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Local News
  • News for Wednesday 082317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Leesville man was killed in a two vehicle accident yesterday morning east of Pitkin on LA 10. State police report 54 Year old Timothy Philips was killed when he pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Philips, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. A passenger in Philip’s vehicle was reported to have minor injuries.

     

    People all over Louisiana are rushing to get a Powerball ticket as tonight’s jackpot has reached 700-million dollars, with a cash value of 443 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says now that the jackpot is so high, many offices and friends join together to buy a pool of tickets for a better chance to win the prize. She says it’s a good idea to make sure one person is in charge of the tickets. Preferably someone you trust.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says state officials are monitoring the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico named Harvey, and GOHSEP is setting up their crisis action team today. He says the storm could hit Southeast Texas sometime Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, so Southwest Louisiana should be on alert.

     

    A 38-year-old Ruston man has been arrested for allegedly fatally shooting the mother of his children and injuring another woman and a one-year-old. Authorities say Frank Stringfellow is charged with one count of first degree murder. The 54-year-old injured woman and the baby are expected to survive.

     

    Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says a 7-year-old boy who shot his aunt two times for not feeding him will not be charged with a crime. He says police responded to a home outside of Minden last week and found Amanda Gipson suffering from two gunshot wounds. She claimed it was an accident, but Sexton isn’t buying that. He says the child can’t be charged due to his age. Sexton says this was not an accident and he hopes this 7-year-old gets help.

     

    President Donald Trump stated Monday night that America must fight to win the war in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been stationed since 2001. Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere says the United States should’ve never been in this war but he agrees with the president’s sentiments. The president did not say how many additional troops he would send into Afghanistan and seemed to agree with the Pentagon’s suggestion for sending in about 4-thousand soldiers. Villere says it’s time to fix this mess and end the war in Afghanistan.

     

    LSU’s new mascot, Mike VII, appears to be right at home and loving his new habitat on campus since being introduced Monday. Formerly Harvey, the tiger was donated to LSU by the Wild at Heart Wildlife Center in Okeechobee, Florida. Jeremy Hargett is the co-owner of the rescue facility. He says when they re-home big animals like Mike, they pray that they end up in a good, thriving situation. He says now that Harvey has a new home in Baton Rouge surrounded by love and LSU fans, they aren’t worried about him one bit.

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  • News for Tuesday 082217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines is not expected to appear in court Thursday for his arraignment, pending the results of a pre-sentencing investigation requested by the court. However, he is still expected to resign from his job this week as part of a plea deal. Grines was arrested June 23 after a multi-jurisdictional drug investigation.

     

    House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie is telling his colleagues that he will wait until his doctors give him the okay, before he returns to the Capitol. A spokesperson for the Republican lawmaker says Scalise was on a conference call with GOP legislators today to discuss spending bills. Scalise was shot in June in the hip and is undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, after undergoing several surgeries.

     

    A report by Caring.com finds Louisiana is the 32nd best state to grow old. Caring.com Vice President Tim Sullivan says Louisiana did not rank anywhere close to the top 10, because of the quality of life in senior care facilities. The study incorporated statistics on senior living community reviews, nursing home costs, in-home care prices and elderly well-being assessments.  In case you’re wondering, the report found Utah is the best state to grow old.

     

    Today Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to meet with new FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says Edwards would like to discuss how local, state, and federal authorities can partner to prepare the city of New Orleans for another devastating flood. Of course last year’s flood will also be an issue for the two to discuss. During the floods of 2016, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. FEMA was on hand to help with emergency response and the rebuilding.

     

    The Department of Children and Family Services announces over half a million dollars of child support payments have been paid through MoneyGram in the first six months of the year. Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says they’ve seen an increase in participation after allowing electronic payments. She says it’s made it easier for noncustodial parents, who do not have bank accounts, to pay their child support, because they can now make payments in cash. Payments for the first six months of the year totaled more than $530,000.

     

    A 20-million dollar annual federal grant has been awarded to the state Department of Education to help struggling public schools. Educations officials say schools over the next few weeks will apply for the money and those with the best plans for progress will receive the funds. A struggling school is defined as a school that earned a performance rating of a D or an F for the last three years and currently 225 schools in Louisiana fit this description.

     

    Michael Tyler, better known as Louisiana rapper Mystikal, has turned himself into authorities in Caddo Parish after a warrant for his arrest was issued. Sgt. Paula Farquhar (far-kwar) with the Shreveport Police Department says Tyler along with a 26-year-old Texas man have been charged with first degree rape. Authorities are still searching for 42-year-old Tenichia Wafford, of Texas, who is charged with one count of Accessory after the fact to first degree rape for allegedly trying to convince the victim to drop the charges against the rapper.

     

    Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody will not bring back a bill seeking to protect Confederate monuments. Carmody attempted to pass a proposed law during the last legislative session to require a public vote, before a military monument could be taken down. It passed the House, but died in a Senate committee. Four Confederate monuments have been removed in New Orleans, but there are still ones standing in Shreveport, Lafayette, Tallulah and here in Alexandria.

     

    Big day on the LSU campus Monday, as classes started and a new live mascot is wandering around in his habitat. The 11-month-old male tiger arrived last week in Baton Rouge and was confined to his night house until his debut yesterday.

     

    There were no winners of Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot drawing, and the big prize now goes to $650 million dollars. The cash value of the Wednesday jackpot is $411.7

     

    An announcement could come as early today as on who will be the Tigers starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU. Senior Danny Etling is expected to get the nod, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada likes what he’s seen from freshman Myles Brennan.

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  • News for Monday 082117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Millions of Americans are getting ready to watch today’s total solar eclipse. LSU astronomy professor Michael Cherry says this is the first time since 1979 a solar eclipse has been visible from the US. He says the total eclipse will be visible in a path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina. Cherry says most of Louisiana will see about 80 percent of the sun blocked during the eclipse. He says the best time to view it will be between 1 and 2 p.m.

     

    The Louisiana SPCA advises pet owners to bring their fur babies inside during today’s solar eclipse. Pets don’t normally stare at the sun, but just to be on the safe side, best to leave them indoors. Experts recommend bringing them in 30 minutes before the eclipse begins, and waiting until 30 minutes after it ends to let them back out.

     

    The first ever live broadcast of a solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon will take place in Illinois by the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, a NASA based program of LSU students. Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Physics and Astronomy Department Dr. Dana Browne says by hanging an HD video camera underneath a weather balloon, they will be able to see the shadow of the moon crossing over the earth’s surface. Browne says the video will be sent from the balloon to the ground station through a wireless transmitter and then live streamed.

     

    Louisianan’s unemployment rate is falling. According to the AP, the jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent in June from 6.2 percent a year ago. One hundred ten thousand people in Louisiana are unemployed, down from 115,000 in July. The Bayou State’s unemployment rate is still the third highest in the country.

     

    It’s expected there will be a big need for industrial plant workers in Baton Rouge through 2018. Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance Executive Director Connie Fabre says the demand for skilled employees will be so high because of all the new facilities that will be coming online over the next couple of years. Fabre says industrial crafts in most demand are things like pipe fitting, welding and electrical and instrument technicians…:

     

    The 96th Cadet Class began the Louisiana State Police Training Academy on Sunday. For about 20 weeks, thirty-six men and women from a variety of backgrounds will undergo an intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says after graduating, the new troopers will participate in a 10 to 14 week field training program.

     

    Voter registration week begins today, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging citizens to take part. He says new voters and those who have just moved back into the state should register. Louisiana will be electing a state treasurer this fall as well as hosting many local elections, propositions and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Schedler says you can register online at sos.la.gov

     

    No more confederate statues will come down in New Orleans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu says taking down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were the right thing to do but removing Andrew Jackson is a step too far. Landrieu says the Andrew Jackson statue was put in place for all the right reasons.

     

    The state department of transportation has redesigned the concrete walls on new interstate projects. Secretary Shawn Wilson says two inch tall openings will be put in the walls every so many feet to allow water to flow though. Three projects currently underway will feature the new design.

     

    The homeowner assistance program for flood victims has been expanded by the Restore Louisiana Task Force. Office of Community Development executive director Pat Forbes says this means all homeowners impacted by the flood now qualify for assistance. Members of the board approved the changes recommended by Governor John Bel Edwards without objection.

     

    The Saints defense flexed its muscles last night in 13-7 victory over LA Chargers in Week 2 of the Preseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan and running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson did not play Sunday night,  marking the second straight game.

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  • News for Wednesday 081617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent who was shot in the line of duty in Morehouse Parish has returned to work. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot four times while conducting a traffic stop in January. 31-year-old Amethyst Baird and 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette have been charged in the shooting and are awaiting trial. Tuesday was Wheeler’s first day back on patrol duties

     

    The BESE board meets behind closed doors today to discuss the job status of state Education Superintendent John White. Board member Kathy Edmonston of Gonzales says she would like the entire panel to vote to whether or not White stays in the position he’s held since 2012. White makes 270-thousand dollars a year and works month to month, as the board has yet to extend his contract.

     

    A new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds Louisiana along with 11 other Southern states are slacking when it comes to implementing policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The report finds over 24-thousand people in Louisiana will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 9-thousand will die from it.

     

    A man has been charged in a double homicide after calling the cops on himself. Maj. Steven Williams with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says John Nichols fatally shot Anthony and Rachel Denicola outside their home. He says two juveniles were inside the residence at the time. Nichols called police after the incident to report the shooting.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards once again met Attorney General Jeff Landry in a court room, as the battle continues over an anti-discrimination executive order. Edwards issued the order in April to protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination in state offices. A judge ruled the order is unconstitutional, but Edwards appealed the ruling. An appeals court heard arguments yesterday. No word on when a decision may be rendered by the court.

     

    39 year old Raven Desoto was I’d as a suspect in an Aug. 8 the burglary of a Kolin home. Authorities didn’t have to go far to arrest her, she was already in jail on unrelated charges. She was rebooked on charges of criminal trespassing, criminal damage of less than $500 and burglary of an inhabited dwelling.

     

    After peaking over the last couple of weeks, gasoline prices appear to be leveling off, according Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy. DeHaan expects gas prices may level off for the next few weeks before they really start to drop in mid- to late-September. Louisiana has the ninth lowest gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $2.16 a gallon.

     

    The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves after a man was ticketed for flipping off a state trooper on I-20 near Rayville. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the man was charged with felony public intimidation. Esman says as rude as it may be, giving someone the finger is a First Amendment right. The charge was dismissed by the state attorney who reviewed the case.

     

    Two arrests have been made in the case of a 22-year-old Houston man who was brought to Louisiana to die. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Dustin Hammons was last seen with the two suspects, 22-year-old Ashlyn Brown and 45-year-old Boyd “Lurch” Hagood, both of Baytown, Texas. The two are charged with second degree murder. Police are saying the incident was drug related.

     

    The Humane Society of Louisiana is looking for answers after a three-legged dog was shot and killed in Acadia Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says it takes a sick person to take the life of a little three-legged dog who means so much to his family. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

     

    A study out of Harvard Medical School and the University of California finds about 55-percent of people say they are faced with unpleasant and potentially hazardous conditions at work. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says less educated individuals typically face tougher workplace conditions. He says nowadays, to get paid a decent wage, you need a college education.

     

    Sports..

     

    Saints coach Sean Payton said of the rumors that the team was planning to trade Delvin Breaux, that he would never comment on that kind business. But added it’s normal to discuss players or possible trades during training camp.

     

    Just a day after announcing his departure from LSU, quarterback Lindsey Scott already has a spot on another team. The Zachary High star signed with East Mississippi Community College Tuesday. EMCC has won three junior college national championships under Coach Buddy Stephens.

     

    The New Orleans Pelicans schedule is out and they are slated to play the Warriors and Cavs in their first two home games of the season. The Pels start their season on October 18th on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, then make their Smoothie King Center debut for 2017-2018 against the NBA Champ Golden State.

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  • News for Tuesday 081517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is still optimistic the Senate can pass a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller have constructed a measure, which Cassidy says is the only instrument the Republicans have left. He says their solution is to give the power to the states by giving them federal health care dollars through a federal block grant.

    Cassidy says right now we have a system that is not working and is not sustainable.

     

    Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham said in an interview with the Fox network that he does not stand by any of the comments made by David Duke who was on hand at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Fellow Republican Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia blamed the violence on outsiders from states like Louisiana, like Duke. Abraham said he’s offended by the comment and that the former KKK grand wizard does not speak for Louisiana.

