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Local News
  • News for Thursday 070215

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Justice of the Peace in Grant Parish has resigned because her religion does not believe same-sex couples should be married. Patricia Gunter took the position in February, knowing she would resign if this came into law. Gunter says she decided to leave because she would no longer be able to perform the duties of the job due to her religious beliefs.

     

    Retired Gen. Russel Honore' said Wednesday he won't run for governor of Louisiana, leaving the field likely set for the fall race. Honore's decision leaves three Republicans, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and U.S. Sen. David Vitter and lone Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards as the only announced candidates for the Oct. 24 race.

     

    Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says the Supreme Court decision which allows same sex couples to be married will be a fairly easy transition on the insurance, since Louisiana changed the law to accommodate groups providing coverage, to offer insurance benefits for domestic partners. The only thing left to adjust is the paperwork.

     

    The Bunkie Record reported Wednesday, An industrial project that was expected to transform the economy of Avoyelles Parish looks to be in serious doubt. Gulf Coast Spinning Company, which was expected to build a cotton spinning plant that would employ more than 300 people at the Bunkie Industrial Park, is now, according to several sources,  considering another site. Construction at the industrial park halted several months ago, and according to the report in the Record, the company is planning on moving Phase I of the project to a vacant General Motors plant in Shreveport, with a potential Phase II in Bunkie down the line if the initial phase goes well.

     

    On a positive note, Plastipak Packaging has announced a $9 million expansion that will add 20 jobs to its manufacturing facility in Pineville. The Pineville plant, which was built in 2003 and supplies the nearby Procter & Gamble mill, already employs 205 people. Work will begin this fall and will be completed by March of next year.

     

    The Louisiana Chemical Association filed a lawsuit challenging a measure passed in the last session which would impose a 1 percent sales tax on business utilities and natural gas. HCR 8 is a temporary suspension of a 1 cent sales tax exemption on services expected to hit chemical plants hardest. The measure, which went into effect Wednesday, raises more than 100 million dollars and was enacted to balance the state’s budget.

     

    As many travelers hit the road today,  they’ll be seeing the lowest gas prices for the Independence Day holiday in years. Gregg Laskoski with GasBuddy.com says when drivers pull up to the pump, they’ll be paying about 95 cents a gallon less than last year. Laskoski says we’ll see a steady decrease from now until the end of the summer as long as we are without any weather event that could disrupt the pattern. He says the prices are going down because of the decline in the of crude oil.

     

    After getting some backing from Britney Spears mom, Lynne, gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards is offering a rather entertaining incentive for people to contribute $50 to his campaign. By doing that, supporters are entered to win a trip for two to Las Vegas for the Britney Spears concert at Planet Hollywood; including airfare, hotel and backstage passes. The winner will be announced September 8.

     

    A recent CNN presidential poll shows that Governor Bobby Jindal’s popularity has risen since he formally announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. The survey shows the governor going from one-percent to two-percent, with Jindal ranked 12th out of the 14 announced Republican candidates.  Before you get excited, keep in mind the margin of error is or – 5%.

     

    First, it was a cancellation by NBC, now the Donald Trump fall-out continues following his derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants. Rapper Flo Rida (flow RIDE duh), and Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith will not be attending the Miss USA Pageant in Baton Rouge July 12th. Macy’s Department Stores have also cut ties with the billionaire, and his menswear clothing line.

     

    Star forward Anthony Davis has verbally agreed to a $145 million dollar contract with the New Orleans Pelicans’ over five years. The deal goes into effect for the 2016-2017 season.

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  • News for Wednesday 070115

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police say a trooper who conducted a traffic stop in Rapides Parish was injured and shot at during an altercation with the driver. Authorities say the trooper was hit in the head with an unknown object and they are looking for the individuals who were involved. State Police say they were in a 90s model Chevrolet Caprice with a gray paint job or primer color.

     

    A pack of cigarettes will cost you an extra 50 cents today as the state’s new tax of cigarettes goes into effect. The state legislature approved a law that raises the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 36 cents to 86 cents. The legislature also increased taxes on e-cigarettes and vapor products.

     

    The State Fire Marshall’s office reports Six Allen Parish residents, including three volunteer firefighters, have been charged in connection with arson fires in May and early June in Oakdale. The fires hit both residential and commercial buildings. Other suspicious fires in the town remain under investigation. More arrests are possible.

     

    The civilian labor force in Louisiana set a record in May, growing by over 91 hundred jobs over the month and by 68,168 over the year. According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission those employed in the state grew to 2 million, 65 thousand, 471.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal says he will not back down from religious liberty. Jindal made the statement in reaction to a lawsuit filed by the Louisiana ACLU and others who are challenging an executive order signed by the governor back in May that seeks to protect those who oppose same-sex marriage. Louisiana ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman says this order goes beyond the scope of a governor’s constitutional power, because it creates a class of citizens who are protected, which only the legislature can do.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has signed into law legislation that reduces the penalties for simple marijuana possession. Under the new law, a first offense of simple possession of less than 14 grams of marijuana would face up to 15 days in jail. A second conviction drops from a felony to a misdemeanor. The legislation drops the maximum sentence from 20 years in prison, which was the highest in the country, to eight.

     

    Wal-Mart has apologized for making a cake at its Slidell store with the ISIS flag on it after denying a man’s request to design one with the Confederate flag. Chuck Netzhammer originally ordered a “Heritage Not Hate” Confederate flag cake, but the bakery did not honor the request. He then ordered a cake with an ISIS logo. That request was met. A spokesman for Wal-Mart told ABC News that the store associate did not know what the design meant and it was a misunderstanding.

     

    The American Automobile Association projects nearly 42 million Americans will travel for the 4th of July holiday, the most since 2007. AAA Spokesperson Don Redman says the fact that Independence Day falls on a weekend helps but that’s not the only reason people are out on the road. Redman says the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.55, which is significantly cheaper than it’s been in the past 5 years and that certainly helps the family budget.

     

    A Baton Rouge City Councilman is upset over the Capitol City losing out in international television exposure as a result of NBC’s decision not to broadcast the Miss USA Pageant. Last year the pageant, which was held in Baton Rouge for the first time, was shown in 70 countries. As a guest on a Baton Rouge Talkshow, Councilman John Delgado says the broadcast was a big infomercial for the city. NBC decided not to air the pageant after Miss Universe owner Donald Trump made controversial comments regarding Mexican immigrants.  Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says the state office of tourism is also withholding a 50-thousand dollar payment to the pageant, if the event goes untelevised.

     

    The Orlanes Parish District Attorney says he wants the death penalty for a man who they believe killed a NOPD officer while handcuffed in the squad car. 33-year-old Travis Boys is indicted for first degree murder in the death of 45-year-old Officer Daryle Holloway on June 20th. Boys is being held without bond.

     

    The Shreveport Police Department says a woman is under arrest after alerting authorities that a child was missing, when it turns out the 17 month old was never removed from a vehicle at the residence. They say 22-year-old Macy Bates was arrested and charged with a single count of child desertion for allegedly leaving the child inside the car and also a charge of DWI after driving around the neighborhood impaired in search of the child.

     

    The NBA free agency period begins today. The New Orleans Pelicans are not expected to make major additions to their roster. But the biggest priority is to get All star forward Anthony Davis to sign a five-year, 143-million dollar extension. The team hopes the hiring of head coach Alvin Gentry will convince Davis to sign that extension.

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  • News for Tuesday 063015

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Many parishes have started issuing same-sex marriage licenses Monday, after holding off on doing so on Friday, when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. The Clerks of Court Association has given local officials the go-ahead to issue the licenses as soon as they are ready. Rapides Parish is expected to issue its first same-sex marriage license today.

     

    It has been a while since both of our US Senators had offices in Alexandria. Tomorrow,  U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy will officially open his Central Louisiana Regional Office. The Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon tomorrow at 3600 Jackson St., Suite #115A. The public is invited.

     

    The US Supreme Court rules a controversial drug called midazolam can be used for lethal injections. Last week, a federal judge in Baton Rouge put on hold any execution in Louisiana until July of 2016, to give the state time to determine how they will carry out a death sentence.

     

    A Shreveport man who was stuck on death row for three decades before new evidence revealed he was innocent, has died at the age of 65. Glen Ford was released in March of last year, and was battling stage 4 lung cancer. Ford was held in solitary confinement at Angola, and had been the longest-serving death-row inmate in the US, until he was exonerated.

     

    The Louisiana Board of Ethics has dropped a complaint filed against former Rapides Parish School Board member Janet Dixon regarding allegations that Dixon as a school board member made motions and voted for actions that economically benefited her current employer. The board decided to close this case for lack of evidence.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has signed into two law two pieces of legislation dealing with marijuana. One of the measures sets up the framework so that Louisiana can legally dispense medical marijuana. But officials say it will be another two years before medicinal marijuana is available to Louisiana residents. The governor also signed into law a bill that reduces pot possession penalties.

     

    The National Weather Service expects the Red River in Shreveport to crest at 31-feet today. Hydrologist CS Ross says the impact from flood waters this time will be minimal as the Red should fall below flood stage on July 2nd, but remain high through the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Ross says the projected 31-foot crest is six feet lower than the crest in mid-June.

     

    NBC is pulling the plug on the national broadcast of the Miss USA Pagent on July 12th in Baton Rouge; in essence telling the billionaire media mogul Donald Trump, he’s fired. This action will also terminate the Miss Universe pageant, following derogatory comments Trump made about Latinos. In a statement, the network said that “NBC Universal is ending its business relationship with Trump.”

     

    An associate professor at LSU has been fired after using foul language and telling sexually-themed jokes to students. Teresa Buchanan was terminated, even after a five faculty member committee in March recommended she keep her job. She says she will fight the termination in court. LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cole points out if foul language is the cause, they ought to deal with other areas of LSU.

     

    Amite Representative and candidate for Governor Democrat John Bel Edwards said in a statement he would not want to keep John White as the state’s Superintendent if elected. Edwards says White isn’t qualified to be a principal at a middle school. White’s office responds saying politics should stay out of the classroom.

     

    According to a study by Estately.com, Louisiana comes in number 5 for the states with the most couch potatoes per capita.  Lead blogger Ryan Nickum says they came up with this ranking by calculating 8 different factors, including hours per day watching TV and Laz-E-Boy retailers per capita.

     

    The National College Baseball Hall of Fame announces LSU coach Paul Mainieri is the winner of the 2015 Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Award. Mainieri led the Tigers to the College World Series this past season and helped LSU win a nation’s best 54 games. Mainieri will be honored at the Hall of Fame’s annual Night of Champions celebration in Lubbock.

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  • News for Monday 062915

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The state police report a Saturday night single vehicle crash claimed the life of 48 year old Bryan Chauvin of Boyce. The accident occurred during a thunder storm on Interstate 49 near the Natchitoches/Rapides Parish line.  Chauvin’s vehicle was southbound on Interstate 49 when it began hydroplaning.  The vehicle then exited the left side of the roadway and collided with several trees. Chauvin was wearing his seat belt, but received serious injuries.  He was transported to a local hospital and was later pronounced dead.

     

    Some are saying it was a miracle no one was killed. A church bus from Philadelphia Baptist Church in Deville crashed Friday on I-10 in Florida. Authorities say 20 people were taken to hospitals, but none of the injuries were considered life threatening. All made it home safe and sound Saturday night to a large crowd of family and friends.

     

    Despite a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Louisiana is still not recognizing same-sex marriages. The Jindal Administration has said they are waiting on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on a case involving Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban. Clerks of Court are holding off on issuing marriage licenses until a 25-day period concludes where Supreme Court decisions can be challenged. State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says the decision has no mandate or order from the highest court that makes the decision final.  Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that states must recognize same-sex marriage, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will likely move forward with its case on gay marriage. The ruling by the appeals court will most likely be a formality

     

    The US Supreme Court’s ruling allowing gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry, has upset some conservatives here in Louisiana. Gene Mills, with the Louisiana Family Forum, says the Supreme Court has stripped all Americans of the freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. Mills says the Supreme Court has created a litigation rich environment, because there will be churches who will seek to stand by their religious belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

     

    According to a UCLA Williams Institute study, same sex marriages in Louisiana could mean a 28 million dollar boost to the economy over the next three years. Study author Lee Badgett says many small businesses will thrive if this estimate proves true. Badgett says there are about 4,000 gay couples living in Louisiana and it is expected that half will get married within the next three years. Badgett says this will also increase the amount of jobs available in the wedding fields.

     

    It is now illegal in Louisiana to post or share nude images of people on the internet without their consent. Governor Bobby Jindal signed Kenner Representative Julie Stokes’ “revenge porn” bill into law. So now, violators of the law could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal says his presidential campaign raised half a million dollars at its first major fundraiser held in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The 44 year old Jindal formally launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for president Last Wednesday.

     

    According to 24-7 sports, LSU football’s 2016 recruiting class is ranked number one in the country. With national signing day still several months away, the Tigers have 17 verbal commitments, including two five-star prospects.

