News for Thursday 020713
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member Johnny “Red” Robertson, who led Ferriday High to four state championships and a state record 54-game streak without a loss, died Tuesday in his adopted hometown of Ferriday. Visitation will be held Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at Ferriday First Baptist Church and funeral services are slated for Friday at 2 p.m. Red Robertson was 88.
Louisianans will soon be getting no mail on Saturdays, as the Post Office announces its latest cost-cutting measure. U.S. Postal Service spokesman John Friess (freeze) says the decision to eliminate Saturday letter delivery was all about dollars and cents. Friess says the USPS will save about $2-billion by ending Saturday delivery. However, the Post Office will continue to deliver packages and express mail 6 days a week. The delivery cutback goes into effect in early August.
A Bossier City lawmaker pre-files a bill for the Spring legislative session to protect the privacy of concealed carry weapon permit holders. Rep. Jeff Thompson says the names and addresses of the CCP holders are confidential, and his bill would help assure they stay that way. Last month, a New York newspaper published a list of gun owners and CCP holders, which led to several being burglarized and their guns stolen. Thompson says such information in Louisiana is not subject to public information requests, and his bill would make in unlawful to release it.
A Tioga High School teacher facing 11 sex crime charges resigned Tuesday from the Rapides Parish School District. 27 year old Heather Michelle Cooksey, an English teacher, was arrested on Dec. 19 on charges that the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office said arose from a sexual relationship with a student. She again was arrested Jan. 22 on nine additional charges. Cooksey is free on a $35,000 bond.
Two lawmakers want to open more of the Louisiana Governor’s Office to scrutiny, proposing a bill that would limit the expansive public records exemption used by Gov. Bobby Jindal to hide nearly all documents in his office. State Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard, No Party-Thibodaux, and state Sen. Rick Gallot, D-Ruston, filed the measure this week to be considered in the legislative session that begins in April. Under existing law, most of the documents and emails in the Governor’s Office are shielded from public view, with a broad exemption that hides anything considered part of the governor’s “deliberative process.” The argument is that internal decision-making is protected to allow for the free flow of ideas.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's office is now involved in trying to find the person responsible for the dog fight shown in a disturbing video that went viral on Facebook yesterday. An animal organization in Hammond first learned of the post and used social media to spread their outrage. Authorities say they really don't know much at this point, and any help from the public is appreciated.
The Tax Man Cometh. Governor Jindal's proposal to eliminate state income taxes could mean paying higher sales taxes on most items, but also paying taxes and fees where they've never been charged before. That could include landscaping, cable TV, marina services and other services that are currently tax and fee free. The Governor says his plan to rewrite the tax code will be "revenue neutral".
State officials Wednesday announced that they are soliciting bids from school districts and others for pilot projects to overhaul pre-kindergarten classes in Louisiana. The changes stem from a 2012 state law, which assigned details of the do-over to the state Department of Education and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The new setup is aimed at revamping what critics call a pre-kindergarten system that features uneven quality, standards and availability. The rate of children entering kindergarten ready to learn is 54 percent. State officials hope to get that number to 70 percent.
The lawyer for the Charenton man who went off the deep end January 26th and killed a cop and another man has asked for a sanity hearing for his client. He says Wilbert Thibodeaux "exhibited bizarre behavior" before the shootings that also wounded two St. Mary Parish deputies.
A Lafourche Parish judge says he will rule today whether or not the Thibodeaux man accused of beheading his disabled son is competent for trial. The judge says the question is whether 31-year-old Jeremiah Wright can help his attorneys during the trial. The man is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 7-year-old Jori Lirette whose head was left in the yard of the house where he lived with his mother.
Shreveport Police say a 1-year-old child is left with serious injuries after being involved in an alleged drag race. They say two drivers in separate cars were drag racing when one of them crashed into a pickup truck, seriously injuring the female driver and critically injuring the infant. Police found no car seat in the pickup, and the child was not restrained.
For the fatal crash last year that left an 83-year-old Abbeville man dead a Vermillion Parish grand jury has charged Maurice police officer, Willis Thomas, with negligent homicide. Thomas was responding to a call with his emergency lights and siren on when a car driven by Paul Suire pulled from a side street onto Hwy.167 and was struck by the patrol car.
The state Department of Insurance is investigating claims that some residents near the huge sinkhole in Assumption Parish, who evacuated their homes moths ago, are getting letters of non-renewal from their homeowners insurance. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says his agents are looking into those claims.
The Mayor of Baton Rouge has abruptly fired the city's Chief of Police, amid spiraling violent crime in the Capitol City. Mayor Kip Holden's office notified Chief Dwayne White of his termination reportedly by letter. No word on an interim chief as yet.
LSU's 2013 recruiting class is receiving great reviews. Rivals.com ranks the Tigers class as the 5th best in the nation, 24-7 sports and ESPN.com have LSU's class as the 7th best. Coach Les Miles is very excited about the 27 new players that are joining the program.