KSYL Local News Archives for 2013-07

News For Wednesday 07/31/13


News for Wednesday 073113

By Dave Graichen

 

Entergy  announces it will lay off about 800 employees  in  the  Gulf South. A spokesman with the company says about 240 Entergy employees in Louisiana  will be let go; a 5% reduction in its workforce in our state. He says  the layoffs are to reduce overall costs. People have already started to  be let go and Entergy says the layoffs should be completed by the end of the year.

 

The Covington Police Department says its investigating a shooting at a law firm where  upwards of 80  rounds  were fired by a man. They say the only person there was a secretary who  was able to escape, but there is a dead individual inside the building.  The  report indicates the shooter  was a former client who went inside and opened  fire,  then shot himself.

 

The Livingston Parish Coroner's office has reportedly confirmed that a  14-year-old  child  has drowned at the Cajun Lagoon water park in Livingston Parish. Authorities are not releasing much information at this time other than to say it happened around 2pm.

 

A nationwide FBI sting  has  recovered  105  juveniles from underage prostitution.  Four were from New Orleans and two  were  from  Baton Rouge. Working with  local  officials  they arrested over 40 "johns" and adult prostitutes in both  cities as well as in Lake Charles, Shreveport and here in Alexandria.

 

State  Police  are  urging  citizens  to  download  their  new  "See Something, Send Something" smart  phone  app,  which makes reporting possible  criminal behavior quick and easy. LSP Superintendent  Mike Edmonson says  one  can  remain anonymous when using the app, if you wish. He says the app is a  help  for  law enforcement, because they cannot be everywhere at once. He  says a similar app was instrumental in quickly  identifying  the Boston  Marathon  bombers.  Versions for Android and iPhone are free downloads at the Apple store or Google Play.

 

Officials in Caddo Parish say there were no serious injuries  in a train  crash  that  happened  in  Vivian  Tuesday  morning. They say two Kansas City Southern trains collided along  the tracks that run next to LA Highway 1 just before 8am.

 

Louisiana   could   soon   have  its  first  commercial  wind  farm. Metairie-based Southern States Renewable Energy is planning to build eight, 498-foot-tall wind turbines  near  the Port of West St. Mary. Frank Fink, economic development director for  St. Mary Parish, says Southern  States  Renewable  Energy is working on a  power  purchase agreement with Cleco. He says  the  wind  farm  will also be located near the substation. Fink says they hope to begin construction on the  project before the end of the year.

 

The Jindal administration is moving forward with finding a replacement for CNSI, the Medicaid claims processing contractor fired by the state. The state health agency is asking for professional help in figuring out the kind of information technology system needed in Louisiana. The multiyear contract is the most lucrative in state government. The Medicaid claims processing system is responsible for paying doctors, hospitals, clinics and others who provide medical care for the poor who rely on the government insurance program. About one of every four Louisiana residents are part of Medicaid.

 

After a wetter than normal spring in Louisiana, a good portion of the  state is now experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.  State Climatologist Barry Keim says there's been a lack of rainfall in  north Louisiana and down into southwest Louisiana.  However, it's not been a dry summer for the entire state, southeast  Louisiana is running above normal for precipitation.

 

The  area  of  low  oxygen known as the dead zone off of Louisiana's coast is now measured  at  58-hundred square miles. The dead zone is the result of certain nutrients,  like  fertilizer, flowing into the

Gulf  from  the  Mississippi  river,  killing  off  oxygen.  Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of the Gulf  Coast  Restoration Network, says this is a major concern for the Gulf fishing industry.

 

New Orleans police are searching for a stolen fake  police  car.  It was  part  of  a  movie  shoot  and the real police caution that the vehicle contains explosives that create small holes to mimick bullet

holes. It looks like a police car  however  it  will  not  have  the official NOPD markings on it.

 

Crews will drill a relief  well  to properly seal in the natural gas well in the Gulf that blew out and caught fire last week. No one was hurt but the rig was destroyed by  the  fire.  Sand and silt settled

into  the well hole, sealing it temporarily and snuffing  the  fire. The relief  well operation is expected to take a little over a month to complete.  When  done,  the  well  will be sealed in with mud and cement.

 

State sales tax will take a holiday this weekend, giving consumers a chance to save on the purchases of clothes, appliances, electronics and other goods. Lifting the 4 percent state sales tax is a tradition that dates back to the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, when legislators wanted to help storm victims replenish their households. The August tax holiday stuck as a boost for parents preparing children for the new school year.

 

Good economic development news for Washington Parish, as defense  contractor General Dynamics announces plans to open a branch in Bogalusa  - bringing hundreds of new jobs.  General Dynamics plans a Contact Center for its I.T. (information  technology) branch, which should mean jobs in  administrative and customer service positions.

 

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 07/30/13


News for Tuesday 073013

By Dave Graichen

 

State Treasurer John Kennedy says he's seriously considering a run for  the governor of Louisiana in 2015. Kennedy, who has been a vocal  critic of fellow Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, says he believes  that the state's future can he much better than it is right now. Kennedy feels Louisiana needs a Governor with knowledge and wisdom who  believes higher education is sacred and not line items on a budget. There's been chatter that Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne also intends to  run in two years and possibly US Senator David Vitter.  State  Representative John Bel Edwards has already announced his candidacy. 

 

State Treasurer John Kennedy threatened Monday to forward files on 36 community groups, including one with ties to a state legislator, to a new state debt collection unit. The groups on Kennedy’s list include a New Orleans area housing organization, a Baton Rouge social club, an alumni association, a health care center and an organization affiliated with a Boy Scouts troop.

Kennedy said the groups either ignored or failed to fully comply with requests for details on how $4.5 million in taxpayer money was spent. He said certified letters and emails have been sent and personal calls have been made for years to the groups without resolution.

 

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Louisiana among the  few states with more jobs now than it had before the recession.  Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Curt Eysink says the  net increase is not huge, 15,000 jobs,  but it's still good news.  Eysink says the future looks bright for employment in Louisiana, as  existing industries expand here, and new businesses - like IBM – plan  multi-billion dollar investments in our state.

 

Six people charged with unlawfully and improperly storing explosives at Camp Minden have pleaded "not guilty". The men are all with Explo Systems,  where  over  10-million pounds of M-6 propellant was found stored unsafely. You may  remember  the  whole  town  of Doyline was evacuated  for  several days in December while those munitions  were moved. The men go to trail in November.

 

The Jefferson Parish  Coroner's Office says famous radio personality David  "Kidd" Kraddick died  from  complications  related  to  heart disease.  The  53-year-old  radio  host  was in New Orleans over the weekend  for  his  "Kidd's  Kids" charity golf  tournament  when  he suddenly became ill Saturday. The coroner went on to say Kraddick died quickly and most likely felt little pain.

 

Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu are urging President Obama to  hold FEMA chief David Fugate's promotion to head the Department of  Homeland Security, until problems with the National Flood Insurance  Program are addressed. Vitter says Louisianans face crippling flood  insurance premiums hikes if something isn't done. Vitter says FEMA is using flawed flood maps to predict future flood  insurance rates in Louisiana.  Vitter says he and Landrieu just sent the letter Monday, so there's been  no response yet from the White House.

 

The  state  auditor’s office says former  Terrebonne  Parish  Sheriff Vernon Bourgeouis  owes  $19,000  for  allegedly  improperly  paying officers  during  the  time  they  were  being  filmed  on  the  A&E relativity  show  Cajun Justice. The report says Bourgeouis is going to pay the money but he is protesting the claim.

 

Two Baton Rouge cops are on administrative leave after they shot and killed a 32-year-old man who they say tried  to  run  them over. The officers   were  trying  to  stop  Tyris  Wilkerson  for  a  traffic

violation, when the incident occurred. It's now under investigation.

 

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux apologized Monday for several arrests his deputies have made of men who agreed to have consensual sex with undercover agents. The deputies used an unconstitutional anti-sodomy law that Gautreaux is now seeking to get repealed. None of the arrests was prosecuted because the District Attorney’s Office determined the men had not committed a crime. The law had been invalidated a decade ago by a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision.

 

Say it ain't so....The Duck Commander himself, Phil Robertson,  says he  may  be  leaving  the  top-rated  show  "Duck Dynasty" Robertson doesn't say when, but feels the show can easily  go  on without him. Robertson founded the West Monroe duck call business that  blossomed

into  a  multi-million dollar venture for his sons. Season 4,  which features Phil quite a bit, debuts next month on A&E.

 

State Police say a man from Dehli died Sunday night after his  motorcycle hit a deer. Trooper albert Paxton says 67-year-old Bobby  Davis was traveling on Highway 134 when he was unable to avoid a deer  that was crossing the road. He says his passenger, 66-year-old Mary  Davis was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries..

 

 

 

News For Monday 7/29/13


News for Monday 072913

By Dave Graichen

 

The first woman elected to Congress in Louisiana, former US  Representative Lindy Boggs, passed away. LSU  media professor Bob Mann says Boggs was a known ambassador for  Louisiana and dedicated her life to public service and civil rights.  Mann says Boggs was a graceful trailblazer with a tremendous amount of  compassion for the poor. She succeeded her husband, Thomas Hale Boggs Sr. in Congress where she served nearly 18 years. Lindy Boggs was 97. 

 

Louisiana colleges and universities lag in new rankings by Forbes  Magazine. The publication rated Tulane the state's #1 school, but even  so, it is #128 out of 650 colleges ranked. LSU ranked 179 out of 650 in the Forbes list.

