News for Tuesday 080415
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal announces that Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid provider agreement will be cancelled by the Department of Health and Hospitals. The decision comes after controversial secretly taped videos showed Planned Parenthood officials talking about using aborted fetus parts for medical research. Planned Parenthood doesn’t perform abortions in Louisiana, but they do provide health care services for low-income families. Planned Parenthood has not responded to the decision and has 30 days to appeal.
Donovan Dewayne Matthews of Alexandria pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter on Monday in the 2013 death of a 13-month-old child. Matthews was indicted in December 2013 on a charge of second-degree murder. Matthews was sentenced to 20 years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence, but he was given credit for time served.
The Avoyelles parish sheriff’s department reports a Cheneyville woman is facing hundreds of charges after a complaint from her former employer alleged she had mishandled funds. 43 year old Renee White was arrested by Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s deputies and was charged with 164 counts of unauthorized use of an access card, one count of identity theft of $1,000 or more and 99 counts of forgery. It’s alleged that White took more than $39,000 from the business.
Both the Grant and Rapides sheriff offices are searching for a Beauregard Parish man who was last seen Monday in the Bentley area. The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office said Ricky "Rocky" Cooley Jr. is wanted for simple assault, telephone harassment, stalking and criminal damage to property. Anyone with information about Cooley is asked to contact the sheriff’s department.
The Colorado State University hurricane forecast team updates its outlook for the 2015 hurricane season today. C-S-U researchers previously called for a well below-average hurricane season as they predicted eight named storms. State climatologist Barry Keim says a stronger than anticipated El Nino has the tropics quiet. Keim says we are heading into heart of the hurricane season, which runs from mid-August through October. But he says based on atmospheric conditions, it’s likely we will continue to see below-normal activity in the tropics.
The Lafayette Police Department says a 35-year-old man is fighting for his life after being shot several times by three unknown suspects in an apparent home invasion. Corporal Paul Mouton says witnesses report 3 black men kicked in the door of the residence and began demanding money from the occupants. He says the victim is in critical condition and cops are still looking for the alleged robbers.
It was three years ago this week that the massive Bayou Corne sinkhole formed in northern Assumption Parish, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents. Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director John Boudreaux says the area is now virtually a ghost town. The sinkhole was created from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern operated by Texas Brine. He says they are still monitoring the bubble spots monthly to ensure the safety of the few residents who have remained in the small community.
Just how secure is your i-phone? Apparently pretty hood. East Baton Rouge Parish DA Hillar Moore says cell phone encryption is making it difficult to solve the murders of 29-year-old Brittney Mills and her son. Mills, who was 8 months pregnant at the time, was shot and killed on April 24th at her apartment. The baby later died at a hospital. Moore says they can’t get into MIlls’ Apple iPhone because they do not know her passcode..
The New Orleans Police Department is drawing up rules that will effectively bar officers from cooperating with any aspect of federal immigration enforcement — a move that’s likely to irk top Louisiana Republicans, who have been sharpening their criticism of so-called “sanctuary” policies in the past few months. The NOPD insists that it already does not target immigrants or assist with deportations. But the new rules are expected to address what immigrants’ rights advocates and some City Council members have described as confusing language in the department’s current written policies.
A study out of Duke University raises concerns that children who are picky eaters may be at increased risk for depression and anxiety. But Dr. Martin Drell, Head of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at LSU New Orleans, says it’s clear kids have different tastes in eating, but it’s a bit of stretch to say that could be a factor for possible disorders. Drell says in many cases, being a “picky eater” is a phase kids will grow out of. He says unfortunately this study could raise unnecessary concerns in overthinking parents.
A new school year begins later this week for many public school students. For those who do not start this week, classes will begin for them next week. The president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Hollis Milton, says to help students get ready for a new school year, re-adjust their sleep schedule.
News for Monday 080315
By Dave Graichen
In a surprise announcement, State Sen. Rick Gallot said Friday he won’t seek re-election. Gallot, D-Ruston, served three terms in the House before winning his first term in the Senate four years ago. Though he had no announced opposition for the coming Oct. 24 race, Gallot said his young family deserves more of his attention.
Baton Rouge police tried to determine what led to the shooting early Sunday that left three men dead, left lying in a driveway of a home. The shooting happened at about 1 a.m. Baton Rouge police detectives upon arriving found three men lying on the ground, all with gunshot wounds. The three men died at the scene.
Over 260 bills passed in this year’s legislative session became law saturday. One measure makes it illegal to post or share nude images of people on the internet without their consent. Another doubles fines for simple littering from $75 to $150 and up to $1000 for subsequent offenses. Improper disposal of items like furniture and appliances could end up costing offenders $10,000 under the new law.
Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany will spearhead an effort to re-write the nation’s welfare reform laws. The country’s welfare system hasn’t seen any major changes since 1996 and Boustany has been asked by House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan to lead a rewrite. Boustany says his desire is that welfare recipients find permanent work. Boustany says when welfare was reformed in 1996, steps were taken to make sure recipients to find work. He says the goal this time around is not only employment, but an opportunity to increase earning potential over time for the tens of millions of people who are receiving government assistance.
A national poll of Republican primary voters shows Gov. Bobby Jindal drawing 1 percent support, damaging his already dim chances of appearing in prime time Thursday in the first nationally televised debates of the campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
The NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll, released Sunday, put Jindal and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, in a tie for 12th in the crowded Republican field. Real-estate developer and reality-TV celebrity Donald Trump topped the survey with 19 percent.
GasBuddy is predicting Louisiana’s statewide average for a gasoline will fall below $2 a gallon in October. GasBuddy Analyst Gregg Laskoski says the decline in prices will accelerate after the Labor Day Holiday. Laskoski says February was the last time prices was under two dollars a gallon in Louisiana.
A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and Columbia University finds older adults that stop driving are more likely to suffer from depression and nearly 5 times more likely to enter a long term care facility than those who remain behind the wheel. AAA Spokesperson Don Redman says this could lead to the elderly becoming less social and active. Redman says the results of the study are not all that surprising.
Today is the 40th birthday of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Dome officially opened on August 3, 1975 after almost four years of construction. General Manager Alan Freeman says 40 years is a great run, but the facility still has a lot of life left. He says upgrades to the stadium has kept the Superdome a viable venue to host some of the world’s biggest events.
Three suspended LSU football players accused of going into a house without permission have seen their charges dropped. The East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office says formal charges will not be pursued against Anthony Jennings, Dwayne Thomas and Maquedius Bain. The D-A’s office says the decision is based on the request of the victim not to file charges and inconsistent and contradictory statements provided. LSU says the players have been reinstated to the team.
A Union Parish jury has convicted former Spearsville Police Chief Steve Bodine on aggravated rape charges. Bodine was arrested in 2013 for allegedly raping a 4-year-old child. Officials say, during the three day trial, witnesses testified that Bodine had raped children ranging in age from 4- to 14-years-old over a 40 year period. Bodine’s conviction carries a manditory life sentence.
Lake Charles Police announce that they have solved an aggravated rape case from October of 1999, where the victim was severely beaten and sexually assaulted while jogging at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Deputy Chief of Police, Mark Kraus, says 45 year-old Austin Mott is a registered sex offender who is currently serving time in Texas for an unrelated sex offense.
He says advances in technology led to authorities getting a DNA match in the case.
Two daycare centers in Louisiana have had their licenses revoked by the state, one in Baton Rouge and the other in Bossier City at Storybook Daycare and Discovery Zone. Education Superintendent John White says Storybook was found to have an improper child/staff ratio and were not conducting employee background checks. He says most Louisiana child care providers do an excellent job caring for kids.
News for Friday 073115
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office announces one of their own deputies has been arrested for indecent behavior with a juvenile and computer sex solicitation. Twenty-five-year-old John Roy Griffith of Pineville was taken into custody at his home by State Police investigators. He’s worked as a communications officer at the sheriff’s office for nearly two years.
Work has begun preparing the land for the 109-room Fairfield Inn & Suites, located on South MacArthur Drive in front of the former McKesson Building. It’s one of several hotels being built or renovated that will update and increase local lodging options. The Fairfield Inn will cater to guests staying between one and three nights and have an average room rate of about $140. It will include function and meeting space designed to lure 100- to 200-person events.
According to a new poll released Wednesday, Governor Bobby Jindal is still not in the top 10 of support for Republican Presidential candidates. The numbers show Jindal tied for 11th place in the field with former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Sweltering heat continue to impact Louisiana. Much of the state was under a Heat Advisory teach day this week. Danielle Manning, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says a weak cold front will move across the state as we approach the weekend. She says the main impact from this front will drop humidity levels across the state. Manning says this cold front won’t bring afternoon high temperatures down very much. Perhaps a degree or two.
