KSYL Local News

News for Thursday 021116

By Dave Graichen


The already bleak budget situation in the state looks to be much worse. The Revenue Estimating Conference met yesterday and said the mid-year deficit is up from $750 million to $870 million. The gap for next fiscal year has swelled past two billion dollars. Low oil prices are to blame for the less than anticipated revenues, but that’s not the only issue. The legislature’s chief economist Greg Albrecht says corporate taxes are weak.


Governor John Bel Edwards will address Louisiana citizens tonight to discuss the state’s historic budget deficit. This address comes ahead of the special legislative session that begins Sunday, where lawmakers will have to come up with a plan to combat an 870-million dollar budget deficit.  UL Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says that this kind of speech is unprecedented. Louisiana needs to boost state revenue and make cuts to the current budget to resolve the $870 million budget shortfall, which must be filled by June 30th.


A special session to address the state’s budget crisis begins Sunday, and state lawmakers have already started filing bills. One of the first proposed bills would increase the state tax on a pack of cigarettes another 22-cents per pack. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says he’ll push for the tax increase but it is still important to make cuts to the current budget.


The Pineville council  has become the latest public agency to take a stand against a proposal for a company to quadruple its open burning of toxic waste near Colfax. In doing so, Pineville has joining the Rapides and Grant police juries and the Colfax Town Council. The Alexandria City Council has not yet voted on the open-burning issue. A spokesman for Clean Harbors Colfax has said that the company meets or exceeds all state Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The company also disputes claims that the burning at the facility causes health problems.


Is that aluminum plant that we heard so much about last year still coming to Pineville at the old IP facility? Revolution Aluminum announced a year ago this month plans to bring a multi-billion dollar aluminum manufacturing complex to Pineville. Since then the company’s projected closing date on the paper mill property has been kicked back multiple times. Jim Clinton, president of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, says he  remains optimistic of progress on the project in the near future.


A Baton Rouge lawmaker has filed a bill for the regular session that seeks to change the state constitution to allow Louisiana residents to possess a concealed handgun without needing a permit. Republican State Representative Barry Ivey says that this law would apply only to non-felon residents.


Fresh off his primary win in New Hampshire, Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump will hold a rally tonight at the Baton Rouge River Center. Political Analyst John Couvillion says new life has been breathed into Trump’s campaign, but to get the nomination, he’ll need to outperform Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the southern states.


A man from Tennessee was busted on I-10 near Henderson Wednesday with over 200 pounds of marijuana in his truck, according to State Police. They say 59-year-old Michael Willis was pulled over for a traffic violation and began acting strange. Troopers smelled the drugs and located about 202 pounds of pot. He was booked at the St. Martin Parish Jail.


The fast food chain Burger King announces they’ll add hot dogs to their menu starting February 23rd. LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says McDonald’s just went to all day breakfast and this is Burger King’s way of opening a new market. Fast food chain Sonic also sells hot dogs, but they have a lot of varieties. Rice says Burger King decided to only offer the classic grilled hot dog and the chili cheese dog.


News for Wednesday 021016

By Dave Graichen


Three people are reportedly arrested in connection with a fight following Sunday’s Alexandria Mardi Gras parade that was caught on video and has hundreds of thousands of views. Cops say 23-year-old Joshua Andries, 23-year-old Chelsea Thompson and 22-year-old Lauren Paul are booked with disturbing the peace by fighting. Apparently the incident was started over a parking dispute.


Louisiana is facing the worst budget crisis in state history. Governor John Bel Edwards has put together a special web page to solicit public input on how to handle the state’s massive deficit. The governor’s director of communications Richard Carbo explains that the purpose of the site is to inform the public and get suggestions from citizens. The site can be found at gov-dot-Louisiana-dot-gov.


Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry continue to fued about a lawsuit involving Common Core. Landry wants to follow through with an appeal involving the suit, which was originally filed by former Governor Bobby Jindal. But Edwards says that’s not necessary, especially since Louisiana is in the process of rewriting its public school standards. He says he’d rather put the money needed to appeal the case into the state’s schools.


Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany introduces legislation that seeks to block President Obama’s proposed $10 tax on a barrel of oil to pay for a new 21st century clean transportation system. Boustany says a new tax on oil will hit an industry that has already struggled over the past year.


State Representative Mike Johnson, a Republican from Bossier City, announces his candidacy in the wide open 4th Congressional District race. The seat is being vacated by Congressman John Fleming who’s running for US Senate. Johnson gained name recognition after authoring the controversial “religious freedom” bill in the legislature. The measure failed but grew support from groups who oppose same-sex marriage, and criticism from those saying the bill would promote discrimination.


A member of the Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board says we could see one of the best years for crawfish out of the Atchafalaya basin in recent memory. Wild crawfish farmer Sherbin Collette of Henderson credits El Nino for providing warmer weather and high waters that will contribute to both the size and number of wild crawfish.


According to a complex algorithm developed by the website Roadsnacks, Central is the most boring town in the state of Louisiana. Spokesperson Nick James says they looked at city population data to come up with their list of 10 most boring Louisiana places. Coming in second place was Mandeville, Franklin 3rd, Springhill 4th and Minden 5th.  Rounding out the top ten were the cities of Slidell, Zachary, Oakdale, Covington, and Denham Springs.


The website Trulia ranked the most Saintly Sanctuaries and Sin cities in the country and to no surprise, New Orleans comes in a number one for a sinful city. Spokesperson Filipe Chacon says the number of gambling establishments per household ranked highly in the categories of lust and greed for New Orleans. He says Shreveport came in as the number seven sin city in the country.


A 19-year-old from Ponchatoula is dead after being hit by a bullet while riding in a car this yesterday morning. The say the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office was told by the driver that he heard a popping sound then later turned to find his passenger, Gerrell Lee, shot. Anyone with information on this crime is urged to contact authorities.




The LSU men’s basketball team plays the first of two consecutive games against ranked teams tonight when they visit 20th ranked South Carolina. After tonight, it’s 13th ranked Texas A-and-M at home on Saturday.


A statue honoring the late Pete Maravich has been approved by the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. The setback for a Maravich statue has been that “Pistol Pete” passed away a few credit hours short of earning an LSU degree. The LSU Board of Supervisors recently made changes to a policy that opened the door for a Maravich statue


News for Tuesday 020916

By Dave Graichen


Louisiana’s economy is just one out of those in seven states in the nation that did not end 2015 on a strong note, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The index shows our economy contracting during the last three months of the year. LSU Economist Dr. Loren Scott says the impact of the oil cuts are hitting Louisiana really hard. As you may suspect, Scott says the big hits Louisiana incurred were in Houma and Lafayette, with employment down three and a half and two and a half percent. He says the historic low oil prices have hammered most areas across the state.


It’s Mardi Gras Day and the hottest spot to celebrate in the nation today is in Louisiana. Fat Tuesday expert Arthur Hardy, who puts out a comprehensive guide to all things Carnival, says he cannot remember the last time we’ve had such beautiful weather for the parades. He says the greater New Orleans area had a 12-day parade season. There are also events all over south Louisiana today like the unique Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou. In Lake Charles & Lafayette, parades roll all day long.


With Louisiana facing historic budget shortfalls, a good government group, the Public Affairs Research Council, recommends ways the state can control its spending. PAR President Robert Travis Scott PAR has published a nine page report on ways to control state spending. Scott says one suggestion is to do away with various tax credits the state gives, like the tax deduction parents receive for sending their child to a private school. Some of PAR’s other recommendations include no merit pay increases for state employees next fiscal year, stay away from funding local pork projects and no more tax amnesty programs. Scott admits legislators have a difficult task in front of them.


The state police report a Plaucheville man died Sunday evening in a single-vehicle accident. 51 year old Charles West died after his vehicle left highway 451 and struck a tree. State police believe alcohol may have been a factor.


For the second time in two weeks there has been a shooting along a Mardi Gras parade route in Louisiana. A week ago, there was a shooting in Thibodaux and Sunday night shots rang out during the Bacchus Parade. Good news is, no one was injured in the shooting


A Crowley man is facing multiple charges after allegedly stabbing two Acadia Parish Narcotics Agents. 42-year-old Jason Broussard has been arrested for several charges including two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder. The officers are recovering, and Broussard is held on a one million dollar bond.


The Saints have released four-time All-Pro right guard Jahri Evans, who has started all 10 seasons since New Orleans drafted him. In moves posted on the NFL’s transactions list Monday, New Orleans also has released linebackers David Hawthorne and Ramon Humber and receiver Seantavius Jones, while signing veteran free agent defensive back Tony Carter.


News for Monday 020816

By Dave Graichen


If you didn’t attend a parade this past weekend, you certainly can’t use the weather as an excuse. Cenla say near perfect parade weather Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Crowds were some of the largest we’ve seen in years. Forecasters are saying this great weather should stay with us through the end of the week.  


Governor John Bel Edwards has issued the call for a special legislative session to deal with a 750-million dollar budget shortfall for this fiscal year. During the session, which starts February 14th and ends March 9th, lawmakers will debate budget cuts and tax increases. Governor John Bel Edwards says he’s listened to legislators and has drafted a call allow flexibility to consider both cuts and raising money for the state.


Jeremy Alford of La-politics-com says to expect the unexpected during a special session that will start Sunday. Legislators will meet for 3 and half weeks looking at proposed cuts and tax increases to fix the state’s massive budget issues. Alford says Governor Edwards has released a broad call when it comes to taxes and to no one’s surprise, Republicans aren’t pleased. Alford anticipates Governor Edwards will work with Republicans to try to find a balance between budget cuts and tax increases. He says Republicans will go into the session looking for ways to reduce spending.


Chevron North America notified the Louisiana Workforce Commission of layoffs at five office locations in Covington and Lafayette. Eric Smith, Associate Director at the Tulane Energy Institute, says the low oil prices originally impacted independent oil producers, but now big companies are feeling the effects…The company says they’ll work to help laid-off employees find jobs in other Chevron locations and offer severance packages to those unable to find one. Smith believes even more layoffs are coming.


Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham introduces legislation aimed at stimulating agribusiness. The proposed FAME act changes the depreciation schedule for farm equipment. Abraham says it makes a simple adjustment to the tax code to shorten the depreciation schedule on farm equipment to five years rather than seven. Abraham says other businesses typically have a five year depreciation schedule for their durable equipment. He says this will help put money in the farmers’ pockets.


The preservationists have lost another step in their fight to keep the Confederate monuments up in New Orleans as a civil district court judge rules against an effort to stop the removal of the statues. A similar challenge was shot down in federal court last month. The preservationists say they would appeal.


KPLC in Lake Chares is reporting a former Catholic priest in Calcasieu Parish has been found guilty of molesting and raping altar boys. 60-year-old Mark Anthony Broussard was convicted of aggravated rape, molestation of a juvenile, aggravated oral sexual battery and aggravated rape. Broussard was accused of sexually abusing two boys while a priest in the 1980s and 90s.


New Orleans attorney Caroline Fayard is the first Democrat to enter Louisiana’s US Senate race. Fayard has never held political office, but did run for Lt. Governor in 2010. Fayard says she’s running for the Senate because she doesn’t want the rest of the country to take Louisiana for granted and that starts in Washington, D.C. A release from her campaign describes Fayard as a “pro-life, pro-business Democrat.” She believes there are too many career politicians in Congress and voters are upset with the level of service they’re getting from their government.


