One victim is dead and another is in serious condition After a shooting incident last night shortly before 10 in the 1100 block of Brannon Road near Pineville. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene to find 40 year old David Wayne Lachney of Pineville, unresponsive and another person seriously injured. An investigation determined that Lachney and the other victim, whose name has not been released, were involved in an altercation, and Lachney allegedly shot the victim and then turned the gun on himself.
On Tuesday, the first full day of the legislative session, the House appropriations committee took a long look at the proposed 25-billion dollar budget for next fiscal year. But, before lawmakers can even think about next year’s budget, there are some budget holes that need to be filled in the current budget. The Senate Finance Committee learned yesterday up to $87 million in gaps exist in health care, education, prison and other state programs for the budget year that ends June 30.
On the first full day of the 2014 Louisiana Legislature, a House panel Tuesday churned out bills that would authorize prestige license plates to honor the late artist George Rodrigue, master gardeners, U.S. Army Rangers, winners of the Distinguished Service Cross and other causes. All the proposals breezed through the House Transportation Committee with little discussion. Most will be placed on the House list of noncontroversial bills when they are reviewed by the full chamber. The state has 215 specialty plates now with the LSU designation topping the list.
Legislation has been filed that allows teachers and principals, who are concealed handgun permit owners, to bring their guns into the schools they work at. The bill is by Chalmette representative Ray Garofola, who says this is in response to an increase in gun violence, particularly on school campuses. Garofola says the bill not only requires teachers and administrators to possess a concealed carry permit, it also requires them to undergo eight hours of annual tactical training. The measure will be heard at a later date by the House Criminal Justice Committee.
And two bills that attempt to crack down on human trafficking have been filed. Governor Bobby Jindal threw his support behind the legislation during a Tuesday afternoon press conference. He says Baton Rouge ranks in the top ten cities in the nation for human trafficking.
A New Orleans lawmaker says a person should be 18 or over if they want to tank in a bed that emits ultra-violate light. Rep. Helena Moreno says she was approached by a group of dermatologists who asked her to file legislation that would make it against the law for teens 17 and under to lay in a UV tanning bed. A House panel will hear the measure today.
In New Iberia, deputies have identified the victim and a suspect in a deadly shooting that took place Monday afternoon. They say 24-year-old Uriah Joseph was shot several times and died at a hospital. Iberia Parish Sheriff's investigators are now looking for Michael Augustine who is wanted for second degree murder.
Tragedy this Tuesday morning on I-55. State Police say a two people died after one person allegedly drove drunk onto the wrong side of the interstate causing a multi-vehicle crash.
A Caddo Parish man on death row has been released from Angola after a Caddo Parish District Judge signed an order vacating Glenn Ford's first degree murder conviction and death sentence. Ford was convicted for the 1983 murder of a Shreveport jeweler store owner. New evidence "supports findings that Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in the robbery and murder.
Two brothers are now facing federal charges in connection with the Mother's Day "second line" parade shooting in New Orleans, in which twenty people were injured in May. Twenty year-old Akein (ah KEEN) Scott and twenty-five year old Shawn Scott-along with seven others - violated gun control acts -according to authorities- and drug laws. All are members of a local New Orleans gang.
Officials in the Baton Rouge area have talked about an interstate loop around the capital city for years, and now, there's new discussion in the legislative session. Baton Rouge Representative
Steve Carter says they are seeking state funding to conduct studies for a proposed alternate highway around Baton Rouge. The price tag for the feasibility study is about $3.5 million dollars.
The 2014 legislative session is underway. Lawmakers started the session yesterday at 12 noon then Governor Bobby Jindal spoke to a joint session of Representatives and Senators on the House floor. The session will adjourn no later than 6pm on Monday June 2nd.
The chairwoman of the Louisiana democratic party blasts what Governor Jindal has done in office after he gave an address to lawmakers touting the need for more skilled workers. Karen Peterson says the state would be able to produce more grads, if Jindal had not cut funding for for education in recent years. Peterson says if the governor truly wants to improve this state, it would help if he was around to help pass some meaningful legislation.
The Mega Millions Jackpot is now up to 309 Million dollars. Tonight's drawing has a cash value of about 169 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says this is the ninth largest Mega Millions jackpot in lottery history.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says he wants the department of corrections to re-open the Phelps Correctional Center in Calcasieu Parish as an inmate charter school. He says a 2013 Rand Corporation study of 58 prison education programs found that every dollar spent on prison education saves four dollars in prison costs. Kennedy says taxpayers aren't benefiting from an empty prison that was closed because it was supposed to save the state two-point-six million dollars.
Governor Bobby Jindal finished in tenth place in a 2016 republican presidential straw poll that was taken at the conclusion of the Conservative Political Action Committee conference. Jindal received
just two-percent of the vote. The Governor has said he doesn't know if he'll run for President, but political analyst Clancy Dubos says it's obviously he was some sort of national aspirations. US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky won Saturday's straw poll.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they will be conducting aerial feral hog control using helicopters on Pearl River in the marsh south of Highway 90 in St. Tammany Parish and on
Sherburne in Iberville and Point Coupee Parishes this week. The purpose of this aerial population control with firearms is to reduce the feral hog numbers.
The state of Louisiana used to be the second fattest state in the nation. Now, we find ourselves as the fourth fattest state in the union, according to a new Gallup survey. There are signs of
improvement as the work-out percentages are increasing, in those who say they exercise moderately or vigorously. Those numbers moved from 35.4 percent to 43.6 percent in a 10 year period.
Twice-convicted sex offender Brian Horn has been denied his motion for a 14 month delay in his capital murder trial for the death of 12 year-old Justin Bloxom south of Stonewall in 2010. Bloxom's body was discovered in a ditch off Highway 171, after he was kidnapped. Desoto Parish District Judge Robert Burgess said that trial will begin as scheduled today.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that the reward has been increased to $20,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting two whooping cranes found in Jefferson Davis Parish earlier in the year
A Morgan City man is in a St Landry Parish jail after he allegedly held toddler's feet in scalding water. St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Captain Megan Vizena says 34-year-old Theron Thomas has been charged with one count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office is searching for a 15-year-old girl last seen Saturday in the Pineville area. Priscilla Compton is described as being 5-feet, 1-inch tall and weighs 110 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone who has seen her or has information concerning her whereabouts is asked to call the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.
A Rapides Parish grand jury has indicted Dorothy Vanasselberg of Elmer and Kyle Hauenstein of Pineville on hundreds of sex charges. The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office arrested Vanasselberg in July of last year after detectives investigated a complaint of possible sexual contact between Vanasselberg and a juvenile. Detectives later found evidence that indicated Hauenstein had received child pornography from Vanasselberg. While detectives searched for Hauenstein, sheriff's deputies said "they discovered evidence that led them to believe (Hauenstein) committed multiple criminal sexual acts" with one or more juvenile family members while he was in the Pineville area.
A Boyce man who tortured and murdered an 18-month-old child has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 25 year old Jaymes Harris was found guilty of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. At the time of the child’s death, Harris was the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother.
The Louisiana Legislative session starts Monday, and there could be a slight 1.5% cost of living increase for retirees across the state. That increase would be the first one in five years.
Small business owners in LA say they oppose any legislation that would raise the minimum wage. The 2014 legislative session is to start Monday and there are bills filed that would raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour. Louisiana director of NFIB Dawn Starns says they surveyed their members and 90% of them said "no" to raising the minimum wage. She says small businesses only have so much money and the increase could possibly lead to some layoffs.
