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Good Morning.... News For Wednesday April 8th, 2020

News for Wednesday April 8th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported 70 new COVID deaths Tuesday , the new single-day high for fatalities, along with now having over 16,000 confirmed cases, and just under 2,000 COVID hospitalizations. Of those hospitalized a fourth of those patients are on ventilators. Two-thirds of the cases are still being reported in the New Orleans region, but Shreveport/Bossier and Baton Rouge have a growing caseload.

 

Governor Edwards says despite Tuesday’s  record high reported death toll, the general data suggests we are flattening the curve of new infections, and it appears the stay at home order is working to stave off a nightmare scenario where the New Orleans region will run out of ventilators.

 

It’s been just over two weeks since the state’s stay at home order was implemented and Governor Edwards says it appears the order has resulted in a recent flattening of the curve. At Tuesday’s press conference the Governor hinted at the fact that the order may have been even more effective at slowing the spread than they had hoped for and that’s great news for the state. Monday saw the state’s highest reported death total at 70, but Edwards noted that ventilator use is down, and the number of new hospitalizations is slowing. The Governor says current measures are working, but if people take this news as a sign that they can start slacking on social distancing it’ll all be for naught.

 

70 percent of the people in Louisiana who have died from COVID-19 were African Americans, a group that only makes up a third of the population. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Public Health Dr. Jim Diaz says one reason is that COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for this demographic is that they are more likely to be a risk for certain underlying conditions, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and obesity. There’s also the issue of health insurance, or a lack there of, that leys many of their medical conditions go untreated.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday signed a proclamation related to unemployment and other issues related to the Louisiana Workforce Commission as it seeks to manage the influx in unemployment claims due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many requirements, including weekly qualifications and proof of job searches, have been waived to speed up the process.

 

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson and Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, M.D. sent a letter to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Tuesday urging that the agency take decisive action to address the COVID-19 outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale. According to the letter, the lawmakers seek answers to specific questions regarding the bureau's plans to mitigate the spread of COVD-19 to inmates, officers and staffers.

 

Texas is maintaining it’s policy of quarantining visitors from out of state that cross into Texas, and having troopers stop some drivers at the border with Louisiana. Governor Edwards says restricted travel is playing a big part in lowering transmission rates, which is why he isn’t faulting Texas for screening some drivers.

 

A survey from Public Policy Polling shows 68 percent of Louisianans approve of Governor Edwards’ handling of the coronavirus crisis. When asked if Governor Edwards or President Trump is doing a better job Edwards lead 46-41 percent.  UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says that’s because the question led to a generic partisan split.

 

Allstate says auto insurance policyholders will see a rebate on their April and May premiums due to the lack of driving during the coronavirus pandemic. Real Reform Louisiana, Executive Director Eric Holl says tech companies are showing data that driving is down an average of 55-percent across the state and in some of the more populated areas like New Orleans driving is down as much as 75-percent, Holl says fewer cars means fewer accidents.

 

With the recent news that a tiger in the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for COVID-19, concern about transmitting the virus from humans to pets has grown.  State public health veterinarian Dr. Gary Balsamo says it’s a rare occurrence, but sometimes animals can get sick from exposure. Balsamo says the virus survives best on smooth surfaces such as stainless steel, so it is a relatively low threat for animals to carry the virus in their fur. But, there are steps to reduce the risk of pets becoming ill from exposure. Avoid face to face contact and wash your hands often.

 

The ongoing crisis is crippling the economy and putting a growing number of Americans out of a job, depriving them of the ability to pay their rent. Staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Hannah Adams says the Governor made it illegal to evict people at least through April, and if your landlord is threating to call the police and have you evicted, just know that’s not within their jurisdiction.

 

The LA Wallet app, Louisiana’s digital driver’s license, now allows you to renew your driver’s license in the app itself and have an updated digital result in just 24 hours.

App users will not be charged any additional fees that wouldn’t be charged to those using the standard online renewal process. OMV offices are closed as long as the stay at home order is in effect so now is a good time to try the app, especially considering it is currently free.

 

The public is invited to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Ray P. Authement at a drive-by memorial Friday at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Authement, who died last Sunday, became UL Lafayette president in 1974 and served for 34 years, making him the nation’s longest-serving public university president at the time of his retirement in 2008.


Good Morning.. News For Monday April 6th, 2020

News for Monday April 6th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

In yesterday’s covid-19 update 68 new coronavirus deaths in the state, marking biggest day-to-day jump.  Health officials in Louisiana are now reporting there are 13,010 cases of coronavirus in the state, with 477 deaths reported.

 

Governor Edwards says Louisiana has the highest death rate in the nation for COVID-19 and based on what we know about hospital admissions and coronavirus fatalities, the virus is more prevalent than initially thought.  Underlying health conditions are a major factor. Louisiana’s modeling data shows the state is on course to require 2,500 new hospitalizations a day in the New Orleans area by mid-May if the public does not adhere to mitigation measures.

 

Now the CDC is recommending you wear a mask if you do go out and about to take care of essentials, Governor Edwards says feel free to make a DIY mask, but save the N95s for healthcare workers who need them most. Most online tutorials say you only need some cloth, like handkerchiefs, and elastic bands to make the most basic DIY mask.

 

92% of small businesses are reporting a negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic according to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business.  NFIB state director Dawn Starns says some businesses are choosing to forego the use of loans from government programs because they don’t want to get tangled in the extra paperwork or debt.

 

Businesses with under 500 employees can now apply to receive a Small Business Administration loan from the feds to help cover payroll, and some other expenses for the next two months.  CPA Ben Vance says businesses who qualify get a loan amount that is determined by the SBA.

