News for Monday 072814
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana State Police report a single-vehicle crash early Sunday morning claimed the life of a 22-year-old Pleasant Hill man. Wallace Jones was driving a pickup truck on La. Highway 174 when he lost control and ran off the road. The vehicle overturned and Jones, who was not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
The new school year begins in less than a month and thoughts are turning to back-to-school shopping. The Department of Revenue encourages families to keep their receipts while shopping for back-to-school items such as books, supplies, uniforms, and equipment required by schools. Press Secretary Byron Henderson says these expenses may qualify for a series of income tax reductions. To qualify for the deduction you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state income tax return and be able to document the expense. Henderson also reminds residents the state’s annual sales tax holiday is this Friday and Saturday.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals officials have confirmed the state’s first death from West Nile Virus this year in Caddo Parish. They say say the case involves a patient who was between 60 and 74 years of age. It’s one of four cases of West Nile confirmed in Caddo Parish in the past week.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has filed an amicus brief supporting Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that found the Indiana state law banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Caldwell’s office says it’s each state’s right to determine whether same sex marriage should be permitted.
State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson will not accept a controversial retirement boost that was given to him and another veteran trooper as a result of a law that was passed by lawmakers in the final hours of the legislative session. Since the retirement increase has become public, there’s been concern over how costly it is for the state, some $300,000. Edmonson says the issue has become a distraction and he’ll have the legislature look at it again next year.
Louisiana State Police say a former Baldwin Police officer is under arrest amid allegations he fathered a baby with a 14-year-old girl. Master Trooper Brooks David says they were initially called to investigate 39-year-old Joseph Brent about possible drug dealing in 2013, but they ended up finding more information. David says detectives couldn’t substantiate the narcotics allegation. He says they discovered instead that Brent was living with a minor who was carrying his child. David says the baby was born this month and DNA was collected from all parties. Brent’s charges include molestation of a juvenile, malfeasance in office and sexual battery.
In the wake of the power outages that plagued the Shreveport area last week, the Louisiana Public Service commission will consider implementing a new rule for power companies to follow that would keep the public better informed when outages occur. Commissioner Foster Campbell says the system would send automated telephone and text messages to customers when outages occur. He says Entergy power companies have already implemented such a system. Campbell says he’ll ask all electric utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission to do likewise. The topic will be discussed at the PSC’s August 6th meeting in Baton Rouge.
An area of the Atchafalaya Basin could become the next national park in Louisiana. The Acadiana chapter of The Sierra Club says there is a segment of the basin in St. Martin, Iberia and St. Mary parishes that is all state owned. Chairman Harold Shoeffler (Sheff-Ler) says the proposed national park is completely unaltered. The proposed park is 150 square miles of the last portion of the basin that is remote and wild. He says they want to keep it that way.
A woman is recovering after she was attacked by two pit bull dogs near Slidell. The incident occurred as the victim was on a walking trail. A person who heard her screams for help shot the dogs, killing one. The owner of the pitbulls was issued a misdemeanor summons for violating the parish leash law.
The faculty and staff at the LSU Baton Rouge campus are getting a 3 percent merit pay raise. Last year a four percent pay raise was given and LSU officials are on track to remain competitive with other schools.