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Local News
  • News for Wednesday 101817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State police report a single vehicle crash claimed the life of a Pollock woman yesterday morning. Troopers say 85 year old Marion Morrison apparently lost control of her vehicle on Highway 165, left the roadway and struck a culvert. Morrison was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

     

    A Winnfield man was killed yesterday after his pickup ran off of highway 156 and struck some trees. 50 year old Randall Shell was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    According to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, Louisiana ranks 42nd on tax competitiveness. Senior Policy Analyst Jared Walczak says the Bayou State has one of the nation’s most complex tax structures. The index also reports Louisiana ranks 50th for the state’s sales tax structure. Walczak says Louisiana could benefit greatly if it simplified its tax code.

     

    The first class of the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program has started training military vets to run their own business.  State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says the class helps veterans wanting to go into business, by taking online classes and boot camp training on the LSU campus. They hope to train over 100 participants in the first year with a long term goal of creating 100 new jobs through the businesses created from this program.

     

    A Ruston school was destroyed following a fire.  Paul E. Slaton Head Start caught on fire around 6 Tuesday morning.  Officials say no one was inside when the fire started.  Power lines were damaged, knocking out power to over 30 homes.  Investigators are trying to determine the cause of fire.

     

    An 18-month old child is dead following a gruesome murder in New Orleans.  Police say the father 45-year-old Mark Hambrick told police “God made him do it.”  The exact motive of why Hambrick killed his daughter is unknown.  Police Chief Michael Harrison says they are seeking any information about Hambrick that will help them with the investigation. Hambrick is in custody with charges to be filed later.

     

    Open enrollment for the Medicare program is now until December 7th for 2018 plans. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says this is the only time of the year when senior citizens can shop around for their plans and compare prices. He says it’s important to find a plan that goes along with your current doctors.

     

    A Clinton man arrested last week tipped police off himself.  The Associated Press says 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe was not a suspect in three murders and one attempted murder in East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge Parishes until he called police and id’ed himself as the suspect.  Officers arrested Sharpe after leading them on a high speed chase.  The murders started in July and were all in a 15 mile radius…

     

    A tiger who became a roadside attraction in Grosse Tete has died. Tony the Tiger had lived at the Iberville Parish Tiger Truck Stop since 2001. There have been legal battles between Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Sandlin’s attorney Jennifer Treadway says her client plans to get another tiger and he has a permit to do so. The Animal Legal Defense Fund feels Tony’s death demonstrates how the legal system leaves wildlife vulnerable to exploitation.

     

    Louisiana voters will likely be gearing up for a gubernatorial runoff election in 2019.  GOP Chairman Roger Villere says one big name has been mentioned a lot for the election is U.S. Senator John Kennedy.  He says he is a formidable candidate for the position. Villiere says many other politicians have voiced interest in running for Governor. Currently Governor Edwards is enjoying a high approval rating.

     

    LSU and Ole Miss will meet for the 106th time this Saturday when the two teams get together for a Saturday night kick-off in Oxford. The Tigers have won 11 of the last 15 against the Rebels dating back to 2002. But it’s been 2011 since LSU’s last win at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels are 3-and-3 and won their first SEC game of the year last week as they pounded Vanderbilt 57-45.

     

    The Pelicans tip off a new season tonight in Memphis. With a healthy Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, along with a full season from DeMarcus Cousins,  there’s a belief New Orleans can be one of the eight playoff teams in the difficult Western Conference. You can hear that game tonight beginning at 6:30 or immediately after the game 5 of the American League Championship series on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3

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  • News for Tuesday 101717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Louisiana is once again tops for murders in the country.  The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program says the states murder rate was 11.8 per 100,000 persons, with 554 homicides in 2016.  New Orleans based Crime analyst Jeff Asher says even if you didn’t count New Orleans, Louisiana would remain tops in the country.

     

    Zachary Police have charged a 33-year-old man with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting, stabbing and beating an 11-month old child. Police Chief David McDavid says they found several weapons in the house and the autopsy shows the baby died of multiple stab and gunshot wounds.

     

    The fire is out at the platform that was the site of an explosion Sunday night on Lake Pontchartrain. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says the platform is a storage facility and owned by Clovelly Oil Company. Three victims from of the explosion remain in critical condition and the search for a 44-year-old worker from Katy, Texas continues. 

     

    Investigators are piecing together the strange case of a baby born to a 13-year-old girl. Baker Police Chief Carl Dunn says the family wasn’t aware she was pregnant and gave birth in her bedroom. Dunn says the teen decided to drop the newborn off, with the umbilical cord still attached on a school teacher’s front porch. Police suspect the father is also just 13-years-old.

     

    The state Department of Children and Family Services has posted an online mapping tool called Safe Haven Facility Locator in an effort to prevent newborn abandonment. Child Protective Services Program Manager Mona Michelli says a mother can visit Louisiana-safe-haven-dot-com (louisianasafehaven.com) to find a place where they can give up a child less than 60 days old. If a mother or parent is not able to locate a facility, call 911 and an emergency responder can transport the child to a facility. Michelli says it’s important to remember a mother faces no legal recourse if she follows the Safe Haven laws.

     

    Waitr is looking to help feed needy families. Starting this week, when customers order food service from the Lake Charles based app, they can donate between two and ten dollars and Waitr along with participating restaurants will match a customers’ donation.  Chief Marketing Officer Sonny Mayugba (MY-ooh-buh) says the “Share Thanksgiving” food drive will be conducted in all 130 markets, including Alexandria.

     

    Detectives in Baton Rouge are investigating a fatal shooting last Sunday that left a 26-year-old dead after a homeowner claims he brandished a firearm and charged at him. BRPD Sgt. Don Coppola says the 36-year-old homeowner told police he was standing in his yard when he shot Clayton Bradford after a verbal altercation. Coppola says the homeowner is cooperating and no arrests have been made as of yet.

     

    State Police say a 4-year-old was killed over the weekend after being struck by a vehicle in Iberia Parish. They say Raylen Jones of New Iberia had wandered outside of his home Saturday night without detection and ended up in the street. The investigation is continuing.

     

    A major story line heading into Saturday’s SEC West matchup between LSU and Ole Miss is the return of head coach Ed Orgeron to Oxford. Orgeron was the Rebels head coach from 2005 to 2007 and won just ten games. During his Monday press conference, Coach O downplayed the trip back to Oxford.

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  • News for Monday 101617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A significant cold front moved through the Bayou State leaving us with some much needed relief. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this front has brought in much cooler and drier Canadian air and pushed out the warm Gulf of Mexico air. He says the afternoon highs will be in the 70s in northern parishes and low 80s in the coastal zone. Keim says this cool weather will stick around all week long. Keim says even as temperatures in the 90s subside, expect a warmer than usual autumn.

     

    After Three days, the trial is over. Antonio Boyd, the so called head of the Triple M Murder Team,  took a plea deal during the lunch recess of his trial Friday. The 32 year old Boyd pleaded guilty to racketeering and attempted first-degree murder, receiving sentences at hard labor of 50 years and 35 years, respectively. The sentences were to be served concurrently.

     

    An oil rig exploded in Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday evening (Oct. 15) near St. Charles Parish and north Kenner, according to Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor. Seven people were injured in the explosion, according to Kenner Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kriss Fortunato, and authorities believe an eighth person is still missing.

     

    Former state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, is headed to a Nov. 18 runoff against New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards to choose Louisiana's next treasurer. Edwards received more votes in the primary, but experts indicated he got into the runoff mostly because he was the only Democrat in the race. Schroder is expected to win a Nov. 18 runoff election and become the next state treasurer of Louisiana.

     

    Louisiana residents voted in favor of three more changes to the state constitution Saturday. Voters decided to prevent ongoing construction from counting toward a property's value for tax purposes. Practically speaking, the change will mostly benefit owners of industrial properties.  A property tax exemption was approved for spouses of first responders and a wider swath of law enforcement officers killed while on the job.

    Voters also consented to a new restriction on gasoline and fuel taxes. At this point, the restriction is hypothetical since the Louisiana Legislature had refused to implement a new gas or fuel tax in recent years.

     

    City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former judge Desiree Charbonnet earned spots in a runoff for New Orleans mayor, guaranteeing the city will elect its first woman mayor in the Nov. 18 runoff.

     

    Police have identified the suspect involved in the shooting death of a New Orleans Police Officer.  30-year-old Darren Bridges, a convicted felon, faces a charge of first degree murder in the shooting death Friday of 29-year-old officer Marcus McNeil.  Chief Michael Harrison says they are still investigating what exactly happened.

     

    State health officials are reminding Louisianans it’s time to get your annual flu vaccination. The flu season has begun and doctors are starting to see a small number of cases. The Louisiana Department of Health will host flu vaccination clinics until December in all parts of the state and residents can visit LDH’s website for locations and dates. The flu shot is free for individuals with insurance and 10 dollars for those without insurance.

     

    Sasol announces they have hired their 500th employee to support its new 11 billion dollar ethane cracker and derivatives project in Calcasieu Parish and plans to hire at least 200 new employees over the next two years. Kim Cusimano with Sasol says they’ve been working towards this goal for several years. 93-percent of those hired are Louisiana residents and 83-percent are Calcasieu Parish residents. Sasol partnered with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles to help fill positions. These careers have an average salary of 80-thousand dollars.

     

    Baton Rouge Republican Congressman Garret Graves authored legislation seeking to protect Cajuns, saying they are endangered, because of coastal land loss.  He is pushing for them to be protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  Graves believes the federal government has been mismanaging the Mississippi River system for years, endangering the Cajun’s way of life. Following discussion on the floor and some good natured jabbing, Graves withdrew his amendment from consideration.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says 100 pallets of donated goods will be sent to Puerto Rico.  Parishes across the state have been collecting the items for the past couple of weeks.  Over 400-thousand packaged items including diapers and baby wipes will be sent to help Hurricane Maria survivors.  300 members of the Louisiana National Guard have been sent to Puerto Rico.

     

    Two Baton Rouge school students are in trouble after a BB gun they allegedly brought to school discharged Friday.  Police say the incident happened after students were traveling back to School following a field trip.  The male 9th grader who brought the weapon tossed it to a female 9th grade student, that’s when the weapon sischarged striking another student. Both were charged with Negligent Injury and Illegal Carry of a Weapon on school property.

     

    Halloween is only two weeks away and Louisiana residents are rushing to find the hottest costume. Store manager for Halloween Express in Baton Rouge DeMarcus Cox says the most popular costume this year is Pennywise the Clown from the movie It.

     

    The LSU Tigers are once again ranked in the Top 25 polls after their historic come from behind win over Auburn. LSU trailed by 20 points, but roared back to beat their SEC West rival 27-23. The defense held Auburn to 64 yards in the 2nd half. It’s the Tigers largest come from behind win at home since 1949. LSU is now 5-2, 2-1 in the SEC.

     

    The Saints nearly blew a 35-point lead, but an opportunistic Black and Gold defense preserved a 52-38 victory over the Detroit Lions. The Saints defense, which looked very bad at the beginning of the season, forced five turnovers and scored a franchise record three touchdowns in one game. The Saints have won three in a row and for the first time since 2013 they have a winning record at 3-2.

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  • News for Friday 101317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A serial killer in Louisiana?  Police have arrested a Clinton man whom they believe is responsible for the deaths of three men and the injuring of yet another in East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge Parishes since July.  Police say 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe is expected to be charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. The big question now is what led Sharp to killing the men and what if anything they have in common other than their age. 

     

    Investigators are seeking answers in the death of an eight month old child left in a car for several hours.    Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Dawn Panepinto says the child’s guardian never dropped off the child to a day care center and when they returned to the daycare to pick up the toddler, it was discovered the infant was still in the vehicle. She says the guardian is cooperating with police.

     

    Tomorrow is Election Day in Louisiana and the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts about a 15-percent turnout statewide. He expects turnout in Orleans Parish to be a little higher, as New Orleans has a big mayoral election. 13 parishes in the state only have the treasurer’s race and three constitutional amendments on the ballot.  In Rapides parish, Fire Protection Dists. No. 4 and 7 have 10 year Rededications. In Road Dist. No. 2B (Ward 11) - 10 Mills tax for 10 Years.

     

    With all the destruction due to numerous fires in California, people can become concerned in Louisiana about the threat for wildfires. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says Caddo, Desoto, Webster and West Carroll Parishes are currently under burn bans with much of the state in moderate danger of fires. He warns if you have to burn, do so only if necessary.

     

    Members of the Louisiana House met Thursday to learn about budget issues.  Louisiana faces a fiscal cliff when one-point-38-billion-dollars in temporary revenue ends July 1.  Minden Representative Gene Reynolds says they all know what the problem is and they know there are no easy solutions.  Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says they had a very positive response from members.  Over half of the 103 members attended the meeting.

