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News For Friday 12/06/13
News for Friday 120613
By Dave Graichen
More big weather changes are coming today for Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says prepare for another bout of cold weather, which he says is already entering the state this morning. He says the cold front should reach the coast by later tonight. Keim says temperatures will be dropping throughout the day. He says with the colder air, we can expect lots of rain through the weekend.
State and local officials were on hand yesterday along with Gulf Coast Spinning Company CEO Dan Feibus announced the his company will invest 130 million dollars in a new spinning facility in Bunkie, with construction to begin in mid-2014. They estimate the creation of just over 300 jobs, and over 700 indirect jobs.
There was some bad economic development news yesterday. Shell announced they are scrapping plans to build a 12-point-five billion dollar natural gas-to-liquids plant in Ascension Parish. The project would have created over 700 jobs. Shell says the project is no longer viable, because of uncertainty in long-term oil and gas prices.
Sam Goodwin, the longtime coach at Northwestern State, was introduced Thursday afternoon as the next coach Alexandria Senior High School. The 69-year-old Goodwin, a Pineville native, has coached for more than 40 years at the collegiate and high school level in Louisiana and Arkansas.
The Louisiana National Guard announced changes in procedures that will allow its soldiers and employees with same-sex married partners to take advantage of federal benefits without violating Louisiana law. State law forbids state employees, which Guardsmen technically are, from taking any actions that would support the legality of same-sex marriage. Gay married couples employed by the Louisiana National Guard were unable to participate in the health care services, housing, shopping at low-priced military grocery and goods stores as well as other benefits available to other members of the military.
One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet secretaries said Thursday that JPMorgan Chase waited months before alerting the administration about a computer hacking that impacts 13,500 Louisiana residents.
State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield said he is reserving judgment but wants to know why there was a delay. He said JPMorgan Chase & Co. learned about the breach in September and phoned his office just this week.
State Police say the driver of an 18 wheeler died in a single vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon in Sabine Parish. They say 29 year old Eldon Hendrix II of Center, Texas lost control on LA High 191 and overturned his truck. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say the pilot of a helicopter that crashed in Port Fourchon Thursday morning is a hero because of the way he handled the situation. They chopper was carrying 9 people headed offshore when some sort of malfunction occurred and they had to make a hard landing. Nobody on board the helicopter suffered any injuries in the crash.
ULM launches a campaign to try and get the Warhawk football team in the Advocare V100 Bowl in Shreveport. Athletic director Brian Wickstrom says digital billboards are up in the Monroe area, urging fans to call and email bowl officials and tell them they want the Warhawks in that bowl game for a second straight year. The Warhawks played in the Bowl last year, but lost to Ohio University.
A former LSU football player is facing a felony charge after he allegedly stole money from a wallet located inside an off-campus apartment last month. Baton Rouge Police Corporal Don Coppola Jr says Jeryl Brazil faces a charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling. Coppola says surveillance video helped identify Brazil as the thief.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has launched an App for iPhone and iPad that their customers can now use to find urgent care, check the status of a claim and more. The group says the Blue Cross app is named "BCBSLA" and contains many features that allow their customers access to their healthcare coverage information easily.
A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputy has been fired after admitting to illegally buying pain meds for a family member. An investigation turned up evidence that 30-year-old Jon-Michael Norris was buying hydrocodone pills for a relative who was reportedly addicted. Charges against Norris may be coming.
A federal judge has dismissed a civil suit against the city of Shreveport - filed by a woman who says she was raped in 2010 by then chief administrative officer Rick Seaton. She sought to hold the city accountable for what happened to her inside a city office. Seaton was convicted and is still serving time for the crime. The judge ruled the victim's civil suit invalid.
News For Thursday 12/5/13
News for Thursday 120513
By Dave Graichen
The state DOTD announced yesterday that The Jackson Street Bridge will reopen to vehicle traffic on Thursday, Dec. 12. However, the sidewalk for pedestrians will remain closed "until further notice,". The existing shuttle service will continue for pedestrians and bicyclists.
A series of Christmas festivals will begin this evening in Alexandria. The event kicks off the city of Alexandria’s Twelve Nights of Christmas celebration. Holiday Magic Downtown begins at 5 p.m. today in the Alexander Fulton mini-park across from Alexandria City Hall. It will feature food, music and Santa Claus.
US Senator David Vitter sent an email to his supporters this Wednesday saying that friends and family members have been encouraging him to run for Governor in 2015. Vitter says he and his wife Wendy plan to pray about the decision over the Christmas holiday and they will make an official announcement one way or the other next month.
U.S. Representative Vance McAllister from the sixth district hasn't been in Washington that long, but he's already secured spots on the House Natural Resources and House Agriculture committees. He has a one-year term because of the time left on Rodney Alexander's term, who resigned in the middle of his sixth term.
Get ready for a change in the weather. Meteorologist Gary Chatelain with the National Weather Service says the mild temperatures we've seen this week will go away, as the result of a very strong cold front that arrives in the bayou state today. The cold front won't push through south Louisiana until tomorrow, but once it does, temperatures will drop. On Saturday, high temps will be in 40s for much of south Louisiana, upper 30s for north Louisiana. Chatelain says there's a chance for mixed precipitation from I-20 to the north on Saturday.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols announced late Wednesday, personal information for about 13,500 Louisiana residents was compromised when the data collected by three state government agencies was breached. Computer hackers penetrated the computer security systems at JPMorgan Chase. About 6,000 recipients of a pre-loaded debit card used by the Louisiana Department of Revenue to distribute state income tax refunds could have been compromised, as well as approximately 5,300 Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services child support debit cardholders and about 2,200 people receiving unemployment benefits from the Louisiana Workforce Commission via a Chase debit card.
A last-ditch bid to impose a two-year moratorium on letter grades for public schools failed Wednesday. Instead, the state’s top school board voted to tweak a new policy so that schools will not be unfairly penalized as they move to the national academic standards called Common Core. All the action followed Tuesday’s three-hour debate, which ended with the panel endorsing a wide range of changes to soften the impact of the overhaul. The grades stem from a 2010 state law. They are aimed at showing parents and others how schools are operating. Critics say the grades are too imprecise to be meaningful.
State Sen. Dan Claitor said Wednesday he will run for Congress in the 6th district after deciding he could bring some “reason” back to Washington. The state senator from Baton Rouge is serving his second term in the Legislature after first being elected in 2009. The 6th congressional district seat is being vacated after 2014 because current Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate next year.
Louisiana’s higher education commissioner said Wednesday that he won’t seek a contract renewal when his current deal as the state’s chief policy leader for public colleges ends in March. Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting. The announcement wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Purcell has often been at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal over the depth of budget cuts, with more than $700 million in state funding stripped from higher education by the Jindal administration and lawmakers since 2008.
You could call it Karma, The Opelousas Police Department says a man carjacked a vehicle
Wednesday, crashed the SUV he stole a short time later and is now in serious condition. They say 28 year old Kendall Reed allegedly whacked the victim in the head with a tool as he was leaving for work and sped off in his vehicle. Reed is suffering from internal injuries and several cuts on his head and hands. Once he gets out of the hospital, police say they will be waiting for him.
LSU freshman Quarterback Anthony Jennings will be the play caller for the Tigers' bowl game in January. That's because of Zach Mettenberger's season-ending knee injury. Football analyst Mike Detillier says the news for Mentenburger is not all bad. In fact, he still has a chance to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft, even with the injury. Mentenberger became the third quarterback in LSU history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season and he's one of the nation's leaders in passing efficiency.
Sheriff's deputies in Iberia Parish seek a pair of armed robbers, who used Facebook to set their victim up for a holdup. Sheriff's spokesman Captain Ryan Turner says the 28-year-old victim had been communicating with a man on the social media website, and agreed to meet him face-to-
face. When the woman arrived at the address given by the Facebook friend, but was quickly confronted outside the home by two armed men who took her money.
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge gets nearly $16-million in grants for continued studies of optimal nutrition and combat readiness for soldiers. The two Department of Defense grants will continue research into nutrition and fitness strategies for America's fighting men and women.
News For Wednesday 12/4/13
News for Wednesday 120413
By Dave Graichen
After weeks of speculation, republican US Senator David Vitter says he is thinking about running for governor in 2015. Vitter told the Associated Press that he and his wife will send an email to
supporters letting them know about a potential gubernatorial campaign. Vitter plans to make a decision by January.
The state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education (BESE) has approved changes in implementing the new performance standards known as Common Core. Teacher evaluations, student promotion and school letter grades won't be affected by Common Core for two full years.
Teachers unions, school boards and parents have voiced plenty of opposition to the unproven performance standards being pushed by federal education officials.
Tonight the national spotlight shines on Central Louisiana. To be more exact McNeeley Crossing, just south of Colfax on highway 8 in Grant Parish. “Mud People,” filmed at Louisiana MudFest premieres at 10 p.m. tonight on the Travel Channel.
Officials in north Louisiana are doing a study of plans to provide Amtrak passenger rail service across the region, with possible stops in Shreveport, Ruston and Monroe. Kent Rogers is Executive Director of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments. He says DOTD has awarded them $250,000 to conduct the study.
Louisiana oystermen say oysters are very hard to come by this winter and their $300-million industry is hurting. Louisiana Oyster Task Force Chairman John Tesvich says, in his 35 years in the oyster business, he's never seen it this bad. Tesvich says many oyster businesses along Louisiana's coast are reduced to only one working boat, because harvests are just too small. He says it's not just a decline; it's practically zero population. He says it's likely not a coincidence that the shortage of oysters comes just a few years after the massive BP oil spill.
Sentencing is scheduled today for a Jefferson Parish 13-year-old who admitted killed his little sister, while imitating moves he learned watching TV wrestling. In court Tuesday, Armstrong Desvallons (day val on) pleaded guilty to the death of his 5-year-old half-sister, using repeated elbow and body
slam moves he learned watching WWE wrestling on television. She died of internal bleeding, liver lacerations and broken ribs.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office says a two-car accident Monday evening leaves one dead and another facing charges. They say an initial investigation revealed that one vehicle hit another
from causing both cars to catch fire. One driver died and charges are pending against the other. Alcohol is a suspected factor.
A man from Thibodaux is in the Lafourche Parish Detention Center amid allegations he stole cerebral palsy donations from a gas station. Police say about $40 was stolen and Frank McKenzie's bail is set at $18,000.
Grambling Police say a Houston woman is dead after being hit by a car early. Police say 58 year old Diane Watson was walking in the middle of the road when she was run over. She was pronounced dead at the scene. They believe an autopsy will indicate she was intoxicated.. .
Law enforcement officials have ramped up patrols around the LSU lakes after some who jog there have expressed concerns about their safety. A woman was choked unconscious during an evening run last month. Police say it's still a safe place to work out, they just encourage joggers to remain vigilant of their surroundings.
Jury selection has begun in Baton Rouge for the trial of 33-year-old Dustin Musso - accused of murdering his own grandfather in 2009, then setting his house on fire to try to cover it up. An autopsy showed 76-year-old Pete Musso Jr. died from trauma to the head, and smoke inhalation from the fire. Prosecutors waived a death penalty in order to get the younger Musso to trial faster.
Organizers of the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans say their headliner next July 4th weekend will be none other than Prince. It's not known what night he will top the billing, but the festival goes on July 3rd through 6th in the Superdome. Tickets have already gone on sale - six months in advance.
Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will not play in LSU’s bowl game, ESPN reported Tuesday night. The team plans to address the issue publically today.
Mettenberger suffered the injury midway through the fourth quarter in LSU’s 31-27 comeback win over Arkansas on Friday.
Tulane announced yesterday that it has accepted a bid to play in the New Orleans Bowl. The Green Wave will face the Ragin Cajuns at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on Saturday December 21st. It's Tulane's first bowl game since 2002, when it beat Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.
News For Tuesday 12/3/13
News for Tuesday 120313
By Dave Graichen
So after a crazy week of college football, it looks like LSU is probably going to the Cotton Bowl. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says things are falling into place for The Bayou Bengals to head to
Arlington after Auburn's crazy win over Alabama Saturday...sending them to the SEC Championship game. The Bowl Selection show will air Sunday on ESPN.
The state Legislative Auditor releases a report showing the Department of Revenue failed to collect millions in unpaid severance taxes from oil & gas companies. Nicole Edmonson, with the Auditor's office says there were several problems, ranging from computer software issues to not verifying information provided by those companies. She says they're not sure exactly how much money oil & gas companies owe the state.
The state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education will meet today to consider a slow-down of implementing more stringent performance standards for schools, teachers and students known as Common Core. After much protest from parents, educators and the state school board association, Education Superintendent John White is proposing changes to BESE that will delay full implementation of Common Core.
A New Orleans man is behind bars for manslaughter after confessing to a hit and run that claimed the life of a 29 year old woman and a 2 year old child Sunday morning. Ervin Freeman is also charged with one count of felony hit and run.
A Lafayette Councilman says there are too many dollar stores in his area and he wants to do something about it. Kenneth Boudreaux says there are 30 Dollar General and Family Dollar stores in Lafayette Parish. He reportedly feels the discount stores hurt neighborhood businesses.
The University of Louisiana System has teamed with the website and app "MyEDU" to guide students in their career path and help employers find qualified help. UL System President Sandra Woodley says they just launched MyEDU last month, and student signups are growing fast without a promotional campaign. Dr. Woodley says about 14 thousand of the UL System's 90-thousand students have already signed up.
