The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education leaders offer a solution in the dispute with Governor Jindal over Common Core. BESE President Chas Roemer says they are proposing to use LEAP tests again this upcoming school year, but the exams will contain questions from the PARCC exam, which is associated with Common Core. Roemer says the PARCC questions used on standardized tests next year will be ones that Louisiana helped develop. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says BESE's proposal is undoable because contracts with the testing firms are not in place.
A recent survey asked Louisiana voters what issue is most important in deciding how you will vote for Congress this year. The survey, conducted by Harper Polling, shows the economy as the top issue for voters. UL- Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says that result is not surprising. Cross was surprised that Obamacare was listed as the number two concern for voters. He doesn't see Obamacare as a real issue in Louisiana by and large. The poll surveyed 506 likely voters. They also asked voters if things in the country are going in the right direction. 66-percent of respondents feel the country is moving on the wrong track.
The Pelican State is once again getting more recognition as a hotbed for entertainment as several Louisiana filmed series earned Emmy nominations including the HBO series "True Detective", which received 12. Top Chef, which had some New Orleans episodes, was nominated as was
The Big Easy based show "Treme" and "American Horror Story: Coven". We'll find out who wins on August 25th.
As we begin to close out the summer driving season, the price at the pump is expected to dramatically decline. The current statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.46, down two cents from a week ago. Gasbuddy-dot-com Senior Petroleum Analyst, Patrick DeHaan, says gas prices in Louisiana could go down as much as ten cents a gallon by August. He says you can attribute this to the cooling tensions in Iraq and Hurricane Arthur, which turned out to be no big deal.
A survey released by Harper Polling finds 88-percent of Louisiana residents say the nation's immigration laws need to be fixed. Dr. Sue Weishar, a migration specialist at Loyola University, says the current rules keep thousands of foreign born college grads with science, technology, engineering, and math skills from gaining employment. The poll also found 58-percent of the respondents support an immigration reform plan that would secure the borders and expand visas for high-skilled workers and allow young people brought to the US illegally by their parents an opportunity to earn citizenship.
St. Landry Parish judge, Donald Hebert, passed away Wednesday night due to heart failure. Hebert was one of four judges in 27th Judicial District, a one-parish judicial district that served St. Landry Parish. Judge Hebert was 65.
Wednesday, two different Union Pacific trains struck two different people in Acadiana, with one resulting in a death. In St. Landry Parish near LeBeau, an unidentified man was struck and killed, and in Basile, a 12 year-old on a bicycle was seriously injured when he was struck. The investigations on both accidents are continuing.
The famous Lasyone's (Lassie-On) Meat Pie Kitchen in Natchitoches will be featured on a new syndicated show which is scheduled to air this fall called "Flip My Food with Chef Jeff." The television crew was in town this week filming with the Meat Pie Kitchen owner, Chef Angela Lasyone. Lasyone says in each episode, Chef Jeff meets with people to show them how to "flip" their favorite dishes into dining experiences that are healthier. Lasyone says their episode of "Flip My Food with Chef Jeff" will air on the Food Network either in September or October.
New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick is in Shreveport this weekend and not everyone is happy about it. Vick will be hosting "The Michael Vick Comedy Explosion" at the Strand Theatre Saturday night. Local animal rights activists plan to protest the event. Local attorney Dan Keele says the protest is against the venue for hosting the show. But there are some who welcome Vick to Shreveport. A "Forgiveness Rally" will take place at the Strand before the comedy show.
As expected, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo in Alexandria yesterday to announce his candidacy for the 5th Congressional District seat. The 57 year old Mayo barely missed a runoff in last year’s special election for the 5th Congressional District seat. He’s hoping to be the only Democrat in the race this year, which would better position him for a runoff spot and possibly victory in the general election.
The 5th District’s current congressman, Vance McAllister is seeking re-election. The primary election is set for Nov. 4.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to ten years in federal prison yesterday on charges of bribery, money laundering, and fraud. Nagin was convicted in February for accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from businessmen who were seeking city contracts or favors from Nagin. Nagin was ordered to report to the federal prison in Oakdale by September 8.
A Provencal man was fired from his position as a Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's correctional officer after being arrested Tuesday on forcible rape and malfeasance in office charges. 28 year old Lindsey Hoke was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center after an investigation into a complaint filed on Friday by a female inmate. An investigation is continuing.
Governor Bobby Jindal and the Department of Education announce the state school voucher program awarded more than 8,800 student with vouchers to attend a school of their choice for the upcoming school year. That's nearly 3,800 more vouchers than were issued just two years ago. The vouchers were awarded for student attendance at 133 participating schools in 30 parishes across the state. The program received more than 13,000 applications for vouchers for the upcoming school year - up by 1,000 applications from last year.
With about a year and a half left to go in his second term, Governor Bobby Jindal's approval rating is at 32-percent. That's according to Public Policy Polling, which surveyed over six-hundred registered voters in Louisiana. Pollster Tom Jensen says Jindal continues to have the worst poll numbers of just about any elected official in the country. Jindal is considering a possible run for President in 2016. But Jensen says their poll of Louisiana voters shows he would not do well in a republican presidential primary in his home state.
Louisiana State Police say two people who worked at public works for Iberia Parish died in a tragic accident Tuesday afternoon. They say 48-year-old Ross Migues of Lydia and 57-year-old Jody Anthony of St. Martinville were putting up signs on the road when they were hit by their own work truck after it was hit by a car that went into the shoulder. This crash remains under investigation.
Louisiana State Police says a 4-year-old who stepped into the middle of Highway 165 in Monroe shortly before 10pm Tuesday night, was struck and killed by a vehicle. Trooper Albert Paxton says the investigation revealed 45-year-old Marvin Jones was traveling north on Hwy 165 when his vehicle ran over the little girl. He says troopers suspected impairment on part of the driver. Jones was arrested for 1st offense DWI. But, here’s where the story gets strange, Jones submitted to an alcohol breath test and was found to have a .06 blood alcohol content which is below the legal limit of .08. No word as to what a 4 year old was doing in the middle of a major highway at 10pm.
Police in Baton Rouge say a man and woman are under arrest for allegedly going gambling and leaving their children behind in the Bell of Baton Rouge Casino Hotel. Apparently the two were found roaming the halls and told police they'd seen their parents hours earlier. The suspects were discovered to have been in the casino and they were booked for child desertion.
The 19th annual Manning Passing Academy, which brings in athletes from across the country to Nicholls State University to work on their game, kicks off today. The Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce estimates the event has a nearly $2 million economic impact for their area. President and CEO Kathy Benoit says this is a tremendous event for the city. Not only does the camp bring in 1200 students and a staff of about 120 pro football athletes, but their families also come in for the 4 day event and they fill hotels and take big advantage of their time in Thibodaux.
State police report a Jena woman died Tuesday when she crashed and was ejected from her SUV. Killed was 47 year old Amy Webb. Troopers say Webb was heading south on LA 127 shortly after noon when accident took place. It’s believed she lost control and ran off the road. The vehicle overturned several times. Webb was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Alexandria City Council yesterday temporarily lifted a moratorium on new bingo halls. Lifting the moratorium means that new bingo sites can be established within a 120-day period by meeting regulations and permitting requirements. After that 120-day period, a moratorium would be put back into place. Passage of the resolution is expected to lead to Alexandria Country Day School moving its bingo operations from their current Lee St. location to the former Carroll Furniture store building on Memorial Drive.
Louisiana legislators will not try to override any of Governor Jindal's 12 vetoes from the most recent legislative session. Both the House and Senate voted to cancel the veto override session
scheduled to start this week. The legislature has never held this session since the current state constitution was enacted 40 years ago.
A recent poll shows most Louisiana voters still oppose same-sex marriage. Public Policy Polling surveyed 664 registered voters. The poll shows 55 percent of respondents are against same-sex marriage in Louisiana, while 32 percent are in support. But Pollster Tom Jensen says attitudes are changing. He says these numbers show a 12 point shift in favor of gay marriage compared to a year ago. The poll shows that 62 percent of Louisiana voters at least support civil unions for same-sex couples.
Louisiana is seeing its first human cases of the west Nile virus this year. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has discovered three cases so far, all in Livingston parish. State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard says the three cases were Asymptomatic, meaning they were not showing symptoms of the virus. The first cases of West Nile this year were discovered later than usual, which may lead to a lower number of infections, but Dr. Ratard still urges people to take simple steps to keep themselves safe from mosquitos.
