KSYL Local News

News For Friday 09/23/16


News for Friday 092316

By Dave Graichen

 

It’s been a long time coming, but a former Rapides Parish teacher won her court battle against the school district after claiming she was wrongfully terminated back in 2001. Patricia Powell was a teacher at Tioga Elementary School in January 1998 when her photo and comments were included in a Town Talk article about the settlement that former Superintendent Betty Cox had reached with the district. Powell alleged that the district took its revenge on her for those comments. Judge Thomas Yeager agreed with Powell and awarded the former educator $1,147,000, plus interest and court costs.

 

Congress has put together a $500 million flood aid package for Louisiana. US Senator Bill Cassidy says Louisiana’s relief is coming from two pots of money, this is the first and the second is coming in December. Some of this funding could go to other states, but Cassidy is confident a majority will go to Louisiana. He says as soon as this is passed, the money will be available to the state. The flood aid for Louisiana must be approved by next Friday at midnight.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards responded to a viral video of a house that was poorly repaired under the Shelter at Home Program. He said that particular residence had not been inspected yet and it would have never passed. He reminded listeners on his radio show that the program pays for basic repairs- just enough to make the home livable. He says Shelter at Home workers are now required to show what kind of work will be done.

 

The Military Family Assistance Fund, which was originally set up to support families when a National Guardsman was deployed overseas, is now helping veterans who are affected by the flooding. Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Col. Joey Strickland says the legislature modified the fund to help all veterans who have a financial need. Strickland says they hope by the end of this month to give out a total of 350-thousand dollars to flood impacted veterans.

 

Monday is the deadline for Livingston parish pet owners to claim pets that were lost in the flood, and then shelters will start adopting them out. Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Jeff Dorson, says they have been sheltering over 500 pets from the Livingston parish area since the flood, but they could only hold them for 45 days. Dorson says people who lost a pet should check the Livingston Reuniting Pets Facebook page or contact the Humane Society of Louisiana. He says adoption counselors can help people find their lost pets.

 

The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report ranks Louisiana’s roadways 34thin the nation for overall performance, up 6 spots from the previous year. Louisiana ranked poorly in the areas of fatality rates and urban interstate pavement condition. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says there’s almost a $13 billion backlog in transportation projects, and it will take more consistent funding resources in order to improve Louisiana’s overall ranking.

 

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says the fatal shooting by four sheriff deputies of a 48-year-old man in February was legally justified. Moore says Travis Stevenson was repeatedly ramming his vehicle into a Sheriff’s Office S-U-V. Moore says witnesses interviewed by State Police supported the claim of self-defense. Moore says Stevenson’s family says he suffered from mental illness and extremely upset over his father’s recent death.

 

The first statewide safety survey of college campuses had so few respondents that the findings didn’t provide much insight. The voluntary survey aimed to address violence and sexual assault on college campuses, but only 5-percent of students participated. The board of regents says they will try to boost participation next spring.

 

An unusual homicide in Lafayette becomes more and more bizarre as the details unfold. Lafayette Police Officer Karl Ratcliff has confirmed the body of 23-year-old Alannah Montalvo was found dismembered in a toolbox on the side of the road, four days after her boyfriend, 36-year-old Barrett Farabee, was shot while trespassing in someone’s backyard. Police say Montalvo and Farabee had been in a relationship for quite some time prior to these horrific events.

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News For Thursday 09/22/16


News for Thursday 092216

By Dave Graichen

 

Today is the start of the fall season and Louisianans can expect above average temperatures and below normal rainfall. That’s according to state climatologist Barry Keim. Keim says the basis for this forecast is due to a high probability for a La Nina. Keim says we’re still seeing high temperatures but we just need to sit tight because fall weather is coming soon.

 

The Town Talk reports The company that plans to build an aluminum plant in Pineville is having some financial problems. Creditors allege in court filings that the companies involved owe more than $2 million in unpaid loans and contracts. A petition has been filed to force Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC, which purchased the property for the proposed complex, into bankruptcy to collect loans that have not been repaid. The full story is in today’s “Towntalk”.

 

Two men and a woman, all from Alexandria, remain in jail accused of beating and shooting at a woman before carjacking her vehicle early Saturday morning. The incident occurred, according to the APD, at a  Masonic Drive convenience store. Police say the woman was not shot, but was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

 

A former LSU player reportedly told a Baton Rouge radio station that Tigers Quarterback Brandon Harris got death threats following the season opening loss to Wisconsin, and it really bothered him. Jamie Howard, who was the starting quarterback for LSU in the early 90s, said he was giving Harris some advice because he was having a hard time with the death threats.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is in Washington, D.C., today continuing the ongoing battle to get federal funding for flood recovery efforts in Louisiana. Edwards says he is optimistic they can get something done before lawmakers recess at the end of the month for the November election.  The state has requested $2.6 billion in federal funding, but Edwards doesn’t expect to get the full amount at once. The initial flood recovery dollars would be contained in a stop-gap funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown.

 

A new poll released by Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating is at 63-percent. That’s a 13-percent increase from May. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says says the governor still faces some hurdles, especially with housing issues after the flooding. But he says this popularity will likely benefit him during the upcoming legislative session.

 

The survey also finds presidential candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has an unfavorable rating in Louisiana of 60-percent. Pinsonat says Republican Donald Trump has shot in front of her by a good margin and is very popular with white voters in Louisiana. According to the poll, if the election were held today, 49-percent would vote for Trump, 33-percent for Clinton, and 8-percent for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

 

A new poll from Southern Media Opinion and Research finds it’s a tight race for U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy is still leading with 17-percent, followed by Republican Congressman Charles Boustany with 15-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Democrat Caroline Fayard is improving in the polls and is up to 11-percent.

 

Blue Bell Creameries is recalling select flavors of ice cream distributed across the South after finding chocolate chip cookie dough from a third-party supplier for use as an ingredient was potentially contaminated with listeria. Texas-based ice cream maker said it’s recalling half gallons and pints of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and half gallons of Blue Bell Cookie Two. That’s after intensified internal testing found the cookie dough was potentially tainted. Blue Bell says no illnesses have been reported.

 

After deliberating for one hour, a six-person jury in Ouachita Parish determined West Monroe Police Officer Jody Ledoux was “Not Guilty” of negligent homicide in the shooting death of Raymond Martinez in December of 2014. Ledoux testified he thought the homeless man was reaching for a gun, when he was pulling a silver and gray cell phone from his pocket

 

LSU enrollment numbers are in and the Baton Rouge campus has set records. The incoming freshman class is the most academically talented class with composite ACT scores of 25.6 and average GPA of 3.4. The enrollment of African American and Hispanic students is at an all-time high. Louisiana Tech also saw record enrollment numbers. The freshman class topped 2-thousand, which is the largest in the school’s history.

 

The investigation is ongoing in Lafayette parish about a body that was discovered in a tool box on the side of the road. Cpl. Bridgett Dugas says they have connected the victim, Alannah Montalvo, with a  naked man who was recently shot and killed while trespassing. Dugas says Montalvo was in a relationship with the naked trespasser, 36-year-old Barrett Farabee. She says they still do not know the exact cause of death for Montalvo, but they do believe Farabee was involved.

 

The living were not the only ones affected by the August flood in south Louisiana. Henry Yennie with the Department of Health says over 350 graves were disrupted in at least 8 parishes. Yennie says so far they have only identified roughly 15-percent of the caskets.

 

A new study from Triple A finds millions of drivers are wasting their money on premium gasoline. Spokesperson Don Redman says they encourage people to check their car’s owner’s manual to see what kind of gas their car requires. He says 70-percent of vehicles on the road just need regular gas. Redman says some high end vehicles do require premium gas because of the way the engine is calibrated and the only differences between regular and premium gas are the octane levels and the price.

 

A grand jury has rejected murder charges against the two men accused of fatally shooting two Southern University students in April. 25-year-old Brandon Henderson could still stand trial for aggravated assault with a firearm. The grand jury did not take action against 23-year-old Ernest Felton, so right now his charges are in limbo.

 

The Saints have put cornerback PJ Williams on injured reserve, after the second-year pro was carted off the field last Sunday after taking a knee to the helmet twice while trying to make a tackle. The Saints will host Atlanta on Monday night.

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News For Wednesday 9/21/16


News for Wednesday 092116

By Dave Graichen

 

Today is the final day of what was a hot and wet summer. Alek Krautmann with the National Weather Service in Slidell says it goes down as one of the warmest summers on record for several Louisiana cities and in New Orleans it was the warmest summer on record since 1947. He says a very warm Gulf of Mexico is to blame. Krautmann says Louisiana also saw a very wet summer, with Baton Rouge experiencing the wettest one on record.

 

Louisiana has the second highest rate of women who are murdered by men. That’s according to data from the Violence Policy Center. Legislative Director Kristen Rand says Louisiana needs to do something to protect domestic violence victims because most of these murder victims are in relationships with their attacker. Rand, says this is the sixth year in a row that Louisiana has made the top 10. Alaska was the only state with a higher rate of women murdered by men.

 

Louisiana has two of the country’s fastest growing economies, while also having two of the fastest-shrinking, according to data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. Baton Rouge grew by over 5-percent and Lake Charles grew by about 8-percent. But the numbers show Houma-Thibodaux has the nation’s second worst economy, shrinking nearly 8-percent and Lafayette shrunk four-percent, both due to the drop in oil prices.

 

It was another record-breaking year for the Louisiana Community and Technical College system saw over 6-thousand more students graduate than last year. Graduates earned credentials in programs like process technology, construction, and industrial production.

 

The Livingston Parish Office of Emergency Management says there is still over one million cubic yards of trash that needs to be collected. Dukes of Hazard star and Livingston parish resident John Schneider says we pay our taxes for debris removal yet we still don’t seem important enough for FEMA to take some sort of action. Officials with the parish say it could be Christmas before everything is cleaned up.

 

More and more south Louisiana flood victims are selling their flood damaged homes to investors as is. Baton Rouge area realtor Ginger Maulden says the category “Currently Damaged” is being used to help flood victims track and sell their homes.  Maulden says several homes in this category have already sold, and all of them were cash buys from investors. She says they expect the number of homes in the listing group to continue to grow.

 

Brown tap water has been flowing from faucets in Oak Grove for years, and city officials are taking action to get clean water. Mayor Adam Holland says he toured America Water and Waste’s facility last week to find out what is causing the discoloration in the water. Holland says he is executing the 120 day termination clause in the water company’s contract.

