banner banner banner banner banner banner banner banner
Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Social Icons


98.7 on Instagram

Start Your Day With The Inspirational Moment

Weekdays mornings at 5:35

Local Events

Our Morning Show Features Jay & Speedy, How Do You Feel About It?
It's Ok
I Hate It
Never Heard Of It
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)
Your email address is never published.
View Results
Local News
  • News for Tuesday 052416

    By Dave Graichen


    Gov. John Bel Edwards will be in town today to dedicate the Curtis-Coleman Memorial Bridge over the Red River. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Lake Buhlow on U.S. Highway 165 in Pineville. The public is invited to attend.


    Governor John Bel Edwards legislative agenda for this regular session has NOT done well. A proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage has been bottled up in the Senate, an effort to require women and men receive equal pay for equal work was killed by a House committee. The governor’s attempts to limit charter schools or vouchers has also fallen on deaf ears by a legislative body that has a republican majority. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Edwards’ inability to get a majority of his legislative agenda accomplished in the regular session, could hurt his efforts during an anticipated special session next month that would seek to raise revenue to address a 600-million dollar budget shortfall.


    Members of the Tangipahoa Parish Chapter of the NAACP are calling for the resignation of school Superintendent Mark Kolwe. This is because 4.0 African American student and athlete Andrew Jones was not allowed to walk at his graduation ceremony at Amite High School because of his facial hair. Tangipahoa NAACP President Patricia Morris says this has more to do with Jones’ race than his goatee. She also believes Jones was targeted because he was also the school’s valedictorian. Morris says Jones was told to shave his beard for the first time just before the ceremony, and when he refused, the school refused to let him walk.


    New Orleans sports officials make their pitch to the NFL owners today to host the 2019 Super Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome. Atlanta, Miami, and Tampa are the other cities competing against the Big Easy. CBS Sports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora says the age of the Superdome hurts New Orleans’ bid. However, he says the fact that Saints owner Tom Benson is 88-years-old and this could be his last shot to host the Super Bowl in New Orleans also resonates with some of the NFL owners. He says the vote will be close.


    Legislation to require retail pet stores in the state to keep records and post breeders names along with licensing information now heads to the House floor for final legislative passage. Author of the bill, Metairie Sen. Danny Martiny, says this specifies where these animals come from. The Human Society and the Department of Health and Hospitals are supporting the bill. The bill will not apply to animal shelters and rescue facilities.


    LSU’s mascot, Mike the Tiger, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, spindle cell sarcoma. Mike’s attending vet, Dr. David Baker, says they’ve discovered a tumor in the right side of Mike’s skull. Baker says because of the proximity to normal tissues in Mike’s head, the tumor is inoperable, and the condition is incurable. He says Mike will undergo radiation treatment. Doctors say the treatment should be able to prolong Mike’s life for another year or two.


    The House Transportation Committee gave the green light today to a Senate approved measure that would make it the law for oncoming traffic to stop for a school bus on a two-lane road with a turning lane. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny says the rule would apply on roadways with that lane in the middle where you could either turn left or right. The measure passed without objection and now heads to the House floor.


    The city of New Orleans is not accepting bids at this time to remove four monuments that have ties to the Confederacy or white supremacy. The start of the statue relocation bid process was scheduled for this week, but it was canceled by the mayor’s office as the issue remains tied in the federal appeals court system.


    The bill that increases the minimum age for strippers to 21-years-old heads to Governor John Bel Edwards’ desk to be signed into law after the Senate gave final approval.


    Baton Rouge Police are trying to determine who fatally shot a member of the East Feliciana School Board. Thirty-four-year-old Broderick Brooks was found dead in his vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds at around 3:30 Monday morning.


    Police in Louisiana say a burglary suspect who was being chased by his victim ended up wrecking his car and killing a female passenger.


    News outlets report that Shreveport police received a call Sunday morning from a man who saw someone breaking into his car in a casino parking lot. The vehicle owner told police he saw the suspect stealing items and loading them into a truck. The suspect drove off and the vehicle owner followed him. Police say the suspect then lost control of his vehicle, which crashed and caught fire. The suspect, 21-year-old Christian Smith of Shreveport, was injured and a female passenger was killed. Her name has not been released. Smith faces aggravated burglary charges. Additional charges are pending.


    A 20-year veteran of the Bossier City Fire Department was killed when he was accidently electrocuted while riding a horse in a field. Authorities say 41-year-old George William Chambers the Fourth of Benton made contact with a low-hanging power line. The electric shock killed both Chambers and his horse.




    LSU freshman left-hander Jake Latz will start on the mound tonight for the Tigers when they take on Tennessee in the SEC Tournament. LSU enters the SEC Tournament with 11 victories in their last 12 games and they’ve put themselves in a position to possibly be a Top 8 National seed and host up until the College World Series.


  • News for Monday 052316

    By Dave Graichen


    60 year old Bobby Houston of Pineville was killed Saturday night when the lost control of his motorcycle and drove off of highway 71 near Montgomery. State police say he was wearing a helmet, but was ejected from the motorcycle. Houston was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.


    Early Sunday afternoon a  single vehicle crash claimed the life of a man from Clarence. State police say the accident occurred on LA Hwy 480 near US 71.  When a vehicle driven by 56 year old John  Turner Jr. left the roadway, collided with a ditch and over turned. Turner, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected and was pronounced dead on the scene.


    Louisiana’s unemployment rate is up to 6.3%, which is a 0.2% increase since March. This rate is the fourth worst in the nation. Oil and gas job losses slowed, but employment in that sector remains much lower than last year.


    Just two weeks are left in the regular session, and the budget is still the biggest issue for lawmakers. Jeremy Alford with LaPolitics.com says legislators are trying to fund priorities like TOPS and safety net hospitals with a $600 million budget shortfall.


    According to state officials, Governor Edwards hopes to have some tax proposals for a planned June special session ready for lawmakers by the end of the week. Edwards wants to call another special session so lawmakers can raise more revenues to close the budget deficit and stave off deep cuts to vital state services, because lawmakers cannot raise taxes during this regular session that ends June 6.


    Health experts will share information about the Zika Virus with the public during a 5:30 PM meeting at LSU Health New Orleans Human Development Center. A panel of experts will discuss where the virus is, where it’s expected to go, and other important information. Health leaders want people who live in the southeastern states to be as prepared as possible for a potential Zika outbreak.


    Based on released court records from a deposition, Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson says his daughter and grandchildren “tried to kill him” during a confrontation at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The deposition took place at the end of March and Benson gave that answer when he was asked why he was looking to remove control of his sports franchises from Renee Benson and Rita Benson LeBlanc.


    New Orleans is seeking to host the Super Bowl in 2019 and those who will present a bid to the NFL owners on Tuesday are already in Charlotte putting the finishing touches on their presentation. New Orleans competition to host the 2019 Super Bowl is Atlanta, Miami and Tampa Bay. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero says they go in as the underdogs.


    A new rule from the White House goes into effect on December 1 that would require employers to pay their workers overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week and make less than about $47-thousand a year. This would affect about 35% of salaried workers. LSU Economist Stephen Barnes says this will impact business owners more than anyone. The organization that represents small businesses says this will result in entry-level management positions disappearing and those employees falling back into hourly jobs.  Proponents say it’s time workers get paid for the hours they work.


    Governor John Bel Edwards has signed two pro-life bills into law, one measure increases the wait time for a woman to receive an abortion to 72 hours and the second requires doctors performing abortions to be board certified. Louisiana Right to Life Legislative Director Deanna Wallace says this truly is a victory for women in the state. Pro-choice supporters say it is quite the opposite.


    As we approach a the Memorial day weekend, motorists can expect to see prices at the pump up more than 6 cents from the prior week. Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski from GasBuddy.com says they’ve got the current statewide average for a gallon of regular at about $2.06. Laskoski says prices haven’t been this low since 2008.


    The governor’s daughter Samantha got married Saturday to Johnathan Ricau. Samantha and Jonathan met in 2012 and both graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University. She is the oldest daughter of the governor and First Lady Donna.


    Authorities say a man is behind bars and a three-year-old is recovering following a shooting in a Shreveport home late last week. Shreveport police say the child had already been taken to a local hospital by the time they arrived. The child reportedly suffered a single gunshot wound to the right arm, and although the injuries are serious, the child is expected to survive. The incident is still under investigation, but 17-year-old Dezhun Kendrick has been booked into the Shreveport City Jail on two counts of illegal use of a weapon.


    Police say a Baton Rouge man who stopped to help at a car crash was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver. Baton Rouge police said in a statement that 36-year-old William Warren died early Saturday after he was struck by a car driven by 41-year-old Gregory Hamilton, of Baton Rouge. Hamilton was arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, second-offense drunken driving, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license. Hamilton’s license had been suspended since 2007 and his prior DWI was in 2009. He also was ticketed for driving without insurance.


    A Baton Rouge-area sheriff’s office said two men were gunned down in a trailer home, and five people have been arrested after a good Samaritan reported seeing a wallet and papers thrown from a car about 60 miles from the trailer home. West Feliciana Parish sheriff ’s spokeswoman Erin Foster said two men turned themselves in Sunday and were arrested on first-degree murder charges in the St. Francisville killings, which occurred early Saturday. She said three women were arrested Saturday on charges accusing them as principals to murder. Foster said in an email that a shed behind the trailer home held remnants of a meth lab.


    The LSU Baseball team leaves for Hoover, Alabama today where they’ll play tomorrow night in the SEC Tournament against Tennessee. The Tigers nearly swept top ranked Florida over the weekend as they took two of three from the Gators. But it wasn’t enough to get a first round bye in the SEC Tourney. Coach Paul Mainieri is not disappointed. It’s the first time LSU will have to play in the opening round of the SEC Tournament since it expanded in 2012.


  • News for Thursday 051916

    By Dave Graichen


    The investigation is ongoing into a Tuesday night car wreck that claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl from Ball. Chloe James died at the scene of the wreck when the vehicle she was riding in left the roadway and struck a car parked in a driveway. 24 year old Michael Baden, the driver of the vehicle, received moderate injuries and was taken to a local hospital. The State police report neither person was wearing a seatbelt.


    Legislation is heading to the governor’s desk that would result in Louisiana becoming the sixth state in the nation to prohibit a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure. Opponents say this legislation would prohibit the safest method of a second-trimester abortion.

    State courts have blocked similar laws from taking effect in Kansas and Oklahoma.


    A House committee supports a bill that would give law enforcement agencies the ability to scan motorists license plates. The bill’s author, Lake Charles Senator, Ronnie Johns, says the goal of this legislation is to help authorities catch motorists who do not have auto insurance. The measure passed the House Criminal Justice Committee on an eight to three vote and it heads to the full House for consideration. It’s already passed the Senate.


    Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden has announced his candidacy for the 2nd Congressional District Seat, challenging incumbent Cedric Richmond. Holden says he has accomplished great things for Baton Rouge in his 12 years as mayor, and he hopes to do the same in Congress. Holden and Richmond are both Democrats. Richmond has represented the district since 2011.


    Governor John Bel Edwards says he’ll sign a bill today that expands the list of medical conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed. Under the legislation by St. Martin Parish Senator Fred Mills, individuals with seizure disorders and cancer could use medical cannabis once it becomes available. Edwards says it’s just the right thing to do.  The governor says, however, he does not support the legalization of recreational marijuana.


    A bill to require students to recite part of the Declaration of Independence daily has made it out of the House Education Committee. Author of the bill, Denham Springs Representative Valerie Hodges says kids should understand this important historic document. Hodges says many Americans wouldn’t be able to pass the citizenship test because although they live here, they don’t know about much our country. She says schools need to prepare students for citizenship.


    Democratic US Senate candidate Foster Campbell held a press conference at the Old Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge to discuss what he would like to get accomplished if elected as US Senator this fall. Campbell says coastal restoration is on the top of his list. He says his values reflect the residents of Louisiana, not party lines. Campbell is one of several well-known candidates seeking to replace David Vitter, who is not running for re-election.


    The federally regulated insect pest of Ash Trees, the Emerald Ash Borer, has been found in Union Parish. Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says the pest originates in Asia and was first found in the U.S. in 2002 and is now in four Louisiana parishes. He says the Emerald Ash Borer is now in Union, Bossier, Claiborne, and Webster Parishes and a quarantine is in place. Strain says you can lose an entire forest of ash trees in 10 years, because of the pest.


    Female lawmakers are not happy about a joke a male member of the House made during debate over legislation that rises the age from 18 to 21 to be hired as a stripper at a dance club.  Jackson Representative Kenny Harvard proposed an amendment that strippers in Louisiana could only be between the ages of 21-and-28 and less than 160 pounds. Kenner Representative Julie Stokes called the amendment disrespectful and disgusting. Havard says the amendment was just a joke. The bill ended up passing the House 96-0 without Havard’s amendment and it goes back to the Senate for final approval, before heading to the Governor’s desk.


    An arrest has been made in connection with the dead body that was found in the median of Interstate 10 in Ascension Parish. Two days before the discovery, State Police say they responded to a crash in the same area where they located a truck with significant damage, but the driver, 25-year-old Brodnick Whittington, was not at the scene. Troopers tied Whittington to the hit and run death of 35-year-old Jenise Williams. He is charged with felony hit and run, obstruction of justice, and driving with an open container..


    The LSU Tigers begin their final regular season series tonight against number one ranked Florida. Alex Lange will pitch tonight, but game two’s starter is Riley Smith. Florida comes into the Box with an overall record of 43-9, 18-8, which is the best record in the SEC.


  • News for Wednesday 051816

    By Dave Graichen


    Spirited debate took place in a Senate committee over the sanctuary city bill that would punish cities who refuse to enforce the federal immigration law. Attorney General Jeff Landry is a strong supporter of the bill. But Senators expressed concern that the proposal would give Landry too much power. If the attorney general determined a jurisdiction operated as a sanctuary city, the state could then prohibit that city or parish from borrowing money for large construction projects. The legislation has already been approved by the House, and a vote by the Senate Judiciary A committee is expected next week.


    The Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to remove the firearm requirement for a charge of aggravated assault of a police officer.  In a separate action, it also made attacks against police, firefighters and EMT personnel hate crimes.


    There have been significant changes to the three different sales tax holidays that Louisiana consumers have enjoyed over the last several years. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesperson Kizzy Payton says the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, when people can but things like generators without paying sales taxes has been discontinued. Payton says the back to school sales tax holiday, during the first weekend in August, and the 2nd amendment holiday, during the first weekend in September, will offer partial sales tax breaks this year and next. This is a result of the resent special legislative session.


    The Louisiana House killed a bill that would have allowed wide open public school choice within each district after members expressed concern about capacity of premier schools.

    House Bill 1101. Sponsored by Rep. Stuart Bishop of Lafayette, would have allow parents to send their children to any school within the public district in which they live beginning in the 2017 academic year, expanding current school choice law that allows only children who attend failing schools, those listed as “D” or “F” schools, a choice to move.


    A house-approved abortion bill has also stalled in a senate committee. This legislation would prohibit abortions if the parents learn that the fetus has a genetic abnormality. Members of the Senate health committee expressed concerns over whether this proposed law violates the constitution.


