News for Monday 122313
By Dave Graichen
Storms rolled across the state Saturday bringing with them heavy rand and strong gusty winds. In the Monroe area, those winds escalated to tornado force, downing trees and knocking out power to thousands. Several business were damaged as well. The good news is, No injuries have been reported.
The Saints no longer control their own fate when it comes to winning the NFC South. New Orleans suffered a gut wrenching 17-13 loss to Carolina Sunday. For the Saints to win the NFC South, they'll need to beat Tampa Bay, and the Panthers will have to lose at Atlanta next Sunday.
Christmas is Wednesday, and many are already on the highways – traveling to their holiday destinations. State Police remind us that last Christmas & New Year's holiday 12 people were killed and more than 1300 were hurt in traffic crashes. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says alcohol played a role in more than half the fatal wrecks that occurred during the Christmas & New
Year's holiday period last year. The other two other factors in holiday traffic crashes are
haste and impatience. Law enforcement efforts as well as manpower have been beefed up through the end of the year.
Louisiana's employment picture is ending the year on a good note. Louisiana Workforce Commission spokesperson Tom Guarisco says based on the latest data, the state's unemployment rate is down to 6.3 percent after holding steady at seven-percent earlier this year. Louisiana's private sector employers also added 26-thousand jobs in the last 12 months leading up to November. Guarisco says that's 39 consecutive months the state has experienced over-the-year gains in private sector growth.
Governor Jindal and State Police announce a successful conclusion to a seven-week crackdown on crime that has netted over $6-million in illegal drugs and over a thousand arrests. The massive statewide operation resulted in 1025 arrests for crimes ranging from drug possession to human trafficking. Over $340-thousand in suspected drug money was seized, 112 illegal weapons confiscated and thousands of pounds of marijuana was taken off the streets. The Governor credits the seamless cooperation of LSP and local lawmen.
An organization called "Faith Driven Consumer" has started an online petition urging supporters of Phil Robertson to sign demanding he be reinstated to Duck Dynasty by A&E. Founder Chris Stone says they are looking for signatures on the website "IStandWithPhil.com", to express citizen support for The Duck Commander. The "I Stand With Phil Robertson" Facebook page has well over 1-million "likes" and indicates the petition already had over 300,000 signatures as of the start of the weekend. Stone says they will hand deliver the petitions to A&E starting today.
Lieutenant governor Jay Dardenne says the “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show is important to state tourism and he could help connect the Robertson family with new producers if they cannot reach agreement with the A&E network. Dardenne authored the state’s film and TV tax credit program. He says he’d use his influence in the state’s industry to help the Robertsons.
In case you need to be reminded. Today is the last day before Christmas eve, which means holiday shoppers who have been procrastinating need to get on the ball. LSU Ag Center family economist Jeanette Tucker says it's sometimes difficult finding that perfect gift at this late hour. However, there is a benefit to waiting to the last minute and that is good deals.
News for Friday 122013
By Dave Graichen
Members of a state legislative committee argued yesterday parents of voucher students need more information to ensure that their choice of private schools is better than the public schools they fled.
The issue surfaced during a meeting of the Legislative Audit Advisory Council. The panel reviewed a report issued on Monday by the Legislative auditor’s office. That review said the state Department of Education is short on criteria to make sure schools are academically prepared to handle the voucher students they serve. Nearly 7,000 students are enrolled in the program, which was expanded to a statewide effort in 2012 under a bill pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Governor Bobby Jindal has issued a statement in response to the news that A&E has suspended Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty after he made comments speaking out against homosexuality to a magazine. Jindal says the Robertson's are great citizens of Louisiana and he remembers when TV Networks believed in the 1st Amendment. Jindal also said it's a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh and Phil Robertson gets suspended.
Louisiana is on track to borrow nearly $500 million in February to replenish the fund that pays for state-backed construction projects. The State Bond Commission gave preliminary approval to the borrowing plan Thursday without objection. The plan involves selling $347 million in tax-exempt bonds and $149 million in taxable bonds to investors for upfront cash. The bond debt will be paid off over decades with interest.
Axiall Corp., which has manufacturing complexes in Plaquemine and Lake Charles, is considering building a $3 billion ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives plant somewhere in Louisiana, a facility that would create up to 250 new jobs. The company, which was formed earlier this year when Georgia Gulf merged with PPG’s commodity chemicals business, plans on awarding a front-end engineering and design contract for the Louisiana plant in early 2014.
The American Automobile Association says Year-End Holiday travel is going to increase for the 5th straight year. AAA travel expert Don Redman says the end of the year travel period runs from Saturday December 21st through January 1st. He says overall nearly 30% of all Americans will be taking a trip this Holiday. Redman says 94.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from
Time is rapidly running out to finish your holiday gift buying. Tomorrow is known in retail circles as "Super Saturday"; the last big weekend shopping day before Christmas. If you're out shopping, you'll be among a lot of fellow "Last-Minute shoppers”
Deputies in Washington Parish have arrested a 12-year-old girl for the attempted murder of her 8-month-old niece. The Sheriff's Office acted on a call from the Department of Children & Family Services of alleged abuse of the infant. Under questioning, the girl reportedly told officers she'd grown jealous at the attention her older sister's baby was getting, so she tried to kill the child with an overdose of liquid medication.
A federal judge has ruled that conditions on Death Row at the Angola State Prison are, in fact, too hot in warm weather and constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Prison leaders at Angola will now have to devise a way to cool those cells off. The judge says the temperature in the cells must never exceed 88 degrees. This is all the result of a lawsuit filed by three death row inmates who complained of dangerously hot conditions last Summer.
News for Thursday 121913
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal along with Hayes Company CEO James Hayes, Jr. announced plans for a $3 million expansion to their manufacturing facility in Pineville yesterday. They say this expansion will create about 75 new jobs with an average salary of over $45 thousand dollars a year, and another 89 indirect jobs in Central Louisiana. Hayes makes metal parts for clients like Union Tank Car, GE and many others.
A hunter who was reported missing Sunday by his family in Rapides Parish was found dead in Boyce. Authorities say 24 year old Terry McComic's cause of death has not yet been determined but an autopsy is planned.
Funeral Services will be held today for Cajun artist George Rodrigue, creator of the Blue Dog, who died from cancer last Saturday at the age of 69. Rodrige will be laid to rest Friday afternoon in New
Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson is off the hit A&E reality series indefinitely after disparaging gays as sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers. A&E announced Wednesday what it called a “hiatus” for the 67 year old Robertson after he disparaged gays in the January edition of GQ magazine. He also said that, growing up in Louisiana before the Civil Rights movement, he never saw any mistreatment of blacks.
A federal jury convicts a former BP drilling engineer on a charge of obstruction of justice which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Federal prosecutors proved that Kurt Mix intentionally deleted text
messages from his cellphone in an attempt to obstruct an investigation into the 2010 BP spill. The 52 year old man from Katy, Texas faces sentencing on March 26th.
A 15-year-old North DeSoto High School student is in a youth detention center in Coushatta after allegedly threatening to shoot 3 elementary students, if they didn't hand over their lunch money. DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says the incident took place on a school bus. The student charged in the case disassembled a semi-automatic pistol and used a part of that weapon to make it out like he had a gun.
A north Louisiana child porn suspect is scheduled to make a court appearance today. Chris Nixon was arrested this week at a home near the Jackson Parish town of Jonesboro and charged with production of child pornography. Nixon is 21 years old according to his Facebook page and a recent grad of Quitman High School.
