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Report says BP spill still impacting dolphins and sea turtles


With the four-year anniversary of the BP spill, The National Wildlife Federation releases a report that says dolphins and sea turtles are still dying in high numbers.  Senior policy specialist with the federation, Sara Gonzales-Rothi, says the evidence is stronger than ever that dolphins are suffering from effects connected to Deepwater Horizon.


 
"Dolphins are showing strong evidence of sickness related to BP oil.  So they're anemic, their immune systems are in trouble, they're having lung issues, and their teeth are even falling out."
 
Gulf-wide, dolphins were having health issues before the spill.  Although some issues are linked to the spill, Gonzales-Rothi says studies continue.
 
"When you talk gulf-wide, it's less clear at this point.  And so there's more study going on to determine why dolphins gulf-wide have been sicker since before the spill and continuing throughout the spill and in the years prior."
 
Since the spill the number of sea turtles in the gulf appear to have flat lined.  Roughly 500 stranded sea turtles have been found each year in the area.  Gonzales-Rothi says that number is significant.
 
"And the reason that the number 500 is significant is that it's very difficult to find stranded sea turtles so that number is higher than usual."
 
The report also says oyster reproduction remains low and the chemical used to break up the oil may be causing irregular heartbeats in bluefin and yellowfin tuna.
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Soda consumption going down nationwide


Michelle Southern reporting.
According to a leading beverage industry newsletter, there has been a big decline in soda consumption in the United States and it continues to drop. Denise Holston-West is a dietitian with the LSU Ag Center. She says the Beverage Digest report found that since the mid 90s, soda consumption per person, per year...has gone down about four gallons.

"In 1998 the average American consumed about 51 gallons of soda per year," Holston-West said. "And now we're finding it's about 44 gallons. That doesn't seem like a lot but it is."

Holston-West says people are becoming more aware of what they put in their bodies and recognize drinking sugary drinks could potentially impact their health in the future.

She also says it's getting expensive to have a regular soda drinking habit.

"The average cost of a 12 pack of soda has gone way up and in this economy people are choosing cheaper and healthier options," said Holston-West.

Holston-West says the biggest drop was in the consumption of diet sodas which fell 6 percent last year. She says people are concerned about artificial sweeteners even though they have been found to be safe.

Holston-West says she really hopes parents are starting to get the message that letting their kids drink sodas is a bad idea.

"They are in a time where they're growing, their bones are growing," said Holston-West. "We don't want them to be consuming large amounts of sugar sweetened beverages that actually take calcium out of bones."



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Man collapses and dies while attacking woman with machete in Opelousas


Michelle Southern reporting.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office says a man died as he was apparently trying to attack a woman with a machete in Opelousas. Capt. Megan Vizena says they received a call from the victim who told dispatch a man was on top of her with a machete and that she'd been cut several times.
 
"What we know right now is that the male subject laid over and died," said Vizena. "It wasn't anything the female died. He sustained no injuries from her."

Vizena says they don't think the victim and the suspect knew each other and the motive for the break-in and attack remains under investigation.

She says the woman sustained several lacerations and is recovering at a local hospital.

Vizena says the victim was asleep when the attack was taking place but woke up and tried to escape.

"And she started fighting him off and in the victims words he just rolled over and died," said Vizena.



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Man arrested for alleged crawfish theft


The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have arrested a Crowley man for alleged theft of crawfish and criminal trespassing.  39 year-old Jason Mire was observed allegedly taking crawfish from traps in a pond that did not belong to him. 
 

  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Adam Einck describes what happened.

"We did receive some complaints and we went out there to check it out and, sure enough, we found this Mr. Mire breaking the law.  He was trespassing and also the theft of the crawfish as well."
 
LDWF Agents received complaints from crawfish farmers in Acadia Parish about people stealing mudbugs from traps in their ponds.  Einch says crawfish theft is something that the LDWF doesn't take lightly.
 
"You know we take our crawfish very seriously here in Louisiana and these crawfishermen, you know, this is their livelihood.  So we try to protect the resource and also protect the economy of the crawfish that happens in Louisiana."
 