The U. S. Department of Education says a new state law that will allow special education students a different route to a high school diploma may violate federal laws and jeopardize Louisiana’s public school aid. The measure, House Bill 1015, breezed through the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal last month. But it has triggered a split in the state’s special education community and criticism from national advocacy organizations, which have blasted the legislation and said it would pave the way for low standards for students with disabilities. Officials of the U.S. Department of Education, in a letter to state Superintendent of Education John White, made some of the same points as those raised by the national groups.
Based on results from a monthly survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business, small business owners are less optimistic about the direction of the economy as they were earlier this year. Dawn Starns, state director of the NFIB, says their June Optimism Index fell one-point-six point, ending a three month rise. She says the growing lack of confidence with the nation's economy could lead small business owners to put plans to expand and grow their workforce on hold.
Today is the day that former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is set to be sentenced in federal court on 20 criminal counts including bribery, money laundering and fraud. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino. Says It'll be up to US District Judge Helen Berrigan and given the gravity of the crimes Nagin is accused of, the 58-year-old could face as much as 20 years behind bars. Nagin was convicted of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from city contractors for various projects following Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana State Police detectives on Tuesday arrested an employee of the state Office of Motor Vehicles in Hammond on counts of felony theft and malfeasance in office. An audit conducted by OMV found that during a nearly two-year period the employee manipulated the agency’s computer databases to show that insurance fee payments were made, but she kept more than $15,000 of the money for herself.
A recent audit finds that 12 guns and 39 bulletproof vests which belong to the state Department of Public Safety disappeared between 2010 and 2014 and have not been located. First Assistant
Legislative Auditor Paul Pendas says these are sensitive items and the department should have better control over them so they don't go missing in the first place. He says they now are required to take quarterly inventory audits of items such as weapons, vests, and radios.
The Kenner Police Department says they got a 911 call Early Yesterday Morning from a child reporting their parents were fighting and the mom had shot the dad. Police report a male was discovered inside the home shot multiple times and he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The couple's children were inside the home at the time of the shooting and they range in age from 4 to 14. No charges have been filed yet in this case as authorities work to figure out what exactly happened that lead up to the shooting.
Once again Tiger Stadium is getting major props. In a poll conducted by Athlon Sports released Monday, Death Valley in Baton Rouge has been ranked as the best college football stadium -AND- the one with the best atmosphere. Tiger Stadium easily outpaced Ohio Stadium which came in at NO. 2.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office says a man is behind bars for allegedly shooting and killing his mother. Lt Tommy Carnline says they got the report of the shooting from the suspect himself,
52-year-old Rodney Thompson of Pitkin, Saturday morning. Seventy-four year old Gennieve (jah NEEV) Ashworth died Sunday at a local hospital. Thompson was taken into custody without incident. He has been booked on first degree murder charges in the death of his mother.
The Alexandria City Council will meet today to consider a resolution regarding the moratorium on new bingo halls. The proposed ordinance would lifting all Moratoria regarding Bingo Halls and expansion of gaming, plus regulating and franchising bingo halls and gaming, charitable or for profit, within the City limits. That meeting starts at 5 in the Council Chambers.
A state audit has found that nearly $1.3 million in federal food benefits were used in Louisiana after the legal recipients died. Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera says benefits for over 3,900
single-person households were spent after the participant's death. The Department of Children and Family Services, who administer the benefits, has entered into a formal agreement with the
Department of Health and Hospitals to receive more timely information about deaths in Louisiana. They hope this will reduce the time it takes to determine a recipient's death.
In another report.. The state wrongly paid $2.7 million for Medicaid health insurance for prisoners over a nearly two-year period. The questionable spending occurred in the Jindal administration’s new privatized Medicaid programs — Bayou Health and the Behavioral Health Partnership. Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office had earlier found DHH making Medicaid payments for dead people during the same period.
Governor Bobby Jindal and Enquero executives announced today that the company will open a new facility in Lafayette that will create 350 new jobs over the next three years. This will be the company's first outsourcing site outside of Silicon Valley. Louisiana Economic Development estimates this move will create an additional 350 plus new indirect jobs for the area.
A third man has been charged in connection to the case of a missing man whose remains were believed to have been discovered last week in Vernon Parish. 28 year old Matthew Andrews of New Llano, was arrested and was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail. Andrews was charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder, his bond has been set at $75,000. The charge is related to the case of James Stephens, a Rosepine man who has been missing since March 29.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, our state legislature has the lowest representation of women in the nation for the second year in a row. Of the 144 members of the state legislature, just 18 are women. Louisiana has just 12.5% women lawmakers and the national percentage of state legislators who are women is 24.2%.
The Houma Police Department has identified the man they believe was shot in the head by another man who was upset about being woken up at 3am. They say 29-year-old James Rube was banging on his ex-girlfriend's door and a neighbor, 58-year-old Ray Carlos, walked over and allegedly shot the victim in the head for waking him up. Carlos was charged with one count of 2nd Degree murder.
The suspect in last week's Bourbon Street shooting is refusing to be extradited from Mississippi. 20-year-old Trung Le of Belle Chasse was arrested in Gulfport Friday. Governor Bobby Jindal will have to issue a request for Le's transfer to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. Officials say that could take a few months.
Louisiana State Police have arrested an Opelousas man after a single vehicle accident north of Krotz Springs claimed the life of an Opelousas woman and hospitalized two others. Authorities say
28-year-old Nicholas Lafleur allegedly lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree. 54-year-old Judy Stelly of Opelousas was pronounced dead at a local hospital. They say impairment appears to be a factor in the crash. Lafleur is charged with DWI and vehicular homicide, among other charges.
State Police are searching for a vehicle that struck and killed a bicyclist in Lafayette Parish. The hit and run occurred on LA 92 at Mermentau (Mer-men-tow) Road just east of Milton Monday morning.
Master Trooper Brooks David (Dah-veed) says as of now, they have no information on who hit 30-year-old Lon Lomas of Youngsville.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested a Thibodaux woman who runs an animal rescue organization after her 3-year-old child and several dogs were found living in filthy conditions. Authorities say when deputies entered the home of Danielle Morgan they noticed a large amount of feces all over the floor. He says not only was the child walking in the feces, deputies also noticed scratches on the child that appeared to have been made by an animal. He says the toddler was released into the care of a family member.
The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections is working with the clothing store Men's Warehouse to provide professional attire to inmates through a clothing drive. DPSC spokesperson Pam Laborde says that its an important step in helping inmates reintegrate into the workforce. Laborde says if you have any business attire that you don't plan on wearing again, consider donating those items to Men's Warehouse stores throughout the state. The clothing drive ends July 31st. Laborde says that having at least one nice set of clothing can makes a big difference for the soon-to-be-released inmates.
At a public meeting yesterday in Leesville, the mode was somewhat somber. The message, The public must take action to help save Fort Polk from a 60 percent troop reduction that would devastate the Central Louisiana economy. Michael Reese, chairman of Fort Polk Progress, a nonprofit group that supports the Army base in Vernon Parish said the cuts would decimate the economy here in Central Louisiana. Jon Grafton executive director of the England Authority pointed out that this is as serious as it gets. Fort Polk possibly could lose about 6,500 personnel from its military population of close to 11,000. All involved yesterday emphasized that the public must write letters and send emails to show support for keeping Fort Polk’s troop strength at current levels.
Attorney Robert "Bob" Levy has ended his campaign for the Division G seat in the 9th Judicial District Court. Levy cited the recent candidacy announcement of incumbent Judge Harry Randow as the reason for his withdrawal.
The Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control issued 40 citations to Central Louisiana businesses since the agency’s Summer Crackdown operation began June 2. Dozens of businesses were cited, some more than once, for selling alcohol and tobacco to minors. Businesses doing so are subject to criminal and administrative charges and face fines and penalties that could result in suspension or revocation of their alcohol and tobacco permits. The complete list of the businesses can be found in today’s “Town Talk”.
Now, here’s an interesting twist in the battle between the BESE board and Governor Jindal over common core. The state education board announced earlier this week it’s plan to hire attorneys for advice on a possible lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal. Here’s the twist, The contract for special legal counsel appears to need the governor's approval. Under Louisiana law, state agencies, boards and commissions that hire outside lawyers must get written approval from the attorney general and the governor. Board President Chas Roemer said the two law firms selected for the work have agreed to represent the education board for free, which gives the Jindal administration no room to argue over payment structure.
A new poll on Louisiana's US Senate race shows it's a toss-up. Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy each had 47-percent of the vote in a potential run-off, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling. Pollster Tom Jensen gives a slight edge to Cassidy, because of Landrieu's poor approval ratings. In the Senate primary, the Public Policy Polling survey shows Landrieu with 44-percent of the vote, Cassidy at 27-percent, and other Republican challengers Rob Maness and Paul Hollis had single digit support.
