with Florida. It is LSU’s fourth SEC title under Coach Paul Mainieri and 17th overall. The Tigers claimed the No. 2 seed in this week’s SEC tournament. Their first game is at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
News for Friday 051917
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana is set to receive another $51 million in federal flood recovery aid. That’s according to US Senator Bill Cassidy, who says HUD is divvying up $163 million congress recently appropriated for disaster recovery. The Governor’s Office suggests the new funds will go towards helping flood victims rebuild.
A proposal to prohibit universities from having licensed alcoholic beverages was voluntarily deferred in the House Education Committee. Shreveport Representative Cedric Glover filed this bill because he believes LSU and UL-Lafayette trademarked “official” beers promote underage drinking. UL-Lafayette has Ragin Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale, while the LSU beer is Bayou Bengal Lager.
Two arrests have been made, as a 7-year-old continues to recover after an accidental shooting at Moss Bluff Elementary School. Police say the gun fell out of a child’s backpack, and another child picked it up causing it to fire and hitting a third student. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says they have arrested the brother and father of the child who brought the gun to school. 50-year-old Michael Dugas and 17-year-old Jake Dugas are charged with negligent injury.
The House Criminal Justice Committee approves a measure that would penalize adults for letting children handle fully automatic weapons. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton brought her bill after a 9-year-old accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi submachine gun in Arizona. The measure passed on a 7 to 6 vote.
State regulations for Uber and Lyft are heading to the Senate. A measure by Jackson Representative Kenny Havard would establish a statewide set of regulations and collect a one percent fee.
A measure to require litter prevention education in Kindergarten through 5th grade heads to the Senate floor for final legislative passage. The bill received approval from the Senate Education Committee and the author of the proposal Lafayette Representative Stuart Bishop told the panel Louisiana has a serious litter problem that needs to be addressed. Bishop says litter education would be included in regular science courses.
And from the “You have to ask yourself why” department, The House unanimously approves a bill that would slightly lower littering fines in Louisiana. Under the measure the fine for second offense simple littering would drop from $1000 to $900.
Former and current Saints players will participate in a weekend of fishing, shooting and entertainment at the Black and Gold Classic in Grand Isle. Former Saints tackle Stan Brock hosts the event and says today teams will participate in a private shooting event and tomorrow the fishing rodeo begins at 6 a.m. He says all the proceeds go to the Green Beret Foundation and All American Caliber, groups which support veterans.
The Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association supports proposed changes to the state’s film tax credit program. A Senate-approved measure would place a front-end cap on the program, as opposed to the back-end cap enacted in 2015. Association president Robert Vosbein says he hopes this will bring back some of the filmmakers who left for other states because of the uncertainty surrounding the program.
New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis has been named to the All-NBA first team for the second time in his five year career. Davis finished the season ranked fourth in the NBA points per game, seventh in rebounds per game and second in blocks per game, becoming just the eighth player in NBA history to finish the season ranked among the top seven of all three categories.
ULM Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom’s contract will not be extended. In a release, ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno said he knew it was Wickstrom’s eventual goal to move to a larger program, and he’s pleased with all that was accomplished with him at the helm. Wickstrom has been with the Warhawks since July 2013, his contract expires on June 30th.
News for Thursday 051817
By Dave Graichen
A proposal to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour by 2019 wins approval in the Senate Labor Committee. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter says his bill would ensure workers earn a decent wage, which will boost morale and lower turnover rates for employers. But Jim Patterson with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says this will drive up costs for businesses. He says once low wage employees start making more, other workers will want a raise too. The measure now heads to the Upper Chamber and possibly the Senate Finance Committee, where it was killed last year.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the possibility of another special session is increasing, because legislators have failed to advance proposals to address a billion dollar shortfall next year. About three weeks are left in the session and the majority-Republican House has approved just one tax bill that would address that looming deficit.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy spoke on the Senate floor touting a Medicaid reform bill that he has filed. Kennedy says it would require adults ages 18 to 55, that have no dependents and are not disabled, to work 20 hours a week, go to school or do community service to receive Medicaid. Kennedy says he filed The Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017 as not an attempt to take Medicaid away from people in need but so fewer people need Medicaid.
The House has passed a bill that would deny state funding to cities that are considered to be more lenient on illegal immigrants. The so-called Sanctuary Cities bill failed to pass the lower chamber last week, but it was rewritten so it no longer needed a two-thirds vote to pass. It now heads to the Senate.
Louisiana residents will not receive a sales tax break on the purchase of diapers, tampons and other feminine hygiene products that are considered necessary. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell was seeking to provide families with a little financial relief, but it would cost the state 13-million dollars revenues, which was the main factor in why it was defeated in Senate Finance.
A proposal to end the death penalty in Louisiana was rejected by the House Criminal Justice Committee. Bishop of the Diocese of Houma Shelton Fabre testified in support of the bill saying every human life is sacred, and an execution won’t bring back a loved one or heal wounds. The proposal failed on an eight to nine vote.
Louisiana’s LGBT community would be protected from workplace discrimination under a proposal heading to the Senate floor. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in state laws. He says as an African American man, he hasn’t always been protected from discrimination under the law. The Louisiana Baptist Office of Public Policy opposes the bill.
A Senate-approved bill seeks to refine the state’s film tax credit program. The proposal by New Orleans Senator JP Morell would place a $150 million front-end cap on the program. It would also sunset the program after 8 years. The bill would also ensure that 10 percent of the available credits are reserved for local Louisiana filmmakers. The measure was approved on a 33 to 3 vote and heads to the House.
The second confederate monument to come down in New Orleans was hauled away early Wednesday morning. It took crews 7 hours to get the statue of PGT Beauregard off its base. Supporters celebrated just feet away from opponents. The next monument to come down will be Robert E. Lee.
A bill that is moving closer to final legislative passage is a bill that would limit first time opioid prescriptions for acute conditions to a seven-day supply. The goal is to prevent addiction by first time users. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the legislation makes sure patients who need them would have access to painkillers.
LSU and Mississippi State battle for the SEC West championship starting tonight with a three-game series in Starkville. The Tigers lead the Bulldogs by one game in the standings. You can hear the entire series beginning tonight at 6:30 on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3fm
News for Tuesday 051617
By Dave Graichen
A 7-year-old “innocent bystander” was accidentally shot and wounded Monday morning at Moss Bluff Elementary School in Lake Charles. Kim Myers with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says the child had surgery and is reportedly in stable condition. Myers says they know that another child brought the gun to school. Investigators are working to determine if charges will be brought on the parents of the child who brought the gun.
Former Tunica-Biloxi Tribe Chairman Joey P. Barbry will make his initial appearance in federal court on May 23 after being indicted last week on a theft charge. The indictment alleges that Barbry wrote non-sufficient checks to Tunica-Biloxi Financial Services, a check-cashing service at the tribe's Paragon Casino and Resort in Marksville.
Emotional debate took place Monday afternoon on the House floor over legislation that would give voters a say before a military monument, including those recognizing Confederate soldiers, can be taken down. The measure passed on a 65-31 and Black legislators walked out of the chamber after it was approved.
The Senate finance committee heard emotional testimony yesterday from the mother of East Baton Rouge deputy Nick Tullier, who was critically wounded during an attack on police officers in Baton Rouge last July. Mary Tullier spoke before the panel to urge the passing of legislation that can provide financial support for officers or firemen who are catastrophically injured during a targeted attack in the line of duty. Mary Tullier says police officers don’t make enough money to cover this kind of unexpected expense.
Senate Finance is expected to vote on the bill this week.
A bill that would end the need for most motorists to buy a Louisiana vehicle inspection sticker was defeated Monday in House Transportation over concerns it will lead to unsafe vehicles on the road.
