Governor Bobby Jindal has missed the cut as he will not be on the stage for the first first formal Republican Presidential debate which will be shown on Fox News. Jindal did not poll well enough in recent national surveys to be among the ten candidates who will square off Thursday night.
ULM political science professor Joshua Stockley says missing this debate is a blow to the Jindal presidential campaign.
"This would have been a prime opportunity for the governor to appeared along side the likes of Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and perhaps score a few points," Stockley said.
Jindal and the other GOP candidates who did not finish in the top ten in national polling, will be able to participate debate featuring secondary candidates that will take place on Thursday afternoon. Stockley says while missing the primetime debate is a blow to Jindal's chances in gaining the republican nomination, its still early.
"There is still time in the process for any of the front runners to suddenly become a second-tier candidate and there's plenty of time for the second-tier candidates to become a front-runner."
National polls have the Louisiana governor only getting one to two percent of the vote.
Jindal recently said in New Hampshire ithat is campaign strategy is working as he's talking directly to the voters. He's in the process of visiting all 99 counties in Iowa.
Researchers have determined the size of the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is nearly 17-thousand square kilometers, which is the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium executive director Nancy Rabalais says the dead zone is bigger than anticipated, because more fresh water and nutrients flowed out of the Mississippi River basin than anticipated.
"I looked at the long term data and this is the 11th largest we've mapped in 30 years."
The dead zone is an area of low oxygen in the Gulf, where sea animals are unable to live. She says it’s 28-percent larger than in 2014.
"It's something we should pay attention to just like other issues facing Louisiana like coastal land loss and effects of the BP oil spill."
Rabalais says in order to reduce the size of the dead zone, more needs to be done by farmers to reduce the amount of nutrients that’s running off their fields into the Mississippi River and then into the Gulf.
The price of US crude oil has fallen to its lowest price in four months and it is having a negative impact on economies in Louisiana. The current price for a barrel of US crude is just $45 a barrel, down from $61 a barrel on June 10th.
LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says the drop in price has caused job loss in communities heavily tied to oil and gas, like Lafayette and Houma.
"They're not losing jobs like they did back in the early 80s, but they are losing employment right now. So it's not good for them at all."
As oil prices continue to plummet, some of the best paying jobs in the state are lost. He says job losses are spread throughout the oil and gas industry, from supply boats to helicopters to the drilling rigs themselves. Scott believes, as we get into the fall, there will be a significant drop in oil production in the US.
"And that is because the rig count has dropped basically in half, much of that in the shale play."
Scott says it's difficult to forecast oil prices but expects the price of crude to turn around in the near future.
"You should start seeing a decline in the supply side coming into the fall and that is going to have a tendency to cause the price of oil to start drifting back up again."
Public schools are reopening and it’s another year for the Common Core standards. The public has an opportunity to suggest changes to Common Core and a hearing to discuss new standards is set for August 19th. The president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Hollis Milton, is one education leader who doesn’t want to see big changes with Common Core.
"So lets pretend your children are like mine and they stay up until 11 o'clock at night right now. Move that time back about 30 minutes every night until you get back to that time that you'd like them to go to bed on a school night."
The department of education has a portal on its website that’s taking public comment on Common Core. Milton says one change he suggests is to dump the PARCC standardized test for Aspire, which is associated with the A-C-T exam.
"It is important that students come to school feeling confident, ready and excited about a new school year."
Milton also believes the Aspire exams, would be a better standardized test for third through eighth graders than PARCC.
"The anxiety that a new school year brings is normal and it's best if we remain strong, encouraging and supportive."
A woman was killed around 9 this morning after being hit by a Kansas City Southern Freight train close to the Lincoln-Bienville Parish line. Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance says train engineers sounded the horn multiple times to alert the woman to move away from the tracks.
"They sounded it again because she was not far enough away from the tracks and she turned around and threw her hands up like to say 'I got out of the way.' They applied the breaks, of course it struck her."
Ballance says the accident occurred on the railway that runs parallel to Highway 80. He says the woman was killed instantly and police are still investigating the accident.
"All we're saying now is it was a black female in her 20's and as I said she is deceased."
Terrebonne Parish deputies arrested a mother in Houma for leaving her child unattended in a hot car for several minutes at a car wash. Major Malcolm Wolfe says 33-year-old Sumer Lynn Boudloche was charged with child desertion once officers arrived on the scene after receiving a call about a small child walking alone in the parking lot without adult supervision.
"Deputies arrived there and contacted to cashier who informed them that the child had been sitting in the vehicle alone."