Negotiations have begun about forming another high school athletic association. This is in response to a vote by member principals of the LHSAA who chose to expand the championship split to basketball, baseball and softball. Former commissioner of administration, Paul Rainwater, planned a meeting with several high school principals and A-D’s to address what it would take to form a new organization.




The LSU Tigers are in first place in the SEC after beating Mississippi State 88-77 on Saturday. Antonio Blakeney led the way with a career-high 31 points, Keith Hornsby had 25 points and Ben Simmons chipped in with 16 points. Coach Johnny Jones liked that the Tigers had 25 assists to go along with 32 made field goals. After a rough go during the nonconference schedule, the Tigers are now 8-2 in the SEC, one game ahead of three other teams in the league.


News for Friday 020516

By Dave Graichen


A six-year-old girl was killed early yesterday in a three-bedroom mobile home fire in Deville. Her 12-year-old sister was also seriously injured in the blaze that started while the family was sleeping. Investigators believe a space heater may have caused the fatal fire. Also, there were no working smoke alarms in the home.


The RPSO reports one person is dead after an attempt to serve a warrant in a domestic violence case led to a chase and a crash on U.S. Highway 165 south of town.  Deputies went to serve a warrant shortly after noon yesterday on Shannon Road in Alexandria. But the suspect got into a vehicle and fled, leading deputies on a chase on U.S. 165 toward Woodworth and then back again toward Alexandria. The suspect, whose name has not been released, then headed south again on U.S. 165 and crashed into another vehicle. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.


First it was the Alexandria Ryans location late last year and now it the Pineville Ryans. Ovation Brands announced "Seventy-four restaurants throughout the United States were permanently close on yesterday. Employees of the closed stores will be able to relocate to other markets with open restaurants.


New Orleans lawyer Caroline Fayard, who once ran for Lt. Governor, is the first Democrat to get in Louisiana’s US Senate race. Fayard joins a crowded field of republican candidates. It’s also been rumored that Democrat and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell will also get in the race.


We are expecting Governor John Bel Edwards will issue the call for a special legislative session very soon, possibly today. Jeremy Alford, with la-politics-dot-com, says the call outlines which tax measures the governor will ask legislators to vote on, to help close a 750-million dollar budget deficit for this fiscal year. A three-and-a-half week special session is expected to start on February 14th. Alford says republicans in the legislature are pushing the governor to include in the call, opportunities where significant budget cuts can be made. Republican legislators have expressed interest in making cuts that go beyond what Governor Edwards has suggested. But Alford says many lawmakers also realize that higher taxes are inevitable.


Governor John Bel Edwards announces he’s dropping the lawsuit filed by the Jindal Administration to end Common Core. Edwards says, since the process to develop and implement Louisiana’s own education standards is nearing completion, the case, which is pending on appeal before the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, uses money, time, and resources that do not benefit students. He says his administration will not continue to waste taxpayer money on lawyers and lawsuits.


The Republican Party of Louisiana has launched their “Red to the Roots” campaign. The initiative is an effort to identify, engage, and register new conservative voters across Louisiana. Executive Director Jason Dore (DOOR-ay) says the $2 million dollar campaign will put permanent boots on the ground in Louisiana with a primary focus of registering conservative voters.


The state department of transportation is trying to determine what other safety measures are needed at a railroad crossing in Iberia Parish that saw five people die in a train-versus-vehicle crash last December. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says their study involves observing traffic volumes, the speed of vehicles crossing the tracks and additional reports. Mallett says gates were installed at the crossing over ten years ago and there’s also a sign warning drivers not to stop on the tracks.


Three Louisiana regions, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport-Bossier, are in the Top 10 of the best places to live and work as a moviemaker. Executive Director of Louisiana’s Film Office Chris Stelly says there are many films and show projects going on right now in the state.

He says the moviemaker.com ranking proves the film industry in Louisiana is alive and well.


The plea deal entered by former Saints star Darren Sharper in New Orleans to charges he drugged and raped women, is imploding according to a legal filing. Sharper pleaded guilty last year and agreed to a nine-year federal prison sentence in a so called “global deal.” Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it looks like the judge isn’t committing to the prison terms. He says this is bad for Sharper who has already admitted to being a serial rapist. The joint motion by Sharper’s attorneys and the US Attorney asked the judge to postpone a March 7th trial date.


The two men accused in the kidnapping and murder of a Baton Rouge couple have been indicted on two counts each of first degree murder. District Attorney Hillar Moore says the death penalty is now on the table. 42-year-old Ernesto Alonso and 48-year-old Frank Garcia allegedly robbed 71-year-old Denis Duplantier and his 70-year-old white Suzy, before taking them from their home and killing them in October of last year, according to authorities


News for Thursday 020416

By Dave Graichen


The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Melville woman and her two sons in connection with the shooting death of 15-year-old Treyvon Edwards. Capt. Clay Higgins says a 12-year-old has been charged with Negligent Homicide and it’s believed he and Edwards were playing with a gun and it went off accidentally killing Edwards. He says the mother, 33-year-old Twanda Louray Washington, is charged with Obstruction of Justice and two counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Juvenile.  Higgins says they suspect the mother and other son helped to cover up the crime scene. He says there are details of the case that might never be released…


A new study by LSU finds 17-year-olds in Louisiana should be tried as juveniles, not adults, after they are arrested. Professor Stephen Phillippi (Philip-ee), with LSU’s Institute for Public Health and Justice, says several states have recently put 17-year-olds back in their juvenile system with good results. The report discovered that 17-year-olds sent to adult prison are more likely to to commit additional crimes when they are released.


New York real estate heir Robert Durst pleaded guilty in New Orleans yesterday on a federal weapons charge, in exchange for over 7 years in prison. Durst will eventually be sent to California to face murder charges in the alleged killing of his friend Susan Berman. Durst was arrested at a hotel on Canal Street in March 2015.


Governor John Bel Edwards tells teachers there are no plans to cut funding for public schools, despite the state’s difficult budget challenges. Louisiana currently allocates three-point-seven billion dollars for public schools and puts it into the minimum foundation program, which distributes money to school districts. But Edwards added that there likely won’t be growth in the funding next fiscal year.


Pro-life groups are concerned about the views that new Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Rebekah Gee has on abortion. Louisiana Right to Life claims Gee, a gynecologist, is pro-choice and has ties to Planned Parenthood. Gee says she is personally pro-choice, but when it comes to being the head of DHH, she’s pro-family. Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper says Governor John Bel Edwards named a DHH secretary with stances incompatible with his own pro-life values. But Gee says she is committed to upholding the views of the governor in this role.


Dr. Trey Baucum, a Shreveport cardiologist and Republican, officially announced his candidacy for the 4th Congressional District seat Wednesday.  Incumbent congressman John Fleming is giving up the seat to run for U.S. Senate. Baucum, a Shreveport native, described himself as "a conservative in belief and principle.


The Civil Air Patrol has identified two of its members, who were killed in an Alabama plane crash while returning from La. after flying a medical patient there for treatment. The patrol said its pilots perform compassion flights, often to transport patients or family members to or from treatment. The patrol said pilot 67 year old  David Mauritsonof Fairhope, Alabama, was returning from such a flight after flying a patient to an airport near Baton Rouge, when the Cessna 182 crashed near Mobile Regional Airport Monday. The patrol said Mauritson was killed, along with 66 year old Phil Dryden of Gulf Shores, Alabama, who served as mission scanner for the flight.


LSU did not land the nation’s number one recruiting class, but it’s in the Top five according to 24-7 sports, Scout-dot-com and ESPN. Tiger Rag editor Cody Worshman says the strength of this class is in the secondary as the Tigers signed five talented defensive backs.


Clinton Police have reportedly arrested a middle school teacher after a parent complained she found explicit messages on their child’s phones. Louis Smith Jr, an 8th grade teacher at East Feliciana Middle, was charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile, computer aided solicitation of a minor and prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student. Detectives say they’re currently investigating to see if other students are involved.


The FX series “The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” premiered Tuesday night and is getting rave reviews, and next season could be about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Hollywood Reporter says creator Ryan Murphy wants to follow six to eight people to examine all sides of what happened after the storm. Murphy told the entertainment outlet that Katrina was a crime against people and that’s what his show is all about.


Federal money received as part of a nationwide disaster resiliency competition will be used to move Native Americans living in Isle de Jean (zhan) Charles in Terrebonne Parish to safer ground. The plan is to have the members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indian tribe relocated by 2019. Chief Albert Naquin says they’re not sure where their new community will be. Naquin says the state received $48 million to relocate the community.


News for Wednesday 020316

By Dave Graichen


Ready for an early spring.. Well the expert weather prognosticator, Acadiana’s Cajun Groundhog Pierre C. Shadeaux, predicts that’s just what we’ll see. The Nutri did not see his shadow yesterday Groundhog Day. Pierre came out of his house in New Iberia in front of a huge crowd. Not to question his abilities, but this is the 5th year in a row he has forecast an early spring.. But then again who’s counting.


A former cop in Avoyelles Parish who worked for Bunkie and Cottonport police has been arrested by State Police amid allegations he was on duty at the same time for both departments and collected pay from each. Investigators say they discovered 47-year-old Joseph Johnson of Mansura, for quite some time, was collecting two payroll checks for working the same hours. He was charged with 30 counts of public payroll fraud and malfeasance in office.


Two juveniles and their mother have been arrested in connection with the death of 14-year-old Treyvon Goudueu of Melville. The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s office says an autopsy determined Goudeau died of a gunshot wound to the head, and his body was found in woods Friday evening. A 12 year old is charged with Negligent Homicide. His 15-year-old brother is charged with Obstruction of Justice. Their mother is booked with Obstruction of Justice and 2 counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Juvenile.


The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office says they have found the murder weapon in the investigation into the stabbing death of Dylan Kyle Poche. The 18-year-old was killed Saturday at the Sibley Lake boat launch. Captain Tony Moran says they’ve arrested 18-year-old Andrew Jacob Wallace and after several days of searching detectives found a critical piece of evidence. Two other 18 year olds were arrested in connection with the murder.


A Campti man died on Monday afternoon after a two-vehicle crash in Campti on U.S. Highway71. Police say a pickup Reilly Runnels was driving crossed the center line and struck an 18 wheeler head on. Runnels died at the scene. The driver of the 18 wheeler was not injured.


A Leesville substitute teacher has been charged after allegedly having sex with a student. 23 year old Derek Telin was arrested and charged after a Leesville police investigation

discovered that Telin had numerous encounters with the victim at the school that involved improper sexual contact as well as improper electronic communication with the victim. The investigation also revealed that on at least one occasion Telin and the female student met away from the school where the encounter also resulted in improper sexual conduct between the two.” Telin’s Bond was set at $75,000.


Today is the final day to register to vote or change your party affiliation for Louisiana’s March 5th presidential preference primary. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says it’s important to make sure your party affiliation is correct for this election. In a closed presidential primary, Democrats vote for Democrats and Republicans vote for Republicans. Schedler says Independent voters will not be able to take part in the presidential primary. You can register to vote or change your party affiliation at your local registrar of voters office until 4:30 today or do it online at geauxvote-dot-com until midnight tonight.


Landry’s Incorporated, which operates the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, says a large scale data breach resulted in customer’s credit card information being compromised for months. If you used a credit or debit card at Golden Nugget from May 4, 2014 through March 15, 2015 and from May 5, 2015 through December 3, 2015 you may have been affected.


Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says he’s paying his executive staff nearly 400-thousand dollars less than what employees were paid under the previous administration. Dardenne says he’s decided against filling a couple of positions and will pay a few people less, because of the state’s budget problems. Dardenne’s annual salary is 237-thousand dollars, a 33-thousand dollar increase than his predecessor. Dardenne says that’s the salary the governor offered him and he accepted the challenge of solving Louisiana’s budget mess.


Residents in the Tensas Parish town of St. Joe are being told by the Department of Health and Hospitals that it might be a while before the murky brown water in their system can be cleared up. The good news, DHH’s Dr. Jimmy Guidry says the iron in the water that is causing the concern on the part of residents is not a health issue.


A mother and father are facing several charges after investigators say their baby was discovered alone at a Baton Rouge residence with what call cops described as having horrific living conditions. Baton Rouge Police were assisting a bails bondsman at the house when they found a one year old alone on a bed in a dirty diaper and the house filled with rotten food and animal feces.


The Tabasco plant on Avery Island cut the ribbon this week on a brand new Visitors Center which also includes a restaurant and museum. Tabasco is produced by the McIlhenny (Mackle-Henny) Company of Louisiana, and President and CEO Tony Simmons says his family has been on the island since 1818, they began creating Tabasco in 1865, so the new museum contains artifacts and history from their time there.


Governor John Bel Edwards announces they will continue to have “an elevated presence” of state troopers patrolling New Orleans historic French Quarter. State Police Superintendent, Colonel Mike Edmonson, says a sales tax approved by French Quarter residents last October provides the funding to keep more troopers in the Big Easy. Edmonson says they are also bringing in an additional 170 troopers for the big Mardi Gras festivities this weekend.


News for Tuesday 020216

By Dave Graichen


The Louisiana Public Service Commission voted Monday to adopt a service quality plan for Cleco. That action "insures the current level of Cleco employees will remain even if the proposed sale is not approved by the commission later this month. The decision may be a moot point, the investor group looking to buy Cleco Corp. has already promised to maintain the company's employee headcount if the proposed sale is approved.


Rapides Parish police jurors voted unanimously yesterday to oppose Clean Harbors Colfax’s permit request to increase its open-burning operations. While Clean Harbors Colfax is located in Grant Parish, the jurors were convinced the harmful effects of increasing open burning could reach Rapides and other surrounding parishes. John Martel, who lives by Nantachie Lake in Grant Parish, is co-chair of the Central Louisiana Coalition for A Safe and Healthy Environment, which was formed to rally opposition to the permit request. He told jurors residents within a 40-mile radius of the site near Colfax are “most at risk” of health dangers from airborne contaminants from the open burning. He also pointed out the Rapides Parish Courthouse is only 23 miles from the site.


Standards Review Committee Monday announced Louisiana educators have changed 21 percent of the academic standards for math and English. Regina Sanford, chair of the Committee, told the media they have created these standards to fit the needs of our Louisiana students and they hope the changes will empower teachers. Many changes are geared toward giving teachers more flexibility, making standards clearer and ensuring standards are appropriate for students’ ages and grade levels.


A new report by the Violence Policy Center found gun deaths outpaced vehicle fatalities in the District of Columbia and 21 states, including Louisiana during 2014. According to the report vehicle-related deaths are on the decline as a result of decades of injury prevention strategy, but firearm deaths continue unabated. Louisiana had a total of 896 gun deaths compared to 807 motor vehicle deaths in 2014.


Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says new revenues, possibly from an additional one-cent increase to the state sales tax, are needed to stave off big cuts to public colleges and health care services. Dardenne says they are being honest with the public when they say, just cutting the budget will not solve this fiscal year’s 750-million dollar shortfall. Dardenne says they are proposing to use some one-time money, rainy day funds and there are some proposed budget cuts to help with the budget crisis for this fiscal year. But he says additional revenue is also needed to avoid big cuts.  Governor John Bel Edwards will call a three-week long special session later this month and at that time, he’ll ask lawmakers to raise taxes.


In an effort to perhaps win favor with the state republicans, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards attended a Republican legislative retreat Monday in Lafayette. GOP lawmakers met to discuss plans to deal with the state’s budget crisis.


A report from the state inspector general and legislative auditor finds former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David LaCerte mismanaged his department. LaCerte resigned unexpectedly in October during the investigation by Inspector General Stephen Street and Legislative Auditor Darryl Purpera. Street says they found improprieties at several Veterans homes across the state. The report also claims LaCerte used over $27,000 in federal funds, earmarked for a veterans cemetery, to purchase an SUV for department use and  paid $44,000 to some law school classmates for professional services without  documentation of what they did. LaCerte’s attorney says these allegations are false and part of a character assassination.


A study out of LSU Health Shreveport finds radiation is being over used to treat elderly woman with breast cancer. Lead researcher Dr. Quyen (Quinn) Chu says woman 70 and older with stage 1 breast cancer shouldn’t be treated with radiation and should talk with doctors about taking another treatment route.  Chu says their research shows that 2/3 of women in this category are still receiving radiation. He says radiation treatment can cause many different complications in patients.  He says the reason radiation is still being used is likely because doctors are set in their ways of treating patients.


The Attorney General’s Office has announced six more arrests of people involved in the Lafayette D.A. bribery scandal.  A-G Jeff Landry says the corrupt practices that were being dismissed in this office were ignored by the previous Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell. He says it’s disturbing that action wasn’t taken earlier. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has already sentenced and convicted 5 others in connection with this case. He says the six people arrested here are some of the ones that have been prosecuted in the federal investigation and are now facing a variety of charges from the state.


The US Army Corps of Engineers closed the last open bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway yesterday. The spillway opened early last month to divert rising Mississippi River floodwaters from New Orleans. Spokesperson Ricky Boyette says about 290 of the 350 bays of the Bonnet Carre were opened during the operation.


Impairment is suspected in a weekend head-on collision in Calcasieu Parish that police say claimed three lives. Cops say a car, driven by 22-year-old Alejandro Delgado of Sulphur, crossed the center line and collided with an SUV with two occupants inside. All three succumbed to their injuries. The investigation is ongoing.


Thibodaux Police have identified the two Napoleonville men who shot and injured each other during a parade on Sunday. They believe 20-year-old Ryan Harris got into an argument with 33-year-old Quincy Johnson, when Harris came back to the scene in body armor and shot Johnson in the chest. Johnson returned fire and struck Harris in the left side. The men are both in stable condition.


A Texas man accused of raping a woman he met on Tinder in 2014 was acquitted Monday by an East Baton Rouge Parish jury. 24-year-old Jacob Witz, of Bellaire, Texas, was indicted on the charge in January 2015. If found guilty, he could have served up to 40 years in prison on the forcible rape charge.


News for Monday 020116

By Dave Graichen


A 19 year old Natchitoches Parish man, 18-year-old Dylan Kyle Poche,  is dead after being stabbed Saturday night at Sibley Lake boat launch in the Oak Grove community near Natchitoches. Authorities say a suspect is in custody and are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information is asked to call the Natchitoches parish sheriff’s department.


Governor John Bel Edwards argues against those who say he is breaking a campaign promise by proposing to raise taxes to address Louisiana’s massive budget shortfall. Edwards says the proposals he’s made are different than talked about during the election, because the facts are different. He also says these proposals are not what he wanted, but necessary. State Treasurer John Kennedy has said there is no need to raise taxes to balance the budget, but Edwards says Kennedy is trying to boost his US Senate campaign.


The presidential race kicks up a notch today with the Iowa Caucus, the first electoral event in the 2016 presidential race. Many candidates who have won the Iowa Caucus, went on to win their party’s nomination. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley thinks it will be a tight race in the Republican caucus between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Eight of the last 10 Republican presidential nominees placed first or second in the Iowa Caucus. Louisiana’s presidential primary is March 5th. On the Democratic side, Stockley says Hillary Clinton is in an unexpected dogfight with Bernie Sanders. Stockley predicts Clinton will pull out a close victory in Iowa.


Former Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub is back in state government. Governor John Bel Edwards has appointed Ieyoub as the state’s Commissioner of Conservation. He’s in charge of conserving and regulating oil, gas and lignite resources in the state. Ieyoub served as A-G from 1992 to 2004.


The LSU Board of Supervisors is changing the rules so they can build a statue of former LSU star Pete Maravich. Since “Pistol Pete” never graduated college, the school can’t move forward to put a life-size statue next to the building that’s named after him. LSU board member Stephen Perry says it’s time to do what they should have done a long time ago. Maravich still holds the NCAA record for most points scored in college basketball.


A Montegut man has stepped up and claimed a $1 million Powerball prize just days before the winning ticket was set to expire. 53-year-old Laine Aucoin’s winning ticket matched all five white ball numbers in the August 5, 2015 drawing. After federal and state taxes were withheld, Aucoin took home $700,000. That winning ticket would have expired yesterday tomorrow.


The Mardi Gras parade season has arrived and law enforcement is putting more officers on the roads as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director, Lt. Col John Leblanc, says law enforcement increases its presence on the roads during the times of the year when fatal crashes are most prevalent.

Last year, there were were nearly 600 fatal and injury crashes and 10 fatalities during the Mardi Gras holiday, and more than half of those deaths involved alcohol.


Major changes are coming to the LHSAA after member principals voted to expand the select–nonselect championships to basketball, baseball and softball, starting with the 2016-17 school year. 40-percent of the schools are opposed to this move. But LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine says a majority of the association is pleased with what happened. Friday’s vote will create 12 champions in basketball, baseball and softball, seven on the nonselect side and five on the select side. Where these additional championship games will be played, still has to be sorted out.


The deadline to enroll for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act was yesterday.  Healthcare-dot-gov CEO Kevin Counihan says over 200,000 Louisianians have already signed up for coverage through the federal insurance marketplace. He says financial assistance through healthcare-dot-gov can really help in making insurance more affordable. Counihan says if you don’t have health insurance in 2016, you could face a penalty of up to 695-dollars.


The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Own Your Own Health Challenge is underway. The challenge, which runs until April 25th, is designed to help Louisianans become more active and create a healthier lifestyle. Director of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Rudy Macklin Macklin says the challenge allows you to create teams or work individually to compete against other people in a weight loss challenge with the chance to win a prize. He says the second component helps participants learn what questions to ask when visiting the doctor. To register visit o-y-o-h-l-a-dot-com.


February is American Heart Month and health experts are promoting initiatives in an attempt to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the US. Professor at Tulane University’s School of Medicine, Dr. Keith Ferdinand, says heart disease is the number one killer of Louisiana residents and many of the deaths could be prevented through healthy living habits. Ferdinand says African American men experience the highest risk for heart disease and hypertension.


A 12-year-old boy is under his arrest for his role in the death of an elderly nun. It’s reported that an incident occurred in October where 87-year-old Sister Rosario O’Connell was helping the child with his homework, when he became enraged and slammed her into a wall which caused brain damage that could have killed her. O’Connell died last week.




News for Friday 012915

By Dave Graichen


Skimming devices, which document credit card numbers, are continuing to pop up on gasoline pumps throughout the state. Department of Ag & Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says their inspectors recently located three in Ascension Parish and two in Baton Rouge. He says since June 2015, a total of 25 skimming devices have been discovered in 12 Louisiana parishes.

Strain says they encourage people to constantly check their bank statements and file a report if they notice anything out of the ordinary.


Ex-state legislator and former Alcohol and Tobacco Commissioner Troy Hebert announces he’s running for the US Senate. When Hebert was elected as a state representative in 1995, he was a democrat, but towards the end of his legislative career he was an Independent. He says this time he plans to run for Senate as an Independent.


