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Good Morning News For Friday 12/22/17. Audio Link After 7a http://www.cenlabroadcasting.com/media/710.mp3

News for Friday 122217

By Dave Graichen

 

Cleco  has named Bill Fontenot as the new CEO effective January 1st. Fontenot has been with the company for 31 years, working in various capacities including business development, commercial operations and utility operations. He says he’s honored to help keep the focus of the utility on their customers. Fontenot’s family has a long history with the Pineville-based utility company. The father worked for the utility for over 30 years and son Bill followed in his footsteps. Cleco serves about 288-thousand customers in Louisiana.

 

For the seventeenth year in a row State Police troop E out of Alexandria will be delivering gifts to children who are stuck in the hospital for Christmas. The troop plans to meet Christmas Eve morning to start wrapping gifts to deliver to kids later that night. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says the troop works on the toy drive all year long.

Moreau says any hospitalized child, regardless of background, will be getting a gift…

Moreau says it’s his troops way of spreading a little holiday cheer.

 

A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards has his highest approval numbers since taking office nearly two years ago at 65-percent. It eclipses his previous high of 63-percent and is higher than the 54-percent approval rating in May. Governor Edwards says he’s grateful for the trust the voters have placed in him.  He says the first two years have seen it’s share of challenges, but he is looking forward to the future.

 

This will be a record setting holiday for traveling this Christmas.   Over 103 million Americans will take to the roads and skies between now and the first of the year.  Part of the reason behind the surge in travelers is low gas prices.  Triple-A’s Don Redman says prices are higher than they were last year, but travelers feel more confident about the economy. Airline fares are seeing a drop.  Some six million are expected to take to the skies during the final week of the year, a one-point-five-percent increase over 2016. 

 

The roads will be packed this weekend with holiday traffic, and the Louisiana State police want everyone traveling to stay safe. Trooper Glen Younger says the stress and extended traffic times can stress drivers and sometimes lead to road rage. He says if you are driving, expect longer travel times. And of course, if you plan to drink, keep a designated driver handy.

 

Congress’s 1.5 trillion dollar tax overhaul has many wondering how this will impact their finances. The wholesale changes touch everything from investment returns to charitable donations, and radically alters tax season for most Louisianans. Baton Rouge area CPA Brandon Lagarde says the bill should lower taxes for most in the state. He says in any case, the changes will keep CPA’s very busy…

 

This will be a big weekend for Christmas present crunch time, and retailers are rolling out plenty of last-minute deals to get that holiday dollar. The last Saturday before Christmas is known as Super Saturday, and LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says it’s a big day for brick and mortar stores because it’s too late for online shopping in most cases. About 126 million people, or 53 percent of consumers, plan to shop on Saturday

 

A Zachary man is charged by a grand jury with first degree murder in the deaths of three people last month.  36-year-old Taurus Ike Hamilton allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and two others in East Feliciana Parish.  He has not yet been charged with a fourth murder in East Baton Rouge.  His mother Belinda Folse is charged with accessory to second degree murder, after allegedly taking Hamilton across state lines…

 

Nearly 64,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses, leading to a decline in life expectancy for the second year in a row, according to the CDC. Addiction Policy Forum President and CEO, Jessica Hulsey Nickel, blames the exploding opioid epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, The United states now ranks below several dozen other countries in average life expectancy.

 

Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro has been placed on injured reserve as a result of a groin injury, which means he’ll miss the rest of the season. He suffered the injury on November fifth and a source says it never healed correctly and it will require surgery.

 

The Saints can qualify for the playoffs with a win over NFC South rival Atlanta or a Carolina loss this weekend.  New Orleans has the easiest road to the post season of any NFL team still trying to qualify, only needing to win one of the next two to play in January.   Quarterback Drew Brees says he would love to wrap this up and win in front of the home crowd.

 

It’s another case of people being more upset than the victim. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has apologized for the choke gesture he made towards Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. TV cameras caught the incident when the two teams met two weeks ago in Atlanta and the two teams are set to meet again this Sunday. In a conference call with Atlanta reporters, Payton said he let his emotions get the best of him. Freeman says he’s not bothered by Payton’s actions.

 

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame  inductee Charlie Hennigan passed away Wednesday. Hennigan, a Northwestern State graduate, still holds two NFL receiving records and is in the top three of three more. A native of Bienville, Hennigan will be laid to rest there Saturday. Charlie Hennigan was 82.

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