An early morning break in this morning at the offices of Cenla Broadcasting was thwarted by an alert neighbor, an employee who was working late and the APD. The robber gained access to the marketing offices here at the station by breaking a large window in the front of the building. An Alexandria police Canine officer apprehended a man and he was arrested.
The National Weather Service is keeping their eye on a tropical disturbance forming in the Atlantic. Forecasters give this system a moderate chance of forming into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next few days. Meteorologist Danielle Manning says over the next few days, conditions will become more favorable for the system to develop into a tropical cyclone. As far as where this system will go, Manning says if this system develops into a tropical cyclone, forecast models will have a much better idea of where the storm is heading. But for now, too soon to tell.
State education superintendent John White says public schools are moving forward with Common Core education standards after a judge lifts the Jindal administration’s suspension of contracts for the tests tied to Common Core. White says it’s time to that we focus on the welfare of the student. Despite the ruling though, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says she is still concerned a legal contract is not in place to give out the exam known as PARCC. White says Judge Todd Hernandez’s ruling is clear and it says the current contract can be used to provide the tests tied to Common Core.
Incumbent Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy, Jamar Gailes, Jeff Hall and Nicholas Wright signed up yesterday the first day of qualifying for the November 4th primary election. Expected to join the four candidates who have already qualified is City Councilwoman Mitzi LaSalle. Former Alexandria Councilman Roosevelt Johnson wasted no time, he qualified yesterday to run for the District 2 seat on the City Council. That is the seat currently held by Mitzi LaSalle. Alexandria Councilmen Jim Villard and Harry Silver also qualified today to run for re-election. Chris Roy Jr. and Phillip Terrell both qualified to run for Rapides Parish district attorney. Incumbent James "Jam" Downs is not seeking re-election. Qualifying runs through Friday.
Four of the six candidates expected to file paperwork to run in the Nov. 4 primary for the 5th Congressional District have registered so far. Former Grant Parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley, Monroe businessman Harris Brown, Dr. Ralph Lee and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo all signed up yesterday. Also expected to qualify is political newcomer Zach Dasher, a pharmaceutical representative from Calhoun.
Dixie Boys Baseball is coming back home to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Pineville will host the 2016 Dixie Junior Boys and Dixie Boys World Series at the Ward 9 Sportsplex on Donahue Ferry Road. The two 12-team, double-elimination tournaments will be held from Aug. 6-10 of 2016.
Incumbent US Senator Mary Landrieu and her main challenger, Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy, have officially signed up for the Senate race for the November 4th election. Yesterdays was the first day of qualifying which runs through Friday. Landrieu, who has held the office for 18 years, says this campaign is about leadership. But Cassidy says most people agree that this country is going in the wrong direction under Mr. Obama.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s office has released a picture of the vehicle that was involved in last weekend’s fatal shooting of a seven-year-old boy in Baton Rouge in what appears to be a random act of violence. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says surveillance video from a nearby residence captured a light-colored, four-door sedan in the area when a shot was fired into another vehicle, killing Terrez Coleman. Gautreaux says through private donations, a 10-thousand dollar reward is being offered, along with the 25-hundred dollar reward from Crime Stoppers, for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the gunman.
Shreveport Police detectives are investigating a shooting at Shreveport Regional Airport Tuesday night. The initial investigation showed the shooting grew out of a dispute between a cab driver and a security officer. No one was injured.
Judge Todd Hernandez sided with Common Core proponents, Tuesday, and lifted the Jindal administration’s suspension of testing contracts tied to the controversial education standards. This lawsuit was filed by teachers and parents who claim Governor Jindal overstepped his Constitutional authority when he halted the implementation of Common Core. In his written ruling, Hernandez says it would be a detriment to teachers, students, and schools if he did not rule as he did. The governor’s office says the judge’s ruling is wrong and they will appeal.
The Alexandria City Council voted 4 to 3 at it meeting yesterday to pay more than $1.3 million to a Baton Rouge attorney for work he did in the city's lawsuit against Cleco. But, there’s a slight problem. The City Charter won't allow a payment to be made as quickly as a federal judge would like. The action comes in the wake of a federal court order issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Dee Drell that the city had five business days to pay Davidson or else representatives of the U.S. Marshal's Office would seize the funds from Alexandria's Utility System Enterprise Fund. It’s hoped the Council’s vote will appease the judge until the council can vote to write the check. That will happen at the September 2nd meeting.
Fort Polk Progress and its chairman Michael Reese are energizing efforts to save the Vernon Parish army base from impending major budget cuts. Reese was on Talkradio 970 KSYL and spoke to the Alexandria Rotary Club yesterday in an effort to get cenla residents involved in the movement by signing letters and petitions which will be sent to top army officials in Washington, D.C. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 25, but Reese and local business leaders urge citizens to sign the letters now, rather than later. You can find a link to the petition and letters on the ksyl.com website.
State Police Bureau of Investigations Special Victims Unit has arrested a Leesville man for attempted aggravated rape and trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Sixty-six year old Ernest Kickel Jr was allegedly attempting to buy a 10 year-old for sexual purposes. His bond was set at 1.5 million dollars.
Louisiana Attorney General – Buddy Caldwell – filed a lawsuit Tuesday against State Farm claiming the insurance company has created a culture of unsafe business practices when it comes to vehicle repairs. Assistant A-G Randy Ishee says there are multiple cases where State Farm forced shops to use sub-standard parts. State Farm says the accusations are not in line with its mission and history of vehicle safety advancements.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell filed a lawsuit today against State Farm claiming the insurance company has created a culture of unsafe business practices when it comes to vehicle repairs. In a written statement, State Farm says the accusations in the lawsuit are not in line with its mission and history of vehicle safety advancements. But Assistant A-G Randy Ishee says State Farm steers its customers involved in a car accident to repair shops where the primary goal is cost-savings and not safety. State Farm holds the largest share of auto insurance policies in Louisiana.
Gov. Bobby Jindal wants the Legislature to repeal a state law he signed that provides State Police Col. Mike Edmonson with enhanced retirement benefits. Jindal’s press secretary on Tuesday released a statement outlining Jindal’s position. The governor was quoted as saying they did not know the legislation affected only two people. The governor says the Legislature shouldn’t have handled the issue the way they did and that they should fix it next session. The enhancement , valued at $300,000 for Edmonson and another trooper, was approved by legislators June 2 in the waning minutes of the legislative session without mention of its impact. Jindal signed the bill into law on June 23.
Qualifying is underway today for November’s congressional elections. Two competitive races will happen in the fifth and sixth districts. The sixth district race is headlined by Democratic former governor Edwin Edwards running for the seat against Republicans Dan Claitor, Paul Dietzel, Garrett Graves, and Lenar Whitney among others. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says while it’s likely Edwards will make the runoff, the other slot is up for grabs. In the fifth district, embattled incumbent Vance McAllister’s challengers include Democratic Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and Republicans Ralph Abraham, Harris Brown, and Zach Dasher. Hogan feels McAllister is facing an uphill battle.
A former LSU football player is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to three counts of attempted second-degree murder in a 2011 shooting at a Port Allen truck stop. Demetri Robinson, 5223 Sand Drive, Port Allen, entered his plea in the 18th Judicial District Court on Monday, a day before he was to stand trial for shooting several employees at the Cajun Circus Casino truck stop on Sept. 18, 2011. Robinson, who is now 32, will be sentenced Nov. 5. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. Robinson shot a cashier and then fired shots at two other employees after employees asked him to leave the casino on U.S. 190.
Covington Police have arrested the brother of St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed on charges of sexual battery. Police Chief Tim Lentz says Richard Reed allegedly assaulted an intoxicated woman earlier this month at a restaurant, and authorities saw the surveillance video.
A dog attack Monday night in Houma has a 71 year-old woman in the hospital with severe lacerations to her face, arms and hands. Houma Police Chief Todd Duplantis says there were two dogs inside her residence, and the male dog – who belonged to the victim’s son-was the one who attacked her. Duplantis says they are still investigating what provoked the attack.
According to “The New York Times”, Louisiana leads the nation in the percentage of residents born in-state. The data shows that in 2012, 79 percent of Louisiana residents were actually born in Bayou State. Nevada has the least native residents with just 25 percent born in-state.
A water boil advisory has been issued for a small part of the Alexandria, that after a 12-inch water line was damaged on New York Avenue near the Stratford Manor subdivision. As a precaution, the Alexandria Water Department issued the advisory effective immediately. This boil advisory is to remain in effect until further notice.
The Alexandria City Council is expected to consider increasing its contribution to build the new Central Louisiana Technical Community college campus at its meeting tonight. The new main campus will be located in downtown Alexandria and will replace the current Alexandria campus on South MacArthur Drive. The city had pledged $2.28 million to the project as the required 12 percent match of the budget. However, it looks like the figure will now be at least $2.8 million, with the added funds to cover things such as property appraisals.
Education Superintendent John White told the Baton Rouge Advocate the education department’s website was shut down Monday because the Jindal administration refused to make a payment. A spokesperson for the division of administration says that was not the case and called it a technical glitch. Jindal’s office and the Department of Education are involved in a legal battle over Common Core. The website was up and running again by midday. A statement from the education department said they are glad the bill was paid.
Louisiana’s private sector labor force grew to an all-time high in July. Statistics show just over 2.1 million people employed across the state. Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink says several industry sectors hit all-time employment records in July. While the labor force grew to record numbers in July, the state’s unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent, up from 5 percent in June. Eysink thinks that may partially be due to more people joining the workforce in Louisiana to look for work. He says every part of the state will benefit from the employment growth.
Monday The Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested 34 year old Willie Chapman of Colfax after deputies discovered a large amount of drugs. Chapman was arrested for Possession of CDS II (crack cocaine) with the Intent to Distribute, Possession of CDS I (marijuana) with the Intent to Distribute, and Possession of Legend Drugs.
Beginning today, United Airlines is offering nonstop flights from Lafayette to Denver, CO. The flight will be offered seven days a week departing at 4PM. Lafayette Regional Airport Director Michael Burrows says, in part, this flight is in response to oil and gas industry workers traveling to the northwest corridor. A small fifty seat jet will be used in the service.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s office says they are still looking for the person or persons responsible for the death of a 7-year-old child who was shot while traveling in a car with his family. Spokeswoman Casey Hicks says two children in the back seat of the car were shot — one was grazed with a bullet and she’s expected to be okay.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office says a Denham Springs couple is under arrest after being found passed out in a vehicle with their two young children in the back seat. Col. John Fortunato says investigators were called to the parking lot of a closed restaurant in Metairie Sunday afternoon. When questioned, 41-year-old Michael Pierce and his 34-year-old wife, Melanie, each admitted to injecting heroin earlier in the day. Both were charged with child endangerment and several drug related charges.
The LSU Ag Center is conducting research to determine the extent of damage done by feral hogs in Louisiana. Forestry economist Shaun Tanger says they’ve been getting reports from farmers and landowners about property damage, but they want to get a better picture of the problem with a couple of detailed surveys. Tanger says the animals cause major damage to agricultural crops because they can be used for wallows, for forage and for protection. He says the first step to reaching a resolution to the problem is to find out exactly how big the problem is.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is on track to see his first action of the preseason when New Orleans visits Indianapolis on Saturday night. Brees has spent most of this training camp recovering from an oblique injury, but has taken a majority of the snaps with the first team offense the last two days. Coach Sean Payton liked what he saw from number nine yesterday.