 

An advocacy group urges citizens to call their congressmen about a  proposed cut to Medicare and Medicaid funding for dialysis treatment.  Nancy Scott is with the group, Dialysis Patient Citizens. She says the  proposed cut is nearly 10%, which could be disastrous for persons who  rely on assistance with paying for kidney dialysis. Scott, who was a dialysis patient herself for 7 years, says having the  treatments is not optional, and one cannot simply forego the dialysis if  one can't afford it. She says lives are on the line if the funds are cut  and treatment centers close.   Louisiana has the nation's 6th-highest rate of patients needing dialysis  in the U.S.

 

LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander says he hopes the pay  raises they are able to grant their faculty and staff will be a sign  of good things to come in the future. It was announced Friday that  employees in the entire LSU System will see get an increase for the  first time in four years.  Alexander says the funds for these adjustments, ranging up to 4%, are  coming from internal administrative savings and from anticipated  enrollment increases. He says the raises themselves will vary by and  within institution and personnel types.

 

Five Madison Parish prison guards are under arrest; accused of abusing  inmates at the parish jail in Tallulah. State Police Trooper Albert  Paxton says Madison Parish Sheriff Larry Cox asked the LSP to

investigate allegations against the guards on July 16th. Based on the LSP investigation, two of the guards are charged with aggravated battery and malfeasance in office. Three others are also charged with malfeasance.

 

The Monroe Police Department says they are looking for someone who  tried to rob two different ATMs early Friday morning in Ouachita  Parish with a stolen truck. Sgt Mark Johnson says the first incident  happened at the Richland State Bank in Monroe around 2am in a stolen truck. Johnson says the suspect was not successful in gaining access to that  ATM after he ripped it off the ground then he fled the scene. He says  the investigation revealed the same suspect then tried to do the same thing at a bank in West Monroe about 30 minutes later. Johnson says the truck was found abandoned later.. The suspect remains at large.

 

 LA Swift, the low-cost bus service between Baton Rouge & New Orleans  will end next week. The service was begun after Hurricane Katrina in  2005, to assist displace Crescent City residents during the recovery.  Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lauren Lee says 100% federal  funding for LA Swift has now run out. In order to keep the LA Swift buses rolling past the end of this month,

local sources would have to put up about $750-thousand yearly to match  federal funding. That money is not in the state's budget. About 10-thousand rode LA Swift weekly , at a $10 round trip fare.

 

 

Sports..

 

After a few days of practice, New Orleans Saints coaches and players  seem to be in agreement that there is a renewed energy within the  team. First-year Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan feels good  about how things are going so far and is impressed with how many  leaders there are on the team.

 

 

News For Friday 07/26/13


News for Friday 072613

By Dave Graichen

 

Federal regulators  say  natural gas has stopped flowing from a well that has been ablaze in the  Gulf  of  Mexico  and  remaining  small flames  are  from  gas  still  in  the pipe. The Bureau of Safety and

Environmental Enforcement says the well  "bridged over" meaning sand and  sediment collapsed into the area being  drilled,  blocking  the line.

 

An update on Tropical  Storm  Dorian;  still  in  the  mid-Atlantic, moving  west-northwest  at  17  miles  an  hour,  it’s strength decreased slightly over night. Maximum winds  50. Forecaster  (LIX-ee-on uh-VEE-uh) Lixion Avila, with the National Hurricane  Center,  says it's still too  early  to tell if Dorian will threaten US Shores. Computer models do NOT predict the storm entering the Gulf.

 

State Police say a Lafayette  woman is charged with aggravated rape, incest and human trafficking. 48-year-old Lorrie Anderson is accused of selling kids under 16 for sex.  She's  alleged  to  have sexually assaulted  them  as well. If convicted, she could face 50  years  in prison.

 

The  Allen  Parish  Sheriff's  Office  say  a man is behind bars for robbing a bank -- but he did this during a casino trip with his mom. They  say  31-year-old  Justin  Schill  was  booked  Wednesday  with first-degree robbery and felony theft for robbing the Iberia Bank in Kinder.

 

Two  Port  Barre  teens are in critical condition after the ATV they were riding was hit  by a car on a local St. Landry Parish road. The boys  are  in  a  Lafayette   area  hospital.  The  crash  is  under

investigation. Riding ATVs on the highway IS illegal in the state.

 

Three  people  have died in motorcycle crashes on Louisiana roadways since last weekend,  bringing  the  total to seven deaths since June 1st. The most recent motorcycle-related death was Tuesday,  when  a Houma man crossed the center line and ran into oncoming traffic. LSP  says the victim was not wearing an approved helmet at the time.

 

Monroe Police say a young man  is  dead following a bizarre incident at the Motel 6 on US 165. Sgt. Mark  Johnson says officers responded to several 911 calls from people reporting  a  person  was under the influence of PCP in the hotel parking lot -- trying to get into cars and jumping on top of cars.

Johnson  says an ambulance arrived to treat Christopher Livingston's injuries and  during  that  time  the man stopped breathing. He says Livingston was pronounced dead at a  local  hospital.  An  autopsy is pending.

 

The remains of a U.S. soldier from Baton Rouge, that have been missing  since the Korean War, will be returned home today for burial with full  military honors. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David  Lacerte says 18 year old Army Sgt. Clement Thibodeaux Jr was part of  the 25th Infantry Division fighting the Chinese in North Korea. Thibodeaux died in a North Korean POW camp known as "Death Valley". Returning soldiers told officials  he died of malnutrition and pneumonia in 1951.

 

Governor Jindal has been on the road this  week.  Mr. Jindal is in Colorado for more Republican Governors Association events. He serves as chairman of the group this year. He spoke Thursday as  part  of  GOP governors  panel  at  the Aspen Institute. The Governor returns home

sometime today.

 

Hollywood insiders report that a big budget super hero film is switching  production locations, from Canada to Baton Rouge. The website  "TheWrap.com" says the rebooted "Fantastic Four" feature is choosing  Louisiana for its film tax incentives. LA Film Office director Chris  Stelly says that is unconfirmed as yet, but if it’s true, it’s great news.

 

State Police say  an  18  year  old  died in a crash yesterday morning in Livingston  Parish, but the infant inside  her  car  sustained  only minor injuries. Police say the young woman turned into the path of an 18 wheeler and her car was smashed on the driver’s side. She suffered fatal injuries in the crash.

 

Two   former   LSU-Eunice   employees   are   accused    of   taking tens-of-thousands  of dollars from the college. Defendants  Marvette Thomas and Carra Sergeant  allegedly used the money to buy stuff for themselves.

 

 

News For Wednesday 07/24/13


News for Wednesday 072413

By Dave Graichen

 

An offshore rig in the Gulf blew out yesterday and overnight caught fire.  Coast Guard Spokesman Petty Officer Carlos Vega says it happened on a rig located  about  55 miles south and east of Grand  Isle.  The unmanned rig is owned by Walter  Oil  &  Gas is located in about 154 feet of water. Vega says the well is currently  flowing natural gas, but no oil is being released. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is overflying the rig site, and monitoring Walter Oil & Gas' response efforts to bring the  well  under control. 47 people were evacuated from an adjacent rig. A safety perimeter keeping marine traffic away from the rig  Vega says there's no plan to battle the fire yet.

 

It is a state investment that is paying off. State officials announced yesterday the massive DNA backlog of over 9,000 cases at the  State Police Crime Lab has been eliminated. Before the backlog was eliminated, state police was unable to process  all their own cases and outsourced some of their forensic cases to other  agencies. State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says the elimination of the backlog  is attributed to expansion of the crime lab in 2009, as well as  increased funding for new equipment and technology...

 

The  state's  first  case  of  West  Nile  virus in a human has been confirmed.  State  health officials say a seriously  ill  person  in Caldwell Parish has  the  disease. By this time last year, 31 people

were diagnosed with the neuroinvasive  form  of West Nile. In total last year, there were 160 cases of West Nile encephalitis  and 191 cases of the less-serious West Nile fever.

 

The  new school year is just around the corner and the Department of Health  and  Hospitals  is  reminding parents, "No shots, No School. It's the Law." State immunization  director Dr. Frank Welch says now is the time to make sure your student is current on their shots.  Welch says Louisiana law requires children age four or older who are entering kindergarten or pre-k this  year  have proof they have been vaccinated.

 

A magazine that looks at corporate expansion and relocation projects released a report that says Louisiana's business  climate ranked NO. 4 in the nation. Business Facilities also ranked the  LED  FastStart program  as  the  top state workforce development program in the country.

 

The state Department of Revenue says another period of Tax Amnesty will  begin September 23rd. LDR spokesman Douglas Baker says the amnesty will  offer a 60-day window for delinquent taxpayers to pay outstanding state  tax debts without paying heavy penalties.  Baker says LDR is calling the amnesty program "Fresh Start", and they've  put up a special website just to inform taxpayers of how to take  advantage. It’s LDRTaxAmnesty.com

 

American Tank Company  says it will build a $2-million manufacturing plant in New Iberia. When  complete,  in  mid-2014,  the  plant will employ 20 or more people at good salaries. The company makes  oil  &

gas storage tanks.

 

The family of 7 people who lost their life when they  were  hit by a man  on  his  4th  DWI  is  protesting  his sentence citing judicial racism. Brett Gerald of Clinton plead guilty to killing seven people while drunk and was initially sentenced to 70 years in jail, but his sentenced  was later reduced to 35 years and  his  lawyer  is  still appealing.

 

West Feliciana Parish sheriff's  deputies have recovered half of the 80 tablet computers stolen in a school  burglary.  Investigators say five  people, including three juveniles, have been arrested  in  the

theft of  a  laptop  computer and 80  iPad tablets during a June 26th burglary of West Feliciana High School. The search for the remaining 40 devices is ongoing.

