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Local News
  • News for Wednesday 072915

    By Dave Graichen


    A Deville woman is facing a charge of filing a false police report after she alleged that four men in a car had knocked her down Tuesday morning and had kidnapped her 2-year-old child. 24 year old Ashley Michelle Ballard made the report shortly before noon, which sent Rapides Parish Sheriff ’s deputies scrambling to search the area for the vehicle that Ballard described. Detectives joined the case a short time later and realized the story was not adding up. Ballard was arrested and was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on the misdemeanor charge. Her bond was set at $250. However, an investigation is continuing,


    The Louisiana GOP is officially endorsing Jeff Landry for Attorney General rather than the Republican incumbent, Buddy Caldwell. Party Chairman Roger Villere says they approved of Landry’s performance in Congress and feel comfortable he is right for the AG’s office. In a statement released by Caldwell, the two-term A-G says the state GOP party has never endorsed him before, so it might be bad luck to get it this time.


    The July campaign finance report shows that Republican David Vitter has more campaign dollars on hand than his three gubernatorial opponents combined. Vitter’s campaign reports more than $5 million in cash on hand for this fall’s election. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this clearly shows Vitter’s advantages over the rest of the field. Republicans Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle report $1.8 million and $1 million in cash on hand respectively, while Democrat John Bel Edwards reports $1.1 million.


    The most recent campaign finance figures for the Lt. Governor’s race shows Republican John Young leading the field with over $2.2 million in cash on hand. Fellow Republican Billy Nungesser is not far behind with more than $1.6 million. Democrat Kip Holden reports $68,000 cash on hand, while Republican Elbert Guillory of Opelousas owes his campaign nearly $4,000.


    Governor Bobby Jindal’s Presidential campaign says he’s back on the road after taking a break from touring to help Lafayette recover from the Grand Theater shooting last week. The 2016 hopeful is traveling to New York for a round of media interviews.


    In a recent study by WalletHub, Louisiana ranks near the bottom in the nation when it comes to the quality of its school systems. The state came in at No. 47 overall with low data rankings in School System Quality at No. 43 on the list and School Safety at 44. The study also ranked Louisiana 48th in both math and reading test scores.


    The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to pass a bill by Rep. Ralph Abraham that would provide cost-of-living increases in veterans’ benefits. The bill is the first for the Louisiana Republican freshman. Abraham is chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. Under Abraham’s bill, money for veterans’ benefits such as housing, food and other living expenses would increase based on Social Security’s annual cost-of-living-adjustment, which was 1.7 percent last year.


    State health officials have found another water system in Louisiana that contains a deadly brain eating amoeba. The department of health and hospitals says the presence of the amoeba was found during surveillance testing of a water system that serves 18-hundred residents near Donaldsonville in Ascension Parish. The same deadly amoeba was also located in St. Bernard Parish last week. The state says the water is safe to drink, but take precautions to keep it from going up your nose.


    In the last three days, there have been three officer involved shootings in the state, with the latest Monday afternoon in Houma. During a traffic stop, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s deputies recognized the 45 year-old man as someone wanted for theft, and when he emerged from his vehicle with a gun pointed at them, and they were forced to take lethal action.


    Two southwest Louisiana men have been accused of stealing about 10 thousand dollars in alligator eggs. Twenty-four year-old Christopher Trahan of Lake Charles and 47 year-old Paul Cannick of Grand Chenier were cited for illegal possession of alligator eggs and not following refuge rules and regulations.


    The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office says a 34-year-old man who claimed to be a youth mentor is under arrest for having sex with a juvenile. Apparently Jeremy Tyrone Sims began having sex with the girl several years ago when she was 14 after convincing the family that he was her youth mentor. He’s booked with molestation of a juvenile.


    The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office has arrested an 81-year-old man for allegedly raping a child in the 1980s. Authorities have charged the man with Aggravated Rape. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brennan Matherne says a woman claimed she was victimized as a child about 30 years ago when she was under the age of 10.


    The Humane Society of Louisiana issues a statewide heat advisory for pets after learning of a dog fatality in Franklin Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says during the hot summer months they start to receive a lot of calls from around the state regarding people not taking proper care of their pets, especially dogs and leaving them out in the heat.


    Training camp begins today for the Saints who are required to report to the team’s facility in West Virginia. The team is ready to put behind last season’s disappointing 7-and-9 campaign. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says the Saints spent the offseason trying to improve their offensive and defensive lines.



  • News for Tuesday 072815

    By Dave Graichen


    Today, the Louisiana Republican Party is expected to announce their endorsement of former Congressman Jeff Landry in this year’s Attorney General’s race. Landry is seeking to unseat current AG and fellow Republican Buddy Caldwell. LaPolitics-dot-com Publisher Jeremy Alford says Caldwell has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in recent years. He says Caldwell received a lot of criticism among Republicans for offering encouraging words to former Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in her unsuccessful bid for re-election last year.


    Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s top executive responded Monday to the Jindal administration’s questions about fetal tissue handling at its abortion clinic operations. “Some Planned Parenthood affiliates may help patients who wish to donate fetal tissue, just like other health care providers do. But, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast President Melaney Linton said the organization does not currently have a fetal tissue donation program in Texas, nor is one planned at the group’s proposed clinic in New Orleans. Gov. Bobby Jindal launched a state investigation earlier this month into the operations of Planned Parenthood, based on reports alleging sale of fetal body parts from abortions.  Linton answered a series of questions asked by the state health agency as a part of that probe.


    The movie theater where three people were killed and nine others were injured has been turned back to the owners. Lafayette Police announce they are done with its onsite investigation. It’s unclear when the theater will be re-opened to the public. Authorities also announce they’ve found a journal type book in John Houser’s hotel room and that has been turned over to a specialist to be analyzed.


    In light of last week’s shooting at the Lafayette movie theater, some people are asking whether or not metal detectors should be placed beyond ticket offices. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says she would craft such legislation if she’s re-elected in the fall. She says standing in line a little longer is a small price to pay. The National Association of Theater Owners have declined to comment when asked about the prospect of setting up metal detectors in the wake of the Lafayette shooting.


    Governor Bobby Jindal made it very clear Sunday on Face The Nation that if any protestors from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church would picket the funerals of the Lafayette theater victims today-as they had threatened to do-they would be arrested. 21 year-old Mayci Breaux’s service was held yesterday in Franklin while 33 year-old Jillian Johnson had her memorial service in Lafayette. No protesters showed up.


    The Department of Health and Hospitals has established resources for residents who are having a hard time dealing with the Lafayette movie theater shooting and need someone to talk to. Brad Farmer is with the Acadiana Area Human Services District. He says people can reach out to professionals if you think you need help. Farmer says they are also offering information to parents on how to speak to their children about such an event. Farmer says their 24-hour-crisis line is toll free at 1-877-655-8241


    A Baton Rouge woman faces charges after she allegedly threatened to shoot someone inside a movie theater over the weekend. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks says 27-year-old Gaynell Haydel verbalized her threats near the ticket booth at the Cinemark Perkins Rowe theater. Hicks says Haydel was charged with terrorizing, disturbing the peace and resisting an officer.


    The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office reports a 22-year-old man reported missing on Saturday morning later was found dead after the golf cart he was driving hit a fence post and rolled. The body of Justin David Wyatt was found around noon. He had been reported missing around 8 a.m.


    The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office says they’ve arrested 15 suspects for their alleged involvement in a somewhat organized heroin ring. Deputies say 12 people remain at large and the group is believed to be responsible for distributing large amounts of heroin in the west part of the northshore parish. The multi-jurisdiction investigation dubbed Operation Fishnet has been going on for 14 months and has just come to an end. Anyone with information on the suspects at large is urged to contact authorities.


