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First Female Bomb Wing Commander

The Air Force's oldest bomb wing, located in Bossier City, is now being commanded by its first ever female bomb wing commander. Col. Kristen Goodwin is taking command of the 2nd Bomb Wing based out of Barksdale Air Force Base. Retired Master Sgt. and military archivist at LSUS Shawn Bohannon says first and foremost, it's about a qualified officer getting a well earned promotion.

"She is a highly skilled, and highly trained professional, and she has earned this promotion through merit."
The Air Force began training it's first female pilots in 1976, and began training it's first female fighter pilots in 1993. Bohannon says those first graduates are beginning to move into upper level commands.
"The Air Force has a history of allowing women into flying positions, starting in the 1970s. We're starting to see the fruition of the 1970's graduates."
Goodwin is now commanding the dozen squadrons that make up the 2nd Bomb Wing. Bohannon says it's one of the best jobs in the Air Force.
"Over the years, i have worked with many Wing Commanders, and many of them were all fond of saying that holding a wing command in the Air Force is one of the best jobs an officer can hope to have."
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Sales tax holiday starts today

Louisiana's  sales tax holiday starts today. For the next two days, customers will not have to pay the 4% sales tax on the first 25 hundred dollars of each item they buy. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesperson Byron Henderson says it only comes once a year.

 "This is the annual sales tax holiday, that applies to most of what we call tangible person property
The tax exemption only applies to the state sales tax of 4%. Henderson says any other taxes will still apply.
"Sales tax exemption only applies to the 4% state sales tax, so any local sales taxes will still apply"
Not all items and services will be up for the tax holiday. Henderson says many bigger purchases and popular services are not on the list.
"What is not covered are vehicles subject to title, and meals prepared on the premises. There is also a list of other things."

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Concealed weapons now allowed in restaurants

Starting today, individuals with a concealed carry permit are allowed to bring a concealed firearm into restaurants that serve alcohol. The HB 72, sponsored by Metairie representative Joe Lopinto, is now in effect, along with a host of other bills that were passed in the last legislative session. Bossier City representative Jeff Thompson says the bill clears up a conflict in the law.

"We resolved that conflict to allow those that have a lawfully issued concealed carry permit into a class A establishments, that have the majority of their revenue from food, and not alcohol sales."
One of the biggest concerns with the law was that people may start bringing guns into bars. Thompson says that's not in the bill.

"In no way is this intended to interject firearms into bars, or other situations where someone is being irresponsible with alcohol."
The bill increases the growing number of places that citizens with licenses are allowed to enter with their concealed weapons. Thompson says the intent was to protect responsible concealed carry holders and their families.

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No more smoking on campus after today

Michelle Southern reporting.
Today is the last day that anyone will be allowed to smoke at public college campuses in Louisiana. In 2013 the state legislature passed a law requiring all public institutions of higher education to go smoke free by August 1st, 2014. Many schools have chosen to go tobacco free like LSU according to Vice Chancellor for student life Kurt Keppler.

"Governor Jindal created a Well Spot initiative recently indicating he wanted all institutions to be considered such a spot go tobacco free," said Keppler. "So that's what we've decided to do."

Keppler says these tobacco free policies that campuses are adopting all throughout the state rely on the courtesy, respect and cooperation of all members of the university community.

He says the ultimate goal of the implementation of the smoke free policy is to change people's behavior.

"We're not caught up in trying to fine or sanction or punish people," said Keppler. "We're trying to get other people to get people to stop..so we'll be using signage to help with that."

Keppler says these smoke-free policies are becoming a national trend as colleges want to send the message that smoking cigarettes are chewing tobacco is seen as a habit they're trying to stop.

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Common Core: Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says keep Washington politics out of Louisiana

Michelle Southern reporting.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says of the Common Core debate that it's very unfortunate teachers and students are left hanging so close to the start of school. He calls the situation between the Jindal Administration and BESE and the Department of Education a Washington D.C. style political game that does not belong in Louisiana.

"Here at the last minute before school starts, we're embroiled in this legal debate and the question about what standards and tests should be in place," says Dardenne. "It's very unfair to the students and teachers of Louisiana."

Dardenne says whether you agree with Common Core or not, children and teachers should not be used as pawns in a political chess match. He says from his point of view the legislature has already said they want to keep Common Core which, in his mind, is the right thing to do.

"The legislature has spoken and we're in the process of trying to implement these standards and to make the test consistent with those standards," said Dardenne. "To have all of this discussion before school starts is very unfortunate."