An Alexandria man allegedly using a 13th Street apartment complex as a hub to sell meth was arrested Wednesday after the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office received "numerous complaints from the public. Some of the information received by agents included tips that 30-year-old Terrelle Love allegedly was selling meth. Love was charged with possession with intent to distribute. He later was released on a $10,000 bond.
The night sky will light up tonight with what’s known as a blue moon. LSU Astronomy Professor Brad Schaeffer says the moon will not look blue, but it’s referred as a “blue moon” because it’s the second time in a calendar month that there’s been a full moon. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the phenomenon only occurs once every three years. Schaeffer says there’s really no scientific reason why it’s called a blue moon.
The Slidell Police Department says a group of organized criminals were busted for stealing nearly half a million dollars at businesses with ATMs and check cashing outlets over the past year. Authorities say two suspects were arrested after trying to steal 12 grand from a business in Slidell. The two have been charged with burglary and cops say there could be more people involved.
Baton Rouge Police say a Morgan City man wanted for a Lafayette shooting death, was killed during a shootout with police and US Marshals Wednwsday. Thirty-seven year-old Lawrence Blackburn -who was accused of killing 18 year-old Dravin Stevenson – was found hiding in a Baton Rouge apartment complex, where the gunfire erupted.
It’s not too late for the Who Dat nation to head to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia where the Saints are holding training camp. Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau Spokesperson Kristi Godby says in small town West Virginia, they don’t have an NFL team so they’re welcoming the Saints with open arms for a second straight year. Godby says last year they received many Louisiana visitors and expect to see more this year as training camp continues through August 20th.
News for Thursday 073015
By Dave Graichen
The state police reports 38 year old Jeremy Drake of Oakdale was killed yesterday morning when the vehicle he was driving left La 1152 and struck a tree. Drake was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. A female passenger, 36-year-old Tabitha Johnson Irvine, also of Oakdale was seriously injured in the crash. The State Police suspect Drake was impaired.
An Alexandria man died late Tuesday night when he lost control of his car and hit a tree. 32 year old Joshua Marquis was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck, which happened around 10:50 p.m. on Bayou Rapides Road, west of of Vandenburg Drive. The wreck is still under investigation.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended its filing deadline for Louisiana policyholders impacted by recent Red River flooding. FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program normally requires homeowners to file a Proof of Loss form to claim damages within 60 days of a flood. The agency has authorized an additional 180-day extension during which a policyholder may submit the form.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to 5th district congressman Ralph Abraham and his family. Marlene Abraham of West Monroe, the mother of the congressman died Tuesday. In lieu of flowers Abraham is asking donations be made to Pilots for Patients, a charity organization he’s involved with that flies sick patients with financial needs to specialty hospitals. Marlene Abraham was 83.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney District Attorney Hillar Moore says it’s likely the criminal charges against LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings could be dropped. Moore says he’s waiting on some paperwork to decide. Jennings and two other football players were arrested in an alleged break-in last month. Moore says the victim is not seeking to pursue charges. LSU Coach Les Miles says the status of the players fully depends on the schedule of the DA.
Lt. Clay Higgins of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and his CrimeStoppers videos continue to grow in popularity and even got a mention on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. In the latest video, Higgins aka “The Cajun John Wayne” calls out someone who robbed a local supermarket. The video has over 1.3 million views on YouTube. Lt. Higgins tells us they are very close to catching the perpetrator.
Lafayette Strong: Unite.Honor.Heal, a community gathering to reflect on those lost and injured in The Grand movie theater shooting, will take place tonight at Blackham Coliseum. Lafayette Government Spokesperson Cyrda Wingerter (Sid-ruh Wing-er-ter) says they are expecting a big crowd. Wingerter says there will be music, artistic opportunities to create prayer flags, and recognition of people involved, including those caring for victims after the tragedy. She says they want the gathering to portray the culture and spirit of Lafayette.
According to a new report from the National Partnership for Women and Families, more than 45% of the private sector workforce in Louisiana cannot earn paid sick days. Spokeswoman Vicky Shabo says when people can’t take paid time away from work, they often jeopardize their job or their ability to make ends meet. Shabo says for a typical family in the United States without paid sick days, 3.5 days lost to illness are equal to the family’s entire monthly grocery budget. She says about 90 percent of workers in restaurants cannot earn a single paid sick day. The National Federation of Independent Business opposes any kind of mandate which would require employers to offer paid sick time.
Good Housekeeping magazine has named Natchitoches as one of the 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America. The publication selected one town from each state to make up their list. Samantha Bonnette, Public Relations Director for the city of Natchitoches, says they are excited to be part of this list. Natchitoches was recently named Best Southern Small Town by readers of USA Today and 10Best-dot-com. Bonnette says they are proud to be on this list that features some real high quality small towns across the country. Other small towns on the list include Breckenridge, Colorado, Sedona, Arizona, and Cooperstown, New York.
Louisiana State Police Gaming Troopers announce the arrest of two Houston residents for allegedly cheating at casinos in Lake Charles. Sgt. James Anderson says the message is, if you cheat you will be caught. The two men have been charged with cheating and swindling.
In Terrebonne Parish, a total of eight law enforcement officers have been placed on administrative leave after killing a 45-year-old man following a car chase on Monday. State Police says Jean Falgout-who was a theft suspect-reportedly weilded a gun and pointed it at officers after he attempted to flee, before he was shot multiple times after the stop. Initial investigation shows that the gun was a pellet gun.
After going seven and nine last season, the Saints are ready to turn the page as they begin training camp today. The roster has been overhauled since the last time New Orleans played a game and that includes the release of the team’s top pass rusher Junior Galette. General Manager Mickey Loomis believes all the changes made will result in more wins this season. Coach Sean Payton says they wish Galette well and it was not an easy decision to let him go….
The LSU football team is a week away from starting fall camp. Coach Les Miles believes he’ll get better play from the quarterback position, as he expects a battle between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris for the starter’s role.
News for Wednesday 072915
By Dave Graichen
A Deville woman is facing a charge of filing a false police report after she alleged that four men in a car had knocked her down Tuesday morning and had kidnapped her 2-year-old child. 24 year old Ashley Michelle Ballard made the report shortly before noon, which sent Rapides Parish Sheriff ’s deputies scrambling to search the area for the vehicle that Ballard described. Detectives joined the case a short time later and realized the story was not adding up. Ballard was arrested and was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on the misdemeanor charge. Her bond was set at $250. However, an investigation is continuing,
The Louisiana GOP is officially endorsing Jeff Landry for Attorney General rather than the Republican incumbent, Buddy Caldwell. Party Chairman Roger Villere says they approved of Landry’s performance in Congress and feel comfortable he is right for the AG’s office. In a statement released by Caldwell, the two-term A-G says the state GOP party has never endorsed him before, so it might be bad luck to get it this time.
The July campaign finance report shows that Republican David Vitter has more campaign dollars on hand than his three gubernatorial opponents combined. Vitter’s campaign reports more than $5 million in cash on hand for this fall’s election. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this clearly shows Vitter’s advantages over the rest of the field. Republicans Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle report $1.8 million and $1 million in cash on hand respectively, while Democrat John Bel Edwards reports $1.1 million.
The most recent campaign finance figures for the Lt. Governor’s race shows Republican John Young leading the field with over $2.2 million in cash on hand. Fellow Republican Billy Nungesser is not far behind with more than $1.6 million. Democrat Kip Holden reports $68,000 cash on hand, while Republican Elbert Guillory of Opelousas owes his campaign nearly $4,000.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s Presidential campaign says he’s back on the road after taking a break from touring to help Lafayette recover from the Grand Theater shooting last week. The 2016 hopeful is traveling to New York for a round of media interviews.
In a recent study by WalletHub, Louisiana ranks near the bottom in the nation when it comes to the quality of its school systems. The state came in at No. 47 overall with low data rankings in School System Quality at No. 43 on the list and School Safety at 44. The study also ranked Louisiana 48th in both math and reading test scores.
The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to pass a bill by Rep. Ralph Abraham that would provide cost-of-living increases in veterans’ benefits. The bill is the first for the Louisiana Republican freshman. Abraham is chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. Under Abraham’s bill, money for veterans’ benefits such as housing, food and other living expenses would increase based on Social Security’s annual cost-of-living-adjustment, which was 1.7 percent last year.
State health officials have found another water system in Louisiana that contains a deadly brain eating amoeba. The department of health and hospitals says the presence of the amoeba was found during surveillance testing of a water system that serves 18-hundred residents near Donaldsonville in Ascension Parish. The same deadly amoeba was also located in St. Bernard Parish last week. The state says the water is safe to drink, but take precautions to keep it from going up your nose.