     

    Members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and the governor toured Denham Springs with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson Monday, and praised him for efforts in cutting red tape during flood recovery. Carson says he is very pleased and impressed with the progress south Louisiana has made since last August. Although he says the money allocated will be well spent for flood recovery, Carson acknowledges regulations could be improved.

     

    LSU has announced that fans will have to wait a little longer to take pictures and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches, as the annual Fan Day has been moved to the spring. Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said there are many construction projects taking place on campus which just didn’t make Fan Day feasible this fall.

     

    An audit of the state’s foster care program revealed that understaffing has led to increased caseloads for workers at the department of children and family services. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they lost 2,000 workers in the Jindal Administration, which left workers with an average of 16 cases at a time. Karen Leblanc with the legislative auditor’s office says they found not all foster care providers had the required criminal background checks. They either had no check, or they were not completed in a timely manner.

     

    The American Duchess paddle wheeler made her maiden voyage up the Mississippi River Monday, leaving out of the Port of New Orleans and making stops at historic sites and attractions. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says it’s a 166-guest ship offering inland cruises. This is the third vessel in the American Queen Steamboat Company’s fleet.

     

    Cable barrier installation is set to begin this week in Caddo and Desoto Parishes along I-49, according to the state department of transportation. Erin Buchanan with DOTD says this is one of the larger cable barrier projects in the district with a total 41 miles to be installed. Most of that will be in Desoto Parish

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  • News for Friday 081117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Trout yesterday morning. Troopers say a pickup, driven by 47 year old Christie Kilgore, was westbound on LA Hwy 500 when Kilgore lost control and exited the left side of the roadway.  After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a tree. Kilgore, who was not wearing a seatbelt,  was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    State Police is investigating a fatal ATV crash in Avoyelles Parish that claimed the life of a man, and injured two young children. They believe 30-year-old Jeremy Armand of St. Martinville crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic on a roadway, and collided head on with a van traveling in the other direction. Armand died, and an 8-year-old and three-year-old on the ATV were injured. None of those on the ATV were wearing helmets.

     

    One year ago today, torrential rains began pouring down on south Louisiana. By the time the rain stopped ten days later, 20 parishes had been declared federal disaster areas, and 13 people lost their lives. Livingston Parish was one of the most devastated, with 75 percent of the homes deemed a total loss. Parish President Layton Ricks says the parish is making a good comeback.

     

    Louisiana has moved up two spots to number two in Insure-dot-com’s ranking of states with the most expensive auto insurance rates. The website says Louisiana drivers average annual rate is 19-hundred dollars, 46-percent higher than the national average. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an excessive amount of litigation is one big factor.

     

    The Department of Transportation has found a contractor to widen Interstate 10 from Highland Road in Baton Rouge to LA 73 in Ascension Parish. It will take around two and a half years to widen the interstate by one lane in each direction. The $72 million project is being funded through a combination of state and federal funds.

     

    A man is behind bars in connection with the death of a Tennessee truck driver who was killed in an armed robbery on Tuesday morning. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely says this wasn’t 18-year-old Landry Carter’s first robbery. Carter is charged with four counts of armed robbery and one count of first degree murder.

     

    More flooding is a possibility in New Orleans, as a turbine at a pumping station caught fire last night and heavy rains are in the forecast. Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an emergency declaration for Orleans Parish.

     

    3rd district Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is glad President Donald Trump is taking a stand against continued threats from North Korea. Higgins says previous administrations have dealt with aggression from North Korea with a, “kick the can down the road” mentality, but it’s about time to get serious. Higgins believes Mr. Trump is carefully targeting exactly what would needed to hit, and hit hard.

     

    In Livingston Parish, Walker Police are looking for eyewitnesses who saw a 26-year-old woman jump out of a moving pickup truck Wednesday night as it was traveling on an I-12 entrance ramp. Captain John Sharp says 26-year-old Whitney Cotton is in critical condition. Foul play however is not suspected.

     

    An Acadiana High School student is in trouble with the law and the school he attends after he allegedly repeatedly punched a school safety officer. Police say 17-year-old Robert Hebert of Duson got in trouble in the first place, because his hair was dyed red and in violation of the school’s dress code.

     

    As Louisianans gear up to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, doctors remind the public to do so safely. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana Dr. James Sandifer says in Louisiana, only a partial eclipse will be visible, which is why it’s so important for viewers to protect their eyes. Sandifer says the only safe way to view the partial eclipse is with approved eclipse glasses. He says looking directly at the sun can damage or destroy the photoreceptors in the retina. He says that can cause permanent damage to the eye.

     

    Sports…

     

    The Saints lost their season opener to the Cleveland Browns last night..  the final 20 to 14.

     

    Former LSU Coach Les Miles says he’ll be a member of the media this football season. The mad hatter’s first assignment is with the SEC Network as he’ll serve as a guest analyst on SEC Nation, which will be in Arlington, Texas on September 2nd for the Michigan-Florida game.

     

    LSU’s Kevin Toliver is the likely starting cornerback opposite of Donte Jackson. Coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida, Toliver was considered as one of the nation’s top corner prospects. In two seasons at LSU, Toliver has one interception and missed the final four games of last season due to a shoulder injury. Toliver says he’s ready to be an impact player this season.

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  • News for Thursday 081017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines faces arraignment date Aug. 24 on a felony malfeasance in office charge. Grines was arrested on June 23rd outside the Alexandria City Court complex after a multi-jurisdictional investigation. In addition to the malfeasance  charge,  Grines was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence and illegal carrying of a weapon.

     

    NOAA now says there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic Hurricane season, up from May’s prediction of 45 percent. NOAA lead hurricane season forecaster Gerry Bell says wind patterns are conducive for storm development and sea surface temperatures are well above normal. The prediction now calls for 14-19 named storms.

     

    State officials are starting the conversation about how to address the looming fiscal cliff in 2018 when more than a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been spreading the word at meetings around the state to bring the issue to the public’s attention. He says if lawmakers decided against replacing the $1.3 billion in revenue that is set to go away in July, the administration would be forced to reduce funding by 20 percent for every area of state government. He says that would be drastic for higher education, healthcare, prisons, and public schools.

     

    Despite a slight decrease in revenue, the Louisiana Lottery reported its third best year ever. Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the corporation brought in nearly $455 million in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, the lottery saw a $53 million decline in revenue from the previous year. But still, the Louisiana Lottery transferred nearly $160 million to the state treasury this year for public education.

     

    The search continues for the gunman who fatally shot a Tennessee truck driver during a robbery as the victim was changing a tire in a parking lot on Tuesday morning. Sgt. Don Coppola says 49-year-old Keith Odom was shot after he turned over his possessions to the robber. Odom died at a local hospital.

     

    Bossier Parish authorities say three 18-wheelers collided with each other on Highway Two near Plain Dealing Wednesday morning. Deputies say it appears the first 18-wheeler stopped for another vehicle and the other two trucks hit the first one from behind. The truck drivers suffered only minor injuries.

     

    School is back many students, which means school buses are returning to the road. State Farm spokesperson Kip Diggs reminds drivers it is never safe to pass a stopped school bus. Louisiana law requires vehicles to stop 30 feet away when children are getting on or off the bus.

     

    Louisiana’s public schools performed only slightly better on ACT scores compared to last year, but with an average of 19.6 — that’s up from 19.1 since 2013.But, still below the national average.  State Superintendent of Education John White says African Americans did better statewide, scoring an average of 17.5 this year. The number of students who qualify for TOPS also grew at every level of the award this year.

     

    Louisiana parents of autistic children have a new resource after the Baton Rouge Area Foundation helped to launch a website full of information about benefits and resources. Director of civic leadership initiatives Lauren Jumonville says they hope to help point parents in the right direction. Jumonville says they went around the state cataloging all the resources that exist for people with disabilities. She says the website La.ExceptionalLives.org offers a variety of resources, including traditional ones like physicians and therapists, as well as others.

     

    South Louisiana authorities are still looking for Lafayette businessman Lawrence Michael Handely, who is wanted in the kidnapping of a woman. Detectives believe two men who drowned when evading West Baton Rouge Parish Deputies were involved in the crime. How all of this connects remains unknown at this time. The Lafayette Police Department has only said that the woman’s abduction stemmed from an ongoing domestic dispute” between her and Handley.

     

    A Lafayette Parish grand jury has indicted a man with murder in connection with the death of Jacqueline “Daisy Lynn” Landry. 22-year-old Malik Davis is accused of second degree murder. Family members and friends still cannot find Daisy Lynn since she was last seen in May. Little else is known about this case, including Davis’ involvement and what may have happened that lead to the murder charge and indictment.

     

    A federal judge has blocked a current state law saying foreign born applicants can’t obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate filed a suit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.

     

    The NCAA says Grambling State will not have to vacate its 2011 SWAC Football Championship. An internal investigation determined Grambling’s athletic program used ineligible players in eleven sports from 2010 to 2015, but it has determined that the 2011 championship team didn’t use ineligible players so the title will not be vacated. Grambling went 8-4 that season and beat Alabama A-and-M in the championship game.

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  • News for Wednesday 080917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    This school year, some Louisiana teachers will face evaluations that are tied, in part, to student test scores. A poor rating could cost teachers their tenure and even their job. Brigitte Neiland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the principal will determine which teachers remain in the classroom. About 15,000 of the state’s 50,000 educators will be reviewed by the Value Added Model.

     

    The controversy over how the pumps operated in the city of New Orleans during the weekend flooding event is not over. The city council called a meeting just before Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement saying he’d learned his staff hadn’t been honest about the event. The board originally said 7 pumps were out of service the night of the storm, but then came back and said 14, including 8 drainage pumps, were not working.

     

    Mandeville Police have arrested a 25-year-old man accused of brutally raping a 53-year-old woman inside her home. Chief Gerald Sticker says they were able to catch up with Ronald Moore Jr. of Lacombe at his home after releasing to the media a photo of him on surveillance video.

     

    West Baton authorities say they are certain the two bodies recovered from the Intracoastal Canal Monday are the suspects wanted in a Lafayette kidnapping. The Sheriff’s department announced yesterday the two males were speeding down the shoulder of I-10 when the interstate was closed. After a chase, their van got stuck, and the two fled on foot, apparently drowning in the canal.

     

    A man in Caddo Parish has been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly fatally shooting his neighbor’s dachshund, because he thought it was an alligator. Caddo Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Bobby Herring says the dog was found in the pond with multiple gunshot wounds. Tommy Collinsworth Jr told cops he thought the dog was an alligator.

     

    The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastwide Nutria Control Program is looking for south Louisiana landowners and hunters to help combat the invasive rodent. LDWF Biologist Catherine Normand says these pests can cause serious damage to an already vulnerable coast. Normand says the goal is to reduce Nutria induced marsh damage by removing about 400-thousand rodents per season.

     

    Livingston Parish students and teachers are looking forward to a year of normalcy as they begin classes today just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the August flood. School superintendent Rick Wentzel says crews worked extensively on 8 flood damaged campuses throughout the summer. Three of those are complete, but five in the Denham Springs area will not be fully rebuilt for some time.

     

    Sports..

     

    Contract details are out for new LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade. His six year deal will pay him 15 million dollars, that’s two-point-five million a season. The 34-year-old will be one of the highest paid basketball coaches in the SEC. Wade is also eligible for bonuses based on performance on the hardwood and in the classroom. The contract also does not include a buyout.

     

    The Saints did not practice yesterday as they are two days away from the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. But a depth chart has been released. Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram are listed as co-starters at running back. It’s unclear how much they’ll play against the Browns, along with quarterback Drew Brees.

     

    LSU Senior Quarterback Danny Etling likes the progress the Tigers are making during preseason camp. The Bayou Bengals are in training camp mode for the rest of this week and next and then school starts on Monday August 21st. Etling says the goal is to get better every day.

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  • News for Tuesday 080817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Today Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a meeting with business and industry leaders to devise a plan for addressing a looming $1.3 billion fiscal cliff when temporary taxes expire in 2018. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the governor is looking to hear from the business community what types of policy changes may be palatable, specifically tax increases. He suspects the governor is looking for a starting point.

     

    New Orleans officials say the roughly 10 inches of rain that fell on Saturday was too much for the city’s pump stations to handle. Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board Cedric Grant says the pumps were running at full capacity, despite the rising flood waters. The system is designed to pump out one inch of water in the first hour and half an inch for each subsequent hour.

     

    Authorities in Natchitoches Parish announced yesterday a body found under a Natchitoches Parish bridge Sunday has been tentatively identified as 31-year-old Anthony Rainey. Rainey has been the subject of a missing person’s case in Red River Parish since July 31. Officials now are investigating the death as a homicide.