     

    Former Monroe TV children’s show personality Frank Selas will stand trial on child molestation charges on February 5th. That’s the word from his attorney Mike Small. Selas, also known as Mr. Wonder, allegedly raped a child during a 1979 camping trip in Rapides Parish. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

     

    University of Louisiana at Monroe has made a statement concerning offensive comments made on a private internet group exchange.  President Nick Bruno says they have suspended the fraternity Kappa Sigma Pledge for the comments.  Bruno says, he is quote “angry and embarrassed that students of the institution chose to conduct themselves in this manner.”  He adds that a thorough investigation will be conducted and appropriate actions will be taken.

     

    The Boy Scouts of America have made the decision to allow girls into the organization and allow them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Executive Director of the Boy Scouts of Southeast Louisiana Ernesto Carballo says this is a great opportunity for females but isn’t much of a change from what they’ve already been doing. Carballo says many people don’t know that girls are already included in many Boy Scout programs. He says the only change now will be that parents don’t have to run between meetings for their daughters and sons.

     

    With the Louisiana black bear population increasing, the likelihood of bear-versus-human encounters grows. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries bear expert Maria Davidson says there’s a new website called bear-wise-dot-org, which helps people who have never had to deal with bears before. The black bear was officially moved from the protected list in April of 2016.

     

    Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles says he’s looking forward to his return to Tiger Stadium this weekend as the 10-year-anniversary of the 2007 National Championship team is honored. He says he’ll be honored to stand with that team again. The reunion will be Miles’ first return to Tiger Stadium since his firing in September of last year. The Hat says when LSU called and invited him to be part of the celebration, he immediately said yes. Kickoff for LSU vs. Auburn is scheduled for 2:30pm.

     

    A victory this Sunday over the Detroit Lions will give the Saints a winning record for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. Sunday’s game could be high scoring. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has nine touchdown passes, while Brees has thrown for eight.

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  • News for Thursday 101217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The State AG’s office reports two Rapides Parish men have been charged with child pornography offenses. 35 year old Gabriel Gunter of Lecompte and 57 year old Michael Wayne Tipton of Alexandria remain in the Rapides Parish Detention Center after their arrests by the AG's Cyber Crime and Fugitive Apprehension units.

     

    Opening statements were heard yesterday in the trial of Antonio Boyd, the so called head of the Triple M Murder team. Boyd is charged with second-degree murder, racketeering, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Because of the complexities surrounding the case, it is expected the trial will last more than two weeks.

     

    Louisiana House members will hold a closed door retreat today in order to try to find a fix for a one-billion-dollar plus state budget gap.  Alexandria Representative and GOP House Leader Lance Harris says he and Democratic chairman Gene Reynolds thought it would be a good idea to discuss their options. Harris hopes that a bi-partisan plan can be approved.  He says this retreat is just one step in what will be many toward a solution. A temporary one-cent sales tax will expire in July 2018, which will leave the state with a budget deficit of over one billion dollars. 

     

    Ten current and former LSU students were booked on charges Wedbesday in connection with the suspected hazing death of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver. All of the individuals are facing a misdemeanor hazing charge and one of them, 18-year-old Matthew Naquin of Texas, also faces a negligent homicide charge

     

    Sean Pennison is one of the ten LSU students arrested as part of the investigation into Max Gruver’s death. His Attorney Franz Borghardt says it’s extremely hard for these students as Max was their friend. He says Pennison is not being charged with Gruver’s death, only hazing. If found guilty of the misdemeanor, Pennison and the others could serve up to 30 days in jail.

     

    Four fraternities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have been suspended in the wake of LSU student Maxwell Gruver’s death. ULL Dean of Students Margarita Perez says after Gruver’s death, more students are willing now to come forward and report hazing. ULL suspended the four fraternities for an investigation but no word has been released on what occurred. During the summer, Kappa Sigma, was expelled from the UL-Lafayette campus.

     

    CenturyLink’s next chief executive tells the USA Today Network he will not live in Louisiana, but plans to keep the company’s headquarters in Monroe for now. Jeff Storey takes over as the leader of the Fortune 500 telecommunications company in 2019. The company and the state have a contract that requires Centurylink to remain headquartered in Louisiana through at least 2020. Centurylink employs over 27-hundred people in Louisiana.

     

    The CDC reports Louisiana had the second highest rate of HIV in 2016. Deputy Director for the Louisiana STD/HIV Program Chaquetta Johnson says they are aggressively tackling this epidemic. She says they have partnered with each office of public health and also with community and parish leaders to educate the public on these diseases. Louisiana is ranked second in the country when it comes to the high rates of STDs for the third year in a row.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Transportation has received an additional 60-million-dollars from the federal government for highway projects. Each year, the Federal Highway Administration allocates road repair funds not used by other states or national programs.  DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the money will be used to fix several bridges

     

    Former Saints and LSU star Tracy Porter has been arrested on drug and domestic battery charges.  Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says the victim visited Porter trying to get her keys back.  That’s when an argument started.

    Porter was arrested on charges of battery of dating partner, possession of marijuana and distribution of schedule II drugs.

     

    The 2007 LSU championship team will be honored at halftime this Saturday in Death Valley during the game between the Tigers and Auburn. Members of the ’07 squad and former Coach Les Miles are all slated to attend the reunion on the field. About 65-70 former team members have also agreed to come.

     

    The Ragin Cajuns play in front of a national television audience tonight when they host Texas State in a Sun Belt contest. The Bobcats are 1-and-5 and winless in league play. But Louisiana Coach Mark Hudspeth says Texas State has played better than what their record indicates. The Cajuns struggled on defense in their first four games, but looked much better in the win over Idaho last Saturday.

     

    Saints Coach Sean Payton calls the trade of running back Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals a “win-win” situation. Payton says the emergence rookie running back Alvin Kamara made it difficult to get Peterson the number of snaps he needs to be successful. The Saints will receive a conditional draft pick in next year’s draft from Arizona in exchange for Peterson. Payton says the Saints still have enough running backs on the roster to get through the season. The Saints host the Lions on Sunday.

     

    Thursday night NFL tonight. It’s the Carolina Panthers and The Philadelphia Eagles. Here the game starting at 7 on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3

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  • News for Wednesday 101117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Alexandria Police arrested an employee at Rapides Regional Medical Center for allegedly raping a patient who is suffering from dementia. It’s been reported another employee caught 27-year-old Juantavies White of Alexandria in the act. White has been charged with first-degree rape. The investigation is ongoing.

     

    The Rapides Parish Fair officially gets underway today and will continue through Sunday. As of right now, the weather looks perfect for the entire run. The hours today will be from  4-11, Thursday 3-11, Friday and Saturday the fair will run til 11:30 each evening and until 8pm Sunday.. Discount tickets are still available at the Cenla Broadcasting Studios at 1115 Texas avenue $25 (cash only) for 50 Tickets. That’s 50% off. The hours 9 to 4 today and tomorrow.

     

    The Morning Consult group says that President Donald Trump’s approval ratings have dropped some, but only two percent in Louisiana.  U-L-M  Political Science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says the drop from a 59 percent approval in January to 57 percent now is not a big deal… The president’s approval rating in Louisiana is still the fourth highest in the country.

     

    Champion Home Builders announces a manufactured housing production facility will be established in the Vernon Parish town of Leesville. Mayor Rick Allen says these jobs are desperately needed and will provide good wages and benefits to employees. He says the project will create 200 direct jobs and 218 indirect jobs.

     

    As a result of criminal justice reform measures passed in the last legislative session, 14-hundred inmates in Louisiana will be released early from prison in November. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said last week that some extremely dangerous criminals could be back on our streets. But Criminal Justice Reform Field Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center John Burkhardt says no one convicted of sex crimes, manslaughter or murder will be released early as a result of the legislation approved earlier this year. He says the new sentencing laws accelerate the release mechanism for inmates on good time parole.

     

    The N-F-L has been more about the National Anthem than the game itself recently.   Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams, specifying that all players and coaches quote – “should stand for the National Anthem.”  N-F-L analyst Mike Detellier says it’s sad team owners didn’t force the issue prior to Goodell’s memo. Detellier says President Donald Trump’s remarks about the N-F-L helped to keep the controversy alive and has proved to be problematic for the league

     

    Lafayette police say they have arrested a Baton Rouge man in connection with the death of a woman injected with silicone.  23-year-old Brionna Guillory died after allegedly receiving the injections from 33-year-old Vincent Jamal Boles. Lafayette Police Corporal Karl Ratcliff says the silicone traveled throughout Guillory’s body to her heart and lungs.

     

    Monroe-based Flying Tiger Brewery will donate a portion of the revenues from their latest brew, War Hawk, to scholarships through the University of Louisiana Monroe Foundation. Flying Tiger Co-owner Robert Brewer says they want to help ULM because the school doesn’t get the credit it deserves, aside from academics.

     

    High school students from across the state will be designing the new Louisiana Seafood logo.  The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board has partnered with the Louisiana Department of Education to let students design the new logo.  Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says it’s a good way for students to use the creative skills they have learned. Submissions will be accepted through December 15th and is open to all high school students in Louisiana.  The winner will be announced in April 2018.

     

    The father for wounded East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier says his son is making remarkable progress.  Tullier was seriously injured during a police ambush in Baton Rouge in July 2016.   James Tullier says his son has been moved from a rehab facility in Houston to the Transitional Learning Center in Galveston, Texas, marking an important point in his recovery. James Tullier says his son is continuing to beat the odds so much so that doctor’s predictions on the final outcome have long been surpassed…

     

    Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting parents, guardians and consumers there are several child products that have been recently recalled. Landry has a list on his website. Among the items that are listed…Strollers by Delta, Activity Toys by Manhattan Toy, Children’s Pajamas by Sweet Bamboo and Nightlight Soothers by Skip Hop.

     

    Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson is no longer a Saint. New Orleans has traded the veteran to Arizona for a conditional draft pick. Peterson had trouble fitting in with the Saints as he only ran the ball 27 times for 81 yards, while the Cardinals have been looking for a running back since losing David Johnson to a wrist injury in the season opener.

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  • News for Tuesday 101017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police are investigating a fatal crash on I-10 eastbound near Butte La Rose in St. Martin Parish, where an 18-wheeler was engulfed in flames Monday morning. State Police say the driver of the big rig drove off the interstate into a bridge and traveled down the road before the truck overturned and burst into flames. Master Trooper Brooks David says emergency crews needed several hours to clean up the mess which included a load of potatoes. Officials confirmed the driver of the truck was killed in the crash.

     

    Baton Rouge-area law enforcement are investigating a shooting Monday that killed a camp ranger at the Avondale Scout Reservation in Clinton and its possible link to three other shootings over the last four months. The victim has been identified as 48-year-old Brad DeFrancheschi (De-Fran Chess-Key). Authorities say the man was close to the road when he was shot multiple times in front of his home. The Monday shooting happened on the same road less than 10 miles away from where a Sept. 12 drive-by shooting injured, but didn't kill a 47-year-old man who was exercising near the roadside on his property.

     

    The formation of Tropical Storm Ophelia in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean makes it 15 named storms during this very active Atlantic hurricane season. The good news is, the storm is moving away from the U.S. mainland.

     

    Election Day is less than a week away for the special election to select a new State Treasurer. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says usually we see numerous ads in the days leading up to an election, but this quiet race to remain quiet. The state treasurer’s race features three Republican candidates, who have been able to raise some money. There’s also a Democrat, but he has failed to receive the endorsement of his own party. Pinsonat says none of these candidates have enough money to make a huge push before election day.

     

    Financial help is being provided for the family of a slain Lafayette Police Officer. 44-year-old Corporal Michael Middlebrook was killed last week in the line of. Community Foundation of Acadiana President Raymond Hebert says the support towards the family has been incredible. Donations may be made through the website cfacadiana.org

     

    Former LSU and pro Hall of Fame quarterback, Y.A. Tittle, passed away Sunday night at the age of 90, the school confirmed today. Tittle was a two-time All SEC quarterback when he played for LSU. He enjoyed his greatest team success by leading the Giants to three straight Eastern Conference titles, passing for 86 touchdowns between 1961 and 1963.

     

    The University of Louisiana System has set a goal to graduate 150-thousands students by 2025. U-L System President Jim Henderson says if this can be accomplished by the nine universities in the system, these students will be the most educated generation in Louisiana history. Henderson says it’s time Louisiana started to invest more in its students. He says we need to focus more on the outcomes of investments, rather than what it costs on the front end.

     

    Iberville Parish leaders will discuss a proposed law on October 17th that would prevent an individual from damaging or defacing the nation’s or the state’s flag. Councilman Matthew Jewell says last Veterans Day, a group of people ripped down and burned an American flag. He says the veterans were extremely upset about it so he decided to take action. Jewell says strong penalties would come along with the ordinance.