In the last three days, there have been three officer involved shootings in the state, with the latest Monday afternoon in Houma. During a traffic stop, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s deputies recognized the 45 year-old man as someone wanted for theft, and when he emerged from his vehicle with a gun pointed at them, and they were forced to take lethal action.
Two southwest Louisiana men have been accused of stealing about 10 thousand dollars in alligator eggs. Twenty-four year-old Christopher Trahan of Lake Charles and 47 year-old Paul Cannick of Grand Chenier were cited for illegal possession of alligator eggs and not following refuge rules and regulations.
The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office says a 34-year-old man who claimed to be a youth mentor is under arrest for having sex with a juvenile. Apparently Jeremy Tyrone Sims began having sex with the girl several years ago when she was 14 after convincing the family that he was her youth mentor. He’s booked with molestation of a juvenile.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office has arrested an 81-year-old man for allegedly raping a child in the 1980s. Authorities have charged the man with Aggravated Rape. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brennan Matherne says a woman claimed she was victimized as a child about 30 years ago when she was under the age of 10.
The Humane Society of Louisiana issues a statewide heat advisory for pets after learning of a dog fatality in Franklin Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says during the hot summer months they start to receive a lot of calls from around the state regarding people not taking proper care of their pets, especially dogs and leaving them out in the heat.
Training camp begins today for the Saints who are required to report to the team’s facility in West Virginia. The team is ready to put behind last season’s disappointing 7-and-9 campaign. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says the Saints spent the offseason trying to improve their offensive and defensive lines.
News for Tuesday 072815
By Dave Graichen
Today, the Louisiana Republican Party is expected to announce their endorsement of former Congressman Jeff Landry in this year’s Attorney General’s race. Landry is seeking to unseat current AG and fellow Republican Buddy Caldwell. LaPolitics-dot-com Publisher Jeremy Alford says Caldwell has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in recent years. He says Caldwell received a lot of criticism among Republicans for offering encouraging words to former Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in her unsuccessful bid for re-election last year.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s top executive responded Monday to the Jindal administration’s questions about fetal tissue handling at its abortion clinic operations. “Some Planned Parenthood affiliates may help patients who wish to donate fetal tissue, just like other health care providers do. But, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast President Melaney Linton said the organization does not currently have a fetal tissue donation program in Texas, nor is one planned at the group’s proposed clinic in New Orleans. Gov. Bobby Jindal launched a state investigation earlier this month into the operations of Planned Parenthood, based on reports alleging sale of fetal body parts from abortions. Linton answered a series of questions asked by the state health agency as a part of that probe.
The movie theater where three people were killed and nine others were injured has been turned back to the owners. Lafayette Police announce they are done with its onsite investigation. It’s unclear when the theater will be re-opened to the public. Authorities also announce they’ve found a journal type book in John Houser’s hotel room and that has been turned over to a specialist to be analyzed.
In light of last week’s shooting at the Lafayette movie theater, some people are asking whether or not metal detectors should be placed beyond ticket offices. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says she would craft such legislation if she’s re-elected in the fall. She says standing in line a little longer is a small price to pay. The National Association of Theater Owners have declined to comment when asked about the prospect of setting up metal detectors in the wake of the Lafayette shooting.
Governor Bobby Jindal made it very clear Sunday on Face The Nation that if any protestors from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church would picket the funerals of the Lafayette theater victims today-as they had threatened to do-they would be arrested. 21 year-old Mayci Breaux’s service was held yesterday in Franklin while 33 year-old Jillian Johnson had her memorial service in Lafayette. No protesters showed up.
The Department of Health and Hospitals has established resources for residents who are having a hard time dealing with the Lafayette movie theater shooting and need someone to talk to. Brad Farmer is with the Acadiana Area Human Services District. He says people can reach out to professionals if you think you need help. Farmer says they are also offering information to parents on how to speak to their children about such an event. Farmer says their 24-hour-crisis line is toll free at 1-877-655-8241
A Baton Rouge woman faces charges after she allegedly threatened to shoot someone inside a movie theater over the weekend. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks says 27-year-old Gaynell Haydel verbalized her threats near the ticket booth at the Cinemark Perkins Rowe theater. Hicks says Haydel was charged with terrorizing, disturbing the peace and resisting an officer.
The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office reports a 22-year-old man reported missing on Saturday morning later was found dead after the golf cart he was driving hit a fence post and rolled. The body of Justin David Wyatt was found around noon. He had been reported missing around 8 a.m.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office says they’ve arrested 15 suspects for their alleged involvement in a somewhat organized heroin ring. Deputies say 12 people remain at large and the group is believed to be responsible for distributing large amounts of heroin in the west part of the northshore parish. The multi-jurisdiction investigation dubbed Operation Fishnet has been going on for 14 months and has just come to an end. Anyone with information on the suspects at large is urged to contact authorities.
Gov. Bobby Jindal remains in the low single digits in a CNN national poll of support for candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination, outside the top-10 ranking needed to potentially help qualify him for the nationally televised prime-time debate on Fox News Aug. 6. Meanwhile, a poll by NBC and Marist College of Republican voters in Iowa put Jindal at 1 percent, less than the 8 percent reported by his campaign last week in an internal poll, and less than the 4 percent reported last week by Monmouth University in its poll. In the CNN/ORC poll, Jindal’s 2 percent score puts him in a tie for 12th
The USDA has cited a UL-Lafayette research facility in New Iberia for both the injury and death of two different monkeys and for also allowing monkeys to escape their cages. According to the government report, a monkey was electrocuted to death in 2013, another primate’s leg was broken due to improper handling. Co-founder of Stop Animal Exploitation Now Michel Budkie says UL Lafayette was fined 38-thousand dollars in 2011 after three young rhesus monkeys died of negligence. He says the USDA is not done investigating the facility and these new citations might mean a higher fine added against the center.
Gas prices continue to go down. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.44 which is a Nickle lower than a week ago.
News for Monday 072715
By Dave Graichen
A single vehicle crash Friday afternoon killed a child that wasn’t properly restrained in a car seat. 31-year-old Marquita Batiste of Alexandria overturned her SUV after she tried to pass a vehicle while entering a curve on England Drive just before Billie Bayou. 4-year-old Amaria Lachney was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at a local hospital . Bastiste is charged with reckless operation of a vehicle, negligent homicide, negligent injuring, no seat belt, and no child restraint.
The funeral for Mayci Marie Breaux, 21, one of the two women killed by a gunman at a Lafayette movie theater last week, will be held Today in Franklin. Breaux was with her fiancé, Matthew Rodriguez, at the Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette to watch a movie when a gunman killed her and another woman. Nine others were injured.
The Lafayette theater shooting is sparking arguments over gun control once again and whether more laws are needed to prevent such tragedies. Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarman says we need stronger gun. He says the entire gun industry needs serious reform. Wade Duty with the Louisiana Gun Association says piling on additional gun laws would not have altered this man’s behavior. Duty says the best immediate response to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Louisiana Attorney General Bubby Caldwell wants to assemble a team of health professionals to help identify unstable and violent persons and communicate that information with law enforcement. Caldwell says he’s tired of seeing mass shootings like the one that happened last week in Lafayette. Caldwell says we need to start pulling our resources together. He says we need to learn from these tragedies and then find a solution. There’s evidence the Lafayette movie theater gunman John Houser suffered from mental issues.
College football analyst Phil Steele believes the LSU Tigers will be one the surprise teams in the upcoming season. Steele says LSU’s defense will be fast and one of the best in the country and he likes the offensive line. Steele says quarterback is the biggest question mark on LSU’s team.
News for Friday 072415
By Dave Graichen
A man wielding a handgun entered a movie theater and started shooting. when it was all over, three people were dead, including the gunman, and nine others injured. It happened at a theater in Lafayette. The violence started about 20 minutes into a screening of the comedy "Trainwreck." Police say the shooter - identified only as a 58-year-old white man - was sitting in the rear of the theater, when he shot two people sitting directly in front of him. (Click Here For The CBS Report)
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne has sent a letter to Governor Bobby Jindal asking that he reimburse taxpayers for the cost of having State Police provide security for him during his out-of-state campaign travels. It’s unlikely Jindal will follow through with Dardenne’s request. A spokesperson for the governor says the safety of the governor shouldn’t be used as a political issue.
Louisiana’s gubernatorial primary election is three months from today and things have been relatively quiet on the campaign front. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says although the campaigns are definitely working behind the scenes, he’s surprised by the lack of visible activity. He says, at this point in the race, Republican US Senator David Vitter and Democratic State Representative John Bel Edwards seem poised to make the runoff.
The State Department of Health and Hospitals has once again confirmed the presence of a brain eating ameba in the St. Bernard Parish Water System. Spokeswoman Olivia Hwang (WONG) says the water is safe to drink, but they urge residents to avoid getting water in their noses. She says getting an infection is extremely rare. DHH is requesting a 60-day chlorine burn to eliminate amoebas from the system.