Authorities say Jonesville man died after the ultralight aircraft he was piloting crashed near Wallace Lake. Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly said 56-year-old Richard Stafford was flying the aircraft on an apparent pleasure trip when he struck the top of a tree and crashed approximately five miles north of Jonesville The crash happened around 8 p.m. Monday evening.
Authorities say a 21-year-old victim in the Sunday morning Bourbon Street shooting has died. Brittany Thomas of Hammond succumbed to her injuries this afternoon. A total of 10 people were shot in the incident. Four victims remain hospitalized. The New Orleans Police Department has identified 20-year-old Justin Odom as a person of interest in the shooting.
Lafayette Police havemade an arrest in the case of one of their officers who was run over two times by a vehicle at Wal Mart during an apparent robbery overnight. Cpl Paul Mouton says during the investigation, the officer was hit once by a vehicle then run over again. He says the officer then held on to the car and was drug for about 100 feet. 19-year-old Alexis Pitre of Lafayette is charged with attempted 1st degree murder and felony hit and run.
The Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office wants everyone to be cautious when using fireworks during this Fourth of July holiday. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says they document about 17,000 injuries nationwide per year due to fireworks use. Having a fire extinguisher or bucket of water on hand to put out a potential fire is recommended. Browning says you should read all labels and follow all instructions when lighting fireworks. He says if a firework is designed to shoot up in the air, it's important that that firework shoots up. Browning says you should never consume alcohol while using fireworks.
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has ruled that Jimmy Graham should be franchised as a tight end, not a wide receiver. The decision gives Saints management leverage in negotiations over a long-term deal. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Graham can appeal the decision within 10 days.
NFL.com is out with a 2014 list of the Best College Football Stadiums and LSU's Death Valley made number two. Bryan Fischer says opponents can't argue that a trip to Baton Rouge for a game lives up to all the hype with "ridiculous" tailgating and an environment that gets louder than anywhere else when the Tigers need the noise. The Rose Bowl Stadium came in at No. 1 and Husky Stadium a No. 3.
A Slidell woman is facing criminal charges after she allegedly forgot that her five-week-old infant was locked inside a parked car at a strip mall. Authorities say an alert citizen saw the child and immediately called 9-1-1. The outside temperature was 90-degrees and temps inside the vehicle were probably over 130-degrees. It's believed the toddler was in the steamy car for more than 30 minutes. Officers say when they got to the child it was unresponsive, sweating profusely and had internal temperature at a deadly level. This story has a happy ending, the toddler has made a full recovery.
Lake Charles PD says a man is still behind bars for allegedly stealing a Mermentau Police Car. They say 38-year-old Russel Shane was driving the stolen vehicle down I-10 with it's lights and sirens going and refused to stop. He was eventually detained and booked into the Calcasieu Parish Jail for illegal possession of stolen things.
The 2014 Hurricane Season’s first tropical depression has formed off of Florida's Atlantic coast. The storm is projected to travel up the Atlantic coast of the United States and poses no threat to
the Gulf of Mexico.
He says reports about his retirement are greatly exaggerated! Yesterday 9th Judicial District Judge Harry Randow announced he will be running for re-election. Just one problem, the distinguished judge will soon be 71. Retirement age for judges in Louisiana is 70. The judge is anticipating voters in the state will approve a constitutional amendment, on the ballot this fall, that would lift that age restriction, thus allowing him to continue serving. The downside, If the proposed constitutional amendment fails, Randow would not be able to take office even if he wins re-election.
Louisiana’s top School Board on Tuesday voted 6-3 to hire special legal counsel in its bid to implement Common Core tests that Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes. But the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education stopped short of authorizing any legal action for now, in part because some panel members said they do not want to sue the governor. In addition, BESE voted without objection to order talks between state Superintendent of Education John White and Jindal’s office in a bid to resolve the dispute. White is then supposed to provide an update on any progress in the standoff by July 18.
The Jindal administration has repaid a $70 million state treasury loan that was needed to keep public colleges and universities operating. However, state Treasurer John Kennedy raised concerns Tuesday about where the administration found the money to repay the borrowing. He said the administration grabbed dollars from another fiscal year. Kennedy also said the 2013-2014 fiscal year ended this week with a nearly $63 million deficit.
The Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a state law that forbids felons from possessing firearms, ruling that lawmakers did not intend to invalidate the state’s weapons laws when they proposed a constitutional amendment declaring gun ownership a fundamental right. Justice Jeff Hughes wrote in a unanimous opinion that the state’s ban on the possession of firearms by convicted felons “is not affected” by the constitutional language approved by voters in 2012.
The Fourth of July is just around the corner. With the holiday falling on Friday, it makes a three-day holiday weekend for a lot of people which means many will be traveling. American Automobile Association spokesman Don Redman says even with higher gas prices, more people are expected to hit the road. He says approximately 41-million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday.
Indicted state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Walter Lee is now facing state ethics charges. The state Board of Ethics alleged in documents made public Tuesday that Lee violated three state conflict of interest laws. The charges involve incidents of Lee’s alleged use of his position as DeSoto Parish schools superintendent for personal gain. Lee was indicted in January by a DeSoto Parish grand jury on felony theft, public contract fraud and malfeasance in office during his tenure as schools chief. He has pled not guilty.
Louisiana has fewer automobile deaths related to impaired driving, but speeding related deaths are up seven percent according to a new study by the governors highway safety administration. Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Administration, Lt. Col. John Leblanc, says across the country, speeding is a factor in nearly one third of highway deaths, but in Louisiana the number is closer to 50%.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 19-year-old woman found lying unconscious and nonresponsive on the side of the road yesterday. Authorities say the circumstances surrounding the woman's death are suspicious and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. The incident is being treated as a homicide.
Two parents are under arrest in Livingston Parish for child cruelty and endangerment and other charges connected with them leaving their infant locked in a hot car at a Walmart Parking lot in Walker. The two walmartians were also arrested on drug possession charges.
The State Fire Marshal's office says they are treating the tragic passing of Captain Robert Thomas, who worked with Bienville Fire District 7, as a Line of Duty Death. The 52-year-old crashed and then
was crushed by his own fire truck on the way back from a structure blaze Monday night. Browning says this is the first Line of Duty firefighter death we've had in Louisiana over the past year and a half.
Following the recent New Orleans French Quarter shootings, today Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked Governor Bobby Jindal to send 100 state troopers to the city to stay on what he calls a permanent basis. He called the shootings infuriating.
US Representative Vance McAllister will seek re-election, despite initially saying he would not seek another term. McAllister took office last November after a special election, but the politician who ran on a faith and family campaign, was involved in a kissing scandal earlier this year. The Republican from Ouachita Parish admits he made a mistake, but that mistake made him a stronger person and a better Congressman. He says his wife has encouraged him to run for re-election. Shortly after McAllister’s announcement yesterday, Governor Bobby Jindal has released a statement calling McAllister's decision to seek re-election "disappointing".
The city of Alexandria’s water conservation order has been rescinded, and the city’s water system has returned to normal following repairs to a massive water main that burst over the weekend.
State police report an Oberlin woman was killed Sunday night in a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 26 east of Oberlin. Troopers say 72-year-old Emily Adams lost control of her vehicle, crossed the center line and crashed into a ditch. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
An Alexandria teen is in hot water after being charged with several armed robberies. 17 year old Dontreal Hampton is in the Rapides Parish Detention Center, his bond set at $300,000. Hampton was arrested by APD officers over the weekend and charged in connection with three robberies in the city.
She was last seen in the front yard of her Natchitoches home on Friday evening. Now authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating 17 year old Bianca Chew. She was last seen wearing a blue and white shirt with pink tight-legged jeans and pink house slippers. Anyone with any information concerning her whereabouts is asked to contact the Natchitoches Police Department.
The National Hurricane Center reports, Tropical Depression 1 has formed off the Florida east coast, about 105 miles east southeast of Cape Canaveral, and could strengthen to become Tropical Storm Arthur on today as it moves northward along Florida's east coast. At this point, the storm is no threat to the gulf.
US Senatorial candidate Col. Rob Maness begins a 50 Town Hall series today in Houma. Maness will be holding Town Hall meetings across the state during his campaign. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Maness is starting to establish himself as a viable candidate in this race, particularly in fundraising. The Maness campaign said last week that they have now raised over one-million dollars for his election bid. Maness has been endorsed in this race by former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, The Tea Party Express, and The Tea Party Leadership Fund, among others.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education holds a special meeting today where it's likely the state's top school board will discuss taking Governor Jindal to court for his attempt to remove the Common Core education standards out of public schools. An agenda item for today's meeting calls for BESE to consider hiring special legal counsel.