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  • News for Monday 100917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Early voting for the October 14th election, which ended on Saturday, was very light. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the turnout for the election this Saturday might be even lower than 20-percent. The ballot includes a special election for state treasurer, a south Louisiana Public Service Commission seat, three constitutional amendments and the general New Orleans mayoral race, where 18 candidates are running. 

     

    Hurricane Nate steered east of New Orleans after making a double landfall Saturday night, first in Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River then again nearby just outside Biloxi. The storm's winds never reached the Category 2 strength that forecasters had suggested could happen, and New Orleans was spared the storm's brunt. But, we’re not out of the woods yet. A Tropical disturbance formed Sunday in Atlantic. Forecasters say it has a 70 percent chance of developing.

     

    Now that Hurricane Nate is a memory for Louisiana, what will that mean for gas prices?  Oil rigs from Louisiana to Alabama were shut down and the industry hasn’t fully recovered from Hurricane Harvey in August.  Don Redman from Triple-A says any increase in prices we see will be short lived. Refineries are also gearing up to switch from the summer blend to winter grade gasoline, which Redman says could affect prices. Despite the storm, Redman says drivers are paying more on average than we have for the past several years.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has identified A body found in Buhlow Lake as that of 62 year old Philip Brandt III of Alexandria. Boaters found Brandt's body around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Brandt was pronounced dead at the scene. A red kayak and a paddle that belonged to Brandt were found about 100 yards away from his body. An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death.

     

    With the decline in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, any hope of exporting Louisiana goods is shrinking.  A year ago, Governor John Bel Edwards and State Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain led a delegation from Louisiana to Cuba to strength the relationship between the Bayou State and the island nation. Strain says if the trade embargo with Cuba is lifted it could mean millions of dollars for the state and the ag industry, so he’s hopeful the diplomatic relations can be restored.

     

    The Florida Gators paid tribute to Tom Petty during Saturday's 17-16 home loss to LSU.

    Petty's 1989 hit "I Won't Back Down" played over the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium sound system between the third and fourth quarters on Saturday. To the dismay of some Florida fans, that was also the same time the LSU band started playing. Gators fans were not amused. Petty , who died last week, was born and raised in Gainesville, Petty once worked as a groundskeeper at the University of Florida as he tried to make it in the music industry.

     

    After suffering the program’s first loss against a team from the Sun Belt Conference, the LSU Tigers bounced back with a 17-16 win victory over Florida in the Swamp. It was a hard fought victory for the Tigers, who finished with three freshmen on the offensive line because of injuries.

     

    Louisiana Tech also suffered a tough loss on Saturday as UAB blocked a 30-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to preserve a 23-22 win over the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech was a big favorite to win the game.

     

    The Ragin Cajuns snapped a three-game losing streak by going on the road and beating Idaho 21-16

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  • News for Friday 100617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Nate continues to make its way to the Gulf Coast with Louisiana in its sights.  David Zelinsky (Zuh-lin-ski) with the National Hurricane Center says Gulf Coast residents need to remain alert this weekend. The good news is Nate will not be as strong a storm as Harvey, Irma or Maria. This will be the fourth named storm to reach U.S. Landfall this year. 

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards held his first briefing on Nate and said they do anticipate that Louisiana will take a direct hit when it makes landfall. He says the state is prepared, but people need to pay attention. Edwards says Nate is expected to impact the area early Sunday morning, as either a strong tropical storm, or category one hurricane. He says that could change at any time, and he encourages residents to monitor the updates, and follow directions you’re given from local authorities. Edwards says he has asked President Donald Trump to declare a pre-landfall state of emergency in Louisiana.

     

    The Grand Isle Mayor has issued a voluntary evacuation order, as the island is expecting 4 to 5 inches of rain; and unusually high tides. Grand Isle schools will be closed Friday and Monday.

     

    Nate is affecting some sports events in Louisiana.  The LSU-Florida game is still on in Gainesville, but other games have been affected.  Tulane will now play Tulsa at 11am, Nicholls State versus Northwestern State will kick off at 11am in Thibodaux  instead of 6:30.  And the Southeastern Louisiana-Incarnate Word contest in Hammond begins at 10am…

     

    State Police have arrested a St. Joseph mother for allegedly murdering her newborn and putting him in the dumpster. The one day old boy was found Monday in front of an elementary school. Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt says 21-year-old Alicia Richard is charged with first degree murder.  An autopsy has been performed on the infant and the cause of death is ruled to be blunt force trauma.  Bond is set at 200-thousand-dollars

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards can’t understand why Congress didn’t include 2016 Louisiana flood victims in legislation that gives this year’s hurricane victims special disaster tax breaks. The bill has five tax relief provisions. Edwards says Congress should not pit storm victims against one another.

     

    Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator says the 192 felons that will be released early from prison next month in Caddo Parish is due to new laws. He says Louisiana does need some reform but.  During a news conference in Shreveport today, Prator gave examples of the kind of inmates that will be set free next month as a result of the new laws laws. The Sheriff says he knows of one prisoner who will be let out seven years early who should not be out on the streets.

     

    Former New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson is set to be released from his 13-year prison sentence for taking bribes. A federal judge says seven out of ten counts against Jefferson are now invalid. The feds must now decide if they want to pursue the remaining 3 counts.  Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino says the ruling is based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s corruption case .Ciolino says Jefferson’s time in prison might be done based on yesterday’s ruling.

     

    New data from InsuranceQuotes finds Louisianans who bundle their auto and home insurance could save an average of nearly 600 dollars a year. Senior insurance analyst Laura Adams says if you own a home and are a driver in the Bayou State, you can save about 19-percent on insurance. Adams says it’s a good idea to shop around with different providers.

     

     

    The LSU Tigers are ranked as the nation’s fifth most-valuable college football program in a report out of Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus. The analysis, by Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance, broke down each team’s available revenue and expenses from 2016. He found that if the Tigers were for sale, they’d be worth about $911 million dollars.

     

    The LSU Tigers take on No. 21 Florida tomorrow on the road, and not many people are giving The Bayou Bengals much of a chance in the Swamp. Associate Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says if LSU wants to start winning games, they are going to have to start playing a lot better. This is the game that was supposed to be played in Baton Rouge, but Hurricane Matthew forced the 2016 contest to be moved from Gainesville.

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  • News for Thursday 100517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Norris Greenhouse Jr. was sentenced to seven and half years Wednesday for his role in the shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis.  The former Marksville Marshal pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and malfeasance in office.  An earlier trial stemming from the incident resulted in Derrick Stafford, another ex-Marshal, being sentenced to 40 years for manslaughter.  The shooting victim’s father, Christopher Few says he’s glad there will not be another trial.

     

    The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the development of a hurricane develop in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Right now, the system called Tropical Depression 16 is near Central America, but it will head north in the coming days. The current forecast track has what could be Hurricane Nate making landfall as a Category One storm anywhere between the Mississippi-Alabama line to Tampa, Florida.

     

    Authorities in Winn Parish report a huge drug bust .  Local and federal authorities have indicted 21 people after a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking in Winn Parish. Eleven of the defendants were indicted on federal charges, and 10 face state charges. All but one of the 21 are in custody.

     

    Rapides Parish School Board employees will receive an extra $297 check on Nov. 17.

    The money represents excess collections from a half-cent sales tax passed last year to give school system employees raises. Board members voted Tuesday to distribute the roughly $1.2 million next month ahead of Thanksgiving and the approaching holiday season.  School Board employees received a similar excess check in May.

     

    Visitation is today for fallen Lafayette Police Officer Cpl. Michael Middlebrook who was killed during an exchange of gunfire at a convenience store last weekend. Police Chief Toby Aguillard says Middlebrook was born in Thibodeaux and had a stellar nine year career with Lafayette PD. Middlebrook was allegedly shot by 28-year-old Ian Howard who is in jail without bond and charged with first degree murder.

     

    State Police are awaiting autopsy results on an infant that was found dead in a dumpster in Tensas Parish. Media reports say the grisly discovery was made at Tensas Elementary School. Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt says once the autopsy is completed they’ll have a better idea as to what happened.

     

    Allergy sufferers might be suffering a bit due to the hot and humid conditions over the past few weeks. Doctor Sanjay (CAM-BO-JUH) Kamboj, an allergy expert at LSU Health New Orleans says those with allergies should use saline nasal spray twice a day, and follow that with nasal steroids. He also recommends keeping windows and doors closed and running the air conditioner to help filter out allergens.

     

    The LSU fraternity pledge who died last month may have drank an excessive amount of alcohol during a drinking game according to Police records.  Legal analyst Tim Meche says although there is Louisiana law to hold someone responsible for causing an overdose by injecting illegal drugs, there is no such law for alcohol.  Because of this Meche says the fraternity members involved should avoid felony charges. Max Gruver died after a night of playing the game called “Bible Study” in which pledges had to drink for incorrect answers to questions about the frat.

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  • News for Wednesday 100417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Thoughts and prayers going out to the family of 20 year old Specialist Alexander Missildine, a soldier based at Fort Polk. Missildine was killed and another soldier was injured in Iraq Sunday when an IED detonated near their convoy. Missildine was from Tyler, Texas and was a motor transport operator. He served with 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

     

    A broad area of low pressure has formed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea and it’s expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it has a medium chance of developing into a tropical depression by this weekend. Forecasters are also watching a trough of low pressure over Cuba.

     

    The State Police are investigating an officer involved shooting death during a traffic stop in Ouachita Parish Monday afternoon.  The OPSO report says the driver pulled a gun from his waistband and one of two deputies at the scene fired a fatal bullet killing the suspect. A passenger in the vehicle, 35-year-old William Underwood, was later taken into custody and is facing multiple charges.

     

    Saints Coach Sean Payton says current gun laws are flawed and frustrating as he spoke about gun control in light of the massacre that occurred in Las Vegas. In a conference call with beat reporters, Payton says the current system in our country right now is not working and that there has to be a better way. Payton says if people don’t like his position for common sense gun control, that’s tough.

     

    Louisiana is set to receive 55-million dollars in federal grant money to improve the reading and writing skills of struggling students. State department of education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says the state will receive 18.5 million dollars each year for the next three years. State officials say only 36-percent of Louisiana children are able to read and write on grade level by fourth grade. Dunn says this grant will accelerate the learning of all students reading below grade level.

     

    Police reports say the LSU fraternity pledge who died last month may have been forced to drink an excessive amount of alcohol as part of an initiation ritual called “Bible Study.” Phi Delta Theta pledges who gave incorrect answers to questions about the frat were forced to drink. Officials believe 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver’s death is a possible hazing incident.

     

    What Houma natives Holly and Tracy Pitre thought would be an evening of dancing and fun at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas turned into a night of terror. Holly says they are lucky to be at the right place at the right time to avoid being killed or injured as a gunman fired shots from the 32nd floor of the Mandalya Bay hotel. The couple are home safe and sound.

     

    Police arrested a man in his underwear after he allegedly crashed through a fence at the Slidell Municipal Airport and hit utility pole. Slidell Police Detective Daniel Seuzeneau says 43-year-old Kevin Bolton told his authorities he was on his way to see a voodoo doctor. Bolton has been charged with careless operation and hit and run.

     

    Norwegian Cruise Line has announced it’s sending the Norwegian Breakaway to sail from New Orleans beginning in November of next year. This will be the largest cruise vessel ever to sail out of The Big Easy. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says this ship is over 1,000 feet and will hold about 4,000 passengers. The Norwegian Breakaway will sail seven, ten and 11 day seasonal cruises.

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  • News for Tuesday 100317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    An arrest has been made in Sunday night’s shooting death of a Lafayette police officer at a convenience store. 28 year old, Ian Paul Howard was arrested in connection with the death of Officer Michael Middlebrook. Howard is charged with one count of first degree murder of a police officer. State Trooper Brooks (DAH-VEED) David says two people inside the convenience store sustained non-life threatening injuries. Howard was a nine-year veteran of the police force.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statement in response to the Sunday night killing of a Lafayette police officer  as well as the horrific mass shooting that took place at a country music festival Sunday night in Las Vegas. The governor issuing an executive order lowering the Louisiana and American flags over all state public buildings through Friday.

     

    One person died and another person was seriously wounded in a shooting on Interstate-20 in Shreveport shortly after midnight Monday. Shreveport authorities say they believe the victims were shot by someone with a rifle. The driver, 22-year-old Kenyon Frazier, was shot multiple times and doctors say he has life-threatening injuries. The deceased person has not been identified.

