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Saints finally get in the win column

The Saints finally picked up their first win of the season as New Orleans defeated Minnesota 20-9.
"It wasn't perfect, but I thought we played hard," Saints head coach Sean Payton said.  

The Saints jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, but didn't score again until the 4th quarter. A 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty against Minnesota kept alive a Saints drive that led to seven more points in the final quarter.
After losing late leads in the last two games, Payton says it was good to finish this contest on top. 
"It was a game where we were able to get them off the field and then it was game where we were able to possess the ball for however many minutes and then take a knee, so that was a positive."
Quarterback Drew Brees through for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Brandin Cooks had eight catches for 74 yards, while Khiry Robinson had 69 yards on 18 carries.
The Saints held Minnesota to 59 yards rushing. The Vikings were without star running back Adrian Peterson, who is away from the team, because he's child abuse charges.
Up next for the Saints, the Dallas Cowboys. The two teams will meet at Jerry World next Sunday night. Dallas is 2-and-1.  
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LSU and Louisiana Tech upset at home

For the first time since 1991, Mississippi State came into Baton Rouge and left town with a victory. The Bulldogs rolled up 570 yards of total offense in a 34-29 victory over the Tigers.

Mississippi State did much of its damage on the ground as they rushed for 302 yards. Two Louisiana natives did most of the damages against a Tigers defense that was gashed.
Former Haughton star Dak Prescott had a Heisman like performance, as he threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Prescott also rushed for a 105 yards, including an impressive 56-yard touchdown run.
Former Franklinton star Josh Robinson rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU rushed for only 89 yards. Quarterback Anthony Jennings struggled as he was 13-of-26 for 157 yards. Jennings was sacked three times, the last hit knocked him out of the game.
Brandon Harris led LSU on three scoring drives in the 4th quarter, throwing two touchdown passes to Malachi Dupre. Coach Les Miles said after the game that Harris showed them a lot and left open the possibility he could start against New Mexico State.
In Ruston, Northwestern State scored 20 4th quarter points to come from behind to beat Louisiana Tech 30-27. Chris Moore kicked two field goals, including a 47-yarder to win it on the final play of the game.
The Bulldogs turned it over five times. Tech quarterback Cody Sokol was intercepted three times.
It was Northwestern's first win over an FBS opponent since 2005 and it's the Demons first win over the Bulldogs since 1979.  
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Record number of candidates dropping out

Secretary of State Tom Schedler is advising voters to study up on their November fourth ballot, because they've had a record number of candidates who have withdrawn from their respective races since qualifying. Schedler says 110 candidates have dropped out of their race and the printed ballot may not reflect the change in the number of candidates.

"So we urge voters to look at the ballot that's posted at the precinct.  And there will be a list of withdrawn candidates."
Many of names of withdrawn candidates will remain on the ballot because it is required by law that these ballots are made 45 days from the election.  Votes for withdrawn candidates will not be counted.  Schedler says local election commissioners are supposed to inform voters at polling stations of withdrawn candidates on the ballot.
"I just want to be straight up with everyone, when you have over 13,000 commissioners across the state, certainly human error, there could be incidents where a long line or someone inadvertently forgets to say that."
Even a US Senate candidate has withdrawn from the race and that is Raymond Brown.  Schedler says, with that, there will be withdrawn candidates on the ballot in every single parish.  Schedler says you can always go to GeauxVote-dot-com to keep yourself updated.
"It'll pull up a live ballot specific to you and that will be current to, literally, the day of the election of who has withdrawn.  So, when all else fails, use that."
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State agencies waste airline tickets

The Louisiana Inspector General has issued a set of recommendations for state agencies to stop wasting airline tickets.  Stephen Street's office found that between 2011 and 2013, over half a million dollars in non-refundable airline tickets were purchased by state entities, but never used. 

Street says his office is mandated to find and eliminate waste and this is a classic example of waste.
"Where you have airline tickets that have a monetary value that are allowed to expire and become completely worthless to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars."
The report shows that nearly 12-hundred non-refundable airline tickets expired, but could have been used within one year to pay for another ticket.  Street says the topic was addressed in a previous report in 2010 and the results of that report were similar to this year's.
"We've reviewed it again, pointed it out again, and we are hopefully confident that there will be some steps taken to address the problem.  It's been represented to us and the response is that is happening."
Street says, in tight budget times, we have to be especially careful about this sort of waste of taxpayer money.  He says the report includes a set of recommendations for the Office of State Travel to ensure unused airline tickets are not wasted.
"It appears that they're going to be taking steps to monitor this stuff much more closely and to make certain that we just don't allow this money to evaporate."
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Louisiana continues to set records when it comes to employment

August was another record breaking month in terms of employment. The Louisiana Workforce Commission released new job numbers today and nonfarm employment grew by 30-thousand over the last 12 months and a record 1.9 million people are employed in the Pelican state.

