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.
News for Wednesday 112713
By Dave Graichen
Today is one of the busiest days on the roads and state police and other local law enforcement agencies around the state will be stepping up checkpoints for the Holidays. The Louisiana
Highway Safety Commission says the increased patrols will be looking out for suspected impaired drivers, those who aren't buckled up and speeders.
The state has unveiled its new "I'm Cajun...and Proud" specialty license plates. The plates feature a fleur-de-lis on the left side with a crawfish playing an accordion, and the words, "I'm Cajun...And Proud." The cost to motorists, an extra $15.00, with $11.50 of that going to the Council for the Development of French In Louisiana (CODOFIL), the help train teachers for French immersion education. Another program allows motorists to have the same slogan on their individual driver’s license.
A man has reportedly come forward and said he was abused by a woman who was arrested last week amid allegations she molested one of her students 10 years ago. 25 year old Phillip LeBourgeois says he was sexually abused by his teacher at Catholic High-New Iberia when he
was 15. 48 year old Paula Latiolais was booked Friday into the IBeria Parish Jail and released on $35,000 bail.
Bond has been set for seven men accused of setting fire to the historic LeBeau Plantation in St. Bernard Parish early Friday completely destroying it. The suspected leader in the incident, 31 year old Dusten Davenport, had the highest bond set -- $450,000. The Judge also set bonds of at least $75,000 for the other six.
Following a 3-month investigation, a total of 26 establishments that sell alcohol in the Acadian region have been cited with violations for selling adult beverages to underage drinkers. The State Office
of Alcohol and Tobacco Control says they will be cracking down on other problem areas in the state as well. They says now might be a good time for bar and club owners to talk to their employees about the rules.
State Police are seeking a man and woman from Lafayette in an investigation into child sex trafficking. 22 year old Darneesha Martin and 19 year old Alcoby LaSalle are wanted on counts of trafficking children for sexual purposes and promoting prostitution. State Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Caddo Parish deputies report one person killed at a brand new I-49 interchange at US Highway 71. A traffic light had just been installed there. An SUV stopped for the light, but was
rear-ended by a Ford pickup. No one in the pickup was hurt, but three passengers in the Jeep SUV were taken to a hospital, where one passed away. The crash is under investigation.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning residents of FAKE black panther sighting photos that are circling social media. They say when these incidents are investigated they almost always turn out to be house cats, bobcats, otters, dogs or feral hogs.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office says a 13 year-old is facing attempted 2nd degree murder charges for allegedly stabbing his mother's fiancé. They say the man was trying to discipline the
teen, and the young suspect grabbed a large kitchen knife and stabbed the victim in the back. The fiancé was taken to a New Orleans hospital.
An elderly woman in West Baton Rouge parish was killed when her mobile home went up in flames yesterday morning. Authorities believe a space heater to close to the bed caused the blaze.
News For Tuesday 112613
by Dave Graichen
An ironic tragedy in Rapides Parish, as a local fireman died Sunday, when his own house caught fire. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says Dustin Bordelon was likely asleep when the fire started, but it appears something was left on the stove and that caused the blaze. Bordelon died at a nearby hospital. Browning says its a tragic time for the Bordelon family and for all the firefighters, who've lost a comrade. Browning says it appears there were no working smoke detectors in Bordelon's home.
Gas prices have jumped 14-cents in the past week, according to gasbuddy.com. They have the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline at around $3.15. Gasbuddy's senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan says several refineries along the gulf coast had unexpected maintenance issues and that's led to a higher price at the pump. But DeHaan says this sudden jump in gas prices shouldn't last long. Prices should begin to drop next week.
Louisiana is seeing the beginnings of a construction boom that may last through 2016 and beyond. Figures from the Associated General Contractors of America shows Louisiana had an 8.3% increase in construction jobs over the past 12 months; the 3rd-highest in the nation. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says the boom is just beginning. He says low natural gas costs are driving a boom in expansion of chemical plants - mostly across the southern parishes and river
regions that should last into 2017 or 2018.
Related news: Sasol officials announced Monday that Technip, of Paris France, has been awarded the front-end engineering design contract for the company's gas-to-liquids complex near Lake Charles. Once complete, Sasol's GTL complex is expected to produce more than 96,000 barrels of diesel fuels and chemicals each day.
The state Bond Commission has approved a funding plan to build the final segments of I-49 North, and begin work on upgrading US 90 into a new I-49 South. State Treasurer John Kennedy says the plan is to sell up to $100-million in bonds, by using money in the state's unclaimed property fund. Kennedy says the unclaimed property dollars will be used as collateral for the bond sales, which will begin almost immediately. He says the plan calls for $80-million to be invested in completing I-49 North, and $20-million as an initial investment in I-49 South, between Lafayette and New Orleans
The Louisiana Department of Revenue says the tax amnesty period that ended on Friday reached the goal of collecting 200-million dollars in unpaid taxes. Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield says they are still processing all of the paperwork from those taxpayers, so a final number is not known.
A report from the Legislative Auditor's office suggests the state has done a poor job of overseeing the Women Infants & Children food benefits program. The report says the Office of Public Health, who administers WIC, didn't verify grocery prices charged through the program, overpaid for food, didn't follow regulations governing the program and more. WIC costs taxpayers $126-million a year.
Police in New Orleans seek a hit & run driver that knocked a woman and a toddler off the I-10 High Rise Bridge over the Industrial Canal. 29-year-old Danielle Rhone and her 2-year-old nephew were passengers in a sedan that broke down on the bridge Sunday. A chain reaction crash hit them, tossing them over the bridge railing. Police seek a white Chevy Suburban with damage on the passenger side and a Ford pickup truck, both of which fled the scene.
