News for Friday 082214
By Dave Graichen
The city of Alexandria has been given an extension to pay a $1.3 million judgment ordered by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Dee Drell has agreed to give the city until close of business Sept. 3 to make the payment to H. Craig Davidson for his legal work in the city's fraud lawsuit against Cleco. The City Council will consider an ordinance authorizing the payment at its meeting Sept. 2.
As of the close of business yesterday, five candidates have signed up to challenge US Representative Vance McAllister in the fifth Congressional District, one being Republican Zach Dasher, a businessman and nephew of “Duck Dynasty” TV star Phil Robertson. Dasher says if elected, he’ll do what the voters want. Support from the “Duck Dynasty” family helped McAllister get elected last year. This time, they are throwing their weight behind Dasher.
Today is the final day of qualifying for the upcoming November elections. So far, no surprises have popped up during the qualifying period. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says that’s because to run for political office today, you’ve got to lay the groundwork for your campaign early. In the 5th Congressional District race, incumbent Vance McAllister tells LaPolitics-dot-com that he’s put 400-thousands dollars of his own money in his campaign. That makes McAllister the official cash leader in the field. Cross says between McAllister’s kissing scandal and a large field of candidates, this race will definitely be interesting. Qualifying ends at 4:30 this afternoon.
To help ease the backlog of medical treatment of veterans, Congressman Charles Boustany from Lafayette announced yesterday that the VA will complete 2 southwest Louisiana clinics. The Lake Charles facility should be ready next summer, and the Lafayette Clinic, by the end of next year, or early 2016.
A Delegation of anti-Common Core state lawmakers are headed to Oklahoma today to hear how leaders there were able to successfully repeal the education standards. Among them will be Lake Charles Rep. Brett Geymann who says they’ll be meeting with legislators who passed bills that reassert state control over standards and tests. Geymann says they feel Common Core standards are a form of federal government intrusion into something that should be a state matter.
A committee seeking a new president to lead Northwestern State University has trimmed a field of 12 candidates down to four. The panel on Thursday met about four hours, including a lengthy executive session, before reaching a unanimous decision. It will meet again on campus the week of Sept. 9 to interview the four and again thin the field, probably to two. The entire University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors will vote at a special meeting Sept. 23 on the finalists to determine who will replace Randall Webb, who holds the record for longevity as NSU president.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says the 5-year-old child who was taken to the hospital this week after allegedly being beaten by his father, died last night. Corporal Don Coppola says the dad, 36-year-old Varnell Day Jr., initially stated that the child had fallen off the bed but that story didn’t add up. He says initially Day was charged with attempted first degree murder. You can now drop the “Attempted” from that charge. The child was hospitalized suffering multiple brain bleeds, bruises in various stages of healing, contusions to the forehead, and malnourishment.
The member of Louisiana’s US House delegation that has most the clout, qualified for re-election today at the Secretary of State’s office in Baton Rouge. Republican Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish is seeking his fourth term. Scalise was recently elected as the House Majority Whip.
Louisiana’s ACT scores were down slightly from last year. Louisiana student’s average score on the test is 19.2, compared to 19.5 last year. But State education officials say that more students are taking the college prep test which affects the average and more of them are scoring well enough to qualify for TOPS. The national average is a score of 21, while a perfect score for the test is 36.
The Shreveport Police Department says two men are behind bars for allegedly beating up a 91-year-old man after they tried to rob him of casino winnings. Corporal Marcus Hines says 39-year-old John Perkins and 60-year-old Gary Smith are each charged with second degree robbery. He says the elderly man was transported to a hospital with minor injuries. Hines says the victim was able to injure one of his attackers during the incident.
Lottery scratch-off tickets seem to be more popular than ever. The Louisiana Lottery is reporting an increase in the sale of scratch-off tickets which helped them add a near record amount of money to the state treasury this year. Louisiana lottery spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says lottery scratch-off sales grew by 10%. Chopin says over 161-million dollars was transferred to the state treasury for K-12 public education. She says that figure is 1.4 million dollars more than last year and is the highest since 1993.
A week from today, many LSU fans will make their way to Houston for the season opener against the Wisconsin Badgers. For those Tiger supporters who still want to go, David Fletcher, executive director of the Advocare Texas Kickoff, says there’s still a handful of tickets left. Fletcher says even though the game is a thousand miles away from Wisconsin, they expect a large contingent of Badger fans to make the trip as well.