    Gov. Bobby Jindal remains in the low single digits in a CNN national poll of support for candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination,  outside the top-10 ranking needed to potentially help qualify him for the nationally televised prime-time debate on Fox News Aug. 6. Meanwhile, a poll by NBC and Marist College of Republican voters in Iowa put Jindal at 1 percent, less than the 8 percent reported by his campaign last week in an internal poll, and less than the 4 percent reported last week by Monmouth University in its poll. In the CNN/ORC poll, Jindal’s 2 percent score puts him in a tie for 12th


    The USDA has cited a UL-Lafayette research facility in New Iberia for both the injury and death of two different monkeys and for also allowing monkeys to escape their cages. According to the government report, a monkey was electrocuted to death in 2013, another primate’s leg was broken due to improper handling. Co-founder of Stop Animal Exploitation Now Michel Budkie says UL Lafayette was fined 38-thousand dollars in 2011 after three young rhesus monkeys died of negligence. He says the USDA is not done investigating the facility and these new citations might mean a higher fine added against the center.


    Gas prices continue to go down. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.44 which is a Nickle lower than a week ago.


  • News for Monday 072715

    By Dave Graichen


    A single vehicle crash Friday afternoon killed a child that wasn’t properly restrained in a car seat. 31-year-old Marquita Batiste of Alexandria overturned her SUV after she tried to pass a vehicle while entering a curve on England Drive just before Billie Bayou. 4-year-old Amaria Lachney was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at a local hospital . Bastiste is charged with reckless operation of a vehicle, negligent homicide, negligent injuring, no seat belt, and no child restraint.


    The funeral for Mayci Marie Breaux, 21, one of the two women killed by a gunman at a Lafayette movie theater last week, will be held Today in Franklin. Breaux was with her fiancé, Matthew Rodriguez, at the Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette to watch a movie when a gunman killed her and another woman. Nine others were injured.


    The Lafayette theater shooting is sparking arguments over gun control once again and whether more laws are needed to prevent such tragedies. Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarman says we need stronger gun. He says the entire gun industry needs serious reform. Wade Duty with the Louisiana Gun Association says piling on additional gun laws would not have altered this man’s behavior. Duty says the best immediate response to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


    Louisiana Attorney General Bubby Caldwell wants to assemble a team of health professionals to help identify unstable and violent persons and communicate that information with law enforcement. Caldwell says he’s tired of seeing mass shootings like the one that happened last week in Lafayette. Caldwell says we need to start pulling our resources together. He says we need to learn from these tragedies and then find a solution. There’s evidence the Lafayette movie theater gunman John Houser suffered from mental issues.


    College football analyst Phil Steele believes the LSU Tigers will be one the surprise teams in the upcoming season. Steele says LSU’s defense will be fast and one of the best in the country and he likes the offensive line. Steele says quarterback is the biggest question mark on LSU’s team.


  • News for Friday 072415

    By Dave Graichen


    A man wielding a handgun entered a movie theater and started shooting. when it was all over, three people were dead, including the gunman, and nine others injured. It happened at a theater in Lafayette. The violence started about 20 minutes into a screening of the comedy "Trainwreck." Police say the shooter - identified only as a 58-year-old white man - was sitting in the rear of the theater, when he shot two people sitting directly in front of him.  (Click Here For The CBS Report)


    Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne has sent a letter to Governor Bobby Jindal asking that he reimburse taxpayers for the cost of having State Police provide security for him during his out-of-state campaign travels. It’s unlikely Jindal will follow through with Dardenne’s request. A spokesperson for the governor says the safety of the governor shouldn’t be used as a political issue.


    Louisiana’s gubernatorial primary election is three months from today and things have been relatively quiet on the campaign front. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says although the campaigns are definitely working behind the scenes, he’s surprised by the lack of visible activity. He says, at this point in the race, Republican US Senator David Vitter and Democratic State Representative John Bel Edwards seem poised to make the runoff.


    The State Department of Health and Hospitals has once again confirmed the presence of a brain eating ameba in the St. Bernard Parish Water System. Spokeswoman Olivia Hwang (WONG) says the water is safe to drink, but they urge residents to avoid getting water in their noses. She says getting an infection is extremely rare. DHH is requesting a 60-day chlorine burn to eliminate amoebas from the system.


    A report from the transportation research group TRIP, says Louisiana motorists pay about 514-dollars extra per year for car upkeep due to poor road conditions. Associate director of research, Carolyn Kelly, hopes this study serves as a wake-up call so the public and elected officials can make transportation funding a top priority.


    It wasn’t the verdict that many wanted. The man accused of shooting a freshman student in Lafayette has been re-sentenced. Seth Fontenot was originally charged with first degree murder in the death of 15 year-old Austin Rivault, but the jury returned verdicts for a lesser charge. Yesterday, the judge reduced Fontenot’s previous 3 year sentence to 13 months at hard labor instead.


    Three jockeys at Evangeline Downs have been arrested for taking part in a race fixing scheme. Forty-six year-old Joseph Patin Jr. and his brother, 51-year-old Billy; as well as 24-year-old LeSean Conyers allegedly engaged in questionable riding tactics in a race June 19th, and the two brothers face charges for using an illegal shocking device during two races on July 4th.


    A single-vehicle crash in Richland Parish has claimed the life of a 96-year-old Delhi man. State Police Trooper Michael Reichardt says James Coleman was driving his truck south of Delhi when he lost control of the vehicle, ran off the road, and flipped his vehicle.. Reichardt, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.


    Gas prices dipped again from the day before. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is $2.48.


    The Louisiana Democratic Party hosts its biggest fundraiser of the year on Saturday night at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is expected to bring together more than 1,000 contributors and supporters of the Democratic party. Party spokesperson Beau Tidwell says Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will be there as well as other big names. Tidwell says the event will include video addresses from Hillary Clinton, who is the front-runner to receive the Democratic presidential nomination. He says former three-term Senator Mary Landrieu will also be honored at the dinner.


    Emergency crews from throughout the state say they’ve responded to hundreds of calls about children locked in cars this summer. Curt Monte with the Baton Rouge Fire Department says the heat index has reached triple digits in recent weeks and leaving your kid in a car comes with potentially deadly consequences. Monte says in East Baton Rouge Parish alone, since May 1st, there were over 80 calls made about children who were alone in a vehicle.


  • News for Thursday 072315

    By Dave Graichen


    A plant that has sat idle in Grant Parish will be transformed into a $265 million  ammonia plant. A Lithuanian based company is making the investment which will create  85 new direct jobs and generate over 500 construction jobs. The project in Pollock will create 85 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $55,000. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2016 and it’ll take just over two years to complete.


    Some scary moments Tuesday in Natchitoches Parish when a private bridge collapsed near Derry. A dump truck loaded with dirt dropped some 20 to 25 feet and landed on it’s roof. The driver of the truck was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.


    The summer heat these days in Louisiana has been brutal. State Climatologist Barry Keim says in Shreveport the last 5 days have had maximum temperatures of 96 degrees or greater, and even 99 on Tuesday. Keim says the cause of these runs of extremely warm weather is a dome of high pressure that’s sitting over the southeastern United States.


    Sabine Parish authorities say they are treating the death of an eight month old child as a homicide. Kayla Lewis died Tuesday afternoon and Coroner Ron Rivers says a preliminary autopsy result shows there was blunt force trauma to the child’s face. At this time, no charges have been filed.


    According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, oil and gas jobs in Louisiana continued their decline in June, dropping to the lowest level in almost 10 years. Mining and logging jobs, where many oil and gas jobs are classified, fell by another 300 last month, bringing the total number of jobs lost this year to 6,000. Associate Director of the Tulane Energy Institute, says these jobs are some of the best jobs in the state. He says the lower price of crude oil is the leading factor.


    A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more teenage girls are using the morning after pill. The report indicates about 1 in 5 teens girls have used the morning after pill, when ten years ago it was 1 in 12. Health officials are hopeful the increased use will help reduce Louisiana’s high teen pregnancy rate. However, health officials say the pill should not be used as primary contraception.


