News for Thursday 011012
By Dave Graichen
Southern Louisiana braces for more possible flash flooding, as showers and thunderstorms drench the state again today. State Climatologist Barry Keim says there's still the potential for another 3 to 4 inches of rain on top of the soaking the state got Wednesday. Heavy rains Wednesday caused flooding of low-lying areas, and closure of numerous roads due to high water. Keim says river basins are swollen to
capacity, and more rain is expected today and into tomorrow, with another front coming over the weekend.
Louisiana is one of 29 states reporting high levels of people with flu-like symptoms. Flu bug expert Dr. Frank Welch with the state office of public health says they've seen a surge in flu activity since the Christmas holidays. Welch says they are hearing every four of ten patients in an emergency room are suffering from flu-like symptoms. He says many health care providers still have flu vaccines available and Louisiana residents should do what they can to prevent flu cases. Again, welch says he can't say it enough. Please wash your hands often and if you feel like you have the flu...stay home.
The Crowley Police Department says a 34-year-old woman is under arrest for sending threatening text messages to herself. They say Trudy Miller tried convince investigators that the messages were
coming from her ex-boyfriend. But the cops found out that phone was actually in her possession. She is charged with a felony: false swearing for violation of health or safety.
A 35-year-old Lake Charles man has plead guilty to manslaughter in the February 2009 murder of his grandmother. Carl Webb was sentenced to 12 years in prison to run concurrent with the 65 year
sentence he received on unrelated weapons charges.
Gas prices on the rise again. The statewide average price for a gallon of regular jumped 2 cents last night to $3.21. That's up six cents from last week.
A number of New Orleans residents have rented their homes out for the Super Bowl. Only trouble is there's a city ordinance against doing that. Homeowners who rent temporarily have to carry insurance
for their short-term tenants, and very few have that coverage. It's unknown if the city will enforce the ordinance.
Significant provisions of President Barack Obama's federal health care law go into effect in 2014, but Louisiana residents will notice some changes this year. Louisiana Association of Health Plans Chief executive officer, Jeff Drozda, says many residents will set their premiums increase. Under the new federal health care law, Louisiana individuals and families will no longer have deductibles or co-payments for certain preventive health care services. But Drozda says those costs will show up elsewhere. Drozda says as the year goes on, expect to hear more about the insurance exchanges that will become available in 20-14. He says the "exchanges" are where uninsured individuals can buy coverage next year.
Louisiana farmers are facing an uncertain future because Congress has failed to pass a new farm bill. Over the Holidays Federal lawmakers approved an extension to the current farm bill which will expire at
the end of September. But LSU Ag Center Economist Mark Salassi says this makes it difficult for farmers to make planting decisions. He says the current farm bill includes direct payments that benefit many of Louisiana row crop farmers, but those could become a thing of the past when a new farm bill is passed.
A Winnsboro police officer is facing a charge of malfeasance in office for shooting a deer while on patrol. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says 34-year-old Chester Coleman of Enterprise was booked into the Franklin Parish jail. Einck says Winnsboro police officer Joshua Martin and a local prison security guard, Hunter Guimbellot (Gum-bellow) of Winnsboro, were also cited for helping to put the deer into a trunk of a patrol vehicle for later cleaning.