The search for the missing Slidell teenager who was last seen at a UNO dorm over the weekend, ends in tragedy. Authorities confirmed Wednesday evening that the car and body of 19-year-old Hayley Howard were pulled from water near the I-10 Twin Spans around Irish Bayou. Friends say Howard was headed home to Slidell early Saturday morning when she suddenly vanished. Police say the UNO student's phone was last pinged at 6am that day in the Irish Bayou area. The case is currently being investigated as a fatal accident.
Legislation that would put a law on the books that defines a speed trap and prohibits them in Louisiana has been filed for the session that begins Monday. Baton Rouge Representative Regina Barrow says when a motorist is transitioning from one speed limit to a higher one, there should not be a cop sitting in between the two signs waiting to write tickets for people who were going 5 miles over the speed limit. She says this is a particularly big problem in small Louisiana towns.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s former chief of staff, Paul Rainwater, said Wednesday that he plans to open his own lobbying and consulting firm. Rainwater left the Jindal administration this week after serving as chief of staff, commissioner of administration and hurricane recovery adviser. He helped manage the daily operations of Jindal’s office and served as one of the governor’s closest advisers. During a stop at the State Capitol on Wednesday, Rainwater said he needed more of a personal life and often felt like he was the oldest pitcher on the team. At 52, Rainwater was one of the few gray-haired members of the governor’s staff.
First, there was a Lake Providence Police officer charged with malfeasance allegedly asking a speeding motorist for $50 to avoid a ticket. Now, a second police officer has been charged with
intentionally falsifying an accident report. Fifty-two year-old Lee Antwine surrendered to investigators Monday. It's the second Lake Providence Police officer incident in 30 days.
Authorities say a Circle K store in Opelousas was selling synthetic marijuana. Undercover officers bought the drugs from the store on East Vine street. This led to searches of the store and the
manager's residence. The store’s manager was arrested and booked into the St. Landry Parish jail.
LSU's cartoon style tiger graphic has "disappeared" from the LSU basketball court. In it's place is a Tiger graphic that's similar to what on the LSU football helmet. Luke Johnson of Tiger Rag magazine says LSU did a "soft launch" of the new Tiger by simply displaying it at center court at the PMAC.
Louisiana was hit with its fourth wintry precipitation event of the year yesterday. So when will it end? State Climatologist Barry Keim hopes Tuesday was the end of the winter weather. Keim says it's very rare to have freezing rain in Louisiana during the first week of March. He says it will be much warmer today and for the rest of the week.
Louisiana State Police say they are investigating a case out of New Iberia in which a man who was handcuffed and in the back of an Iberia Parish Sheriff patrol car, apparently killed himself. Spokesman Stephen Hammons says deputies were responding to reports of a fight Sunday night where they arrested 22-year-old Victor White III. Upon arrival at the Sheriff's office, the suspect refused to get out of the patrol car. Hammons says while in the back of the patrol car, White produced a handgun and fired once striking himself in the back. He says White was pronounced dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at a local hospital.
State Farm has compiled data that ranks Louisiana seventh in the nation for the number of wind and hail storm claims during 2013. State Farm spokesperson Gary Stephenson says State Farm paid more than three billion dollars in claims nationwide, as a result of property damage caused by wind and hail storms. In Louisiana alone, they had 14-thousand claims.
The US House of Representatives approves a bill that would spare thousands of Louisiana homeowners massive flood insurance rate increases, and the legislation now heads to the Senate. Metairie Congressman Steve Scalise says this bill protects those who have built their homes to code from unaffordable hikes permanently. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act is in-part lead by Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy who says the House legislation also lowers the cap on annual rate increases to 18% per property.
A lawmaker from Baton Rouge says he doesn't want the government to be able to use drones on the private property of Louisiana residents so he's filed a bill restricting the use of the flying devices. State Senator Dan Claitor says he wants to make it against the law for a drone to look at our backyards or into our private homes. Claitor says his bill would still allow the use of drones if a search warrant was obtained or if law enforcement needed them to help document a crime scene. He says our home is our castle and citizens are supposed to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
Many children in central Louisiana got Mardi Gras day off after all.. The threat of icy weather has closed the public and catholic school in Avoyelles, Rapides and Vernon parishes today. LSUA: Will open at 11 a.m.
The weather forecast calls for a wet and cold Mardi Gras day. State Climatologist Barry Keim says temperatures are below freezing for much of the state this morning and we are expecting highs only in the 40s. He says there's also a good chance for rain in south Louisiana.
State police report a single-vehicle crash Monday morning killed a Boyce man. 40 year old David Cundiff was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Brown's Creek Road. Troopers say Cundiff, who was not wearing a seatbelt, lost control of his vehicle, ran off the road and hit several trees and a fence.
A house fire in St. Landry Parish has claimed the lives of two people in Lawtell early Monday. The bodies of Willis and Lou Anna Semien were found on the scene by firefighters. Their 19
Year old granddaughter, a 14 year-old foster child, and another granddaughter escaped the fire, and were able to get to a neighbor's house. The State Fire Marshal says the blaze is under
A mobile home fire claimed the lives of two people in Caddo Parish Yesterday. The bodies of 35 year old Adonis Walker and his girlfriend, 32 year old Hanna Hawkins were found inside by firefighters after the blaze was extinguished.
Your state issued driver’s license can now read "I'm a Cajun" right below your DMV photo for an extra five dollars. State Senator Fred Mills the proceeds will go to the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana. Mills says the money will support scholarships for French language
and culture studies.
Two bills for the upcoming legislative session have been filed to legalize the use of medical marijuana. One of the bills is authored by St. Martinville Senator Fred Mills, an owner of a retail pharmacy. Mills says Louisiana law allows for a doctor to prescribe medical marijuana, but it remains illegal for a pharmacist to dispense the drug. The legislation regulates the growers of medical marijuana, the dispensers, and the doctors who prescribe it. Mills says the proposed law involves many different agencies to share the responsibilities of implementing the intended uses of medical marijuana.
Louisiana continues to gain recognition for places that companies look to for expansion. Site Selection Magazine has listed the Baton Rouge area was one of the top 10 metro areas for new and expanded corporate facilities for 2013. According to the report, Baton Rouge placed 2nd (in the top 10).
Governor Bobby Jindal made an appearance in St. James Parish Monday to mark the completion of the Nucor's direct reduced iron plant in Convent. The $750 million dollar plant started production 2 months ago, and has already created 140 new direct jobs.
Legendary high school football coach Don Shows has passed away at the age of 75, after battling health issues for over a year. Shows turned West Monroe High School into one of the best high school football programs in the country, winning eight state championships.
The fourth ranked LSU baseball team makes a rare trip to Natchitoches today to play Northwestern State. It's the Tigers first visit to Brown- Stroud Field since 2003. LSU is trying to bounce back from a tough 8-7 loss to Yale on Sunday. You can hear that game this afternoon beginning at 3 on 970 KSYL
Nearly a two-week run of high school basketball begins today in the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, which is the host site for the Top 28 state boys and girls basketball championship tournaments.
12 Years a Slave,” the historical drama filmed in the New Orleans area, earned three Academy Awards on Sunday, including the night’s top honor, best picture.
State police report 43-year-old William Antee of Boyce is facing vehicular homicide and other charges after he lost control of a utility task vehicle Saturday night. The vehicle overturned and killed a 4-year-old Texas girl and injured two other girls who were riding in the vehicle. Authorities say that alcohol use is suspected in the crash. Antee was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with vehicle homicide, vehicular negligent injuring and careless operation. The investigation continues.
One man is dead and another is fighting for his life after a crash early Sunday on La. 35 inLandry Parish. State police say 31 year old Curtis Wheeler of Church Point died in the single-vehicle wreck after he was ejected from a pickup that struck a culvert and rolled over several times. Troopers believe the driver of the vehicle, 25 year old Brad Wheeler of Church Point , may have been drunk at the time of the crash. Wheeler is listed in critical condition.