    Today, Seth Fontenot will be re-sentenced on his manslaughter and aggravated battery conviction in a 2013 shooting that killed 15-year-old Austin Rivault and injured two others. In July, Fontenot was sentenced to 3 years at hard labor with all but 13 months suspended. The state filed a motion for re-sentencing after Judge Ed Rubin handed down his decision. State law prevents a judge from suspending the sentence of someone convicted of a crime of violence. Prosecutors want Judge Rubin to sentence Fontenot to at least 10 years in prison while Fontenot’s attorneys want a lighter sentence of 13 months.


    The Tabasco Sauce Factory in Iberia Parish is set to open a new restaurant, museum and expanded tours at their  Visitors Center on Avery Island. Vice President of Administration  Cecil Hymel says visitors will now be able to see parts of the plant never seen before. Hymel says the new restaurant called “1868″, will open around August 10th and offer a variety of Louisiana foods incorporated with each of the 7 different flavor Tabasco pepper sauces.


    Two Alabama men claim they were fired from Turner Industries this week for refusing to remove the Confederate battle flag from their vehicles. Turner, which has corporate headquarters in Baton Rouge, is one of the nation’s largest construction management companies. Phillip Sims told the TV station he doesn’t normally drive to work with the flag on his truck, but he was running late on Monday, and didn’t take the time to remove it. That’s when a supervisor at the Decatur, Ala., plant told him to remove the flag or be fired. He said he refused to remove it, on principle, and was fired. A second employee who asked not to be identified told the station the same thing happened to him. Company officials have refused to comment on the matter.









  • News for Wednesday 072215

    By Dave Graichen


    Louisiana’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to six-point-four percent in June based on the latest labor statistics. Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Curt Eysink says the data also shows the Bayou State adding 13,400 jobs over the last 12 months. Payrolls rose by 5,000 from May to June but Eysink admits Oil and gas jobs in Louisiana have continued to plummet, sinking to the lowest level in almost a decade.


    The political news website Politico reports that Governor Bobby Jindal is still not polling high enough to be included in the first Republican televised debate. They are basing their prediction on a recent Washington Post/ABC poll where Jindal received just two-percent of the vote. Fox News will host the first debate on August 6th and only the top 10 contenders based on an average of recent polls will be invited.


    The State Police are blaming a bad adhesive on some vehicle inspection stickers as the reason some are just fall off.  Master Trooper Scott Moreau says the good news is the peeling stickers should almost be out of circulation. Moreau says motorists who have peeling stickers and want them replaced, should return to the station where they had their vehicle inspected for a replacement.


    According to  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed accounted for at least 27 percent of traffic deaths, killing 193, in Louisiana in 2013.  State Police Sgt. Nick Manale says the data found that young male drivers out of all age groups were most likely to be speeding at the time of fatal crashes. 34 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were also speeding.


    A spokesperson for the Louisiana National Guard says they are still putting a policy in place so they can follow Governor Bobby Jindal’s executive order that allows guardsmen to be armed at military facilities. Colonel Pete Schneider says Louisiana’s major National Guard bases have full-time force protection personnel, but their armories and recruiting offices do not have this type of security. Governor Jindal issued the executive order last Friday after a gunman fatally shot four Marines and a sailor at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Schneider says unit commanders will determine which guardsmen will be armed once they arrive at a National Guard facility


    With the first day of school on August the 6th, a group of Tangipahoa Parish parents say it’s too hot for their kids to get on school buses, without air conditioning, in the hottest part of the day, and they are presenting a petition to the school board to delay the first day of school until after Labor Day. School officials are saying there is not time to change the scheduled opening of school in less than 2 weeks.


    A former Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy faces a day in jail for punching a man who was under arrest in September 2013 after the Sugar Cane Festival in New Iberia. Twenty-nine-year-old Cody Laperouse must also perform 200 hours of community service, take anger management classes and pay a $2,000 fine.


    Gas prices are down in Louisiana four cents from this time last week. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.49


    The lifestyle digital publication PureWow has named Thibodaux as one of the 12 cutest small towns in America. The article says the picks were based on places with loads of charm, festivals and quaint locations. Also on the PureWow list are places like Levenworth, Washington, Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, Charlottesville, Virginia and Fayetteville Arkansas.


    In an effort to re-establish the Alligator Snapping Turtles , the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has released some juvenile turtles into the Calcasieu River Basin. LDWF Natural Heritage Program Manager, Amity Bass, says this is the culmination of three years of work. She says the turtle is a Species of Concern, and they want to keep it off the endangered list.


  • News for Tuesday 072115

    By Dave Graichen


    According to a report from the Annie E Casey Foundation, more children in Louisiana are living in poverty than during the Great Recession. The 2015 Kids Count Data Book shows 28% of children here are living in disadvantaged families, up from 25% in 2008. Anthony Recasner, CEO of Agenda for Children, says the same report indicates the percentage of children without health insurance is going down and the percentage of high school kids graduating on time is going up. But Recasner says Louisiana ranks 48th overall for child well-being.


    We’re seeing gas prices at the pump continue to fall in Louisiana. Gregg Laskosi with GasBuddy.com says this is great news for consumers right now because the statewide average is now $2.48 per gallon for regular gasoline, a 4 cent drop since last week. Laskosi says we’re already seeing stations in the state with prices as low as $2.14.  He expects prices per gallon in September to be under two dollars and drop even more throughout the winter months.


    US Senator David Vitter announces he has raised $1.3 million in the second quarter and has more than $5 million in cash on hand for his gubernatorial campaign. The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, a political action committee supporting Vitter, also announces they have more than $4 million available. The other gubernatorial candidates have yet to announce their second quarter fundraising totals.


    A new survey of likely Iowa caucus goers shows Governor Bobby Jindal is gaining momentum. The Monmouth University poll gives Jindal a 59 percent favorable rating, 5th highest among Republican presidential candidates and 4 percent of the respondents said they would support Jindal if the presidential caucus was held today. Radio Iowa News Director Kay Henderson says many people are responding warmly to Jindal on his “Believe Again Tour.” Just yesterday a Fox News poll showed the governor with less than 1% of the vote.


    LSU’s Athletic Department announces they’ve transferred ten million dollars over to the main campus, which will be used on academic and research initiatives. That’s about three million dollars more than what university leaders were expecting. Going forward, the athletic department has agreed to give the university at least seven-point two million dollars every year.


    A letter written by Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell is asking President Obama and the Louisiana Congressional delegation to include Monroe and the Louisiana Delta in the ConnectHome program-which provided free or low-cost high-speed internet to low income families. Campbell says–per capita–the Monroe area has the poorest people living in the US.


    State Police are looking for the driver of a vehicle responsible for hitting a teenager on the side of the road in Albany. The 14-year-old was last reported to be in critical condition. Trooper Bryan Lee says the suspect vehicle was trying to pass another one when it struck the teen in Livingston Parish. State Police is asking the public for assistance in locating the pickup truck.


    The Shreveport Police Department says a 10-year-old boy who is believed to have accidentally shot himself last week has died. Corporal Marcus Hines says the child gained access to the gun in his home on July 17th. Hines says the matter is under investigation but at this point it appears the incident is a tragic accident.


    A former teacher and basketball coach from Elton High School in Jefferson Davis Parish was sentenced to 7 years in prison today with credit for time served. 36-year-old Justin Fruge pleaded guilty to one count of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile in March following his January arrest. Fruge was facing numerous charges of sexual misconduct, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge after parents of the victims requested the charges be reduced so the juveniles wouldn’t have to testify.


    New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu travels to the Vatican with other mayors, governors, and UN Representatives to meet with Pope Francis to discuss global issues.  Topics will range from climate change, human trafficking, and sustainable development.  Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says this is part of the Pope’s effort to engage and motivate political and community leaders around the world. The mayor’s office says Landrieu will offer remarks about the challenges New Orleans has faced and how the city has become a model for resilience and sustainability.