The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office is asking the public for their assistance in helping locate an inmate who walked away from the Federal Prison in Pollock Sunday. 26 year old Jose Garza is described as being 5'8" and 155 lbs. He was last seen wearing grey sweats. He was incarcerated for drug charges and a felon in possession of a firearm. If you have any information please contact the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office or local authorities.
Commercial truck traffic will be banned from the O.K. Allen Bridge beginning Tomorrow. Trucks will be detoured from the bridge, which carries U.S. 71 over the Red River between Alexandria and Pineville, and told to use the Purple Heart Bridge on U.S. 167. The state DOTD says the move is needed to enforce weight limits on the current bridge. The state is spending $82.9 million to build twin two-lane bridges replacing the existing bridge. Traffic should be rerouted from the old bridge by early 2015 and both spans completed by summer 2016. The old bridge will be demolished.
LSU is ranked No. 13 in the preseason Associated Press top 25 released Sunday. The Tigers are one of eight Southeastern Conference teams ranked: No.2 Alabama, No. 6 Auburn, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 12 Georgia, No. 18 Ole Miss, No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 24 Missouri. Florida State tops the poll at No. 1, receiving 57 of 60 first-place votes.
Another court hearing takes place today regarding the controversial Common Core education standards. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says at issue today, is whether Governor Bobby Jindal violated his constitutional authority when he took steps to suspend the testing contracts that are tied to Common Core. Common Core supporters were victorious last week when Judge Tim Kelley denied a request from 17 lawmakers to halt the implementation of the academic standards. Today’s hearing is the result of a lawsuit filed by parents and teachers who support the Common Core standards and the judge hearing in the case has already denied a motion to dismiss any parts of the case.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals confirms 13 new cases of West Nile in the state this past week. Seven of those cases came from Caddo Parish in northwest Louisiana. That brings the total number of cases in the state to 42. Two people have died from West Nile in Louisiana so far this year.
Louisiana Economic Development has created a new, free website to help meet recruitment needs of Louisiana employers, while also being a centralized hub for job seekers. Louisiana Job Connection will accelerate the job/applicant search process for both employers and potential employees. Executive Director Kristi Williams says this is not your typical job board site. Louisiana Job Connection.com will automatically match job seekers with jobs for which they are most qualified. Job seekers just need to fill out their information and the site will immediately notify you of available jobs that match your skill set.
Elio Motors is about a year away from producing its three-wheeled vehicle at the former General Motors plant in Shreveport. Paul Elio has told the Associated Press that 27-thousand people have already reserved one of their cars that will get 84 miles to the gallon and cost 68-hundred dollars. Elio plans to produce 250-thousand cars a year at the Shreveport facility by 2016.
According to the Federal Elections Commission, G-O-P Congressman and US Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has slightly more campaign cash available than Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu. Cassidy’s war chest is at 5-point-6 million dollars, while Landrieu is at 5-point-5 million.
The upcoming CBS Television series “NCIS: New Orleans” will do some filming in Baton Rouge at the USS KIDD. USS KIDD Executive Director Alex Juan says the show was looking for a real naval battle ship and the KIDD was an ideal location. The ship will be closed to the public through Friday for ongoing inventory and filming on the ship. No word on when the episode filmed on the KIDD will air. The series premiere of “NCIS: New Orleans” is set for September 23rd.
Forty-five years ago today one of the most destructive hurricanes in US history made landfall along the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Camille was a Category Five storm when it churned over the mouth of the Mississippi River, before slamming into the Mississippi coast. Louisiana State Climatologist Barry Keim says the storm killed an estimated 150 people in Louisiana and Mississippi.
An LSU engineering professor is involved in research that’s trying to develop technology so your vehicle could one day communicate with other vehicles on the road. Professor Sherif Ishak says hopefully soon, cars will be able to warn other drivers of accidents, traffic jams and other road hazards. He says the technology is similar to how Wi-Fi works.
The LDWF Enforcement Division have arrested a St. Amant (SAN a maw) man in connection with a boating hit and run on the Amite River Diversion Canal in Livingston Parish. Thirty-two year old Thomas Amorello was booked on felony hit and run, negligent injury and reckless operation of a vessel.
The Saints beat the Titans 31 to 24 Friday night in preseason action, but Coach Sean Payton called it painful to watch because of the 22 penalties called against his team for 184 yards. Payton says having that many penalties is a sign of an undisciplined team.
We’re less than two weeks away from LSU’s kicking the season off against Wisconsin and Coach Les Miles has provided very little information on who is leading the battle for the starting quarterback. Miles says Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris are improving and he likes how they are competing. The Tigers held a scrimmage on Saturday and LSU did not provide any individual statistics on the quarterbacks.
A lawsuit filed by 17 lawmakers who claim the department of education and BESE did not follow the state’s laws when it adopted Common Core will be heard in a Baton Rouge courtroom today. This is one of two Common Core-related suits that are moving through the legal system. There’s also a pro Common Core lawsuit against Governor Jindal. It will have a full hearing on Monday.
The Jindal administration told lawmakers who sit on budget committees that next year’s budget is one-point-two billion dollars short. Publisher of Lapolitics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says the news is not a surprise to legislators and some have already discussed rolling back some tax exemptions as a way to raise revenues. Jindal will propose a budget for next fiscal year to lawmakers early next year.
Today begins the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign across the country, with hundreds of law enforcement agencies participating here in Louisiana. With alcohol being a factor in as many as 40 percent of all fatal vehicular crashes, cops are keen to get out and lock up drunk drivers. Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Lt. Col. John Leblanc says drunk driving has become too prevalent on state roads.
State police report 62 year year old Gaylon Bolton of Flatwoods was killed Wednesday night in a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 8 in Vernon Parish. Bolton was not wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected in the crash. Troopers believe Bolton was traveling at an excessive rate of speed when the crash occurred.
A recent study of the housing market in Louisiana finds nearly 45 percent of renters are rent stressed. Rent stress is defined as paying more than 35 percent of your monthly income in rent. LSU Economist Jim Richardson says the stress comes in when you have limited resources left over to provide other necessities. The percentage of rent stressed Louisianans has grown by nearly 15 percentage points since 2000.
A former member of the House of Representatives, Republican Jim McCrery from Shrevepor,t has been appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to fill a vacant seat on the LSU Board of Supervisors. McCrery served over twenty years in the House, and he was also the man given credit for introducing Jindal to Louisiana politics.
LSU Alumni Association President, Charlie Roberts, has resigned as he faces a lawsuit from a former employee, Kay Heath, who claims there was financial arrangement to keep their sexual relationship secret. Roberts attorney, Mary Olive Pierson, says Roberts now looks forward to telling his side of the story in court.
Some lawmakers are getting a lot of complaints about wait times at the Office of Motor Vehicles; this on the heels of Governor Bobby Jindal reducing staffs there. The Legislative Fiscal Office says the waits have gone up as much as an hour and a half. The Legislative Budget Committe announced today that they want to meet with leaders of the OMV to answer those questions being raised.
Almost 900 violations have been cited to various Louisiana establishments for selling alcohol to minors during the Alcohol and Tobacco Control’s 2014 Summer Crackdown. ATC also reports that almost 400 citations were issued for selling tobacco to minors.
Senator Mary Landrieu is facing accusations that she used Senate money to pay for chartered flights to attend campaign events. Her two Republican opponents in the upcoming Senate race have criticized Landrieu on this issue in recent days. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan doesn’t see this as a big campaign issue. The Landrieu campaign office says her Senate office was incorrectly billed for one of the flights. The campaign says they will reimburse the Senate for both flights that have been questioned. The conservative group Keep Louisiana Working has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the Senator over this issue.
26-year-old Diondre Jones of Slidell has been charged with medicaid fraud after allegedly using her dead sister’s name to receive medical treatment at Slidell Memorial Hospital. Slidell police officials say in a bizarre twist, Diondre was wearing a memorial T-shirt in honor of her deceased sister when a police officer caught up to her in the hospital parking lot.
A Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola maintenance worker has been arrested on a felony count of malfeasance in office. The West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office says 64-year-old Danny Daniel of St. Francisville is accused of inappropriate behavior with an inmate. Authorities are not releasing any details of the inappropriate behavior.
A Monroe couple is accused of leaving their 2-week-old child on the hood of a vehicle, unattended, while they went fishing in Vidalia. Marcella Watson and David Ramey, both 33, were arrested on cruelty to a juvenile and improper supervision of a juvenile. The child was taken to a local hospital to check for sunburn and dehydration.
The Saints return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome tonight to take on the Tennessee Titans in NFL preseason action. Saints color commentator Hokie Gajan says he’s keeping his eye on the running game and the defense. Gajan hopes the running game has another strong showing like they had last week against the Rams. Quarterback Drew Brees is not expected to play in tonight’s game, as he continues to nurse an oblique injury.
Ball’s police chief has been cleared of any wrong doing in a case of sexual harassment. The state’s assistant attorney general ruled, based upon information provided to his office, they have determined there was no evidence of criminal conduct related to the complaint. The original complaint was filed by a former Ball police officer Kyle McCain, who alleged that Williams sexually harassed him back in March.
Common Core crossed its first of many legal hurdles in Louisiana on Wednesday when a judge said a lawsuit challenging Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to order the state away from the hotly contested academic standards and companion tests can go forward. But state District Judge Todd Hernandez said attorneys for the group of parents and teachers who filed the suit last month cannot question the governor under oath in a deposition. Now, the pro-Common Core suit will be the focus of a full-blown hearing Monday. Hernandez is being asked to lift the Jindal administration’s suspension of state test contracts that Common Core advocates plan to rely on.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue says the state will hold another tax amnesty period from October 15th through November 14th. Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield says there’s something new this year: the option that delinquent taxpayers can pay their debt through payments. The tax payer will also have all penalties waived and only have to pay 50% of the interest that is due.
A new law preventing anyone 70 or older from running for constable or justice of the peace in Louisiana is facing stiff opposition, especially among the officials who are about to be banned from re-election because of their age. The mandatory retirement provision was signed into law in June with little fanfare. Now, however, the law is drawing fire as the deadline for filing to run in the November election approaches next week.
The long anticipated SEC Network, which promises to air more than 1,000 live events in its first year, will officially launch today at 5pm. Herb Vincent, who is a former leader within the athletic department at LSU, is the associate commissioner of communications for the Southeastern Conference. He says the SEC Network will broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year, all SEC all the time.
For the first half of 2014, Louisiana has had a 9.3 percent increase in exports compared to the same period last year. According to the World Trade Center of New Orleans report, the Bayou State exports hit $32.1 billion dollars. That’s good enough to be ranked 6th out of the top ten exporting states.