The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that seeks to make sure the inspector general’s office receives two-million dollars a year in state funding. The I-G office investigates fraud, waste and abuse within state government. If the proposal makes it through the legislative process, it would go before the public for a vote.
There are three bills slated to be taken up on the Senate floor today that deal with criminal justice reform. State Senator Danny Martiny has a measure that would allow consideration of parole for some offenders who meet specific requirements. He says this is about reducing the state’s prison population, not letting violent criminals out of jail.
A proposal to increase the state gasoline tax by 17-cents is expected to finally receive a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee today. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter says admits the legislation faces an uphill climb, but he says Louisiana has poor and congested roads, because the tax on a gallon of gasoline hasn’t increase in 20 years.
The McKinley High School quarterback was fatally shot at a party just days before his graduation. Baton Rouge Police say there’s no known motive or suspect. They’re asking anyone with information on the Friday night shooting to come forward.
An elderly Swartz man fatally shot an intruder who broke into his home. Glen Springfield with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says says the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Jessie Allin of Swartz, died at the scene. The investigation is ongoing, but as of now no charges have been filed against the homeowners.
The St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation after a body was discovered. Chief of Detectives Joe Chaney says someone came in to report what appeared to be a shallow grave in a wooded area. Chaney says the Sheriff’s Office and State Police Crime Lab are conducting an investigation to determine the identity of the woman. He says they’re asking citizens to come forward with any information they have that could help with this investigation.
The Louisiana Department of Health has received an $8.1 million dollar federal grand to address the state’s opioid crisis. They say the money will be used to enhance existing statewide prevention, treatment and recovery services that are available to individuals who are addicted to opioids.
The Lafayette PD say they've solved a 10 year old cold case with the arrest of three people. Cpl. Karl Ratcliff says last December they re-opened the investigation into the brutal death of 39-year-old Malcolm Davis, who was beaten to death at a gas station on August 10, 2007. Ratcliff says after the murder, the individuals involved fled the area. He says two of the suspects were eventually identified through video evidence obtained in 2007 and the third suspect was identified through interviews. All three suspects are charged with second degree murder.
LSU hosts Northwestern State tonight in the final non-conference game of the season for both teams. The Tigers will send freshman right-hander Todd Peterson to the mound. You can hear the game starting at 6 tonight on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.
News for Monday 051517
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a man from Colfax Saturday morning.
The report says a pickup driven by Oliver Washington III left LA Hwy 492, collided with a bridge rail and became airborne, before it became submerged in Bayou Darrow.
Washington, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Today is the last day for residents to file their 2016 Louisiana individual income tax returns. State Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson says the easiest way to file is with Louisiana File Online, where taxpayers can file their state returns for free and make payments.
A Village of Tangipahoa crash took the lives of two people, including former Mayor and retired NFL player Michael Dyson. State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight says 48-year old Dyson was riding on his motorcycle at a high rate of speed when he hit a vehicle that backed out directly in his path. Both Dyson and the driver of the vehicle were killed.
Governor John Bel Edwards gave the commencement address for LSU’s graduating Class of 2017 Friday, as the school handed out a record 4,163 degrees. Edwards says this class also sets records for diversity. Edwards encouraged the grads to live with heart, with purpose, and with passion.
At least two people in the Greater Baton Rouge Area have sustained injuries as a result of tornadic activity on Friday. An EF-1 tornado touched down in Baton Rouge, flipping a pickup truck, and sending the driver to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. In Walker, another person was taken to the hospital after a tree fell on a vehicle. Many south Louisiana residents are without power, and there have been reports of dime-sized hail in the area.
Today the state House takes up a controversial bill aimed at protecting Louisiana’s confederate monuments. Debates quickly became heated in committee, where the measure narrowly passed on a 10-8 vote. The bill by Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody would prohibit the removal of any military monument from any war without approval from a majority of voters.
Waitr is growing its presence in Lafayette, as the fast growing food delivery app is opening its own permanent facility. Waitr CEO Chris Meaux says moving into their own facility will create new jobs in the Lafayette area. All in all close to 400 positions.
The app launched in 2015 in Lake Charles and now the company operates over 20 cities in five states and employing more than 1,200 people nationwide. The app also provides food delivery service in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and New Orleans.
Lafayette Police announce they’ve made the largest known cocaine seizure in the history of the department. Investigators said an independent drug interdiction operation with K-9 detected and seized over 11,000 grams of cocaine valued at $1.1 million dollars, as well as over 1800 oxycodone tablets valued at $56,000. A woman from Houston has been arrested.
Twelve inmates at the Tangipahoa Parish Prison have been indicted for manslaughter after they allegedly beat a fellow inmate to death. The victim is 40-year-old Tommy Joe Smith of Independence, and officials say a witness described the attack as a “shark-feeding frenzy,” meaning it was an extremely brutal and very quick attack. Guards and rescue crews were quickly notified of the attack, but Smith died from his injuries.
Louisiana support for President Donald Trump is split along party and racial lines, according to a Southern Media and Opinion Research survey. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans really like the President with 91 percent giving him a favorable approval rating. But he says that’s a stark contrast to how Democrats feel.
The poll finds two-thirds of white voters approve of the President’s job performance with 25 percent saying he’s doing an excellent job. Seventy-two percent of Democrats disapprove of Mr. Trump’s job performance.
News for Friday 051217
By Dave Graichen
A state trooper and two police officers were injured yesterday during a standoff in Avoyelles Parish. The cops were reportedly trying to negotiate with a man barricaded behind a window when the man shot them. The trooper and the officers sustained nonlife threatening injuries. According to Louisiana State Police spokesman Scott Moreau, a subject was taken into custody just before 7:30 last night. The suspect is said to be an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD.
Over 160 soldiers in the Louisiana National Guard’s 1086th Transportation Company are heading to Fort Hood, Texas for training before being deployed to Kuwait. Col. Ed Bush says a deployment ceremony will be held for the Bunkie-based unit in Pineville on Saturday. He says during their one year deployment, the soldiers will provide logistic transportation support. The 1086th deployed in support of Operations Desert Storm in 1991, Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Enduring Freedom in Kuwait in 2011.
A St. Landry Parish cold case becomes a murder case after an inmate confesses to killing his great uncle in 2011. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says Dale LaFleur has been missing since 2011 and his great nephew 23-year-old Phillip LaFleur was incarcerated in LaSalle Parish on a separate murder charge. Guidroz says they have an audio and video confession from LaFleur stating he killed his great uncle and dumped his body in the Atchafalaya River because the uncle was delaying giving him money. He says search efforts are underway to retrieve the body from the river.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research Poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating has dropped nine percentage points since September of 2016. It now stands at 54-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the public is sick and tired of the governor and legislature not coming to an agreement on how to fix the state’s budget woes. He says African American residents continue to give Edwards’ a positive rating, while only 44-percent of white voters feel that way about the governor.
Raising taxes is not popular among voters, according to a survey from Southern Media and Opinion Research. Lawmakers have proposed increasing taxes on everything from a pack of cigarettes to a gallon of gasoline to close a looming budget hole. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says two-thirds of voters say they do not want their legislator to raise the state’s gas tax. In this fiscal session, lawmakers had to resolve a $440 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, and deal with an imminent $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018. Pinsonat says according to his survey, the public thinks the state has more than enough money.
In a Baton Rouge courtroom Thursday, former “Sons of Guns” reality television star Will Hayden was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 40 years for raping two young girls. The victims were about 12 years old at the time of the sex acts. Hayden also faces charges in Livingston Parish.