  • News for Monday 072015
    By Dave Graichen

    Authorities are investigating a motorcycle crash that claimed the life of 26 year old Tony Seal of Dry Creek Saturday night. The accident occurred on LA 26 In Allen Parish. Police suspect excessive speed and alcohol consumption as contributing factors to the crash.

    State police report early Saturday morning a single vehicle crash killed a pedestrian from Forest Hill, LA. Troopers responded to the crash around 5:00 a.m., which occurred on Interstate 49 south of Alexandria.  The crash involved an unknown vehicle and a pedestrian, identified as 23 year old Rigoberto Luna. Prior to the crash, Luna was operating a vehicle southbound on Interstate 49 and had stopped on the shoulder.  For unknown reasons, Luna entered the southbound lane and was struck by an unknown vehicle who then sped off.  Luna was pronounced dead at the scene.

    The privatization deal for LSU’s Shreveport and Monroe hospitals seems to be imploding. Maybe that was inevitable when university leaders agreed to a contract filled with blank pages or when they chose a manager with no experience running a patient care facility. The hospital manager, the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, has one more week to devise a plan for correcting LSU’s complaints about its oversight of the facilities or the university system will seek to remove the manager, claiming breach of contract. LSU clearly wants a new hospital operator. Gov. Bobby Jindal agrees. So do several of the candidates running for governor in this fall’s election. But the research foundation is fighting efforts for its ouster.

    For a sixth straight year, Louisiana ranks number one among southern states in the number of major business projects per capita according to Southern Business and Development magazine. State Economic Development Secretary Steven Grissom says the state has done so well in this ranking because Louisiana offers a strong business climate for companies looking to invest. Louisiana ranks among the top 10 states in the US in five national business climate rankings.

    The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has confirmed three new cases of the West Nile virus last week, the first cases of the year. Two cases were confirmed in the southwest and central Louisiana region and one in the Baton Rouge area. Last year, there were 62 cases of West Nile in Louisiana. Officials ask residents to take precautions against mosquitoes in order to avoid contracting the virus.

    Governor Jindal has signed an executive order allowing the Louisiana National Guard to arm guards protecting military facilities. It states that the Guard is permitted to give military guards the means to protect themselves in order to preserve the lives, property, and the security of themselves and others subject to the threat of an attack. This executive order comes after four Marines and a Navy officer were killed in a shooting at a military recruitment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    A recent Fox News poll on the Republican presidential field shows Governor Bobby Jindal polling at less than one-percent. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the Jindal campaign has enough money available to get in the game, but these poll numbers could have a serious effect on fundraising efforts going forward. Cross says this is obviously not good news for Jindal.

    U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy and David Vitter introduce the National Disaster Relief Tax Act that would give tax relief to victims of natural disasters that have taken place in recent years. Cassidy says this will greatly help those affected by the Red River flooding, because the President did not approval individual assistance for those victims. Cassidy says the legislation would give disaster victims a break on their taxes and they can use that money to help in their recovery .

    According to The Hill, a Washington, DC newspaper, Louisiana’s congressional “Clout Index” has fallen from 4th to 30th now that Mary Landrieu is no longer a member of the Louisiana delegation. LaPolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says if not for Metarie Congressman Steve Scalise’s election to majority whip, the third most powerful position in the US House, the ranking would have been worse. Going forward, Alford says the state’s “Clout Index” could drop further because of US Senator David Vitter’s quest to become governor. He says if Vitter wins the governorship, it would negatively affect Louisiana’s influence in Washington.

    Egg prices at the store are getting even higher. State Agriculture Commissioner and Chair of the Louisiana Egg Commission Mike Strain says the big increase is because of avian flu. He says egg prices have gone up 90 percent since May.Strain says the last case of bird flu was detected on June 17th and there have been 227 farms affected. He says more than 48 million birds were infected and those that died have yet to be replaced. Strain says egg prices will remain high until farmers can properly sterilize their facilities to reintroduce hens. He says there is concerned we might see the virus return in September.



  • News for Friday 071715

    By Dave Graichen


    It all looks official, but it is anything but official. Phone scammers who call people and tell them there is an outstanding warrant for their arrest. When in fact there isn’t and they are not the police. The scammers try to get the victims to pay fee to make it all go away. The RPSO says they calls even look official with the Caller ID showing the call is coming from the sheriff’s department. Again, if you should get such a call remember it is not an official call. Hang up and call authorities.. By The Way, the scammers also use the same routine claiming they are with the IRS.


    Three people are under arrest in connection with the case of an accused murder suspect who escaped from the women’s prison in Avoyelles on July 11th. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tommy Carline says Melissa Hayes was discovered by members of the US Marshal’s Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force in Marrero. Twenty-two-year-old Shemesha Bordley and 19-year-old Michael Jones, both of Alexandria, were each charged with 2 counts of accessory after the fact.


    A convicted sex offender has been arrested on multiple charges, including two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, Alexandria Police reported. The suspect, 21 year old Mark Anthony Leduff II of Alexandria, was arrested Wednesday. In addition to the two counts of carnal knowledge, Leduff is charged with failure to register as a sex offender, computer sex solicitation, resisting an officer and battery on an officer.


    The chairman of the Republican Legislative Delegation is providing an avenue for residents to provide suggestions on how to improve Louisiana. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the effort is called “Take Back Louisiana.” Harris says this is an attempt to engage voters before the 2016 legislative session. Harris says the initial Facebook page is up now, with a website being launched at the end of the month. He says the goal of this initiative is to correct the state’s structural issues, focusing on the budget, education, transportation, and state’s rights. Harris says tax reform is at the top of the list


    The state Department of Education reports that a record number of nearly 25,000 high school seniors earned a score of 18 or higher on the ACT, allowing grads to attend college without having to take remedial courses. Education Superintendent John White says the number of African American students earning college-going scores has increased by more than 2,000 since 2012. Louisiana’s average composite score has increased by .2 from last year and is now at 19.4.


    The Louisiana High School Athletic Association announces it has finalized a four-year agreement with the officials association, which means high school sporting events will go on as scheduled this fall. LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine says this is an agreement that needed to be done and he’s happy they were able to take the final step. This agreement prevents a threatened work stoppage by Louisiana High School Officials Association referees.


    On a 4-2 vote, the Lake Charles City Council voted down a resolution requesting the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury remove the South’s Defenders Monument at the Calcasieu Courthouse. Opponents of Councilwoman Mary Morris’ measure say removing the monument will take away their heritage. But Morris says this monument represents the darkest time in African-American history. The resolution requested the monument be removed from the courthouse and placed in a museum.


    Camping World, the nation’s number one retailer of RV’s, RV accessories, and RV-related services, has picked up the title sponsorship of the Independence Bowl. Independence Bowl Chairman Kyle McInnis says this agreement means the I-Bowl has a solid partner for several years. McInnis says the sponsorship will last through the 2019 game.


    AT SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, LSU Coach Les Miles expressed plenty of optimism about the upcoming season, saying they want to start and finish strong. As far as the suspended players, including quarterback Anthony Jennings, Miles expects them to return.


    The state Office of Group Benefits says the Louisiana state workers’ health insurance program is now taking applications for coverage for same-sex spouses and their dependents. They say same-sex couples married before June 26th have until August 11th to apply for coverage. Those married on or after June 26th must apply within 30 days after their marriage.


    Governor Bobby Jindal announces he’ll visit all 99 counties in Iowa as part of his “Believe Again” presidential campaign. Jindal started the tour last night in Waterloo. LSU Political Science professor Robert Hogan says many candidates use this strategy to get more name recognition. The tour means that Jindal will not spend much time in Louisiana.


    An Opelousas man is one of 70 around the world accused of taking part in an online forum that authorities said enabled its exclusive group of users to buy, sell, trade and share information and tools used to intrude on electronic devices. Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested 28 year old Rory Guidry on a count of computer fraud.


