News for Wednesday 100213
By Dave Graichen
The partial federal government shutdown has thousands of Louisiana residents at home and missing out on a paycheck. There's an estimated 20-thousand federal employees in Louisiana. Fort Polk in Vernon Parish has about three-thousand government workers and base spokesperson Scott Stearns says 80-percent of their workers have been furloughed. This is the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.
The National Hurricane Center is watching an area of low pressure that shows some signs of organization in the western Caribbean. Richard Pasch, with the National Hurricane Center, says this disturbance is expected to move into the southern Gulf of Mexico later this week. He says they give it a medium chance of developing into a named storm.
Opening day glitches were apparent Tuesday as the online insurance marketplaces at the heart of the national health-care overhaul opened. A spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, one of four companies providing insurance through the exchange in Louisiana, said no one among about a dozen testers of the system was able to complete a transaction early Tuesday.
Company spokesman John Maginnis said BCBS is advising people to take a deep breath, relax and check back. The exchanges are going to be open for quite a long time. The enrollment period lasts six months. Louisiana is among the states that refused to run its own marketplace, leaving that to the federal government under a decision made by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
State Superintendent of Education John White reiterated his support Tuesday for tougher academic standards and blasted what he labeled as a static public school establishment. In a speech in Washington, D.C., White noted that students in Louisiana have long ranked between 45th and 49th. White and other backers say the standards will improve student achievement and allow state-to-state comparisons on how students fare in the classroom. Critics contend the new guidelines will pave the way for a federal curriculum.
From the WHAT? Department.. A federal judge orders the immediate release of an Angola prisoner
who has spent four decades in solitary confinement. Judge Brian Jackson says Angola 3 member Herman Wallace should be free to go, because there were no women on the jury that convicted him in the stabbing death of an Angola prison guard in 1972. Wallace, who is in the late stages of liver cancer, was released late last night and transported to a new Orleans hospital.
Just before the federal government shutdown, Louisiana received word from the US Department of Veterans affairs that they'll provide funding for a veterans cemetery in Rayville. David LaCerte, deputy secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, says this newest cemetery
provides for the needs of about 35-thousand Veterans and their families. The cemetery will be located near I-20 on property donated by the Franklin family. It will span about 50 acres. The hope is to have a new veterans cemetery completed in early 2015.
The Louisiana Hospitals Association, along with state and local partners launch a six month initiative to help make a healthier Louisiana. LHA Board Chairman Stephen Wright says the "Geaux Lite" challenge has an eye toward a slimmer Louisiana. Geaux Lite seeks to challenge Louisianans to lose a combined 200 tons of weight. That's 400-thousand pounds. Department of Health & Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert (KLEE-bear) says 34.7% of Louisianans are overweight.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's office placed a deputy on leave who allegedly beat a man in handcuffs with a baton at the Sugar Cane Festival. Reverend Raymond Brown with Action Now says it started
Saturday when several people were arrested on rioting charges. He says the police doubled up forces for Sunday and things got out of control. Brown says one of the people at the festival asked a deputy why they were being so mean, and that's when that man was cuffed and then clubbed with a baton. He says a video of the incident has gone viral.
Two teenage girls from Baker have been arrested and charged with cyber stalking after using Twitter to threaten to kill another girl. Chantel Williams and Jasmine Montgomery, both 17, were apparently making the threats because one of their boyfriends was expressing interest in the victim.
A 23-year-old Franklin man is facing first-degree murder charges in the fatal shooting of a man whose body was found in the roadway near Jeanerette early Monday morning. St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office spokesperson, Tracy Landry, says 23-year-old Jazmine Jackson is now behind bars..
One of the five men suspected in a triple homicide and home invasion case in Ascension Parish has pleaded guilty before the trial was set to begin. Michael Aikens is accused of taking part in the murders of Irwin and Shirley Marchand and their son Doug Dooley in order to steal coins from their house. Aikens agreed to plead guilty in exchange for three life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputies have retrieved a body from Lake Pontchartrain. It's believed to be the remains of the man whose truck drove off the Causeway bridge yesterday, though a positive identification has not yet been made. An autopsy of the male body has been ordered.
Loyola University in New Orleans has been awarded a NASA grant for a new invention that uses body heat to recharge smartphones. The invention refines the science of thermoelectricity; converting heat into electric current. A physics professor at Loyola leads the team who are developing the device.
State Police rescued a child that was reported missing from Florida Tuesday . Troopers say they were on the lookout for a blue Chrysler minvan traveling west on I-10. They spotted the vehicle near Henderson and pulled it over. The child was inside and recovered by troopers. The driver, 38-year-old Gloria Reyes, of Orlando, was arrested for warrants in Florida. Her relationship to the 5-year-old is yet unknown.