 

 

News For Tuesday 07/23/13


News for Tuesday 072313

By Dave Graichen

 

State Wildlife & Fisheries agents report a happy ending to the case of  a man who went missing in the wilds of LaSalle Parish over the weekend.  LDWF spokesman Adam Einck says 29-year-old John Paul, Jr. was reported  missing Saturday evening after he took his dog for a run in the Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area.  Einck says Paul got disoriented as the sun went down, and became lost. He says the man decided to sit in one spot, near a well-traveled  waterway and wait to be found--which is exactly what happened. Einck says LDWF agents and  deputies from both LaSalle and Rapides parishes were involved in the search.

 

25 year old Jaclynn White of Pineville was killed Sunday night when she walked into the path of an oncoming car on third street. The accident took place shortly after 9 in the evening. Medical personnel responded, but White was pronounced death at the scene. No charges have been filed against the driver of the vehicle. The investigation is continuing, and an autopsy and toxicology tests are pending.

 

The Louisiana National Guard marked the 20th anniversary of its Youth  Challenge Program, which helps high school dropouts put their lives on  a more positive course. Senator Mary Landrieu is an Honorary Co-Chair  of the LNG's Youth Foundation, says the program  helps kids turn their lives around.  Landrieu says 1400 Louisiana kids have graduated from the LNG Youth  Challenger this year, but over 16-thousand have been helped over the  program's 20-year history. She says she's proud to be a part of it.

 

Baton Rouge Police say a man who hit a police car and caused another woman  to  be  injured in the accident then  drove  off  is  now  in custody. They say  37-year-old  Ronald  Byrd  of  Baton  Rouge faces felony  hit  and  run and other charges. He turned himself into authorities Monday. The officer and woman  were seriously injured but are expected to survive.

 

The  Lafayette  Parish Sheriff's office releases the identity of the five-year-old girl who was killed in a two-car wreck Sunday afternoon.  Her name is Alajah Davis of Lafayette. Captain Kip Judice says Davis was  a  front  seat  passenger  in a vehicle  that  crossed  the  center of the road and slammed  into  a pickup truck. Judice says the five year old  victim  should  not  have been in the front seat to start with.

 

Louisiana’s Secretary of State office has won a top national award for its “Geaux Vote Mobile” application and website that helps people navigate elections. Secretary of State Tom Schedler picked up the IDEAS award that recognizes innovation and achievement at the National Association of Secretaries of State annual summer conference in Anchorage, Alaska over the weekend.

 

Several  cast  members of Duck Dynasty helped raise nearly  $300,000 for a Children's  Home  near Hattiesburg Mississippi Saturday night. Dr. Michael Garrett is the  executive  director at Homes of Hope, he  says his annual  budget  for Homes of Hope, which is privately funded, is about $560,000, so the  Duck  Dynasty  fundraiser was a huge success for them.

 

A 19-year-old man was arrested for his second DWI after he allegedly caused  a  crash  on  I-10, fled the scene, and allegedly  tried  to outrun police. The person  that Darin Terrell allegedly hit followed

him; calling police. A breathalyzer revealed Terrell's blood alcohol content was .10; well over the legal limit.

 

Shreveport Police detectives  are  still  developing leads from last week's triple homicide that took place at a  home  in  the Mooretown neighborhood.   The   coroner   says   78-year-old   Irene  Ellison, 41-year-old Carise Ellison and 58-year-old Brian Wilson were stabbed to death. Assistant Police Chief Bill Goodin says investigators have gathered  evidence from the crime scene that will hopefully  provide clues as to who is responsible. Goodin says they're working 'round-the-clock to make an arrest.

 

The man charged with the drunk driving death of a Lafayette woman in 2012, who made  more  headlines  by  walking  out  of  his trial and fleeing the state, will serve 20 years in prison. Wade Lohse pleaded no contest today, to the death of Cacie Barras McGrew last year.

 

 

News For Monday 07/22/13


News for Monday 072213

By Dave Graichen

 

Shreveport police detectives are still developing leads in  a triple homicide   that   happened  in  the  city's  Mooretown  area  Police spokesperson Bill Goodin says all three victims were stabbed once. Goodin says the murders  happened  in an area that's usually a quiet. A man and two  women  are  the  victims  in  this  case.  Authorities have not announced if they have any suspects.

 

 A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention  suggests elderly persons in Louisiana are less likely to lead healthy  lives. The report suggests the average person can expect only 12 years  past 65 of decent health. In the CDC study, the national average of healthful years after 65 is  19; 7 more years than in Louisiana.

 

A  Baton  Rouge  grand  jury  indicts  six people for the thefts  of cocaine and guns from a courthouse evidence locker last year; one of them a judge's son. Two of the accused worked  at the courthouse and had  access  to  the evidence room East Baton Rouge  Parish  DA  Hillar  Moore  says they took 48 pounds of coke, over the course of about a year.

 

A former dispatcher at the Bienville  Parish  Sheriff's  office will spend  at least one year in jail after she plead guilty on  charges she faked  cancer  in  order to receive donations. District Attorney Jonathan Stewart says 28-year-old  Erin  Bradley  of Saline accepted over  six-thousand  dollars.  Stewart  says  Bradley's  motive   for perpetuating the lie is still a mystery.

 

US Senator Mary Landrieu believes her legislation to delay a portion of  the large flood insurance rate hikes will pass the senate. It's already  cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee. Landrieu says Louisianans  in flood prone areas are facing higher premiums, because of a flood  insurance reform bill that was passed two years ago. Landrieu says the legislation that's making its way through the senate  not only delays rate hikes for certain flood insurance customers, it  also requires FEMA to make certain their flood maps are accurate.  A bill similar to Landrieu's legislation has already passed the House.

 

State police  report  two  people riding a motorcycle in Union Parish were killed when they hit a  deer  on  Louisiana  Highway  143  Friday night.  Sixty-three-year-old Kenny Barrett of Marion and 52-year-old Melinda Weeks of Marion were pronounced dead at the scene.

 

State Police charged an  Opelousas man with negligent homicide after he lost control of his vehicle  last  night  in  St.  Landry Parish, killing  an  18-year-old passenger in his vehicle. Thirty-seven-year-old Kevin Mayo sustained minor injuries and has been booked into the St. Landry Parish jail on several charges.

 

Louisiana Purchase Gardens &  Zoo  must  make  some  improvements to remain   open,   according  to  a  U.S.  Department  of  Agriculture inspection earlier  this  month.  USDA inspectors say the Monroe zoo needs  to  build  eight new primate holding  pens  and  remodel  the kitchen used for preparing  food for the animals. Zoo officials feel

they can do that within their annual maintenance budget.

 

The funeral is today for  six-year-old  Ahlittia  North of Harvey,  who  was  stabbed to death and found in a trash bin early last week. Matthew Flugence  has  been  charged  with  first-degree murder in the case.

 

Nucor  announces  its  two-point-five  million ton iron plant in St. James Parish will begin operations late  this  summer or early fall. Nucor originally hoped that it would be running  by  now,  but heavy rains earlier this year delayed the project.

 

The  massive  sinkhole  at  Bayou  Corne  in Assumption  Parish  has "burped" again. Authorities report that caused  a lot of movement of surface  water in the slurry-fiiled hole. The burps  are  caused  by releases of  pockets  of  hydrocarbons  at  the  bottom of the hole. Meanwhile property buyouts negotiations for residents who once lived

near that hole continue. 92 offers have been made;  59 have accepted the buyouts so far.

 

A Baton Rouge police officer and a woman suffered serious injuries early Saturday after a Dodge Caravan ran off the roadway and struck the officer’s patrol car. Police are searching for the minivan’s driver, believed to be Ronald Byrd, 37, who fled the scene on foot.

 

A 42-year-old Oakdale man died early Saturday in a single-vehicle crash in Allen Parish, according to Louisiana State Police Troop D. Police identified the man as Sherwin Ashworth. Ashworth lost control of the truck and drove off the right side of the road. He overcorrected to the left but again drove off the right side of the road before hitting a utility pole. He was not wearing his seatbelt and was partially ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

 

News For Friday 07/19/13


News for Friday 071913

By Dave Graichen

 

State funeral directors are appealing lower court  rulings  in favor of  a  group  of  Covington monks who make and sell caskets. Federal district and appeals  courts  found  no  reasonable  grounds  for  a regulation  that  only  state-licensed  funeral  directors  may sell coffins in Louisiana. The monks says they'll keep fighting for their

right to make and sell the coffins.

 

The state laid off over 3800 employees  during the fiscal year that ended  June  30th.  Some  1900  of those were workers  at  four  LSU hospitals and outpatient clinics  that  have  been privatized by the Jindal administration. The Governor's Office says  a  good number of that  1900  have  been  hired by the private companies who've  taken

those facilities over.

 

Deputies in Morehouse Parish report two people dead in a plane crash near  Oak  Ridge.  The  small  aircraft  was  from the Flying Tigers Aviation  School, and the company says a pilot and  a  student  were killed in the  crash.  The  victims'  names are being withheld until their families are notified. Flying Tigers  says they've never had a

single  injury  or  fatality  until  today.  The  crash   is   under investigation.

 

Three  Henderson  Police officers including the Chief, Leroy Guidry, are  facing a number  of  charges  from fraud to malfeasance over an alleged ticket-quota scheme along I-10.  Lafayette TV station KATC is reporting that court records showed the officer's pay was tied  to  the number of tickets they issued. An arraignment is expected on August 12th.

 

Average gasoline prices across Louisiana are expected to hit or exceed  $3.50 a gallon today, as crude oil prices continue to rise. Louisiana  AAA's Don Redman says gas prices are high, and they're going to get  higher. His prediction, between $3.50 & $3.75 a gallon through the fall. Redman says troubles in Egypt and Libya are one reason for the sharp  rise in crude oil prices. Crude traded at $108 a barrel yesterday.

