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102,000 expected in Tiger Stadium Saturday night for Ole Miss game

Michelle Southern reporting.
Saturday will be the biggest day of the season on the LSU campus as 3rd ranked, undefeated Ole Miss comes to town. It's also Homecoming and university officials are urging fans to arrive early and attend ESPN's College Gameday. 

Parking Director Adam Smith says it'll help everyone if you plan to come to campus earlier than you normally would.
"If you want to up it by a couple hours, it'll be more convenient for you," said Smith. "Even if you're a season permit parking holder, there's going to be a lot more traffic on campus than normal."

Kickoff for the LSU-Ole Miss game is scheduled for 6:15pm and the game will be televised on ESPN. Activities will start early as the GameDay crew will be live from the parade grounds starting at 8am. Smith says, some fans are finding this inconvenient, but the post-game plan will be the same with a southbound contraflow planned on Nicholson.

"We're going to still force traffic in a certain area because it's better for the mass group that we're dealing with for the most efficient traffic flow," said Smith.

Smith says you can get live traffic and parking updates online at lsusports.net/parking. The game is sold out as a record crowd of over 102,000 fans are expected for the contest between the SEC West Division rivals. Smith says that's a lot of people to be in one place so he requests the purple and gold nation to be patient.

"We do hope that everything works out well and we're confident in our plan," said Smith. "But we do realize there will be folks being sent out of their way."

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New Orleans-area man being monitored for Ebola

The Department of Health and Hospitals is monitoring a New Orleans-area man for signs of the Ebola virus. State Health Officer, Dr. Jimmy Guidry, says the Centers for Disease Control informed them about a man who had recently traveled to one of the Ebola-infected countries. 
Guidry says DHH immediately followed up with the man.
"And he really had no exposure to any Ebola patients, but he agreed to work with us and monitor him for 21 days to make sure he doesn't come down with any symptoms."
The man is considered to be low risk for Ebola since he had no contact with any Ebola patients while abroad.  Guidry says the CDC leaves it up to state health officials and the individual whether or not the individual will remain confined to their home during the 21-day Ebola monitoring period.

"So far, we've had two individuals reported, one in the Capital Region and one in the New Orleans Region, and both have agreed to stay home for the 21 days."

He says as we learn more facts about Ebola, some of the fear associated with the virus is subsiding.  Guidry says there are no cases of Ebola in Louisiana and he feels comfortable that medical personnel are prepared if a case should develop in the state.

"But we are training and preparing for when that day comes.  Hopefully, people will not start panicking and overreacting.  Because there is a high risk time, and that's usually at the end of the disease, not the beginning."

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Early voting going well so far

Michelle Southern reporting.
We're now about halfway through the early voting period for the November 4th election and Secretary Of State Tom Schedler says there's been good participation among voters. He says so far the number of early votes is at 75% of what the state saw two years ago for the Presidential election. 

Schedler says overall participation looks good.
"I've always said I was tilting toward the high side of 50," said Schedler. "I still say that but it may break into 51-52 at least from early voting so far."

Schedler asks voters to visit the Public Affairs Research Council website at parlouisiana.org to study the constitutional amendments so you're not trying to figure out what they mean in the booth. He says he hopes he's wrong with his 50% voter turnout prediction.

"I wanted it to be higher and it should be higher," said Schedler. "I want it to be closer to 60-65 to show the nation we mean business in Louisiana."

The voting locations will be closed on Sunday and the last day to early vote will be Tuesday. Saturday will by far be the biggest day of the early voting period so you can expect long lines at the polls and Schedler encourages voters do take an important step to help move things a long.

"I can not emphasize it enough," said Schelder. "Check your GeauxVote app for an accurate ballot to that date."

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Federal officials warn consumers about fake contact lenses for Halloween

Michelle Southern reporting.
With Halloween a week away you might be thinking about getting decorative contact lenses as part of your costume, but federal officials are sending out a warning. ICE Homeland Security Investigations spokesman Bryan Cox says it's important for people to understand that contact lenses are regulated as a medical device.

"Gas stations, party stores," said Cox. "If you buy from these unauthorized locations you're really putting your eye safety into your own hands."

Cox says under federal law, contact lenses can not be sold without a prescription.

"So any location that you see that's offering to see you a contact lense without a prescription is not going to be legal," said Cox.

