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LSU Tigers back in the polls; College Gameday coming


After a two-week absence, The LSU Tigers are back in the Top 25 polls. The Bayou Bengals are ranked 24th in the AP poll, and 23rd in the coaches. LSU won easily on Saturday, 41-to-3 over the Kentucky Lions. Coach Les Miles says his team is getting better.

"That's the great thing about this team," Miles said. "This team has got a great attitude, great character, tough kids, they love playing, have a smile on there face. They are looking forward to playing in this next stretch, I promise you."
 
LSU will host 3rd ranked Ole Miss this Saturday. Game time is at 6:15. ESPN will televise the SEC West battle. And the network is bringing its popular pregame television show, "College Gameday" to campus. It's the 10th time College Gameday will air live from LSU on a football Saturday. 
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Saints can't preserve 13-point lead; lose to the Lions


Iappeared the Saints were on their way to a victory on Sunday in Detroit, but the Lions roared back with two touchdowns in the four minutes to beat New Orleans 24-23. New Orleans was in control for much of the game, but Detroit hit on a 73-yard touchdown pass with 3:38 left and couldn't recover.

"Tough loss," Coach Sean Payton said. "The guys played with energy, but it ended up not being enough. Down the stretch we had opportunities to win the game, it's frustrating we were not able to do it." 
 
Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns. But threw an interception with just over three minutes left that set up Detroit's winning score. Brees believes the Saints can rebound from this heartbreaking loss. 
 
"2-and-4 is not where we want to be," Brees said. "But this what I believe, no better way to get back on track then to go home on Sunday night football against the Green Bay Packers, who are rolling right now, and find a way to win."
 
 
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Chic-Fil-A launches Pay-By-Phone app in North Louisiana


Michelle Southern reporting.
Customers at Chic-Fil-A locations in north Louisiana don't have to worry about bringing in cash or a credit card because now you'll be able to pay with your phone. David Benson is the local operator for the restaurants in Monroe and West Monroe and he says it all starts with downloading the Chic-Fil-A app.


"There is a pay function inside the app so you just come into one of our stores, order, scan your phone and it pays for your meal," said Benson.

Benson says people are slowly but surely catching on and using this method of payment to get their yummy chicken strips and nuggets. He says paying with your phone is more secure than using a credit card. All you have to do is load up whatever amount of money you wish on the app.

"If it reaches a certain dollar amount you can reload," said Benson. "And it's connected to your bank."

Benson says when you've loaded money into the app, you simply hit the pay button and scan the account code at the register or in the drive-thru line and the money is deducted from the account balance. He says next year the company plans to roll out "mobile ordering." Benson says Chic-Fil-A wants to stay ahead of the curve.

"They are predicting that in a few years this will account for almost 15-20% of our business," said Benson. "No cash. No credit card. Just your phone."


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Big Day for Louisiana college football teams


Saturday was a good day for Louisiana college football teams. The LSU Tigers had no trouble beating Kentucky 41-3. The Tigers started fast, scoring 17 points in the 1st quarter, highlighted by a Tre'Davious White 67 yard punt return for a touchdown.
 
LSU senior running back Terrence Magee had a big game, as he rushed for 127 yards and two rushing touchdowns, both coming in the 3rd quarter. 
 
The Tigers defense held Kentucky to 217 total yards. Kendell Beckwith had 9 total tackles, including one for a loss.
 
In Ruston, Louisiana Tech linebacker Terrell Pinson recovered a football for a touchdown and had two interceptions as the Bulldogs held on for a 27-20 victory over Texas-San Antonio. Kenneth Dixon also had 121 yards rushing and a touchdown for Tech, who improved to 3-0 in Conference USA action. 
 
Grambling State is now 5-0 in the SWAC after a 63-39 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff. Jonathan Williams threw for three touchdowns and ran for two scores. The Tigers defense also had eight sacks on the day. 
 
In the Southland, Northwestern State beat Sam Houston 31-27. Zach Adkins threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to De'Mard Llorens with 5:48 in the 4th quarter to give the Demons the lead for good. Adkins threw four TD passes on the day. 
 
McNeese State knocked off Abilene Christian 31-20. Daniel Sams threw three touchdown passes and also rushed for 112 yards. 
 
In Hammond, Bryan Bennett had three rushing touchdowns, including a 75-yarder, as Southeastern Louisiana defeated Central Arkansas 41-24. 
 
Nicholls State dropped to 0-8 on the season as the Colonels lost to Lamar 63-21. And Tulane fell to Central Florida 20-13. The Green Wave are now 2-5 on the season. 
 