A report from the transportation research group TRIP, says Louisiana motorists pay about 514-dollars extra per year for car upkeep due to poor road conditions. Associate director of research, Carolyn Kelly, hopes this study serves as a wake-up call so the public and elected officials can make transportation funding a top priority.
It wasn’t the verdict that many wanted. The man accused of shooting a freshman student in Lafayette has been re-sentenced. Seth Fontenot was originally charged with first degree murder in the death of 15 year-old Austin Rivault, but the jury returned verdicts for a lesser charge. Yesterday, the judge reduced Fontenot’s previous 3 year sentence to 13 months at hard labor instead.
Three jockeys at Evangeline Downs have been arrested for taking part in a race fixing scheme. Forty-six year-old Joseph Patin Jr. and his brother, 51-year-old Billy; as well as 24-year-old LeSean Conyers allegedly engaged in questionable riding tactics in a race June 19th, and the two brothers face charges for using an illegal shocking device during two races on July 4th.
A single-vehicle crash in Richland Parish has claimed the life of a 96-year-old Delhi man. State Police Trooper Michael Reichardt says James Coleman was driving his truck south of Delhi when he lost control of the vehicle, ran off the road, and flipped his vehicle.. Reichardt, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gas prices dipped again from the day before. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is $2.48.
The Louisiana Democratic Party hosts its biggest fundraiser of the year on Saturday night at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is expected to bring together more than 1,000 contributors and supporters of the Democratic party. Party spokesperson Beau Tidwell says Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will be there as well as other big names. Tidwell says the event will include video addresses from Hillary Clinton, who is the front-runner to receive the Democratic presidential nomination. He says former three-term Senator Mary Landrieu will also be honored at the dinner.
Emergency crews from throughout the state say they’ve responded to hundreds of calls about children locked in cars this summer. Curt Monte with the Baton Rouge Fire Department says the heat index has reached triple digits in recent weeks and leaving your kid in a car comes with potentially deadly consequences. Monte says in East Baton Rouge Parish alone, since May 1st, there were over 80 calls made about children who were alone in a vehicle.
News for Thursday 072315
By Dave Graichen
A plant that has sat idle in Grant Parish will be transformed into a $265 million ammonia plant. A Lithuanian based company is making the investment which will create 85 new direct jobs and generate over 500 construction jobs. The project in Pollock will create 85 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $55,000. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2016 and it’ll take just over two years to complete.
Some scary moments Tuesday in Natchitoches Parish when a private bridge collapsed near Derry. A dump truck loaded with dirt dropped some 20 to 25 feet and landed on it’s roof. The driver of the truck was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The summer heat these days in Louisiana has been brutal. State Climatologist Barry Keim says in Shreveport the last 5 days have had maximum temperatures of 96 degrees or greater, and even 99 on Tuesday. Keim says the cause of these runs of extremely warm weather is a dome of high pressure that’s sitting over the southeastern United States.
Sabine Parish authorities say they are treating the death of an eight month old child as a homicide. Kayla Lewis died Tuesday afternoon and Coroner Ron Rivers says a preliminary autopsy result shows there was blunt force trauma to the child’s face. At this time, no charges have been filed.
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, oil and gas jobs in Louisiana continued their decline in June, dropping to the lowest level in almost 10 years. Mining and logging jobs, where many oil and gas jobs are classified, fell by another 300 last month, bringing the total number of jobs lost this year to 6,000. Associate Director of the Tulane Energy Institute, says these jobs are some of the best jobs in the state. He says the lower price of crude oil is the leading factor.
A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more teenage girls are using the morning after pill. The report indicates about 1 in 5 teens girls have used the morning after pill, when ten years ago it was 1 in 12. Health officials are hopeful the increased use will help reduce Louisiana’s high teen pregnancy rate. However, health officials say the pill should not be used as primary contraception.
Today, Seth Fontenot will be re-sentenced on his manslaughter and aggravated battery conviction in a 2013 shooting that killed 15-year-old Austin Rivault and injured two others. In July, Fontenot was sentenced to 3 years at hard labor with all but 13 months suspended. The state filed a motion for re-sentencing after Judge Ed Rubin handed down his decision. State law prevents a judge from suspending the sentence of someone convicted of a crime of violence. Prosecutors want Judge Rubin to sentence Fontenot to at least 10 years in prison while Fontenot’s attorneys want a lighter sentence of 13 months.
The Tabasco Sauce Factory in Iberia Parish is set to open a new restaurant, museum and expanded tours at their Visitors Center on Avery Island. Vice President of Administration Cecil Hymel says visitors will now be able to see parts of the plant never seen before. Hymel says the new restaurant called “1868″, will open around August 10th and offer a variety of Louisiana foods incorporated with each of the 7 different flavor Tabasco pepper sauces.
Two Alabama men claim they were fired from Turner Industries this week for refusing to remove the Confederate battle flag from their vehicles. Turner, which has corporate headquarters in Baton Rouge, is one of the nation’s largest construction management companies. Phillip Sims told the TV station he doesn’t normally drive to work with the flag on his truck, but he was running late on Monday, and didn’t take the time to remove it. That’s when a supervisor at the Decatur, Ala., plant told him to remove the flag or be fired. He said he refused to remove it, on principle, and was fired. A second employee who asked not to be identified told the station the same thing happened to him. Company officials have refused to comment on the matter.
News for Wednesday 072215
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to six-point-four percent in June based on the latest labor statistics. Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Curt Eysink says the data also shows the Bayou State adding 13,400 jobs over the last 12 months. Payrolls rose by 5,000 from May to June but Eysink admits Oil and gas jobs in Louisiana have continued to plummet, sinking to the lowest level in almost a decade.
The political news website Politico reports that Governor Bobby Jindal is still not polling high enough to be included in the first Republican televised debate. They are basing their prediction on a recent Washington Post/ABC poll where Jindal received just two-percent of the vote. Fox News will host the first debate on August 6th and only the top 10 contenders based on an average of recent polls will be invited.
The State Police are blaming a bad adhesive on some vehicle inspection stickers as the reason some are just fall off. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says the good news is the peeling stickers should almost be out of circulation. Moreau says motorists who have peeling stickers and want them replaced, should return to the station where they had their vehicle inspected for a replacement.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed accounted for at least 27 percent of traffic deaths, killing 193, in Louisiana in 2013. State Police Sgt. Nick Manale says the data found that young male drivers out of all age groups were most likely to be speeding at the time of fatal crashes. 34 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were also speeding.
A spokesperson for the Louisiana National Guard says they are still putting a policy in place so they can follow Governor Bobby Jindal’s executive order that allows guardsmen to be armed at military facilities. Colonel Pete Schneider says Louisiana’s major National Guard bases have full-time force protection personnel, but their armories and recruiting offices do not have this type of security. Governor Jindal issued the executive order last Friday after a gunman fatally shot four Marines and a sailor at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Schneider says unit commanders will determine which guardsmen will be armed once they arrive at a National Guard facility
With the first day of school on August the 6th, a group of Tangipahoa Parish parents say it’s too hot for their kids to get on school buses, without air conditioning, in the hottest part of the day, and they are presenting a petition to the school board to delay the first day of school until after Labor Day. School officials are saying there is not time to change the scheduled opening of school in less than 2 weeks.
A former Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy faces a day in jail for punching a man who was under arrest in September 2013 after the Sugar Cane Festival in New Iberia. Twenty-nine-year-old Cody Laperouse must also perform 200 hours of community service, take anger management classes and pay a $2,000 fine.
Gas prices are down in Louisiana four cents from this time last week. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.49
The lifestyle digital publication PureWow has named Thibodaux as one of the 12 cutest small towns in America. The article says the picks were based on places with loads of charm, festivals and quaint locations. Also on the PureWow list are places like Levenworth, Washington, Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, Charlottesville, Virginia and Fayetteville Arkansas.
In an effort to re-establish the Alligator Snapping Turtles , the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has released some juvenile turtles into the Calcasieu River Basin. LDWF Natural Heritage Program Manager, Amity Bass, says this is the culmination of three years of work. She says the turtle is a Species of Concern, and they want to keep it off the endangered list.
News for Tuesday 072115
By Dave Graichen
According to a report from the Annie E Casey Foundation, more children in Louisiana are living in poverty than during the Great Recession. The 2015 Kids Count Data Book shows 28% of children here are living in disadvantaged families, up from 25% in 2008. Anthony Recasner, CEO of Agenda for Children, says the same report indicates the percentage of children without health insurance is going down and the percentage of high school kids graduating on time is going up. But Recasner says Louisiana ranks 48th overall for child well-being.