A report by the personal finance website, WalletHub, finds Louisiana is the second worst state for working moms. Analyst Jill Gonzales says they measured the quality of child care and professional opportunities, which really brought Louisiana down. Gonzales says the gender pay gap is fairly large in Louisiana, ranking 44th, as women make about 76 cents to every dollar a man makes. She says another factor against Louisiana is females have a longer workweek than other states.
The full house has approved a bill that would make it easier for voters to recall an elected official. Current law requires signatures from one-third of the registered voters in large districts and 40-percent of voters in small jurisdictions. Covington Representative Paul Hollis says that isn’t feasible in 180 days. The measure heading to the Senate reduces the number of signatures required.
A measure approved by the House would give voters the chance to decide if they want to prevent a convicted felon from running for office until 8 years after they serve their sentence. Norco Representative Gregory Miller is the author of the constitutional amendment. The legislation now moves to the Senate and if it clears the upper chamber, it will need voter approval.
Thursday lawmakers spent over half an hour debating licensing for hair braiding. A measure by Carencro Representative Julie Emerson waives the licensing requirement.
The measure was approved on an 81-12 vote
A Dominant Alex Lange set the tone last night as LSU took the series opener from Auburn 4-0 at the box. Game two is tonight.. hear it on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3
News for Thursday 051117
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana Economic Development receives a $7 million donation from Cleco for job-creating projects. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says Cleco executives presented Governor John Bel Edwards with the check for a fund that will be administered by LED.
The fund seeks to grow economic development in Cleco’s 23 parish service area.
A measure approved by the full House would make it easier for Louisiana voters to recall elected officials. The proposal by Covington Representative Paul Hollis would lower the required number of signatures for a recall petition. The bill now heads to the Senate.
A 12-year-old boy is dead after he accidentally fatally shot himself in the head. Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot says they believe the boy was trying to intimidate his little brother with the gun. Fontenot says no charges will be filed.
The House Criminal Justice Committee shot down a proposal that would allow residents to carry concealed guns without permits. The bill was defeated on an eight to five vote. The bill’s author, Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey, says he plans to bring the proposal back up next year.
The House Education Committee approved a bill to increase the minimum GPA requirement for TOPS from 2.5 to 2.75. Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil says he’s heard frustration from voters, about the uncertainty of the scholarship program and this could help cut down on costs. The proposed change would go into effect with the Class of 2021.
Louisiana is no longer the least healthy state for seniors, according to a report by United Health Foundation. The state rose three spots to 47th in the nation. But Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl says the Bayou State still has a long way to go in how we care for seniors. He says Louisiana consistently ranks towards the bottom for chronic diseases. The report finds Louisiana made strides in health screenings over the last two years, with 72 percent of seniors receiving recommended health screenings. Muhl says while we are making progress, we’re still stagnant in some key areas, like long term care. He says Louisiana ranks 49th for our nursing homes.
A bill that would allow people convicted of drug-related felonies to get food stamps and welfare benefits when they leave prison advanced today. There is currently a one year ban. Lawmakers are trying to lessen Louisiana’s prison rate and help inmates once they are released.
A second confederate monument comes down in New Orleans. Shortly before sunrise the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was removed from its base. It was fastened to a crane and protected with bubble wrap. A group of people who support the removal of the monuments cheered when workers lifted it. People who oppose the removal of the confederate monuments say they are like time capsules. Also slated for removal are statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T Beauregard
Officials with Jazz Fest announced that this year’s two-weekend event at the New Orleans fairgrounds was attended by about 425,000 fans.
A report from Wakefield Research finds more couples than ever are fighting over politics since Donald Trump took office. The data found 24-percent of Americans in a relationship say they’ve argued more about politics than any other time they’ve been together. Clinical Psychologist with LSU Health Sciences Center Dr. Michelle Moore
advises potential couples to discuss their political views before dating or getting married to avoid problems down the road.
The 2017 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will kick off on Saturday, December 16th at noon, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation confirmed today. The game hosts teams from the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
After a tough loss to South Alabama, LSU welcomes SEC foe Auburn to Alex Box Stadium for the start of a three-game series tonight. This is the final home weekend series for the Tigers, but LSU’s 32-17 overall record has them in position to host at least a regional. You can hear tonight’s game starting at 6 on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3
News for Wednesday 051017
By Dave Graichen
For the past several years the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working on the levees on the Red River here in Cenla. The Corp now says the levee on the Alexandria side of the Red River is up to federal standards. However, it may be next year before we get similar news for the Pineville side of the river. Approval from the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will protect thousands of home and business owners from having to purchase costly flood insurance. FEMA de-accredited the levees in back in 2009.
A 50-year-old man who is employed as a Ville Platte City Marshall has been arrested on two counts of promoting prostitution. Chief Deputy with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office, Chris Ivey, says deputies discovered this after arresting Maria Joseph for prostitution. He says Joseph told police, Arthur Phillips picked her up in his unmarked unit to bring her to Fenton to charge have sex with other men. Johnson says, Philips kept the money. Ivey says after taking statements from witnesses, authorities were able to arrest Phillips.
Minors seeking an abortion would be required to have proof of identification from their parents before terminating a pregnancy under a bill before a Senate committee today. Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell says a photo ID of parents is required before high school report cards are handed out. She says it makes sense parents know their child is having an abortion. The bill would also require that a minor seeking an abortion get court-ordered counseling if it’s suspected that they are a victim of sexual assault.
A study from WalletHub finds Louisiana is the worst state to be a police officer. Website analyst Jill Gonzales says they measured the quality of life and job hazards, which really brought Louisiana down in the ratings. She says the Bayou State is ranked 49th for the median income for law enforcement officers.
A bill that would ban so-called sanctuary cities fails to get the necessary votes to pass the full House. The bill included a fee which is why 70 votes were needed to pass. The legislation is aimed at New Orleans, which has a policy that prohibits officers from questioning the status of individuals who commit or report a crime.
Legislation backed by Governor John Bel Edwards’ that called for shifting the tax burden from individuals to businesses died in the House Ways and Means committee. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says it appears the Republican dominated legislature is not interested in overhauling the state’s tax structure. Edwards began the session pushing several different tax proposals, because one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes are set to expire in July of 2018. One proposal called for reducing income taxes for 90-percent of the state’s wage earners.
A bill that would use riverboat gambling revenue to help fund the TOPS scholarship was shelved Tuesday in a House committee. State Representative Franklin Foil of Baton Rouge decided to voluntarily defer the measure after hearing concerns of committee members, including one that stated TOPS is already fully funded under the House-approved budget bill awaiting Senate consideration.
The House Civil Law committee approves a bill that could suspend child support payments for parents who are incarcerated for six months or more. Gretna Representative Joseph Marino says the idea behind the bill is to reduce debt for inmates, so they have a better chance to succeed when they are released from prison. The proposal comes from a recommendation made by the governor’s task force that looked at reducing the state’s incarceration rate.
The stripper age requirement bill advanced out of a Senate Committee Tuesday but it no longer requires that strippers must be 21 years old to be hired by an adult entertainment club. The minimum age is at least 18 under the proposed law and it also calls for establishments to undergo human trafficking training. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns still supports his bill even with significant changes.
Former LSU basketball star Shaquille O’ Neal has told an Atlanta TV station that he plans to run for sheriff in 2020. O’Neal has homes in Florida and Georgia, so if he does run, it will likely be in one of those two states.
A House committee approved legislation to amend a current state law so-foreign born applicants can obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate has filed a lawsuit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.
US Senator Bill Cassidy jumped on board with Jimmy Kimmel following the TV show host’s news that his newborn son was born with health problems. Cassidy helped developed a Senate proposal that would allow states to keep Obamacare in place or come up with their own systems. He said on Jimmy Kimmel live that President Donald Trump wants all Americans to be covered. Cassidy says the nation’s healthcare law needs to pass the “Kimmel Test.”