A Lafayette mother is facing negligent homicide charges in the death of her three-year-old child. Lafayette Police corporal Paul Mouton says 27-year-old Sara Leblanc told investigators the child was sick for a couple of days, and their investigation revealed the child went 25 hours without food or fluids during her illness. An autopsy report has determined the cause of death can be attributed to hypothermia and dehydration. Leblanc was charged with negligent homicide. Mouton says the investigation remains ongoing
The former chief financial officer at the Catahoula Sheriff’s office faces theft and malfeasance charges after he allegedly gave himself two unauthorized pay increases. State Police Trooper Albert Paxton says the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office provided the evidence that led to the arrest of 61-year-old George Tosspon of Jonesville. Paxton says the state audit revealed Tosspon received over 22-thousand dollars in excess wages from August 2009 to November 2013.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issues a warning for travelers, beach goers, and fisherman about two diseases. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says one is the flesh-eating bacteria found in brackish or saltwater. He says the bacteria can be fatal, but it is treatable if you catch it early. DHH says the flesh-eating bacteria has infected 8 people in Louisiana this summer. Guidry says the other is a virus usually transmitted by mosquitoes in the Caribbean. He says initial symptom of this virus resemble the flu. The good news is, it is usually not fatal.
New research provided to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries shows Louisiana Black Bear population is making great strides toward recovery. Large Carnivore Program Manager, Maria Davidson, says they believe there are at least 250 female bears. They’re hopeful to soon have the Louisiana Black Bear removed from the endangered species list.
It’s been 2 years since the Bayou Corne sinkhole showed up in Assumption Parish, and now Federal Judge Jay Zainey has approved a $48.1 million dollars class action settlement which will compensate 269 residents. There were no objections to the settlement.
The Lake Charles Police Department says a 16-year-old Barbe High School student was hit by a car while she was crossing McNeese St Wednesday morning. The driver told cops she couldn’t see the pedestrian due to glare from the sun. The student is at a hospital with minor injuries.
State Climatologist Barry Keim says we’ve had northerly breezes move into Louisiana causing the humidity levels to drop dramatically. He says the weather outside is feeling much more comfortable that what you’d expect in The Bayou State for the middle of August. On the down side, Keim says this blast of Canadian air won’t drop temps all that much.
In the Common Core hearing yesterday, the attorneys for the Jindal administration argued that parents and educators have no authority to file a lawsuit against him for blocking Common Core. The argument was also made that – in case Judge Todd Hernandez rules against Governor Bobby Jindal-that the administration cannot be forced to testify, or give depositions. Hernandez says he will issue his written ruling soon.
A committee of Louisiana’s top school board Tuesday afternoon rejected a bid to derail Common Core test plans. The vote was 3-6 to use LEAP and iLEAP exams in the current school year, which were the tests used during the 2013-14 school year. But state Superintendent of Education John White urged the panel to stick with plans to have a test lineup in place by Aug. 31. A court hearing is set for Aug. 18 on a bid to allow Common Core tests to be given to students in March.
Jefferson Parish President John Young announces he’s running for Lt. Governor in 2015. The seat is being left open by Jay Dardenne who intends to run for Governor next year. Young says the Office of Tourism is a major growth industry for Louisiana. Young joins already announced candidates Baton Rouge Mayor President Kip Holden and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
We’re a week away from the start of the three-day qualifying period, where candidates officially sign up to run in the November election. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat does not expect any surprise candidates to enter the US senate race. Pinsonat says democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu will face two main republican challengers, Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness. A large field of candidates is expected in the six district congressional race. He says former governor Edwin Edwards is the favorite to make a run-off. Pinsonat says the fifth district congressional race will also have a large field, as challengers see Vance McAllister as a vulnerable incumbent.
5th district congressman Vance McAllister had a message for Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday, that after the governor, while on a weekend trip to Iowa, once again called the congressman "an embarrassment" who he won't be endorsing because of McAllister's kissing scandal with a former staffer. McAllister told the media to “Thank the governor” McAllister says he wasn’t the Governors hand-picked candidate when he ran to replace Rodney Alexander and he won’t be this time either. The congressman had some advice of his own for the governor, saying "If the governor actually spent time in Louisiana listening to the concerns of his voters rather than those of the voters in Iowa he would better serve the people of Louisiana.
The VA announced yesterday a new, much-enlarged Veterans Affairs medical clinic should open in Lafayette 18 months from now to provide outpatient care to eligible veterans in the area. The path to opening the new Lafayette clinic was smoothed last week, after years of delay, when the President signed a VA reform bill that included approval for that outpatient clinic and 25 others around the country, including one in Lake Charles. The existing Lafayette VA clinic occupies the War Memorial Building . The new clinic, which will move to a building constructed for it, should be roughly double the size of the current one.
The New Orleans Police Department is still searching for the gunman who opened fire on a house in the Lower Ninth Ward that killed two and left five people injured. 33-year-old Terrance McBride and 16-year-old Jasmine Anderson were killed in the shooting. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says it is vitally important that citizens help police identify the shooter. A mother and her two children, both under the age of 5, remain in critical condition.
Hundreds of thousands of people who signed up under the new health care law risk losing their taxpayer-subsidized insurance unless they act quickly to resolve questions about their citizenship or immigration status. The government warned on Tuesday that they have just over three weeks to show that they're eligible. No numbers yet on how many people in Louisiana will be affected.
The recent death of actor-comedian Robin Williams has opened a discussion about suicide across the country. The death of the 63-year-old entertainer has been officially ruled a suicide. LSU Mental Health expert, Dr. Howard Osofsky, says the actor showed several risk factors for suicide. Williams was said to have been battling severe depression as of late. That along with his history of alcohol and substance abuse made the actor susceptible for suicide. Osofsky says, after a suicide, friends and family are often left wondering if they could have done something to prevent it. He says if you notice a loved one’s behavior changing, you may want to seek help. But, bottom line, even with help, sometimes suicides still occur.
According to Louisiana Oyster Task Force Chairman John Tesvich, since the BP spill, oyster production along Louisiana’s coast has reached lows that have not been seen in decades. Last year, just under a million pounds of oyster meat was produced and Tesvich says early numbers for this year are only slightly better. Prior to the BP spill, Louisiana public reefs would produce three to seven million pounds of oyster meat a year. As of now, there is no scientific evidence citing the oil spill as the sole factor for the decline in oyster populations.
On a day when there was only a 30% chance of rain, Heavy wind and rains rolled throughout Cenla Monday and left more than 3,000 residents without power. According to Cleco, nearly 1,700 power outages were reported in Rapides Parish. All of those have been restored. More than 800 customers were without power in Avoyelles parish as well.
Louisiana was the second-most expensive state in which to operate a motor vehicle, according to online personal finance firm Bankrate.com. The average driver in Louisiana spends $2,555 a year for gasoline, insurance and repairs, according to the report. On average, Louisiana drivers spend $1,277 a year on insurance. Only Wyoming was more expensive than Louisiana, at $2,705. But Wyoming residents drive 60 percent more than motorists in the rest of the country so their gasoline costs are much higher. Iowa was the cheapest state at $1,942 per year because drivers there have the cheapest auto insurance rates in the country. The average policy in Iowa costs just $630 per year.
The dispute over Common Core heads to court today. A hearing is set in Judge Todd Hernandez’s courtroom over a lawsuit filed by parents and educators who accuse Governor Jindal of overstepping his authority when he blocked tests associated with Common Core. Another Common Core hearing is scheduled for Friday in Tim Kelley’s courtroom. That one was filed by legislators who claim BESE and the department of education violated state law when it approved Common Core standards.
WalletHub, a national study group that looks at economic and social issues, ranked Louisiana 41st among 50 states and the District of Columbia in its ranking of "2014 Best and Worst States for Underprivileged Children." The state ranks 37th in early foundations and economic well-being, 37th in health and 49th in education. The ranking uses 16 metrics, ranging from infant death rates and children in foster care to child food insecurity rates and percentage of maltreated children. Louisiana ranks 21st in the percentage of children covered by health insurance but factors such as a much higher than normal infant death rate and poor health outcomes drag down the health factor.
5th District Congressman Vance McAllister has only 233 dollars in available campaign funds according to the last report he filed with the Federal Elections Commission on August 2nd. It’s expected the Congressman will self-finance much of his campaign. But ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says it sends a signal that McAllister may not have much support from voters…McAllister’s three Republican challengers have each raised over 200-thousand dollars.
Louisiana State Police is investigating an officer involved shooting in Crowley that has left an unidentified suspect dead. Master Trooper Brooks David says Crowley Police officers were responding to a disturbance call when a male subject began to shoot at the officers. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing
The St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s office says a man from New Iberia is under arrest for allegedly shooting at a car he was trying to pass while traveling on a roadway. Spokeswoman Major Ginny Higgins says the suspect is identified as a 30-year-old Jeroswaskie Collette. She says he was allegedly driving erratically when he just opened fire on the other vehicle. Collette is charged with assault by drive by shooting. Fortunately, the other driver was not hurt.
A Baton Rouge gun dealer who stars in the Discovery Channel show “Sons of Guns” has been booked on charges of molestation of a juvenile and aggravated crimes against nature. 49-year-old William Hayden was released on bond Saturday. Hayden told TMZ the allegations come from an ex-girlfriend as retaliation for their break-up.
LSU fans will be able to add a little something extra to their tailgate or football parties for the upcoming season…An LSU Jell-O mold. Emilie Fitch is the brand manager for Jell-O. She says these college team Jiggler kits are just another way fans can show how passionate they are about their team. Fitch says she realizes that people make Jell-O shots but they do not advocate that behavior or promote recipes that include alcohol. The college Jiggler kit is available now at local retailers and they are apparently going fast.
An elderly driver from Grayson is dead following a crash with a charter bus on U.S. Highway 165 just south of Columbia. Eighty-six year-old Ted Coleman was attempting to enter the road from his driveway when he was struck by the bus. Coleman died later at a local hospital. His two passengers suffered moderate injuries. None of them were wearing seatbelts.
Almost a quarter of a million dollars worth of marijuana has been seized after a traffic stop on I-12 near I-55 in Hammond yesterday morning. Twenty-six year-old Carlos Davis of Greenwood, Mississippi was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Authorities say there could be other arrests connected to this one in Mississippi.
The President of the LSU Alumni Association goes on annual leave amidst a lawsuit claiming he paid a former female employee hush money. Mary Olive Pierson says her client, Charlie Roberts, admits to having a sexual relationship with Kay Heath but didn’t do anything unethical. Health’s attorney, Jeffry Sanford, says the two entered into a contractual financial agreement that was terminated by Roberts without notice. The lawsuit alleges Roberts asked Heath to quit her job and promised to pay her monthly money for the rest of her life.
The Department of Health and Hospitals reports 14 new cases of West Nile, bringing the state total to 29. And this past week, there was a second Louisiana death. David Holcombe, who is the Medical Director for the Office of Public Health in Central Louisiana, says the threat of West Nile will remain until we get cold weather. Not much is known about the latest victim, except that it was reported he was from the Capital area, and he was over the age of 75.
An experienced pilot died Sunday morning when his Bell 47 helicopter carrying crop-dusting materials crashed in a sugar cane field near Jeanerette. The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office say 60 year old Kenneth E. Squires was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash is under investigation.
