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Electronic cigarettes may help some quit smoking


The American Heart Association has released a statement saying the use of electronic cigarettes may help some people quit smoking.  The recommendation is for the use of e-cigarettes as a last resort with several notes of caution.
 
 


Associate Dean for Research at LSU, Dr. Ed Trapido, says he'll go along with that for now.
 
"Until we know more about the effects of e-cigarettes and really understand what's in them, how they're regulated, I'll agree with that statement."
 
The recommendation was written by a group of scientists, physicians, and researchers after studying the latest information available on e-cigarettes.  It's emphasized that e-cigarettes should be used as a last resort to help quit smoking.  Trapido says there are several proven cessation methods that one should try first. 
 
"From quit lines, to support groups, to nicotine patches, to medication like Chantix that have been shown to be effective at reducing cigarette dependence."
 
The group's statement admits that much more research needs to be done as there is a lack of knowledge on the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes.  Although he agrees with the AHA statement, Trapido says there is concern in the public health community. 
 
"We're concerned that this is being viewed as an answer to quit smoking but, in fact, we don't have evidence to that."
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Casino Intercept Program gets $2 million in winnings from deadbeat parents


Michelle Southern reporting.
The Department of Children and Family Services says they've collected more than $2 million dollars in casino winnings from parents who owe back child support. Deputy Assistant Secretary Lisa Andry says this is a huge milestone for the Casino Intercept Program which launched in September 2011.

"We certainly don't want non-custodial parents who owe money to be gambling," said Andry. "So this really is a great thing."

Andry says each collection made, whether large or small, is proof that this program is an essential tool for collecting what is owed to Louisiana's children.

"Some of these parents, mostly single moms, are getting the only collection they've ever seen," said Andry.

Andry says a total of 2 million fifty two thousand dollars was taken from 1,526 non-custodial parents who owed back child support. She says when someone wins over 1200, the casino has to cross check the winner with people who owe money in the DCFS database.

"And they put in the information and get a real time response of exactly what that person owes at that time," said Andry.

 
 


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Nachitoches Central High School succumbs to injuries


The 18-year-old Natchitoches Central High School student who was involved in an altercation with another student at school has died as a result of injuries he sustained.  Johnquaries Smith passed away Tuesday morning.  
 


 
Natchitoches Police Captain Brad Walker says the incident happened Monday afternoon.
 
"The victim was punched and then fell to the ground, hitting his head on the concrete, suffering injuries that ultimately cost him his life."
 
Walker says rumors that this was a gang fight are not true.  In fact, he says it wasn't a fight at all.
 
"We're classifying it as a battery, which means one suspect was the aggressor and then the victim, of course, was not."
 
Walker says the 16-year-old suspect was originally booked into the Ware Detention Center on second degree battery charges. 
 
"We're going up to Coushatta, retrieving that suspect, bringing him back down to Natchitoches PD where he will be charged with manslaughter."
 
 
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Nachitoches Central High School succumbs to injuries


The 18-year-old Natchitoches Central High School student who was involved in an altercation with another student at school has died as a result of injuries he sustained.  Johnquaries Smith passed away Tuesday morning.  
 


 
Natchitoches Police Captain Brad Walker says the incident happened Monday afternoon.
 
"The victim was punched and then fell to the ground, hitting his head on the concrete, suffering injuries that ultimately cost him his life."
 
Walker says rumors that this was a gang fight are not true.  In fact, he says it wasn't a fight at all.
 
"We're classifying it as a battery, which means one suspect was the aggressor and then the victim, of course, was not."
 
Walker says the 16-year-old suspect was originally booked into the Ware Detention Center on second degree battery charges. 
 
"We're going up to Coushatta, retrieving that suspect, bringing him back down to Natchitoches PD where he will be charged with manslaughter."
 
 
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Drew and Brittany Brees are proud parents of a baby girl


Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is the father of a new baby girl. Brees says his wife Brittany gave birth their fourth child and their first girl last night. He says mom and child are doing just fine.
 
The family’s first girl will be a little sister to brothers Baylen, Bowen, and Callen. Brees says the entire family is excited.


"We've obviously been talking about it for a long time, even going back to when Brittany first got pregnant, we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl, just asking if they want another brother or a little sister, and they all said baby sister. So they got their wish." 
 
Brees is holding off on announcing the girl's name until its on the birth certificate. And he believes this will be the last addition to their immediate family.
 
"I think is four is a good number. Brit was looking at me during that delivery, hey this is the last one buddy."
 