Twelve-year NFL vet Shayne Graham will handle the field goal kicking for the Saints in Sunday's big NFC South matchup with Carolina. Graham was 31-of-38 on field goals with the Houston Texans last year. He hit a career-long 55 yard field goal in the postseason.
Making it easier on our Christmas budgets, the gas price keeps falling. The American Automobile Association says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $3.07.
New Orleans Police are investigating the fatal shooting of an armored car guard Wednesday morning, as he was unloading money at a Chase bank branch near downtown. Three men approached the armored car and opened fire, taking money and driving away. Police found the getaway car, and are still seeking the gunmen.
The Houma Police Department say a man is under arrest after he was caught driving drunk on his way home from drug court, with his 8 year old daughter in the vehicle. They say 36 year old Robert Joseph of Galliano is charged with driving while intoxicated and child endangerment and was booked into the Terrebonne Parish Jail. The little girl was released to a family member.
News for Wednesday 121813
By Dave Graichen
There were two winning tickets sold for last night’s drawing of the Mega Millions lottery. Officials say tickets were sold in California and Georgia. The $636 million jackpot was the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
Thick fog played a major role in a 21-vehicle pileup on La. 1 north of Donaldsonville Tuesday morning that left one man dead and the road closed for eight hours while the vehicles were removed and investigators tried to determine what happened. A 62 year old Plaquemine man was killed in what State Police said were three separate accidents that occurred around 5 a.m. in early morning darkness and thick fog.
Governor Bobby Jindal, along with coastal officials and representatives from Louisiana's universities, announce plans to build a Water Campus in Baton Rouge, on the bank of the Mississippi River. The governor says funding resources are in place to build a state-of-the-art center for research into solving Louisiana coastal issues. Governor Jindal says this could create thousands of new jobs.
Four years after he kicked the Saints into Super Bowl XLIV and then nailed three field goals to help them win their only championship, Garrett Hartley is no longer on the team. The Saints waived Hartley on Tuesday, two days after he had a 36-yard field goal blocked and then missed a 26-yarder wide left in a 27-16 loss to the Rams in St. Louis.
Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson and US Senator David Vitter as well as Texas US Senator Ted Cruz will be holding a "Tele-Town Hall" to tonight to discuss efforts to protect 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners across America. Thompson, who is also the founder of the group Defend Louisiana, says they will address the gun rights movement. Thompson says the Tele-Town Hall begins at 7pm and more information about how you can take part is available online at Defendla.org.
Senator Mary Landrieu fears there may be no fix the flawed flood insurance reform law before the year's end. The Biggerts-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act will mean huge premium hikes for many residents in Louisiana. Landrieu says there is a widely supported Senate bill, but it's hung up waiting on a procedural vote to debate it. Landrieu says she and Senator David Vitter are doing all they can to get the bill passed this week.
A new poll on the 2015 Louisiana Governor's race shows Republican Senator David Vitter with only a modest lead over Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. UL-Lafayette Political Science professor Pearson Cross says Vitter's 35% indicates he's not the "shoe-in" for Governor that some say he is. The poll shows, in a three way question of preference for governor, Vitter has 35% followed by Landrieu with 29% and Dardenne with 22%. Dardenne paid for the survey, and Cross feels the results may give him cause to rethink running in 2015...:
In New Roads a 5 year old child was reportedly left on a school bus in Pointe Coupee Parish for several hours Monday morning and a school bus driver and one other person who was an aid has been suspended. The child fell asleep and after the other children were unloaded at the school yesterday morning, the bus driver went home and left the little boy on the bus. He was discovered just before noon. Additional disciplinary action against the driver is expected.
Police say a man from Carencro is under arrest after causing a crash that ended up causing a woman, who was 6 months pregnant, to lose her baby. They say the driver of the vehicle, whose lights were not on, fled on foot after the crash took place. The suspect was later apprehended and Luis Ortiz was charged with hit and run driving but more charges could be filed for the death of the unborn child.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has filed a lawsuit against Festiva Hospitality Group for unfair and deceptive practices in connection with its points-based "vacation club." The suit alleges that Festiva
sold Louisiana consumers "points" for membership in a vacation club that they could use for trips to any of its resorts around the country. The trouble is...consumers found it impossible to book
vacations due to no accommodations.
The Houma Police Department says two arrests have been made in the beating, tasing and robbery of a disabled man who was walking home from work last month. Chief Todd Duplantis says the November 11th crime was caught on a surveillance camera. He says the video shows two suspects shocking and beating the victim then taking his cell phone and wallet.
A New Orleans woman is under arrest for throwing a kitchen knife at her boyfriend during a fight, but hitting her 2-year-old grandson instead. Police say the boyfriend ducked and the knife hit the child
on the left side of his head, leaving a gash that required stitches to close.
Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday appointed former Mayor Lynn Robertson to serve as interim mayor of Port Allen in the wake of “Deedy” Slaughter’s recall from office. The announcement from the Governor’s Office came exactly 24 hours after the 20-day deadline expired for the Port Allen City Council to make the appointment. The City Council canceled a special-called Monday meeting because the five-member body could not reach a consensus on who should serve as interim mayor. The 57 year old Robertson served as the city’s mayor from 1993 to 2004.
News for Tuesday 121713
By Dave Graichen
The website CarInsuranceComparison.com says Louisiana is ranked No. 1 on its annual list of the nation's worst drivers. According to the site, The Bayou State is in the top 5 for failure to obey, speeding tickets and careless driving. This is the second year in a row that motorists in the state have topped the list.
The Louisiana State Legislative Auditor's Office says the Louisiana Department of Education needs to do a better job of administering the voucher program. In a recent report, State Legislative auditor
Darryl Purpera says they found some blurred lines in determining if the voucher schools spent those tax dollars appropriately. Purpera suggests lawmakers pass legislation that sets up standardized criteria for academic performance, before a school accept a voucher student. Also, the department of education needs a better system when determining if a voucher school has the capacity for the number of students they request.
The jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions drawing is approaching 600- million dollars and it can surpass that number before the drawing takes place at ten o' clock. The cash value of tonight's Mega Millions drawing is the second largest ever for the multi-state lottery game.
As the year draws to a close, state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon reminds homeowners that time is running out to claim rebates on assessments made to everyone's property insurance for Louisiana Citizens Insurance. He says you have only four years to claim a rebate on each assessment. The deadline to claim your Citizens assessment for 2009 is December 31st. Details on how to do that are online at "ldi.la.gov." He says a huge total of these Louisiana Citizens assessments have gone unclaimed, and reverted back to the state treasury.
Louisiana is ranked America's second-biggest "judicial hellhole" by the American Tort Reform Foundation. The ranking is for state's with civil court systems deemed unfair, and unbalanced - generally to the disadvantage of the defendant. The Judicial Hellholes report ranks only California worse than Louisiana for places in which to face a civil lawsuit. According to the report, Louisiana moved up the list thanks to abusive so-called "legacy lawsuits" against BP, the oil & gas industry in general. The report also had less that flattering things to say about Attorney General Buddy.
The state Legislative Auditor's Office says the former DeSoto Parish school superintendent may have given himself improper pay raises, and misused a parish credit card & took bogus reimbursements. Auditor Roger Harris says their report shows Walter Lee's salary went from just under $71-thousand in 1999 to over $240-thousand by late 2012, with no clear contract language authorizing those raises on record..