 Mire was caught with 31 pounds of crawfish, valued at $62.  Einck says that Mire is facing a pretty stiff penalty.
 
"Theft of crawfish it could bring up to $500 in fines and six months in jail.  And also for the trespassing charge he's also looking up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail.  So, basically a total of about $1000 in fines and maybe up to 90 days in jail."


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New poll suggests McAllister likely not horribly damaged by scandal


Jeff Palermo reporting.
51-percent of those polled in the 5th congressional district, say they will not vote for US Representative Vance McAllister this fall. The telephone survey of 13-hundred registered voters was conducted by Pineville pollster David Glascock. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says McAllister should be encouraged by the poll.

"Clearly Representative McAllister has been damaged by the scandal," said Stockley. "But the numbers tell us while he's been damaged he hasn't necessarily been destroyed or knocked out."

The pollster says the survey was paid for by "political activists." It also asked voters who they would vote for in a run-off election between McAllister and state senator Neil Riser.

McAllister lost by 12-percentage points. Stockley says there's time for the so-called kissing Congressman to rebound before the November election.

"Representative McAllister still stands a good chance of being re-elected, even if he runs against a formidable opponent as Senator Riser would be," Stockley said.

The poll comes out on the heels of a video that shows McAllister, a father of five, kissing a staffer that was also married.

Stockley says the poll shows many people are not happy with McAllister, but there's time to make a political comeback.

"53% said there is nothing Representative McAllister can do to gain trust or re-gain trust in him," said Stockley. "I really do suspect that number would change over time. This poll is only a week out of a major scandal."



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LSP: Man arrested for 6th offense DWI for "drug driving"


Michelle Southern reporting.
State police say a Denham Springs man who is just 29-years-old was arrested for 6th offense DWI Wednesday. Trooper Jared Sandifer says the warrant came down following a serious injury crash that was caused by Lee Edward Easley in February in Livingston Parish.

He says Easly hit a car head on and both drivers were sent to the hospital.
 
"Medical professionals over there were able to obtain toxicology samples from him because troopers felt that he may have been impaired at the time of the crash," Sandifer said. "Basically those toxicology samples came back and showed that he did have several narcotics in his system on the day of the crash."

He says this was not the first time Easley was arrested for driving under the influence.

"When our troopers were doing their investigation they learned that Mr. Easley had been charged 5 prior times for DWI," Sandifer said. "That's what made this his 6th offense."

Sandifer says they obtained an arrest warrant through the 21st JDC and charged Easley with DWI 6th offense, reckless operation, 1st degree vehicular negligent injuring and possession of marijuana.

He was arrested at his home and booked into the Livingston Parish jail.

Sandifer it's a shame someone so young has committed so many crimes.

"There is a huge problem out there not just with drunk driving but drug driving as well," said Sandifer.



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ASPSO: Man shoots wife and 12 year old son then jumps into river


Michelle Southern reporting.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office is currently investigating a case in which they believe a man murdered his wife and 12-year-old son in Gonzales, then jumped into the Mississippi River. Chief Deputy Tony Bacala says 44-year-old Ronald Green called someone at the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office around 2am this morning.
 
(pictured: Ronald Green)

"Then said, 'I just killed my wife and son and I'm going to jump off the Mississippi River Bridge,'" Bacala said. "We sent deputies to the home where they found the front door had been broken in and they went inside and found Dewona Green and their 12-year-old son both dead, they'd been shot."

He says soon after they located Green's car on top of the Veterans Memorial Bridge in St. John Parish.

Bacala said the Green's had recently been involved in domestic violence situations.

"And last week we assisted Dewona in getting a restraining order against Ronald Green," said Bacala. "He was not supposed to come near the home or contact her. Obviously it didn't end well."

Bacala says the victims were found in a bedroom of the home and he believes they were shot shortly before Green made the call.

He added, "This makes no sense at all. You just sit back and wonder how someone could do something so horrible."

Bacala said the investigation is ongoing as Green has not yet been located but there is currently a warrant out for his arrest for 2 counts of first degree murder.



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