 
 
 
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Ebola panic going overboard?


Are we freaking out a little too much over the threat of Ebola in the United States? State and National heath care officials are urging the public to take a chill pill when it comes to the threat of Ebola.


"Our energy and time needs to be directed toward the right place," says Dr. Frank Welch,  Medical Director for the state Department of Health and Hospitals. "I think the average person speculating they could walk down the street and get Ebola is an unrealistic fear."

Welch says people aren't concerned for "no reason" but it's over the top to think that you're going to walk outside and contract Ebola. He says, on the other hand, this is a huge wake up call for our health care system to keep their workers safe.

"Make sure that they understand that this theoretical possibility of something happening is really put into real world practice," said Welch.

Welch wants to emphasize that Louisiana has been intensively preparing for the possibility of an Ebola patient entering the health care system here at any level.

"Educating, training," said Welch. "We don't want what happened in Dallas to happen in Louisiana so we're doing everything we can to prepare beforehand."
 
 
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Community effort major part of recovery in Ouachita Parish after tornado devastation


Michelle Southern reporting.
The community that was hardest hit by the EF2 tornado in northeast Louisiana this week is making news because of the huge way they are rallying together to help each other out in the aftermath. Alan West Brockman is president of a property management company in Monroe and a local musician. He says it was amazing to see how many people came out to help clear all the debris.


"We are a city but we have a lot of roots in the northern delta of Louisiana if you will," said Brockman. "A lot of folks have tractors and brought them in from their farms, people were all out with their chainsaws. Everybody came together -- and still are."

Brockman says their local celebrated Chef Cory Bahr who owns Nonna in the Garden District is offering free meals to those helping out and Wal-Mart donated 500 pounds of meat for him to cook. He says it was a major grass roots effort by citizens taking charge.

"Neighbors came in and all other folks from the community," said Brockman. "The Department of Transportation was working left and right...Entergy. I can't tell you how many folks came together to help everybody."

At the peak of Entergy's outages, about 35,000 customers were without power and Friday morning that number was down to just under 2700. Brockman says the tornado caused trees to fall onto houses, crush cars, close businesses and several roads were completely impassable.

"And how no one was hurt or killed is a miracle," Brockman said. "If you're a praying person you have to give it to the good Lord above. And if not then you have to believe something happened here."

Below are videos of the devastation and rebuild produced by Brockman.
 
 
 
 

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Plain Dealing parents of runaway boy arrested on cruelty to juvenile and drug charges


The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested the father and step-mother of the 11-year-old boy who ran away from home in Plain Dealing on charges of child abuse, neglect, and drug charges.  Lt. Bill Davis says the search for the boy began Tuesday evening and no one could find him.


"But about 25 hours later, he went up to a residence about five or six miles away from his home looking for food.  He was hungry and tired.  That's when we were able to bring him back to the family."
 
Davis says at that point the case turned when authorities noticed bruises on the boy's body. 
 
"That's when we got involved with the Department of Children and Family Services to help us out and they took custody of the boy.  And that's when the interviews started to find out that we had some criminal charges against this couple."
 
43-year-old Ernest Bell and 30-year-old Kristen Downs were booked into the Bossier Maximum Security Facility on several charges including cruelty to a juvenile, criminal neglect of family, and possession of marijuana.  
 
The neglect charges stem from the child not being enrolled in school for the past two years.  Davis believes the child was just trying to run away from an abusive situation. 
 
"And, fortunately, we found him safe and nothing else happened to him.  So, we're glad for that happy ending.  Just an unfortunate case."
 
 
 
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US Democrats in Congressional Black Caucus visiting Louisiana today


Michelle Southern reporting.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus will be in Louisiana today to try to boost black voter turnout with the focus of helping Senator Mary Landrieu's campaign. The 42 member caucus of Democrats say they are pushing Landrieu hard because they want to keep control of the Senate. 

"They understand the value of having a Senator from Louisiana who also understands their needs and who they can work with," says Louisiana Black Caucus Chairwoman Katrina Jackson.

Jackson says the CBC will be in New Orleans and Baton Rouge through Monday and possibly visit Alexandria. She says they will be encouraging voters to push the button for Landrieu, Congressman Cedric Richmond and 5th Congressional District Candidate, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo.

"And so they're coming in to work the districts with us visiting churches and attending events," said Jackson.

Jackson says national and local Democrats are spending upwards of $700,000 for get-out-the-vote efforts in the state. The Monroe lawmaker encourages residents to greet these United State politicians well.