Health officials say while the Zika (ZEEKA) virus is a threat, it’s not a cause for alarm in Louisiana, just yet. The relatively new mosquito-borne virus has been linked to birth defects in pregnant women. In Brazil, so are calling it an epidemic. The good news is, as of now, there is no spread of the virus in the United States. However, health officials say that may change as the temps rise this spring and summer.


The alleged child predator who was a popular Monroe television host in the 70s, claims he is not the “Mr. Wonder” that authorities have been looking for. The man identified as Frank Selas was arrested in San Diego for allegedly sexually abusing children during a Louisiana camping trip in 1979. Deputy US Marshal Steve Jurman, based in San Diego, says it’s mind blowing the access to kids this man had since 1985 in California. They are worried there could be victims in San Diego they are asking to come forward.


The LHSAA’s annual convention wraps up today and there are some big votes on the agenda for principals. One proposal would create select- non-select playoffs in basketball, softball and baseball. There’s also a proposal to return the football playoffs back to a five-class system, there’s also a proposal to have metro and rural divisions for the football postseason.


The Louisiana Supreme Court overturns a constitutional amendment that prohibits convicted felons from running for political office. In their ruling, the Court says what residents voted on in 1997 did not match what the legislature did. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the justices put a lot of thought into this opinion. He believes lawmakers will likely bring this issue up to voters again.


Louisianians are starting to get on board with getting insurance through the federal marketplace. There are 198,551 registered now, an increase of about 12,000 from last year’s total. The final deadline for individuals to enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan is Sunday.


Another lawsuit has been filed by those wanting to block the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans. This time the preservationists are taking their case to state court, after US District Judge Carl Barbier rejected their challenge Tuesday. The New Orleans City Council in December voted to declare the statues a public nuisance, clearing the way for them to be taken down.


Tulane University and Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System researchers say they have created a painkiller that’s just as strong as morphine but non-addictive. Lead Investigator Dr. James Zadina says tests performed on animals lead them to the conclusion that this could be a non-addictive alternative to morphine. Zadina says they used compounds from the brain rather than from the opium plant to create the drug. He says human clinical trials are set to begin within the next couple of years…


Paul Kantner--a founding member of both the Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship--is dead at the age of 74. Kantner died of organ failure and septic shock.


News for Thursday 012815

Dave Graichen


40% of households in Louisiana are considered in poverty and struggle to afford day-to-day needs, according to a new report by the Louisiana Association of United Ways. President and CEO Sarah Berthelot says these more than 695,000 homes in the state are nicknamed ALICE. ALICE refers to a group of families and individuals who work low-paying jobs and have little or no savings. Berthelot says ALICE families play a critical role in keeping Louisiana’s economic engine running, but they aren’t always sure that they can put food on their own tables. She says the scale of the struggle is alarming.


4-day dog show opens today in Alexandria.  The sixth annual Mardi Gras Cluster Dog Show that begins today and runs through Sunday in the Alexandria Riverfront Center.

Judging will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. each day. Admission is free


A constitutional amendment which bans those with felony convictions from running for state office has been declared invalid by the Louisiana Supreme Court. Derrick Shepherd, a Democrat from Marrero who pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2008, tried to run for a spot in the Louisiana House last fall, but he was stopped because the state doesn’t allow convicted felons to run for office. The Supreme court ruled Wednesday citizens voted on something different than what was enacted by the Legislature.


A Monroe man convicted of two counts of attempted first degree murder on Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, in Ouachita Parish. 29-year-old Luke Jarrod Hust was found guilty December 3rd for shooting LDWF Sgt. Scott Bullitt and shooting at another agent. LDWF officials say they are thankful Hust got the stiffest penalty of life behind bars so he won’t have the chance to commit another violent crime.


Governor John Bel Edwards describes the proposed one cent sales tax increase as a bridge to get the state to a new, more stable tax structure. He says voters will have an opportunity in the future to repeal the tax hike in favor of a new income tax structure. Edwards believes the $750 million dollar budget deficit is so bad that new revenue is necessary to fix it. A special session to address the matter begins February 14th.


The Department of Health and Hospitals submitted two plans to the Division of Administration Wednesday that outline how $131 million in cuts would be spread across the Medicaid program to address the current budget shortfall. They say both options would have a catastrophic impact to those being served and rely on Medicaid, insurance companies who administer the Bayou Health Plan, and hospitals and other providers.


Republican Retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness officially announces his bid for Louisiana’s soon to be vacant US Senate seat. Maness placed third in 2014′s US Senate primary election behind incumbent Mary Landrieu and eventual winner Bill Cassidy. He says he joined the field to answer a call by the people of the state. . Maness is a 32-year veteran of the Air Force who has never held political office. He joins four other Republicans who are seeking Senator David Vitter’s seat.


Attorney General Jeff Landry says he’s taking over the appeal of a ruling that blocked Louisiana’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. The case is left over from the Jindal administration. Landry says, as AG, he has the Constitutional authority to defend all legal issues in state government. He says it’s in the best interest of taxpayers to protect the integrity of our Medicaid program by pursuing this appeal.


The contained burn chamber that will be used to dispose of 16 million pounds of M6 propellant at Camp Minden is scheduled to arrive at the Part of Natchitoches on February 6th. Col. Pete Schneider with the National Guard says the 400,000 pound container is on the Mississippi River now, but when it heads to Camp Minden it will be loaded onto a vehicle. The burn chamber was constructed in Oklahoma and the only other chamber like it is in Denmark.


New Orleans firefighters had a tough time Yesterday morning battling a major six-alarm blaze that had smoke covering downtown and caused the closure of the famous Canal Street between the CBD and the French Quarter. It started at one building then spread to another. Officials say there were no reports of injuries.


A Livingston Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been fired and arrested for allegedly using excessive force on a female inmate. Authorities say video evidence shows 35-year-old Deputy Karleen Leglue was escorting a handcuffed detainee when she grabbed the inmate and forced her head against a concrete wall.


Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has tapped former state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham to direct Louisiana’s state parks and historic sites. State parks are facing issues like layoffs, pool closures, and deferred maintenance, while some historic sites are closed with no plans to reopen.


A 5-year-old child who sustained life threatening injuries in a West Monroe fire Sunday, has died. The State Fire Marshal’s Office says Prince Halley Owojori passed yesterday morning. His father and mother and 7 month old brother remain on life support but they are not expected to survive. Investigators believe faulty electrical wiring in the attic of their home started the deadly blaze.


The man accused of shooting a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy while serving a warrant during a federal task force has been officially charged. Jarvis Hardy is booked with attempted murder and attempted murder and assault of a federal officer. Deputy Steven Arnold was shot five times and remains in critical condition.


News for Wednesday 012715

By Dave Graichen


A north Louisiana television personality, who had a kids show in the 1970s has been arrested in San Diego on allegations of criminal sexual conduct with juveniles. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Tommny Carnline says they’ve been trying to catch “Mr Wonder” for 37 years as he faces a variety of charges. Carnline says 76-year-old Frank Selas had been hiding out in Asia and central and south America.


38 year old Earnest Hamilton of Natchitoches man faces a mandatory life sentence after being found guilty on Tuesday of raping an 11-year-old girl who ended up giving birth to his child. Hamilton was found guilty of aggravated rape by a unanimous jury verdict.


A federal judge in Baton Rouge strikes down a Louisiana law that required abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says  US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on this very same case in March. Supporters of this law say it’s intended to protect women’s health, while opponents say it will make it very difficult to get an abortion in Louisiana.


Could the third time be the charm? Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy has made it official. He will run for US Senate as he seeks the seat that will soon be left vacant by David Vitter. Kennedy, who was just re-elected as treasurer, says he wants to serve in the Senate because we’re at risk of losing the American dream. This will be Kennedy’s third run for the US Senate. Fellow Republicans, Congressmen Charles Boustany and John Fleming, and former Congressman Joseph Cao (gow) have also declared their intent to run. Retired Col Rob Maness is making his official announcement today.


The deadline to register to vote in Louisiana’s upcoming presidential preference primary is one week from today. The primary election is March 5th. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says this is Louisiana’s only closed primary. In the closed primary, Democratic voters are only allowed to vote for Democratic presidential candidates and Republican voters for Republicans. Schedler says registered independent voters are not allowed to take part in the closed presidential primary.


According to the latest labor numbers, the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in December, as more people continue to leave the work force. The Louisiana Workforce Commission says employment in education and health services grew by 2,400 jobs last month. They say growth in those sectors is helping offset the loss of jobs in the Oil and Gas industry.


The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association’s annual meeting begins today at the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles. Vice President Gifford Briggs says the market shifted drastically in 2015, and it’s critical industry professionals stay informed. He says they are optimistic the sharp cut in the price of oil will rebound. Speakers Thursday include Governor John Bel Edwards, State Treasurer John Kennedy and Congressman Charles Boustany.


A U.S. District Judge Tuesday declined to issue an injunction that would have prevented the city of New Orleans from taking down four Confederate statues. District Judge Carl Barbier denied the appeal after a group of preservationists filed a federal lawsuit.


A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy is in critical condition after he was shot several times while executing a drug search warrant at a residence in New Orleans. Thirty-five-year-old Steven Arnold is a 12-year veteran of the JPSO.


Former LSU basketball star Shaquille O’ Neal said on Monday night during a fundraiser in Los Angeles that he was paid very well during his college years in Baton Rouge and the school can’t get in trouble, because the statute of limitations is up. But Shaq said yesterday he was only joking and he was trying to give a funny response to the questions he was asked during the event.


A human female fetus was located in a sewage piping station in Avoyelles Parish by Moreauville city workers. Avoyelles Sheriff Doug Anderson says they predict the fetus was between 20 to 30 weeks into development, and was a grim discovery. Anderson says they’re working to determine who the fetus belonged to.




A format for the prep football playoffs will be voted on at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association convention, which kicks off in Baton Rouge today. LHSAA president Vic Bonnaffee of Central Catholic says there’s great uncertainty, after it was determined the association didn’t follow the correct procedures to split the playoffs between public and private schools in 2013


News for Tuesday 012615

By Dave Graichen


Governor John Bel Edwards inherited fresh pay raises for employees at four departments that were granted by former Governor Bobby Jindal “at the 11th hour,” even though the state faces a $750 million dollar deficit. LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford, who first reported the news, says these pay raises add up to at least $19 million for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year.


Natchitoches Parish Officials report one man has died and a woman was critically in what may  have been an attempted murder suicide. A neighbor contacted the Sheriff’s office Monday morning and shortly later deputies found  the couple in the master bedroom of the home, both suffering from gunshot wounds. The 23 year old man was pronounced dead at the scene, while the 30 year old woman was in critical condition. According to authorities there were no signs of forced entry into the residence and a handgun was found at the scene.


Bad electrical work in the attic of a West Monroe duplex is what investigators believe started a fire that left a family of 4 all on life support. The parents, including a pregnant mother, were in their mid 20s and had a 5-year-old and a 7 month old, all are in critical condition. Brant Thompson with the State fire Marshal’s office said the home had no working smoke alarms.

The investigation into the fire is ongoing.


LSU says if they take a 65-million dollar budget cut, it will mean the laying off of faculty and raising student fees. President and Chancellor F. King Alexander said they were told to prepare scenarios for a 32% budget cut to its statewide operations, and the reductions would be devastating. If the legislature doesn’t intervene in the upcoming legislative session on other ways to fill the budget hole, higher ed was told the state would have to cut $131 million from the state’s colleges and universities.