     

    A “Save LSU Football” GoFundMe campaign has been set up to buy out Coach Ed Orgeron and Athletic Director Joe Alleva. But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says getting rid of Coach O would cost the program $12 million dollars and they’re still paying Les Miles $9 million dollars — plus former men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones and his assistants are also getting buyout money. The Tigers football team is off to a disappointed 3-and-2 start.

     

    A self-inflicted gunshot to the head is the cause of death listed on the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s autopsy report for the LSU student whose body was found on Friday evening by hunters.  21 year old, Michael Nickelotte Junior had gone missing on September 18th. The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab used DNA tests to make a positive ID of the remains Monday.

     

    State Police say two of their own troopers have been demoted in rank for the expensive road trip they took to a law enforcement conference in San Diego last year. It was determined the troopers took a side trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, paid for by taxpayers. The trip cost a reported 19-thousand dollars.

     

    A Shreveport TV station is reporting the former mayor of Stanley and current alderwoman of the DeSoto Parish town has died as a result of home explosion that occurred on September 18th. 92-year-old Dwena Henry suffered extensive burns and was at the University Hospital in Shreveport.  The home exploded as a result of a natural gas leak.

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  • News for Monday 100217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Former Marksville city deputy marshal Norris Greenhouse Junior agrees to a plea deal and a seven and a half year prison sentence for the 2015 fatal shooting of a six-year-old boy. Authorities say Greenhouse and Derrick Stafford opened fire on Christopher Few’s car, wounding him and killing his son. Stafford received a 40-year sentence on a manslaughter conviction. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the Few family is likely satisified. Greenhouse plead guilty to negligent homicide and malfeasance in office.

     

    Early voting is now under way for the October 14th election. New Orleans has a race for mayor, while south Louisiana voters can vote for candidates for the Public Service Commission. Statewide ballots have three constitutional amendments listed and voters can select from candidates for State Treasurer. Voters can take advantage of early voting until October 7th.

     

    We’re coming towards the end of the Atlantic hurricane season but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods just yet. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Louisiana has seen some notable hurricanes in the month of October. He says Hurricane Juan hit our coast in 1985 from October 28th to the 31st. Keim says so far, we’ve had 14 named storms and the Colorado State Forecast Team predicts 16 this season. He says the season technically ends November 30th.

     

    State Climatologist Barry Keim says this is one of the driest September’s on record. He says statewide there’s been less one inch of rainfall this month and we usually see an average of over four inches for September. Keim says a lack of tropical activity explains the abnormally dry month.

     

    Over three-hundred Louisiana National Guardsmen are set deploy to Puerto Rico to assist after the devastation brought by Hurricane Maria. Governor’s office of homeland security and emergency preparedness spokesperson Mike Steele says GOHSEP and the Guard are also sending an 11-person team to help Puerto Rican officials find housing for displaced citizens. A smaller emergency team will go to the U-S Virgin Islands to help their recovery from Hurricane Irma. Steele says the governor is happy to lend this kind of support.

     

    Starting with the freshman class in the fall of 2018, first year LSU students are required to live on campus. Assistant Vice President for Residential Life Steve Waller says they’ve been working towards this goal for a few years because research shows students who live in a dorm their first year of college perform better in school. Waller says many dormitory construction projects are expected to be completed by next fall so there are enough beds to accommodate the increase in freshmen staying on campus.

    Students 21 years or older or have medical needs can also be exempt.

     

    The search for the missing LSU student turned up a body that authorities think is 21 year old Michael Nickelotte Junior. The body was discovered by hunters off of Ben Hur road, just south of the campus. Investigators do not suspect foul play at this time. DNA tests will be done for a positive ID of the remains. Michael Nickelotte Junior had last been seen on September 18th at a campus apartment complex.

     

    An LSU political science professor finds that proactive policing may be counter-productive as a deterrent to major crime. Christopher Sullivan studied a specific seven-week period when the New York Police Department halted aggressive policing against minor crimes and the data shows serious criminal activity dropped. The public complaints of major crime declined by three to six percent during the halt on proactive policing.

     

    Sports..

     

    After starting the season with back-to-back losses, the Saints have put together two consecutive victories. New Orleans dominated the Dolphins 20-0 at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday and head into the bye week with a two-and-two record. Miami only had 185 yards of offense. It was the Saints first shutout since 2012 and for the fourth consecutive game, New Orleans did not have a turnover.

     

    LSU’s homecoming celebration was ruined by Troy University, who came into Baton Rouge and upset the once mighty Tigers 24-21. The Trojans took control of the game with a turnover on the first offensive play and then a quick touchdown. At one point, Troy had a 17 point lead. The loss drops LSU’s record to 3-2 and has many fans wondering if this team will be able to qualify for a bowl game.

     

    ULM is 2-0 in the Sun Belt Conference after beating Coastal Carolina 51-43 on Saturday. ULM is now 2-and-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Sun Belt for the first time since the 2014 season. The Warhawks are Texas State next Saturday.

     

    Louisiana Tech beat South Alabama Saturday 34 to 16 Tech is now 3 and 2 on the season.

     

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  • News for Friday 092917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Early voting begins tomorrow for the October 14th election, but Secretary of State Tom Schedler doesn’t expect a big turnout. Three constitutional amendments, the state treasurer’s race and a few big local elections are on the ballot. However, Schedler says there has not been much publicity. There is also a vacant Public Service Commissioner seat on the ballot for many voters in south Louisiana, as Scott Angelle left his post to work for President Donald Trump. Early voting is from 8:30 am to 6 p.m. and starts Saturday and continues through October 7th, except on Sunday.

     

    Voters should be aware of three constitutional amendments on the October 14thballot. Amendment number one establishes a property tax exemption for construction work in progress. Amendment two would give surviving spouses of first responders who died while on duty a property tax exemption. And amendment three would create a construction subfund of the transportation trust fund that would force any new revenue from any future increase in the state gas tax to go towards road and highway construction projects and nothing else.

     

    The state Department of Transportation’s Motorist Assistance Patrol Program, or MAP program, is headed to Alexandria to help with serious congestion problems in the region. Deidrea Druilhet with DOTD says the goal of introducing the MAP program to this central Louisiana area is to get traffic back to peak capacity by providing free help to drivers. Druilhet says the MAP program has proven successful in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans. She says patrols will be out to assist on local highways, not just I-49.

     

    House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was greeted with a roaring ovation yesterday when  he returned to the U.S. Capitol for the first time since he was shot by a gunman in the left hip The Metairie native says while it was an evil act, he was able to see the goodness of people. 60 minutes will have a feature on Scalise on Sunday night.

     

    A UNO statewide poll finds a majority of Louisiana voters believe NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be punished. But Researcher Tony Licciardi says there was a stark difference between black and white respondents, 70-percent of whites say they should penalized, while only 34-percent of blacks felt the same. He says big racial divides in polling are not uncommon. The survey also found 49-percent approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, while 45-percent disapprove.

     

    The two suspects wanted in the fatal stabbing of an 82-year-old woman in Shreveport are in a jail in Texas awaiting extradition back to Caddo Parish. Shreveport Police say Roy Narcisse and Kiana Williams of Ville Platte were located in San Angelo, Texas and they were still in possession of the victim’s vehicle.

     

    West Baton Rouge officials say a 5 year old Lafayette boy passed away Thursday from the injuries he sustained in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 on Tuesday. Xander Cruz clung to life for two days after an 18 wheeler struck three vehicles on Tuesday. His grandmother says the boy’s organs will be donated to others.

     

    One week after multiple Louisiana Sheriff’s Offices announced a lawsuit against several opioid manufacturers, the state Health Department has filed its own lawsuit claiming these drug companies helped fuel a severe opioid epidemic. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it could be difficult for the plaintiffs in a trial, because opioids are regulated and approved by the FDA and prescribed by doctors.

     

    Parkway High School in Bossier Parish has told students that any school athlete that kneels or disrespects the flag during the national anthem could be kicked off the team. Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie Esman says the laws of our country do not allow the schools to prohibit students from peacefully protesting in this manner. Esman says they haven’t heard of any other school districts prohibiting students from this type of protest. But she says they issued a statement so other schools thinking of taking similar action know what the law is.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU faces Troy for homecoming tomorrow night. After losing the season opener to Boise State, the Trojans have won three in a row. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Troy is not a team you can overlook…LSU is coming off an uninspiring victory over Syracuse. Moran says he’ll look for improved play from the offensive line, after they struggled to pass block last week. You can hear the game starting at 4 on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ.

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  • News for Thursday 092817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Cleco announces a new two year, 130-million dollar project to improve customer service and it will also help stimulate the economy. Spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says they are calling it the START program and it will create 221 jobs, as they will replace Cleco’s core technology of multiple systems with one primary system.  She says the START program will improve efficiency and also help the state and local economies.

     

    Crime Stoppers is asking for information on the robbery of the South Circle Pawn shop in Alexandria last Thursday. The APD reports a large quantity on fire arms were taken in the overnight robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 443-7867 or go to rpso.org/crime-stoppers. A reward is being offered and all information is confidential.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says although he’s on an official trip in Europe to promote Louisiana tourism, he’s decided to not attend the Saints Sunday game at Wembley Stadium. This is due to some Saints players failing to stand for the national anthem. Nungesser says he’s worked with people who have lost loved ones in war.

    Nungesser says he won’t support anyone who disrespects the national anthem.

     

    Meanwhile, though some lawmakers have called on the state to cut tax benefits to the Saints organization Senate President John Alario says that would be just as un-American as not standing for the anthem. Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s unfortunate to see NFL players not stand for national anthem, but that doesn’t mean the state can end its current agreement with the Saints.

     

    House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot at a Republican Congressional Baseball team practice last June, will appear on 60 minutes Sunday to discuss his road to recovery.

     

    St. Bernard Parish authorities say a 56-year-old man attacked his ex-wife with an ax as she left her home for work Wednesday morning, killing her. 48-year-old Kimberly Owens suffered fatal injuries as her mother watched from the home. The sheriff says Kimberly Owens had a restraining order against Mark Owens, who turned himself in.

     

    Shreveport police detectives are trying to determine who fatally stabbed an 82-year-old woman who lived alone. Kathleen Cates was pronounced dead at the scene, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Neighbors say a man and woman performed yard work at the home before she was killed. They are considered persons of interest.

     

    17-year-old Vincent Cummings has been arrested in connection to the death of an 8-month-old girl in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola says Cummings admitted to police that 8-month-old Katelyn Carter was acting strange so he picked the child up and squeezed her extremely hard. He is charged with second degree murder and cruelty to a juvenile.

     

    Lake Charles Police have charged a former Angola prison inmate with the fatal shooting of a 10-year-old child and his 17 year old brother who was also injured in the shooting incident. Authorities arrested 50-year-old Felton Thompson in New Orleans overnight. He served 24 years in Angola for armed robbery. A motive for last weekend’s shooting is not known.

     

    Sports..

     

    Defensive end Cam Jordan was one of the ten Saints players who sat during last Sunday’s playing of the national anthem prior to the victory against Carolina. Jordan says he respects the flag and our troops and he loves everything about our country, but he felt they needed to do something after President Donald Trump said players should be fired for protesting during the anthem. Jordan says the demonstrations are to highlight social injustices that occur in America and they are not trying to create a rift, but they are pushing for unity.

     

    Quarterback Drew Brees says if you’re an American, you should stand with your hand over your hear during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Brees says before this Sunday’s Dolphins game in London, the team plans on being unified during the national anthem.

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  • News for Wednesday 092717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Jury selection will begin on Monday morning in Marksville as scheduled in the trial of Norris Greenhouse Jr. The attorney for Greenhouse asked the 12th district court, due to the extreme media coverage of the story, to move the trial during a hearing on Monday. Yesterday, Judge William Bennett ruled the only way to know if Greenhouse can receive a fair trial in Avoyelles Parish is to question potential jurors. Greenhouse faces charges of attempted second-degree and second-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2015, shooting of Christopher Few and his son, Jeremy Mardis.

     

    The latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act pushed by Senator Bill Cassidy is over for now as the votes are not there in the U.S Senate. However, Cassidy says on a bi-partisan level, lawmakers believe Obamacare is not doing well, so he’s not giving up. Cassidy’s bill would have given block grant health care funding to states for them to decide how to use it.

     

    Now that Senate GOP leaders have decided not to vote on a bill that would repeal Obamacare, Louisiana’s Junior Senator John Kennedy says it’s time for Congress to focus on tax reform. He says cutting taxes is the only thing that will get the economy moving again. Kennedy says citizens are taxed on just about every single thing they do, and over-regulation is strangling the economy. He says his goal is to implement tax cuts, both for middle class Americans and for businesses, by November.

     

    The push back continues over the decision by ten Saints players not to stand for the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game against Carolina. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser told two media outlets he’s boycotting the team. Nungesser says not standing for the anthem is un-American and offensive to the military.