     

    Small business owners impacted by the 2016 floods are not completing the flood recovery survey as quickly as state officials had hoped. Lasonta Davenport with the Office of Community Development says only 423 businesses have completed the survey that will help shape the small business loan program. The survey is online at restore.la.gov.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the inaugural Flambeau Fest coming to Ascension Parish is another example of how tourism is alive and well in the Bayou State. He says the October 7 and 8 shows could begin another tradition that one day attracts visitors the way Jazzfest and Bayou Country Superfest do.

     

    LSU will give some members of the faculty and staff a raise in the fall semester. The school is giving each department a 3-percent merit pay raise pool and each department head will determine how the raises will dispersed. University President F. King Alexander said in a letter that this is an effort to keep and attract quality talent to LSU.

     

    West Baton Rouge officials have reportedly recovered a body from the Intracoastal Canal. The body was discovered by kids on a wave board who contacted authorities. Cause of dead has not yet been determined. The male body has not been identified, but the sheriff says it’s possible it could be one of the suspects wanted for an aggravated kidnapping in Lafayette. The kidnapped woman was reportedly found safe in Baton Rouge early yesterday.

     

    A Sabine parish mother facing a murder charge after her two-year-old drowned and then tested positive for methamphetamine. Authorities say 23-year-old Christina Rivers’ son Mason was found in a neighbors Jacuzzi in June. She reportedly told authorities she left her son alone for a brief time, but autopsy confirmed he was in the hot tub for at least an hour.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping to get more tourists to visit the rural areas of the Bayou State. That’s why he’s scheduled meetings in small Louisiana towns to find the best way to promote local attractions. He says these rural areas don’t always have the money or expertise to market their town. Meetings will be held in Tallulah, Opelousas, Houma, and Hammond. Nungesser has already started promoting the rural areas of the state with the Louisiana Trails and Byways, which seeks to motivate travelers to take the backroads and see what the state has to offer. Nungesser says with more direct international flights into New Orleans, they need to find a way to get those visitors out of the big cities and into other parts of the state

     

    Congress has recessed for the summer and many lawmakers are disappointed not much was accomplished. U.S Senator John Kennedy believes some good was done with the approval of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But he says his biggest disappointment was the failing to repeal and replace Obamacare by one vote. He says in the fall, Congress has a lot of work to accomplish.

     

    Sports…

     

    LSU made the top 20 in Forbes’ annual list of colleges that dominate athletically and academically. Stanford came in at No. 1.

     

    USA Today has released its 2017 conference projections, and Coach O and LSU are expected to have a great season. The Tigers are picked second in the West, with a projected 10-2 overall record and 6-2 conference record.

     

    Louisiana Tech is picked to win the C-USA West with a 8-4 overall record and 6-2 in conference.

     

    UL-Lafayette got 7th place in the Sun Belt with a projected 5-7 record overall, and 4-4 in conference action.

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  • News for Monday 080717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A 20-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested on charges of second degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting a 29-year-old man Friday. Police say Desmond Harris was found by police at around 7 p.m. Friday, after they responded to a shooting that took place just before 2 in the afternoon. Bond for Harris has been set at $1 million.

     

    Authorities in Natchitoches Parish are working to identify a body that was found under a bridge Sunday afternoon. Authorities say it appears the body had been there for several days.

     

    State police say a  DeRidder man had been issued his 4th DWI after he caused a crash while driving with a toddler in his car Saturday on Interstate 210 between Sulphur and Lake Charles. Brandon Fowler, who had his 2-year-old child in the vehicle with him, showed signs of impairment after he side swiped another vehicle.

     

    With some New Orleans neighborhoods seeing 8 to 10 inches of rain falling in just a few hours Saturday the rainfall overwhelmed the ability of the City’s 24 pump stations to keep up, though all were operating, city officials said Sunday.  The neighborhoods of Lakeview, Gentilly, Mid City and Treme were hit the hardest. City officials warn of more potential flooding in storms forecasted for today.

     

    Today is the 90th birthday of former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards and he’s still going strong. During an appearance on Talk Louisiana, Edwards credits his long life to good genes, as two of his grandparents lived to be over 100-years-old. The Silver Fox says he’s lived a blessed and wonderful life. A birthday bash for the former governor is planned for August 12th at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton. The Cajun Prince has five children and has been married three times.

     

    The state Department of Health reminding parents to make sure their kids are up to date on their vaccinations as the new school year approaches. LDH Immunization director Doctor Frank Welch says students entering sixth grade also need a meningitis vaccine. Louisiana law requires children age four or older entering kindergarten, pre-k or Head Start programs to receive vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis and chicken pox.

     

    More students are getting their education at home instead of traditional classrooms. According to the state department of education, 26,000 students are homeschooled, while 4,000 more are enrolled in online charter schools. About 9,000 more students studied at home in 2016 than in 2010.

     

    Two years from today, candidates will be qualifying for the governor’s race. So who will challenge Governor John Bel Edwards? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans are waiting to see what US Senator John Kennedy will do. Kennedy is 65-years-old and Pinsonat says if Kennedy wants to run for governor, it’s now or never.

    If Kennedy doesn’t run, Pinsonat says Edwards’ chances of reelection look better. He says several congressmen, like Garret Graves, could raise plenty of campaign dollars, but he expects the back up front runner for the GOP would be Attorney General Jeff Landry.

     

    President Donald Trump has nominated state Judge Terry Doughty of Rayville and Lafayette attorney Michael Juneau as federal judges in the Western District of Louisiana. There are now four vacancies in that district now that Patricia Minaldi retired to seek treatment for alcoholism.

     

    The state legislative auditor has started an investigation into the East Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s office. There are allegations Sharon Weston-Broome’s administration misused federal grant money for a crime-fighting program. U.S. Senator John Kennedy also wants more information from the mayor’s office on this subject.

     

    The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State increased their storm prediction total by one and now anticipate 11 named storms for the remainder of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the total number of storms has been increased to 16. He says this isn’t a big change but it still shows conditions are conducive for an active season. The forecast says eight of those eleven storms will become hurricanes.

     

    The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will honor football legend Dr. Billy Cannon with a statue on the Baton Rouge campus. Cannon hopes the statue looks like he did in his glory days, young with a lot of hair. Cannon won the university’s only Heisman in 1959.

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  • News for Friday 080417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The trial of a man accused in a fatal DWI crash last December that killed a child has been set for November. Keaton Spurlin pled not guilty Thursday during a pretrial conference in the 9th Judicial District Court. Spurlin is charged with DWI, vehicular homicide, five counts of vehicular negligent injury, having an open container, careless operation, running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. The deadly accident occurred on Dec. 28, 2016, near the intersection of Bayou Rapides Road and Vandenburg Drive. Authorities say Keaton hit the rear of a van carrying six members of a family coming home from church.

     

    Parents stocking up on back-to-school supplies can save a few dollars this weekend during the annual sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state Department of Revenue says most purchases are only subject to three percent of the state sales tax this Friday and Saturday.

     

    National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says she hopes small businesses will see an increase in business but it was more beneficial for retailers when the law allowed for tax free weekend. She says they hope legislators will one day change it back so consumers can have a couple of days to purchase items tax free.

     

    A federal lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge alleges two Orleans Parish inmates were kept in jail for five months after their sentences were served. Attorney Emily Washington with the Macarthur Justice Center says both men, in jail on a first offense,  were eligible for release in August 2016, but they stayed in the River Bend Detention Center in Lake Providence until January of this year. Washington says officials knew these men were supposed to be released, but they took no action to do so.

     

    The body of a 7-year-old boy was found in Shreveport yesterday, after he was swept away in a storm drain on Tuesday. The little boy was last seen playing near a ditch just before heavy rains began.

     

    US Senator John Kennedy sent a letter to East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome about misuse of federal dollars. Kennedy says the BRAVE funds are meant to reduce crime and support police, but instead they’re going to people like Arthur Silky Slim Reed, who recently said justice was served when a gunman killed three police officers. A spokeswoman for Mayor’s Office said the mayor received the letter and “will be in communication with the senator.”

     

    Four teenagers connected to the shooting death of a 61-year-old Walker man are in the Livingston Parish jail today after they were arrested in Texas. Rick McBride was fatally shot in his home when two individuals attempted to steal money and guns from him on July 23rd. A fifth person and possible gunman was also arrested in late July.

     

    Crawfish have been found in Michigan and that state’s Department of Natural Resources is not happy. They say the red swamp crayfish damage earthen structures and compete aggressively for food and habitat, disrupting the food chain for many species in the water. Crawfish are extremely fertile and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time and reproduce twice a year. That means, there could be the chance of a Red Swamp Crayfish population becoming established in Michigan.

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  • News for Thursday 080317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    One person is dead and a Red River Parish Sheriff’s deputy was injured during a shootout at a home south of Coushatta Wednesday morning. A state police spokesperson says the deputy was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the male suspect died at the hospital. The deputy visited the home in reference to a welfare concern.

     

    The APD reports a Pineville woman has been arrested after she left a voicemail threatening to kill everyone at a local advocacy group. 74-year-old Charlotte Webb, left a lengthy voicemail with the group's office that included "multiple, profane threats of killing everyone in the office." Webb was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center, but was later released on a property bond.

     

    The Alexandria Police Department now is asking residents of the Good Earth subdivision to check their vehicles and report anything that might have been stolen.

    Police say a homeowner detained a burglary suspect for police after he woke up to find a man inside his truck. The suspect, one of three charged after being captured early Tuesday, later was found to have a suspected stolen gun and ammunition in his backpack.

     

    22-year-old Tyler Alexander  of Alexandria was arrested yesterday after he led APD officers on a short chase. Authorities say Alexander was jealous that his girlfriend gave someone a ride and reacted by kidnapped her. Police found Alexander hiding under a shed. Alexander was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with disturbing the peace, domestic abuse battery and a long list of other charges.

     

    After posting racial comments on Facebook, the Assistant Police Chief in the Acadia Parish town of Estherwood has resigned. Welsh referred to Muslim women as trash bags and posted racially charged memes.

     

    Membership has been announced for a task force that will examine the 350-million dollar TOPS scholarship program for the first time since it was established 20 years ago. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish will chair the committee. He says the panel consists of an array of lawmakers representing both parties and all corners of the state.

    The task force’s first meeting is September 6

     

    Baton Rouge police arrest a 42-year-old man for the stabbing death of his 41-year-old ex-girlfriend. Sara Hernandez was found dead in her Baton Rouge home on Sunday. Sergeant Don Coppola says detectives quickly learned Miquel Angel Lopez was their main suspect and they learned he suffered injuries during the attack. Authorities believe Lopez stayed with Hernandez’s body 10 to 14 hours before fleeing the scene.

     

    Citing money problems, The Salvation Army homeless shelter in Monroe, the only one in the area, will close later this month. Spokesperson Jon Kalahar says church services and weekly prayer meetings will continue, and so will basic social services. About 30 homeless people sleep at the shelter every night.

     

    This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest one yet. LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais says the oxygen-depleted region is about 8,800 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. She says many of the stations, especially those close to the shore, were close to no oxygen. Rabalais says the area may actually be even bigger, but they had to stop mapping before reaching the western edge.

     

    U.S District Judge Patricia Minaldi of Lake Charles is retiring. The federal judge took a medical leave in December to receive alcoholism treatment. According to court records, Minaldi’s drinking got so bad that a colleague asked the court to rule she cannot take care of herself. Minaldi said a few months ago that her alcoholism didn’t impact the outcome of her cases.

     

    Officials with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office say the body of 13-year-old Jarrett Varnado of Franklinton was recovered from Gray’s Creek. Officials say the boy was swimming when he disappeared below the water.

     

    The massive construction project on Bourbon Street is two months behind schedule. New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan blames a rainy June and the exact location of almost all the utility lines underneath the historic street were either missing or inaccurately depicted on their plans. It might be until Halloween before all of the work is completed.

     

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  • News for Wednesday 080217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Town Talk reports a deal should be in place soon to turn over management of the Rapides Parish Coliseum to a private company. The Police Jury voted Tuesday to authorize a group of legal counsel Greg Upton, jurors Craig Smith and Joe Bishop and parish Treasurer Bruce Kelly to negotiate a contract with SMG to manage the Coliseum.

    Since the Police Jury recently agreed to the broad strokes of a deal with SMG, a contract is expected to be quickly presented to jurors for final approval. SMG executives hope to officially take over management by Sept. 1.

     

    Louisiana’s domestic abuse laws now include dating partners, as a new law took effect yesterday. Previously these abusers could only be charged with simple battery, but the new law creates the crime of battery of a dating partner.