State and local officials have discussed ways to make the Interstate 49 interchange safer at U-S 190 in Opelousas. Mayo Don Cravins says it's a dangerous intersection and there's been over 40 accidents with injuries over the past few years. He says there's been talk about improving the safety at the I-49/US 190 interchange for the last decade, but it's becoming more of a problem because the traffic volume in that area has increased.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office says a man from Houma is dead after he fell off a houseboat during a hunting trip. They say Wayne Cancienne (KAHN'-si-en) was located after the weekend floating next to the houseboat. The death is being ruled an accident.
The old Mississippi River Bridge which connects Baton Rouge and Port Allen, is getting a makeover. Chris Guidry is the assistant bridge design administrator for the Louisiana Department of Transportation. He says the 73 year old bridge was in rough shape. As a matter of fact, If there were no repairs, the bridge would be lucky to last another 20 years. He says they hope to have the $100 million project done by 2016.
The City Council in Thibodaux is expected to vote on the saggy pants ban tonight after they hear comments from the public. The Lafourche Parish Council passed a similar ordinance in 2007, but it doesn't apply in Thibodaux. Mayor Tommy Eschete says the ordinance has a lot of support, but the decision is ultimately up to the Council.
It was a good night for the New Orleans Pelicans last night as they claimed a 131-128 victory over the Chicago Bulls in triple overtime..
On the other hand.. not a good night for the saints.. Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
News For Monday 12/2/13
News for Monday 120213
By Dave Graichen
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon agrees to implement an adjustment to Obamacare that would allow many consumers, facing cancellation of their current health insurance, to keep their plans one more year. John Maginnis, with Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana says they will honor Donelon's decision, and try to extend all coverage that had previously been slated for cancellation for one more year.
On the surface it looks like the School voucher plan is doing just what it is supposed to do. But, one report says, we need to take a closer look. New data indicate that many students in Louisiana's voucher program attended schools that were graded D or F on the state's grading scale. At least 45 percent of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year attended such schools. However, an investigative piece in the Times-Picayune say the report is not complete. It appears the state released scores only for one-fifth of the 118 voucher schools. Those were schools with at least 40 voucher students in the third grade and up. They served about 2,900 of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year.
Today has been designated Cyber Monday; a day to make your online holiday purchases, but state officials remind you those purchases are not tax-free. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesman Byron Henderson says some websites will add the 8% applicable state tax to your purchases, but a greater number still do not. State law requires you must pay the state tax if they don’t collect it. Henderson says you can go online to "revenue.louisiana.gov" and download the consumer use tax return to report your online purchases.
The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended Saturday, having produced the fewest actual hurricanes since 1982. Stacy Stewart, with the National Hurricane Center says The 2013 storm season saw 13 named storms, which was slightly above normal, as predicted. However, there were only two hurricanes – Humberto and Ingrid in September. Neither of those reached a strength of Category 3 or higher.
We'll get another chance to hear Shreveport's Cole Vosbury tonight on the extremely popular NBC singing competition show, "The Voice." Cole is now a part of the top 6 after advancing last week. The show airs tonight at 7 on KALB TV5. The results show is tomorrow night at 8
As 2013 draws nearer to a close, Congress is concentrating on getting some important bills passed. Senator Mary Landrieu says one she is working hard to get to the President's desk would fix the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform, which calls for drastically high premium hikes. Landrieu says another matter of importance to get through Congress before year's end is funding for the Morganza-to-the Gulf Flood Protection plan. and a new Farm Bill. She says the prices we all pay for our groceries relies on having an effective federal Farm Bill in place.
There's reason that Natchitoches is known as the City of Lights. City tourism spokeswoman Samantha Bonnette says a Yahoo! travel blogger ranks the Natchitoches Festival of Lights as the NO. 3 top Holiday Light show in the nation after Rockefeller Center and Disneyland. Bonnette says some estimates show that over 250,000 people attend the Festival of Lights throughout its 45 nights of lights, which ends on January 6th.
Louisiana's Office of Tourism has been named the top tourism office among the 14 southeastern states. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne oversees tourism in the state. He says the designation from the Southeast Tourism Society is a real honor. Dardenne says Louisiana is more popular as a travel destination with the nation, and the rest of the world, than it has ever been.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says a hunter who was not wearing a life jacket died when his boat hit a branch and capsized before dawn Saturday in heavy fog, dumping him and a friend into the Atchafalaya River. A news release from the sheriff’s department says the second hunter was wearing a life jacket. He swam to the river bank and called for help.
The Saints and the Seahawks battle each other in Seattle tonight in a match-up of the two best teams in the NFC. The winner will be in the driver's seat to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. There's a good chance of rain, and the temperature will be around 40. Seattle brings a 13-game home winning streak into the game.
LSU moved up one spot to No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA/Today Coaches polls and is No. 15 in the BCS standings. The Tigers (9-3) continue to remain the highest-ranked three-loss team in all three rankings.
News For Wednesday 11/27/13
News for Wednesday 112713
By Dave Graichen
Today is one of the busiest days on the roads and state police and other local law enforcement agencies around the state will be stepping up checkpoints for the Holidays. The Louisiana
Highway Safety Commission says the increased patrols will be looking out for suspected impaired drivers, those who aren't buckled up and speeders.
The state has unveiled its new "I'm Cajun...and Proud" specialty license plates. The plates feature a fleur-de-lis on the left side with a crawfish playing an accordion, and the words, "I'm Cajun...And Proud." The cost to motorists, an extra $15.00, with $11.50 of that going to the Council for the Development of French In Louisiana (CODOFIL), the help train teachers for French immersion education. Another program allows motorists to have the same slogan on their individual driver’s license.
A man has reportedly come forward and said he was abused by a woman who was arrested last week amid allegations she molested one of her students 10 years ago. 25 year old Phillip LeBourgeois says he was sexually abused by his teacher at Catholic High-New Iberia when he
was 15. 48 year old Paula Latiolais was booked Friday into the IBeria Parish Jail and released on $35,000 bail.
Bond has been set for seven men accused of setting fire to the historic LeBeau Plantation in St. Bernard Parish early Friday completely destroying it. The suspected leader in the incident, 31 year old Dusten Davenport, had the highest bond set -- $450,000. The Judge also set bonds of at least $75,000 for the other six.
Following a 3-month investigation, a total of 26 establishments that sell alcohol in the Acadian region have been cited with violations for selling adult beverages to underage drinkers. The State Office
of Alcohol and Tobacco Control says they will be cracking down on other problem areas in the state as well. They says now might be a good time for bar and club owners to talk to their employees about the rules.
State Police are seeking a man and woman from Lafayette in an investigation into child sex trafficking. 22 year old Darneesha Martin and 19 year old Alcoby LaSalle are wanted on counts of trafficking children for sexual purposes and promoting prostitution. State Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Caddo Parish deputies report one person killed at a brand new I-49 interchange at US Highway 71. A traffic light had just been installed there. An SUV stopped for the light, but was
rear-ended by a Ford pickup. No one in the pickup was hurt, but three passengers in the Jeep SUV were taken to a hospital, where one passed away. The crash is under investigation.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning residents of FAKE black panther sighting photos that are circling social media. They say when these incidents are investigated they almost always turn out to be house cats, bobcats, otters, dogs or feral hogs.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office says a 13 year-old is facing attempted 2nd degree murder charges for allegedly stabbing his mother's fiancé. They say the man was trying to discipline the
teen, and the young suspect grabbed a large kitchen knife and stabbed the victim in the back. The fiancé was taken to a New Orleans hospital.
An elderly woman in West Baton Rouge parish was killed when her mobile home went up in flames yesterday morning. Authorities believe a space heater to close to the bed caused the blaze.
News For Tuesday 11/26/13
News For Tuesday 112613
by Dave Graichen
An ironic tragedy in Rapides Parish, as a local fireman died Sunday, when his own house caught fire. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says Dustin Bordelon was likely asleep when the fire started, but it appears something was left on the stove and that caused the blaze. Bordelon died at a nearby hospital. Browning says its a tragic time for the Bordelon family and for all the firefighters, who've lost a comrade. Browning says it appears there were no working smoke detectors in Bordelon's home.
Gas prices have jumped 14-cents in the past week, according to gasbuddy.com. They have the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline at around $3.15. Gasbuddy's senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan says several refineries along the gulf coast had unexpected maintenance issues and that's led to a higher price at the pump. But DeHaan says this sudden jump in gas prices shouldn't last long. Prices should begin to drop next week.
Louisiana is seeing the beginnings of a construction boom that may last through 2016 and beyond. Figures from the Associated General Contractors of America shows Louisiana had an 8.3% increase in construction jobs over the past 12 months; the 3rd-highest in the nation. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says the boom is just beginning. He says low natural gas costs are driving a boom in expansion of chemical plants - mostly across the southern parishes and river
regions that should last into 2017 or 2018.
Related news: Sasol officials announced Monday that Technip, of Paris France, has been awarded the front-end engineering design contract for the company's gas-to-liquids complex near Lake Charles. Once complete, Sasol's GTL complex is expected to produce more than 96,000 barrels of diesel fuels and chemicals each day.
The state Bond Commission has approved a funding plan to build the final segments of I-49 North, and begin work on upgrading US 90 into a new I-49 South. State Treasurer John Kennedy says the plan is to sell up to $100-million in bonds, by using money in the state's unclaimed property fund. Kennedy says the unclaimed property dollars will be used as collateral for the bond sales, which will begin almost immediately. He says the plan calls for $80-million to be invested in completing I-49 North, and $20-million as an initial investment in I-49 South, between Lafayette and New Orleans
The Louisiana Department of Revenue says the tax amnesty period that ended on Friday reached the goal of collecting 200-million dollars in unpaid taxes. Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield says they are still processing all of the paperwork from those taxpayers, so a final number is not known.
A report from the Legislative Auditor's office suggests the state has done a poor job of overseeing the Women Infants & Children food benefits program. The report says the Office of Public Health, who administers WIC, didn't verify grocery prices charged through the program, overpaid for food, didn't follow regulations governing the program and more. WIC costs taxpayers $126-million a year.
Police in New Orleans seek a hit & run driver that knocked a woman and a toddler off the I-10 High Rise Bridge over the Industrial Canal. 29-year-old Danielle Rhone and her 2-year-old nephew were passengers in a sedan that broke down on the bridge Sunday. A chain reaction crash hit them, tossing them over the bridge railing. Police seek a white Chevy Suburban with damage on the passenger side and a Ford pickup truck, both of which fled the scene.
A Legislative Auditor's report shows the state hasn't sought to collect thousands of unpaid tolls for crossing the Highway 1 bridge on the way to Grand Isle. An audit released today said nearly
300,000 images taken of license plates for people who apparently didn't pay the toll on La. Highway 1 in Leeville remained unbilled when the last fiscal year ended, June 30.
Louisiana Lottery officials say one ticket, sold in Kenner, in Jefferson Parish, won the $475-thousand jackpot in Saturday's Louisiana Lotto drawing. The Lotto jackpot will reset to a
quarter-million bucks for Wednesday night's drawing. There was no Powerball winner Saturday night. That jackpot will be $60-million for Wednesday.
Another argument against riding in pickup truck beds. An 18-year-old man was killed over the weekend, when he was tossed from a moving pickup, as it turned from a side road onto U.S. 61 near Gonzales, in Ascension Parish. State Police say Eric Martin was thrown out into oncoming traffic and hit by another pickup truck. They say the driver was unable to avoid him.
News For Monday 11/25/13
News for Monday 112513
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports 24 year old Dustin Bordelon died in an early Sunday morning fire at an Airbase Road home. Bordelon was taken to Rapides Regional Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
A recent poll on the 2015 governor's race in Louisiana shows GOP U.S. Senator David Vitter is the favorite. Southern Media and Opinion Research surveyed 600 voters; running a five candidate trial heat. Vitter took a leading 30%. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Vitter's edge is due to his popularity with Republican voters.Vitter has not announced a run for governor two years from now, but speculation to that effect is abundant. The only announced Democrat for that race, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, took only 8% in Pinsonat's poll.
State Police will have extra manpower on the roads this week in an effort to reduce injury and fatal crashes. It's also part of the Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign, which begins today. Sgt. Nick
Manale says troopers will focus on seat belt use and Louisiana law requires all occupants in a vehicle must be buckled up.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says Louisiana's new Office of Debt Recovery will begin going after unpaid ethics violation fines, totally nearly $2-million. He says some of these have gone unpaid for years. Kennedy says unpaid fines from individual public officials total over $1.6-million, PACS owe $70-thousand and lobbyists owe $18-thousand. He says the state's new Office of Debt Recovery, which is under the Department of Revenue was created for just this sort of purpose. The ODR will be up and running after the first of the New Year. It'll have sweeping powers to go after unpaid debts to the state, by seizing bank assets, some personal properties and even suspending licenses until the amounts are paid.
A federal judge in New Orleans has given state and federal lawyers two months to come up with modifications to a longstanding court order to make sure that the state's private school voucher program doesn't lead to segregation of schools. The state contends that the vouchers have no effect on desegregation and no federal interference is needed.
An appeals court in Monroe has upheld the 110 year sentence of a local man for a 2010 domestic violence case. The court stated that even though the sentence given Allen Robinson was extreme it was warranted given the gruesome nature of his crime. Robinson was found guilty of kidnapping and battery for deliberately burning his girlfriend with a clothes iron multiple times. Because he was ruled to be an habitual offender, Robinson was given the maximum sentence possible.
Police in Bastrop arrest a local woman for robbing a branch of Richland State Bank in Bastrop Wednesday. 45-year-old Katrina Gamble allegedly indicated she had a gun, demanded cash and made off with an undisclosed amount. Officers say she tried to disguise herself as a man. She's being held pending $75-thousand bond.