    A bill to expand the number of diseases that could use medical marijuana in Louisiana is sitting on the governor’s desk. The measure by state senator Fred Mills received final legislative approval and Mills says those with cancer, epilepsy or HIV/AIDS will benefit. Governor Edwards is expected to sign the bill, but Mills says it will probably be another year or two before the public has access to medical marijuana.


    Students in public and charter schools would be required to learn cursive under a measure nearing final legislative approval. The Senate-approved measure won unanimous approval in the House Education Committee and heads to the House floor.


    Two coaches and three students from Plaisance Elementary School have been arrested for “questionable disciplinary actions” against three students, according to St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputies. They say PE teachers Kendrick Owens and Mona Wilson are accused instructing three older students to take at least three younger students into the back of the locker room and whip the younger students with belts.


    Youtube sensation and law enforcement officer, Captain Clay Higgins, is expected to announce tonight he will run for political office. Higgins recently told a Lafayette TV station he’s considering a run for either Congress or US Senate. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross believes Higgins will run for the seat being vacated by Senator David Vitter. He says Higgins has a big personality and is looking for the biggest stage.


    A new study by LSU, UCLA and NASA finds New Orleans and surrounding cities are sinking at high rates because of natural and human processes. Lead Scientist Dr. Cathleen Jones says they used hot spot radar to determine which areas were sinking the fastest. She says Norco and Michoud are sinking at a rate of two inches a year. Jones says these new numbers can help with flood modeling and prevention.


    The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s office has charged a 17-year-old with murder in the stabbing death of a 69-year-old man. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says this was a burglary that turned violent. He is also booked with attempted murder in the injuring of the victim’s wife. The boy is being held on several charges including murder and attempted murder with $2 million dollars bond.


    Two Alabama football players have been arrested in Monroe after they were found smoking weed in a vehicle at Forsythe Park with two guns in the car, one of which was stolen. Cam Robinson played at West Monroe High School and has started at Alabama at left tackle the last two seasons. Hottie Jones, a former Neville Tiger, has been a backup safety for the Tide. KTVE sports director Gene Ponti says this arrest took everyone by surprise because the boys have never been trouble makers.


    A measure headed to the desk of Governor John Bel Edwards would ban the ticketing of lemonade stands set up in neighborhoods. The bill exempts minors who make less than $500 year from a law requiring businesses to pay an occupational license tax. The new law goes into effect in August.


    Wendy’s’ announces they’ll put kiosks in six-thousand restaurants around the country by the end of the year to take customers’ orders. It’s to combat the push to increase minimum wage for fast food workers. Tulane Business Professor Mark Rosa doesn’t think customers will mind.

    Rosa anticipates the kiosks will go in restaurants in states where minimum wage is the highest.


    LSU Football Coach Les Miles announces his coaching staff will hold “Satellite Camps” in north and south Louisiana during the first week of June. The first camp takes place June 2nd in Bossier City and they’ll also have a kicking and specialist camp on June third at the Saints practice facility. Those camps will cost 20-bucks and Miles says there will be a free youth camp on June 7th at Joe Brown Park in New Orleans. Miles says the new NCAA rule on satellite camps allow LSU to partner with instate schools to host these camps, which should benefit the likes of UL Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Southeastern and other Louisiana schools.


  • News for Thursday 051216

    By Dave Graichen


    Grant Parish authorities say no charges are expected to be filed against a husband who fatally shot his wife on Tuesday afternoon after she stabbed him multiple times. Sheriff Steve McCain says 36 year old Anthony Racina was airlifted to an Alexandria hospital. The investigation showed 34-year-old Elizabeth Racina was shot and killed in the incident. McCain said Anthony Racina acted in self-defense, but said the case would be forwarded to the Grant Parish District Attorney's Office for review.


    Officials at Ft. Polk report a soldier has died from injuries suffered Tuesday while doing live fire training at the Joint Readiness Training Center. The soldier, whose name has not been released pending notification of next of kin, was not based at Fort Polk. He was with the 101st Airborne Division. The incident is under investigation.


    The Edwards Administration is very concerned about state funding for healthcare, as the full House is set to debate the proposed spending plan for next fiscal year. Department of Health and Hospitals Sec. Rebekah Gee says the House budget committee shifted dollars away from DHH and this could lead to multiple hospital closures and would eliminate jobs that inspect potentially unsafe facilities. The budget bill is slated to be taken up on the House floor today.


    The full House is expected to discuss today whether the TOPS scholarship program should be fully funded for next school year, as they address the proposed budget for next fiscal year. [Publisher of LaPolitics.com, Jeremy Alford, says he’s spoken with some lawmakers on the Senate side, who are torn on the matter. Alford says the TOPS funding issue will likely be brought up again before the end of this fiscal year, regardless of what happens to the program in the proposal before the lower chamber today.] Other budget concerns include the Attorney General’s Office requesting its own separate budget, talk of eliminating the Inspector General’s Office completely, and more cuts to the state’s health budget.


    More layoffs are coming to the state. The Louisiana Workforce Commission announced yesterday Martin Mills will be permanently closing its Vidalia Distribution Center, which will  result in 167 employees losing their jobs starting July 10th. LWC says their Rapid Response team will conduct orientation sessions for affected workers in two weeks.


    The House has given final legislative passage to a bill that extends the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. The measure was unanimously approved and heads to Governor Edwards’ desk to be signed into law. Six other states have similar legislation, and it’s the longest waiting period in the country.


    Senate approved legislation that would give patients direct access to a physical therapist rather than getting a doctor’s referral first now moves to the full House. Family physician and occupational medicine specialist Dr. Robert Rush is in favor of the legislation and says many people in the orthopedic field are stuck in the past. Rush says direct access to a physical therapist is a time and money saver. President of the American Physical Therapy Association Sharon Dunn says early therapy with an episode of pain reduces costs up to 60-percent.


    Former Iberville Parish teacher, Kevin Keith, will spend two years in prison for having sex with three of his students. Keith was sentenced to 10 years in jail for five counts of felony carnal knowledge, but eight of the years were suspended. Keith was arrested after a female student told authorities she had sex with the 30-year-old and conceived his son when she was 15.


    It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, authorities in Ruston report a mother ran over her child during morning carpool yesterday morning. Cops say as the mother was pulling into the parking lot, the child opened the door while the vehicle was still in motion, then fell under the wheel of the SUV. The child was pronounced dead by the Lincoln Parish Coroner’s Office.


    The Raise the Age bill was sent to the House floor Wednesday for final legislative approval. The measure by New Orleans Senator JP Morrell would prosecute 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system instead of as an adult. The idea cleared the Senate with strong support and there was no objection today in the House Criminal Justice Committee.


    A Houma man who allegedly shot and killed his neighbor’s pit bull after the K-9 bit his 34-year-old son is facing several charges. Sgt. Travis Theriot says 60-year-old Karl Kohman should not have taken matters into his own hands. In addition to animal cruelty  and illegal use of a weapon charges, Kohman was also booked with obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to hide the dog’s body.


    A St. Landry Parish man is facing several charges after cops say he tried to set his own house on fire in a fit of rage. The Sheriff’s Office says when deputies arrived, they located 34-year-old Eugene Chambers of Eunice pouring gasoline on the residence and threatening officers with a metal pipe. A victim stated she and six children, between the ages of 2 and 13, were forced outside and that Chambers also dumped gasoline on her. He is charged with Attempted Aggravated Arson, Aggravated Assault and Resisting an Officer.


    Two teenagers are dead following a crash caused by a motorist who is believed to have ran a stop sign in Iberia Parish. The Sheriff’s Office says the vehicle that failed to yield was hit by an SUV, and the two occupants of the car a 16 year old passenger and the 18 year old driver, were both pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.


    A $745 fee has been set by Louisiana lawmakers for burials in state veterans’ cemeteries. But the cost won’t be shouldered by veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs says the federal government has been paying for veterans’ burials. But the agency says a recent attorney general’s opinion suggested the fee rate needed to be set in law by the Legislature.


    The same charge is being set for a veteran’s spouse or relative to be buried in the veterans’ cemetery. That fee, too, already has been charged by the state veterans’ department.

    The department can waive the fee if the family member can’t afford it.


    The House Appropriations Committee proposed to eliminate all financing for the inspector general in the budget year that begins July 1. Lawmakers suggested the agency’s duties overlap with work done by the attorney general and legislative auditor. The national Association of Inspectors General sent a letter to House members, saying elimination of Louisiana’s office would deny taxpayers the “oversight, accountability and transparency of government they deserve.” The proposal to eliminate the inspector general’s office will be debated today by the House when it takes up the budget bill.


    A plan to boost monthly pension checks for retired state employees, public school workers and teachers is headed to the governor’s desk. The cost-of-living increase is part of a package of bills by Shreveport Sen. Barrow Peacock, chairman of the Senate Retirement Committee. The pension hike is tied to adjustments in how the retirement systems pay for raises and administrative costs, aimed at lessening long-term debts. All three bills won final legislative passage this week.


  • News for Wednesday 051116

    By Dave Graichen


    State Police say a teenager from Marksville died Tuesday morning following a crash with a school bus in Avoyelles Parish. Investigators determined 19-year-old Joshua Frank lost control of his vehicle and collided with the school bus that was going in the opposite direction. There were no children on the bus at the time, but troopers say Frank wasn’t buckled up and he died at the scene.


    A major drug bust in Grant Parish has led to the arrests of 9 people. Sheriff Steve McCain says the 4 month investigation was a major undercover operation. All of those arrested live in Montgomery. One was a 16-year-old juvenile.


    Governor Edwards signs into law a bill that means the TOPS scholarship is no longer guaranteed to cover the full cost of a student’s tuition, starting in the fall of 2017. The bill locks in the amount of a TOPS scholarship at next year’s amount, and the award will not automatically increase, even if tuition costs go up.  If tuition costs continue to rise, students will have to pay more of their tuition, unless the legislature agrees to increase TOPS payments. Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue says this bill won’t solve all of the TOPS funding issues, but it’s a start.


    The House Education Committee has approved a bill that would allow students to attend any public school in their district. Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater supports the proposal. He says this opens the doors for children to attend the best schools, no matter where they are zoned, provided the school they choose has room for more students. Associate Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Donald Songy, says this would be a difficult policy to put in place. The measure heads to the House floor.


    The House Health and Welfare Committee unanimously approved legislation that would establish a Bullying Awareness and Treatment Taskforce aimed at ending bullying in Louisiana. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says a large number of Louisiana students are being bullied, and many are too afraid to speak up about it. Norton says this taskforce would include representatives from the Department of Education, as well as the Department of Health and Hospitals’ mental health services. She says the goal is to help children on both sides of the bullying.


    Legislation that would make it a hate crime if a person targets police officers or firefighters is nearing final legislative passage. The bill’s author, Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, says additional protections are needed for those who protect and serve. The measure has been dubbed as the “Blue Lives Matter” bill.


    A bill to penalize those under 18 for drinking at a private residence failed to pass out of House Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday after lengthy debate.


    Under current law, those younger than 21 years old can drink for religious or medical reasons, when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or if they are in a private residence.


    Legislation that seeks to protect gays and transgender individuals from discrimination on the job is heading to the Senate floor after barely getting enough votes to pass out of a committee. Author of the measure, New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says there shouldn’t be any discrimination. The Louisiana Family Forum and business groups oppose the measure. The bill passed on a 2-1 vote and heads to the Senate floor for more debate.


    A bill that would set up a legal framework in Louisiana between parents and surrogate mothers now moves to the full Senate for final legislative passage. The proposed law would grant immediate custody of the child to the genetic parents rather than the surrogate mother.  Norco Sen. Gary Smith says this measure will protect Louisiana families.


    Digital billboards are up in Baton Rouge and Shreveport urging residents to contact their legislators and ask them to support legislation that would expand the number of diseases medical marijuana can treat. Katie Corkern is featured on one of the billboards and she says FDA approved medication doesn’t help her child that has a seizure disorder. The bill is expected to be debated on the House floor today.


    Gonzales Police have arrested a 21-year-old mother from Prairieville after it was learned her two-year-old child ate methamphetamine. Police say the woman told investigators her child got the meth out of her purse.


    The photo of a service dog in the yearbook for West Monroe’s Good Hope Middle School is receiving national attention. The dog’s name is Presley and his headshot is next to her 14-year-old owner who has muscular dystrophy. The school’s yearbook advisor Sonya Hogg says it was a no-brainer to include Presley in the school yearbook.


    Here’s a shocking story out of Thibodaux. Police there say a juvenile beat up an elderly woman who refused to give oral sex. The incident happened as the 61-year-old woman was walking down the street. The juvenile male was charged with simple battery of the infirmed.


  • News for Tuesday 051016

    By Dave Graichen


    A poll from JMC Analytics finds if the presidential election was held today, the majority of Louisianans would pick Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton, 52 to 36-percet. Pollster John Couvillon says nearly 6 in 10 voters disapprove of Clinton. Couvillion says the poll also found people in the Alexandria area really support Trump, where he has 66-29-percent lead. He says he found very little evidence of Republican disunity in the poll.


    The House Appropriations Committee has approved a spending plan for next fiscal year that fully funds TOPS. The governor’s proposed budget only funded a third of the costs associated with the program. Chairman, Cameron Henry of Metairie, says they came up with the 183-million dollars to fully fund TOPS by taking dollars from other departments. But, While speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards expressed concerns about cutting funding from various agencies that have already seen their budgets slashed…


    A new study from Car insurance.com shows Louisiana is the third most dangerous state for teen drivers. Highway safety advocate, Col. Jim Champagne is not surprised because he says we give teen drivers too much freedom at an early age. Champagne says Louisiana also allows driver’s permits at 15, but the rest of the country doesn’t allow permits until 16, and the driving curfew for teen divers is earlier in other states. The study also found Louisiana teens are driving drunk at a rate of 9-percent, and 49-percent are texting and driving.


    Deputies say a Bossier parish school bus driver has been arrested for a DWI, immediately after she dropped of dozens of children. Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Bill Davis says 33-year-old Bridget Whitley reported for a random drug screen after her morning route, where she showed signs of intoxication and failed a field sobriety test. This is Whitley’s 2nd DWI.


    A bill to require warnings 500 feet ahead of red-light camera intersections heads to the house floor for final legislative passage. The author of the legislation, New Orleans Sen. Troy Carter, believes this would limit the ability for cities to bring in revenue, which amounts to a lot of money. Carter says right now there is barely any opportunity for a driver issued a red-light camera ticket to take their case to court. He says the second part of the bill is to provide for due process.


    Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden has filed his paperwork to run for Congress. Holden is expected to challenge fellow Democrat and incumbent US Representative Cedic Richmond, who represents the 2nd congressional district. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Holden, who is term-limited as a mayor, is a strong candidate.


    A House committee proposes to give Attorney General Jeff Landry more power over his budget. The House Appropriations Committee voted to remove the A.G. office from the state’s general operating budget and give Landry his own budget. But New Orleans Representative Walt Leger doesn’t think this move is constitutional.


    The Jimmy Davis Bridge in Shreveport-Bossier City will not get its planned renovation anytime soon because the construction contract has been terminated. Department of Transportation spokesperson Rodney Mallett says the plan has been halted because of a protected species of bird that’s nesting on the bridge. Mallett says the Highway 511 Bridge will still be renovated, as soon as DOTD can figure out the best way to go about repairing the bridge without hurting the cliff swallows living there.


    A bill that would allow blaze pink to be added to the list of acceptable colors that hunters could wear as an alternative to hunters orange, has been signed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The measure goes into effect August 1st.