We’re seeing gas prices at the pump continue to fall in Louisiana. Gregg Laskosi with GasBuddy.com says this is great news for consumers right now because the statewide average is now $2.48 per gallon for regular gasoline, a 4 cent drop since last week. Laskosi says we’re already seeing stations in the state with prices as low as $2.14. He expects prices per gallon in September to be under two dollars and drop even more throughout the winter months.
US Senator David Vitter announces he has raised $1.3 million in the second quarter and has more than $5 million in cash on hand for his gubernatorial campaign. The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, a political action committee supporting Vitter, also announces they have more than $4 million available. The other gubernatorial candidates have yet to announce their second quarter fundraising totals.
A new survey of likely Iowa caucus goers shows Governor Bobby Jindal is gaining momentum. The Monmouth University poll gives Jindal a 59 percent favorable rating, 5th highest among Republican presidential candidates and 4 percent of the respondents said they would support Jindal if the presidential caucus was held today. Radio Iowa News Director Kay Henderson says many people are responding warmly to Jindal on his “Believe Again Tour.” Just yesterday a Fox News poll showed the governor with less than 1% of the vote.
LSU’s Athletic Department announces they’ve transferred ten million dollars over to the main campus, which will be used on academic and research initiatives. That’s about three million dollars more than what university leaders were expecting. Going forward, the athletic department has agreed to give the university at least seven-point two million dollars every year.
A letter written by Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell is asking President Obama and the Louisiana Congressional delegation to include Monroe and the Louisiana Delta in the ConnectHome program-which provided free or low-cost high-speed internet to low income families. Campbell says–per capita–the Monroe area has the poorest people living in the US.
State Police are looking for the driver of a vehicle responsible for hitting a teenager on the side of the road in Albany. The 14-year-old was last reported to be in critical condition. Trooper Bryan Lee says the suspect vehicle was trying to pass another one when it struck the teen in Livingston Parish. State Police is asking the public for assistance in locating the pickup truck.
The Shreveport Police Department says a 10-year-old boy who is believed to have accidentally shot himself last week has died. Corporal Marcus Hines says the child gained access to the gun in his home on July 17th. Hines says the matter is under investigation but at this point it appears the incident is a tragic accident.
A former teacher and basketball coach from Elton High School in Jefferson Davis Parish was sentenced to 7 years in prison today with credit for time served. 36-year-old Justin Fruge pleaded guilty to one count of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile in March following his January arrest. Fruge was facing numerous charges of sexual misconduct, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge after parents of the victims requested the charges be reduced so the juveniles wouldn’t have to testify.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu travels to the Vatican with other mayors, governors, and UN Representatives to meet with Pope Francis to discuss global issues. Topics will range from climate change, human trafficking, and sustainable development. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says this is part of the Pope’s effort to engage and motivate political and community leaders around the world. The mayor’s office says Landrieu will offer remarks about the challenges New Orleans has faced and how the city has become a model for resilience and sustainability.
News for Monday 072015
By Dave Graichen
Authorities are investigating a motorcycle crash that claimed the life of 26 year old Tony Seal of Dry Creek Saturday night. The accident occurred on LA 26 In Allen Parish. Police suspect excessive speed and alcohol consumption as contributing factors to the crash.
State police report early Saturday morning a single vehicle crash killed a pedestrian from Forest Hill, LA. Troopers responded to the crash around 5:00 a.m., which occurred on Interstate 49 south of Alexandria. The crash involved an unknown vehicle and a pedestrian, identified as 23 year old Rigoberto Luna. Prior to the crash, Luna was operating a vehicle southbound on Interstate 49 and had stopped on the shoulder. For unknown reasons, Luna entered the southbound lane and was struck by an unknown vehicle who then sped off. Luna was pronounced dead at the scene.
The privatization deal for LSU’s Shreveport and Monroe hospitals seems to be imploding. Maybe that was inevitable when university leaders agreed to a contract filled with blank pages or when they chose a manager with no experience running a patient care facility. The hospital manager, the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, has one more week to devise a plan for correcting LSU’s complaints about its oversight of the facilities or the university system will seek to remove the manager, claiming breach of contract. LSU clearly wants a new hospital operator. Gov. Bobby Jindal agrees. So do several of the candidates running for governor in this fall’s election. But the research foundation is fighting efforts for its ouster.
For a sixth straight year, Louisiana ranks number one among southern states in the number of major business projects per capita according to Southern Business and Development magazine. State Economic Development Secretary Steven Grissom says the state has done so well in this ranking because Louisiana offers a strong business climate for companies looking to invest. Louisiana ranks among the top 10 states in the US in five national business climate rankings.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has confirmed three new cases of the West Nile virus last week, the first cases of the year. Two cases were confirmed in the southwest and central Louisiana region and one in the Baton Rouge area. Last year, there were 62 cases of West Nile in Louisiana. Officials ask residents to take precautions against mosquitoes in order to avoid contracting the virus.
Governor Jindal has signed an executive order allowing the Louisiana National Guard to arm guards protecting military facilities. It states that the Guard is permitted to give military guards the means to protect themselves in order to preserve the lives, property, and the security of themselves and others subject to the threat of an attack. This executive order comes after four Marines and a Navy officer were killed in a shooting at a military recruitment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A recent Fox News poll on the Republican presidential field shows Governor Bobby Jindal polling at less than one-percent. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the Jindal campaign has enough money available to get in the game, but these poll numbers could have a serious effect on fundraising efforts going forward. Cross says this is obviously not good news for Jindal.
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy and David Vitter introduce the National Disaster Relief Tax Act that would give tax relief to victims of natural disasters that have taken place in recent years. Cassidy says this will greatly help those affected by the Red River flooding, because the President did not approval individual assistance for those victims. Cassidy says the legislation would give disaster victims a break on their taxes and they can use that money to help in their recovery .
According to The Hill, a Washington, DC newspaper, Louisiana’s congressional “Clout Index” has fallen from 4th to 30th now that Mary Landrieu is no longer a member of the Louisiana delegation. LaPolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says if not for Metarie Congressman Steve Scalise’s election to majority whip, the third most powerful position in the US House, the ranking would have been worse. Going forward, Alford says the state’s “Clout Index” could drop further because of US Senator David Vitter’s quest to become governor. He says if Vitter wins the governorship, it would negatively affect Louisiana’s influence in Washington.
Egg prices at the store are getting even higher. State Agriculture Commissioner and Chair of the Louisiana Egg Commission Mike Strain says the big increase is because of avian flu. He says egg prices have gone up 90 percent since May.Strain says the last case of bird flu was detected on June 17th and there have been 227 farms affected. He says more than 48 million birds were infected and those that died have yet to be replaced. Strain says egg prices will remain high until farmers can properly sterilize their facilities to reintroduce hens. He says there is concerned we might see the virus return in September.
News for Friday 071715
By Dave Graichen
It all looks official, but it is anything but official. Phone scammers who call people and tell them there is an outstanding warrant for their arrest. When in fact there isn’t and they are not the police. The scammers try to get the victims to pay fee to make it all go away. The RPSO says they calls even look official with the Caller ID showing the call is coming from the sheriff’s department. Again, if you should get such a call remember it is not an official call. Hang up and call authorities.. By The Way, the scammers also use the same routine claiming they are with the IRS.
Three people are under arrest in connection with the case of an accused murder suspect who escaped from the women’s prison in Avoyelles on July 11th. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tommy Carline says Melissa Hayes was discovered by members of the US Marshal’s Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force in Marrero. Twenty-two-year-old Shemesha Bordley and 19-year-old Michael Jones, both of Alexandria, were each charged with 2 counts of accessory after the fact.
A convicted sex offender has been arrested on multiple charges, including two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, Alexandria Police reported. The suspect, 21 year old Mark Anthony Leduff II of Alexandria, was arrested Wednesday. In addition to the two counts of carnal knowledge, Leduff is charged with failure to register as a sex offender, computer sex solicitation, resisting an officer and battery on an officer.
The chairman of the Republican Legislative Delegation is providing an avenue for residents to provide suggestions on how to improve Louisiana. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the effort is called “Take Back Louisiana.” Harris says this is an attempt to engage voters before the 2016 legislative session. Harris says the initial Facebook page is up now, with a website being launched at the end of the month. He says the goal of this initiative is to correct the state’s structural issues, focusing on the budget, education, transportation, and state’s rights. Harris says tax reform is at the top of the list
The state Department of Education reports that a record number of nearly 25,000 high school seniors earned a score of 18 or higher on the ACT, allowing grads to attend college without having to take remedial courses. Education Superintendent John White says the number of African American students earning college-going scores has increased by more than 2,000 since 2012. Louisiana’s average composite score has increased by .2 from last year and is now at 19.4.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association announces it has finalized a four-year agreement with the officials association, which means high school sporting events will go on as scheduled this fall. LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine says this is an agreement that needed to be done and he’s happy they were able to take the final step. This agreement prevents a threatened work stoppage by Louisiana High School Officials Association referees.