 

The Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office says they busted the Iowa fire chief purchasing pills from an online black market pharmacy. They say 59-year-old Sandi Miller was allegedly illegally purchasing pills advertised as Oxycodone over the internet and having them shipped to her residence. Miller was arrested and fired. Miller was charged with possession of heroin and released on a $50-thousand bond.

 

A multi-agency investigation in Terrebonne parish has led to 29 arrests in just four days. State Trooper Jesse LaGrange says eighteen of the arrests were for felony charges. LaGrange says they also seized 388 grams of marijuana, 6 grams of crack cocaine, 5 grams of heroin, and various prescription pills. He says they recovered 6 guns, two of which were stolen, and over $6-thousand during the investigation.

 

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News For Tuesday 09/20/16


News for Tuesday 092016

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD reports a shooting in the city yesterday morning shortly before noon.  Police say when they arrived in the 2700 block of Hynson they found a man who had been shot in the leg. His injuries were superficial and he was treated at the scene. Detectives are continuing their investigation.

 

Six million gallons of waste was leaked into the Bouge Chitto River in St. Tammany parish from a Mississippi sewage plant, prompting a water advisory from the Louisiana Department of Health. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says it will take at least a week to know exactly what we’re dealing with, as the contamination has spread through the river. Guidry advises people to stay out of the river.

 

The body of a missing 6-year-old autistic boy was found early Monday morning in Lafayette Parish. Youngsville Police Chief Ricky Boudreaux says Keaton Jones was reported missing yesterday afternoon. He says the child was tragically discovered a little after 4am in a pond near his home. Boudreaux says Keaton left his home yesterday afternoon through an open garage door.

 

The US is facing a teacher shortage, and a new study from the Learning Policy Institute finds Louisiana ranks in the second lowest category for teacher attraction. President of the Louisiana Association of Educators, Debbie Meaux, says a lot of teachers are leaving the profession, and fewer people becoming teachers. Meaux says the biggest teacher shortages around the country are in special ed, math, languages. But she says Louisiana needs more teachers in every subject.

 

The owners and four officials of a company that abandoned 7,800 tons of potentially explosive artillery propellant in northwest Louisiana pleaded not guilty to federal charges Monday. The trial date for the Explo Systems Inc. owners and executives will be set at a status conference scheduled Dec. 13. They are accused of lying to get contracts to “demilitarize” the M6 artillery propellant, storing it unsafely and obstructing inspections, all at camp Minden.

 

FEMA has clarified the qualifications for the Shelter At Home program, which means homeowners who live in mobile homes are eligible. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor’s Office, Julie Baxter Payer says they wanted to get some clarification about who was eligible for the program. Payer says they have verified that manufactured and modular homes can be included in the program, whether or not they are on wheels or attached to the ground. She says, like with other homes in the program, inspections will be done on a case by case basis.

 

The city of Walker in Livingston Parish has signed a contract with a law firm possibly to file a suit against DOTD regarding the flooding. Mayor Rick Ramsey has said that the flooding that came into his city was the result of a concrete barrier in the middle of I-12 that wasn’t allowing the water to flow over the interstate, but instead cover Walker.

 

On September 12th, almost 95-percent of Livingston parish students showed up for the first day back to class after the historic flood. Livingston School Superintendent Rick Wentzel says more than 24-thousand students returned to school last week. He says they are pleasantly surprised at the turnout.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health announces that 305-thousand residents have health insurance through Medicaid. The eligibility requirements for the government paid for insurance was expanded on July 1st. L-D-H Secretary Rebekah Gee says nearly 12-thousand adults have received preventive health care services.

 

Sad story out of Caddo Parish. Police say a school bus driver died after she was hit by a car in a roadway she was crossing to get to her bus. According to the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, 58-year-old Karen Scroggins was going to her bus to begin her route around 6:30 in the  morning when she was struck. She was taken by ambulance to University Health, where she later died

 

Sports..

 

LSU’s new starting quarterback Danny Etling played well in his first SEC start and now he’ll get a chance to make his first start against an SEC team on the road when the Bayou Bengals visit Auburn on Saturday. LSU’s last trip to the Plains was not a good one. The Tigers were embarrassed as Auburn beat up LSU 41-7.

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News For Monday 09/19/16


News for Monday 091916

By Dave Graichen

 

Monroe-based telecommunications company CenturyLink has announced plans for companywide layoffs. CenturyLink spokesperson Annmarie Sartor says they are starting with voluntary layoffs, so they are not sure on the local impact. But she says if they do not reach their goal, they will have to begin involuntary layoffs. The reduction could affect about 35-hundred employees throughout the company here in the US. The cost reductions are due in part to the fact that lots of people are getting rid of their land lines.

 

A Ville Platte man lost his life early yesterday morning when fire ripped through his Calcasieu St. home. Firemen found the body of 62 year old James Malveaux in the rubble of the home.

State Fire Marshal investigators were then summoned to the scene to assist in determining the cause of this deadly fire. the home had no smoke alarms.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has released a statement following his meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. The governor says he had the opportunity to update the President on the flood recovery efforts in Louisiana. Edwards says he’s optimistic they will get Louisiana citizens the assistance they need to rebuild. Louisiana’s congressional delegation is working to get a $2.6 billion federal aid package approved.

 

First responders rescued a Baton Rouge teen from a chimney. Authorities say the 15-year-old was trying to break into the house through the chimney. McKneely says the teen has been charged with attempted burglary of an inhabited dwelling.

 

A Lafayette homeowner fatally shot a naked man who was holding a gun in his backyard. Cpl. Bridgett Dugas says they have not yet determined the identity of the suspect and are in the process of questioning the homeowner. Dugas says the naked suspect did not fire his weapon and was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

A Leesville man has been arrested for his fourth DWI following a crash that sent another driver and two children to the hospital. Police say 29-year-old Erica Fowler was driving down US 171 in Beauregard parish when 48-year-old Bryan Lee Hayes crossed both lanes and sideswiped her car. Fowler and her two children sustained minor injuries, and Hayes was not hurt. Drug impairment is suspected on the part of Hayes.

 

Taylor Swift is donating $50-thousand to Ascension parish public schools for flood recovery. Ascension Superintendent David Alexander says they are overwhelmed by the generosity and the investment will have far reaching impacts as they recover from the flood. Five of the 27 schools in the district are closed because of flood damage, displacing 5-thousand students. Swift earlier donated $1 million to the state’s recovery efforts and $50k to the Baton Rouge food bank.

 

A former Gretna police officer is now behind bars after a video shows him kicking a handcuffed suspect while on the ground. The alleged incident occurred in April. 46-year-old Robert Wallow turned himself into authorities Friday on charges of simple battery and malfeasance in office. Wallow was a Gretna police officer for 18 months, before he was terminated on Thursday. A Gretna police official says they found out about the incident through an internal investigation.

 

Two Louisiana chefs are travelling to Japan today to cook gumbo for the US Ambassador of Japan, Caroline Kennedy, and others as part of the Mississippi River Country reception. Samantha Carroll and her husband, Cody, own Hot Tails in New Roads and Sac-a-Lait restaurant in New Orleans. Carroll says this will be a great opportunity to get Louisiana products in the hands of chefs abroad.

 

An Acadia Parish woman is fighting to get her spider monkey back after he was seized by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Justine Quinn of Church Point says she has owned Darwin, the monkey, for over 13 years. A state law was passed in 2006 requiring a permit to own exotic animals, but Quinn says she was grandfathered in because she owned Darwin before the law was passed. She says he was seized once before in 2014.

Quinn says it took four months to get Darwin back the first time, and he was emaciated and had cuts all over his hands. She says she’s worried the same thing will happen again, especially because another woman’s primate died while in LDWF’s care.

 

The LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing has been ranked the ninth best nursing school in the country by the Nursing Schools Almanac. Dr. Demetrius Porche, Dean of the School of Nursing, says this is a great honor. He says this review is a testament to the dedication of the facility and staff’s commitment to a culture of excellence. The school also ranked number 5 among public nursing schools and second in the Southeast region.

 

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announces the Louisiana Office of Tourism has been named the 2016 State Tourism Office of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Society. This is the second time L-O-T has won this award, as the office also won in 2013.

 

Former Saints star Darren Sharper, who is in jail on rape charges, is a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A selection committee still has to meet in February to vote on who will be inducted into the Hall. Sharper has admitted he raped three women in New Orleans in 2013 before sexually assaulting six more women in three other states.

 

What appeared to be an easy win on Saturday in Tiger Stadium, became a nerve racking victory for LSU as they had to hold on to a 23-20 victory over Mississippi State.

 

It’s a tough start to the season for the Saints. After dropping a one-point loss in the season opener, New Orleans lost another tight contest yesterday. Giants kicker Josh Brown’s 23-yard field goal with no time left gave New York a 16-13 win over the Saints

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News For Friday 09/16/16


News for Friday 091616

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD is investigating three separate shootings in the city late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The shootings left two people hospitalized and two men behind bars. 

 

An arrest has been made in connection with the murders of an elderly couple found in a barn in Avoyelles Parish. Chief Deputy Steven Martel says the grandson of the victims, 28-year-old Michael Mayeaux, has been charged with two counts of first degree murder. He says Mayeaux does have a record but no previous violent crimes. Martel says there is a known motive, but they are not releasing it publicly.

 

According to the Governor’s Office, construction is underway in 357 homes in the Shelter at Home program. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor’s Office, Julie Baxter Payer,  says 850 homes are in the process of getting work orders and 4 are complete. She says once construction begins, the homeowners can get back in their homes soon after. Payer says more than 2-thousand home inspections are scheduled.

 

During Thursday’s Senate Small Business Committee meeting, US Senator David Vitter claimed many flood victims are having an extremely hard time cutting through the red tape to get federal aid. He says yesterday’s hearing is an important step to getting more assistance and helping his colleagues understand the level of devastation from this flood. State Representative Clay Schexnayder says lack of communication from FEMA has been a big problem and that has led to some people living in tents or just repairing their homes on their own.

 

Finally some good news; According to FEMA, last month’s flood will not cause flood insurance to rise above already scheduled annual increases. They said the event does not trigger remapping of flood zones.

 

The Bond Commission agreed Thursday that Louisiana could borrow up to $400 million dollars from two banks to help keep bills paid. The money must be paid back by August of next year.

