News for Friday 012618
By Dave Graichen
Due to the increasingly critical flu season, the state Health Department has announced no cost flu vaccines will be held at 55 Parish Health units across the state January 31st. The walk-in clinics will administer flu shots to anyone who has not done so yet. State Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says get the shot earlier if you can. He says one huge reason they are sponsoring the free clinics is the influx of people coming to the state to celebrate Mardi Gras next month. Louisiana has one of the highest flu rates in the nation.
A former Monroe children’s TV show host known as “Mr. Wonder” will now have to register as a sex offender as part of a plea deal for inappropriate conduct with a child back in 1979. 78-year-old Frank Selas pleaded guilty to indecent behavior with a juvenile earlier this month, but was not required to register due to a misunderstanding of the law. Selas could be paroled as early as this summer. If so, the former TV star plans to move back to California.
The Town Talk reports, The Rapides Parish School Board is considering a plan to create new feeder systems within three proposed school zones in Alexandria and Pineville by reconfiguring 12 elementary and middle schools. Administration is proposing to create new Community School Zones to change the way students are distributed. About 4,500 students are within the area that would be encompassed by the proposed system. The complete story can be found on the Town Talk’s Website.
Louisiana receives a green light for having nine critical traffic safety laws on the books. The Bayou State is one of seven listed as a “best state” in the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety report. Tara Gill, the Director of State Programs, says the ignition interlock offender law for convicted drunk drivers is one reason Louisiana scored high. Gill praises the efforts of the state in enforcing no texting while driving legislation. But, Gill says while the state ranks well in many areas, it’s critical Louisiana enforce better child restraint laws…
Congress has reached an agreement to hold a vote on the Dream Act before it expires in March. The Dream Act provides temporary legal status to people who were brought to the U.S. as children. A proposed deal would see funding for President Trump’s border wall in exchange for a Dreamer resolution, and Senator Bill Cassidy says drug traffickers can pay for the wall. Reports indicate that billions of dollars in drug money cross the border each year. Cassidy says the US is only intercepting a fraction of it. He says we need to step up our enforcement and confiscated more of it. Cassidy says the fate of Dreamers is dependent on what deal can be struck for building the wall..
The jury in the trial involving the death of Joe McKnight visited the defendant’s car Thursday. McKnight was fatally shot by Ronald Gasser, and prosecutors reconstructed what they believe the scene would have looked like after the shooting. The defense says Joe McKnight tried to lunge at Gasser through the passenger side window after a fit of road rage. The prosecution is attempting to demonstrate that the car would not have allowed for that. McKnight was shot on December 1st of 2016
A new study out of Tulane finds that Louisiana is making slow progress in electing minorities and women to judgeships. Professor of Political Science Sally Kenney says racial minorities are 36% of the state’s population, but non-white judges were only at 22 percent. She says women judges comprised less than 32 percent of all state and federal judges in Louisiana. She says there has been a gradual increase, but it’s up to citizens to commit to equal justice under law and keep vigilant that this progress is not reversed.
There’s a nearly limitless variety of king cakes available, reflecting the hundreds of years bakers have been cooking up that classic Mardi Gras desert. There’s traditional, fruit fillings, cream cheeses, almond, and now, cricket. Audubon Insectarium Curator of Animal Programs Zack Lemann says there’s over 30 grams of protein in a pound of crickets, and Lemann says the snack is quite filling. The cakes are baked from scratch at the insectarium. You can order one there, or this Sunday at the King Cake Festival in Champions Square in New Orleans.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis told reporters at the Senior Bowl they want Quarterback Drew Brees to return next season. Brees is coming off a season where he completed an NFL record 72-percent of his passes, but his contract will expire in March. Brees is one of seven Saints players that will play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.
LSU’s all-time leading rusher and three time Super Bowl Champion Kevin Faulk has been named as the Director of Player Development for the LSU football program. He believes his life experiences will help develop these players not only for football but for whatever else life may present them. Faulk played for the Patriots for 13 years.
The LSU men’s basketball team gets a chance at beating the first place team in the SEC on Saturday when they visit the 19th ranked Auburn Tigers. LSU Coach Will Wade believes Auburn is one of the ten best teams in the nation. Auburn is 18-2 on the season and they lead the SEC in scoring, averaging 86 points a game. Wade says he wants to keep Auburn off the free throw line.