With school starting around the state, teachers are educating kids in the classroom with no idea what assessment test will be given this year. Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan says educators are frustrated and angry about all of this. Monaghan says most teachers are irritated about being in the middle of a political battle between BESE and the Department of Education and Governor Bobby Jindal over Common Core. The two sides head to court this week. Monaghan says these political forces need to make this year about teaching.
Russia’s “full embargo” on food imports from the US, in response to sanctions over its crisis in Ukraine, will have a minimal impact on Louisiana farmers. The LSU AgCenter says, over the past five years, Russia has been a relatively minor customer for most US ag products.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says a Fed Ex man is under arrest for allegedly stealing packages he was supposed to deliver to businesses. BRPD spokesman L’Jean McKneely says they believe 50-year-old Nathaniel Smith would lie by saying he delivered goods he’d kept for himself. He says Fed Ex launched an investigation and that’s when they interviewed Smith and booked him for felony theft. McKneely says Smith was even supposed to deliver two computers to the police department that never arrived.
A man accused in two homicides has been charged with asking friends to beat, bribe, intimidate or kill the witnesses who planned to testify against him at his murder trials. The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s office issued a true bill against 23 year old Erick Scott charging him with solicitation for first-degree murder and conspiracy to injure or intimidate witnesses after an investigation into his jailhouse phone calls and letters. Scott has been in Parish Prison since 2012 awaiting trial in the murder of two men and attempted murder of two others.
Farmers across the state are beginning to harvest another rice crop. There was a phenomenal crop last year yielding a statewide average of 7,500 pounds per acre. LSU AgCenter Rice Specialist, Dr. Johnny Saichuck (SAY-chuck), says we shouldn’t expect those same numbers with this year’s crop. Saichuck says this year’s rain and cloud cover has affected this year’s rice crop. He thinks the crop is running about two weeks behind what it was last year.
LSU’s defensive line has been hit by another injury as junior defensive tackle Quentin Thomas from Breaux Bridge is out for the season with a torn bicep. Tiger Rag Editor Robert Stewart says having a significant player lost for the season at this particular position is a tough blow for the Tigers.
24 year old Bubbie Waters of Lecompte has been arrested and faces multiple charged in connection with the theft of several ATV’s and side by side utility vehicles. Detectives with the RPSO say the vehicles were stolen in the dead of the night and the victims didn’t realize the vehicles were gone until the next day or in some cases several days later. Detectives also recovered a stolen ATV from Waters' house.
A Pineville man, Keith Wayne Ranburger, is being accused of scouting stuff that people had listed for sale across the state, but then, according to the RPSO, would return later and steal the items. The investigation involved thefts in 5 parishes..
Bobby Jindal is scheduled to be in Iowa today and tomorrow, his third visit to the important presidential primary state in recent months. Early polls show muted interest in Jindal’s aspirations, a recent CNN poll even put him outside the top 7 candidates. Jindal says he will not make any calls on a presidential run until after the November elections have concluded.
Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have updated their hurricane season forecast and now say there is an increased chance it will be below-normal. Lead seasonal forecaster Gerry Bell says conditions across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea are incredibly unfavorable for hurricane development. He says the outlook issued today calls for a 70% chance of a below normal season.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the state will lose jobs and energy prices will rise if the EPA’s proposed ozone standards are enacted. The EPA is considering new regulations that will require the state to lower ozone pollution. LABI President Stephen Waguespack says a National Association of Manufacturers report indicates the regulations would hurt the state’s booming economy. The EPA will finalize the new ozone regulations in December. The federal agency says history proves you can reduce pollution and grow the economy at the same time.
Louisiana State Police is now offering the sale of crash photographs online through their website. The purpose of the new system is to increase accessibility to crash photos and to streamline the purchasing process. However, Fatality photographs will not be available online.
It was a close call for the main house of the historic Myrtles Plantation Wednesday night when a fire broke out in the gift shop. It took the St. Francisville Fire Department, along with several other agencies from around the area, a couple of hours to get control of the blaze. The main house was not damaged. And that fire is currently being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
State Police say the man who drove through a house in Schriever and caused the death of a baby on June 27, was extremely drunk at the time according to blood-alcohol tests that came back this week. Trooper Evan Harrell says during the incident, 20-year-old Tony Milligan of Houma rear-ended another car then fled the scene. Milligan remains in jail on a vehicular homicide charge among many others.
Well it’s a start.. A 57-million dollar construction project is set to begin on US 90 in Lafayette Parish as crews will expand that highway to interstate standards from Ambassador Caffery to Albertsons Parkway. State department of transportation spokesperson Deidra Druilhet (Drool yet) says this is also a part of a larger plan to extend I-49 South. She says it should take about 3 years to complete the one-point-six mile stretch of roadway.
The LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans has been awarded a $5.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to build a regional cancer clinical trials network. This program creates a network of physicians, nurses, and researchers to deliver the latest promising treatments for cancer.
The Saints kick off their preseason campaign tonight against the St. Louis Rams. Head Coach Sean Payton says he likes the current NFL preseason schedule of four games. He says it give players the opportunity to rise to the occasion. Payton hasn’t said how much or if quarterback Drew Brees will play in tonight’s game. Brees has been out of pads for about a week because of an oblique injury. Backup quarterback Luke McCown is expected to see plenty of action tonight.
The LSU football team will go through its practice in pads this morning as the entire freshmen class will also be competing with the veterans for the first time. Coach Les Miles says based on yesterday’s practice, the defense is ahead of the offense. A question mark on defense this season is at defensive tackle as the Tigers must find two new starters.
Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway yesterday asked for the resignation of CLECO’s CEO Bruce Williamson. Commission members spent nearly two hours Wednesday quizzing Williamson about why he wants to sell the publicly traded utility based in Pineville. Williamson insisted that the company is not for sale, but by law, they have a fiduciary duty to review a proposal when it is received. Williamson went on to say federal law prohibited him from talking about the offer.
Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested a 23 year old Alexandria man on charges of armed robbery and home invasion. Donald Ray Sias Jr. is accused of breaking into a Kelley Land subdivision home early Tuesday and demanding money from a resident. The victim said he woke up to find a man holding a pistol in his face, demanding money. The suspect left after taking money and other items, according to the release. When detectives and deputies found Sias, he still had items that had been taken from the residence.
Governor Jindal wants a judge to rule Louisiana’s public schools can NOT use testing material tied to the Common Core education standards. Attorney Jimmy Faircloth filed the petition in state court today on Jindal’s behalf. At one time Governor Jindal was a supporter of Common Core, but now describes the controversial education standards as an attempt by the federal government to interfere with local education. This issue also has a lawsuit from the other side, filed by parents and teachers who say Jindal violated the constitution when his administration suspended the testing contract tied to Common Core.
The state police report Rosepine's police chief was arrested Wednesday, accused of stalking his estranged wife at her home and at work. Detectives received a complaint last month about Chief James "Dennis" Parrott's alleged stalking. According to the complainant, Parrott followed his wife and a male friend back to her new residence where he obtained the license plate number of the male’s vehicle. Parrott then allegedly used the Rosepine Police Department’s computer databases to run the license plate to obtain the identity of the male friend." Parrott was arrested Wednesday at the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office and was charged with stalking and malfeasance in office. His bond was set at $15,000.
The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa now stands at 932, according to the World Health Organizations. Medical Director for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Dr. Frank Welch says there is no real threat of an outbreak in Louisiana. Welch says the Ebola virus is spread by very close personal contact with an infected person through their bodily fluids. He says that’s why many cases now are health care workers caring for patients with Ebola. Welch says you cannot contract Ebola very easily like, for example, the flu.
In a postscript to ill-fated damage claims made against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Corps has sent out about 565,000 letters formally notifying victims of those storms that their claims have been denied. The Corps released a copy of the one-page letter Wednesday. It is signed by chief counsel Earl Stockdale. He describes it as “the final administrative action” in claims against the Corps regarding Katrina- or Rita-related injuries, deaths or property damage blamed on faulty levees or badly maintained navigation channels. It is all a moot point since various court rulings have held that the Corps is immune from such claims.
As summer winds down and we look toward the fall, it looks like another banner year for the film industry in Louisiana. Jurassic World, Pitch Perfect 2, Terminator 5, and a new Fantastic Four movie were all filmed here this year. Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment, Chris Stelly, says there are more movie productions scheduled for the Bayou State. Stelly says the number of projects filmed in Louisiana have steadily increased over the past few years. He says the future of the film industry in Louisiana looks bright.
As most kids head back to the classroom this week or next, the State Police are reminding motorists that cell phones are now banned, by law, in a school zone. Trooper Jared Sandifer says cops will be out enforcing this law. Sandifer says a first violation of the cell phone school zone ban is a $175 fine and subsequent violations can be up to $500.
The LSU Alumni Association President is speaking out about a lawsuit filed on Friday where it is alleged he offered lifetime payoffs to an female employee with whom he reportedly was having a sexual relationship. In a statement released Wednesday, Dr. Charlie Roberts said he was “blindsided” by the accusations, and responded that the charges of him trying to pay off Kay Heath – when she was let go – are false.
A new 14-million dollar laboratory for animal and food science research is open for business on the LSU Baton Rouge campus. LSU Ag Center Associate Vice Chancellor Phil Elzer says the state-of-the-art research and teaching facility has spacious labs and three-million dollars in new equipment. Elzer says the renovated animal and food science laboratory will help LSU attract more students and faculty who want to perform cutting edge research. State funding helped revitalized the two-story, 49-thousand square foot building.
The new iphone 6 will be here next month, and insiders are saying there will be many benefits that users are looking for, along with some surprises. So LN asked around the state, “What do you want on your phone?” Most said better coverage and fewer gimmicks
Nicholas Wright has announced his candidacy for mayor of Alexandria. According to a press release announcing his candidacy, Wright is an Army veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. Wright, who will turn 28 years old at the end of this month, is the fifth announced candidate in the race, including incumbent Jacques Roy.
Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu agrees to participate in four televised debates before the November fourth election. The first one will be in New Orleans October second. No word if Republican challenger Bill Cassidy will participate, while Tea Party candidate Rob Maness says he’ll be at the first three for sure.
Top officials with Cleco are expected to appear today at the Public Service Commission meeting to answer questions regarding a possible sale of the utility company. Commissioner Eric Skrmetta says if a company wants to come and invest in a company in Louisiana that’s not a problem, but the PSC needs to make sure rate payers and employees are not affected. He says they’ve heard there are several parties interested in acquiring the company. Cleco is a public utility and they can do whatever they want, according to Skrmetta, but whatever it is has to be approved by the PSC.
According to a new poll, US Representative Vance McAllister’s challengers are within single digits in the race for the 5th congressional seat. The survey, conducted by the Glascock group out of Pineville, shows McAllister at 27 percent, with democrat and Monroe Mayor Jaime Mayo at 21 percent and Republican Ralph Abraham at 18 percent. ULM political science professor Joshua Stockley says the race is wide open.
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden criticizes Governor Jindal’s trip to the US-Mexico border. After the trip, the governor blamed the Obama administration for not doing more to keep illegal immigrants out of the US. Holden, who plans to run for Lieutenant Governor, says Jindal should worry about Louisiana’s issues. Holden made his comments on Baton Rouge Talkshow.