     

    Another lawmaker has voiced her disapproval of multiple Saints players refusing to stand for the national anthem. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges wants to examine the team’s agreement with Louisiana that contains state subsidies. She’s called for a discussion to take place during next month’s legislative budget meeting.

    Hodges says the American flag is not a political symbol for NFL players to use to protest. She says it’s un-American to see players kneel, some with their fists in the air.

     

    It’s been a month since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and gas prices are slowly starting to go down after about 28% of refining capacity was knocked out because of the storm. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, says with the switch-over to winter-blend gasoline, demand beginning to slow and Gulf Coast refineries coming back, consumers can expect to see much lower prices at the pump next month.

     

    5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham will hold a listening session on Friday morning at Rayville High School to receive input from farmers and ag leaders on what they want included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Abraham wants to know what is working and what could be improved. State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and the Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson will attend the listening session.

     

    East Baton Rouge authorities found a body underneath a truck early Tuesday morning.  Now, Stephen Herbert is charged with DWI and negligent homicide in the death of his brother Kirk Hebert.  EBR Sheriff spokesperson Casey Hicks says Stephen Hebert admitted that he and his brother had been drinking.   She says that beyond that, the suspect did not remember much.

     

    Lafayette Police say an Oklahoma man broke into a woman’s home, sexually assaulted her and forced her to withdraw money from an ATM. Corporal Karl Ratcliff says 22-year-old Devon Bell had only been in the area for a few days. The victim alerted police after the suspect fled from her vehicle.

     

    An Arcadia Councilwoman faces up to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of stealing water bill payments when she served as the town’s clerk. Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street says Patricia Hampton used the public’s money for her own personal use. Hampton will be sentenced on November eighth and she’s been automatically suspended from public office, pending an appeal.

     

    Five teenagers are accused of damaging over 50 Christmas trees at the Shady Pond Farm in St. Tammany Parish. Owner Clarke Gernon says 10 trees were destroyed during Labor Day weekend and the perpetrators came back last weekend, but this time the state forestry department set up motion-detection cameras and the vandalism was caught on video. Gernon says damage was in excess of six thousand dollars.

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  • News for Tuesday 092617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A total of six suspects have now been charged in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old De'Juan Ledet last Wednesday on Duhon lane. Two were charged the day after the shooting, while two more were charged over the weekend. Monday afternoon,  the APD announced 17 year old Donerious Roy and 19-year-old Devontae Chism were being booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery.  The department arrested 19-year-old Marcel Jones and an unidentified 16-year-old over the weekend.

     

    A hearing was held yesterday on a change of venue in the case of Norris Greenhouse Jr.  Last week, Greenhouse, Jr.'s attorney, George Higgins, filed a motion for a change of venue citing too much pretrial publicity. Greenhouse faces a murder and attempted murder charge for the 2015 death of 6 year old Jeremy Mardis and the shooting of his father, Chris Few. Following the hearing, no decision was made by Judge William Bennett, but a decision could come as soon as today.

     

    Once again Louisiana ranks in the top five for the rate of women who are murdered by men. The Violence Policy Center looked at the latest data available, which is 2015, and found the rate in Louisiana is double the national average and the Bayou State has the third highest rating in the country. Executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mariah Wineski, says one factor is inadequate funding for domestic violence services, for those seeking immediate safety.  Another factor is easy firearm access for abusers. She says state and federal law prohibit many abusers from possessing firearms, but Louisiana lacks any consistent process for actually implementing these prohibitions.

     

    Ten Saints players sat on the bench during the national anthem prior to the team’s win over Carolina, now a state lawmaker says it’s time for Louisiana to stop giving the professional franchise taxpayer dollars. St. Francisville Representative Kenny Havard says these players have a right to protest, but they should not do it during the anthem.

    The Saints receive millions of dollars in tax dollars, exemptions and credits.

     

    Dozens of NFL players didn’t stand during the anthem following comments made by President Donald Trump at a rally in Alabama. Mr. Trump said the NFL should fire players who sit or knee during the anthem. Saints QB Drew Brees disagrees with the President. But Brees wishes the protests for social inequality didn’t involve sitting during the anthem.

     

    A 10-year-old was killed and a teenager was injured in a shooting that happened Sunday night in Lake Charles. Deputy Chief Mark Kraus says this is not a case where two children were playing with a gun and it accidentally discharged. He says someone shot these kids. The 10-year-old child that died is Jaylyn Citizen and the 17-year-old is in stable condition, after undergoing surgery.

     

    State Police say a 7 year old was killed in a single vehicle crash in St. Charles parish.  Trooper Melissa Matey says they believe the driver, 32 year old Islam Ezzo was impaired when he ran off of the roadway. State Police say the child was not properly restrained.

     

    Six Winnfield Senior High School students were recognized on the House floor by Congressman Ralph Abraham after serving as pallbearers for a World War II veteran. 93-year-old Thomas Hunter had no close family so the football players stepped up after learning about the situation. Abraham says this is an inspiring story about a community rallying to honor a hero.

     

    There’s yet another reality show with northeast Louisiana ties that is quickly becoming the latest TV craze. Rednecks 4 Hire follows three men who do nasty jobs that nobody else wants to deal with. David Yelton says he and Mike Myers and Kevin Dodd will do almost anything. Yelton says the three of them know each other from church, and decided to work together to help people out. He says everything you see on the show actually happened the exact way it’s presented. Yelton says so far they’ve filmed 6 episodes which air on the CW at 6:30am on Saturdays, and 12:30pm on Sundays. You can also watch the show through their YouTube Channel

     

    Sports..

     

    25th ranked LSU continues preparations today for its final nonconference game of the year as the Tigers will host Troy on Saturday night. Last week, LSU focused on not committing penalties and they only had three called against in the Syracuse game. Head Coach Ed Orgeron says they look to get more consistent on offense this week.

     

    LSU has announced the game time for the away Florida game on October 7th. The Gators and Tigers will kickoff in The Swamp at 2:30pm central time on CBS.

     

     

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  • News for Monday 092517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A hearing is set for today on a motion to change the venue of Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s trial. He and Derrick Stafford, former Marksville City Marshals, are accused in the death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis. Stafford was already convicted for attempted manslaughter and manslaughter in Avoyelles Parish. Legal Analyst Tim Meche believes there’s a good chance Greenhouse’s trial will be moved, due to a glut of publicity. Greenhouse is facing charges of attempted second degree murder in the injuring of the father, Christopher Few, and second degree murder for the death of Mardis.

     

    Arizona Senator John McCain has announced he opposes the health care bill that’s co-authored by Louisiana’s senior senator Bill Cassidy. In a statement, McCain says we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats. D-C observers say McCain’s opposition is a significant setback in Cassidy’s efforts to get the legislation passed this month.

     

    East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore sent an email to local school administrators alerting them police have seen an increase in possession of alcohol and intoxication among high school students at LSU home games. Moore says law enforcement agencies that provide security on LSU game days will increase their presence. The letter comes as the campus is reeling from the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver fraternity pledge.

     

    Meanwhile Governor John Bel Edwards is requesting university officials to review their hazing, drug and alcohol abuse policies, in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver at a fraternity. Edwards does not want to see another student die as a result of a possible hazing incident.

     

    The first police report on Gruver’s death was released by LSU-PD and indicates the freshman was found unresponsive at the fraternity house, then later pronounced dead at a hospital.

     

    Southern University announces that the contract for medical marijuana cultivation and production has been awarded to Advanced Biomedics out of Lafayette.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is visiting Germany and the United Kingdom, leading a mission along with 17 tourism partners, to promote Louisiana and the direct flights into New Orleans. Nungesser says so far the international flights have been extremely popular. Nungesser says Germans are required to take 24 days of paid vacation every year, and he wants them to come to Louisiana.

     

    The US Supreme Court is expected today decide today whether to accept a petition

    by a New Orleans man who was convicted on a 10-2 vote of murder in 2015.

    Louisiana is one of two states where a unanimous decision is not necessary for a

    felony. Dale Lambert, who received a mandatory life prison sentence, wants the high

    court to hear his challenge of the Louisiana law that allows felony convictions

    by a vote of less than 12 jurors.

     

    The Lafayette Police Department says a 25-year-old man allegedly shot and killed his father. The victim is identified as 48-year-old John Adams. The suspect, Damarkus Adams, is under arrest on the charge of Second Degree murder.

     

    A Breaux Bridge Police officer is under arrest for allegedly having sexual interactions with a 16-year-old. 29-year-old Craig David is charged with carnal knowledge of a juvenile, computer aided solicitation of a minor and malfeasance in office.

     

    LSU’s Speech Language Hearing Clinic has a program that allows people with a medical condition like ALS to bank their voice. Speech Language Pathologist Sara Green Mele (me-lee) says individuals with a degenerative disease come to the clinic and record their voice in a sound proof booth using a third party recording software. WAFB news anchor Donna Britt was recently diagnosed with ALS and has banked her voice. The process takes about six to eight hours. Mele says with ALS, even with the loss of voice, a patient’s cognition remains strong.

     

    Sports..

     

    So does LSU have a quarterback controversy? Starter Danny Etling was 10-of-17 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, but freshman Myles Brennan entered the game in the third and led the Tigers on a touchdown drive, but he also threw an interception. The two quarterbacks did enough good things to help the Tigers beat Syracuse 35-26, as LSU improved to 3-1. Coach Orgeron says it was a good win after losing by 30 points the week before….

     

    The Saints put together one of their better performances in a long time as they defeated NFC South rival Carolina 34-13. Quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and the defense forced three turnovers and held a struggling Panthers offense to 288 total yards. Coach Sean Payton says the Black and Gold had a good week of practice and it showed in their performance on Sunday.  Carolina came into the game ranked number one in the NFL in total defense.

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  • News for Friday 092217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy made it official yesterday at his weekly briefing, Fire Department Veteran Larry King is now the city’s new Fire Chief. King said he looks forward to the challenge and that he hopes to take the best from the three chiefs he has worked under in his 29 years with the department. Up next for the city, deciding upon a new Police Chief.

     

    Two Alexandria teens have been arrested and charged in connection with a Wednesday night shooting in the city that claimed the life of an unidentified 19 year old.  The APD says the shooting took place around 11 p.m. in the area of Richard Avenue and Duhon Lane. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he died. The 17-year-old has been identified as Brian Booker-Allen of Alexandria. The other accused is a 16-year-old and his name has been withheld.

     

    A new report just released by the USDA shows Louisiana is the second hungriest state in the nation. “Bread for the World” President David Beckmann says the hunger problem in the state is concentrated among African Americans where about 1 out of 3 families may run out of food before the end of month.

     

    Positive state budget news has been difficult to find lately, but at least one recent financial fact is encouraging. Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana had a 143-million dollar surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30th.  Edwards thinks it’s a sign the state’s economy is improving.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards are encouraging  schools to participate in the school breakfast challenge to help reduce childhood hunger. Donna Edwards says schools that take action and make sure kids eat breakfast can win up to one-thousand dollars in cash and other great prizes. Edwards says research shows one in four children in Louisiana struggles with hunger. The First Lady knows as a former teacher that if children have a healthy start to their day, it will lead to better results in the classroom. Schools can register online at Louisiana-school-breakfast-dot-org.

     

    In response to the death of fraternity pledge Maxwell Gruver, LSU held a Rally Against Hazing Wednesday afternoon on the steps of the Memorial Tower. LSU Student Government wanted to bring together student organizations, as well as individual students, so the campus can begin “honest and progressive conversations about putting an end to hazing.”

     

    An off-duty Slidell Police Lieutenant riding a motorcycle was killed Wednesday night in a traffic accident. State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight gave details. The driver of the vehicle that turned directly into the path of 52-year-old Ray Dupuy received a citation for improper turning.

     

    Sad story out of Livingston Parish, a five-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle after leaving an ice cream truck. Denham Springs Police spokesperson Amber Fairburn says the driver indicated he did not see the child. As of now, no charges have been filed against the driver.

     

    This is Louisiana Craft Brewers Week, designated to commemorate beers brewed right here in the state, and the people who make it possible. Cary Koch (COKE), Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, says when this designation was made by the State Legislature in 2013, there were just 7 breweries that took part, and three brewpubs. Koch says Louisiana now has over 30 breweries and brew pubs — and establishments in every corner of the state are opening up their taps and shelves to carry these locally made beers. He says these brewers make it a priority to use as many Louisiana-made products as possible…:

     

    The state department of transportation is hopeful that the major overlay project on I-20 in Webster Parish will wrap around the Thanksgiving weekend, which would be ahead of schedule. DOTD spokesperson Erin Buchanan says the westbound lanes are complete and contractors are working in the eastbound lanes. Buchanan says once the work is complete, motorists will experience a greatly improved travel experience for this section of I-20…

     

    LSU football Coach Ed Orgeron is promising a better performance on Saturday night when his Tigers host Syracuse. The Bayou Bengals suffered their worst loss ever to Mississippi State last week in a 37-7 drubbing. Orgeron says he’s on a mission for his team to play better. LSU is a 22.5 point favorite to beat Syracuse

     

    The Saints look for their first win of the year on Sunday when they visit Carolina. The Panthers are 2-and-0 and they rank number one in the NFL in total defense, allowing less than 200 yards a game. Frustration level among Saints fans is probably the highest it’s been since Head Coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived.