Interest in soccer seems to be at an all-time high as Team USA enters knockout round of the 2014 World Cup taking on Belgium today. Baton Rouge American Outlaws President Mark Jones says the interest has surpassed his expectations. He thinks interest in the game has finally "trickled up" from kids to adults. The American Outlaws is the unofficial supporters club for United States Soccer with over 150 chapters nationwide. In addition to Baton Rouge, Outlaws chapters have also sprouted up in New Orleans, Lafayette, and Covington, with a Shreveport chapter coming soon.
Catahoula Parish investigators are reportedly looking into a case in which human remains were discovered in a cornfield about 5 miles north of Sicily Island. The report indicates two people have been arrested in connection with the case including 30-year-old Leah Marie Pontiff on obstruction of justice and 36-year-old Daniel White on second-degree kidnapping. The victim has not been identified and the case remains under investigation.
The New Orleans Police Department now says the Sunday morning Bourbon Street shooting has injured 10 people, six women and four men. Five victims remain hospitalized, four in fair condition, one in critical condition. NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas says they are close to getting to the bottom of this investigation. But, he is still asking for the public’s help with the case. Serpas says the shootout apparently stemmed from two young men who had gotten into an argument early Sunday morning. Neither of them are the victims.
The City of Alexandria remains under a conserve water order following the blowout of a 42” water line on Saturday. The line was quickly repaired by the utility department, however there was a 24 hour delay before the water from that main was allowed to flow in to the main city system. The fear is a drop in the water level and pressure could force a boil advisory to be issued. So far so good, no such advisories have been posted. However, residents who utilize the Poland and Latanier water systems are under a boil advisory til further notice. Both water system receive part of their water supply from Alexandria. The city was forced to shut off their tap Saturday.
5th district congressman Vance McAllister has scheduled a press conference for this morning during which many expect he’ll recant his declaration from April and announce he will seek re-election this fall. Entering just the eighth month of his first year in Congress, the Swartz Republican businessman has had an eventful rookie season. In November 2013 he assumed the final year of the two-year congressional term of Rodney Alexander, who abruptly announced his resignation in August 2013.
A special meeting of BESE is set to take place on Tuesday and we could find out then whether the state's top school board will seek legal action against Governor Jindal's attempt to remove the Common Core education standards out of Louisiana. There is an agenda item that calls for "consideration of the potential retention of special legal counsel."
Synthetic marijuana is illegal to use in Louisiana. But, it’s becoming the new drug of choice, exceeding cocaine, because many users think it’s a safe, modified version of marijuana. It’s not, say law enforcement and health officials. Calls to the Louisiana Poison Control Center have increased in recent months. The Southeast Veterans Health Care Center reported a disturbing escalation of calls from young veterans experiencing psychotic episodes after use.
New Orleans Police report nine people were wounded in gunfire on Bourbon Street early Sunday. Two of them were listed in critical condition after the shooting around 2:45 a.m just around the corner from Pat O'Brien's and Preservation Hall. The shooting victims were taken to nearby hospitals, and the NOPD continued to gather details. No arrests had been made.
The National Hurricane Center reports A low-pressure system meandering south along Florida's east coast could form a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon. The system is becoming better developed as it takes on a more southwestern course. Forecasters put the odds of it developing into a tropical storm at 60 percent by Tuesday.
State lawmakers held a special meeting at the capitol Friday to discuss problems with federal V-A hospitals and clinics. Veterans are having trouble getting access to treatment at V-A facilities
nationwide. State Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David LaCerte says they've sent complaints to the federal V-A and its inspector general for years. Reports have surfaced that veterans are facing long wait times and other lapses in care. LaCerte says he's even had trouble making an appointment. He says it will be up to the federal government to improve health care for its veterans, but he urged state lawmakers to apply pressure to get something done.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission won a federal grant of over six- million-dollars to train workers in high-demand occupations and help the cost of worker training. The grant focuses on industries that are driving employment demand in South Louisiana. LWC estimates 1,200 people living in South Louisiana will qualify for a combination of services under the grant.
An Avoyelles Parish judge has approved a $5.9 million settlement against Acadian Ambulance.
A hearing on a proposed settlement in the class-action lawsuit against Lafayette-based company happened Friday. 440 Louisiana residents have filed claims that they were overcharged by Acadian Ambulance for services over the last two decades. Claim reimbursements should be distributed later this year.
A former St. Martin Parish Sheriff's deputy has been charged in the shooting death of her husband in Breaux Bridge. A grand jury charged Chrystal Alexander with second degree murder in the December death of 34-year-old Kendall Alexander. Chrystal Alexander was a lieutenant in the Sheriff's Office.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of a restricted-use pesticide to help combat tawny crazy ants in Louisiana. Termidor SC was given an emergency exemption for use against the pests. LSU entomologist Dennis Ring says tawny crazy ants grow to huge populations with multiple nests. Ring says they believe this pesticide will reduce the number of the ants. Ring says the tawny crazy ant problem covers 18 parishes, so far.
Baton Rouge Congressman and US Senate candidate Bill Cassidy touted the benefits of increasing domestic energy production while delivering the Weekly Republican address. Cassidy says a common sense solution to creating jobs and lowering energy costs is the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. President Obama and democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid oppose
the keystone pipeline. A Cassidy victory this fall could help the GOP take control of the Senate. And the Baton Rouge republican made it known in his address that it’s time to retire Reid as the leader of the Senate. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who Cassidy is challenging this fall, also supports the Keystone Pipeline and has a bill in the Senate that would green light the construction of the pipeline.
A 28-year-old Baton Rouge man has been found guilty of killing his unborn child when he shot his pregnant wife in 2012. A jury found Frank Atkins guilty of second degree murder and attempted murder. He faces life in prison.
A four year-old boy died over the weekend in a backyard swimming pool. Caddo Parish authorities responded to a home to find the child unresponsive. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The incident occurred at a home while a family gathering was taking place.
Fort Polk is one of 30 army bases around the country in jeopardy of losing troops as the Army looks to cut 40-thousand troops from its active duty force. Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese there's the potential the military base in Vernon Parish could lose 6,500 troops. The Army also considered a large troop reduction at Fort Polk last year, but because of a big lobbying effort from local community and business leaders the base only lost 250 troops. Reese says a similar organized response will be needed again this year. Reese says the Army is now taking public comment on why Fort Polk and other bases should not be subjected to a reduction of troops.
Roosevelt Johnson is running for Alexandria city councilman in District 2. Johnson has previously served on the council for several years, but he does not currently hold a seat. Johnson is known for his door-to-door campaigning, and he says voters can expect the same during the upcoming election. Incumbent Councilwoman Mitzi Lasalle has not announced her plans for this election which takes place in November.
The Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs will be holding a meeting today to discuss issues their members and constituents are having accessing healthcare facilities at the VA medical centers. New Orleans Rep. Nick Larusso is the chairman of the committee. He says they hope to hear from any of their vets who are having problems. Larusso says since VA healthcare is regulated by the federal government, they hope to apply some pressure with expressing issues concerning our veterans and members of our armed forces. Larusso says a change needs to be made with the system because the one in place now is not working.
The Jindal Administration says there shouldn't be any delays in scoring of standardized tests retaken this summer by public school students. Superintendent of Education John White said in a memo that summer retests cannot be scored right now because of Governor Jindal's suspension of the testing contract. The administration says they have notified the testing contractor that the state will pay for test scoring without disruption.
The Department of Education announces that for the second straight year the number of high school students earning a score of 18 or higher on the ACT has increased. 23,560 students in the class of 2014 posted a college-going score, which is an increase of 1,472 students from 2013. They say this will lead to more graduates entering college without having to take remedial courses.
Louisiana State Police and other local law enforcement agencies say, due to about a 30% increase in fatalities, ther are enforcing a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to people who don’t wear their seat belts. Summer Heat 2014 is an enforcement effort targeting unrestrained drivers and passengers, reckless drivers and impaired drivers and it’s underway now.
Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford was booked into the Caddo Parish Correctional Center today on five counts of malfeasance in office, handed down by a Caddo Parish grand jury, They were looking at the fire department's response into allegations of abuse by firefighters involving a mentally disabled man. The chief denies the allegations that he covered up in the investigation.
It's official, the green light has been given for a ride-share program to begin in Baton Rouge. It allows companies like Uber (oober) to provide a cab like service to those individuals seeking a ride. New Orleans is also looking into whether they should allow Uber to conduct business there.
U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman threw a curveball Wednesday at the lawyers arguing both sides of a case over gay marriage in Louisiana, deciding he will rule not only on whether same-sex marriages performed in other states should be recognized in Louisiana, but also on whether gay and lesbian couples should be able to wed in the state. The case before Feldman includes six couples, all of whom argue that Louisiana should recognize marriages performed elsewhere. The judge has not indicated when he will rule.