The state department of transportation says the work on I-49 North is nearing completion, and next the focus will soon shift to a south interstate connector between Lafayette and New Orleans. DODT spokesperson Sherri Lebas (la-BAH) says the overall stretch will cost hundreds of millions, but an initial stretch near Lafayette was recently put out for bid. She adds this will be a big focus for DOTD over the next several years.
Divers with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office have recovered a body they believe is a Slidell-area mom, reported missing December 9th. The remains were found in a submerged vehicle matching the description of Crystal Friedman's. The coroner will make a positive ID.
Funeral arrangements are set for artist George Rodrigue, beloved for his Blue Dog paintings and more. He died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. A public mass is scheduled Thursday morning at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, with a private mass and interment Friday in New Iberia. Rodrigue was 69.
News for Monday 121613
By Dave Graichen
After being rained out Friday night, the Pineville Christmas parade will roll tonight at 7pm. The parade begins on Main Street in Pineville near Huey P. Long Medical Center and will go northward onto Military Highway and end near the Trotter Center.
The grand opening of Alexandria’s new fire station on Coliseum Blvd is today. The public is invited to the grand opening at 10:30 or just drop by to tour the new facility any time before 6pm.
If you have LSU football season tickets, then you'll probably be paying more for them next year. The LSU Board of Supervisors have approved a plan that raises the cost to buy tickets for games at Tiger Stadium. Those ticket price hikes will generate an additional 2.3 million dollars in revenue for the athletic program. The average increase next year will be about 6 percent over this
The Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday will be at least $550 million after lottery officials announced there was no winning ticket sold in Friday night's drawing. A $550 million prize would be Mega Millions' second-largest jackpot ever and the fourth-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. The $550 million jackpot would net a cash option of $295 million.
The New Orleans Saints could have clinched a playoff berth and moved a step closer to winning the NFC South with a victory in St. Louis on Sunday. But the Rams, who have given the Saints trouble in the past, continued to do so again on Sunday. St. Louis outscored New Orleans 17-0 in the first half and held on despite a frantic Saints rally for a 27-16 victory.
George Rodrigue, the Cajun Louisiana artist most known for his iconic “Blue Dog” paintings, died Saturday evening at a hospital in Houston after a long battle with cancer. Funeral arrangements should be announced today. George Rodrigue was 69.
Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Gulf States are scheduled to go before the Public Service Commission today seeking a rate hike. P-S-C member Foster Campbell says he'll vote against it. Campbell says the utility company originally asked for a 200-million dollar rate increase, but after
talking with P-S-C staff, they'll seek a ten-million dollar rate hike. Campbell says he'll actually seek to reduce Entergy's rates. The commissioner says the company is already allowed a profit margin of over 10-percent, which he thinks is too high.
The Centers for Disease Control are stressing the importance of getting a flu shot before the flu season gets any worse. Clinics and doctors offices in Louisiana report the number of diagnosed flu cases is on the rise. CDC immunologist Dr. Michael Jung (young) says flu vaccine is readily available at doctors' offices, clinics, parish health centers and even at many drug stores. Some people resist getting the flu vaccine because they're squeamish about needles. Dr. Jung says those under 49 can get the nasal spray.
A high-powered Japanese sniper rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver missing a bullet chamber and a BB gun were among the weapons people hauled to a church Saturday for the latest Baton Rouge “Gas for Guns” buyback event. The program, which has been conducted twice previously in Baton Rouge, is designed to remove unsecured and unwanted weapons from the community. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said 71 handguns, rifles and shotguns were turned in to law enforcement officials Saturday with no questions asked in exchange for $4,200 worth of gas cards.
The Louisiana Lottery announces the Robertsons of A&E's Duck Dynasty are the newest members of its family of $5 scratch-off games. Spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin says they were very eager to bring the West Monroe crew to their popular games. The overall odds of winning a scratch-off prize are 1 in 4 and the game contains more than $5.7 million dollars in prizes.
The Bossier City man accused of killing his wife, burning her body, then burying her in the woods...before fleeing the state...has been brought back to Bossier Parish to face charges. Robert Bond shot himself with a small caliber handgun as Mississippi lawmen approached his vehicle at a rest stop. He's been transferred from a hospital there to the Bossier parish prison. His bond is a million dollars.
LSU says it will establish a Baton Rouge campus of its New Orleans Med School. It would be the first permanent medical school campus in the Capital City. Branch status would bring students to Baton Rouge full-time for their third and fourth years of medical school. The phase-in begins in July with 32 future physicians arriving for their third year. The New Orleans medical school has 800 students today. The school gets about 3,000 applications for the 200 student spots that open every year.
A south Louisiana man who claims he thought he got a gift from God when actually there was a bank error on his account is arrested on theft charges. Kenner Police report the wife of 36 year old William Lopez went to deposit $700 in their account, but it actually showed up as $7000. The suspect proceeded to go on a spending . Lopez allegedly ignored the banks attempts to contact him and went to spend the entire $6300 in Mississippi.
Fred Howell Jr., a cast member from the show Cajun Pawn Stars, has been arrested on burglary charges after he asked a pawn shop owner to help him crack a password on a laptop. The tip was called in to authorities, and investigators later discovered the suspect had stolen 2 laptops, an XBOX and a Nintendo from a home in Alexandria.
News for Friday 121313
By Dave Graichen
Rainy weather in the forecast for this evening has postponed the Pineville Christmas parade. The parade, instead of tonight, will kick off at 7pm on Monday evening. The route will remain the same, starting by Huey P. Long and traveling towards Louisiana College on Main street.
Christmas parades are scheduled for Saturday in Cenla, including Pollock at 10 a.m.; Cheneyville at 11 a.m.; Boyce at 2 p.m.; Ball at 2 p.m.; and Bunkie at 4 p.m. The Cottonport parade is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday. And don’t forget the Holiday Safari of lights at the Alexandria Zoo, Tonight and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Last but not least, the Christmas Festival Of Lights Continue in Natchitoches.
The Gillis Long Bridge connecting Alexandria and Pineville reopened to traffic yesterday after being closed in September. State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Deidra Druilet (Drool-yet) says during the construction, the structure was repaired and the sidewalks were widened. The bridge still closed to pedestrian traffic for the next few weeks. There is a free pedestrian and cyclist shuttle service running from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week and during holidays.
An excessive amount of unexcused absences in school has led to the arrest of almost 100 East Baton Rouge Parish parents. According to officials, charges of improper supervision of a minor were made against parents over a two-day round-up, conducted by local law enforcement. There were almost 150 truancy cases reported by the Family Youth Service Center.
Louisiana State Police and State Highway Safety Commission announce the annual holiday "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign kicks off today. LSP Sgt. Nick Manale says they be working with local law enforcement agencies around the state to make sure that motorists are making the right decisions. He says during the 2012 Christmas and New Year's Holiday period, 12 people were killed and more than 1300 were injured in highway crashes in Louisiana.
A Shreveport lawmaker feels Christmas and Hanukkah should be celebrated in public schools, without restriction or punishment, and says he'll file legislation to that effect. Representative Alan
Seabaugh says he will introduce that bill in the spring, so it can be fully in effect for next year.