Both sides of the dispute will have hearings in mid August.

Dardenne says Jindal's act of trying to do away with the will of the legislature with an executive order is wrong.

He says three weeks before school starts is not the time to start using political games to change the course of the Louisiana education system and lawmakers have spoken.

"They've made, in my view, the right decision going forward with the standards that have been in place," Dardenne said.

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AAA reminds drivers to be cautious as school nears

With summer coming to a close, school will be back in session in a few short weeks.  The American Automobile Association reminds drivers to be especially cautious before and after school hours as kids head back to the classroom. 

AAA's Don Redman says the obvious first safety reminder is to slow down, not only in school zones but in your neighborhood, too.
"A pedestrian struck by a vehicle going about 25 miles per hour is nearly two-thirds more likely to survive that than someone who is hit 10 miles per hour faster.  So, make sure you obey those speed limits in those residential areas and certainly around a school area."
AAA launched their "School's Open - Drive Carefully" awareness campaign in 1946 to help reduce child pedestrian fatalities and injuries.  Redman says other recommendations to help keep kids safe include coming to a complete stop at stop signs, keeping an eye out for bicycles, and eliminating distractions.
"That means put the phone down.  Don't even touch the phone, especially when school's in session.  So just turn it off, keep it off, and eliminate all the distractions in the car itself."
Redman says nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during after-school hours between 3PM and 7PM.  He says if you are the parent of a teen aged driver it is important for you to remind them of their responsibilities on the road and limit the number of passengers they have in their car.
"For every teen passenger that your teen gets into the car with them, doubles.  And if you get three or more teens in a vehicle with a novice driver, you're talking about quadrupling the risk of a fatal crash."

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Louisiana ranked 2nd in the country for heartworms in pets

Louisiana is ranked number 2 in the nation for heartworm incidents in pets. At least one million pets in the U.S. are estimated to currently have the disease. The President of the American Heartworm Society Doctor Stephen Jones says the state is unique in the reasons we have outbreaks. 

"You have a mosquito population there that is tremendous. So the mosquito is a problem because it is the transmitter of heartworm disease. You also have a wildlife population that harbors heartworm disease, not to mention many pets that are infected with heartworm disease," Jones says. 

Jones says all it takes in one infected pet in a neighborhood to spike the number of animals with heartworms. He says once a mosquito bites one pet, it can transmit the disease up to half a mile away. 
"When we look at infected pets that are not diagnosed, that pet is going to be a problem for all other pets near it," Jones says. 

Heartworms can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs and pulmonary arteries and can even be life threatening to our furry friends. Jones says the prevention of heartworms is a big step in keeping pets healthy.  
"Everybody should have their pet tested. When negative they should be placed on heartworm prevention. Prevention is very simple. It comes in various forms, we have topical, we have oral products and we have an injectable product. Heartworm prevention through the use of heartowrm medications is the answer," Jones says. 
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Les Miles speaks at Rotary Club

Michelle Southern reporting.
LSU head coach Les Miles says his talk to the Rotary Club in Baton Rouge is his favorite, because it means football season is about to start. Miles spoke for the last time yesterday before the Tigers begin practice on August 4th and addressed the dual quarterback situation between sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris. (photo by Robert Stewart)

"If you've been around me for 10 years then you recognize that I will not make a decision quickly, we're just gonna let this thing play out," Miles said. "The competition is the determinate of play and I think both guys will be talented enough."

Miles says he plans to separate Jennings and Harris between morning and afternoon practices. He says either QB has the potential to be the starter.

Miles told reporters that Trey Lealaimatafao (Lay-EEE-Lah-Tee-Mah-Ta-Fow), who punched through a glass window last week and was cited for allegedly stealing a bike by LSU PD, will probably not play this season.

Coach was also asked about Jalen Mills who was arrested earlier in the summer for allegedly hitting a woman. Miles says he's told things are looking "positive."

"It's a very unfortunate situation. Somebody came to HIS apartment and pursued him," said Miles. "It's just unfortunate on both ends and we'll just have to see how it turns out."

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FBI Top 10 wanted fugitive in Lake Charles rape and murder captured

Michelle Southern reporting.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office and the FBI announce the return and arrest of a Top Ten Fugitive accused in the 2008 murder and rape of a woman in front of a young child. Special Agent John Selleck of the FBI New Orleans field office says they've been looking for 26-year-old Jose Guevara of Lake Charles for 6 years.