A bit of Louisiana history was lost lastweek. An early morning fire Friday gutted the historic LeBeau Plantation in St. Bernard Parish. The landmark in Old Arabi was built in the 1850's and was one of the largest in the New Orleans area. The building was vacant with no electrical service at the time, so arson is not being ruled out. An investigation is underway.
A judge in Lafourche Parish has ruled the man accused of dismembering his disabled son more than two years ago IS competent to stand trial. The ruling clears the way for Jeremiah Wright to be tried for the murder of little Jori Lirette in 2011. Wright was arraigned Friday morning and has reportedly pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His next status hearing is scheduled for late
January. No trial date has been set.
State Troopers report a Winnsboro man was killed Friday in a crash on I-20 in Richland Parish. LSP says 58-year-old Lorenzo Navarro's pickup was westbound on 20, when it crossed the grassy median and crashed headlong into a big rig. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was not seriously hurt.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation is working with Texas officials to replace the Sabine River Bridge on U.S. 84, in DoSoto Parish. Construction is set to begin in January, and it will cost $20 million. The bridge currently has two lanes but the construction will create two separate bridges. Construction will take over two years to complete.
Police in Kenner arrest a 19-year-old for robbing his neighbor at gunpoint. The victim says his assailant wore a mask and pointed a shotgun at him; making off with his cellphone and wallet. Trouble is he watched the robber run into a house just yards away. Police found the mask in the house, the gun in the back yard. Johnny Washington was taken into custody a short time later ad charged with armed robbery.
Expect to spend a bit more again this year to prepare the traditional Thanksgiving feast. A recent survey by the LSU AgCenter shows the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will average $48.50 this year; up from $44.35 last year. Economist Jeanette Tucker says the "star of the show" is the biggest reason for the increased cost. Tucker says turkey production is down this year, and birds cost about
23-cents a pound more than in 2012.
LSU is coming off its best effort of the season, as they head into the regular season finale. The Bayou Bengals thumped Te
News For Friday 11/22/13
News for Friday 112213
By Dave Graichen
State Superintendent of Education John White recommends a delay in how students, teachers and schools will be judged under the Common Core standards. White says with the state shifting from LEAP to a new state-administered test called PARCC and a move to improve technology in classrooms, they've decided to give schools two years of additional learning time. White's proposal will be considered by the Board of Elementary and Secretary next month. There's been increasing criticism over the state's use of Common Core and how it will impact a student's ability to learn.
A state teachers union is pleased with Education Superintendent John White's decision to delay full implementation of controversial "Common Core" education standards. Louisiana Association of Educators President Deborah Meaux (MO) says they were concerned about the fast pace with which the new system was being rolled into place.
Yesterday in Washington D.C., US Representative Vance McAllister was sworn into office. The Republican from Ouachita Parish is enjoying his first trip to our nation's capitol as Louisiana's newest congressman representing the 5th district. McAllister says one of his first orders of business will be to come home and answer concerns of constituents who have been without a congressman for nearly two months.
A new statewide poll shows Senator Mary Landrieu's job approval rating has fallen 10-percentage points this year. Southern Media and Opinion Research pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the falling approval numbers are likely tied to the roll out of Obamacare. Forty-six-percent of the respondents to the Pinsonat poll say Landrieu is doing a good job, that's down from 56-percent from a similar survey
conducted in the spring. The poll conducted a three-way trial heat between Landrieu and GOP challengers Congressman Bill Cassidy and Rob Manness. Landrieu received 44-percent of the vote, Cassidy 34-percent and Maness 10-percent. The rest were undecided.
A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research shows Governor Bobby Jindal's approval ratings are up slightly from a similar survey last spring. The governor's ratings moved up from 38 percent to 42 percent in this newest survey.
Officials in DeSoto and Sabine parishes announce 31 arrests have been made in a sweep up of suspected drug dealers. They say these suspects had been identified as alleged street and mid-level drug dealers through a 6 month undercover operation.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office says a West Monroe man is under arrest after he allegedly destroyed family property with a bulldozer while he was drunk and high on meth. They say 31 year old Noah White drove a bulldozer over an abandoned family home's driveway, fence and porch. He blew a .034 and admitted to using a quarter gram of meth according to the arrest report. He faces numerous charges.
A 71 year old Lake Charles man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole after pleading guilty in August to indecent behavior with a juvenile. Prosecutors say David Tarver had been molesting a girl since she was 11 years old.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office has identified the suspect who allegedly opened fire on officers serving warrants Wednesday morning then shot and killed himself. They say 22 year old Jessie Gordon of Denham Springs was wanted on numerous outstanding warrants relating to drugs and burglary from several different agencies. The officers involved in the shootout received only minor injuries. The suspect was pronounced dead on the scene from a self-inflicted
The State Department of Health & Hospitals says it has completed a huge backlog of health inspections of retail food outlets across the state, and has taken steps to assure no new backlog emerges. DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert says an overhaul of their food inspection system has yielded a 60% increase in timely health inspections.
Today a grand jury decided not indict a man from Acadia Parish who is accused of defacing the 9-11 monument in downtown Lafayette. They decided there was no evidence that indicated a crime had been committed by 35 year-old Salvador Perez of Rayne. That may change, however if more evidence is presented.
An outdoor fall festival at a north Baton Rouge charter school spun out of control Thursday morning after a large fight broke out, prompting worried parents to rush to the school to collect their children.
The Career Academy high school locked down after 15 to 20 students began fighting, a fracas involving boys and girls that the school’s principal described as “a lot of hair pulling and punching.” Authorities say no one was seriously injured.
LSU is trying to bring back certain songs played by the band during football games that had been previously shelved because some fans were signing inappropriate lyrics. LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva says the "Tradition Matters" campaign is about the return of songs like "Neck" and "Tiger Rag". Alleva says they want the band to be able to play all of their songs and they need a commitment from the students to refrain from using profanity.
Louisiana Tech has two games left on its regular season schedule and they have to win both of them in order to play in a bowl game. The Bulldogs host Tulsa tomorrow night and Coach Skip Holtz would like to have the opportunity to be a part of post-season play. The Bulldogs are 4-and-6 overall, while Tulsa is two and eight.
In the 16 times the Sean Payton-era Saints have met the Atlanta Falcons, the games have almost always been close, and New Orleans almost always has won. Nothing changed when the teams met at the Georgia Dome on Thursday night and the Saints beat Atlanta 17-13. Because of that, the Saints (9-2) have positioned themselves about as well as they could hope as they prepare to travel to Seattle on Dec. 2 and fight for postseason home-field advantage against the Seahawks (10-1), the NFC front-runner.
News For Thursday 11/21/13
News for Thursday 112113
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana's newest Congressman, Republican Vance McAllister, is in Washington D.C. this week for his first time ever and will be sworn in today. The political newcomer was voted to represent the 5th
Congressional District in The Bayou State. McAllister says his first trip to our Nation’s Capital has been humbling. McAllister says as soon as he's sworn in he's going to be briefed on the bills of the day and immediately start voting. The Monroe businessman thanks voters from the bottom of his heart and says he plans to be a strong voice for the 5th congressional district in Washington.
Alexandria television stations KALB and NALB will have new owners in a few months. That announcement was made official yesterday. The NBC and ABC stations were owned by Hoak Media. They will soon be under the ownership of Gray Television. KALB’s sister station in Monroe KNOE, was also part of the deal.
Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington says burnt human remains found in Webster Parish are those of 46-year-old Annie Bond, who was reported missing last Thursday. Her estranged husband, 53-year-old Robbie Bond, has been charged in her murder. Whittington says a forensic expert at LSU was able to make the positive identification. Robbie Bond was found Friday in Gautier, Mississippi and he is in the hospital recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Baton Rouge continues to receive low marks for its lack of gay-friendly policies when compared with other major cities across the country. In the Human Rights Campaign’s second annual Municipal Equality Index, the city received seven points out of 100, getting dinged for its lack of discrimination protections and services targeted toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. New Orleans received 91 points on the index, and Shreveport scored 16.
Rapides Regional Medical Center expects to have two clinics operating within a few weeks as part of the effort to replace services currently provided by Huey P. Long Medical Center. One clinic will be located at 105 North Third St. in Alexandria and will be open by Dec. 2. The other will be on the current Huey P. Long campus off Main Street in Pineville and will be open by the second week of January. As part of the agreement, Cabrini will operate one clinic. Emergency department and inpatient services will be shared by the hospitals.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says a Monterrey man has turned himself in and confessed to killing a Black Bear in Concordia Parish. Twenty-three year-old Duell Moreland was booked for his alleged role in the killing of the bear. If found guilty, he faces up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.
State officials are looking for someone to take 19-million pounds of explosive materials off their hands. The explosives are currently housed at a Louisiana National Guard base in Webster Parish. The military propellant was once owned by Explo Systems, but they've gone bankrupt. Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson says the EPA is involved in trying to move this material out of Camp Minden. The explosives caused a blast to occur in October of Last year and that led to the evacuation of residents from the nearby town of Doyline.
The American Automobile Association anticipates gas prices will keep going up ahead of the Thanksgiving travel week, but should go down again in December. The statewide average for a gallon of regular jumped two cents last night to $3.03.
Police say a 32 year old Opelousas man is behind bars for allegedly raping a 4 year old girl. Investigators believe Johnathon Meche assaulted the child several times over an undisclosed period of time. The suspect is charged with aggravated rape and bond has not been set.
Louisiana will receive $238 million as a result of settlements reached in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that overcharged the state’s Medicaid program. The final settlements reached earlier this week ended three years of litigation against more than 100 companies and their subsidiaries that fraudulently raised drug prices paid by the state through the government health insurance program for the poor.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announces the St. Bernard Parish water system has reached the necessary level of chlorine in the drinking water to fight off a rare brain-eating amoeba that killed a 4 year old boy in August. It was also found in the DeSoto Parish Water System. Safe drinking water administrator Jake Cause says they are working with water systems throughout the state to make sure everyone is in compliance.
A 41 year old man from Vernon Parish has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for possession of child pornography. Francis Buckner of New Llano pleaded guilty in July to possessing 36 videos and 144 images of child pornography obtained through a porn-sharing
The 8-and-2 Saints visit the 2-and-8 Atlanta Falcons tonight on Thursday night football. These two teams met in the season opener and New Orleans won 23-17 as the Black and Gold kept Atlanta out of the end zone in the final few seconds of the game.
News For Wednesday 11/20/13
News for Wednesday 112013
By Dave Graichen
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's office says they feel the charred remains found in Webster Parish Monday afternoon are that of the missing Bossier City Woman, Annie Bond. Her husband Robert Bond is charged with her murder. Lt. Bill Davis says the badly charged remains were found in a wooded area north of Minden. Davis says the official search for Annie Bond's won't be called off
until they have positive identification.
Despite some reports early Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department was dropping its challenge of Louisiana's school voucher program, a federal judge says the case is still on and arguments begin this week. Education Superintendent John White says federal officials are making numerous unreasonable data requests of the state Department of Education, about the racial makeup of each individual student in every school, regardless of whether that parish is under a federal desegregation order or not. White says, as of today, neither side has petitioned the court to dismiss or leave the case.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office says the body that was found in a Bayou near Tiger Bend on Saturday has been identified as a woman from Livingston Parish. The EBR coroner's report issued today says the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The woman has been identified as 21 year old Lindsay Ellixson. The investigation into her death is ongoing.
Ah, the time have changed, The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office says a man who'd been working off shore for a few days, came home and allegedly found his estranged wife with another man.. cooking meth. They say 32-year-old Kelly Williams was there with 43 year old Stephen Hamilton who was found in the shower.
Former St. Landry Parish School Board member John Miller was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months of home confinement and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine for soliciting a bribe from a candidate for school superintendent. Miller and fellow board member Quincy Richard Sr. were indicted last year in an investigation launched when superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere went to federal authorities.
Miller pleaded guilty. Richard was convicted at trial in August.
A police officer in Welsh is currently under investigation for shooting a suspect who allegedly pulled out a handgun during a traffic stop. According to police Chief Marcus Crochet the shooting
took place late yesterday. The victim is reportedly recovering in the hospital. His name has yet to be released. The investigation continues.
A Lafayette City Court Judge is proposing changes to the state's DWI laws. Judge Douglas Saloom says it's time to catch up to new causes for impairment including marijuana and other drugs. Those are issues that could end up next year before the Louisiana Legislature.
A teacher and a secretary Fenton Elementary School in Jennings are being investigated because of allegations on inappropriate behavior involving two employees and several older students at a home over the summer. The investigation has Been turned over to the Jefferson Davis Parish District Attorney's Office. The two employees, who remain unidentified were placed on administrative leave.
Edmund Reggie, a former judge from Crowley who also served as executive counsel to former Governor Edwin Edwards, died this morning at his home in Lafayette. Reggie was also a close friend to the Kennedy family and co-chaired John F Kennedy's presidential campaign efforts in Louisiana in 1960. He was 87.
News For Tuesday 11/19/13
News for Tuesday 111913
By Dave Graichen
Now this is a win win.. PaperWorks Industries announced yesterday the company will relocate its carton-finishing operations from New York to Alexandria, creating 43 new direct jobs. PaperWorks will lease 116,000 square feet of manufacturing space at the McKesson Building on South MacArthur Drive and will provide paperboard carton components to Procter & Gamble, for the company's dry laundry powder division. The company’s $1.6 million renovation of the South Mac Arthur Drive facility should be completed in February of next year.