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal  is  in  Washington  DC  attending a meeting of the Republican Governor's Association. Jindal serves as the leader of that group. U.L. Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says it's a post that gives  the  governor a chance to be influential on the national scene. Cross says leading the RGA means a lot to Jindal's  possible  future political ambitions on a national stage.

 

 Louisiana has reached a new all-time high in national business rankings  for its climate for business. Economic Development Secretary Stephen  Moret says the good news comes from the Pollina Corporate Real Estate  annual pro-business state rankings.  Moret says Louisiana is rated the 14th-best business environment out of  50 states. He says the state was 40th in 2008; jumping 26 spots in just  5 years.

 

The Louisiana Republican Party is planning a statewide tour to get  people involved in an effort to defeat democratic senator Mary Landrieu  next year. The "Red to the Roots" 100-city tour will begin Aug. 16 in  Winnsboro. Louisiana GOP Executive Director Jason Dore says this is the  start of their grassroots campaign against Landrieu.  Dore says the tour stops are designed to look for individuals who want  to get involved with next year's election.

 

A Lafayette man is wanted for allegedly kidnapping his own grandson. Deputies  say  54-year-old  Monty  Wilson is "knowingly decoying and keeping away" his grandson, 3-year-old  Joshua  Lowe, from the state Department  of  Children & Family Services, who were  granted  legal custody of the boy  earlier  this  month.  Deputies  don't think the

child is in any danger, but they do want to catch up to  Wilson  and the  boy. Wilson could be driving a silver Kia Sedona minivan. Plate number: WGS 269.

 

Agriculture  Commissioner  Mike  Strain is urging  horse  owners  to vaccinate  their  animals against mosquito  borne  diseases.  That's because  a  two-year-old   horse   in  Livingston  Parish  has  been euthanized after reportedly testing  positive for both West Nile and Eastern Equine encephalitis.  It's the first case of this summer.

 

LSU  Coach  Les  Miles  says  star  running back Jeremy Hill remains suspended following his guilty plea to  a misdemeanor simple battery charge. Hill was arrested last April after he punched another man in the head in a parking lot outside of an off-campus bar. Hill goes before a judge in August, who will  determine  whether the

running back should go to jail for violating his probation.

 

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's deputies arrest a Sulphur man on multiple accounts  of aggravated incest.  Deputies  allege  that  50-year-old Perry Arnold  molested  a  family member numerous times, starting in 2002, when the victim was just  6 years old. Arnold's bond is set at $3-million.

 

News For Thursday 07/18/13


News for Thursday 071813

By Dave Graichen

 

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell  Normand  says  the  suspect  in the murder  of  6-year-old  Ahlittia  North,  of Harvey, has admitted he committed the crime. 20-year-old Matthew Flugence is charged with 1st degree  murder,  after his arrest in Westwego Tuesday  night.  Sheriff Normand says Flugence confessed during questioning. Flugence is a nephew  of  the little girl's step-father. The child's body was found early yesterday in a trash bin near her home.

 

State education officials report 3,600 more public high school seniors  achieved a score of 18 or higher on the ACT last school year. State  Superintendent of Education John White says that means more students are  eligible for college and more are eligible for the TOPS scholarship  program. White says of the  approximately 37-thousand seniors who took the ACT last academic year,  nearly 22,000 achieved a college-eligible score of 18 or higher.

 

Police in Crowley are investigating acts  of  vandalism  at  a local church;  the  second  such  offenses at the church in a year. Pastor Larry Guidry, of the Church of Christ in Crowley, says someone broke in and ransacked the place and wrote "you told me lies" on his desk. Less  than a year ago, vandals  threw  rocks  through  the  church's

windows. Crowley Police are seeking clues and tips from citizens.

 

The two brothers accused in the Mother's Day second line shooting in New  Orleans  have  plead  not guilty. 19-year-old Akein  Scott  and 24-year-old Shawn Scott were  arraigned yesterday on 20 counts of attempted second degree murder.

 

 An apparent argument over the TV turned into attempted murder in DeSoto  Parish. Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Horace Womack said 17-year-old  Stephen Raybon of Grand Cane allegedly shot 21-year-old William Dowling  of Mansfield after a disagreement over the volume of the program they were watching. Womack says Dowling was shot once in the chest with a .40 caliber  handgun. Raybon will be charged with attempted second degree  murder. The victim is in stable condition.

 

Minden Police say they busted  a local man for possession of a large amount of synthetic marijuana, a  schedule  1  controlled  dangerous substance.  24-year-old  Paul  Presley reportedly had more than  500 grams  of  the  product; about $3000  worth.  He's  been  booked  on possession with intent to distribute. Presley was on probation for a previous charge; that has been suspended.

 

A  Craigslist  scam  leads  to  the  arrest  of  a  15-year-old  and 18-year-old The Zachery teens allegedly advertised a $180 iPad  to  sell  but  when  a Baton Rouge couple showed up to buy it the teens robbed them. Luckily, the couple took pictures of them as they approached their car.

 

Four  arrests  have  been  made in the weekend shooting death  of  a Donaldsonville man. Ascension  Parish  Deputies say they were called to  the  scene  of  a  large fight but upon arrival  found  Brisecon Jasmine dead. Detectives  developed  several  suspects  and arrested four men in connection with the shooting death of Jasmine.

 

 Despite some troubling stories about cruise ships last year, 2012 was a  good year for the cruise industry out of New Orleans. Port of New  Orleans president & CEO Gary LaGrange (luh-GRAHNZHE) says spending on cruises out of the Crescent City saw a healthy increase last year. The figures are from a report released this week by the Cruise Line  International Association. They show Louisiana cruise spending at over $399-million last year; an increase of 42% over 2011. LaGrange says the  industry gained over 2000 permanent full-time jobs as well.

 

If you're a fan of Abita Beer you'll be interested in two big  announcements the company made this week. Abita President David  Blossman says one of their most popular beers, Andygator, will become  available in 6 packs by October. He says Andygator has a cult following and started mainly as a draft-driven brand.  Blossman says they are also excited to announce they are adding a new  beer to their line starting in December. He says the Grapefruit  Harvest I.P.A. is a natural fit within the rest of the Abita Beer family.

 

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 07/17/13


News For Wednesday 071713

By Dave Graichen

 

Six-year-old  Ahlittia  North  was  last  seen Friday night when her parents put her to bed. Her step father says  the  next morning they found she was missing. Tragically  after  a massive search  her  body  was  discovered  early  yesterday morning in a dumpster near the end of the apartment complex where  she lived. Authorities have made an arrest.  His name is 20-year-old Matthew Flugence, the nephew of the young girl's stepfather. The coroner’s office says the girl was stabbed to death.  The investigation continues.

 

LSU announced Tuesday morning a $2 million private donation that should put them a step closer to finishing renovations to the university’s Patrick F. Taylor Hall. The family of Board of Regents member Roy O. Martin donated the money. Gov. Bobby Jindal last year threw his support behind a $100 million public-private partnership to turn the building into a state-of-the-art engineering facility.

 

U.S. News and World Report’s 24th annual Best Hospitals report was released yesterday. On that list, Louisiana’s best hospitals. As you may suspect  the top hospitals were in the state’s biggest cities. #1 was Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. #2 the Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport. But, the number three hospital came as a surprise to even the publisher of the report. Rapides Regional Medical Center here in Alexandria was ranked No. 3 among all Louisiana hospitals. 

 

Cleco is warning its customers across Louisiana to beware of a scam  wherein callers impersonate Cleco employees. Spokeswoman Robbyn Cooper  says the con artists are threatening to disconnect power unless you wire  them money. Cooper says the callers will demand immediate payment be made, using  a particular money transfer agency, or the customer's power will be cut  off. She wants consumers to know that Cleco may occasionally call  customers to remind them of an overdue bill, but they never discuss nor  dictate payment method within those calls.

 

Another   State   lawmaker  switches  from  the  democratic  to  the republican party.  Port  Allen  Senator  Rick  ward  joins Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory and Jonesboro Representative Jim  Fannin  as legislators  who  swapped  parties in the last two months. Word is he plans to run for Louisiana's  sixth  congressional district  seat, which   will become  open  in  2014 as Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy challenges democrat Mary Landrieu for senate.

 

Imagine not only surviving being struck by lightning  but  having it happen to you while you were inside a building. That's exactly  what happened  to and unidentified woman, yesterday, who was checking out her groceries at a Supermarket in Houma. Authorities think the lightning  was  most  likely  transmitted  through  the  store's electrical  system.  A  foot-wide  blackened  tile  marks  the spot but thankfully the woman appears to be OK.

 

Police  say  a woman from Franklin is dead and her son  in  critical condition after the two got into a fight. They say 60-year-old Hazel Charles died from  trauma to the head and her son, Jeremiah Penns is fighting for his life  with  multiple  stab  wounds.  The  situation remains under investigation.

 

The president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers fell off a ladder last weekend and will need up to eight weeks to recover. Steve Monaghan, veteran leader of the teachers’ union, is expected to make a full recovery.  Monaghan fractured two vertebrae in his back.

 

East Baton Rouge Parish authorities say a  25-year-old  Baton  Rouge man drowned in the Amite River Monday night after jumping from a dock. They  say  Jason  Hamilton  was drinking all day and swimming in the river with some friends at a  camp and when he jumped into the water and screamed for help, his friends  thought  he  was  joking. He wasn’t.  Divers recovered his body around 7pm.

 

A 20 year old Sunset man is in the St. Landry Parish  jail  after he allegedly  raped  a  4 year old girl. Sheriff's Office Captain Megan Vizena  says  Nathaniel  Monroe  was  taken  into  custody  after  a complaint came  in  from  the  little  girls mother. She says Monroe admitted to it and was charged with one count of aggravated rape.

 

Summer  travel budgets may need to be adjusted  after  this  massive spike in the gas price recently. The current statewide average for a gallon of  regular  according to AAA is currently 14 cents more than it was this time last week.