There's now assistance available for farmers and ranchers in recovery from last summer's drought in 20 Louisiana parishes. Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain adds that seven parishes will also be eligible for disaster assistance loans as well. The help covers mostly northern, western and central Louisiana Parishes. For info go to ldaf.la.gov
The Jindal administration announced Thursday afternoon that a tax amnesty program generated $435 million, far more than legislators expected. The program offered taxpayers an incentive for settling tax disputes or clearing back taxes. Interest was reduced. Penalties were waived. Legislators expected the program to produce at least $200 million for health care expenses in the state operating budget. Instead, it brought in more than double that amount.
A DeRidder man has been booked into the Leesville City Jail, accused of robbing City Savings Bank on Monday. 26 year old Michael Lee Jones was arrested Wednesday after an investigation into the armed robbery of the Leesville bank that happened late Monday. Jones was charged with armed robbery. Bond was set at $200,000. The investigation continues.
A new report from the group "Human Rights Watch" says law enforcement and public policy are contributing to the state's HIV epidemic. Megan McLemore, with HRW, authored the report, which says cops arrest people and take their condoms and clean needles. She says Louisiana should adopt clean-needle exchange programs form intravenous drug addicts, like those already in place in several other major U.S. cities.
The State Fire Marshal's office says a structure fire in Lincoln Parish claimed the life of a 58 year old man from Ruston. They say it appears Robert Nelson had helped his 76 year old mother out of
the home then went back inside to attempt to extinguish the blaze, but was never seen alive again. It is not believed there was a working smoke alarm in the home.
Loggers in Beauregard Parish found something you don't see every day: An adult bald eagle sitting in between sitting between a row of pine trees. It turns out the female eagle was injured, so the workers contacted the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, who in turn transported the bird to the Heckhaven Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. The adult eagle is expected to recover.
News for Thursday 121213
By Dave Graichen
Some Rapides parish school officials say they believe it is time for the school district to break down and buy some new school busses. Rapides’ Director of Transportation Velt Edwards said he surveyed the 13 surrounding parishes and learned, “We have the oldest fleet by far, some dating back to the mid 90’s. Director of Finance Liz Domite said the school system has received $3.5 million in certificates of indebtedness. In January, she will ask board members for permission to seek bids to buy newer buses. The bids will be for the purchase of 10 to 15 new special education buses, which cost more than $100,000 each, and about 35 used regular buses
The state health report card is out, and Louisiana is no longer the second most unhealthy state. It's now the third most unhealthy for many of the same reasons as before. United Health Senior Health Advisor Dr. Rhonda Randall says Even though progress is being made, there's still a long way to go in obesity and smoking. High immunization coverage among adults and rising
high school graduation rate are some of the state's strengths.
An ordinance called "Be Fair Shreveport", which protects people against discrimination based on sexual orientation, was passed by the city council Tuesday night. Adrienne Critcher is the Communications Director for "People Acting for Change." She says the passing of this ordinance is great news for the city of Shreveport, because young talented and creative people, especially in high tech fields, look at a city's openness as a way to determine whether or not it's a place they would like to move to. The council's vote was 6-1 in favor of Be Fair.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office says two security guards at the jail there have been released and are now under investigation for allegedly abusing a child prisoner. They say videotapes of the
alleged incident have been sent to the DA's office for possible criminal indictments. In the meantime the officers are no longer employed at the jail.
The good news for Obamacare sign-up is that nearly five times the original number of Louisiana residents have been able to sign up online since the computer glitches were fixed. The bad news is that number is a little over 2,000 people, and that's still less than projected at the end of November. Enrollment continues until March 31st.
The state Department of Insurance says property owners who have to resort to the state-run insurance company of last resort now are at record low levels. Over 14-thousand property owners have transferred their policies from Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance to private market carriers. Citizens customers now make up only 2.7% of the state homeowners marketplace.
Veronica LaBeaud, of New Orleans, has made history within the Louisiana National Guard. LaBeaud has been promoted to Command Sgt. Maj. of the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, becoming the first African American woman to achieve this status. LaBeaud says she never planned on this high rank during her 32 years in the National Guard. LaBeaud wants to be an inspiration for females in the military.
The state's Motorist Assistance Patrol service, offered in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport, has picked up a corporate sponsor. State Farm Insurance will pay a quarter-million dollars a year to assist in keeping the roadside help service running.
Federal authorities cite an Ascension Parish chemical plant for safety violations that caused an explosion and fire last June that killed two workers and injured dozens of others. OSHA recommends $99-thousand in fines against the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar.
The woman who last year won the case regarding her first amendment right to display a middle finger in Christmas lights on the roof of her Denham Springs home is at it again. This year Sarah Childs has put a two middle finger light display on her roof. Neighbors claim Childs thinks someone stole her dog which is why she is upset with them.
Police in Hammond are looking for two men who allegedly attempted to rob an ATM using a blowtorch. It happened at a Capital One bank branch and the incident was caught on surveillance cameras. The suspects were not able to get the cash inside using this method. Anyone with information on this crime is urged to contact law enforcement.
News for Wednesday 121113
By Dave Graichen
The home of Pineville mayor Clarence Fields and his wife Rosa was seriously damaged by a fire yesterday morning. Pineville Fire Chief Eddie LaBorde said the fire appears to have started in a fireplace in a downstairs bedroom. Mayor Fields says the damage inside the home is “unimaginable,” but that the important thing is that no lives were lost.
Jan. 2 is the target date to start issuing permits for restaurants who want to sell alcohol in the city of Pineville. The official ordinance relaxing the prohibition on alcohol sales in the city was passed unanimously by the City Council last night.
Louisiana College announced Tuesday that it has been reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school had been on warning for the past two years by the accreditation group. The announcement comes following a vote of the accrediting agency’s Board of Trustees at their annual meeting this month as well as a comprehensive on-site review of Louisiana College in October by a five-member SACS committee.
The U.S. House approved Tuesday the much-delayed, expanded veterans’ health care clinics in Lafayette, Lake Charles and 25 other locations in the nation. The critical step sets the table for the U.S. Senate to approve the legislation by “unanimous consent”. That could happen as early as today. Senator Mary Landrieu said late Tuesday she “doubts” there will be any opposition.
A Louisiana Congressman expects we'll hear very soon that U-S Senator David Vitter will run for governor in 2015. Vitter sent an email to supporters last week that said he's considering a run for the governor's mansion. US Representative John Fleming of Minden believes Vitter has already made up his mind.
Qualifying for elections for city offices in New Orleans begins today, including the race for Mayor. Democrat Mitch Landrieu is certain to want another term as mayor, but, according to some, might he also choose to run for Louisiana Governor down the road. Political analyst and "LAPolitics.com" publisher John Maginnis feels Landrieu is a shoe-in for another term as New Orleans Mayor and would be a strong democratic candidate in the governor’s race.
The Union Parish Sheriff's office says three Louisiana National Guardsmen are accused of stealing night vision goggles and scopes for M-16 rifles. They say in all, about $13,000 worth of equipment was stolen. The three have been charged with felony theft.
A woman from Lake Charles pleads not guilty in state court on charges of molestation of a juvenile, second degree kidnapping, drug distribution to a student and four counts of cruelty to a juvenile. 30 year old Lacey Cherre is accused of holding a 14 year old girl against her will and forcing her to take drugs and perform sex acts. A trial date is set for March 17th.
Get ready for a redneck kind of Christmas, as A&E will air the Duck Dynasty Christmas Special tonight. The Robertson family of West Monroe promises a lot of laughs and family fun. The program airs at 9 tonight on A&E.