Louisiana college president Dr.Joe Aguillard, could soon receive a contract extension to remain at the private Baptist school in Pineville. Board of Trustee Chair, Tommy French, says work began on the new contract and will continue over the next few weeks. If a contract extension is offered to Aguillard, it must be approved by the full board, which is scheduled to meet in April. French said he couldn’t speak for the committee or the board, but he saw no reason Aguillard would not receive a new contract.
City of Pineville water service has been restored to residents along La. Highway 3128 (old Paper Mill Road), including the Whispering Pines subdivision, but a boil advisory remains in effect for affected residents. On Saturday, an 8-inch water main burst, leading to disruption of service in that area. The main was replaced later Saturday with a temporary 2-inch line. Replacement of close to 300 feet of the original water main will take place this week. A water boil advisory remains in effect until this repair project is complete.
Mother nature cooperated and large crowds turned out yesterday for the Alexandria Mardi Gras parade. The parade featured 23 floats and five bands. Becky Deville, president of the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association, called the parade a success thanks to the work of the association and the city.
A new pediatric death from influenza in Central Louisiana has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This new death brings the total of pediatric flu deaths so far this flu season to four. Since October 2013, lab tests confirmed 66 flu deaths in Louisiana of various ages. However, state health officials say the number may be as high as 200 to 400 deaths. Since many deaths are caused by complications from the flu. Officials say a flu shot is your best protection.
A three-year-old child in Slidell died on Sunday by drowning in a neighbor's pool. Authorities say it appears the three-year-old left his parents’ home Sunday morning through a window in his bedroom. It appears the child fell into the pool.
Louisiana taxpayers who were concerned about a delay in their state tax refunds can expect to get their refunds quite soon. Byron Henderson of the Louisiana Department of Revenue says one reason the state refunds are a bit late was the federal shutdown which delayed the I.R.S. processing schedule. Henderson says the first batch of four hundred and forty thousand refund checks has been issued and promises a steady output of state tax refunds will continue.
This Mardi Gras holiday the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission handed out grants to law enforcement agencies to fund overtime and extra shifts for officers throughout the state. Their goal is to remove impaired drivers from Louisiana roadways. In Louisiana, the first offense of Driving While Intoxicated can carry a thousand dollar fine and possibly jail time, plus the suspension of a driver's license for up to 2 years.
We're now one week away from the legislative session and once again lawmakers will talk about proposed changes to the popular TOPS scholarship program. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber has weighed in and they think higher standards should be set to receive the award. BRAC COO Erin Monroe Wesley says TOPS is becoming too costly. Currently to be eligible for TOPS, you have to have a 2.5 GPA and a minimum ACT Score of 20. Wesley says an increase in those requirements would better align TOPS to comparable merit-based programs.
A Baton Rouge man will face life in prison for killing three women. A jury found 24-year-old Courtney Williams, guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend and two others during a shooting spree in 2011. Williams will be formally sentenced to life in prison at Angola, March 28th.
A Gonzales man was arrested for holding his parents captive inside their home for five days. The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office says 44 year old Richard Miley held them against their will,
beginning on February 20th. They were freed when the imprisoned couple's granddaughter visited the home and got them out. Miley told deputies he had stopped taking his medication which he says caused the incident. He is being held in Ascension Parish jail without bond.
Even though there has been an excess of snow in northern states surrounding the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, it is not expected to cause floods in Louisiana. National Weather Service hydrologist Jeff Graschel says even with seasonal rainfalls, we shouldn't see many problems with the lower part of the river. In 2011, record level rainfalls in the Midwest led to flooding issues along the Mississippi, forcing the Army Corps of Engineers to open the Morganza Spillway to prevent major flooding in southeast Louisiana Graschel says they don't expect anything like that this year.
Now that we are in March, allergy season is right around the corner. Doctor Ken Paris, with the LSU Health Sciences Center, says tree pollen in the spring time causes nasal congestion, coughing and wheezing for thousands in the bayou state, but this year's allergy season may start a little later, because of our cold winter. Paris says if you have allergy issues, there are things you can do now
to minimize the symptoms once the pollen count escalates. He says prescription and over-the-counter nasal sprays can be effective. But, if allergy season makes you feel miserable, then go see a doctor now and get a head start.
A judge in Texas ruled that the ban on gay marriage in the Lone Star State violates the US Constitution. The decision will be appealed and heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans which hears cases that come out of Texas Louisiana and Mississippi. Legal analyst Tim Meche thinks the Texas ruling could affect gay marriage laws here. The Texas lawsuit was originally filed by two same sex couples and Meche says if the 5th Circuit upholds the lower court's ruling, you'll probably see a similar case come up in Louisiana. He says opponents haven't made a good case in explaining why gay couples getting married should be against the law.
Senator David Vitter meets with state officials today to get an update on the investigation into the food stamp recipients who abused the system during a computer failure last October. The Dept of Children and Family Services announced six people have lost their benefits, but Vitter says why only six when over 12-thousand people overspent. Vitter says hopes these state agencies pick up the pace with their investigation and disqualify more than six people from the program.
A new report just released by the state Legislative Auditor’s office shows, Louisiana gave away 55 percent of its corporate tax revenues, while continuing to struggle with higher education funding, retirement system obligations and paying for other government services. Over a five-year period, state government gave up about $3 billion in taxes to encourage companies to come to Louisiana or to stay here. That’s out of a $5.4 billion that otherwise would have been collected through “corporate and franchise taxes.”
Rape accusations against former Saints safety Darren Sharper continued to mount Thursday as New Orleans police issued a warrant for his arrest, saying he is suspected of sexually assaulting two women in September at a Warehouse District apartment. Police said they also issued a warrant for Erik Nunez, one of Sharper’s friends, who is alleged to have raped the same two women the same night. The 38 year old Sharper is the focus of at least five other rape investigations in four states.
Lafayette Police say they've arrested a man who was unable to drive a manual transmission which gave him trouble trying to steal a car. Corporal Paul Mouton says Harold Sam, who is just 18 years old, allegedly threw a woman to the ground then tried to get away in her car. As you may suspect, Sam faces numerous charges.
Crawfish boil gatherings over the Mardi Gras weekend may find it difficult to get enough of their main dish. That's because cold weather in January and early February affected the crop. Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association Director, Stephen Minvielle says crawfish suppliers will be hard pressed to meet the demand. It’s expected the low supply of crawfish coupled with the high demand
will lead to high prices for mudbugs.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is reminding property owners of a rebate available to them. It's called the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Assessment rebate and taxpayers are entitled to it after paying the assessment attached to their property insurance bill. The easiest way to get the money back is by checking a box on your state tax return and attaching the proper paperwork.
Legislation that would prohibit employers or school administrators from demanding their employees or students give up their social media login information has been pre-filed for next month's session. The bill by Baton Rouge Representative Ted James would make it illegal to require students to share personal online information. James says he filed the same bill last year, but they weren't able to get to it in the Senate before the session was over. The biggest difference in this year's proposed "Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act" is that employers would now be allowed to request the information, and an employee could freely give up any information they wanted.
The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's office says both suspects in the fatal shooting and armed robbery at the LaPlace feed store Tuesday are now in custody. They say 22-year-old Dracier Dewey confessed to the crime Wednesday and the other man, 22-year-old Charles McQuarter III surrendered to US Marshall's Thursday afternoon.
LSU has named North Carolina educator Lawrence “Larry” Clark as chancellor of LSU-Shreveport, nearly two years after former Chancellor Vincent Marsala announced his retirement. Clark serves as dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. He previously worked as a dean at LSU-S.