     

    A report by Yahoo says Louisiana has the second most lightning strikes a year in the country.  Louisiana trails Florida but is just ahead of Mississippi. State Climatologist Barry Keim says we average about 827,000 strikes a year and lightning has caused 142 fatalities since 1959, or about 2.5 deaths a year. According to State Farm, Louisiana ranks 4th in the nation for lightning claims. In 2014, State Farm paid 6.5 million for more than 13-hundred insurance claims related to lightning strikes in Louisiana.

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  • News for Friday 062615

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Rapides Parish DA’s Office reports a former teacher arrested in February after being accused of having sex with an underage student was indicted Thursday by a grand jury.

    28 year old Donald Gene Parker III was indicted on two counts of obstruction of justice, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, one count of pornography with juveniles and one count of computer-aided solicitation of a minor. Parker had been a teacher at Glenmora High School, but was removed after the allegations.

     

    48-year-old Sean Marcantel of Alexandria is facing charges related to burglaries at two Masonic Drive businesses during May and June. The RPSO reports the burglaries were reported at Busby Marine and South Circle Storage, all involving nautical equipment stolen from boats at both locations. Marcantel was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with five counts of simple burglary and five counts of criminal trespassing.

     

    The Natchitoches Police Department is seeking information on who might have stolen laptops worth $25,000 from the Natchitoches Parish School Board office over last weekend. Sometime between Friday and Sunday, a suspect or suspects broke into the office on Royal Street in Natchitoches, taking 25 laptops. The black laptops were various brands, yet all of them had the word "METHODS" written across their tops. Anyone with information about the theft can call the Natchitoches Police Department.

     

    State utility regulators have unanimously approved a one-time refund for Cleco customers. But, don’t spend it all at once.. The Louisiana Public Service Commission voted Wednesday for a $1.64 million refund. An average customer, using 1,500 kwh per month, can expect a refund of about $3.50 on their September bill. The refund is the result of overcharges found through an audit.

     

    The 65th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival begins today in Ruston and they are hoping to  make a little history. Festival Organizer Brandon Sutherland says they plan to set a Guinness World Record for the largest peach cobbler. Sutherland says it’ll take over 800 pounds of peaches to create the cobbler. He says businesses all over Ruston donated ingredients and materials to achieve the goal. Festival goers will be able to get a taste of the cobbler for free.

     

    The Louisiana Democratic Party says Thursday’s Supreme Court decision means 138-thousand Louisiana residents will continue to receive federal subsidies that help pay for their health insurance. On a six to three vote, the nation’s highest court rejected an attempt by opponents of the Affordable Care Act that said the federal tax credits available here in Louisiana and dozens of other states were not legal. 6.4 million people nationwide were at risk of losing their health insurance subsidies because their state did not set up its own exchange.

     

    Two events benefiting Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign, that involve big names like Tom Benson, Les Miles, and Sean Payton, will take place in Baton Rouge Saturday. First there will be a fundraising event at a local hotel, hosted by Benson, shipbuilder Boysie Bollinger, former Congressman Bob Livingston and others. The second is an invitation only event at the Governor’s Mansion featuring honorary hosts LSU head football coach Les Miles and Saints head coach Sean Payton.

     

    A Calcasieu Parish man wanted for the murder of his estranged wife, is now on the FBI’s most wanted fugitive list. Forty-seven-year-old Joe Matthew Constance has not been seen since he shot and killed Mary Duhon in 2011. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says he believes the FBI reward money will help.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has signed the co-called revenge porn bill to protect people from having their private or nude images to be made public without their consent. This bill was included in the Governor’s 2015 Legislative Package, and the new law would criminalize this distribution of private image in public, including social media.

     

    Monsanto announces possible plans to make a 1 billion dollar expansion to their Luling plant. The addition would produce a new product line to help with the growth of soybeans, cotton and corn. St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre says the plant would create 95 direct, 450 indirect, and 1,000 construction jobs.

     

    The St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office says a teenager is dead after his tractor rolled off a bridge and landed on top of him. They say 17-year-old Zachary Henry of Amite was driving over a narrow wooden bridge when the tractor veered too close to the side of the bridge and broke the planks. The tractor rolled off the bridge and landed on top of Henry in a ditch. Henry was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    As temperatures continue to rise this summer it’s a good idea to remember your pets require special care to avoid heatstroke. The LSU Veterinary School says they have already seen two fatal cases of heatstroke this month. Associate professor and veterinarian Dr. Kirk Ryan dogs can’t tolerate scorching temperatures and extreme exercise. Ryan says puppies, kittens, older dogs and cats and animals with short snouts or muzzles such as pugs and bulldogs are at increased risk. He says one of the most important things you can do is always make sure your pet has plenty of water.

     

    Saints Quarterback Drew Brees tells ESPN that he’s convinced he’ll win a another Super Bowl. Brees says that’s what keeps him going. He also said again that he would like to play until he’s 45. Brees came in at number 30 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2015. That’s a 24 spot drop from last year.

     

    The bird pooping problem at Alex Box Stadium is about to be over, as work crews are installing special netting to the bottom of the grandstands overhang that should offer protection. The construction should be complete in time for fall practice. Speaking of LSU baseball, former shortstop Alex Bregman is now a Houston Astro, agreeing to terms and a signing bonus expected to be about 6 million dollars.

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  • News For Thursday 062515

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The state police report A Pineville man died early Wednesday in a crash in LaSalle Parish. Troopers say 24 year old Joseph Burgener was not wearing his seat belt and was ejected when he lost control of his sports-utility vehicle and ran off La. Highway 500, flipping the vehicle several times. Burgener was pronounced dead at the scene. Routine toxicology tests are pending, and the crash remains under investigation.

     

    A utility trailer disconnected from a truck and hit another truck head-on Tuesday morning in Evangeline Parish, causing the death of a 43-year-old Ville Platte man. James Erwin was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Police say Erwin was not wearing a seatbelt.

     

    Yesterday afternoon Governor Bobby Jindal  made it official–he will be running for President. The Governor  made in the announcement via Twitter and on BobbyJindal-dot-com. Jindal becomes the 13th announced Republican candidate for the nomination. Today, he has national interviews scheduled with Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and CNBC, along with New Hampshire speeches.

     

    There are many people who do not think Governor Bobby Jindal has much of a chance to win the Republican Presidential nomination, but ULM Political Science Professor John Sutherlin says Jindal can emerge as one of the favorites.  Jindal is the 13th announced Republican candidate but he can distinguish himself by telling American voters that as Governor he didn’t raise taxes , he reduced the size of the budget and reformed ethic laws. Sutherlin says if Jindal is competitive  in the Iowa caucus and in the New Hampshire primary that could lead to a really good showing in South Carolina. He says Jindal has a history of being a good campaigner.

     

    The St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s office says three people are dead, after a fatal domestic situation. Spokeswoman Ginny Higgins says they received a call from one of the victims, 72-year-old Leola Blanchard, who advised that she’d been shot by her husband, 58-year-old Clifford Blanchard. Higgins says Clifford Blanchard apparently also shot and killed his 3-year-old granddaughter, before being fatally shot by his son, Scott. He also was shot, but is expected to recover.

     

    The National Weather Service says, due to rains from Tropical Storm Bill, northwest Louisiana should be aware that the Red River will crest again next week. But Marty Mayeaux with the NWS in Shreveport says it won’t be as bad as the flooding we saw earlier this month. Mayeaux says the Red will crest at 32 and a half feet on July 1st which is about 4 and a half feet lower than the June 9th crest and will mostly affect low lying areas and some farm land.

     

    State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announces the arrest of 36 suspected child predators as a result of a multi-agency effort to protect children. “Operation Broken Heart” was a two month initiative between the AG’s Cyber Crime Unit and other law enforcement across the state.

     

    A Baton Rouge rapper with an up-and-coming career was one of two men found shot dead Tuesday in Bogalusa. Shannen Hudson, a 31-year-old musician known as Young Ready, and more recently as Racked Up Ready,  was discovered dead of at least one gunshot wound. He was found alongside another man also shot to death, 28 year old Jare Stevenson of Baton Rouge.

     

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  • News for Wednesday 062415

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Thibodaux Representative Dee Richard is pleased Governor Jindal signed his legislation, which gives state lawmakers approval over state consulting contracts in excess of 40-thousand dollars. The measure was vetoed by the Governor last year. Richard expects up to one-third of state contracts will be up for review. Richard says this law will put an end to wasteful contracts in state government, or at least the ones over $40,000.

     

    Yesterday we reported Lt Governor Jay Dardenne had learned Disney-ABC has placed a moratorium on new film production in Louisiana because of changes made to the film tax credit program. He says the new law’s $180 million cap on credits redeemed is too low and movie producers are obviously displeased. However, US Senator David Vitter, who like Dardenne, is running for governor, issued his own press release Monday saying he spoke with a Vice President with Disney who confirmed the company has not imposed a moratorium. The VP did say the issue needs to be reconsidered by the next governor.

     

    The Louisiana NAACP is asking Governor Bobby Jindal to put a halt to the sale of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans license plate. The Office of Motor Vehicles says 160 of these specialty plates are on Louisiana roads and the plate does feature a confederate flag.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential announcement is slated to happen this afternoon at 4pm at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. It’s expected that Jindal will announce he’s seeking the Republican Nomination. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says even though Jindal’s polling low, he’s likely of the mind that you can’t win if you don’t run.

     

    Governor Jindal signs legislation into law that attempts to help law enforcement on college campuses investigate accusations of sexual assault. Both measures are sponsored by New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell. He says one of the bills requires the board of regents to develop a uniform sexual assault policy that colleges must file when there is a report of sexual assault.

    Morrell says the second bill will train college and university police officers on how to investigate a sexual assault case.

     

    According to the consumer website Nerdwallet, Louisianians pay the highest percentage of their annual salary for insurance in the country. Nerdwallet found that a Louisianan pays 7,300 dollars a year for homeowners, health, life and auto insurance. Researcher Jeffery Chu says that’s about 18 percent of our median yearly earnings.

     

    There’s a break down in talks between the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and referees over how much they should be paid. The Louisiana High School Officials Association wants a raise prior to start of the 2015 school year, but L-H-S-A-A  director Eddie Bonine says an increase in pay can’t take effect, until it’s voted on by school principals in January. The Louisiana High School Officials Association says they’ve only received two pay raises over the last 25 years and they are seeking a pay increase in all sports.

     

    Charges are pending against a Church Point mother, after her two-year-old child, fell out of the front seat passenger window, while she was driving in Acadia Parish. The State Police do not suspect impairment on the part of the 32 year-old driver, but it’s obvious the child was not properly restrained.

     

    Shreveport Police say a one year old child has died after a large dresser tipped over and fell on top of her. Corporal Marcus Hines says it appears the little girl was playing with two other siblings while the mother was sleeping.

     

    East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark is still searching for the cause of death of a man shot with Taser guns by two Baton Rouge police officers. Clark says in the preliminary autopsy of Kevin Bajoie, he found other physical evidence along with wounds connected to the Tasers following the police altercation.

     

    LSU right-hander Alex Lange has been named to the Baseball America magazine first-team Freshman All-America squad. Lange posted a 12-0 record in 2015 with a 1.97 ERA in 114 innings for the Tigers.

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  • News for Tuesday 062315

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Woodworth man who helped a woman who'd run out of gas later found out that the woman allegedly had stolen and cashed several of his personal checks. The woman, 31-year-old Trista Nicole Goleman of Elmer, was arrested on Monday and was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

     

    Authorities say a body found in Toledo Bend Lake is that of 32 year-old Joshua Justis of  DeRidder. The man’s body was pulled from the lake just south of Many close to a private pier Sunday morning. Police say the body appeared to have been in the water for several days.  Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron Rivers says there were no signs of foul play but investigation is ongoing.  The body was sent to University Health in Shreveport for an autopsy.

     

    Figures released today by the Commerce Department show personal income in Louisiana grew at a 0.8 percent annual rate for the first quarter of this year. The Bayou State trails the national growth rate and ranks 35th among states after a negative performance in oil and gas extraction.

     

    Sad news involving former Nicholls State baseball standout Darryl Hamilton. The Baton Rouge native was found dead in suburban Houston in an apparent murder-suicide. Authorities believe a 44-year-old woman shot Hamilton numerous times, before turning the gun on herself. Hamilton played 13 seasons in the big leagues. He was 50-years-old.

     

    The new IBM technology center in Baton Rouge was supposed to cut the ribbon Monday  but they cancelled the ceremony reportedly because of  Governor Bobby Jindal’s religious freedom executive order. Company executives wrote a letter to the governor saying the matter goes against what IBM stands for, equal rights and opportunity for everyone and discrimination for no one

     

    Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says he has learned Disney-ABC has placed a moratorium on sending new projects to Louisiana, because of the 180 million dollar cap in tax credits for the film industry. The law was passed by the legislature, and signed by Governor Bobby Jindal.

     

    The next Voice of the Tigers is Georgia Southern’s play-by-play man Chris Blair. Jim Hawthorne will retire following the 2015-16 men’s basketball season. Blair says when he applied for Hawthorne’s job, he never imagined he would be the one selected. Blair will begin calling games at LSU starting with the 2016 LSU baseball season and his title will be Director of Radio Broadcasting.

     

    The wetter than average weather we’ve had for the past few months that kept our temperatures lower than average- is leaving. Now that summer is officially here, State Climatologist Barry Keim says the state is entering more seasonal weather. Hot and humid… This week we should see heat indices exceed 100..