Bell Helicopter announced Monday that it will produce its new SLS helicopter at Lafayette Regional Airport. That project that will create 115 new direct jobs averaging more than $55,000 per year, plus benefits.
Eunice Police say they'll charge the man who killed a city garbage man in a vehicle accident Monday with careless operation and possibly vehicular homicide. Eunice PD Deputy Chief Varden Guillory says a truck driven by 55-year-old Everett Sonnier hit the back of the garbage truck - pinning 34-year-old Walter Washington between the vehicles. Washington died from his injuries. A preliminary investigation indicates Sonnier wasn't paying attention when the crash occurred.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter announced Tuesday that he is foregoing his federal employer contribution to health insurance now that he has purchased a health plan in the health care exchange as a Louisiana resident. Vitter opted to follow the same route as Sen. Mary Landrieu to refuse the employer contribution that is following members of Congress and their staffers onto the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Those opting to keep their contributions have to enroll in the Washington, D.C. health exchange and not their home states.
A judge in Jefferson Parish sentences a 13-year-old Terrytown boy to three years in juvenile detention for killing his sister, using body and elbow slam moves he saw on TV wrestling. The 5-year-old girl died of internal bleeding and broken ribs. The boy will get credit for time served since his arrest last July.
Lafayette Police are investigating Monday's death of a local man who was hit by an AmTrak train. 59-year-old McKensey Portalis was walking across the tracks, at a crossing with working lights and alarms. The train was only doing about 25 miles an hour at the point of impact. An investigation is underway.
A Lake Arthur Police officer has been charged with aggravated rape and molestation of a juvenile. State Police say 37-year-old Damon Broussard is alleged to have engaged in sexual conduct with two children; one under 15 and one under 13. Detectives say the offenses reportedly happened some years ago.
Spin Magazine is reporting that the Estate of Bob Marley is suing the Louisiana based restaurant Raising Canes over it's slogan, "One Love." The lawsuit cites trademark infringement and that the Marley's were not consulted when the phrase was registered by Cane's years ago.
It looks like LSU fans are reacting positively to the news that The Tigers will be playing in the Outback Bowl in Tampa Florida on New Years Day. It's the first time The Bayou Bengals are playing The Outback Bowl in almost 25 years. Tickets for the game start at $80 and are on sale now. To order log on to lsutix.net or call the LSU ticket office.
A small aircraft had to make an emergency landing in a cow pasture near Hammond, in Tangiphoa Parish, Tuesday. The plane carried a flying instructor and his student pilot. They reported losing oil pressure at about 3000 feet. They managed to safely land the aircraft, and no one was injured. The FAA plans to investigate.
News for Tuesday 121013
By Dave Graichen
There has been an interesting development in the Rapides parish School district, after a big announcement last week that Sam Goodwin would be the new coach at Alexandria Senior High School. Supt. Of schools Nason Authement announced that the hiring of Goodwin did not meet district hiring guidelines. Authement saying yesterday his administration is committed to being an equal opportunity employer. An ad had now been placed advertising the position and Subsequently, a new teacher/head football coach will be officially hired and named. Some are saying the move was just a formality. Time will tell.
State Wildlife and Fisheries agents says they rescued an Allen Parish couple that got stranded in Bayou Nezpique, near the Evangeline Parish line. Agents say the couple had to bail out of
their canoe when it got caught in fast current. Mark & Michelle Tarver were safely rescued, but also cited for hunting ducks out of season.
The new head of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says education needs to step up to meet the state's workforce needs of tomorrow. LABI President Stephen Waguespack feels K-through-12 schools do a poor job of teaching young people even the basics of reading, critical thinking and working well with others.
An employee of Progressive Waste was killed yesterday morning in Eunice when a pickup truck slammed into the back of the truck while they were stopped picking up trash. The incident happened shortly before 5am. The driver of the pickup, 55 year old Everett Sonnier was also seriously injured. The crash remains under investigation.
The LSU Police Department says they have identified a suspect in the rape of a woman on campus during the Texas A&M game on November 23rd. They say 32 year old Albert Ford of Atlanta is accused of following the woman into a port-o-john, locking the door and threatening to snap her neck if she screamed. Ford is wanted on one count of aggravated rape.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says they have solved a crime that has been cold nearly 19 Baton Rouge Police have made an arrest in an 18-year-old double homicide. In January 1995, 23-year-old Lester Yarbrough and his pregnant girlfriend, 22-year-old Patricia Jackson, were found shot to death inside their apartment. Her 11-month old niece was also shot but survived. Evidence and witness testimony led to the arrest of 39-year-old James I. Johnson, who is now charged with 1st-degree murder.
A Calcasieu Parish woman has been sentenced to 30-years in prison for heaping abuse upon her 9-year-old stepson. In court, the child testified that 31-year-old Jamie Brooks Day subjected him to malnourishment and various acts of abuse, including making him eat his own feces. When the abuse came to light in 2010, the child weighed only 38 pounds.
Police in Thibodaux arrest a local woman after finding her and her daughter living in filth with 35 dogs and cats. Police spokesman David Melancon says the urine and feces smell of the animals permeated everything in the house. He says they were called to visit the home because the daughter had quit going to school. Melancon says the girl had quit going to school, because she was being bullied about having a constant smell of animal waste.
Gas prices have fallen a couple of pennies over the last week, but Louisiana AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says the price at the pump is expected to rise again as Christmas approaches. Redman says there was hope that we would see gas prices get down to about $2.85 a gallon, but says a rise in crude oil prices will prevent that. Redman says expect gas to remain at above $3 through the holidays.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office says a woman cited for allegedly lying about being attacked and having her wallet and wedding rings stolen. They say 37 year old Debra Bass of Geismar told investigators she'd been hit and robbed by a man as she had pulled over on the side of the road because of a flat tire. Police later discovered she had a gambling problem and sold her wedding rings to a pawn shop.
We have all heard the stories of sleeping children waking up in a locked up bus. But, here’s a similar story with a twist. A napping man from Louisiana was reportedly left on an airplane in Houston over the weekend. Tom Wagner nodded off while the plane was in flight from Lafayette to Houston. But, woke up to a cold dark plane that was locked up tight as a drum. Wagner had to call his girlfriend, who in turn called United Airlines, to get somebody to rescue him. The airline issued a statement saying they are investigating the incident.
Firefighters in Lafayette say a man is under arrest for allegedly intentionally setting a fire inside a home on Sunday. They say a neighbor called 911 to report hearing the smoke alarm going off at
the residence. The 39 year old step-son of the home's owner was the only one home at the time and he admitted to setting the fire for reasons that remain under investigation. Josh Haney was not harmed in the blaze but was charged with Simple Arson.
Officials with the Advocare V100 Bowl are elated with their December 31st match-up at Independence Stadium. Arizona and Boston College will play each other in the annual Shreveport bowl game. Bowl chairman John Hubbard says it's a big deal to have two teams from BCS conferences in their bowl game. ULM made a push to play in the Advocare V100 Bowl for a second straight season, but Hubbard says they couldn't pass on this match-up.
News for Monday 120913
By Dave Graichen
The rain Sunday stopped just in time for Alexandria’s annual Christmas parade. Crowds were down this year as were the number of those taking part in the parade. But, many of those attending said it was worth getting out in the cold. Other areas across the state were not so lucky as many towns were forced to either postpone or outright cancel their scheduled events.