People who were sentenced to life for crimes they committed as juveniles now must be given the chance at parole. The US Supreme court ruled on a case out of Baton Rouge today. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says Henry Montgomery, convicted at 17 in 1963, will now get his case back in Louisiana and likely before a parole board hearing.


The Army Corps of Engineers have begun closing the Bonnet Carre Spillway. The process started today, will end in February when the final pins are put back in place. The spillway was opened January 10th to help divert water out of the swollen Mississippi River and into Lake Pontchartain.


Former New Roads Mayor Tommy Nelson Jr.’s 10year prison stint stemming from his convictions in an FBI sting will stand after a federal appellate court found no problems with the judge’s sentence. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Friday.


The sting also netted the convictions of ex-St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace, former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown, ex-Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis and other area municipal officials


A LaPlace man who allegedly failed to render aid to his 90-year-old grandmother as she laid on the floor is charged with negligent homicide in her death. The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office says 33-year-old Neil Oberoi admitted he saw his grandmother on the floor Friday evening and she was calling for help, but he ignored her pleas. Several hours later he called 911 to report his grandmother was not waking up, and she was pronounced dead on arrival. Oberoi is also booked with cruelty to the infirmed.


The Barksdale Air Force Base airman fatally stabbed during a fight at a Bossier City night club is identified as 34-year-old Technical Sergeant Zechariah Casagranda. Bossier City PD spokesman Mark Natale says 21-year-old Benjamin William Shaw of Killeen, Texas is charged with second degree murder.


Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says Louisiana will no longer use an online booking portal that state employees were required to use under the Jindal administration. Dardenne said, as Lt. Governor, he opposed the use of HotelPlanner.com because it was an out of state booking company and didn’t produce budget savings. Dardenne says state workers should be able to choose an option that is the least expensive and most convenient.


The wife of the late New Orleans chef Paul Pruhomme has donated about 600 personal cookbooks to a museum in The Big Easy which is dedicated to southern cuisine. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum says the donation also includes Pruhomme’s wine and food documents and books on food science.


LSU got first place in a competition to see which college could gather the most recycled trash during a home football game in the 2015 season. In the GameDay Recycling challenge, LSU led the nation with 86,400 pounds total recycling. Campus Sustainability manager Sarah Temple says taking part in this challenge builds on the goal of reaching 50% recycling rate a month.


A Haughton woman has been arrested for abusing her 72-year-old wheel chair bound mother. Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Spokesperson, Lt. Bill Davis, says 43-year-old Belinda Roberts was a caregiver for her mother and abused her in various ways because her mother refused to give Belinda her prescription medicine. Davis says Roberts is charged with cruelty to the infirmed, domestic abuse battery with strangulation, aggravated battery, robbery, and possession of drugs.




The LSU men’s basketball team finishes off the month of January with two home games, starting with tonight’s match-up against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers are 5-2 in the SEC, while Georgia is 4-3. After tonight’s game, LSU will host number one ranked Oklahoma on Saturday in the PMAC.


News for Monday 012516

By Dave Graichen


New Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson begins a statewide tour today, meeting with local economic development groups emphasizing small business success in the state. Pierson says Governor John Bel Edwards has made small business growth a priority of his administration. He says it’s important to learn the different economic development needs from each region of the state. Pierson will make stops today in Tallulah, Delhi, and Alexandria.


Governor John Bel Edwards administration has informed higher education leaders that a cut in state funding to public colleges and universities is likely this fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says at this point it could be as much as 131 million dollars. Dardenne says they’re still in the process of reviewing what’s going to be necessary in order to combine cuts with revenue measures in the hopes of softening the cuts. He says this is just the reality of where we are as a state.


LSU President F King Alexander says they are expecting another round of cuts, but that Governor John Bel Edwards remains committed to prioritizing higher education. Alexander says, in the face of a $750 million dollar budget shortfall in the current fiscal year, LSU will take a $65 million dollar cut out of the $131 million for higher ed across the board, without legislative intervention.


Governor John Bel Edwards has put out a variety of different proposals to help with the state’s budget deficit, one being increasing the cigarette tax by 22 cents. Consultant with the Invest in a Healthy Louisiana campaign Randy Hayden says his organization doesn’t think that’s enough. He says the campaign suggests raising the cigarette tax another $1.25 per pack.  Hayden says we had the third lowest cigarette tax in the country until Louisiana increased the tax 50 cents in 2015.


Gov. John Bel Edwards said he told Louisiana’s congressional lawmakers during his first trip to Washington since taking office that his administration wants to put “Louisianians first and shed our party labels at the door.” The newly elected Democrat met last week with the mostly Republican delegation in the office of Rep. Steve Scalise, the House GOP whip. Edwards says he  asked them to approach issues in Louisiana, primarily as Louisianians rather than as Democrats or Republicans. The governor went on to say, that certainly doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on everything… But hopefully the disagreement can be respectful and professional so that it doesn’t poison our ability to work together on those things where we can agree or where we can find common ground.”


A 60-year-old man from St. Tammany Parish won a one-million dollar Powerball prize. Charles Schwetizer the Second matched all five white ball numbers on the January 13th drawing. That was the day when the grand prize was one-point-five billion dollars. Schweitzer received 700-thousand dollars after federal and state taxes were withheld.


The Shreveport Police Department says a $5,000 reward is now being offered for information in the search for the two endangered boys taken by force by their mother and a man wanted in connection with a pair of bank robberies. They say 2-year-old Elijah Wong and 7-year-old Donnie Simmons are believed to be in imminent danger. They are seeking to apprehend Keith Rogers and the boy’s mother, Antoinette Wong. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these four is urged to contact authorities.


A St. Tammany Parish jury acquits a former teacher’s aide of molestation of a juvenile. Wendell Troullier (Trool-yay)was arrested by Slidell Police in 2014 after a 10-year-old boy said Troullier touched him inappropriately while at the man’s house. Defense attorney Robby Gill says the lead detective said during the trial that they never took DNA from the child, which led to the jury finding Troullier not guilty. Troullier was facing a minimum 25-year prison sentence if found guilty. Gill says Troullier was never arrested before this case and he maintained his innocence throughout, even during intense interrogation at police headquarters.


A man from Zachary is under arrest for allegedly shooting his dog multiple times when the pet wouldn’t cooperate during a bath. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office said the roommate and wife of 51-year-old Brian Keith Blair tried to talk him out of it, but deputies found nin .22 caliber casings and were forced to euthanize the pet at the scene. Blair is booked on animal creulty charges and illegal use of a weapon.


Do you have a favorite king cake that you swear by? Now there’s a website where you can rate and judge yours against other bakeries. Erica Sweeney is the spokesperson for the site, KingCakeSnob.com. She says you vote on a variety of characteristics of the king cake and the results are updated as each user submits a review.


The family of the man who died on New Year’s after being run over in New Orleans and dragged through the French Quarter for 6 miles, is desperate to find out who is responsible. 28-year-old Josh Woodruff was hailing an Uber around 3am January 1st when he was struck by a four door black sedan and dragged away, according to investigators. At this time the vehicle has not been found and no arrests have been made. There is a $10,000 reward.


A New Iberia railroad crossing where five people were killed is dangerously near a highway intersection, leading to traffic backups that can trap vehicles in a train’s path, safety experts But state transportation officials say the crossing is not scheduled for improvements such as a traffic signal guided by sensors for approaching trains. Since 2012, at least one train a year has hit a vehicle stopped at that crossing.


LSU football fans are anxious for the start of the 2016 season as the Tigers will have 19 scholarship seniors on the team. Several of them had an opportunity to enter the NFL draft and Coach Les Miles is happy to see them stay. The season opener is September 3rd against Wisconsin.


News For Friday 012216

By Dave Graichen


Make sure you grab a coat before leaving the house today as the temperatures are much colder than what we experienced yesterday. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a strong cold front has brought us some of the coldest temperatures of the winter. Keim says to expect the maximum temperature statewide today to be in the 40s, with the warmest part of the day in the morning. Along with the cold temps, strong winds are forecasted across the state.


South Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee has died, according to the state Department of Corrections. Lee was 47. He was convicted in the murders of two women and suspected in the brutal slayings of at least five other women. Lee was sentenced to death in 2004 and had been at Angola since. Multiple sources reported this week that Lee was suffering complications with a pace maker.


The mother of the victim in the case that put Derrick Todd Lee on death row says the world is a better place now that the serial killer is dead. Lee died at the age of 47 in a Baton Rouge hospital on Thursday. Ann Pace said on a Baton Rouge Talk Show that Lee got off far easier than her daughter, Charlotte Murray Pace, and the, at least, 6 other victims. Charlotte Murray Pace was just 22 when Lee stabbed her 81 times and bludgeoned her with an iron at her Baton Rouge home in 2002.


Governor John Bel Edwards has proposed raising some taxes in efforts to help with the state’s fiscal issues. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross believes lawmakers might approve these tax hikes but it depends on what they are and who the taxes impact.

Cross says Governor Edwards has made many proposals for raising revenue and will likely continue to make the point that Louisiana is in dire budget straights.  Cross says he doesn’t expect much push back from legislators right now given the dismal budget situation the state faces.


The LSU Professor who was fired for allegedly creating a hostile learning environment by cussing and making sex jokes says she’s suing the university. Teresa Buchanan feels she was wrongfully fired for what she calls “expressing academic freedom.” She says it’s a professor’s job to stimulate students thinking and to get them to question assumptions

LSU says it will defend students’ rights to a harassment-free learning environment.


Higher education leaders from across the state met with Governor John Bel Edwards to plead their case against further cuts as Louisiana deals with a massive budget deficit. The state is facing an estimated $750 million dollar mid-year budget shortfall. In the past eight years, higher ed has been cut more than $700 million. State Commissioner of Higher Education, Joe Rallo, says Governor Edwards assured them that if there are cuts to higher ed, they would be part of sweeping budget cuts across the board.


A Ponchatoula man has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for having what federal authorities have called one of the largest collections of child pornography ever discovered in Louisiana. Authorities say 53-year-old Robert Swan had at least 15 devices in his home containing over 500,000 sexually explicit pictures and videos of children. Swan pleaded guilty in December 2014.


Mackenzie Bourg of Lafayette is going to Hollywood after advancing on American Idol. The 23-year-old received three yes votes from judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. Mackenzie also made a name for himself in 2012 for his stellar performances on The Voice.


In an effort to reduce motorcycle fatalities and injuries, Louisiana State Police is getting the word out about a motorcycle training program that’s offered at 10 different locations around the state. Trooper Bryan Lee says this training course helps to build mental and physical skills to safely operate a motorcycle. During 2015 there were nearly two thousand motorcycle related crashes across Louisiana and 80 resulted in death. Lee says they have courses available for basic, intermediate and experienced riders.



After losing on the road to Texas A-and-M on Tuesday night, the LSU men’s basketball team looks for a road win tomorrow against Alabama. 2004 was the last time the Tigers went into Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa and came away with a victory. LSU enters league play with a 4-2 record, while Alabama is 1-4 in the SEC.


LSU has added another four-star prospect to its 2016 football recruiting class. John Curtis offensive lineman Willie Allen announced his decision this morning to attend LSU. He’s listed at six-foot-seven, 300 pounds. ESPN has him as the second ranked prospect at his position and 16th overall. Allen also visited Georgia and TCU.