  • News for Thursday 071615

    By Dave Graichen


    Governor Bobby Jindal is now asking the Inspector General to get involved in an investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts from aborted fetuses. Jindal has made a request to I-G Stephen Street’s office to investigate whether Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which is currently building an abortion clinic in New Orleans, is involved in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of human body parts.


    A group of pro-life Louisiana lawmakers announce plans to craft “Abortion Pill Reversal” legislation for the 2016 session. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says the proposal would likely require clinics to make patients aware of the reversal pill. Hoffman says if a woman goes into a clinic and takes the abortion pill, she should be aware that a reversal exists should she change her mind.


    A federal jury in Lafayette on Tuesday deliberated about 40 minutes before finding 60 year old Bradley Smith of Ville Platte, guilty of two counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of receiving child pornography. Evidence admitted at trial revealed that law enforcement officials detected Smith using an Internet file sharing program to download child pornography.  A forensic examination of his computer turned up a total of 40 movies and 1,100 images of child pornography. Some of the material including  very young children. Smith faces up to  30 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 24.


    Gas prices are slowly falling in Louisiana as the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.53. That’s according to the American Automobile Association. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says this is about a nickel cheaper than last month.


    The President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association has concerns that the Iran nuclear deal will negatively impact oil producers in Louisiana and the United States. Don Briggs says the agreement will allow Iran to export crude oil into an already flooded market. He says with crude oil prices currently in the mid-$50 a barrel range, the addition of Iran’s oil to the marketplace will continue to suppress prices, perhaps for the next two years.


    According to financial reports filed Wednesday by federal regulators, Governor Bobby Jindal raised about $579,000 in his first week as a Republican presidential candidate. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this is not a very strong first step for the governor.

    He says $579,000 puts Jindal near the bottom of the Republican field. However, the Washington Examiner reports that Jindal also has almost $9 million in his corner thanks to supportive outside groups like the Believe Again Super PAC and America Next.


    An internal investigation finds that Department of Children and Family Services staff members did not violate criminal laws in the case of a 15-year-old Baton Rouge boy found in poor living conditions and weighing only 47 pounds. Family members and lawmakers criticized the state agency for not doing enough to help the special needs child.  One of the recommendations in the report calls for legislation that creates a felony offense when a third party misrepresents facts to a DCFS employee during a child protection investigation.


    The Steve Gleason Act is heading to President Obama’s desk for his signature. The legislation is named after former Saints player Steve Gleason, who has A-L-S. The measure will make speech generating devices more accessible to people who battle this disease that impacts the brain’s ability to control muscle movement.  Gleason pushed this legislation after he learned that Medicare funding for these type of devices was significantly scaled back. 


    Louisiana Tech announces a record for donations made to  LTAC, which is the organization that helps fund the school’s athletic programs. The school says  during the 2014-2015 fiscal year, 1.1 million dollars was donated to LTAC and the athletic department received another 1.5 million dollars in unrestricted donations. Previous donations have helped Tech build a 22 million dollar athletic complex, that will open in August.


    State Police announce the arrest of nine people for filing fraudulent insurance claims and keeping the money received. Sgt. James Anderson says the Kemper Home Service Group contacted them concerned that some of their employees in the Lake Charles area were filing false claims. A majority of the fake claims were for lightning damage losses to electrical appliances. The fraudulent claims totaled over $55,000. Anderson says the nine arrested face various charges.


    It’s the first expansion for Zatarain’s in almost 50 years, and it’s a big one in Gretna, with almost 200 employees on hand to celebrate the completion of construction that has tripled the size of the facility. The 80 thousand square foot growth will have 10 new manufacturing lines by the end of next year.


    The New Orleans Police Department says a man with a gun who was allegedly trying to rob a customer at a gas station had the tables turned onto him and was shot by the customer. Cops say the gunman wanted to rob the business and a customer but was stopped when he took a bullet by the customer. The robbery suspect was taken to a hospital and authorities say he will be booked upon release.


  • News for Wednesday 071515

    By Dave Graichen


    The Huey P. Long Medical Center building in Pineville is now officially on the National Register of Historic Places. The addition of the 76-year-old building to the National Register was announced Tuesday by officials of the Historical Association of Central Louisiana. While being part of the National Register doesn't guarantee the building won't be torn down, it will reduce the likelihood and will increase the chances the building could find new life.


    Authorities investigating a complaint about child neglect searched a Simmesport residence and found evidence, in addition to the neglect,  of multiple sex crimes against children authorities arrested 61 year old  Donnie Dibble Sr of Simmesport. Also arrested were the parents of three minor children. They were charged with cruelty to juveniles and five counts of criminal neglect. Investigators allege the children’s parents did not provide the necessary medical care and did not provide an educational program for their five juvenile children.


    The Louisiana Association of Business and industry has come out with their report card on lawmakers, and it shows 94 legislators received an “F.” For those that didn’t pass, the LABI says all of them voted for 600 million dollars in taxes on business. They say many of those lawmakers are up for re-election, and that voting record will have an impact on the fall elections.


    Louisiana has moved past Alabama for the third highest average combined state and local sales tax. That’s according to the Tax Foundation, who puts together a report every July on sales tax rates. Economist Scott Drenkard says Louisiana ranks high on their list, because it has the highest average local tax rate in the country. Drenkard says Louisiana’s average combined state and local sales tax rate is 9.01 percent,


    Republicans in Louisiana’s Congressional delegation don’t like the Iran nuclear deal that the president has agreed to. Essentially this would mean that in exchange for limits on nuclear activities, Iran gets billions in relief from international sanctions. If Congress rejects the deal, it’s not likely the republicans will have the required two-thirds vote to override the veto President Obama has promised.


    Shreveport Police have a man in custody accused of stabbing his teenage nephew to death. Cpl. Marcus Hines says officers learned that 15-year-old Willie Latin III was stabbed following a physical altercation inside his home. He says Latin was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later.


    In Jeff Davis Parish, 2 people are dead, including a 3 year-old child, following an early morning  single vehicle crash on I-10 two miles west of Lacassine.  State police say none of the occupants in the vehicle were restrained. Neither of the dead were restrained in the crash.


    The controversy over the Confederate flag and monuments has spilled over to whether the “Rebels” mascot is appropriate for West Monroe High School. A Facebook page has been started calling for a new nickname for West Monroe High.


    The Baton Rouge hosted Miss USA Pageant which was clouded in controversy over its ties to Donald Trump, essentially tanked in the ratings. The event was dropped by NBC and fewer than 1 million people tuned in to watch the pageant on the Reelz network, an 83% drop from last year’s show.


    St. John Parish Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested a couple who allegedly used their 5 year-old son to break into a Laplace residence through an AC window accordion, then unlocking the door. Twenty-seven year-old Casey Ramsey and 33-year-old Anthony Wilson were charged for burglarizing his parents’ home, simple criminal damage to property and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.


    Louisiana’s most popular summer-blooming tree, the crepe myrtle, is blooming later and less than normal this year due to the spring’s unusual weather conditions which included lots of rain. LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings says these trees like sunshine, above average temperatures, and dry conditions. Something they didn’t get during the spring.


    Defensive coordinator John Chavis’ move from LSU to Texas A&M was a topic for discussion when Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin appeared at SEC Media Days. Sumlin admitted he went after Chavis after his LSU defenses kept Aggie offenses in check. Chavis takes over a defense that ranked 102nd in the country last season in total defense. The “Chief” will return to Baton Rouge on November 28th, when LSU hosts A&M.


  • News for Tuesday 071415

    By Dave Graichen


    State Police say it was a deadly weekend on the highways. There were six fatal crashes including 4 that involved motorcycles.


    The state police report 27 year old Joshua Laborde of Arnaudville was killed Sunday afternoon in a single-vehicle accident on La. Highway 29 near the Cottonport-Long Bridge area of Avoyelles Parish. Laborde lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck some trees.  Laborde, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene,


    The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s office is investigation a possible murder/suicide which took place over the weekend. Officers found Scott and Rhonda White deceased in a home in Ruston. Few details are being released.