 

Gas prices in Louisiana are back down to the $2 per gallon mark. The cheaper winter blend switch is underway meaning you can expect the price to continue to fall in the coming months.

 

New census data finds Louisiana has the third highest poverty rate in the country.  Demographer Greg Rigamer says Louisiana’s median household income of about $45-thousand is well below the national average, which is over $55-thousand. The national poverty rate is just under 15%, almost 5% lower than the rate in the Pelican State.

 

The ACLU of Louisiana says they are getting reports of students being punished for sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says they sent a letter to the superintendents of all Louisiana public school districts saying nobody can be forced to stand for the Pledge, salute the flag or anything of that nature.

 

A teenage student in Baton Rouge is under arrest on attempted murder charges for allegedly shooting someone that was trying to make him go to school. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says 17-year-old D’Vonte Green was allegedly arguing with someone in front of a house, when he took out a gun and began shooting. Green apparently told cops he shot the victim because he didn’t want to go to school. The victim is at a hospital. Green is in jail pending $60,000 bond.

 

This week is National Tuck Driver Awareness Week. Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says there have been several wrecks involving truck drivers around the state recently. He says the most important thing we can do to make the roads safer for everyone is bring attention to the issue.

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News For Thursday 09/15/16


News for Thursday 091516

By Dave Graichen

 

The day started with a call to the sheriff’s department from a concerned co-worker. That call led to the discovery of the bodies of 69 year old Hillman Mayeaux and his 67year-old wife, Eloise.  The grandson of the Bordelonville couple will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder, according to the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office. Authorities searched for 28 year-old Michael J. Mayeaux a good part of the day yesterday. In the end, he was found hiding under a pile of clothes in the Grand Parents home.

 

The Pineville City Council has given the okay to raise the rates for water and sewer service.

For residential customers inside the city limits, the base rate increases for the two services will total $9 per month. This is the first increase citizens have seen for these services in 12 years.

City officials said the rate increases are well-justified to cover operational costs and needed infrastructure improvements.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards announces the creation of the Restore Louisiana Task Force, which will oversee flood recovery and redevelopment. The task force is comprised of 21 members ranging from cabinet secretaries to state lawmakers and local mayors and business men.

 

The shelter at the Baton Rouge River Center is closing today. Red Cross spokesperson Vicki Eichstaedt says the flood victims who are still in the shelter will be moved to a shelter at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge. The Department of Children and Family Services reports there were 372 as of yesterday.  Eichstaedt says the River Center has asked them to vacate their facility as they prepare for upcoming events, but she says there is not a hard close date for the Celtic Studios shelter.

 

US Senator David Vitter will chair a meeting of the Senate Small Business Committee today to discuss the federal response for flood victims in Louisiana. Vitter says this is an important opportunity to explain just how devastating this flooding really was, and still is for many people.

 

How much money in federal relief assistance and when are big questions right now. A delegation from Louisiana is making the push right now. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says other states, who suffered natural disasters are making similar requests, but the level of devastation in Louisiana speaks for itself. The Obama administration has sent a two-point-six billion dollar request to Congress for Louisiana flood relief assistance. Problem is congress goes out on recess at the end of the month until after the November elections.

 

The state of Louisiana has lost another legal round in its attempt to take Medicaid funding away from Planned Parenthood clinics. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling ensuring that needy women can get Medicaid-funded non-abortion services at Planned Parenthood facilities in the state.

 

State Senator Troy Brown pleaded “no contest” Wednesday to an allegation that he punched his longtime girlfriend in the eye. The incident took place at a New Orleans hotel following the Bayou Classic Football game. A judge handed Brown a suspended six month sentence after the plea. Brown represents parts of St Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes.

 

The longtime media spokeswoman for the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Maxine Trahan, has been arrested by State Police and booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on two Felony warrants. one for exploitation of the infirmed and one for felony theft. She was being investigated earlier this year accused of stealing money that was confiscated from accused criminals. Her bond is $75,000.

 

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Facility is partnering with the US Department of Defense on a study that looks at improving a soldier’s endurance. Dr. Jennifer Rood is the principal investigator for the Optimizing Performance for Soldiers Study. She says many soldiers in military operations are only getting half of the daily recommendation of calories, which leads to weight loss and impacts their performance.

 

Disney released a gumbo recipe video on Facebook that is driving Louisianans mad. The video has since been removed after receiving backlash for adding kale and not even starting with a roux. KATC Lafayette Production Assistant David Hilbun created a reaction video. He says he never intended for the video to blow up the way it did in just two days. He says people are so passionate about their gumbo, because it’s the flagship dish of the Cajun culture.

 

Sports…

 

LSU Football Coach Les Miles is keeping things quiet on who will start as quarterback this Saturday as the tigers take on Mississippi State but is hinting it will be Danny Etling. Running back Leonard Fournette did not play against Jacksonville State last weekend because of an ankle injury but Miles expects he’ll play against the Bulldogs.

 

The Saints visit the Giants this Sunday in a rematch of last year’s wild contest that saw New Orleans beat New York 52-49 in the third-highest scoring game in league history. El Manning and Drew Brees combined to throw for an NFL-record 13 touchdown passes. The Saints need a win on Sunday to avoid an 0-2 start.

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News For Wednesday 9/14/16


News for Wednesday 091416

By Dave Graichen

 

The wife of Republican US Senate candidate Charles Boustany says prostitution allegations against her husband are “false attacks.” The accusations were raised in a new book that claims Boustany was involved with prostitutes who were killed in Jefferson Davis Parish. A statement from Boustany’s campaign says these allegations are completely false. The author of the book stands by what he reported in the book.

 

You would think is you were going to auction off a car, you would empty it of its contents before you did. A felony theft warrant has been issued for a part-time Ball Police Department officer, Edward Sieja, who bought a Georgetown police unit through a sealed bid sale and then allegedly refused to return items, including a radio, radar unit and lights, from inside the car.

 

Back in to 60’s, Flip Wilson had a favorite expression, The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress. Over the weekend 20 year old Dylan Christopher told Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies he had divine approval for the 10-mile chase he led them on, with speeds  that reached close to 100 mph. They didn’t buy it and booked Thompson into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

 

The Red Cross says the largest shelter in Baton Rouge will be closing and they are set to transition displaced flood victims to permanent or temporary housing. They say those remaining at the Baton Rouge River Center on Thursday will be moved to another shelter. Red Cross officials say there were more than 200 displaced residents still at the Baton Rouge River Center as of Monday night.

 

New census data shows that more Louisianans than ever before are now covered by health insurance. Director of the Louisiana Budget Project Jan Moller says this is great news because for the longest time, Louisiana had one of the highest uninsured rates in the country.

 

State Police has arrested a 73-year-old Slidell man on 500 counts of Possession of Child Pornography. Trooper Dustin Dwight says after a search warrant of Lanier Lively’s home, authorities found massive amounts of suspected child pornography. Dwight says the investigation into Lively began in April.

 

The LSU Ag Center has increased it’s crop damage estimate to 277-million dollars as a result of the historic flooding event last month. Ag Center Economist Kurt Guidry says rice and soybeans were the two hardest hit crops, followed by corn at 44-million and cotton at 27-million dollars. Agriculture losses from both the March and August floods are a combined 367-million dollars.

 

American Cancer Society volunteers from Louisiana and many other states were in Washington, D.C, today rallying for more funding for cancer research. Director of the LSU Health Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, Augusto Ochoa, says Louisiana has one of the highest rates of death by cancer in the country.

 

An Ascension parish man will spend the next five years behind bars after he beat his dog to death with a baseball bat. Jeff Dorson with the Humane Society of Louisiana says Jamari Jackson faced up to 10 years for the 2014 crime, but they are happy with the sentence he got. Jackson reportedly claimed that he hit his dog because it was stuck in a barbed wire fence and he wanted it to “relax” so he could  get it loose.

 

Six Louisiana schools made U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 list of “Best National Universities“.Three Louisiana schools received a ranking as “tier one” national universities. Tulane University in New Orleans was No. 39 on the list, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge was 135 and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston came in at 202. Three more were included in the list but without a ranking — University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Louisiana at Monroe and University of New Orleans.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards announces I-10 will be widened from four to six lanes between Highland Road in Baton Rouge and Highway 73 in Ascension Parish. He says about 30-percent of the traffic on I-10 is moving commerce. But he says this project will benefit all drivers. State Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says the project will cost more than 60-million dollars, but the state plans to use 40-million dollars in federal monies to get the project started.  Edwards says they are also looking at elevating parts of the interstate in this 7 mile stretch.

 

This week is National Drive Electric Week and the state department of natural resources would like motorists to learn about the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars.  Executive Director of Louisiana Clean Fuels program, Ann Shaneyfelt, says the range of some fully electric vehicles is up to 200 miles, which is similar to having a full tank of gas.

Shaneyfelt says the maintenance cost of electric vehicles is also much lower, and most public charging stations are free. She says there are also tax credits available for people who purchase electric and hybrid vehicles.

 

Solar panel customers in Louisiana are suing the state over the cap that was placed on the solar tax credit program earlier this year. New Orleans lawyer Larry Centola says the state violated these people’s rights when they retroactively capped the program. Centola says because the program is now first come first serve, people who bought their panels after the cap was passed could get a tax credit before those bought them before the cap, depending on who filed their taxes first. Centola says about 2-thousand homeowners installed their panels before the June 2015 vote on the cap.

 

Mississippi State is getting ready to travel down to Baton Rouge for Saturday night’s SEC showdown with the 20th ranked LSU Tigers. Two years ago, Mississippi State came into Tiger Stadium and beat LSU 34-29 for their first win over the Tigers since 1992.

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News For Tuesday 09/13/16


News for Tuesday 091316

By Dave Graichen

 

The Pineville City Council tonight will discuss and possibly vote on increasing sewer and water rates. Two ordinances will come up for hearings and votes during the council’s meeting, which gets under way at 6 this evening  in the Council Chambers at Pineville City Hall.

 

The investigation is ongoing into the death of an Alexandria man whose body was found late Saturday evening on England Drive and Loblolly lane. Police say that 48 year old Gerald Bryant had been shot to death. The APD says an autopsy is being conducted.