 

SEC Media Days continue in Birmingham today and the conduct of football  players away from the field is a hot topic. LSU has its issues in this  area involving former players Jordan Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu and  now suspended running back Jeremy Hill. Commissioner Mike Slive says the  league can't ignore the recent off-the-field incidents.

 

 

News For Tuesday 07/16/13


News for Tuesday 071613

By Dave Graichen

 

The investigation continues into the shooting death of a 34 year old Alexandria man over the weekend. The APD reports the victim was found in a home in the 2000 block of Thornton Court shortly before midnight Saturday night. The victim has been Identified as Troyville Brown. Police say they have identified a suspect, but no charges have been filed.

 

Governor  Jindal  announcing yesterday  Honeywell   Corporation  will  invest  over $200-million  to  expand  the  size and scope  of  operations  at  4 Louisiana  plants;  2  in  Baton  Rouge,  1  in  Geismar  and  1  in Shreveport. He says it will mean the  creation of about 190 new jobs at good salaries, with well over 450 construction jobs as well.

 

State education officials announced yesterday that demand for nontraditional public school courses has exceeded the 2,000 available slots. The program, called Course Choice, is a pilot project aimed at offering hard-to-get classes for students through unusual sources, including on-line firms. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in June approved the use of $2 million in federal funds from an oil and gas settlement that have aided schools since 1986 to pay for the courses.

 

State Police are investigating a  Lafayette  Police officer involved shooting.  They  say  officers  responded  to  an attempted  suicide complaint Sunday where they encountered 34-year-old  Harold  Bastin. Apparently the man from Lafayette approached law enforcement with  a handgun when he was fatally shot by an officer.

 

It  was an exceptionally violent weekend  in  New  Orleans.  Over  a 12-hour  period  starting  Saturday  at  7  p.m.  there  were  seven shootings  that  left  5  people dead. A two-year-old is in critical condition, police believe he  and  his  mother were not the intended victims. The shootings are not considered  to  be  related  and  the

investigations continue.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has commuted the sentence of a man sentenced to  life for murder. 50-year-old Shelby Arabie was sent to Angola 27 years  ago, for killing a man during a drug deal gone sour.  Mr. Jindal has  commuted Arabie's life sentence to 45 years--making him eligible for  parole right now.  Governor Jindal says numerous people came forward to say Arabie IS a changed man.

 

The Louisiana Association of Educators teachers' union has a new  president. Vermilion Parish language teacher Deborah Meaux accepted  leadership of the union Monday, from outgoing president Joyce Haynes.  Meaux ("MO") says it's an honor to represent the 20-thousand members of  the LAE. Meaux teaches French at Kaplan High School in Vermilion Parish, and has  been teaching for nearly 4 decades.

 

An Anacoco teenager, who was not wearing her seatbelt, was killed in a  two-vehicle  accident  near Toledo bend in Sabine Parish over the weekend.  State Police trooper  Scott  Moreau  says  the  victim  is 17-year-old Winter Airhart. Moreau says Airhart was a passenger in a Dodge pickup  truck that collided with a GMC pickup making left-hand

turn. He says Aihart was ejected from the truck and pronounced dead at the

scene.

 

State  Police  say  a Texas man who wasn't wearing his seat belt  is dead after a morning  crash  yesterday in  St.  Landry  Parish.  They  say the driver,  who has not been identified, ran off La Highway 357 into  a ditch and was ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

The man accused of murdering his  wife  in Calcasieu Parish 50 years ago  pleads  not  guilty. Felix Vail entered  his  plea  during  his arraignment Monday.  He's  charged  with  killing Mary Horton Vail in 1962 and leaving her body in the Calcasieu  River. Vail is suspected in the deaths of a girlfriend in the 1970s and  a second wife in the 1980's.

 

 

News For Monday 07/15/13


News for Monday 071513

By Dave Graichen

 

The state Legislature will not call its members into a special session  to consider overriding Governor Jindal's veto decisions. The Senate  voted 26-13 against the session, despite calls from Democrat leaders to  undo cuts to programs for disabled persons.  In the House, only 39 of 105 members voted against the session, but state law says if a majority of members in EITHER chamber vote "no", the  veto session is cancelled.  Louisiana hasn't had a veto override session in modern times.

 

Pleading guilty to simple battery, LSU running back Jeremy  Hill has been  given  a  six-month  suspended  prison  sentence, two years of probation and ordered to pay 375-dollars in restitution  for hitting another  man  outside  a  Baton  Rouge  bar  last April. Hill still may have his probation from a previous crime revoked.

 

Louisiana's  unclaimed  property   program   distributed   a  record 31-million  dollars  in  checks to residents during the fiscal  year that ended June 30th. The  money  comes  from old checking accounts, CDs, insurance proceeds and utility deposits. When a business cannot locate the person the money belongs to, they  turn  it  over  to the

state.  State  Treasurer John Kennedy says there's still 575-million dollars that needs  to  be  claimed  by  over 500-thousand Louisiana residents. Kennedy says you can check to see if Louisiana has any of your money by going to latreasury.com.

 

Could Opelousas state Senator Elbert Guillory be thinking of running for  U.S. Senate against Mary Landrieu? Guillory recently switched parties,  becoming the state legislature's only black Republican. Guillory posted a YouTube video last month explaining why he left the  Democrats to join the GOP. It's been viewed nearly 800-thousand times.  Since then he's appeared on numerous national radio and cable TV talks  shows. It's been suggested that, as a republican in the Senate race he

 could draw black votes that another GOP candidate probably wouldn't

 

A Harvey family woke up to every parent’s worst nightmare Saturday morning: their child missing without a trace. Six-year-old Ahlitta North disappeared from her mother’s home sometime between 11 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday. Authorities say there were no signs of forced entry and that the front door was ajar. Family members said a handful of the girl’s possessions, a toothbrush, blanket and toothpaste, also were missing.

 

LSU's chief of Health Care Services is resigning. Dr. Michael Kaiser says  he'll  exit  his  $350-thousand  a year position at the end of August. Kaiser began the job last fall as  the Jindal administration worked toward privatization of six of the seven charity hospitals in south Louisiana under the umbrella of the LSU  Health Care Services. He's  presided over the layoffs of thousands of state  employees  at LSU medical facilities statewide.

 

A new ranking by financial website Kiplinger.com rates Louisiana  America's Most Disaster-Prone State. State Insurance Commissioner Jim  Donelon says this comes as little surprise, based on how the report's  data was collected. The Kiplinger report covers a period from 2003 through 2012, and shows  Louisiana had 7 hurricanes, 2 tropical storms and 20 other severe  weather incidents during that time. Estimated insured property losses over $32-billion. Donelon says  Florida was Number Two on the Kiplinger "Disaster-Prone List", followed by Texas, Mississippi then New York at Number Five--due to huge losses from Superstorm Sandy.

 

 

 

News For Friday 07/12/13


News for Friday 071213

By Dave Graichen

 

State police report two people were killed yesterday when, just before 7 in the morning, two vehicles collided on highway 1 near the community of Hamburg. Killed was 66 year old Leo David of New Roads and 37 year old Michael Zaunbrecher of Mansura. Troopers say neither man was wearing a seatbelt.

 

A casting call will be held in Alexandria tomorrow for a new movie that will begin production later this month. The Aftermath,” an independent film, is  the brainchild of Alexandria native Shaun Sanghani, who co-wrote the script and will  produce “The Aftermath” as well.”  The star of the movie will be Sam Trammell, one of the stars of HBO’s “True Blood. That open casting call will be tomorrow afternoon from 1-6 p.m. at 1501 Wimbledon Boulevard.

 

Caught red handed, an employee at the LaQuinta Inn in Alexandria is facing a charge that he entered a guest's room without permission and took some electronic items. 27 year old Tyrus Gable was arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on a simple burglary charge. All items stolen were recovered and returned to the guest.

 

It’s all over for the Alexandria Aces for this season. The United League Baseball has shut the team down rest of the season, but  plans are in the works to return the team to Alexandria in 2014.  The reason for the early end to the season, League CEO John Bryant saying it is pretty obvious the public will not attend professional baseball at Bringhurst Field in its current condition. In a statement released Thursday afternoon from Mayor Jacques Roy's office, he said the city was notified of the decision Thursday by email.

 

The  American  Automobile  Association  says  the  current statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline jumped two  cents overnight to  $3.33  a gallon. That's up five cents from last week.  But  last year at this  time  during  summer  travels  the  gas price was just $3.15.

 

Louisiana's junior US Senator has a lot of money in the bank  to  be used  either  for a re-election bid or a run for governor next year. Charlie Spies treasurer for the  Fund  for  Louisiana's  Future, a super political action committee supporting Vitter says the PAC will report raising 750-thousand  dollars for Vitter to federal election officials tomorrow.  Vitter hasn't  made public any specific plans but the current governor cannot succeed himself which could lead the senator to a run for the state house.   The super PAC has been formed at both the state and federal levels.

 

Livingston Parish authorities want to know who put ten puppies in an ice  chest  and left them on the roadside, near  the  Walker  Animal Shelter. The  dogs  were  all malnourished and some had heat stroke, but all are still alive. The  responsible party faces animal cruelty charges when found. Meanwhile adoptive  homes  for  the  puppies are being sought.

 

Jonesboro  state Representative and House  Appropriations  Committee Chairman Jim  Fannin  has  left  the  Democrat  Party  and  become a Republican.  Fannin says the Democrats are now TOO far to the  left, and he can no longer stand wth them on issues like gay marriage, gun control. Fannin  has  long  considered  himself a so-called Blue Dog Democrat; a party member who leans toward  more conservative values. He says there's no room for Blue Dogs in the  Democrat  Party  these days.  Fannin  may  be thinking of running for state Senate, to fill the seat of Senator Bob Kostelka, who is term-limited.