Saints Owner Tom Benson left practice in an ambulance yesterday after reportedly having trouble breathing because of the high altitude. He was taken to a local hospital to receive oxygen. Team officials say the 87-year-old is fine.
The Louisiana Department of Education has released the “High School Student Planning Guidebook: A Path to Prosperity for Every Student”. It’s a comprehensive guide for parents and school personnel, detailing pathways to opportunities for students after high school. Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Content, Ken Bradford says in the past three years, college opportunities have expanded for students in Louisiana, as well as opportunities to achieve meaningful career credentials through the Jump Start initiative and the related Course Choice program. The guide can be found at louisianabelieves.com
The Plaquemine Parish Sheriff’s office says they are investigating an industrial incident at Daybrook Fisheries in which two men got trapped in some equipment. Spokesman Commander Eric Becnel says each man had damage to their legs. Both men remain hospitalized in stable condition.
A Rayne woman has been sentenced for 8 years without parole for deaths of 4 of her children in a home fire, while she was out “clubbing” in 2012. Shequela McDade was charged with four counts of negligent homicide for each child, all under the age of eight.
Crape myrtles in Louisiana are under attack from a new invasive species. Crape myrtle barkscales, the invasive bug, are infesting trees across north Louisiana, and feeding off of the popular summer flowering tree. LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings says the bug first arrived from overseas. The bugs don’t pose an imminent threat to the life of the trees, but given time, could severely weaken their flowering output and vibrancy.
Saints training camp continues in West Virginia and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes what the defense has accomplished so far. Ryan admits the run defense did not perform well in Saturday’s scrimmage. He says since then, they have put some good practices behind them. As the team heads into Friday’s first preseason game at St. Louis, Ryan wants to see continued improvement in his defense. He says they have a lot to work on, but the coaching staff needs to make sure the Saints “D” plays up to its potential.
With school just about to begin in Rapides parish, finishing touches are being put on close to $40 million in construction projects. Martin Park Elementary will open its doors to students again on Aug. 12 after a fire in October 2012 sent faculty and students to the former Hadnot-Hayes Elementary building on Lincoln Road. That project carried with it a $6.7 million price tag. Cafeteria work will continue past the opening of school at several facilities across the district.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled to the Texas/Mexico border on Monday in response to the spike in undocumented immigrant children from Central America illegally crossing the border alone. Also on the trip to McAllen, Texas, are Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, and State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson. Following a tour and briefing, Edmonson said he’s concerned about the impact the influx of immigrants could have on safety in Louisiana, as well as public services. Edmonson said in at least three locations they saw where people were trying to make their way into Texas and there was no one there to stop them.
Cleco Corp.’s top executive and several board members are expected to appear at Wednesday’s meeting of the Louisiana Public Service Commission to answer questions related to a possible sale of the Pineville-based utility. Bruce Williamson, Cleco’s president, chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Directors, has voluntarily agreed to appear, along with at least four board members. That meeing will be open to the public.
Alexandria’s Night Out Against Crime will be held tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Alexandria Public Safety Complex, 100 Bolton Ave., and at other sites around the city. The event is free, and food and entertainment will be provided .Children must be accompanied by an adult. There will be jumpers, a dunk-a-cop booth, police motorcycle demonstration and more. Drawings will be held for bicycles and others gifts..
It’s been reported that former Governor Buddy Roemer has suffered a stroke. According to his son Chas, who was speaking at the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, the former governor suffered the minor stroke about 4 weeks ago, but has already been back at work.
Drivers across the state are now seeing gas prices around $3.30 for a gallon of regular. That’s a good deal lower from where they were last month, and have been dropping at a steady rate of about one cent a day over the last week or so. American Automobile Association fuel analyst Don Redman expects that will continue this month.
Over 190 new people have joined a lawsuit designed to stop the implementation of common core in Louisiana. The additions, mostly concerned Louisiana parents, joined the lawsuit over a less than 48 hour period. The number of lawsuits in involving common core has sky rocketed over the last month, with both sides gearing up for lengthy litigation.
LSU junior safety Jalen Mills participated in team practice Monday afternoon after the East Baton Rouge District Attorney reduced the charges against him from felony second degree battery to misdemeanor simple battery. The charges stem from a May incident where Mills allegedly punched a woman near his apartment. DA Hillar Moore says the felony charge was the arrest charge and his office believes the misdemeanor charge is appropriate after reviewing evidence and reports.
A large percentage of Shreveport Public Works solid waste and disposal service employees did not show up for work Monday. That left over 2 dozen trash trucks unmanned for Monday collections. One employee says workers were told there were no funds for pay raises, and recently, the city bought two street sweepers for about $600 thousand dollars.
According to “Governing” magazine, Louisiana is the seventh most popular state for millennials. Millennials are defined as persons born between 1981 and 2000. The magazine states that 28.5-percent of Louisiana’s population falls into the millennial age bracket. That is the largest age group living in the Bayou State. Excluding Washington, DC, Louisiana has the highest concentration of millennials in the eastern half of the United States.
Flying Tiger Aviation, which trains pilots for work in the agricultural industry, announced Monday it is relocating its operations from Rayville to Bastrop, a move that will create 21 new jobs. The new jobs will have an average salary of $61,000 a year, plus benefits. Flying Tiger will retain 14 existing jobs.
So far, At least three candidates will challenge Incumbent Jacques Roy this fall for the Alexandria mayor’s seat. As of now, Roy will face National Guard officer Jamar Gailes, former Cleco executive Jeff Hall and City Councilwoman Mitzi LaSalle. While Mayor Roy stands on his eight-year record as mayor, LaSalle stressed her experience from serving on the City Council, Gailes his record of service in the military and the community and Hall his record in the public and private sector.
551 new laws went into effect in Louisiana Friday. One of those laws would grant an immediate divorce in domestic violence situations. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says previously, even if you had tons of evidence that you were a victim of domestic violence, you’d still have to wait 6 months to a year before you get a divorce.
Morrell says other new laws dealing with domestic violence ban abusers under a protective order from possessing a firearm and those convicted of domestic abuse are prohibited from possessing a firearm for 10 years.
Motorists now face much stiffer penalties if they throw a cigarette butt from a car window. The new law increases fines for the intentional disposal of a cigarette from a motor vehicle. First offense fines are increased from $250 to $300, plus community service. Marrerro Representative Patrick Connick says the key to the success of this law is enforcement…
A Louisiana Public Safety delegation is on the US/Mexico border today for a security briefing and tour by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Among those in the delegation are State Police Colonel Mike Edmondson and Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, Chuck Kleckley.
In the battle for a Louisiana Senate seat in the upcoming November election, Senator May Landrieu has just picked up an endorsement from The Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. The group also endorsed her in 2002 and 2008.
Business Facilities Magazine names the state of Louisiana as the number one business climate in the nation. This is the first time the Bayou State has topped a national business climate ranking.
New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is a wealthy man. Turns out, he is very, very wealthy. Movoto, a real estate website, released an interactive map listing the richest person in each state, and Benson is the wealthiest person in Louisiana with an estimated $1.5 billion.
The new school year is approaching and the Department of Health and Hospitals is reminding parents to be sure your child is up-to-date on vaccinations. State immunologist Dr. Frank Welch says not only is ensuring your child has received the proper vaccinations important, it’s also the law. Welch says vaccines have proven safe and effective in preventing illness and death from many infectious diseases.
Colorado State University researchers continue to predict a below average 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season. CSU report Author Dr. William Gray says they are now calling for a total of 10 named storms with four becoming hurricanes and one to reach major hurricane strength. Gray says, just because a below average season is predicted, that doesn’t mean residents along the Gulf Coast shouldn’t take the usual precautions because you just never know.
The massive sinkhole in Bayou Corne happened 2 years ago and resident frustrations over the massive disaster continue. The collapsed salt dome caused the evacuations of 350 people. John Boudreaux, Director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says the sinkhole was created from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern operated by Texas Brine Company. The company and property owners reached a settlement earlier this year to end damage claims and buy out their properties.
A University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor is conducting research to keep astronauts healthy. Dr. Ray Boudreaux’s research is focused on one of the hazards of extended space missions: bone loss. Boudreaux says the bone mass of astronauts is reduced by 1 to 2 percent each month they are in space. He says the ultimate goal of this research is to get astronauts to Mars healthy. Boudreaux says his research could also be helpful to help people who are bedridden for several months at a time or patients suffering from spinal cord injuries
In a recently released ranking of the “50 Great Affordable College Towns in the US”, Monroe comes in at number 33 in the nation. Monroe is the only city in Louisiana to be ranked. ULM President Nick Bruno says Monroe offers great support to the university. The list was compiled based on the cost of living index published by the Council for Community and Economic Research. Bruno says in these days of rising tuition costs, students consider things like cost of food, housing, utilities and transportation when choosing where they want to attend college.
LSU Head Coach Les Miles spoke with the media Sunday and said 103 players reported as fall training camp gets underway today. The LSU roster will kick things off today with the veterans, and some freshman, going in the morning and the other freshman will take the afternoon session.
Louisiana’s sales tax holiday starts today. For the next two days, customers will not have to pay the 4% sales tax on the first 25 hundred dollars of each item they buy. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesperson Byron Henderson says the tax exemption applies to the state sales tax of 4%, any other taxes, local and parish, will still apply…
Gov. Bobby Jindal is demanding further details from the White House about 1,071 unaccompanied immigrant children living with sponsors in Louisiana. Jindal wants to know where the children are living, the timeline for determining their ultimate status and whether the federal government plans to kick in dollars for their education and health care. He also wants to know how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided where to place them.
Tropical Storm Bertha has formed, becoming the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. The U.S. Hurricane Center in Miami said the tropical storm’s maximum sustained winds at last report were near 45 mph. The storm was centered about 275 miles southeast of Barbados and about 385 miles southeast of St. Lucia, and is moving northwest at 20 mph. The hurricane center said little change is expected in the storm’s strength over the next couple of days.
Longtime youth baseball and softball coach Edwin Prescott Armstrong Jr. known as most “Skip,” died Tuesday after a long fight with cancer. Services are at 1 p.m. today at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria. Interment will follow in Alexandria Memorial Gardens. Armstrong was 60.
Starting today, individuals with a concealed carry permit are allowed to bring a concealed firearm into restaurants that serve alcohol. HB 72, sponsored by Metairie representative Joe Lopinto, is now in effect, along with a host of other bills that were passed in the last legislative session. The bill increases the growing number of places that citizens with licenses are allowed to enter with their concealed weapons.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne expressed his frustration Thursday about the Common Core Curriculum stand-off between Governor Bobby Jindal who wants to stop it and BESE who wants to keep it. Dardenne says whether you agree with Common Core or not, the legislature has already voted to keep it, which, in his mind, is the right thing to do. Both sides will have hearing dates scheduled in a little over 2 weeks from now.
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in the case of the murder of a man whose remains were found in his burned down house earlier this month. They say 27-year-old Major Jones of Zwolle is charged with second degree murder in the death of 50-year-old James Green of Fisher. The victim’s body was found at his residence on July 18th.