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  • News for Thursday 092117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrests a former inmate accused of stalking a woman who had previously worked at the jail where the suspect was incarcerated. They say 31-year-old Jerome Ferrell of Alexandria allegedly started sending the victim and her family messages when he was released from the Rapides Detention Center and threatened to harm her. Ferrell was arrested on nine counts of Cyberstalking and six counts of stalking.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed on his monthly call in radio show that Amazon is set to build a distribution center somewhere in Louisiana, but details are limited at the time. He says either way, it’s great news that the online retail giant is bringing a part of its operation to the state. The state has also said they are very interested in being the home of the second Amazon headquarters which the company said would bring an investment of $5 billion dollars and 50,000 jobs. Edwards says the state is still working with Amazon in order to finalize the site selection…

     

    U.S Senator Bill Cassidy told CNN he is sorry that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel does not understand his health care legislation.  Kimmel said on his show Tuesday night that Cassidy lied to his face when it comes to passing a health care bill that protects people with pre-existing conditions and lowers premiums for middle class families. Cassidy says his bill does cover pre-existing conditions and it will lead to more Americans covered by health insurance. However, Insurance experts say pre-existing coverage will be up to the individual states to decide.

     

    Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne announces the state ended up with a 100 million dollar surplus from the fiscal year that ended in June.  The surplus is the result of higher than anticipated personal income and sales tax collections.  But, he cautions the 100 million surplus will not offset the looming fiscal cliff. That is right at $1 billion.

     

    A former East Baton Rouge Parish Parks Commissioner was found shot to death outside of his home in Pride at around 5:45 Tuesday night. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says when police arrived they attempted to resuscitate the man, 66-year-old Carroll Breeden, but he died at the scene. She urges anyone who may have seen something to contact the police.

     

    The State Police are investigating an officer involved in a shooting in Bernice. The L-S-P says Tuesday afternoon the Union Parish Sheriff’s office was sent to a home in response to a disturbance and made contact with a male subject. They say at some point during the incident, the suspect was shot and died at the scene.

     

    After a long wait, the car-sharing service, Uber, is finally available in Monroe, West Monroe and areas governed by Ouachita Parish. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says his office has spent the last six months working on a contract with Uber and he knows the city is excited it’s finally official. Mayo says he’s also hoping to work out a deal with Lyft as well.

     

    Louisiana Tech University has set an enrollment record for this fall as nearly 13-thousand students are taking classes this fall, which is 17-percent increase since the fall of 2013. Jim King is the Vice President for Student Advancement says the average ACT score of 24.71 for first-time freshmen is also a university record.

     

    New Orleans attorney Scott Sternberg has concerns with parts of LSU’s suspension of Greek activities in the wake of the death of a fraternity pledge. Sternberg says the students’ first amendment rights are being taken away when not allowed to gather in groups of 10 or more to tailgate and he also questions the prohibition of wearing Greek attire. He says a lawsuit may be pending.

     

    A startling statistic, The state department of children and family services says the number of babies born in Louisiana who are exposed to alcohol and drugs in the womb has tripled from 2008 to 2016. Last year, that number reached nearly 17-hundred.

     

    The Louisiana Workforce Commission is hosting job fairs at 25 locations across the state today for young adults. Executive Director Ava Dejoie says Walmart is one of the companies participating and the national retail giant plans to hire 12-hundred workers in Louisiana for the holiday season. Dejoie says this is a great opportunity for those 18 to 24.

     

    LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says star running back Derrius Guice is very questionable for Saturday’s home game against Syracuse. Guice reportedly has a knee injury. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran believes LSU is being cautious with its best offensive player. Moran says this gives senior Darrell Williams a chance to start. There is some positive injury news. Orgeron says starting defensive end Rashard Lawerence should play against the Orange.

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  • News for Wednesday 092017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The RPSO reports a 16 year old student at Peabody Magnet High was arrested yesterday by a School Resource officer after it was discovered he brought a gun to school. School administrators were the ones who alerted the officer to Tuesday's incident. While the investigation continues, the boy was charged with one count of carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon on school property.

     

    The APD reports three suspects accused in a series of attempted vehicle burglaries early Sunday now face more charges after police were able to determine a wallet found with them had been stolen. All three were charged with simple burglary.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards released an email poll asking if Louisiana residents support raising the minimum wage. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says this survey is more about fundraising, as many of his supporters already want to increase the state’s minimum wage, which is $7.25. Stockley says this message was also sent out to raise awareness that this is a campaign pledge the governor ran on and he continues to support it. He says Edwards is looking for more public support, as this issue is not gaining traction in the legislature.

     

    The Louisiana Association of Educators says a poll of Louisiana parents finds that 65-percent believe the state places too much emphasis on student testing. L-A-E President Debbie Meaux says parents and their children are not excited about filling out bubbles on a test. The L-A-E survey also found 55-percent of respondents believe a student’s  test performance should not play a major role in determining a teacher’s effectiveness. Meaux says tomorrow a new 25-member panel will meet to examine whether public school students are over tested.

     

    Multiple reports say an Adolf Hitler speech was found at the home of Kenneth Gleason, who was booked today in Baton Rouge for the murders of two black men. East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore says Gleason could face the death penalty for last week’s fatal shootings. Gleason has also been charged for allegedly shooting up the home of a black family.

     

    Senator Bill Cassidy’s bill to issue block grants to states as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act has support from Louisiana’s junior senator.  Republican John Kennedy not only wants to vote for the legislation but he plans to propose an amendment to prevent states from accepting block grants to establish a single payer health insurance system.  Kennedy says he would prefer to have private insurance companies provide coverage that could help lower healthcare costs.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says he can’t support Senator Cassidy’s legislation, because he says it will lead to the elimination of the Medicaid expansion. Edwards says he’s working with Republican and Democratic governors to promote a solution that makes health insurance more stable and affordable.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has received a grant to increase the number of child welfare workers. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says her staff has decreased by 600 employees over the last 10 years and this is an opportunity to address the high turnover rate. Nearly half of the child welfare workers who left DCFS in 2016, had less than three years of service. Walters says there is a direct correlation between the case load and the turnover rate.

     

    A Bawcomville man is facing two counts of aggravated assault after chasing two water meter readers with a golf club. The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says 53-year-old Tommy Bouwell was allegedly intoxicated when yelled at the victims accusing them of coming at him with a weapon, and that’s when he returned with a golf club and started swinging.

     

    After LSU’s 30-point loss to Mississippi State last Saturday, some are wondering if Head Coach Ed Orgeron was the right man to choose for the job.

    But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says one thing to keep in mind is that Athletic Director Joe Alleva’s fate lies with the Board of Supervisors. Worsham says right now it’s a little too early to guess if there will be any changes in leadership with the athletic department, as there has only been one SEC game this season. But he says the hire of Coach O was strictly a call made by Alleva, and if things remain bleak there will be consequences.

     

    The dangers of hazing have become an important conversation in the wake of LSU freshman Max Gruver’s death. Gruver was pledging at Phi Delta Theta and high amounts of alcohol were found in his system.  Executive Director of HazingPrevention.org Emily Pualwan says hazing has been around for centuries. She says it’s different than bullying. Pualwan says universities can look back and see a pattern of hazing, but only realize the escalation after something as terrible as a death occurs.  LSU has temporarily shut down their entire Greek system after Gruver’s death.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 091917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Four sheriff’s offices in Louisiana have filed lawsuits against drug companies and physicians for allegedly helping to grow the opioid crisis. Attorney David Laborde says the defendants have misrepresented the proper use of opioids which has led to an epidemic and an uptick in crime. Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides have filed lawsuits in state courts in their respective parishes. Laborde says the sheriff’s offices are seeking to recoup the money law enforcement has spent on dealing with the opioid epidemic.

     

    The Louisiana Democratic Party opposes U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy’s and three other Republican lawmakers bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  Party Spokesperson D’Seante Parks says this legislation would end the Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 430-thousand Louisiana residents. Senator Cassidy’s proposed legislation would give block grant funding to each state if it passes. However, the money would not be dedicated as it is now.

     

    According to the U.S. Census data Louisiana’s uninsured rate is 10.3 percent.  These were the numbers of uninsured Louisiana residents in 2016.  That’s a small decline from 11.9 percent in 2012.  The trend comes after Louisiana’s Medicaid program was expanded by Governor John Bel Edwards to offer government-financed health insurance to over 430 thousand low-income adults.

     

    The LSU AgCenter has finalized its contract with GB Sciences which will grow medical marijuana for Louisiana patients who have specific conditions. The marijuana-based medication made by the company is required to be put in oil based medical products.  GB Sciences Louisiana will renovate the production facility and availability to patients is expected by mid-2018.

     

    Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded a 6.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study military nutrition and metabolism research. Researcher Dr. Jennifer Rood (Rude) says they will focus on how to ensure a healthy and fit military. Rood says this research could change the eating habits of soldiers.

     

    A Baton Rouge man considered a person of interest in the shooting deaths of two black men last week, has bonded out of jail. 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason was arrested over the weekend on drug charges. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says Gleason has yet to be cleared of the homicides. He says it’s a possibility that these murders were racially motivated.

     

    The national Phi Delta Theta organization has removed the charter from the Beta Chapter at LSU, where a pledge recently died in a possible hazing incident. The organization said it suspended operations based on information in the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver which found some chapter members were in violation of the alcohol-free housing policy. No charges have been filed and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says that could take a while.

     

    An explosion in a home injured three people Monday including 92 year old Dwena Henry, an alderman for the village of Stanley in DeSoto parish and her daughter Sharon Fletcher who is the mayor. Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says William Roe, a friend of the family was also injured. Arbuckle says Henry suffered third-degree burns to over 50-percent of her body and is fighting for her life. Reportedly, Henry was cooking when Roe and Fletcher smelled gas.

     

    The White House held a summit with presidents of black colleges today but Grambling State President Rick Gallot  was not there. Gallot says that he was not boycotting, but there’s a lot happening on the Grambling campus between the start of the a new semester and football season.

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  • News for Monday 091817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The median household income in Louisiana declined by over 2-percent in 2016, the largest decrease in the nation according to Census Figures. Dr. LSU Economist Loren Scott says this decrease is a result of the struggling oil and gas industry. He says we have three metropolitan areas that are in a recession, Houma, Lafayette and Shreveport. Louisiana looks to be improving as we gained 24,200 nonfarm jobs since August of last year.

     

    Louisiana’s unemployment rate has now declined for four consecutive months according to data released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. At 5.2%, the current rate is the lowest it’s been since August of 2008. That figure is also 0.9 percentage points lower from a year ago.

     

    Gas prices have started to decline. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is $2.39.

     

    Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting consumers to be on the lookout when buying vehicles, as nearly one million vehicles were flooded in Texas and Florida during recent hurricanes. Landry says these flood-damaged vehicles could end up on the streets and sold to unsuspecting car buyers.  He advises consumers to obtain a vehicle history report. Landry says if you suspect someone is knowingly selling a flood damaged vehicle, contact your local authorities or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection.

     

    East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark has released preliminary autopsy findings on the body of the 18-year-old LSU student who died in what the university had called a possible hazing incident at his fraternity. Clark says they did not find any internal or external signs of trauma on Maxwell Gruver. Clark says Gruver was driven to the hospital in a private vehicle from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and was later pronounced dead. His office will provide a comprehensive toxicology test which takes as long as four weeks to complete.

     

    The state lawmaker who admitted to taking money from his campaign fund to fuel a gambling addiction will have to pay a $37,000 fine to the state treasury under an agreement reached Friday. The Louisiana Board of Ethics also said that Representative Dee Richard will no longer be allowed to draw from his war chest. Richard had said his compulsive gambling was a side effect of medication he was taking for Parkinson’s disease.

     

    Today, Governor John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington D.C. to meet with the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal, a flood control project for the Baton Rouge area. Wilson says the state has committed a significant amount of resources for this project, and it’s time for the Corps to do their part.