     

    The New Orleans Police Department says the suspect wanted in the killing of NOPD officer Daryle Holloway is being held with no bond. 33-year-old Travis Boys was arrested Sunday after being spotted trying to board a bus in the Lower 9th Ward. Boys is accused of killing Holloway early Saturday morning, as the victim was transporting the man to the Orleans Parish Prison. The big question is, where did he get the gun he used to kill the officer?

     

    During an introductory press conference, new Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry says he wants to see a parade down Canal Street in New Orleans after the team wins its first NBA title. Gentry says the pieces are in place to do that. Gentry says he’s bringing an up tempo style of basketball to New Orleans and all-star Anthony Davis will be a big part of what they do. Gentry is 60-years-old and this will be fifth his opportunity to be a head coach in the NBA.

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  • News for Monday 062215

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Even with more people finding jobs in Louisiana, the unemployment rate stayed relatively flat for May at 6.6 percent for the third month in a row. The Bayou State has the sixth highest jobless rate in the nation. The national unemployment rate average is 5.5 percent.

     

    A federal trial begins today challenging Louisiana’s law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is performed. Opponents of the measure say that abortion is a safe procedure and admitting privileges to a nearby hospital are not needed. The plaintiffs claim the law will shut down all but one abortion clinic in the state and that would create an undue hardship for women seeking an abortion.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal vetoes legislation that would have put control costs on the TOPS Scholarship program. Under the proposed law, TOPS recipients next year would have 100-percent of tuition costs paid for, but the amount of the award would not automatically go up when tuition rises. Supporters say the bill is needed so the state can afford TOPS in future years, but Jindal says the legislation violates a promise that TOPS will cover a student’s tuition.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has signed the 24.5 billion dollar budget and a package of tax bills sent over from the legislature, including a 50-cent increase on a pack of cigarettes. Jindal says it is a balanced budget that will protect higher ed and health care. There were several line item vetoes, including one that would have prevented State Police from paying for his security detail on campaign trips.

     

    Despite objections from Hollywood South and several lawmakers in New Orleans, Governor Bobby Jindal signs into law legislation that caps the film tax credit program at 180-million dollars. Mae Chapman owns a casting company in Lafayette and fears the cap will decrease movie production in this state, which means less opportunity to work for those in the industry. Chapman doesn’t understand why Jindal and the legislature would want to restrict an industry that creates thousands of jobs. She says some will have to look to other states to find jobs.

     

    With Governor Jindal expected to announce he’s running for president on Wednesday, Chief of Staff Kyle Plotkin and Deputy Communications Director Shannon Dirmann will be joining his national campaign team. LA Politics dot-com’s Jeremy Alford says one of the most important goals for his staff is to get Jindal in presidential debates. LaPolitics.com also reports one of Jindal’s most trusted political advisors, Timmy Teepell will serve as manager of the national campaign.

     

    A one million dollar federal grant has been given to aid veterans and the unemployed in central and north Louisiana in joining the workforce. Louisiana Workforce Commission spokesperson Aaron Caffarel says grant will target the areas of Alexandria, Monroe, and Shreveport.

     

    Baton Rouge based Explosive Service International signs a 19-million dollar contract with the Louisiana National Guard which allows them to begin the process of disposing of 15 million pounds of M-6 propellant from Camp Minden in Webster Parish. Guard Spokesman Colonel Pete Schneider says it’s unsure of the exact date of when the disposal will begin.

     

    LSU Quarterback Anthony Jennings and two other players are charged with unauthorized entry into an inhabited dwelling. Police say the players went to an on-campus apartment to retrieve items that were taken from Jennings. Jennings, cornerback Dwayne Thomas and defensive lineman Maquedius Bain have been suspended indefinitely from the team.

     

    The Toledo Bend Reservoir is named by Bassmaster as the number 1 bass fishery in the country for 2015. Director of the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission Linda Curtis-Sparks says this is a great honor and she believes this will lead to an influx of out of state anglers to the reservoir.

     

    Cleco has launched an energy saving program which pays customers $50 for getting rid of outdated refrigerators and freezers. Spokeswoman Robbyn Cooper says this will also help people save money on their power bills. Cooper says many households have an additional refrigerator or freezer outside of the home to store food and drinks, but many of the units are older and require as much as three times more energy to operate than newer models.

    Customers will receive a $50 check within 4-6 weeks after the unit is hauled away. To learn more about this new program, visit cleco.com.

     

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  • News for Friday 061915

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The season is over for the LSU Baseball team that as they lost to Texas Christian University, 8-4, and was eliminated from the College World Series last night.

     

    The remnants of Tropical Storm Bill continue to dump significant amounts of rain in Texas, Oklahoma. State  officials have been told that another flood event is predicted for the Red River. The National weather service says it’s expected that the Red will crest again in the next seven to ten days in the Shreveport Bossier area and a short time later in Cenla. How much the Red River will rise will depend on how much and where rain falls in the coming days.

     

    Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is asking FEMA to give homeowners impacted by Red River floodwaters in northwest and central Louisiana more time to file a claim. The National Flood Insurance Program requires homeowners to file within 60 days of a flood but Donelon says many will need longer than that to collect the forms they need.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has lost an appeal of his Common Core lawsuit, that would allow the suspension on the testing contracts of the curriculum. A three judge panel called the move by Jindal “unconstitutional interference.” Parents and educators sued, and the testing still took place this past spring. Jindal says he will appeal.

     

    A bill that would require all public high school students to pass the US Citizenship exam is awaiting Governor Bobby Jindal’s signature. Louisiana would be the 8th state to enact such legislation. Under the new law, civics courses in the state will have to contain curriculum on the same subject matter that is taught to immigrants seeking to become citizens. The student then has to pass the naturalization test to graduate.

     

    A civil district court judge in New Orleans denies a petition from the estranged heirs of Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson that claimed the 87-year-old is mentally unfit to run his professional sports teams. It’s a victory for Benson. But Legal analyst Tim Meche says the real court battle is over Benson’s trust funds, and whether he can get them changed so that his wife Gayle can assume ownership of the teams when he dies. Renee Benson and Rita and Ryan LeBlanc say they will do whatever it takes to assure their father and grandfather and the teams are protected.

     

    The US Supreme Court has ruled 5 to 4 to barred Louisiana from executing a man convicted of the 1993 killing an off-duty Baton Rouge Police officer because his mental disability prohibits capital punishment. Kevan Brumfield was convicted in the shooting death of Cpl. Betty Smothers. The ruling establishes that an IQ of 75 qualifies as mentally retarded, which would protect a prisoner from the death penalty. As a result of the decision from the high court, many other convictions in Louisiana could be re-evaluated.

     

    With Father’s Day Sunday, a WalletHub-dot-com study finds Louisiana near the bottom of the list of the best places for working dads to live. The state is at number 47, for the lowest cost for child care, but with the 3rd worst for day care quality. Big negative, we die at a younger age than do residents of the other 49 states.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal announced Thursday that Netchex will be building a new headquarters facility in Mandeville investing $5.3 million to lease the space for 2 years followed by the completion of a new building. The expansion retains 86 jobs and creates 240 new direct jobs with an average salary of $43,800 plus benefits.

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  • News for Thursday 061815

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Red River in Bossier/Shreveport is now below flood stage for the first time in several weeks. Mario Valverde with the National Weather Service, says the river has fallen below 30 feet, which is flood stage. He says hopefully the rain from Tropical Storm Bill will not lead to another significant flood event on the Red River. But, it is too early to tell at this point.

     

    The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana announced Wednesday Mike Frawley has resigned, effective immediately, as the general manager of the Paragon Casino Resort.  Chris Barbry Sr. has been appointed as interim general manager. Barbry says they are working to find a long-term solution with a proven gaming management company, rather than a small independent team, to operate the Casino.

     

    St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputies have identified a Eunice man found dead Sunday as 31-year-old Jordy Bellard. Investigators arrested 34year-old Kenneth Prather, of Branch, in the shooting death. Prather was booked Sunday on counts of second- degree murder and possession of narcotics. A 31-year-old Church Point woman, who was not identified, was also shot in the arm in the shooting and treated and released from an area hospital.

     

    Motorists are dealing with rising gas prices here in the heart of vacation season. The Louisiana statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.59 which is up 17 cents from this time last month. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says supply of crude is going down and there was concern that Tropical Storm Bill could also impact the production in some refineries.

    He expects we’ll see another decline near the end of summer.

     

    Senior left-hander Zac Person will start on the mound tonight when LSU takes on TCU in a College World Series elimination game. It will be second start of the season for the Eunice native, who has been LSU’s best southpaw out of the bullpen. Coach Paul Mainieri says he’s going with Person, because the Horned Frogs’ line-up features a lot of left-handed hitters at the top of the order. Shortstop Alex Bregman is expected to hit in the lead-off spot again.

     

    At a gubernatorial candidate forum in New Orleans Wednesday, three candidates said that changes to the state tax structure and reworking the state construction budget is critical to deal with future budget short falls. Republicans Jay Dardenne, Scott Angelle and Democrat John Bel Edwards were in attendance, while the front runner David Vitter was in Washington for a Senate vote.

     

    At least three lawmakers are urging Governor Bobby Jindal to veto legislation that would cap the state’s film tax credit at $180 million. New Orleans Representative Walt Leger says it would hurt the industry, and could create lawsuits based on who would and would not receive credits. If there is a veto, Leger says it won’t be that difficult to find the money to make it up.

     

    Law enforcement could soon have a new tool to catch uninsured motorists. Legislation waiting to be signed by Governor Jindal will allow police cars to have equipment to take a snap shot of a person’s license plate. Pete Adams, executive director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association says the photo of the license plate will only be used to catch uninsured motorists, track down stolen vehicles and help authorities in emergency situations.  He says the goal is to reduce the number of uninsured motorists…

     

    Despite a politically tough year, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave State Superintendent of Education John White a positive job review.  BESE president Chas Roemer says the board valued how White handled the controversy over Common Core. White received a score of 3.3 out of four and it’s the highest score he’s received since taking over as the state’s top public school education leader. White was graded on his leadership and management style and data from the classroom.

     

    The state Department of Health and Hospitals says they will be testing beach water along the Louisiana coast to ensure that it’s safe. DHH Beach Monitoring Program Director Ryan Farlow says they are collecting samples at 24 beach sites to determine the level of a disease causing waterborne bacteria that could make you sick. He says you log on to their website, dhh.louisiana.gov, to check on any location’s current status

     

    These folks won’t get the parent of the year award. Kenner Police arrest a New Orleans couple after they allegedly left their disabled 24-year-old daughter alone in a van while they gambled at a casino. Officers responded to a call from a concerned citizen. Both have been charged with cruelty to the infirm. The daughter was not injured.

     

    All of the rain that’s hit southwest Louisiana is making things tough on the rice crop. LSU AgCenter extension agent Barrett Courville says wet conditions are very conducive to the development of leaf blast disease and other problems with the rice crop. He says almost half of the soybean crop in Southwest Louisiana is a total loss.

     

     

     

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  • News for Thursday 061815

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Red River in Bossier/Shreveport is now below flood stage for the first time in several weeks. Mario Valverde with the National Weather Service, says the river has fallen below 30 feet, which is flood stage. He says hopefully the rain from Tropical Storm Bill will not lead to another significant flood event on the Red River. But, it is too early to tell at this point.

     

    The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana announced Wednesday Mike Frawley has resigned, effective immediately, as the general manager of the Paragon Casino Resort.  Chris Barbry Sr. has been appointed as interim general manager. Barbry says they are working to find a long-term solution with a proven gaming management company, rather than a small independent team, to operate the Casino.

     

    St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputies have identified a Eunice man found dead Sunday as 31-year-old Jordy Bellard. Investigators arrested 34year-old Kenneth Prather, of Branch, in the shooting death. Prather was booked Sunday on counts of second- degree murder and possession of narcotics. A 31-year-old Church Point woman, who was not identified, was also shot in the arm in the shooting and treated and released from an area hospital.

     

    Motorists are dealing with rising gas prices here in the heart of vacation season. The Louisiana statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.59 which is up 17 cents from this time last month. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says supply of crude is going down and there was concern that Tropical Storm Bill could also impact the production in some refineries.

    He expects we’ll see another decline near the end of summer.

     

    Senior left-hander Zac Person will start on the mound tonight when LSU takes on TCU in a College World Series elimination game. It will be second start of the season for the Eunice native, who has been LSU’s best southpaw out of the bullpen. Coach Paul Mainieri says he’s going with Person, because the Horned Frogs’ line-up features a lot of left-handed hitters at the top of the order. Shortstop Alex Bregman is expected to hit in the lead-off spot again.

     

    At a gubernatorial candidate forum in New Orleans Wednesday, three candidates said that changes to the state tax structure and reworking the state construction budget is critical to deal with future budget short falls. Republicans Jay Dardenne, Scott Angelle and Democrat John Bel Edwards were in attendance, while the front runner David Vitter was in Washington for a Senate vote.