On a 4-2 vote, the Lake Charles City Council voted down a resolution requesting the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury remove the South’s Defenders Monument at the Calcasieu Courthouse. Opponents of Councilwoman Mary Morris’ measure say removing the monument will take away their heritage. But Morris says this monument represents the darkest time in African-American history. The resolution requested the monument be removed from the courthouse and placed in a museum.
Camping World, the nation’s number one retailer of RV’s, RV accessories, and RV-related services, has picked up the title sponsorship of the Independence Bowl. Independence Bowl Chairman Kyle McInnis says this agreement means the I-Bowl has a solid partner for several years. McInnis says the sponsorship will last through the 2019 game.
AT SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, LSU Coach Les Miles expressed plenty of optimism about the upcoming season, saying they want to start and finish strong. As far as the suspended players, including quarterback Anthony Jennings, Miles expects them to return.
The state Office of Group Benefits says the Louisiana state workers’ health insurance program is now taking applications for coverage for same-sex spouses and their dependents. They say same-sex couples married before June 26th have until August 11th to apply for coverage. Those married on or after June 26th must apply within 30 days after their marriage.
Governor Bobby Jindal announces he’ll visit all 99 counties in Iowa as part of his “Believe Again” presidential campaign. Jindal started the tour last night in Waterloo. LSU Political Science professor Robert Hogan says many candidates use this strategy to get more name recognition. The tour means that Jindal will not spend much time in Louisiana.
An Opelousas man is one of 70 around the world accused of taking part in an online forum that authorities said enabled its exclusive group of users to buy, sell, trade and share information and tools used to intrude on electronic devices. Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested 28 year old Rory Guidry on a count of computer fraud.
News for Thursday 071615
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal is now asking the Inspector General to get involved in an investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts from aborted fetuses. Jindal has made a request to I-G Stephen Street’s office to investigate whether Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which is currently building an abortion clinic in New Orleans, is involved in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of human body parts.
A group of pro-life Louisiana lawmakers announce plans to craft “Abortion Pill Reversal” legislation for the 2016 session. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says the proposal would likely require clinics to make patients aware of the reversal pill. Hoffman says if a woman goes into a clinic and takes the abortion pill, she should be aware that a reversal exists should she change her mind.
A federal jury in Lafayette on Tuesday deliberated about 40 minutes before finding 60 year old Bradley Smith of Ville Platte, guilty of two counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of receiving child pornography. Evidence admitted at trial revealed that law enforcement officials detected Smith using an Internet file sharing program to download child pornography. A forensic examination of his computer turned up a total of 40 movies and 1,100 images of child pornography. Some of the material including very young children. Smith faces up to 30 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 24.
Gas prices are slowly falling in Louisiana as the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.53. That’s according to the American Automobile Association. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says this is about a nickel cheaper than last month.
The President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association has concerns that the Iran nuclear deal will negatively impact oil producers in Louisiana and the United States. Don Briggs says the agreement will allow Iran to export crude oil into an already flooded market. He says with crude oil prices currently in the mid-$50 a barrel range, the addition of Iran’s oil to the marketplace will continue to suppress prices, perhaps for the next two years.
According to financial reports filed Wednesday by federal regulators, Governor Bobby Jindal raised about $579,000 in his first week as a Republican presidential candidate. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this is not a very strong first step for the governor.
He says $579,000 puts Jindal near the bottom of the Republican field. However, the Washington Examiner reports that Jindal also has almost $9 million in his corner thanks to supportive outside groups like the Believe Again Super PAC and America Next.
An internal investigation finds that Department of Children and Family Services staff members did not violate criminal laws in the case of a 15-year-old Baton Rouge boy found in poor living conditions and weighing only 47 pounds. Family members and lawmakers criticized the state agency for not doing enough to help the special needs child. One of the recommendations in the report calls for legislation that creates a felony offense when a third party misrepresents facts to a DCFS employee during a child protection investigation.
The Steve Gleason Act is heading to President Obama’s desk for his signature. The legislation is named after former Saints player Steve Gleason, who has A-L-S. The measure will make speech generating devices more accessible to people who battle this disease that impacts the brain’s ability to control muscle movement. Gleason pushed this legislation after he learned that Medicare funding for these type of devices was significantly scaled back.
Louisiana Tech announces a record for donations made to LTAC, which is the organization that helps fund the school’s athletic programs. The school says during the 2014-2015 fiscal year, 1.1 million dollars was donated to LTAC and the athletic department received another 1.5 million dollars in unrestricted donations. Previous donations have helped Tech build a 22 million dollar athletic complex, that will open in August.
State Police announce the arrest of nine people for filing fraudulent insurance claims and keeping the money received. Sgt. James Anderson says the Kemper Home Service Group contacted them concerned that some of their employees in the Lake Charles area were filing false claims. A majority of the fake claims were for lightning damage losses to electrical appliances. The fraudulent claims totaled over $55,000. Anderson says the nine arrested face various charges.
It’s the first expansion for Zatarain’s in almost 50 years, and it’s a big one in Gretna, with almost 200 employees on hand to celebrate the completion of construction that has tripled the size of the facility. The 80 thousand square foot growth will have 10 new manufacturing lines by the end of next year.
The New Orleans Police Department says a man with a gun who was allegedly trying to rob a customer at a gas station had the tables turned onto him and was shot by the customer. Cops say the gunman wanted to rob the business and a customer but was stopped when he took a bullet by the customer. The robbery suspect was taken to a hospital and authorities say he will be booked upon release.
News for Wednesday 071515
By Dave Graichen
The Huey P. Long Medical Center building in Pineville is now officially on the National Register of Historic Places. The addition of the 76-year-old building to the National Register was announced Tuesday by officials of the Historical Association of Central Louisiana. While being part of the National Register doesn't guarantee the building won't be torn down, it will reduce the likelihood and will increase the chances the building could find new life.
Authorities investigating a complaint about child neglect searched a Simmesport residence and found evidence, in addition to the neglect, of multiple sex crimes against children authorities arrested 61 year old Donnie Dibble Sr of Simmesport. Also arrested were the parents of three minor children. They were charged with cruelty to juveniles and five counts of criminal neglect. Investigators allege the children’s parents did not provide the necessary medical care and did not provide an educational program for their five juvenile children.
The Louisiana Association of Business and industry has come out with their report card on lawmakers, and it shows 94 legislators received an “F.” For those that didn’t pass, the LABI says all of them voted for 600 million dollars in taxes on business. They say many of those lawmakers are up for re-election, and that voting record will have an impact on the fall elections.
Louisiana has moved past Alabama for the third highest average combined state and local sales tax. That’s according to the Tax Foundation, who puts together a report every July on sales tax rates. Economist Scott Drenkard says Louisiana ranks high on their list, because it has the highest average local tax rate in the country. Drenkard says Louisiana’s average combined state and local sales tax rate is 9.01 percent,
Republicans in Louisiana’s Congressional delegation don’t like the Iran nuclear deal that the president has agreed to. Essentially this would mean that in exchange for limits on nuclear activities, Iran gets billions in relief from international sanctions. If Congress rejects the deal, it’s not likely the republicans will have the required two-thirds vote to override the veto President Obama has promised.
Shreveport Police have a man in custody accused of stabbing his teenage nephew to death. Cpl. Marcus Hines says officers learned that 15-year-old Willie Latin III was stabbed following a physical altercation inside his home. He says Latin was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later.
In Jeff Davis Parish, 2 people are dead, including a 3 year-old child, following an early morning single vehicle crash on I-10 two miles west of Lacassine. State police say none of the occupants in the vehicle were restrained. Neither of the dead were restrained in the crash.
The controversy over the Confederate flag and monuments has spilled over to whether the “Rebels” mascot is appropriate for West Monroe High School. A Facebook page has been started calling for a new nickname for West Monroe High.
The Baton Rouge hosted Miss USA Pageant which was clouded in controversy over its ties to Donald Trump, essentially tanked in the ratings. The event was dropped by NBC and fewer than 1 million people tuned in to watch the pageant on the Reelz network, an 83% drop from last year’s show.
St. John Parish Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested a couple who allegedly used their 5 year-old son to break into a Laplace residence through an AC window accordion, then unlocking the door. Twenty-seven year-old Casey Ramsey and 33-year-old Anthony Wilson were charged for burglarizing his parents’ home, simple criminal damage to property and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Louisiana’s most popular summer-blooming tree, the crepe myrtle, is blooming later and less than normal this year due to the spring’s unusual weather conditions which included lots of rain. LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings says these trees like sunshine, above average temperatures, and dry conditions. Something they didn’t get during the spring.