News for Thursday 012116

By Dave Graichen


The second former Marksville officer accused in the death of a 6-year-old boy and injuring of his father, is reportedly expected to bond out of prison by week’s end. Apparently the family of 32-year-old Derrick Stafford put up the $1 million dollar property bond, but a paperwork issue is holding things up. Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr, who has already bonded out, are accused of shooting and killing 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and the wounding of his father.


Rain and the possibility of severe weather is expected today across Louisiana as a cold front moves across the state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the threat of severe weather is statewide. He says there’s probably no area that’s of any greater risk than any other…

The good news is, the front should move out of the state by Friday. Keim says the front will leave us with a nice weekend ahead, but it will be chilly…


The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office reports the human remains found earlier this month near Mansura have been identified as a man reported missing since September.  35 year old Ray Lachney was reported missing by his family in September, but last was reported seen by friends on July 3 of last year. Lachney's stepfather found his remains near Mansura on Jan. 3 while family and friends were searching for him. An investigation is continuing.


Governor John Bel Edwards has offered several options to the state legislature to address the state’s budget crisis. House Majority Leader, Republican Lance Harris of Alexandria, says Republicans will work on their own plan to deal with the fiscal mess in the coming weeks. He says with regards to raising the sales tax by a cent, everything needs to be on the table and it’s too early to form an opinion on the issue. Harris says he appreciates the governor being so candid about the budget numbers.


Governor Edwards met with education leaders Wednesday from around Louisiana to discuss how the budget matters would impact colleges and universities. The administration says they are looking to get input from higher ed leaders about the changes he’s proposed and future steps which could help soften a potentially devastating blow from more midyear budget cuts.


Senate President John Alario says lawmakers are still evaluating the governor’s proposals for fixing Louisiana’s massive budget shortfall. An increase to the state’s sales is one suggestion that’s been put forward by John Bel Edwards. Alario appreciates that the governor has given lawmakers some options.  Alario says it’s wait and see to determine if there is enough support of the governor’s proposed tax hikes, which will take a 2/3 vote. He says lawmakers must do their due diligence to see exactly where the state stands.


The current, sharp drop in the price of oil is having an adverse effect on the state’s budget. The price of crude closed at $26.55 a barrel Wednesday, the lowest level since 2003. Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moeller says diminishing mineral revenues are doing a real number on the budget. Moeller says not only are shrinking mineral revenues hurting the budget, oil field layoffs are as well. Noble Drilling has announced a layoff of 100 to 120 employees due to the anticipated shutdown of a rig offshore.


National Oilwell Varco, a manufacturer and parts supplier to the oil and gas industry, is shutting down its facility in Houma, Louisiana, and that will put 80 employees out of work.


The declines are also lowering the price at the pump. GasBuddy.com says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $1.66, with some areas in south Louisiana below $1.40.


An app developed in Lake Charles that provides delivery from local restaurants to customers is starting to launch in areas throughout the state. It’s called, “Waitr” (W-A-I-T-R), and for a $5 delivery fee, you can order what you want from participating restaurants who normally don’t bring food to your door. It’s available in Baton Rouge as of this week and later this year is targeted for New Orleans, Alexandria, Shreveport and Monroe.


A 16-year-old boy walking along train tracks in Slidell Wednesday morning apparently didn’t hear an oncoming train that struck and killed him because he was wearing headphones. Slidell police say James Pulsifer was hit by a Norfolk freight train, and the conductor tried to stop and sounded the horn, to no avail.


Some legal experts feel New Orleans Police were too quick to arrest the grandmother whose gun allegedly went off from under her pillow and killed her 3-year-old grandson during the night. NOPD says 43-year-old Deonca Kennedy , who was in a state of shock, did not cooperate with investigators and was charged with negligent homicide and second degree cruelty to a juvenile. Legal analyst Tim Meche says, in New Orleans, having a loaded gun in your home and under your pillow is not uncommon. The investigation is ongoing.


A man continues to recover from a bullet wound after he accidentally shot himself while he was raking leaves. The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office says they responded and located 52-year-old Ricky Bolton of Mora suffering from a gunshot wound to his thigh. He told deputies that while he was raking leaves, a .22 Magnum revolver in his pocket discharged and hit him in the upper thigh. He was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.


A bill filed for the upcoming regular session would prohibit the use of drones from conducting surveillance of correctional facilities and public and private schools. Lake Charles Representative Stephen Dwight proposed the legislation after the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff requested a law to stop the use of drones from flying over his jail.  Dwight says the Sheriff wants to ensure inmates cannot plot with friends or family on the outside to escape or smuggle in contraband.


The late West Monroe football coach Don Shows along with baseball star Todd Walker highlight the seven member class that will be inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame this year. Shows is fourth on Louisiana’s all-time wins list and won eight state titles at West Monroe. Walker was a three-sport star at Airline High School, but baseball was is his main sport and he ended up playing 12 years in the Big Leagues.


News for Wednesday 012016

By Dave Graichen


Governor John Bel Edwards spoke at the Capitol Tuesday to announce the administration’s options to fix the state’s $750 million dollar shortfall for this fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says they’re proposing tapping the rainy day fund for 128 million dollars, and raising the sales tax by 1% beginning April 1st. Edwards anticipates calling a special session on February 14th and have it last until March 4th.It’s estimated Louisiana also faces a $1.9 billion dollar deficit in the 2016-2017 operating budget.


The investigation continues in to the weekend crash that claimed the life of a Tioga man. The Pineville PD reports 49 year old Christopher Robertson was traveling northbound on highway 165 by the entrance of Kings Country shopping center when a Pickup turned directly in his path.  Robertson died a short time later. The driver of the pickup, Roy Weaver, has been charged with failure to yield.


US Congressman Ralph Abraham is upset with the Department of Veteran Affair’s choice to lead health care operations in Louisiana and Mississippi. Skye McDougall has been appointed to oversee medical centers in Alexandria, Shreveport and New Orleans. Abraham says McDougall provided false testimony about four day wait times at V-A centers in Los Angeles. VA officials have defended McDougall’s testimony.


The artists performing at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt,  Snoop Dog and many more. The lineup at nojazzfest.com, announced this morning, includes the individual days each artist will perform the 7 dates between, April 22nd through May 1st.


The Department of Health and Hospitals says the worst of the current influenza season is still to come and they encourage everyone to get a flu shot. Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says it’s fortunate that flu season has been very slow, to date, in Louisiana. Welch says doctor visits for flu-like symptoms in the state are down around 50-percent from this time last year. But, flu activity is increasing in other parts of the country and it’s only a matter of time before it hits Louisiana. Welch says they expect flu activity to increase in the state over the next couple of weeks.


Gas prices continue to fall all across Louisiana. GasBuddy-dot-com reports that the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped six cents in the past week. Spokesperson Gregg Laskoski says Louisiana’s average price per gallon has fallen to $1.67. He says falling gas prices are a direct result of the rapid drop in crude oil prices. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude has plunged below $30 a barrel as a result of the lifting of sanctions against Iran, which will add more oil to an already glutted market. Laskoski says oil prices could drop even further.


The rising Mississippi River has crested Baton Rouge at a slightly lower than expected level of 43.3 feet. But officials said Monday the high water is expected to stick around for a while. The river will continue to slowly drop over the coming weeks until it’s below flood stage of 35 feet at Baton Rouge in the second week of February.


An Lamborghini belonging to David Mahler, owner of H&O Investments, was found in flames in front of the firm’s Baton Rouge office Tuesday. H&O was the original contractor that the city of New Orleans hired to remove Confederate statues, but death threats prompted H&O to withdraw from the contract. Mahler’s attorneys say the threats and the car torching are being aggressively investigated.


According to the personal finance website WalletHub, it costs less to smoke in Louisiana than in any other state. The report, The True Cost of Smoking By State, finds one resident in Louisiana spends about $24,000 a year in smoking-related costs. WalletHub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez says it’s based on societal and economic factors. She says the out of pocket expense for a smoker in Louisiana who picks up a pack a day is about $1700 a year


The ex-mayor of Sorrento has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and animal cruelty charges — in exchange for a 40 year sentence. Wilson Longanecker Jr. was initially arrested in 2014 after his home was raided and the illegal images were found. Spokesperson for the 23rd District Attorney’s says the videos found at Longanecker’s Sorrento home involved minor girls, some as young as three years old


News for Tuesday 011916

By Dave Graichen


Visitation is today for former state legislator and ex-mayor of Marksville, Raymond Laborde, who passed away Sunday at the age of 88. Laborde was in the state legislature from 1972 to 1992. He was the mayor of Marskville from 1958 to 1970 and also served as Commissioner of Administration during former governor Edwin Edwards final term in office . Funeral services are Wednesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marksville.


The price of gasoline continues to drop down, on average a nickel from last week. The statewide average according to AAA, $1.69


Today, the Louisiana Department of Education begins accepting applications for the Louisiana Scholarship Program for the 2016-2017 school year. Louisiana Federation for Children President Ann Duplesis says about 7,100 students are currently participating and they expect the demand to remain high. The program provides vouchers to low-income families to send their child to a participating private school, if the student is in a low performing public school.


The Louisiana Department of Revenue, along with the I-R-S, starts accepting income tax returns today. Federal returns are due April 15th. L-D-R spokesperson Kizzy Payton says you’ll have until May 16th  to file your state returns. She says this year, they’ve implemented enhanced security measures to protect taxpayers against fraud, which is something they started focusing on a couple of years ago. Payton says the Department of Revenue suggests taxpayers filed their returns electronically to ensure quick processing.


Former Mamou Police Chief Robert McGee has been sentenced to one year and a day in prison for using a Taser on a compliant inmate in the Mamou jail in August 2010. The Justice Department and U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley said McGee’s conviction was the result of a federal investigation into the illegal use of excessive force on inmates at the Mamou jail that also led to the 2015 civil rights conviction of former Mamou Police Chief Gregory Dupuis for unlawfully using a Taser against a different inmate. On Aug. 6, 2010, McGee used a Taser on an inmate who was verbally, but not physically, disruptive.


A recent study finds Louisiana drivers don’t save much money on their car insurance for choosing larger deductibles. According to InsuranceQuotes.com, Louisiana is ranked third last in offering the biggest car insurance savings when deductibles are increased from $500-$1000. Senior analyst Laura Adams says it amounts to a savings of about 6%, on average.  She says this is important information for someone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck and couldn’t afford to pay a $1000 deductible out of pocket. Adams says Louisiana already has some of the highest car insurance rates in the country, so it may be tempting to do whatever it takes to reduce your premium. But, think twice.


The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s office reports a man in New Iberia was hit and killed by a train. The 55-year-old was standing between two freight cars when the train began to move. He becomes the 6th person to be killed by a train in New Iberia in less than a month, as five people lost their lives on tracks when an Amtrak train crashed into their vehicle.


State Police has arrested a Shreveport casino employee for allegedly stealing more than $3,000 from his employer. They say the man, who was the director of slots at Sam’s Town Casino, created fraudulent credit payouts and stole the money. State Police say this is the first time an upper level casino manager has been arrested since gambling was legalized in Louisiana.


A 17-year-old accused of shooting and killing his friend by mistake with a shotgun has been arrested by the Baton Rouge Police Department. Cpl. Don Coppola says 17-year-old Ahmad Antoine is charged with negligent homicide in the death of 17-year-old Devin Anderson.

Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene. Antoine turned himself in to police shortly after the shooting.