A Legislative Auditor's report shows the state hasn't sought to collect thousands of unpaid tolls for crossing the Highway 1 bridge on the way to Grand Isle. An audit released today said nearly
300,000 images taken of license plates for people who apparently didn't pay the toll on La. Highway 1 in Leeville remained unbilled when the last fiscal year ended, June 30.
Louisiana Lottery officials say one ticket, sold in Kenner, in Jefferson Parish, won the $475-thousand jackpot in Saturday's Louisiana Lotto drawing. The Lotto jackpot will reset to a
quarter-million bucks for Wednesday night's drawing. There was no Powerball winner Saturday night. That jackpot will be $60-million for Wednesday.
Another argument against riding in pickup truck beds. An 18-year-old man was killed over the weekend, when he was tossed from a moving pickup, as it turned from a side road onto U.S. 61 near Gonzales, in Ascension Parish. State Police say Eric Martin was thrown out into oncoming traffic and hit by another pickup truck. They say the driver was unable to avoid him.
News for Monday 112513
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports 24 year old Dustin Bordelon died in an early Sunday morning fire at an Airbase Road home. Bordelon was taken to Rapides Regional Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
A recent poll on the 2015 governor's race in Louisiana shows GOP U.S. Senator David Vitter is the favorite. Southern Media and Opinion Research surveyed 600 voters; running a five candidate trial heat. Vitter took a leading 30%. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Vitter's edge is due to his popularity with Republican voters.Vitter has not announced a run for governor two years from now, but speculation to that effect is abundant. The only announced Democrat for that race, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, took only 8% in Pinsonat's poll.
State Police will have extra manpower on the roads this week in an effort to reduce injury and fatal crashes. It's also part of the Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign, which begins today. Sgt. Nick
Manale says troopers will focus on seat belt use and Louisiana law requires all occupants in a vehicle must be buckled up.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says Louisiana's new Office of Debt Recovery will begin going after unpaid ethics violation fines, totally nearly $2-million. He says some of these have gone unpaid for years. Kennedy says unpaid fines from individual public officials total over $1.6-million, PACS owe $70-thousand and lobbyists owe $18-thousand. He says the state's new Office of Debt Recovery, which is under the Department of Revenue was created for just this sort of purpose. The ODR will be up and running after the first of the New Year. It'll have sweeping powers to go after unpaid debts to the state, by seizing bank assets, some personal properties and even suspending licenses until the amounts are paid.
A federal judge in New Orleans has given state and federal lawyers two months to come up with modifications to a longstanding court order to make sure that the state's private school voucher program doesn't lead to segregation of schools. The state contends that the vouchers have no effect on desegregation and no federal interference is needed.
An appeals court in Monroe has upheld the 110 year sentence of a local man for a 2010 domestic violence case. The court stated that even though the sentence given Allen Robinson was extreme it was warranted given the gruesome nature of his crime. Robinson was found guilty of kidnapping and battery for deliberately burning his girlfriend with a clothes iron multiple times. Because he was ruled to be an habitual offender, Robinson was given the maximum sentence possible.
Police in Bastrop arrest a local woman for robbing a branch of Richland State Bank in Bastrop Wednesday. 45-year-old Katrina Gamble allegedly indicated she had a gun, demanded cash and made off with an undisclosed amount. Officers say she tried to disguise herself as a man. She's being held pending $75-thousand bond.
A bit of Louisiana history was lost lastweek. An early morning fire Friday gutted the historic LeBeau Plantation in St. Bernard Parish. The landmark in Old Arabi was built in the 1850's and was one of the largest in the New Orleans area. The building was vacant with no electrical service at the time, so arson is not being ruled out. An investigation is underway.
A judge in Lafourche Parish has ruled the man accused of dismembering his disabled son more than two years ago IS competent to stand trial. The ruling clears the way for Jeremiah Wright to be tried for the murder of little Jori Lirette in 2011. Wright was arraigned Friday morning and has reportedly pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His next status hearing is scheduled for late
January. No trial date has been set.
State Troopers report a Winnsboro man was killed Friday in a crash on I-20 in Richland Parish. LSP says 58-year-old Lorenzo Navarro's pickup was westbound on 20, when it crossed the grassy median and crashed headlong into a big rig. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was not seriously hurt.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation is working with Texas officials to replace the Sabine River Bridge on U.S. 84, in DoSoto Parish. Construction is set to begin in January, and it will cost $20 million. The bridge currently has two lanes but the construction will create two separate bridges. Construction will take over two years to complete.
Police in Kenner arrest a 19-year-old for robbing his neighbor at gunpoint. The victim says his assailant wore a mask and pointed a shotgun at him; making off with his cellphone and wallet. Trouble is he watched the robber run into a house just yards away. Police found the mask in the house, the gun in the back yard. Johnny Washington was taken into custody a short time later ad charged with armed robbery.
Expect to spend a bit more again this year to prepare the traditional Thanksgiving feast. A recent survey by the LSU AgCenter shows the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will average $48.50 this year; up from $44.35 last year. Economist Jeanette Tucker says the "star of the show" is the biggest reason for the increased cost. Tucker says turkey production is down this year, and birds cost about
23-cents a pound more than in 2012.
LSU is coming off its best effort of the season, as they head into the regular season finale. The Bayou Bengals thumped Te
News for Friday 112213
By Dave Graichen
State Superintendent of Education John White recommends a delay in how students, teachers and schools will be judged under the Common Core standards. White says with the state shifting from LEAP to a new state-administered test called PARCC and a move to improve technology in classrooms, they've decided to give schools two years of additional learning time. White's proposal will be considered by the Board of Elementary and Secretary next month. There's been increasing criticism over the state's use of Common Core and how it will impact a student's ability to learn.