    New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says robbery appears to be the motive in the shooting death of Thomas Rolfe. He’s the Tulane grad, who was in New Orleans for the weekend to plan a spot for his wedding. Rolfe’s body was found a few blocks from where surveillance video spotted the 25-year-old purchasing water. Harrison says there were marks on Rolfe’s hands that suggest there was a struggle.


    The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office announces they have made an arrest in the May 3 kidnapping and sexual assault of a woman outside a casino. Police say 23-year-old Jovante Owens of Lake Charles kidnapped a woman outside of a casino and drove around in her car while sexually assaulting her. Owens is charged with first-degree rape and aggravated kidnapping.


    LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson is expected to play tonight against Notre Dame, despite a badly swollen upper lip and braces on his top teeth after getting hit with a baseball last weekend. Coach Paul Mainieri says Robertson is one tough cookie and a big reason why they’ve won 31 games this year..


  • News For Monday 050916

    By Dave Graichen


    Was it the near perfect weather or a case of practice makes perfect, you be the judge. Large crowds filled the streets of downtown Alexandria each day and night during this weekend’s Alex River Fete’. Many feared the moving of the Dragon Boat races to Buhlow Lake, which in the past has been the anchor for the weekend , would hurt overall attendance. But, that was not the case. While large crowds watched the races many came back to the Alexandria side of the river for the rest of the Fete’.


    The Rapides Parish Coliseum Authority has chosen Richard Karamatic to become the Coliseum’s executive director. Karamatic is currently the city administrator in Leesville, a position he will leave at the end of the week. Karamatic also spent 17 years in Dallas in the parks and rec department. The Coliseum has been without an executive director since 2013. The facility closed in April 2014 to await $22.9 million in renovations , which began in April of last year.


    A bill that would prohibit open burning of explosives and munitions could be withdrawn from the regular session. There’s opposition from a company called Clean Harbors, which has a location near Colfax that open burns. Minden Rep. Gene Reynolds says he’s talked with Clean Harbors and the state department of environmental quality. Reynolds says if lawmakers and Clean Harbors are able to come up with a reliable solution, the bill will no longer be necessary.

    Reynolds says in the bill’s place would be a House resolution which would call for local input before Clean Harbors can receive a new permit next year.


    The House Appropriations Committee will vote today on a proposed budget for next fiscal year that’s expected to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program. Governor John Bel Edwards proposed spending plan only allocated a third of the approximately 300-million dollars needed to fully cover tuition costs for eligible students. If legislators fully fund TOPS that means 183-million dollars will be moved from other areas of the budget. Edwards says it would be great if the state can cover 100-percent of the costs for TOPS, but that will mean less state funding for hospitals, public education and state prisons.


    Key members of the Governor’s staff are in St. Joseph today, where  brown water is flowing from faucets in the Tensas Parish town. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says they are there to inform St. Joseph residents about what’s being done to improve the drinking water. Baxter Payer says there is $7.8 million available to repair the town’s water system, but unfortunately St. Joseph cannot receive the money, because it has yet to complete a 2015 financial audit. She says they are waiting on a court to approve a financial manager that will be assigned to improve the town’s financial records.


    A study from the firm KPMG ranks north Louisiana has the most competitive place to do business in the country. Scott Martinez, President of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, says low utility costs is one reason why Monroe and Shreveport rank high on this list. The data from the study shows that Monroe and Shreveport each rank about 8-percent lower than the national average for business costs.


    We’re six months away from Louisiana’s U.S. Senate election and it’s been a slow race so far. That’s the opinion of ULM Political Science Professor, Dr. Joshua Stockley, who says we haven’t seen or heard much from the nine declared candidates. He says this election is very similar to last year’s governor’s election. Stockley says we’ll see an uptick in attention to the race after the major party conventions in the summer. He says right now, many voters are focused on the state’s budget problems and the legislative session. Stockley believes the presidential election will likely play a role in who wins this Senate seat. He says right now, the favorites are any of the major Republican candidates.


    A two-year-old girl is dead and authorities say a man who babysat the child is considered a person of interest in the case. Authorities say the child’s body was found in a remote area of Beauregard Parish. Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft says 33-year-old Rodney “Donnie” Bailey Junior was the last person to see her alive and he is in custody.


    A 78-year-old Shreveport woman could face the next decade behind bars for cashing Social Security checks that were mistakenly sent to a dead man for nearly three decades. Rose Marie Jackson Allen will be sentenced in September after pleading guilty to theft of government property. Allen shared a post office box with a man who died in 1986, but the government kept sending him social security checks. It’s believed Allen collected over 200-thousand dollars in illegal benefits.


    Friday morning prosecutors ruled that no charges will be filed in the fatal officer-involved shooting of a mentally-ill man last year. State Police say 32-year-old Michael Noel was shot and killed at his home in St. Martin parish while resisting officers who attempted to take him into protective custody. Assistant District Attorney Chester Cedars says no one was charged in the incident, because there was no crime.


  • News for Friday 050616

    By Dave Graichen


    There is a month left in the legislative session and lawmakers still have a lot to. Jeremy Alford with LaPolitics.com says the budget is the biggest concern for legislators. He says lawmakers are working to pass a balanced budget with a 600 million dollar shortfall before the session ends on June 6th and funding TOPS is a major priority. The House Appropriations committee is expected to make changes to the proposed budget for next fiscal year on Monday and send the spending plan to the House floor. Alford also says one of the governor’s main bills for the session, a measure that raises the minimum wage, faces an uphill climb.


    Governor John Bel Edwards still intends to hold a second special session in June. House Budget committee chairman Cameron Henry and the leader of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry believe its too soon to have another session, after lawmakers raised taxes in the first session. But Edwards says if they don’t hold a second special session in June, than large cuts will occur to education and health care.


    A measure to prohibit sanctuary cities from receiving funding for construction projects is moving through the legislature. The bill could hurt Lafayette and New Orleans because New Orleans police do not assist with federal immigration enforcement, and the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office says it won’t hold immigration offenders without a court order. The bill is heading to the Senate after a lengthy debate on the House floor.


    A bill to legalize the sale of raw milk died in a House committee Thursday. Wendy Adams with the Libertarian party says she supported the legislation because the bill was about freedom and choice. She says no one is in any danger of walking into a supermarket and accidentally buying raw milk rather than pasteurized milk, since only farmers would have been allowed to sell it.


    And the House has unanimously approved a bill that yesterday that says those under the age of 21 caught with alcohol cannot be sent to jail. The measure heads to the Senate.


    Governor John Bel Edwards says he supports Parks Senator Fred Mills’ bill to expand the list of diseases medical marijuana can be used to treat. But Edwards says this is not a step towards legalization of pot. Edwards says he knows of many people, especially children who need medical cannabis to cope with a disorder. He says the state shouldn’t stand between doctors and the parents when it comes to what’s best for those children. Mills’ bill has already passed out of the Senate and is awaiting approval by the full House.


    Strippers in Louisiana could soon be required to be at least 21 years old, as a bill to raise the minimum age for strippers is heading to the House for final legislative approval.


    The State Fire Marshal has put out a warning about electronic cigarettes, after two people were recently burned in Louisiana when their cigarettes exploded. Deputy Chief Brant Thompson says in both cases the batteries overheated…


    Shreveport police say two men are dead and six others are wounded after several masked gunmen burst into a card game at a tire shop early yesterday morning. Authorities say the two men killed were 37 year old males. Detectives are still looking for the gunmen. Witnesses say three to four masked men barged into the room and started shooting with semi-automatic rifles.


    A resolution was approved by House yesterday that would make the town of Welsh, in southwest Louisiana as the “Home of the Cajun Dictionary.” A priest in Welsh for 44 years published a “Dictionary of the Cajun Language’ and it’s currently housed at the Welsh Museum.


    The man believed to be the oldest World War Two Veteran has passed away and funeral services are scheduled for next week in his hometown of Cotton Valley, which is in Webster Parish. Frank Levingston lived to be 110 years old and enlisted in the army shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.


    Louisiana’s five uncommitted Marco Rubio delegates have announced that they will back the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Kirk Williamson is one of those and says the most important thing right now is party unity. He thinks one way to achieve that would be for Trump to choose Rubio as his running mate.


    There were no winners in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing, which means the jackpot for Saturday now goes up to $415 million dollars. The cash value is $269 million dollars.


    Mother’s Day is this Sunday and restaurants will be packed with families getting together to celebrate Mom. Louisiana Restaurant Association spokesperson Erica Burns says this is the most popular day of the year to dine out. She advises husbands and kids, if you haven’t made a reservation yet, do so now before it’s too late.


    LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri will start Alex Lange on the mound tonight against Arkansas, instead of Jared Poche, who has been the Tigers Friday night starter for most of the season. LSU enters tonight’s game with an 11-10 record in SEC Play, while Arkansas is just 7-and-14. But Mainieri is expecting three tough games with the Razorbacks….


  • News for Thursday 050516

    By Dave Graichen


    Well it’s now official, the Historic Hotel Bentley is now open for business. Owner Michael Jenkins was on Talkback 970 yesterday to break the news. (two of the three floors of the hotel are now open to the public, for a total of 62 guest rooms.) Renovations will continue on the other floors, another 31 hotel rooms, and several floors of condos. The restaurant in the Bentley should be opening very soon as well. 


    Alex River officially gets underway tonight with “Dinner on the bricks”. About a dozen local restaurants will serve from 6 until 8 p.m. this evening in front of City Hall on Third Street. The festival continues Friday with Art Walk at 4 p.m. and live entertainment.


    Blue Bell is recalling select lots of Rocky Road Ice Cream pint packages that were mistakenly filled with Cookies n' Cream ice cream at its flagship Brenham plant. In a statement issued Wednesday, the Cookies 'n Cream ice cream contains soy and wheat not listed on the Rocky Road packages, which could cause serious and potentially life-threatening reactions to allergic consumers. The good news is, no illnesses have been reported so far. FYI, The affected packages are marked Rocky Road but are capped with a Cookies 'n Cream lid.


    Louisiana’s teen birth rate has declined substantially over the last decade. A report from the Centers for Disease Control shows Louisiana’s teen birth rate is 37.5% for 2013-14, which is a decrease from the 2006-07 rate of 69%. Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Rebekah Gee says this is great news for Louisiana. Gee says she thinks teens are practicing safer sex, or better yet abstinence.  But, while it’s an improvement, Louisiana still ranks 7th in the country for teen births.


    Former-Monroe TV personality “Mr. Wonder” has given up on fighting extradition from California back to Rapides Parish to face child sex charges that date back to 1978. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office spokesperson, Lt. Tommy Carnline, says Selas will go to court in Rapides Parish on two counts of aggravated rape, three counts of sexual battery, and eight counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.


    Governor John Bel Edwards doesn’t want to give 40-thousand state workers a pay raise next year. It’s because the state is looking at a 600-million dollar revenue shortfall. The Civil Service Commission has the final say and plans on making a decision on the governor’s request next month.


    During the governor’s short time in office, his main priority has been the state’s massive budget deficit. But John Bel Edwards wants to address tackle other issues during his term. Edwards told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club he is committed to the creation of a high speed commuter train between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Edwards says advancing online educational technology is another area where he’d like to see expansion. He says young adults should have the opportunity to get their G-E-D through classes on the internet. Edwards says in next year’s regular legislative session, sentencing and criminal justice reform will be one of his top priorities.


    A Senate committee shot down the House approved measure that would allow lawmakers to decide whether or not people who receive food stamps should have to work. The 4-2 vote fell along party lines with Democrats in opposition, and GOP support.


    Ted Cruz and John Kasich have both dropped out of the presidential race, and Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says not all Republicans will be happy to see Trump uncontested at the convention, but he doesn’t think the GOP will look for another nominee.


    A bill that would allow public high school students to participate in an anonymous national sex survey is heading to the Senate, after getting approval from the House. Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith says Louisiana has a high rate of STDs and pregnancy among teens. Opponents of the bill say it’s the parents’ place to talk about these things with their kids, but Smith says that isn’t working. Under the bill, students would not be required to participate.


    A proposal that would have limited travel of college athletic teams other than LSU is dropped. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter decided against moving forward with his legislation. Carter still told the House Education Committee that instead of the state paying for long road trips, the money could be used to hire new professors or fund the TOPS scholarship program.


  • News for Wednesday 050416

    By Dave Graichen


    Gas prices have topped the $2 mark in Louisiana. AAA says the statewide average price for a gallon of regular is now $2.01.


    Louisiana is the 4th worst state for working moms, according to a study by the personal finance website, WalletHub. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says they looked at the cost of daycare, professional opportunities, and work and life balance. She says daycare and professional opportunities led to Louisiana’s poor ranking. Gonzalez says Louisiana also ranked 43rd for the gender pay gap.


    State health officials are offering guidance on how people can prevent the transmission of Zika virus. Dr. Frank Welch, with the department of health and hospitals, says the mosquito that carries Zika will be active in Louisiana this summer, but it won’t just be mosquitoes spreading the virus. It will be people. Welch says the virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact. He says if someone has a partner who has traveled to South America or the Caribbean, they need to take extra precautions, especially if the woman is pregnant.


    A House committee approves legislation that would give domestic violence victims a chance to get an expedited or temporary permit to carry a gun. Wade Duty with the Louisiana Shooting Association says it’s very hard to get into a class and a woman could be killed waiting to take a training course. The measure now heads to the full House.


    Legislation that would expand the number of conditions that medical marijuana could treat was approved by a House committee. Katie Corkern of Amite says her 9-year-old son has uncontrollable seizures and doesn’t understand why lawmakers would oppose a bill that could help her child. Opposition came from the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association and district attorneys. Pete Adams with the state’s D-A’s association says this bill is a gateway to total legalization of pot. Despite the opposition, the bill got out of the House committee on an 8-6 vote.


    A Senate approved measure that would ban the collecting and selling of fetal tissue from abortions was approved by the House Health and Welfare committee with no objection today. The bill comes in response to the videos that surfaced apparently showing Planned Parenthood leaders selling aborted fetuses. The organization denies the allegation. The proposal will next be heard in the full House.


    The House has approved a measure that would require students to take a wellness exam before they enter kindergarten or the sixth grade. The vote was 59-37 in favor. Houma Representative Beryl Amedee opposed the legislation. She says the health exam is unnecessary and could be costly, especially if the child has government health care. But supporters say the measure could improve children’s health.


    Another bill heading to the House would public schools to teach personal financial management. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds is the author of the legislation. He says many schools already give lessons on financial literacy, he wants to make sure it’s’ required.

    Reynolds says students in every grade can learn something about money. He says even learning to count pennies in kindergarten would count as finance literacy.


    The LaFourche Parish Sheriff’s office says an intoxicated man stole a school bus Tuesday morning. Deputies say the female bus driver woke up at her Chackbay residence to find her bus gone. As authorities were responding to the scene, they saw the bus traveling on a highway and they initiated a traffic stop. Deputies say they learned that driver, who wreaked of alcohol, had hotwired the bus.


    Despite being an outspoken critic of Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump, Former Governor Bobby Jindal says he would vote for Tump if he was the Republican nominee. Jindal made the comments during an interview on CNN, where he also said Trump would have the hardest time beating Democrat Hillary Clinton of all the Republican candidates.