An autographed copy of the speech a student gave to welcome President Barack Obama to McKinley High School in Baton Rouge was stolen out of her vehicle, but cops say they found it and also made an arrest. The Baton Rouge Police Department says a 17-year-old tossed  signed speech in dumpster after breaking into the students car.


Warning labels on sugary beverages may keep parents from buying them for their kids, according to recent research published in the Journal of Pediatrics. LSU Health Clinical Psychologist Michelle Moore says parents may not know that seemingly innocent looking drinks contain so much sugar. California is proposing legislation that would put text warning labels on sweetened nonalcoholic drinks with added sweeteners with 75 or more calories per 12 ounces.




LSU fans got some great news today as Tre’Davious White and Kendell Beckwith have decided to stay with the purple and gold for their senior seasons. In 2015, White finished the season with 44 tackles, seven pass break ups and seven passes defensed. Beckwith finished second on the team with 84 tackles and added 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. LSU head coach Les Miles says he’s happy the two decided to stay.


Officials with the Louisiana Marathon have disqualified the female first place finisher in the race for receiving assistance that is prohibited. They say Mandy West, a Nike Running account executive from St. Louis, was brought nutrition and liquids several times during the race in Baton Rouge by someone on a bike who wasn’t affiliated with the organization. Competitors are told prior to the race that such help is not allowed.


The Saints hired Sean Payton as head coach 10 years ago Monday. One of his first moves as head coach was to sign free agent quarterback Drew Brees. The Black & Gold are coming off their second straight losing season. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says fixing the team’s defense will determine how long Payton will remain with the Saints. Detillier says you can credit Brees and Payton for turning the organization around.


The LSU Tigers face a big test on the road tonight when they visit 10th ranked Texas A-and-M. The Aggies are a pefect 5-0 in the SEC and feature one of the top players in the SEC in Jalen Jones, who is averaging 17 points and seven rebounds a game.


News for Monday 011816

By Dave Graichen


A single vehicle crash Saturday afternoon on LA 113 in Vernon Parish claimed the lives of three Pitkin residents. The crash involved a vehicle driven by 70 year old Michael O. Perkins.  Stare police say Perkins’ lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree. 69 year old Janice Perkins and 88 year old Marie Powell died at the scene. Michael Perkins died later at a local hospital.


Services for well-known Pineville attorney Richard Lee will be held at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, at First United Methodist Church, Pineville with Reverend Ed Cooper officiating. Burial will be Greenwood Memorial Park, under the direction of Hixson Brothers, Alexandria. The family requests that visitation be observed Tuesday at Hixson Brothers, Alexandria from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Mr. Lee,79, of Pineville passed away last Friday..


Walmart has announced the company will be closing 269 stores worldwide, including 8 in Louisiana. All eight closures in Louisiana are Walmart Express stores. The stores are located in Colfax, Clinton, Independence, Iowa, Kentwood, Lake Arthur, Mamou and Zwolle, and all will be closed on Jan. 28.


The Louisiana flu season has been mercifully quiet so far, but that could change as cases of the illness increase across the country. Despite the lull in the season, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot. Dr. Frank Welch, immunization medical director at DHH  says the flu usually gets going in the large cities and spreads from there, which is what is being seen now. The best protection is the flu shot.  Flu shots start taking effect immediately but become fully effective in about seven days, after the body has a chance to produce a defense. This year’s shot is said to be right on target for the current strain of the flu.


Another Destrehan High School teacher is under arrest for allegedly having sex with one of her female students. St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne says  26-year-old Kimberly Naquin was charged with carnal knowledge of a juvenile and prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student. Two other Destrehan teachers have cases pending  where they allegedly had three-way sexual encounter with a  male student. Champagne says these cases are bewildering.


The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has learned that the public-private split in football should have never happened in 2013, because of the way the vote was conducted. It’s believed the vote violated the LHSAA constitution.  For those who wanted the old playoff system, this is a big win.


Advanced drilling technologies have given the U.S. more cheap natural gas than it knows what to do with until now. A planned $20 billion, multiphase terminal in Cameron Parish is within weeks of cranking out liquefied natural gas onto ships bound for foreign markets, potentially the first of many facilities that could propel the U.S. to become the world’s third-largest LNG exporter by 2020.


So, you’ve been trying to quit smoking and you’ve even started smoking those Electronic cigarettes to help you kick the habit. According to a new study, odds are you are less likely to quit now than you were before you started pubbing on an e-cigarette. The report says adults who use e-cigarettes to stop smoking are 28 percent less likely to quit. There have also been several other studies that show  electronic cigarettes lead to regular cigarette smoking.


Transportation is expected to be a major topic in the upcoming regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says he showed President Barack Obama the single lane of traffic motorists must pass through in Baton Rouge on I-10 when going from west to east. Edwards says he told the president that it was the only place on the 2,460 mile interstate with a single lane. Edwards said the president understood the importance of getting some additional work done on I-10.

Louisiana has at least a $12 billion dollar backlog in improving its road and bridge system.


A new report shows that even though Louisiana has the second lowest median income in the nation, its residents do better than expected when it comes to managing money. CreditCards.com senior analyst Matt Schulz says Louisiana’s average credit score is third worst, but it’s three points higher than what’s expected based on what people make. Schulz says Louisiana ranks 25th in the country for managing money. He says considering low credit scores and low median income, Louisianans do fairly well handling credit cards. Schulz says they also found Louisiana is one of the younger states in the country in terms of average age of residence.


A Mississippi man has been arrested for aggravated animal cruelty after posting on Facebook a picture of a dog he shot and killed in Washington Parish. Brent Jones with the Sheriff’s Office says they discovered the shooting happened in Clifton, Louisiana. He says Todd Hammond was questioned after officers saw his online post. He says Hammond was also issued a violation for not having a hunting license in Louisiana.


News for Friday 011516

By Dave Graichen


President Barack Obama said in Baton Rouge Thursday, the fact that Louisiana voters chose Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards proves elections do matter. Mr. Obama said the people of Louisiana have spoken and Edwards has already proven he will be a leader that isn’t afraid to make big decisions. Edwards is dealing with a $700 million dollar shortfall he has to close in the remaining 6 months of the current budget year. President Obama urged Louisianans to support Edwards.


Parks Senator Fred Mills, who has been named chairman of the state Senate Health and Welfare Committee, says the rule writing for the state’s Medicaid expansion will be one of the committee’s top tasks for the year. He says he is a supporter of Medicaid expansion and believes it will be a benefit for the state.


State Treasurer John Kennedy reports the December 2015 Net Receipts Report shows total state revenue is down 15-percent from the same time last year. The report shows a drop in sales taxes, severance taxes, and corporation taxes. Kennedy attributes much of the decline in revenue to the price of crude oil. He says the low oil prices are beginning to affect corporate taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes.


The number of Louisiana residents who got coverage through the federal insurance marketplace reached 193,249 as of Jan. 9, roughly 7,000 more than last year’s total. Today is the last day to sign up for coverage starting Feb. 1.


Republicans on Thursday criticized Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to waive work requirements for thousands of food stamp recipients, saying the assistance program should only be a short-term safety net. Edwards won approval to sidestep a federal requirement that childless adults aged 18 to 49 have to work at least 20 hours per week or be enrolled in a federally approved job training program to receive the food aid. Edwards said Louisiana’s high unemployment rate qualifies it to skip the work mandate. The state has had a waiver for 19 years. Edwards said he wanted a one-year extension so his administration has time to bolster state worker training programs.


People in Louisiana want to see a range of issues addressed in a special session, according to an LSU poll. Governor John Bel Edwards has said he’ll call the legislature into a special session in February to address the state’s budgetary challenges. Public Policy Research Lab Director Michael Henderson says they found 66% of respondents want to see a broad range of matters addressed in the special session such as education, jobs, and health care. Henderson says these poll results show the people of Louisiana are ready to have these other issues addressed, but it will likely have to wait until a later session.


A rare hurricane has formed in the Atlantic Ocean in January for the first time since 1938. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Hurricane Alex is the second hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin during this month. Keim says Alex is only the fourth named storm to form in the month of January in the Atlantic and the second hurricane to form in this month in this ocean since record keeping began in 1851.


In the lead up to Wednesday’s $1.6 billion dollar Powerball drawing, nearly $23 million worth of Powerball tickets were sold in Louisiana for the week beginning Sunday, Jan. 10. More than 442,000 Louisiana Lottery players won cash prizes, according to the Louisiana Lottery, including a $1 million dollar ticket purchased in Franklinton.


As expected, Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness says he’ll officially announce his candidacy for the US Senate seat, being vacated by David Vitter, on Wednesday January 27th at the Kenner Park Pavillion.


18 year old Timmy Ray Robinson, convicted of manslaughter in the death of a fellow student at  Natchitoches Central High, has been sentenced to two years in a secure training academy.

Robinson was sentenced Tuesday in 10th Judicial District Court for manslaughter in the death of 18 JohnQuaries Smith in August of 2014. Robinson pleaded guilty to manslaughter in October. He was 16 at the time of the incident but was tried as an adult.


A former Louisiana teacher accused in a 2014 sex scandal involving an underage student has entered a plea of not guilty through her lawyer in Jefferson Parish. 33-year-old Shelley Dufresne, who taught at Destrehan High, faces two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Also accused, 25-year-old Rachel Respess, pleaded not guilty earlier to a charge of failure to report Dufresne’s crime. Dufresne was also charged in St. Charles Parish and has agreed to a plea deal to avoid having to register as a sex offender.


The Confederate monument issue was taken up in New Orleans federal court on Thursday, and it appears as though the preservationists are facing an uphill battle. US District Judge Carl Barbier is considering a plea by four groups seeking to stop the removal of the monuments. Legal analyst Chick Foret says it didn’t seem Judge Barbier found any federal jurisdiction in the case. The judge did not indicate when he would rule.


For the third day in a row, barges have hit a railroad bridge over the Mississippi River near Vicksburg. The barges all apparently stayed in their tow and the river remained open to traffic after Thursday’s 7:44 a.m. accident. The old U.S. 80 bridge will remain closed until state and Vicksburg Bridge Commission inspectors have checked it for damage. Four barges carrying coal sank on Tuesday after a towboat pushing 22 barges hit the bridge Tuesday. On Wednesday, a grain barge sank after a towboat pushing 25 barges drifted sideways at the bend north of Vicksburg, and a barge clipped a bridge pier.


New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson has been ordered by a Texas judge to give a deposition in the court battle over the family trust. Thus far, Benson has refused to personally participate in any of the proceedings. Legal analyst Tim Meche says this is a significant ruling, considering the family claims Benson is being manipulated by those around him. A January 21st deposition has been ordered for Benson in San Antonio where his estranged family will be present. A trial date has been set for February 1st. Benson is seeking to give control of the teams to his wife Gayle upon his death and not his daughter and grandchildren.


News for Thursday 011416

By Dave Graichen


Two Calcasieu residents have been arrested after authorities discovered  a “sparkler bomb” and drugs in their home. After receiving numerous tips and complaints about meth in the Calcasieu area, agents were able to obtain a search warrant for the residence and served it on Tuesday when the suspects were at home. The RPSO arrested and charged 57 year old Leslie Dubois and 54 year old  Janet  Dubois. Both were later released on $15,750 bond each.