     

    At least three lawmakers are urging Governor Bobby Jindal to veto legislation that would cap the state’s film tax credit at $180 million. New Orleans Representative Walt Leger says it would hurt the industry, and could create lawsuits based on who would and would not receive credits. If there is a veto, Leger says it won’t be that difficult to find the money to make it up.

     

    Law enforcement could soon have a new tool to catch uninsured motorists. Legislation waiting to be signed by Governor Jindal will allow police cars to have equipment to take a snap shot of a person’s license plate. Pete Adams, executive director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association says the photo of the license plate will only be used to catch uninsured motorists, track down stolen vehicles and help authorities in emergency situations.  He says the goal is to reduce the number of uninsured motorists…

     

    Despite a politically tough year, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave State Superintendent of Education John White a positive job review.  BESE president Chas Roemer says the board valued how White handled the controversy over Common Core. White received a score of 3.3 out of four and it’s the highest score he’s received since taking over as the state’s top public school education leader. White was graded on his leadership and management style and data from the classroom.

     

    The state Department of Health and Hospitals says they will be testing beach water along the Louisiana coast to ensure that it’s safe. DHH Beach Monitoring Program Director Ryan Farlow says they are collecting samples at 24 beach sites to determine the level of a disease causing waterborne bacteria that could make you sick. He says you log on to their website, dhh.louisiana.gov, to check on any location’s current status

     

    These folks won’t get the parent of the year award. Kenner Police arrest a New Orleans couple after they allegedly left their disabled 24-year-old daughter alone in a van while they gambled at a casino. Officers responded to a call from a concerned citizen. Both have been charged with cruelty to the infirm. The daughter was not injured.

     

    All of the rain that’s hit southwest Louisiana is making things tough on the rice crop. LSU AgCenter extension agent Barrett Courville says wet conditions are very conducive to the development of leaf blast disease and other problems with the rice crop. He says almost half of the soybean crop in Southwest Louisiana is a total loss.

     

     

     

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  • News for Wednesday 061715

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The LSU baseball team avoided elimination in the College World Series by beating Cal State Fullerton 5-3. The Tigers fell behind 3-0, but LSU finally got the bats going in the third inning as they scored four runs. The Tigers will play again Thursday night against TCU.

     

    Yesterday afternoon The Pineville Police Department received a report of a jumper from the Gillis Long Bridge. When police arrived at the scene they found 32 year old Jimmy Harris Of  Pineville being helped out of the water by people on the Riverfront Drive area under the bridge.

    Witnesses on the scene stated that Harris jumped off of the walkway between the river’s edge and the first pillar of the bridge. Harris was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

     

    The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for seven counties in southeastern Texas as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill makes its way inland. National Hurricane Center Senior Hurricane Specialist Jack Beven says that Tropical Depression Bill will be a serious rain maker over a widespread area. Rain fall amounts could be upwards of 12 inches across Texas and Oklahoma. That would bring rivers like the red above flood stage very quickly. With that water eventually making it’s way into Louisiana.

     

    Speaking of the red river.. water levels remain high.. as of last night at 7, the red was holding at 36 ft. that’s 4 feet above flood stage. The river is expected to drop to about 35.8 feet by Thursday morning.

     

    A Grant Parish sheriff’s deputy arrested a Pineville man after a traffic stop on highway 1204. 39 year old Christopher Vidrine was stopped for improper backing, but the deputy also found meth, marijuana, digital scales, a smoking pipe and a metal spoon used to liquefy drugs. Vidrine was arrested and was charged.

     

    For the first time ever, LSU Student government has released a Higher Education Report Card, which graded lawmakers on their record for higher education in the just completed session. There were a lot more A’s, B’s, and C’s than there were D’s and F’s, and Student Body President Andrew Mahtook says they were generally pleased. He says moving forward, they hope to establish a full time student lobbying commission.

     

    There are now eleven Republicans running in next November’s election. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for president Monday, and shortly after, it was Donald Trump. U-L-M Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says, with the name recognition of those two, it will an uphill climb for Governor Bobby Jindal, if he announces next week.

     

    As Tropical Storm Bill moves toward Northeast Texas and Southern Oklahoma, officials are very concerned for more heavy rain for an already swollen Red River. Right now, FEMA teams are determining if the area around Shreveport and Bossier qualifies for federal assistance resulting from this recent flooding of the Red, checking for building structural damage.

     

    Though far lower than last summer, the gas prices in Louisiana have been steadily rising over the past 7 days. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.58 which is up a nickel from this time last week.

     

    The Food and Drug Administration orders food companies to phase out artificial trans fats from foods. Doctor Catherine Champagne, a registered dietitian with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center says this is great news. The FDA says the removal of trans fat will prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks. Champagne says restaurants have also taken steps to remove trans-fat from their foods. She says trans-fat helps food have a longer shelf life, but it should taste the same with or without it.

     

    Baton Rouge Republican Congressman Garret Graves is pushing legislation to improve Red Snapper access in the Gulf of Mexico for recreational, commercial and charter industries. Two different bills are moving through Congress right now. Graves says one bill improves the science used to manage Red Snapper resources  and the second bill deals with making sure commercial and recreational fisherman have greater access to Red Snapper. Graves believes making the season longer helps to maintain Louisiana’s reputation as the sportsman’s paradise.

     

    Lafayette has been named one of the top All American vacation spots for 2015 by the Travel Channel. President and CEO of Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission Ben Berthelot says the city has also been named the happiest in the country by The Wall Street Journal as well as a getting a  few other notable titles. The Travel Channel says Lafayette is filled with many cultural influences especially with their Cajun flair.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 061615

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The National Hurricane Center is tracking Tropical Storm Bill. Tropical Storm Bill currently has winds at 50 mph with higher gust. The primary threat from Tropical Storm Bill will be the heavy rainfall which will cause flash flooding. Rainfall amounts are expected to be 4 to 8 inches in eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma with isolated amounts of 12 inches possible in eastern Texas

     

    The Gulf of Mexico’s first tropical system of the season is expected to bring periods of heavy rain to western parts of Louisiana and possibly present more flooding concerns along the Red River. State Climatologist Barry Keim says landfall is expected today in Texas hitting Louisiana with even more rain for the western part of the state. Keim says Tropical storm Bill will move through Texas and into Oklahoma dropping more rain at the source of the Red River flooding. Some areas of the state could see 1 to 2 inches of rain from the system.

     

    Forecasters with the National Weather Service are saying the Red River will remain at a high level throughout this summer. The river crested last night at about 36 ft and should slowly start to fall.

     

    Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain credits deputy Wayne Walker for noticing a crack in a temporary levee that eventually gave way flooding Colfax Mudfest Recreational Park over the weekend. McCain says over 110 people had to be rescued as it was incredible to see how fast the water moved in. He says there are still dozens of vehicles stranded in the area.

     

    The LSU baseball team will look to avoid elimination today in the College World Series when they face Cal State Fullerton at 2pm. The Tigers are coming off a disastrous performance Sunday. But shortstop Alex Bregman says they are focused on winning. LSU has not lost back to back games this season. You can hear that game this afternoon beginning with the pre-show at 1:30 on 970 KSYL.

     

    Former NFL player Darren Sharper pleaded guilty today in an Orleans Parish courtroom to two counts of forcible rape and one count of simple rape as part of a so called global arrangement.

    Sharper has admitted to raping at least nine women in four states.

     

    Lavelle Davis, a Pineville man who has been jailed since 2012 on multiple sex-related charges, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of forcible rape. Davis will serve 33 years on each count, and the sentences will be served consecutively. The sentences will be served at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. Davis was among six men accused in 2012 of charges including aggravated rape, aggravated incest, forcible rape and more.

     

    State Police say two people have been arrested in connection with a March fatal hit and run in St. Mary Parish. 33-year-old Kista Sedotal of Jeanerette was struck twice and killed while walking along LA 182.

     

    The Baton Rouge Police Department has made an arrest in connection with a hit and run crash which claimed the life of an LSU student nearly a year ago. They say the suspect, 36-year-old Janneh Trench, was located in Georgia by US marshals and will be charged with negligent homicide, felony hit and run, reckless operation, obstruction. Investigators believe Trench hit Eric Fabre with his vehicle then attempted to destroy the evidence.

     

    The mayor of Springfield, in Livingston Paris, has pleaded guilty to criminal mischief for his participation in a ticket fixing scheme. As part of a plea deal, state judge Bruce Bennett ordered Mayor Charles Martin to resign, pay $550 in fees and fines, and enter into 2 years of probation.

     

    The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee doesn’t see Governor Bobby Jindal vetoing the film tax credit legislation that caps the amount of credits redeemed to 180-million dollars a year. Lafayette Representative Joel Robideaux says if the governor vetoes the bill, it will lead to a 70-million dollar cut to higher education and health care. Hollywood South is also concerned the legislation will chase movie production away.

     

    Blaze Starr, the flame-haired Bourbon Street stripper who exploded into public consciousness in 1959 when she carried on a boisterous, public affair with Gov. Earl K. Long, died Monday at her home in rural West Virginia, not far from where she grew up. Starr was 83.

     

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  • News for Monday 061515

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Some scary moments at Mudfest near Colfax early Sunday morning  shortly after 1am when Water from the Red River breeched a private levee flooding the area. Deputies from the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office, agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Army National Guard all responded to evacuate people from a small island of land still above the water. According to the state police, by 10 a.m., 113 people had been removed with the help of boats and helicopters. Several vehicles were lost to the flood waters including a cruiser from the sheriff’s department.

     

    The LSU Tigers played their worst game of the season in a 10-3 loss to TCU on Sunday in the College World Series. The Bayou Bengals committed four errors, two of them by starting pitcher Jared Poche, who misfired on two throws to first base in the fourth inning that started the rout for TCU. The loss sends LSU into an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.

     

    With the legislative session now complete Governor Bobby Jindal said over the weekend  he’s glad for what he’s been able to accomplish in the legislature with a balanced budget. The governor does say that he is disappointed that he was unable to repeal the state’s income tax.

     

    Higher education is appreciative lawmakers found enough funding to prevent deep budget cuts to public universities and colleges. But Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says long-term funding for colleges is still not guaranteed. Rallo says even though higher ed avoided significant cuts this year, the amount of state funding going to colleges and universities has decreased substantially during Governor Jindal’s second term in office.

     

    After the death of a 22-month old child in the care of two unlicensed day care workers, the state department of education is now posting a list of unlicensed day care centers on its website. Education Superintendent John White says he will also recommend to BESE to increase funding so that low-income families can afford licensed day care centers. You can find the list at www-dot-louisianabelieves-dot-com under “early childhood”.

     

    It now appears that one of the Louisiana Guardsmen killed in a training mission helicopter crash off the coast of Florida, will be allowed to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Secretary of the Army John McHugh says he approved the exception to the burial of 26 year-old Thomas Florich, who was originally denied because he was officially listed as inactive.

     

    The state legislature passed a measure capping the amount of the state’s film tax credit program at 180-million dollars, but some believe the bill is unconstitutional. Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association President Will French says the legislation doesn’t address the issuing of film tax credits, but the redemption of those credits. He says the problem comes when one film tax credit is honored and another is not. French says it’s unconstitutional for the state to treat tax payers differently and by denying a tax credit that was honored for someone else.

     

    After assessing the Red River flooding in the Shreveport area, US Senator Bill Cassidy says he’ll look into why NOAA’s earlier crest predictions were off. Cassidy says the federal agency’s prediction of a 34-feet crest resulted in an unpleasant surprise when the eventual crest came in at 37-feet. Cassidy says he’ll also push for federal assistance once the request for help is formally made the state level.

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  • News for Friday 061215

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Red River has crested in the Shreveport area and now it’s moving toward Alexandria. Jonathan Brazzell, with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, says residents can expect waters to continue to rise for the next few days. Brazzell says the Red is predicted to crest at 38 feet late Sunday night or early Monday morning and that crest could last a day or so before it begins receding. Brazzell  the biggest issue facing residents is backwater flooding and he estimates that about 100 homes are at risk of flooding in the Alexandria area.

     

    The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has damage assessment teams in northwest Louisiana, gathering information on the amount of damage from the Red River flooding. GOHSEP deputy director Mark Riley says the data is needed in a request for a federal disaster declaration. More than 300 homes were affected in the Shreveport area.

     

    The 2015 Legislative Session is in the books and an agreement was reached on next year’s $24 billion dollar budget that would prevent deep cuts to higher education and health care. One of the ways the House and Senate came together to balance the budget was to agree to a 50 cent increase on the state’s cigarette tax. Tax breaks were also minimized as were business subsidies.

     

    Lawmakers approved the SAVE tax credit, which is needed to prevent Governor Bobby Jindal from vetoing revenue generating bills. Amite Representative John Bel Edwards called the legislation a gimmick and only proposed to help Jindal’s presidential ambitions. The vote was 30-9 in support in the Senate, and 59-43 in the House. The measure essentially paves the way for next fiscal year’s $24 billion dollar budget to be signed by Governor Jindal.

     

    The US House votes to repeal a law requiring country of origin labels on beef, pork, and poultry. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham says it’s projected that Louisiana could face $1.3 billion dollars in new tariffs on exports if Congress doesn’t pass the legislation, and he says lawmakers in Washington are left with very few choices. The World Trade  Organization has ruled that the required labels discriminate against Mexican and Canadian meat imports. Abraham says the regulatory burden put on both countries is leading to them to impose retaliatory tariffs on Louisiana and the US. The measure now heads to the US Senate.