A 7-year-old Hammond girl is making her way across the country as she’s traveled to 10 states showing her appreciation for law enforcement by hugging them. Rosalyn Baldwin will head on a trip to Missouri to North Dakota to hug as many officers as possible. Police officers in Tulsa Oklahoma loved Rosalyn so much they named April 18th, Rosalyn Baldwin day.
New LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade has completed the hiring of his assistant coaches by adding Bill Armstrong to his staff. Armstrong spent the past 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Ole Miss. Wade says Armstrong’s knowledge of the Southeastern Conference makes him a great addition.
South Alabama chipped away at LSU’s lead for the majority of Tuesday’s game at the Box before finally finding a crack in the armor in the ninth inning. And winning 7-6 The tigers begin a three game series at the Box Thursday night against Auburn.
News for Tuesday 050917
By Dave Graichen
An early Sunday morning traffic stop on Coliseum Blvd led to the arrest of two Avoyelles Parish men after officers found a store of drugs under the driver’s seat. 24 year old Jeremy Jackson of Moreauville and 19 year old Devin Coleman of Marksville were booked into the Rapides Parish detention center.
Louisiana is one of just two states to see a decline in median wages between 2013 and 2016, according to Governing magazine’s analysis of federal data. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says that’s not surprising because the Bayou State has been in a recession since August of 2015. Delaware was the only other state to see a decline in wages.
In a 61-34 vote, the full House rejected a measure to ban the spanking of misbehaving kids in public schools. New Orleans Representative Joe Bouie spoke in favor of the bill. He says 31 states have banned corporal punishment in schools and research shows this form of physical punishment does not work. Denham Springs Representative Rogers Pope spoke out against the measure. Pope is a retired school superintendent from Livingston and he says paddling is a way to discipline students without sending them home.
The House has sent a bill to the Senate that would ban the use of tobacco products on school property. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman got 60 “Yes” votes for his proposal. Hoffman describes himself as an ex-smoker and told Baton Rouge Representative Denise Marcelle that he hopes this legislation gets teachers and school employees to quit smoking
The House Transportation committee yesterday advanced a bill that would require training in driver’s ed on how to act when you get pulled over. Plaquemine Representative Chad Brown the author of the bill says this is just common sense legislation. The measure now heads to the full House.
A bill that would ask voters statewide whether they would like to ban traffic enforcement cameras received little support in a House Committee yesterday. The vote was 14-to-1 against the bill. The Louisiana Municipal Association opposed it.
A Tulane University professor has filed a lawsuit to keep the city from removing a statue of Confederate General P.G.T Beauregard, which is in New Orleans City Park. Richard Marksbury argues that the City Park Improvement Association is the true owner of the monument and Mayor Mitch Landrieu would need their approval before taking it down.
A hearing is set for May 10.
A measure that would increase the age requirement from 18 to 21 for exotic dance clubs to hire strippers is scheduled to be heard by a Senate Committee today. The bill has been touted as a way to stop human trafficking. A law to raise minimum age requirement to work as a stripper in a dance club passed last year, but three exotic dancers were successful in a lawsuit to get the law tossed out, and a federal judge ruled the wording was too vague. Kelly says the wording in this new proposed law is much more specific.
FEMA is looking for Louisiana workers to help during disaster response. Supervisor of Human Resources Specialist, Carisa Berkeley says they want to hire people with a range of work experience. Find out more at careers.fema.gov.
Authorities allege a 34-year-old Covington man attempted to run over his girlfriend’s eight year-old son with his pickup truck and eventually rammed his vehicle in a patrol car during a chase. St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Captain Daniel Seuzeneau says the man has been charged with attempted murder. Seuzeneau says the boy avoided getting hit by the vehicle, but a deputy was injured.
West Monroe is once again the setting for a reality TV show, as the History Channel airs an episode of American Pickers filmed in the Ouachita Parish town. The show’s stars Mike and Frank picked through Pete Caldwell’s collection, at the request of the late collector’s children. Kaye Caldwell McBride says her father was an antique collector for many years. McBride says the pickers walked out with around 30 items including vintage toys and gambling machines.
The episode aired Last night, but you can stream it online at History.com.
Ruston native Zach Watson has been named SEC Freshman of the Week. The Tigers centerfielder was 5-for-19 with 4 RBI to help lead LSU to an SEC series victory over South Carolina. Tonight, the Tigers host South Alabama. Hear the game on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3. Air time 6p
News for Monday 050817
By Dave Graichen
On a weekend where the weather could not have been any better, large crowds turned out for this year’s Alex River Fete`. Though the red was a bit wild, the Dragon boat races went off without a hitch on Saturday.
The legislative session in Baton Rouge is nearing the halfway point. Criminal justice reform is a big priority for the governor. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says he sees lawmakers agreeing on new sentencing laws for nonviolent criminals, but they’ll have to wait next year to address to violent offenders. Governor Edwards says he wants to reduce the state’s incarceration rate, which is known as the largest in the world.
The state Department of Veterans Affairs is concerned about the spending plan the House has approved. Undersecretary Homer Rodgers says it could lead to the closure of two veteran’s cemeteries. He says the cemeteries in Leesville and Rayville are a miniature Arlington National Cemetery and require a lot of upkeep. Rodgers says taking this money away is disrespectful to our soldiers. Rogers hopes the Senate will restore the funding when they take up the budget in the coming weeks.
Today the full House is scheduled to take up a proposal to ban corporal punishment in public schools. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says 19 other states have similar laws on the books. The measure was narrowly approved by the House Education Committee on a 6 to 5 vote. Corporal punishment is allowed in 38 of Louisiana’s 69 school districts. Opponents to the bill say parents can opt their children out of spankings by signing a form.
A measure to be heard before the House Transportation Committee today would give residents the chance to vote on removing red light or speed cameras that issue traffic tickets. Covington Representative Paul Hollis says enforcement cameras are money grabs for local government. Over the years lawmakers have brought up various bills to try to regulate traffic cameras and stop cites from installing them, but they have not fared well in the legislature. Local government say they help reduce crashes, especially at intersections.
Louisiana students account for most of the Spring Break arrests in Okaloosa County, Florida. Police say of the 508 arrests, 34 were LSU students, and 23 were UL-Lafayette students. Seven students from St. Paul’s School in Covington were also arrested. Most of the arrests were reportedly for underage drinking.
There are now barricades surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue in New Orleans. It is one of the three monuments that are still slated to be removed as a result of a city council vote two years ago. New Orleans Police put the barricades up. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Friday the monuments would not come down until Jazz Fest is over. It ended yesterday.
Four people were arrested after a woman chased down her stolen car with the help of Baton Rouge police. Authorities say the victim was driving another car when she saw her stolen vehicle on I-10. She then called police to inform them four people were in the vehicle, and after a chase, all four suspects were arrested.
A Sulphur man is behind bars after police say he waived his gun at another driver on I-10. State Police report the dispute started, because one driver was upset the other driver in the left lane wasn’t going fast enough.
Lafayette native Antoine Duplantis’ fifth hit of the game sent home the winning run yesterday as the Tigers won a wild contest versus South Carolina, seven to six in ten innings. LSU lost 3-2 on Friday, but came back to win on Saturday and Sunday to take the series against the Gamecocks and stay within one game back of the conference leaders Florida and Mississippi State.
News for Thursday 050417
By Dave Graichen
The US Justice Department announces no federal charges will be filed against the Baton Rouge police officers involved in the Alton Sterling case. Acting US Attorney Corey Amundson says the investigation took so long because DOJ carefully looked at the officers’ actions.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announces State Police and a special prosecutor will determine if state charges apply.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry have not seen eye-to-eye on many state issues, but the governor is anticipating Landry’s office will lead a thorough investigation into the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling.