    220 retired research chimps at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Iberia research center will move to a new sanctuary in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Project Chimps is a non-profit organization and has negotiated with the university to move the chimps over the next several years.


  • News for Tuesday 050316

    By Dave Graichen


    Cleco utility customers can expect a $475 credit on their bills beginning in July, as a result of the Pineville-based company’s sale to foreign investors. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says the Louisiana Public Service Commission created this credit as a part of their transaction.

    Cahill says the credit will be applied until it runs out, meaning some customers will not have to pay a utility bill for a couple of months.


    With a little more than 2 years on the job under his belt, LSUA chancellor Daniel  Howard announced yesterday that he will step down from his position at the end of August.  Howard plans to move back to his hometown of Florence, Alabama. No details have been released yet about the process to replace him.


    Louisiana’s high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, as 78-percent of the Class of 2015 received their diplomas. State Education Superintendent John White, says that’s almost a 3-percent increase over the previous year, which is the second largest annual gain in 10 years. He believes more students are graduating, because educators raised the bar.


    Legislation is heading to the governor’s desk that curbs the cost of the TOPS scholarship program, but it will likely mean recipients will have to pay a portion of their tuition. The taxpayer funded scholarship program costs the state nearly 300-million dollars and Lafayette Representative Nancy Landry says the legislature must do something to rein in its costs.

    The measure passed on a 74-20 vote and heads to the governor’s desk.


    Louisiana Senate has approved legislation that would send 17-year-old non-violent offenders through the juvenile court system, instead of adult court. The measure was approved on a 33-4 vote. The bill, which is supported by Governor Edwards, heads to the House for more discussion.


    One of the governor’s main bills for the session, raising the minimum wage is having a difficult time gaining approval in the Senate. The measure barely got past the Senate Labor committee and is now stuck in the Senate Finance committee if approved, the bill would result in pay raises for the state’s lowest paid workers.


    Baton Rouge Representative Ted James was unable to get enough votes from the House Commerce Committee to advance a measure that would allow law enforcement to unlock a homicide victims’ phone, if they were able to get a court order. James called the bill the “Brittney Mills Act.” She was murdered over a year ago and her case is still unsolved.

    James might bring the bill up for another vote.


    Governor John Bel Edwards has kicked off his statewide tour to discuss Medicaid expansion. Over the next month, Edwards and Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, Dr. Rebekah Gee, will visit cities to raise awareness and answer questions about who will be eligible to enroll for the government health insurance on June 1st. State health officials say the expanded Medicaid program will be able to cover an estimated 350,000 working poor individuals.


    Governor John Bel Edwards says FEMA has denied Louisiana’s appeal for a major disaster declaration after severe storms and tornadoes devastated several communities in late February. He says the agency indicated in decision that the impact from the event is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.


    May is Air Quality Awareness month, and the Department of Environmental Quality says Louisiana’s air quality is better than it’s been since the start of the Industrial Revolution. DEQ senior scientist Vivian Aucoin says that’s because they have improved the quality of the air in parts of the state where it was lacking. But the Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Anne Rolfes, doesn’t think Louisiana’s air is any cleaner. She says the state does a poor job of monitoring the air in areas where it’s the worst. Rolfes says in neighborhoods near oil refineries and other plants, the air just stinks, literally. She says her organization works with the EPA to get air quality readings in those areas, and their information shows the air is not any cleaner.


    Officials across the Northshore announce the start of “Operation Angel” – a program whereby a person addicted to drugs can walk into a police station and ask for help instead of being charged with a crime. Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz says it’s time law enforcement changes the way they do business. He says the only requirement of Operation Angel is that an addict asks for help and wants to change their life.


    The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s office says they’ve made an arrest in the death of a 16-year-old Kenner girl who was found dead in a ditch in St. Rose. The man arrested is Daniel Beckley and he’s been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Jorian White. Beckley is the longtime boyfriend of the victim’s mother. Investigators say Beckley was the last known adult to see White alive.


  • News for Monday 050216

    By Dave Graichen


    Governor John Bel Edwards wants a list of budget reform recommendations in two weeks from a special task force that’s studying the state’s finances. Some of the proposals will likely be presented to lawmakers during a special session in June to address a 600-million dollar shortfall.  President of the Council for a Better Louisiana Barry Erwin is on the task force and he says lawmakers have already raised the state sales tax, so they are left with limited options to address the budget gap. Erwin says they just want to make sure that whatever revenue raising measure legislators choose are done in a way that doesn’t further hurt the state economy.


    State Police report an Alexandria man was killed early Sunday morning in a single vehicle crash on LA112 at Fish Hatchery Road. Troopers say 18 year old Guillermo Ramos lost control and exited the right side of the roadway.  After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a culvert and a utility pole before overturning. Ramos was wearing his seat belt, but was pronounced dead at the scene. It’s believed High speed was a key factor.


    The small LaSalle Parish town of Tullos is in shock this week over the double homicide case with more questions than answers. Sheriff’s deputies say the bodies of 19-year-old Chesley Coping and 26-year-old Demond Garner disappeared two eeekends ago. Their bodies were  located last week. 18-year-old Austin Dyess (die-ess) and 26-year-old Joshua Sant were both charged with 2 counts of second degree murder. Details are still very scarce at this time.


    Lt. Governor Bill Nungesser is touring the state to promote tourism as part of National Tourism Week. Nungesser says he’ll be in in West Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and St. Francisville today and then head to the northern part of the state later in the week. Nungesser says in 2015 nearly 29-million people visited the state, which was a record.


    ULM students are gathering on campus today to collectively voice their concerns for the future of higher education. Katherine Dawson, Online Program Coordinator for ULM, says students, faculty, alumni, and others will all email their state at an event called Mission: Maroon. The governor’s proposed budget calls for a 183-million dollar cut to TOPS and higher education would receive a six-percent cut in state funding. Dawson says the purpose is not to gripe at lawmakers but to speak up and be heard. She says unfortunately, one email from one person may not make much of a difference, but she hopes that hundreds of emails will.


    A giant sink hole on Canal Street in New Orleans is causing massive traffic problems. The hole came out of nowhere at around 3 o’clock Friday in between Harrah’s and Canal Place. The sink hole is located near an underground tunnel that was built during the 1960s. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the repair could take anywhere between 3 to 6 months to fix.


    Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany has filed legislation that would require a weather radar detection site to be built near Baton Rouge. There are detection sites near Slidell and Lake Charles, but none near Baton Rouge. Boustany says a new site will close the gap in radar coverage in Louisiana. He says he is looking into how much the radar site will cost, but he wanted to get the legislation introduced first. There are also Doppler radars near Fort Polk and Shreveport.


    The LSU AgCenter has developed an eye-drop to prevent and treat cataracts. AgCenter Department of Biological and Agriculture Engineering Professor Cristina Sabliov says they became interested in developing a solution because cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment in the United States. She says they found a way to use lutein to prevent the eye lens from becoming cloudy. Next, the AgCenter is working to patent the drop.


    A Grand Isle man was arrested for trying to purchase a child for sexual purposes .State Police trooper Jesse Lagrange who says 30-year-old Wade Perkins asked someone to locate a 6 to 8-year-old child so Perkins could pay for a sexual encounter. He says Perkins is a registered sex offender in Michigan for criminal sexual conduct. Lagrange says more charges are expected to be filed against Perkins.


    Former St. Tammany and Washington Parish District Attorney Walter Reed took the stand in his own defense at his federal corruption trial Friday. Reed is accused of misusing campaign money, plus filing false tax returns and other alleged crimes. Reed, who said he was always in campaign mode, talked about some of his expenditures with his campaign funds and admitted to some wrongdoings


    A Sheriff’s Deputy with Bossier Parish left his job with the Medium-Security Facility to play professional minor league baseball.  26-year-old Randy Zeigler was a pitcher for LSU and caught the eye of a Chicago White Sox scout. Zeigler says he’s going to be playing for the Lincoln Nebraska Saltdogs. Zeigler says he was just messing around with a radar gun, when he discovered he was throwing at the same speed he was three years ago.


    Police have arrested a suspect in the murder of a Texas woman whose body was found in the water off of I-10 near the Whiskey Bay exit. Iberville Parish detectives arrested the victim’s husband 28-year-old Jonathan Allee is charged with second degree murder. Sheriff Brett Stassi says 29-year-old Elizabeth Ferrell’s cause of death was strangulation and they believe she was killed somewhere else before her body was dumped.


    Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture are investigating the number of animal deaths that have recently occurred at the Baton Rouge Zoo. Curator Sam Winslow says they asked for the USDA and the American Zoo Association to send in investigators to assess the situation after 18 animals died within the last year. Winslow says the 2-year-old Malayan tiger that died earlier in the month likely suffered from gastric dilation.


  • News for Friday 042916

    By Dave Graichen


    Governor John Bel Edwards says priority number one for him right now is stabilizing the budget, because we must focus on moving Louisiana forward. He says there are many policy related issues that are going to be on the back burner until we can deal with the present crisis, the $600 million dollar budget shortfall. The governor says he doesn’t see any way they could avoid a second special session.


    A poll commissioned by the Louisiana Cannabis Association reveals 72 percent of Louisiana voters are in favor of the medical marijuana legislation. Just 13 percent surveyed by JMC Enterprises opposed patients’ usage of medical marijuana. A bill to extend use of medical marijuana to those with serious medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, seizure disorders and epilepsy passed through the Louisiana State Senate.


    A Senate committee has approved the bill to prevent members of the LGBT community from being fired or turned down for jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter authored the legislation. He says we need to protect people from discrimination. The measure passed on a 4-2 vote and now heads to the Senate floor for more debate.


    The House has approved two more pro-life measures. One of the bills, authored by Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds, prohibits women from getting abortions just because a child will have a genetic disorder. Edmonds says life is hard, and women shouldn’t be able to abort their babies just because it would be easier. Edmond’s bill passed 75-1. Another proposal by Bossier City Representative Mike Johnson would outlaw a procedure commonly used in second trimester abortions. Johnson’s bill was approved unanimously. Both measure now head to the Senate.


    Gov. John Bel Edwards said stalled community college projects in Winnsboro and St. Tammany can restart, but others in Alexandria, Baton Rouge and Westwego will remain mothballed for now. The projects in Winnsboro and St. Tammany were well under way when construction was halted and the governor says no more money will be required to complete those projects. For now,  Edwards says he wants to direct what's available in the state's limited borrowing capacity toward infrastructure projects. In doing so, the governor deferred maintenance on existing college and university campus buildings.


    The man who allegedly shot former Saints player Will Smith has been indicted on charges of murder and attempted murder. Cardell Hayes pleaded not guilty and his bond is 1.75 million dollars. His attorney said in court today that the prosecution is trying to jam an indictment down his client’s throat. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the DA is just going through the procedure according to the law. Hayes was also indicted on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated damage to property to go along with the murder and attempted murder charge.


    Two people are dead following a shootout in Calcasieu parish. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso says officers met Cody McAdams in a field, while he was attempting to kidnap his estranged wife Brandy and their 5-year-old child. Mancuso says McAdams fired several shots at the deputies before the officers returned fire, then he shot and killed his wife before turning his gun on himself. The young girl is unharmed. Mancuso says Brandy had filed several domestic violence charges against McAdams.


    A Vermilion Parish teacher is behind bars accused of rape. They say James Harber, a 7th grade teacher at JH Williams Middle School, was booked by Abbeville Police with two counts of second-degree rape and one count of first-degree rape.




    Tonight is rounds two and three of the NFL draft, and several former LSU Tigers are expected to be selected. NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier believes linebacker Deion Jones will go early in round two. Detillier believes defensive back Jalen Mills will go in the second round, as well. Detillier also believes four year starter Vadal Alexander will be a third round pick and could be a productive offensive guard in the NFL. Hear the Draft on 1410 ESPN 


    The LSU Baseball team is in Oxford, MS to play Ole' Miss. Tonight is game two. they lost last night's game 7-6 You can hear the game tonight on 970 KSYL


  • News for Thursday 042816

    By Dave Graichen


    A bill to extend the waiting period for getting an abortion to 72 hours has been approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. The measure passed on a five to two vote and heads to the Senate floor.


    A bill, being pushed by a group of Grant Parish residents, to ban open burning of munitions and explosives in Louisiana won narrow approval from a House committee Wednesday. As it stands, the bill would prohibit open burning of explosives and munitions, but that would not apply to the military. An Army official said the Army was going to oppose the bill, but the amendment exempting the military canceled the Army’s opposition. Bill 11 was advanced by the committee in a 9-8 vote.


    A bill that would require movie theaters to use metal detectors was defeated in a House committee Wednesday. Prairieville Rep. Tony Bacala says this legislation creates a false sense of security. He says if someone wants to shoot up a movie theater, the first person to be killed is the 18-year-old minimum wage worker manning the metal detector. The vote was 6-5 against the legislation.


    The full House approves a bill to prohibit organizations that perform abortions, like Planned Parenthood, to receive public funding. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says the purpose of the bill is not to shut any of these facilities down. However, Planned Parenthood has a new clinic under construction in New Orleans, where they plan to perform abortions. Hoffman says he hopes this bill would prevent that from happening. The measure passed on an 85-7 vote and moves to the Senate. Planned parenthood has never used state funding to perform abortions. But has maintained the facilities with state funding.


    The FBI is reopening the case of a 2-year-old that went missing in Clinton 15 years ago. Avery Davidson is a former WAFB reporter who covered Wesley Morgan’s disappearance in 2001. Davidson says the child was playing on the front porch when his mother went inside and came back outside to find the little boy was gone.  He says there must be a reason the FBI has reopened the case and released an age progression picture of Wesley Morgan. The FBI is offering up to a $10,000 reward for information that leads to Morgan’s location.


    Latest campaign finance numbers show Republican Senate candidates Charles Boustany and John Fleming each have around two-million dollars in their campaign war chest. GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy has about 700-thousand. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says the November 1st primary is about six months away and these numbers reflect that this will be an expensive race.


    A woman from Louisiana, who moved to Colorado to get medical marijuana her daughter needs for her seizure condition, tells her story to state legislators. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow people with a wider variety of disorders to get the marijuana treatment. Michelle Hall of Vernon Parish says her daughter, Ella, is doing much better since starting her cannabis medication. Hall says the medical marijuana works better for Ella than any other medication they have tried in the past four years. She pleaded with lawmakers to approve the legislation so she can bring her children home.


    A bill to require cursive to be taught in public elementary schools passes through the full Senate. Bossier City Sen. Ryan Gatti spoke in favor of the legislation and says many historic documents were written in cursive. He says our children need to be able to read and write in script, not just from their iPads or iPhones.


    New York real estate heir Robert Durst was sentenced by a federal judge in New Orleans today who accepted the plea agreement to serve 7 years and 1 month in prison on a weapons charge. Durst, who still faces a separate murder charge in California for allegedly killing a friend to keep her quiet and the disappearance of the 72-year-old’s wife, pleaded guilty to the weapons charge in New Orleans in February.


    A missing child from Mamou has been found in Jackson, Mississippi. State police say the child’s non-custodial mother, Elaine Freeman, took 12-year-old Jalon Bradley out of school shortly after 3pm on Tuesday. Authorities issued an endangered missing child advisory because there was concern Jalon could be in danger. Freeman is now in police custody.