A state teachers union is pleased with Education Superintendent John White's decision to delay full implementation of controversial "Common Core" education standards. Louisiana Association of Educators President Deborah Meaux (MO) says they were concerned about the fast pace with which the new system was being rolled into place.
Yesterday in Washington D.C., US Representative Vance McAllister was sworn into office. The Republican from Ouachita Parish is enjoying his first trip to our nation's capitol as Louisiana's newest congressman representing the 5th district. McAllister says one of his first orders of business will be to come home and answer concerns of constituents who have been without a congressman for nearly two months.
A new statewide poll shows Senator Mary Landrieu's job approval rating has fallen 10-percentage points this year. Southern Media and Opinion Research pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the falling approval numbers are likely tied to the roll out of Obamacare. Forty-six-percent of the respondents to the Pinsonat poll say Landrieu is doing a good job, that's down from 56-percent from a similar survey
conducted in the spring. The poll conducted a three-way trial heat between Landrieu and GOP challengers Congressman Bill Cassidy and Rob Manness. Landrieu received 44-percent of the vote, Cassidy 34-percent and Maness 10-percent. The rest were undecided.
A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research shows Governor Bobby Jindal's approval ratings are up slightly from a similar survey last spring. The governor's ratings moved up from 38 percent to 42 percent in this newest survey.
Officials in DeSoto and Sabine parishes announce 31 arrests have been made in a sweep up of suspected drug dealers. They say these suspects had been identified as alleged street and mid-level drug dealers through a 6 month undercover operation.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office says a West Monroe man is under arrest after he allegedly destroyed family property with a bulldozer while he was drunk and high on meth. They say 31 year old Noah White drove a bulldozer over an abandoned family home's driveway, fence and porch. He blew a .034 and admitted to using a quarter gram of meth according to the arrest report. He faces numerous charges.
A 71 year old Lake Charles man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole after pleading guilty in August to indecent behavior with a juvenile. Prosecutors say David Tarver had been molesting a girl since she was 11 years old.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office has identified the suspect who allegedly opened fire on officers serving warrants Wednesday morning then shot and killed himself. They say 22 year old Jessie Gordon of Denham Springs was wanted on numerous outstanding warrants relating to drugs and burglary from several different agencies. The officers involved in the shootout received only minor injuries. The suspect was pronounced dead on the scene from a self-inflicted
The State Department of Health & Hospitals says it has completed a huge backlog of health inspections of retail food outlets across the state, and has taken steps to assure no new backlog emerges. DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert says an overhaul of their food inspection system has yielded a 60% increase in timely health inspections.
Today a grand jury decided not indict a man from Acadia Parish who is accused of defacing the 9-11 monument in downtown Lafayette. They decided there was no evidence that indicated a crime had been committed by 35 year-old Salvador Perez of Rayne. That may change, however if more evidence is presented.
An outdoor fall festival at a north Baton Rouge charter school spun out of control Thursday morning after a large fight broke out, prompting worried parents to rush to the school to collect their children.
The Career Academy high school locked down after 15 to 20 students began fighting, a fracas involving boys and girls that the school’s principal described as “a lot of hair pulling and punching.” Authorities say no one was seriously injured.
LSU is trying to bring back certain songs played by the band during football games that had been previously shelved because some fans were signing inappropriate lyrics. LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva says the "Tradition Matters" campaign is about the return of songs like "Neck" and "Tiger Rag". Alleva says they want the band to be able to play all of their songs and they need a commitment from the students to refrain from using profanity.
Louisiana Tech has two games left on its regular season schedule and they have to win both of them in order to play in a bowl game. The Bulldogs host Tulsa tomorrow night and Coach Skip Holtz would like to have the opportunity to be a part of post-season play. The Bulldogs are 4-and-6 overall, while Tulsa is two and eight.
In the 16 times the Sean Payton-era Saints have met the Atlanta Falcons, the games have almost always been close, and New Orleans almost always has won. Nothing changed when the teams met at the Georgia Dome on Thursday night and the Saints beat Atlanta 17-13. Because of that, the Saints (9-2) have positioned themselves about as well as they could hope as they prepare to travel to Seattle on Dec. 2 and fight for postseason home-field advantage against the Seahawks (10-1), the NFC front-runner.
News for Thursday 112113
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana's newest Congressman, Republican Vance McAllister, is in Washington D.C. this week for his first time ever and will be sworn in today. The political newcomer was voted to represent the 5th
Congressional District in The Bayou State. McAllister says his first trip to our Nation’s Capital has been humbling. McAllister says as soon as he's sworn in he's going to be briefed on the bills of the day and immediately start voting. The Monroe businessman thanks voters from the bottom of his heart and says he plans to be a strong voice for the 5th congressional district in Washington.
Alexandria television stations KALB and NALB will have new owners in a few months. That announcement was made official yesterday. The NBC and ABC stations were owned by Hoak Media. They will soon be under the ownership of Gray Television. KALB’s sister station in Monroe KNOE, was also part of the deal.
Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington says burnt human remains found in Webster Parish are those of 46-year-old Annie Bond, who was reported missing last Thursday. Her estranged husband, 53-year-old Robbie Bond, has been charged in her murder. Whittington says a forensic expert at LSU was able to make the positive identification. Robbie Bond was found Friday in Gautier, Mississippi and he is in the hospital recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Baton Rouge continues to receive low marks for its lack of gay-friendly policies when compared with other major cities across the country. In the Human Rights Campaign’s second annual Municipal Equality Index, the city received seven points out of 100, getting dinged for its lack of discrimination protections and services targeted toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. New Orleans received 91 points on the index, and Shreveport scored 16.