Judge Dee Drell saying yesterday Attorney Craig Davidson, can proceed in state court on the issue of whether there is a lien through which Davidson could collect a $1.3 million judgment against the city of Alexandria. The Baton Rouge attorney claims he is owed attorney fees from the city for services rendered in it’s lawsuit against Cleco. That contract with the city was later ruled void. Although Judge Drell was doubtful about whether the lien can “survive the demise” of an unenforceable contract, he said that matter could be heard in state court. A hearing is set for Friday before 9th District Judge Harry Randow on the lien issue.
Two alleged pimps were arrested in Alexandria last week during an FBI nationwide prostitution sting targeting commercial child sex trafficking. 35 year old Peter Metoyer of Alexandria and 40 year old Gregory Harris of Lafayette were charged with promoting prostitution and drug charges. Both remain in jail. Five adult prostitutes were issued citations and later were released in Alexandria.
Governor Bobby Jindal has signed legislation that would allow the state to take casino winnings from someone who owes debts like child support and taxes. The Department of Children and Family Services can already confiscate casino and lottery winnings for child support payments, but this law would take money for ANY debt owed to the state.
Louisiana State Police say they have made two more arrests in the case of the Vermillion Parish Sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed on Monday. Spokesman Steven Hammons says 51 year-old deputy and father of 2 Allen Barres was murdered while he was mowing his lawn. The first two men arrested are charged with first-degree murder, and the suspects arrested just today are charged with accessory after the fact. involving first degree murder.
Tuition won’t be rising at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Southern’s Law Center or Southern University at Shreveport this fall, but that’s because those schools didn’t meet the student success goals required to hike costs. Universities and community colleges that meet their yearly goals can increase tuition by up to 10 percent. Those who don’t can’t, and they lose 15 percent of their overall state funding. Last year, all of the colleges and universities met the performance targets. The three Southern University System colleges were the only three that failed to pass muster this year.
Summer is here, school is out and families are heading to the beach, where the motto is “come on in, the water’s fine.” Well, most of the time, anyway. The Natural Resource Defense Council’s 24th annual beach water quality report ranks Louisiana among the states with some of the highest percentage of water samples that exceed federal recommendations for beach swim advisories.
Louisiana was joined at the bottom of this list by Ohio, Alaska, Mississippi and Maine.
A Jefferson Parish man is free after spending 17 years in a state prison for a crime he did not commit. Nathan Brown was convicted in 1997 in the attempted aggravated rape of a woman who was returning to her Metairie apartment late at night. Innocence Project Attorney Vanessa Potkin says D-N-A evidence exonerated the 40-year-old father of two. Potkin says Brown consistently maintained his innocence since he was first arrested and also took the stand in his own defense. Brown was finally released from prison Tuesday he's ready for life as a free man
Researchers predict the annual low-oxygen "dead zone" that forms off the coast of Louisiana every summer will be average size this summer, which means roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. Executive Director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Nancy Rabalais,
they anticipate the "dead zone" will cover between 46-hundred and 58-hundred square miles this year. A goal has been set to reduce the annual size of the "dead zone" to less than 1,930
A lawsuit has reportedly been filed to strike down the law allowing Tony the Tiger to remain in his enclosure at a truck stop in Grosse Tete. Former state Representative Warren Triche Jr. and two other Louisiana residents are suing the state, Tiger Truck Stop, and its owner, Michael Sandlin, saying the law is unconstitutional.
An investigation in underway in the shooting death of an off-duty Vermillion Parish Sheriff's deputy. Allen Barres was gunned down after he reported suspicious activity by suspects while mowing his
lawn. Louisiana State Police Spokesman Stephen Hammons says, after they allegedly shot Barres, they fled in his vehicle, which showed up in South Abbeville. Police arrested 20 year-old Quintalyn Richard and 19 year-old Baylon Taylor.
A Jennings man has been arrested for shooting a police officer. Jennings Two police officers responded to a disturbance just before noon Monday, and Sargeant Ricky Benoit was shot in the neck by 30 year-old George D. Lowdins who was hiding from view. He was apprehended by the other officer, and charged with attempted first degree murder of a police officer. Benoit is in serious but stable condition.
Despite a ruling from a Baton Rouge judge, the state will continue with its plans to close the Huey P Long Medical Center in Pineville. Judge Robert Downing says the Senate violated the open meetings law when the Health and Welfare panel heard legislation authorizing the hospital's closure. The hospital is in the district of state Senator Rick Gallot. Gallot opposes the closure of the hospital, and knew at that time, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee did not give enough advanced notice to allow for public comment, when they considered the issue. But, the bottom line, patients who used the Huey P Long Medical Center will use two nearby private hospitals. The Jindal administration says the privatization deal will lead to better health care, but Gallot has some concerns. He feels the Jindal administration rushed the closure of HPL.
Governor Bobby Jindal has signed legislation that would require a doctor, in most cases, to leave a brain dead pregnant woman on life support until her baby is born. New Orleans Representative Austin Badon says it's their duty as lawmakers to do everything possible to protect human life which is currently in state statute. Opponents to the measure say this takes away the rights of the family and the husband in making end of life decisions. The new law goes into effect immediately.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed the bill that would require additional financial accountability and legislative over sight of state contracts. The bill would have
required that all state dollar contracts $40,000 or more get approval from lawmakers.
A tragic accident in Ascension Parish has claimed the lives of two children and injured three adults after an SUV crashed into a group of people fishing near Bayou Manchac. State Trooper Jared Sandifer says the two children, ages six and nine, were pronounced dead at the scene. The three adults, all men, were transported to a local hospital with minor to moderate injuries. Authorities say impairment doesn't appear to be a factor in the accident but the investigation is ongoing.
Today a federal judge will hear arguments whether Louisiana should recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The issue will come down to how US District Judge Martin Feldman interprets the Supreme Court's decision in the US v Windsor case. A ruling for Louisiana to recognize same-sex marriages would give gay married couples numerous benefits not afforded to them currently, like issues with inheritance laws, income taxes, retirement benefits, health insurance, and more. Whatever way Feldman decides to rule on this issue, this case is most likely headed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
A former managing auditor for the state Department of Children and Family Services told a federal judge Tuesday that he used his state credit card to rent hotel suites for Mardi Gras in New Orleans and also was reimbursed more than $27,000 for official travel that never occurred. 33 year old Corey Polk is the third ex-DCFS auditor to plead guilty to federal program fraud since late May.
Two months ago ship builder Boyse Bollinger endorsed US Senator Mary Landrieu in a commercial. Today the lawmaker from Louisiana announced she included $318 million for new vessels that would be built at Bollinger in a bill that funds the Dept. of Homeland security. LSU Political Science Prof. Robert Hogan says this is good and bad for her. Hogan says this is why incumbents have somewhat of an advantage during campaigns because they can show their voters they have the power to bring money to the state. However he feels her opponents will point out that she had a hand in moving cash to a major supporter.
Cleco Corp. confirmed Monday that more than one company has offered to acquire the Pineville-based utility. Cleco subsidiary Cleco Power, a regulated electric utility, serves about 284,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. Cleco said it has hired Goldman Sachs & Co. and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. as its financial advisers to help evaluate any proposals. Cleco said there is no guarantee the review will result in a merger or business combination. Also, Cleco does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the review unless its board of directors approves a specific deal or a course of action that requires disclosure.
A Baton Rouge judge says lawmakers didn’t follow the Louisiana Constitution in authorizing Gov. Bobby Jindal to close the LSU-run public hospital in Pineville. But the decision doesn’t require the Jindal administration to slow plans to shutter the Huey P. Long Medical Center within a week. Judge Robert Downing ruled Monday that the Senate violated the open meetings law when the legislation was heard by its health care committee. He granted a preliminary injunction request sought by two hospital closure opponents. However, Downing also suspended that judgment, effectively allowing the hospital closure plans to continue, pending an appeal of his decision, which heads directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Senate intends to appeal.
A Winsboro mother of 5 has been arrested for throwing her 20 month old baby from a moving car, reportedly to get the attention from the father. Twenty-three year old Lasasha Allen is facing attempted second-degree murder charges. She retrieved the seriously injured baby, but delayed hospital treatment. The baby was airlifted to Shreveport, where it’s in serious condition. The woman’s 5 other children were taken into the care of child services.