 

Delta Regional Authority announces $72 million in investments in Louisiana to strengthen infrastructure, prepare for disasters, build the workforce, and support small businesses. Federal Co-chairman Chris Masingill says they are putting a portion into the geauxBiz program to provide support for small businesses in central Louisiana. Masingill says they are also investing more than $1 million for waterworks improvements in Monroe to support CenturyLink’s new Century Village project.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards will be heading back to Washington, DC this week where he is scheduled to meet with more congressional leaders and others in an effort to get more money  for flood recovery. He sent another letter to the White House asking for an additional $800 million dollars, on top of the $2 billion he was originally seeking. He says the new amount is for infrastructure projects and mental health support for flood victims.

 

While south Louisianan is recovering from a historic flood, flood recovery efforts are still ongoing from the catastrophic flood that hit north Louisiana just five months before. Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish met with White House officials in an attempt to get more federal support for the March flooding recovery efforts in north Louisiana. So far,

President Obama has only agreed to increase the feds’ cost-share for the August flood. Abraham says between the two floods, 22 of the 24 parishes in his district were declared federal disaster areas.

 

Louisiana residents who live in areas that flooded this year will pay more for car insurance as a result of the 2016 floods, according to state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. He says drivers’ comprehensive coverage will go up because over 100-thousand cars were destroyed by the flood. Donelon says the amount of the rate hike will vary from one company to another. He says people who live in areas that did not experience any flooding will not see the rate increase.

 

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden is under scrutiny for being in Taiwan last week rather than speaking before Congress with the mayors of Central, Denham Springs and Walker about flood relief. Holden says he went out of the country to attend a forum about building sustainable port cities. Holden says some candidates for Baton Rouge mayor are attacking his lack of presence in the city during this tough time. He says Baton Rouge isn’t going to fall apart because there is communication between his staffers and everyone is working together.

 

AAA says the switch to winter blend gasoline has caused gas prices to fall nationwide for 12 straight days. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is now $2.00, down about 4 cents from the prior week.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is investigating a boat crash in St. Mary Parish that claimed the life of a 7-year-old girl. LDWF Spokesman Adam Einck says the collision was between two boats and they are going to try to recreate the incident to determine if anyone was at fault. He says 7-year-old Jaidyn Montet died at a hospital of severe head trauma.

 

Democratic US Senate candidate Caroline Fayard has won the endorsement of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Fayard is one of two well-known Democrats in the 24-person race. The other is Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who has the endorsement of Governor John Bel Edwards.

 

Sports..

 

LSU Coach Les Miles says he plans to play both quarterbacks Brandon Harris and backup Danny Etling against Mississippi State this weekend, but he refused to name a starter. Etling entered the game against Jacksonville State after a slow start from Harris. Miles says Harris needs a break and take a deep breath. The Mad Hatter added star running back Leonard Fournette should return to play against The Bulldogs this weekend.

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News For Monday 09/12/16


News for Monday 091216

By Dave Graichen

 

Students in Livingston Parish finally return to school today after being out for almost a month because of the historic flooding. Parish School Superintendent Rick Wentzel says going back to school gives these kids a sense of normalcy that’s been missing for too long. Six schools in Livingston Parish will not reopen due to flood damage. Wentzel says some schools are platooning, which means students at the home school attend classes in the morning, while kids from a flood damaged school go in the afternoon. He says they are still working to find contractors to begin construction on schools that were completely ruined by the flood waters.

 

The push is on for more federal dollars to assist in flood recovery. Governor John Bel Edwards has requested Congress pass a two billion dollar federal aid package. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says Louisiana’s Congressional delegation will face some difficulty, because three of our members voted against a Superstorm Sandy relief package. Time is also a factor. Congress is taking yet another recess at the end of the month for the November election.

 

Businesses in Louisiana suffered losses due to the historic floods to the tune of over $2 billion dollars. That’s according to Don Pierson, the Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. He says overall, the August 2016 disaster caused a total of about $8.7 billion dollars in damage. More than 6,000 businesses flooded in the 22 affected parishes.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health says there have been 10 more cases of West Nile and two more confirmed cases of Zika in the state. The additions means there are now a total of 24 cases of West Nile virus in Louisiana. State health officials say the total number of Zika cases in Louisiana now stands at 28. All are travel-related.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was criticized by members of Congress Friday over the pace that they were able to send aid to communities devastated by historic flooding in South Louisiana. Congressman John Mica of Florida, who chairs the Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, toured the affected communities. He said the manufactured housing units FEMA brought in to help are pathetic. FEMA says the scope of the disaster was above and beyond the resources they had available to do more than they are.

 

State Police say an arrest has been made in the case of a fatal crash in Rapides Parish that claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl several months ago. They 24-year-old Micah Baden lost control of his vehicle on May 17th, and crashed into a parked semi-trailer. 16-year-old Chloe James was in the front seat and died. Baden was charged Friday with vehicular homicide.

 

Two new polls on the upcoming U.S. Senate race put Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy in the lead. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says after looking at the poll by the Remington Research Group, it’s likely a democrat and republican will make the runoff, but both polls have Republican Charles Boustany looking good.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed several oyster harvesting areas and delayed the season because the industry is struggling. John Tesvich is a fourth generation oyster grower and also sits on the Oyster Task Force. He says planting usually opens after Labor Day, but this year was more of a partial opening. Tesvich says the industry is still recovering from the BP oil spill that happened over 6 years ago, and then there was a mass die off this summer because of dead zones in the water. He says high water levels in the rivers are bringing more nutrient rich water into the harvesting areas and killing the oysters.

 

 

Sports..

 

The Saints fail to preserve a two-touchdown lead in the 2nd half and lose to the Oakland Raiders 35-34 in the season opener. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 423 yards and two touchdowns, moving ahead of Tom Brady on the career touchdowns list Sunday. But the defense gave up numerous big plays in the 4th quarter to allow Oakland to score 22 points in the 4th quarter.

 

The LSU Board of Supervisors elects not to take up a proposal to give football coach Les Miles an additional 100-thousand dollars if the Tigers make it to the college football playoff. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham the proposal was quickly deferred to be considered at a future meeting.

 

Two back-ups led the LSU Tigers to a 34-13 win over Jacksonville State for the Bayou Bengals first victory of the season. Quarterback Danny Etling came off the bench for an ineffective Brandon Harris and on his first drive connected with DeSean Smith on a 46-yard touchdown pass.

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News For Friday 09/09/16


News for Friday 090916

By Dave Graichen

 

State police report a two vehicle crash shortly after noon yesterday claimed the life of a Rapides Parish man, 61 year old Kenneth Keele. Troopers say Keel disregarded a flagman’s attempt to have him stop and in failing to do so he struck a Mini Excavator Keele was wearing his seat belt, but was pronounced dead. The driver of the excavator was not injured. Routine toxicology tests are pending.

 

President Barack Obama informed Governor John Bel Edwards yesterday the federal government will increase its cost-share for flood relief efforts in Louisiana from 75-percent to 90-percent, to cover repairs to public roads and infrastructure and first responder expenses. This means state and local governments will be responsible for the reaming 10-percent. 5th district congressman Ralph Abraham says he would like to see the President extend that increase to the Central & North Louisiana floods earlier this year.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is in Washington DC through Friday. The governor is requesting additional federal assistance to help flood victims who face major repairs to their homes; many of them do not have flood insurance.

 

Tomorrow is the statistical peak of the hurricane season and State Climatologist Barry Keim says on September 10th, sea surface temperatures in the breeding grounds for tropical storms are at the maximum. He says so far this season we’ve had eight named storms, which puts us on track for 16 this season. Keim says up to this point, Louisiana has been pretty lucky in terms of named storms, however a tropical wave brought south Louisiana record flooding last month.

 

The mayors of Walker, Central and Denham Springs will testify before Congress today in Washington DC on the federal response to the historic flooding. Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry says he will voice concerns that many residents who suffered flood damage may have to either tear down their home or raise their house under FEMA guidelines. Landry says if a home has been flooded multiple times, it does make sense for FEMA to require the home to be elevated, but not in this situation. He says homeowners could potentially spend 100-thousand dollars to lift a home that’s only been flooded once.

 

The Board of Regents placed four Louisiana universities on a fiscal watch list for being in poor financial standing. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says they established this test to show legislators that these universities are struggling. He says there has been a lot of concern about the future of the LSU Health Center in Shreveport with many people worried it’s on “life support.” Rallo says these schools are facing financial challenges because of a decline in state funding and lower enrollment.

 

After two devastating floods, Louisiana strawberry famers are struggling. Co-owner of Johndales Farm in Ponchatoula, Heather Robertson, says because strawberries are a specialty crop, there’s not much financial assistance, and a lot of producers will not grow strawberries again. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says Tangipahoa parish is the center of strawberry production, and it was hit by both floods.

 

The New Orleans Police Department issued a statement saying 28-year-old Raul Delatoba was wrongfully charged with a hate crime for violating the Blue Lives Matter law after he used sexist and racial slurs against officers. Executive Director of the Louisiana ACLU, Marjorie Esman, is glad police realized they can’t chare someone for offensive comments, but he never should have been charged with a hate crime in the first place.

 

A 15-year-old girl riding in a tailgate was killed and her 12-year-old sister was seriously injured in a head-on collision in Assumption Parish last night. It occurred as they were helping their mother place garbage bins on the side of the road and the vehicle they were in was facing the wrong way. Trooper Jesse LaGrange says the crash occurred at night, so it’s possible the driver of the other vehicle didn’t see the truck with the kids on it. Impairment has been ruled out.

 

The Department of Transportation announces upgrades to their 511 travel information system. Rodney Mallett with DOTD says motorists can now get personalized traffic updates by creating an account at 511LA.org and the system can alert of any traffic disruptions.

 

A man in New Orleans has told police that after a minor traffic accident, another driver followed him and then beat him over the head with a baseball bat. The driver accused in the beating on Sunday works as a behavioral interventionist at a local high school. Police on Monday arrested 41-year-old Wilbert Gray on a charge of aggravated battery. His bond was set at $10,000.

 

sports..

 

After a humbling loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in Green Bay, LSU returns to Tiger Stadium tomorrow night to host Jacksonville State. Fullback JD Moore says the Tigers learned from their mistakes and they are ready to show what kind of team they can be

 

LSU Coach Les Miles is not saying whether running back Leonard Fournette has been practicing this week after taking a hit to his lower leg towards the end of the Wisconsin game. Miles did say on Monday that Fournette suffered a contusion.

 

ULM can match last year’s win total if they can pull off an upset against the 14th ranked Sooners on Saturday night in Norman, Oklahoma. ULM beat Southern last week, while Oklahoma fell to Houston.