 

Lafayette Police arrest a 19-year-old  mom, after her 3-year-old was found  wandering  about  the  neighborhood alone.  Lafayette  Police Corporal Paul Mouton says Chelsea  Jones was napping, when her child got  out of the house and walked some  two  blocks  from  the  home. Mouton  says  Jones  was charged  with 2nd-offense child desertion, because this isn't the first time she's been in similar trouble.

 

The  Louisiana  Department  of  Children  and  Family  Services  has increased its funding of 18 domestic  violence  service providers by more than 840-thousand dollars to the tune of six  million  dollars. The  increase  comes  after last  years mid-year reductions.    The funding  takes  into account for the first time  the  size  of  the population served,  square  miles  covered  and  the quality of the service provided.

 

Police in Eunice seek a pickup truck that hit a 4-year-old  girl and kept  going. The victim was crossing the street when the truck  hit her,  but she sustained only minor  injuries.  Eunice  Police  are looking  for  a grey Ford pickup; late 1990's or early 2000's model, driven by a white male. When found, he'll be charged with hit & run.

 

The  city  of Minden has a new mayor, after the death of Mayor  Bill Robertson two  weeks  ago.  The Minden City Council voted to appoint Councilman Joe Cornelius to lead the town, until an election is held this fall. The Council will also appoint someone to fill Cornelius' now-empty council seat.

 

Jefferson  Parish  deputies  arrest   a   Texas   woman   for  human trafficking; accused  of  bringing  an  underage girl to a Metairie motel room to sell her for sex. The girl is  16,  the suspect Andrea Birdow is 22. She reportedly solicited an undercover cop to have sex with the girl for $320.

 

 

 

News For Thursday 07/11/13


News for Thursday 071113

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor  Jindal  announces  a  Russian company called Eurochem will build a fertilizer plant in either  St.  John  or  Iberville Parish. Jindal  says  the facility will take three to four years  to  build, creating two-thousand  construction  jobs.  The plant is expected to

employ 15-hundred workers.

 

State lawmakers have until midnight tonight to vote to call off a  mandatorily scheduled veto override session. House Democratic Caucus  leader John Bel Edwards, of Amite, wants legislators to convene the  special session. He says Governor Jindal's vetoes were too harsh this  year. State law says a session to consider overturning any of the Governor's  vetoes is automatically slated, unless a majority vote it un-necessary.

 

To cope with ongoing budget troubles, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has steadily depleted a trust fund for elderly services created with an infusion of federal cash a decade ago. When Jindal took office, the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly contained more than $830 million. Today, according to the state treasurer’s office, the balance has dropped to $410 million. By the end of the current fiscal year, it is projected to sink to $250 million or less. Officials involved with creating the fund expected the state to use largely the interest and investment earnings and leave the principal alone, so the fund would be available for decades.

 

The latest on Chantal; the system is now a tropical  wave  -  a  bit south  of  Haiti,  but some computer models show the storm regaining strength and turning  to  the  north, toward the Florida east coast. Another model predicts the system will proceed west into the Gulf.

 

The Louisiana National Guard's Counterdrug  Task Force announces the seizure of about  ten million dollars in marijuana plants growing in Vernon Parish. Counterdrug Task Force coordinator Lieutenant Colonel Ray Schindler says their high-tech aerial equipment  helped  uncover thousands of pot plants on a three acre plot. Schindler says this is the  largest  marijuana  eradication  seizure the Louisiana National Guard has ever participated in. Schindler  says  no  arrests  have  yet been made related to the pot

crop.

 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, predicts one-third of its  customers who purchase their own policies will see their premiums  decrease under the new federal health care law. However, Senior Economist Michael  Bertaut says policy holders who receive insurance through their  workplace could see their premiums rise.  About 175-thousand Blue Cross customers pay for their own insurance.  Bertaut says fortunatly two-thirds of those policyholders will continue  to pay the same premiums or even less when the health care changes take  effect in 2014.

 

According to a  report  by  Kiplinger,  Louisiana  is the state most disaster prone state in the nation. The study was put together based on which state has suffered the biggest property loss.  The  Pelican State got the No. 1 spot, mostly because of Hurricane Katrina – the costliest disaster in US history.

 

Police  in  Baton  Rouge  arrest  a  man  and his wife  for  running prostitution  in  their home, in a quiet neighborhood.  Charles  and Kaelice Smith have  been taken into custody. Officers say Mrs. Smith was selling herself for  sex  in  the home; using an Internet add to solicit business. Mr. Smith would take the couple's two children for

a ride when clients came by. The kids have been placed with a family relative.

 

The annual Manning Passing Academy starts today at Nicholls State  University. The traditional summer camp helps hundreds of young players  from around the country build up their football skills. The camp is in its  eighth year in Thibodeaux

 

The  company  responsible  for the 4-mile wide rainbow sheen visible from the natural gas leak of  a  well southwest of Port Fourchon has had problems before. The leak started  Tuesday but Energy Resource Technology-Gulf of Mexico LLC has been cited  for  problems  in 2007 and  2008.  They  have  also been investigated for several accidents since 2005 that included three fatalities.

 

Police in Zachary say a man  is  under  arrest for beating up his 88 year old grandmother -- breaking her eye  socket  and nose. They say 31-year-old  Keon  Brown  told  family  members his grandmother  had actually  fallen. The man was booked on counts  of  cruelty  to  the infirmed and second-degree battery involving domestic violence.

 

Research  done  by a doctor at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans has found  people  can  become  very  ill  and even die from eating a raw crawfish. Doctor James Diaz says he's found 16 cases in the US where people consumed a parasite from eating  a  raw crawfish and it developed into a serious lung infection. Diaz says the infection is not possible when eating boiled crawfish.

 

Convicted  killer  Brandon Lavergne has kept busy while serving life in Angola for the murders  of Mickey Shunick and Lisa Pate. Lavergne has filed lawsuits against dozens  of  individuals,  law enforcement agencies  and  media - alleging slander, libel, false reporting  and theft of his personal  property.  Lavergne's  suits  may never see a

courtroom  if  he  cannot  raise  the money needed for filing  fees. Remember, Lavergne confessed to the murders and pleaded guilty.

 

News For Wednesday 07/10/13


News for Wednesday 071013

By Dave Graichen

 

Construction on the $23 million makeover of the Rapides Parish Coliseum is set to begin towards the end of January of next year. Word is, The design phase is expected to be finished in November. Bids could then be taken and the contract signed around the first of the year.

 

Teachers are continuing to retire here in Louisiana at higher than usual numbers, more than 7,500 in the last two years.  The number of retirements in 2013 increased from the 24 percent increase last year. Dana Vicknair, the assistant director at  the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana says “We are up about 1,000 from what we would normally see. State Superintendent of Education John White said the exodus should be looked at as primarily a financial decision on the part of more veteran employees.

But school superintendents also said the decision has a lot to do with changes occurring in the classroom, including new teacher evaluations pushed by the Jindal administration, which one educator said created “a tipping point.”

 

AT&T  says  they are looking to hire 500 individuals in Louisiana as part of the company's multibillion dollar plan to expand and improve its 4G LTE network  and wired I-P broadband network nationwide. AT&T Louisiana President Sonja  Perez  says its great news for the state, because it means new jobs and better telecommunication services. She says if you'd like to apply for  one of the new jobs at A&T, you can visit the career's website at connect.att.jobs.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal denounced a U.S. Senate immigration bill Tuesday as a government pork-laden power grab by Democrats that could demonize Republicans among Hispanic voters. Jindal, the son of immigrants, shared his viewpoint in an editorial for “National Review,” which is a self-described conservative magazine. The governor wrote that the so-called Gang of Eight bill passed by the U.S. Senate is a win-win for Democrats. Passage of the bill would grant amnesty to millions without resolving the country’s immigration problems, while failure would allow Democrats to tell Hispanic voters that Republicans are to blame. The so-called Gang of Eight group of four Republicans and four Democrats proposed the legislation, arguing that a majority of both parties want to fix the nation’s “broken” immigration system.

 

The  American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is weighing in on a Lafayette's  Councilman's plans to introduce an ordinance that would ban certain types  of  flags  from  being  flown on government-owned flagpoles.  Executive Director Marjorie Esman  says  ordinance  gets close  to  infringing   upon  a  citizens  constitutional  right  to

expression. Councilman  Andy  Naquin  said   he   brought  up  the  issue  after

constituents  expressed  anger over a gay  pride  flag  flying  seen flying along with  an American flag at a city park.

 

The  Louisiana  Lottery  says  a  man from Albany has claimed his $1million Powerball prize from the June  29th  drawing.  They say Eric Bankston's Quick Pick ticket matched all five white ball numbers.

 

A group of three Metairie co-workers pooled on a Powerball ticket that  won a million dollars in the July 6th drawing. LA Lottery spokesperson  Kimberly Chopin says the winners each got $233-thousand after taxes. She says all  three have different plans of what to do with their winnings. Chopin says the three work together at the Macy's in Metairie, and had  been pooling cash to play Powerball for a while. They matched all five  white numbers last Saturday night to win the $1-million.

 

A new report says wildlife tourism along the Gulf Coast is a 19-billion  dollar-a-year business that attracts 20-million visitors to the region.  The Environmental Defense Fund and the Walton Family Foundation paid for  the study. Lt Governor Jay Dardenne says they wanted to show that  tourism is a critical industry to our coastal parishes. Dardenne says the groups who paid for the report are lobbying to make  sure oil spill fine money will be used on the Gulf Coast ecosystem that  was damaged in the 2010 deepwater horizon disaster.  BP has already provided a one-billion dollar down payment for coastal  restoration and it's still to be determined how more money in fines the Gulf Coast States will receive.