     

    The principal wanted by Baton Rouge police after allegedly locking a 5-year-old in a closet has turned himself in to authorities. Authorities say 31-year-old Shafeeq Deen has been charged with cruelty to a juvenile and false imprisonment. Other students at Laurel Oaks Charter School are coming forward now claiming Deen punished them in similar ways.

     

    And here’s a bizarre story out of Terrebonne Parish. Houma Police arrested a man and woman who were allegedly caught having sex in a library. Authorities say 33-year-old Elizabeth Jernigan and 35-year-old Rex Jernigan also recorded themselves and uploaded the video to a porn site. Through their investigation, it was determined the couple recorded themselves doing similar activities at other businesses.

     

    Authorities say a prison guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola fatally shot an inmate after first firing a warning shot. The state department of Corrections says 35-year-old Brandon Lizotte was among a group of prisoners being escorted to work when he aggressively ran towards a correctional officer. The officer fired his service weapon striking Lizotte. Lizotte was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in Tangipahoa Parish in 2006.

     

    Sports..

     

    “Tell the truth Monday” will not be kind for the LSU Tigers after they were embarrassed 37-7 by Mississippi State. The Tigers were beat at the line of scrimmage, the defense had blown assignments and LSU also committed 9 penalties for 112 yards.  LSU is back in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night as they host Syracuse.

     

    For the fourth consecutive year, the Saints have started 0-2 as they dropped a 36-20 decision to the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady scorched the New Orleans defense for 447 yards and three touchdowns. On offense, the Saints converted just 33% of their third down opportunities. The Saints have now lost 11 of their last 12 games in the month of September. They travel to Carolina this Sunday.

     

    Louisiana Tech rallied back from a 22-13 4th quarter deficit to beat conference rival Western Kentucky 23-22. Jonathan Barnes 22-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Bulldogs an important win as they look to win the Conference USA western division.

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  • News for Friday 091517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    42 year old Kenneth Seth Thomas of Deville, a police officer with the Alexandria Police Department, was arrested yesterday and charged with malfeasance in office, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of a firearm in the presence of the drugs. An investigation led by the State Police and the APD revealed Thomas had engaged in illegal activities by having sex with at least one woman, while on-duty, and distributing illegal drugs. He was arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. The investigation remains active and ongoing.

     

    State police report Two men died Thursday  morning after a head-on collision between a car and an 18 wheeler truck on Louisiana highway 124 near the Winn and LaSalle Parish line.  The fatal crash took the lives of 22 year old Logan Franklin from Olla and 26 year old David Lincecum of Grayson. It’s reported both victims were not wearing a seat belt.

     

    The US attorney’s office reports a Georgetown woman will spend two years in prison for counterfeiting $20 bills in Alexandria last year. 20 year old Gena Marie Armstrong was sentenced on Wednesday.

     

    An 18-year-old LSU freshman from Georgia has died in what university officials are calling a possible hazing incident at Phi Delta Fraternity House. LSU System President F King Alexander says the death of Maxwell Gruver is tragic and untimely

    Gruver was pronounced dead at a local hospital and Alexander says it is believed alcohol is involved. Phi Delta has been suspended by the school and national organization.

     

    St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith says Fire Chief Steve Krentel has been cleared in the murder of his wife Nanette, who was found in burned home with a gunshot wound to the head in July.  Smith says Steve Krentel was their initial primary person of interest. Sheriff Smith says they worked this case as a homicide since day one and will continue to do so.

     

    After a both a regular and special legislative session earlier this year, the state still faces a fiscal cliff in July of next year. That’s when a billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire. Yesterday House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says get ready to hear scare tactics coming from the governor’s office. In a video posted to his Facebook page, the Republican from Metairie says he expects Governor Edwards to start threatening cuts to important programs like TOPS. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Richard Carbo, says Henry is intent on continuing partisan gridlock in the House.

     

    Starting with tonight’s games, several Louisiana high schools are taking in part in “Touchdowns Against Cancer,” an initiative which directly benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign lets their fans pledge a donation for every touchdown scored. The effort is in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and runs through the end of the month.

     

    An arrest has been made in the murder of a St. Martin Parish woman who was eight months pregnant. Major Ginny Higgins says authorities arrested 32-year-old Toni Trimble Thomas and she is charged with one count of first degree murder and one count of first degree feticide. The suspect’s brother was the boyfriend of the victim, 24-year-old Ashley Nicole Meche.

     

    Louisiana Community and Technical College System president Monty Sullivan would like the state to have a scholarship program that would benefit adults who want to attend one of their two-year campuses. Sullivan calls it a wise investment and can help a mother of two who makes eight dollars an hour receive the training that can lead to an 18-dollar an hour job.

     

    Neville High School in Monroe has been named the most beautiful public high school in Louisiana by Architectural Digest. Dana Jefferson, Executive Director of the school’s Alumni Association, says the school has undergone many renovations to preserve the 86-year-old building. Jefferson says Neville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that’s something the students and staff are really proud of.

     

    Sports..

     

    Louisiana Tech jumps into league play tomorrow by facing the defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. W-K-U is led by senior quarterback Mike White, who is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country. These two teams met twice last year. Tech won at home 55-52 and then lost in the Conference USA title game. It’s the eighth meeting between the two teams and Tech leads the all-time series four to three. You can hear the game beginning at 4:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3.

     

    LSU gets its first test in the SEC tomorrow night when they visit Mississippi State. The voice of the Tigers, Chris Blair, believes this game will be won in the trenches. LSU had success throwing the football down field last week and Blair anticipates the Tigers opening up the playbook even more tomorrow. Hear the game beginning at 4p on 970 KSYL & 96.9 KZMZ.

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  • News for Thursday 091417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Although it doesn’t resolve the issue, a decision by the Rapides Parish police jury to allocate $200,000 to move prisoners from DC1 to other facilities will take the pressure off for now. The Sheriff's Office is under a mandate from the State Fire Marshall's Office to reduce the population of facility to its capacity of 348. Even though the number of prisoners in the DC1 is down from a high of 395 on Monday, the number is still above the max capacity. Sheriff Hilton sent a letter to the Fire Marshall's Office Wednesday detailing plans to reduce the population. He also asked for a temporary increase to the jail's capacity.

     

    Many people in Alexandria are upset over higher than usual electric bills. The City yesterday announced it has been lengthening its billing cycle for residents charged for utilities from about 28 to 40 days. Why? The city says it is short staffed, with 6 of it’s 9 meter reading positions open. According to a press release, contracted workers are expected to be hired soon until the meter reader vacancies are filled.

     

    U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is a co-author of the last ditch effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy says the legislation repeals individual and employer mandates, and it gets rid of the medical device tax. The Republican says their proposal also eliminates the inequity in which three states receive 37-percent of Obamacare funds. He says this proposal gives the power back to patients.

     

    House Speaker Taylor Barras has told the Associated Press he believes the House can come up with a plan by January to address the loss of one-billion dollars in tax revenue that expires next summer. Barras says if there’s enough agreement, a special session could be held early next year. There’s been a stalemate between the House and the governor on how to address the fiscal cliff.

     

    Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says the first LaSTEM Advisory Council meeting was successful in discussing how to increase the amount of students who will succeed in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Rallo says right now, if we don’t engage, Louisiana will not catch up with neighboring states when it comes to STEM jobs.  He says the council agrees STEM education needs to be a pipeline, starting in Kindergarten and continuing through high school.

     

    One month from today is the general election for State Treasurer. Three Republican candidates are raising money. There’s also a Democrat and Libertarian on the ballot. Publisher of La-politics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says Columbia Senator Neil Riser has been the most active in tv advertising. Ex state legislator John Schroder and former Commissioner of Administration Angelle Davis are the other Republicans fundraising. But Alford says none of the candidates have enough money to run TV commercials statewide, which will lead to a low voter turnout on October 14th

     

    The Oil and Gas Industry is helping with recovery efforts in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. President of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Chris John says when Harvey hit, it knocked out about 12-percent of the refining capacity for this nation. John says they are making progress with getting Texas refineries back on line. He says Louisiana has tried to produce as much product as possible while Texas plants are recovering.

     

    Authorities made an arrest in the homicide investigation of Ashely Nicole Meche.  The St. Martin Parish Sheriff department arrested Toni Trimble Thomas of Breaux Bridge.  Trimble Thomas is the sister of the victim’s boyfriend.  The 24 year old Meche was eight months pregnant at the time she was killed so Trimble Thomas is charged with second degree murder and second degree feticide.   It was determined that her boyfriend, Mark Trimble was not present or involved in the homicide.

     

    Louisiana remains one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, ranking No. 5 in Area Development magazine’s annual Top States for Doing Business survey. This is the second year in a row the publication has ranked Louisiana No. 5.

     

    The St. Tammany Parish Coroner has ruled the death of s fire chief’s wife in July, as a homicide. The body of Nanette Krentel, wife of Fire District 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was discovered in the rubble of the couple’s home which had burned to the ground on July 7th. Coroner Charles Preston said it was determined from the start Mrs. Krentel died from a gunshot wound. But the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office said in a media advisory that it does not necessarily support the coroner’s conclusion.  The sheriff will provide an update on the investigation during a news conference today.

     

    Authorities say they arrested the man shown in a video punching out a student on the LSU Parade Grounds before last Saturday’s football game.  He’s been identified as 18 year old Casen Maggio of Prairieville and he been charged with aggravated battery.  The official report says several bones in the student’s face were broken.

     

    A homeowner shot and killed an alleged intruder in LaPlace Tuesday night. St. John the Baptist Parish authorities say the homeowner told detectives he heard voices in his yard and went to investigate. When he opened the back door, he was face-to-face with the intruder. No charges have been filed against the homeowner. The whole episode was captured on the home’s video surveillance camera.

     

    The Shreveport City Council has rejected the mayor’s proposal to build a sports complex in the downtown area. The vote was unanimous. Councilman Oliver Jenkins says 30 million of the city’s dollars would be used along with 139 million in private finances.  He says they would like to present this project to the public in a different light, because many didn’t know it could bring in a minor league basketball team.

     

    Two weeks into the season and the Ragin Cajuns defense ranks as the third worst out of the 129 F-B-S teams. UL Lafayette has allowed nearly 12-hundred yards. But Head Coach Mark Hudspeth says there’s a great desire to turn things around. The Cajuns gave up 66 points in a loss to Tulsa last week.

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  • News for Wednesday 091317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Pineville PD report rumors of a student making threats to shoot up Pineville High School were unfounded.  The student accused of making the threat as well as potential witnesses were interviewed late Monday by Pineville Police, which traced the issue back to social media where rumors of an alleged threat began circulating after school hours.

     

    A 29-member panel meets today in Baton Rouge to discuss ways to get more students interested and improve achievement in the areas of science technology, engineering and math also known as STEM. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt is behind this effort to grow STEM programs in schools. Hewitt says major employers, like Amazon who is looking to build a second headquarters, are seeking workers who could perform STEM related jobs.

     

    The Edwards Administration gives the private operator of two state owned north Louisiana hospitals, BRF,45 days to correct alleged violations of a contract. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the state spoke with Ochsner Health System, which could help BRF run the hospitals. BRF says they anticipate resolving the contract disagreement without being ousted and they’ll use legal action if removed as operator of University Health in Shreveport and University Health Conway in Monroe.

     

    Hundreds of cancer patients and survivors were in Washington D.C. Tuesday to urge Congress to help with the fight against cancer. Louisiana resident Amber Stevens says they are urging lawmakers to support palliative care and hospice education training. She’d like to see funding for cancer research reach 36 billion dollars, a two billion dollar increase over current spending.

     

    Recovery continues in Calcasieu Parish after Tropical Storm Harvey left major flood damage in some areas. OEP Director Dick Gremillion says in the days before the storm made landfall in Calcasieu, a torrential downpour left nearly 500 houses with some water inside. He says flooding also occurred when the Sabine River came out of its banks. Gremillion says they are still waiting to find out if Calcasieu flood victims will be available for federal assistance.

     

    Attorney General Jeff Landry says Louisiana will receive nearly seven million dollars as part of a multi-state settlement with Mylan, which manufacturers EpiPens. Landry says Mylan knowingly overcharged taxpayers for Epipens dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries.

     

    A new study finds that Louisiana’s lawsuit climate is the worst in the nation, and also showed this ranking is not good when it comes to attracting new businesses. Harold Kim is the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. He says the survey found that 85% of company attorneys said a state’s lawsuit climate is likely to impact decision making. Kim says the areas Louisiana ranked poorly were the in the competence and impartiality of its judges, the fairness of its juries and quality of appellate review.

     

    Northwestern State University’s fall enrollment has reached its highest ever in the school’s 133-year history, with 10,572 students. NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio says this is one of the most meaningful milestones in the school’s long history. He credits this achievement to the university’s academics. Also,A number of renovations to dormitories on the main campus have made NSU more appealing to students.