 
    
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Louisiana ranked third best tax-friendly state


Michelle Southern reporting.
According to the personal finance magazine Kiplinger, Louisiana is the third most tax friendly state in the nation. Senior Associate Editor Sandy Block says their rankings were based on rates for income, sales and gas taxes. She says a big boost for Louisiana is the fact that we have the lowest property taxes in the nation.

"That's a big help for a lot of people because up north in places like New York and New Jersey, property taxes can be 10 times what they are in Louisiana," said Block.

Block says property in Louisiana is assessed at 10 percent of its fair market value. She also says our gas tax is well below average at 20 cents a gallon. Block says as a result, Louisiana is a very tax friendly place for retirees.

"And in that tax map which will be coming out in a few weeks, additional issues will be addressed such as whether or not social security is taxed and Louisiana continues to well in all of those categories too," said Block.

Block says the most tax friendly state is Delaware followed by Wyoming, then Mississippi and Alabama are ranked just below Louisiana. 

She says they have a tax map tool on their website, kiplinger.com, to help people make the most financially sound decision when considering a move to another state.

"This is a helpful tool to figure out just how much of your income would go to state and local taxes," said Block.


 
 
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ACLU-LA: School should let Rastafari student wear dreadlocks


Michelle Southern reporting.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to the Plaquemines Parish School Board and South Plaquemines High School administrators regarding a student who has been suspected because of his hairstyle.

The student is Rastafari with ACLU-LA Executive Director Marjorie Esman says his long dreadlocks are religiously mandated.

"He's been told that he can not return to school until he cuts his hair which he can not do in keeping with his religious faith," said Esman.

Esman says the student is not new to the school but last year his parents were unaware of the right he has to keep his hair the way his religion mandates.

"But since then they realized that the school was wrong and that he has the constitutional right to have his hair as his reglion requires," said Esman.

Esman says they are seeking an expedited hearing before the full school board very quickly with the expectation that they will do the right thing.

"He needs to go back to school," said Esman.

Calls to the school board were not returned.


 

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Miles: Both quarterbacks will play against Wisconsin


13th ranked LSU is just four days away from the season opener against 14th Wisconsin and it remains a mystery to the public who will be the starting quarterback for the Tigers. Coach Les Miles is staying tight lipped, but he says Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris will get a chance to play against the Badgers.

"We have guys that can play, but right now, they have not separated themselves," Miles said.

Miles says how Jennings and Harris perform during the games will determine how long they go with a two quarterback system.

"Well, right now, if there was one quarterback that gave us all the advantages to play, then at some point in time, that guy would be our starter after he determined that it was an advantage to his team to play him in all situations from start to finish.  That separation has not occurred." 
 
Miles also doesn't anticipate the battle for starting quarterback to be a distraction for his team. 
 
"I think the distraction is and can only be brought in by other people.  Because the only opinion that's worth a damn is that opinion that's derived in our building.  So that opinion will play those guys and everybody in that building will understand that's the reason why." 
   

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US Senate debate scheduled for October 14th


Council for A Better Louisiana is partnering with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to present a US Senate debate on October 14th.  Incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican challengers Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness will all participate.
 
 


CABL President Barry Erwin says this race is hugely important for the state.
 
"It's also important when you look at the map across the country in the US Senate and we're just really delighted to have this opportunity to kind of help voters find out more about where the candidates stand."
 
The debate will take place at Centenary College in Shreveport beginning at 7PM.  It will be broadcast statewide on LPB television stations.  Erwin says there are still working on the format of the debate, but there shouldn't be a shortage of topics. 
 
"I think there's going to be a whole flavor of questions from things that are really local and have to do with things in the state, but also trying to understand what these candidates really feel and believe about some of these other international issues that also effect us here."
 
Erwin says there are several pressing issues important to the state tied to this election.  He says it's important nationally because, potentially, the balance of power in the Senate could be determined by the outcome.   
 
 
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Coroner says New Iberia man in custody shot/killed himself


The Iberia Parish Coroner says the Iberia Parish man who died while he was in handcuffs was not killed by police. In a release, Coroner Carl Ditch says on March 2, 22-year-old Victor White III lost his life in the back seat of an Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office vehicle while his hands were bound.


He says investigators and the pathologist determined that White was able to manipulate his gun to where the contact would was found. That means he says the manner of death was determined to be a suicide based on information gathered by the ongoing State Police investigation. 

Troopers say authorities are still trying to determine how White was able to get the gun.


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No more Slap Ya Mama ads in NFL over domestic violence concerns


Michelle Southern reporting.
The popular Louisiana spice "Slap Ya Mama" has been told by the NFL they can't have virtual on-field ads during game telecasts anymore citing the fact it may send the wrong message. Cox Media sent a message to the Cajun spice company and said the matter was over domestic violence issues the NFL is facing.