    The 2016 NFL Draft begins tonight in Chicago at 7 P.M. on ESPN and NFL Network. The New Orleans Saints are expected to draft defensive players early and often as the team finished 31st in total yards given up in the NFL.


    The LSU baseball Tigers begin a three game series at Ole Miss tonight. The Bayou Bengals are 27-14 overall, 10-8 in the SEC and coming off a disappointing loss to Tulane.


  • News for Wednesday 042716

    By Dave Graichen


    One of the largest employers in CenLA announces mass layoffs are coming. Houston-based Union Tank Car Company (UTLX) said it expects to lay off about 224 employees beginning June 24th at its Alexandria facility. Jim Clinton is the CEO of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance says the company will cut its production in half due to market conditions. He says UTLX is a strong company that shouldn’t have a problem adding staff once the economy rebounds. UTLX said they will continue to employ about 350 people. The Louisiana Workforce Commission says it will conduct orientation sessions for affected employees next week.


    A pro-voucher group is attacking John Bel Edwards in a new TV ad as they are criticizing the first year governor for cutting six million dollars from the state’s voucher program. Louisiana Federation for Children president Ann Duplessiss says 71-hundred students receive vouchers, but not all of them will get one next year, if the governor has his way. Governor Edwards says the ad is blatantly false and says every student currently receiving a voucher will continue to receive one.


    A Senate committee has approved legislation dealing with police body cameras and what footage should be exempted from Louisiana’s public record laws.  Author of the bill, Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns, says there needs to be some privacy safeguards but, there must also be real transparency. Then there’s the cost of storing the data. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said storing and managing the data from body cameras is costing his department more than $2 million annually.


    Louisiana lawmakers are working to regulate drones. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor has legislation that prevents people from using drones for stalking, voyeurism, and other crimes. He says technology is advancing, and regulation of drones is needed to keep up with the times. Claitor says you shouldn’t be able to do something with a piece of technology that would wouldn’t do with your physical person. So far, the drone regulation bills have received very little opposition.


    A bill that would require movie theaters to install metal detectors is scheduled to be heard in the House Criminal Justice committee today. Shreveport Rep. Barbara Norton wants to ensure movie goers are safe. Norton says she’s received many positive phone calls supporting this proposal. Last summer a gunman walked into a Lafayette movie theater and killed two people and injured nine. Norton says nothing changes until you put something in place. She says it would not cost theater operators a lot of money to install a detector or use a metal detecting wand.


    State legislators are dealing with the repercussions of a Supreme Court ruling that says juveniles cannot be sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny’s would ensure that underage criminals with life sentences would become eligible for parole after 35 years behind bars. Martiny’s bill also mandates that the juvenile maintain a good behavioral record and participate in educational programs to qualify. He says the purpose of the bill is not to get criminals out of jail, but lawmakers have to do something because of the court ruling.



    This year’s National Health Security Preparedness Index finds Louisiana is the least prepared state in the nation to respond to a major health emergency. The state scores 5.6 out of 10 on the index. Bob Johannessen with the Department of Health and Hospitals says emergency preparedness in the state has greatly improved since Hurricane Katrina. However, there are more areas than not in Louisiana that have health care shortages.


    Former Louisiana Tech star Vernon Butler is in Chicago as he is one of 25 players attending the NFL draft after receiving a personal invitation from commissioner Roger Goodell. Butler is confident he’ll hear his name called when the first round takes place tomorrow night. Butler was a standout player on Louisiana Tech’s defensive line the last two seasons as he recorded over 100 tackles. NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier believes Butler will go late in the first round.



  • News For Tuesday 042616

    By Dave Graichen


    The Alexandria Police Department will host a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event on Saturday. The Drug Enforcement Administration is joining with state and local law enforcement agencies in the national effort “to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinet.” Citizens can drop off no-longer-needed prescription drugs in the front lobby of the Alexandria Police Department, 1000 Bolton Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.


    Alexandria police have arrested a student  from Alexandria Senior High school after he allegedly made threats on social media aimed at the school’s prom. 17 year old Adrian Ray has been charged with terrorizing, stalking and obstruction of justice.


    F.E.M.A announcing yesterday a National Flood Insurance Program flood-response office has opened in Alexandria. The office is located at 3600 Jackson St., Suite 111B. It is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To apply for FEMA assistance, call 1-800-621-3362


    Louisiana’s budget shortfall has fallen to 600 million dollars from 750 million dollars. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says these savings come from Governor John Bel Edwards Medicaid expansion and the estimated people expected to use the service next fiscal year. The governor is proposing cuts to many state agencies to help close the gap and is planning a special session in June to raise additional revenue.


    The full House rejects a bill that attempted to put an end to the public-private school playoff split in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. The lower chamber voted 51-34 against the legislation authored by River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot. Talbot says the split is discriminatory, which means the legislature has a right to step in.


    There is far less controversy this year when it comes to standardized testing compared to last year when public school students took Common Core exams. President of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents Hollis Milton says teachers are more prepared now since testing is later in the school year. Milton believes there will be a much smaller number of students who opt of the test.


    FBI records found Former-governor John McKeithen paid the KKK in the 1960s to stop violent racial outbreaks. Executive Secretary to McKeithen, Gus Weill, says he knew nothing about the payments at that time but was told by a man that McKeithen arranged to pay 10-thousand dollars to both black and white supremacist groups to stop violence in Bogalusa. Weill says the money came from a state commission that was established to control civil rights issues.


    There is the chance of a reduction in retail food inspectors if lawmakers approve of the governor’s proposed budget for next fiscal year. This would result in an 11-percent reduction in inspectors. Department of Health and Hospital spokesperson Bob Johannessen says this means they will not be able to inspect as many grocery stores and restaurants as they should.  Johannessen says a reduction in food inspectors will result in more than 20-thousand fewer inspections after July 1st.


    A bill that would have allowed  K-12 employers to opt out of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana failed to gain Senate Retirement Committee approval Monday. It appears dead for the session. Senate Bill 452 would have opened up other retirement plan options for new employees coming into the Louisiana school system


    Investigators from Iberville Parish are in Humble, Texas today to find out more information about the woman who was found dead under I-10 near Whiskey Bay. Sheriff Brett Stassi says the body of 28-year-old Elizabeth Ferrell of Humble was discovered by a fisherman over the weekend. Stassi says an autopsy found the cause of death to be asphyxiation by strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.


    A Monroe woman has been arrested after leaving St. Francis Hospital with a baby that was NOT hers. Monroe Police Chief Detective Chris Bates says 24-year-old Anquinisha Cummings took a three-day old child from a mother she met that day. Bates says they believe Cummings is suffering from a mental illness.


    Prices at the pump continue to rise. Gregg Laskowski with GasBuddy-dot-com says the national average for a gallon of gas is up three-cents since last week, and Louisiana is seeing similar price increases, as the statewide average is nearing two-dollars for a gallon of regular gasoline. Laskowski says consumer demand is up 4% compared to this time last year. He says that and other factors are driving up gas prices.


    The House Transportation Committee approves a bill that would allow you to store your driver’s license on an app that can be downloaded on your smart phone. The state Office of Motor vehicles says this license on your phone could be shown to law enforcement in cases when a person doesn’t have their license.


    A nurse from Thibodaux is under arrest for allegedly forging prescriptions in the name of the doctor she worked for. They say a pharmacy in Houma let the doctor know about suspicious prescriptions being written and filled at their location with the doctor’s signature. The nurse, 49-year-old Vickie Ezell of Houma, was arrested for unlawfully prescribing, distributing or dispensing.


    Lawmakers decided not to take up the bill Monday that would make it illegal for a business in the private sector to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. The measure, which was previously on the agenda in the House Civil Law committee today, reportedly did not have enough votes, but it’s expected to return to the table next week.


  • News for Monday 042516

    By Dave Graichen


    There are more layoffs coming to Louisiana’s oil and gas sector. LSU economist Loren Scott says the industry has been devastated by the low gas prices we’ve seen since August of 2014. He says major companies are cutting back their drilling budget dramatically. Scott says a lot of big companies are planning to stop drilling all together in the Gulf.


    A bill to increase the fines for moving violations when a child under the age of 15 is in the car is being debated in the House Transportation Committee today. Baton Rouge Representative Paula Davis says she authored the proposal when several constituents called her after a child was killed in a car accident. Davis says children under age 15 need to be protected because until that age, they cannot be in control in a vehicle. She believes the increased fines will help stop dangerous driving with children in the car. Davis says she doesn’t expect much opposition to the bill.


    Louisiana’s third “Buckle Up in your Truck” campaign has just begun. Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, John Leblanc says the goal of the campaign is voluntary compliance. He says wearing a seat belt is especially important in a pickup because those vehicles are taller than others. Leblanc says 8 people have been killed in pickup truck accidents in the state since the first of the month.


    A bill that would prohibit an employer from firing or refusing to hire an individual based on their sexual orientation or gender identity will be heard in the House Civil Law committee today. Matthew Patterson with Equality Louisiana says this needs to be done because discrimination against gay and transgendered people is common place. Opposition is expected to come from pro-business groups. State director of the National Independence Business Dawn Starns says business owners are concerned this legislation will lead to frivolous lawsuits


    A bill that forces the LHSAA to end its public-private school playoff split will be heard on the House floor today. River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot says his bill would prohibit schools from receiving public funds, if they belong to an athletic organization with split playoffs for select and non-select schools. Talbot says the LHSAA’s current playoff split is discriminatory. The split began in football playoffs in 2013, and it is set to expand to include basketball, baseball and softball starting in 2016-17.


    A report by the National Center for Health Statistics finds the suicide rate in the US has increased dramatically since 1999.  The report finds the suicide rate of women increased to 45-percent and males increased by 16-percent. LSU Health New Orleans Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Michelle Moore says the gap is narrowing between the genders. In the past week, two male students at Mandeville High School killed themselves within 48 hours of each other.


    Law enforcement is getting help in learning how to handle cases of animal cruelty from the Humane Society. Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Jeff Dorson, says they are teaching law enforcement officers about advances in technology, such as new developments in forensic pathology that can help determine what happened to animals that are brought in after abuse.


    Louisiana Public Broadcasting is launching educational TV shows for kids in French. LPB’s program director Jason Viso says they are partnering with the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana to help more kids learn in Frence. He says they have started showing several different kids’ shows that are in French. The shows are airing on LPB 2 between 3pm and 5pm Monday through Friday and also on the weekends.


    Attorney General Jeff Landry has announced that two Northwest Louisiana men have been arrested on child pornography charges. 54-year-old James Lucius of Bossier City is charged with 500 counts of possession of child pornography involving juveniles under age 13. 24-year-old Stephen Harris of Shreveport is facing one possession charge for child pornography.


    A man who was being held at a Baton Rouge hospital reportedly committed suicide after he was accused of abducting a pregnant woman. Baton Rouge Police confirmed the incident took place this Saturday morning, and the alleged abduction happened Friday night in New Orleans.


    Shreveport police have arrested a 35-year-old man who is accused of fatally shooting a 55-year-old woman and a injuring a 25-year-old man during a drive-by shooting. Gina Foster was pronounced dead at the scene. Carlos Franklin surrendered to authorities and faces murder and attempted murder charges.


    5th ranked LSU avoided a sweep to Mississippi State by beating the Bulldogs 11-8 on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers scored all of their runs in the three middle innings, after falling behind 3-0. Coach Paul Mainieri is happy his team pulled off the victory after tough losses on Friday and Saturday nights.


  • News for Friday 042216

    By Dave Graichen


    Word came yesterday that the Kmart store in Pineville will soon be history. Company officials yesterday released a list of some 68 Kmart and 10 Sears stores nationwide they will close in late July. The only other store closing in the state is a Sears store in Houma.


    The state police report 26 year old Lauren Franklin of Vidalia was killed Wednesday night when her vehicle left the roadway and over turned in a water filled bayou. Franklin was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck on La. Highway 131 near Country Meadows Road.

    The crash remains under investigation, and routine toxicology tests are pending.


    Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an executive order that requires able-bodied adults without children to participate in job training and work assistance programs in order to receive food stamp benefits. Edwards says this will prepare individuals for successful careers.

    Starting July first, unemployed able-bodied adults will have to visit one of the 59 Louisiana Workforce Commission Business and Career Solutions Centers. Republican lawmakers have been pushing for the governor to add work requirements to food stamp recipients.


    Legislative leaders seek to end the regular session early, so they could prepare for a special session that Governor John Bel Edwards plans to call to address the 750-million dollar revenue shortfall for next fiscal year. Senate President John Alario says the next special session needs to be held before the start of the next fiscal year. The regular session is set to end June 6th and lawmakers will likely approve a budget that cuts state spending by 750-million dollars. Alario says special session will be needed to restore cuts to higher education, TOPS, public schools and health care, but that doesn’t necessarily mean raising more taxes.


    Planned Parenthood advocates rallied on state Capitol steps after a House committee approved a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Unitarian Minister Rev. Darcy Roake says nearly 20 pieces of anti-women’s health legislation has been filed, three of those bills aimed directly at defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides preventive health care and accurate sexual health information. Roake says an injustice is being done as anti-abortion bills disguised as protecting the health of women continue to move through the legislative process.



    A House committee approved a measure that seeks to outlaw sanctuary cities in Louisiana. The term is applied to cities in the US that have policies designed to not prosecute undocumented immigrants. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges who says sanctuary cities are a national security threat. Opponents of the bill are worried about it opening the doors for racial profiling. The bill now moves to the full House.


    It is amazing that we are asking this question. But, many parents are now wondering whether or not schools still teach children how to write in cursive? The Senate Education Committee says “Yes” as they approved a bill by Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell that requires cursive writing to be taught to public school students by the third grade. Mizell is concerned that kids will not know how to write their name or read a letter in cursive. The senate floor will hear the bill next.


    The full senate has approved a bill that expands the list of diseases that will be able to use medical marijuana once it becomes available in Louisiana. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt supports the bill, she’s heard from parents of children who suffer from seizures, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and medical marijuana is the only drug that works for their children. The bill now moves to the House.


    Louisiana lawmakers are standing up for the little guys, and girls, looking to make a few dollars at their neighborhood lemonade stand. A bill unanimously passed in the Senate to exempt these kids from having to pay an occupational license tax. Norco Senator Gary Smith says some children in the state have been ticketed for selling lemonade without a license. The measure now heads to the House.


    First Lady Donna Edwards has announced a new recycling initiative at the Governor’s Mansion in honor of Earth Day, which is today. Mrs. Edwards says she and the governor have been recycling ever since they lived in Hawaii many years ago. The first lady is encouraging Louisiana residents to do their part in recycling as much trash as they can. Edwards says plastic bottles, aluminum cans, most paper, and even ink cartridges are recyclable.




    The LSU baseball team brings a five game winning streak into its SEC showdown series with Mississippi State, which begins tonight at 7 PM at Alex Box Stadium. The Bulldogs will start Dakota Hudson on the mound in game one. You can hear the entire series on 970 KSYL


  • News for Thursday 042116

    By Dave Graichen


    Work should begin next month on the final phase of road improvements in the Coughlin Industrial Park in Pineville. The Rapides Parish Police Jury awarded  a contract for close to $458k to Diamond B Construction Co. The Coughlin Industrial Park is home to various industrial facilities, including Procter & Gamble and Plastipak Packaging. The new project will include roadway improvements to Cenla Drive, Pardue Road and Todd Hollingsworth Road. The construction should be completed in about 2 and a half months.