    The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s office says cops are searching for a woman being held on double homicide charges who escaped from prison over the weekend. Sheriff Doug Anderson says Melissa Hayes could be headed back to Alexandria.


    The Smoking Cessation Trust saw its highest monthly enrollment in June with over 2,000 Louisianians signing up for its free quit smoking program. CEO Mike Rogers attributes the jump to the state’s 50-cent tax increase for a pack of cigarettes. For more information you can log on to smoke-free-LA-dot-org.


    The director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is confident local governments will receive assistance from the federal government as a result of flooding from the Red River. Kevin Davis says the aid would be for public assistance, which includes public works, fire department and police officers in areas around the Red River who worked overtime during the disaster last month.  He says he is unsure if individuals affected by the flood will qualify to receive assistance.


    The Lake Charles Police Department says two unidentified officers are on administrative leave after a burglary suspect shot himself twice in the foot inside a squad car. Lt. Kevin Kirkum says 18-year-old Stacy Lamb of Lake Charles was arrested after a burglary attempt at a local business, and apparently found the gun in an police equipment bag left on the back seat. He shot himself twice in the foot. Kirkum says criminal and internal investigations are underway.


    Following a four hour plus meeting Sunday, High School sports officials have reached a tentative agreement that will prevent a work stoppage by referees this fall. Louisiana High School Officials Association President Paul LaRosa says they are holding off on releasing any information, until they can speak with their officials.


    The price tag of the damage to Louisiana crops from Feral hogs as at least 30 million dollars, according to the LSU AgCenter 2013 study. The damages range from the rooting up and eating crops, to damage of farm equipment, and the potential to spread fatal diseases to livestock.


    The NBC reality show, Running Wild made its return last night. Promoters with the show say they will feature an episode later in the season in which Saints Quarterback Drew Brees apparently jumps on the back of a crocodile. The show features celebrities spending 48 hours in the wild. A promotional video says “Watch a Super Bowl MVP wrestle a crocodile. This is going to end up as dinner one way or another.


    In an effort to raise additional funds, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is looking into selling advertising on its properties. LDWF spokesman Bo Boehringer says legislation passed in this year’s legislative session allows the department to take advantage of this revenue stream opportunity. The state Department of Transportation receives $250,000 annually from State Farm Insurance for ads placed on their Motorist Assistance Program vehicles. Boehringer says the ads will be tastefully done and people shouldn’t expect to see ads pop up in middle of wildlife areas.


    According to a recent study by WalletHub, Louisiana is the 10th least energy expensive state, but we use the most electricity in the country. Spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez says in these hot summer months, utility bills are through the roof. Gonzalez says The Bayou State placed 4th in the country for the price of electricity, but 51st in total consumption per housing unit. The numbers show that, on average, Louisianians pay $284 a month total on energy, that includes gas for your car.


    The LSU football team will have two tough conference games in the month of September. On September 12th, the Tigers will visit Mississippi State and then on the 19th, they’ll host Auburn at 2:30


  • News for Monday 071315

    By Dave Graichen


    The new Miss USA Olivia Jordan is the first woman from Oklahoma to win the top title.

    During the pageant, Jordan said race relations are the next hot-button issue that the United States needs to tackle. She also said she would like to see African American abolitionist and former slave Harriet Tubman on the $10 bill. The pageant was held last night in Baton Rouge.  


    A public hearing will be held Tuesday evening during the Alexandria City Council meeting to discuss the possibility of moving the Murray Street Post Office out of the federal courthouse  to a yet to be decided location. After Tuesday's meeting, the public will have 30 days to submit written comments about the proposed relocation of the downtown post office. That meeting begins tomorrow at 5pm.


    Mississippi-based Triumph Campaigns conducted an automated survey on the governor’s race. Based on 16-hundred responses, Republican David Vitter received 31-percent, Democrat John Bel Edwards had 30-percent and Republican Scott Angelle had 14-percent.

    Republican Jay Dardenne received 11-percent in this poll.


    A republican presidential nomination poll conducted by an Iowa TV station places Governor Bobby Jindal in 13th with 2 percent from likely caucus goers . Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leads with 18 percent. The Iowa caucuses on February 1st are the first of the contests for the 2016 Presidential election.


    A Baton Rouge man shot his teenage girlfriend, her mother, a friend and then turned the gun on himself early Sunday, leaving three people dead, including himself, and one seriously injured — all while a 1-year-old baby was in the apartment. The Baton Rouge PD says the incident arose from a family argument. But, no other information was released.


    Community colleges in Louisiana are raising tuition by 10-percent for the upcoming school year. The increase is allowed under the GRAD Act, which allows campuses to increase tuition higher than five-percent, if certain goals are met. Community college leaders say the tuition hike brings two-year schools in line with others in the Southeast.


    The Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association will no longer pursue a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the cap that was placed on the film tax incentive program. LFEA president Will French says instead of engaging in a legal battle, they believe their efforts are better served working with state agencies to make sure the film industry can still thrive.


    The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services makes policy changes after a 15-year-old Baton Rouge boy was found in a home weighing just 47 pounds and covered with insect bites. DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier says they are adding medical experts to case examinations with special needs children.The mother of the 15-year-old child is behind bars on a 115-thousand dollar bond.


    A 12-year-old and two teenagers in Lafourche Parish have been charged with criminal mischief for lying about a kidnapping. Sheriff deputies say the three claimed that 21-year-old Kaleb Bruce grabbed the 12-year-old off the street and put a duffel bag over his face. The 12-year-old was able to escape and Bruce was arrested. But the three individuals eventually changed their story and were taken into custody, while Bruce was released after spending several days in jail.


    A teenager from Benton, who bragged on social media about stealing 16 street signs from specific Bossier Parish neighborhoods, can now add one more address to the places he’s visited-the Bossier Maximum Security Facility. Seventeen year-old Chase Grubbs has been charged with 16 counts of theft.


    Starting today, the eastbound side of the Mississippi River Bridge in Natchez, Mississippi and Vidalia will see lane closures for the placement of concrete barriers. State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Rodney Mallet says starting on July 20th, the westbound side of the bridge will be closed for seven weeks.


    SEC football media days get underway today in Hoover, Alabama, which is the unofficial start to the college football season. Hundreds of reporters attend this event to hear from SEC coaches and players.


  • News for Friday 071015

    By Dave Graichen


    The Numbers are now official..The US Army has announced a soldier reduction of 388 at Fort Polk. It’s part of a troop reduction of 40-thousand that’s impacting Army bases across the country. Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese is glad the Army spared major cuts to the base. Reese says their main focus now is to prevent future reductions.


    The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office says a man shot and killed his 7-year-old daughter, then turned the gun on himself in an apparent murder/suicide. Sheriff Doug Anderson says they got a 911 call around 8:50pm Wednesday evening in reference to two bodies lying in a field in the Vick area. Anderson says they determined that 28-year-old Ryan Recktenwald killed his young daughter and then killed himself. He says they have no idea what caused this man to do such a thing.


    The investigation continues in Zachary following a discovery of the body of a sex offender. Authorities found 47-year-old Robert Noce had been stabbed, strangled and stuffed in a plastic drum at his home. A 21-year-old man and 17-year-old woman-have been charged in his murder. The woman is listed in court documents as one of Noce’s victims.


    Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush is scheduled to visit the Ruston area this weekend for a fundraiser, hosted by Bush-family supporter James Davison. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley Bush’s visit means that Governor Bobby Jindal does not hold the support of many Louisiana residents, including prominent Republican supporters.


    The Retired State Employees Association is trying to put some political pressure on legislators to override Gov. Bobby Jindal’s veto of a cost-of-living raise for retirees.

    The association circulated a message pointing out that many of the legislators are up for re-election and adding that support for a veto session should be the litmus test at the voting booth this fall. About 130,000 retirees were affected by Jindal’s veto to increase, by an average of $30, monthly benefit checks.