Rapides Regional Medical Center expects to have two clinics operating within a few weeks as part of the effort to replace services currently provided by Huey P. Long Medical Center. One clinic will be located at 105 North Third St. in Alexandria and will be open by Dec. 2. The other will be on the current Huey P. Long campus off Main Street in Pineville and will be open by the second week of January. As part of the agreement, Cabrini will operate one clinic. Emergency department and inpatient services will be shared by the hospitals.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says a Monterrey man has turned himself in and confessed to killing a Black Bear in Concordia Parish. Twenty-three year-old Duell Moreland was booked for his alleged role in the killing of the bear. If found guilty, he faces up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.
State officials are looking for someone to take 19-million pounds of explosive materials off their hands. The explosives are currently housed at a Louisiana National Guard base in Webster Parish. The military propellant was once owned by Explo Systems, but they've gone bankrupt. Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson says the EPA is involved in trying to move this material out of Camp Minden. The explosives caused a blast to occur in October of Last year and that led to the evacuation of residents from the nearby town of Doyline.
The American Automobile Association anticipates gas prices will keep going up ahead of the Thanksgiving travel week, but should go down again in December. The statewide average for a gallon of regular jumped two cents last night to $3.03.
Police say a 32 year old Opelousas man is behind bars for allegedly raping a 4 year old girl. Investigators believe Johnathon Meche assaulted the child several times over an undisclosed period of time. The suspect is charged with aggravated rape and bond has not been set.
Louisiana will receive $238 million as a result of settlements reached in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that overcharged the state’s Medicaid program. The final settlements reached earlier this week ended three years of litigation against more than 100 companies and their subsidiaries that fraudulently raised drug prices paid by the state through the government health insurance program for the poor.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announces the St. Bernard Parish water system has reached the necessary level of chlorine in the drinking water to fight off a rare brain-eating amoeba that killed a 4 year old boy in August. It was also found in the DeSoto Parish Water System. Safe drinking water administrator Jake Cause says they are working with water systems throughout the state to make sure everyone is in compliance.
A 41 year old man from Vernon Parish has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for possession of child pornography. Francis Buckner of New Llano pleaded guilty in July to possessing 36 videos and 144 images of child pornography obtained through a porn-sharing
The 8-and-2 Saints visit the 2-and-8 Atlanta Falcons tonight on Thursday night football. These two teams met in the season opener and New Orleans won 23-17 as the Black and Gold kept Atlanta out of the end zone in the final few seconds of the game.
News for Wednesday 112013
By Dave Graichen
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's office says they feel the charred remains found in Webster Parish Monday afternoon are that of the missing Bossier City Woman, Annie Bond. Her husband Robert Bond is charged with her murder. Lt. Bill Davis says the badly charged remains were found in a wooded area north of Minden. Davis says the official search for Annie Bond's won't be called off
until they have positive identification.
Despite some reports early Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department was dropping its challenge of Louisiana's school voucher program, a federal judge says the case is still on and arguments begin this week. Education Superintendent John White says federal officials are making numerous unreasonable data requests of the state Department of Education, about the racial makeup of each individual student in every school, regardless of whether that parish is under a federal desegregation order or not. White says, as of today, neither side has petitioned the court to dismiss or leave the case.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office says the body that was found in a Bayou near Tiger Bend on Saturday has been identified as a woman from Livingston Parish. The EBR coroner's report issued today says the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The woman has been identified as 21 year old Lindsay Ellixson. The investigation into her death is ongoing.
Ah, the time have changed, The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office says a man who'd been working off shore for a few days, came home and allegedly found his estranged wife with another man.. cooking meth. They say 32-year-old Kelly Williams was there with 43 year old Stephen Hamilton who was found in the shower.
Former St. Landry Parish School Board member John Miller was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months of home confinement and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine for soliciting a bribe from a candidate for school superintendent. Miller and fellow board member Quincy Richard Sr. were indicted last year in an investigation launched when superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere went to federal authorities.
Miller pleaded guilty. Richard was convicted at trial in August.
A police officer in Welsh is currently under investigation for shooting a suspect who allegedly pulled out a handgun during a traffic stop. According to police Chief Marcus Crochet the shooting
took place late yesterday. The victim is reportedly recovering in the hospital. His name has yet to be released. The investigation continues.
A Lafayette City Court Judge is proposing changes to the state's DWI laws. Judge Douglas Saloom says it's time to catch up to new causes for impairment including marijuana and other drugs. Those are issues that could end up next year before the Louisiana Legislature.
A teacher and a secretary Fenton Elementary School in Jennings are being investigated because of allegations on inappropriate behavior involving two employees and several older students at a home over the summer. The investigation has Been turned over to the Jefferson Davis Parish District Attorney's Office. The two employees, who remain unidentified were placed on administrative leave.
Edmund Reggie, a former judge from Crowley who also served as executive counsel to former Governor Edwin Edwards, died this morning at his home in Lafayette. Reggie was also a close friend to the Kennedy family and co-chaired John F Kennedy's presidential campaign efforts in Louisiana in 1960. He was 87.
News for Tuesday 111913
By Dave Graichen
Now this is a win win.. PaperWorks Industries announced yesterday the company will relocate its carton-finishing operations from New York to Alexandria, creating 43 new direct jobs. PaperWorks will lease 116,000 square feet of manufacturing space at the McKesson Building on South MacArthur Drive and will provide paperboard carton components to Procter & Gamble, for the company's dry laundry powder division. The company’s $1.6 million renovation of the South Mac Arthur Drive facility should be completed in February of next year.
After being elected as Louisiana's new 5th District Congressman, Vance McAllister says he'll go to Washington DC this week for the first time in his life. McAllister says he has never been to the
nation's Capital, even as a tourist. Sunday, McAllister, who is in the process of pulling his Congressional staff together, hired Adam Terry, a Harrisonburg native and Louisiana Tech University graduate, as his chief of staff. Terry had held the same job with Rodney Alexander
State Police say a man from Pollock was killed in a single vehicle crash early Monday morning. They say 21 year old David Langley lost control of his pickup around 1:20 am on La Hwy 8 in Rapides Parish, left the roadway and crashed into a tree. Landley wasn't buckled up and was pronounced dead at the scene. A 20-year-old female passenger survived the crash which remains under investigation.