    The House failed to pass legislation that would allow motorcyclists 21 and over to choose whether or not to wear a helmet. Lawmakers who were against the bill expressed safety as their main reason for voting against the bill. There were also concerns of increased insurance premiums. Even though the bill didn’t pass it can be brought up again for another vote.


    A bill that would expand the number of diseases that could be treated legally with medical marijuana was approved in the Senate here Wednesday after falling one vote short Tuesday. Senate Bill 271 by Sen. Freddie Mills, R-Parks, drew passionate debate from both sides over two days. Mills, a pharmacist, said he cried while praying Tuesday night after receiving "email after email from parents who ask why they can't get this to help their children." But opponents like Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, said they were horrified that Louisiana would expand legalization of the drug in any form. Mills' bill allows only for doses in an oil form.


    The House Education Committee approved a bill to allow high school students to participate in a national survey on sexual risks. The survey asks questions such as how many sexual partners someone has had, at what age the respondent became sexually active, and what methods they take to prevent pregnancy. Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds opposed the bill because he says this issue should be discussed at home, not in school. Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith says there is no sexual education in Louisiana public schools and Louisiana has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. The bill now moves to the House floor.


    A bill that would prohibit state employers from asking job applicants about their criminal record until after the interview process moves to the full House. The bill passed out of the House Governmental Affairs committee, despite objections from republican lawmakers. Baton Rouge Rep. Denise Marcelle is the author of the bill and she says the purpose is to get the person with a criminal record an interview and a chance to explain their story…


    Harry Morel, the former District Attorney in St. Charles Parish, plead guilty to obstruction for harassing a witness in an attempt to destroy evidence for a federal grand jury that targeted the longtime prosecutor. The charge stems from an investigation into allegations Morel requested sexual favors in an exchange for lenient plea deals from female defendants. FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet says Morel held the freedom, and the lives, of these defendants in his hands.


    Legislation to prevent second trimester abortions, where doctors use forceps to abort a fetus moves on to the full House. Lafayette Doctor Damon Cudihy says this inflicts extreme pain on the unborn child. But Pro-choice attorney Ellie Schilling says this is the safest way to perform a second trimester abortion. Schilling also says the law would most certainly be declared unconstitutional.


    Family members confirm that the oldest man in the nation, Felix Simoneaux Jr. of LaPlace, died Tuesday at the age of 110. It is believed that Simoneaux was the oldest man in the country for three months, according to a group that verifies such claims. Simoneaux, who was born in 1905, was going to turn 111 on May 24th. He suffered a small stroke last week.


    Shreveport firefighters rescued a horse that slipped into flooded waters and was swept away. They say 5-year-old Butter was eating grass when she skid into a drainage ditch with a swift current. Rescuers lassoed Butter and pulled her to safety, and a vet called to check for injuries said the horse was banged up but nothing was broken.


    The US Treasury has announced anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will appear on the $20 bill. Summer Steib with the LSU Women’s Center says the original plan was to replace Alexander Hamilton with a woman on the $10 bill, but the new Broadway hit “Hamilton” Harriet Tubman was an African American abolitionist who worked to rescue slaves in the late 1800s. Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Helen Keller were other candidates for the newly-designed currency.


    Roy King, the band director of the Golden Band from Tigerland for the last five years, is out of job today. LSU put him on administrative leave earlier this month to conduct an internal investigation and he was notified of his dismissal in a letter from the university. King’s attorney, Jill Craft, says King was shocked when he was notified. LSU says they’ve provided King with a letter outlining the reasons for his firing and it’s based on an investigation that found King did not follow policies, procedures and financial safeguards meant to protect the Tiger Band and LSU. Craft says the worst part is that King was notified of his termination via letter, which she says is unbelievable after 18 years of service to the university.


    Two people have died after a mosquito-abatement airplane crashed in the woods near the Slidell City Airport lTuesday night. Slidell Police Sgt. Daniel Seuzeneau says two planes were finishing up their rounds and landing at the airport when one plane began flipping, struck a powerline, and went down into a wooded area. Seuzeneau says the downed powerlines caused small fires around the crash site. He says once fire fighters put out the blaze, they discovered the bodies of the two pilots.


  • News for Wednesday 042016

    By Dave Graichen


    The state Senate unanimously approves a bill that would make sure every TOPS recipient would receive at least part of their award, if the state is not able to fully fund the scholarship program. Under the current law, students with lower ACT scores or who do not have financial need would not get a scholarship at all. The cost of TOPS for the next fiscal year is about 300-million dollars.


    Legislation that would expand the number of diseases that medical marijuana can be used to treat failed to get enough votes to pass out of the Senate. Under current law, once medical cannabis becomes available in Louisiana, it can only be used for three different diseases. But several senators expressed concerns with the legislation, claiming it would be a gateway to the complete legalization of marijuana.


    The 30th annual of the Festival International de Louisiane begins today and runs through Sunday in downtown Lafayette. Festival Marketing Director April Courville says this is a really exciting celebration with new activities taking homage to the history of the festival. She says over 400-thousand people are excited to join in the festivities. Courville says local performers and international artists from 25 different countries are performing during the five days of the free festival.


    Also, The annual Lecompte Pie Festival opens Friday and runs through Sunday Festivities will be at the Old Lecompte High School.


    The House approved the Pastor Protection Act, which would allow a minister or clergy member to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage. Opponents of the bill claim it is not necessary because pastors are already protected under the first amendment and some state legislation. Supporters say it just protects their fundamental right of conscience. The bill passed on an 80-18 vote.


    The FEMA/state disaster recovery center in Leesville will close later this week. The center will permanently close at 6 p.m. Friday. The Central Louisiana centers to remain open, til further notice, to assist flood victims.


    Louisiana senators on Tuesday blocked, at least temporarily, a proposal to exempt all police body camera footage unrelated to criminal investigations from state public records law. Sen. Ronnie Johns, a republican from Lake Charles, said he plans to continue discussions on the measure and bring a reworked proposal to the Judiciary B Committee next week. He decided Tuesday to remove the bill from the panel’s consideration. Johns sat flanked by the Lake Charles and Alexandria police chiefs as he presented the bill that would block public access to the law enforcement body camera video or audio recordings unless otherwise ordered by a judge.


    The bill to allow for the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk has been approved by the Senate, despite concerns from the opposition about health risks. The proposal would not allow for the sale of raw milk in grocery stores. Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur says he’s only looking to give farmers the ability to sell raw milk and the government should not interfere. The bill now heads to the House.


    A bill that would let motorists who have let their car insurance lapse pay their debts in installments, and keep their driver’s license, clears the House Transportation Committee. The legislation came about in response to the controversial notices that were sent out last year letting people know about fines for not having car insurance. The measure heads to the full House.


    A study from LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center has found kids are more willing to eat vegetables after watching other kids their age eating veggies on television. Researcher Amanda Staiano says if your child doesn’t want to eat vegetables, maybe try this method. Staiano says research has found that one-third pre-school aged children are not eating vegetables.


    The former assistant police chief of Henderson, Oliver Mack Lloyd, has received a six month suspended prison sentence after he plead guilty to accusations he provided other officers bonuses for writing speeding tickets to motorists on I-10. St. Martin Parish prosecutor Chester Cedars says Henderson’s Police Chief Leroy Guidry also signed a public statement acknowledging the town will no longer target speeders on I-10…


    The Louisiana Department of Education suspends the license of a daycare in St. Tammany Parish, Abita Church Christian Daycare,  after state officials found out they didn’t notice 4 toddlers escape the playground and wander into a busy road in Abita Springs. They also say staff did not report the incident which is an additional violation.


    Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson will not have just one, but two horses who will run in the Kentucky Derby on May 7th. Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready will part of the field of 20 horses who will run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.


    There’s a new addition to the Governor’s Mansion since John Bel Edwards moved in. Edwards says he put in a chicken coop next to the garden, behind the mansion. The governor says they’re new chickens, so he hopes to supply his friends and family with fresh eggs soon. 

    Edwards says he checks on his birds every evening when he gets home. The chicken coop comments sparked questions about how the project was funded. Edwards says the project was not paid for by taxpayers.


  • News for Tuesday 041916

    By Dave Graichen


    Governor John Bel Edwards’ monthly one-hour radio show begins today on the Louisiana Radio Network. The show will air on 15 radio stations and it will allow the governor to speak with Louisianans one on one to address their concerns in the state. Edwards’ press secretary, Shauna Sanford, says Louisianans are well aware of the pressing problems facing the state. She says this show allows them to address those issues. You can hear the program starting at 2 this afternoon on Talk Radio 970 KSYL.


    Governor John Bel Edwards announces enrollment for the state’s expanded Medicaid program will begin June 1st. Edwards told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee that expanding Medicaid will benefit the state greatly by cutting healthcare costs and improving health outcomes.  He says over 300-thousand Louisiana residents will be eligible for enrollment June 1st. Edwards says the expansion will also save the state much-needed dollars in critical budget times.


    It’s been 100 days today since Governor John Bel Edwards took office. LSU Political Science professor Wayne Parent says Edwards did not get to enjoy a “honeymoon” at the beginning of his term, like other governors have, because of fiscal issues facing the state and an uncooperative legislature. Edwards has followed through with his campaign promise to expand Medicaid. The governor also said he would increase the state’s minimum wage, but that proposal will face stiff opposition from House Republicans.


    The governor is slowing down on the building and expansion of facilities on Louisiana’s community college campuses, because of a lack of dollars in the state’s construction budget. Over half of the projects on the 280-million dollar list for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System have been put on hold.


    Legislation that establishes a legal framework for surrogacy births is heading to the House floor. Under current law, a child born to a surrogate is considered the infant’s mother. Metairie Rep. Joseph Lopinto wants to change the law so the genetic parents are immediately the legal guardians of the child. President of the Louisiana Family Forum Gene Mills says they oppose third party gestational surrogacy. He says adoption is God’s way of providing parents to a child in need with a family but surrogacy disrupts that.


    The Louisiana Survey finds 53-percent of residents surveyed are still opposed to same-sex marriages even after last year’s historic Supreme Court ruling. Director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab Michael Henderson says this percentage has decreased over the past three years. He says the survey also found 52-percent support religious freedom laws.


    That same survey showed 73-percent of Louisianans believe the Confederate monuments should stay up. Henderson says even 47-percent of black residents think the monuments should not be removed. Henderson says unlike the removal of the monuments, about half of residents are opposed to the state issuing specialty licenses plates displaying the Confederate battle flag.


    A crop-duster pilot was killed in a crash is West Carroll Parish at around 9:15 yesterday  morning. Authorities says Daniel Morgan was found dead when E-M-S responded to the crash site. Sheriff Jerry Philley says it’s possible Morgan could’ve clipped a tree top before crashing. Philley says the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the incident.


    Dozens of dead sea turtles are washing up along the Gulf Coast and biologists are not sure why. Director of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies, Moby Solangi says it’s a big concern because the Kemps Ridley sea turtles that are stranding early in the season are the most endangered sea turtles in the world.


    After a slow start in conference play, LSU finds itself just one game back of Texas A&M for first place in the SEC West. The Bayou Bengals are 9-6 in the SEC and Coach Paul Manieri likes where his team is at. Last year, LSU was 10-5 at halfway point of league play and won the SEC regular season title.


  • News for Monday 041816

    By Dave Graichen


    Yet another Alexandria man is dead. The result of a shooting Saturday afternoon on Meadow lane. The APD says the call came in around 5pm. When they arrived on the scene, they discovered 32 year old Christopher Veal suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He died a short time later. Through their investigation, police found that 47 year-old Tracy Mitchell of Meadow Lane, had gotten “involved in an altercation with Veal during which Mitchell produced a firearm and shot Veal. Mitchell was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. This shooting is the fourth in Alexandria since Tuesday.


    Employment in Louisiana rose for a third straight month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Spokesperson with the Louisiana Workforce Commission Aaron Caffarel says more and more people are entering the workforce and those unemployed are steadily seeking jobs. He says jobs in the construction industry are increasing more than they have since post-Hurricane Katrina construction shot up in 2006. Despite the increase in jobs, the state’s unemployment rate also grew to six-point-one percent.


    The state senate is expected to vote this week on a new contingency plan, if the state is unable to fully fund TOPS. Currently, if the scholarship program is underfunded, TOPS students with lower ACT scores and without financial need, lose their scholarships. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish seeks to change it, so all TOPS students receive at least some scholarship money. TOPS is expected to cost the state 300-million dollars next fiscal year. But the governor’s proposed budget only allocates 110-million dollars for the popular program.


    Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will likely call a special session of the legislature beginning June 7, the day after the regular session ends, where he will ask the Legislature to raise enough taxes to close a $750 million hole in the 2016-17 budget that begins July 1.

    Without it, Edwards said, the state’s popular college tuition program TOPS will be gutted and four safety net hospitals will close, among other cuts. But many lawmakers, especially Republicans who control the House, would prefer to wait until the fall for a special session.

    That would provide time, they say, to see how much money new taxes raised in a February special session will produce.


    The House approved a bill to allow lawmakers to have a say in whether recipients of food stamps should be required to work to receive federal assistance. But opponents like Bogalusa Representative Malinda White says Louisiana is losing jobs left and right in the oil industry, and there’s a huge need for this assistance. Despite White’s objections, the legislation heads to the Senate.


    Former Saints defensive end Will Smith was laid to rest Saturday. A public visitation for the ex-football star, who was gunned down last weekend, took place Friday at the Saints practice facility in Metairie. Hundreds of fans, many wearing Saints jerseys, attended the visitation to pay their final respects.


    Iberia Parish Superintendent Dale Henderson says the Westgate High School band will compete its scheduled band competition event in Florida, despite the arrest of its band director for indecent behavior with a juvenile. 30-year-old Jeremy Conner was allegedly found in a teenager’s closet by the mother of the victim. Conner was booked into the Ascension Parish jail.


    Long-time spokesperson for the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s office, Maxine Trahan, is accused of stealing money confiscated from accused criminals. Since 2010, Trahan allegedly kept more than $48-thousand that should have been deposited into a sheriff’s account. Trahan has been booked on charges of felony theft, and the investigation is ongoing.


    St. Joseph residents are seeking help from the state about their water, which has been yellow to dark brown for years. They went before the House Natural Resources Committee and gave emotional testimony. Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson says the water is causing health issues in the small Tensas Parish town. St. Joseph residents pleaded with the committee to help them get clean water and showed the committee bottles filled with murky, brown water from their town.  In order to get state funds to fix the water, the mayor must grant permission for a state administrator to oversee the money, but Mayor Edward Brown will not give his permission.


    Former-St. Tammany Parish District Attorney, Walter Reed, federal corruption trial begins today at a US courthouse in New Orleans today. Reed faces 19 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, and fraud. Legal analyst Tim Meche says Reed could spend a lot of time behind bars if convicted. Reed allegedly spent over $100-thousand from his campaign fund for non-campaign related purchases.  Meche says it’s an interesting case, because federal prosecutors are seeking to convict the former DA on what amounts to state ethic violations.