     

    LSU says they may have found a new live mascot at a sanctuary in Florida. Ginger Guttner with the LSU Vet School says the prospect is a nine-month-old, 160 pound male tiger. Guttner a major renovation project on the school’s Tiger habitat is nearing competition. She says if LSU gets the Tiger, it will be donated by the rescue facility, so no cost to the university.

     

    The resident of the third home to be completed under the Restore Louisiana program is about to be home. Lillie Gumm of Baton Rouge was one of the first people to complete the flood recovery survey at restore.la.gov. She says throughout this ordeal, she’s learned about taking deep breaths. Money from the homeowner assistance program first went to the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals.

     

    The author of the failed gasoline tax increase proposal says the state needs to look at other ways to repair the state’s decrepit roads and bridges. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter recommended a 17-cent gas tax hike, but the support was not there in the legislature. Carter says next year’s session is general and no tax bills can be filed. The following year is a fiscal session, but taxes are unlikely to pass during an election year. He says until lawmakers find a way to fund the state’s growing infrastructure needs, the problems will only get worse.

     

    Two Minnesota teens are well on their way to becoming the youngest team to kayak the entire Mississippi River. Matt Rens and Jesse Richard are paddling through the Bayou. The pair has raised a little over 4-thousand dollars to help fund cleaner water in a village in a third world country.

     

    Colorado authorities say a Baton Rouge area fire captain committed suicide in Durango, Colorado. The coroner says 48-year-old Rudi Shoats died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shoats was wanted in Mississippi for fatally shooting his wife. 45-year-old Khristie Rollins Shoats was found dead in a vehicle outside her in Woodville, Mississippi on Sunday.

     

    More and more women are heading to court, as the American Bar Association finds an uptick in the number of female attorneys. Women account for 35 percent of lawyers in the state, a 7 percent jump since 2004. President of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Dona Renegar (Doh-na, not Donna) credits a more accommodating environment for female attorneys with family responsibilities. Baton Rouge is slightly ahead of the national average with females representing 38 percent of attorneys in the city.

     

    A survey finds most parents’ believe their children are performing better than what their test scores actually show.  Nine in 10 parents believe their children are at or above grade level, but data shows the number is really closer to one-third. Public Relations Chair for the Louisiana PTA Stacey Simpson  says with the school year about to start, review your student’s test results and to help improve your child’s academic achievement make sure you stay involved. For a full list of the Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves visit be a learning hero.org

     

    During a question and answer session with season ticket holders, Jets safety and former LSU Tiger Jamal Adams said the football field is a perfect place to die. Adams made the comment after he was asked about player safety. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was part of the Q-and-A session.

     

    LSU Quarterback Danny Etlin says he feels a lot better than he did in the spring. Etling underwent a back procedure earlier this year and the senior from Indiana says he’s close to 100-percent…

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  • News for Tuesday 080117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Six people have been charged with helping an Alexandria man after he escaped from the Rapides Parish Courthouse last week. 37 year old Kenneth Johnson was captured two days later in Lafayette after a traffic stop. All six were charged with being an accessory after the fact, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Two were also charged with parole violations.

     

    A new law takes effect  today that seeks to curb the litter problem in Louisiana. It lowers the fine for littering from $1,000 to $900. Fines for littering were doubled in 2015, which triggered jury trial provisions that made enforcement less likely. However,  the new law doubles the amount of community service time for a new offender.

     

    Other laws set to go into effect  today…Children can bring sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note. An unmarried minor seeking an abortion will not only need a notarized note from their guardian, but proof of identity as well. And portions of Governor John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reform package takes effect.

     

    Drivers should no longer receive speeding tickets in the mail from hidden speed cameras thanks to a new law that goes into effect today. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation requires signs to be posted ahead of speed enforcement camera in order to collect on the fine. He says if the goal of these cameras is really to stop speeders, municipalities should have no problem posting warning signs.

     

    U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with White House officials Monday afternoon to discuss proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico reports the Cassidy-Graham proposal would maintain protections for individuals with pre-exisiting conditions, keep most of the taxes connected to the Affordable Care Act, send federal health care funds to states in block grants, but end the requirement all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a tax.

     

    The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the American Creosote Deridder, an environmentally contaminated site in Deridder, to the Superfund National Priorities Site. Greg Langley with the state Department of Environmental Quality says once this Beauregard Parish site is added to the list, it’s in line to receive federal funding that can go towards cleanup efforts. The state currently has 27 other Superfund sites.

     

    Most juvenile killers will no longer be eligible to receive life sentences without the chance for parole, as a new law goes into effect today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the law was needed because the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that murderers convicted as juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole. Claitor notes that just because a lifer is given a chance for parole, it doesn’t mean they will be released.

     

    A former Livingston Parish teacher admits to having a sexual relationship with a teen student. 33-year-old Lynsie Pendarvis was arrested last June when police discovered her relationship with a 15-year-old student at Walker Freshman High School. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says Pendarvis pleaded guilty to all charges. Pendarvis received a five-year-prison sentence, which was suspended and she must register as a sex offender for 15 years.

     

    It was a deadly weekend in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says two teens were killed when a drug deal went wrong on Sunday evening. He says a woman was also found stabbed to death in a home on Sunday morning.

     

    A school teacher from the Baton Rouge area and a principal from Acadiana are the Louisiana State Teacher and Principal of the Year, which is awarded annually by the state Department of Education.  Kimberly Eckert, a 9th grade English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge, received the teacher of the year honor. This fall, Eckert will enter her 10th year of teaching. Tommy Byler, the principal of North Vermilion High School, received the honor of Principal of the Year. Byler has been in education for 26-years.

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  • News for Monday 073117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The investigation is ongoing into the death of a female inmate at the Rapides Parish Detention Center 1 Saturday morning. Authorities say 59 year old Rachel Smith was discovered, shortly before 4am, unresponsive in a cell. Investigating deputies determined Smith was killed as a result of an altercation with 35 year old Nicole  Chandler. Chandler was booked for second degree murder.

     

    Here’s an amazing statistic. A gun is stolen from a private owner every 67 minutes in Louisiana, according to the Center for American Progress. The non-profit’s Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy, Chelsea Parsons says data from the FBI finds from 2012 to 2016, 718 guns were stolen from firearms dealers in the state. But, it gets worse. Between 2012 and 2015, 31-thousand guns were stolen from individuals in Louisiana.

     

    Claiborne Parish authorities say a prisoner abducted and fatally stabbed the assistant wardens stepdaughter after walking away from a work assignment last Thursday. Sheriff Ken Bailey says the inmate’s life eventually ended during a standoff on prison property.  The prisoner, 39-year-old Deltra Henderson, was serving time for different offenses including aggravated burglary. The victim has been identified as 19-year-old Amanda Carney.

     

    US Senator John Kennedy says a failed vote to repeal Obamacare is a loss for the American people. But the Louisiana Budget Project is relieved because they say it would have jeopardized the healthcare many Louisianans depend on. It’s unclear what direction healthcare discussions will take from here.

     

    Beginning tomorrow, smoking will no longer be permitted at bars in Lafayette, as a ban approved by the city-parish council goes into effect. CEO of the Smoking Cessation Trust Mike Rogers calls the new ordinance a victory. He hopes this will help more people kick their smoking habit. Opponents to the ban call it government overreach. But Rogers says as more and more smoking bans are enacted around the state, they’re seeing more smokers put down their packs. Lafayette is the 11th Louisiana city to ban smoking in bars.

     

    The Mermentau Police Chief has been charged with theft and malfeasance in office after allegedly making illegal withdrawals from the police association’s bank account. State Trooper Brooks David says they will hold Chief Amos Crader accountable for his crimes. Crader was booked into the Acadia Parish Jail on three counts of theft and three counts of malfeasance.

     

    SWEPCO plans to use wind energy to provide power to its customers in northwest and central Louisiana. Company spokesperson Scott McCloud says SWEPCO will own 14-hundred megawatts from a wind farm currently under construction in Oklahoma. He says this project will save all SWEPCO customers more than $5 billion over the 25 year life of the windfarm.

     

    A federal appeals court has ruled a Louisiana inmate can keep his dreadlocks as part of his faith. Christopher Ware, who is serving a 40-year sentence for sexual battery, took a vow not to cut his hair to adhere to the Rastafari religion. A three-judge appellate panel said the department of corrections policies, as applied to Ware, violates federal law.

     

    Another LSU football season is underway as the Tigers have reported for preseason camp and they’ll practice for the first time today. Ed Orgeron is beginning his first full season as the head coach.

     

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  • News for Friday 072817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Jared Lee Nelson, a Rapides inmate on a work crew who walked away on Wednesday morning in the Sieper area, has been recaptured after a search with helicopters. The RPSO says He was found in a pasture off La. Highway 121.

     

    Over 65-hundred students who took Advanced Placement Tests this year scored well enough to earn college course credit. State Superintendent of Education John White says that’s a 10-percent increase from last year and a 137-percent increase from 2012.. White says black students have made great strides in AP credits, with a 17 percent increase in students who earned college credits. On the down side, only 19 percent of Advanced Placement exams given in Rapides Parish last year earned high enough scores for students to be awarded credit by Louisiana colleges.

     

    The Catholic Diocese of Alexandria announced Thursday the principal of Holy Savior Menard High School in Alexandria has resigned. Joel Desselle, who has served as Menard's principal and head football coach since 2007, has accepted a job as assistant principal at Marksville High School in Avoyelles Parish. Dwayne Lemoine, who was recently hired as assistant principal at Menard, will serve as acting principal during the search for a new leader.

     

    Saints and Pelicans Owners Tom and Gayle Benson are getting into the beer business as they’ve announced the purchase of Dixie Brewing Company. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the brewery that once made Dixie Beer, but the plan is to get the New Orleans brewery up and running again.

     

    UL-Lafayette had a statewide economic impact of $379 million in FY-15, according to a study by the New York-based consulting firm Appleseed. University president Dr. Joseph Savoie says the college offers about a 7 to 1 return on investment for the state.

    Savoie hopes this will help higher education leaders make the case for increased state funding during difficult budget times. He says the university contributes to the economy in a variety of ways, from employing nearly two thousand people to buying local.

     

    The Cajun music community is saddened over the death of D.L. Menard who has passed away at the age of 85. Executive Director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Mike Shepherd, says Menard was known as the Cajun Hank Williams. His hit “The Back Door” has sold over half a million copies.

     

    It will be a fun-filled weekend across the Bayou State, as events are taking place in both north and south Louisiana. In Grand Isle, the Tarpon Rodeo is underway. Event president Barry Kern says it’s the oldest fishing tournament in the country in its 89th year. In north Louisiana, the 54th annual Farmerville Watermelon Festival kicks off.

     

    One teen is dead and another was injured after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while walking on LA 784 in Red River Parish. State Police say 19-year-old Lacy Ross sustained minor injuries, and 17-year-old Rachel Barnette was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver 47-year-old Kenneth Morse was charged in the incident.

     

    Two Capitol Special Agents and three officers from Alexandria, Virginia Police received the Medal of Valor for their bravery during the shooting spree that occurred while House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were at a park on June 14th. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award a public safety officer can receive.

     

    New ULM athletics director Nick Floyd laid out his vision for the department Thursday during his introductory press conference. He takes over a program that is known as the lowest funded in the country out of the 128 FBS schools. Floyd says running a program with the highest degree of integrity is his number one priority.

     

    There is a lot of talk this week about a new study which found brain damage in 99 percent of participating former NFL players. The report says CTE occurs after repeated blows to the head, and it causes things like memory loss, depression, and dementia. But Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine director Dr. Greg Stewart believes the report is a stretch. The Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine is one of only four medical facilities in the nation chosen to take care of the physical and mental health of former pro-players. Stewart says one of the things they’ve seen is that once a player leaves the league and isn’t playing anymore, they stop taking care of themselves physically and mentally.

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  • News for Thursday 072717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office reports a man and woman were found dead Tuesday in a Montgomery home. It’s believe 61 year old Ray Brown Killed 42 year old Rachel Flanagan and then turned the gun on himself. Officials say autopsies will be performed.

     

    Sammy Truck Auto Plaza and Casino in Bunkie was robbed early Tuesday morning. The FBI reports 4 armed masked men entered the facility just before 3am. Two of them pointed the guns at customers and demanded their wallets the other two kicked and broke a window that separated the casino floor from the teller's cage, making off with  most of the money from the cash drawer. The good news is nobody was injured. A reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to arrests and indictments in the case.

     

    Good news regarding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip on June 14th. The Congressman, who represents much of southeast Louisiana, has been discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital and he’ll begin a period of intensive inpatient rehabilitation, once completed, he can return to work.