LSU will spend the holidays in sunny Tampa, Fla., for the first time in 25 years. The Tigers will play Iowa in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Outback Bowl kickoff is set for noon at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be LSU’s second appearance in the Outback Bowl and first since losing to Syracuse following the 1988 season.
The Saints are in first place in the NFC South after clobbering Carolina 31-13 last night. Drew Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns. It was an historic night for Brees as he became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to surpass 50-thousand passing yards for his career. Brees accomplished the feat in just 183 games, the fastest of the 5 players.
For the first time in at least five years, many retired teachers, state workers and school system employees are in line for an increase in their pension checks. Louisiana’s four statewide retirement system boards are preparing to seek legislative approval of a general cost-of-living adjustment — likely between 1.5 percent and 2 percent — for tens of thousands of retirees over age 60. The cost-of-living adjustments, better known as COLAs, increase the regular benefits checks and must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. The next legislative session opens March 10.
Congressional District 2, as redrawn by the Legislature in 2011, looks like a wind-ruffled ribbon that curls from the eastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, through New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River to northern Baton Rouge. Three Baton Rouge residents of District 2 are asking U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick to declare the district’s boundaries racially gerrymandered. The plaintiffs also want Dick to bar Louisiana from holding the 2014 election in District 2 until it is redrawn.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s hard-fought bid to link teacher job reviews to the growth of student achievement , a key plank in his push to improve Louisiana’s public schools, has been sidelined until after he leaves office. The provision, which Jindal pushed through the Legislature in 2010, connects many of the roughly 50,000 annual teacher evaluations to how students fare in the classroom.
But that rule, which teacher unions bitterly oppose, has been set aside until at least the 2015-16 school year, in part because of complaints about the state’s adoption of tougher academic standards called Common Core.
Tolls, taxes and selling bonds backed by unclaimed property are some of the ideas floated to pay for construction of Interstate 49 South between Lafayette and the west bank of New Orleans. The State Bond Commission has approved the latter plan, to sell $20-million in bonds to get I-49 South started, using the state's unclaimed property fund as security. As of last July 1st, the state had over $120-million in unclaimed moneys, which could be used to secure the bonds.
LPB will air a documentary tonight that looks at the comeback of the Louisiana Black Bear. Black Bears have been on the Endangered Species List since 1992, when there were fewer than 300 of them in the world. Now there could be as many as one-thousand bears in the state.
Officials in Ascension Parish say they were taken by surprise by Shell's decision to bail out of a planned gas-to-liquids plant. The proposed plant would have employed over 750 at large salaries with benefits. Ascension Council Chairman Chris Loar says Shell blamed the high cost of the project, coupled with uncertainty in the long-term costs of oil and gas. He says he asked officials at Shell why they would bother making a site selection announcement if they weren't aware of the cost of the project. Shell says the estimated $12.5-billion construction cost had ballooned to over $20-billion, hence their decision.
Police in the Lafayette Parish town of Scott arrest a local man for allegedly beating up his wheelchair-bound girlfriend. Officers says the victim suffered facial bruised, a fractured eye socket and a broken rib. 38-year-old Gary Squires was arrested for domestic violence battery. He claims he was defending himself from her attack.
The District Attorney in Caddo Parish has decided not to file charges against the mother of a little girl who died last July, after being left locked in a hot vehicle for several hours. DA
Charles Scott says evidence indicates the incident was a tragic mistake, and that 31-year-old Krystal Delafosse will likely suffer the result of it for the rest of her life.
The former pastor who founded the Just for Jesus rallies in Lake Charles has been arrested again. This time officers say they found 52 year old James Bertrand parked on a dead end street with cocaine located on his center console and a needle in his lap. Bertrand has been arrested several times this year. His bond was set at $2.06 million dollars.
News for Friday 120613
By Dave Graichen
More big weather changes are coming today for Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says prepare for another bout of cold weather, which he says is already entering the state this morning. He says the cold front should reach the coast by later tonight. Keim says temperatures will be dropping throughout the day. He says with the colder air, we can expect lots of rain through the weekend.
State and local officials were on hand yesterday along with Gulf Coast Spinning Company CEO Dan Feibus announced the his company will invest 130 million dollars in a new spinning facility in Bunkie, with construction to begin in mid-2014. They estimate the creation of just over 300 jobs, and over 700 indirect jobs.
There was some bad economic development news yesterday. Shell announced they are scrapping plans to build a 12-point-five billion dollar natural gas-to-liquids plant in Ascension Parish. The project would have created over 700 jobs. Shell says the project is no longer viable, because of uncertainty in long-term oil and gas prices.
Sam Goodwin, the longtime coach at Northwestern State, was introduced Thursday afternoon as the next coach Alexandria Senior High School. The 69-year-old Goodwin, a Pineville native, has coached for more than 40 years at the collegiate and high school level in Louisiana and Arkansas.
The Louisiana National Guard announced changes in procedures that will allow its soldiers and employees with same-sex married partners to take advantage of federal benefits without violating Louisiana law. State law forbids state employees, which Guardsmen technically are, from taking any actions that would support the legality of same-sex marriage. Gay married couples employed by the Louisiana National Guard were unable to participate in the health care services, housing, shopping at low-priced military grocery and goods stores as well as other benefits available to other members of the military.
One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet secretaries said Thursday that JPMorgan Chase waited months before alerting the administration about a computer hacking that impacts 13,500 Louisiana residents.
State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield said he is reserving judgment but wants to know why there was a delay. He said JPMorgan Chase & Co. learned about the breach in September and phoned his office just this week.
State Police say the driver of an 18 wheeler died in a single vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon in Sabine Parish. They say 29 year old Eldon Hendrix II of Center, Texas lost control on LA High 191 and overturned his truck. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say the pilot of a helicopter that crashed in Port Fourchon Thursday morning is a hero because of the way he handled the situation. They chopper was carrying 9 people headed offshore when some sort of malfunction occurred and they had to make a hard landing. Nobody on board the helicopter suffered any injuries in the crash.
ULM launches a campaign to try and get the Warhawk football team in the Advocare V100 Bowl in Shreveport. Athletic director Brian Wickstrom says digital billboards are up in the Monroe area, urging fans to call and email bowl officials and tell them they want the Warhawks in that bowl game for a second straight year. The Warhawks played in the Bowl last year, but lost to Ohio University.
A former LSU football player is facing a felony charge after he allegedly stole money from a wallet located inside an off-campus apartment last month. Baton Rouge Police Corporal Don Coppola Jr says Jeryl Brazil faces a charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling. Coppola says surveillance video helped identify Brazil as the thief.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has launched an App for iPhone and iPad that their customers can now use to find urgent care, check the status of a claim and more. The group says the Blue Cross app is named "BCBSLA" and contains many features that allow their customers access to their healthcare coverage information easily.
A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputy has been fired after admitting to illegally buying pain meds for a family member. An investigation turned up evidence that 30-year-old Jon-Michael Norris was buying hydrocodone pills for a relative who was reportedly addicted. Charges against Norris may be coming.
A federal judge has dismissed a civil suit against the city of Shreveport - filed by a woman who says she was raped in 2010 by then chief administrative officer Rick Seaton. She sought to hold the city accountable for what happened to her inside a city office. Seaton was convicted and is still serving time for the crime. The judge ruled the victim's civil suit invalid.