     

    The State House rejected a resolution yesterday that asked Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to drop his appeal of a federal judge’s order to release the last of the Angola three. Albert Woodfox has been in solitary for over 40 years for killing a prison guard, but his last two convictions were overturned. Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith says it’s time to drop this. Her fellow lawmakers did not agree.. The resolution failed 65-18

     

    The Central Louisiana Technical Community College's acting chancellor will take on that role permanently after a unanimous selection by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors on Wednesday. Jimmy Sawtelle has served as acting chancellor since early December 2014.

     

     

    A major story line for this College World Series will be whether we’ll see an increase in home runs in Omaha this year. Last time there were only three long balls. This season college baseball is using a flat-seam ball, but Coach Paul Mainieri still doesn’t expect to see many home runs in the spacious TD Ameritrade Park. LSU is searching for its seventh national championship and first since 2009. Mainieri says the team is ready for a long stay in Omaha

     

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  • News for Thursday 061115

    By Dave Graichen

     

    After remaining high but steady for more than a week, the Red River should continue to rise more than 3 feet within a few days as it heads for its crest of about 38 feet late on Sunday. The river has been around 32 to 32.5 feet lately, and the date on which it was expected to crest has been pushed back several times because water from farther north has been slower to arrive than anticipated. But that's changing, and officials say some Rapides Parish residents may begin to notice water in places it hasn't been before.

     

    A bill to make an expanded port in Alexandria a reality sailed through the Legislature Wednesday. House Bill 830 increases the territorial limits of the newly named Central Louisiana Regional Port to all of Rapides Parish. The port’s current footprint holds little potential for expansion, with only about two additional acres available. By moving to an expanded model, the port can offer services to industry that wants to locate along the Red River anywhere in Rapides Parish.

     

    Lawmakers have until 6 PM Thursday to approve a budget for next fiscal year and pass revenue generating bills that would stave off large cuts to higher education and health care. The SAVE tax credit could be used to offset tax increases and satisfy Jindal’s demand for a revenue neutral budget. But House members call the legislation a gimmick. Jeremy Alford of la-politics-dot-com, no one at the State Capitol knows how this session will wind up…

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal is expected to sign the three bill compromise passed by the legislature related to Common Core. Going forward, four panels-mostly made up of teachers-will review the curriculum. The Council for a Better Louisiana supports Common Core-and their president Barry Erwin is pleased with the compromise. A key component of the legislation is that the next governor will have the ability to reject any proposed changes to Common Core.

     

    Another bill heading to the governor’s desk is one that doubles the fine for littering. A first-offense for simple littering will go up from 75 to 150-dollars and subsequent offenses will increase from 500 to one-thousand dollars. The additional revenue will go towards the retirement system of the law enforcement agency that writes the litter ticket.

     

    Some new Gross Domestic Product numbers from the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis reveal Louisiana’s economy is lagging behind the national average for growth. The national rate is 2.2 percent; while Louisiana’s is 1.9 percent. The state’s mining sector – which includes oil and natural gas- shrank, which helped to contribute to the lower numbers.

     

    New Orleans Police say a man is dead after his truck crashed through a fifth or sixth level barracade and window of a parking garage, then fell to the street below. Authorities say it was nothing short of a miracle that nobody else was hurt.

     

    The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office suspect strong winds associated with a Tuesday storm was a factor in a freak accident that killed a teenager from Opelousas. A large oak tree blew over on top of her car as she was backing out of the driveway, killing 17 year-old Gabrielle Lajack at the scene.

     

    A day after the session ends, Governor Bobby Jindal will reportedly be traveling to attend a prayer rally this weekend in South Carolina. The Charleston reports Jindal is going to participate in their version of “The Response” on Saturday — similar to the prayer rally held at LSU in January.

     

    The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s office says 4 people described as gangsters have been arrested in the brutal murder of a 15-year-old boy last year. Sheriff Jeff Wiley says 18-year-old Tyrell Williams, 21-year-old Marcus Ester and two juveniles are charged with 1st degree murder in the death of Brandon Augusta. He believes all 5 were under the influence of synthetic marijuana when a fight took place

     

    The LSU baseball team leaves for Omaha today and the fans won’t be far behind as preparations begin for the Tigers 17th College World Series appearance. LSU will play TCU on Sunday at 2pm. There are four SEC teams going to the CWS this year all bringing huge fan bases.

     

     

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  • News for Wednesday 061015

    By Dave Graichen

     

    More on that shooting Monday afternoon at a Jackson Street tattoo parlor. The APD reports  43-year-old Daymein Boyd of Alexandria, the owner of Sacred Art  is under arrest on murder charges accused of killing 42-year-old John Williams after the two got into a heated argument. Boyd was charged with second-degree murder, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a synthetic pot.

     

    More than 1,700 sandbags have been distributed throughout Grant Parish, and residents in the Nantachie Lake area have been warned that the lake level still is expected to rise. The Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office says sandbagging operations will continue today through Saturday at the Nantachie Fire Station from 8 to 11 a.m. each day. Filled bags also will be available to the Grant Parish Civic Center;  the Bynum Fire Station; and the District 5 Volunteer Fire Department, on Walker Ferry Road in Pollock.

     

    A Baton Rouge federal judge has ordered the unconditional release of 68-year-old Albert Woodfox, the last member of the Angola 3. He’s spent over 40 years in solitary for the 1972 killing of an Angola prison guard. But Woodfox is not a free man yet. The 5th Circuit Court Court of appeals has granted a stay requested by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, that will keep Woodfox in jail for at least the next couple of days.

     

    The state legislature has only two more days left to reach a compromise on the budget. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says all eyes are on the House, who refuses to go along with a tax break that really doesn’t do anything.  As of now, the House does not support a Jindal backed tax credit that allows him to keep his no-tax pledge. Pinsonat says without the tax credit, Jindal will veto several revenue generating bills, putting higher ed and health care at risk. By law, the legislative session must end on Thursday at 6 PM.

     

    The state House has sent legislation that would raise the tax on cigarettes to a conference committee to work out the differences between the two chambers. The House passed the measure raising the tax to 68 cents per pack.

     

    A three bill compromise over common Core has won final passage in the House, and are their way to the governor’s desk. By a 99-0 vote, the motion will have on-going public and legislative reviews of the education standards. One of the approved bills will place limits on Louisiana usage of the material.

     

    Getting final legislative approval Tuesday was a bill that would give domestic violence abuse victims special housing protections such as breaking a lease to escape an abuser. Supporters say woman who are abused need more safe guarding when it comes to escaping a violent situation.

     

    According to a report from Fuelfix.com, gas prices won’t go any higher this year and motorists will enjoy the lowest gas prices in years for the summer. The current statewide average stands at $2.53 a gallon. Let’s hope they’re right.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal turns 44 years old today and the question is what does the future hold for him? Jindal is finishing his second term as governor and a possible presidential campaign is ahead of him. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the governor is at a crossroads, career-wise. He says if Jindal’s presidential aspirations don’t pan out in 2016, he still has some good career prospects. Cross says it’s possible Jindal could be appointed to a cabinet post, be an ambassador, take a major position at a think tank, or even wind up on television. He says Jindal has a really strong upside for future job opportunities.

     

    The Sterlington Police Department says they’ve arrested a man who allegedly set his pregnant girlfriend on fire during an argument over bills. Chief Barry Bonner says 23-year-old Darren Lambert is charged with aggravated domestic abuse. Bonner says the victim was transported to the burn center in Jackson, Mississippi with second and third degree burns all over her body. He says cops were told by family members that the victim was 9 weeks pregnant.

     

    LSU will leave tomorrow for Omaha as they’ll make their 17th trip to the College World Series. There are a handful of guys who were on the team that went to the C-W-S in 2013. But a vast majority of the players will make their first trip. LSU will play TCU on Sunday at 2 PM.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 060915

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Red River reached it’s anticipated crest Monday morning in Shreveport at  36.82 feet.  The weather service says relief is still weeks away. Officials say at least 300 homes have been affected by flood waters.

     

    A state of emergency has been declared by the Rapides Parish Police Jury because of the flood threat from the swollen Red River and its tributaries. At 9 a.m. Monday, the Red River stage at Alexandria was at 33.8 feet.  The National Weather Service  is projecting a crest of 38.0 feet on Sunday evening before the water level starts falling. The parts of Rapides Parish most affected by flooding are the Rigolette area, Palmer Chapel Road area and Wardville

     

    The APD reports one man is dead after a Monday afternoon shooting at an Alexandria tattoo parlor. The shooting took place shortly after 4:30pm at Scared Art on Jackson Street after what an altercation. Police say one person was in custody. No other information is being released at this time.

     

    A bill that passed the legislature Monday authorizes the future transfer of the Central State Hospital property to a rejuvenated development district. It’s Senate Bill 217 lays the groundwork to move quickly on development of the property when Central moves. Central, which has been in it’s current location since 1906, is slated to move to a new facility adjacent to Pinecrest Supports and Services Center in Pineville. There is still no firm timetable for the move, which was announced in 2012.

     

    A higher education tax credit designed to provide an offset to revenue generating bills receives a cold shoulder from House members. The legislation is called the SAVE act and the Jindal administration is pushing it. The measure was pulled but without it Jindal is expected to veto revenue generating bills that restore higher ed and healthcare cuts.

     

    The state House did not advance a senate approved constitutional amendment that would have made it easier for Louisiana’s public colleges and universities to raise tuition. The legislature has to sign off on any tuition change at the state’s higher education institutions. The measure passed 33-4 on the Senate side but failed in the House 51-47.

     

    The state senate approves legislation that prohibits State Police from paying trooper security costs when Governor Bobby Jindal travels for campaign purposes. The head of the state democratic party, New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson, says State Police should not be using it’s own resources to support a governor’s presidential campaign. Peterson’s amendment passed on a 29-5 vote. Jindal’s office responded saying it’s a shame the leader of the Democratic Party wouldn’t want a Republican Governor to have protection.

     

    A measure which would mean dramatic decreases in Louisiana’s tough pot poession penalties is headed to Governor Bobby Jindal’s desk. Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto says right now the sentence for one gram of marijuana and 60 pounds is the same which makes no sense HB 149 is a compromise between lawmakers who have tried to reform marijuana sentencing and law enforcement lobby groups.

     

    It appears that Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany is considering a run for the US Senate if Senator David Vitter is elected governor this year. Boustany says that could be an option after this year’s statewide election, but right now he’s focusing on the job at hand. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross thinks it’s a really strong possibility that Boustany would vie for Vitter’s seat. Cross says other potential candidates could include Minden Congressman John Fleming and state Treasurer John Kennedy.

     

    According to a new report, abortions in Louisiana have jumped in number since 2010, while nearly everywhere else they’ve gone down. But Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Ben Clapper says numbers of out of state women coming here to have an abortion are dramatically increasing. Louisiana was recently honored by Americans United for Life as the top state taking steps to reduce access to abortion, but the study indicates the number of women ending pregnancies here is up 12 percent between 2010 and 2014.

     

    On a day that a Monroe home was occupied by 7 people, the state fire marshal’s office say a blaze claimed the lives of three who were trapped inside by burglar bars. Three others were able to escape and they believe another person left the house earlier Sunday morning. The house was known by neighbors and police to be a drug flop house.

     

    Sports

     

    The LSU Tigers are headed back to the College World Series as they defeated UL Lafayette six to three to clinch a Super Regional series victory over the Ragin Cajuns. Who LSU will play in its first game in the College World Series will be determined tonight. They’ll face either Texas A-and-M or TCU.

     

    The Houston Astros selected LSU shortstop Alex Bregman with the second overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft. Bregman says it’s a dream come true to hear the MLB Commissioner call his name. Bregman was taken after Arizona picked Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the number one overall selection.

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  • News for Monday 060815

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The red river continues to rise, Sunday the stage was 33.5 feet.  Minor flooding is occurring and moderate flooding is forecast. Flood stage is 32.0 feet. However, the NWS Forecasts the river will continue rising to near 38.0 feet by Next Sunday June 14 then begin falling.  The Weather Service on Sunday revised the Red River's crest in Shreveport projection to 37 feet, up from the previous projection of 36.5 feet. It is expected to crest in Shreveport / Bossier today.

     

    The LSU Tigers are headed back to the College World Series as they defeated UL Lafayette six to three to clinch a Super Regional series victory over the Ragin Cajuns. This is LSU’s 17th trip to the College World Series and first since 2013.

     

    The state senate has been busy passing bills. The upper chamber approved a key Common Core comprise legislation that sets up a review process of the academic standards. The Senate also approved a 72-cent tax increase on a pack of cigarette, which is much higher than what the House approved. And the Senate has agreed to raise title fees when you purchase a vehicle by 50-dollars.

     

    The Louisiana House could vote on a resolution to hold a veto override session. Governor Jindal said he’ll veto revenue generating bills, if the legislature doesn’t pass a tax offset, so he can keep his “no tax” pledge. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, chairs the House Republican Legislative Delegation, and he says there’s a desire in the House for an override session, if it gets to that point. So far house members have yet to support a higher education tax credit that is needed to provide the offset Jindal needs to sign the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax measures the legislature is poised to approve.