"He'd been wanted since 2008 for the alleged murder of a 26-year-old woman in the presence of her 4-year-old step-son," said Selleck.

Selleck says Guevara was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in June of last year. He says the suspect surrendered to Mexican authorities under pressure and as the result of an extensive and well-coordinated investigation by several state and federal agencies.

"He was arrested recently in Mexico and was kept in a secure location until he returned to the United States yesterday," said Selleck.

Guevera was wanted by the state on charges of second degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated burglary. He was charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Selleck says Guevara and the 26-year-old victim lived in the same mobile home park when the brutal crime took place.

"He allegedly broke into the victim's home, sexually assaulted her and brutally stabbed her to death," said Selleck.


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Babysitter arrested for having sex with child

Michelle Southern reporting.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office has arrested a Dulac woman for allegedly raping a child she was babysitting. TPSO spokeswoman Captain Dawn Foret says a 17-year-old male told investigators that when he was between the ages of 11 and 13 he had been sexually assaulted by his babysitter who at the time was between the ages of 17 and 19.

She says that woman was identified as 23-year-old Denise Lapeyrouse.

"When we picked her up she confessed to having sex on multiple occasions with the juvenile," said Foret.

Foret says the victim had not told anybody what was going on until recently when he made the report after talking to family members.

Lapeyrouse is charged with aggravated rape and remains in jail.

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DOTD looking into congestion solutions along Highway 1

The Louisiana Department of Transportation is working on a plan to ease the daily traffic congestion along LA Highway 1 and the Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 10 in West Baton Rouge Parish.  DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says they are implementing a couple of short-term fixes to address the problem. 

He says the department is expanding the Motorist Assistance Patrol and Tow Program.
"We feel like moving some of these accidents and stalled vehicles off of the road will help traffic flow and stop some of the back-ups."
He says they are also in the process of putting up message boards identifying drive times using the old bridge and the new bridge.
"So, maybe, some of those folds who are going to central or north Baton Rouge area will be more inclined to take the old bridge, the 190 bridge.  And by doing that, you get more people on that bridge and less people on the I-10 bridge.  So we can split up traffic that way."
As far as a long-term solution to the congestion goes, Mallett says the DOTD is studying the feasibility of a new Mississippi River bridge, south of the I-10 bridge.
"The biggest challenge for any of the long-term, especially like the additional river crossings, is going to be the funding for a new bridge, which will cost in excess of $800 million."

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Brees wants to still play at 45

At the beginning of Saints' training camp in West Virginia, quarterback Drew Brees stated that he thought he could play the game for another ten years.  Brees is entering his 14th NFL season this year and says he wasn't joking when he made that statement.

"I'm not delusional.  I know that that's something that would be extremely difficult to do.  Not many have done that.  George Blanda, but he was punting past 45."
George Blanda was the oldest player in NFL history, retiring prior to his 49th birthday.  If Brees played another 10 seasons in the NFL, he would be 45 years old.  According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only seven players have played in the NFL past the age of 45, five of those players being kickers.  But Brees says he's determined to hit that goal.
"I know it's one year at a time.  And it's what have you done for me lately.  You've got to come out each and every year and you've got to prove it and you've got to be consistent and all those things.  But why not push the envelope a little bit.  Crazier things have happened."
The two oldest quarterbacks in NFL history were Steve Deberg and Warren Moon, both of whom started at least one game after their 44th birthday.  Brees says it won't be easy, but he is confident he can still be playing in the league at 45.
"You still have to play at a high level.  You've got to find a way to take care of your body and make good decisions in regards to that.  I believe I can do that."
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LSU to get pay raises

LSU faculty and staff are looking at a second straight year of pay raises, following what was a particularly difficult stretch for university funding over the last few years. Faculty and staff members will receive a 3% merit raise, right on the heels of last years 4%. Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope says the pay raise is a welcome news for anyone involved with the university.

 "One thing this means is that we can move to a position of basic stability. We're stopping the blood letting and stopping the exodus of faculty members. Now we are giving a signal that, while lumberingly, that we are moving forward."
The pay raise may not only help retain talent, but may also help to attract professors from around the country. While the raise is welcome with the faculty and staff of the university, LSU still lags behind other major state programs in compensation. Cope says LSU has a ways to go.
"I would say that if LSU were in a field of 50 horses that comprise major American universities, that we have moved from a trailing position, to the middle of the pack."

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