The Town Talk is reporting today, Joseph Cole, a former Louisiana College employee who worked closely with school President Joe Aguillard, left the school with an employment settlement of nearly $35,000 after threatening to go public with accusations against Aguillard in 2011. The Town Talk obtained minutes of a Nov. 15, 2011, meeting of the Executive Committee of the LC Board of Trustees along with a copy of a financial settlement between LC and Cole that were posted on line yesterday The documents surfaced on the same day the executive board of the LC Board of Trustees met on campus and less than a week after the college issued a news release touting that Aguillard was “fully exonerated” of past allegations made against him over the last year.
Cool Planet Energy Systems will begin construction soon on its alternative fuel production facility at the Port of Alexandria. Company officials and Gov. Bobby Jindal were in town Wednesday for a ground-breaking ceremony for the plant. Cool Planet’s technology converts biomass such as wood products into high-octane gasoline and an agricultural-enhancement product known as biochar. It is the company’s first such facility. The plant in Alexandria will employ 24 people and cost approximately $56 million to build.
A deadly armed robbery in LaPlace has left a 63-year-old man dead and his wife in the hospital. The St. John Baptist Sheriff's office has detained two persons of interest, but no arrests have been made. The fatal armed robbery took place Tuesday afternoon at LaPlace Feed and Supply.
Legislation that would bring the electric chair back to Louisiana for executions will be discussed in the upcoming 2014 session. Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto is proposing House Bill 328. He says lethal injection would still be allowed under this bill, but if that medication is not available, Louisiana needs a backup plan, like the electric chair.
Crews are on the scene of a gas well blowout in Acadia Parish near the city of Eunice. The blowout happened Tuesday as employees with Black Creek Drilling were attempting to drill a natural gas well. No one was injured, but 12 homes had to be evacuated. State Police Trooper Stephen Hammons says it will take a couple days to cap the well. He says LA-13, which connects Crowley to Eunice, is shutdown as a result of the blowout.
Cox is centralizing its call center operations, a move that will eliminate 246 jobs in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette but lead to 150 new positions at its Baton Rouge operations. The net loss to its operations in the state is 96 jobs. The company is setting up seven “Centers of Excellence” nationwide, that will focus on matters such as account services, sales and technical support.
The state’s former point man on coastal restoration announced Wednesday that he’s entering the race to represent Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District in Washington. Garrett Graves, of Baton Rouge, stepped down as chairman of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and director of the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities last week after six years on the job. The 6th District seat is being vacated after 2014 because Congressman Bill Cassidy is running for the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 election.
A first of its kind study says hurricane devastation could be reduced with the use of thousands of offshore wind turbines. Stanford University engineering professor, Mark Jacobson says his team ran computer models illustrating an array of 78 thousand wind turbines would have weakened Hurricane Katrina and reduced the storm’s damage by 30 to 70 billion dollars. Building thousands of 200 foot tall wind turbines is costly. But Jacobson says they would take power from winds and give us pollution free electricity year round.
A Baton Rouge lawmaker wants schools in Louisiana to be required to teach sex ed. Representative Pat Smith says currently schools are only authorized to offer sexual education but she thinks a law needs to be in place making the instruction mandatory. She says right now our children are not being taught the risks associated with having sex. Smith says the problems of youth STDs and teen pregnancies are worse than ever and there needs to be a conversation between the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Hospitals about these issues. Smith has filed similar legislation in the pasted but it fails because opponents feel sex ed should be taught by parents.
Authorities are still looking for two fugitives who scaled a fence at the Union Parish jail last Saturday night. The men are identified as 36-year-old Thomas Kinnard Jr. and 39-year-old Benjamin Morana.
Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates thinks someone picked them up after they escaped. He says anyone with information on the whereabouts of these two men, who are considered to be dangerous, is urged to contact local law enforcement.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office has arrested a woman who is accused of abusing a 10 month old baby. They say 28-year-old Jennifer Eastwood allegedly used hear hand to strike the victim leaving numerous whelps to her leg. A judge set the suspect's bond at $100,000.
It was made official yesterday afternoon. The Duck Commander will be the new title sponsor of the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, effective immediately. The sponsorship will allow the name Independence" to be included as one of the longest running bowls in the nation.
Two suspects who robbed a thrift store in Shreveport were arrested after their escape vehicle got stuck in the mud. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prador says deputies were able to track down the suspects with some help from muddy shoe prints. Forty-nine year-old John Patterson of Vivian and sixty-one year old Michael Anderson of Shreveport now find themselves stuck in the Caddo Parish Correctional Center on burglary charges.
A Pineville man crashed his puck up into the back of a stopped Rapides Parish school bus yesterday morning on highway 28 east. That accident led to the injury of the bus driver and eight students. The good news is, none of the injuries were severe. Pineville PD have not released any details of the crash other than to say 31 year old Anthony Phillips has been charged with possession of a stolen firearm, and charges of reckless operation of a vehicle.
A utility bill paying scam has hit customers of another Louisiana power company. Some Cleco customers are reporting some phone calls from individuals who identify themselves from Cleco, demanding payment for an unpaid balance on their utility bill. Spokesperson Shirley Turner reminds everyone serviced by Cleco they never call customers demanding payment over the phone.
There's been a toddler tragedy in Minden as a three-year old was struck and killed by a truck Monday. Minden Police say that the man's truck had very large tires, and they speculate because the truck was riding a bit higher, the driver was not able to see the child who had wondered out into the neighborhood street. Authorities say that the investigation is on-going.
A Bossier City lawmaker is filing legislation for the 2014 session that would ban any type of cell phone use when traveling through a school zone. Representative Jeff Thompson says studies show one out of six drivers in a school zone drive distracted and cell phone use was the number one reason. House Bill No. 370 would make it illegal to engage in a call, access email, send a text or read or post to social media at any time when in a school zone. All items on that list, with the exception of talking on the phone are already against the law in Louisiana.
A second person has been arrested as a result of an alleged dog fighting operation that was broken up last week in Breaux Bridge. St. Martin Parish Sheriff spokesperson Ginny Higgins says 33-year-old Antonio Boyd is facing 47-counts of cruelty to animals and his bond has been set at 140-thousand dollars. The other man arrested was 25-year-old Jason Haskett of Natchitoches. Higgins says the two men staged illegal dog fights in the back yard of a residence located on Breaux Bridge Senior High School Road. She says during the raid, deputies found dozens of pit bulls, most of them were on chains.
An advocacy group for the recognition and equal rights for same sex couples who want to get married, launches a one million dollar campaign across southern states. "Freedom To Marry" founder and president Evan Wolfson says they want to get southerners talking about the issue.
The US House is getting close to voting on legislation that would prevent large flood insurance premiums for property owners. Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy says the bill would repeal provisions of a 2012 flood insurance reform law that calls for much higher flood insurance rates for thousands of Louisiana homeowners. Cassidy believes the US House will vote tomorrow on this flood insurance reform legislation. He says it contains several key provisions that builds upon a bill already passed in the Senate. The Baton Rouge republican says one of those provisions caps annual rate increases at 15-percent.
Danos, a manufacturer of offshore equipment and piping, will build a $23.2 million, 100-employee plant at the Port of Iberia. President and Chief Executive Officer Hank Danos, along with Gov. Bobby Jindal, made the announcement after the signing of a 40-acre lease near New Iberia with the port’s board of commissioners. Construction on the 172,000-square-foot plant is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter and will require 200 construction workers. The 100 permanent plant jobs will have annual salaries that average $65,000 for a total annual payroll of $6.5 million.