The National Council on Teacher Quality has ranked Northwestern State and LSU in the top ten nationally for all elementary teacher preparation programs. Louisiana Board of Regents Associate Commissioner for Teacher and Leader Initiatives, Jeanne Burns, says Louisiana was one of the first states to recognize the need to create a more rigorous teacher certification structure and a more rigorous teacher preparation approval process. The rankings are based on information collected from approximately 1,600 programs nationwide. 64% of Louisiana's elementary teacher preparation programs met fully with the NCTQ standard. The national average is 16%.
Auditions for the 14th season of American Idol will be held in judge Harry Connick Jr's home city of New Orleans all day tomorrow. You can try out to be a contestant on the reality talent show at the UNO Lakefront Arena starting at 7am Wednesday morning. Connick Jr. says the producers will be looking for true performers. Tomorrow is the very first round of auditions and producers say you'll
get about 30 seconds to sing and will be told right away if you get to sing for the celebrity judges
Poverty Point State Historic Site in West Carroll Parish has been named a World Heritage Site by a United Nations agency. The designation was granted Sunday by the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization during a meeting in Qatar. Poverty Point is now one of 20 sites that were added worldwide in an ongoing meeting. Poverty Point is a 400-acre complex of carefully engineered mounds and ridges more than 3000 years old.
A Jennings Police Officer is in the hospital after being shot in the neck yesterday. Ricky Benoit is listed in stable condition at a Lafayette hospital. A suspect is in custody, but authorities are
not ready to release the name at this time.
A Westlake man has been charged with his fifth DWI after a crash that occurred near Kinder. Thirty-seven year-old Bent Hetzler was charged with DWI 5th offense, tampering with an interlock device, no seatbelt, texting while driving, and child endangerment when troopers discovered an 8 year-old in the vehicle with him.
Parents who lose their temper and strike a referee at their child’s Little League game now will face larger fines and more time behind bars in Louisiana. House Bill 227 was one of 56 bills that Gov. Bobby Jindal announced signing Monday.
Kenner Police say a road rage incident on I-10, which began with a cigarette butt being thrown from a car window and hitting a pickup truck, lead to a child being shot. Authorities say after a chase
with the truck, David Sean Jackson allegedly pulled a gun and fired three shots at the pickup. A 10-year-old passenger in the truck suffered a graze wound to the and required surgery. Jackson faces attempted murder and other charges.
Three juveniles have been recovered in a Louisiana law enforcement operation targeting child sex trafficking. Enforcement actions took place in all major cities across the state, except Lafayette. It's also reported that sixteen pimps and 75 prostitutes were arrested, police seized cash, several vehicles, cell phones and a cross section of narcotics.
The Jackson Parish Sheriff's office is investigating an apparent murder-suicide after they say the bodies of a man and woman were found in their home Saturday morning. They say a child called 911 after hearing gunshots in the home. Investigators found 50-year-old James Smith and 32-year-old Amanda Henderson dead from gunshot wounds to the head. They believe Smith shot Henderson then killed himself. Henderson's three children were taken in by relatives in Ouachita Parish.
Two people from Prairieville have been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after reportedly hosing down a dog and continuously beating it with a baseball bat. The dog died from its injuries. 31-year-old Jamari Jackson and his girlfriend, 25-year-old Sammi Corely, were booked into the Ascension Parish Jail where they were released on bond.
Kickoff time for LSU's Thanksgiving night game against Texas A&M has been set for 6:30PM in College Station. This will be LSU's first Thanksgiving Day game since 1973 according to the athletic department.
A very close call this weekend for Chamber President Deborah Randolph and former mayor Ned Randolph as they were traveling to Baton Rouge on highway 71. A collision between an SUV and a sedan in the oncoming lane tossed the sedan across the roadway and caused it to land on the hood of the Randolph’s car. Both Ned and Deborah received minor injuries, but miraculously survived, as did the drivers of the other vehicles.
Summer officially arrived over the weekend. State climatologist Barry Keim says the climate prediction center is calling for hotter and dryer conditions for Louisiana this summer. An El Niño weather condition could form a little later than originally expected this summer but will likely still be in time to help put a dampening effect on tropical storm development.
Governor Bobby Jindal has signed the state's $24.6 billion dollar operating budget. In the end, out of all of the expenditures approved by lawmakers, he only vetoed eight. The new fiscal year begins on the first of July.
Some are wondering if our Governor is advocating a coup. Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday night accused President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for “a hostile takeover” of the nation’s capital. Jindal spoke at the annual conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by longtime Christian activist Ralph Reed. Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders attended the three-day gathering. Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical voters continue to play a critical role in GOP politics.
According to a new survey, Former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards leads a poll for the US House of Representatives open primary in November, but he trails in a head-to-head against two potential rivals in a runoff. The poll by Glascock Group indicated Edwards would lead in the open primary with the support of 32 percent of those questioned, but either Republican Paul Dietzel or Republican State Senator Dan Claitor could win in a possible runoff match-up according to the report.
As we approach the heart of the summer driving season, prices at the gas pump are going up. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Louisiana has risen nearly ten cents in the past week. AAA fuel analyst Mike Right says gas prices typically begin to lower after Memorial Day and remain steady throughout the summer. But, Right says anxiety over what's going on in the middle east is costing the price of energy goes up. The statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Louisiana is about $3.50. It appears we will be stuck paying above average gas prices through the summer.
According to a new state-by-state scorecard released by AARP, Louisiana ranks 37th in the nation when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents. Andrew Muhl, director of advocacy for AARP Louisiana, says the bottom line is that family caregivers need more help. Muhl says most Louisianians want to live independently at home as they age, most with the help of unpaid family caregivers. He says more needs to be done to help older residents achieve that goal.
Tony the Tiger can stay. Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation on Friday that provides an exception for the live exotic animal who lives at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, vowed to challenge the new law in court.
Louisiana State Police says you can now apply online for a concealed handgun permit. Sgt. Nick Manale says citizens can now utilize the a special website that's been set up to submit a CCP online application. He says any paperwork involved can be scanned and emailed to LSP but this should make things a lot easier. The Louisiana Concealed Handgun Permit website can be found at chp-web.dps.louisiana.gov.
The Lafayette Police Department says the man who led police on a high speed chase on I-10 this week with a missing 16-year-old girl from Florida has been released from the hospital and booked into jail. They say 41-year-old Steven P Myers is charged with attempted first degree murder. The victim, Ashley Lyon, apparently suffered 10 stab wounds and remains in serious but stable condition at a Lafayette hospital.
WDSU in New Orleans is reporting that friends, family members and even some governmental employees have written letters to U.S. Distrcit Judge Ginger Berrigan, asking for leniency for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in the sentencing for bribe-taking and receiving
kick-backs. Sentencing is scheduled for July 9th.
As part of the fight to stop child abuse and child trafficking, Governor Bobby Jindal has signed SB 586 into law that creates the new crime of "re-homing" children. That would involve an transaction
or action that an individual might do to to avoid or divest their parental reponsibilty by placing the child in the home of a non-relative without court approval. For people who actually sell children, the Governor says that will be prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered two bodies Sunday evening on the Upper Amite River near Watson and deputies said the two likely drowned while tubing with a group of friends.
The two victims were 26 year old Joshua Brantley of Hammond, and 26 year old Philip White of Marrero. Authorities say alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be a factor in the incident.
Deputies began a search at about 2 p.m. Sunday following reports of two people missing who had been tubing on the river with about 10 other friends
A woman who argued with her boyfriend late Saturday was stabbed to death on Grand Isle beach in front of her year-old daughter. Grand Isle Police and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies captured 28 year old Randy Paul Marcel of Chauvin, after he ran from scene of the stabbing. Marcel and the victim had been dating for about five years.
It’s happened again, Louisiana College has been placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS cited issues related to trustee board governance, institutional integrity, personnel policies and audit findings that pertain to some financial control matters and student financial aid. LC interim President Argile Smith says Fortunately, the issues don’t bring into question in any way the excellent classroom work being done by our professors and students. The issues have to do with administrative areas. Smith said he’ll work with key administrators at LC on preparation of a “monitoring report” before a SACS team visits the campus in April 2015.
State Civil Service director Shannon Templet has approved an employee layoff plan associated with the closure of LSU’s hospital in Pineville. The plan involves abolition of 123 positions at Huey P. Long Medical Center which is scheduled to close June 30. The hospital is the third LSU facility to close as a result of a Jindal administration plan to move public hospital care into private control.
The Pineville based Cleco Power's customers will start to see a reduction in their electricity bills and get a refund because a new rate plan was approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The one time refund will mean an average of $46 for an average residential customer and should show up on September bills.