The officer who killed Alton Sterling has released a statement on the DOJ’s decision not to file charges. Officer Blane Salamoni’s attorney says this has been a trying time for him and his family. He says they’re glad to have this part behind them so they can move on to the state investigation.
The full House is expected to debate the budget bill that would cut 235-million dollars more than Governor Edwards wanted from the state Department of Health’s budget. Governor John Bel Edwards opposes the proposed cut and is asking lawmakers to reverse them. LDH Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says she wasn’t asked about what the implications these cuts would have on the department.
The Monuments in New Orleans will soon be gone. But, a bill seeking to protect the state’s remaining Confederate monuments was approved by a House committee today. Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody’s measure would prohibit the removal of any military monument from any war without a vote from the public. The bill was approved on a 10-8 vote and now heads to the House floor.
Legislation aimed at bringing equal pay for equal work into the private sector failed in the House Labor committee. New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno attempted to pass a bill that would prohibit businesses from retaliating against an employee if they discussed their pay with a co-worker. But the measure failed on a 9-to-5 vote.
46 year old Amanda Pollock of Leesville faces up to five years behind bars after she pleaded yesterday to one count of concealing a document in a federal investigation. Pollock was accused of falsifying records to cover up more than $1 million stolen from a bank branch she worked at on Fort Polk.
News for Wednesday 050317
By Dave Graichen
The Washington Post reports the U.S. Department of Justice will not charge the two Baton Rouge Police officers who were involved in the shooting death of Alton Sterling last July. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the D-O-J’s ruling is consistent with the opinion of many lawyers he’s spoken with. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry can still investigate this case to see if state charges apply. No word as to whether or not he will do so.
Potential" new evidence prompted the continuation of a hearing set for Tuesday in the Norris Greenhouse Jr. case, which in turn led to an agreement to move his trial to Oct. 2. The 25 year old Greenhouse faces charges of second-degree and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2015 shooting of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and the serious wounding of his father, Christopher Few. Greenhouse's fellow Marksville Ward 2 deputy marshal on that night, Derrick Stafford, was tried on the same charges in March before a jury found him guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. Now word yet as to what the Potential" new evidence may be.
An unrestrained teenager died after a crash in St. Landry Parish after hitting a cow that was standing in the road. State Police Sgt. Jared Sandifer says the female victim is identified as 16-year-old Adrian Johnson of Washington. Johnson was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Leaders of state agencies are urging lawmakers not to cut their budgets, as the spending plan heading to the House floor is $237 million less than the governor’s budget proposal. The Louisiana Department of Health is facing a $235 million cut. Secretary Rebekah Gee says that means programs like school-based health centers, Zika defenses, and in-patient psychiatric treatment would be eliminated. The Department of Children and Family Services would see a $19 million reduction and $11 million would be cut from the Department of Corrections.
Three bills that seek to reduce Louisiana’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate were approved by a Senate committee Tuesday. The proposed laws would shorten sentences for some non-violent offenders and expand opportunities for probation and parole. Governor Edwards says changes are needed, because the state is spending too much money on its prison population.
Also at the capitol yesterday, The House Governmental Affairs committee approved a bill that would make it easier to recall elected officials in larger voting districts. That same panel also approved the calling of a constitutional convention to make changes to Louisiana’s constitution where it deals with money issues.
Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been named a potential 2020 presidential contender by a New York Times Report. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says it’s too early to guess who could be on the ballot. He says Landrieu could be influential in the party but doesn’t have name recognition outside of the Bayou State.
The number of high school students here in Louisiana completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the highest in the state’s history. Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Student Opportunity Ken Bradford says students are already at a 51-percent completion rate and the deadline to fill out the form is still two months away. The national average for completion is 55-percent.
A bill to be heard in the House Labor Committee today would protect employees from retaliation for talking about their wages. Opposition is expected to come from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
A memorial fund has been set up for the family of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Deputy who died while on-duty in a crash over the weekend. Deputy Justin Beard will be laid to rest on Thursday at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in West Monroe. Anyone who wants to help out his wife and three children can do so at any Ouachita Independent Bank location.
News for Tuesday 050217
By Dave Graichen
The House Appropriations Committee has voted to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program for the next fiscal year. Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil amended the state’s proposed budget to take 82-million dollars from the Department of Health’s budget to fund it.
New Orleans Representative Walt Leger raised concerns about how these cuts would impact LDH. He says the only areas of the health budget that can be cut are optional Medicaid programs that will greatly impact Louisiana residents. More debate will take place on the House floor when the full 28-billion dollar budget will be discussed.
A study by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab and the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children finds a lack of quality childcare costs employers and employees over a billion dollars a year. LPIC Executive Director Melanie Bronfin says Louisiana has cut funding to early child care programs 70-percent since 2008. The report finds one in six workers in Louisiana quit their jobs because of trouble with child care.
Legislation that would regulate car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft received approval from the House Commerce committee. Uber and Lyft support having standard rules across the state, so they don’t have to negotiate agreements with local jurisdictions. They say it could help expand their service into smaller communities. The measure heads to the House floor for more discussion.
LSU and a news organization have created a website which would let the public give an opinion on how Louisiana’s budget woes could be repaired. LSU’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs and The Advocate, together developed “solve-the-budget-dot-org.” LSU Mass Communications Professor Len Apcar says poll participants can select “Yes” or “No” to a number of different options related to revenue and spending, with the dollar amounts included for each. The info will eventually be passed onto lawmakers.
Congressman Clay Higgins has sent a letter to Governor John Bel Edwards urging him to take action to keep Louisiana’s confederate monuments in place, after the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans was taken down under the cover of night. Higgins says this is something that has to be done at the state level. He says the decision to surgically remove this part of our history reflects weakness and fear.
Two out of state residents are dead after a private plane crashed Sunday in a field in Morehouse Parish. Sheriff Mike Tubbs says the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation into what caused the crash.
Funeral services will take place Thursday for Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s deputy Justin Beard. He was killed in a single vehicle wreck on Sunday while responding to a burglar alarm.
An 83-year-old LaRose man will be sentenced next month for a sex crime he committed over 30 years ago. Lafourche Assistant District Attorney Kristine Russell says the victim was seven years old at the time and this is a huge victory for her. Warren Danos was convicted of sexual battery and faces at least 25 years behind bars.
The Diocese of Lafayette says the Reverend Felix David Broussard is expected to enter a guilty plea tomorrow in court on charges of accessing and possessing child pornography. Louisiana State Police arrested the Acadia Parish native last July after investigators allegedly found over 500 images of child porn his personal computer. Broussard served as a priest for the Diocese of Lafayette for over 20 years.
Evangeline Parish is cleaning up after flooding that occurred when those strong storms rolled through the state over the weekend. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Liz Hill says although the water wasn’t as high as it was in the August flood, some people had to be rescued from their flooded homes. Flooding impacted about 60 homes in Mamou, along with the schools, hospital, and city hall.
Congress is working on a spending bill that contains 400-million dollars in additional flood recovery dollars for Louisiana and other states, but that’s well short of the two-billion Governor Edwards requested. The state has already received one-point-six-billion, but Edwards says there’s over one-billion dollars in unmet needs for homeowners alone.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser unveils a new initiative called Destination Louisiana to encourage Louisianans to vacation in their home state. Nungesser hopes residents will staycation in the Bayou State rather than jumping on a plane. He says there is so much beauty to see right here.
News for Monday 050117
By Dave Graichen
Bad weather rolling through the area over the weekend caused scattered damage, flooding and a loss of power to over 24,000 CLECO customers. In Avoyelles Parish, upwards of 10 inches of rain was received in a 3 to 4 hour period early Sunday morning. CLECO expected most customers who lost power would be back online early today.