A Baton Rouge man who pleaded guilty in November to threatening to murder former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, of New Orleans, as well as members of Letten’s family, was sentenced Tuesday to 41 months in federal prison plus three more years under supervision after he’s released. 57 year old Gerald P. Estrade of Baton Rouge will be transferred to a federal prison in the next few weeks to serve his sentence.
A federal judge received assurances Tuesday that three insurance companies won’t immediately stop accepting premium payments from a program that helps HIV and AIDS patients cover health care costs. After receiving the pledge that no payments would be rejected before April 1, U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson lifted the temporary restraining order he had issued only hours earlier prohibiting the dropped coverage. Jackson plans a March 10 hearing on whether to issue a long-term injunction that would bar the companies from refusing to accept payments from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, which helps more than 2,400 low- and moderate-income Louisianians pay for health coverage.
The giant sinkhole in Assumption parish has a new bubbling site on about 30 feet from Highway 69. Officials says the bubbles seen in water of Grand Bayou is the result of natural gas escaping from underground. Assumption parish Emergency Preparedness Director John Boudreaux says this new bubbling site does NOT mean another sink hole will form. Since the sinkhole appeared in August of 2012, it has grown over 20 times its original size.
Southwest Louisiana authorities now believe that a man who was found shot dead inside his home, accidently shot himself in his lower back. Fifty year old Kenneth Morrow Senior's body was found in January. It was a homicide investigation but Jennings Police Chief Todd (D-AL-BORE) D'Albor says ballistics and forensics show the deceased shot himself. Officials think the gun fired when Morrow reached for it in his rear pocket or waistband.
The myth of knowing if a crawfish was dead before it was cooked by the straightness of it's tail has been debunked .LSU Ag researcher Ray McClain says if a crawfish dies before it's cooked in a boiling pot of water, it may curl it's tail during the cooking process. He says research indicates uncooked mudbugs that are both alive or dead can come out of the pot with a straight tail. McClain also says putting crawfish in salt water before you boil them has no benefit based on his research.
Renovations to the Cajun Dome in Lafayette may cost a bit more than first projected. The Cajun Dome commission members got an 18 point nine million figure quoted to them at their meeting on Monday. At that price the renovated Cajun Dome would be cost two-point-nine million more than it's original 16 million dollar price tag.
Downtown Alexandria has been chosen as the home of Central Louisiana Technical Community College’s new main campus. The $21 million-plus campus will replace the college’s current Alexandria campus, located on South MacArthur Drive. The Louisiana Legislature approved $251.6 million for 29 capital projects at technical colleges during its session last year. Included in that was $19 million for CLTCC’s new main campus. The full story can be found in today’s Town Talk.
As temps start to warm up analysts say the gas price will climb with them. The American Automobile Association says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $3.23 which is up a ten cents from a month ago.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday proposed shrinking the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, closing bases and reshaping forces to confront a "more volatile, more unpredictable" world with a more nimble military. The nation can afford a smaller military so long as it retains a technological edge and the agility to respond on short notice to crises anywhere on the globe. The defense spending plan will be part of the 2015 budget that President Barack Obama will submit to Congress next week. It is too early to tell how the proposed Army cuts would impact the Fort Polk in Vernon Parish.
Officials with the Independence Bowl confirm they are very excited about the partnership with its new title sponsor, "Duck Commander", the popular West Monroe business made nationally famous by the A&E reality show Duck Dynasty. In a release from an I-Bowl spokesman, details of the new sponsorship will be announced during a news conference Wednesday.
The recent Louisiana food stamp fraud that took place in October because of a computer glitch has resulted in action from the Department of Children and Family Services. DFCS Secretary Suzy Sonnier says they have already disqualified 6 individuals from the program. And Sonnier says there could be more. Some 500 residents have received letters informing them that they also could lose their benefits once they conduct their interviews.
Former Congressman Jeff Landry announces his intent to run for attorney general. The republican from New Iberia served in Congress but lost his seat in an election when his district was combined with Charles Boustany's district. Buddy Caldwell is the current attorney general and he is serving his second term. The election will be held in the fall of 2015.
The nation's governors emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday claiming harmony, only to immediately break into an on-camera partisan feud in front of the West Wing. Governor Bobby Jindal stood outside of the White House yesterday criticizing President Obama for pushing a higher minimum wage instead of trying to create higher paying jobs. After the news conference broke up, Colorado's governor called Jindal a "cheap shot artist."
A legislative auditor’s review of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast operations in Louisiana, requested by some legislators, found no indication that the group has recommended abortions or billed Medicaid for anything other than allowed family planning services. The review came in response to legislative resolutions directing various agencies to investigate and monitor the practices of the group, which has broken ground on a new 7,000-square-foot clinic in New Orleans. The $4.2 million facility on the 4600 block of South Claiborne Avenue will offer abortion services that previously had not been provided.
A 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that had been closed to maritime traffic since Saturday was re-opened Monday afternoon by the U-S Coast Guard. Petty Officer Ryan Tippets says they've been responding to a leaking barge in St. James Parish. He estimates 31,500 gallons of light crude oil spilled into the river.
The state department of Wildlife and Fisheries is seeking input from dove hunters through an online survey. The department's study leader for doves, Dr. Jeff Duguya (Doo-gay) says they want to hear from dove hunters this year, because the federal government has expanded the season from 70 to 90 days. The 13 question survey asks about ammunition and other dove hunting information. Duguay says one major question involves the state's dove dove hunting season, which could start as early September first and end January 15th. To participate in the survey go to the L-D-W-F website, find the hunting link then look for the dove hunters survey.
The undefeated LSU baseball team is moving up in some polls. Collegiate Baseball puts LSU at No. 1. Baseball America has the Tigers at No. 7 and the UL-Ragin Cajuns at No. 10.
A single vehicle crash in grant Parish early Sunday morning has claimed the life of 21 year old Chad Chandler of Dry prong. State police say he lost control of his vehicle and ran off of Race Track Road, flipping the vehicle. Chandler, who died at the scene and and four passengers in the pickup were not wearing seatbelts. The passengers all received moderate injuries. Alcohol was, according to the state police, believed to be a factor.
District 29 State Sen. Rick Gallot has filed a bill to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under 18. Gallot has introduced the bill for consideration in the legislative session that begins March 10. It would add e-cigarettes and other “alternative nicotine products” to the list of items that can’t be sold to minors in Louisiana.
A Louisiana lawmaker has pre-filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would guarantee protections for biological parents who seek surrogacy. Currently in Louisiana parents of a child being carried by another woman have to adopt their own baby after it is born which Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto says as it stands right now in Louisiana, a surrogate's name initially goes onto the child's birth certificate then the parents have to go through the courts to have that changed after the child is born. . He says this exact bill was overwhelming passed last year, but Governor Bobby Jindal, under pressure from the Louisiana Family Forum, vetoed it.
A new survey from Gallup ranks Louisiana as the 10th most miserable state in the country. The Well-Being Index considered several factors, one of those is that only 61% of respondents felt safe walking home alone at night, lowest rate in the U.S. Gallup Researcher Dan Witters say safety is a big part of community well-being. Witters says based on the survey's results, many people are concerned with violent crime and property crime in their area. He says Louisiana also gets its low raking because of a high smoking rate and a lack of healthy eating by many who were surveyed. 2,600 randomly selected Louisiana residents took the survey.
Governor Bobby Jindal along with governors from across the country will meet with President Barack Obama in Washington D-C today. LSU Professor Bob Mann, who also served as former governor Kathleen Blanco's communications director, says the President will not be the only one
talking during this annual gathering. He expects President Obama to push governors to support legislation that would raise the minimum wage in their individual states. He says health care will also be a big topic.
During his appearance on "Face the Nation," Governor Jindal was asked if he will run for President in 2016. The governor's answer was "I don't know." He says the focus needs to be on winning congressional and gubernatorial races across the country this year.