The Winnsboro woman who set herself on fire in October 2012 then claimed who have been attacked by three men in white hoodies, pleaded guilty to one count of false swearing and one of terrorizing. Sharmeka Moffitt will serve four years of supervised probation and pay a $1,000 fine.
The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's office says a man died after he fell 60 feet from a tree he was cutting when a safety rope snapped Sunday morning. They say 51 year old Anthony Wilson of Coushatta was cutting limbs on the tree with his brother when the accident occurred. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Visitation will be held this evening in Baton Rouge for former LSU AD Joe Dean, one of the most influential people in Tiger Athletics history. Dean died in Baton Rouge Sunday morning at the age of 83.
The Internal Revenue Service warns us of con artists posing as groups collecting for Philippine disaster relief. IRS spokeswoman Dee Harris Stepter says it's best to make disaster relief donations through well-known charities like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, but even with them, be
careful of scammers who say they are with these organizations.
Yesterday was apparently a national day of protest against Common Core school performance standards, but in Baton Rouge it was more of a fizzle than a bang. Only two local mothers showed up at the Department of Education to speak against Common Core. In Pineville, the turnout was a bit better with about 50 people showing up to protest.
The search continues for a Bossier City woman whom investigators believe was killed by her husband last week. Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Bill Davis says since the suspect was found in southern Mississippi, they have a lot of territory to cover in the search for Annie Bond. Davis says Robert Bond is recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is charged with second degree murder.
After a very welcome dip in prices, retail gasoline is beginning to rise again in Louisiana. Last week, we had some of the lowest gasoline prices in the nation, with some outlets selling for as little as $2.59. Louisiana AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says the statewide average price is now starting to go back up. The statewide average price of regular gas today is $3.01, up from $2.99 last week.
Washington Parish Sheriff's deputies say they had to shoot a Mount Hermon man, who they say was upset over Obamacare. Fifty-six year-old Johnnie Ryals fired a gun in his home, forcing his girlfriend to flee. Later, he was shot in the left ear by a sheriff's office sniper after he remained combative. Chief Deputy Mike Haley believes all of Ryal's anger started with the Affordable Care Act. Ryals was released from the hospital and faces numerous charges
including three counts of attempted murder.
A Sabine Parish man who fired at officers Saturday remains in critical condition after being shot several times by law enforcement in Sabine Parish. Louisiana State Trooper Scott Moreau says they responded to a complaint of a trespasser on private property who was threatening home owners with a shotgun. Moreau says 27 year old Michael Malmay of Noble was threatening to shoot himself and then he turned the shotgun in the direction of the officers.
A Baton Rouge man was arrested Monday in the recent death of his 6-month-old son, accused of a pattern of neglect that included placing the baby in scalding bath water that left him with second- and third-degree burns to more than 80 percent of his body. Curtis King, 23, 11888 Longridge Ave., was booked on counts of second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the Nov. 6 death of Aiden King
News for Monday 111813
By Dave Graichen
Republican Political newcomer Vance McCallister is Louisiana's new Congressman. McCallister soundly defeated state senator Neil Riser in the 5th district congressional run-off. McCallister received 60-percent of the vote. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Campaign ads ran in the final days of the race that featured Duck Dynasty television star Willie Robertson, who was a big supporter of McCallister, helped push him over the top. Plus, voters also didn't like how it appeared the race was manipulated so that Riser would replace Rodney Alexander, who retired from Congress in August. McCallister is a businessman, who owns oil, gas and pipeline businesses, as well as Subway franchises in the Monroe area.
Former LSU athletic director and basketball player Joe Dean died early sunday morning at his home in Baton Rouge. Dean’s cause of death, according to Dean’s son Joe Dean Jr. was heart-related. Dean had an unrelated surgery last week in Baton Rouge. He returned to his home Saturday. A homecare aid found him unresponsive Sunday morning. Joe Dean Sr. led LSU athletics from 1987-2000, overseeing the baseball team’s five national championships and hiring former football coach Nick Saban. A two-time All-Southeastern Conference guard at LSU in 1950-51, Dean was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame last year. Joe Dean Sr. was 83.
Saturday afternoon a 27 year old Sabine parish man was shot after he aimed a loaded shotgun at sheriff’s deputies and state police. Authorities were called to a home in Noble after a call to 911 reported a man threatening residents. When deputies arrived at the home off of highway 482, they observed Michael Malmay brandishing a shotgun and threatening to shoot himself. He then pointed the gun at the deputies and was shot. Malmay was transported to the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport where he remains in critical condition
State police report a single vehicle accident claimed the life a 20 year old Goldonna woman early Saturday morning. Troopers sat McKenna Sanders lost control of her vehicle, left the roadway and struck a tree and utility poll. Sanders was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash remains under investigation.
It's been another record breaking year for Louisiana's movie making industry. It is expected that this year will surpass last year's economic impact. Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment Chris
Stelly says 2013 is the biggest year on record for the entertainment industry. Stelly says many big time celebrities are filming in Louisiana. Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cube are here for 22 Jump Street. Eva Longoria , Jessica Lange, and Will Smith are filming here. At least 15 movies
and TV shows are being filmed in the state.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says President Obama's "fix" for the Affordable Care Act will quite likely not work as intended. The President announced administrative action to allow those who've had policies cancelled to keep them another year. But, Donelon says this last minute maneuver threatens the overall pool of insurance risk. Already, some insurance companies have said that policies cancelled cannot so easily be reinstated, especially for the brief one-year period Obama is calling for. Donelon says insurance works best when there is a larger pool of shared risk, and insurers will not be able to sell policies of the types cancelled to any new customers.
