News for Friday 013114
By Dave Graichen
Things are finally starting to get back to normal across central Louisiana after another major winter storm closed schools and highways. This morning, all children return to the class room. All highways and bridges are back open as well. Another bit of good news, it will be at least the middle of next week before we see temps back in the 30’s..
After hearing numerous complaints about the sky-high rates for flood insurance, the Senate today passed a bill to delay premium increases to homeowners who get their flood insurance from the federal government. The bill still needs to pass the house. Many critics of the bill say it will damage the reforms on the program that resulted in numerous bailouts and a huge $24 billion dollar debt owed to the US Treasury.
Crews lost control of a natural-gas well being drilled off the Louisiana coast Thursday, but officials said no injuries or pollution have been reported and efforts are underway to stop the flow of gas.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said most crew members were evacuated from the rig, which was drilling in 262 feet of water about 108 miles southwest of Lafayette. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash said no sheen was sighted when a Coast Guard crew flew over the site Thursday.
A federal agency must sign off on the funding the Jindal administration plans to use to pay for expanded community-based services for the developmentally disabled. The administration’s budget proposal earmarks $11 million of federal hurricane recovery money for the purpose.
State police report a 68-year-old Bunkie man died early Thursday morning when he lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree. Troopers say David Chenevert was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.
Blood Donation Centers throughout Louisiana are reporting critical shortages this week after weather forced them to close down for two days this week. The Blood Center spokeswoman Amanda Chittenden says their organization needs to collect 300-350 pints of blood each day to maintain a stable blood supply for the community. Blood donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 17 years old and in good health. Chittenden says they are urging donors of all blood types to please donate this week
After a two day weather delay, the federal corruption trial for former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin continued, with jurors being chosen yesterday afternoon. Nagin is charged with wire fraud and bribery, connected with free trips and spiffs from contractors, so they could secure millions in rebuilding work. Several people within Nagin's circle have already been convicted or issued guilty pleas as a result of a New Orleans City Hall investigation.
Tax filing season begins today and the Louisiana Department of Revenue should be careful when choosing a tax preparer. Spokesperson Byron Henderson says authorities know that fraudulent tax preparers are out there because a bunch of them have been arrested. The most recent fraud case had a Lafayette based tax preparer arrested last week on several felony accounts including tax evasion and computer fraud. Consumers could be held liable for a fraudulent tax return even if it
was prepared by a service.
A Winnfield man has been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the beating death of a Wheeling Jesuit University student. 24 year old Jarrett Chandler pleaded guilty Thursday and agreed to cooperate with Ohio County prosecutors in the case against a co-defendant. Chandler also was fined $1,000. He will receive credit for time served since his Sept. 3 arrest in the attack that occurred three days earlier. Prosecutors say the 21 year old victim was beaten during an argument and died the next day.
The brutally cold weather will most likely affect the supply of crawfish. David Savoy is a crawfish farmer in Church Point says many of his ponds iced over this past week. The mud bugs don't eat
or move around when the temperatures dip that low and Savoy predicts this will makes the crawfish smaller because of it. Savoy says he's never seen it this bad..
Tuesday's State of Union address by President Obama inspired Centenary College in Shreveport to raise the minimum wage of the college's workers to $10.10 an hour. Centenary President David Rowe says they have 25 workers who will receive a raise. He says they also have 2 major vendors that have workers at the college, who have also decided to pay their employees at least $10 and ten cents an hour. President Obama asked congress to approve a higher minimum wage so low-wage workers would have better economic opportunities.
A Natchitoches Parish woman is arrested after she brought a shotgun to Fairview Alpha Elementary School just north of Campti. Based on a tip, thirty year-old Aftan Creighton allegedly was going inside
the school to forcibly to remove her child. Deputies found a loaded shotgun in her truck that was in the parking lot. She was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.
A Galliano man is in jail following a rape, battery and false imprisonment of a Lafourche Parish woman this past weekend. Twenty seven year-old Lee Hartman allegedly had been holding the woman against her will, forced himself on her, raped her, and threatened her with several knives in her home. Monday, another man showed up at the residence distracting him, and she was able to call Sheriff's deputies. Hartman was booked into the LaFourche Parish Detention Center.
New Orleans native Peyton Manning looks to match his brother Eli Manning by winning his second championship Ring when Peyton's Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48. Both teams are wrapping up two weeks of preparation and Manning says he needed that much time, because he's unfamiliar with the Seahawks. Sunday's game is a match-up of the N-F-L's best offense against the league's best defense Seattle.