After being elected as Louisiana's new 5th District Congressman, Vance McAllister says he'll go to Washington DC this week for the first time in his life. McAllister says he has never been to the
nation's Capital, even as a tourist. Sunday, McAllister, who is in the process of pulling his Congressional staff together, hired Adam Terry, a Harrisonburg native and Louisiana Tech University graduate, as his chief of staff. Terry had held the same job with Rodney Alexander
State Police say a man from Pollock was killed in a single vehicle crash early Monday morning. They say 21 year old David Langley lost control of his pickup around 1:20 am on La Hwy 8 in Rapides Parish, left the roadway and crashed into a tree. Landley wasn't buckled up and was pronounced dead at the scene. A 20-year-old female passenger survived the crash which remains under investigation.
The Winnsboro woman who set herself on fire in October 2012 then claimed who have been attacked by three men in white hoodies, pleaded guilty to one count of false swearing and one of terrorizing. Sharmeka Moffitt will serve four years of supervised probation and pay a $1,000 fine.
The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's office says a man died after he fell 60 feet from a tree he was cutting when a safety rope snapped Sunday morning. They say 51 year old Anthony Wilson of Coushatta was cutting limbs on the tree with his brother when the accident occurred. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Visitation will be held this evening in Baton Rouge for former LSU AD Joe Dean, one of the most influential people in Tiger Athletics history. Dean died in Baton Rouge Sunday morning at the age of 83.
The Internal Revenue Service warns us of con artists posing as groups collecting for Philippine disaster relief. IRS spokeswoman Dee Harris Stepter says it's best to make disaster relief donations through well-known charities like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, but even with them, be
careful of scammers who say they are with these organizations.
Yesterday was apparently a national day of protest against Common Core school performance standards, but in Baton Rouge it was more of a fizzle than a bang. Only two local mothers showed up at the Department of Education to speak against Common Core. In Pineville, the turnout was a bit better with about 50 people showing up to protest.
The search continues for a Bossier City woman whom investigators believe was killed by her husband last week. Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Bill Davis says since the suspect was found in southern Mississippi, they have a lot of territory to cover in the search for Annie Bond. Davis says Robert Bond is recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is charged with second degree murder.
After a very welcome dip in prices, retail gasoline is beginning to rise again in Louisiana. Last week, we had some of the lowest gasoline prices in the nation, with some outlets selling for as little as $2.59. Louisiana AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says the statewide average price is now starting to go back up. The statewide average price of regular gas today is $3.01, up from $2.99 last week.
Washington Parish Sheriff's deputies say they had to shoot a Mount Hermon man, who they say was upset over Obamacare. Fifty-six year-old Johnnie Ryals fired a gun in his home, forcing his girlfriend to flee. Later, he was shot in the left ear by a sheriff's office sniper after he remained combative. Chief Deputy Mike Haley believes all of Ryal's anger started with the Affordable Care Act. Ryals was released from the hospital and faces numerous charges
including three counts of attempted murder.
A Sabine Parish man who fired at officers Saturday remains in critical condition after being shot several times by law enforcement in Sabine Parish. Louisiana State Trooper Scott Moreau says they responded to a complaint of a trespasser on private property who was threatening home owners with a shotgun. Moreau says 27 year old Michael Malmay of Noble was threatening to shoot himself and then he turned the shotgun in the direction of the officers.
A Baton Rouge man was arrested Monday in the recent death of his 6-month-old son, accused of a pattern of neglect that included placing the baby in scalding bath water that left him with second- and third-degree burns to more than 80 percent of his body. Curtis King, 23, 11888 Longridge Ave., was booked on counts of second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the Nov. 6 death of Aiden King
News For Monday 11/18/13
News for Monday 111813
By Dave Graichen
Republican Political newcomer Vance McCallister is Louisiana's new Congressman. McCallister soundly defeated state senator Neil Riser in the 5th district congressional run-off. McCallister received 60-percent of the vote. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Campaign ads ran in the final days of the race that featured Duck Dynasty television star Willie Robertson, who was a big supporter of McCallister, helped push him over the top. Plus, voters also didn't like how it appeared the race was manipulated so that Riser would replace Rodney Alexander, who retired from Congress in August. McCallister is a businessman, who owns oil, gas and pipeline businesses, as well as Subway franchises in the Monroe area.
Former LSU athletic director and basketball player Joe Dean died early sunday morning at his home in Baton Rouge. Dean’s cause of death, according to Dean’s son Joe Dean Jr. was heart-related. Dean had an unrelated surgery last week in Baton Rouge. He returned to his home Saturday. A homecare aid found him unresponsive Sunday morning. Joe Dean Sr. led LSU athletics from 1987-2000, overseeing the baseball team’s five national championships and hiring former football coach Nick Saban. A two-time All-Southeastern Conference guard at LSU in 1950-51, Dean was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame last year. Joe Dean Sr. was 83.
Saturday afternoon a 27 year old Sabine parish man was shot after he aimed a loaded shotgun at sheriff’s deputies and state police. Authorities were called to a home in Noble after a call to 911 reported a man threatening residents. When deputies arrived at the home off of highway 482, they observed Michael Malmay brandishing a shotgun and threatening to shoot himself. He then pointed the gun at the deputies and was shot. Malmay was transported to the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport where he remains in critical condition
State police report a single vehicle accident claimed the life a 20 year old Goldonna woman early Saturday morning. Troopers sat McKenna Sanders lost control of her vehicle, left the roadway and struck a tree and utility poll. Sanders was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash remains under investigation.
It's been another record breaking year for Louisiana's movie making industry. It is expected that this year will surpass last year's economic impact. Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment Chris
Stelly says 2013 is the biggest year on record for the entertainment industry. Stelly says many big time celebrities are filming in Louisiana. Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cube are here for 22 Jump Street. Eva Longoria , Jessica Lange, and Will Smith are filming here. At least 15 movies
and TV shows are being filmed in the state.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says President Obama's "fix" for the Affordable Care Act will quite likely not work as intended. The President announced administrative action to allow those who've had policies cancelled to keep them another year. But, Donelon says this last minute maneuver threatens the overall pool of insurance risk. Already, some insurance companies have said that policies cancelled cannot so easily be reinstated, especially for the brief one-year period Obama is calling for. Donelon says insurance works best when there is a larger pool of shared risk, and insurers will not be able to sell policies of the types cancelled to any new customers.
This is the last week for Louisiana taxpayers to take advantage of the statewide amnesty program known as "A Fresh Start." The state legislature instituted the two month long amnesty program which
eliminates penalties on back owed taxes and cuts interest charges in half. LDR Executive Council Jason Decuir says it's been going well. Decuir says there is still a lot of paperwork to be done which he expects will go down to the final days of the amnesty program, but they feel they will get close to or reach the legislature's goal of collecting $200 million dollars. Lawmakers were counting on the money collected during amnesty to balance the state's operating budget. Both individuals and businesses who owe state taxes are eligible for amnesty.
News For Friday 11/15/13
News for Friday 111513
By Dave Graichen
Tomorrow is the runoff election for Louisiana's 5th congressional district seat. Two republicans, Columbia state Senator Neil Riser and Monroe businessman Vance McAllister are vying for the job. Both men want to serve out the remainder of former congressman Rodney Alexander's term, and have an edge in winning a full term in 2014. Most political insiders say the race is too close to call. The polls open at 7 Saturday morning and close at 8pm
The Tuition Taskforce would like to see the standards raised on qualifying for the TOPS scholarship. Currently, a high school student has to achieve at least a 2.5 GPA and score a 20 on the ACT. But task force member Phillip Rozeman says they would like to see the G-P-A requirement raised to 3.0 and at least a 23 on the ACT. Rozeman is confident students would meet the higher standards. Rozeman says they are pushing for a change to the TOPS scholarship because the program is getting too expensive for the state to keep funding.
As millions of Americans face losing their current health insurance, President Obama acts to delay those cancellations for one year. The policies would be cancelled because they do not fully comply with the Affordable Care Act. Senator Mary Landrieu has a bill pending that would assure those who already have and like their health insurance can keep it, as promised by the President. She says a promise is a promise, and she'll press forward with her legislation.
A seven-month-old and a 25-year-old man were shot to death Wednesday night as they were riding in a vehicle on the Crescent City Connection Bridge in New Orleans. Police are looking for the gunman who opened fire on the vehicle just past the toll plaza area on the West Bank entrance of the bridge.
What a difference a day makes in Louisiana weather. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the winds have shifted from being north-easterly on Thursday, to south-easterly today. He says that means the air coming in now is from the Gulf of Mexico and not from Canada. Keim says high temperatures today are between 15 and 20 degrees warmer than they were yesterday. He says these warm temperatures are going to hang around all through the weekend. As a matter of fact, by Sunday we could see temps in the low 80’s.
A woman from Lake Charles was found guilty Wednesday of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the abuse of her step-son. 31-year-old Jaime Brooks Day is accused of beating and not feeding the 9 year old boy who reportedly weighed just 38 pounds when he was removed from the home in 2010. Day is going to be sentenced December 10th. She faces up to 40 years in prison.
Grambling State University is appealing the $50-thousand fine levied by the Southwestern Athletic Conference for forfeiting the Jackson state game last month. School officials say it's not Grambling's fault the game was missed, it was because the team refused to play. Grambling will also have to play their next three Jackson State games IN Jackson, which also penalizes the university with additional travel costs.
The financial picture for Louisiana's state-run property insurer of last resort is improving, helped by the state's quiet hurricane season. Louisiana Citizens Insurance is doing better says company
officials, but is still $15-million in the red. The forecast shows the imbalance should shrink by the end of the year and the company's balance sheet could be positive by mid-2014.
The Catahoula Parish Sheriff's office has charged a 19-year-old woman from Jonesville with second-degree murder as detectives believe she fatally shot her 21-year-old sister, Tessa Poole. Sheriff James Kelly says deputies are still investigating.
The Monroe Police Department is investigating a pharmacy break-in where a semi-tractor-rig was used to knock a hole in the wall. It is unclear at this time how many suspects are involved or if any medication was taken. The investigation is ongoing.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office says a man who was driving around a parking lot in Bayou Vista naked faces several charges. They say 31-year-old Nathel Lewis failed to pulled over after a deputy was responding to a complaint of a naked man circling a parking lot. The man was eventually stopped and marijuana and drug paraphernalia was found in the vehicle.
News For Thursday 11/14/13
News for Thursday 111413
By Dave Graichen
Federal data shows few Louisianans signed for Obamacare via the federal health insurance marketplace last month; only about 387. Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana says over 4000 bought federally complaint health plans directly from them in October.
36 year old James Johnson Jr of Alexandria has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Jacqueline Bazert. Although there were no eyewitnesses, prosecutors relied on DNA evidence to convict Johnson. Bazert’s blood was found on Johnson’s shoes, and Johnson’s DNA was found underneath her fingernails. The coroner’s report indicated Bazert had been stabbed 139 times.
A state appeals court on Wednesday overturned the sexual battery conviction of a former Rapides Regional Medical Center nurse accused of performing oral sex on a sedated male patient. A three-judge panel from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that Phillip Wayne Raines did not receive a fair trial when he was convicted in April 2012 because of statements witnesses made during the trial. Statements, that according to the three judge panel, should have led to a mistrial. Raines was sentenced to 30 months at hard labor on June 1, 2012.
The State Department of Children and Family Services is out with Louisiana's 18 "Most Wanted" non-custodial parents who owe almost $866,000 in past due child support. DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier says these parents have repeatedly evaded efforts to collect child support that is critical to their children. Sonnier says all of the parents on the Most Wanted 18 poster owe at least $20,000. The largest sum owed is over $128,000 by Richard Miller who was last known to live in Lake Ozark, Missouri. She says you can view the entire poster online at dcfs.la.gov
State Farm has released findings from its annual distracted driving survey which shows mature adults are catching up to younger drivers in terms of being on the phone when behind the wheel. Regional State Farm spokesman Gary Stephenson says the sharp increase in the number of people using their smartphone while driving is troubling.
A south Louisiana man, who was kidnapped by pirates, while serving as captain on a offshore supple ship, is back home. The man, who is being identified as "Tom" was taken captive on October 30th off the Nigerian coast. Tom and another crew member from Florida were not injured in the
ordeal. It’s reported the two were released after company officials complied with a ransom demand.
State Health officials are making a major push to get Louisiana residents vaccinated against the flu. State Health officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says There are plenty of shots to go around and they are very affordable and at many state health centers they are free.
The state's tax amnesty program is entering its final week. Those in arrears on state taxes can settle up, and pay no penalties and only half the accrued interest...but they must apply for the amnesty by November 22nd.
The Union Parish Sheriff's office says a 22 year old man from Marion was booked into the Detention Center on illegal use of weapons charges after he allegedly shot up his father's house when he thought he was seeing ghosts. They say witnesses reported Kenji Wheeler said ghosts were coming through the walls and trying to kill him. His bond was set at $25,000.
A school bus driver has been charged with cruelty to a juvenile for allegedly grabbing a young student by the neck and pinning him down. East Baton Rouge Parish Spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says they received a complaint from the mother saying her child had been attacked by 58 year old Sandra Henderson. Hicks says Henderson was arrested and booked into parish prison
after detectives reviewed the surveillance video from the bus. That student was only seven years old.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been named as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Brees threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns in the victory over the Cowboys. It's the 16th time Brees has won this award since he joined the Saints in 2006.
Grambling State was notified Wednesday that they will be fined by the SWAC for forfeiting its football game against Jackson State on October 16th. The amount of the fine was not made public.
News For Tuesday 11/12/13
News for Tuesday 111213
By Dave Graichen
State Police report an Alexandria teen died in a single vehicle crash on state Highway 496 early Monday morning. Troopers say 16-year-old Chase Michiels went off the road and rolled his pickup several times. He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A male passenger in the truck suffered moderate injuries.