"Sectors with the most new jobs were construction, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and education and health services," said Tom Guarisco.
August saw a record 1.6 million non-government jobs in Louisiana, as private employers added 36-thousand jobs over the year. Guarisco says the construction sector led the way by hiring 95-hundred workers. 
"Construction is a driver, when jobs are added in that sector, it leads to more growth in other sectors."
Guarisco says they anticipate setting more employment records in the coming months, because the construction sector will need to keep adding workers.
"Our forecasts say that it's going to take off considerably more in the coming years as a lot of these industrial projects come on line."  
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Louisiana obesity rate dropping, but still not great

Michelle Southern reporting.
According to a recent report, Louisiana's obesity rate is dropping for the first time in 30 years. The annual study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found The Bayou State is now ranked 6th in the nation, instead of first.

"We've been ranked number 1 or number 2 in the country, taking turns with Mississippi, for about 30 years now," says LeAnne Redman, an obesity researcher at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. "So it's very encouraging for our researchers to see this happening."

Redman believes healthy initiatives all across the state are making it easier for people to make healthier choices. She believes that in a state where we love food at events like tailgating and Mardi Gras, the culture is somewhat changing.

"I think that's what's happening at these meet and greets is that people are trying to provide more healthy foods for everybody," said Redman.

Redman also says their research shows it all starts in the womb and that pregnancy is very important on laying down the metabolic fingerprint of that child. The study shows that Louisiana's adult obesity rate is still 33.1% and Redman says we still have a long way to go.

"So we have to spend some more time thinking about what we can do to continue this trend in future years," Redman said.
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Donaldsonville man avoids prison time in negligent homicide case

A Donaldsonville man who pleaded guilty in 1995 to negligent homicide in a crash that killed a ten-week old child has avoided prison. Stanley White received a two-year prison sentence 19 years ago, but was never given a report date. He was re-sentenced again and White's sentence this time was two years of home incarceration.

"I think to put someone like Stanley in jail after all these years after system failures would have been vengeance and not justice," White's attorney, Steven Moore.
The parents of the infant killed in the wreck, Shannon and Rachel Deville, say  justice was not served. But Moore says White is remorseful and he's been a model citizen since he made a horrible mistake.
"He tried to live his life as best as possible after that, which is what we want from people who make mistakes," Moore said. 
White is a college graduate, with a full-time job and has not been trouble with the law since the fatal crash. 
White was 19 at the time of the accident. It's unknown why he never received a date to report to prison. 
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LSU's contraflow plan to get tested with SEC home opener

The largest crowd to ever watch a football game in Tiger Stadium is expected Saturday when the Tigers face SEC West foe Mississippi State. The game is nearly sold-out in, which means 100-thousand tickets have been sold and LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette says this will put to test their contralow plan after the game.
"On Nicholson, from Skip Bertman Drive all the way to Bluebonnet is contraflow and it's been executed very well up to this point."
Contraflow is being used this year for fans that are heading south on Nicholson Drive. Bonnette says a record crowd and a potentially close game, with tens of thousands of fans leaving at the same time, will give them a better idea if it works as intended.
Bonnette says they are also encouraging fans to get to campus early. He says last week they had a bottle neck for those fans tyring to get to their seat in the east upper deck.
"We want fans to know if they are in the east upper and you are willing and capable of walking up ramps, you can utilize gates 22 through 28 on the south side." 
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Fourth anniversary of capping the BP well

Four years ago today workers were able to cap the BP well that created the largest environmental disaster in the history of North America.  Executive Director for The Coastal Protection Restoration Authority, Kyle Graham, says, four years later, most of the oil has been removed from the coastal beaches and marshes in Louisiana.

"But, yet, there is still oil out there.  And given the depth and the distance and the amount of oil, we anticipate that we'll be seeing oil on Louisiana's coast for decades."
He says it's still too early to tell what the long-term effects the oil-spill will have on the ecosystem along the state's coast. 
"There are still a lot of studies ongoing to look at individual species and to look at the populations of the various fauna and things that make up our coastal environment to determine what the total amount of that impact will be."
Graham says they have been receiving money associated with the criminal penalties as a result of the spill.  He says some of that money has been used to progress the engineering and design of barrier island and diversion projects. 
"We are hoping to, in the next six months, actually, to see some of that money spent on construction of barrier island projects here in Louisiana."
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Analyst skeptical of Fox News poll showing Landrieu losing major support

Michelle Southern reporting.
A new poll conducted by Fox News shows Republican US-Senate candidate Bill Cassidy with a substantial lead over the incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu in a head-to-head match-up. The survey shows Cassidy with 51% of the vote and Landrieu with 38% in a potential runoff scenario.

ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley questions the validity of this poll.

"Is it entirely within the realm of possibility that Landrieu has lost some support? I suppose," says Stockley. "However I'm skeptical that she sits at only 38%."

The poll interviewed just over 600 likely Louisiana voters between September 14th-16th. 

Stockley says it's possible that Landrieu has lost some support, but he's skeptical that she's all the way down to just 38% support.

He says so many other polls on this race show Landrieu in the mid to upper 40s.

"Typically when you have one poll that is substantially different from the trend, or the other polls - one should treat it skeptically," said Stockley.

According to the poll numbers in the jungle primary, Landrieu has 31% support, Cassidy has 35% and Republican tea-party favorite Rob Maness has 7%. Stockley says that would mean that Maness is taking votes away from Landrieu which is highly unlikely.

"How is it possible for those voters to not support Landrieu in favor of Maness by Maness being in the race," said Stockley. "That flies in the face of what everything else is telling us about the electorate in this state."


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