This is the last week for Louisiana taxpayers to take advantage of the statewide amnesty program known as "A Fresh Start." The state legislature instituted the two month long amnesty program which
eliminates penalties on back owed taxes and cuts interest charges in half. LDR Executive Council Jason Decuir says it's been going well. Decuir says there is still a lot of paperwork to be done which he expects will go down to the final days of the amnesty program, but they feel they will get close to or reach the legislature's goal of collecting $200 million dollars. Lawmakers were counting on the money collected during amnesty to balance the state's operating budget. Both individuals and businesses who owe state taxes are eligible for amnesty.
News for Friday 111513
By Dave Graichen
Tomorrow is the runoff election for Louisiana's 5th congressional district seat. Two republicans, Columbia state Senator Neil Riser and Monroe businessman Vance McAllister are vying for the job. Both men want to serve out the remainder of former congressman Rodney Alexander's term, and have an edge in winning a full term in 2014. Most political insiders say the race is too close to call. The polls open at 7 Saturday morning and close at 8pm
The Tuition Taskforce would like to see the standards raised on qualifying for the TOPS scholarship. Currently, a high school student has to achieve at least a 2.5 GPA and score a 20 on the ACT. But task force member Phillip Rozeman says they would like to see the G-P-A requirement raised to 3.0 and at least a 23 on the ACT. Rozeman is confident students would meet the higher standards. Rozeman says they are pushing for a change to the TOPS scholarship because the program is getting too expensive for the state to keep funding.
As millions of Americans face losing their current health insurance, President Obama acts to delay those cancellations for one year. The policies would be cancelled because they do not fully comply with the Affordable Care Act. Senator Mary Landrieu has a bill pending that would assure those who already have and like their health insurance can keep it, as promised by the President. She says a promise is a promise, and she'll press forward with her legislation.
A seven-month-old and a 25-year-old man were shot to death Wednesday night as they were riding in a vehicle on the Crescent City Connection Bridge in New Orleans. Police are looking for the gunman who opened fire on the vehicle just past the toll plaza area on the West Bank entrance of the bridge.
What a difference a day makes in Louisiana weather. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the winds have shifted from being north-easterly on Thursday, to south-easterly today. He says that means the air coming in now is from the Gulf of Mexico and not from Canada. Keim says high temperatures today are between 15 and 20 degrees warmer than they were yesterday. He says these warm temperatures are going to hang around all through the weekend. As a matter of fact, by Sunday we could see temps in the low 80’s.
A woman from Lake Charles was found guilty Wednesday of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the abuse of her step-son. 31-year-old Jaime Brooks Day is accused of beating and not feeding the 9 year old boy who reportedly weighed just 38 pounds when he was removed from the home in 2010. Day is going to be sentenced December 10th. She faces up to 40 years in prison.
Grambling State University is appealing the $50-thousand fine levied by the Southwestern Athletic Conference for forfeiting the Jackson state game last month. School officials say it's not Grambling's fault the game was missed, it was because the team refused to play. Grambling will also have to play their next three Jackson State games IN Jackson, which also penalizes the university with additional travel costs.
The financial picture for Louisiana's state-run property insurer of last resort is improving, helped by the state's quiet hurricane season. Louisiana Citizens Insurance is doing better says company
officials, but is still $15-million in the red. The forecast shows the imbalance should shrink by the end of the year and the company's balance sheet could be positive by mid-2014.
The Catahoula Parish Sheriff's office has charged a 19-year-old woman from Jonesville with second-degree murder as detectives believe she fatally shot her 21-year-old sister, Tessa Poole. Sheriff James Kelly says deputies are still investigating.
The Monroe Police Department is investigating a pharmacy break-in where a semi-tractor-rig was used to knock a hole in the wall. It is unclear at this time how many suspects are involved or if any medication was taken. The investigation is ongoing.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office says a man who was driving around a parking lot in Bayou Vista naked faces several charges. They say 31-year-old Nathel Lewis failed to pulled over after a deputy was responding to a complaint of a naked man circling a parking lot. The man was eventually stopped and marijuana and drug paraphernalia was found in the vehicle.
News for Thursday 111413
By Dave Graichen
Federal data shows few Louisianans signed for Obamacare via the federal health insurance marketplace last month; only about 387. Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana says over 4000 bought federally complaint health plans directly from them in October.
36 year old James Johnson Jr of Alexandria has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Jacqueline Bazert. Although there were no eyewitnesses, prosecutors relied on DNA evidence to convict Johnson. Bazert’s blood was found on Johnson’s shoes, and Johnson’s DNA was found underneath her fingernails. The coroner’s report indicated Bazert had been stabbed 139 times.
A state appeals court on Wednesday overturned the sexual battery conviction of a former Rapides Regional Medical Center nurse accused of performing oral sex on a sedated male patient. A three-judge panel from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that Phillip Wayne Raines did not receive a fair trial when he was convicted in April 2012 because of statements witnesses made during the trial. Statements, that according to the three judge panel, should have led to a mistrial. Raines was sentenced to 30 months at hard labor on June 1, 2012.
The State Department of Children and Family Services is out with Louisiana's 18 "Most Wanted" non-custodial parents who owe almost $866,000 in past due child support. DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier says these parents have repeatedly evaded efforts to collect child support that is critical to their children. Sonnier says all of the parents on the Most Wanted 18 poster owe at least $20,000. The largest sum owed is over $128,000 by Richard Miller who was last known to live in Lake Ozark, Missouri. She says you can view the entire poster online at dcfs.la.gov
State Farm has released findings from its annual distracted driving survey which shows mature adults are catching up to younger drivers in terms of being on the phone when behind the wheel. Regional State Farm spokesman Gary Stephenson says the sharp increase in the number of people using their smartphone while driving is troubling.