The Coast Guard says a 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is closed until further notice while crews clean up oil from a barge that hit a towboat between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The collision happened Saturday afternoon near Vacherie, 47 miles west of New Orleans. In nearby St. Charles Parish, officials say public drinking water intakes on the river are closed as a precaution.
The author of a bill to reduce penalties for those convicted of simple possession of marijuana believes his legislation now has a better chance at passing since it's being supported by the Louisiana Sentencing Commission. New Orleans Representative Austin Badon says the proposed bill only reduces penalties for marijuana possession, not dealers or smugglers with larger amounts. Badon says it would reduce the costs associated with locking people up for marijuana possession.
Older drivers are actually in fewer accidents than younger drivers according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Their study shows drivers 70 and older are less likely to be in accidents than previous generations. The report also shows older driver are driving more miles than in the past.
A legal battle over the delivery of food services at a Louisiana military base has led to $365,000 in attorney bills for the state. It’s also sparked a feud between the Jindal administration and a group of legally blind vendors. Central to the fight is a state-managed trust fund that takes money from vending operations in courthouses and other state or federal properties and uses it to help the legally blind run snack stands, cafeterias and vending machines. What’s aggravating some blind vendors is that money is being withdrawn from their trust fund for the legal fight. The trust fund doesn’t pay all of the programs’ cost, but it does supply dollars for health insurance, equipment and repairs. The federal government might pick up part of the legal tab, but the state’s portion of the bill depletes the trust fund.
The Louisiana Supreme Court is cracking down on judges using tax dollars to pay for exotic junkets.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson has signed an order that bans the use of public dollars for international travel for meetings, unless the travel is approved by the state Supreme Court. The judicial rule goes into effect May 1 for all Louisiana judges. The rule was issued just a month after The Advocate reported about the frequent publicly funded travels of City Court Judge Yvette Alexander, who most recently spent a week in January at a judicial conference in Morocco. Between 2007 and 2012, Alexander took 37 trips and spent $52,704 in public funds.
The Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder reopened Sunday morning, more than 12 hours after what officials called “a small electrical fire” forced the casino to be evacuated. The fire was discovered around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. No patrons were injured, and the damage was minimal.
The Vernon Parish Police Jury wants the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to add Vernon Lake to its list of alligator harvesting locations. The parish fish and game commission recommended the lake be placed in the lottery for alligator hunting. Commission Chairman Jason Nolde says up to six alligator permits might be issued for the lake. Alligator hunting has been permitted for years at Anacoco Lake, which also is in Vernon Parish. The lake will be in the lottery again this year. Nolde says the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has the final say on the Vernon Lake matter and should make a decision before alligator season begins in September.
The St. Martin Parish Sheriff's office says a man from Natchitoches is under arrest after investigators discovered drugs and 47 dogs during a search of his property Wednesday. They say 25-year-old Jason Hasket is charged with cruelty in animals, dog fighting and several counts related to possession and intent to distribute narcotics.
Alexandria Police are withholding the name of a man whose body was found just before 8am Thursday morning in Bayou Rapides near the 3000 block of MacArthur Drive. Though no immediate signs of foul play were visible, an autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death."
State health officials are seeing fewer flu cases in the last couple of weeks, but there's still a steady flow of people heading to doctors' offices suffering from flu-like symptoms. Doctor Frank Welch, with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says the H1N1 strain or swine flu is not as prevalent as it was in December and January. But still, before the flu season ends, he estimates between 500 to 600 people will have here in Louisiana.
225 million dollars is what the state is borrowing for mostly rural road improvements. The governor's office says the money will repair over 400 miles of Louisiana roadways in 37 parishes. Bonds were
sold yesterday and the debt and interest will be paid through registration, license fees, and taxes on commercial trucks and trailers.
In a sharp turnaround, a commission that advises the governor on criminal sentencing issues backed legislation Thursday to reduce penalties for simple possession of marijuana. In November, the Louisiana Sentencing Commission turned down the idea of reducing sentences for people convicted of possessing marijuana. But after occasionally heated debate Thursday, the commission voted favorably on a measure that would do just that.
Two men in South Louisiana are facing child pornography charges in two separate cases A Livingston Parish man A joint law enforcement and government investigation contributed to the arrest of 25 year-old Brandon L. Hunt of Denham Springs on 50 counts of possessing and six counts of distributing pornography of children. In Sulphur, twenty-seven year-old Christopher Marler was also booked on five counts of distributing porn to juveniles.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say they had to put down the other whooping crane that was shot earlier this month. A female crane was found dead at the scene in Jefferson Davis Parish the male crane's condition continued to worsen till there was nothing vets could do. A $15,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
Another law enforcement agency is investigating former Saints Safety Darren Sharper on charges of sexual battery. Police in Miami Beach, Florida, say they have opened a criminal probe involving Sharper. This means Sharper is being investigated in five different states on accusations for some sort of sexual crime, drugging and raping.
The rumors have been flying for a while and yesterday he made it official, Former state Rep. Chris Roy Jr. announced his candidacy for Rapides Parish district attorney in the fall elections. The 52 year old Roy became interested in the position after it was announced the current DA, James Downs, was retiring and will not seek re-election. Roy says his work drafting laws that protect children and the elderly give him a unique perspective that he would use as district attorney. The primary election for the DA’s office is Nov. 4. A runoff, if needed, will be Dec. 6.
The gas price has been rising all week. AAA reports the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $3.20 up a penny from yesterday and a nickel from one week ago.
Former Governor Edwin Edwards tells the Louisiana Radio Network that, while he is not ready to make and official announcement, he has made up his mind about running for Congress in November. The seat left open by Republican Bill Cassidy in the 6th congressional district became open when he announced plans to run for Senate. Edwards, who turns 87 in August says he is still working out the legalities.
State Senator Dan Claitor, a Republican from Baton Rouge, and businessman Republican Paul Dietzel are among those who have already filed candidacy paperwork for the 6th District. UL-Lafayette Political Science professor Pearson Cross says Edwards would most certainly be the strongest candidate in the race if he ended up running.
The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's office says they've arrested three men in the brutal murder and robbery of an elderly man from Gloster. Chief Deputy Horace Womack says 79-year-old Nathaniel Cash was found dead in his ransacked home Tuesday morning. Womack says the suspects allegedly killed the elderly who had aheart attack while being choked and tied up. He says the robbers though Cash had a large amount of money in his house, but they found nothing.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says 62-thousand Louisiana residents will not be able to keep their current insurance because of the federal healthcare law known as Obamacare. A spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company doing business in Louisiana that offered transitional relief for those policy holders.
People in Louisiana with HIV or AIDS are facing roadblocks in getting health insurance through the online marketplace created under the federal health law. Most participating insurance companies say they won’t accept payment from a federal program that helps the patients cover their health costs. The decision started with the largest insurer offering coverage to Louisianans through the federal marketplace: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. The Louisiana Health Cooperative followed suit. Vantage Health Plan says if those companies continue that policy, it will have to follow their lead. People living with HIV and AIDS accuse the companies of discrimination against costly patients.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says a man is under arrest amid allegations he used Craigslist to trick people into paying thousands of dollars for cars that didn't exist. They say 30-year-old Anthony Sherman was booked Monday during a traffic stop in New Orleans on 5 counts of felony theft.
With the Mardi Gras season getting started, this year's crawfish harvest might not be ready for a few more weeks. LSU Ag Center Researcher Ray McClain says it's still going to take some time because of the unusually cold winter. That means crawfish will be hard to find this weekend. McClain says
there will still be some available to boil but they could be small because they haven't grown much in the cold weather.