The Associated Press has crunched numbers, based on announcements of Governor Bobby Jindal's schedule, and determined the Governor has spent more than two months outside of Louisiana so far this year and we still have a month and a half to go in the year. The report stated that many of the trips had to do with his leadership of the Republican Governors Association.
Hundreds of state rank-and-file employees got extra pay last fiscal year even though the general government workforce went through another year of no pay increases. The extra money came from state Civil Service programs that allow state agencies to develop policies to pay more for retaining employees, for employees assuming additional job duties as well as for attaining advanced degrees and training related to their jobs. In all, 1,400 classified employees received about $1.7 million through the flexible pay options during the fiscal year ending June 30, according to a new Civil Service report.
The LSU Tigers will open the 2013-14 season and make their first appearance on the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon this morning at 10 a.m. against Massachusetts. The Tigers are coming off an 80-45 win over Xavier of New Orleans in an exhibition last week at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. You can hear the game starting with the pre-game at 9:30 on ESPN 1410 here in Alexandria.
Police in Monroe say a 10 year-old is under arrest for allegedly bringing a knife to school and threatening a teacher. A butcher knife was reportedly found in the girls book-sack at Cypress Point Elementary School and she now faces assault charges and possession of a weapon on a school campus.
Monday, as you know, was Veteran's Day, and there's good news for some of those veterans deployed overseas. Colonel Mike Kazmeirzak of the Louisiana National Guard says about 400 soldiers who are currently in Agfhanistan and Kuwait will be able to come home for the holidays. The bad news, Kazmeirzak says that about 300 National Guard troops have been
alerted they may be deployed next year.
From The Governor's Wife to re-runs of Duck Dynasty. A & E did not run the regularly scheduled episode of "The Governor's Wife" Sunday night they ran "Duck Dynasty" instead. The star of the show, Trina Edwards says they have not cancelled the show, but cannot give any further details. Insiders at the network say, ya it has been cancelled. Ratings show there was a big drop-off between the show's first and second episodes.
The statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is below three-dollars for the first time since February of 2011. Gasbuddy.com has the average price around $2.95 and their Senior Petroleum Analyst, Patrick DeHaan, says the price at the pump should continue to fall.. DeHaan says gas prices have fallen about 20-cents since mid-October and they should keep dropping as we move closer to the holidays.
Jury selection begins today in Lafayette, in the murder trial of 19- year-old Seth Fontenot, who's accused of shooting and killing one person and wounding two others. Legal analyst Tim Meche says Fontenot faces one count of 1st-degree murder in the death of 15-year- old Austin Rivault last February. Meche says the defense will argue Fontenot fired on Rivault and two others, because he thought they were trying to break into his vehicle. He says that may be tough to prove, because when the shots were fired they were inside their own pickup. Fontenot's lawyer tried to suppress a confession made during a police interrogation, but was refused.
A new study shows fewer Louisiana teens are driving cars and paying for car insurance. The data, from the Highway Loss Data Institute shows a 12-percent decline in teens listed on auto collision policies since 2006. Spokesman Russ Rader says the reason is largely connected to the lagging economy. Rader says it's a simple case of "no jobs, no cars".
News For Monday 11/11/13
News for Monday 111113
By Dave Graichen
Today is Veterans Day, a day to show our appreciation for the men and women who've selflessly served in the American military in times of war and peace. David LaCerte is Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He says there were numerous events held over the weekend, and even more scheduled to take place today. A complete list of Veterans Day ceremonies can be found online at cenlabroadcasting.com
President Obama and Governor Jindal continue to spar over the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare by many. While in New Orleans Friday, the President called out the Governor for refusing millions in federal money to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor. On Fox News, Mr. Jindal reacted, saying no one will "bully" Louisiana into expanding Medicaid. Jindal has maintained there too many federal strings attached to the Medicaid money. He says the Affordable Care Act is loaded with problems and has been falsely represented. The Governor went as far as to say the President should "man up" and admit Obamacare was a mistake.
Thankfully the woman who was abducted by her child's father in Lafayette Wednesday is alive. Lafayette Parish Sheriff's office spokesman Captain Kip Judice says the man, Scott Thomas, is dead. He says the family of Bethany Arceneaux found the two in an abandoned home in Duson Friday and Thomas was stabbing the mother of his child with a knife. Judice says no charges have been filed against the family member who shot and killed Thomas, and says Louisiana law states homicide can be justified if you are protecting yourself or another person.
Gas prices have slipped once again and the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $3.01 according to the American Automobile Association. AAA Fuel analyst Don Redman says it's very possible the price will get below $2.90 before the end of the year.
President Barack Obama spoke Friday afternoon at the Port of New Orleans and remarked on ways the economy could be improved. Mr Obama says the reason he decided to speak at the port in The Big Easy is because he'd like to see the it updated and grow in order to increase exports. He said one of the things he'd like America to be more focused on is helping more businesses sell more products to the rest of the world. The President said we now export more goods and services than ever before and it's vital to the economy to keep that industry growing.
In light of a report last week that showed Louisiana public school students ranking low in math & reading skills, BESE president Chas Roemer says the test results indicate Louisiana needs more rigorous standards. The NAEP exams shows Louisiana public school kids at 48th and 50th place
for math and reading achievement. Roemer says this indicates that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education was correct in adopting Common Core standards; which require students to do better. Roemer says, if we want future generations of Louisianans to be able to compete with other states and other countries, we must continue to set higher standards.
There are two contestants from Louisiana that have advanced on NBC's The Voice. Both Cole Vosbury of Shreveport and Ray Bodreaux of Carencro will perform starting tonight as part of the Final Top 12. Both Vosbury and Bodreaux are being coached by Team Blake Shelton. The voice airs weekly on Monday night's at 7 and Tuesday night's at 8 on TV5.
The 13th ranked LSU Tigers were no match for top ranked Alabama on Saturday night and the Crimson Tide scored the final 21 points to beat the Bayou Bengals 38-17. The loss drops LSU's record to 7-and-3 overall, 3-and-3 in the SEC. Alabama now owns three straight wins over the Tigers.
News For Friday 11/08/13
News for Friday 110813
By Dave Graichen
An early morning crash yesterday involving an 18-wheeler and a motorcycle has claimed the life of a Pineville man. Forty-one year-old Kevin Herron was killed when his motorcycle was struck on Louisiana Highway 107 by the truck driven by 58 year-old Elton McNeal of Effie. McNeal was charged with failure to yield. The crash remains under investigation.
The Lafayette Police Department is looking for a man they believe kidnapped the mother of his child at a daycare center yesterday afternoon. Witnesses reported seeing 29-year-old Scott Thomas shove the victim into his car then drive off leaving a 2 year old behind. Thomas' car was found Wednesday night but the whereabouts of the suspect and victim remain unknown at this time.
Public school students in Louisiana again Thursday finished near the bottom nationally in reading and math in the latest update of the nation’s report card. The exam is called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. The exam is considered one of the most reliable indicators of student achievement and state-to-state comparisons. The latest results for fourth- and eighth-graders show that Louisiana students were: Tied for 50th in fourth-grade math. 48th in fourth-grade reading.
Tied for 48th in eighth-grade math. Tied for 48th in eighth-grade reading. The results carry extra significance amid arguments about the state’s drive to add rigor to public school courses, which is called Common Core. Backers contend that increasing standards in math, reading and writing will improve student achievement.
Early voting for the November 16th elections comes to a close tomorrow evening, and voter turnout so far has been light. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says about 3300 people have cast early ballots each day of the early voting period this time around.
The state department of health and hospitals is requiring local water systems to maintain higher disinfectant level. The emergency rule is in response to the recent discovery of a deadly amoeba in the water systems in St. Bernard and DeSoto Parishes. DHH Assistant Secretary J-T Lane says increasing the chlorine level should lead to safer water. It's the first time Louisiana has changed the required chlorine level in drinking water since 1995.
Louisiana ranked No. 9 on the American Medical Association’s annual list of states with the lowest level of competition among health insurers. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana had 57 percent of the market, according to the AMA. UnitedHealthCare had the second-largest share at 19 percent. The other 10 states with the least competitive health insurance markets were Alabama; Hawaii; Michigan; Delaware; Alaska; South Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; and Rhode Island.
The Jindal administration announces food stamp recipients could lose their benefits if its determined they took advantage of a computer glitch and made purchases that exceeded their available balance. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Suzy Sonnier says suspected violators will receive a letter explaining that the state will being the process of disqualifying that person from the SNAP program. She says first time offenders could lose their benefits for a year.
The son of legendary Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson passed away Wednesday night. Eddie Robinson Jr died from complications related to heart surgery. Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office says three additional arrests have been made in the join homicide investigation into the death of Willie Francis. They say additional details will be released later today. The 23-year-old Bayou Vista man's body was found last week and a 15-year-old suspect was arrested Wednesday.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office says a former deputy has been arrested again for felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile. This is the third time 24-year-old Todd Tripp has been arrested in three
months. The first arrest was for indecent behavior with juveniles and child porn amid allegations Tripp was exchanging sexually explicit pictures with a 15 year old boy. He was arrested yesterday for allegedly having sexual contact with a 16 year old.
Louisiana has now spent 11 million dollars in response efforts for the giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish. The state expects to be reimbursed by Texas Brine, which is the company that operated an underground salt dome cavern that caused the sink hole.
News For Thursday 11/07/13
News for Thursday 110713
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana wakes up to more cool Autumn weather today. State Climatologist Barry Keim says you'll want a jacket or sweater handy for the next several mornings, as we start the days with temperatures in the 40's and 50's. Keim says a cool, dry air mass from the Pacific Northwest has made its way across the Rocky Mountains and into the Gulf South. He says we can expect the cool, spell to last a few days at least and nice weather through the weekend.
The Jindal administration announced late Wednesday that it is moving to strip food stamps from recipients who took advantage of a technical glitch last month to stock up on free groceries.
The announcement came after U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., pressured state officials to take action by taking away food stamp benefits and forming a task force with local prosecutors to bring criminal charges. Retailers lost money when they allowed food stamp recipients to leave their stores with groceries even though they could not check spending limits. When the transactions were processed later, thousands bounced back because recipients exceeded their food stamp balances. Smartphone images of empty store shelves and bulging grocery carts at Wal-Marts in Springhill and Mansfield made national news.
The Many Police Department says after reviewing surveillance tapes and interviewing witnesses, Walmart has no evidence of any theft, nor any other criminal activity during the October 12th EBT card glitch. Thus they have closed the investigation at this time. Additionally they say if the department becomes aware of any new evidence, then that status could change. But for now, the case is closed.
Louisiana State Police plans on training its first cadet class in nearly five years starting in January 2014. Col Mike Edmonson says they have over 250 candidates that are undergoing extensive
background checks, physical assessments and polygraphs as the next step in the journey for about 50 people who will become new state troopers.
Louisiana receives its highest ever ranking by Site Selection magazine for business climate. The bayou state is ranked sixth, one spot higher than last year's ranking. Four years ago Louisiana was
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office says a 15 year old girl is under arrest on second degree murder charges in the death of a Bayou Vista man who was found last week. They say once Willie Francis body was identified, they developed the teen as a suspect and made the arrest Tuesday evening. The case remains under investigation.
Police in Oakdale say an 18 year old is under arrest and charged with the second degree murder of his grandfather. They say 64-year-old Norman Johnson died at the house the two shared together Monday night from a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest. Laken Johnson was arrested and transferred to the Allen Parish jail.
West Monroe police arrest a woman for allegedly pepper spraying a woman she worked with at Wendy's then posting about it on Facebook. 35-year-old Tomeka Gibson was booked on aggravated battery charges after the victim reported the incident to officers then showed them the social media post.
The 13 year old boy from Terrytown who was accused of killing his five year old sister when performing wrestling moves on her has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in her death. The teen was charged with manslaughter but reportedly accepted a plea agreement on the lesser charge in Jefferson Parish juvenile court. He is set to be sentenced on December 4th.
News For Wednesday 11/06/13
News for Wednesday 110613
By Dave Graichen
U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu has filed a bill to fix The affordable care act, by allowing individuals who like their current health coverage to keep it. There are numerous reports of cancellations of policies because they do not meet minimum benefits required under the Affordable Care Act. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says as many at 80-thousand Louisianans may lose their coverage, but Landrieu says her bill will allow you to keep your coverage as long as you stay current on premium payments. Landrieu says she still supports the plan, but admits it needs some
It is expected to be announced today that Stakeholders interested in promoting a specific site for the future home of Central Louisiana Technical Community College’s Alexandria campus will have until January 21st of next year to make their final presentations. The new facility is expected to cost upwards of $21.6 million to build. It will replace the current Alexandria campus on South MacArthur Drive.
Pineville-based Crest Industries on Tuesday announced plans to build a $15 million galvanizing plant in South Louisiana. The new plant will serve customers in the electric utility and petrochemical industries. It will furnish galvanized protective coatings for utility poles and equipment. The galvanizing plant will bring services in-house that formerly were contracted to outside vendors.
Governor Bobby Jindal places second-to-last in a new poll of possible 2016 Republican Primary candidates. The survey, done by North Carolina based Public Policy Polling, shows Mr. Jindal with only 6%. By comparison, the same poll of Democratic voters shows Hilary Clinton with 67% voter support. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Rand Paul have just 16% each.