 

New Orleans Police have arrested  three  men in connect to the fatal hit  and  run that claimed the life of an off  duty  officer  Sunday morning. Justin  McKey  was  booked  into  Orleans  Parish Prison on charges  of  manslaughter and hit and run.  Two men were also arrested for obstructing justice including the owner of a  body  shop  where  the  Porche  McKey  was allegedly driving was found.

 

Minden Congressman John Fleming is urging his fellow members of Congress  to support efforts to allow U.S. military to publicly express their  religious beliefs. Dr. Fleming says there have been numerous occurrences  in the recent past of military personnel being discouraged, or  forbidden from letting people know or see evidence of their faith. Fleming says the quashing of religious expression in the armed forces

 seems, to him, to be more focused at Christians and Jews than other  religions.  Fleming's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act - a key  defense spending bill - drew a statement of opposition from the Obama  White House.

 

The Coast Guard says natural gas is leaking from a well at a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico 74 miles southwest of Port Fourchon. Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash says the well is not spewing, but a rainbow sheen four miles wide and three-quarters of a mile long was spotted in an aerial survey Tuesday. The Coast Guard says a crew was working Monday night to temporarily plug the well when workers lost control. Two other wells on the platform were closed off. No one was hurt.

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 07/09/13


News for Tuesday 070913

By Dave Graichen

 

The  season's  third named storm, Tropical Storm Chantal, has formed in the mid-Atlantic,  with  a  course  predicted  to take it towards Florida's  east  coast. That's where most computer models  show  the storm heading, but  there  ARE  a few that forecast a track into the Gulf of Mexico. Chantal is still several days from any possible U.S. landfall. We'll keep an eye on it for you.

 

State  Police  say  a  20-year-old  Marksville   man   died   in   a single-vehicle  crash in Avoyelles Parish. They say Christian C Cole lost control of his  truck  and  drove  off  Highway  107  hitting a culvert then a tree. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

A  $5,000 reward is being offered for  information  leading  to  the arrest  and conviction of the hit-and-run driver responsible for the death of  an  off-duty  New  Orleans  police officer. Officer Rodney Thomas  was involved in a minor accident  at  about  1  a.m.  Sunday morning on  I-10.  He was struck when he got out of his car to check on the other person  in  the  wreck.  Police  are looking for a late model white Porsche with possible damage to its right front side.

 

Shreveport Police identify the three-year-old who died last week, after  being left unattended inside a hot car. They say Seriah Delafosse (sur-  EYE-uh DEL-uh-foss) died from heat stroke after almost 19 hours in the  vehicle.  The child's mother, Krystal Delafosse, told officers she forgot the  child in the car when she got home on the evening of July 4th, and  didn't discover the girl until 4:30 the next afternoon. The Child’s  death is still under investigation, and charges against the  child's mom are possible.

 

The  U.S.  Coast  Guard has re-opened the Mississippi River near its mouth, after a tug boat sank there Saturday. Spokesman Petty Officer Carlos Vega says efforts  to find the sunken vessel have so far been unsuccessful, but that tells  them  it's  not  in  the way of, and a threat to shipping traffic.He  says  shallow  draft vessels may proceed at a slow,  safe  pace. Meanwhile the search for the sunken 48-foot tug "C Pec" continues.

 

The Coast Guard continues  searching  for  man who fell overboard in the Gulf of Mexico south of Port Fourchon. 36-year-old  Hung  Nguyen was  on  a  commercial  dive boat when he went missing. The ship and crew conducted an extensive  search,  Now  the  Coast  Guard  has  2 helicopters  and three fixed-wing aircraft scanning the area for any sign of the man,  who's  been  in  the  water  since  early Saturday

morning.

 

State Police  report a total of five fatal crashes over the July 4th weekend, resulting  in  6  deaths.  Three  of  the  victims were not wearing  seat  belts.  One  of  the  wrecks  is  known to have  been alcohol-related.

 

East  Baton  Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar more has formally charged LSU running back Jeremy Hill with simple battery in the case of the bar fight  outside  Reggie's  in  April.  The 20 year old was suspended  by  Coach  Les Miles in May when the Mad Hatter  said  he would wait for the legal  process  to  carry  out before he made any further action against Hill.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal announced a Baton Rouge Company, CB&I will be adding 400 jobs from out-of-state locations to the company's  Baton  Rouge  location. The new  direct jobs will pay salaries averaging $68,000 to $78,000  per year plus benefits.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal confirms he has no plans to run for U.S. Senate  against incumbent Mary Landrieu in the fall of 2014. Though a Jindal  advisor two weeks ago said the Governor has "no interest", reporters at  a Jindal press conference Monday heard it from the Governor himself.

 

Bossier  City Police say a suspected  drunk  driver  is  accused  of trying to  kill a police officer, by ramming his patrol car with his pickup truck.  41-year-old  Robert  Abraham led officers on a chase, when they attempted to stop him. He slammed his vehicle into a squad car twice before losing control, taking out a gas meter and crashing

into  a house. He faces a slew of charges  including  attempted  1st degree murder of an officer and 4th offense DWI.

 

News For Monday 07/08/13


News for Monday 070813

By Dave Graichen

 

A noted demographer says U.S. Census data shows Louisiana is still  steadily losing population, despite what the Governor says. Shreveport's  Elliot Stonecipher numbers spanning 10 years, from July 2002 to July  2012, shows net outmigration losses decreased Louisiana's population by  over 178-thousand. This contradicts Governor Jindal's periodic claims that Louisiana has  stemmed outmigration, and has - indeed - been gaining population. Stonecipher says outmigration is also outpacing the rate of births-to- deaths in Louisiana; meaning the population continues to shrink.

 

A federal appeals court is wading into a high-stakes dispute over the terms of a multibillion-dollar settlement of claims arising from BP’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments today by attorneys for the London-based oil giant and for Gulf Coast businesses that say the nation’s worst offshore oil spill cost them money. BP asserts that the judge who approved the deal and a court-appointed claims administrator have misinterpreted the settlement, allowing thousands of businesses to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in payments for inflated and fictitious losses.

 

A new study ranks Louisiana last in the country for its percentage of  women in the legislature. Slightly less than 12% of our state lawmakers are women. The study was done by  Rutgers University and the Ctr for American Woman and Politics. It shows,  there are just 13 women in the 105-member state House, and only 4 in the  39-member Senate.

 

The U.S. Coast Guard has shut down Mississippi River traffic in southeastern Louisiana near Venice as the search continues for a sunken tugboat. The 48-foot tug “C-Pec” sank Saturday afternoon. The Coast Guard said two people aboard were rescued by a vessel in the area. River traffic was shut down in both directions from around the mouth of the river up to mile marker 10. The Coast Guard said it will be re-opened only after the submerged vessel is located and authorities are sure the river can be safely navigated.

 

According to a list of America's Top Booming Suburbs, the Ascension  Parish town of Prairieville came it at No. 2. The rankings put together  by Coldwell Banker Real Estate rated 1500 communities based on good  employment opportunities, good schools, commute by car and community  safety. The price of real estate is much lower in Prairieville  than it is in Baton Rouge.

 

There's a little controversy stirring over a New Orleans Police  Department Policy that goes into effect next month requiring officers  to hide all of their tattoos. NOPD says it's about making the force look more professional. The new policy will reportedly require officers with visible tattoos to  wear long sleeve shirts or put makeup over neck tattoos. Until now New Orleans Police officers could have tattoos as long as  they weren't offensive.

 

With the Summer season here, a dating website survey ranks Baton Rouge  in the Top Ten American cities for having the "Best Bikini Bodies".  MissTravel.com spokeswoman Angela Bermudo says their destination-dating  website polled 14-thousand single men to determine which cities had the  hottest women to go to the beach with.  Bermudo says with seven of the "Top Ten Best Bikini Bodies" cities  located in the southern United States, single men should travel to the  Bayou State if they're looking for romance.

 

 

News For Wednesday 07/04/13


News for Wednesday 070313

By Dave Graichen

 

The news came as a bit of a shock to many yesterday, Rapides schools Superintendent Nason Authement  underwent triple-bypass surgery yesterday after being taken to the hospital Monday by his wife. Authement , an avid exerciser, had been experiencing chest pains. Doctors say the surgery went well and the Superintendent is recovering nicely. It’s not know at this time how long Authement will be out of the office. An  executive assistant superintendent  is taking over Authement’s responsibilities in the interim.

 

The Downtown Alexandria Revitalization Effort of d.a.r.e. was introduced to the public Tuesday. The newly formed nonprofit held its coming out party in the space above Sentry Drug. The group, headed up by Tobias Wilhelm, hopes to become a clearinghouse on downtown properties.

 

The  Louisiana  State  Police will hold a training academy  for  new troopers for the first time  in  5 years. In 2009 there were over 11 hundred troopers statewide; now there are just 960.

 

Speaking of more troopers, you can expect to see them throughout the fourth of July holiday weekend. Officials  say  extra  man power has been  funded  by  the  Louisiana  Highway Safety Commission who  say aggressive  drivers,  impaired  drivers   and   those  not  properly restrained will be targeted.

 

State Police say they've investigated  four motorcycle fatal crashes in less than a week across south Louisiana. Trooper Nick Manale  says  this  is a popular time of the year

for motorcyclists to highway and the public  needs  to  be  vigilant while driving.

He says man reason fatal motorcycle crashes occur because a motorist fails to see a bike and react in time.

 

Authorities in Grant Parish report an investigation into the vandalism of some farm equipment near Colfax resulted in the apprehension of four children, ages 8 to 12. One piece of equipment that was destroyed was valued at $275,000. A spokesperson for the Grant parish sheriff’s office say, investigators had the suspects in custody within two hours.