 

With the Governor’s extension of virus spread mitigation measures through April keeping many businesses closed, unemployed Louisiana residents are wondering where their next paycheck is coming from.  Governor Edwards says the financial impact of COVID-19 is something that weighs heavy on his mind, adding the state is doing everything it can to expedite relief to those without an income. Governor Edwards says in addition to loan programs available at the federal level, the state is working with banks to back loans to keep businesses afloat. Edwards says the timeline of getting the economy back on track is reliant on what happens with the virus’s spread.

 

New testing is starting to become available for those who may have been an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive carrier and now have recovered and likely have immunity.  State immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says the testing is not yet widely available in Louisiana, but could be more available in the coming months.

Welch says this testing could be most useful in strategic hospital staffing.

 

Ray P. Authement, who served as president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for 34 years, has died. He was 91 years old. Authement died Sunday with his wife, Barbara, at his side after "an extended illness," according to a statement from the university. Under Authement's leadership, UL became a major economic force in Acadiana. Authement was president of the university from 1973 thru 2008.

 

The deadline to submit ACT scores for TOPS qualification has been extended to September 30th as the ability to take a test is non-existent at the moment. LOSFA Executive Director Dr. Sujuan Boutte says the traditional April national ACT test was delayed until June, and Boutte says they’re working with ACT to try to make June a possibility even if restrictions are still in place. If a student has already taken an ACT, LOSFA will begin running eligibility on those scores in June. Many school districts are now moving to Pass/Fail grades for classes due to school closures.

 

The COVID-19 outbreak is not only impacting our physical health but mental as well. Unlike other disasters the uncertain reality we are all facing makes it extremely challenging for families to reassure children.  LSU Psychology Asst Professor Dr Anna Long says during this period be sure to reaffirm your child’s physical wellbeing and give them a perception of safety. Long also says most importantly set a routine and stick to it.


Good Morning... News For Friday April, 3rd, 2020

News for Friday April 3rd, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Most of the State’s residents got a text blast from the Governor informing them the statewide shelter in place order has officially been extended through April 30th.  Along with that, an offer to sign up for direct alerts on vital COVID-19 info from the state. This comes as the state yesterday crossed the 9,000 case mark, and adds 37 new official COVID fatalities.

 

Governor Edwards says a model used by the White House predicts 1,834 Louisianans will die of COVID-19. The Governor says the model is predicated on the idea that we continue mitigation measures through May, instead of the current reopening date of May 1st.

 

The CDC releases new guidelines and is now recommending wearing protective masks when in public. The state is reporting 37 additional COVID-19 deaths today and over 27-hundred new cases. The death toll is up to 310 and Governor John Bel Edwards says 9,150 total cases should be a wakeup call for anyone still doubting the pandemic’s severity.  1,639 COVID patients are hospitalized, with 507 on ventilators, an increase of 17 from yesterday.

 

If life wasn’t already difficult enough, Colorado State University Hurricane researchers predict an active 2020 hurricane season. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. But C-S-U forecaster Jhordanne Jones says their forecast calls for 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes.

 

Avoyelles Parish has officially declared a curfew in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Starting today adults must be off the streets between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. For minors, the hours are from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. However, if the minor is in the company of an adult, the 10 p.m. deadline applies. The curfew will remain in effect through the end of the health emergency.

 

A nurse at New Orleans East Hospital becomes the state’s first healthcare worker to die after testing positive for COVID-19.  Larrice Anderson passed away on Wednesday.  Executive Director of the Louisiana State Nurse’s Association Thea Ducrow says the death sends a shockwave through the nursing community.

 

Four inmates have now died from the coronavirus at the Oakdale federal prison in Allen Parish. There are nearly one-thousand male offenders at Oakdale and at last report eleven of them have tested positive, 19 others are in the hospital suspected of having the virus.

 

A Louisiana lawmaker whose constituency includes Grand Isle has been put on a ventilator to assist his breathing as he battles the new coronavirus. Before his setback  state Rep. Reggie Bagala had hoped to be discharged by this weekend. The 54 year old Bagala is at least the second member of Louisiana’s House of Representatives to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

Legendary Peabody high school basketball coach Charles Smith has been named the Class Four-A Boys Basketball Coach of the Year after leading the Warhorses to a state championship for an eighth time.

 

Ochsner Health chief Warner Thomas says they continue to increase the number of intensive care beds to keep up with the surge in COVID-19 patients. Thomas says adding to the strain is that COVID-19 patients spend over a week in the I-C-U. Thomas says 85-percent of their COVID patients in the ICU are on ventilators.

 

Department of Education issues guidance for school districts on how to handle the impending graduating class of high school seniors. Assistant Superintendent Ken Bradford says seniors won’t have to worry about taking the usual standardized tests graduation, but districts will have to make a call on how to handle course credits and other graduation requirements. Bradford says students may elect to receive a pass/fail credit over a traditional letter grade for classes this semester, but it will not be factored into a GPA. All requirements to receive TOPS have remained the same.

 

The State Treasurer is shipping out four million dollars’ worth of unclaimed property checks to Louisianans this week. John Schroder says by working with the Department of Revenue they’ve identified tens of thousands of recipients who are owed money they can use right now. Unclaimed property can be everything from payroll checks to old bank accounts, royalties, deposits, interest payments, and more. Schroder says the average check is no small fortune, but it is worth about nine hundred dollars. Schroder says about one in six Louisianans is owed unclaimed property by the state, and you can speed up the process of getting it to you by visiting latreasury.com

 

Later today the U.S Army Corps of Engineers will open the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

The Army Corps says that heavy rain in the Mississippi Valley and rising Mississippi River water stages and flow are prompting the opening.

