News for Wednesday 010814
By Dave Graichen
That arctic blast that dropped temperatures in Louisiana to record setting lows in the past few days, should be easing up. State Climatologist Barry Keim says temperatures this morning are cold, but a warm-up begins this afternoon. Keim says the high pressure that pushed cold air into Louisiana will shift to the east that will pull warmer air from the gulf of Mexico. Although Keim says we have not reached the peak of winter, it's unlikely we'll see the type of cold weather we experienced this week
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office says they've made an arrest in the double murder of a father and 2 year-old daughter in the Covington area. Seventeen year-old Jacob Middleton Jr. - who is the son of the dad Jacob Middleton Sr., and the half-brother of the little girl who was also killed - will face two counts of first-degree murder. The younger Middleton admitted to the crime, saying he hated his father for what he called years of abuse and family violence.
A state senator has submitted a proposed revamp of the controversial Tulane University legislative scholarship program following revelations of political awards and lack of transparency. State Sen. Dan Claitor prefilled the “Legislative Scholarship Fairness Act” for debate by the 2014 Legislature which opens March 10. The legislation would ban scholarship awards, valued at an estimated $43,150 annually, to relatives of Louisiana elected officials and legislators’ political donors as well as require legislators to publicize the scholarships and Tulane University to publish annually who gets them and from whom. The program dates back to to the 1880s when the then-public University of Louisiana was privatized into Tulane.
The US Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would delay massive flood insurance rate hikes that thousands of Louisiana homeowners are facing. Senator Mary Landrieu is a co-sponsor of a bill that would push back large rate increases for those properties in flood prone areas. Senator Vitter has also thrown his support behind the bill.
The flu virus continues to pop up in Louisiana this season and health officials say the rate of cases reported is nearly three times what the CDC says is considered "normal" for our area. Dr. Fred Lopez with the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans says The Bayou State is one of several in the southern region reporting a widespread flu outbreak. Dr. Lopez says the predominate flu strain that's being typed by the CDC right now is the same H1N1 or Swine Flu we saw hit in 2009. He says thankfully that strain is covered in this year's flu shot so it's extremely important to get vaccinated. Dr. Lopez says even healthy young people should get their flu shot.
The 63-year-old Shreveport woman who fatally shot a 16-year-old who broke into her home over the weekend is speaking out about her terrifying ordeal. Elzie Pipkins is not facing any charges after using a gun to kill Devon Antonio Young. Pipkins says she hasn't slept much since Sunday. Pipkins says she was home with her grand-daughter and great-grandson when Young busted through the front door on Sunday night and demanded money a safe. Pipkins she gave the boy the money, all $55.00 of it, but he wasn’t satisfied with that. She was able to retrieve a gun from the safe and fire.
The out-of-state attacks against Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and her support of the Affordable Care Act continued Tuesday with the Republican National Committee launching new radio advertisements in Louisiana. The new RNC ads follow those of a string of third-party groups fighting against Landrieu and working to promote Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, in the 2014 Senate race. A new super PAC is being formed to support, but not coordinate with, Cassidy.
A state District judge has set another execution date for 69 year old Christopher Sepulvado of Mansfield, the third time a date has been set in just over a year. The man is now scheduled to be put to death on March 7th for scalding and killing his 6 year old stepson nearly 22 years ago.
Police in Opelousas say they are investigating the death of a homeless woman who likely lost her life because of the weather. They say the body was located early Monday morning and OPD says all indications are that she froze to death. The woman is not being identified at this time pending notification of next of kin.
The Saints are trying to replicate the environment they'll face when they play the Seahawks in Saturday's playoff game in Seattle. They've painted the Seahawks logo on their practice field and Payton says they are playing crowd noise over speakers at a loud level. Payton says even though Seattle's loud crowd presents a challenge, a bigger challenge is the type of football players the Seahawks will have on the field.