News for Wednesday 032614
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides parish sheriff’s department reports a few telephone scams are making their way throughout the area. One scam revolves around a call from someone identified as a federal officer who claims that the person has a either an outstanding federal or local warrant. The caller tries to get the person to pay with a credit card, saying that the warrant will be recalled. The other, happens when a person calls and claims to be with MidSouth Bank, or some other financial institution. The call says the person’s card has been deactivated and tries to get personal information so that a new card can be activated. Both are scams.. Don’t be fooled.
A nationally prominent member of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees said an independent audit of school finances failed to substantiate LC President Joe Aguillard’s claim that he was “exonerated totally and completely” of allegations that he misappropriated funds. Board member Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., has requested the board review Aguillard’s declaration of exoneration along with the findings of an audit conducted by an Alexandria accounting firm. Perkins made his request in a letter addressed to Aguillard and board Chairman Tommy French dated March 3. Copies of the letter were sent to every member of the board. The full story can be found in today’s Town Talk.
The Department of Health and Hospitals says almost all of the drinking water systems in Louisiana are up to safety standards. They say about 70 remain in non-compliance with an emergency rule put in place in November of 2013 after a rare amoeba was discovered in St. Bernard and DeSoto Parishes and is blamed for the deaths of three people since 2011. DHH plans to work with the other systems to ensure they bring their water chlorine levels up to the new
A senate committee has approved legislation that would grant an immediate divorce in cases of spousal or child abuse. Current Louisiana law requires a woman or man to wait 180 days for divorce to be granted in cases where one spouse physically or sexually abuses the other or their children. The bill now heads to the senate floor for further consideration.
State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield told lawmakers Tuesday that he expects the state to collect $100 million in back-owed taxes through an amnesty period planned for later this year. That’s a good thing since Gov. Bobby Jindal’s $25 billion budget proposal assumes the tax amnesty program will bring in the $100 million and uses the money in the health department for ongoing services.
Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would give the legislative auditor greater ability to track state tax dollars paying for students to go to private schools through the statewide voucher program.
Under Senate Bill 460 by state Sen. Robert Adley, the private schools would have to keep the dollars either in a separate account or use an accounting procedure that allows the auditor’s office to track the receipt and spending of the money. The voucher program is slated to receive $46 million in next year’s budget.
Baton Rouge has been named as one of only four cities to receive the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant for 2014. The winning cities will receive pro bono consulting expertise on the issues which are most challenging to the community. For Baton Rouge, the focus will be on traffic. A team from IBM is scheduled to visit the capital city later this year and begin a study of the transportation system.
One thousand pounds of marijuana; several pounds of cocaine, and two handguns. That's the result of proactive traffic stops in the past few weeks by Louisiana State Police. Troopers in Troop A and Troop I made multiple arrests during the stops.
The rates of heroin overdoses are skyrocketing across the state, a state senate committee has advanced a bill designed to help get emergency help to those people faster. Baton Rouge State Senator Sharon Broome says this will exempt from prosecution people who call emergency services when the person they are with overdoses.
Louisiana State Police have arrested Homer mayor, Alicia Smith, for malfeasance in office. Trooper Sterling Davis says Smith used her office for personal financial gain. During the investigation authorities learned Smith took non-business related trips using taxpayer funds, while using the town's credit cards to pay for expenses incurred during the trips. Davis says Smith then falsified public records to justify the expenses.
The charges are two counts of manslaughter against two Houma parents who left a 2 year-old toddler and a one year-old baby home alone in house that caught fire and killed the children. Authorities are currently searching for the parents, Romell Welch Senior and Vaneshia Valentine.
According to authorities, a murder investigation in Amite City has led investigators to hundreds of thousands of dollars in counterfeit bills. The Amite Police Department said they were following up on a tip about a murder weapon when they discovered more than $200,000 in fake cash, mostly in $100 bills.