 

The Department of Children and Family Services is not relaxing child support payments due to the pandemic.  Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says non-custodial parents will still be on the hook for money owed despite their employment status, but no enforcement actions will be taken. If a parent loses a job and can’t make a payment, Scales recommends they call their child support worker and let them know that their circumstances have changed.

 

Beams and other load-bearing structures on the upper floors of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans were not properly designed, causing structural problems ahead of the building's collapse, according to citations issued against the engineers in charge of the project. The firm was fined about $154,000.

 

Sports..

 

It’s unique times and that’s no different for the Saints who are preparing for this month’s NFL draft with a small group of coaches and front office personnel at the Dixie Brewery in New Orleans East. Coach Sean Payton says they are practicing social distancing in their draft war room. Payton says he feels good after testing positive last month from the coronavirus. He says he never had the respiratory issues that many patients suffer from.

 

The Saints have announced they’ve re-signed cornerback P-J Williams.

 

Court records show LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron filed for divorce from his wife Kelly on February 26th after 23 years of marriage. In the filing, Coach O is living at the former couple’s home in Baton Rouge, while Kelly has been granted exclusive use and occupancy of their Mandeville home.

 

The family for former Saints kicker Tom Dempsey says the 73-year-old is receiving hospice care. Dempsey is one of several residents at the Lambeth House Senior living center in Uptown New Orleans to test positive for coronavirus. According to Dempsey’s daughter, her father’s fever has gone away, but his oxygen levels are low and he’s lost his appetite.

 

LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is still not exactly sure what his roster might look like in 2021. Mainieri says senior pitchers Matthew Beck and Aaron George will be able to return, because the NCAA is giving them another year of eligibility. But he’s not sure how many players or recruits he’ll lose to the draft, because Major League Baseball has yet to decide how many round the draft will be.


Good Morning.... News For Thursday April 2nd, 2020

News for Thursday April 2nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The reported death toll has risen by 34 from COVID-19 in Louisiana, down from Tuesday’s high of 54, but still one of the highest days on record. We’re now over 6,400 confirmed state cases with 1,500 hospitalizations for COVID-19. The state’s total reported fatalities: 273. Here in Rapides Parish 4 people have died from the virus.

 

The New Orleans region is now projected to run out of ventilators for COVID-19 patients on April 6th, and the state is scrambling to try and secure more. 490 COVID-19 patients are on ventilators in Louisiana as of the Wednesday’s noon update.

 

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has announced a second death at the Oakdale federal prison related to COVID-19. The first death was reported three days ago. Officials say

43 year old Nicholas Rodriquez died Wednesday after being on a ventilator since Friday.

 

Ellis Marsalis Jr., the jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of one of New Orleans’ great musical families has died. The 85-year-old jazz piano legend was hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19. He had been tested for coronavirus and results were pending.

 

Governor Edwards paints a grim picture of just how long, and how severe the coronavirus epidemic could get in Louisiana as the nation braces for estimated 100,000-250,000 COVID deaths. The state is tentatively set to lift the shelter in place order April 30th, but Edwards says it’s likely that life will not return to normal for quite a long time. Edwards warns even if the statewide stay at home order is lifted in the near future, other countries have shown there’s no guarantee it won’t be needed again.

 

The Treasury Department and IRS announce the distribution of the economic impact payments will be sent out in the next three weeks. The IRS will be using the most recent info on file to get recipients their money. Social Security recipients will automatically receive their economic impact payments, with no needed extra paperwork.

 

Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves is encouraging small businesses to get a jump on filling out applications for the Payroll Protection Act. Small businesses can apply to receive low-interest loans, with money that is used for payroll being forgiven. Graves says applications will be accepted starting April 3. The program is part of the $2.2 trillion emergency relief legislation, but this particular allocation is subject to a funding cap, adding to the urgency of filing quickly.

 

As oil prices continue to drop the outlook for Louisiana workers in the industry continues to look bleak. Oil is trading in the low twenties and President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Gifford Briggs says if prices do not recover by June first, storage facilities for oil will reach capacity and that’s when the industry will most definitely see a reduction in workers. Some gas stations in the southern part of the state are selling their gas at below a dollar.

 

Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and two-time U.S. Senate candidate, will serve as an adviser for a Central pastor, and his church, during expected litigation over the religious leader's defiance of state orders limiting public gatherings to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Moore and the Rev. Tony Spell said Moore would represent Spell and the church, though it isn't clear yet in what capacity. Moore is a licensed lawyer in Alabama but isn't licensed to practice law in Louisiana.

 

The state’s seafood industry is hurting with restaurant business taking a dive because of COVID-19.  Now, they are getting help in offloading their catch direct to consumers with the help of the marketing tool LouisianaDirectSeafood.com.  LSU AgCenter coastal agent Rusty Gaude (GO-TAY) says they’ve set up the website to connect the fishermen with those looking buy the catch. Again that website LouisianaDirectSeafood.com

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning folks not to fall for fake news about bans on fishing or other outdoor activities during the coronavirus shutdown.

LDWF spokesperson Renee LeBreton says outside of the seizure of a few state parks for COVID patients, nothing has changed when it comes to what you can do outdoors.

LeBreton says in fact LDWF is encouraging people to go exploring nature, maybe catch some fish, or go hunting. He says it’s a great way to stay away from other people.

 

NOLA.com reports that at least 2 Zulu members, possibly more, have died from coronavirus. The chairman of the club’s Board of Directors, City Councilman Jay Banks, estimated Wednesday that roughly 20 of the organization’s 800 or so members are either hospitalized, self-quarantining or have recovered from the highly-contagious COVID-19 virus. Banks says seven members have died during the pandemic.

 

Sports..

 

Saints Coach Sean Payton called himself a big dummy today when speaking to reporters on a conference call. Payton said he misspoke when he said on ESPN that Quarterback Drew Brees would be playing in his final season in 2020. The coach says nothing has changed with Brees, and that the 41-year-old is taking it year-by-year.