TheDeal.com is reporting that Pineville-based utility Cleco Corp. is exploring the possibility of a sale to a Canadian Corporation. Citing unnamed sources, the website dedicated to news on mergers and acquisitions reported Cleco has retained Goldman Sachs to advise on a sale. Cleco received an unsolicited bid from a Canadian group called Borealis Infrastructure. Cleco has had no comment so far on the report. However, Cleco’s stock price jumped more than 6 percent Thursday to an all-time high of more than $56.
US House Republicans elected Jefferson Congressman Steve Scalise to be the new Majority Whip, the number 3 position in the leadership. He defeated Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois and Marline Stutzman of Indiana. Scalise is the first Congressman from Louisiana to hold such a high position since the early 70s.
According to a new report from the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana once again leads the nation in gun-related deaths. The report states that Louisiana's gun-related death rate nearly doubles the US average. The report used data from 2011, the most recent year such data is available. Louisiana is followed by Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana on the list. Executive Director Josh Sugarmann says weak gun laws and high gun ownership rates are contributing factors for the top 5 states. The figures show that nearly 19 out of every 100,000 Louisiana citizens died by gunfire in 2011.
A quick thinking clerk at Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete blew the whistle on a teenager abduction by a registered sex offender. The employee called 911 after recalling a TV story about a 16-year-old girl from Florida who has been missing since last week. Once deputies spotted the suspect, forty-one year-old Steven Patrick Myers fled the scene and led them on a chase to Lafayette, where he crashed his vehicle and stabbed his victim, and apparently stabbed himself. Sixteen year-old Ashley Lyon is in the hospital in serious condition but stable condition.
The Wednesday debate between Governor Bobby Jindal and the Department of Education over Common Core has left many people in a state of confusion. So what's next? Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says he feels the DOE and BESE will stand firm
and continue with the implementation of the national academic standards. Even though Jindal announced he's working toward removing Common Core from Louisiana, Erwin doesn't see a way the governor would legally be able to do that. Erwin says the education system in Louisiana now has no active contract to buy standardized tests for next year.
Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation that will create the WISE fund, which is a $40 million pool of money for colleges and universities linked to research and workforce development. LSU
System President and Chancellor Dr. F King Alexander sys with so many high tech jobs coming to Louisiana, this money will be put to good use. The WISE fund gives every public college or university in the state a chance to collect a share of this money based on how many graduates they produce in high-demand fields like computer science and engineering.
Louisiana was once again featured on "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. The show sent correspondent Al Madrigal to the Bayou State for a segment that aired last night entitled "Chicken boxing vs. cockfighting". The piece featured interviews with New Orleans Senator JP Morrell and Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory. It can be viewed online at The Daily Show dot com.
In case you haven’t heard, the OK Allen bridge has a new name and that announcement has several local and state officials upset. It appears, in the waning hours of the past legislative session, the house approved a conference committee report for HB 1140. Inserted into the report, by State Rep. Herbert Dixon, was language to change the name of the O.K. Allen Bridge spanning the Red River in Alexandria to the Curtis-Coleman Bridge. With the exception of Dixon, this was done without the knowledge of all Central Louisiana Legislators. Several are now asking the governor to veto the bill.
Chief Judge Harry Randow of the 9th Judicial District says he will qualify to run in November 4th election despite a 70-year-old cap on age. Randow notes there will be a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot, which lifts that ban. That would then permit him to be elected and take office January 1st. Several candidates have already announced for that seat. Campaign Insiders report several of those candidates my drop out of the race. Randow is chief judge of the district.
Until recently, he was a major supporter, But yesterday Governor Jindal took steps to remove Louisiana from the Common Core education standards. Jindal has informed the makers of the PARCC exam that Louisiana is no longer committed to implementing their test, which is tied to Common Core. Jindal says the Common Core allows the federal government to establish education standards in Louisiana. Superintendent of Education John White responded to the Jindal
announcement by saying the state department of education will continue to move ahead with the program’s implementation. White says Jindal does not have the authority to remove Louisiana
from Common Core. BESE board president Chaz Roemer seconded that thought.
A bill to require President Barack Obama to approve the stalled Keystone XL pipeline cleared a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday, but Republicans, who generally support the project, denounced the move as a political stunt by committee Chairwoman and Democrat Mary Landrieu. The committee-approved bill, sponsored by Landrieu and John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, would clear the way for completion of the final, northern section of pipeline, which would link Canadian tar-sands oilfields to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The committee’s decision advances the measure toward the Senate floor, and Landrieu said she will push for a vote there.
State Police arrested four former Lafayette Parish Sheriff deputies for their alleged roles in the beating of an inmate at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center. Authorities say the inmate sustained serious bodily injury and spent several days in a local hospital.
A group of environmentalists are planning to march from Grand Isle to the governor's mansion to protest the legislation signed by Governor Jindal that nullifies a lawsuit against oil companies for
coastal damages. The march is expected to begin Saturday and take eight days to complete.
Police in Washington say a 12-year-old boy is recovering in a hospital after a pit bull attack. They say the dog's owner was arrested for allegedly violating the town's pit bull ordinance which
says the dogs have to be kept on leashes with muzzles or in a crate at all times.
Police are questioning a person of interest in connection with an Tuesday night shooting death of an Opelousas man. Nineteen year-old Donnie Sam was found with three gunshot wounds, and pronounced dead at the scene.
The popular False River Fourth of July Boat Parade is back on, just days after the event’s organizers announced they’d have to cancel it this year. New Roads Mayor Robert Myer said Wednesday that the city is stepping in to take over and ensure the popular tradition continues, although it will be on Saturday, July 5, this year. The family that has organized the event for the past decade had said they had to give it up because of new pressure from the state to obtain liability insurance and provide adequate security patrols for the safety of participants, a burden they weren’t prepared to shoulder.
Athlon Sports has ranked LSU's Tiger Stadium as the best college football stadium in the Southeastern Conference. Texas A-and-M's Kyle Field was ranked second followed by Georgia's Sanford Stadium. Athlon Sports polled 12 SEC experts to come up with their results. Eight of the 12 voted Tiger Stadium number one.
A former Louisiana prep football star is charged with murder. Janzen Jackson, who played at Barbe and Carencro, allegedly strangled his mom's boyfriend to death. Jackson, who played at Tennessee and was recruited by LSU, pleaded not guilty.
A former Harrah's Casino Black Jack dealer is being sought for allegedly cheating the Casino out of some $32,000 in cash. Twenty-four year-old Breanna Lewis of New Orleans was observed on surveillance video of awarding bets to four different patrons who appeared to know her.
Welcome home ceremonies will take place today throughout the state to welcome back over 300 Louisiana National Guard soldiers, who spent ten months on active duty in the Middle East. Louisiana National Guard spokesperson, Colonel Mike Kazmierzak says the returning soldiers are part of the 844th Engineer Company and 1021st Engineer Company. The 1021st is based in Covington, while the 844th is based in Pineville. The 844th engineering company will fly into the Alexandria International Airport tonight. Kazmierzak says the 1021st is busing back to various locations throughout Louisiana, because they couldn't find an airliner to fly the men and women home.
Jim Elder is the new executive director at The Shepherd Center. Elder, an Alexandria native, is a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina. He also spent 11 years in California before moving back to Alexandria. The 54 year old Elder returned to Central Louisiana in 1995 as a single parent to six children. He since has been involved in church ministry and non-profit work. He has served on the board of directors of The Shepherd Center, Rapides Parish Advocacy Center and the Renaissance Home.
If your dream is to become the next American Idol, your chance is coming to New Orleans one week from today. Auditions for the Fox network's singing competition show will be held at UNO's Lakefront
Arena on Wednesday June 25th. Supervising Producer Patrick Lynn says this year they are hold registration and auditions on the same day. The season 14 auditions are going to be held from about 9am to 5pm and anyone between the ages of 15-28 is eligible to attend.
It didn't start off as the perfect story-book wedding in Bunkie, as a wedding crasher stole thousands of dollars’ worth of wedding presents, claiming he was from the Department of Homeland Security. Bunkie Police Spokesman Chad Jeansonne says the suspect-25 year-old William Girard Logan-spoke with many people at the reception, and then was seen loading all of the presents into a pickup after the couple had left. Jeansonne says after obtaining a search warrant of the suspect's home, some of the wedding presents were found, but not all of them. The search continues to find the rest.
A Bossier Parish man pleads guilty to manslaughter in the murder of his estranged wife. Prosecutors say Robert Bond kidnapped Annie Bond from her home last November. Robert Bond eventually killed her and the victim's charred remains were found in Webster Parish. Bond faces up to 40 years in prison.
The sentencing for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been delayed again. It is now on July 9th when Nagin will know how long he will be in prison for taking bribes and a kickback during the rebuilding of the city following Hurricane Katrina.