"They are coming to our state at a key time," said Jackson. "This is a very important election and we need another seat."

 

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Dasher leads in campaign fundraising in 5th District


According to the Federal Election Commission, "Duck Dynasty" family member Republican Zach Dasher has raised the most campaign cash among the candidates for the 5th District Congressional seat.  Dasher has raised over $500,000 through the third quarter. 
 


ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this shows Dasher's popularity among individual donors.
 
"Vance, Dr. Abraham, Harris Brown, they're relying on self financing, they're giving themselves loans, as well as donors.  So, their financial base is not as widespread as Zach, right now."
 
Stockley says Dasher is benefiting financially from the "Duck Dynasty" association.
 
"Undoubtedly, the "Duck Dynasty" family has probably reached out to a lot of their friends, family, and associates and have convinced their associates to also donate."
 
He says the four leading Republican candidates in this race have very equal levels of spending.  Stockley says although McAllister probably remains the favorite among the Republicans, nothing is guaranteed with less than three weeks to go.
 
"The polls indicate that it's tight.  The financing indicates that it's tight.  We still, very much, have a competitive election."
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Crowley High Teacher arrested for allegedly being involved with several students


Michelle Southern reporting.
There's been another sexual student/teacher incident. The Acadia Parish Sheriff's office says a woman who teaches at Crowley High is under arrest for allegedly being inappropriately involved with some of her students. 
Spokeswoman Maxine Trahan says they received an initial report about 34-year-old Tracy Marie Barras of Duson in early October.

"Sheriff Wayne Melancon advised that they were contacted by officials with the Acadia Parish School board who reported possible inappropriate behavior between a teacher and several 16-year-old male students," said Trahan.

Trahan says after an investigation they were able to obtain a warrant for the arrest of Barras.

"Barras has been charged with three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile," said Trahan said. "There are three male subjects and they are all 16 years of age."

Barras was booked this week into the Acadia Parish jail on $60,000 bond.
 
 
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LSU employee who recently visited Africa asked to stay home for three weeks


Michelle Southern reporting.
An LSU employee who was recently in Ebola stricken Liberia has been asked to stay off campus for 21 days. That's the time frame during which symptoms of the virus could show up according to Olivia Watkins with the state Department of Health and Hospitals. She says the man told DHH he did not have contact with anyone who had Ebola so he's night considered high risk.


"We're still monitoring him to make sure that he does not develop symptoms," said Watkins. "We confirmed with him that he understands what those signs and symptoms are and knows what to watch for, but we'll still be going in twice daily."

The man was reportedly part of a team who taught Liberian police how to put on and discard protective gear such as gloves, booties and protective covering. Watkins says the man is not being forced to stay in his home while he has no symptoms.

"So what we're doing right now is making sure that within that 21 day window, that he does not develop symptoms," said Watkins. "And if he did he would be taken to the hospital."

Watkins says it's important to remember that Ebola can not be passed to another individual when there are no symptoms present. She says DHH is working closely with LSU and with GOHSEP to make sure that everyone is communicating and getting updates on the situation.

"To make sure that our emergency response personnel across the state know what's going on both with potential cases and our level of preparedness," said Watkins.

 
 

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Many in Ouachita Parish still without power


Many homes and businesses in Monroe and West Monroe remain powerless as a result of a tornado that moved through the area Monday.  Entergy spokesman Roderick Worthy says at the height of the storm, about 38,000 customers were without power in the Ouachita Parish area.
 


 
"We've gotten that finally down under 5,000 and we expect to make steady progress all day and tomorrow." 
 
Entergy's goal is to have power fully restored tomorrow.  Worthy says Entergy's system sustained significant damage as the EF-2 tornado rolled through. 
 
"There was a lot of structural damage to our infrastructure and also a lot of structural damage in the public, where lots of trees and vegetation and debris has really prohibited the pace at which we can go and restore and repair service."
 
He asks everyone to please be patient and, more importantly, be safe. 
 
"A downed power line can still be dangerous and deadly.  So, any kind of wire down, we're really asking the public to treat that as a live wire and stay away from it."
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Louisiana 911 operators to screen callers for Ebola symptoms


Michelle Southern reporting.
A new protocol has been implemented to 911 operators in Louisiana which has them screen callers for Ebola symptoms. Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Kevin Davis says the caller will be asked a series of questions about illnesses, particularly fever and recent travel. He says that will help EMS responding.


"Because if they should answer several of the questions then when they switch the call over to EMS they can tell them that it is a suspected case," said Davis.