USA Today has released their preseason football coaches poll yesterday and the LSU Tigers will enter the season ranked number 13
The Air Force’s oldest bomb wing, located in Bossier City, is now being commanded by its first ever female bomb wing commander. Col. Kristen Goodwin is taking command of the 2nd Bomb Wing based out of Barksdale Air Force Base. Retired Master Sgt. and military archivist at LSUS Shawn Bohannon says first and foremost, it’s about a qualified officer getting a well earned promotion
A St. Martinville man was taken to the hospital Thursday afternoon after he attempted to commit suicide in a courtroom after being found guilty of an aggravated sex crime. It is reported that after receiving the verdict, the defendant pulled a razor from his pocket and slashed both wrists and his throat. Authorities do not know how he got the razor through courthouse metal detectors.
Yesterday was the first day Congressman Steve Scalise officially took on the role of House Majority Whip. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the Jefferson Congressman’s number 3 position in the US House of Representatives means he has a greater say in the debate for federal funding of critical infrastructure in Louisiana. He says for Scalise to be able to get elected to this high position by his fellow members of Congress speaks volumes of his political skills. Pinsonat says this gives Louisiana a level of power and influence we haven’t had in Washington in many years.
Caddo Parish Public School officials are investigating allegations of grade changing at Booker T. Washington High School in Shreveport. The Shreveport Times reports that the principal has been placed on paid leave, after an anonymous tip was sent to the Superintendent. The investigation is ongoing.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a 79-year-old DeRidder man on sexual battery charges. Authorities say George Dion allegedly sexually assaulted a detective during an undercover investigation on the I-10 beach. Dion was released on $5,000 bond.
State Police say a 70-year-old woman from Robert is accused of cashing fake checks in amounts of over 125-thousand dollars. Investigators say Barbara Dantone’s boss noticed something wrong with the money and notified authorities who began an investigation confirming the discrepancies. Dantone was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on more than 250 counts of forgery and bank fraud.
The James Brown biopic “Get On Up” opens in theaters everywhere today. Officials in Natchez, MS want to take advantage of the film’s buzz by developing a tour map of filming locations around the area. Natchez Convention and Visitor’s Bureau spokesperson, Jessica Cauthen, says their brochure is based on a similar map of Greenville, MS following the movie “The Help”. “Get On Up” was filmed in 21 locations in and around Natchez. Cauthen says their map will contain historic information and trivia about the filming of the movie. Greenville is still hosting bus tours from “The Help” three years after its release. Cauthen says they’d like to do the same in Natchez for this movie.
Methanex Corp. expects to be producing methanol from its 1.1 million-ton Geismar 1 facility in late 2014, while production from the 1.1 million-ton Geismar 2 plant is expected to begin production in early 2016. Methanex recorded $100 million in spending related to both facilities during the second quarter of this year.
There are now two hearing dates in the Common Core Curriculum dispute coming up in mid August. The 17 lawmakers who want to suspend the program will present their case to Judge Tim Kelly, August 15th. Parents and teachers who have sued Governor Bobby Jindal for his executive order to stop Common Core will make their case before Judge Todd Hernandez on August 18th.
Starting Today, public colleges and universities in Louisiana will be required to make their campuses smoke-free. Several schools have taken a step beyond that, making their campuses tobacco-free as well, including all of Central Louisiana’s colleges and universities. Act 211, passed by the Legislature in 2013, mandates all public postsecondary institutions in Louisiana must develop and implement non-smoking polices at all facilities by Aug. 1.
Newly uncovered court documents and an alert from a national watchdog group accuse a longtime Lafayette Catholic priest of being among Acadiana’s long list of pedophile clerics. The Rev. Gilbert Dutel is accused of coercing a young boy to have sex multiple times over a five- to six-year period beginning in 1976 almost 40 years ago, according to a 1992 10-page statement made by the victim, who was not identified. The victim also said that as he grew older, the alleged trysts with Dutel ended and he began being molested by two other Diocese of Lafayette priests. The Diocese released a statement saying “Many years ago, unproven allegations were made against Father Gilbert Dutel”
Tulane is again the highest ranked private or public university in Louisiana, according to Forbes’ annual rating of the nation’s top colleges.The Forbes list, released Wednesday, placed Tulane at 147 in its ranking of the 650 best undergraduate colleges in the country. LSU was the next-best Louisiana school at 190.
A man in a stolen truck committed suicide yesterday morning in Baton Rouge, after a police chase that ended in a fast food restaurant parking lot. BRPD says the suspect 28-year-old Jeremy Anderson of Gulport, MS, exited I-12, entered the parking lot, and reportedly shot himself.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Dulac woman for allegedly raping a child she was babysitting. Spokeswoman Captain Dawn Foret says they began investigating the complaint by a 17-year-old male victim. The 23-year-old baby sitter confessed to having multiple sexual encounters with the juvenile and has been charged with one count of aggravated rape.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office says they busted a woman who allegedly filed a false report last week. Spokeswoman Traci Landry says Megan Dugas told deputies that she was brutally attacked and robbed at her home Friday by two men wearing masks. Landry says once the detectives got into the case, things weren’t adding up in the story Dugas was telling. Landry says Dugas had self-inflicted wounds on her she claimed to sustain during the fake invasion. Dugas was issued a criminal mischief summons for falsely reporting a crime.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s office and the FBI announce the return and arrest of a Top Ten Fugitive accused in the 2008 murder and rape of a woman in front of a four year-old. The FBI New Orleans field office says they’ve been looking for 26-year-old Jose Guevara of Lake Charles for 6 years.
A Webster Parish company is expected to plead guilty for the improper storage of millions of pounds of explosives at Camp Minden. Explo Systems Incorporated will enter that plea in September. But, it may all be for nothing.. The company is currently in Chapter 11 proceedings.
With summer coming to a close, school will be back in session in a few short weeks. The American Automobile Association reminds drivers to be especially cautious before and after school hours as kids head back to the classroom. AAA’s Don Redman says nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during after-school hours between 3PM and 7PM. He says if you are the parent of a teen aged driver it is important for you to remind them of their responsibilities on the road and limit the number of passengers they have in their car
The Office of Alcohol and Tobacco control has issued over 2 dozen summons in Monroe and West Monroe for selling alcohol to minors. The fines could be between $500 and $25 thousand dollars, and possible suspensions or revocations of liquor licenses.
Morgan City Police detectives have arrested two women accused of stealing money from a local financial consulting company. They allege 59-year-old Karen Duhon of Morgan City stole over 1.2 million dollars over a seven year period. Authorities also believe 57-year-old Donna Peveto of Houma committed theft in excess of 600 thousand dollars during the same time period. Officials say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.
A former secretary for the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has been arrested for allegedly using a diocese credit card for personal use. Baton Rouge Police Corporal Don Coppola says an audit revealed that 57-year-old Alice Faucheaux (FOH’ shay) was in possession of a corporate credit card from Office Depot to purchase office supplies. He says she used the card to purchase several VISA pre-paid debit cards totaling around $41,000. Coppola says Faucheaux purchased the debit cards at various Office Depot locations in Baton Rouge and Zachary.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has named 55-year-old Joseph Broussard head of their Enforcement Division. The 23-year veteran from Port Barre was also promoted to colonel. Broussard served as chief of staff for Jeff Mayne, who recently retired from the position.
Louisiana is ranked number 2 in the nation for heartworm incidents in pets. At least one million pets in the U.S. are estimated to currently have the disease. The President of the American Heartworm Society Doctor Stephen Jones says the state is unique in the reasons we have outbreaks. Jones says all it takes in one infected pet in a neighborhood to spike the number of animals with heartworms. He says once a mosquito bites one pet, it can transmit the disease up to half a mile away. The best way to fight it, keep your dog on the heartworm pills year round.
Sarah Smith has been named acting city marshal in Pineville. Smith who has been the Deputy city Marshall for 18 years, assumes the position due to the death of longtime marshal Larry Jeane. Smith says after discussing the matter with Larry Jeane’s family, she will run for the office as well in the fall.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has voted 6 to 4 to join a Common Core lawsuit against Governor Bobby Jindal. That suit accuses Jindal of illegal use of executive powers to halt the use of the new education standards. The Jindal administration has filed a counter lawsuit, alleging BESE violated its constitutional authority when it agreed to adopt Common Core testing.
With lawsuits flying back and forth over Common Core, education superintendent John White is working to develop an assessment test to be used in public schools for the upcoming school year. White says BESE has ordered the Department of Education to provide a final resolution to the testing issue by the end of August. The upcoming school year begins next month. White says hearings over the Common Court lawsuits will take place next month and initial rulings will provide them a guide to the type of standardized test they’ll have
Pineville police arrested a homeless man who attempted to rob the Pelican State Credit Union on Main Street yesterday afternoon. The man entered the bank carrying a duffel bag demanding a large amount of money and making threatening statements to the bank staff. Police were forced to use a stun gun to subdue the man.
Ville Platte Police have made an arrest in connection with their first homicide case of the year Monday as a store owner Anna Nguyen (Gwen), was brutally murdered in an apparent armed robbery. Nguyen leaves behind several children.
The bad number is 8.7 — the percentage of Louisiana residents who are shown on credit reports as having past-due debt, according to the Urban Institute. Among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, 8.6 percent of residents of the Baton Rouge and New Orleans regions had past-due debts.
Across the nation, more than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies
The Baton Rouge Police Department says they’ve identified a woman who they believe ran over a 6 year old girl who was riding her bicycle and fled the scene yesterday afternoon. Authorities say 20-year-old Maigan Scott of Baton Rouge struck the child and then took off leaving the girl lying in the road. Scott was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail. The little girl is in critical condition.
In Money magazine’s 2014 Best Colleges list, Louisiana Tech is named as one of the nation’s best college values. The rankings were based on educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings data. Tech was named No. 154 in the nation and 2nd in Louisiana behind LSU. Other schools on the list included Tulane, Loyola and Grambling.
Though a federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that a Mississippi law that would close the state’s only abortion clinic is unconstitutional, a very similar law here in Louisiana, is expected to stand. Voting 2-1, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that Mississippi’s 2012 “admitting privileges” statute effectively would close the state’s only abortion clinic, forcing patients to travel out of state for the procedure. That would not be the case in Louisiana, since the state has more than one clinic.
A year-long study is underway that will examine the feasibility of Amtrak Passenger Rail Service from the Shreveport area to Vicksburg, MS. This is one of three studies looking to extend passenger train service from Dallas to Meridian, MS. It is believed that re-establishing rail service will have a positive economic impact on north Louisiana.
LSU faculty and staff are looking at a second straight year of pay raises, following what was a particularly difficult stretch for university funding over the last few years. Faculty and staff members will receive a 3% merit raise, right on the heels of last years 4%. Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope says the pay raise is a welcome news for anyone involved with the university. The pay raise may not only help retain talent, but may also help to attract professors from around the country. While the raise is welcome amongst the faculty and staff of the university, LSU still lags behind other major state programs in compensation.
A 10 year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department has been arrested on numerous charges and placed on emergency leave for allegedly trying run a man down with her car. Officer Stephanie Caldwell reportedly got into an altercation with the man and then pursued him going against traffic before striking a car.