Wolfe says Boudloche left her two year old son in her running car while she went inside the business to use the restroom. He says once officers spoke with Boudloche, she slurred her speech and seemed to be under the influence of drugs.
"She appeared to be under some sort of narcotic where they weren't getting clear answers, the only thing she could tell the deputies was she left the child in the car asleep."
The Colorado State University hurricane forecast team has released their updated forecast for the 2015 hurricane season and it looks very much the same as their June forecast. Researchers originally predicted eight named storms with three hurricanes and one major hurricane.
Lead author, Dr. Phil Klotzbach, says this update actually lowers the number of expected hurricanes this season.
"Our forecast is now for a total five more named storms, it's three we already had so it's five additional storms, two hurricanes, and one major category three, four, or five hurricane."
Klotzbach says the primary reason for the below-normal season is because of very strong vertical wind shears because of a strong El Nino.
"El Nino is warmer than normal water in the central and eastern tropical Pacific and what it does is it impacts the shear in the Atlantic by tearing apart the storms."
He says the probability of a major hurricane making landfall along the Gulf Coast is just 12-percent, well below the full-season average of 30-percent. Klotzbach says although a below-average hurricane season is forecast, that doesn't mean a storm won't impact Louisiana.
"You can have very quiet seasons overall in the Atlantic Basin, but still have significant impacts. So that's something that certainly people should continued be prepared and have a plan in place in case a storm does threaten the United States."
A new study by LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center points to the lack of physical activity as the number one predictor of childhood obesity. Lead author, Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, says what makes this study unique is that it was conducted in 12 countries around the world.
"It's not just a problem in the modernized world. Across the world, physical activity comes out as so important for preventing childhood obesity."
He says the study shows that obesity cannot be explained away by culture, class, or status. Katzmarzyk says children should be getting at least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity every day. He says we've managed to engineer physical activity out of our kids' lives.
"We drive them everywhere, we don't make time for physical education anymore in the schools. So, they really don't have opportunities to be physically active so we need to kind of go back to that."
Researchers collected data from over 6,000 children between the ages of 9 and 11. Katzmarzyk says he was surprised to see just how big of an impact physical activity has on children's weight across the globe.
"Now we really understand that if you focus on physical activity that this should work regardless of the culture, regardless of the environment."
A study out of Duke University raises concerns that children who are picky eaters may be at increased risk for depression and anxiety. But Dr. Martin Drell, Head of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at LSU New Orleans, says it's clear kids have different tastes in eating, but it's a bit of stretch to say that could be a factor for possible disorders.
"I do think that there are some kids that choke on a type of food and don't want to get near it but I also know that part of the pickiness of eating is part of sensitivity and part of normal development."
Drell says in many cases, being a "picky eater" is a phase kids will grow out of. He says unfortunately this study could raise unnecessary concerns in overthinking parents.
"The issue of constant studies showing that everything is a problem makes for anxiety disorders in parents."
Drell doesn't think kids eating a particular food is a big concern for possible psychological disorders, but a child's behavior towards their parent regarding certain foods could lead to bigger problems.
"I don't think I've ever had anybody come to me for my help saying my kid doesn't eat broccoli. They basically come for problems in behavior, being obstinate, parenting issues."
Governor Bobby Jindal announces the Department of Health and Hospitals is canceling Planned Parenthood's Medicaid provider agreement. The decision comes after secretly taped videos showed Planned Parenthood officials talking about using aborted fetus parts for medical research.
Jindal says Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of Louisiana residents.
Although Planned Parenthood doesn't perform abortions in Louisiana, they do provide health care services for low-income families. Planned Parenthood has 30 days to appeal.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood says Jindal's decision will jeopardize health care for low-income, uninsured women and men who have turned to them for basic preventive health care such as cancer screenings, birth control and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Shreveport Police are looking for a 27-year-old man who pointed his gun at officers early Thursday morning. Officers attempted to stop a vehicle after discovering the plates didn't match the car. Chief Administrative Assistant Bill Goodin says the two men in the car, 30-year-old Joe Thompkins Jr. and 27-year-old Brandon Chin, jumped out of the moving vehicle and fled on foot.
"One of our patrol officers initiated pursuit of the passenger when the man fell to the ground. As Officer Francis closed in to take him into custody the suspect allegedly produced a handgun and pointed it at the officer."
Goodin says during the pursuit, Chin, who was the passenger, regained his footing and started waving the gun at the officer again. He says the officer then fired two shots at Chin but the suspect was able to elude the officers.
"Detectives obtained arrest warrants for the gunman charging his with one count of convicted felon in possession of a firearm and one count of aggravated assault upon a peace officer."