Defensive coordinator John Chavis’ move from LSU to Texas A&M was a topic for discussion when Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin appeared at SEC Media Days. Sumlin admitted he went after Chavis after his LSU defenses kept Aggie offenses in check. Chavis takes over a defense that ranked 102nd in the country last season in total defense. The “Chief” will return to Baton Rouge on November 28th, when LSU hosts A&M.
News for Tuesday 071415
By Dave Graichen
State Police say it was a deadly weekend on the highways. There were six fatal crashes including 4 that involved motorcycles.
The state police report 27 year old Joshua Laborde of Arnaudville was killed Sunday afternoon in a single-vehicle accident on La. Highway 29 near the Cottonport-Long Bridge area of Avoyelles Parish. Laborde lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck some trees. Laborde, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene,
The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s office is investigation a possible murder/suicide which took place over the weekend. Officers found Scott and Rhonda White deceased in a home in Ruston. Few details are being released.
The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s office says cops are searching for a woman being held on double homicide charges who escaped from prison over the weekend. Sheriff Doug Anderson says Melissa Hayes could be headed back to Alexandria.
The Smoking Cessation Trust saw its highest monthly enrollment in June with over 2,000 Louisianians signing up for its free quit smoking program. CEO Mike Rogers attributes the jump to the state’s 50-cent tax increase for a pack of cigarettes. For more information you can log on to smoke-free-LA-dot-org.
The director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is confident local governments will receive assistance from the federal government as a result of flooding from the Red River. Kevin Davis says the aid would be for public assistance, which includes public works, fire department and police officers in areas around the Red River who worked overtime during the disaster last month. He says he is unsure if individuals affected by the flood will qualify to receive assistance.
The Lake Charles Police Department says two unidentified officers are on administrative leave after a burglary suspect shot himself twice in the foot inside a squad car. Lt. Kevin Kirkum says 18-year-old Stacy Lamb of Lake Charles was arrested after a burglary attempt at a local business, and apparently found the gun in an police equipment bag left on the back seat. He shot himself twice in the foot. Kirkum says criminal and internal investigations are underway.
Following a four hour plus meeting Sunday, High School sports officials have reached a tentative agreement that will prevent a work stoppage by referees this fall. Louisiana High School Officials Association President Paul LaRosa says they are holding off on releasing any information, until they can speak with their officials.
The price tag of the damage to Louisiana crops from Feral hogs as at least 30 million dollars, according to the LSU AgCenter 2013 study. The damages range from the rooting up and eating crops, to damage of farm equipment, and the potential to spread fatal diseases to livestock.
The NBC reality show, Running Wild made its return last night. Promoters with the show say they will feature an episode later in the season in which Saints Quarterback Drew Brees apparently jumps on the back of a crocodile. The show features celebrities spending 48 hours in the wild. A promotional video says “Watch a Super Bowl MVP wrestle a crocodile. This is going to end up as dinner one way or another.
In an effort to raise additional funds, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is looking into selling advertising on its properties. LDWF spokesman Bo Boehringer says legislation passed in this year’s legislative session allows the department to take advantage of this revenue stream opportunity. The state Department of Transportation receives $250,000 annually from State Farm Insurance for ads placed on their Motorist Assistance Program vehicles. Boehringer says the ads will be tastefully done and people shouldn’t expect to see ads pop up in middle of wildlife areas.
According to a recent study by WalletHub, Louisiana is the 10th least energy expensive state, but we use the most electricity in the country. Spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez says in these hot summer months, utility bills are through the roof. Gonzalez says The Bayou State placed 4th in the country for the price of electricity, but 51st in total consumption per housing unit. The numbers show that, on average, Louisianians pay $284 a month total on energy, that includes gas for your car.
The LSU football team will have two tough conference games in the month of September. On September 12th, the Tigers will visit Mississippi State and then on the 19th, they’ll host Auburn at 2:30
News for Monday 071315
By Dave Graichen
The new Miss USA Olivia Jordan is the first woman from Oklahoma to win the top title.
During the pageant, Jordan said race relations are the next hot-button issue that the United States needs to tackle. She also said she would like to see African American abolitionist and former slave Harriet Tubman on the $10 bill. The pageant was held last night in Baton Rouge.
A public hearing will be held Tuesday evening during the Alexandria City Council meeting to discuss the possibility of moving the Murray Street Post Office out of the federal courthouse to a yet to be decided location. After Tuesday's meeting, the public will have 30 days to submit written comments about the proposed relocation of the downtown post office. That meeting begins tomorrow at 5pm.
Mississippi-based Triumph Campaigns conducted an automated survey on the governor’s race. Based on 16-hundred responses, Republican David Vitter received 31-percent, Democrat John Bel Edwards had 30-percent and Republican Scott Angelle had 14-percent.
Republican Jay Dardenne received 11-percent in this poll.
A republican presidential nomination poll conducted by an Iowa TV station places Governor Bobby Jindal in 13th with 2 percent from likely caucus goers . Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leads with 18 percent. The Iowa caucuses on February 1st are the first of the contests for the 2016 Presidential election.
A Baton Rouge man shot his teenage girlfriend, her mother, a friend and then turned the gun on himself early Sunday, leaving three people dead, including himself, and one seriously injured — all while a 1-year-old baby was in the apartment. The Baton Rouge PD says the incident arose from a family argument. But, no other information was released.
Community colleges in Louisiana are raising tuition by 10-percent for the upcoming school year. The increase is allowed under the GRAD Act, which allows campuses to increase tuition higher than five-percent, if certain goals are met. Community college leaders say the tuition hike brings two-year schools in line with others in the Southeast.
The Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association will no longer pursue a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the cap that was placed on the film tax incentive program. LFEA president Will French says instead of engaging in a legal battle, they believe their efforts are better served working with state agencies to make sure the film industry can still thrive.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services makes policy changes after a 15-year-old Baton Rouge boy was found in a home weighing just 47 pounds and covered with insect bites. DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier says they are adding medical experts to case examinations with special needs children.The mother of the 15-year-old child is behind bars on a 115-thousand dollar bond.
A 12-year-old and two teenagers in Lafourche Parish have been charged with criminal mischief for lying about a kidnapping. Sheriff deputies say the three claimed that 21-year-old Kaleb Bruce grabbed the 12-year-old off the street and put a duffel bag over his face. The 12-year-old was able to escape and Bruce was arrested. But the three individuals eventually changed their story and were taken into custody, while Bruce was released after spending several days in jail.
A teenager from Benton, who bragged on social media about stealing 16 street signs from specific Bossier Parish neighborhoods, can now add one more address to the places he’s visited-the Bossier Maximum Security Facility. Seventeen year-old Chase Grubbs has been charged with 16 counts of theft.
Starting today, the eastbound side of the Mississippi River Bridge in Natchez, Mississippi and Vidalia will see lane closures for the placement of concrete barriers. State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Rodney Mallet says starting on July 20th, the westbound side of the bridge will be closed for seven weeks.
SEC football media days get underway today in Hoover, Alabama, which is the unofficial start to the college football season. Hundreds of reporters attend this event to hear from SEC coaches and players.
News for Friday 071015
By Dave Graichen
The Numbers are now official..The US Army has announced a soldier reduction of 388 at Fort Polk. It’s part of a troop reduction of 40-thousand that’s impacting Army bases across the country. Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese is glad the Army spared major cuts to the base. Reese says their main focus now is to prevent future reductions.
The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office says a man shot and killed his 7-year-old daughter, then turned the gun on himself in an apparent murder/suicide. Sheriff Doug Anderson says they got a 911 call around 8:50pm Wednesday evening in reference to two bodies lying in a field in the Vick area. Anderson says they determined that 28-year-old Ryan Recktenwald killed his young daughter and then killed himself. He says they have no idea what caused this man to do such a thing.
The investigation continues in Zachary following a discovery of the body of a sex offender. Authorities found 47-year-old Robert Noce had been stabbed, strangled and stuffed in a plastic drum at his home. A 21-year-old man and 17-year-old woman-have been charged in his murder. The woman is listed in court documents as one of Noce’s victims.
Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush is scheduled to visit the Ruston area this weekend for a fundraiser, hosted by Bush-family supporter James Davison. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley Bush’s visit means that Governor Bobby Jindal does not hold the support of many Louisiana residents, including prominent Republican supporters.
The Retired State Employees Association is trying to put some political pressure on legislators to override Gov. Bobby Jindal’s veto of a cost-of-living raise for retirees.
The association circulated a message pointing out that many of the legislators are up for re-election and adding that support for a veto session should be the litmus test at the voting booth this fall. About 130,000 retirees were affected by Jindal’s veto to increase, by an average of $30, monthly benefit checks.
The Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s office says a man has died after he tried to steal copper from a utility pole. Spokesman Chris Ivey says 51-year-old Jesse Jones III of Reeves was electrocuted while trying to yank down copper wire from poles near US Highway 165.
Jones was pronounced dead and three others were arrested on theft charges.
Despite all the controversy surrounding Donald Trump, his Miss USA pageant goes on as scheduled this Sunday night in Baton Rouge. It won’t be shown on NBC as previously scheduled but it will be shown on the Reelz network and locally in Baton Rouge. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says the 51 contestants are focused on their performance in the pageant and are putting the controversy behind them. Organizers say ticket sales for the event have been sluggish.
Country music superstar Garth Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood arrive today to start the first of four World Tour shows in New Orleans this weekend. New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau spokesperson Kristian Sonnier says this tour should bring in large numbers of visitors in what is typically a slow month for tourism in the city.
The executive committee of the Louisiana High School Officials Association meets on Sunday as referees plan to strike, jeopardizing the upcoming high school football and volleyball seasons. The association’s president Paul LaRosa says officials are looking for a pay increase, but that’s not the only reason why they are upset. LaRosa says they want signed contracts with individual schools that stipulate referee pay and other conditions, including security at games. He says refs are tired of promises of more pay, which is why a work stoppage maybe necessary.
News for Thursday 070915
By Dave Graichen
An official announcement from the US Army is expected today, but 5th District US Representative Ralph Abraham has learned Fort Polk will lose 358 soldiers from its Vernon Parish military base, as part of a plan to cut 40-thousand troops nationwide. Abraham says Fort Polk did not get hit as hard as others, as one base will lose three-thousand troops. 81 hundred troops are currently stationed at Fort Polk.
The RPSO reports Two people were taken to a local hospital on Wednesday afternoon after their private aircraft crashed in Glenmora off of East River Road. So far, the people onboard the plane have not been identified and their condition has not been released. Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration are expected in the area today to probe the crash.
A former central Louisiana police chief has been arrested for the murder of his wife. Avoyelles Parish Sheriff Doug Anderson says they collected evidence to charge Charles Mayeaux Junior with second-degree murder and aggravated arson in the death of Shelly St. Romain Mayeaux, who was found inside her burned home on March 21st. Charles Mayeaux is a former police chief of Evergreen. Mayeaux is being held on a 350-thousand dollar bond.
The mother of a Baton Rouge teenager was arrested Wednesday after officers found her son severely malnourished. 49-year-old Rose Holland is charged with 2nd degree cruelty to a juvenile and drug charges. The 15 year-old victim only weighed 47 pounds.
The University of Louisiana System has approved tuition and fee increases at their four-year universities. The highest increase is at UL Lafayette, 20-percent, while Nicholls State’s tuition hike is less than two percent . U-L System President Doctor Sandra Woodley says UL Lafayette’s was allowed to raise its tuition because of the GRAD Act legislation approved in 2010, which gave campuses more autonomy if it met certain goals. She says the school’s 2014-15 tuition was also well below the Southern Regional Average.
The National Right to Life convention begins a three day conference in New Orleans today that will feature Republican presidential hopefuls including Governor Bobby Jindal who will make an appearance tonight. Rick Perry and Rick Santorum will also be at the forum. Organizers say Delegates from all 50 states come together to celebrate a festival of life and feature speakers to educate individuals of the Right to Life movement.
The Lafayette man who could have received up to forty years in prison for manslaughter in the shooting death of 15 year-old Austin Rivault in 2012, has received a sentence of 13 months in prison. Twenty-one year-old Seth Fontenot ended up shooting a total of three teens-including Rivault, whom he thought were breaking into his truck. The Lafayette Parish DA says he will appeal the sentence.
The search continues for those individuals who attacked a State Police Trooper on June 30th in Rapides Parish. The officer was hit with an unknown object in the head during the traffic stop and gunshots were exchanged between the Trooper and a passenger in the vehicle. LSP spokesperson Scott Moreau says anyone with information is urged to call State Police.
The FBI is looking for people in Louisiana and other states who were victims in a “sextortion” case. FBI New Orleans Special Agent Mike Anderson says 31-year-old Lucas Michael Chansler of Florida used social networking sites to convince teenage girls to perform sexual acts on camera. Chansler is currently serving 105 years in federal prison, but there are still unidentified victims and they should contact the FBI.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of Angola in a case dealing with air conditioning on death row. The appeals court ruled that the State Pen does not have to install air conditioning for death row inmates. The 5th circuit said a federal judge went too far when he ordered the prison to maintain heat indexes on death row at or below 88 degrees.
A proposal has been made in Lafayette to create a bike loop around the city and call it the Mickey Shunick Memorial Bike Loop. Shunick, a UL-Lafayette co-ed, was abducted and killed in 2012 while riding her bike. A stretch of the proposed bike loop would include a stretch where Shunick was riding when her bicycle when she was struck by her admitted killer Brandon Lavergne.
News for Wednesday 070815
By Dave Graichen
An announcement is expected later this week on whether Fort Polk will see a reduction in troops. The Vernon Parish military base is one of 30 bases nationwide that faces cuts as a result of a mandate that requires the Army to reduce its force by 40-thousand.
The mother of a third-grade girl has filed a civil lawsuit against the Rapides Parish School Board, alleging that the child was locked on a bus last fall for a full school day after the driver failed to check the seats. The suit claims the 8-year-old girl fell asleep on the bus while on the way to J.B. Nachman Elementary School in Alexandria only to wake up all alone in a locked bus. The child was not discovered until the bus driver returned in the afternoon.
Cenla broadcasting notes the passing of Joe Tucker Robison, who founded Crest Industries and built it into one of Central Louisiana’s biggest companies. Robison started his first company out of the trunk of his car nearly six decades ago. Today, Pineville-based Crest and its subsidiaries employ about 600 people. Joe Robison, dead at 86.
The APD reports Three Alexandria men are facing charges after shots were fired Monday morning at a man who had been robbed hours earlier. Police say the man, who was a local vendor, who was robbed at gunpoint earlier in the day. The suspects were able to elude police at the time. However, about two hours later, officers were sent to the 4700 block of Lee Street after receiving a report of shots fired. . The robbery victim said he and a coworker were riding around the area, looking for his property, when someone fired at their vehicle. The vehicle was hit, but no one was injured. Police did capture the suspects this time and all three were charged.
New Orleans Police arrest one of their own as part of the investigation into the fatal shooting of officer Daryle Holloway. Chief Michael Harrison says suspended officer Wardell Johnson did a lazy job of processing the evidence from a domestic shooting against suspected cop killer Travis Boys and that includes the pat down of the suspect. Harrison says they are still unsure how Boys got the gun that he allegedly used to kill Holloway on June 20th all while handcuffed in the back seat of the cruiser.
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon warns residents that the top two months for vehicle thefts are July and August. Donelon advises drivers not to leave their windows down even in the southern Louisiana heat, especially with valuables in sight.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity is running a radio ad that directs voters to a website that highlights the lawmakers who voted to increase taxes and fees to balance this fiscal year’s budget. Director of the anti-tax group, The website is louisiana-scorecard-dot-com
Several lawmakers who voted for the tax increases say it was necessary to prevent huge cuts to higher education and health care.
U.S. Senator David Vitter has sent a letter to President Obama requesting a federal disaster declaration as a result of heavy flooding along the Red River. That historic flooding caused $17 million of estimated damage. The individual parish requests are for Caddo, Bossier, Grant, Natchitoches, and Red River parishes.
The mother of a two year old child, who died after falling out of the window of a moving vehicle in Acadia Parish, was arrested yesterday. State Police Trooper Brooks David says 32-year-old Amber Watson of Church Point was booked on charges of child desertion and no child restraint. Watson’s bond was set at 25-hundred dollars.
An Iberville Parish grand jury formally charged a teacher at MSA-West Academy in Plaquemine on sex charges against students. Thirty year-old Keavin Keith had lab results showing he fathered a child with one of the victims.
The National Right to Life convention this week in New Orleans will also feature a Republican presidential candidate debate on Friday but Governor Bobby Jindal won’t be there. His office says there is a scheduling conflict but that the Governor would be there as keynote speaker Thursday night on opening day.
Louisiana hunters are now allowed to carry any firearm of their choice during bow hunting season. In the past, hunters were only allowed to carry a 22 caliber pistol loaded with rat shot that could only kill small pests. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward says he believes this law will be beneficial to keeping hunters safe from more aggressive animals.
Rapides Regional Trauma Center and Louisiana State Police Troop E will hold their monthly child passenger safety seat check-up event on Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the center’s Medical Terrace, 211 Fourth St. in Alexandria. No appointment is needed for the free event, and it will happen regardless of weather conditions.
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