     

    LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron has signed an advertising deal with Baton Rouge-based Raising Cane’s. Orgeron will be featured in commercials, billboards and in-restaurant signage for the fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken fingers. Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles had a similar agreement with Cane’s for eight years.

     

    Louisiana lawmakers are working to free a Shreveport man from a Guatemalan jail after he was arrested in March for bringing hunting ammunition in his luggage. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with the country’s ambassador to discuss the case of Zachary Wilson. Johnson says Wilson suffers from ulcerative colitis. Wilson’s family says it is extremely difficult to ship his medication to Guatemala and he is running out of his prescription. Johnson says they understand Guatemala is a sovereign nation and respect the rule of law but the charges brought against Wilson are not justified.

     

    The Saints spent Tuesday breaking down the tape of Monday night’s 29-19 loss to Minnesota. Head Coach Sean Payton says it was not a fun exercise, because of how poorly the team played. This was the 5th time in 6 years the Saints started off the season with a loss.

     

    A few of LSU’s young wide receivers had a chance to shine in last Saturday’s victory over Chattanooga. Stephen (STEF-ON) Sullivan and JaCoby Stevens each caught their first passes on the college level and Drake Davis was wide open when he caught his first TD Pass. However, after two games, LSU is the most penalized team in the SEC, with 21.

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  • News for Tuesday 091217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The maximum capacity of the Rapides Parish jail is 348. But Friday of last week it was determined the population of the jail was well above that figure. The State Fire Marshall’s office gave the sheriff department until 4pm yesterday to resolve the issue. There were meetings between Sheriff Hilton and the Police Jury, the DA and several judges. But at the end of the day, the jail population was still at 395. According to Sheriff Hilton the department  now has seven days to get to or below 348 inmates, or it will be assessed a fine of $500 a day

     

    35 year old Mark Thomas, who was indicted as part of the Triple M Murder Team again tried on Monday to remove his attorney, but was denied for the second time. Thomas now faces a Nov. 6 trial on first-degree murder, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and racketeering charges. He was one of 14 members or associates of the Alexandria-based gang indicted after an investigation that lasted more than two years and involved federal, state and local agencies.

     

    The statistical peak of hurricane season is behind us, and State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s likely we will exceed earlier predictions. But he says right now, it looks as if things are calming down compared to last week. He says there have already been 11 named storms so far in 2017, and if we doubled that it would rank among the second busiest in history.

     

    The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is deploying employees and coordinating assistance from other state agencies for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts. GOHSEP spokesman Mike Steele says there is a wide range of needs right now in Florida and Georgia, and ongoing cleanup in Texas, and the state is happy to help. Steele says the state-to-state system was developed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. He says Louisiana has a lot of experience in what to do after a storm hits.

     

    Kaplan Police Chief Boyd Adams has been arrested on charges of theft and malfeasance in office after an investigation by the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The audit showed the Kaplan Police Recreation Account had not been included in the financial statements for the town, which means it was never audited and that there were no records to support the expenditure of over 19-thousand dollars. The State Police allege Adams used nearly $7000 in funds for himself.

     

    After 9/11 , former Governor Mike Foster started a campaign for Louisianans to raise money to donate new firetrucks to the New York City Fire Department. Enough money was donated to build four firetrucks at the Ferrera Fire Apparatus facility in Livingston Parish.  Former owner, Chris Ferrera says 1.2 million dollars was raised and all of the trucks are still in use 16 years later. Ferrera says it’s so amazing that the people of the Bayou State came together and, her says, the legacy continues.

     

    A popular bar for LSU students to attend is apologizing after pictures surfaced on social media that showed a noose hanging from the ceiling and cups with a Blue Confederate flag on them were handed out to patrons. Reggie’s Bar issued a statement that says they apologize to anyone offended.

     

    Thibodaux Police have arrested a man who they found passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through of a restaurant. They say 37-year-old John Sewell Jr allegedly tried to drive off when cops woke him up, but his key had already been removed by officers. The man apparently told detectives he was tired and high. He was booked for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

     

    The Saints started out the season on a sour note last night with one in the second column. They were whooped by the Vikings 29 - 19

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  • News for Monday 091117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is under orders to reduce the parish jail's occupancy by 33 inmates before  4 this afternoon. The jail was found early Friday to have been over occupancy limits for seven days straight, at which point it is violating State Fire Marshal code.

     

    Louisiana utility crews are heading to Georgia to help with any potential power outages from Hurricane Irma. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says crews are meeting at the St. Tammany Service Center Today to make the trip to Macon, Georgia. Cahill says Cleco also assisted Georgia Power following Hurricane Matthew.

     

    75 Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard’s 165th Combat Sustainment and Support Battalion are set to deploy to Afghanistan. Bossier Parish Community College gymnasium will hold a deployment ceremony today for family and friends to bid farewell. Col. Ed Bush says these troops will be overseas for about a year.

     

    Congress approves a measure to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for the next 90 days, as federal lawmakers work on a long-term solution for the program. US Senator John Kennedy says while this was not his first choice, he’s glad congressional leaders didn’t let the clock run out on the program that expires September 30. Kennedy filed a bill to reauthorize the program for the long term that he says has bipartisan support.

     

    Amazon seeks a location for new corporate headquarters, as the online mega retailer plans to open a second corporate location. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Louisiana has a lot of strengths to offer should we throw our hat in the ring, and its likely we will. Amazon is reportedly looking for a metropolitan area with more than a million people near an international airport with access to mass transit. New Orleans could be a perfect fit. Pierson says the number one rated LED Fast Start program can also offer skilled employees. Pierson has said a prime location could be between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Amazon’s second headquarters will employ 50-thousand workers.

     

    New Orleans plans to make a bid to host World Cup soccer games if North America is named as a host site for one of the biggest sporting events in the world in 2026. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jay Cicero, says the Big Easy has so much to offer to international sports fans. US Soccer plans to announce in the fall a list of potential 25 host cities.

     

    The state department of transportation says there’s been an alarming increase in accidents on I-10 from Lafayette to the Atchafalaya Basin, where two rehabilitation and widening projects are ongoing. DOTD spokesperson Deidra Druilhet says motorists need to slow down. Durilhet says they’re also putting a solid line through the construction zone to deter lane changes.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking the public to limit the transportation of Roseau cane, as the species is rapidly dying off. The plant helps to protect the Mississippi River delta and the coastal region. LDWF Biologist Manager Vaughn McDonald says the Roseau cane scale, which is a bug, is killing off the beneficial plant life.

     

    Sports..

     

    The LSU football team is 2-0, but the Tigers still have a lot to work on as they head into this Saturday’s SEC opener versus Mississippi State in Starkville. While kicking field goals have been a problem, quarterback Danny Etling has looked sharp. Through two games, he’s completed 71-percent of his passes for nearly 400 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Coach O says Etling looks like a different player this season.

     

    An intriguing matchup to start the season for the Saints as they visit the Minnesota Vikings to kick-off the 2017 campaign. New Orleans led the NFL in total offense last year, while the Vikings had the league’s third-ranked defense, and return most of their starters from 2016. Saints Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a tough match-up to start the season. Hear the game this evening on 96.9 KZMZ.

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  • News for Friday 090817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The APD has arrested a suspect in a shooting death that took place over the weekend.  19 year old Braylon Dozier of Alexandria was charged with first degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm for an incident on Beatrice Street Sunday night that left a man dead. Dozier was also charged with two additional counts of armed robbery with a firearm for two other incidents. The victim in the Sunday night shooting has been id as Steven Allen. Family members say he was making a pizza delivery at the time he was shot.

     

    Louisiana has been pretty lucky this hurricane season, even after two tropical storms made landfall in the Bayou State. State climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately neither Cindy nor Harvey did much damage in Louisiana. But Keim says we aren’t out of the woods yet, as three storms are currently churning in the Atlantic. The peak of hurricane season is this Sunday.

     

    In the coming weeks and months, Harvey victims will need help navigating the red tape to getting federal aid, and Louisianans are coming to the rescue. CSRA was enlisted by the feds to establish a call center for helping disaster victims. Spokesperson Mimi Hedgcock says 500 of those call agents will be based in Bossier City. A $95 million grant will fund the temporary call center which will open early next week after the new agents receive the proper training.

     

    The Governor’s Office is holding a statewide blood drive today amid a supply shortage following Hurricane Harvey. Tina Martinez with LifeShare Blood Centers says because of the hurricane’s destruction, many communities have not been able to donate blood to support the medical needs of local patients. Blood drive locations have been set up in all the major Louisiana cities, and donors can also go by any LifeShare location to donate.

     

    Both of Louisiana’s US Senators voted to appropriate 15-billion dollars in disaster aid for victims of Harvey, which nearly doubles what President Donald Trump requested .

    The vote was 80-17 in the Senate and now heads to the House for their approval.

     

    High school students in Louisiana did not perform as well on the ACT compared to students in other states. The national average composite score was 21, while Louisiana averaged a 19.5. The Bayou State reportedly ranks 43rd in the country for ACT test scores.

     

    A recent report finds LSU graduates have higher early- and mid-career earnings than graduates of other Louisiana universities. President F. King Alexander notes many of the universities below LSU on the list charge higher tuition and their students have more student debt. LSU grads have early career earnings of more than $52,000 and mid-career earnings of over $100,000.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards held another roundtable meeting yesterday, this time with business leaders and local officials in the Houma area to gather input on how the state can stabilize the budget for the long-term. Louisiana is facing a looming fiscal cliff, as a over a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire July 1st. Edwards says his meetings with stakeholders have been extremely productive.

     

    Entergy is teaming up with Cleco to build a new transmission line in southeast Louisiana that can withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says this is an important project because customers want their power restored immediately after a storm. The project should be complete by fall of next year.

     

    Louisiana Tech is gearing up for a big home game this Saturday as the Bulldogs will host Mississippi State from the SEC. The last time these two teams met in Ruston, Tech defeated State 22-14 in 2008. Coach Skip Holtz says hosting an SEC team is a great opportunity for their football team. You’ll be able to hear that game Saturday afternoon starting at 5 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3

     

    12th ranked LSU is coming off a dominating performance over BYU and will host Chattanooga Saturday evening at 6:30 in the home opener for the Tigers. You can hear that game on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ

     

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  • News for Thursday 090717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Major refineries in Texas are starting to come back online, and gas prices across the nation are finally starting to level off. Patrick Dehaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, says Louisiana saw a 16 cent increase over the last week. Today’s statewide average is $2.39.

     

    A task force examining all aspects of the TOPS scholarship met for the first time Wednesday at the state capitol. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the purpose of today’s meeting was to get a general overview of the taxpayer funded scholarship program. The task force will issue a report in February.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards is urging Congress to clear a road block that has touched thousands of homeowners who flooded in Louisiana over the past year, and could also impact Texans as they recover from Hurricane Harvey. Currently, residents are blocked from using federal assistance money to pay off SBA loans that they take out after disasters. But Edwards says removing that restriction would provide badly needed relief for people rebuilding their lives.

     

    Tomorrow the Louisiana Board of Ethics decides the fate of Thibodaux Representative Dee Richard, who gambled $37-thousand in campaign funds between 2012 and 2015. He says he was never a gambler before he started taking medication for Parkinson’s, and the drug was later linked to gambling addiction. He says he’s prepared to pay back the money, but he’d like to finish out the remaining two years of his last term.

     

    The woman accused of shooting a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison on separate charges. Amethyst Baird of Monroe got 10 years for possession of stolen items and 10 more for a second methamphetamine possession charge. Baird is also accused of shooting LDWF Agent Tyler Wheeler five times during a traffic stop in January.

     

    Many Louisianans have likely noticed a serious uptick in the amount of lovebugs we’re seeing. LSU-Shreveport Associate professor of Biological Sciences Beverly Burden says the relatively mild summer can be to blame for this. She says these last few months are wetter and cooler than we typically see this time of year. Burden says while the lovebugs are a major nuisance she expects the population to decline in the next 10 to 14 days.

     

    Rural parishes in Louisiana are struggling more than major cities to combat the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Linda Meredith is the research and development manager for the advocacy group HEROES. She says rural regions account for 15 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in the state. Meredith adds the mortality rate is 1.6 times higher in northeast Louisiana than near major cities. Addressing the epidemic has been difficult because funding is tight, especially in the poorest corner of the state. Louisiana ranks first in the country for new HIV infections.

     

    A third sperm whale has been found stranded off the Louisiana coast. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Mandy Tumlin says they are working to determine the cause of the increase in dead animals washing onto Louisiana beaches. She says an autopsy will soon be conducted on this mammal found beached on Grand Isle. This latest sperm whale is a female and is one of five of the endangered species found in the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past year.

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