Goodin says they were able to make arrangements for the driver, Thompkins, to surrender himself and he was booked on one count of flight from an officer, one count of switched license plate, and three misdemeanor traffic bench warrants. Chin is still on the loose.
"So we are still looking for him, he's on the lam at this hour. We are still searching for him and would certainly ask anyone who has any information about his whereabouts to contact the Shreveport-Caddo Parish Crime Stoppers."
The massive Bayou Corne sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents, formed three years ago today.
It was created from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern operated by Texas Brine.
Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness director John Boudreaux says the area is a ghost town.
"Of the 159 residents back then, there's only about 15 that remain," said Boudreaux.
Boudreaux says the latest data by Texas Brine shows the sinkhole has only grown by about an acre and a half so far this year. He says some scientists believe the pit will continue to slowly get bigger over the next decade.
"And so no more dramatic events like what happened several years ago," says Boudreaux. "But it is a slow process that continues to grow in size."
Boudreaux says they are still monitoring the bubble spots monthly to ensure the safety of the residents who have remained in the small community.
He says even though the sinkhole has stabilized, they continue to keep a close eye on it to make sure there are no more dramatic changes.
"It's definitely growing slower that it has over the past years, but those events have slowed down dramatically," said Boudreaux.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office is investigating the death of a white female who was found nude in an apartment in Pointe-aux-Chenes. Sheriff's Office Capt. Dawn Foret says they have arrested 50-year-old Lee Dupre, who is the tenant of the apartment, and charged him with obstruction of justice.
"He moved her body and covered her, essentially altering the scene through other means and then left her in the residence until investigators found her.
Foret says they are unsure if Dupre is a suspect because they're still determining the cause of death.
"At this time we don't know if it was an accidental death or if there is foul play involved and as the investigation progresses we'll be able to determine if he had a role in her death at all."
Foret says they're still waiting on dental records to ID the victim . She says identifying her was difficult because authorities found her decomposing.
East Baton Rouge Parish DA Hillar Moore says cell phone encryption is making it difficult to solve the murders of 29-year-old Brittney Mills and her son. Mills, who was 8 months pregnant at the time, was shot and killed on April 24th at her apartment. The baby later died at a hospital. Moore says they can't get into her Apple iPhone.
(Mills photo from Facebook)
"In this operating system, Apple has advertised that they can not get into their own system even if it's court ordered," said Moore.
Moore says the victim had the iOS-8 operating software on her iPhone and nobody knows her pass code. Therefore, he says they are unable to access any of Mills' last text messages, phone calls and contacts.
"They built this system to where they can not get into it," says Moore. "We're skeptical of that. If there is another 9/11 or Boston Marathon crisis, that kind of information is critical."
Moore says that this software is installed on more than 80 percent of cellphones now and believes the encryption system makes it easier for bad guys to hide behind crime.
He says this is the only system that does not have to comply to court orders which could lead to critical information when it comes to solving murders such as Mills'.
"We are really frustrated by the inability to get into this particular phone, as well as others and I feel like it's going to get worse from here on out," said Moore.
Today is the 40th birthday of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Dome officially opened on August 3, 1975 after almost four years of construction. General Manager Alan Freeman says 40 years is a great run, but the facility still has a lot of life left.
He says that's why they decided to theme this anniversary year, "40 Strong".
"To commemorate not only the history of the Dome, but also the fact that it's got a very, very promising future."
He says upgrades to the stadium has kept the Superdome a viable venue to host some of the world's biggest events. Freeman says they are constantly looking at ways to enhance the fan's experience at the Dome.
"Over the next couple of years, you're going to see and hear a new sound system in the building, enlarged video screens. Both of those projects are being funded by the Saints."
The Saints are the Superdome's primary tenant. Over the years, the Superdome has hosted seven Super Bowls, five Final Fours, and a WrestleMania, just to name a few. Freeman is confident all of these and more will return to the Dome.
"We're very optimistic about the future. We're going to get some more of these events. We are still a major player when it comes to hosting major championship sporting events."
The four candidates for governor say they want to improve access for mental health care as a way to prevent another mass shooting incident like the deadly Lafayette movie theater shooting. Democrat John Bel Edwards says you can't put a price on mental healthcare and he's been fighting for more access to it for years.
"I am committed to reinvesting in mental health services for our citizens. I am committed to preventing violence in as many instances as possible by treating mental health and rehabilitating the mentally ill to save our lives and theirs."
Republican David Vitter says the tragic event shows it's necessary to focus on mental health issues and it's part of his campaign platform.
"In terms of policy, I think this certainly highlights the need to focus on mental health issues and in fact that is already addressed in my plan, the plan I'm building my run for Governor on."