Even though this year's LSU/Alabama game is hardly considered the "Game of the Century", the matchup in Tuscaloosa Saturday is still one of the hottest tickets in the country. StubHub spokesperson Cameron Papp says the contest between The Tigers and The Tide is their most popular sporting event this week in terms of demand. Papp says so far the game is currently the 4th highest selling college football matchup this season. Tickets prices for the game are as low as $140 on StubHub, with a high price of $2,000.
The IRS is warning Louisianans of a sophisticated telephone scam, wherein con artists pose as...the IRS. Spokesperson Dee Harris Stepter says the callers are able to "spoof" caller ID, to make it look as if the call IS coming from the IRS. She says the scammers try to convince victims to pay an outstanding tax debt that they do not really owe. Stepter says don't be fooled by these con artists. She says the IRS will always notify you of a tax debt by written notification first, before any phone calls are made.
A man from Baton Rouge who is accused of threatening the life and family of former US Attorney Jim Letten plead guilty in federal court Monday to the charges. Gerald Estrade served more than 21 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1988 death of his daughter. He now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the threats.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's office has reportedly asked the FBI to take part in an investigation regarding a deputy who allegedly beat a handcuffed man during a disturbance at the sugarcane festival in September. The unidentified deputy has been terminated but now an investigation is underway into any possible criminal violations that were committed.
A tax preparer in Natchitoches pleads guilty to filing false returns and could face three years in prison. 38-year-old Lashanda Harris aided customers in filing returns with bogus information, so they could get bigger refunds. She collected kickbacks for her help. Her sentencing is January 30th.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff's office says a man is in stable condition after allegedly stabbing himself several times Tuesday morning in the parking lot of their substation in Maringouin where his girlfriend was filing an abuse complaint against him. The man has not been identified but the sheriff's office says he could face charges when he gets out of the hospital.
State senator Neil Riser of Columbia is attacking his opponent, Vance McCallister, in the 5th District Congressional run-off. Riser's campaign released a new television ad that says McCallister has taken two different positions on the Affordable Care Act. The ad claims that McCallister recently told a Democrat forum that he embraces Obamacare, but his website says that he'll fight to repeal it.
A Mississippi Gulf Coast mother of a 4 month-old infant is free on $5,000 bond after she allegedly attempted to sell her baby on Craigslist. Twenty-three year-old Bobbie Jo Stojic of Bay St. Louis sent a text to a woman in Kenner, originally discussing the sale of baby clothing. When the discussion went to selling her baby, the other woman contacted authorities in Mississippi.
News For Tuesday 11/05/13
News for Tuesday 110513
By Dave Graichen
A Legislative Auditor's report shows the Department of Health & Hospitals last year paid out nearly $2-million in Medicaid benefits to persons who were actually dead. DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert wants taxpayers to know this was not a case of Medicaid Benefits being paid out fraudulently. She says the money was paid out to five Medicaid service providers and was based upon federal Social security data that had not been updated in some time. She says they will take steps to recoup the money.
Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway has given his endorsement to Vance McAllister in the race to fill the fifth district congressional seat. McAllister is in a runoff with State Senator Neil
Riser of Columbia. Holloway called McAllister a "sound conservative."
A republican state lawmaker, who was considering a campaign for U-S Senate next year, has changed his mind and instead endorsed Congressman Bill Cassidy to go up against Mary Landrieu. Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh told the Louisiana Radio Network in
September that he questioned whether Cassidy was a true conservative. Now he says his opinion is changed after watching how he handled debate during the government shutdown. The Shreveport lawmaker is calling on other GOP members to unite behind Cassidy.
The White House confirms President Barack Obama will be visiting New Orleans on Friday to discuss the importance of increasing exports from the Port of New Orleans to create jobs and boost the economy. Governor Bobby Jindal has reissued his invitation to the President to visit with parents and students participating in the state's scholarship program while he's here and discuss the DOJ's opposition to the vouchers.
There's a growing sentiment among lawmakers that they shouldn't be allowed to hand out Tulane scholarships and LSU Board of Supervisors should be banned from awarding LSU scholarships. State legislators can each award one Tulane scholarship a year and in exchange Tulane doesn't have to pay sales tax. Richard plans to file a bill for the 2014 session that would prohibit LSU board of supervisors members from giving away scholarships to the state's flagship university. Some lawmakers have reportedly given their award to relatives of other politicians. Richard says it's time to completely do away with these programs.
Senator David Vitter says state leaders haven't done enough to pursue those who committed food stamp fraud last month, when the food stamp card system crashed. The October 14th glitch triggered a run of food cardholders on two Wal-Marts - cleaning out their shelves - when the cards showed no credit limits. Vitter says there's been no consequence. Vitter has urged Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the Department of Children & Family Services to investigate and prosecute those who
defrauded the food benefit card system, by purchasing well beyond what they knew their card limits were. Vitter says Caldwell and DCFS have deferred to the US Dept. of Agriculture, which runs the program.
State lawmakers voiced their concerns to education leaders about the tougher standards that are being implemented in public schools. The standards are called Common Core and during a legislative hearing yesterday, Metairie Representative Cameron Henry told BESE President Chas Roemer, parents are not sold that Common Core is best for their kids. Other lawmakers said the state is not providing enough guidance or funding to help school districts implement common core. State
Superintendent of Education John White understands the concerns, but still believes the increased rigor in public schools will result in students who are more prepared for life after high school graduation. Representative Henry wasn't satisfied with the answers from White and Roemer. The republican lawmaker says he'll file legislation that could lead to big changes to common core.
The Baton Rouge Police Department says they responded to an area hospital Saturday night where a man claimed he was attacked then set on fire allegedly by 5 teenagers. Investigators say the 37-year-old victim reported the teens stole a small amount of money from him and a lighter before beating him unconscious. Apparently the man awoke to find his pants on fire which he was able to put out and get help. The suspects remain at large.
The Houma Police Department says a 13-year-old boy faces negligent homicide charges after an ATV he was driving flipped and killed one of the five occupants. Investigators report the ATV was going at a high rate of speed when it flipped. A 14-year-old boy was pronounced dead at the
scene. The owner of the ATV was issued a summons for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and allowing a minor to drive.
According to the American Automobile Association says the gas price continues to drop almost every day. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $3.05.
A Baton Rouge Police officer is recovering from wounds received over the weekend, when he was attacked from behind, beaten and kicked by three 17-year-olds. The off-duty officer was working security at a Chili's restaurant, and was dealing with a female customer asked to leave the restaurant for using loud, filthy language...when the other three jumped him. Security video helped identify the trio, who have all been arrested.
Officials with the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair says they'll look into stiffer security measures, after a fatal shooting this past weekend. 18-year-old Keithdrick Pier faces 2nd degree murder for the killing of 20-year-old Darrius Scott. Officials says next year will likely see metal detectors and restrictions on minors unaccompanied by an adult.
News For Monday 11/04/13
News for Monday 110413
By Dave Graichen
Members of the state House Education Committee will meet today, and pose questions of education officials about the embattled Common Core State Standards for student performance. Baton Rouge Rep. Steve Carter chairs the committee. He says it's an opportunity for lawmakers to get themselves up-to-date on the controversial topic. Carter says the purpose is to help state legislators to be better- informed about Common Core when asked by constituents and media. He says Education Superintendent John White and Board of Elementary & Secondary Education President Chas Roemer be there to answer questions.
Early voting is under way for the 5th district congressional runoff between state senator Neil Riser and political newcomer Vance McCallister. Election day is November 16th, this week, voters can cast early ballots. Political Analyst Elliot Stonecipher says its too hard to say who will win between Riser and McCallister. Stonecipher says McCallister has some momentum in this race, because he
is a political newcomer and voters are looking for a fresh face. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat agrees with Stonecipher but he says Riser should benefit from the backing of Governor Jindal and
former U-S Representative Rodney Alexander.
The March of Dimes gives Louisiana a failing grade again this year in its annual Premature Births Report Card. Spokesperson Makesha Judson says the MOD does the annual report to call attention to early birth rates that often spawn health problems later in life for those children. Judson says Louisiana's premature birth percentage of 15.3% IS coming down slowly; last year it was 15.6. In 2006 it was over 16%. She says March of Dimes and the state Department of Health & Hospitals are working together to try to reduce the premature birth rate to under 10% by 2020.
The Thibodaux man accused of killing his 7-year-old handicapped son in a brutal manner returns to court today. Judge John Leblanc has scheduled three days of hearings to determine if Jeremiah Wright is competent to stand trial. Judge Leblanc has ruled before on two different occasions that Wright was incompetent to stand trial. Wright spent time earlier this year at a mental hospital in East Feliciana Parish.
U.L.-Monroe announces job eliminations and consolidations, as the university reorganizes to meet the annual state budget. ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno says five academic colleges will merge into three, and 25 positions will be cut; six by attrition, and 19 via layoffs. Bruno says the reorganization will mean about $4-million in annual cost reduction through 2016, then about $2-million yearly going forward. Bruno says state budget cuts for higher education are the reason the cuts were necessary. He says raising tuitions and fees at ULM has not helped to avoid the reorganization.
Saints Quarterback Drew threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns but it was not enough to avoid an upset loss to the New York Jets. Brees was also intercepted twice as he was under a lot of pressure in this game. New Orleans defense also gave up nearly 200 rushing yards. Sean Payton and the Saints are now 6-and-2 on the season.
News For Friday 11/01/13
News for Friday 110113
By Dave Graichen
Early voting begins Saturday for the Fifth Congressional District Congressional runoff and other local races that are on the November 16th ballot. The Fifth Congressional District runoff between Republicans Neil Riser and Vance McAllister will be the main item on the ballot for most of those parishes.
A search warrant for drugs at a Colfax home led Grant Parish deputies to find illegal weapons, crystal meth and an alligator - frozen in a deep freeze. Deputies say the alligator was illegally
taken out-of-season, and the two men arrested will face weapons, drugs and poaching charges.
We are now within a month of the official end of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which turned out to be much less active than forecast by experts. State Climatologist Barry Keim feels we can pretty much close the book on the season now. He says, historically speaking, we have little to fear during November. Hurricane experts predicted anywhere from 18 to 20 named storms, with up
to 8 hurricanes. We've had sixteen named storms & only one hurricane.
Crime Time. Police in Baton Rouge are seeking the persons who shot a man several times in a bicycle ride-by shooting. The 54-year-old victim was walking when a group of young men on bikes opened fire. He was hit several times, then struck by a truck when he staggered wounded into the road. he was pronounced dead at the scene. As yet, police have no suspects and no motive for the violence.
A Lafayette man is in guarded condition after he was shot Thursday morning during an armed robbery. Lafayette Police say the 55-year-old victim was leaving his home with his children and was in his carport, when two men approached; demanding money. He managed to shove his two kids back inside the home before the assailants opened fire; hitting him once in the stomach. Police are seeking tips on the crime.
The Department of Transportation warns motorists it will close eastbound lanes of I-10 in Jefferson Davis Parish for four days - starting early Saturday morning. DOTD spokeswoman Diedra Druilhet (droo-YETT) says all eastbound traffic will be forced off at Exit 44 at Kinder, while workers repair a section of the overpass. The closure will only affect the eastbound lanes
The Louisiana Book Festival returns for its 10th anniversary, tomorrow in the Capital City. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says nearly 200 authors and panelists will be in attendance, to celebrate Louisiana's literary history. Dardenne says the Book Festival will be on the State Capitol grounds,
inside the Capitol building and connect to the State Library nearby. More info online at http://www.LouisianaBookFestival.org
A traffic accident Wednesday afternoon in St. Charles Parish took the life of a three-year-old St. Rose boy. Deputies say a dump truck driver was backing into a parking place, when the child - riding an electric scooter - rolled up underneath the truck's wheels and was killed. No charges against that driver at this time.
A Sulphur man accused of killing a baby by throwing the child against a wall pleads not guilty. 24-year-old Trent Dubroc allegedly acted out of frustration, when he harmed the baby on September 28th. He's charged with 2nd degree murder and with a separate charge of video voyeurism in an unrelated case. He's still in jail, pending a $5-million bond.
Shreveport Police say they took a 13-year-old into custody for stabbing a man during an argument. The victim was the boy's stepfather; he was stabbed three times in his side. He's now in a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. Charges against the boy are pending.
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges the state Department of Natural Resources illegally, and without supporting evidence, granted a coastal use permit to RAM Terminals LLC, to build a coal export facility along the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. Filed in 25th Judicial District Court, the lawsuit asks the court to throw out the approved coastal use permit and direct the DNR to reconsider the decision to grant the permit. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Sierra Club Delta Chapter, the Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network and two people who live near the proposed project.
Former Governor Edwin Edwards made news this week as he announced he may run for affice again. Edwards floated that idea during a speaking event at LSU. U-L Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross wonders if Edwards is serious, or just trying to grab some ratings for his new reality TV show on A & E.
The Saints will fly up to New York on Saturday looking for a road win against the Jets on Sunday. New Orleans enters the game with a 6-and-1 record, while the Jets are 4-and-4
News For Thursday 10/31/13
News For Thursday 103113
By Dave Graichen
There are flash flood watches still in effect for several parishes in northern and western part of the state through tonight. State Climatologist Barry Keim says almost all of the state will see showers and possible severe thunderstorms.
Senator David Vitter says folks who loaded up on groceries during a data glitch with the EBT card system earlier this month should be held responsible. The error caused cards to show no credit limits, causing chaos at several Wal-Mart stores, as cardholders loaded their baskets to the brim. Vitter urges Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to prosecute. Wal-Marts in Springhill and Mansfield were virtually cleaned out by a "feeding frenzy" of EBT cardholders. Vitter says most of them KNEW they were purchasing far beyond the monthly credit limit of their EBT card. Some shoppers left without making any attempt to pay - even with an EBT card - which is outright theft.