 

High School Football action tonight as Calvary Baptist is at Peabody  on KSYL 970 am,      Buckeye is at Menard  96.9 KZMZ and it’sTioga at Pineville  Q93.

 

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News For Thursday 09/08/16


News for Thursday 090816

By Dave Graichen

 

The RPSO reports Five inmates, including a 17-year-old charged in a recent beating death, now are facing rape charges after allegedly sexually assaulting another inmate. The rape allegedly took place at the Rapides Parish Detention Center 1, which is in the Rapides Parish Courthouse. The victim alleged that about five inmates were involved. Warrants were secured for the suspects, and all of them were arrested and rebooked on the new charges. All remain in jail.

 

Alexandria Police will soon be wearing a new piece of equipment, a body camera. The city council gave the mayor the go ahead to purchase 132 more cameras to compliment the 20 they already have. The cost $1, 057 per unit. The hope, according to Police chief Loren Lampert, is to hold Officers and those with who they interact accountable.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is traveling to Washington, D.C., today to meet with federal officials about getting more assistance for Louisiana flood victims. Edwards says his office now has a better understanding of the flood damage and an idea of how much money it will take to repair it all. He says they are asking for $2 billion to help flood victims rebuild their homes.

Edwards says the state has to make sure the spending is accountable and that we spend the money wisely.

 

Four schools have been put on a fiscal watch list by a committee of the Louisiana Board of Regents because they are in poor financial health. The four schools are Southern University of New Orleans, LSU Health Sciences-Shreveport, Grambling State and Southern University at Shreveport. Leaders at the four schools have been asked to provide a corrective action plan by September 21st.

 

Could the August flood have anything to do with climate change? A team of experts that comprise of government and university experts published the report that concluded climate change made it possible for a weather event that produced more than 30 inches of rain.

 

Mandeville Police have made a second arrest in connection with the alleged rape of a 78-year-old resident at the Beau Provence Memory Care facility. Officer Becky White says 55-year-old Julie Henry was the Associate Program Director and not only knew about the reported sexual assault, but she destroyed evidence.

 

First Lady Donna Edwards is visiting schools in flood ravaged areas of south Louisiana to distribute school supplies. Edwards has teamed up with the Louisiana School Boards Association to collect over 16-thousand dollars with the GoFundMe account called “LSBA Fund for Restoring Schools. Edwards says the donations not only go to students, but teachers as well. She says many teachers lost everything and they hope to give them a chance to bring their classrooms back to normal.

 

It doesn’t look like we’ll see a lot of FEMA mobile homes in Louisiana. Louisiana Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer, Tito Hernandez, says five families are currently in the units, and 40 others are waiting for hookups. But he says the manufactured homes are a last resort housing option. Hernandez says over 63-thousand flood victims have received FEMA assistance for rent or home repairs, and 24-hundred are currently in hotels.

Hernandez says 19-thousand people have registered for the Shelter At Home program, and 28-thousand flood insurance claims have already paid $229 million for home repairs.

 

Republican Congressman John Fleming launches a seven figure statewide TV ad for the U.S. Senate race.  Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says Fleming is a U.S. Representative for north Louisiana who doesn’t have much name recognition outside of his district. But he says this TV spot gives Fleming the chance to introduce himself to voters and jump start his campaign.

Republican Congressman Charles Boustany has also started running TV commercial and Alford says Treasurer Kennedy will soon have TV ads running too. He says on the democratic side, there is a big war playing out on urban radio stations.

 

The Saints and Quarterback Drew Brees have agreed to a new contract extension that provides the future Hall of Farmer with 44-million dollars in guaranteed money through the 2017 season. It’s considered a team friendly deal for the Saints as it frees up salary cap space. Brees also remains one of the highest paid players in the NFL and it gives the two sides a chance to agree to a new deal in 2018.

 

LSU football fans will not see Mike the Tiger out on the field during home games this season. Ginger Guttner with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine says Mike will stay in his habitat on game days because of health concerns after he was treated for cancer in June. But she says fans will still be able to see the live mascot. Guttner says the treatment appears to have been successful, but they are continuing to monitor him.

 

An Albertson’s in Bossier City is coming under fire over a social media post indicating the bakery there refused to write “Trump 2016″ on a birthday cake. McKenzie Gill told KSLA that the theme for her 18th birthday party is Donald Trump for President and she was surprised the Albertson’s employee said she wouldn’t put the candidate’s name on the cake. A spokesperson for the chain apologized and said the staff was confused about copyrighted phrases.

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News For Wednesday 9/07/16


News for Wednesday 090716

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor John Bel Edwards announces three new expansion projects for schools in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System that will provide more training and improve employment opportunities for thousands. The announcement was made in here in Alexandria where a 50,000 square ft. facility will be built.  New training centers are also going up at Baton Rouge Community College and Delgado Community College in New Orleans. The  new facilities will provide training in various areas like welding, automotive technology, construction, manufacturing, and information technology.

 

The RPSO is investigating the death of a Cheneyville man as a homicide after he was found lying in La. Highway 181 at its intersection with I 49 Monday night. Deputies originally thought it was a case of hit and run. But, Doctors determined that the man's injuries were not sustained from a vehicle due to lack of injuries anywhere else on his body. The victim, 49-year-old James Roger Guinn, died yesterday. An autopsy is pending to determine the exact cause of Guinn's death.

 

The Legislative Auditor’s Office releases a report that highlights ways to reduce Louisiana’s incarceration rate, which is the highest in the world. Director of performance audits Karen LeBlanc says one of the things they’d like to see is nonviolent offenders with more probation and less jail time. LeBlanc says the state can save money by providing alternatives for people arrested on drug charges, like diversion and specialty courts. But Executive Director of the Louisiana District Attorney’s Office, Pete Adams, says they would rather see solutions that didn’t cost anything upfront.

 

WAFB reports the wife of fallen Baton Rouge police officer Matthew Gerald is pregnant. Dechia Gerald told WAFB reporters she believes she conceived five days before her husband was killed in the ambush on Baton Rouge officers.

 

The state Office of Motor Vehicles is now offering customers the ability to cancel the license plate on their vehicle without having to visit an OMV office. Spokeswoman Staci Hoyt says right now most of the license plates being brought in for cancellation are for vehicles that were damaged in the flood. Customers can visit the OMV website and enter the VIN, plate number and zip code of the registered owner of the vehicle to cancel the plate.

 

Louisiana Economic Development is offering a contractor accreditation scholarship to small businesses with the state’s technical schools and community colleges. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says LED is offering the course to help new companies become a licensed contractor in Louisiana, especially with the rising need after the historic flooding. Pierson says many flood victims are hiring contractors to fix their homes and want to ensure they have an accredited business doing construction.

 

We may not see the presidential candidates much in the Bayou State before Election Day, according to UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross. He says Donald Trump is leading Hillary Clinton in Louisiana substantially, so the candidates will focus their attention on the so-called battleground states. Cross says Louisiana should be an easy win for Trump, because Clinton is not popular among voters in the predominantly red state. He says although the Bayou State does have a large number of minority voters, it likely won’t be enough for a Clinton win.

 

The Coast Guard and other agencies are responding to an oil spill off the coast of Bay Long, near Grand Isle. Petty Officer Lexie Preston says they are currently conducting cleanup operations from the 53 hundred gallon spill. She says they are still investigating the spill.

 

A new animal disaster relief shelter has opened in Amite. Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Jeff Dorson says this new center is the base of operations for all the surrounding parishes. He says they’re trying to help reunite pets and livestock with their owners. Dorson says at this site, they have 50 dogs and 20 cats in separate areas with air conditioning.

 

A Jefferson Parish school bus carrying 34 children crashed into a canal along West Metaire Avenue yesterday afternoon around. The students evacuated out of the back door of the bus and one suffered a minor injury.

 

Students at Eden Park Elementary in Baton Rouge had a welcome surprise when New Orleans Saints Punter Thomas Morstead and First Lady Donna Edwards showed up to deliver 500 backpacks filled with school supplies following the historic flood. The delivery came on the students’ first day back in the classroom since the flood.

 

 

The LSU Tigers have fallen 16 spots in the coaches poll which came out Yesterday. The Bayou Bengals went from sixth to 22nd as a result of their season opening loss to Wisconsin. Coach Les Miles said during an afternoon presser that Brandon Harris remains the Tigers starting quarterback and the team can still achieve its goals of winning a championship. The Tigers host Jacksonville State on Saturday.

 

Ragin Cajuns Coach Mark Hudspeth says the decision to fire defensive coordinator Melvin Smith gave him indigestion and heartburn, but it was a move that needed to be made after the team gave up 584 yards in a 45-10 loss to Boise State. Hudspeth says there was no reason to wait any longer to make a move.

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News For Tuesday 09/06/16


News for Tuesday 090616

By Dave Graichen

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards will travel to Alexandria next Monday to announce a new $21.5 million campus for Central Louisiana Technical Community College, a project previously delayed by the state's budget woes.  Edwards, along with Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy and Louisiana Community and Technical College President Monty Sullivan, will make it official during a press conference at Alexandria City Hall.

 

FEMA announced yesterday that they are hiring Louisiana residents for temporary work to help with the flood recovery process. The jobs are said to be full-time, but temporary. To apply, visit www.laworks.net

 

Alexandria police seem to be getting closer to being equipped with a police body camera. The  City’s Public Safety, Works and Transportation Committee is set to consider final adoption of the ordinance that would authorize Mayor Jacques Roy to accept the low bid on body cameras for the city's police department. The full council will hold hearings on the ordinance before any final vote is taken on the issue.

 

Congress reconvenes for the fall session today, which means the discussion begins about getting more federal aid to Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards wants Congress to approve a two-billion dollar federal aid package that will cover housing, economic development and infrastructure repairs. In a letter to the White House, the governor called it a reasonable request. Edwards says they’ve documented that 55-thousand homes were damaged the catastrophic flooding and over 80-percent of damaged homes lacked flood damage.

 

The third phase of the disaster food stamp program begins today as flood victims in nine more parishes can receive a benefits card to purchase food. Sammy Guillory, with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, says if you lost food or income as a result of the floods and don’t receive regular food stamps, you could be eligible for this special assistance. So far, Guillory says almost 110-thousand households have received disaster food stamps and the distribution has gone well

 

The Monroe County, Florida Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a Natchitoches man who was snorkeling in the Dry Tortugas. Authorities say 67-year-old Bryan Wimberly was diving from a commercial vessel when his dive partner noticed he was panicking underwater. Wimberly was retrieved by a rescue diver and CPR was performed. Wimberly was the director of the Natchitoches utility system and served as a fire chief.