You may not have been aware of it, but Saturday was an election day.. here in Rapides Parish, Three of seven tax renewals for Rapides Parish schools failed. Two renewals in the Rigolette School District No. 11 and one in Fifth Ward School District No. 51 failed to pass. Renewals in the Cotile School District No. 22A, Ruby-Wise School District No. 56 and two in the Big Island School District No. 50 did passed.
A measure gaining popularity with lawmakers that will be heard in the House Way and Means Committee today would place a flat corporate income tax from 1 to 2 –percent on the profits a business makes. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says his bill would generate an estimated 200 million dollars in tax revenue. Havard says the bill would eliminate exemptions and the franchise tax. Business groups like LABI are not supportive, because corporate loopholes will be closed
The Senate Education Committee approved a proposal that would require universities to create action plans to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Author of the measure, New Orleans Senator Wesley Bishop, says pregnancy prevention is something that should be taught along with time management and study habits. He is confident if young people knew better, they would do better. The proposal now heads to the full Senate.
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve a spending plan for the next fiscal year today. Chairman Cameron Henry of Metairie says they plan to hold back about 2 percent of the revenue forecast by the Revenue Estimating Conference. He says the REC is usually wrong, and withholding this money could prevent midyear cuts. Under the governor’s proposed budget, TOPS was only funded at 70 percent for the next fiscal year. Henry says it’s his intention to fully fund the taxpayer funded scholarship program. Henry says that means lawmakers will have to find $81 million from somewhere else to fund the program.
The Capitol City is anxiously awaiting a decision from the Department of Justice on whether or not civil rights charges will be handed down against the Baton Rouge police officers involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. Former Metro Council member John Delgado says he’s heard the DOJ should announce its decision by Tuesday. The Mayor’s Office says speculation that a decision could be made this week is just that. The President of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the NAACP, Mike McClanahan believes if DOJ does not bring forth charges, there will be protests and rallies around the city.
President Donald Trump has reached 100 days in office, but what does that mean for Louisiana? ULM political science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office have been turbulent and unorthodox. He says there’s been very little direct policy change at the federal level under the new administration. But Mr. Trump has won the support of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, business leaders, and officials from the oil and gas industry. Stockley says the president hasn’t really done anything at this point to help or hurt them one way or the other.
Curt Eysink, the executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission from 2009 to 2016 has passed away at the age of 54. Eysink was in intensive care after he lost consciousness while driving to New Orleans. Doctors believed it was a heart issue after suffering a stroke during treatment. Eysink passed on Friday.
A Lake Charles man has been arrested after allegedly sending nude photos to news reporters. Police say 38-year-old Clint Ashworth is charged with two felony counts of cyberstalking. Employees at TV stations in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles reportedly received the photos in Facebook messages.
LSU baseball team won an extra-inning thriller Saturday sweeping their weekend series at Alabama. The Tigers will get to rest up a bit this week before they open a weekend series Friday night at the Box against South Carolina.
News for Friday 042817
By Dave Graichen
A bill to provide parole eligibility for juveniles convicted of murder has been approved by the state Senate. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor’s measure calls for parole after 25 years. He says that would apply to a handful of jailed offenders. Claitor says his proposal would bring Louisiana in line with a Supreme Court decision that prohibits juvenile offenders from receiving life sentences without parole.
A jury hands down a unanimous guilty verdict against a Homer man accused of fatally shooting a Webster Parish Sheriff’s Deputy in 2016. It took the jury nearly an hour to find Andrew Critton guilty in the death of 69-year-old Sulyn Prince, who prosecutors say was buried in a shallow grave after Critton used a fire extinguisher to kill her. A second person also faces murder charges in the case and his trial will be held at a later date.
A new drug called ‘pink’ is hitting the streets in Louisiana and is more deadly than heroin. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark says pink is a synthetic opioid combined with Fentanyl. He says this drug has all of the same effects as heroin.
Music lovers from all over the country are gathering in New Orleans for the Jazz & Heritage Festival that kicks off today. Producer Quint Davis says they have 580 musical acts over a two-weekend period. Harry Connick Junior, Maroon 5, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are headliners this weekend and 2nd weekend performers are just as good. Davis says the two-weekend festival has a $300 million annual economic impact.
Over 30 dogs were rescued after Webster Parish authorities raided three alleged dogfighting rings. Anna Ware is with an Atlanta-based group that investigates animal cruelty cases. She says they received an anonymous tip about an operation in North Louisiana so they contacted police. Four people have been arrested in connection with the case.
A House panel approved two bills that would expand who is covered under domestic violence laws. One measure by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno would include couples who are dating. She says currently the laws only apply to couples who are living together or married. The other measure headed to the full House would include same sex couples.
The House overwhelmingly approved a measure to allow children to bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves, or parents could designate someone at the school to help. The lone dissenting vote came from Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith, who raised concerns about teachers putting lotion on students. The measure was approved on a 99-1 vote and now heads to the Senate.
Speculation is growing the U.S. Department of Justice is close to announcing whether civil rights charges will be handed down against the two Baton Rouge Police officers who were involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. John Delgado is a lobbyist for the Baton Rouge Union of Police and he told two media outlets that people close to the situation say a decision will be announced on or before next Tuesday.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is confident Congress can approve a tax reform package, because President Donald Trump is committed to the effort. Cassidy says there hasn’t been a significant tax reform since the Reagan administration. He says although it took a while to pass, President Reagan was thoroughly engaged, just as Trump is. Cassidy serves as a member of the Senate Finance Committee and will play a role in the passage of any tax reform plan.
Northeast Louisiana could become the future home of a new medical school. University of Louisiana Monroe President Dr. Nick Bruno says the university is actively engaged in discussions with a private medical school they hope to partner with, but they still have to work out a lot of details. Bruno says the school could begin accepting students as early as the fall of 2019. The school would have about 200 students on campus after two years, with 200 more doing clinical rotations in the community.
LSU opened up their three game series in Alabama with a big win in Game 1 in the final 8 to 2. They will try to keep up the momentum in game 2 tonight.. airtime 5:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
News for Thursday 042717
By Dave Graichen
A bill that would ban so-called sanctuary city policies barely passed out the House Criminal Justice Committee. Chairman Sherman Mack broke a 7-7 tie by casting the final “yes” vote.
The legislation targets New Orleans, because it’s police force has a policy that prohibits officers from questioning the immigration status of individuals who commit or report a crime.
A lengthy debate on the House floor on this issue is expected as early as next week.
Louisiana’s roads, bridges and drinking water receives a D+ rating on the 2017 Report Card for Louisiana Infrastructure produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Executive Director of the Report Card project, Dr. Kam Movassaghi (Mo-vuh-sah-gee) says the state’s infrastructure needs immediate attention. Of the 9 categories graded in the last report in 2012, 8 of them got worse or stayed the same.
Not guilty is the verdict in the case of a former Destrehan high school teacher who was charged with having sex with a teen student in Jefferson Parish. One of the allegations claimed that Shelley Dufrense had a three some with a 16-year-old football player in 2014. The judge who handed down the verdict said Dufrense’s behavior was shameful, but the teen’s testimony was not believable. Dufrense previously pleaded guilty to an obscenity charge in St. Charles Parish.
On a six-to-five vote in a House committee, a bill to ban corporal punishment in Louisiana schools advanced to the House floor. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says it shouldn’t be up to educators to punish kids by paddling them Corporal punishment is currently allowed in just over half of Louisiana’s school districts.