     

    West Nile activity is picking up in Louisiana as the state Office of Public Health says seven individuals have been diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease this month. Three cases have been reported in the Baton Rouge area and the others are in in Bossier, Ouachita, Rapides and Morehouse. Two deaths were reported from the West Nile Virus in 2016 and so far none have been reported this year.

     

    Transgendered people will no longer be able to serve in the military after an announcement from President Trump. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham says this change makes sense. He says if someone decides to undergo a gender transformation surgery while enlisted, it could hinder their service to the military. But the ACLU of Louisiana says this is clear discrimination.

     

    A Gallup poll finds 51 percent of Louisiana voters approve of the president’s job performance. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says that’s not surprising since Mr. Trump carried Louisiana in the election with a whopping 58 percent.

     

    A vote from the Public Service Commission means Entergy Louisiana customers will have upgraded meters at their homes by 2021. Entergy spokesperson Greg Guilbeau says customers will be notified when crews will change their meters, but they should not see a noticeable disruption in service. Guilbeau says Entergy will start installing the new meters in 2019. He says this new technology will also help with outage detection. Cleco customers have had the, so called, smart meters for several years.

     

    A 10 and 12 year old are facing charges after they allegedly robbed a wireless store in Shreveport. Corporal Marcus Hines says video shows the youngsters breaking into the store on Monday night and taking phones and they returned again on Tuesday night.

    All of the stolen items were recovered.

     

    US Senator John Kennedy has filed amendments to the healthcare bill that would require abled bodied adults without children to work in order to receive Medicaid. The amendment would exclude people under age 19, those who participate in addiction treatment programs, and young adults in school and work training programs.

     

    Sports..

     

    Today, LSU head football Coach Ed Orgeron told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club quarterback Danny Etling will have to earn the job during preseason camp, which starts next week. He says the other quarterbacks on the roster will have a chance, including incoming freshman Myles Brennan.

     

    Former LSU Tiger Booger McFarland will be seen this fall on ABC as an in-studio analyst. McFarland has been working at the SEC Network since 2014.

     

    Can the Saints return to the playoffs this year? For the last three years, the Black and Gold have finished with a record of 7-and-9. Coach Sean Payton says he likes the additions they’ve made on defense and they are deep in the secondary, which should help out their offense. Payton says there’s a lot of work ahead for this team, because they play in a tough division and the beginning of the schedule is difficult.

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  • News for Wednesday 072617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A seven year old boy was found dead in Winnsboro Monday night after he was apparently electrocuted by his neighbor’s fence. Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb says the parents of Brandon McFarland reported him missing after he was last seen playing in his front yard. Authorities say McFarland tried to cross the fence to get his ball and was then electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. It appears the neighbor had electrified the fence because he was trying to prevent his dog from digging underneath it.

     

    As Congress is set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance program in September, the Natural Resources Defense Council is urging a shift to moving homeowners to a safer area rather than rebuilding properties that repeatedly flood. Rob Moore with the NRDC says they recommend that the National Flood Insurance Program provides homeowners a guaranteed buyout if they no longer want to rebuild. Louisiana leads the country for the number of repeated flooded properties. 

     

    The U.S. Senate is gearing up to debate the healthcare plan to replace Obamacare. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy proposed several amendments to the GOP replacement bill, with little support. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says as a doctor, Cassidy understands the risks of taking away health insurance. Senator John Kennedy has proudly stated he will vote to repeal the ACA even without a replacement.

     

    Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks’ campaign ad using audio from the shooting that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is making waves. Political analyst Silas Lee says Brooks might lose some middle of the road voters from this. The ad touts Brooks’ support for the second amendment. Scalise’s chief of staff tweeted that Brooks’ ad makes his stomach turn.

     

    An LSU study found the NBA All-Star game in February brought nearly 45 million dollars to the state. Co-author of the report Dr. Stephen Barnes says their report shows that local and state government should the necessary resources to attract big events like this to the Bayou State.

     

    More people than ever are lying on resumes to get a job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 85 percent of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or application, up from just 66 percent five years ago. UNO business professor Mark Rosa blames a competitive job market. Rosa says some applicants may only embellish a little bit, like adding a few years to their experience, while others go as far as to make diplomas from fake universities. But he says employers are getting better at catching them, because most things on a resume are verifiable. Rosa says the internet is helping employers weed out untruthful applicants, which increases the risk of getting caught.

     

    Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced his retirement Tuesday and will become a talk show host for WWL Radio in New Orleans. Normand has been a law enforcement officer since 1977 and is excited about his new career. Normand will replace Garland Robinette, who is also retiring.

     

    A new startup out of Lafayette called Short and Fat offers more clothing options to men with a different build. Co-founder Jeff Martin says men who are “vertically challenged and horizontally blessed” have to resort to shopping at big and tall stores. But they often end up trading one solution for more problems, like trying to find a shirt that fits around the neck. Short and Fat has a $15,000 goal on Kickstarter that Martin says will help them launch their own website.

     

    The Saints look to get back to the playoffs this season as they report for training camp. The New Orleans franchise has finished 7-and-9, the last three seasons. And NFL analyst Mike Detillier projects the Saints will once again be solid on offense with Quarterback Drew Brees at the helm. One of the big off-season additions was the signing of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Detillier says hopefully this means head coach Sean Payton will be more committed to the running game this year.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 072517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Gas prices are about 10 cents higher now than they were this time last year. That’s according to Don Redman with AAA, who says prices will continue to climb as we get closer to Labor Day. He says refineries are struggling to keep up with record high demand. The statewide average is about $2.08 a gallon.

     

    In a move that doesn’t surprise many in the Capital City, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie has announced his plans to retire immediately. Newly elected Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome promised a new top cop, in the hopes of easing tensions between the community and police following the shooting of Alton Sterling. The Mayor  has talked about firing Dabadie since she was elected, but civil service laws prevented her from doing so. Broome named Lt. Johnathan Dunnam as interim and says he is not going to apply for the permanent position.

     

    New Orleans and Baton Rouge are among the most segregated cities in the nation, according to a report from 24/7 Wall Street. New Orleans came in at number six on the list, and Baton Rouge ranked thirteenth. Editor-In-Chief Doug McIntyre says in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the black poverty rate is roughly 30 percent, while the white poverty rate is only about 10 percent. In New Orleans, about 43 percent of the black population lives in black neighborhoods, compared to 32 percent in Baton Rouge.

     

    A plane crash in Union Parish has claimed the life of a 73-year-old man from Monroe. Sheriff Dusty Gates says David Lockard’s small, private plane crashed into Lake D’Arbonne yesterday afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration is one site, trying to determine a cause for the crash.

     

    Calcasieu Parish authorities make an arrest in the 2009 murder of 19-year-old Sierra Bouziard. Her body was found on the side of the road in Moss Bluff. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says 31-year-old Blake Russel was taken into custody today after police work and DNA technology helped connect him to Bouziard’s murder. Russel was charged with second-degree murder.

     

    The Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a fatal hit and run crash in Rayne. They say 42-year-old Ivy Roger had been charged with driving while intoxicated five times before, and was booked last night after hitting a bicyclist and fleeing the scene of the crash. The victim, 61-year-old Ricky Joyner, died at the scene.

     

    A veteran New Orleans Police officer has been shot for the third time in his career. Authorities say Christopher Abbott is recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was in uniform working off-duty private security patrol when someone from a dark SUV fired one shot at him. The search is on for the shooter.

     

    USA Today’s Dan Wolken says former LSU head coach Les Miles is extremely interested in the head coaching vacancy at Ole Miss. Miles has reportedly made his interests known to influential Ole Miss boosters.

     

    National watchdog, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, believes the 100-thousand dollar fine against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for animal abuse at its New Iberia research center does not go far enough.  This is the fifth largest fine levied against a laboratory in the U.S. University spokesperson Kathleen Thames released a statement saying these incidents occurred as part of routine housing and care of nonhuman primates. But animal rights experts disagree, as there are multiple occurrences of monkeys being neglected or killed.

     

    The state Department of Environmental Quality will distribute 12 million dollars from the Volkswagen settlement to projects proposed by public agencies that offer long term benefits to the community. Thursday is the last day to submit a proposal.

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  • News for Monday 072417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police report a single vehicle crash claimed the lives of two people early Sunday morning on LA 112 when the driver lost control, left the highway and struck some trees. Troopers say the vehicle burst into flames. The identities of both occupants are being withheld, at this time, pending positive identification by DNA analysis. It is unknown, at this time, if seat belts were used by the occupants or if the driver was impaired.

    The investigation remains ongoing. 

     

    A former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lieutenant was officially indicted Friday after a July 2016 arrest for soliciting prostitutes, as well as other charges. An investigation revealed Stacy Bender, likely on duty at the time, had an ongoing relationship with a prostitute. Bender pleaded not guilty Friday to six counts of malfeasance in office, two counts of solicitation of prostitution, two counts of inciting prostitution, two counts of unlawful use of criminal records and one count of obstruction of justice.

     

    More than two thousand soldiers from Fort Polk will complete anti-terrorism operations during a deployment to Iraq this fall. Base spokesperson Kim Reischling says 60 percent of the base will deploy, leaving less than two thousand men and women of the combat team on the base. The 3rd Brigade Team has trained for this deployment for the past year.

     

    Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows Louisiana has added nearly 21-thousand jobs since June 2016 and the unemployment rate is down to a three-year low. State officials say Lake Charles continues to be the fastest growing job market with an increase in 55-hundred jobs over the last year. Baton Rouge, Monroe and New Orleans also saw job gains over the last year.

     

    Louisiana’s FastStart workforce training program has been named the best in the nation by Business Facilities magazine for a record eight years in a row. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this can help LED bring more companies to the Bayou State. Business Facilities also ranked Louisiana third for infrastructure, seventh for cost of doing business, ninth for exports and economic growth potential, and tenth for industrial electricity rates.

     

    The US has reached an agreement with China that will allow Louisiana and other states to export rice to China for the first time. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain expects Louisiana farmers will benefit from the new trade agreement. The US Department of Agriculture predicts China will import 5 million tons of rice in 2017 and 2018.

     

    A poll on the State Treasurer’s race finds it to be a wide open contest. The October 14th election features three well-funded Republicans, Angele Davis, Neil Riser and John Schroder. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillon says the GOP candidates are polling in the high single digits. There is a major Democrat in the race, New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards. Couvillon says in the horse race portion of the survey, Edwards polled at 18-percent, which is higher than the three GOP candidates. Couvillon says the biggest number from his poll is the undecided, which is at 60-percent…

     

    State Police report two Shreveport business owners have been arrested in connection to a multi-state human trafficking investigation. After receiving a call from the Missouri State Police alerting authorities, the owners the Palm Massage were arrested after police found evidence indicating that Chinese women were trafficked from the east coast to Louisiana and forced to work.

     

    Multiple agencies are investigating a fire in St. Tammany Parish in which a woman’s body was discovered. It was initially believed Nanette Krentel died in the fire, but autopsy shows she actually died of a gunshot wound. The investigation by both the sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office is heating up, as Krentel is the wife of the local fire chief.

     

    The Department of Children and Family Services launches a program aimed at improving the foster care system. On any given day, there are more than 4,000 Louisiana children in foster care. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they want to raise expectations for foster parents and caregivers through the new Quality Parenting Initiative. Walters says this initiative is about allowing foster parents to act more as parents instead of temporary caregivers, while expecting more of those foster parents.

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  • News for Friday 072117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Vernon pan has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. 35 year old Rodney Bailey Jr is believed to be responsible for the death of 2 year old Willow Rain Molina-Renteria whom he was babysitting earlier this year. The child’s mother came home to find her daughter and Bailey, the babysitter, missing. The girl's body was found the next day in a remote area of Beauregard Parish, after Bailey had been taken into custody.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has written a letter to House Speaker Taylor Barras that says now is the time to discuss proposals to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in revenue that will expire July 1st, 2018. The governor suggests Barras form a working group of Republicans and Democrats. The governor also says he plans to hold meetings across the state to discuss how to address the fiscal cliff.

     

    Lt. Bruce Simmons is back to work at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, just over a year after being shot in the police ambush. Casey Rayborn Hicks with the sheriff’s office says Sheriff Sid Gautreaux welcomed Simmons back by promoting him from sergeant to lieutenant and his fellow deputies gave him a standing ovation.