A south Louisiana man, who was kidnapped by pirates, while serving as captain on a offshore supple ship, is back home. The man, who is being identified as "Tom" was taken captive on October 30th off the Nigerian coast. Tom and another crew member from Florida were not injured in the
ordeal. It’s reported the two were released after company officials complied with a ransom demand.
State Health officials are making a major push to get Louisiana residents vaccinated against the flu. State Health officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says There are plenty of shots to go around and they are very affordable and at many state health centers they are free.
The state's tax amnesty program is entering its final week. Those in arrears on state taxes can settle up, and pay no penalties and only half the accrued interest...but they must apply for the amnesty by November 22nd.
The Union Parish Sheriff's office says a 22 year old man from Marion was booked into the Detention Center on illegal use of weapons charges after he allegedly shot up his father's house when he thought he was seeing ghosts. They say witnesses reported Kenji Wheeler said ghosts were coming through the walls and trying to kill him. His bond was set at $25,000.
A school bus driver has been charged with cruelty to a juvenile for allegedly grabbing a young student by the neck and pinning him down. East Baton Rouge Parish Spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says they received a complaint from the mother saying her child had been attacked by 58 year old Sandra Henderson. Hicks says Henderson was arrested and booked into parish prison
after detectives reviewed the surveillance video from the bus. That student was only seven years old.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been named as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Brees threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns in the victory over the Cowboys. It's the 16th time Brees has won this award since he joined the Saints in 2006.
Grambling State was notified Wednesday that they will be fined by the SWAC for forfeiting its football game against Jackson State on October 16th. The amount of the fine was not made public.
News for Tuesday 111213
By Dave Graichen
State Police report an Alexandria teen died in a single vehicle crash on state Highway 496 early Monday morning. Troopers say 16-year-old Chase Michiels went off the road and rolled his pickup several times. He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A male passenger in the truck suffered moderate injuries.
The Associated Press has crunched numbers, based on announcements of Governor Bobby Jindal's schedule, and determined the Governor has spent more than two months outside of Louisiana so far this year and we still have a month and a half to go in the year. The report stated that many of the trips had to do with his leadership of the Republican Governors Association.
Hundreds of state rank-and-file employees got extra pay last fiscal year even though the general government workforce went through another year of no pay increases. The extra money came from state Civil Service programs that allow state agencies to develop policies to pay more for retaining employees, for employees assuming additional job duties as well as for attaining advanced degrees and training related to their jobs. In all, 1,400 classified employees received about $1.7 million through the flexible pay options during the fiscal year ending June 30, according to a new Civil Service report.
The LSU Tigers will open the 2013-14 season and make their first appearance on the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon this morning at 10 a.m. against Massachusetts. The Tigers are coming off an 80-45 win over Xavier of New Orleans in an exhibition last week at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. You can hear the game starting with the pre-game at 9:30 on ESPN 1410 here in Alexandria.
Police in Monroe say a 10 year-old is under arrest for allegedly bringing a knife to school and threatening a teacher. A butcher knife was reportedly found in the girls book-sack at Cypress Point Elementary School and she now faces assault charges and possession of a weapon on a school campus.
Monday, as you know, was Veteran's Day, and there's good news for some of those veterans deployed overseas. Colonel Mike Kazmeirzak of the Louisiana National Guard says about 400 soldiers who are currently in Agfhanistan and Kuwait will be able to come home for the holidays. The bad news, Kazmeirzak says that about 300 National Guard troops have been
alerted they may be deployed next year.
From The Governor's Wife to re-runs of Duck Dynasty. A & E did not run the regularly scheduled episode of "The Governor's Wife" Sunday night they ran "Duck Dynasty" instead. The star of the show, Trina Edwards says they have not cancelled the show, but cannot give any further details. Insiders at the network say, ya it has been cancelled. Ratings show there was a big drop-off between the show's first and second episodes.
The statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is below three-dollars for the first time since February of 2011. Gasbuddy.com has the average price around $2.95 and their Senior Petroleum Analyst, Patrick DeHaan, says the price at the pump should continue to fall.. DeHaan says gas prices have fallen about 20-cents since mid-October and they should keep dropping as we move closer to the holidays.
Jury selection begins today in Lafayette, in the murder trial of 19- year-old Seth Fontenot, who's accused of shooting and killing one person and wounding two others. Legal analyst Tim Meche says Fontenot faces one count of 1st-degree murder in the death of 15-year- old Austin Rivault last February. Meche says the defense will argue Fontenot fired on Rivault and two others, because he thought they were trying to break into his vehicle. He says that may be tough to prove, because when the shots were fired they were inside their own pickup. Fontenot's lawyer tried to suppress a confession made during a police interrogation, but was refused.
A new study shows fewer Louisiana teens are driving cars and paying for car insurance. The data, from the Highway Loss Data Institute shows a 12-percent decline in teens listed on auto collision policies since 2006. Spokesman Russ Rader says the reason is largely connected to the lagging economy. Rader says it's a simple case of "no jobs, no cars".
News for Monday 111113
By Dave Graichen
Today is Veterans Day, a day to show our appreciation for the men and women who've selflessly served in the American military in times of war and peace. David LaCerte is Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He says there were numerous events held over the weekend, and even more scheduled to take place today. A complete list of Veterans Day ceremonies can be found online at cenlabroadcasting.com
President Obama and Governor Jindal continue to spar over the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare by many. While in New Orleans Friday, the President called out the Governor for refusing millions in federal money to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor. On Fox News, Mr. Jindal reacted, saying no one will "bully" Louisiana into expanding Medicaid. Jindal has maintained there too many federal strings attached to the Medicaid money. He says the Affordable Care Act is loaded with problems and has been falsely represented. The Governor went as far as to say the President should "man up" and admit Obamacare was a mistake.