Louisianians are once again waking up to cooler feeling weather outside here on this last week in July. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this less humid air is very similar to the cold front we had a couple of weeks ago. Keim says the lower humidity is going to last most of the week and could even go into the front part of this weekend. It’s uncommon to have one cold front this time of year, much less two.
Authorization for new VA clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles is one step closer to reality according to Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany. Boustany received confirmation that authorization for the two new clinics will be included in the final draft of a bipartisan bill on VA legislation. Boustany expects both houses of Congress to vote on the measure this week. He says funding for the construction of these new clinics is not included this legislation. But Boustany says if this bill passes, it will clear the way for funding.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has announces a replacement Phillip Terrell, who resigned as Pineville city judge in March to run for Rapides Parish District Attorney. Long time Pineville attorney Mike Johnson, will take the position of judge pro temp Friday, and he is scheduled remain in the position through the end of the year. A permanent judge will be chosen in the fall elections. As city judge, Johnson will be responsible for hearing cases from within the Pineville city limits, as well as Wards 9, 10 and 11.
The state’s top school board will hold its second special meeting in less than a month today in the battle over Common Core. The key issue is whether and how the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will proceed on a possible legal challenge over tests that are supposed to accompany the new academic standards. One possibility is for BESE to join a pro-Common Core lawsuit filed last week by parents and teachers.
A Shreveport man is dead after being shot inside his home following a reported home invasion very early Monday morning. Shreveport Police say forty-eight year-old William David Carroll was reportedly shot once in the upper body inside his Highland residence near Centenary College.
A Lake Charles woman has been arrested for leaving her three young children in a locked car for over an hour. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s deputies arrested 26 year-old Faith LaFleur on 3 counts of cruelty to a juvenile. The children, aged 5, 2, and 11 months have been placed in the care of family members.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s office is in mourning today after a 32-year veteran of the department drowned Sunday while trying to rescue his dog from a pond. Lt. Col. Bobby Webre says 56-year-old Sam Vitter’s Yorkshire Terrier went in the pond running after some wildlife. He says Vitter went in and rescued the dog, but never resurfaced. Webre says they aren’t exactly sure what happened to cause the drowning.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is investigating a rare hit-and-run boating crash. L-D-W-F’s Adam Einck says the incident happened Saturday night on the Amite River Diversion Canal in Livingston Parish when one ski boat was rear ended and run over by another ski boat. He says that boat was last seen speeding through a wake zone. Three people on the ski boat that was struck were treated for minor injuries.
A Baton Rouge man is in jail following a rape of a woman he met through a social media app. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Casey Hicks, following an incident like this, she reminds everyone to be extremely cautious about meeting people through social media, and never meet them at your home. Twenty-two year-old Jacob Witz is charged with one count of forcible rape.
As the spicy food trend spreads across the country, the hot sauce market is growing by leaps and bounds. Since 2000, the US hot sauce market has grown by 150 percent, according to a story by Atlantic Media’s Quartz. President and CEO of New Iberia-based Bruce Foods, Si Brown, says they have definitely noticed the trend. Hot sauce sales have increased 6-percent annually for the past 10 years.
Louisiana State Police report a single-vehicle crash early Sunday morning claimed the life of a 22-year-old Pleasant Hill man. Wallace Jones was driving a pickup truck on La. Highway 174 when he lost control and ran off the road. The vehicle overturned and Jones, who was not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
The new school year begins in less than a month and thoughts are turning to back-to-school shopping. The Department of Revenue encourages families to keep their receipts while shopping for back-to-school items such as books, supplies, uniforms, and equipment required by schools. Press Secretary Byron Henderson says these expenses may qualify for a series of income tax reductions. To qualify for the deduction you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state income tax return and be able to document the expense. Henderson also reminds residents the state’s annual sales tax holiday is this Friday and Saturday.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals officials have confirmed the state’s first death from West Nile Virus this year in Caddo Parish. They say say the case involves a patient who was between 60 and 74 years of age. It’s one of four cases of West Nile confirmed in Caddo Parish in the past week.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has filed an amicus brief supporting Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that found the Indiana state law banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Caldwell’s office says it’s each state’s right to determine whether same sex marriage should be permitted.
State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson will not accept a controversial retirement boost that was given to him and another veteran trooper as a result of a law that was passed by lawmakers in the final hours of the legislative session. Since the retirement increase has become public, there’s been concern over how costly it is for the state, some $300,000. Edmonson says the issue has become a distraction and he’ll have the legislature look at it again next year.
Louisiana State Police say a former Baldwin Police officer is under arrest amid allegations he fathered a baby with a 14-year-old girl. Master Trooper Brooks David says they were initially called to investigate 39-year-old Joseph Brent about possible drug dealing in 2013, but they ended up finding more information. David says detectives couldn’t substantiate the narcotics allegation. He says they discovered instead that Brent was living with a minor who was carrying his child. David says the baby was born this month and DNA was collected from all parties. Brent’s charges include molestation of a juvenile, malfeasance in office and sexual battery.
In the wake of the power outages that plagued the Shreveport area last week, the Louisiana Public Service commission will consider implementing a new rule for power companies to follow that would keep the public better informed when outages occur. Commissioner Foster Campbell says the system would send automated telephone and text messages to customers when outages occur. He says Entergy power companies have already implemented such a system. Campbell says he’ll ask all electric utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission to do likewise. The topic will be discussed at the PSC’s August 6th meeting in Baton Rouge.
An area of the Atchafalaya Basin could become the next national park in Louisiana. The Acadiana chapter of The Sierra Club says there is a segment of the basin in St. Martin, Iberia and St. Mary parishes that is all state owned. Chairman Harold Shoeffler (Sheff-Ler) says the proposed national park is completely unaltered. The proposed park is 150 square miles of the last portion of the basin that is remote and wild. He says they want to keep it that way.
A woman is recovering after she was attacked by two pit bull dogs near Slidell. The incident occurred as the victim was on a walking trail. A person who heard her screams for help shot the dogs, killing one. The owner of the pitbulls was issued a misdemeanor summons for violating the parish leash law.
The faculty and staff at the LSU Baton Rouge campus are getting a 3 percent merit pay raise. Last year a four percent pay raise was given and LSU officials are on track to remain competitive with other schools.
Mitzi LaSalle will formally announce her candidacy for Mayor of Alexandria tonight at a gathering in city park on Masonic Drive. LaSalle is a graduate of Grambling State University, the mother of four, and is currently the Vice President of Business Development for Keller Enterprise. The get together, from 6 to 8 this evening is open to the public.
Two Central Louisiana women are dead following a one vehicle crash into a tree in Alexandria on Louisiana Highway 1205 just after midnight Thursday. The passenger-29 year-old Ashley Gallien of Pineville was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver – 31 year-old Heather McCormick of Boyce – died later at a local hospital. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says things might have turned out different if the two women had worn seatbelts.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport says that bad storm that blew through northwest Louisiana Wednesday night left thousands without power and claimed the life of one person. Senior Meteorologist Jason Hansford says they saw 60-70 mile an hour winds which downed numerous trees and power lines. Even though those numbers have gotten lower, SWEPCO now says several thousand people in the Shreveport area could be in the dark until Sunday.
The efforts of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to hire a law firm to legally challenge the governor’s decision to scrap Common Core is receiving some push-back from the Jindal administration. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says the law firm cannot represent any party that is harmful to the state.
It’s called The Memorandum of Understanding, and it’s the result of a private-public long-term partnership between higher education, the state and the oil industry to get more workers for industry needs in the Gulf. The combination of more demand and 40% of the current workforce retiring within ten years. It’s putting a curriculum on the fast-track to certify new gulf oil workers in two years. Louisiana Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association President Chris John says it’s important since deep water exploration and production is expected to increase in the Gulf.
An Organized Crime Task-Force investigation has led to 7 indictments in North Louisiana for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and other related drug charges. The 2 year-long undercover investigation resulted in the seizure of over a half-million dollars in cash, firearms and 16 pounds of marijuana.
The annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo is underway and thousands of people are expected descend on coastal town to enjoy the festivities. Anglers from across the area will compete to see who can catch the biggest fish in a number of categories. Property tax clerk for the town of Grand Isle, Bonnie Pizani (piz-annie), says in addition to the fishing, the event will also feature family events, craft vendors, crab races, live music, and more. The fishing rodeo began in 1928 and is informally referred to as the “Mardi Gras of Grand Isle.” Pizani says businesses across the island look forward to the economic boost the thousands of people who attend the event bring every year
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, has rolled out the red carpet for the New Orleans Saints who begin training camp there today. The Black and Gold will spend the next three weeks getting ready for the upcoming season at the Greenbrier resort. Kara Dense, with the Greenbrier Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, says they were thrilled when the team bus rolled in. For the past few seasons, the team has held training camps exclusively at their Meterie facility. Dense says this is a great chance for some out of town Saints fans to watch the team play.
Spanish language interpreter, employed by the Terrebonne Parish Government, is in jail for allegedly taking money from some defendants, telling them she would use that money to bribe the US Immigration Services to get their cases dropped. 45-year-old Trina Bourg was arrested on federal and state charges.
Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany files legislation that would give south Louisiana veterans the option to receive health care from a non V-A provider. Boustany says the federal government should pay for the care. There is another bill that would authorize new VA clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles. But Boustany says our veterans in those areas shouldn’t have to wait for the new clinics to open, so he wants to give them the option to receive care from a non VA provider.
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent. More than 60,000 people who get health insurance through the individual marketplace, which was expanded by the federal Affordable Care Act , are in line for double-digit rate increases on Jan. 1 if they keep their current policies. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said the average health insurance rate increase planned in the state's individual market next year is 12 percent to 13 percent.
A report from the American Gaming Association ranks Louisiana fourth for its number of casino jobs. The group says the state’s 19 casinos employ 15,706 people on a permanent basis.
The LSU Ag Center has launched a statewide billboard campaign urging people to engage in a more healthy lifestyle. Diane Sasser is the AgCenter director of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Educational Program. She says the first message to be promoted is for people to eat more fruits and vegetable. Sasser says this effort also includes banners and posters that will be displayed in schools, stores and parish extension offices.
The man who is in jail for the Bourbon Street shooting in New Orleans that killed one and injured nine made a court appearance this morning. Twenty year-old Trung Le faces one count of first-degree murder, and 9 counts of attempted first-degree murder, but his attorney says there is video evidence he says will clear his client.
A federal judge has decided he doesn’t need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman has already heard arguments regarding Louisiana’s refusal to recognize the unions of gay couples legally married in other states. At the end of that hearing he asked for briefs on related issues, including whether the state’s refusal to let same-sex couples marry in Louisiana is constitutional. Feldman said he didn’t want to make a piecemeal ruling on the gay marriage issue. He gave no indication when he will rule.
An assistant principal at a Baton Rouge Middle School is facing charges in connection with the exchange of naked pictures with a 15 year-old former student. BRPD Sergeant L’Jean (el gene) McKneely says the mother contacted police about the crime and an official investigation was launched. The suspect is 42 year-old Edwin Chastang, and he is charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile and also computer aided solicitation of a minor. He’s been suspended with pay from the school.