     

    With a few days left in the legislative session, it looks like Louisiana businesses are the big losers. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says business lobbyist groups are not happy the legislature is pushing to reduce hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits and rebates many companies enjoy. Pinsonat says legislators who voted to take away some of the tax exemptions from businesses, will not get the endorsement of the Louisiana Association of Business Industry in the fall election.

     

    The state Senate voted to increase the cigarette tax by 72 cents which would bring it up to $1.08 and match the Southern regional average. Lawmakers are trying to raise revenue to plug the budget hole and prevent massive cuts to higher ed and health care. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell authored the amendment to raise the tax higher than the House approved 32 cent cigarette tax increase. It’s not likely the lower chamber will go along with what the Senate approved. The session ends Thursday.

     

    The Louisiana Legislature is on its way to sending marijuana reform proposals to Governor Bobby Jindal who gives every indication he will sign them. One bill drastically reduces the penalties for pot possession under 14 grams and another allows for the dispensing of medical marijuana.

     

    Two day care workers In Baton Rouge are booked with homicide charges accused in the death of a 22 month old little girl they allegedly forgot and left inside a vehicle. Apparently the owner of the unlicensed daycare told employee to lie to cops about where the child was found. They are both booked with negligent homicide and Newman also faces an obstruction of justice charge. Authorities believe the child was left inside the hot car for about 2 hours on a day when the heat index in Baton Rouge was 96 degrees.

     

    With a $600,000 annual salary, LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander ranks in the top 10 percent of public university presidents in the nation in base pay. The Chronicle of Higher Education released its annual national report on college presidents’ pay on Sunday. According to the Chronicle’s analysis, Presidents made, on average, nearly 3.8 times more than their average full-time professors. According to the data, Alexander was by far the highest-paid public higher-education leader in Louisiana.

     

    If opinion polls of Republican voters are to be believed, Gov. Bobby Jindal faces long odds in his all-but-official quest for the 2016 Republican nomination. Jindal, who has formed an exploratory committee and disclosed last week that he’ll make a formal announcement June 24 in New Orleans, consistently rates near the bottom of the crowded Republican field in the surveys, registering in the low single digits. Jindal belittles those results and points to his success in rising from obscurity to lead the open-primary field in the 2003 governor’s race. He lost the runoff, but his strong showing launched his political career.

     

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  • News for Friday 060515

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Pilot error is the investigation ruling from the crash of a Black Hawk Helicopter off the coast of Florida in March that killed 11, including 4 from the Louisiana National Guard. Colonel Pete Schneider says the pilots failed to transition from visual to instrument flight in heavy fog. He says 30 percent of all aviation crashes are due to spatial disorientation.

     

    The Red River is still rising in North Louisiana, and is now expected to crest at 35.5 feet Saturday in Shreveport. That’s five and a half feet above flood stage, and the National Weather Service says the waters are beginning to affect some areas of Shreveport right now. Sandbags will be distributed today and over the weekend in Grant parish. But, the good news in Cenla is, although we are still looking at some flooding of low lying areas, water in many area streams and rivers is going down. The red should still crest on Monday in Cenla.

     

    Willie Larkin was selected as the next Grambling State University president Thursday by the University of Louisiana System Board. UL System President Sandra Woodley said the system has searched for GSU’s next president for almost a year. She believes they’ve found the right person for the job.

     

    The senate and now the house has approved legislation that paves way for people who suffer from cancer, glaucoma and a severe form of cerebral palsy to receive medical marijuana legally in Louisiana. The bill passed on a vote of 70-29 in the House. The bill establishes where medical marijuana will be dispensed and where it will be grown and who will handle the production of the medicine. The legislation heads back to the Senate for final approval and then to the governor, who has indicated he’ll sign it.

     

    Officials with the “Hollywood South” movie industry are apprehensive about changes made by the Senate Finance Committee to a bill that reforms the film tax credit program. The committee lowered the cap for film tax credits from $200 million to $180 million. Louisiana film industry consultant, Sherri McConnell, says this causes concern about projects already in the pipeline, as well as the future growth of the industry. She says this is not promising legislation for the film industry on many levels.

     

    There’s a week left in the legislative session and there’s great uncertainty over whether the legislature can pass a budget that will NOT be vetoed by Governor Bobby Jindal. Jeremy Alford, with la-politics-dot-com, says the legislature is struggling with putting together a spending plan that’s revenue neutral, which the governor has requested. He says if Jindal does veto the budget, we could see an override veto session.

     

    A woman from Lafayette is under arrest for 2nd degree murder, after a man discovered a dead baby’s body in a box from a storage unit he purchased. Lafayette Police say fifty-seven year-old Rebecca Landry confessed to the crime, saying the infant died in 2001. Landry is being booked into the Lafayette Parish Jail.

     

    Legislation that would put spending restrictions on the TOPS scholarship program is headed to Governor Bobby Jindal’s desk. The Governor’s office is not saying whether or not the measure will get the veto pen although they have expressed objection to major changes to the TOPS scholarship program in the past.

     

    Tickets to the Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood shows in New Orleans go on sale this morning at 10am. The couple will be performing in Louisiana for the first time in 18 years on Friday July 10th and Saturday July 11th at the Smoothie King Center. General manager Alan Freeman says they expect tickets to go fast. The tickets, including fees, are $74.98 each and all seats are sold best available.

     

    An accident near Forest Hill Thursday  sent two people to the hospital with moderate injuries. The accident happened on highway 112 at Whaley  Police report a passenger in one vehicle and the driver of the other were hospitalized.

     

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  • News for Thursday 060415

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office says they’ve made nine arrests of people they believe are involved in a very complex residential burglary case targeting firearms and electronics. Lt. Tommy Carnline says they’ve been investigating several daytime residential burglaries since mid April. He says it all came together this week and they were able to make the nine arrests on various ranging charges. Carnline says the suspects were all connected in a stolen item for drugs scheme.

     

    Viewing for Former Bunkie Police Chief Mary Fanara will be held this evening from 5 to 10p and tomorrow morning from 8 to 9:35a  at the Hixson-Ducote Funeral Home in Bunkie

    Fanara died Tuesday in her home after a long battle with breast cancer. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at St. Anthony Catholic Church. Mary Fanara was only 58.

     

    The Rapides Parish School Board has modified the dress code in the student handbook to accommodate children with longer hair. It will replace a section separated into rules for boys and girls in the current handbook. “Students’ hair must be groomed in such a manner that it will not draw undue attention,” the first rule states. “Only naturally occurring hair colors are allowed (black, brunette, auburn or blond) natural or dyed.”

     

    A Senate bill considered a complicated higher-ed tax credit helping the budget become revenue neutral fails in House committee Wednesday. Some say the measure would be a way the Governor wouldn’t veto the budget.  The vote was 10-9 to kill the proposal. But State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield says lawmakers will now have to look at other options to produce a revenue neutral budget. The Governor’s Office statement says there’s still time to get a balanced budget done which doesn’t raise taxes, but protects higher ed and healthcare.

     

    A Common Core comprise bill that establishes a process to review the controversial education standards receives approval from the Senate education committee. The measure heads to the full senate for final legislative approval.

     

    Legislation that would ease pot possession penalties in Louisiana is just a step away from Governor Bobby Jindal’s desk for his signature. The Senate Wednesday approved a House Bill that would make possession of less than 14 grams of marijuana punishable by a max $300 fine and 15 days in jail. Jindal has already said he’d sign the bill.

     

    The Senate Finance Committee approves a bill that would increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes 64 cents which is 32 cents higher than what the House agreed to. The measure was one of eight revenue generating bills that passed the panel and now head to the full Senate.

     

    The Louisiana Congressional delegation is requesting the Army reverse its decision to deny an Arlington National Cemetery burial for Louisiana National Guard Sergeant Thomas Florich. Florich was on a training mission on a helicopter off the coast of Florida in March that crashed and killed 11. The Army said Florich was not listed as “active duty,” so he was ineligible to be buried there. That 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham -who says he is optimistic the army will change their mind.

     

    An off-duty deputy with the Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office was arrested last night after State Troopers found about 18 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle. Twenty-eight year-old Derek Nothnagel was booked on possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and use and sale of drug paraphernalia; along with other charges.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal says he will make a “major announcement” regarding the 2016 presidential race on June 24th in New Orleans. Most political insiders say it would be a surprise if Jindal announced he was NOT going to seek the Republican Presidential nomination.

     

    The State Department of Agriculture and Forestry says the national egg shortage has caused the price to nearly double over the past couple of months. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says an avian flu virus came into America from Asian migratory birds and we’ve lost about 44 million birds so far. Strain says many suppliers have had to go up on their egg prices, but officials are taking steps to get the situation under control. He says they are trying to develop a vaccine for this type of influenza. Strain says the price of shell eggs at the grocery store has gone from about $1.19 in late April to about $2.03 today as a national average.

     

     

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  • News for Wednesday 060315

    By Dave Graichen

     

    An ordinance capping the number of bingo sites in Alexandria was approved Tuesday by the Alexandria City Council. While the ordinance caps the number of bingo venues, additional nonprofit operators could begin a bingo operation in one of the existing halls if there is availability. The ordinance passed in a 4-2 vote, with one abstention.

     

    The state House approves legislation that puts spending controls on the TOPS scholarship program. The Senate bill locks in the amount of the award at the 2015-2016 level. Instead of an automatic increase when tuition goes up, TOPS payments would need legislative approval to be increased. The measure faces a veto threat from Governor Bobby Jindal, who has opposed major changes to the TOPS program.

     

    Public university leaders are pushing the state legislature to approve a higher education tax credit that’s having trouble getting support in the Louisiana House. University of Louisiana system President Sandra Woodley says the legislation is needed to prevent deep cuts to four and two year colleges. The legislation, which has been called the SAVE fund, is facing push back from House members. They say its a complicated and only offered, so Governor Jindal doesn’t break his Americans for Tax Reform no-new-taxes pledge.

     

    The House has approved eleven measures that raises revenue to prevent cuts to higher ed, but for Governor Bobby Jindal to sign them, there needs to be a tax cut, which is where the so-called SAVE Fund comes in. Board of Regents President Roy O’Martin says if legislators want to protect higher ed, they need to approve it. Some opposing lawmakers call it a “shell-game”

     

    State Treasurer John Kennedy is concerned some of the 11 revenue generating bills approved by the state House were not passed constitutionally. They would raise approximately $615 million dollars to help deal with the current budget crisis. Five of those bills passed with a simple majority from the House, which Kennedy says makes them unconstitutional.

    The five bills in question are all related to scaling back tax exemptions and credits.

     

    Headed to the Governor’s desk is a bill that would outlaw revenge porn. The house gave final approval Tuesday to a proposal that would make it a crime to share a sexual picture of someone without their permission with the intent of causing emotional harm.

     

    Legislation that would mean rape victims wouldn’t have to pay for hospital medical exams after an attack has gotten full legislative approval and is headed to Governor Bobby Jindal’s desk for his signature. A measure would use money from unclaimed gambling winnings to pay for the hospital bills. Jindal is expected to sign off on the legislation.

     

    New terminology is now being used in Louisiana to identify crimes of sexual assault. The bill by Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges will change “simple rape,” “forcible rape” and “aggravated rape” to third, second and first-degree rape. The measure passed the House by an 89 to nothing vote

     

    There will be national TV coverage for the first LSU-UL Lafayette Super Regional game at Alex Box Stadium. ESPN 2 will carry the Saturday game at 7pm, and Tiger Rag Assistant Editor James Moran says it speaks volumes about the quality of the match-up and excitement under the lights.

     

    Hollywood South has spread it wings out to Vermillion Parish, as an HBO film crew is shooting a new series in Kaplan. Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission Director, Allison Miller, says the series “Quarry” to air on Cinemax will bring a nice boost to the local economy…

    The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is now offering hunting and fishing licenses in an electronic form that can be both saved on a portable device or printed from home. Director of Licensing Michelle Rayburn says this new option to the traditional license went on sale June first, creating an easier way for people to get or renew their license. Those purchasing their license through the department’s website can pay with credit card or check. Rayburn says those who prefer the traditional waterproof license can still purchase one by visiting any license vendor or calling their toll-free number

     

    After receiving Senate approval, the Steve Gleason Act has passed the US House Ways and Means Committee. The measure would make speech generating devices and other technology more accessible for patients with ALS and other diseases so they can live more independent lives. Team Gleason Associate Executive Director Clare Durrett says Medicare changes last year created the necessity for this legislation. The legislation now heads to the full House for a vote.

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  • News for Tuesday 060215

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The LSU Baseball team and U-L Lafayette took care of business Monday afternoon in the NCAA tournament; both advancing to the Super-Regionals. The Tigers defeated UNC Wilmington 2 to nothing, while the Ragin’ Cajuns beat Rice 5-2 at the Houston Regionals. This sets the stage for a huge game between the two South Louisiana powerhouses this weekend at Alex Box Stadium.