     

    A lawsuit filed yesterday claims Louisiana prison officials blocked attorneys from investigating "alarming" allegations of inmate abuse, including claims that mentally ill prisoners were forced to kneel or bend down and bark like dogs to get food. The federal suit, filed by the Advocacy Center, said the New Orleans-based nonprofit also has received reports that disabled prisoners at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer have been slapped, punched, kicked, sprayed with mace and bleach and stripped of clothing during the winter. The suit seeks court-ordered access to the prison so attorneys can fully investigate conditions at the facility.

     

    Work began this week on water proofing the first six floors of the exterior of the State Capitol building. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says new technology gave engineers a closer look that pieces of limestone were coming loose from the 80-year-old building.

     

    The Jefferson Parish coroner says an elderly woman who died in Metairie was not strangled, but instead died of natural causes. The hunt was on for a suspect and a motive after the coroner said physical findings suggested strangulation. However, the evidence shows 84-year-old Pauline Balloon actually died of natural causes.

     

    A Crime Prevention Research Center report finds more women and minorities are receiving concealed handgun permits compared to white males. Wade Duty, co-owner of Precision Firearms in Baton Rouge says he’s seen the exact same trend in recent years. He credits this spike to the increased awareness of domestic violence issues.

    The national report finds permits for men grew 22-percent from 2012 to 2016 and permits for women increased by a whopping 93-percent.

     

    Louisiana elected officials says they are praying for Arizona Senator John McCain’s who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Neuro-Oncologist Dr. Aaron Mammoser with LSU Health New Orleans says glioblastoma is the most common primary brain tumor doctors see, and unfortunately it’s also the most aggressive. He says there are more than 15,000 of these tumors diagnosed every year in the US. Mammoser says the average survival is somewhere in the 16 to 18 month range. He says McCain will be surrounded by a remarkable medical staff at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

     

    A veteran lawman assigned to a New Orleans-based federal drug task force pleaded guilty Thursday to pocketing thousands of dollars seized during drug raids, admitting to significantly reduced charges in a clear indication that he is cooperating with a secretive U.S. Justice Department probe into law enforcement misconduct.  Karl Newman was a federally deputized member of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force that has been accused of shaking down informants and stealing and distributing drugs seized during federal narcotics investigations.

     

    Southern University Vice Chancellor Brandon Dumas has been fired following a tumultuous period for the university. But Dumas, who oversees student affairs and enrollment management, will appeal the termination at a hearing before the Southern University Board of Supervisors today. The top Southern administrator was placed on administrative leave on June 23, also without explanation from the university about why officials were taking that step.

     

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  • News for Thursday 072017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    It’s official, almost. A private company will begin running the Rapides Parish Coliseum in September. The Rapides Parish Police Jury agreed to terms with SMG Wednesday. The company, which specializes in managing publicly owned facilities. The terms include a $125,000 yearly management fee for SMG, up to $50,000 a year in performance incentives and a 15 percent commission on advertising and sales. SMG is deferring this year's fees to 2018 and 2019, and kicking in a $100,000 grant for marketing and incentive funds to entice acts to the Coliseum. The Police Jury also voted Wednesday to dissolve the Coliseum Authority on July 31, on the condition that the contract with SMG is finalized.

     

    The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents not to fall for a scam in which callers try to convince people they face fines for missing jury duty. Callers are telling people they can be arrested and prosecuted for not reporting for jury duty in federal and state courts. The callers, of course, tell people they can pay a fine at the federal courthouse in downtown Alexandria to clear up the issue. But the victim then will receive a follow-up phone call with an offer to expedite the issue if the victim buys a Green Dot Visa card. The sheriff's office reminds people that no law enforcement agency would try to collect a fine in this manner, and neither would the courts system.

     

    The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a heat advisory for the northern half of the state through 7 PM tonight. Forecasters indicate hot and humid conditions could lead to temperatures that climb into the mid to upper 90s with heat index values up 108 degrees. They urge residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

     

    Zachary Police say they have made an arrest in the case of a fatal home invasion that occurred Tuesday night. Chief David McDavid says the deceased, 20-year-old Damon Hayes Jr, allegedly broke into an elderly residents home with 20-year-old Jordale Carter and possibly two other suspects. The resident opened fire killing Hayes. Carter was booked on many charges including murder because his accomplice died during a crime. McDavid says two other suspects are still at large.

     

    Three months ahead of the October 14 election, more than half of the races have already been settled. Candidates in 41 races had no opponents, while 16 saw no candidates at all. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they saw a similar rate just over a year ago when 44 percent of the races were settled before reaching the ballot.

    Schedler blames the public’s frustration with government for the disinterest in running for public office. Plus, he says these positions don’t pay much and they come with a lot of stress.

     

    Could state Education Superintendent John White’s job be in jeopardy? Governor Edwards says White was not reconfirmed by the Senate during the session. Over a dozen people filed a lawsuit alleging White needed that confirmation, but a judge dismissed the case. The judge noted few elected officials have the legal authority to file a petition to fire White, and the governor is one of those.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards is not endorsing Damon Baldone in the public service commissioner race. Edwards appointed Baldone to serve as interim when Scott Angelle vacated the position in June. A longtime Democrat, Baldone qualified in the race as a Republican. Election Day is October 14.

     

    Louisiana’s Congressional delegation is getting behind an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Congressman Clay Higgins is one of the co-sponsors and the Republican from St. Landry Parish says the proposal would protect policyholders from skyrocketing premiums. The current National Flood Insurance Program expires on September 30th, which is why there is a big push to reauthorize the program for another six years. Higgins says it’s their desire to limit rate increases to no more than 10 percent a year.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards is pleased with job growth and creation in the Bayou State. On his monthly radio call in show, the governor said several sectors of the economy are improving, especially health care thanks to expansion of the Medicaid program.  Edwards says in January of 2016, the state’s unemployment rate was at 6.2-percent and the latest numbers show the unemployment rate in May of 2017 was 5.7-percent and predicts that will drop even lower when the June numbers are released.

     

    Authorities say an 84-year-old woman at a senior living center in Metairie was choked to death and the search is on for suspects and a motive. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office says the victim was found dead Tuesday night. Detectives at first thought it was a death by natural causes, but an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be strangulation.

     

    Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes announces his plans to retire. Holmes said in a news conference he has been thinking about returning to teaching for quite some time. News outlets had reported that Mayor Jamie Mayo asked for a resignation, but he says that’s absolutely not true. Mayo says Holmes will remain chief until July 30 while his office works to find someone to serve in the interim. Holmes has served as Monroe’s top cop since 2011.

     

    A man rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital missed the birth of his child after being arrested in Rapides Parish. Creola Police Chief Health Landry says one of his officers clocked a vehicle doing 108 in a 55 mph speed zone. He says the officer witnessed more dangerous driving as he attempted to pull over Zak Evans. Landry says the officer radioed ahead to Pineville, where officers set up a road block because Evans would not stop. He says when officers finally pulled over Evans and got him out of the vehicle, he was livid. An ambulance took Evans’ wife Bridget to a local hospital, and Evans was arrested on charges of flight from an office and careless operation, as well as ticketed for speeding.

     

    Female military veterans will have a new support system, as the state Department of Veterans Affairs is set to launch monthly Coffee Conversations in August. Female veterans outreach coordinator Alex Juan says this will offer a safe space for military women to talk about the issues affecting them. She says the discussions will be live streamed and open to all of female veterans in the state. Louisiana is home to more than 32,000 women veterans.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday federal funding for flood control projects in the Baton Rouge area. Edwards says 220 million dollars will go to local governments in the Capital region as part of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

    Edwards says each parish will submit a plan to FEMA before the money will be allocated.  He says some of the money will be used to buy back significantly damaged homes from last year’s flood and make it a green space.

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  • News for Wednesday 071917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Tropical Storm Don degenerated to an open wave in the far southeastern Caribbean Sea late Tuesday evening after spreading bands of heavy rain and gusty winds across the Windward Islands Tuesday. Don became the fourth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season Monday afternoon.

     

    A national poll finds the governor’s approval rating is up to 58 percent. Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat says being in the upper 50s is good for any governor, but especially a Democrat in a red state. Edwards’ approval rating was at 54 percent in May.

     

    Yesterday Governor  Edwards, along with a bipartisan group of governors, issued a statement recommending a bipartisan approach to improving the nation’s health care system that engages governors across the United States in the process. It indicates that they feel it’s critically important that governors are brought to the table to provide input, and that they stand ready to work with lawmakers in an open, bipartisan way to provide better insurance for all Americans.

     

    According to a WWL-TV report,  Efforts by a group of Louisiana State Troopers to have Gov. John Bel Edwards remove State Police Commissioner Calvin Braxton have reignited after the state police said Braxton used his position to ask for special treatment from law enforcement for him and his family. The incident is connected to the arrest of Braxton’s daughter for drunk driving last year in Natchitoches.  Braxton reportedly chastised the then Commander of Troop E saying the arresting trooper "should have given his daughter a professional courtesy as well as utilizing discretion in not arresting her."

     

    As the race for State Treasurer is underway, now might be a good time to start the conversation about eliminating the position for good. That’s according Jeremy Alford, the publisher of LaPolitics.com, who says this is the first time in 17 years there has been an open race for the seat. Alford says there are currently 16 states that don’t elect their state treasurer. Alford says many voters have come to view the post of state treasurer as an unofficial watchdog to second guess and review the governor and legislature’s spending.

     

    Three Louisiana cities are among the most stressed in the country, according to a new study from the personal finance website Wallethub. Shreveport came in at number ten on the list. Jill Gonzales with Wallethub says Shreveport did particularly badly in the health category. New Orleans, which came in at number 19, and 21st ranked Baton Rouge are also seeing similar problems related to health and work stress.

     

    A Baton Rouge man turned himself into police after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend. 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of shooting 41-year-old Monique Maxie, who later died because of her injuries. Police believe Antoine fired multiple shots at two people, and Maxie was struck exiting a car. The suspect faces charges of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, aggravated battery and illegal use of a weapon.

     

    Another court hearing has been set for a Shreveport man accused of killing a police officer. Grover Cannon is accused of shooting Officer Thomas LaValley six times in 2015. The 29-year-old had a hearing with a judge yesterday, and another is set for August 24. His trail is slated to begin in April of 2018.

     

    Tulane University is the latest Louisiana school to trademark its own brew, after partnering with NOLA Brewing Company to release the Green Wave Beer. Brewery president Kirk Coco says the partnership with Tulane Athletics was a no brainer because the school is such a big part of the city, and NOLA Brewing is all about New Orleans.

     

    Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves expressed his frustrations over the barrier between lanes of I-12 at a FAST Act hearing in Washington. Graves says the barrier seemed to contribute to flooding in communities north of I-12. He says something has to be done to address drainage concerns on the highway. Graves says there was about a six foot difference in water levels on the north and south sides of the interstate.

     

    The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation names LSU head gymnastics coach DD Breaux the Most Outstanding Coach in Louisiana. Breaux just completed her 40th season in 2017. She says being recognized by people outside of gymnastics means a lot. LSU finished as the NCAA National Runner-up for the 2nd straight year this past season.

     

    New Orleans has been named the number four city in the US by readers of Travel and Leisure. Kristian Sonnier with the New Orleans CVB says the magazine ranked cities based on six categories, including culture, friendliness, shopping, and overall value

    Sonnier says the CVB works around the clock to ensure New Orleans remains at the top of these rankings.

     

    No-frills discount carrier Frontier Airlines is adding direct flights from New Orleans to four U.S. cities as part of a broader expansion that will boost its network to 82 destinations. Starting in October, Frontier will offer nonstop service from Louis Armstrong International Airport to San Antonio and Austin, Texas to Long Island New York and Providence, Rhode Island. For a limited time, Frontier is selling introductory, one-way fares on some flights starting at $39.

     

    The Environmental Defense Fund is suing the Trump Administration for extending the red snapper season. Director of the Gulf of Mexico Oceans program, Robert Jones, says his hope is to get rid of fixed seasons because they do not benefit anglers. He says this suit is a catalyst for change towards more flexible access. The group fears overfishing will hurt the snapper population, but opponents say that shouldn’t be a problem.

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  • News for Tuesday 071817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham says  the Defense Budget bill passed late last week by the House, can put the US back on the path to military superiority. Abraham, who is Louisiana's only member of the House Armed Services Committee, says Louisiana's federal military bases and troops would thrive under the bill, which he said would stave off any reductions or closures in the state. The bill, passed Friday, still has a long way to go, it still needs to pass the Senate and President Trump must sign it before it becomes law.

     

    It’s been a full year since an out of state shooter gunned down six law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. Three of those officers lost their lives that day. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says even a year later, the tragedy has put officers on high alert.

    Deputy Brad Garafola, Officer Matthew Gerald, and Cpl. Montrell Jackson were killed in the ambush.