A Monroe couple is charged with second degree cruelty to a juvenile after taking their 7-week old son to the hospital. The Monroe Police Department believe the infant suffered repeated abuse. Assistant Police Chief Don Bartley says officers responded to a call from a local hospital in reference to an injured child. Doctors discovered the child was suffering from bleeding on the brain. The medical tests showed various stages of healing in the child’s brain, which indicated repeated abuse.
Following a discovery in Arkansas, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says the USDA is conducting trap surveys across the state to watch for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetles. Strain says the EAB is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. He says when the pest gets into an ash tree, it generally kills the tree in three to five years. The EAB was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and is now present in 24 states.
The O.K. Allen Bridge will be closed much of the day today, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for inspection. The bridge is expected to be closed from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
A group of parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Governor Jindal. They claim the governor violated his legal authority by using executive orders and contract suspensions to keep schools from using Common Core. Navis (Novice) Hill is a parent of a public school student and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Hill says Jindal is playing political games and because of that her fourth grader is preparing for a school year, not knowing what standardized test he’ll take. This pro Common Core lawsuit comes one day after a separate suit, which challenged whether BESE followed state law when it adopted the controversial education standards.
The governor’s office has responded to the latest legal action over the Common Core debate. A lawsuit filed yesterday claims Governor Bobby Jindal overstepped his authority when he canceled the testing contract for Common Core. Jindal’s legal counsel, Jimmy Faircloth, says the suit has no legal basis. A collection of concerned parents and teachers were behind this latest filing. The suit claims the governor does not have the constitutional authority to dictate education policy. But Faircloth says there is no question as to whether Jindal has the authority to influence policy in this case. The lawsuit is seeking to reverse the Jindal administration’s decision to use the Division of Administration to cancel a vendor contract to supply Common Core testing
According to the Annie B. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book, Louisiana ranks among the worst in the country in terms of the well-being of children. The Bayou State ranks 47th among all states and the District of Columbia. The report contributes Louisiana’s poor showing to children who live in poverty and single parent homes whose situation deteriorated from previous reports.
Louisiana led all U.S. states in the value of industrial construction projects during 2013 and was ranked second overall for all commercial construction, according to a new report released Tuesday.
Nearly $4.9 billion in direct industrial construction spending happened in Louisiana last year, well ahead of Iowa, which was second with just over $2 billion in industrial construction projects. All that industrial construction powered Louisiana to more than $5.5 billion in overall commercial construction projects. Texas, which had nearly $5.8 billion in direct commercial construction spending was first, while New York, at $4.8 billion, was third. That report was from The national commercial real estate development association.
A federal judge has sentenced a Shreveport pastor to six-and-a-half years in prison for taking minors across state lines and having sex with them. 54-year-old Andrea (Andre) Lewis, pastor of Act on Faith Ministries, was found guilty of three federal sex crimes in May. Lewis was also sentenced to three years supervised release and must register as a sex offender. Lewis is also facing state charges.
Officials say an arrest has been made in the case of the bomb threat last week at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that closed the campus down for an entire day. Louisiana State Police Troop I spokesman Brooks David says 30-year-old Devin Haywood of Lafayette is charged federally through the FBI with planting a hoax device and attempted armed robbery. David says they believe Haywood called KATC last Wednesday morning saying there was a bomb in a trash can at a park near the campus, then minutes later attempted to rob MidSouth Bank.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office says they’ve arrested a Golden Meadow Police officer in connection with a methamphetamine investigation. Spokesman Brennan Matherne says they learned 37-year-old Officer Ashley Pollard and his brother, 33-year-old Courtney Pollard were allegedly making meth for personal use. They also learned the cop’s girlfriend, Anna King, was buying products for the meth lab. Matherne says they brought in Officer Pollard for questioning Monday. He says Golden Meadow Police Chief Reggie Pitre issued a statement indicating Pollard resigned from the department upon his arrest.
The Monroe Police Department says a man has been arrested that they believe is responsible for hitting another man over the head with a large stick causing fatal injuries. 20-year-old Christopher Robinson is charged with second degree murder in the death of 48-year-old James Atwell. Robinson reportedly attacked Atwell during an argument over a cell phone.
The Bossier Parish man who was convicted of killing his estranged wife, then dumping her burned remains in Webster Parish has been sentenced to 40 years in prison at hard labor. The body of 46 year-old Annie Bond was discovered in November. If he lives that long, Robert Bond will be 93 when he gets out.
Lecompte Fire Chief Billy Norris died Monday afternoon in his home. Town officials said Norris had a massive heart attack after he returned home from the scene of a fire. Norris had been with the Lecompte Volunteer Fire Department for more than a decade. He was 62. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Funeral arrangements have been announced for long time Pineville City Marshall Larry Jeane, who died over the weekend after a Friday auto accident. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at Hixson Brothers in Pineville with a wake at 7 p.m. Visitation at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pineville will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday with a funeral mass at 10 a.m. Graveside services will be in Many.
A lawsuit has been filed by 17 lawmakers challenging the methods the state used to adopt the Common Core education standards. The suit alleges the BESE board and the State Department of Education did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act. Meanwhile, the stand-off over Common Core between Governor Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent of Education John White continues.
Republican US Senator David Vitter files legislation that he says will stop the flow of illegal border crossings. Between October and this past June, an estimated 57-thousand unaccompanied children were apprehended by Border Patrol. The Obama administration says that number could reach 90-thousand by the end of September. Vitter says law enforcement of immigration laws for decades has encouraged more immigrants to come here illegally. Vitter admits his legislation will have a difficult time getting a debate in the Senate, because Senate leader Harry Reid will not bein support of this legislation.
The tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing over into neighboring Texas is raising concerns Louisiana may face an immigration problem of it’s own. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges, a member of the House Committee on Criminal Justice, is calling on the state leadership to develop a plan of action for immigration in Louisiana. She says the crisis next door is spreading to states across the country. With Texas shelters currently overflowing with the children, Hodges is concerned that Louisiana facilities may be used to house the immigrants.
Covington Representative Paul Hollis has announced that he is endorsing Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s US Senate race. Hollis, a Republican, dropped out of the race last week.
Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert is facing a federal racial discrimination lawsuit alleging he made working conditions unbearable for African-American employees. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three employees. Hebert says it is not a secret he inherited a troubled agency with problem employees, but he’s very proud of the way they’ve turned things around. The attorney for the employees n question alleges Hebert was trying to force out his clients in every conceivable way. Hebert denies the allegations.
It was a violent weekend in the Crescent City as police report a total of nine people are recovering from gunshot wounds throughout the metro area. New Orleans Police say the gun violence ranged from New Orleans East to South Carrolton in broad daylight. While the city’s murder rate is down from last year, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas says it’s clear that NOPD needs more police officers.
A Grant Parish woman has been arrested after she was standing in the middle of Parsonage Road, yelling, holding a knife an throwing rocks at passing cars. When a deputy arrived, she dropped the knife, took a swing at him, and ran away. When that deputy caught up to her, fifty year-old Connie Pennington of Colfax became violent. She was arrested on numerous charges.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Donaldsonville man after finding his wife shot to death at their home. Police Chief Tony Bacala says deputies responded to the residence after receiving a call 10AM Monday morning. When deputies arrived they found 27-year-old Shella Howard dead in her bathroom, having been shot several times. 31-year-old Jaris Howard was found shortly thereafter and arrested without incident. He says the couple’s six year old child was in the home at the time and heard the gunshots, but did not witness the incident. Bacala says Jaris Howard is facing multiple charges
Pineville City Marshal Larry Jeane (pronounced Gene) has passed away from injuries suffered Friday afternoon in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 107 in Pineville. Larry Jeane was in his third term as Marshal for Wards 9, 10 & 11, having held that office since 1997. Larry has also served as an adjunct instructor of Criminal Justice at Louisiana College, his alma mater. Larry Jeane has been a resident of Pineville, Louisiana for over 45 years and is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pineville, where he has served as a member of the Parish Council and the Finance Committee. In a press release from the Mayor’s office, Chief of staff Rich Dupree summed it up by saying “Larry loved to serve and our “Big Brother” will be GREATLY missed!” Funeral arrangements are pending. Larry Jeane was 68.
Pineville Police are investigating that Friday afternoon crash in which city marshal Larry Jeane vehicle crossed the center line on Melrose Street and hit a vehicle carrying four people. The driver of the other vehicle and City Marshall Jeane had to be extricated from their vehicles. A witness to the accident reported that they observed Marshal Jeane slumped over the steering wheel while his vehicle was crossing over into their lane of travel. No word on the condition of the surviving victims of the crash.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office says they’ve arrested 13 people during an operation targeting prostitution. Lt. Tommy Carnline says their detectives became suspicious illegal sexual activity was taking place at local hotels when they came across internet advertisements that offered “massages”, “quality time”, and “anything you want”. Carnline says in one night, over 17-hundred dollars was paid and taken as evidence from those soliciting prostitution He says several of those arrested are from various parts of the state including Bossier City and suburban New Orleans.
The Wall Street Journal’s business website has listed Lafayette as the happiest city in America. In fact, the top 5 happiest cities are all in Louisiana. Houma was ranked number two, followed by Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and hold your heart, Alexandria. The list was compiled by a Harvard professor.
On a not so happy note, For the second month in a row, Louisiana’s jobless rate has grown, and payroll rates have slowed. The U.S. Labor Department reports that unemployment rates went from 4.9 percent to 5 percent in June, which is still well below the nation’s rate at 6.1 percent. The total number of unemployed people in the state is now just above 100 thousand.
State Farm has announced the hurricane deductible for home owner policy holders will go up from 2 to 5 percent. Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon met with State Farm officials and requested that they allow policy holders in Louisiana the option to buy back down to the two percent deductible in their policy by paying a higher insurance premium. Donelon says a typical policy holder with a two percent hurricane deductible on a $150,000 home would pay $3,000 out of pocket before their insurance took effect...
We're another day closer to the start of the school year and because of the dispute over Common Core a standardized test is not in place for the upcoming school year. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says a lawsuit needs to be filed, so the judicial system can determine who has constitutional authority over education policy. Meanwhile, good government group, the Public Affairs Research Council, has issued a commentary criticizing Governor Jindal for creating a "crisis in education." PAR President Robert Travis Scott says Jindal's actions call into question whether he's a reliable leader.
Authorities in Sabine Parish are investigating an apparent homicide. The body 49-year-old James Paul Green was found on the kitchen floor of his burnt home after firefighters extinguished the Blaze.
The three day qualifying period for the November 4th election is now one month away. Thus far the US Senate race between the incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy has been an extremely close one according to most polls. LSU Political Science Professor Dr. Wayne Parent says it's a toss up. In the race for the 6th Congressional District, Parent says even though a majority of the voters tend to vote Republican, former democratic governor Edwin Edwards will most certainly make the runoff.
A Shreveport researcher has a grant to help produce a potentially cancer preventing gum. Dr. Cherie-Ann Nathan, with the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the LSU System's LIFT2 Program. Nathan says she will use the funds to help produce a gum that contains curcumin . Curcumin is a food substance found in the spice turmeric that
reportedly has cancer-preventing qualities.
New research shows that stress can be passed on to another person as easily as the common cold. Michele Many, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the LSU School of Medicine says you shouldn’t let yourself be dragged down by someone else’s mood as it just spreads the stress.