"We were totally baffled and shocked by this being that they would make such an association," says Jack Walker whose mother owns Slap Your Mama. "We're all about being fun loving, family and friends and enjoying your life."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a release that ALL virtual ads on the field will not be allowed during game telecasts saying some of the products and messages aren't consistent with league standards.

Walker says this would have been the third year they've run the same ad with Cox during Saints games.

"Everything has been fine in previous years then all of a sudden the NFL has an issue with it and decides they have to pull that spot," said Walker.

Walker says they have never had a problem with anyone associating the name of their brand with any type of domestic violence.

"I think it's a lack of understanding of our culture and the way we do things down here in the south," said Walker.

 


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Qualifying ends and eyes turn to November 4th


With election qualifying behind us, all eyes are turned toward November 4th.  Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat sees several races destined for a runoff election in December.


 
In the US Senate race, Pinsonat says the picture is pretty clear.
 
"Nobody's strong enough right now, neither Cassidy nor Landrieu, which are the two top candidates, have enough votes to push over the 50.1 percent.  So we're looking at a runoff, almost certainly right now."
 
Pinsonat says a December runoff between Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican Bill Cassidy could determine control of the US Senate.  He says the waters are a little cloudy when it comes to the 6th Congressional District race.  Most pundits believe Edwin Edwards is a shoe-in for a December runoff.  Pinsonat says beyond that, this race is really a toss up. 
 
"We have three or four really well funded candidates, and who makes it into the runoff with Edwin Edwards is the big question right now.  And there is no poll showing that anyone is that dominate."
 
Pinsonat thinks the 5th Congressional District election is wide open.  He says incumbent Vance McAllister has lost a lot of his base and popularity due to the infamous kissing scandal earlier this year.  Pinsonat says that plus the fact that he has some well funded challengers, makes this race difficult to call. 
 
"I think you'll start seeing polls make sense probably in the next 10 days to two weeks as those new polls come out."
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Emmys tonight highlight critical acclaim for shows filmed in Louisiana


The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will air tonight on NBC and there are five Louisiana-made series and miniseries that are all in the running for some really nice honors. 

Louisiana Entertainment Director Chris Stelly says True Detective, Bonnie and Clyde, American Horror Story and Treme are all nominated for their amazing story lines.

"And of course with Top Chef New Orleans, we'll all about the food," said Stelly.

He says all of these shows have one thing in common, "It's the fact that Louisiana in itself, as a background, is a character and it really comes out to the viewer."
 
 
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Lawsuit filed to challenge abortion law


A state law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital goes into a effect next Monday, but the Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the law.


 
An attorney for the center, Julie Rikelman, says the courts have blocked similar laws around the country.
 
"We filed this lawsuit because, if it takes effect on September 1, it will either entirely eliminate or drastically restrict the access to legal abortion in Louisiana."
 
Rikelman says the law, which was passed by the legislature earlier this year, will close all five of the state's five abortion clinics. She says one of their arguments against the law is that the state didn't give abortion doctors enough time to obtain the privileges. 
 
"And the application process at hospitals can be very lengthy.  It can take months to even have an application for privileges considered."
 
But Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Ben Clapper disagrees and says abortion doctors had enough time to get admitting privileges. 
 
"Therefore, they are taking the route of trying to stop this process through law, instead of doing what is necessary to get admitting privileges at a local hospital."
 
Clapper says Louisiana has the right to close a loophole in the current law, which allows for abortion facilities to operate at a lower standard, compared to other surgical facilities. 
 
"It helps the woman and it helps to make sure that complications are taken care of easier, quicker, and more effective."
 
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McAllister officially joins 5th District Race


Michelle Southern reporting.
Today is the final day to qualify for the November 4th election and first in line was 5th Congressional District Rep. Vance McAllister. The Congressman came under fire earlier this year for being caught on tape kissing a married woman at his office and Governor Bobby Jindal called for his resignation.

McAllister says the Governor should be more worried about serving the state.

"He needs to do the job that he's got. The taxpayer dollars that I pay for him to work here in Louisiana," said McAllister. "He needs to serve Louisiana better. If he did that then I bet we'd all get up and support him on his next venture. Including me even though they're willing to eat me."

McAllister shrugged off the fact that Jindal and the Louisiana GOP don't support him. He says God has given him a second chance with his family and he hopes voters will continue to support him because he knows more about values now than every before.

"You can really tell someone what family values are when you have to figure out how to value your family when you almost lose them," said McAllister.