 

Fort Polk has about 750 horses on their property and the military base in Vernon Parish is looking to give them a new home. Public Affairs Officer Troy Darr says the horses were probably abandoned over the years and started to reproduce. He says they are willing to give the horses to animal welfare groups or private citizens. Darr says the horses range from very healthy to some that are probably on their last leg. He says three animal welfare groups have already signed up, and a lot of people are interested.

 

The court battle over four New Orleans monuments honoring Civil War era figures will be heard by a federal appeals court on Sept. 28. The 5th U.S. Circuit court recently set the date in a case that pits the city against some preservationists and supporters of the monuments.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged removal after police said a white supremacist killed nine parishioners inside the African-American Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June of last year. The City Council voted for removal in December, leading to the court fight.

 

A new report from Trust for America’s Health finds Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate in the country, at 36-percent. Bob Johannessen with LDH says it might be a new report, but it’s certainly not new news. He says studies dating back to 2008 have shown Louisiana as one of the heaviest states in the nation. Johannessen says healthy living practices start when you’re a child and unfortunately in Louisiana many of our kids are not doing enough to stay in shape. He says Louisiana suffers from the lack of sidewalks in neighborhoods, in some cases limited outdoor activity options and there’s also less access to physical activity in school.

 

The American Red Cross is now providing casework that can connect flood victims with other resources, besides the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Red Cross Spokesperson Anthony Tornetta says in some case they will actually provide a family with some spending cash, if they don’t qualify for federal disaster assistance through FEMA… Flood victims can register for this aid at Red-Cross-dot-org-slash-LA-flood-assistance  redcross.org/lafloodassistance. Tornetta says after registering, the Red Cross is able to provide limited financial assistance in 48 to 72 hours. He says the amount of aid available is done on a case by case basis.

 

Tigers Head Coach Les Miles has suspended offensive lineman Josh Boutte (Boo-tay) for one game after his personal foul on D’Cota Dixon, a Wisconsin defensive back. Boutte will sit out this Saturday’s game against Jacksonville State in Tiger Stadium. Miles says plays like this don’t belong in football even though Boutte made a mistake. Miles says Boutte personally called Dixon Monday to apologize.

 

We hear from LSU Coach Les Miles today for the first time since Saturday’s disappointing 16 to 14 loss to an unranked Wisconsin team. The Tigers had just 257 yards of total offense on Saturday.

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News For Friday 09/02/16


News for Friday 090216

By Dave Graichen

 

Hermine is now a big girl. The storm reached  hurricane strength Thursday afternoon as it barreled toward the Gulf Coast of Florida. The storm was quickly downgraded once it made landfall and is now moving  across the sunshine state. It will make its way up the east coast over the weekend.

 

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says the August flood event is the fourth costliest for the National Flood Insurance Program, with 28-thousand claims already filed. Donelon says this devastating flood should be a lesson for all homeowners to find out what they’re covered for and what they’re not.

 

August goes down as the wettest month in the history of Baton Rouge , with over 30 inches of rain. State Climatologist Barry Keim says there were also high rain totals in Acadiana and the Feliciana’s. Keim says a majority of the rain fell over a three to four day period.

 

As flood victims are working to repair their homes and get as much federal assistance as possible, volunteer attorneys are offering legal advice to those who are denied by FEMA. New Orleans attorney Graham Ryan says some of the denials can be reversed.

 

The Louisiana Workforce Commission is extending the disaster unemployment assistance application period to October 14, 2016 for individuals affected by the August 2016 flooding. The funding is available to workers and self-employed people who lost work or earnings as a result of the disaster. You can submit an application online at laworks.net.

 

Construction begins today on 15 homes that have been approved for the Shelter At Home Program. The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Julie Baxter Payer says they’re moving as quickly as possible to get flood damaged homes ready to live in. She says they’ve received nearly 15-thousand applications and the number keeps growing. Flood victims can register for the program at shelter-at-home-dot-la-dot-gov.

 

More than 50 students from the University of Alabama will spend Labor Day weekend working with LSU students to help Baton Rouge flood victims, according to university officials. According to officials with the University of Alabama, students filled the open spots in about 15 minutes and there is a waiting list for other students who want to come to Louisiana to help with flood relief.

 

Tomorrow is the big game between LSU and Wisconsin, and Madison-based American Family Insurance is partnering with Wisconsin athletics to raise money that will go towards American Red Cross’ flood relief efforts in Louisiana. Judd Schemmel, with American Family Insurance, says they are encouraging football fans to donate to the Red Cross by texting “LAFLOOD” to 90999. Schemmel says they will match every donation made on game day up to $50-thousand.

 

Shreveport Police are searching for burglary suspects who stole a service animal. Cpl. Marcus Hines says police were called to a home after the residence was forcefully entered and items taken, including “Major, a Rottweiler service dog, who is trained to understand sign language. Hines says they are not sure why someone would have taken the dog. Anyone with information on Major’s whereabouts is urged to contact authorities.

 

Attorney General Jeff Landry announces the former utility clerk for the town of Jonesville in Catahoula Parish has been arrested on theft and malfeasance charges. 47-year-old Leigh Ann Ingram of Jena is accused of receiving cash from customers who paid their utility bills and using that money for her own personal use.

 

The Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday begins today and lasts through Sunday. Department of Revenue Spokesperson Byron Henderson says many sportsmen are eager to purchase new supplies with hunting season right around the corner. He says this year, shoppers will get a two percent discount on the state sales tax for eligible items.

 

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is reminding motorists about their responsibilities on the road when approaching an upcoming accident. The plea comes in the wake of the tragic crash that killed three people, including a district fire chief in St. John Parish.

 

100,000 insured vehicles were flooded in Louisiana following the August downpours and historic flooding, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. They add that the number of uninsured vehicles that were flood damaged could be even more, since many owners choose to drop their policy’s comprehensive coverage as the vehicle ages.

 

Louisiana has received an additional 40-million dollars in federal highway funding. State Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says this grant money will go towards the I-10 widening project between I-49 and the Atchafalya Basin. He says the state has already received 60-million in federal dollars for this project, so this additional 40-million, will free up funds for other projects.

 

Louisiana Tech will start redshirt freshman J’mar Smith at quarterback tomorrow afternoon against the Arkansas Razorbacks. You can hear the game here in CENLA on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3

 

What could be a very memorable football season in the history of LSU football kicks off tomorrow as the 5th ranked Fighting Tigers face the Wisconsin Badgers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. You can hear that came tomorrow on 970 KSYL and 96.1 KZMZ.

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News For Thursday 09/01/16


News for Thursday 090116

By Dave Graichen

 

Tropical Storm Hermine continues to trek toward the northern Florida coast early Thursday and is expected to become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center. John Cangialosi  is with the National Hurricane Center and says Hermine will likely be a Category one hurricane when it makes landfall late tonight or Friday morning. At this point, forecasters do not expect any impact on Louisiana.

 

Local officials got a chance yesterday to tour the soon to be completed Rapides Parish Coliseum. The facility has been going through a major face lift for the past few years and is due to reopen late this or early next year. Police Jury President Craig Smith says the public should be prepared to be wowed.

 

State Treasurer John Kennedy told lawmakers today that they should consider suspending the one cent sales tax increase for flood victims rebuilding their homes. He said the state should not reap a financial windfall from people’s tragedy, when they’ll have to pay an extra penny on items needed to rebuild their lives. But New Orleans Senator JP Morrell, who chairs the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, says Kennedy, who is running for the US Senate,  has been in government for years, and he knows the state’s tax code just doesn’t allow lawmakers to immediately suspend a tax for certain people.

 

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has given over 1.6 million dollars to help those affected by the historic flooding that tore through south Louisiana. Director of Communications Mukul Verma says they’ve given dozens of grants to local nonprofits working in the field of flood relief. He says a lot of this money comes from online platforms where people from around the country donate money. Verma says companies around the region have donated about a million dollars so far.

 

The Senate Homeland Security Committee will once again hear from disaster response agencies in the hopes of getting some answers for flood victims. Chairman and Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White says they still don’t know whether or not homeowners whose houses received damage worth more than half the value of their home will have to elevate their house before they rebuild.

 

Getting FEMA mobile homes set up for flood victims is proving to be more difficult than anyone anticipated. It was a significant part of the conversation during a legislative hearing at the state capitol. FEMA Coordinating Officer Gerard Stolar told legislators a lot goes into setting up these new HUD approved manufactured homes, on average  it’s a 5 to 7 day process. He says a possible alternative to setting up the mobile home on a person’s property is to put a lot of units on a large piece of land. So far, only one FEMA mobile home has been installed on a flood victim’s property.

 

Louisiana native and five-time Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes has been added to the lineup of the flood relief concert, “Louisiana Rising.” The benefit, which will be produced for broadcast and is not open to the public, is taking place on Labor Day in Baton Rouge and will be hosted by Randy Jackson and Harry Connick Jr — also both Louisiana natives.

 

Louisiana federal prosecutors have indicted six officials with Explo Systems Incorporated for leaving 78-hundred tons of explosives at a Louisiana National Guard Facility. The indictment alleges the officials lied to get a contract to demilitarize the explosives then improperly stored them at Camp Minden, and all six are charges with criminal conspiracy.

 

Louisiana Republican Sens. David Vitter and Bill Cassidy are asking federal officials to investigate the background of the bus driver involved in Sunday’s fatal crash on Interstate 10. WWL-TV in New Orleans reported that 37 year old Denis Rodriguez of Honduras, was driving a charter bus carrying workers to Baton Rouge to help with flood recovery efforts when the bus hit a fire truck and other vehicles. The crash killed two people and injured at least 41 others.

Rodriguez is charged with two counts of negligent homicide, negligent injuring, reckless operation and driving without a license

 

A former employee at an assisted living facility has been arrested for rape. Mandeville Police say 58-year-old Jerry Kan worked as cook at Beau Provence Memory Care. He was booked after authorities received a call about inappropriate behavior between Kan and a 78-year-old resident.