The 2014 Bayou Country Superfest lineup has been announced! Reba McIntyre will be joining George Strait Friday night May 23rd, Luke Bryan headlines Saturday along with Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean will close Sunday the 25th along with Eric Church and Breaux Bridge's Hunter Hayes.
There are some consolidation plans underway for the University of Louisiana at Monroe. President Nick Bruno plans to announce more budget cuts this week that will reportedly include staff reductions of some 35 positions and the consolidation of ULM's five colleges into three. Bruno says the cuts will save ULM almost 400 thousand dollars.
The LHSAA suspends five assistant football coaches from Destrehan for hacking into a website that allowed them to see video of closed practices for South Lafourche High School. Destrehan has also forfeited its victory over South Lafourche as part of the ruling.
A former Calcasieu Parish priest awaiting trial on charges he molested young boys is out of jail today on a one-point-five-million dollar bond. Defense attorney Tom Lorenzi says friends and family
members of 57-year-old Mark Anthony Broussard put together their resources to get Broussard out of jail after he missed out on a family wedding. Broussard is facing five counts of sexual abuse. He had been in the Calcasieu Parish jail since his March 2012 arrest.
State Police say a single vehicle crash overnight claimed the life of a woman from Natchitoches. They say it happened around 12:40 am when 50 year old Sandra Ponthieux lost control of her vehicle and exited the roadway before slamming into a tree. The driver is suspected of being impaired at the time of the crash and she was not wearing her seatbelt.
The Monroe Police Department says the boy who was run over by an 18 wheeler after falling off his bike into the road was likely suffering some type of medical condition. Spokesman Sgt Mark Johnson says there were several witnesses to this tragic incident. Johnson says the bike fell directly into the path of the 18 wheeler and the little boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
News For Wednesday 10/30/13
News For Wednesday 103013
By Dave Graichen
Bad weather is on its way to Cenla on Thursday and with that in mind. Many Rapides Parish municipalities have had to change their regularly scheduled Halloween events and trick-or-treat times. The city of Pineville’s Fall Festival at Kees Park, which had been scheduled for tomorrow night, will be held tonight. Pineville also changed its citywide trick-or-treating to 5 to 8 this evening instead of Thursday. Others moving their “Trick or Treating” up.. The city of Alexandria is this afternoon from 5:30 to 8:30. The town of Ball, 5 p.m. to 8 tonight. Cheneyville’s Halloween celebration has been changed to 5:30 to 7:30 this evening on the grounds of the Old Town Hall. Festivities will be moved inside in case of rain. Halloween in the Park in Forest Hill is planned for Halloween night, but if necessary, it will be moved to the Forest Hill Academy gymnasium on Blue Lake Road.
Fifth congressional district Republican candidate Vance McAllister has picked up the endorsement of democrat Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo. McAllister is in a November 16th runoff against Republican State Senator Neil Riser. Political experts say Mayo's endorsement could be a game-changer for McAllister's campaign.
When making publicity rounds touting his new reality show, rumors are circling that former Governor Edwin Edwards is considering another run for office. During a speaking engagement at LSU, Edwards says if he felt people would warm up to the idea and he thought he could win, he would likely run again. He says Louisiana needs him. According to state law Edwards would need a Presidential pardon to run for governor in 2015 -- but he could run for US Senate in 2016
without the need of a pardon.
A financial website rates Louisiana the nation's worst state in which to retire. "MoneyRates.com" looked at factors like overall senior population, costs of living, crime and more to compile the list. The ranking also cites Louisiana's climate and the low average life expectancy past 65 as reasons our state tops its Worst Places to Retire list. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne disagrees with the ranking and says it will not change plans to continue marketing Louisiana as a great place to spend one's Golden Years. He says our state has so much to offer.
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has filed legislation aimed at sparing homeowners with National Flood Insurance from massive premium hikes. One of the sponsors is Senator Mary Landrieu, who says nearly a half-million policyholders will see unsustainable rate increases under the 2012 Biggert-Waters flood insurance reforms. Senator David Vitter is a co-sponsor too, plus senators from Georgia, New Jersey, Oregon, North Dakota, Florida, Massachusetts and New York. Landrieu says the bill seeks to delay Biggert-Waters for several years, while mandating FEMA to complete an impact and affordability study of the proposed premium increases.
A coalition of conservative think tanks recommended Tuesday morning that Louisiana address its nation-leading incarceration rate by repealing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenses. The report concluded rolling back Louisiana’s harsh sentences would allow the state to better focus on ensuring violent criminals are kept behind bars. Laws enacted by the state during the past couple decades led to a doubling of the state’s prison population from 1992 to 2011. ( The report was produced by the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based research group that says it promotes libertarian principles, in conjunction with the New Orleans-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a self-described study group that promotes free markets and limited government. http://theadvocate.com/home/7440265-125/groups-recommend-louisiana-legislators-rewrite
Whooping cough has set a post-1960s record in Louisiana and things are worse in Texas, where nearly 2,900 cases have been reported, and Arkansas, where numbers are double those of a year ago. Louisiana health officials are asking doctors to keep an eye out for it. Louisiana’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard, says 169 confirmed and likely cases as of mid-October breaks a vaccination-era record of about 160 for all of last year.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is asking questions about the financial arrangements needed to make privatization of LSU hospitals work. A top state health official said the inquiries are routine, but state Treasurer John Kennedy fears the privatization effort might be improperly laundering federal money. Kennedy said he is concerned the federal government will not accept the way the state is accounting for lease payments under the LSU plan. The payments are being included as part of the calculation that determines how much the federal government pays for reimbursing the hospitals for medical care to patients under Medicaid.
A Bossier City couple is charged with cruelty to juveniles, after two kids were found living in their home with no electricity or running water. Bossier spokesman Mark Natale says the
11-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy had been left home alone for over 15 hours with no food in the house either.
Police in Opelousas report a car that hit a parked boat, tree and a fence was found to have a dead man behind the wheel. The owner of the property where the damage was done called police and told them the driver was still in the car and was not moving. Officers found 35-year-old Daniel Hardy of Opelousas inside the car. It's unsure if he was killed by the crash, which was a high rate of speed, or something else.
Grambling State University says civil rights activist Jesse Jackson plans on visiting the campus in the near future to help close a rift that's developed between students and administrators. School leaders
say Jackson will be able to promote a period of healing. Grambling's football team recently held a boycott that resulted in them forfeiting a game against Jackson State.
A personal injury attorney from LaPlace admits he stole 58-thousand dollars from an elderly client. Kurt Wall, director of the Louisiana Attorney General's office criminal division, says 42-year-old Kerry
Brown represented a senior citizen in an automobile accident, but never informed the client of the 58-thousand dollar settlement.
News For Tuesday 10/29/13
News for Tuesday 102913
By Dave Graichen
The statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline has hit $3.10 according to the American Automobile Association. The price at the pump has fallen 23 cents over the last month and Triple-A fuel analyst Don Redman says many retailers are selling unleaded gasoline for less than three dollars a gallon. Redman says January 2011 was the last time the statewide average was
below three-dollars a gallon.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office is investigating, yet another apparent murder suicide. Police say Sunday afternoon it appears 39-year-old Sedric Richard shot his girlfriend, 26-year-old Brittany Rogers. The motive in the incident is still unknown.
State Highway safety officials say seat belt usage by Louisiana drivers this year has increased by 3%; it's biggest jump in ten years. According to the Highway Safety Commission, 82 & a half
percent of us use our seatbelts regularly. Seat belt usage doubles your chances of surviving an auto crash.
The tea party-connected Senate Conservatives Fund announced Monday it would support Rob Maness over fellow Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in the 2014 U.S. Senate race. It’s the biggest endorsement yet for the retired U.S. Air Force Col. Maness. of Madisonville, and gives the tea party candidate greater ability to draw in national fundraising dollars.
A bipartisan group of US senators and representatives will introduce flood insurance reform legislation today that seeks to prevent dramatic rate hikes for thousands of south Louisiana residents. Louisiana's US Senators, Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, are part of this group, Vitter
says one key provision would delay any extreme premium hike. Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program went into effect on October first and an estimated 18-thousand Louisiana policies will see an immediate impact. Vitter says Louisiana is not the only state that could see these large increases, which is why he's confident Congress will pass the legislation that will be filed today in the US Senate.
LSU System President F. King Alexander says he's willing to discuss raising the price of Tigers football tickets. Last week, Athletic Director Joe Alleva asked LSU Board members to consider hiking tickets next year. Dr. Alexander says they'll look carefully at Alleva's request over the next six weeks, but any changes in prices are up to the board. Some have suggested that, if LSU needs to increase game day revenues, they should consider selling beer in Tiger Stadium. Alexander says
that's never been debated by the LSU Board (to his knowledge) and he's not sure it's a good idea.
East Baton Rouge Parish coroner Dr. Beau Clark plans to work with state lawmakers to increase sentencing laws for those individuals convicted of dealing heroin. Dr. Clark is advocating for a stiffer punishment against heroin dealers, because of a recent surge in heroin overdose deaths. He says life sentences used to be handed out for dealing heroin, but lawmakers recently changed the sentencing guidelines. He says heroin has become more accessible and those dealing it
should face great consequences.
Two years ago, Lafayette-based Schumacher Group announced it would spend $19 million to expand its emergency medical services management business and create 600 jobs by 2017. On Monday, the company announced its third layoff of the year; 42 people nationwide, 32 of them in Louisiana.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office says a man is under arrest for allegedly banning an elderly woman from eating. They say 55 year old Sidney Elair of Centerville was booked on charges of cruelty to the infirm, resisting a police officer, simple assault and disturbing the peace intoxicated.
Reviews are rolling in for The Governor's Wife starting former Governor Edwin Edwards and wife Trina which premiered Sunday night on A&E. Some are calling the reality show, "creepy in almost every way." But there are some who are intrigued and can't wait to see more. The Governor's Wife airs Sunday nights at 9 on A&E.
The Lafayette Police Department says a 14-year-old is under arrest for attempted first degree murder for allegedly stabbing a woman in the chest. They say the victim was in an argument with the mother of the suspect when the teen intervened. Reports indicate the stab wounds placed the woman in critical condition at a local hospital. The teen was booked into the Lafayette Parish Juvenile detention center.
The Coast Guard is searching for a welder who fell from on offshore rig in the Gulf; about 55 miles from shore. They say the 38-year-old man was knocked overboard when an empty barrel fell on him. Few other details are known at this time.
Saints Coach Sean Payton had the players at the team's practice facility yesterday going over some of the mistakes that were made in the 35-17 win over Buffalo. Payton says there were a number of things they could have done a lot better. The head coach says the corrections will be made as they get ready to play the Jets.
Louisiana Tech announces they plan to break ground this spring on an 18-million dollar South End Zone complex which will close the south end of the Stadium. Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says the three story athletic facility will be 70-thousand square feet and it will feature state of the art technology and furnishings. McClelland says the facility would not be possible without the genoristy
of some of their loyal supporters and alumni.
News For Monday 10/28/13
News for Monday 102813
By Dave Graichen
The University of Virginia's Center for Politics, which is known for predicting elections, no longer labels next year's US Senate race in Louisiana as a "toss up." Their crystal ball leans democratic, meaning Landrieu is a slight favorite. University of Virginia political analyst Kyle Kondik says the latest campaign finance totals show Landrieu has two million dollars more compared to Cassidy in her campaign war chest. He says Landrieu also has a history of winning close elections, which is why they give her a slight edge in the race. Kondik says Louisiana's unique open primary system for federal elections also gives Landrieu an edge.
State health officials say now is the time to get the flu shot, even though the peak of the influenza season in Louisiana is not until February. The state department of health and hospitals flu shot expert, Doctor Frank Welch, says it's best to get the shot now, before the flu bug gets you. DHH urges everyone six months and older to get a flu shot. Welch says it’s especially important for pregnant women, adults 65 and older and children under the age of five to get the flu shot. He reminds Louisiana residents that the flu is an illness that can kill.
Another West Nile virus death has been reported by the state Department of Health and Hospitals. It is the fourth death in the state this year. DHH said the death is from Ouachita Parish, the second death in that parish this year. The other two deaths were in Rapides Parish. DHH also confirmed four new West Nile virus cases this past week, bringing this year’s total to 55 cases.
Two Americans remain hostages of pirates on a Louisiana owned ship off the coast of Nigeria. The C-Retiever ship, which is owned by Edison Chouest Offshore, was attacked by Nigerian pirates last Wednesday. Tulane maritime law director Martin Davies says the kidnappers are likely demanding money for the safe return of the two men. Davies says these hostage situations off the coast of Africa could go on for months, but if the kidnappers are seeking ransom, then the victims are usually treated well. According to the International Maritime Bureau there's been 40 piracy attacks in the first three quarters of 2013 in the Gulf of Guinea, where this attack occurred. Davies says companies who vessels that work in these areas, understand the dangers and purchase insurance for it.
A group of business, faith and conservative leaders from Louisiana are headed to Washington DC today to urge members of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Group spokesman Randy Hayden says it's vital to Louisiana's economy to help immigrant workers become Americans so they can easily enter the workforce. Hayden says reform is needed in agricultural visas to help our farmers and also reform in high-tech visas to help colleges and universities.