The subjects of gay marriage and marijuana legalization in the United States have been major news topics over the past year. So where do Louisianans stand on these issues? Public Policy Polling conducted a survey of 600 likely voters in the Bayou State and spokesman Tom Jenson gay marriage continues to be very unpopular here. Jenson says only 28% of voters in the state think gay marriage should be allowed while 62% of those polled think it should be illegal. However he says 54% of people in the group they interviewed from here said they favor at least civil unions for same sex couples. Jenson says they see a similar divide on the marijuana issue. He says Louisiana supports medical marijuana with 60% in favor and 30% opposition. However Jenson says voters here are not ready for recreational marijuana.
Students and teachers in Rapides Parish have gotten some bad news, due to the many days lost due to the icy weather over the past few weeks, the Mardi Gras break has been eliminated this year. Students will attend school on March 3 and 4, which were the scheduled holidays for Mardi Gras, and also spend an 20 extra minutes each school day in class from Feb. 24 through April 8 to make up the missed days..
Voters in Alexandria will decide on May 3 whether to pass a property tax to fund recreation and the city’s zoo. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to put the tax referendum on the ballot. The proposed tax is 6 mills for 20 years, with half of the proceeds going to fund recreation efforts and the other half going to help fund the Alexandria Zoo. Details on the referendum in today’s Town Talk..
It’s a big deal.. Louisiana State University of Alexandria Tuesday announced the largest donation in the school’s history, $6.2 million from the Mulder Charitable Trust. Funds from the endowment will go toward student scholarships and as well as faculty and staff support
More jobs headed to Northwest Louisiana. Bossier City has been chosen for a new 800-job Technology Center for Computer Sciences Corporation. Construction The 116,000 square foot building will begin toward the end of the year...and will be the anchor tenant of a 3,000 square foot research Park.
The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Department has charged a 39 year-old substitute teacher from Simpson with one count of Prohibited Sexual Conduct Between and Educator and a Student. Cindy Martin allegedly had sexual relations with a 17 year-old student. She was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail.
Tonight's estimated $400 million dollar Powerball jackpot is considered the fourth-largest in the game's history according to the Louisiana Lottery. Tonight's jackpot is also the nation's sixth-largest jackpot ever and has a cash payout of up to $227.8 million dollars.
A Super PAC supporting U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid asked a federal judge late Tuesday to declare the state’s limits on campaign contributions unconstitutional. The argument made by The Fund for Louisiana’s Future is that the state violates the First Amendment clause in the U.S. Constitution by capping individual contributions to political action committees at $100,000 per four-year election cycle. The filing in New Orleans’ U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s top aide, Paul Rainwater, surprised even his closest political friends late Tuesday by submitting his resignation. Rainwater, the governor’s chief of staff, told legislators and other state officials that he plans to pursue opportunities in the private sector. His last day is March 3.
A new poll released Tuesday suggests Gov. Bobby Jindal is among the least popular governors in the U.S. Public Policy Polling, of North Carolina, which generally works with Democrats, drew that conclusion after surveying 635 Louisiana voters between Feb. 6 and Feb. 9. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent for the overall survey. Fifty-three percent said they disapprove of Jindal’s job performance. But, the poll may not be too far off the mark. A survey conducted late last year by Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat found that 55 percent of 600 likely Louisiana voters questioned between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12, answered “poor” or “not so good” when asked to rate the governor’s job performance.
There's been a drop in the number of people who will not be able to keep their current insurance because of Obamacare. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon's office says that number in Louisiana is now close to 62 thousand, instead of the over 92 thousand they reported towards the end of last year.
Northwestern State University announced that it's going completely tobacco free on August 1st. Their current policy is smoke free within 25 feet of campus buildings and athletic facilities, but
tobacco free will prohibit cigarettes, pipes, oral tobacco and even E-cigarettes. Marcus Jones, vice president of university affairs says the response is very positive to the new policy. It also prohibits tobacco use in privately owned vehicles on the Northwestern State campus.
A legislative panel Monday gave its blessing to a Jindal administration plan that allows extra charges to renew a driver’s license for those seeking faster service. The new rules, which have been tested in Metairie and Slidell and are expected in Baton Rouge soon, allow private contractors, call “public tag agents,” to charge up to $18 more than the typical $21.50 fee. Currently, according to State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson, Louisiana’s 2.9 million motorists have typically renewed their driver’s license at Office of Motor Vehicle offices, which operate in all 64 parishes, or online. Public tag agents offer a third option, and presumably one that is faster than visiting a state office.
A 16 teen year old Lafayette boy has been charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile after he drove to Wichita, Kansas, to pick up a 12 year old girl he met on the internet. Captain Kip Judice of
the Lafayette parish sheriff's office says the 12 year old girl was missing for little over 24 hours before authorities found her at a home in Lafayette. He says the 16-year-old from Lafayette did not
hurt the girl. Judice says the 16 year old boy's parents were out of town for the weekend and unaware of the situation until authorities notified them.
Three of Louisiana’s most powerful lawmakers agreed Monday that changes need to be made to TOPS, Louisiana’s college scholarship program, before it becomes too expensive for the state to maintain. One of them said nothing will change as long as the family for whom the program is named has the governor’s ear. The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students is set to cost the state $235 million next year and is projected to increase to more than $370 million over the next five years.
The Louisiana department of corrections turned in a plan on Monday to keep death row of the Angola state prison cooler. The department was directed by U-S District Judge Brian Jackson to draft a plan to keep temperatures from going higher than 88 degrees. The plan filed in court lists air conditioning, cold showers, and ice chests to cool death row. The order was in response to suits by 3 inmates who say the excessive heat violated their constitutional rights to NOT be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Troop I also investigated a fatal crash in Evangeline Parish Sunday that claimed the life of a motorcyclist who wasn't wearing a helmet. Hammons says 60-year-old Terry Thrasher of Ville Platte lost control of his bike and hit a tree. The helmet-less man was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene
State Police say during a routine traffic stop Sunday morning in Port Allen, a US Army Sergeant was busted with 23 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle. They say during questioning, 30-year-old
Sergeant Borace Brown of Florida, troopers became suspicious and discovered the drugs during a search of the vehicle. Sgt Brown was booked into the West Baton Rouge Parish jail and US Army CID was informed of the arrest.
The band director at Kentwood High School has been arrested on child pornography charges. Tangipahoa Sheriff's Deputies say they made the arrest of Kenneth Dillon after explicit pictures and videos were found on his computer; one involving an adult having sex with a 10 year-old child.
If you've been a chronic smoker for decades, there is a free smoking cessation program in Louisiana. It's called Smoking Cessation Trust and it's located in New Orleans, but anyone in the state can use their services. Smoking Cessation Trust C-E-O Mike Rogers says they hope to help at least 200 thousand Louisianans. The Smoking Cessation Trust was created as a result of a class-action lawsuit and the judgment required that tobacco companies fund a program to help people quick smoking. The program has been around for about a year and a half. Rogers says about 11 thousand people are in the program today. The program funds doctor visits, prescription medications and counseling for smokers.
Congratulations to Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields and The entire Pineville City Council, The mayor and his entire council were automatically re-elected on Friday when qualifying ended without any opponent stepping forward. It was third straight time Mayor Fields, who has been on the job since 1999, has been re-elected unopposed.
According to the American Automobile Association gas prices are going up. Prices have risen nearly a dime in just the past week. Now the price is about three-twenty a gallon. Triple A spokesperson Don Redman says it's a normal trend but it's not as bad as other years. While it's impossible to know when gas prices will peak, AAA is advising the public expect to pay about 3 dollars and sixty cents, in the next few weeks.