Popeye's has purchased the recipes for the restaurant from the family of founder Al Copeland for $43 million dollars. Previously the fried-chicken restaurant chain paid over $3 million in annual
royalties for the recipes. Copeland founded Popeye's in 1972. He lost the company in a bankruptcy case in the 90s, but retained the exclusive contract to supply spices to the chain.
The Rhode Island Board of Education has picked former Louisiana higher ed commissioner Jim Purcell to lead their state college system. Purcell was higher education commissioner here for
three years and decided not to seek a new contract this year after coming under fire over but cuts to state colleges.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office says a Monroe man is under arrest for allegedly burning his 2 year old son in a hot bathtub on Sunday. They say an investigation revealed 23-year-old Jonathan Wilson failed to seek medical treatment for the victim and returned the child to his mother the following day. The toddler reportedly suffered severe burns.
Ice-cold beer and buttery popcorn? They’re already on the menu at AMC theaters in Harvey, Metairie, Harahan, Houma and Hammond, as well as Celebrity Theatres in Broussard. Senate Bill 654 would allow other commercial film theaters across the state to stock alcoholic beverages. The bill squeaked out of the Louisiana House with exactly the number of votes it needed. Now it’s before Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is under pressure to veto it. On the governor’s desk are letters from legislators and a vocal church congregation. They all ask Jindal to stop the bill from becoming state law.
Officials say a former State Correctional officer has been charged for allegedly beating an inmate at Angola. 33-year-old Mark Sharp of Amite is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law and
making false statements. The suspect allegedly struck a handcuffed inmate with a baton which resulted in bodily injury then lied to the FBI.
According to associate athletic director Brian Broussard, LSU expects to dish out a record 73,000-plus season tickets this year. He says the school has already sold more than 30,000 tickets to the season-opening game against Wisconsin in Houston. The home game against Alabama on November 8th is already sold out and they expect the game against Ole Miss will do the same. LSU will have an official season ticket count by mid-July.
Oklahoma State announced Monday that LSU point guard Anthony Hickey will transfer to OSU and be eligible for the upcoming season. They say the NCAA has approved a waiver for Hickey who spent the past three seasons in purple and gold. He averaged 8.4 points and 3.8 assists as a junior and led the team with 62 steals.
The true nephew of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, Zach Dasher, has announced his candidacy for Louisiana's 5th Congressional District. Dasher, a Republican from Calhoun, says his
background is in the pharmaceutical industry. He's been involved in the real estate business and with fundraising for non-profit organizations. Dasher has the support of the entire "Duck Dynasty" clan. The election for Congress takes place on November 4th.
Meanwhile, State Senator Neil Riser announced yesterday that he will not be making a run for that seat, and even though he is bowing out of the race, he did say that his polling numbers were an encouragement for another political run in the future.
Governor Bobby Jindal signs into law a measure that prohibits individuals who receive government assistance from using their EBT benefit card at strip clubs, liquor stores, and nail salons. Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater wrote the legislation to ensure the integrity of government programs that offer cash assistance to financially struggling families.The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services issued a rule earlier this year to prohibit the use of EBT benefits at certain retailers, Broadwater's legislation puts it into law.
Governor Jindal was in Houston yesterday to discuss energy policy with other Republican governors from oil and gas rich states. He was joined by Texas Governor Rick Perry, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. The event hosted by
the Republican Governors Association.
During a public speaking event in Baton Rouge, Senator David Vitter, who announced earlier this year that he's running for governor, was asked about TOPS. Governor Jindal has opposed any significant change to the tax-funded scholarship program, but Vitter admitted something must be done to control costs. Unlike Jindal, Vitter says he's open to expanding the state's Medicaid
program. But the senator says that expansion must result in a better health insurance program for the working poor, without taking money away from other important areas of the budget.
Sabine Parish Sheriff's Deputies have arrested a father for allegedly stabbing his 21 year-old son during an argument. Thomas L. Shoemaker was arrested and charged with second-degree battery in the Father's Day attack. The son was transported to the hospital where he is in fair condition.
An I-20 road rage episode near West Monroe has resulted in the arrest of a Ruston man on aggravated assault charges. A motorist called State Police reporting the incident, saying a man got angry and pointed a gun at her. After they got the description of the vehicle, police arrested 56 year-old James Robinson. He was booked him into the Ouachita Parish Correctional Center.
A study from Tulane University finds that the more domestic violence takes place within a household, the more likely children will bear the scars down to their DNA. Study author Dr. Stacy Drury says they looked at children that came from homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member. She says they hope to use this study to spread awareness that a child with traumatic home life could have, not only mental issues, but serious physical health issues later in life.
A grievance hearing over Saints' tight end Jimmy Graham's franchise- tag designation begins today. The Saints franchised Graham as a tight end in March, however the Pro Bowler feels he should be
declared a wide receiver. NFL Analyst Mike Detillier anticipates the arbitrator will rule in favor of Graham. So, how much the Saints will have to pay Graham under the franchise tag lies in the balance. The franchise-tag salary for a tight end is a little more than $7 million, for a wide receiver it's $12.3 million.
Congressman Vance McAllister said Friday he's leaning more towards running for re-election this fall than not. In an interview with Jim Engster on W-R-K-F, McAllister says it's more likely he
will qualify for the November election. McAllister says the kissing scandal at the end of last year has made him a stronger man.
For veterans in southeast Louisiana there's now a place for them to be laid to rest. After a couple of years work and eight million dollars from the federal government, a veterans cemetery in Slidell
is now open. The only other veterans cemetery in southeast Louisiana is in Chalmette, but it doesn't have any more room for new burials. Ted Krumm is the director of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery and he is pleased a new final resting place for heroes is now available. The new cemetery will service over 100-thousand veterans who live in the greater New Orleans area. Preliminary design plans are in place for the new Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery which will be built near Rayville in Richland Parish.
Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed a bill Friday that would require dogs to be secured in the back of pickup trucks. The Governor said the bills' definition of the criterion for securing was too broad.
Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed one of the few Common Core bills to make it through the legislative session. House Bill 953 would give an additional year to prepare for the new set of academic standards. Many opposed the measure because it was yet another delay to rules
that were approved in 2012.
With Governor Jindal examining options on how to get the state out of Common Core, over three-dozen business, education and civic groups have have asked the governor to keep the new academic standards. Council for for a Better Louisiana president Barry Erwin reminds the governor that most members of BESE and the Legislature support Common Core. Common Core are new academic standards in reading, writing and math that will go into full effect in the upcoming school year. Erwin says over 40 states are also using Common Core, which will increase rigor in the
classroom and give Louisiana an opportunity to see how it's students fare with the work of other students across the country.
PETA is urging Governor Jindal to veto legislation allowing a tiger to remain a roadside attraction at a truck stop in Grosse Tete. Senate Bill 250 allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony the Tiger at his place of business just off I-10. PETA attorney Carney Ann Nasser says it's inappropriate for the legislature to pass a bill to appease one person. She says the courts have already decided that Sandlin wasn't lawfully keeping Tony at the time the dangerous wild animal ban went into effect.
Sandlin says he takes excellent care of Tony and the people who come to his truck stop love him. But Nasser says tigers are apex predators who roam for hundreds of square miles in the wild. Nasser contends that keeping Tony in a cage deprives him of many of his species specific instincts.
Another Louisiana summer is setting in and that means home cooling costs are going up. In an effort to keep those monthly utility bills down, Cleco spokesperson Robbyn Cooper suggests you set your thermostat at 78- degrees... Cooper says another good piece of advice is keeping your blinds closed
during the day to keep the hot sunlight out. She says making sure your attic is properly insulated is also important. Entergy spokesperson Tom Peters says installing energy efficiency light bulbs are also a good idea.
The University of New Orleans has announced that a working group will determine which of the university’s 84 degree programs will be eliminated in the coming months. UNO President Peter Fos said layoffs are likely to follow those recommendations, which will seek to identify and build on the university’s strengths. The school laid off 28 employees earlier this year to help close a multimillion-dollar deficit.
Former LSU pitcher Aaron Nola has been named one of the three finalists for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame's National Pitcher of the Year. The award will be presented in Lubbock, Texas on June 28th.
U-L Lafayette is shelling out the big bucks in a new contract for head football coach Mark Hudspeth, which would make Coach Hud the highest paid coach in Sunbelt Conference.
The New Orleans Saints mini-camp is now in the books, and Quarterback Drew Brees is clarifying comments he made about Saints' contract negotiations with tight end Jimmy Graham, saying the Saints would be fine with or without Graham. Yesterday, Brees set the
record straight, saying he believes the black and gold are a better team with Graham, and he's confident he will be back.