     

    East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier continues to defy the odds. Nick has made tremendous strides in his recovery after being shot three times by a gunman who ambushed Baton Rouge police officers. His father James says Nick underwent major abdominal surgery last week to help with the infection he’s been battling since the shooting. He says Nick is able to move his arms and legs, and about a month ago he even said the word hello out loud, which are strides Nick was never supposed to make.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has launched a new program called Constituent Services on the Geaux to give Louisiana residents a chance to meet face to face with someone from the office to answer questions. Constituent Services receives nearly 1,000 inquiries each week. But, the new program that launches today will take the program on the road. The Governor’s office says they are working with local and statewide elected officials to alert residents in their districts when the program is coming to their town.

     

    This summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be the largest ever and Louisiana aquatic life will suffer most burden of the effects. LSU Professor of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences Nancy Rabalais says an increased load of nitrates were carried by the Mississippi River during the spring leading to the hypoxia, or dead zone. She says this is a lack of oxygen in the water and it is deadly for marine life.

     

    The state’s Cyber Crime Unit has arrested a man on over 100 counts of child pornography. They say 27-year-old Cameron Fairley of Sulphur was booked on 80 counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children and 29 additional counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children under the age of 13.

     

    State officials are ramping up efforts to boost participation in the flood recovery survey. Pat Forbes with the Office of Community Development says they’re bring the forms to the ground level and going door to door. He says this is the first step for flood victims to get the aid they need. The survey can be found online at restore.la.gov.

     

    According to a recent study, sleep deprivation is costing Americans billions. Dr. Jake Rodi with Ochsner says people are more sleep deprived than ever. He says the biggest medical cause of sleep loss is sleep apnea. The study from Rand Europe finds the US loses over 1 million working days a year to sleep deprivation.

     

    A man is behind bars on an attempted murder charge after a heroin overdose on LSU campus. Police say the 25-year-old was found unresponsive in a bathroom stall with a needle in his arm. 33-year-old Joshua Brian is accused of giving the drug to the victim, and making no attempt to call for help after the overdose. The victim was resuscitated by EMS. Brian also faces a slew of drug-related charges.

     

    A Ouachita Parish man was arrested after allegedly punching a pregnant woman over meth. The victim reportedly told police she fell asleep in the car on the way to 47-year-old William Chapman’s residence. Police say she woke up to Chapman and an unknown woman punching her and yelling at her to return the 36 grams of methamphetamine they believe was stolen from the home. Chapman was booked on one count of simple battery.

     

    The Baton Rouge Police Department is looking for a man they say fatally shot and killed his ex-girlfriend. Sgt. Don Coppola says 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of opening fire on two individuals early Saturday morning. He says Antoine should be considered dangerous.

     

    A Kinder man has been arrested after he was caught dumping a load of kittens off on the side of the road. Deputy Christopher Ivey with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says they were able to retrieve the kittens from the ditch and all have been adopted.

     

    A St. Helena Parish grand jury has indicted a woman on a murder charge in the death of her sister, whose body was found in a shallow grave. 38-year-old Deborah Palmer of Amite, will face one count of second-degree murder in the death of her sister, 36-year-old Rebecca Blades of Greensburg.

     

    Beginning this month, children with incarcerated parents can get backpacks full of school supplies through the Louisiana Corrections Association’s Kits for Kidz program. Vice President Angela Whittaker says these kids are thrilled when they get their backpack full of goodies. $15-thousand worth of supplies will be handed out this year.

     

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  • News for Thursday 071317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is once again out of ICU nearly a month after being shot at a Congressional baseball game. Scalise underwent surgery last week for an infection and was readmitted to the intensive care unit, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He remains in serious condition.

     

    The state Department of Education announces 33% of students scored mastery on LEAP tests in 2017, which is the same as last year. But Superintendent John White says more must be done to close gaps between advantaged students and historically disadvantaged students. 45 percent of white students achieved mastery this year compared to 19 percent of black students.

     

    34 year old John Cupp of Dry Prong man is facing drug and other charges after a traffic stop. Cupp was reportedly driving left of center when he was pulled over. Crystal meth was found in the vehicle. Cupp was arrested and charged with possession of crystal meth with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving left of center and felony probation violation.

     

    A 21-year-old is facing a murder charge after police say she stabbed another female multiple times. Terrebonne Parish authorities say Miranda Gilley was arguing about a man with 24-year-old Jessica McGehee when a fight broke out. That’s when Gilley allegedly stabbed McGehee, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Three out of four farm recovery grant program meetings are scheduled for today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses as a result of the March and August 2016 floods. Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says during these meetings, the guidelines and application process for receiving recovery grant money will be discussed. The meetings take place today in Welsh, Crowley and Opelousas and more information can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website. Strain says meetings in North Louisiana are in the process of being scheduled

     

    The U.S. Geological Survey has found the long term rate of Louisiana wetland loss is slowing. Research Geographer Brady Couvillion says analysis finds rates of land area loss have continued to decrease since the 1970s. He says one possible reason for this is the lack of major hurricane activity over the past 8 years. About half of the country’s wetlands have been lost over the last 200 years, with the greatest losses in Louisiana where an area the size of Delaware has been lost since the 1930s. The report does point out that these findings do not indicate that coastal wetland loss has ceased to be a serious issue

     

    The Waitr app is making its debut in Monroe today. The food delivery service has become wildly popular in south Louisiana and other states after its 2015 launch in Lake Charles and is picking up steam here in Cenla.  Co-founder and Launch Director Addison Killebrew says after adding new markets like Baton Rouge, they’re thrilled to put another Waitr location on the map. Killebrew says they’re eager to expand their options in Monroe, and they hope to have over 100 restaurants in the system in the near future.

     

    A Vermilion Parish man will spend 45 days in federal prison and pay a $2500 fine for killing a whooping crane in 2014. Adam Einck with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they offered a $10,000 reward for information when the protected bird was found shot, and multiple people reported 21-year-old Lane Thibodeaux.

     

    The August recess for the US Senate has been delayed by two weeks, and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy is glad lawmakers can keep working. He says the Senate hasn’t accomplished much, and he would feel guilty about taking four weeks off work.

    Kennedy and others urged Senate leadership to cancel the recess, but he says he’ll settle for meeting halfway.

     

    A one-year-old is in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle in Walker. Authorities say the toddler was transported to an area hospital. The child has been identified as Tavein Parker, and the child’s family says he was struck on private property in Livingston Parish. The investigation is ongoing as police try to piece together what led to this tragic incident.

     

    Former “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden pleaded no contest to two rape charges in Livingston Parish today. Hayden was sentenced to life in prison for an aggravated rape charge and 10 years for aggravated incest. The new sentences come after Hayden received a life sentence in April for aggravated rape and forcible rape in East Baton Rouge Parish.

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  • News for Wednesday 071217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The APD has charged a 17-year-old in connection with the fatal Friday shooting of another teen in Alexandria.  Tykarius Laneheart has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of another 17-year-old just after noon Friday in the 70 block of Louisiana Avenue. A warrant was issued for Laneheart, an Alexandria resident, on Monday, and he surrendered to detectives on Tuesday.  He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, as was 32-year-old Shondrika Laneheart, also of Alexandria. She was charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.

     

    The public boat launching ramps (operated by the Red River Waterway Commission) located in Grant, Rapides, and Avoyelles Parishes have been closed due to high water caused by heavy rainfall. These include the ramps at the Colfax, Red Bayou, Boyce, Fort Buhlow, Alexandria Levee Park, Poland, Ben Routh, and Brouillette recreation areas. The boat launches will be re-opened as soon as conditions permit the public to utilize the ramps safely. For up-to-the minute information, visit www.redriverwaterway.com

     

    State Troop E has a new man in charge. Jason A. Smith was appointed to the position of Captain over Troop E. on Monday.  Prior to his appointment, Captain Smith held the rank of Lieutenant.  Troop E is headquartered in Alexandria and serves 10 parishes

     

    The girlfriend of the man who was fatally shot by an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been released from jail after posting $75,000 bond. State Police say 21-year-old Dequince Brown attacked the deputy during the struggle with 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory who was killed in the incident. Brown’s lawyer, Joe Long, says Guillory was begging for his life when he was shot. State Police say they are reviewing dash cam video of the incident.

     

    Qualifying begins today for the October election. Yesterday New Orleans Representative Walt Leger announced he will not run to be the next mayor of the city. He said in an email that, “despite a clear path to victory” he wants to keep his public service focused on working hard and studying issues within the state legislature. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell also said his ongoing work in the capitol will keep him out of City Hall.

     

    Qualifying begins today for the state treasurer race, after John Kennedy vacated the office to become a US Senator. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this is the first time this post has been open since 2000, so it should be interesting. He says the fact that Kenner Representative Julie Stokes dropped out, could open it up to other contenders. Cross says many politicians see this office as a stepping stone to higher positions, as Kennedy did when he moved to the US Senate.

     

    Small business optimism is declining as federal lawmakers are gridlocked on plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. That’s according to a survey from the National Federation for Independent Business. State director Dawn Starns says businesses can’t plan for the future with all the uncertainty on the federal level.

     

    Louisiana drivers are jerks on the road according to a driving awareness campaign that promotes courteous driving. Speeding up to prevent someone from passing us and failing to use our turn signals puts us 4th worst in the US.

     

    A grand jury handed down a murder indictment against 25-year-old Christopher Landry of Denham Springs, who is accused of killing a sensual massage therapist at his home last month. Landry reportedly told authorities he strangled 24-year-old Kayla Denham because she tried to steal his wallet. Landry is being held in the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a $250-thousand bond.

     

    An Amite Walmart that was set on fire last weekend sustained over a million dollars in damage. That’s according to Sheriff Daniel Edwards, who says much of the damage was to the inventory in the store, not structural damage to the building. He says 45-year-old Larry Schouest of Hammond combined chemicals to start the fire. Edwards says the chemical smoke from the fire ruined all of the contents in the building. Schouest is accused of setting a string of fires in south Louisiana Walmart’s, beginning in Ponchatoula on June 27. From there, Schouest allegedly set fire to the Amite Walmart and one in Hammond on Saturday.

     

    Elio Motors in northwest Louisiana has been fined over half a million dollars by the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission who says the three-wheel car making company violated state law. Commission spokesman Keith Marcotte told KEEL in Shreveport that vehicle makers or sellers in Louisiana have to have a manufacturers and dealers license. Elio has yet to produce a vehicle, but they have a pre-purchase program which the commission says is breaking laws against car companies selling directly to consumers. Attorneys for Elio said they view their system as taking reservations for vehicles. The $545,000 fine was handed down Monday.

     

    New Orleans-based Glo Airlines has decided to suspend service beginning Saturday while it searches for a new operator. GLO Founder and CEO Trey Fayard said he will return to its Mid-South cities once the right partner is found.

     

    The Jeanerette Police Department announces one of their officers has been arrested on a Medicaid fraud warrant out of East Baton Rouge by officials with the state Attorney General’s Office. She is identified as 38-year-old Shekeitha Lewis. Lewis has been placed on administrative leave. An Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy was booked on the same charges and fired according to reports.

     

    The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a 10 foot tall yard giraffe that was stolen from a local storefront. Authorities say the statue weighs 200 pounds and is valued at one thousand dollars. Anyone with information on the missing giraffe is encouraged to contact police.

     

    It looks as though this year will be a good one for the brown shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA’s annual forecast, the harvest is expected to yield 44.2 million pounds, which is above the predicted value for the last two years.

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  • News for Tuesday 071117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Since 2001, the state’s electorate has become more diverse. That’s according to John Couvillion with JMC Analytics and Polling. He says black voter registration comprised of 29-percent of the electorate at the start of President George W. Bush’s administration and is 31-percent today, but there has been much bigger gains with other racial groups.

    Couvillion says his research finds there’s been a decline in white Democrats and a steady gain in registered Republicans and Independents.

     

    Former Governor Bobby Jindal’s ex-budget chief, Angele Davis, joins the pool of candidates running for state treasurer. Republican state senator Neil Riser, Republican former state representative John Schroder and Democratic attorney Derrick Edwards are the others seeking the post vacated by U.S. Senator John Kennedy. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says none of the candidates are known statewide. Qualifying begins tomorrow.

     

    State Police has released more details about last week’s fatal shooting involving an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy. Authorities says the man who was fatally shot, 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory, allegedly stole a four-wheeler and struck the Deputy in the head during a traffic stop. L-S-P says during a struggle, is when the Deputy fatally shot Guillory.