 

The  State  Fire  Marshal's  Office  and  the  Department  of Ag and Forestry  held a  memorial  yesterday afternoon  to  honor the 19 firefights  who  perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.  Fire Marshal Butch Browning  says  these  19  firefighters  represent the largest single incident losses to life since 9/11 when 343  New York

City Firefighters died. Browning says we  owe a great  deal  to  those  who  selflessly put themselves in harm's way every day to protect us.

 

According to the American Automobile Association, fewer people plan to  travel this 4th of July Holiday than last year at this time. AAA  Spokesman Don Redman says about 40-million Americans will journey  50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday, which  is down slightly from last year. Redman says 84% of those traveling over the next few days will be driving.

 

Because of the blasts at two plants in Ascension Parish, that killed three  and  sent  near  100  to the hospital last month, they remain closed. The Occupational Safety  and Health Administration, or OSHA, has  six  months to complete an investigation  into  both  explosion sites. One  worker  from  each  blast  remains in the hospital being

treated for injuries.

 

Thibodaux  police  arrest a homeless man who allegedly raped a child on two separate occasions.  Police  spokesman  David  Melancon  says 49-year-old  Brian Stickel is accused of assaulting the child in the woods and once  inside the child's home. Stickel faces two counts of aggravated rape. Until his arrest, Stickel was friendly with the boy's family.

 

A 12-year-old  Sabine  Parish  boy  faces  criminal charges after he reportedly  poured a pot of boiling water on  a  6-month  old  stray puppy.  The  dog  suffered  serious  burns  and  runs  the  risk  of infection. The  boy,  who  says he did it to keep the dog out of the

family's garbage cans, is charged with cruelty to animals, and could face up to six months behind bars. Meanwhile a number of people have offered to adopt the female Labrador pup, nicknamed "Amazing Grace".

 

Slidell Police say a 16-year-old faces attempted  murder charges for hacking  off  another  man's  earlobe  with  a  machete.  The   teen reportedly  told  officers he tried to kill the man, but missed. The victim is recovering  in  a Slidell hospital. The teen recently came to the area from Los Angeles  and  is  believed  to be member of the

vicious MS13 street gang.

 

State Wildlife & Fisheries  have closed an area off East Grand Terre Island, along the Louisiana coast,  to  commercial  fishing,  due to large  tar  mats  that  turned  up,  and  were cleaned up last week. Secretary Bob Barham says it's residual mess  from  the  2010 BP oil spill. He says seafood in that area will be tested again,  to assure it is safe to eat, before the area is reopened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 7/2/13


News for Tuesday 070213

By Dave Graichen

 

Former  LSU  and  NBA Star Shaquille O'Neal says he wants to build a children's hospital  in  Baton  Rouge.  O'Neal made the announcement during a press conference this weekend in  Natchitoches prior to his induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He says he wants to build a big hospital in  Baton Rouge, where sick

children can receive medical care for free.

 

You  can scratch Ag Commissioner Mike Strain's name off the list for potential  candidates  for governor in 2015. Strain says he formed a gubernatorial exploratory  committee,  ran  polls  and  talked  with voters over the last few months and game to the realization that  he has the job he wants.

 

U.L.-Monroe has named Brian  Wickstrom as its new Athletic Director. Wickstrom  comes  to  ULM  from  the   University  of  California - Riverside, to replace Bobby Staub who resigned  last  April  after 9 years helming ULM sports.

 

A dip at the beach may seem like a good idea to beat the summer heat,  but state health officials warn there are health risks in Louisiana's  natural waters. State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard  says Gulf seawater can contain the so-called flesh-eating bacteria.  Dr. Ratard says four swimmers in Louisiana Gulf Coast waters were infected with the bacteria - probably through open  wounds or cuts. Three have gotten sick and one person died. He says the  bacteria can be especially harmful in persons with pre-existing health  issues, or weak immune systems.

 

The Department of Children & Family Services says all the state's 15  juvenile justice facilities are now under one set of operational  standards. DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier says the standards lay out clear  rules for health, safety, staff training and many of procedures and  policies. She says it's been a long time coming.

 

Motorists are seeing some relief at the pump during fourth of July  travels as gas prices in Louisiana have fallen five cents from last  week. According to Patrick Dehaan with GasBuddy.com, the current  statewide average for a gallon of regular is $3.27. you can find it a lot lower here in Alexandria / Pineville. He says gasoline  inventory in the United States is 10% higher than it was a year ago.:

 

A St. Mary Parish  Sheriff's  deputy  was  killed  Sunday,  when his motorcycle swerved into oncoming traffic and hit an SUV. It happened in  Morgan  City  on  state  Highway  182.  Deputy Carril Crooks was pronounced dead at the scene. The matter is under investigation

 

An investigation continues into a rather strange crash and fatality. Police in Shreveport are reporting that just after 11pm last night a car went off Jefferson Paige Road and fell onto  I-220.  The car was reportedly  on  fire  when  the driver jumped out and then ran  into traffic where he was struck several  times.

 

No sooner does a major construction project on  I-10  between  Baton Rouge  and  New  Orleans  finish,  than  another  is  slated  to get underway.  The  Department of Transportation says they'll soon begin elevating the roadway at LaPlace, an area that was covered in over a foot of water - and  had  to be closed - in the days after Hurricane

Isaac last Fall. Crews will lay 15 inches of additional asphalt, to bring  the  roadway  above  the high water mark. The work should be done by September.

 

Police in Monroe say  a 25-year-old Marine drowned over the weekend. They say Sgt. Ricky Franklin  Sugg was found in a swimming pool at a home  Saturday  afternoon.  Detectives   don't   suspect  suspicious circumstances but his drowning death is still under investigation.

 

Authorities in Sabine Parish say a two-year-old girl  drowned Sunday afternoon  in  an above-ground swimming pool. It's  believed she got outside while  everyone  else  in  the  home was napping,  and  climbed  the ladder--falling into the water. The  parish  coroner is calling it a tragic accidental death.

 

Do red light cameras reduce  accidents?  A study done in Baton Rouge after 5 years of cams says T-bone type accidents at camera-monitored intersections are down sharply....however,  rear-end  collisions  at the same intersections are up slightly.

 

 

News For Monday 07/01/13


News for Monday 070113

By Dave Graichen

 

Another of the governor’s plans has gone down in flames, The Louisiana  Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to  shift future  rank-and-file  state  workers  to  a  401(k)-style retirement  plan  is  unconstitutional.  The state seeks to cut it's retirement debt by making the move. The High Court ruled the law was unconstitutional  because it didn't receive  a  two-thirds  majority from lawmakers. In  a  written  statement,  the  Governor says he'll "work with lawmakers on the best way to proceed".

 

Louisiana  Department  of  Wildlife  and  Fisheries  Law Enforcement Agents  are  participating  in  Operation  Dry  Water  thru the 4th of July weekend.  Wildlife agents are increasing patrols,  looking for boaters operating or driving a boat while intoxicated. Boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of  .08  percent  will  be  charged  with a DWI. Meaning you COULD lose your driver’s license.

 

State Health officials say mosquito-borne West Nile virus activity has  been slow so far, a good indicator of a low-infection season. State  Epidemiologist Dr. Raoul Ratard  says a long, cool  Spring has kept mosquito activity and West Nile cases very low.  Last year, about 160 were infected with West Nile, and 18 died from  the neuroinvasive form of the disease. State officials say the best way to avoid getting the virus, it to avoid being bitten my mosquitoes.

 

The most sweeping changes to America's health care system in 50 years  takes effect in just 90 days. The changes are the main part of the  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2009, also called  Obamacare. John Maginnis, with the Louisiana Healthcare Education  Coalition, says the  Coalition's website has lots of information to help you understand what may change for you, under the  health care reforms. Maginnis says, under healthcare reform, persons under the federal poverty level will  get free health care under Medicaid. Those earning from 100% to 400% of  poverty level will be eligible for health care premium subsidies. That website: LHEC.net

 

We are now one month into the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and have already seen two named storms. State Climatologist Barry Keim says, Warm sea surface temperatures and the absence of a Pacific El Nino, or  La Nina - which can mitigate Atlantic storm formation - are behind  forecasts of between 18 to 20 named storms this year. Keim feels the  predictions are valid, and advises having your hurricane "game plan"  ready for whatever comes.

 

Louisiana Tech athletics becomes an official member of Conference USA  today, after a 12-year run in the Western Athletic Conference. Sports  Information Director Malcolm Butler says instead of playing schools way  out west, Tech will go up against nearby schools like Southern Miss, North Texas and U-A-B. Butler says Conference USA allows Tech to have regional rivalries, which  should lead to greater interest in Bulldog athletics and more money  coming into the athletic program.

 

Drug  enforcement  cops in Natchitoches have busted four people  for allegedly distributing  crystal  meth and for cruelty to juveniles - via exposing them to the dangerous  drug.  Police Chief Roger Henson says a search warrant for the Natchitoches home  turned  up meth and other  drugs  and  paraphernalia, and three kids living amongst  all that. Two of the kids  tested  positive  for  meth  in  routine drug

screenings. The  kids are now in protective custody. Three men and one  woman,  ll between 25 and 32 years of age have been arrested.

 

A tow truck driver died Sunday morning, about seven hours after he was struck by an alleged drunken driver while trying to move a disabled vehicle on the side of Interstate 10. 25 year old Blaze Louviere of Breaux Bridge, was standing on the shoulder of the interstate when a 2000 GMC Yukon driven by a 25 year old Texas man struck him and continued driving. Other drivers and witnesses to the accident followed the man into the Breaux Bridge city limits where Breaux Bridge police stopped and held him until State Police arrived to arrest him. Louviere was taken to a hospital in critical condition where he later died.

 

 

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