Cox says these are unregulated and poorly constructed lenses sold without a medical doctor's signature and pose serious held risks to consumers.

"If you put counterfeit contact lenses in your eyes you don't know what chemicals are in that and it could do really horrible damage to your eyesight," said Cox.

(Image by Ray Wewerka via Flickr)
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Gubernatorial primary one year away

We are now one year away from the gubernatorial primary election in Louisiana.  Republicans Senator David Vitter, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, as well as Democrat State Representative John Bel Edwards have announced their intent to run for Governor.  

UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says, at this point, Vitter is the front runner.
"Based on the last election he took part in, getting six out of ten votes, indicates that he's probably going to be very, very strong." 

The biggest question mark at this point in the Governor's race is whether or not Democrat New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will join the field.  Cross says Landrieu will probably wait until after the holiday season to make up his mind.

"There may be a good chance that he'll sit this one out.  He'll say I'm looking at the odds and they're not that great.  My sister's just been involved in a statewide campaign.  People could have some burn-out on the name 'Landrieu'."

He says it's not surprising that this race is laying dormant since we're in the middle of Senate and Congressional races across the state.  Cross says you should really see the gubernatorial race kick off after Mardi Gras.

"It's not only the gubernatorial race here in Louisiana, but nearly every other statewide and legislative position is up for grabs.  So, there's going to be a lot of election stuff going on.  But I expect it to hold off until, probably, mid-March." 

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Kenny Henderson is out as LHSAA Executive Director

Kenny Henderson is out as executive director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Henderson has led the LHSAA, which governs high school athletics, since 2007. His contract was set to expire next summer, but past-president of the LHSAA, Todd Guice, says both sides felt now was the time for a change.

"We felt for the association and Mr. Henderson to sever our relationship," Guice said. "We appreciate Kenny's dedicated service to the association and we look forward to the future."
Guice would not say why Henderson will not serve the remainder of his contract. There's been unrest within the LHSAA about the recent split of public and private school football playoffs, but Guice says that one issue is not the reason for Henderson's departure. 
'It's certainly an issue the new executive director will have to deal with, hopefully carry us into the situation where we can work out some of the differences that we have remaining with that topic." 
The search for Henderson's replacement has already started. Guice will chair a committee that will seek out qualified candidates.
"We're looking for a great leader and a great communicator," Guice said.  
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Former Sorrento Mayor charged with 40 counts of possessing child porn

Michelle Southern reporting.
The controversial former Mayor of Sorrento was placed under arrest on Thursday after officials say they found child pornography inside his residence. Attorney General Criminal division director Kurt Wall says they obtained a search warrant for the home of 41-year-old Wilson Longanecker Jr.

"And upon executing that search warrant, it resulted in his arrest on 40 counts of possessing child pornography and one count of obstruction of justice," said Wall.

Wall says this was a joint law enforcement effort by the AG's Cyber Crime Unit, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, Homeland Security and State Police. He says Longanecker is charged with 40 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles and obstruction of justice.

"The obstruction of justice charge is related to the fact that he attempted to hide evidence in this case," said Wall.

Longanecker, who was elected mayor of Sorrento in 2011 and served until 2013, caused controversy when he was in office for taking extended leaves of absence and not being in contact with council members. Wall says the search of Longanecker's home last several hours.

"We took some electronics from his resident which will be additionally examined by our analysts," Wall said.

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Boyce man booked with 3rd DWI on lawnmower

Michelle Southern reporting.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's office says a man is under arrest for DWI number three after cops caught him driving drunk on his lawnmower. Major Mark Wood says one of the deputies spotted 67-year-old Ralph Carroll of Boyce riding a red lawnmower on state Highway 121 attempting to elude law enforcement by driving into the woods.

"They finally got him stopped when he drove to his residence," said Wood. "Made contact with him and the deputy could smell a strong odor of alcohol."

Carroll is charged with third offense DWI, operating an unsafe vehicle and having no driver's license on his person.

"Once we got him to the courthouse he agreed agreed to blow into the breathalyzer, and he was way above the...well he was drunk," Wood said.

The suspect was then charged with his third DWI. Wood says Carroll received a citation for riding his lawnmower on a state highway last week.

"That's his means of transportation, he'll drive to the store or whatever," Wood says. "He's been seen before, he's been warned before and sometimes he refuses to cooperate and comply with the law."


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