 

About 12-hundred Tiger fans are headed to Lambeau Field today with the LSU Alumni Association to watch LSU take on the Wisconsin Badgers for the 2016 season opener. Rhett Butler with the Alumni Association says they have chartered six planes and rented out four hotels in Green Bay for the big game

 

The final tune-up before the regular season is tonight as the Saints host the Baltimore Ravens. New Orleans is 0-3 in the preseason.

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News For Wednesday 8/31/16


News for Wednesday 083116

By Dave Graichen

 

Over the weekend we lost a member of our Cenla Broadcasting family. Dr. Joy Browne, a long time Talkhost on 970 KSYL, died suddenly Saturday.  Joy, originally from the New Orleans area, broadcast from her home office daily to over 300 stations nationwide. I had the pleasure to work with her in Boston close to 40 years ago and even though she was the so called Star of the station, she seemed to enjoy sitting sometimes for hours chatting with the young guy who was relegated to engineering the Red Sox games. That young guy was me.. Dr Joy Browne died while talking on the phone. I think she would have approved..

 

Former state senator Joe McPherson has been appointed by Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy to serve as a city representative on the England Authority, which oversees operations of England Airpark. The Alexandria City Council voted 5-2 to approve Roy’s appointment of McPherson to the Authority.

 

63-hundred people applied for the Shelter At Home Program on the first day of registration, according to the Governor’s Office. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor, Julie Baxter Payer, says the program will not completely repair someone’s home, but it will make it livable while repairs continue. Payer says people can apply at ShelterAtHome.la.gov.

 

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness reports FEMA has already awarded $315 million to flood victims, but many have been denied federal assistance. FEMA encourages people to read their denial letters carefully to see why they are not eligible. Appeals can be made within 60 days of the decision letter date, and it may be as simple as providing more information

 

The House Committee on Homeland Security meets today and will hear from FEMA, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, The Small Business Administration and the Department of Children and Family Services. The maximum disaster aid amount flood victims can receive from FEMA is 33-thousand dollars, but US Rep. Garret Graves says the highest he’s heard of is 8-thousand dollars.

 

The state Department of Health has confirmed 14 cases of West Nile virus in Louisiana this year. Louisiana Medical Director for the Center for Community Preparedness, Dr. Frank Welch, says none of the cases are flood related. Welch says we could see more West Nile cases soon, as mosquito populations will increase because of all the standing water from the flood.

 

WBRZ TV reports Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier, who was injured in the police ambush, is responding to doctor’s commands. Tullier reportedly responded to doctor’s requests to move his thumb and his toes. Tullier is the only surviving officer still in the hospital following the ambush.

 

The Salvation Army in Lafayette was robbed, and the charity organization is trying to restock their supplies as they continue to assist flood victims in the area. Commanding Officer of the Lafayette Salvation Army, Maj. Mel James, says the thieves stole a variety of things from the warehouse. James says the items taken can be replaced, but the loss of food is the biggest problem. He says despite the crime, they are still trying to bring hot meals to flood victims in the Lafayette area.

 

Crews pulled the small plane that crashed into Lake Pontchartrain last weekend out of the water Wednesday and the bodies of the missing pilot and passenger were located inside. Director of Aviation at the New Orleans Lake Front Airport Ben Morris says the chartered plane was on a sightseeing tour Saturday night when they apparently encountered a thunderstorm.

The F-A-A is investigating the crash.

 

Today the Public Service Commission will discuss Entergy’s plan to build a new natural gas powered facility in St. Charles parish. Commissioner Eric Skrmetta says Entergy is seeking to build an 869-million state of the art generator, so they can retire several older plants.

Skrmetta says the new St. Charles plant would save about $1.3 billion during the first 30 years of the facility’s operation.

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News For Tuesday 08/30/16


News for Tuesday 083016

By Dave Graichen

 

Tropical Depression Nine may struggle a bit in the southern Gulf of Mexico before finally making a Gulf Coast landfall later this week with soaking rain and gusty winds. As the National Hurricane Center's (NHC) forecast path shows, this tropical cyclone is forecast to eventually turn northeast on a path toward the Florida Gulf Coast Thursday. So, for now, the heaviest total rainfall from this tropical system through Friday appears to line up over western Cuba, South and central Florida, including the Florida Keys, where many locations look primed to pick up at least 3 inches of total rainfall.

 

The search continues in north Louisiana for three inmates who escaped from the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on Saturday. Authorities say Michael Elliot, Walshea Mitchell and Willie Ethridge scaled a fence with two rolls of razor wire to gain freedom. The three men are serving time for convictions that range from attempted to second-degree murder to theft. If you spot one of these escaped jail birds, contact 9-1-1.

 

The Governor’s Office announces registration is now open for the Shelter At Home Program. Communications Director Richard Carbo says registering for FEMA does not register someone for this program. He encourages everyone to register for federal aid, but reminds people they need to apply for this program separately. He says the program awards up to $15-thousand for home repairs so that people can get back into their homes quickly. Go to gov-dot-louisiana-dot-gov for more details.

 

Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish and the rest of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, asking for a flood relief cost-share reduction for not only the south Louisiana flood, but also the one that hit north Louisiana in March. Abraham says the feds will cover 75% of the flood response and relief costs, while state and local governments are on the hook for the other 25%. Abraham says they are asking that the federal government cover 90% of the cost for both historic floods.

 

US Representative Garrett Graves of Baton Rouge toured the flood devastated areas of the state with Florida Congressman John Mica, and Mica then criticized FEMA for being slow to get people into temporary housing units. Graves says they understand there are 1,300 FEMA manufactured homes available around the country, but as far as he knows only one has been set up in Louisiana. Graves says he is not pleased that FEMA won’t let people set up the manufactured homes in their yards if they’re in a flood plain.

 

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says pets separated from their displaced owner during the flood have been moved from their mobile shelter to a new shelter at the Dixon Correctional Institute in East Feliciana Parish. Strain says many of the pet owners are in a shelter in Baton Rouge. The mobile shelter was housing 45 dogs and 34 cats. He says the move comes as a result of a donation from the Humane Society.

 

Between a police ambush and historic flooding, the US Senate race has taken a backseat. But Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the campaign should start to ramp up soon. Alford says  there’s still 10 weeks to go before the election day, which can be an eternity in politics, especially in Louisiana.

 

According to the personal finance website Kiplinger, Louisiana is the sixth most tax-friendly state in the US. Sandra Block with Kiplinger says Louisiana’s property taxes are the third lowest in the country. Louisiana’s gas tax is 10-cents below the national average, and the income tax rate is about 3%. Block says Louisiana did not do well in the sales tax category, as the state sales tax is now up to 5-cents.  Block says there are tradeoffs in states with lower taxes, because there are less dollars for schools, public services, and roads.

 

State troopers have arrested a wanted California sex offender who was travelling through Louisiana. Master Trooper Brooks David says they also rescued four missing children who were in the vehicle with 37-year-old Joseph Moreno and 37-year-old Penny Rascon. David says the children were ages 4, 6, 7 and 8, and all were missing out of California.

 

Redshirt freshman J’mar Smith gets the nod over Price Wilson and Smith will start at quarterback for Louisiana Tech this Saturday when they kick-off the season at Arkansas. You can hear that game on 1410 ESPN and 93.1 HD3

 

The 5th ranked LSU Tigers will kick-off the season on Saturday against an unranked Wisconsin squad, who will start a fifth year senior quarterback. Twenty-three-year-old Bart Houston is set to make his first collegiate start. LSU Coach Les Miles says he’s a talented kid. You can hear that game on 970 KSYL, 96.9 KZMZ

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News For Monday 08/29/16


News for Monday 082916

By Dave Graichen

 

Two people are dead and dozens are injured after a party bus driven by an illegal resident smashed into a fire truck and other vehicles on I-10 in St. John the Baptist Parish near LaPlace. State Police Trooper Melissa Matey says the bus hit a fire truck that responded to an earlier single vehicle wreck. Matey says one of the fatal victims was District Chief Spencer Chauvin with the St. John the Baptist Fire Department. The bus also hit two other vehicles during the crash. A passenger in of those vehicles was also killed. Matey says the driver of the bus did not have a driver’s license and faces criminal charges…

 

The Governor’s Office will announce today where flood victims can go to register for the Shelter At Home program. Julie Baxter Payer says this program seeks to get people back into their own homes as soon as possible. Payer says people whose homes had less than two feet of water in them will be eligible, but applications will be assessed on a case by case basis. She says the program awards up to $15-thousand for basic home repairs. Payer says this program can be used in conjunction with FEMA assistance, flood insurance, and SBA loans.

 

Today is the 11 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and some who lost their homes in Katrina are once again dealing with another flood. Trauma psychologist with LSU Health New Orleans Dr. Jennifer Hughes worked at shelter in Baton Rouge earlier this month and spoke with several people, who moved to Baton Rouge and Lafayette after Katrina and they are once again re-living another disaster.

 

After Hurricane Katrina there was a huge population shift from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, will we see this trend again after the Great Flood of 2016? Demographer Greg Rigamer expects flood victims to try and rebuild where they lived prior to the flood. Livingston Parish was the hardest hit by the flood with close to 90-percent of the homes in the parish suffered flood damage. Rigamer says the recovery of Livingston will depend largely on what kind of government assistance flood victims can receive.

 

Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge has been transformed from a shelter for flood victims into a multi-agency disaster warehouse. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness says people should call ahead if they are making large donations to make sure that someone is there to help unload.

 

If you had uninsured property that was destroyed by floodwaters this year, you’re entitled to a refund of the state sales tax on those items. State Treasurer John Kennedy says it might not sound like much but people need everything they can get right now. The refunds also apply to residents in Cenla who were flooded earlier this year. To learn more, visit latreasury.com and click on Sales Tax Disaster Relief.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health has confirmed three more Zika cases in Louisiana. That brings total number of travel associated Zika cases to 26. There have been no known cases of local transmission in Louisiana.

 

The Great Flood of 2016 greatly affected the agriculture business in Louisiana. Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Mike Strain says he expects total losses to be anywhere from 150 to 200 million dollars if the rain stops now. He says some lucky farmers have crop insurance but not all crops or parishes allow insurance. Strain says farming is a 13 billion dollar industry in Louisiana.

 

Former Saints Safety Darren Sharper has filed a federal court notice stating he will appeal his conviction. Early this month, Sharper was sentenced to 18 years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to the raping and drugging 9 women in four states. It’s unclear what Sharper’s legal team will do next.

