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LSU AgCenter launches statewide healthy living campaign

Michelle Southern reporting.
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 that will be promoted is to eat more fruits and vegetables.

"Increasing fruits and vegetables contributes to good health," said Sasser. "Then in our next quarter we'll be promoting physical activity."

Sasser says this effort also includes banners and posters that will be displayed in schools, stores and parish extension offices. She says the campaign will run for about a year and a half.

Sasser says they will also be spreading messages about increasing activities together as a family.

"And having family meals together because the family that prepares meals together and does physical activity together tends to thrive more," said Sasser.

Sasser says by displaying these simple suggestions in places that people will see easily and frequently, the hope is that they will absorb the information and starting thinking about their own health habits.

"It introduces this teachable moment," said Sasser. "We want everyone to live a lot longer."

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Boustany files legislation to help south Louisiana vets receive health care

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 pay for the care.

"This is about access for high quality care. This is about not having veterans wait on the V-A bureaucracy and it's about giving them the finest care available." 
Boustany says he filed the legislation because the Lafayette V-A clinic has admitted to crowded conditions and access problems for primary and mental care. He says the situation is not much better in Lake Charles. 
There's another bill that would authorize new V-A 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 non V-A provider. 


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LSP investigating officer involved shooting in Calcasieu Parish

State Police detectives are investigating a shooting that involved a Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's deputy. L-S-P Sergeant James Anderson says the shooting happened Tuesday night as a sheriff's deputy was attempting to perform a traffic stop in Lake Charles on a 33-year-old woman from Sulphur, who was not cooperating.
"They were able to box that vehicle in," Anderson said. "That subject then apparently tried to run over one of the sheriff's deputy and that sheriff's deputy fired his weapon in an effort to protect himself." 
Anderson says Dargin was shot in the face. 
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office says Dargin was taken to a local hospital and her condition is unknown. She faces numerous charges, including attempted first degree murder of a police officer.

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Baton Rouge school administrator accused of sexting a former teen student

Michelle Southern reporting.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says an assistant principal of a middle school is accused of exchanging naked pictures with a 15-year-old former student. Corporal L'Jean McKneely says the victim's mother contacted police after finding her daughter's Facebook account.

"And she was looking at inappropriate pictures and was exchanging them with a particular individual," said McKneely.

McKneely says 42-year-old Edwin Chastang, who works as an administrator at Southeast Middle in Baton Rouge, was named the suspect.

He says the mother contacted police about the crime and an official investigation was launched.

"We got the photos from the 15-year-old and talked to Chastang yesterday," said McKneely. "That's when he was arrested."

Chastang is charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile and computer aided solicitation of a minor.

McNeely says the teen girl had her phone taken away so she would use her mother's phone in the middle of the night to access Facebook.

"The mom was actually going through her own phone and saw that her daughter did have her Facebook account logged in and that's when the pictures were discovered," McKneely said.

Chastang has reportedly been suspended from work with pay.

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Louisiana gets low ranking in child well-being

Michelle Southern reporting.
According to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Louisiana ranks No. 47 in the nation for overall well-being of children. The report was published in the 25th edition of the Kids Count Data book and study co-author Laura Speer says they took into account economic status, education, health, family and community.

"Some of the places where Louisiana is lagging behind other stats is in the education domain," said Speer.

Speer says Louisiana lags the nation in 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores and also has a poor graduation rate. She says they found that 28% of students don't graduate on time compared to the national rate of 19%.

Speer says the lowest ranking in their report is for family and community where Louisiana ranked 48th overall.

"48% of children living in Louisiana are living in a single-parent family," said Speer. "What that means is that there are less resources coming in to the household."

Speer says Louisiana's best ranking was at No. 42 and that was in the health category with indicators including percentage of low-birth weight babies and percentage of children without health insurance.

She says another factor hurting Louisiana's score is the fact that we have one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation.

"That means that the teen is less likely to finish high school which would make it harder for her to get a job and support her child," said Speer.

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Governor's office responds to new suit

The governor's office has responded to the latest legal action over the Common Core debate. A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims Bobby Jindal overstepped his authority when he canceled the testing contract for the Common Core. Jindal's legal counsel, Jimmy Faircloth, says the suit has no legal basis.

"This particular lawsuit was really just a jump into the courts. Number one, prematurely, number two, without any 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 governor has the authority, as the chief executive officer of the state, he has a constitutional obligation to utilize the full power of his office to apply state law. This can influence a great deal of policy on a great deal of subject matters."
The lawsuit is seeking to reverse the Jinal administration's decision to use the Division of Administration to cancel a vendor contract to supply Common Core testing. Faircloth says allegations the Jindal miss used his authority are unfounded...
"It's only a lawsuit if a public official acts unlawfully. There is nothing unlawful about what the governor is doing here."

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Robert Bond sentenced to 40 years

A 40 year prison sentence has been given to a Bossier City man accused of killing his estranged wife and discarding her remains last November.  In a plea deal, Robert Bond plead guilty to manslaughter instead of going to trial on second-degree murder charges. 

Bossier Parish District Attorney Schuyler Marvin says his office is happy with the sentence.
"I know his family was kind of torn apart by all of this.  But they were very appreciative of our office and the job the police officers did and even stated so in court.  So I think justice was served."

46-year-old Annie Bond's charred remains were found in northern Webster Parish on November 18th.  Mr. Bond received the maximum sentence for a manslaughter charge.  Marvin says one of Robert and Annie's sons, Alex, spoke at the sentencing hearing.  He says the young man's speech to the judge was touching.
"He said, you know, I've lost my mother.  I know I'm losing my father, today.  So, I'm torn.  He has to be punished.  I know that.  He knows that.  So, it was a very personal, emotional talk for him."
Robert Bond spoke at his sentencing hearing and asked the 60 or so family members in attendance to forgive him for what he'd done.  Marvin says he and the family are glad this has come to a conclusion.  He says he's happy that this case was resolved so quickly and cannot praise the work of local law enforcement enough.
"The police did an excellent job in recovering Mrs. Bond's remains and having those analyzed and confirming it to be hers.  Some cases take a lot longer than that just for that scientific part of it.  So we were very happy with the time of the police."
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Suit filed agaisnt Jindal in Defense of Common Core

A group of parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards filed a lawsuit today 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. New Orleans Representative Walt Leger supports this legal action.
"The governor's actions now are problematic, because they create chaos in our schools. School is beginning very shortly and i hope this legal action can allow for some clarity"
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.

Navis Hill is a parent of a public school student and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed today. 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.
"It's very frustrating to deviate from the plan in the middle of his elementary education."

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