     

    The National Weather Service says floodwaters draining from Texas and Oklahoma continue to cause rising waters in the Red River in Louisiana. The NWS in Shreveport says the river is above 30 feet for the first time since 1990 in Shreveport. The Red is expected to crest there Saturday at 34 feet. The NWS in Lake Charles says the Red River is expected to crest at close to 38 feet next Monday in Alexandria. That will put the river in a moderate flood category.

     

    There are 10 days left in the 2015 legislative session and lawmakers do not appear to be close to balancing the state’s budget. Legislators are tackling a $1.6 billion budget deficit for next fiscal year. La-Politics-dot-com Publisher Jeremy Alford says lawmakers have serious doubts about being able to produce a revenue-neutral budget as required by Governor Bobby Jindal.

     

    John Purvis of Alexandria pleaded guilty Monday in a case where a man's burned body was found in a Wardville house back in March 2013. Sentencing Purvis will be on June 30. Purvis was facing a charge of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was indicted in June 2013 after the body of 27 year old Jonathan Sartin was found inside the burned house.

     

    A bill that would give certain protections to victims of domestic violence when it comes to their housing passes a House committee Monday. Under the measure, a victim could break a lease to escape a violent situation and the landlord could evict an abuser. The Senate approved measure now heads to the full House for further consideration.

     

    State lawmakers are choosing side arms over book bags. There’s a bill moving through the legislature that would put a hold on Louisiana’s sales tax Holidays as a way to plug the budget hole, at least temporarily. That would include the just passed Hurricane Preparedness tax holiday and the back to school holiday. But Senators did not want to temporarily suspend the one in September for firearms. The committee voted 7-2 to remove the gun sales tax holiday from the suspension legislation. We do have our priorities.

     

    A recent Gallup Poll shows Louisiana has the third highest obesity rate in the country. At 33-percent, that tops the national average of nearly 28-percent. Pennington Biomedical Research Center Assistant Professor, Dr. Amanda Staiano (sty-AH-no), says the combination of rich food and sedentary lifestyles contribute to the problem. The City of Baton Rouge is listed as the most obese city in the nation with a rate of nearly 36 percent. Louisiana spends almost 3 billion dollars on medical costs that are directly related to our high obesity rate.

     

    The Colorado State University Forecast team predicts 8 named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season which officially began yesterday.  This is well below-average and they say it’s driven by the likely formation of a strong El Nino.

     

    Nobody won the Mega Millions jackpot on Friday so tonight’s drawing is worth an estimated $253 million.

     

    The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control announces the start of the agency’s annual summer crackdown on underage sales. ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert says this is the third year they will increase compliance checks statewide during summer months. Hebert says during last summer’s crackdown, agents conducted over 6500 compliance and issued nearly 900 citations from underage sales. He says they will be going into businesses with people who are underage trying to buy alcohol or tobacco.

     

    The Grambling State Presidential search has been narrowed to 5 candidates who begin public interviews today. University spokeswoman Tracy Wright says they will narrow this list down to two on Thursday.

     

    Starting this month, anyone who buys a saltwater fishing license could win a number of different prizes, including the grand prize of a 22 foot bay boat and trailer. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Secretary of Fisheries Randy Pausina says License to Win is a way they are working to gather a very accurate database with angler contact information. He says they will be holding monthly drawings for an ice chest and a host of gift cards.

     

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  • News for Monday 060115

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The City of Alexandria has issued a boil advisory for part of the city bounded by Texas Avenue, Masonic Drive, MacArthur Drive/Highway 71 and Jackson Street between Texas and MacArthur. Some E. coli bacteria were found in the water supply on May 28. Residents in the afflicted area are encouraged until further notice to not drink the water without first boiling it.

     

    Central Louisiana residents opened their hearts over the weekend and pledged over $421,000   during the 28th annual Children’s Miracle Network telethon. The event was broadcast live on channel 31 from the Christus Cabrini Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal issues an emergency declaration so the state can prepare for potential flooding in northwest and central Louisiana as a result of the rising Red River. Officials say the Red River is expected to crest at 34 feet on June 6th in Bossier and a few days later here in Cenla.

     

    The Red and Calcasieu rivers keep rising The Red River in Alexandria, according to the NWS should reach it’s flood stage of 32 feet today and continue to rise to near 38 feet by June 8.

     

    Meanwhile, the flood stage for the Calcasieu River is 12 feet and it was already at 13.6 feet Sunday and expected to rise to near 14 feet by early Tuesday morning before falling.

     

    Today is the start of the 2015 Hurricane Season and even though forecasters are calling for a below average season, state officials are urging you to get prepared for a storm now. Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness spokesman Mike Steele says their message every year is “Get a Game Plan. A list of hurricane supplies, evacuation information and other critical information can be found on the website http://www.getagameplan.org

     

    The House Ways and Means Committee hears a Senate-bill today that is needed for the legislature to reach a revenue-neutral budget. The measure is called the SAVE tax credit, and it will provide colleges with a tax credit for raising fees on students. Many democrats oppose the measure as the head of the party, Senator Karen Peterson, says all the bill does is help make it look like they are not raising taxes.  Peterson implies that all this proposal does is help the governor’s personal ambitions.

     

    State lawmakers are looking at increasing title fees by  50-dollars when a person purchases a new or used vehicle. Senate Transportation Chairman Robert Adley supports the effort. Adley says the additional revenue will go towards State Police operations, so they can stop taking money away from a fund designed to pay for road and bridge work. Currently, residents pay a title fee of $18.50. Adley says it hasn’t been adjusted since the 1980s and a fee increase can keep State Police from receiving money out of the Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for road repairs

     

    The trial to determine whether Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is competent to make important decisions regarding his franchises begins today in New Orleans. Benson’s heirs are asking that the 87-year-old be declared mentally unfit to manage his affairs. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the court will use reports from doctors who evaluated Benson. Benson previously announced he was going to leave ownership of the teams to his wife instead of his daughter and grandchildren. His lawyer maintains that decision was in the best interest of the sports franchises. Last week a judge ruled that the proceedings will be closed to the public.

     

    The US Army agrees to pick up the tab on the burning of the 15-million pounds of M6 propellant improperly stored at Camp Minden in Webster Parish. The Department of Justice says that will pay the $28 million needed to dispose of the materials. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds says this means the project can finally get up and going.

     

    Former Saints safety Darren Sharper pleads guilty to drug and rape charges Friday in New Orleans federal court. The 39-year-old Sharper pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to distribute drugs with the intent to commit rape. Legal analyst Chick Foret says Sharper’s “global” plea deal with prosecutors in four states looks to be unfolding in his favor. The deal is tied to a 9 year sentence. Sharper is scheduled for sentencing on August 20th.

     

    In response to complaints about Governor Bobby Jindal using his office to send an email calling Senator Rand Paul unsuited to be Commander in Chief, the state Inspector General advised the Governor to use a different method in the future. In the statement, Stephen Street said Jindal could have avoided the complaints by using a private email or non-public website.

     

    The New Orleans Pelicans named 60-year-old coaching veteran Alvin Gentry as their new head coach over the weekend. This will be Gentry’s fifth time as a head coach in the NBA.  Gentry will not assume his role as head coach of the Pelicans, until after the NBA Finals. He’ll spend the next couple of weeks trying to help Golden State win a championship.

     

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  • News for Friday 052915

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The National Weather Service predicts that the Red River could reach its highest level in 25 years. NWS predicts it will crest at 33 feet, the highest since a 34.5 foot crest in 1990. Meteorologist Mario Valverde says the Red River is expected to crest in the Shreveport area sometime around June 5th and in Alexandria a couple days later.

     

    This afternoon the LSU baseball team will play Lehigh to open up NCAA Regional play. The Moutain Hawks are the Patriot League Tournament champs but the bring a 25-and-29 losing record into Baton Rouge. Airtime 2:30 on 970 KSYL

    UL Lafayette will take on Rice this afternoon in the opening contest of the Houston Regional

     

    A father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office and Alexandria's utility department, alleging that a prisoner working for the city on a work crew wasn't properly supervised when he escaped and later shot and killed his daughter last summer. The bodies of McKennedy  Armstead and Johnnie Kite were found inside a Colfax home the afternoon of his escape.  Officials said that Armstead shot and killed the 33-year-old woman and then took his own life.

     

    The water boil advisory that went into effect last week in downtown Pineville has been lifted. The boil advisory was issued last Thursday as a precaution after a fire hydrant was hit by a vehicle, causing a drop in pressure.

     

    Tax returns for 5,700 people are still waiting to be reviewed because of the identity verification process the Louisiana Department of Revenue has implemented to crack down on tax fraud.

    Kizzy Payton, who serves as press secretary for the department, said the process could delay refunds for people asked to verify their identity by several months.

     

    The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied an appeal in the case of a 2009 traffic stop in Woodworth. The town had appealed a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision from March that sent the case back to trial court to determine how much in court costs the town would have to pay to Patricia Parker, an Alexandria woman who was stopped on her way to work in January 2009 and eventually was arrested and spent 25 days in jail.

     

    The House did not agree to raise the state sales tax by a penny for road and bridge projects in Louisiana. The measure needed 70 votes to pass but the vote was 50 yeas and 46 nays. The state is currently facing a backlog of $12 billion in road and bridge needs. Governor Bobby Jindal though has promised to veto any bills which raise taxes.

     

    Louisiana’s motorists could be hit with $79 million in fee hikes if budget-balancing proposals under consideration by state legislators become law. Senators have attached a $60 million annual fee increase on two House bills that would have drivers paying $50 more in title fees when they buy a car. Also being discussed in the Senate as a possible add-on to legislation is a nearly $40 hike to the cost of a driver’s license, to raise $19 million a year. Supporters say the changes would cover the costs of providing services, noting the fees haven’t been raised in decades. Whether lawmakers are willing to boost drivers’ costs in an election year remains unclear, with only two weeks remaining in the legislative session.

     

    State police say the Click it or Ticket campaign continues this weekend after five unrestrained motorists were killed last weekend in highway crashes. State police spokesperson Dustin Dwight says more than 400 tickets were issued for seat belt violations over the weekend, unfortunately that wasn’t enough to prevent fatalities. The campaign will continue until the end of the month.

     

    A recent poll shows Governor Bobby Jindal is less popular than President Barack Obama in Louisiana. But Jindal says that’s because he’s made some tough choices, which includes cutting state government spending and implementing important reforms like the statewide school voucher program. Jindal says he’ll announce after the legislative session on whether he’ll run for President. The governor says if he does run, he’ll let the voters know that he’s not afraid to make big changes.

     

    Cops in the LaFourche Parish town of Golden Meadow say they’ve arrested a woman accused of stealing over $12,000 from a non-profit children’s baseball league. 35-year-old Renee Serigny (sehrn-YAY’) was booked with two counts of felony theft . Chief Reggie Pitre says that money was supposed to go towards their Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken league’s account for things like supplies and uniforms from registration fees.

     

    There’s a report that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries indicate a young black bear has been spotted in woods in West Monroe. They believe he could have come down the bayou of the Ouachita River which is a little high right now. Agents are using live culvert bear traps with donuts to attract the bear and hopefully capture him to place in a more suitable habitat.

     

    The LSU softball team is off to a good start at the Women's College World Series as the Tigers defeated Auburn 6-1 on Thursday afternoon.

     

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  • News for Thursday 052815

    By Dave Graichen

     

    NOAA announced today the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane forecast will see between 6-11 tropical storms, 3-6 hurricanes and either zero-two major strength hurricanes. NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says driving the impact this year is the El Nino which has developed in the Pacific Ocean and has the effect of suppressing hurricane activity in the Atlantic. Hurricane season officially runs June 1 through Nov. 30.

     

    Two bills that are key components to a Common Core compromise made it off the House Floor Wednesday. The votes were nearly unanimous. One of the bills lets the public and others review the English and math standards, which could result in changes to Common Core curriculum that the next governor would have to approve. The other proposal seeks to control the state’s participation in tests associated with Common Core. The legislation will next head to the Senate, which is expected to go along with the bills.

     

    Political blogger CB Forgotston says Governor Bobby Jindal violated the state constitution with a press release through the governor’s office that criticizes Presidential candidate Rand Paul. Jindal’s statement, which is on letterhead used by the governor’s office, says Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief. Forgotston says the state constitution makes it clear that you can’t do that. Forgotston says he’s filed a complaint with Louisiana Inspector General.

     

     

    The Senate approved medical marijuana legislation received a green light from a House Committee Wednesday. The bill would allow pot to be dispensed in Louisiana to patients with certain ailments. Louisiana Sheriff’s Association executive director, Michael Ranatza, says they’ve dropped their opposition after the bill tightened up. The legislation now heads to the House floor.

     

    A bill that would prohibit hospitals from billing rape victims for their medical exams is one step closer to final passage. New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno’s legislation cleared the Senate in a unanimous vote. The measure now goes back to the House to consider Senate amendments.