 

LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward says nothing has changed with basketball coach Will Wade’s employment. The H-B-O documentary the Scheme aired the FBI wiretap of Wade talking with a federally convicted middleman about the strong offer to get guard Javonte Smart to sign with LSU. Woodward says they are aware of the documentary and they’ll continue to cooperate with all reviews into the matter. A Sports Illustrated report says NCAA investigators watched the documentary and took notes.

 

You will not be able to watch Wimbledon this year. The big tennis event at the All England Club has been canceled for the first time since 1945.

 

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said previously that he hoped the NBA could re-start its season in mid-May. But Cuban said today on ESPN’s Get Up he has no idea on when teams can return to the court. Cuban says the only thing he knows is that they’ll put safety first and they will not take any chances.

 

In college sports. the NCAA has extended the recruiting dead period through May 31st. So that means no unofficial or official visits for high school or transfer prospects. So a lot of the players in the transfer portal might have to make a decision on a school without ever physically visiting the school.

 

And here’s a nice gesture, Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will give each minor leaguer in the Rangers organization one-thousand dollars during this shutdown. Major League Baseball ahs said that minor-league players will get 400-dollars a week through May 31st.

 

Also, the London Series, between the Cubs and Cardinals in mid-June has been canceled.


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday April 1st, 2020

News for Wednesday April 1st, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana saw by far its largest jump in total cases and new COVID-19 related deaths in a 24 hours period yesterday, evidence that the state has yet to begin flattening the curve. 1,212 new positive tests were reported and 54 deaths occurred in just a 24 hour period from mid-Sunday to min-Monday. Governor Edwards says for those who haven’t been socially distancing need to start now! The new numbers put the state above 5,000 total cases. Edwards says the jump in cases and deaths is alarming. Here In Rapides Parish the death rate rose to three yesterday.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards plans to extend his stay at home order until April 30th, which means schools will remain closed for at least the next month. The state has already waived standardized tests for this year, but what if school does not resume this year. How can you decide if a child should be promoted to the next grade or if they are eligible to graduate high school?  Edwards says the state department of education is trying to figure out those questions…

 

Due to the critically low blood supply right now, LSUA will be partnering with LifeShare Blood Center to host a blood drive. The drive will take place today from 10:00am to 2:00pm, or until all donors are finished at the LSUA Allied Health Building at 807 Jackson Street..

 

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has given the green light to eligibility for gig economy workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers to apply for unemployment assistance.  LWC executive director Ava Dejoie says if someone has recently applied and been denied, for being a 1099 employee, waiter or waitress, or rideshare driver, eligibility will be retroactive.

 

Legislators returned to the state capitol Tuesday, introduced some bills and left about an hour later. It’s unclear when they’ll return. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says because of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak, they are not setting a return date. The 2020 legislative session must conclude by June 1st and a budget must be approved by July 1st.

 

Due to Louisiana’s hotbed of COVID-19 cases, Texas’s Governor is attempting to mitigate the spread with a mandate requiring quarantine for Louisiana travelers coming into the Lone Star State. Louisiana State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight says anyone who has a previously scheduled medical trip along with a few other exemption statuses can skip the quarantine. So far, no checkpoints have been set up along the Texas State Line.

 

Legal ramifications have come down on Rev. Tony Spell, the pastor at the helm of the Life Tabernacle Church in Central that has repeatedly defied the Governor’s ban on large gatherings with congregations regularly exceeding 1,100.  Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran says Spell was arrested yesterday and charged with six counts of violation of the emergency order. Rev. Spell though went ahead with an evening religious service Tuesday night just hours after city police cited him over allegations he violated a state order to limit crowd sizes during an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

 

AARP Louisiana is holding a Telephone Town Hall Meeting This Morning to answer seniors concerns about the coronavirus. State Director Denise Bottcher says Dr. Benjamin Springgate with LSU Health Sciences will be on the call to answer health-related questions. Bottcher says LaVonda Dobbs of 211 will also be on the call to speak about services that are available to seniors. The call is open for anyone to participate in. To do so you call 1-877-229-8493. It will take place at 10:10 am.

 

The Bonnet Carre Spillway could be opened as soon as Friday to divert part of the Mississippi River's flow into Lake Pontchartrain, thanks to continued heavy rains along the mid-Mississippi and Ohio River basins that are expected to raise the river to 17.1 feet in New Orleans by April 11. The Army Corps of Engineers will make a decision on opening the spillway by Friday.

 

Sports..

 

During an interview on ESPN’s morning television show “Get Up”, Saints Coach Sean Payton said 2020 will be Drew Brees final season. Brees signed a two-year contract earlier this month, but the final year on the deal is voidable. Payton says back-up Taysom Hill views himself as a starting Q-B and so do the Saints.

 

NFL owners voted Tuesday to expand the number of playoff teams to 14, one additional team from each conference will get in the postseason. The team with the best record in each league will get a first-round bye. So on wildcard weekend, there will be three playoff games Saturday and three more Sunday.

 

And the NFL’s president and general counsel Jeff Pash said Yesterday it’s there expectation that the season will start on time, with fans in the stands, despite the global coronavirus pandemic. They plan to release a full schedule by May 9th.

 

NCAA President Mark Emmert announces that he and his top executives will take a 20-percent pay cut as a result of lost revenues. Last week the NCAA announced that its distribution to Division One schools this year will go from 600 million dollars to 225 million dollars.


Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 31st, 2020

News for Tuesday March 31st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

1,158 Louisianans are now hospitalized with COVID-19, and 385 of them are on ventilators as statewide cases cross the 4,000 mark. 185 people have now died due to coronavirus related causes, an increase of 34 in the past 24 hours. Governor John Bel Edwards says by the end of this week the New Orleans area could reach its ventilator capacity. Edwards says he’ll likely extend his stay-at-home order beyond April 13th as Louisiana ranks second in the nation in per capita deaths related to COVID-19….

 

Drive through testing is available in Cenla Today.. In Alexandria, testing is available this afternoon from 1 to 3 in the parking lot of the Rapides Parish. In Natchitoches, drive-thru testing starts at 10 A.M. and runs until until noon in the parking lot of Central Louisiana Technical College (CLTCC) on Highway 1. This is the first day of testing in Natchitoches. Thereis no out of pocket expense, but you will need to bring your ID and insurance card. Patients do not need a doctor's order or a negative flu test to receive testing. The only requirement is a fever above 100.4 degrees

 

Edwards reiterated his calls for social distancing, but one church in Central refuses to comply having hosted over a thousand people Sunday night. But, the governor says he won’t be breaking up those services. Reportedly residents from five different parishes were bused in for Sunday service at Life Tabernacle Pentecostal Church in Central.

 

Legendary Saints kicker Tom Dempsey is reportedly positive for COVID-19. Dempsey had been living at Lambeth House, a nursing home in New Orleans that was one of the earliest reported hubs for coronavirus activity, and now one of 28 nursing homes in the state to get the virus. Dempsey is best known for his, at the time, record breaking 63-yard field goal in 1970 that lifted the Saints over the Lions.

 

President Donald Trump has extended the nation’s social distancing guidelines that were set to expire today for another month through April 30th. Senator Bill Cassidy says the restrictions will likely extend into May, unless the curve is flattening or scientists discover a treatment. Over 11-hundred COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. Cassidy says hospitals are doing what they can to keep up with the surge in cases

 

Congressman Ralph Abraham says more than $650,000 in grants will be disbursed to the cities of Alexandria and Monroe for the coronavirus response. These funds can be used in a variety of ways to build infectious disease response capacity and mitigate the effects on the surrounding community. Alexandria will receive $248,000 while Monroe will receive $436,000

 

State Rep. Ted James, a Baton Rouge Democrat and one of the area delegation's most influential voices, is hospitalized with pneumonia after testing positive for the coronavirus.

 

LSU’s medical school has received approval to begin clinical testing of hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment for COVID-19, State officials  announced yesterday the state has received 400,000 hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets from a donation.

 

Food stamp recipients who are not currently receiving the maximum total possible on their SNAP cards will now start receiving the max. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walter says only 37 percent of recipients currently receive the maximum. The max for a single individual recipient is $194 a month. The Department is also waiving redeterminations, interviews, and the work requirements for SNAP. Walters says if you have SNAP, you don’t have to worry about losing it right now. If you need to apply for the SNAP program, the best way to do that is on line.. Visit DCFS.LA.GOV/GetSnap or text get SNAP to 898-211

 

Some state lawmakers will reconvene today to try and set a new date to get back into session.  The 2020 session came to a halt three weeks ago over coronavirus concerns.  Senate President Page Cortez says he’s got no definitive date in mind. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says today’s business will not require a full house since they are not voting on any bills adding that although they may be exceeding a congregation of 50 people, they will be practicing social distancing. Both Cortez and Schexnayder remain optimistic that a special session could be avoided, but that decision hinges on the rapidly changing COVID-19 outbreak.

 

After a two-week break, LSU’s spring semester resumed Monday, but all classes have been moved online. English Professor Kevin Cope says the transition to online learning has gone about well as it could considering the short notice. Cope says those in traditional liberal arts classes will likely fare the best under the new online-only curriculum, and those in lab heavy courses, as well as those in sociology, education, and social work will likely lose the most in the transition. LSU’s campus is currently set to stay closed at least through the end of May.

 

ESPN reportedly offers Saints QB Drew Brees the Monday Night Football analyst position once he retires from the NFL. Brees recently signed a two year contract with the team.

 

In more Brees news, the QB recently posted about taking long nature hikes during the COVID-19 shutdown, including one where he ran into a rattlesnake. Coach Sean Payton shot back that he should pick a new trail.

 

The F-B-I wiretap that reportedly has LSU basketball coach Will Wade discussing a strong offer made to a recruit is expected to be aired tonight on an H-B-O Documentary titled “The Scheme.” Wade missed the NCAA Tournament because of the FBI wiretap scandal but was reinstated in May.

 

ESPN is reporting that the SEC is allowing its football coaches to have two hours of virtual instruction and video conferencing per week. That includes film review. It’s an attempt to make up for the loss of spring football. But ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit says he would be shocked if we have an NFL or college football season this fall.


Good Morning.. News For Monday March 30th, 2020

News for Monday March 30th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

President Donald Trump says his administration is extending their guidelines on social distancing until April 30, after stating the COVID-19 death rate in the U.S. would likely hit a peak in two weeks.

 

President Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic relief package into law Friday after a near-unanimous action by Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic. As of the latest report, there are 3540 Cases of the virus in the state, 151 people have died and 1,127 Hospitalized with 380 of them on Ventilators.  

 

The growing number of cases of COVID-19 in the state and especially in the New Orleans area prompts the need for additional healthcare workers and the state in the process of opening a 1,120-bed facility at the Morial Convention Center. The Governor is asking healthcare students and recent grads along with retired nurses and doctors to volunteer for the fight against coronavirus, and fast-tracking new licenses to get them into the field.  Volunteers can sign up at COVID-19LAvolunteers.org.

 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday announced orders restricting travel to Texas from certain COVID-19 hot spots including Louisiana. Abbott said road traveling coming into Texas from Louisiana will be restricted to those handling essential services. Anyone else coming in will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks. The mandate will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety at entry points into the state.