Thankfully the woman who was abducted by her child's father in Lafayette Wednesday is alive. Lafayette Parish Sheriff's office spokesman Captain Kip Judice says the man, Scott Thomas, is dead. He says the family of Bethany Arceneaux found the two in an abandoned home in Duson Friday and Thomas was stabbing the mother of his child with a knife. Judice says no charges have been filed against the family member who shot and killed Thomas, and says Louisiana law states homicide can be justified if you are protecting yourself or another person.
Gas prices have slipped once again and the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $3.01 according to the American Automobile Association. AAA Fuel analyst Don Redman says it's very possible the price will get below $2.90 before the end of the year.
President Barack Obama spoke Friday afternoon at the Port of New Orleans and remarked on ways the economy could be improved. Mr Obama says the reason he decided to speak at the port in The Big Easy is because he'd like to see the it updated and grow in order to increase exports. He said one of the things he'd like America to be more focused on is helping more businesses sell more products to the rest of the world. The President said we now export more goods and services than ever before and it's vital to the economy to keep that industry growing.
In light of a report last week that showed Louisiana public school students ranking low in math & reading skills, BESE president Chas Roemer says the test results indicate Louisiana needs more rigorous standards. The NAEP exams shows Louisiana public school kids at 48th and 50th place
for math and reading achievement. Roemer says this indicates that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education was correct in adopting Common Core standards; which require students to do better. Roemer says, if we want future generations of Louisianans to be able to compete with other states and other countries, we must continue to set higher standards.
There are two contestants from Louisiana that have advanced on NBC's The Voice. Both Cole Vosbury of Shreveport and Ray Bodreaux of Carencro will perform starting tonight as part of the Final Top 12. Both Vosbury and Bodreaux are being coached by Team Blake Shelton. The voice airs weekly on Monday night's at 7 and Tuesday night's at 8 on TV5.
The 13th ranked LSU Tigers were no match for top ranked Alabama on Saturday night and the Crimson Tide scored the final 21 points to beat the Bayou Bengals 38-17. The loss drops LSU's record to 7-and-3 overall, 3-and-3 in the SEC. Alabama now owns three straight wins over the Tigers.
News for Friday 110813
By Dave Graichen
An early morning crash yesterday involving an 18-wheeler and a motorcycle has claimed the life of a Pineville man. Forty-one year-old Kevin Herron was killed when his motorcycle was struck on Louisiana Highway 107 by the truck driven by 58 year-old Elton McNeal of Effie. McNeal was charged with failure to yield. The crash remains under investigation.
The Lafayette Police Department is looking for a man they believe kidnapped the mother of his child at a daycare center yesterday afternoon. Witnesses reported seeing 29-year-old Scott Thomas shove the victim into his car then drive off leaving a 2 year old behind. Thomas' car was found Wednesday night but the whereabouts of the suspect and victim remain unknown at this time.
Public school students in Louisiana again Thursday finished near the bottom nationally in reading and math in the latest update of the nation’s report card. The exam is called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. The exam is considered one of the most reliable indicators of student achievement and state-to-state comparisons. The latest results for fourth- and eighth-graders show that Louisiana students were: Tied for 50th in fourth-grade math. 48th in fourth-grade reading.
Tied for 48th in eighth-grade math. Tied for 48th in eighth-grade reading. The results carry extra significance amid arguments about the state’s drive to add rigor to public school courses, which is called Common Core. Backers contend that increasing standards in math, reading and writing will improve student achievement.
Early voting for the November 16th elections comes to a close tomorrow evening, and voter turnout so far has been light. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says about 3300 people have cast early ballots each day of the early voting period this time around.
The state department of health and hospitals is requiring local water systems to maintain higher disinfectant level. The emergency rule is in response to the recent discovery of a deadly amoeba in the water systems in St. Bernard and DeSoto Parishes. DHH Assistant Secretary J-T Lane says increasing the chlorine level should lead to safer water. It's the first time Louisiana has changed the required chlorine level in drinking water since 1995.
Louisiana ranked No. 9 on the American Medical Association’s annual list of states with the lowest level of competition among health insurers. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana had 57 percent of the market, according to the AMA. UnitedHealthCare had the second-largest share at 19 percent. The other 10 states with the least competitive health insurance markets were Alabama; Hawaii; Michigan; Delaware; Alaska; South Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; and Rhode Island.
The Jindal administration announces food stamp recipients could lose their benefits if its determined they took advantage of a computer glitch and made purchases that exceeded their available balance. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Suzy Sonnier says suspected violators will receive a letter explaining that the state will being the process of disqualifying that person from the SNAP program. She says first time offenders could lose their benefits for a year.
The son of legendary Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson passed away Wednesday night. Eddie Robinson Jr died from complications related to heart surgery. Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office says three additional arrests have been made in the join homicide investigation into the death of Willie Francis. They say additional details will be released later today. The 23-year-old Bayou Vista man's body was found last week and a 15-year-old suspect was arrested Wednesday.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office says a former deputy has been arrested again for felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile. This is the third time 24-year-old Todd Tripp has been arrested in three
months. The first arrest was for indecent behavior with juveniles and child porn amid allegations Tripp was exchanging sexually explicit pictures with a 15 year old boy. He was arrested yesterday for allegedly having sexual contact with a 16 year old.
Louisiana has now spent 11 million dollars in response efforts for the giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish. The state expects to be reimbursed by Texas Brine, which is the company that operated an underground salt dome cavern that caused the sink hole.
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