News for Thursday 120513
By Dave Graichen
The state DOTD announced yesterday that The Jackson Street Bridge will reopen to vehicle traffic on Thursday, Dec. 12. However, the sidewalk for pedestrians will remain closed "until further notice,". The existing shuttle service will continue for pedestrians and bicyclists.
A series of Christmas festivals will begin this evening in Alexandria. The event kicks off the city of Alexandria’s Twelve Nights of Christmas celebration. Holiday Magic Downtown begins at 5 p.m. today in the Alexander Fulton mini-park across from Alexandria City Hall. It will feature food, music and Santa Claus.
US Senator David Vitter sent an email to his supporters this Wednesday saying that friends and family members have been encouraging him to run for Governor in 2015. Vitter says he and his wife Wendy plan to pray about the decision over the Christmas holiday and they will make an official announcement one way or the other next month.
U.S. Representative Vance McAllister from the sixth district hasn't been in Washington that long, but he's already secured spots on the House Natural Resources and House Agriculture committees. He has a one-year term because of the time left on Rodney Alexander's term, who resigned in the middle of his sixth term.
Get ready for a change in the weather. Meteorologist Gary Chatelain with the National Weather Service says the mild temperatures we've seen this week will go away, as the result of a very strong cold front that arrives in the bayou state today. The cold front won't push through south Louisiana until tomorrow, but once it does, temperatures will drop. On Saturday, high temps will be in 40s for much of south Louisiana, upper 30s for north Louisiana. Chatelain says there's a chance for mixed precipitation from I-20 to the north on Saturday.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols announced late Wednesday, personal information for about 13,500 Louisiana residents was compromised when the data collected by three state government agencies was breached. Computer hackers penetrated the computer security systems at JPMorgan Chase. About 6,000 recipients of a pre-loaded debit card used by the Louisiana Department of Revenue to distribute state income tax refunds could have been compromised, as well as approximately 5,300 Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services child support debit cardholders and about 2,200 people receiving unemployment benefits from the Louisiana Workforce Commission via a Chase debit card.
A last-ditch bid to impose a two-year moratorium on letter grades for public schools failed Wednesday. Instead, the state’s top school board voted to tweak a new policy so that schools will not be unfairly penalized as they move to the national academic standards called Common Core. All the action followed Tuesday’s three-hour debate, which ended with the panel endorsing a wide range of changes to soften the impact of the overhaul. The grades stem from a 2010 state law. They are aimed at showing parents and others how schools are operating. Critics say the grades are too imprecise to be meaningful.
State Sen. Dan Claitor said Wednesday he will run for Congress in the 6th district after deciding he could bring some “reason” back to Washington. The state senator from Baton Rouge is serving his second term in the Legislature after first being elected in 2009. The 6th congressional district seat is being vacated after 2014 because current Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate next year.
Louisiana’s higher education commissioner said Wednesday that he won’t seek a contract renewal when his current deal as the state’s chief policy leader for public colleges ends in March. Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting. The announcement wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Purcell has often been at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal over the depth of budget cuts, with more than $700 million in state funding stripped from higher education by the Jindal administration and lawmakers since 2008.
You could call it Karma, The Opelousas Police Department says a man carjacked a vehicle
Wednesday, crashed the SUV he stole a short time later and is now in serious condition. They say 28 year old Kendall Reed allegedly whacked the victim in the head with a tool as he was leaving for work and sped off in his vehicle. Reed is suffering from internal injuries and several cuts on his head and hands. Once he gets out of the hospital, police say they will be waiting for him.
LSU freshman Quarterback Anthony Jennings will be the play caller for the Tigers' bowl game in January. That's because of Zach Mettenberger's season-ending knee injury. Football analyst Mike Detillier says the news for Mentenburger is not all bad. In fact, he still has a chance to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft, even with the injury. Mentenberger became the third quarterback in LSU history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season and he's one of the nation's leaders in passing efficiency.
Sheriff's deputies in Iberia Parish seek a pair of armed robbers, who used Facebook to set their victim up for a holdup. Sheriff's spokesman Captain Ryan Turner says the 28-year-old victim had been communicating with a man on the social media website, and agreed to meet him face-to-
face. When the woman arrived at the address given by the Facebook friend, but was quickly confronted outside the home by two armed men who took her money.
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge gets nearly $16-million in grants for continued studies of optimal nutrition and combat readiness for soldiers. The two Department of Defense grants will continue research into nutrition and fitness strategies for America's fighting men and women.
News for Wednesday 120413
By Dave Graichen
After weeks of speculation, republican US Senator David Vitter says he is thinking about running for governor in 2015. Vitter told the Associated Press that he and his wife will send an email to
supporters letting them know about a potential gubernatorial campaign. Vitter plans to make a decision by January.
The state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education (BESE) has approved changes in implementing the new performance standards known as Common Core. Teacher evaluations, student promotion and school letter grades won't be affected by Common Core for two full years.
Teachers unions, school boards and parents have voiced plenty of opposition to the unproven performance standards being pushed by federal education officials.
Tonight the national spotlight shines on Central Louisiana. To be more exact McNeeley Crossing, just south of Colfax on highway 8 in Grant Parish. “Mud People,” filmed at Louisiana MudFest premieres at 10 p.m. tonight on the Travel Channel.
Officials in north Louisiana are doing a study of plans to provide Amtrak passenger rail service across the region, with possible stops in Shreveport, Ruston and Monroe. Kent Rogers is Executive Director of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments. He says DOTD has awarded them $250,000 to conduct the study.
Louisiana oystermen say oysters are very hard to come by this winter and their $300-million industry is hurting. Louisiana Oyster Task Force Chairman John Tesvich says, in his 35 years in the oyster business, he's never seen it this bad. Tesvich says many oyster businesses along Louisiana's coast are reduced to only one working boat, because harvests are just too small. He says it's not just a decline; it's practically zero population. He says it's likely not a coincidence that the shortage of oysters comes just a few years after the massive BP oil spill.
Sentencing is scheduled today for a Jefferson Parish 13-year-old who admitted killed his little sister, while imitating moves he learned watching TV wrestling. In court Tuesday, Armstrong Desvallons (day val on) pleaded guilty to the death of his 5-year-old half-sister, using repeated elbow and body
slam moves he learned watching WWE wrestling on television. She died of internal bleeding, liver lacerations and broken ribs.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office says a two-car accident Monday evening leaves one dead and another facing charges. They say an initial investigation revealed that one vehicle hit another
from causing both cars to catch fire. One driver died and charges are pending against the other. Alcohol is a suspected factor.
A man from Thibodaux is in the Lafourche Parish Detention Center amid allegations he stole cerebral palsy donations from a gas station. Police say about $40 was stolen and Frank McKenzie's bail is set at $18,000.
Grambling Police say a Houston woman is dead after being hit by a car early. Police say 58 year old Diane Watson was walking in the middle of the road when she was run over. She was pronounced dead at the scene. They believe an autopsy will indicate she was intoxicated.. .
Law enforcement officials have ramped up patrols around the LSU lakes after some who jog there have expressed concerns about their safety. A woman was choked unconscious during an evening run last month. Police say it's still a safe place to work out, they just encourage joggers to remain vigilant of their surroundings.