 

Governor Edwards is begging the public to stay indoors and to not congregate after the state saw several reports of mass gatherings over the weekend in defiance of state orders. Edwards says it’s not an easy situation but the public needs to comply, and understand we could be enduring this past the initially estimated April 13th reopening of the state. Louisiana currently has the second-highest COVID-19 mortality rate per capita of any state in the country.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on Saturday the death of 33-year-old staff member April Dunn who succumbed to complications from COVID-19. April Dunn served in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs

 

Unemployment applications continue to inundate the Louisiana Workforce Commission.  Executive Director Ava Dejoie says the department has had a total of roughly 136-thousand claims come in over the last two weeks. Dejoie says the best way to file is still online at louisianaworks.net  and recommends that filers practice some patience with the process.

 

Louisiana Economic Development opens a COVID-19 Help Desk that will provide information for businesses on what the federal $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill means for them. LED Secretary Don Pierson says businesses can find out info online at opportunitylouisiana.com.

 

Our Lady of the Lake infectious disease specialist Catherine O’Neal says since a vaccine for the Covid-19 could be over a year away, our best hope to stop coronavirus is for people to slowly build up “herd immunity”. When you get a virus and recover, you make antibodies that prevent you from getting the virus again for a period of time. O’Neal says because 80 percent of cases are mild or asymptomatic. She warns we do not currently know how long those anti-bodies will last once formed. O’Neal says she expects even with social distancing and shelter in place orders in effect, a majority of Louisianans are still expected to catch the coronavirus.

 

With new hospital restrictions limiting visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak, some expectant mothers are seeking alternatives and reaching out to midwives. Kyra Kana (Con-yah) of The Natural Birth House in Broussard says they’ve seen an increase in the number of new patients. To locate a midwife Kana recommends social media and the Louisiana Midwives Association Facebook Page.

 

 


Good Morning... News For Friday March 27th, 2020

News for Friday March 27th, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has now surpassed the total number of cases in China, the country that previously had the most people sick due to the coronavirus.

 

At the county or parish level, Orleans Parish now leads the nation in per capita deaths, more than twice as many as the 2nd highest county. The 46 coronavirus linked deaths in the parish add up to roughly 1 in 10,000 residents. That’s as the state total rose to 83 fatalities Thursday and 2,305 total positive tests.

 

Governor Edwards sounds the alarm about the increasingly alarming situation in the New Orleans area, saying current projections show the region’s medical system running out of ventilators by late next week, and out of hospital beds by the week after that.

This information has led him to authorize turning the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans into a stand-up hospital, aiming to eventually house 1,120 beds at the location at peak capacity. 676 COVID patients in the state are in the hospital, 239 on ventilators.

 

5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham, a doctor currently doing volunteer shifts at a clinic in his native Richland Parish, to call for the expanded use of experimental drugs like the oft-talked about anti-malarial Hydroxychloroquine (hy dorxy cloro keen).  The President has also touted the treatment, but small scale studies of the drug on COVID-19 patients have yielded mixed results. 

 

A Pineville man is in custody and another man is wanted in relation to a kidnapping incident in the 100 block of Sunset in Alexandria on Thursday evening. According to APD, witnesses claim that 23 year old Darius Mitchell, armed with a handgun, forced a victim into a red vehicle and left the area. APD, with assistance from the Pineville Police Department, eventually located the victim and a second suspect, 22 year old Jammie Simmons in Pineville. The victim had minor injuries. Simmons was charged with second-degree kidnapping.A warrant has been issued for Mitchell. If anyone has any information on his whereabouts, please contact APD

 

Parts of the state could see record highs today, and that’s led some armchair virologists to speculate that the state could see a dip in COVID-19 cases as a result. Our Lady of the Lake infectious disease specialist Catherine O’Neal says that’s a dubious claim that’s not supported by research. Some of the misinformation about potential dips in COVID rates over the summer likely stems from false assumptions that it behaves like Influenza. O’Neal says that’s not the case. That means we’re unlikely to be bailed out of this pandemic just because of a change in seasons.

 

As the coronavirus forces the economy into a freefall, oil and gas prices continue to drop. Patrick DeHann, Head Petroleum Analyst with Gas Buddy dot com says the average price for a gallon of gas in Louisiana is currently $1.85, with speculation that the price could drop as much as another 50 cents in the coming months.

 

Saints QB Drew Brees and his wife committed $5 million dollars to help feed Louisiana residents who are struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Second Harvest Food Bank President and CEO Natalie Jayroe says Second Harvest currently has the ability to crank out 2,000 meals per day and the contribution will help to increase that number.

 

Four people in Baton Rouge have died after a car traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into a house. A two-year-old in the vehicle is one of the victims. Two other people in the car died and a person inside the home was also killed.

 

In addition, protecting the community the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office is now offering to pick up and deliver groceries to at-risk members of the community who can’t leave their homes due to the coronavirus. Public Information Officer Mathew Henderson says the response has been tremendous so far and the deputies say they enjoy it too…

 

Cleco announced on Thursday that it had donated $1,500 to Louisiana College to support the college’s efforts to make face shields for health care facilities that are facing supply shortages amid the Corona Virus Disease outbreak. The shields are being made with the assistance of 3-D printers, which take about an hour and 15 minutes to complete each shield. Cleco states that is donation will help make about 300 face shields.

 

KALB Reporting Last Night With the spread of COVID-19, the Food Bank of Central Louisiana is still open and fully operational at this time. The Food Bank is distributing boxes Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until noon and again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at their location on Baldwin Avenue. The Food Bank is now incorporating a drive-through style pick up. When you drive up, you won't even have to leave your vehicle. Volunteers will load everything into the car for you. If you're interested in getting set up at the Food Bank and have never gotten food from them before, all you need to do is call and fill out an application. Don’t need food? A donation would be most welcome.