 

There’s one more week left in the preseason and there’s still a lot to work on for the Saints. The team fell to 0-3 in exhibition action with a 27-14 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday.  The Saints have one more preseason game and that’s Thursday night at home against Baltimore.

 

Game week arrives for the 5th ranked LSU Tigers as they are set to face Wisconsin in Green Bay at historic Lambeau Field. It’s the first time the legendary venue will host a college football game featuring two Division One teams.

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News For Friday 08/26/16


News for Friday 082616

By Dave Graichen

 

Forecasters are watching a broad area of low pressure near the Bahamas that continues to track northeast towards Florida. State Climatologist Barry Keim says conditions with this system are expected to become more favorable for it to develop into a tropical storm by the weekend. The good news is, a hurricane hunter aircraft late yesterday found the system weakened in the past day.

 

FEMA owned temporary housing units are returning to Louisiana for flood victims who are in the process of rebuilding their homes. Governor John Bel Edwards says these trailer units are different from what we saw after Hurricane Katrina and there is one big catch to getting one.

Edwards says the FEMA housing units are only available for those who do not live in a flood plain. The person’s yard must also be large enough to accommodate the trailer. 

 

Governor John Bel Edwards visited Youngsville in Lafayette Parish yesterday and he also spent some time in the Jefferson Davis Parish town of Lake Arthur. Edwards told flood victims in Youngsville that they’ll seek assistance from Congress to help homeowners who did not have flood insurance. In Lake Arthur, the governor learned about the man-made levee that was built to protect the town from the rising Mermentau River.

 

The state department of children and family services announced today disaster food stamp locations for Ascension, Acadia, East Baton Rouge and Lafayette will open next week. Many are wondering why the delay. Officials with the DCFS blames a lack of manpower.

 

State agencies are severely understaffed at a time when people need them the most. West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth says during tough budget times, there were employment cutbacks at the Department of Children and Family Services and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness, because Louisiana hasn’t seen a hurricane in several years.

Walsworth says Louisiana is the most disaster prone state in the nation, and we need to be prepared for these kinds of events. He says they may need to look into training state retirees in case of emergencies.

 

Triple-A warns motorists looking to purchase a used car to beware of flood damaged vehicles for sale. Spokesperson Don Redman says usually damaged cars are quickly moved further away from the devastated areas as early as one week after the disaster. He says be careful when buying a car off of Craigslist or resale sites. Redman recommends getting a Carfax report to learn about the vehicle’s history.

 

After the agriculture businesses took a $110 million hit from the flood, crawfish farmers will have to wait to see how much their harvest was affected. LSU AgCenter aquaculture specialist, Mark Shirley, says some fields that were only flooded for a day or two should be alright. But he says fields that had more water could see some losses.

 

Some people have suggested that if the Comite River Diversion Project in East Baton Rouge Parish had been completed, the flooding wouldn’t have been so severe. But the Army Corps of Engineers says that’s not the case. Deputy District Commander Mark Wingate says the project would only have helped a small part of the affected region. Wingate says the project would have helped on the Comite River, but not the Amite or other rivers in the basin that also flooded. The Comite project would cost upwards of $220 million. Wingate says what they need is a system wide approach to prevent flooding in the region. He says flood mitigation projects are also needed along the Amite River and Bayou Manchac.

 

Two Arkansas men have been arrested after posting a video on SnapChat that shows them slitting a pit bull’s throat. They heinous crime was committed in Bastrop. Boots Stanley and Steven Sadler of Ashley County, Arkansas, have been booked into the Morehouse parish jail on charges of aggravated cruelty to an animal and conspiracy.

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News For Thursday 08/25/16


News for Thursday 082516

By Dave Graichen

 

Hurricane forecasters are still monitoring the tropical disturbance called Invest 99 that’s developing near Puerto Rico. Todd Kimberlain with National Hurricane Center says there’s a high probability that this area of low pressure can develop into Tropical Storm Hermine. The broad area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave will continue to bring locally heavy rain to Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and the Bahamas throughout the day today and into tomorrow. It could be close to the Florida Coast by Saturday or Sunday.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards outlined plans Wednesday on how the state is preparing to house flood victims who are currently displaced. He says they do plan on bringing manufactured housing units in and they also announced a program called shelter at home, which provides funding for homeowners to live in their house, while repairs continue.

 

The Governor and his family are still displaced after the Governor’s Mansion took on four feet of water in the basement. Edwards said on his monthly call in radio show today that this was the first time the mansion has ever flooded. He added that it sustained more damage than any other state building.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards will be in Acadiana today to speak with local officials about the recovery process form the historic flooding. One of his stops will be in the town of Youngsville. Mayor Ken Ritter says the flood devastated the Lafayette parish town. Ritter says over 600 homes were affected by the storm, and most of the affected areas are not in flood zones.

 

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank received more than four feet of water, lost a million pounds of food, along with the majority of its equipment during the Great Flood of 2016. President and CEO Mike Manning says with the hard work and donations from the Salvation Army, who lost several of their buildings in the city, and other food banks, they’re back online distributing food. It’s estimated it will take more than one million dollars to clean their facility.

 

The Louisiana Senate’s Homeland Security Committee holds a meeting today to get an update on recovery efforts two weeks after the floods. State Sen. Bodi White of Central says several agencies will meet and discuss the next steps. White says this hearing will hopefully shed light on what worked and didn’t work during this disaster.

 

The City of Central in East Baton Rouge parish was hit hard by the Great Flood of 2016, with 90-percent of its residents taking on water in their homes. Mayor Jr. Shelton says complete subdivisions are just devastated. Shelton says 9-thousand of the 11-thousand homes there were affected.

 

It was reported state wide yesterday that Kaplan Senator Jonathan Perry wants to file legislation that would create more red tape for the “Cajun Navy” during emergencies. But Perry says that’s not the case at all. Perry says he just wants to file legislation to make sure the Cajun Navy isn’t turned away by law enforcement when they arrive to help. Perry has received death threats since the original story was released.

 

The Alabama football program is sending a truckload full of donated supplies to Louisiana to assist in flood relief efforts. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban called on the Tuscaloosa community to help out their fellow SEC team saying that football and rivalries take a back seat to providing help to those in need.

 

Louisiana has seen two historic floods just five months apart, and though similar in nature, the devastation is vastly different. Rev. Allison Sauls was living in Monroe during the March flood, and recently moved to Lafayette just before the flood in south Louisiana. She says the flooding in the south was more widespread than it was up north. She says it’s been incredible to see folks who are still recovering up north coming to help people in south Louisiana.

 

Louisiana schools did not fare well on a personal finance website's ranking of "2016's Best and Worst Community Colleges" across the the country. WalletHub said it conducted an in-depth analysis of the country's community colleges and used those results to identify the states with the best and worst colleges in a release Monday. Louisiana ranked 44th out of 47. Eight community colleges in the Pelican State made the list of 821 total schools. Only one ranked high — SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles at No. 30. Three ranked in the 200s, one in the 600s and three in the 700s.

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News For Wednesday 8/24/16


News for Wednesday 082416

By Dave Graichen

 

The National Hurricane Center is keeping its eye on three tropical systems in the Atlantic, and one of them has the potential of getting into the Gulf of Mexico. State climatologist Barry Keim says the disturbance is currently called Invest 99.Keim says this system is moving towards Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

 

President Barack Obama spent the day touring a flood damage neighborhood in East Baton Rouge parish that were inundated by the flood waters. In a press conference, the President shared the heartwarming stories he heard of neighbors helping neighbors. He says Louisiana will have all the federal support it needs for as long as it takes. He says FEMA is working around the clock to find temporary housing for those that have been displaced.

 

During his stop in Baton Rouge, the President also met with Alton Sterling’s family, the black man who was killed in a confrontation with two white officers. The President also meet with the families of the officers killed or injured in last month’s ambush.

 

After President Obama visited Louisiana, he left with a better understanding of this 1,000 year flood and a letter from Governor John Bel Edwards asking for help. The Governor’s Communications Director, Richard Carbo, Governor Edwards gave the President of a list of aid requests that includes assistance for flood victims and money to improve flood. He says Louisiana is also looking to reduce the costs the state will have to absorb for responding to the disaster.

 

Former Governor Kathleen Blanco is concerned the lack of housing for flood victims could result in people moving out of the state to live with family members elsewhere. She says even those with flood insurance are struggling. Blanco says this will not be an overnight recovery and rebuilding will cost billions of dollars. Blanco says getting additional resources from Congress could be a tough sell, because three members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation voted against a relief package to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

 

Professionals in Louisiana’s film industry are available to help in the recovery process from the historic flood. President of Film Production Capital, Will French, says the state’s film industry is down 85-percent, which means carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and other skilled workers are unemployed. French says this is a way to help both flood victims and film industry workers.

 

The Good Samaritans,  members of the Cajun Navy, who rescued hundreds, maybe thousands of people during the Great Flood of 2016 not happy after a state lawmaker’s announcement  that he wants government regulations on future actions by the citizen heroes. Republican State Senator Jonathan Perry of the Vermillion, Lafayette area, is working on legislation that could require training, certificates and a permit fee to allow these Good Samaritans to get past law enforcement into devastated areas.  You can expect to hear a lot about this in the coming days.

 

More than 5-thousand online fundraising campaigns have been set up on GoFundMe to help flood victims in Louisiana. GoFundMe CEO, Rob Solomon says First Lady Donna Edwards is helping to raise money for teachers who lost everything in their classrooms. He also says celebrities, like the Voice’s Meg Linsey, have created GoFundMe campaigns.

 

First Lady Donna Edwards is working with the Louisiana School Board Association to assist flood damaged schools with repairs and supplies. LSBA Executive Director Scott Richard says at this point, about 20 schools were severely damaged during the rainstorm.

Richard says the biggest problem is teachers and school employees are struggling to find an actual place to live. He says they created the campaign to help local school districts. Visit the LSBA Fund for Restoring Schools GoFundMe page to donate.

 

Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Chuck Carr Brown signs an emergency order that’s designed to expedite the process of cleaning up debris in flooded neighborhoods in the 20-parish area affected by the recent severe weather. DEQ spokesperson Greg Langley says the order expands the range of debris that can be accepted by certain landfills.

 

A new WalletHub study ranks Louisiana as the fifth worst state for women's equality in the workplace. Louisiana ranks ahead of only Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Utah, the latter of which is ranked the worst. The study considered factors such as pay disparities, the number of female executives compared to the number of male executives in each state, work hours and political representation.

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