  • News for Friday 041516

    By Dave Graichen


    Robert Wolf, an Alexandria Realtor involved in numerous developments over a career that spanned more than half a century, has died.  Wolf was a past president of the Alexandria-Pineville Board of Realtors and the 1984 winner of the board’s Realtor of the Year award. A Mass of Christian Burial for Wolf is set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church. Burial will be in Greenwood Memorial Park under direction of John Kramer & Son. Friends may call from 11:30 a.m. until time of the service Saturday at the church. Robert Wolf was 85.


    The FEMA/state disaster recovery centers in Colfax and Winnfield will permanently close at 6 p.m. Saturday. Those centers, which serve last month’s flood and storm victims, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through today and Saturday before closing for good. ,


    The Louisiana National Guard at Camp Minden successfully conducted their first test burn of 88 pounds of M6 propellant. Col. Pete Schneider says over the next 30 days they’ll ramp up different amounts until they reach the full capacity of about 800 pounds. He believes it’ll take about a year to burn all of the propellant that was improperly stored by Explo Systems.

    Schneider says the burn is environmentally friendly.


    At the request of Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana senators Thursday rejected the public school financing formula proposed by the state education board for next year, which included a $44 Million spending boost. Lawmakers in the current budget year raised funding for K-12 public schools by $44 million outside of the annual financing formula. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, proposed to roll that money into the formula for the 2016-17 school year, to make it a permanent increase.  The Governor however said the state can’t afford that amid ongoing budget. The Senate Education Committee agreed without objection Thursday to the reluctant request of its chairman, Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, to reject the formula.


    The funeral for WWL Saints Color Analyst and former LSU and Saints player Hokie Gajan, who passed away at 56 from cancer, is today in Madisonville. Sportswriter and Gajan’s former LSU teammate John Ed Bradley say he remembers first meeting Hokie in 1974 when they played each other in a high school football game. He says Gajan was a terror on the field and an overall great guy.  He says Gajan was an original and will be greatly missed by everyone whose lives he touched.


    A bill to prevent the removal of confederate monuments did not get out of a House committee Thursday. The legislation would create a seven-member statewide board that would get to decide if a monument more than 30 years old should be removed. New Orleans Representative Joseph Bouie says it is currently left up to local municipalities to decide what they want to display, or not display, in their city. He says each city should be able to decide what kind of monuments they want to have.


    The forecast team at Colorado State University calls for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season to be near-average. Research scientist Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the report, says they predict there will be 12 named storms. Klotzbach says the El Nino is dissipating which is why they are predicting a more active season than in 2015, but northern Atlantic Ocean temperatures are still cooler than average. Klotzbach says their next forecast will be out the day hurricane season begins on June 1st.


    A bill to increase the fines for not wearing a seatbelt has been approved by the House. New Orleans Representative Walt Leger says the current fine of $25 is one of the lowest in the country, and even with an increase to $50 for a first offense, the fine is still lower than many other states. The measure passed on a 62-34 vote and now moves to the Senate.


    A measure that would allocate 7% of medical marijuana sales to the state ag department cleared it’s first hurdle out of committee today and heads to the House floor. The bill lists fees that would be charged to the state sanctioned medical marijuana grower. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says he needs new money otherwise he wouldn’t be able to pay for required inspections, lab testing and over site that is mandated in the medical marijuana law.


    Tax Season is coming to a close, as Tax Day is this Monday. That means there are just a few days left to file federal taxes. Baton Rouge tax preparer Letti Lowe-Ardoin, with the Louisiana CPA society, advises people not to rush, because simple mistakes can be made. Ardoin says people can also miss out on deductions and tax exemptions if they rush through filing. And a reminder, Victims of the recent flooding in the state are eligible for an extension, and those dates can be found at I-R-S-dot-gov.


    Governor John Bel Edwards will launch a monthly call-in radio show to air on the Louisiana Radio Network. The show will be broadcast statewide, and listeners will have the opportunity to call in and talk one on one with the governor. The show will air the third week of each month. Here in Cenla you can hear the show on 970 KSYL. The first show is next Tuesday at 2pm.


    A 17-year-old student has been arrested after another bomb threat circulating on social media was made against Ponchatoula High School. Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards says when the boy was questioned, he admitted to sending multiple threats. He was arrested and charged with two counts of falsely stating that a bomb had been placed on school grounds and two counts of terrorizing.


    Another baby whooping crane has joined the family of endangered birds in Louisiana, as two eggs have hatched in Jefferson Davis Parish this week. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist, Sara Zimorski, leads the whooping crane project that has been working since 2011 to reestablish the birds in Louisiana. Zimorski says this the first whooping crane hatching in Louisiana in 77 years.


    A mother from Baton Rouge who cops say was driving drunk with her 9-year-old in the vehicle at the time, nearly crashed into a marked police unit. BRPD says 42-year-old Chiquita Chriss was discovered to have a BAC of nearly three times the legal limit. She was booked for DWI and reckless operation.


    The Saints regular season schedule will be released at 7 PM tonight along with the rest of the NFL teams. New Orleans will play their division rivals twice, and they’ll also have games against the Rams, Seahawks, Lions, Cardinals, 49ers, Giants and teams from the AFC West.


    The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has called for a special meeting so member principals can vote on a new playoff proposal.  In January, principals voted to expand the public-private school playoff split to more sports than just football. School Relations Committee chairman, Mike Boyer, says the expanded split is causing problems for the LHSAA, so they want to give principals another option. It has not been determined when this special meeting will take place.


    Saturday afternoon at 3 PM it’s the LSU spring game and we’ll get an idea if the passing game has really progressed. Brandon Harris is the returning starter at quarterback. Purdue transfer Danny Etling is the new back-up QB and Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says fans can see for themselves on Saturday is he’s really a contender for playing time the fall. Worsham says the most interesting aspect of Saturday’s spring game is what will new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s defense look like.


  • News for Thursday 041416

    By Dave Graichen


    It is now official. All involved parties yesterday announced the sale of Pineville based Cleco Corp. to an investor group is complete. The group, led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and John Hancock Financial, is paying $4.7 billion for Cleco, including assumed and new debt.


    The RPSO arrested two men suspected of shooting at a parish deputy’s vehicle  early Wednesday morning as he was transporting two men to jail. The incident occurred in the 200 block of 14th street. Sheriff Hilton called the incident “a direct attack” on all law enforcement. Both men were booked into the parish jail and the investigation is ongoing.


    The APD reports  A 25-year-old man died Tuesday afternoon on 15th Street near Willow Glen River Road after being shot by a 16-year-old. Officers were sent to the area at 5:58 p.m. because of a shooting. They found an unresponsive man, later identified as 25-yearold Artyleus Norris, who was pronounced dead at the scene.. Wednesday morning, the department announced the arrest of the unidentified juvenile, saying that Norris and the teen had been involved in a fight. “During the altercation, the juvenile produced a handgun and shot Norris. The juvenile was charged with one count of second-degree murder and is being held in a juvenile detention center


    Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an executive order that bans discrimination against members of the LGBT community who work for the state, or who receive state services or benefits.  Patterson says this new order also includes gender-identity, making this the first order protecting transgender individuals in the state. Similar orders were signed by former Democratic governors Edwin Edwards and Kathleen Blanco, but those orders were specific to sexual orientation.


    A proposed constitutional amendment to allow non-felons to carry concealed hand guns without a permit was shot down by the House Criminal Justice committee. Author of the legislation, Baton Rouge Rep. Barry Ivey, claimed that the bill would not put guns in the hands of criminals. But Victoria Joy with Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition says it would let people with a dangerous arrest record conceal a gun.


    Another bill will be heard at the state capitol today that aims to prevent the removal of confederate monuments. A Senate committee already rejected one attempt to create a state board that would decide if a city can take down a confederate statue and a House committee hears similar legislation today. The bill scheduled today in the House Municipal Affairs committee would establish a Memorial Preservation Board that would be in charge of granting a waiver to relocate any monuments that’s been in place for more than 30 years.


    House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry believes lawmakers can fund the TOPS scholarship program without raising additional taxes. Governor John Bel Edwards proposed budget for next fiscal year calls for a 183 million dollars cut to the state-funded scholarship program, because of a large revenue shortfall. But Henry says the state has enough money to fund TOPS. Governor Edwards says additional revenues are needed to fund all of the priorities in the budget and plans to call another special session as early as June 7th. But Henry says there is no need for another session until at least September. He says the governor is painting the worst picture possible in an effort to increase more taxes.


    Four of the ten hospitals for the poor and uninsured in Louisiana are at risk of closing because of critical cuts to the state Department of Health and Hospitals. DHH Secretary Rebekah Gee says her department took over half of the 750-million dollars in budget cuts, which means some people may lose access to healthcare. Six public-private hospitals in Louisiana will remain open, but the other four might not.


    Louisiana has broken the tourism record for the fourth year in a row, according to Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. In 2015, Louisiana welcomed almost 29 million visitors, who spent over $11 billion. That’s almost a 3-percent increase from the previous year.  Nungesser says the state needs tourism dollars to help resolve the budget problems. Nungesser says the money generated through tourism means more tax dollars that don’t come out of Louisianans pockets.


    The attorney for the family of Will Smith said the former Saints player was shot 8 times in the back, Smith’s wife Racquel was hit twice and that the shooting was intentional. Peter Thomson says he wants to clear up lies being spread by the defense lawyer of Cardell Hayes. Thomson says there was no hit and run on Magazine Street as Hayes is claiming. Thomson says the Hummer later violently rammed the back of Smith’s car, and that’s when he and the suspect got into an altercation. Thomson says Racquel and another woman went to diffuse the situation and walk Smith back to their vehicle…and that’s when the suspect shot Smith’s wife in both legs. Thomson says after the killer shot Smith, he showed no remorse and actually stood over Smith’s dead body and kept yelling.


    The Senate has approved a bill to increase the fine for texting or using social media while driving from $175 to $500. West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth added an amendment to the bill to increase the penalties for minors because he says sometimes a fine is not enough to get their attention. The bill now heads to the House for more debate.


    Another person has died as a result of the truck and lawnmower collision in Rayne. Cops say a vehicle hit the lawnmower that was carrying a person on the hood and pulling a wheelchair from behind. The driver of the mower died on scene. The latest victim is 17-year-old Joshua James Bourque. There is no indication of whether or not someone will be charged in the incident.


    The LHSAA Executive Committee holds its spring meeting today, and they’ll continue to discuss the expanded public-private school playoff split that’s been in place for football and will impact other sports next school year.


  • News for Wednesday 041316

    By Dave Graichen


    The writing was on the wall and yesterday it became official. Dr. Joe Aguillard, former president of Louisiana College in Pineville, has been stripped of the president emeritus title by the school's Board of Trustees. The action cuts ties between the college and Aguillard, who served as president from 2005 until 2014. He was removed from his tenured faculty position earlier this semester.


    Governor John Bel Edwards told lawmakers yesterday that deep cuts would be spread over several state services under the latest budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. The plan says DHH would be reduced by $408 million, TOPS by $183 million, higher ed $46.1 million and 55 million slashed from K-12 public education. Edwards says another special session could come as soon as June 7th..


    A bill that would require businesses to pay men and women the same for similar work passed in the Senate with a 28-10 vote. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says studies show in Louisiana a woman makes on average 65-cents to every dollar a man earns. The measure now heads to the House, where it’s expected to face tough opposition.


    A bill that allows clergy members to refuse to conduct a same-sex marriage passed in a Senate committee. Opponents are concerned about the potential for backlash as religious freedom bills approved in other states have received. But Bossier City Representative Mike Johnson says those bills are much broader than his proposal, which is strictly limited to churches and religious leaders. The Governor supports the bill.  But he says pastors are already protected under Louisiana law. The bill now moves to the House floor.


    A bill that would allow motorcyclists aged 21 years and older the option to wear a helmet now heads to the full House. Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission John LeBlanc says if this bill becomes law, he anticipates 128 more deaths over the next 10 years. Governor John Bel Edwards also opposes the legislation.


    A Senate committee approves legislation that would increase the age to 18 for a suspect to be prosecuted as an adult. Currently, individuals 17 and over are put into the adult criminal system once charged with a crime. Criminal justice expert Ed Mulvey says a 17 year-old offender is better off in the juvenile justice system. The legislation will now move to the full Senate. 17-year-olds who commit serious offenses could still be tried as an adult.


    Many people are remembering the great life of former LSU and Saints running back Hokie Gajan, who passed away from cancer late Monday night at the age 56. LSU’s all-time leading rusher Charles Alexander played with Hokie for two years in college and says Gajan was the ultimate teammate. Gajan announced he’d been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer near the end of 2015. Funeral arrangements are pending.


    The Governor’s Office says a more than $1.7 million dollar disaster grant has been given to the state to help provide temporary jobs in the Louisiana parishes devastated by the recent storms and flooding.


    A recent discovery could change the whole dynamic of the Will Smith murder case. Police say a loaded 9mm gun was found in the former-Saints defensive end’s vehicle. Legal analyst Chick Foret says this could help alleged shooter Cardell Hayes’ defense that he was not the aggressor. Surveillance video also shows that a hit and run that took place prior to the shooting appears to be Smith rear-ending Hayes before driving off.  Foret says there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the circumstances of the incident, especially now that we know there was a gun in Smith’s vehicle.


    A Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been fired following his arrest for allegedly touching a woman in a sexually inappropriate manner while he was on duty. In a release, the sheriff’s office says they received a complaint that Deputy Cody Onxley, while at work, went to the home of the victim under false pretenses and touched her during the encounter. Onxley was charged with sexual battery and malfeasance in office and was terminated from his job.


    A bill that would allow the sale of raw milk from farmers to consumers is once again set to be heard by lawmakers today, after two failed attempts. Testimony is scheduled for debate in the Senate Health and Welfare committee today. The sale of raw milk stirs up major controversy across the US and has sparked heated debates in the last two years it was brought up to Louisiana lawmakers. Food safety has been cited as the major reason the sale of raw milk on farms is banned.


    The Pelicans disappointing season ends tonight. The expectation was another trip to the playoffs, instead a mountain of injuries crushed the team’s playoff chances.



  • News for Tuesday 041216

    By Dave Graichen


    A bill will be heard on the Senate floor today to address equal pay. Governor John Bel Edwards supports the legislation and says Louisiana comes in dead last in the country when it comes to the wage gap between men and women. He says women in the state earn only 65 cents for every dollar a man makes. A study by the National Partnership finds there close to a 17-thousand dollar pay gap per year between men and women.


    The Edwards administration will also present to lawmakers on Tuesday the proposed budget for next fiscal year. The governor has already described the spending plan as “very sobering,” because of a 750-million dollar revenue shortfall for the financial year that begins July 1st. This means higher ed and health care are subject to more cuts.


    The Rapides Parish Police Jury gave the Okay yesterday to the purchase of land for a new Gunter Branch library building in the Libuse area. The nearly acre and a half  tract, located on Highway 28 East, will be purchased for $130,000 with library funds. It’s hoped construction, which will begin this summer, will be completed within a year.


    The APD reports No charges have been filed against a Baton Rouge driver who hit and killed a 19-year-old Alexandria man shortly after 2 Sunday morning on Interstate 49 as he attempted to cross the highway. The investigation into the death of  De’Amante Baylor is continuing, pending an autopsy and “other forensic testing.


    Four alleged members of the Alexandria-based gang, Triple M Murder Team, made appearances on Monday in 9th Judicial District Court for their arraignments after they were indicted last month. 31 year old Antonio  Boyd, 24 year old Patrick Smith, 23 year old Demetrius  Bryant and 22 year old Teldric Boyd all waived formal arraignments and pleaded not guilty to all charges against them. Pre-trial conferences for all four were set for May 26. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.