Republican Scott Angelle says we must take a serious look at mental health laws in Louisiana and across the nation while enforcing laws to make sure there are proper background checks for those buying guns. He says he doesn't want this despicable event to negatively effect lawful people.
"I don't believe it's good public policy to make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to have access to a constitutional right to bear arms."
Republican Jay Dardenne says he wants to create the opportunity to identify which people should be able to purchase a gun. He says we have appropriate laws to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill but we need to increase mental healthcare funding in the state.
"We need assessment and treatment options that will be cost effective for Louisianians. Not only is this the right and humane thing to do, it also has the potential to reduce the high cost of incarceration for nonviolent offenders."
Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany will spearhead an effort to re-write the nation’s welfare reform laws. The country’s welfare system hasn’t seen any major changes since 1996 and Boustany has been asked by House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan to lead a rewrite. Boustany says his desire is that welfare recipients find permanent work.
"Lets get people off welfare into work and hopefully meaningful work that helps them move up the opportunity ladder."
Boustany says in order for welfare recipients to find long lasting jobs, they need to have the ability to receive education and training…
"Programs can be as long as 24 months or short as 6 weeks. We're trying to match up what we're doing with actual job training that gets people into meaningful work.
Boustany says when welfare was reformed in 1996, steps were taken to make sure recipients to find work. He says the goal this time around is not only employment, but an opportunity to increase earning potential over time for the tens of millions of people who are receiving government assistance
"We really need to do something. You can't have a productive growing economy and a productive society if you have that many people who are left out of it."
GasBuddy is predicting Louisiana's statewide average for a gasoline will fall below $2 a gallon in October. GasBuddy Analyst Gregg Laskoski says the decline in prices will accelerate after the Labor Day Holiday.
"We've got a tremendous inventory of crude oil as well as gasoline. We're also looking at basic crude oil, the West Texas Intermediate trading at about $47 a barrel so all of this points to lower gas prices."
Laskoski says currently the statewide average is about about $2.39 for a gallon of regular gasoline. He says this is good news for consumers when it comes to upcoming holiday shopping.
"Anybody who is watching the prices at the pump knows that they're going to have a little more cash in their pockets come Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately, it's not a windfall but at least people know that they'll have a little bit more to pay the bills."
Laskoski says February was the last time prices was under two dollars a gallon in Louisiana. He says they're also seeing strong production numbers from refineries, which is steadily keeping prices low.
"We saw refinery output at about 95% of capacity, the Gulf Coast refineries of course is the most significant region for oil production and they were right there at 94 or 95%."
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore announced that criminal charges against LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings and two other football players have been dropped.
Jennings, defensive lineman Maquedius Bain and defensive back Dewayne Thomas were arrested in June for allegedly breaking into someone's apartment and taking items that belonged to Jennings.
The East Baton Rouge district attorney's office released this statement on Friday describing their decision.
The District Attorney’s Office has thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and documents associated with the arrests of Anthony Jennings, Dwayne Thomas and Maquedius Bain.
Based upon our review no formal charges will be filed against any of these defendants.
This decision is based upon the request of the victim that no charges be filed and inconsistent and contradictory statements provided. Although the conduct of these students in this situation is unacceptable, it is not one, based on the facts that warrant prosecution, although their actions could have subjected them to such.
Jennings, Thomas and Bain were suspended from the team following the arrest. Coach Les Miles says they've been reinstated and will report with the team for fall camp on August 5th. Miles says the players will face further in-house discipline.
State Superintendent of Education John White announces two daycare centers in Louisiana have had their licenses revoked - one in Baton Rouge and one in Bossier City.
He says while the majority of child care providers do an excellent job taking care of kids, there are a couple who refuse to follow the law.
"In one case a child was even left at a restaurant amusement venue for a time," says White. "We're talking about children who are under the age of 5 and it wasn't even reported to the family or the state."
White says Our Blessings Christian Daycare Learning Center is the one whose staff is accused of leaving a two-year-old child behind during a field trip and didn't tell the parents.
He says they know of some cases in which a daycare had its license revoked by the state recently but they've continued operating.
"That's illegal and a full force and effect of the law should be brought to bear," says White. "That's why it's important for parents who have children in child care make sure that the center has a license."
White says the Storybook Daycare and Discovery Zone in Bossier City had its license taken away due to continued regulations violations including improper child/staff ratio and not conducting employee background checks.
He most Louisiana child care providers are doing an excellent job taking care of kids.
"That's why we have to be vigilant anytime someone puts our kids in harms way and that we waste no time and rectify the situation immediately," says White. "We will not tolerate our kids being in unsafe conditions."