The House Health and Welfare Committee advances a bill that would limit first-time opioid prescriptions in Louisiana, in the hopes of addressing a growing opioid epidemic. Former Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Karen DeSalvo says 90 people die a day nationwide from opioid overdoses. The proposal by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno would limit first-time opioid prescriptions to a 7-day supply.
The House Education committee passed a bill that would require public schools to teach litter prevention and awareness to students from kindergarten to fifth grade. Executive director of the Louisiana School Board Association Scott Richard says they support the bill. The measure heads to the House floor for more discussion.
13 UL Lafayette football players were arrested for allegedly breaking into a dorm room and stealing several items totaling 24-hundred dollars. Lt. Billy Abrams with campus police says the student-athletes are charged with conspiracy to commit felony theft. Football Coach Mark Hudspeth has suspended the 13 players from the team indefinitely.
Two teachers in St. Landry Parish are in trouble for allegedly asking other students to punish an 11-year-old classmate by fighting, or receive failing grades if they didn’t. The Washington Elementary teachers face charges including encouraging or contributing to child delinquency and simple battery.
The Festival International de Louisiane is underway in Lafayette, and festivalgoers are lining up to enjoy the festivities from all over the world. Kelly Strenge with the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau says there will be entertainers from as far away as Europe and Africa.
Strenge says attendees can even expect to see some big local names like Marc Broussard. She says this is a family friendly event, and during the weekend, there’s a section of the festival that’s just for kids. She says attendance is free, and they even have free parking at the Cajun Dome.
Two bills approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee seek to extend domestic violence protections to more Louisiana couples. One proposal by Harvey Representative Patrick Connick would include same sex couples in domestic abuse laws. Jody Fortunato with the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office says they are running into problems handling felony domestic abuse charges against same sex couples. Another proposal by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno would include couples who are dating in the law.
Tonight it’s round one of the NFL draft. The Saints have seven picks, five in the first three rounds. The Saints need pass rushers and cornerbacks to help a defense that’s ranked near the bottom in the NFL over the last three seasons. New Orleans will also look to boost the offensive line and possibly draft a quarterback as Quarterback Drew Brees is 38 and entering the final year of his contract. Hear complete coverage of the draft tonight and tomorrow on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
Draft Analyst Mike Detillier says 10 former LSU players could be drafted over the next three days, which would break the previous school record, which is nine set in 2014. Jamal Adams will become the highest ever picked safety, if he’s a top four pick. There’s a good chance that Carolina, with the eighth overall pick, will take running back Leonard Fournette. But Detillier says he could see a team like Philadelphia trade up and pick Fournette before the Panthers get to pick.
Junior right-hander Alex Lange takes the ball tonight as LSU begins a three-game series at Alabama. The Tigers are 10-8 in the SEC and tied for fourth place in the West Division. Lange says LSU has yet to play its best baseball. You can hear all three games of the series starting tonight on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
News for Wednesday 042617
By Dave Graichen
A Boyce pair recently accused of stealing from a convenience store now face more charges, and one is facing extradition to Mississippi because of parole violations. The second complaint regarding 48 year old Richard McCormic and 50 year old Patricia Pickering came only two days after their April 19 arrests on charges of theft and resisting arrest.
The governor’s proposal to impose a new tax on business sales has been pulled. John Bel Edwards touted the measure as a way to stabilize Louisiana’s budget, especially since one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes expire in mid-2018. Edwards says since the Republicans didn’t like his plan, he’s waiting for House GOP leaders to unveil their own proposal. House republican leaders favor budget cutting over additional taxes.
It may be a little too late, but, Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell says she will continue to move forward with her bill to require state legislative approval before Confederate monuments are removed, even though New Orleans officials have started the process in the Crescent City. Mizell says it’s unclear when the Senate Governmental Affairs committee will hear her bill.
The full House rejects a bill that would cut in half the wait time for couples with minor children to get divorced. Supporters say the measure would be better for children if their bickering parents can divorce after six months from filing. But opponents say the one-year wait time can help prevent a divorce and lead to reconciliation between the parents.
On a 6 to 1 vote, a Senate Judiciary committee approves a proposal to abolish the death penalty in Louisiana. Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux says taking a life should be left to a higher power. There was emotional testimony from opponents to the bill.
The measure now heads to the Senate floor for more debate.
The deal with the contractor selected to oversee the state’s disaster recovery program is now official. IEM is set to oversee the $1.3 billion dollar federal flood system for homeowners. The size of the contract is an estimated $226.7 million. IEM was the same firm originally chosen to do the work, but the state scrapped the contract because it was too costly. The governor’s office said re-opening the bidding process ended up saving the state money.
Prosecutors are negotiating the definition of “nonviolent” with the Governor’s Office to see if some middle ground can be found that would allow the district attorneys to back the sweeping package of bills aimed at reducing Louisiana’s nation-leading prison population. The state’s district attorneys and sheriffs fear too many violent criminals could be among the 13 percent of the population released if the 10 bills in Edwards’ criminal justice revamp is approved without changes. The legislation to lower criminal sentences, make parole easier and improve rehabilitation programs would save taxpayers $300 million.
A measure that would prohibit the use of tobacco products anywhere on a public or private school campus is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee today. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says in the 90’s, Louisiana made it illegal to smoke in schools, but this legislation will expand on that law. Hoffman says there will be some exceptions to the bill, like churches or other non-educational buildings.
Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says three suspects, with criminal records, tied up an 83-year-old man in his home in Starks for seven hours and stole his guns, cell phone and wallet. Mancuso believes these individuals stalked and took advantage of this elderly man. Mancuso says two of the suspects are in custody, the search is on for the other.
Boosted by five-run 7th-inning rally, Tulane defeated the LSU Tigers 9-6 in college baseball last night in New Orleans. It was the fourth consecutive loss to Tulane. Up next, the Tigers are on the road for a three game series at Alabama starting Thursday night.
The Saints and 32-year-old Adrian Peterson agree to a two-year contract. Coach Sean Payton believes the future Hall-of-Fame running back will be an excellent fit in the locker room and on the field.
The future home of the New Orleans Pelicans’ NBA Development League team was narrowed to six cities Tuesday. The franchise announced just six of their proposed 10 sites responded to the team’s Request For Proposal, leaving in-state suitors Baton Rouge, Shreveport and St. Tammany Parish in the picture as well as Jackson, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. The Pelicans did not receive RFP responses from Lafayette, Monroe, Alexandria and Biloxi, Mississippi, removing them from contention. The team won’t begin play until the 2018-19 season.
News for Tuesday 042517
By Dave Graichen
The centerpiece of Governor John Bel Edwards plan to overhaul Louisiana’s tax structure did not receive a warm reception from Republicans in the House Ways and Means committee yesterday. The governor is proposing a Commercial Activity Tax on businesses as a way to generate revenue to make up for the one-point-three billion dollars in temporary sales taxes that expire next year. Discussion on this bill continue Today.
The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs committee approves a proposal to exempt diapers and tampons from the state sales tax. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says the state constitution already exempts essential items like water, food, and prescriptions from the states sales tax. The measure heads to the Senate floor.
A northwest Louisiana lawmaker wants to put an end to the need of an inspection sticker for your vehicle. Stonewall Representative Larry Bagley believes the stickers are more about money than safety. Bagley’s bill will be heard soon in the House Transportation Committee. State Police uses some of the money from the purchase of the sticker to fund their operations. Inspection stickers will still be required in the five-parish Baton Rouge area, because federal law mandates it, due to air quality concerns.
A bill that would eliminate the death penalty in Louisiana goes before a Senate Committee today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says this would end the death penalty for first degree murder and rape offenses committed after July 31st. The former prosecutor says he used to be in support of the death penalty, but his views have shifted because of moral and religious beliefs. Claitor, who is Catholic, says we should promote life, not snuff it out. The measure would not affect individuals currently on death row.
