News for Thursday 030917
By Dave Graichen
It’s the end of an era. Yesterday the owners of the Town Talk, Gannett, announced that the paper will cut back publication to three days a week, Sunday, Wednesday & Friday beginning April 5. The President of the Town Talk, Judi Terzotis, says many more people are reading the paper on line now, whether it be on the Town Talk website or on their Cell phones and tablets. Terzotis also said, While the frequency of the print edition is changing, their commitment to covering the news, sports, events, and stories that define our community remains a 24/7 priority for our staff and journalists. No word yet as to how many newsroom positions, if any, will be eliminated.
A proposal approved by BESE means K-12 schools in Louisiana won’t be seeing an increase in state funding. Executive Director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, Scott Richard, says federal funding is also in a decline, which leaves local school districts to pick up the lion’s share of the costs. BESE blames budget problems for the lack of funding hikes.
There’s a renewed sense of optimism for the oil industry, according to the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, who host their annual summit today in Lake Charles. LOGA Vice President Gifford Briggs says 2017 is a critical year for the oil and gas industry. Briggs says that’s because the industry is starting to rebound after a two year recession. Briggs says Exxon’s commitment to make a $20 billion investment in the Gulf and the plans for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline are promising signs for the industry as a whole.
The rate of babies born with syphilis is rising in Louisiana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC found the rate of congenital syphilis rose by 6-percent nationwide between 2014 and 2015. Director of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases for the Office of Public Health, Dr. DeAnn Gruber, says the problem is even worse in Louisiana than the rest of the country. According to the CDC, nationwide 83 out of every 100-thousand babies born has congenital syphilis.
A recent study shows fewer fat people are trying to lose weight. A report from Georgia Southern University found that overweight people who said they are trying to lose weight fell from 55-percent down to 49-percent. Executive Director of the Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Rudy Macklin, says people may be getting discouraged because they aren’t seeing results right away. The nationwide study found the obesity rate is highest for black women with 55-percent being obese. Macklin says here in Louisiana, income and family environment play a big role in many of these women’s lives, leaving little time for exercise and cooking healthy meals.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish says the proposal the House GOP has laid out to replace President Barack Obama’s health care law will put patients back in charge of their health care decisions. Representative Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish says Obamacare must be repealed, but significant questions have been raised about the replacement plan.
Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to cut the red tape so Louisiana can get started on coastal restoration projects. Executive Director of the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority, Johnny Bradberry, says the projects are part of the coastal restoration masterplan. Bradberry says the projects will be funded through BP’s restoration payments to the state over the next few years. He says the President is looking for projects that are ready to go and having funding methods in place. He says they’re hoping Mr. Trump can help fast track the federal approval process.
A federal judge in New Orleans once again blocks a state law that makes the minimum age to be an exotic dancer 21-years-old. Three strippers filed suit after the state legislature passed the legislation last year. Their attorney, Harry Rosenberg, says the ruling ensures the law will not go into effect until this case goes to trial.
A Baton Rouge homeowner who killed an intruder at his home will not face charges. Police say 40-year-old Anthony Gordon was armed with a gun when he entered the home and was shot by the homeowner. DA Hillar Moore says Louisiana law allows homeowners to use lethal force to defend themselves. Gordon was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials in Ascension Parish say they are looking for the man seen on surveillance video at a Walgreens crawling his way through a drink cooler in order to steal 11 cartons of cigarettes. Another person is standing watch while the suspect made his way into the fridge then crawled to the storage area in the back to snatch the smokes. Anyone with information on this incident is urged to contact authorities.
Home advantage apparently no advantage last night for the Pelicans as they fell to the Raptors 94 to 87. The Pelicans play next at Houston on Saturday..
The season is over for LSU men’s basketball. The tigers ended a terrible season with barely a whimper as they lost to the Mississippi state Bulldogs last night 79 to 52 in the SEC tournament . It’s expected it was also the last game for Coach Johnny Jones. Officials notice could come as early as today.
Louisiana Tech begins play in the Conference USA Tournament at 5:30 today as the one of the hottest teams in the league. They’ve won eight of their last nine. Bulldogs head coach Eric Konkol believes his young team can win this tournament and receive automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
NFL teams can begin signing unrestricted free agents this afternoon and for the first time in several years, the Saints have some salary cap space to work with. Sideline reporter on the Saints Radio Network, Kristan Garic, doesn’t anticipate the Black and Gold making a huge splash, but they will look to bolster the offensive line.