President Barack Obama speaks this morning at McKinley High School in Baton Rouge where he is expected to talk about health care, jobs and early childhood education. The President will address the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana and the importance of covering working individuals who typically wouldn’t qualify. The visit is part of the President’s annual trip to various cities after he gives the State of the Union Address. This is the 10th time he has visited the Bayou State since becoming President. 


There’s expected opposition to Governor John Bel Edwards decision to expand Medicaid access in Louisiana. But the Louisiana AARP applauds the executive order. State Director Denise Bottcher believes Medicaid expansion will go a long way to make Louisiana a healthier state. She believes this will give residents peace of mind that if they get sick they’ll get the health care they deserve without going bankrupt.  Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says they are disappointed in the governor’s decision. She feels there are bigger problems facing the state that should be handled first.


The chair of the Senate Labor Committee says he’s not going to support any measure that would increase the state’s minimum wage. Governor John Bel Edwards reportedly wants to increase the minimum pay in Louisiana by $1 to $8.25 an hour. But Columbia Senator Neil Riser feels $7.25 an hour gives employees a fair starting point. Any bill that would raise Louisiana’s minimum wage would likely come through Riser’s committee.


After taking an aerial tour of from Vidalia to Morgan City, Governor John Bel Edwards is confident the rising Mississippi River will be contained within the state’s levee system. Edwards made stops in Vidalia, Morgan City, and Krotz Springs Wednesday. He says he’s confident the worst case scenario regarding Mississippi River flooding has been avoided.

He praised the work of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana National Guard in keeping the flood threat at bay.


Here we go again.. Louisiana is the worst state in the country according to a report by Politico Magazine. The findings come from factors like education, health, crime and employment. Deputy Editor Margaret Slattery says Louisiana was second to last in 2015. New Hampshire was ranked as the best state by Politico. Slattery says Louisiana often ranks low on lists like this. She says they’re measuring how each state ranks in areas like wealth, health, income equality, and employment to determine which is the best to live in.


The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to elected Metairie lawyer, Jim Garvey as its new president. There are eight new members on BESE’s 11-member panel. Former BESE President Chas Roemer decided not to seek re-election to the panel.


Senate President John Alario has announced committee assignments and appointments for the start of the 2016-2020 Louisiana Senate. Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur will chair the Senate Finance Committee, Revenue & Fiscal Affairs will be led by New Orleans Senator JP Morrell. Parks Senator Fred Mills will chair Senate Health & Welfare and Senator Page Cortez of Lafayette will oversee Senate Transportation. Senator Blade Morrish will chair Senate Education.


Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who was in Louisiana this week, has receieved the endorsement of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. In a video endorsement, Robertson says qualifications for a president include someone who is godly and would kill a duck and put him in a gumbo.


A Denham Springs gas station clerk is under arrest for allegedly selling a dangerous synthetic drug at the store, which caused two high school students to overdose. The owner faces 228 counts of possession with intent to distribute. Denham Springs Police Det. Glenn Lemoine says undercovers went in and bought the drug and later executed a search warrant.

Lemoine says the drug is a liquid known as “Juicy” and it’s ingested through a vaporizer.


A 15-year-old student who allegedly called in a bomb threat to Plaquemine High School has been arrested by the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office and booked on two counts of terrorizing. They say a 911 call came in on Tuesday saying a bomb had been placed at the school and classes were cancelled as a precaution. The same thing happened in December and with the help of the FBI, they were able to track the calls to the juvenile who was booked Wednesday.


The Lafayette Police Department has released a copy of Lafayette theater shooter John Russell Houser’s hand written journal. The diary was found in Houser’s Motel 6 room where he was staying before the shooting. Houser killed 2 and injured 9 in the July 2015 shooting, before turning the gun on himself. In the journal, Houser thanks accused South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof.


News for Wednesday 011315

By Dave Graichen


Yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order to expand Medicaid in Louisiana. Edwards spoke alongside patients he said would benefit from the federally funded health insurance. He says these are low income adults who were too poor to qualify for subsidized care on the health insurance exchange. Edwards says by July 1st, they expect more than 300,000 citizens will enroll under the new Medicaid eligibility. The state will have to hire 248 individuals to help with the enrollment process and it will cost 2-point-8 million dollars, but health care providers are expected to pick up that bill.  Edwards says they will follow other states lead for a smooth enrollment sign-up.


Governor John Bel Edwards says he’d like to see the minimum wage in Louisiana raised. The state’s current minimum wage is the federally mandated wage of $7.25 per hour. LSU Economist Jim Richardson says he’s heard talk of raising that to anywhere between $8.50 to 10.10 per hour. He says a hike in minimum wage could cause businesses to re-think how they do business. Supporters of a higher minimum wage say putting more money in workers hands will help spur the economy.


A 12-year-old girl died in a residential structure fire in Eunice, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. They say firefighters located the lifeless body of young Cailey Duplechain during suppression efforts, dead of apparent smoke inhalation. Her stepfather and 4-month old brother were able to escape the blaze with injuries and are expected to recover. An electric space heater was located near the origin of the fire and the home, which was completely destroyed, had no smoke alarms.


The Poweball jackpot has shot up to 1.5 billion dollars, making it the biggest jackpot in the world. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says ticket sales keep going up as the jackpot grows. She says when the sales continue to climb we’re able to transfer more money to the state of Louisiana. Chopin says the chances of multiple jackpot winners increases when more people are purchasing tickets. She says it’s been reported that in some hot spots, players are having to wait in lines just to buy a Powerball ticket.


Nola.com is reporting that Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere admitted to police that he had been drinking when he was busted urinating off the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. The Mayor was issued a citation for the offense. He apparently asked cops to help him out because he is running for re-election.


A Homer man is under arrest for allegedly murdering a 68-year-old Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office employee and burying her body in a shallow grave. Sheriff Gary Sexton says, after being reported missing by her daughter, the remains of 68-year-old Sulyn Prince were located in a wooded area behind her home. 35-year-old Jermaine Johnson, who was convicted of simple rape in April 2015, is charged with second degree murder in the death of Prince.

Oil prices have hit 30 dollars a barrel, which is the lowest price since December 2003. Eric Smith with the Tulane Energy Institute says we could see the price drop even lower as 2016 goes on. Smith says it will be tough for oil companies to make money with oil trading at that price. Oil prices are down 19-percent for this year and they’ve fallen 72-percent since June 2014, when oil was trading over 100-dollars a barrel. Smith says to stop the crash in oil prices, the supply has to meet a week demand for oil and in the short term the only way to do that is to cut back on production.


BP says they plan to cut an additional 4,000 jobs this year, including from oil production operations in the United States. The company did not say how many people in the US would be laid off. Benchmark US crude today fell below $30 a barrel before settling at $30.44 at the close. Tuesday’s statewide average for a gallon of gas was $1.74 according to AAA.


Fish farming will now be allowed in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, after new regulations were issued this week by NOAA. This means commercial seafood can now be harvested in enclosures on the seafloor. NOAA’s Deputy Director of Aquaculture, David O’Brien, says they’ve been pushing for this because the U.S. imports about 90% of our seafood.


Barges struck bridges over the rain-swollen Mississippi River in two separate incidents yesterday, but there were no reports of injuries, or serious damage to the bridges. Four barges sank in the Mississippi after a towboat pushing 22 barges struck the old U.S. 80 Bridge in Vicksburg on Tuesday morning.


UL Lafayette has been placed on two years’ probation and will lose three scholarships for next season and the following season as a result of a former assistant football coach, who violated NCAA rules by arranging fraudulent entrance exam scores for five prospects. The NCAA also fined the school $5,000 and imposed recruiting restrictions. The school had already voluntarily vacated all victories from 2011 season because of the violations. Walker says the NCAA has ordered the school to do the same for the 2012-2014 seasons for games the ineligible players participated in. In an unusual twist of events, The school has sued the ACT over failure to detecting the cheating.


LSU running back Leonard Fournette is the first player in LSU history to lead the nation in rushing, with an average of 162.8 yards per game. Fournette is also the first running back from the SEC to be declared rushing champion since 1949.


News for Tuesday 011216

By Dave Graichen


Democrat John Bel Edwards laid out some of his priorities for the next four years as he was sworn in as the state’s 56th governor. Edwards says he’ll seek to expand Medicaid, increase the minimum wage and he’ll support efforts to make higher education more affordable. Edwards says his top priority is fixing the state’s massive budget problems.


As Louisiana has sworn in a new governor, John Bel Edwards, we also have a new Lt. Governor. Republican Billy Nungesser also has budget issues to face. He says it will take creativity and working with the legislature to change laws to create more money within tourism.


It didn’t take long for Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards to have his first political defeat. Conservatives in the House mustered enough votes to elect New Iberia Republican Taylor Barras as the Speaker of the House over Edwards choice of Democrat Walt Leger. Lapolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says this could be a bad sign for Edwards. Edwards said he wants to invest more money into education, lower the state’s poverty rate and stabilize the budget. Alford says it remains to be seen if the Republican controlled House will go with Edwards plan or come up with their own. Edwards has called a 1:30 press conference this afternoon to discuss his plans to expand Medicaid.


Governor John Bel Edwards’ Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says Louisiana has monumental financial problems to overcome, but they plan to lay out options and govern responsibly. Governor Edwards is expected to call a special legislative session in mid-February to address these issues. Dardenne estimates the deficit in this year’s budget, which ends July 30th, is between $700-$750 million dollars. Dardenne says the shortfall for next fiscal year, when taking into account falling oil prices, could be close to $2 billion dollars if permanent changes to the budget aren’t made.


Craig Smith is the newly elected president of the Rapides Parish Police Jury. Scott Perry Jr. is the new vice president. Both men, once nominated, ran unopposed.


Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Jeannette Knoll has announced plans to retire. Knoll is nearing the end of her second 10-year term on the state’s highest court. She said in an emailed statement Monday evening that she plans to retire at the end of the year. She was elected from Louisiana’s 3rd Supreme Court District and began serving in 1997.


First time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Jan. 2 increased from the previous week’s total. The state labor department figures released Monday show the initial claims increased to 2,459 from the previous week’s total of 2,398. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 1,814.


Nearly 300 Louisiana National Guard personnel have been mobilized to help build barriers against approaching flood waters from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers. Lt. Rebekah Malone says protective levees are being built in Krotz Springs and Avoca Island.  The US Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway Sunday, but yesterday announced the opening of the Morganza Spillway will not be necessary at this time. The latest high water projections show the river crest can safely pass through Louisiana without opening the Morganza.


Lifeshare Blood Centers, which has locations across the state, say they are in the need of blood donations as their supply is less than two days for most blood types. Spokesperson Tina Hooper says if you’re eligible to donate, please do. Hooper says low blood donor turnout in December and last week led to a critically low supply of blood on hand.


A 96-year-old driver plowed into the Mandeville community center yesterday, injuring four people inside. Authorities say the driver stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake as she was pulling up to the building. The injuries to the people inside are not considered life threatening.


President Barack Obama will speak at McKinley High during his visit to Baton Rouge on Thursday. The White House says Mr. Obama’s speech will begin at 9:45am. The president’s visit will come two days after his final State of the Union address.


When Amite and Bogalusa High School play each other in football this October, their fans will not be allowed to attend. That’s the result of the penalties handed down by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. LHSAA Assistant Director Keith Alexander says the two schools were involved in a bench clearing brawl towards the end of their playoff game last November.

Alexander says both schools were fined 500-dollars and two-thousand dollars for not reporting the incident to the L-H-S-A-A. He says the 2016 Amite-Bogalusa game will be considered a closed competition.


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