    The Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s office says a man has died after he tried to steal copper from a utility pole. Spokesman Chris Ivey says 51-year-old Jesse Jones III of Reeves was electrocuted while trying to yank down copper wire from poles near US Highway 165.

    Jones was pronounced dead and three others were arrested on theft charges.


    Despite all the controversy surrounding Donald Trump, his Miss USA pageant goes on as scheduled this Sunday night in Baton Rouge. It won’t be shown on NBC as previously scheduled but it will be shown on the Reelz network and locally in Baton Rouge. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says the 51 contestants are focused on their performance in the pageant and are putting the controversy behind them. Organizers say ticket sales for the event have been sluggish.


    Country music superstar Garth Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood arrive today to start the first of four World Tour shows in New Orleans this weekend. New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau spokesperson Kristian Sonnier says this tour should bring in large numbers of  visitors in what is typically a slow month for tourism in the city.


    The executive committee of the Louisiana High School Officials Association meets on Sunday as referees plan to strike, jeopardizing the upcoming high school football and volleyball seasons. The association’s president Paul LaRosa says officials are looking for a pay increase, but that’s not the only reason why they are upset. LaRosa says they want signed contracts with individual schools that stipulate referee pay and other conditions, including security at games. He says refs are tired of promises of more pay, which is why a work stoppage maybe necessary.



  • News for Thursday 070915

    By Dave Graichen


    An official announcement from the US Army is expected today, but 5th District US Representative Ralph Abraham has learned Fort Polk will lose 358 soldiers from its Vernon Parish military base, as part of a plan to cut 40-thousand troops nationwide. Abraham says Fort Polk did not get hit as hard as others, as one base will lose three-thousand troops. 81 hundred troops are currently stationed at Fort Polk.


    The RPSO reports Two people were taken to a local hospital on Wednesday afternoon after their private aircraft crashed in Glenmora off of East River Road. So far, the people onboard  the plane have not been identified and their condition has not been released. Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration are expected in the area today to probe the crash.


    A former central Louisiana police chief has been arrested for the murder of his wife. Avoyelles Parish Sheriff Doug Anderson says they collected evidence to charge Charles Mayeaux Junior with second-degree murder and aggravated arson in the death of Shelly St. Romain Mayeaux, who was found inside her burned home on March 21st. Charles Mayeaux is a former police chief of Evergreen. Mayeaux is being held on a 350-thousand dollar bond.


    The mother of a Baton Rouge teenager was arrested Wednesday after officers found her son severely malnourished. 49-year-old Rose Holland is charged with 2nd degree cruelty to a juvenile and drug charges. The 15 year-old victim only weighed 47 pounds.


    The University of Louisiana System has approved tuition and fee increases at their four-year universities. The highest increase is at UL Lafayette, 20-percent, while Nicholls State’s tuition hike is less than two percent . U-L System President Doctor Sandra Woodley says UL Lafayette’s was allowed to raise its tuition because of the GRAD Act legislation approved in 2010, which gave campuses more autonomy if it met certain goals. She says the school’s 2014-15 tuition was also well below the Southern Regional Average.


    The National Right to Life convention begins a three day conference in New Orleans today that will feature Republican presidential hopefuls including Governor Bobby Jindal who will make an appearance tonight. Rick Perry and Rick Santorum will also be at the forum. Organizers say Delegates from all 50 states come together to celebrate a festival of life and feature speakers to educate individuals of the Right to Life movement.


    The Lafayette man who could have received up to forty years in prison for manslaughter in the shooting death of 15 year-old Austin Rivault in 2012, has received a sentence of 13 months in prison. Twenty-one year-old Seth Fontenot ended up shooting a total of three teens-including Rivault, whom he thought were breaking into his truck. The Lafayette Parish DA says he will appeal the sentence.


    The search continues for those individuals who attacked a State Police Trooper on June 30th in Rapides Parish. The officer was hit with an unknown object in the head during the traffic stop and gunshots were exchanged between the Trooper and a passenger in the vehicle. LSP spokesperson Scott Moreau says anyone with information is urged to call State Police.


    The FBI is looking for people in Louisiana and other states who were victims in a “sextortion” case. FBI New Orleans Special Agent Mike Anderson says 31-year-old Lucas Michael Chansler of Florida used social networking sites to convince teenage girls to perform sexual acts on camera. Chansler is currently serving 105 years in federal prison, but there are still unidentified victims and they should contact the FBI.


    The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of Angola in a case dealing with air conditioning on death row. The appeals court ruled that the State Pen does not have to install air conditioning for death row inmates. The 5th circuit said a federal judge went too far when he ordered the prison to maintain heat indexes on death row at or below 88 degrees.


    A proposal has been made in Lafayette to create a bike loop around the city and call it the Mickey Shunick Memorial Bike Loop. Shunick, a UL-Lafayette co-ed, was abducted and killed in 2012 while riding her bike. A stretch of the proposed bike loop would include a stretch where Shunick was riding when her bicycle when she was struck by her admitted killer Brandon Lavergne.



  • News for Wednesday 070815

    By Dave Graichen


    An announcement is expected later this week on whether Fort Polk will see a reduction in troops. The Vernon Parish military base is one of 30 bases nationwide that faces cuts as a result of a mandate that requires the Army to reduce its force by 40-thousand.


    The mother of a third-grade girl has filed a civil lawsuit against the Rapides Parish School Board, alleging that the child was locked on a bus last fall for a full school day after the driver failed to check the seats.  The suit claims the 8-year-old girl fell asleep on the bus while on the way to J.B. Nachman Elementary School in Alexandria only to wake up all alone in a locked bus. The child was not discovered until the bus driver returned in the afternoon.


    Cenla broadcasting notes the passing of Joe Tucker Robison, who founded Crest Industries and built it into one of Central Louisiana’s biggest companies. Robison started his first company out of the trunk of his car nearly six decades ago. Today, Pineville-based Crest and its subsidiaries employ about 600 people. Joe Robison, dead at 86.


    The APD reports Three Alexandria men are facing charges after shots were fired Monday morning at a man who had been robbed hours earlier. Police say the man, who was a local vendor, who was robbed at gunpoint earlier in the day. The suspects were able to elude police at the time. However, about two hours later, officers were sent to the 4700 block of Lee Street after receiving a report of shots fired. . The robbery victim said he and a coworker were riding around the area, looking for his property, when someone fired at their vehicle. The vehicle was hit, but no one was injured. Police did capture the suspects this time and all three were charged.


    New Orleans Police arrest one of their own as part of the investigation into the fatal shooting of officer Daryle Holloway. Chief Michael Harrison says suspended officer Wardell Johnson did a lazy job of processing the evidence from a domestic shooting against suspected cop killer Travis Boys and that includes the pat down of the suspect. Harrison says they are still unsure how Boys got the gun that he allegedly used to kill Holloway on June 20th all while handcuffed in the back seat of the cruiser.


    Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon warns residents that the top two months for vehicle thefts are July and August. Donelon advises drivers not to leave their windows down even in the southern Louisiana heat, especially with valuables in sight.


    The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity is running a radio ad that directs voters to a website that highlights the lawmakers who voted to increase taxes and fees to balance this fiscal year’s budget. Director of the anti-tax group, The website is louisiana-scorecard-dot-com

    Several lawmakers who voted for the tax increases say it was necessary to prevent huge cuts to higher education and health care.


    U.S. Senator David Vitter has sent a letter to President Obama requesting a federal disaster declaration as a result of heavy flooding along the Red River. That historic flooding caused $17 million of estimated damage. The individual parish requests are for Caddo, Bossier, Grant, Natchitoches, and Red River parishes.


    The mother of a two year old child, who died after falling out of the window of a moving vehicle in Acadia Parish, was arrested yesterday. State Police Trooper Brooks David says 32-year-old Amber Watson of Church Point was booked on charges of child desertion and no child restraint. Watson’s bond was set at 25-hundred dollars.