 

The Pelicans are trying to adjust to life under the threat of COVID-19 and maintain the momentum that had them challenging for the 8th seed before the season was suspended. Pelicans VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin says things were going well until the NBA closed all practice facilities last Thursday. Griffin expects the Pelicans haven’t played their last game this year and says he hopes fans get to see the conclusion of what’s been an encouraging first season with the new-look team.


Good Morning.... News For Thursday March 26th, 2020

News for Thursday March 26th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state is now reporting 1,795 positive cases of COVID-19 and the death toll has reached 65.  23 of the 65 deaths are less than 60 years old. Louisiana now that the third-highest rate of confirmed cases per capita and yesterday saw the largest single-day rise in the state since the discovery of the first case just over two weeks ago. Governor Edwards calls the jump sobering and concerning.

 

The Bayou State is the fourth state to receive a federal disaster declaration due to the coronavirus. Governor Edwards requested the designation Tuesday night, adding Louisiana to a list that includes California, Washington, and New York.

 

Governor Edwards is looking for options to unburden hospitals before they reach overflow of COVID-19 patients. Edwards says an official decision is expected to be announced in the next day or two. An option is moving people who are COVID-19 positive but aren’t in critical condition out of the hospitals and into other isolation facilities to recover to free up more hospital rooms and intensive care units for patients in urgent need.

 

LSUA officials report a student at the university has tested positive COVID-19.

The student is only enrolled in one on-campus course, does not live on campus, and has not been on campus since March 9. The student is currently in self-isolation and is reportedly recovering well.

 

The White House and Senate leaders have agreed on a two-trillion dollar emergency funding bill that will provide cash to most Americans. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says the legislation calls for adults who make less than $75k annually to receive $1,200 check, Married couples with a household income under $150,000 will receive $2,400 and each child will receive $500.This particular legislation only calls for a one-time payment to citizens, but Graves says Congress isn’t ruling out the possibility of another payment in the future.

 

Officials with Ochsner New Orleans say they are treating 271 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and nearly 300 more patients who potentially have the virus. Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas says not only are they seeing more COVID-19 patients but their stay in the hospital is more extended.

 

Schools have been shut down for a week and a half and will remain that way through at least April 13. The federal government has already granted the state’s request to suspend end-of-year testing and school and district performance scores. Governor Edwards says it’s upsetting that kids are not in school, but keeping children at home will help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

LSU Health Shreveport opens a COVID-19 test processing lab that at peak capacity will be able to process 1,000 tests a day with a turnaround of only 24-48 hours. Currently, the turnaround is more like 3 to 5 days.  Chief Innovation Officer Drew Mouton says the team has been pulling 18 to 20-hour days to get the facility online. The lab will not gather samples on-site; it has samples shipped to them from other locations.


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday March 25th, 2020

News for Wednesday March 25th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The newest numbers of COVID-19 cases from the state brings the total to 1,388 and 46 deaths. That’s an increase of 216 cases and 12 additional deaths. Of the current cases 271 are hospitalized and 94 of those patients require ventilators. 

 

Governor John Bel Edwards requests a major disaster declaration for Louisiana from the feds, citing numbers showing the state has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita.  Edwards says new projections indicate the New Orleans area will run out of healthcare capacity by April 4th. President Trump has indicated he wants to get Americans out of their homes and working again by Easter, but Edwards says the only timelines he will follow are those given by the medical community. The Governor  reiterated his calls for “flattening the curve”, and says he’s encouraged by how serious the public has taken his call to stay home and limit interpersonal contact…

 

State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon issues an emergency rule designed to expand access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Donelon says the rule means that insurance agencies must cover a telemedicine visit as they would for an in-person visit to the doctor and it requires insurers to cover mental health telehealth services as well.

 

Yesterday was the first full day of Governor John Bel Edwards stay at home order. But Edwards says that doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in your house, you can spend time outside in the year and playing with the kids, taking walks and exercising.  Office of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Jim Hussey says to help stay sane and healthy during this period you should make a daily schedule, and keep to it.

 

Louisiana residents are prepared for hunkering down for flooding and hurricanes, but staying at home through April 13th can still feel like a daunting tasking to prepare for. LSU AgCenter registered dietitian Sandra May says while it’s a good idea to have some snacks,  it’s important not to go crazy with junk food. May says it is vital to have a balanced diet to keep the immune system at peak performance.

 

All buildings and overnight facilities at Louisiana State Parks are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. Buildings at all state historic sites are also closed. The closure will remain in effect until April 13. Officials say no new reservations will be accepted prior to April 13.

 

In times of crisis, scam artists will prey on your emotions and your wallet and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau of Louisiana is warning residents not to respond to emails that say you are receiving a government check and they need your banking information. It is a scam plain and simple, do not reply.  Albert says fraud schemes are running rampant with the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

All of LSU's May commencement ceremonies, including the vet school and the law school, have been postponed. In a letter to students, Thomas Galligan, Jr., LSU Interim President, writes that students will be able to "graduate" eventually and he promised all graduating students will have the opportunity to participate in a future commencement ceremony.

 

COVID-19 is also having an impact mental health as we try to cope with stress and anxiety from the pandemic. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Michelle Moore with LSU Health New Orleans says a majority of workers in the state are working from home and some find themselves unemployed and/or caring for children at home. If you feel you need counseling, you can call the Louisiana Department of Health’s Keeping Calm Through COVID Hotline at 1-888-310-7977

 

Evictions and foreclosures may be on hold in Louisiana due to the shutdown of courts, but that situation doesn’t get tenants off the hook when it comes to paying rent or a mortgage. Spokesperson for the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center Maxwell Ciardullo says the future seems dire without housing assistance from the federal relief bill being negotiated.  Ciardullo hopes landlords will work with tenants.

