News for Friday 101113
By Dave Graichen
After a second Louisiana Parish Water system tests positive for a brain eating amoeba, one state lawmaker calls for statewide testing of public drinking water systems. New Orleans state Senator JP Morrell says finding the amoeba in St. Bernard Parish water means a possible systematic problem. Morrell has written Governor Jindal and the health department, urging statewide testing and a set benchmark for chlorine amounts that will kill the amoeba yet still be harmless to humans.
There are just two more days to cast early ballots for the October 19th special election. Secretary of State Tom Schedler reminds us to take advantage of the ease and convenience of casting your vote early. There are local issues on ballots in 46 parishes, but the highest profile race will be in the state's 5th Congressional District, where voters must choose a successor the Rodney Alexander in the U.S. House. So far only around 23-thousand early ballots have been cast. Early voting ends Saturday at 6p. The election is one week from tomorrow
State employee layoffs since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office neared the 8,000 mark as of September’s end, according to the latest state Civil Service report issued Thursday. Employee layoffs associated with the transfer of LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe to private operation pushed layoffs of classified employees to just under 8,000. The numbers are in a report to the Legislature which updates layoff activity through the first three months of the state fiscal year. About 41,800 classified, rank-and-file employees remain on the state payroll.
State Police say an elderly couple from Ferriday has been killed following a three-vehicle crash last night. They says the driver of a pickup, 77-year-old Carolyn Smith, failed to stop at Highway 84
and two cars traveling in different directions slammed into the truck. Smith and her 80 year old husband both died.
State Police report one of their officers collapsed and died while on duty Yesterday in Houma. Supervisor Sgt. Brett Lange was 48-years-old. Attempts to revive him by fellow troopers and EMTs were unsuccessful. He was a 23-year-veteran of the State Police. His cause of death is under investigation. Lange leaves behind a wife and two sons.
The federal government shutdown is, of all things, affecting beer...at least on a small scale. Bayou Teche Brewing President Karlos Knott says they're one of Louisiana's craft brewers waiting for permission to release seasonal beer from a federal agency whose employees are furloughed. Knott says the labels on new beers have to be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tac and Trade Bureau or TTB before they can go out.
A Bossier Parish judge denies parole eligibility for a Ouachita Parish teen convicted of murdering his parents in September 2010. Dalton Fletcher's first sentence was tossed out after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that juvenile convicted of murder may not be denied possible parole. That ruling leaves it up to judges on a case-by-case basis. Fletcher’s Attorney says he will appeal.
A 43-year-old Livingston Parish man is convicted of conning an elderly woman with dementia out of virtually everything she had. Gary Gorman romanced the 75-year-old victim and convinced her they would get maried. She gave him over $80-thousand from a reverse mortgage, $132-thousand from an annuity and signed over power of attorney. He also maxed out all her credit cards. The jury took just 30 minutes to convict him. His sentencing is in December.
A Lafayette school teacher is being disciplined for allegedly doing something to influence students into gluing themselves into their seats. The matter is being investigated, but the teacher is under
It's going slowly still but Louisianians are signing up for health care coverage through the federal government's "health insurance marketplace." Vantage Health Plan spokesman Billy Justice says just over a dozen people have completed the signup & purchase of their offered plans so far. Justice says there have been numerous sign-ups via Vantage sales agents, as many seek to avoid problems with the HealthCare.gov website.
A former state Representative who was accused of federal tax fraud plead guilty in US District Court in New Orleans today to all three counts. Girod Jackson who represented the West Bank of Jefferson Parish is scheduled to be sentenced in January and faces up to 3 years in prison.
Two men who allegedly cut through a prison fence at Angola and attempted to elude officers for two hours before being caught have plead not guilty to simple escape. 49-year-old Melvin Johnson who is a rapist from Orleans Parish and 24-year-old Aaron Francois who is a murderer from Lafayette were assigned defense attorneys and trial has been set for March 17th.
The team that claimed LSU's first Bowl Championship Series title in 2003 will be honored during a halftime ceremony Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. It's been ten years since the Tigers claimed the first national title for LSU in 45 years beating Oklahoma 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl. Skyler Green will be among those honored. The 40 members of the 2003 national championship team will be there
for the ceremony.