    The House Civil Law Committee will hear testimony Tuesday on the “Pastor Protection Act,” which would allow a clergy member or religious organization to deny participation in a same sex marriage. Bossier City Representative Mike Johnson says the bill should not create a lot of controversy. But Matthew Patterson, with Equality Louisiana says what the bill actually does is give organizations with any sort of religious affiliation to deny service to people in same sex relationships. He says this could include places like hospitals, homeless shelters and food banks that are typically associated with a religious group.


    The defense attorney in the Will Smith case believes once all of the evidence comes out his client will be innocent. Cardell Hayes has been charged with second degree murder in the fatal shooting of the former-Saint, who was killed after a three-car fender bender turned violent in New Orleans. Attorney John Fuller hopes more details of the incident will come out in a preliminary hearing. Smith’s wife Racquel Smith was also shot, but suffered no fatal injuries. Hayes will reportedly be charged in that shooting as well. Fuller stands by his claims that there was another gun at the scene and Hayes was not the aggressor.


    Governor John Bel Edwards has declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.  According to Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, there were over 12-thousand victims of child abuse and neglect in the state in 2014, the latest year statistics are available.


    A 4-year-old and a 6-year-old were killed in a four vehicle fatality crash in Livingston Parish Sunday evening. They say a man dropped a trash compactor in a roadway, left it there and returned home. 34-year-old Michelle Ramsey and another vehicle stopped to try to remove the object, when a drunk driver drove through hazard triangles and crashed into five people. The 2 young Ramsey children died on the scene. 4 others were seriously injured, including the impaired driver. The man who dropped the trash compactor was located at his home impaired and was arrested on many charges including vehicular homicide.


    Southern University will hold a candlelight vigil tonight for the two students that were shot and killed outside of a party near the LSU campus. Interim Athletic Director Roman Banks says 19-year-old Annette January of Indiana was a member of the track and field team and 19-year-old Lashuntae Benton of Lake Charles was a student athletic trainer. He says everyone is having a hard time coping with the deaths of these bright young women. One person has been arrested in connection with the case but no one has been charged with murder of the two girls.


    A 22-year-old has been booked by Covington Police for his role in the death of a teen who smoked synthetic marijuana. Jabari Pea allegedly sold the drug to two teenagers, and one of them, 17-year-old Alexander Shelby, later died from using the drug. Pes has been charged with second degree murder and is being held in St. Tammany Parish Jail on a $200,000 bond.


    The family of former Saints & LSU star, Hokie Gajan, says doctors have moved him into intensive care as his battle with cancer intensifies. The Saints color analyst’s daughter, Kristin Gajan Sell, told WWL the hospital staff felt Hokie would be best served with round the clock care and medical attention. The 56-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in December of last year, and he had to miss the final games of last season as he underwent chemo.


  • News for Friday 040816

    By Dave Graichen


    Two bills that attempt to resolve funding problems for TOPS have been approved by the Senate Education Committee. One of the bills would cap the award amount at the current level and would no longer meet tuition increases. Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue says this bill is similar to one that passed last year.  The other approved TOPS funding bill would reduce the amount each TOPS recipient receives in the event the state cannot fully fund the program. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says this ensures that all of the students who earn TOPS get at least part of their scholarship. Both of these measures now head to the Senate floor.


    A Natchitoches Parish man who helped many farmers get their cattle to higher ground during the recent flooding was killed yesterday while preparing to herd more cattle while on horseback. Witnesses say 32 year old Todd Roque was attempting to cross Bayou Brevelle, near Melrose, when the horse apparently got spooked and threw him into the water. His body was recovered a short time later. Roque was the father of two.


    Saturday is election day. Here in Rapides Parish, all 17 elections are tax referendums, including a proposed new half-cent sales tax to provide pay hikes for school employees. In all, 13 of the referendums are for schools, two are for road districts, and two are for fire districts. There are no candidate elections in Rapides Parish. The other area parishes with elections on Saturday are Allen, Evangeline, Natchitoches, Sabine, Vernon and Winn. Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Saturday.


    A water boil advisory is in effect for the town of Urania. A water main between the water plant and the town broke, resulting in the boil advisory. Until further notice, residents in Urania should disinfect their water before drinking it.


    Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday he and state Rep. Jack McFarland don’t yet have the votes to pass a bill that would require Medicaid recipients to provide a copay for services.

    McFarland, R-Winnfield, voluntarily deferred House Bill 492 from its House Health and Welfare Committee hearing Thursday after it became clear the bill wouldn’t clear the panel. Providers have lobbied members against copays, saying most will be uncollectable and amount to a Medicaid rate reduction. The Governor believes copays would promote “personal responsibility” and encourage Medicaid patients to seek treatment at primary care providers rather than emergency rooms. McFarland said he plans to bring the bill back for debate before the end of the legislative session.


    A bill that would extend the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours has been approved by the House. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says women have a lot to consider when making this decision. The waiting period does not apply to women more than 150 miles from an abortion clinic.


    Louisiana Tech women’s basketball coach Tyler Summit has resigned. There’s been speculation about inappropriate behavior involving Summit and in his statement, the married 25 year-old says he is profoundly disappointed in himself for engaging in a relationship that hurt the people he loves and respects the most.


    The massive March flooding across the state has cost the agriculture industry up to 15 million dollars. That’s according to LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry, who says corn was impacted the most, as about 40-thousand acres were covered in water and some fields are still underwater. Guidry says about 3 to 4 million dollars in corn was lost.


    The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival begins today but it wasn’t a great year for strawberries, because of the massive flooding in Tangipahoa and Livingston Parishes last month. Strawberry farmer Eric Morrow says 90% of his crop was damaged and he won’t have much to show for this year’s harvest. Morrow says the rain came at the wrong time and ruined a lot of green fruit.


    A bill that adds parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities as a firearm free zone passes out of a House Criminal Justice Committee on an 8 to 6 vote. The legislation faces opposition from gun rights supporters.


    The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is monitoring the deer population for chronic wasting disease, which has been confirmed in Arkansas and Texas. Dr. Jim LaCour with DWF says the disease is a fatal, progressive neurological disease that affects deer, including the white-tailed deer in Louisiana. A big concern is that deer infected with CWD can spread the disease, before symptoms develop.


    A Natchez Mississippi man is now in custody after fatally shooting his estranged wife and another man multiple times in their Vidalia home while the woman’s two children slept nearby. Vidalia Assistant Police Chief Bruce Wiley says witnesses saw the suspected gunman fleeing the home in the early morning hours on Wednesday. Wiley says 35-year-old Curt Thornton was arrested after a Mississippi police officer pulled Thornton over for riding his motorcycle without a helmet.


  • News for Thursday 040716

    By Dave Graichen


    The House Education Committee turned down a bill yesterday to make a TOPS recipient pay back some or all of their scholarship if they fail or withdraw from school.  Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater proposed a bill that would make TOPS a partial scholarship, in which recipients would receive more money each year. That bill also failed to make it out of committee. The committee also rejected a proposal to increase the GPA a college student must achieve to keep their TOPS scholarship.


    The APD reports one of the four men at large in the "Triple M Murder Team" investigation was arrested on Wednesday around noon. 25 year old Charvick  Rachal was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on one count of racketeering. He remains in jail on a $500,000 bond.


    Authorities in Vidalia have arrested Curt Thornton, the key suspect in the deaths of two people yesterday morning. It’s believed the shooting took place between 3 and  3:30 a.m. Children in the home discovered the victims' bodies around 7 a.m. and called 911.The victims are a male and female, both in their mid to late 30's. Both were found in the living room. The shooting appeared to be the result of a domestic dispute.


    Two new Zika cases have been confirmed in Louisiana, bringing the total number who have had the infection here to four — and the Department of Health and Hospitals says all have recovered. The CDC told state officials that two Louisiana residents who recently traveled to the Caribbean and South America were found to be infected, but no longer had the virus in their bloodstream. They say there have been no cases of local transmission of the virus in the US. But, health experts expect to see cases when the weather warms up.


    A bill that would prevent local governments from removing Confederate monuments failed in a Senate Committee Wednesday. Opponents for the legislation believe it shouldn’t be up to the state what happens to city property. Democrats on the panel voted against the bill, while Republicans supported it. The bill failed on a 5-4 vote.


    A petition on change-dot-org is calling for Natchez, Mississippi, to secede from the state. The idea comes as a response to a bill that allows individuals and institutions with religious obligations to deny services to gay people. Natchez resident Casey Hughes says the petition was mostly a joke, but she wouldn’t mind if her town moved over to the Bayou State. The petition has been signed by almost 700 people.


    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has proposed that Hollywood South shares some of their profits in order to keep the film tax exemptions in place. Nungesser says he hopes to build a partnership with movie producers who come to Louisiana. Nungesser says movies and TV shows have had a good track record in Louisiana, such as Jurassic World and NCIS: New Orleans. He says legislators and producers need to sit down and see what will work and what would not.  Nungesser says he spoke with producers at the Grammy’s in Hollywood, and he says he hasn’t heard a good reason why this would not work out for everyone.


    A study paid for by the Louisiana Cannabis Association finds medical marijuana use could be a 200 to 330 million dollar industry, if the state loosens its restrictions on who could use the prescription drug. The study also shows medical marijuana could generate between 5 and 13-million dollars in tax revenue, if a four-percent tax was placed on the sale of the product….


    Search and rescue crews from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries found two 19-year-old off the coast of Cameron Parish yesterday after their boat sank. Shane Martin of St. Martin Parish and Derek Romero of Iberia parish were reported missing Tuesday night. They were both taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries, but Romero did not survive the incident. The cause of death and why the boat sunk are not yet know.


    A debate is underway on the LSU campus over whether the university should restrict drinking by its students on campus during football game days. LSU is considering several regulations that are designed to crack down on binge drinking and prohibit items like couches, punch bowls, and kegs from student association tailgates.  The proposed new tailgating rules for students will be presented to President F. King Alexander for his consideration.


    A bill has been filed that would restrict college athletic teams in the state, excluding LSU, from traveling more 375 miles to play in games. The proposed law also does not apply to football or basketball programs or postseason action. The bill’s author, Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter, says state dollars are scarce and public dollars shouldn’t be used on long road trips for baseball, softball and volleyball teams. This proposal does not apply to playoffs or championship competitions, and teams would be able to attend competitions hosted by opposing schools that pay for travel costs.


    The 15th ranked LSU baseball team welcomes second ranked Vanderbilt into Alex Box Stadium tonight. Coach Paul Mainieri will start Jared Poche over Alex Lange on the mound tonight. Both pitchers last threw on Saturday, but Mainieri says Poche is more equipped to pitch again on shorter rest. You can hear the game tonight on 970 ksyl.


  • News for Wednesday 040616

    By Dave Graichen


    Another national rating agency has dropped Louisiana’s credit rating by one notch, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy. This is the second rating downgrade in just two months, as Moody’s Investor Services lowers the state’s rating in February. These rating determine interest rates so borrowing money could become more expensive for Louisiana.


    The APD reports, four men still are at large after arrest warrants were served Tuesday morning on members of the Alexandria based “Triple M Murder Team,” a gang that indictments issued last week accuse of being responsible for murders and other violent crimes dating back to 2010. Ten people were arrested, but six of them already were jailed “in various facilities” on other charges. The complete story and a list of those arrested can be found in today’s town talk.


    Alexandria city employees will get 3 percent pay raises in the new fiscal year that begins May 1. The 3 percent, across-the board raises are included in the 2016-17 budget that was submitted by Mayor Jacques Roy and approved yesterday by the City Council.


    Five more parishes are now eligible for disaster assistance for residents affected by recent severe storms and flooding. They are Catahoula, East Carroll, Franklin, Lincoln and St. Helena. The Louisiana Workforce Commission says some residents in disaster declared parishes are also eligible for disaster unemployment insurance, but the deadlines to enroll are approaching.


    Attorney General Jeff Landry says, as so many people in Louisiana are working to put their lives back together following devastating flooding, residents are urged to beware of price gouging. He says it is outrageous and unlawful for merchants to wrongfully profit from the horrific events.


    A state lawmaker tells higher education officials not to expect any additional revenue and they need to come up with a plan on how to educate our future workforce with existing dollars. Covington Representative John Schroeder says higher education should restructure itself based on the dollars that are available now. Schroeder says after raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the special session, he doesn’t see legislature passing any more tax increases.


    During a rally yesterday of people with developmental disabilities, Governor John Bel Edwards told the crowd that lawmakers would be back for a second special session to raise more revenue.


    House Transportation also voted in favor of the REAL ID license bill after almost 2 hours of debate. The vote was 10-5 and now heads to the House floor. A similar bill has already passed in the Senate.


    5th district US Congressman Ralph Abraham arrives in Cuba today seeking to make Louisiana a trade partner with the island once the U.S. lifts the trade embargo. The Richland Parish Republican says exporting Louisiana rice to Cuba would make a lot of sense for both sides. 

    Abraham says beef, poultry, corn, and soybeans will hopefully follow shortly after they secure a deal to send Louisiana rice to Cuba.


    The House Education Committee meets today to discuss a variety of proposals that would change the TOPS Scholarship Program as we know it. Kenner Representative Julie Stokes has a bill that would make the scholarship a loan that students would have to pay back if they drop out or fail classes. Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey has a proposal that would raise the GPA requirement to retain the scholarship once a recipient is in college. The bill would raise the minimum GPA from a 2.3 to a 2.5 for the first year, and from a 2.5 to a 2.75 for the last three years.


    A rally in support of legislation to have 17-year-olds charged as juveniles rather than adults takes place on the State Capitol steps today. Meg Garvey with the Youth Justice Coalition says Louisiana is one of only 9 states that routinely prosecutes 17-year-olds as adults. Garvey says a 17-year-old in the juvenile justice system could help kids get back on the right track, as studies show convicted teens are 34 percent less likely to reoffend.


    A Senate Committee has unanimously approved a proposal that would ban the sale of aborted fetal tissue. The bill would create a $5-thousand fine and mandatory 10 year prison sentence for people who sell or transfer organs or other body parts from aborted fetuses.


    A bill that would allow pets to be buried with their owners failed to get approval from a Senate committee Tuesday. Gerald Melancon, with the Louisiana Cemetery Board, says this proposed law would give cemeteries problems, if the owner never wanted to be buried with the pet, but the family wants it to happen. The author of the bill says he’ll bring the legislation back again next year.


    LSU Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson says the school is debating whether or not it will grow medical marijuana. Lawmakers gave the ag centers at LSU and Southern the first right of refusal to produce the prescription drug. Richardson says they are considering their options. He says several bills on medical marijuana in this regular session outline the regulations that could help them make a decision.


    Seat belt fines would double on a first offense under a bill that advances out of the House Transportation Committee. New Orleans Rep. Walt Leger says under this legislation, the maximum fine would be 75 dollars. He feels this would help more people buckle up. The bill moves to the full House.


  • View All
  • In The Studio
    10:00pm - 11:59pm
    Slow Jams
    Make An E-Quest
    My Profile

    Tell Speedy Your Hot Mess

    Concert Calendar



    Gossip On The Go

    Right after the 5 O'Clock Flex