Mangham physician Dr. Ralph Abraham says he entered the 5th Congressional District race because he's concerned about the future.

"I'm worried about my children and my grandchildren," said Mangham. "There are so many things we have to correct."

Abraham says it's time to change the politics in Washington as right now Republicans and Democrats are so intent on destroying each other, that they are actually destroying this country.

"You have to negotiate now. You don't have to give your core principles up, you don't have to give your values up," said Abraham. "But for this country to move forward, we have got to get out of this deadlock that Congress is in."
 
 

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Maness enters US Senate race


On the final day to qualify for the US Senate race, republican and retired air force colonel, Rob Maness, signed up at the Secretary of State's office so his name will appear on the November fourth ballot.
"I'm just an American and Louisianian, and most of all a Christian, a dad, a husband, a grandfather that's worried about his country." 
 
Democratic incumbent senator Mary Landrieu and republican Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy qualified for the US Senate race on Wednesday. But Maness says Louisiana voters are looking for someone who is not part of the Washington establishment. 
 
"I'm an outsider, a non-politician that's never ran for office before. And one of us, and one of us is going to take that seat and that's what sets me apart."
 
 
 
 
 
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Sweltering weekend ahead


Michelle Southern reporting.
Get ready for the hottest weekend of the year. State Climatologist Barry Keim says there is a large ridge of high pressure setting up across the central United States which is limiting thunderstorm activity, and driving up the temperatures.

"This is due to a lack of cloudiness and thundershowers," said Keim. "In fact we're likely to see the highest temperatures seen all year so far across the entire state of Louisiana."

Keim says high temps through the weekend will be in the upper 90's and triple digits in some cases.

"So it's going to be a brutally hot weekend and there will only be a modest breakdown in this pattern at the start of next week," Keim said.

He says the humidity will also be high which drives the heat index up.

"Heat index values will probably come in about 110 degrees," said Keim.
 
 
 
 
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Election qualifying ends today


Today is the final day of qualifying for the upcoming November elections.  So far, no surprises have popped up during the qualifying period.
 


 
 UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says if someone is thinking of jumping in a race at the last minute, they won't do very well.
 
"To run for office today you have to lay the groundwork early."
 
Cross says these days you have to raise money and build your campaign organization well before qualifying begins.  He says once qualifying is over, campaigns will really start to kick into gear.  Cross says candidates will start putting that campaign money to use in TV and radio ads, yard signs, and any other way they can get their message out.
 
"Between now and the election on November 4th, it's going to be a sprint."
 
He says some of these races could definitely get wild and woolly.  Qualifying ends at 4:30 today. 
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Lawmakers travel to Oklahoma to learn about steps taken to replace Common Core


Michelle Southern reporting.
A Delegation of anti-Common Core state lawmakers are headed to Oklahoma today to hear how leaders there were able to successfully repeal the education standards. Among them will be Lake Charles Rep. Brett Geymann who says they'll be meeting with legislators who passed bills that reassert state control over standards and tests.

"We'll go out there and visit with them and their staff just to go over some things that worked for them," said Geymann. "We want to see if we can incorporate some of those ideas into what we have tried in the past and what we're planning on trying out in the next session."

Geymann says they feel Common Core standards are a form of federal government intrusion into something that should be a state matter. He says they want to learn more about how Oklahoma and other states are working to develop better education solutions at the state level.

"The question is how are we going to get to that majority of legislators in the House and Senate to be able to feel comfortable in doing that," said Geymann. "We want to go learn from the guys who have just done it in a state that somewhat represents our political makeup."

Geymann says they plan to integrate their findings from Oklahoma into their ongoing leadership in efforts to craft sensible solutions for replacing Common Core. He says this federal overreach in Louisiana's classrooms needs to stop.

"Parents are very concerned and teachers are very concerned," said Geymann. "We need to find a way to get out of this."




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Shreveport PD: Men arrested for beating up 91-year-old after stealing casino winnings


The Shreveport Police Department says two men are behind bars for allegedly beating up a 91-year-old man after they tried to rob him of casino winnings. Corporal Marcus Hines says just after midnight, they learned the elderly victim, who is a World War II Veteran, had just won a small jackpot at the Eldorado Casino.

"These two suspects observed the man walking into a restroom and they followed up, robbed him of his winnings and assaulted him in the process," said Hines.

Hines says 39-year-old John Perkins and 60-year-old Gary Smith are each charged with second degree robbery. He says the elderly man was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.

"And what's more egregious is that this is a man fought for our country and the fact that two people would steal his money and beat him up is ridiculous," said Hines.

He says thankfully the elderly victim is going to make a full recovery.



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