Davis says the operators would ask about flu like symptoms, whether the person has recently been to an Ebola outbreak country and if they have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to the virus. He says the information would immediately be sent to responders.

"The ambulance then in turn would receive that information that it is a possible suspect," said Davis. "Then be prepared when they arrive on the scene."

Davis says the callers answers would determine whether more questions would follow and whether the emergency responder would need to wear protective gear to the call. He says the person would be asked additional questions when in route then EMS would let the hospital know they have a suspect patient.

"Then the hospital would be better prepared and knowledgeable," said Davis. "They may even ask the ambulance to use a separate entrance and then the protocol would kick in."


 
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Is the Ebola crisis affecting chocolate prices?


Michelle Southern reporting.
Could the Ebola outbreak in West Africa be having an affect on the price we pay for chocolate? A local chocolate maker doesn't think so. Michael Nelson is the Vice President of Operations at Elmer Candy Corporation in Ponchatoula. He says the concern among some market analysts is that the Ebola crisis could spread from Liberia to Ghana, where almost two-thirds of the world's cocoa beans are sourced.



"So I would think that people hear about a scare or a potential mass outbreak where there's going to be significant fatalities and then they think that must affect the harvest of cocoa in that region," said Nelson.

Nelson says chocolate is trading above what he would consider a fundamental level in terms of a supply and demand standpoint, but he says that's as much the Ebola scare as it is the speculative traders in the market.

"Speculators are people who own foreign contracts of cocoa that only actually plan to take delivery," said Nelson. "They're just financial speculators."

Nelson says you should know there is no way to contract Ebola from chocolate. He says the harvest is about to begin and is rumored to be very good. Nelson doesn't see evidence, at this point, that the Ebola outbreak is moving the price of cocoa.

"The outbreak kinda began in late August early September, but the market is just still in that 3,000-3200 range for quite some time and now it's 3100," Nelson said.
 
 
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Louisiana's Econonic Outlook looking brighter than ever in history


Michelle Southern reporting.
According to the latest economic projection numbers for Louisiana by Loren Scott & Jim Richardson, The Bayou State is projected to surpass 2 million overall jobs by 2015. Dr. Scott says we have an industrial boom going on right now that is completely off the charts compared to anything we've seen in Louisiana history.


"I've watched the Louisiana economy for over 40 years and if we had a year in which industrial announcements totaled 5 billion dollars we would have thought that was huge," said Scott. "We have over $103 billion dollars in industrial announcements in the state."

Louisiana's Economic Outlook projects the state to add 34,100 jobs in 2015. Dr. Scott says there has been this incredible industrial expansion and it's due in part to the huge drop in the price of natural gas.

"We are the number 2 state in the nation in terms of chemical industry employment," said Scott. "Chemical firms are huge users of natural gas, so one of their primary products has dropped dramatically in price so they've really picked up."

Dr. Scott says the Baton Rouge area is expected to be the second fastest growing over the next 2 years with about 19,600 new jobs or a 2.4 percent growth. He says areas north of I-10 will see growth but not nearly what the southern region will. Scott says Lafayette and Houma will also see big gains but the big winner will be Lake Charles.

"These are the areas where the great majority of industrial announcements have been made," said Scott. "And that's because chemical firms need three key things; they need a lot of water, a lot of natural gas then a way to ship."


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Cassidy has more cash on hand than Landrieu


Latest campaign finance totals in the US Senate race show Republican challenger Bill Cassidy with one million dollars more in cash on hand than Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu. Cassidy has 4.4 million dollars, while Landrieu has 3.4 million.                                                              

Political analyst Clancy Dubos points out Landrieu raised more money than Cassidy in the third quarter. 
 
"She continues to raise at a faster pace than he raises, so if she can continue to raise faster than him, she can close that gap," Dubos said.
 
Landrieu raised 2.7 million dollars in the third quarter, beating out Cassidy by $200,000. Dubos expects Landrieu to spend more of her campaign funds than her main GOP challenger. 
 
"Landrieu wants to try and win it outright, Cassidy knows he can't win it outright, so he might save a little bit of his for the runoff."
 
The third major candidate in the race, Air Force Colonel Rob Maness, reports he has 388-thousand dollars in his account. 
 
 
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Are Louisiana hospitals ready to treat an Ebola patient


A second Dallas hospital worker has tested positive for Ebola. Both workers contracted the virus while providing care to Thomas Duncan, who died from the disease a week ago today. So are Louisiana hospitals prepared to handle an Ebola patient? Louisiana Hospital Association Vice President Ken Alexander believes so, thanks to daily guidance provided by the CDC.