Contractors removed one of the four controversial confederate monuments in New Orleans early this morning. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the work of taking the Liberty Place monument down was done in the middle night for the safety of the workers. The statue honors the killing of police officers by white supremacists. Landrieu says they’ll move to remove the three other monuments sooner rather than later.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is not happy the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans was taken down under the cover of night. The monument commemorated a group of white supremacists who fought against the racially integrated police force in 1874. Nungesser says the monuments should stay in place because they’re part of Louisiana’s history.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Major Wendell Raborn says they are receiving a lot of tips regarding the murder of an 80-year-old woman early Saturday morning in New Iberia. Authorities says bullets flew through the front door of Bertha Hill’s home and she was fatally struck multiple times.
Lafayette Police are searching for a 21-year-old woman who is wanted for attempted manslaughter. Authorities say Natasha Portis intentionally struck two women along the side of the street early Monday morning.
It’s expected a 30 second commercial from Governor John Bel Edwards will hit the airwaves this week, promoting his budget plan. The governor is pushing a proposal to place a new tax on businesses while reducing individual income taxes. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says he doesn’t have much support from legislators. The governor is recommending this tax plan as a way to offset 1.3 billion dollars in temporary sales taxes that are set to expire next year. Pinsonat says Republicans are not overly concerned with the higher sales taxes but Edwards is looking out for his low income supporters.
A man helping with a jambalaya cookout to help pay for the funeral expenses of an Ascension Parish resident fatally gunned down last week was arrested Monday on allegations he shot the dead man's brother as the event was winding down. Gonzales City police 31 year old Melvin Sanders shot 26 year old Jonathan Harvey at least six times Sunday after Harvey had gotten in a fight with two others. Harvey was in stable condition Monday evening after surgery.
Tigers Take on Green Wave tonight in New Orleans airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3
There are reports the Saints and future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson are moving closer to agreeing on a three-million dollar contract. Peterson is 32-years-old and played in just three games last season, because of a knee injury.
Coach Ed Orgeron announced yesterday the leader in LSU's open quarterback competition underwent a minor back procedure Monday. Danny Etling has been battling back pain for several months, and the surgery is expected to relieve the pain. Coach O says It's not expected to be a long recovery.
KALB’s reporting Dennis Dunn, the Louisiana College Foot Ball coach will step down from his position with the Wildcats to become Pineville High School's new coach. Pineville will introduce its new head football coach and athletic director at today during a news conference on the school’s campus. Dunn went 65-45 in 11 seasons as LC's coach
News for Monday 042417
By Dave Graichen
The number of people working in Louisiana dropped by 85-hundred between February and March based on the latest employment survey. Louisiana’s employment total is also lower than at this time last year, a sign of weak economy. The state’s unemployment rate is five-point-seven percent, fourth highest in the country.
The investigation continues into the death of a 17 year old Menard student early Sunday morning. The Pineville Police Department reports officers responded to a call regarding an accident on Lallah Street at Military Highway, in which Adam Jeansonne was run over by a vehicle. It’s believed that Jeansonne fell from the bed of a Pickup truck being driven by another 17 year old boy and was subsequently run over by the vehicle’s tire. Jeansonne was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
The attorney for Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s filed a motion Friday that states his client intends to claim self-defense when he goes on trial in June for the attempted murder of Christopher Few and the death of Few’s son. The motion serves as notice to the prosecution that Greenhouse will claim his actions were justified for his defense or for the defense of others.
An agreement between Louisiana State University of Alexandria and Central Louisiana Technical College means students are now able to dual enroll at both schools. The new partnership was one of two made official Friday by leaders of LSUA and CLTCC. The other agreement allows up to 60 hours of general education credits earned at the community college to count toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology or history with a minor in education from LSUA.
The Parc England Hotel and Bistro on the Bayou restaurant, which have been closed since September of last year will be auctioned on May 3. The owner of the properties, Parc England Holdings LLC, has been in bankruptcy since March 2016. The minimum bid for the auction is $650,000. An appraisal completed in October put the value of the hotel and restaurant at close to $2 million dollars.
The House Ways and Means Committee has set aside two days to dive into the intricate Commercial Activity Tax proposed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The CAT is a sales tax businesses pay on their transactions. So far there’s very little support for the proposal. Franklin Representative Sam Jones will present the bill to lawmakers today and he hopes they will change their mind after learning more about it. Jones says so far this is the only plan that’s been presented in this session to deal with the $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018, when the extra penny of the sales tax and other temporary taxes expire.
A convicted killer and rapist was not released on parole on Sunday as originally scheduled. Samuel Galbraith was sentenced in 2000 to 71 years in prison for the brutal murder of 21-year-old Karen Hill, a convenience store clerk in Vernon Parish. The state parole board granted Galbraith’s parole, but it was learned the victim’s mother never received a parole notification letter. It was sent to a different address to a different state. Another hearing will be scheduled in the future.
The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee will look at a proposal today that would exempt items like diapers and tampons from the state sales tax. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says his bill would acknowledge that these are not luxury items, they’re essential. The proposed constitutional amendment would be put on the ballot for voters, if it’s approved by the legislature. Morrell says other constitutional amendments already exempt essential items like water, food, and prescription drugs from the state sales tax.
An-anti tax group called Truth in Politics says a poll they commissioned finds the public doesn’t want to see their taxes increased. Executive Director Kelli Bottgher says 75 percent of respondents oppose a recommended 23 cent hike on the state’s gasoline tax. The survey also finds 80 percent of respondents say government spends too much, taxes too much, or both
Iberia Parish Sheriff deputies are trying to determine who fatally shot an 80-year-old woman. Officers were called to the scene just before one AM this morning after gunshots were heard in the area. Investigators say they found several bullet holes in the front door of a home and after forcing the door open, the elderly victim was found dead, apparently struck by multiple gunshots.
Last week US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy met with White House officials seeking an additional $2 billion for flood recovery. Kennedy says he’s thankful for the financial assistance Congress has provided to flood victims, but it is not enough to help the middle class and small businesses fully recover. Congress has already appropriated $1.6 billion in flood recovery.
The Louisiana National Guard says the burn chamber at Camp Minden will be leaving soon. The burn chamber has completed burning thousands of tons explosive material that was left abandon by Explo Systems. There was talk of keeping the chamber operational at Camp Minden to burn more hazardous materials. But area residents opposed such an idea. The Guard says the burn chamber will not be used again at Camp Minden.
Police are searching for three armed men who robbed three other men when their vehicle was broken down on Interstate 10 on the Bonne Carre Spillway. Police say them robbers pulled over and offered help to the victims, before pulling a gun and stealing a wallet, cash, and a cellphone.
A major construction project begins today on the first 8 blocks of Bourbon Street. Director of New Orleans Public Works Col. Mark Jernigan says they’ll remove and replace the existing pavement, drainage lines, waterlines, sewer lines, and gas lines. He says this is much needed repair work on New Orleans’ most historic street. Jernigan says the project will cost a total of $6 million, and construction is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. He says pedestrians will have access to Bourbon Street during construction, even if the block is closed to vehicular traffic.
The LSU Tiger Baseball team dropped the series' rubber match 10-2 yesterday afternoon. By the time the seventh inning had ended, LSU had allowed a season high 17 hits. That topped the mark of 16 set by the Wildcats in Friday’s series opener.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron was not happy with how his quarterbacks played in the spring game. The contest was moved into the indoor practice facility, because of severe weather on Saturday. For the portion of the game that was played in Tiger Stadium, last year’s starter, Danny Etling, was just 4-of-11 for 53 yards and an interception. Orgeron says the play of the quarterbacks on Saturday shows that no one has earned a starting spot.
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