Jury selection has begun in Baton Rouge for the trial of 33-year-old Dustin Musso - accused of murdering his own grandfather in 2009, then setting his house on fire to try to cover it up. An autopsy showed 76-year-old Pete Musso Jr. died from trauma to the head, and smoke inhalation from the fire. Prosecutors waived a death penalty in order to get the younger Musso to trial faster.
Organizers of the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans say their headliner next July 4th weekend will be none other than Prince. It's not known what night he will top the billing, but the festival goes on July 3rd through 6th in the Superdome. Tickets have already gone on sale - six months in advance.
Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will not play in LSU’s bowl game, ESPN reported Tuesday night. The team plans to address the issue publically today.
Mettenberger suffered the injury midway through the fourth quarter in LSU’s 31-27 comeback win over Arkansas on Friday.
Tulane announced yesterday that it has accepted a bid to play in the New Orleans Bowl. The Green Wave will face the Ragin Cajuns at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on Saturday December 21st. It's Tulane's first bowl game since 2002, when it beat Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.
News for Tuesday 120313
By Dave Graichen
So after a crazy week of college football, it looks like LSU is probably going to the Cotton Bowl. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says things are falling into place for The Bayou Bengals to head to
Arlington after Auburn's crazy win over Alabama Saturday...sending them to the SEC Championship game. The Bowl Selection show will air Sunday on ESPN.
The state Legislative Auditor releases a report showing the Department of Revenue failed to collect millions in unpaid severance taxes from oil & gas companies. Nicole Edmonson, with the Auditor's office says there were several problems, ranging from computer software issues to not verifying information provided by those companies. She says they're not sure exactly how much money oil & gas companies owe the state.
The state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education will meet today to consider a slow-down of implementing more stringent performance standards for schools, teachers and students known as Common Core. After much protest from parents, educators and the state school board association, Education Superintendent John White is proposing changes to BESE that will delay full implementation of Common Core.
A New Orleans man is behind bars for manslaughter after confessing to a hit and run that claimed the life of a 29 year old woman and a 2 year old child Sunday morning. Ervin Freeman is also charged with one count of felony hit and run.
A Lafayette Councilman says there are too many dollar stores in his area and he wants to do something about it. Kenneth Boudreaux says there are 30 Dollar General and Family Dollar stores in Lafayette Parish. He reportedly feels the discount stores hurt neighborhood businesses.
The University of Louisiana System has teamed with the website and app "MyEDU" to guide students in their career path and help employers find qualified help. UL System President Sandra Woodley says they just launched MyEDU last month, and student signups are growing fast without a promotional campaign. Dr. Woodley says about 14 thousand of the UL System's 90-thousand students have already signed up.
State and local officials have discussed ways to make the Interstate 49 interchange safer at U-S 190 in Opelousas. Mayo Don Cravins says it's a dangerous intersection and there's been over 40 accidents with injuries over the past few years. He says there's been talk about improving the safety at the I-49/US 190 interchange for the last decade, but it's becoming more of a problem because the traffic volume in that area has increased.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office says a man from Houma is dead after he fell off a houseboat during a hunting trip. They say Wayne Cancienne (KAHN'-si-en) was located after the weekend floating next to the houseboat. The death is being ruled an accident.
The old Mississippi River Bridge which connects Baton Rouge and Port Allen, is getting a makeover. Chris Guidry is the assistant bridge design administrator for the Louisiana Department of Transportation. He says the 73 year old bridge was in rough shape. As a matter of fact, If there were no repairs, the bridge would be lucky to last another 20 years. He says they hope to have the $100 million project done by 2016.
The City Council in Thibodaux is expected to vote on the saggy pants ban tonight after they hear comments from the public. The Lafourche Parish Council passed a similar ordinance in 2007, but it doesn't apply in Thibodaux. Mayor Tommy Eschete says the ordinance has a lot of support, but the decision is ultimately up to the Council.
It was a good night for the New Orleans Pelicans last night as they claimed a 131-128 victory over the Chicago Bulls in triple overtime..
On the other hand.. not a good night for the saints.. Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
News for Monday 120213
By Dave Graichen
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon agrees to implement an adjustment to Obamacare that would allow many consumers, facing cancellation of their current health insurance, to keep their plans one more year. John Maginnis, with Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana says they will honor Donelon's decision, and try to extend all coverage that had previously been slated for cancellation for one more year.
On the surface it looks like the School voucher plan is doing just what it is supposed to do. But, one report says, we need to take a closer look. New data indicate that many students in Louisiana's voucher program attended schools that were graded D or F on the state's grading scale. At least 45 percent of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year attended such schools. However, an investigative piece in the Times-Picayune say the report is not complete. It appears the state released scores only for one-fifth of the 118 voucher schools. Those were schools with at least 40 voucher students in the third grade and up. They served about 2,900 of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year.
Today has been designated Cyber Monday; a day to make your online holiday purchases, but state officials remind you those purchases are not tax-free. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesman Byron Henderson says some websites will add the 8% applicable state tax to your purchases, but a greater number still do not. State law requires you must pay the state tax if they don’t collect it. Henderson says you can go online to "revenue.louisiana.gov" and download the consumer use tax return to report your online purchases.
The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended Saturday, having produced the fewest actual hurricanes since 1982. Stacy Stewart, with the National Hurricane Center says The 2013 storm season saw 13 named storms, which was slightly above normal, as predicted. However, there were only two hurricanes – Humberto and Ingrid in September. Neither of those reached a strength of Category 3 or higher.
We'll get another chance to hear Shreveport's Cole Vosbury tonight on the extremely popular NBC singing competition show, "The Voice." Cole is now a part of the top 6 after advancing last week. The show airs tonight at 7 on KALB TV5. The results show is tomorrow night at 8
As 2013 draws nearer to a close, Congress is concentrating on getting some important bills passed. Senator Mary Landrieu says one she is working hard to get to the President's desk would fix the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform, which calls for drastically high premium hikes. Landrieu says another matter of importance to get through Congress before year's end is funding for the Morganza-to-the Gulf Flood Protection plan. and a new Farm Bill. She says the prices we all pay for our groceries relies on having an effective federal Farm Bill in place.
There's reason that Natchitoches is known as the City of Lights. City tourism spokeswoman Samantha Bonnette says a Yahoo! travel blogger ranks the Natchitoches Festival of Lights as the NO. 3 top Holiday Light show in the nation after Rockefeller Center and Disneyland. Bonnette says some estimates show that over 250,000 people attend the Festival of Lights throughout its 45 nights of lights, which ends on January 6th.
Louisiana's Office of Tourism has been named the top tourism office among the 14 southeastern states. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne oversees tourism in the state. He says the designation from the Southeast Tourism Society is a real honor. Dardenne says Louisiana is more popular as a travel destination with the nation, and the rest of the world, than it has ever been.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says a hunter who was not wearing a life jacket died when his boat hit a branch and capsized before dawn Saturday in heavy fog, dumping him and a friend into the Atchafalaya River. A news release from the sheriff’s department says the second hunter was wearing a life jacket. He swam to the river bank and called for help.
The Saints and the Seahawks battle each other in Seattle tonight in a match-up of the two best teams in the NFC. The winner will be in the driver's seat to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. There's a good chance of rain, and the temperature will be around 40. Seattle brings a 13-game home winning streak into the game.
LSU moved up one spot to No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA/Today Coaches polls and is No. 15 in the BCS standings. The Tigers (9-3) continue to remain the highest-ranked three-loss team in all three rankings.
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Political Free Zone!