"They'll take there experiences, and there additions, deletions and changes in protocol and procedures and they are doing a very effective job of getting those out," Alexander said.
 
National Nurses United is concerned about the new case, and questions whether nurses have been adequately trained and have the protective gear to take care of Ebola patients.
 
Alexander says what has happened in Texas is providing learning moments for the health care industry.
 
"Texas Presbyterian has been very forth right in the terms of sharing what processes may and may not have been followed to the tee."
 
Alexander says he's confident the health care industry in Louisiana is doing everything it can to properly prepare for Ebola case in this state.
 
"CDC is putting out enhanced guidelines that as a state we are having daily conference calls and webinars."
 
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Power and debris still an issue for tornado victims in Ouachita Parish


Residents in Ouachita Parish continue to clean up after Monday's tornado ripped through the area.  An EF-2 tornado tore through Monroe and West Monroe.  
 
Ouachita Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Neil Brown says the biggest challenges facing residents now are debris and power.

 
"Because you can't get in to fix the power lines because there's debris on the road.  And yet you can't clear the debris because there's power lines on the debris."
 
Brown says many residents, including himself, may not get power restored to their home until Friday.  He says preliminary damage assessment teams will be coming to the area in the next few days.  Brown says, as of now, he cannot set a monetary figure to the amount of damage the tornado has caused, but is is significant.
 
"To the neighborhoods, to businesses, to quite a few of the public buildings.  West Monroe High School, which is one of our larger 5-A schools, had a lot of damage."
 
Brown is hopeful the area will qualify for state and federal funds to help repair the damage the tornado left behind.  Despite the destruction the storm left behind, Brown says all the news from Ouachita Parish isn't bad.
 
"We have no fatalities.  We have no major injuries of any type.  The people are in good shape, good condition.  We have had no looting or anything like that."
 
 
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Were there any winners in Tuesday night's US Senate debate?


The big question lingering after last night's US Senate race debate is who were the winners and losers?  UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross thinks both Senator Mary Landrieu and retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness helped themselves last night.  


However, Cross doesn't think it was a great debate overall for Congressman Bill Cassidy.
 
"Seemed ill at ease at times, didn't know what to do with his hands, had a couple of kinks in his performance but there's another debate coming up.  Maybe he'll take care of that then."
 
LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says a lot of people were focusing on Cassidy's performance last night because it was his first debate. 
 
"I don't think he did much to dazzle voters, but he really doesn't need to at this point.  I think the support that he has is what he needs at this point."
 
Hogan says Cassidy didn't do much to dazzle voters, but he really doesn't need to at this point.  Hogan says this debate did not feature any defining moment in which the candidates were able to hit on any major theme to shake things up in the race. 
 
"It seems to me that the debate was one where the candidates stated their position and demonstrated their difference from the other candidates and it, in some way, probably just reinforced people's views that they already had about the candidates prior to the debate."
 
Hogan doesn't believe this debate will change any voter's minds, and Cross agrees.  Cross says one thing that intrigued him about the debate was how much the candidates disagreed with each other on certain issues. 
 
"Common Core, the budget, Social Security, climate change, and so on.  So there are real significant differences between these candidates and the debate last night seemed to bring that out."
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Bill Cassidy, Mary Landrieu and Rob Maness debate for the first time


Michelle Southern reporting.
The three major candidates in the US Senate race appeared in a televised debate last night. Analysts' have said that US Senator Mary Landrieu needed to take some shots as she's trailing in the polls to Republican Challenger Bill Cassidy so she went after him early in the debate.

"Congressman Cassidy voted to end Medicare as we know it; not cut it but end it," said Landrieu. "He's voted for that consistently and that's one of the reasons why he's just showed up in a debate. He's been running away from his record for 18 months."

Congressman Cassidy's theme during the majority of the 1 hour debate was about Landrieu voting with President Barack Obama 97% of the time and his intention to vote to get rid of Obamacare if elected.

"Do you want Senator Landrieu to complete Barack Obama's agenda? If so, vote for her," said Cassidy. "But if you want someone who's going to push to repeal and replace Obamacare and push for an energy policy to create better jobs with better benefits so that family has better wages, the vote Bill Cassidy."

Retired Air Force Col Rob Maness took shots at both Landrieu and Cassidy and criticized President Obama in most of his answers.

"As a matter of fact Congress has given the President a blank check to fight an undeclared war in an offensive manner," said Maness. "And the two members of Congress that are sitting next to me should be back in Washington calling for a debate instead of waiting for a recess to occur so they could continue to kick the can down the road."
 
 


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