     

    Legislation prohibiting what is known as revenge porn is close to final passage. Kenner Representative Julie Stokes’ measure has cleared the House and now has unanimous approval from the Senate. Baton Rouge Senator Sharon Weston Broome says this would make it a crime to share a nude image of someone on the internet without their permission. The bill now heads back to the House to approve Senate amendments.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent who was shot in the back last week remains in serious condition. LDWF Secretary Robert Barham says doctors were able to remove the bullet from Sgt. Scott Bullitt, but he still can’t use his legs. The suspected shooter, Luke Hust, has been charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder in the incident. Barham says Hust has confessed to the shooting

     

    One of country music’s biggest stars ever is coming to New Orleans. Garth Brooks will play his first concerts in the state in nearly two decades. His world tour with wife Trisha Yearwood will stop at the Smoothie King Center Friday, July 10th and Saturday, July 11th. Tickets go sale Friday, June 5th at 10am. There is an 8 ticket limit.

     

    An FBI agent involved shooting in Bossier City has left a kidnapping suspect dead. Authorities say 9-year-old Caitlyn Williams was allegedly kidnapped in Texas by her uncle, 24-year-old Jesse Williams over the weekend. The pair were tracked to a motel room in Bossier City. When agents encountered Jesse, a struggle ensued and shots were fired. Jesse was fatally shot. An FBI agent was also shot and is expected to make a full recovery.

     

    In an effort to increase its international profile and boost enrollment numbers, Nicholls State University has signed an educational partnership with Galliano-based offshore giant Edison Chouest that will allow their employees and family members earn a degree from the school. University President Bruce Murphy says the deal will waive out-of-state and international fees for students connected to Chouest. The company  has approximately 14,000 employees in over a dozen countries worldwide.

     

     

    Figures released by USA Today show that LSU athletics generated an estimated $133.7 million during the 2013-14 school year. They say that’s the 6th highest among all universities in the nation and second to Alabama in the SEC.

     

    The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announce that LSU play-by-play announcer Jim Hawthorne will be this year’s recipient of the NFF Chris Schenkel Award. It’s presented annually to people who have had long, distinguished careers in broadcasting college football.

     

    The LSU softball team will take on SEC rival Auburn this afternoon in Oklahoma City in the opening round of the Women’s College World Series. It’s the fourth ever WCWS appearance for LSU.

     

    Louisiana has its first female head football coach in history and she’ll be coaching a deaf squad. Susan Gremillion will be taking over the team at the Louisiana School for the Deaf from her husband Darren. The War Eagles are an eight-man football team and they went 7-2 last year.

     

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  • News for Wednesday 052715

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The current maximum prison sentence for multiple marijuana possession offenders here in the state is 20-years, which is one of the toughest penalties in the nation. Two bills are moving through the legislature that seek to reduce prison times for repeat marijuana possession offenders. Similar efforts had failed in the past, but New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says this time around, the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association and the Louisiana District Attorney Association do not oppose the legislation. Morrell’s bill reduces mandatory jail time to 8 years.

     

    Parks Senator Fred Mills will present his medical marijuana bill before the House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. The measure cleared the full Senate on a 22-13 vote. He says medical marijuana has been legal in Louisiana since a law was passed back in 1991.

    A similar bill by Mills failed to pass committee last year. Mills says he’s worked with the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association to make the bill more acceptable to lawmakers.

     

    Tuesday, Governor Bobby Jindal announced the total number of bills signed for the 2015 Regular Legislative Session which ends June 11th is 18.

     

    Republican Gubernatorial candidate Scott Angelle announces he’ll be touring north Louisiana beginning this week. According to a release, the tour will travel through 27 parishes meeting with local officials, business owners, educators and other residents. Recent polls have shown the Public Service Commissioner Angelle trailing the other three major candidates Democratic Representative John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and the leader, US Senator David Vitter.

     

    A bill that would ban sex selection abortions in Louisiana stalls in a Senate Judiciary Committee. The proposal by Houma Representative Lenar Whitney would penalize doctors who knowingly end a pregnancy because of sex preference. She says this is a problem in Asian communities where there is a preference for boys. Opponents say there’s no evidence to indicate this is a problem here in the states. The vote was 2-2 so the House approved measure will not go to the Senate floor for now.

     

    Now that shrimp season is under way, local shrimpers are seeing prices at the dock take a nose dive. One shrimper says he’s getting 55-cents per pound for his catch, compared to $2 a year ago. The main reason, according to the Clint Guidry of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, is the increase of imported shrimp. He says he’s hopeful the feds will step in to restrict the number of imports.

     

    Former US Senator Mary Landrieu has landed a new job; joining a Washington DC lobbying firm called Van Ness Feldman. Landrieu will be that firm’s senior policy advisor on energy, natural resources and infrastructure issues.

     

    With the severe weather rolling across the state the past several days, weather experts are pointing to El Nino as a major cause for the above average rainfall. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the state has averaged about six inches of rain over the last month, but some isolated areas have gotten more. Most areas of the state are expecting more rain through the end of the week.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal could be kept out of the first Republican debate of the 2016 presidential campaign. Fox News will host the debate in August and the network requires contenders to be in the top 10 in an average of five national polls leading up to the event. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says with Jindal in jeopardy of making the cut, he’ll try to get the attention of party activists.

     

     

     

    For a fourth straight season, LSU is a national seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament, which will get underway when the Tigers host Lehigh University on Friday. The other two teams in the Baton Rouge regional are UNC-Wilmington and Tulane. UL Lafayette has made it to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season. The Ragin Cajuns received an automatic bid after winning the Sun Belt Tournament and the play Rice on Friday.

     

    A football player for LSU is booked with felony domestic abuse for allegedly choking his fiance in the presence of children. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s office Spokeswoman Casey Hicks say 22-year-old Jevonte Domond was arrested for felony domestic abuse battery by strangulation with minor children present. She says the woman claimed she was strangled by Domond to the point of almost completely blacking out…:(Hicks says the woman’s injuries were consistent with her story and there was also a witness who corroborated the claim.)

    A spokesman from the team says Domond has been suspended.

     

    The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the Allstate Sugar Bowl have put in a bid to host the College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2019 or 2020. New Orleans is already competing to host the Super Bowls in those same years. Jay Cicero, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President says it would be their hope to get both big games in the same year. It’s being reported as many as 9 cities are bidding to host the big game

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  • News for Friday 052215

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A four hour man hunt has led to the arrest of a man accused of shooting a Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agent last night.  The agent was shot in the back Thursday evening near the Wham Brake boat launch.32 year old Sgt. Scott Bullitt is reportedly in  in serious condition.

    30 year old Luke Hust, from Monroe. It’s believed The officer was one of two who pulled over Hust under suspicion of DUI. It was when Sgt Bullitt was walking back to his vehicle that he was shot in the back.

     

    Some of the worst flooding along the Red River in nearly two decades has closed all riverside recreation areas, including Fort Buhlow Recreation Area. It has also shut down all public boat launches on the river, closed two of the five locks and dams and has led to more restrictions on barge traffic. The Red River is at one of its highest levels in years, and flood warnings have been issued for the Red River at Alexandria, as well as the Calcasieu River near Glenmora.

     

    Due to the threat of rain, The Little Walter Music Festival will take place indoors on Saturday. The festival will be held in the Alexandria Riverfront Center. Music begins at 11 a.m. and will continue until 11 p.m. The event had been scheduled for the Alexandria Levee Park Amphitheatre.

     

    On a 65-37 vote, the state House approved a 24-billion dollar budget for next fiscal year, sending the spending plan to the senate. As it stands now, the budget reduces funding for LSU’s medical schools in New Orleans and Shreveport and the state’s public-private hospital partnerships are also underfunded.  House Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin says some state agencies will also face cuts The Senate Finance Committee will take up the budget next week.

     

    With all of the travel miles Governor Bobby Jindal is logging, state lawmakers in the House voted to have the governor’s office to pay for the State Police Security detail in his out-of-town travel, instead of State Police having to foot the bill. For next year’s budget, Jindal would be on the hook for the money, and have to make cuts within his own office.

     

    A bill that would phase out most of the movement of state dollars from a fund for roads and bridges to State Police won approval Thursday in the Louisiana Senate Transportation Committee. The measure, House Bill 208, earlier won House approval 92-5. It next faces action in the Senate Finance Committee because of its impact on the state budget.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal’s religious freedom executive order is receiving strong criticism from democrats. The leader of the state democratic party, New Orleans Senator Karen Peterson, says she can’t believe Jindal would issue the order, when businesses and the tourism industry expressed concern the measure could alienate visitors or keep conventions away. Jindal’s controversial order prevents the executive branch of state government from taking adverse action against a person or a business for their belief in traditional marriage. The governor says it re-affirms our first amendment rights. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed his own executive order in response. The mayor says his executive order lets the nation know New Orleans is an accepting, inviting city that thrives on its diversity.

     

    The former teacher of the year in Plaquemine who was arrested for allegedly having sex with three of his students, apparently fathered a child with one of the victim’s when she was 15-years-old.  30 year-old Keavin Keith was arrested Monday on 30 counts of prohibited sex with a student.

     

    State Police say a fire yesterday at their data center has left Office of Motor Vehicles offices across the state unable process any transactions. Major Doug Cain says an electrical panel fire has disabled all automated systems at the Department of Public Safety, including OMV locations statewide. He says he hopeful they will be up and running sometime today.

     

    An Acadia Parish woman has been arrested on charges in connection with the death of her newborn. The baby girl went into cardiac arrest after she was born at home, then died at the hospital. The toxicology report showed high levels of methamphetamine. The woman  faces second-degree murder charges.

     

    In Houma cops are searching for a woman they believe spread thumbtacks all over the bed of her ex-boyfriend, then poured boiling water on top of him while he was sleeping. They say 36-year-old Lynette Joseph is wanted for questioning in the crime of aggravated 2nd degree battery. According to a news release, the victim suffered severe burns to his torso, right arm and face and had to be shipped to the burn center in Baton Rouge.

     

    The Metropolitan Crime Commission has asked the state Attorney General’s office to investigate the sentence of the Destrehan High School teacher who had sex with one of her students. Shelley Dufresene admitted to the act in exchange for no jail time and not having to register as a sex offender. The MCC wants the AG’s office to look into whether St. Charles Parish DA Joel Chaisson committed any criminal violations with regards to the plea.

     

     

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  • News for Thursday 052115

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Senate bill that will likely result in future TOPS students having to pay a portion of their tuition clears the House Education Committee. Under Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue’s legislation, the TOPS award will match 2016-17 tuition levels but the award will not automatically go up when tuition rises. Donahue says TOPS is unsustainable in its current form and this baseline will ensure its survival. The measure will now be debated on the House floor.

     

    Legislation by Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater that would allow state colleges to raise fees for students passes the state House. Broadwater says a percentage of the revenues generated from additional fees would be set aside for needs based assistance.

     

    A Senate committee has approved New Orleans Senator JP Morrell’s bill that would change a second-offense marijuana possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. It also allows a first-time offender to have their record expunged if they are not convicted for another marijuana violation within two years. He says there’s still significant penalties for 3 or more convictions. The bill heads to the full Senate.

     

    The United Health Foundation ranks Louisiana 50th in the nation for Senior Health. That’s last according to the Annual America’s Health Rankings 2015 Senior Report. Katherine Palmier (palm-yay) is the Chief Medical Officer for the East Region of United Health Care. She says  while Louisiana is ranked as the least healthy state for older adults, Mississippi is Number 49 this year then Kentucky, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Palmier says in Louisiana there is a high percentage of nursing home residents that are not receiving proper care. She also says a lot of Louisiana seniors struggle with food insecurity which means they wonder if they are going to have enough money to pay for their next meal.

     

    New Orleans has been invited to bid to host the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls. The Big Easy last hosted the Super Bowl in 2013. Jay Cicero, President of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation says Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, and Los Angeles have also received invitations to bid on hosting the big game from the NFL. New Orleans lost out on hosting the 2018 Super Bowl to Minneapolis and their new stadium last year. Cicero says with new stadiums proposed for Atlanta and Los Angeles, the competition will be stiff.

     

    It will likely take a year before the Louisiana Black Bear is taken off the threatened species list, but federal officials are now recommending that delisting. After public input, they could open the door for regulated hunting of the black bear, but State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham says that’s not happening anytime soon.

     

    After about 3 hours of debate, the Lafayette City-Parish Council has rejected a smoking ban in bars. Supporters of the proposed ban–backed by the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living–expressed health concerns for employees and musicians in clubs. Some opponents argued that decision should be left to club and bar owners. The vote was 5-4.

     

    A recent study by NOAA shows a strong connection between the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill and a high number of dolphin deaths. Dr. Kathleen Colegrove is the study’s lead veterinary pathologist, and she says half of the mammals in Barateria Bay-which was heavily damaged–had the rare adrenal lesions.

     

    A Loreauxville (Lora ville) teen-ager lost his life after he was playing in rain water and accidently fell into a drainage pipe in New Iberia. Rescuers pulled the body of 15 year-old John Michael Steine from the pipe. He was dead at the scene.

     

    The American Automobile Association expects more Americans to travel this Memorial Day weekend than they have in the last 10 years. Spokesman Don Redman says they predict a 5-percent increase from last year in people who will travel for the holiday weekend. He says over 37 milion Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home for the holiday. Redman says if you plan to travel by car this weekend, you can expect to share the road with a lot of people. It’s expected that about 33-million people will be traveling by car. Most drivers can expect to pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in five years.

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