    An Iberville Parish grand jury formally charged a teacher at MSA-West Academy in Plaquemine on sex charges against students. Thirty year-old Keavin Keith had lab results showing he fathered a child with one of the victims.


    The National Right to Life convention this week in New Orleans will also feature a Republican presidential candidate debate on Friday but Governor Bobby Jindal won’t be there. His office says there is a scheduling conflict but that the Governor would be there as keynote speaker Thursday night on opening day.


    Louisiana hunters are now allowed to carry any firearm of their choice during bow hunting season. In the past, hunters were only allowed to carry a 22 caliber pistol loaded with rat shot that could only kill small pests. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward  says he believes this law will be beneficial to keeping hunters safe from more aggressive animals.


    Rapides Regional Trauma Center and Louisiana State Police Troop E will hold their monthly child passenger safety seat check-up event on Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the center’s Medical Terrace, 211 Fourth St. in Alexandria. No appointment is needed for the free event, and it will happen regardless of weather conditions.


  • News for Tuesday 070715

    By Dave Graichen


    The announcement of Army cuts that could significantly affect Fort Polk and the surrounding communities is expected Thursday. Army officials are under a mandate to cut at least 40,000 troops and other personnel. If the brigade stationed at Fort Polk is eliminated, the base would lose more than half its military population, which stakeholders say would have a significant impact on the Central Louisiana economy and a devastating impact on Vernon Parish.


    An annual statewide survey from LSU finds that consumer confidence has fallen below the national average for the first time in recent years. Michael Henderson, research director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, says the Louisiana Consumer Sentiment Index fell by six points from the end of the third quarter of 2014 to the end of the first quarter this year. He says the main culprit is the drop in oil prices.


    Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law a bill that allows gun safety education to be taught in elementary public schools. The measure lets Louisiana’s schools provide age appropriate classroom instruction regarding firearm accident prevention and safety. Author of the legislation, Erath Rep. Blake Miguez, says the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Programs is like teaching kids “stop, drop, and roll” when on fire. The material, which can start being taught this fall, must be integrated into an existing course of study and specify that the purpose of the instruction is to promote protecting children.


    Same-sex couples who want to change their last name on their driver’s license to reflect the same name as their spouse can do so starting today. State Police Lieutenant JB Slaton says the Office of Motor Vehicles had to upgrade their computers. Slaton says couples who wish to change their name, must bring a certified marriage license, along with social security records.


    State Police and the Office of Motor Vehicles are getting the word out that you can renew your driver’s license every six years instead of four. Lt. JB Slaton says it will cost an additional four dollars for the extra two years, but hopefully it will lead to shorter lines at the DMV, with drivers having to go less often to renew their license.


    The State Department of Agriculture has been put in charge of establishing the regulations for the legal dispensing of medical marijuana and Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says one of the big questions is how much they will need. The legislature has said medical marijuana will only be available to those suffering from glaucoma, cancer and a severe form of cerebral palsy. Strain says they also have questions on the development of the seed that will be used for medical marijuana.  Strain says they will have an estimate of when the product will be completed once the production facility is built and when the volume of marijuana is decided.


    An agreement between the United States and Iran over that country’s nuclear program will likely lead to another downturn in oil prices. That’s according to the Executive Director of LSU’s Center for Energy Studies. who says a nuclear deal will result in Iran putting billions of barrels of its oil on the market. The market is already reacting to a possible deal as oil prices fell eight-percent yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


    If Louisiana Senator David Vitter is successful in his bid for governor, Lafayette Representative Charles Boustany says he is prepping a campaign to seek Vitter’s seat. The National Journal reports Boustany has hired an experienced Senate Campaign manager, and has told supporters quote-”you cannot wait to make your plans.”


    A 14-year-old was arrested in Bossier City after detectives discovered the juvenile could be responsible for the stabbing death of a 91-year-old woman he was believed to be robbing. The teen was charged with first degree murder in the death of Ludella Scott and was transferred to the Wade Juvenile Detention Center.


    A 36-year-old man faces vehicular homicide charges after the utility terrain vehicle he was driving flipped over and killed a 12-year-old passenger. The incident happened in St. Helena Parish on July fourth.


    The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent accidental shooting which claimed the life of an unidentified woman. Cops say they were told by the victim’s estranged husband that the two were handling a firearm when it discharged by mistake and struck the woman. She was dead when deputies arrived. The investigation is ongoing.


  • News for Monday 070615

    By Dave Graichen


    Even before officially joining the presidential race, Gov. Bobby, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate Jindal spent far less time in Louisiana than his predecessors. Since announcing June 24 that he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Jindal has been in Louisiana only one day. The governor’s office says He’ll be governing Louisiana by cellphone. So far this year, he has spent four days out of every 10 somewhere other than in Louisiana, which is about the same rate he was gone in 2014.


    Gubernatorial candidate Democrat Amite Representative John Bel Edwards begins his first statewide tour today. He’ll be in Amite this afternoon, New Orleans this evening, covers Acadiana tomorrow then continues to hit every corner of the state through Sunday, July 12th. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Edwards needs to get his name out there. The planned tour includes 25 cities across Louisiana as well as impromptu stops across the state.


    There will be as many as 7 of 8 BESE board members who will be on the ballot for an upcoming fall election, and the president has yet to decide whether or not he will run. Chas Roemer has been a strong supporter of Common Core, and his decision will loom large for the curriculum’s acceptance in the future. The BESE Board has endorsed the testing in the past, but that could change with those 8 seats up for grabs in the October 24th election.


    As the new school year is quickly approaching, The Department of Health and Hospitals is reminding parents to get their children vaccinated as required by law. DHH Immunization Medical Director Dr. Frank Welch says now is the perfect time to prevent diseases like measles, mumps, the flu and whooping cough. Welch says getting updated shots is so important because it protects not only your children from missing school but the community, as well. He says children first entering school need proof they’ve had vaccinations for polio, mumps and measles, hepatitis, chickenpox and diphtheria. When entering middle school, students are required to have the meningitis vaccine and Tdap, once again.


    The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says it will use the announced BP settlement money to ensure Louisiana will remain Sportsman’s Paradise for years to come. The agreement means the state will receive at least $6.8 billion for damages associated with the 2010 oil spill. LDWF Secretary Robert Barham says details of the complex settlement will be worked through over the next 60 days.


    If you’re planning to take a dip in the water over the summer, DHH is reminding everyone to avoid salt or brackish water – if you have an open wound. The reason is a flesh-eating bacteria. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says there are about 5 to 15 Louisiana cases every year, so if you happen to notice an infected area of your skin after a swim, seek medical attention right away.


    A bill which gives protection to victims of domestic violence has been signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal. The bill by Baton Rouge Senator Sharon Weston Broome will help with safe housing for victims, and give landlords the power to evict any abusers.


    Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law a bill which will now double the fines for littering in Louisiana. Keep Louisiana Beautiful Executive Director Susan Russell says they support anything that increases the enforcement effort. The new law increases first offense littering from $75 to $150.


    As the European Union works to reduce carbon emissions by moving from coal-fired power plants to renewable fuel sources, countries are increasingly looking to the United States’ southern forests for part of the answer. Wood pellet mills are sprouting up across the South, including one in Bastrop, turning trees into fuel that is then shipped overseas. The production of wood pellets, which are then transported from transit centers like the one that recently started operation in Port Allen, rose from 2.8 million tons in 2008 to 19.9 million tons in 2013, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It’s expected that number could get as high as 25.9 million tons by 2020.


    Secretary of State Tom Schedler announces a major overhaul of the state’s geauxBIZ-dot-com website. The website was launched in 2009 as a way for people to easily find information necessary to start and maintain a business. Schedler says this upgrade to the site means doing business in Louisiana just got easier. The new website allows business owners to complete the legal steps necessary to start a business in one visit to the site. Schedler says this is all about improving the business climate in the state.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.





  • 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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