A family from Patterson is grieving and members of a high school baseball team are still shaken up today after a violent collision between a school bus and an SUV in St. Mary Parish on Saturday resulted in four deaths. State Police Trooper Stephen Hammons says the 4 victims who lost their lives were riding in the SUV. Several Players on the school bus was transporting the Lafayette High baseball team to a game in Berwick, we injured. Investigators believe the SUV had some sort of tire failure.
Lottery officials say there was no jackpot winner in Saturday's Powerball drawing, adding the current estimated jackpot has jumped to $400 million or $227.8 million in cash value. The next drawing will be Wednesday.
The state department of corrections must present a plan to a federal judge today on how it will keep the heat index from going above 88- degrees on death row at Angola. U-S District Judge Brian Jackson ruled last December that death row inmates are subjected to cruel and unusual punishment during hot summer days. The state department of public safety and corrections could still appeal the ruling. They argued during the trial that death row inmates had not suffered any adverse health effects as a result of the conditions.
The Office of Motor Vehicles is in the process of changing to a new driver's licenses and identification card design. Although the design looks similar to the current one, State Police Captain Doug Cain says it will create greater security and better protection of privacy. Cain says some new features on the license are a mirrored picture, a tri-color overlay and multi-colored fine line printing. A couple of DMV locations started distributing the new drivers licenses and ID cards last week. Cain says they except all offices to have the new system in place by the end of May.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say 2013 was a record year when it comes to the number of boating fatalities. Only 13 people were killed on Louisiana waterways last year breaking the previous record of 19. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says the low numbers are likely due to mandatory boater education courses. Einck says LDWF has also upped the enforcement of drinking and boating. He says DWIs now carry the same weight on the water as they do for driving a car on the road. Einck says the state has certified over 50,000 boaters and the number keeps going up.
A state judge in LaFourche Parish has ruled a Thibodaux man accused of killing his disabled son is NOT guilty by reason of insanity. Police say 32-year-old Jeremiah Wright cut off his son's head in August 2011 and left it in the yard for the child's mother to discover after work. District Attorney Cam Morvant says Wright will likely spend the rest of his life at a mental health hospital in East Feliciana Parish. He says Wright was examined by 5 different forensic psychiatrists within 6 weeks after the horrific murder took place and all five found that he was psychotic.
A two-week period begins today where NFL teams can use the franchise tag on one of their pending unrestricted free agents. The Saints have 14 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, including TE Jimmy Graham. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says the Saints and Graham are not close on a new contract and the team will likely tag Graham.
Former LSU baseball coach Skip Bertman was the victim of a home invasion over the weekend. The 75 Year old Bertman was awakened by a masked burglar who entered the house through a window. Startled, the burglar quickly left through a door after a brief scuffle with Bertman. The good news is Neither Bertman or his wife Sandy were injured. The crook did however, get away with some of Bertman’s championship rings and money.
If you're tired of the ice and the snow, warmer weather is on its way! Mike Berry with the National Weather Service in Shreveport says our warm up starts today. The warmer weather will continue through the weekend and the high temperatures will be in the middle 60s.
Cleco was reporting almost 30,000 customers were without power throughout central Louisiana. Entergy says they've got 9400 customers with outages right now throughout central and north
Louisiana due to icy power lines and freezing rain. Both companies say they are assessing the damage and will give estimated restoration times as soon as possible. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Cleco had 18,538 customers still without power, including 10,550 in Rapides Parish and 6,405 in Avoyelles Parish.
After a little over 6 hours of deliberations, the jury in former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's federal corruption trial has found him guilty on 20 out of the 21 counts. The ex-mayor has been found guilty of bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and filing false tax return. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino the ex-mayor is facing lengthy jail time without the possibility of probation and will probably be sentenced in about 90 days.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley wants answers about Louisiana's tax structure. He says a long term review of tax credits, deductions, rebates and exemptions is needed and Kleckley has called for an
independent study that will be completed in time for the 2015 legislative session. It's been more than 25 years since the last major analysis of the state's tax make up. Kleckley says one area of concern is the amount of money the state may be missing out on when it comes to collecting sales tax on internet purchases. Kleckley says some state tax exemptions have been on the books since
The Forum for Equality Louisiana and four gay married couples filed a lawsuit challenging the state's constitutional ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed legally in other states. Forum for
Equality's Chris Otten says they're suing because plaintiffs are forced to lie on state tax returns by checking single instead of married. The lawsuit, in which State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield is listed as a defendant, charges that Louisiana's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announce they distributed 18,000 dollars of reward money to numerous individuals who provided tips to the Louisiana Operation Game Thief program. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says 68 people were caught last year due to the LOGT program. Einck says there is a toll free hotline which allows the public to provide tips when they see hunting violations as well as a new smart phone app "LADWF Tips" and a texting service. Each method used is eligible for a cash reward.
Two people in Thibodaux are under arrest for counterfeiting, after an anonymous tipster alerted police the pair were attempting to use counterfeit currency. After the arrest of twenty-three year-old Joshua Ray Hyatt of Livingston and 19 year-old Michelle Bourgeois from Thibodaux, police recovered printing materials, a gun, and marijuana from the motel where they had been staying.
Four members of the Saints 2009 Super Bowl team are no longer members of the Black and Gold. Cornerback Jabari Greer, safety Roman Harper and defensive end Will Smith have been cut from the Saints roster and the team will not re-sign linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Adrian Lamkin a deputy with the Rapides Parish sheriff’s department died Monday from complications of the flu. Lamkin was in charge of the Tioga substation’s Detective Division. Sheriff Hilton says Lamkin fell ill with the H1N1 flu in December and remained hospitalized until his death. Funeral arrangements will be announced by Kramer Funeral Home. Lt. Adrian Lamkin was 62.
One day after closing arguments, a "juror problem" that has not been disclosed is the reason deliberations will not resume yesterday in the federal corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. The jury is expected to continue deliberating today.
According to a report released Tuesday, Louisiana’s high school seniors had among the poorest performances nationwide in reaching passing scores on Advanced Placement exams, which are used to earn college credit. Data from the College Board shows that 5.3 percent of Louisiana’s public high school graduates scored a 3 or higher last year on an AP exam, the grade most colleges require for students to earn credit. The tests are scored on a 1 to 5 scale. The only state with a lower percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher was Mississippi, at 4.4 percent. Nationally, 20.1 percent of 2013’s high school graduates reached the benchmark. Maryland led the country at 29.6 percent.
The proposed expansion of Sempra International's natural gas terminal in Cameron Parish has gotten the last green light from the Energy Department. The expansion will have a price tag that could approach $10 billion dollars. They still need the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval.
It's been awhile since Louisiana had a state income tax review. In fact, the last time was 1987. Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckly from Lake Charles believes that state is past due.
Particularly now, with internet sales growing so fast. As it stands now, Louisiana does not collect taxes on internet sales.
US Senate Democratic caucus voted to appoint Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu as the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The appointment should become final on Thursday with a vote by the entire US Senate.
Another poll shows Louisiana's U-S Senate race is a dead heat. North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling says Senator Mary Landrieu has a slim 1-point lead over republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy. The same polling company had Landrieu with a 10-point lead in August.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission announces upgrades have been made to its website that helps connect employers and job seekers. LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink says they've now designed the site, www.laworks.net, to work sort-of like a dating website when it comes to matching an employer with someone who fits the job. Eysink says they plan to continue to improve their web based services so Louisiana's employers can continue to satisfy their employment needs and so more residents can find nice jobs they qualify for.
A woman from Baton Rouge pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter and cruelty charges in the case of the death of her infant daughter who was found in a garbage truck in 2002. 30 year old JoAnn King will be sentenced March 10th to 12 years in prison under terms of a plea deal.