     

    A 16-year-old has been arrested after allegedly beating an elderly couple with a hammer inside their Kenner home. Police responded after a 70-year-old woman walked to her neighbor’s home covered in blood asking for help for she and her 89-year-old husband. Kenner Police Lt. Brian McGregor says the teen also stole the victims’ vehicle. McGregor says teen was upset that the elderly couple he performed odd jobs for did not allow him to borrow their car.

     

    65% of high school seniors submitted FAFSA paperwork this year compared to 58% last year. Senior Educational Technology consultant with the department of ed, Stephanie Marcum, says the numbers should continue to grow, because it will be a requirement next year for all seniors to complete the forms for federal financial aid..

     

    The U.S. Senate is waiting on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make revisions to proposed legislation that would repeal and replace the nation’s health care law. Republican Bill Cassidy says the initial Senate healthcare plan doesn’t have enough support, so he hopes McConnell uses some of the ideas the senior Senator from Louisiana suggested months ago. Cassidy says since there are 52 Republicans in the US Senate, they need to come up with a bill that has the support of some Democrats.

    President Trump is urging Congress to pass a health care bill before they leave for the August recess.

     

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana has a new way for its members to make an informed decision when it comes to getting a medical procedure. It’s called Smart Shopper and David Hochheiser (Ho-heiser) says it’s available on the Blue Cross website. Hochheiser says if a customer needs an MRI they can use SmartShopper and they’ll likely notice a wide range in costs for the same medical service.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Workforce Commission will host a series of workforce summits as they seek to hire qualified individuals to work with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Executive Management Officer for the Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Tiffany Dickerson says summits are scheduled to take place Thursday in Lafayette and Friday in Alexandria. Dickerson says the outcome of the summits is to streamline and improve the hiring practices of providers, bring down onboarding costs and identify training opportunities.

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  • News for Monday 071017

    By Dave Graichen

     

     

    One of the officers wounded in the deadly ambush on cops in Baton Rouge last year is suing leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. On July 17th, 2016, 29-year-old Gavin Long killed three officers and wounded three others in a targeted attack. The suit accuses Black Lives Matter of inciting violence. But legal analyst Tim Meche doesn’t see this going far. The lawyer for one of the defendants says Black Lives Matter doesn’t have anything to sue.

     

    Congressman Ralph Abraham has secured a $1.5 million federal grant to boost the CenturyLink-IBM Century Village project in Monroe. The funding would create a new access road that would link Century Village and IBM. Abraham said the grant could stimulate up to $20 million in economic development and create at least 80 new jobs.

     

    Sen. Bill Cassidy says the initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health law is probably "dead" and President Donald Trump's proposal to just repeal it appears to be a "non-starter".  At this point Cassidy says They don't know what the plan is, But Clearly  the draft plan is dead. Sen. John McCain said Sunday it may now be time for Republicans to come up with a new proposal with support from Democrats.

     

    Abortions in the Bayou State have decreased by 4-percent from 2015 to 2016, according to numbers by the state Department of Health. Nearly 9-thousand abortions were performed in 2016 down from 93-hundred in 2015 and just over 10-thousand abortions reported in 2014. According to the data, women categorized as “nonwhite” accounted for 70-percent of abortions performed in 2016, 35 were under the age of 15.

     

    The oil and gas industry seems to be coming back slowly but surely. The number of rigs in the US increased by 12 this week to 952, including 2 in Louisiana. Only 440 rigs were active the prior year.

     

    Raising Cane’s has been named the fastest-growing fast food chain in the US by Nation’s Restaurant News. Cane’s has nearly 330 locations, including 50 in Louisiana.

     

    The State Police report a payroll supervisor bilked the Louisiana Supreme Court of $116,000 by setting up an elaborate web of fake judicial appointments and far-flung bank accounts. Authorities say 38 year old Misty Wood embezzled the money in a string of transactions between April 2016 and February 2017.  The fraud was discovered after the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office conducted a routine audit of pay records.

     

    Four jockeys from Texas have been arrested by State Police for a hazing incident that took place in a locker room at Delta Downs race track in Vinton. Authorities say they shaved off a juvenile male’s eyebrow and threw hot sauce on his genitals. The victim was a race track employee.

     

    The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office says a volunteer firefighter was killed when responding to a blaze in the Mt. Hermon area. They say 54-year-old Ronda Varnado of Franklinton was in a fully loaded firetruck when it ran off the road then tipped causing the water tank to crash into the cab.

     

    Have you ever thought of your pets as being fat or skinny? A recent State of Pet Health report found Louisiana ranks No. 5 for non-obese dogs, and No.6 for slim cats. But Dr. Nancy Welborn with the LSU School Of Veterinary Medicine says while your pet may not be obese, even an overweight furry friend faces serious health risks. The report found that one in three pets who visited vets in 2016 was overweight or obese.

     

    LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron returns to SEC Football Media Day today  in Hoover, Alabama. Orgeron’s last appearance was in 2007 as the head coach of Ole Miss. The Rebels went 3-9 that year and Orgeron was fired. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Coach O will be asked numerous times today how he’s changed as a coach.

     

    There was some hope pitcher Alex Lange would return to LSU for his senior season, because he had yet to sign a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted him in the first round. But Lange and the World Champs got a deal done before a 4 PM deadline Friday.

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  • News for Friday 070717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    District 79 State Representative Julie Stokes has announced she will no longer make a run for State Treasurer because she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her doctors have determined she must undergo at least five months of chemotherapy. Qualifying for the race is next week, Republican state legislators John Schroder and Neil Riser are the main candidates.

     

    U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in the hospital in serious condition following surgery Thursday to try to treat infection related to the wounds he sustained in a mass shooting last month. Officials with the MedStar medical center in Washington released a statement yesterday saying the Congressman tolerated the procedure well," adding that further updates would be provided as appropriate. The 51 year old Scalise  was readmitted to the intensive care unit at the Washington, D.C. hospital on Wednesday and his condition downgraded from "fair" to "serious."

     

    The Tax Foundation has updated its national review of sales tax rates and  Louisiana continues to rank number one with a combined state and local sales tax rate averaging just above 10-percent. Director of state projects for the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says the Bayou State has high sales taxes, because its property taxes are lower than most states thanks to the Homestead Exemption. Drenkard says when you combine sales, property and income taxes, Louisiana is one of the least tax burdened states in the country.

     

    As we approach the one-year anniversary of the deadly August south Louisiana flood, the head of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, Pat Forbes, says they are ramping up on spending the federal grant money designed to help flood victims get back in their homes. Forbes says a majority of grants that have been handed out, went to individuals who have finished rebuilding.

     

    Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies arrested two women and a man participating in a healthcare protest involving about 20 people at U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's offices in Metairie on Thursday morning. Deputies booked the trio on a count of remaining in a place after being forbidden, a form of criminal trespassing in Louisiana. That offense is a misdemeanor that can carry up to six months in jail as well as a maximum fine of $500.

     

    Louisiana will pay $5.4 million to the federal government to settle a debt tied to former Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of the charity hospital system, far less than the $190 million federal officials originally said the state owed, under a settlement released Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2014 ordered Louisiana to repay the money for pieces of the initial privatization deals that the Medicaid agency, known as CMS, rejected as improper. Louisiana officials have been haggling over repayment terms ever since.

     

    Education leaders are letting teachers and students know what policy changes can be expected when they head back to class in August. Debbie Meaux, Louisiana Association of Educators President, says a new law was recently signed by the governor that would limit testing time, to 2% of a student’s learning time. Meaux also says that teachers and administrators will be engaging with a new accountability system.

     

    A two-year-old Lockport boy is another child who has died in a rash of drownings around Louisiana. Lt. Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says around noon on the 4th of July deputies responded to a call of a child found unresponsive in the bottom of a pool. He says the family of little Kevin Cortez III was visiting the home. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

     

    An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy has been injured and one man is dead after an officer involved shooting in Mamou. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says the deputy was called to investigate an attempted burglary when an altercation took place between the officer and 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory and Guillory was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agents arrested five boaters for allegedly operating their vessel while intoxicated during their Operation Dry Water Weekend. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents were on patrol during the fourth of July holiday with a heightened awareness for impaired boat operators. Those arrested ranged in ages from 21 to 47.

     

    The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office announces an arrest in the death of a nine-month-old infant. 28-year-old Benjamin Joseph Carter Senior of Hammond has been charged with second-degree murder. An autopsy shows the toddler died from blunt force trauma.

     

     

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU pitcher Eric Walker will not pitch in 2018 as he needs Tommy John Surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his throwing elbow. Recovery time is usually one year. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Walker’s injury means there will be three new weekend starters for the 2018 season. Walker first complained of discomfort in his forearm before the College World Series.

     

    Michael Federico was introduced as ULM’s new head baseball coach today. The former assistant at Southern Miss will have the difficult task of building a program that won just 12 games last season. There are reports that Christian Ostrander is leaving Louisiana Tech to replace Federico as Southern Miss’ pitching coach.

     

    You can add another layer to the fuming rivalry between LSU and Florida on the gridiron. The Gators have announced their homecoming game will be the LSU game on October 6th.

     

    Many running back AJ Carter can’t make his mind on where he wants to play football in college. He originally committed to UCLA, then switched his commitment to LSU and now he’s switched back to UCLA

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  • News for Thursday 070617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have updated their annual hurricane season predictions, calling for above average activity for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. CSU forecasters are calling for 15 named storms, eight of which will become hurricanes. Three of those classified as major.

     

    On the one-year anniversary of Alton Sterling’s death, seven New Black Panther Party members were arrested while protesting outside of the Baton Rouge Police headquarters. Police say members of the party tried to storm the police barricade and one party member allegedly had a Taser in his hand. Those arrested are facing misdemeanor charges.

     

    Minden Representative Gene Reynolds has decided not to step down from his position as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus, saying he will finish out his term as chairman. He says many people from both parties reached out and asked him to stay on and make sure the person who moves into the position knows what all goes on behind the scenes.

     

    It looks as there is a mayoral shift moving through the state as five of Louisiana’s biggest cities have experienced a change in power over the last two years. That’s according to, Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com, who says Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and soon to be New Orleans have recently seen a change. Alford says the most interesting thing about these elections is only one candidate was able to flip a seat, Republican Nic Hunter replaced Democrat Randy Roach in Lake Charles. He says New Orleans residents will select a new mayor in the fall.

     

    Days after an interview that suggested she was preparing for a last-minute entry into the New Orleans mayor's race, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has told supporters she won't be jumping in after all. Peterson posted her decision on social media Wednesday.

    Peterson, head of the state Democratic Party and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, has long been seen as a potential contender to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who can't run for re-election because of term limits.

     

    Sometimes what’s lost is best lost. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office reports a suitcase checked into the lost and found today at Louis Armstrong Int’l airport in New Orleans. Inside, close to 10 pounds of marijuana.  Deputies were called to the airport and a short time later arrested 3 people who showed up to came the suitcase.

     

    A two-year-old boy is now the fourth child to die in a rash of drownings in Tangipahoa Parish. The state Department of Children and Family Services is advising parents of water safety during the summer months. Mona Michelli with the DCFS Division of Child Welfare says this is a time to be vigilant. Louisiana had the second highest rate of drownings in the nation from 2013 to 2015 with 71 children dying, according to the state Health Department.

     

    South Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins has apologized for posting a video inside a gas chamber used by Nazis. In the five-minute video, Higgins said he wanted to use the back drop of a prison camp to show Americans why our military must be invincible. But the director of a global Holocaust research center says making a political statement where thousands of Jews were killed is not appropriate. The video has been taken down.

     

    Louisiana is now on board with Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Utah and Washington, as Governor Edwards signed into law a measure to allow students to bring sunscreen to school. Supporters hope this law brings awareness to the dangers of skin cancer, along with the choice to bring sunscreen to school. School districts across the country have in place a ban on any non-prescription medication being brought to school. This law would make it okay in the case of sunscreen.

     

    Arguments were heard yesterday before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Christopher Ware, a Rastafarian inmate with dreadlocks, who doesn’t want to cut his hair as prison rules state,  because he says it goes against his religious beliefs. ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman says religious discrimination against prisoners is prohibited.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU pitcher Eric Walker will meet with a physician with the Texas Rangers tomorrow. Walker’s season ended during the College World Series, because of discomfort in his throwing arm. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says if the injury to Walker keeps him out of the 2018 season or forces him to miss an extended period of time, it opens another spot in the weekend rotation.

     

    In NBA news…free-agent guard Nick Young has signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. The Pelicans fron office was interested in signing the 32-year-old after he averaged 13 points a game for the Lakers a season ago.

     

    Former Saints Kicker Morten Andersen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month. It was announced today that his son will present his Dad in the Hall.

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