With less than a month until the runoff election for Louisiana's 5th Congressional District, the two Republican's vying for that job are campaigning hard to come out on top. Columbia state Senator Neil Riser has been considered front-runner all along. He says he'll bring true conservatism to Congress for Louisiana. Political newcomer Vance McAllister is Riser's opponent. He has run a largely self-funded campaign and finished in the October 19th election with 18% of the vote, to Riser's 32%. McAllister suggests Riser has become a career politician, and voters now want something else. Both men will spend the next three weeks campaigning hard to win voters over - especially the many Democrats and independent voters in District 5.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has been the subject of some controversy this week regarding the way it chooses to refer to itself. The school says it's not trying to change its name, but State Senator Francis Thompson of Delhi is one of many who doesn't think it's right for UL-Lafayette to simply have "Louisiana" on its jerseys. Many Ragin' Cajuns feel most of the outrage is coming from the ULM nation but before the Monroe school was known as The Warhawks, they used "Louisiana Indians" on their football helmets. Thompson says he's gotten many calls from angry ULM alumni who are angry the Lafayette school is trying to refer to itself as Louisiana.
The LSU Tigers head into the bye week ranked 13th in the coaches poll and 11th in the AP poll after beating Furman 48-to-16 on Saturday night.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw five touchdown passes as New Orleans improved to 6-and-1 on the season with a 35-17 win over the Buffalo Bills.
News For Friday 10/25/13
News for Friday 102513
By Dave Graichen
School performance scores released today by the state department of education shows a record 43% of Louisiana public schools received an "A" or "B" under a new accountability system. State Superintendent of Education John White was happy to share the good news during a conference call with reporters this afternoon. The number of failing schools is at an all time low, decreasing from
12 to 8 percent. Parents can see how their child's school is performing by going to Louisiana believes dot com.
An Alexandria woman wanted in a fatal shooting Monday on Lee Street has been captured, along with four others who are accused of helping her elude authorities. 21-year-old Stormy Cofer was found in a house in the 1700 block of Beatrice Street. She was arrested, booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center and charged with second-degree murder and a warrant for failure to pay a fine. Four other Alexandria residents werealso were arrested and all charged with accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.
Two years from today it will be election day in Louisiana as voters will be choosing a new governor. A large field is anticipated since Governor Bobby JIndal is not allowed to run for a third consecutive
term. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says several well-known republicans could enter the race. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, state treasurer John Kennedy, PSC Commissioner Scott Angelle and former Congressman Rodney Alexander have made their expectations to run known.
A man from Jackson is suing the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff amid claims he was wrongly arrested for rape last year. George Sheppard reportedly held in prison for 6 months before a judge ruled no probable cause of prosecution.
If you've ever wanted a little Duck Dynasty in your gumbo, Willie Robertson has that on the menu at his new restaurant opening today in West Monroe. Courtney Hornsby is the president of the West
Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce. She says "Willie's Duck Diner" is sure to attract Duck Dynasty lovers far and wide. Hornsby says the menu features great southern home cooking comfort foods like chicken-fried steak, pork chops, meatloaf, biscuits, frog legs and of course duck --- served up fried or in gumbo. She also says there are pictures, both new and old, of the family on the walls of the restaurant.
US Senator David Vitter has support from 29 other senators as he seeks an explanation regarding the US Justice Department's lawsuit against Louisiana's voucher program. Attorney General Eric Holder says it upsets the racial balance of students in districts under federal desegregation
orders. Vitter says that civil rights argument doesn't make sense.. A letter signed by Vitter and 29 other senators seeks answers on why the federal government filed this lawsuit. Vitter wonders why Holder is more concerned about a quota than the type of education a child receives. Vitter says the lawsuit will return 570 voucher students to public schools so that it can preserve a school's racial make-up.
46-year old Gregory Walker of Baton Rouge has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges after he admitted receiving almost one million dollars in bogus state film tax credits. Walker is facing up to 20 years in prison and a quarter million dollar fine.
First-offense DWI pleas arranged in a bribery scheme at the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office could be called into question in a lawsuit planned by a Lafayette defense attorney. At issue are plea deals in Lafayette Parish allegedly arranged by private investigator Robert Williamson, who is under federal indictment in an investigation of bribes paid to employees of the District Attorney’s Office in return for favorable treatment in DWI cases. Meanwhile, some DWI defendants who made the special plea have since been arrested again on new DWI charges. At least five of those defendants now say they should not face more severe penalties for second-offense DWI, arguing that their first DWI pleas are not valid because they were effectively denied the right to an attorney and were represented instead by Williamson, a private investigator.
The reality TV show starring Former Governor Edwin Edwards and his young wife will hit the airwaves for the first time on Sunday. The show "The Governor's Wife" centers around the family life of Trina Scott Edwards and her 86 year old husband. Trina says the entire filming experience was surreal. The A&E show was originally scheduled to air over the summer but Edwards says a difficult pregnancy put things on hold. She says the thing she's looking forward to the most on the show is the final episode...:(The series premiere episde entitled, "Happy Birthday Mr.. Governor" is on Sunday at 9 on A&E.)
The Lafayette Fire Department says a 64 year old man is under arrest for allegedly setting a mobile home on fire because he thought it was ugly. They say William Riley is booked on a count of simple arson. The home was vacant and Riley indicated to officials he didn't like the tall grass and the abandoned appearance of the trailer in his neighborhood.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they are actively investigating the shooting death of a black bear which occurred earlier this month. They've determined the bear, which is on the threatened and endangered species list, was shot in the head. An $8000 cash reward is being offered for information that would lead to an arrest.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who was indicted in January on charges relating to accepting free trips and over $200,000 in bribes, has had his trial delayed. A federal judge Thursday set a new trial date of January 27th.
News For Thursday 10/24/13
News for Thursday 102413
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria police are looking for a 21-year-old woman in connection to the shooting death Monday of an 18-year-old woman on Lee Street. Police describe Stormy Cofer, of Alexandria, as being about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds. Her hair is colored reddish, according to the release. If you know the whereabouts of this woman, contact the APD.
If you plan on buying tickets to LSU football games and you're worried about the price going up and by how much, you're just going to have to wait a while longer. The LSU Board of Supervisors had scheduled the item for a vote this coming Friday, but the board decided to wait a while before deciding what to do. They'll now vote on the ticket price hikes at their December meeting.
Since the Grambling State Football team decided not to show up to its game on Saturday, their opponent Jackson State says it plans to sue. The Mississippi university claims the cancellation of the game cost them millions of direct and indirect dollars. The game was also Jackson State's homecoming which the university says draws thousands of fans. Tickets are being refunded and
businesses are reporting losses.
Two Louisiana congressmen John Fleming and Charles Boustany are calling for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because of the ongoing issues with the Affordable Care Act. Boustany says people are finding it difficult to purchase insurance because of technical glitches in the system. Fleming plans to file legislation to stop collection of personal data when people sign up for the Affordable Care Act because he's afraid the information would not be kept confidential.
Members of the state House and Senate Insurance committees heard yesterday from state and local officials who are concerned about impacts of dramatic rate increases for flood insurance in Louisiana. St. Charles Parish President VJ St. Pierre Jr. says FEMA has told their residents that flood insurance rates could be as high as 35-thousand dollars. An estimated 18-thousand Louisiana policies will see their rates skyrocket because of changes to the National Flood Insurance
A Baton Rouge woman is now facing two years in prison after a judge suspended 15 years of her 17 year sentence for a road rage incident that claimed the lives of five people just south of the capitol
city. Kelsy Hall was convicted of negligent homicide in the 2011 accident. The other defendant accused in the deadly crash, David Leger, will be standing trial early next year.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering a reward for tips on who illegally killed a black bear in Avoyelles Parish earlier this month. A citizen reported finding the bears remains in some woods a few miles south of the Grassy Lake Wildlife Management Area. A necropsy revealed the bear had been dead for about five to six days and that it had been shot in the head. Agents also collected an arrow nearby and think the bear might have been shot with an arrow first.
Caddo Parish deputies arrest four people who were allegedly involved in the theft of 63 semi-automatic guns delivered to a Shreveport gun distributor. Sheriff's office spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says they were called into investigate after the freight company noticed some of the guns
were gone. Chadwick says their investigation led them to a 21-year-old security guard who was on duty at the freight company on the day the guns arrived. Three more people were arrested as their investigation continued. Chadwick says they have yet to recover any of the guns and it's likely the semi-automatic weapons have already been sold.
The police department in Many will be posting pictures on Facebook of people who loaded up their Wal-Mart buggies with groceries while the food stamp system was experiencing a computer glitch and balances couldn't be checked. They simply loaded up and walked out. Investigator Jo Ann Carter says they're targeting people who were specifically taking advantage of the October 12th frenzy.
Police in Richwood say a woman is under arrest for allegedly slapping a child on a school bus then doing the same to the bus river. They say 32-year-old Menza Hudson entered the bus where her child and another child were fighting and got in the middle of it. She is booked with cruelty to a juvenile.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office say a man is booked with negligent homicide in the death of a motorcyclist for leaving his truck on the side of the road when it ran out of gas -- then was hit
by the cyclist who died. They say Marcus Amos didn't leave lights on to warn others.
A former Livingston Parish deputy sheriff 38-year old Jeremy Brister of Denham Springs has been sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Brister was arrested in January of last year on three counts of indecent behavior and one count of molestation of a juvenile involving a 15-year old girl. He will also have to serve one year of
supervised probation, pay a 15-hundred dollar fine and register as a sex offender.
Today the 107th Louisiana State fair opens in Shreveport. The fair is taking extra safety precautions this year to make sure there are not any accidents on the carnival rides. State Fair General Manager Chris Giordano says that a third party has been hired to make constant inspections throughout the duration of the fair. There have been mechanical errors the last two years that resulted in injuries, including a four year old boy who was severely hurt in 2011.
A freshman on the LSU football team is in trouble with the law. LSU police say they arrested defensive back Jeryl Brazil after he allegedly grabbed a woman by the throat and threw her onto a sofa. Captain Cory Lalonde says the incident occurred last week at the West Campus Apartments. Coach Les Miles says Brazil has been suspended indefinitely. He's only played in one game this season. He was an All-State player at Loranger High School last season.
News For Wednesday 10/23/13
News for Wednesday 102313
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria police detectives are investigating a shooting on Lee Street Monday evening that killed an 18-year-old woman. The body of Leiunna Collins of Alexandria, was found at the intersection of Dallas and Lee streets shortly before 6 Monday night. Collins was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police say the investigation continues.
Drive-thru flu shots will be available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the Rapides Parish Health Unit, 5604-A Coliseum Blvd. in Alexandria. The shots are free if people present proof of insurance. Bring a photo copy of both sides of your insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card. For those without proof of insurance, there will be a $10 charge.
A jacket for when you are outside and another blanket at night could be needed this week as more cool air is filtering into Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a cold front has brought more Canadian air to the Bayou State. Keim says high temperatures will be in the mid 70s today and low
temperatures will be in the mid 40s over the next few mornings. He says we'll see another temperature drop later in the week. Keim is not anticipating any record lows, but we'll experience the
coolest temps of the fall this week.
State lawmakers gather in Baton Rouge today to discuss the impact of rising flood insurance premiums for some Louisiana property owners. Senate Insurance Committee Chairman, Blade Morrish of Jennings, says much of the public is in the dark on who will be impacted as a result of
flood insurance reform legislation that went into effect on October 1st An estimated 18-thousand Louisiana policies will see an immediate impact and some property owners could see rate increases of up to four-thousand percent.
Louisiana Public Broadcasting will air a program tonight that discusses whether or not Louisiana should legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Kirby Goidel from the LSU Public Policy Research
Lab is co-hosting the show. A release from LBP says mandatory drug sentencing costs Louisiana
taxpayers millions of dollars to incarcerate people charged with simple possession of marijuana. Goidel says a recent survey showed overwhelming support for de-criminalizing pot in Louisiana. The show will air tonight on LPB at 7pm.
The Caddo Parish Sheriff's office arrests a man for allegedly trying to extort a contestant on the popular music competition show "The Voice. Spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick says Harold Martin of Texarkana, Arkansas faces extortion charges for threatening to defame 22-year-old Cole Vosbury of Shreveport if he didn't perform at benefit concerts for free. She says Martin then started to threaten Vosbury, after he began appearing on the NBC television show.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office says a 47-year-old woman killed her 84-year-old mother and a dog, before fatally shooting herself at a home in an upscale Baton Rouge neighborhood. Colonel Lawrence McLeary says investigators learned Karen Diamond suffered from severe depression and was also concerned about her mother needing home health care, which could explain why the murder-suicide occurred. It's been reported Diamond was a doctor, who had a drug addiction and recently left her job at a Baton Rouge hospital.
Amid new controversy surrounding the Tulane legislative scholarship program, a state senator from Baton Rouge said Tuesday he will propose legislation to scrap the program, which allows each of Louisiana’s 144 lawmakers to award a one-year scholarship worth an estimated $43,150 to the private university each year. The program dates to the 1880s, when the then-public University of Louisiana was privatized into Tulane.
Governor Bobby Jindal joined former Governor Mike Foster in Franklin earlier Tuesday to announce that more than two million dollars has been set aside to maintain the archives of Foster, a two term Republican Governor of the Pelican State. According to the governor's office, the money will be used to preserve the third floor of the former Crowell Elementary School. That school now houses the Franklin City hall on the first two floors.
The University of Louisiana System Board plans a comprehensive review of Grambling State University. UL System President Sandra Woodley says outside experts and consultants will be brought in to look at all aspects of the university. Grambling's troubles came to particular light last week, when the football team boycotted the Jackson State game due to terrible conditions and problems with the school’s administration. Woodley says the institutional review of Grambling State could take several months to complete.
Five people had to be rescued Tuesday morning from the Mississippi River when their tugboat overturned in uptown New Orleans. There were no injuries reported. New Orleans port officials say its possible that a wake from a passing ship caused the tugboat to
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