 

A shortage of hand sanitizers has some craft beer breweries and distilleries churning out the disinfectant. Founder of Acadiana-based Bayou Teche Brewing Karlos Knott says they just received the greenlight from the feds for production.  The brewery is purchasing spirits from a local distillery and chemicals from local suppliers for the initial 55 gallon batch.  It will be donated to healthcare facilities. Knott says the only thing standing in the way of making more is a slowdown in the supply chain.


Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 24th, 2020

News for Tuesday March 24th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state is up to 1,172 cases of the coronavirus and at least 34 deaths have been reported.

 

Here in Rapides Parish, health officials have confirmed the first death from the virus. According LDH, the fatality was a 76-year-old. Over the weekend, the state’s youngest victim, a 38 year old man from Catahoula Parish passes away from complications from the virus.

 

Louisiana on Monday released figures on the number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in the state as of Sunday, with 240 of the 860 positive cases confirmed at the time requiring hospitalization.

 

The state discovers another cluster of coronavirus cases at a Donaldsville retirement home. Five positive COVID-19 cases were discovered there.

 

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. In his statement Aymond says that throughout the pandemic he had been feeling fine until he recently began to experience mild symptoms including fever. After taking the test, Aymond says his results came back positive for the coronavirus. Archbishop Aymond says he has self-quarantined and has notified any of those he has been in close contact with.

 

Medical professionals and the Governor took on some of the public’s biggest questions Monday night about what we now know about COVID-19 just over two weeks since the state’s first reported case.  The President has touted the potential of existing medications for COVID treatment, but Our Lady of the Lake Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Catherine O’Neal says they need further testing. Louisiana Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says the state’s rate of case increase is remarkably high, and even with the containment measures that may not change in the next few days. 

 

According to a UL-Lafayette study, Louisiana has one of the fastest growth rates of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world. Dr. Gary Wagner, a Business Economist at UL-Lafayette, has a few theories on why Louisiana is seeing a large rate of cases compared to other areas, In Two words Mardi Gras. Another reason is the fact that the state was late in starting testing. Wagner says, once you see the number of cases exceed a couple of thousand, the numbers increase so quickly, it is impossible to get ahead of them.

 

The National Federation of Independent Business says 76% of small businesses are now being negatively impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, up from 23% ten days ago. The state has ordered that many businesses shut down in an effort to slow the spread, NFIB State Director, Dawn Starns she says commends Governor Edwards handling of the pandemic because he’s done everything possible and in the process kept businesses in the loop.

 

State Police and other law enforcement agencies have been inundated with phone calls pertaining to rumors of road closures related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19.  Lt. Nick Manale says while there may be road closures, it’s not because of some of the far-fetched rumors found on social media. Manale insists that the public get information from trusted, reliable sources.

 

The state Department of Education opens the Child Care Assistance Program to support essential critical personnel during the response to COVID-19. Assistant State Superintendent of Education Jessica Baghian says the help is available to individuals in various critical roles. Baghian says the local resource and referral center has access to a list of which licensed childcare facilities are open. Baghian says the program pays a subsidy and any difference between that amount and the price the care facility charges is the responsibility of the parent. The program is available for kids 12 and younger.

 

Beginning today  until April 13, the Lottery will close its Baton Rouge headquarters, regional prize payment offices and distribution center to both employees and the public in order to comply with the Governor's stay-at-home mandate. During this time of emergency, the Lottery asks that players hold on to any winning ticket of $600 or more until prize payment offices resume operations with the reassurance that all prize claim deadlines will be extended for an additional 90 days. For all other prize levels, players can visit www.louisianalottery.com/claim for information on ways they may claim in the interim.

 

Furloughs begin this week for employees of The Advocate and Times Picayune newspapers. Editor Peter Kovacs announced yesterday that the newspapers have seen an increase in online subscriptions, but have taken a deep hit in advertising revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The furloughs will affect about a 10% of the papers 400 employees.

 

LSU says they will only have a limited number of essential personnel on campus as part of the governor’s stay-at-home order. Interim President Dr. Thomas Galligan says campus is set to remain a ghost town through the end of the spring semester. Many are worried some of LSU’s most essential staff may not be taking the field come August if COVID-19 is still an issue by them. Galligan says if football must be canceled, they will, but hopefully, it won’t need to be…

 

While much of the state’s workforce has been told to go home, Louisiana’s chemical plant employees are still on the job producing goods needed to fight the virus. 

Life at the plants looks a lot different these days. Bowser says access to facilities is being limited, worker’s temperatures are being checked on entry, shift sizes are now smaller.


Good Morning.. News For Monday March 23rd, 2020

News for Monday March 23rd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor Edwards issues a statewide shelter in place order, and ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in Louisiana saying drastic measures are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order, which takes effect a 5pm this afternoon does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and allows for restaurants to serve takeout or drive-through meals. A complete listing of ordered closures is available at gov.Louisiana.gov.

 

All state offices will be closed to the public until further notice. State workers will receive their marching orders from their direct supervisors. Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall announced yesterday that all City of Alexandria buildings will be closed to the public until further notice. City workers will continue to report to work as scheduled and services will continue to be provided but public interaction will be held to a minimum.

 

In yesterday’s press conference the Governor said there will be no checkpoints or enforcement of travel restrictions, but the Governor is asking people to be good neighbors and follow the order to shelter in place. Edwards says two weeks ago we had zero COVID-19 cases. One week ago we had 91 confirmed cases. As of Sunday 837 confirmed cases and twenty deaths, a ten times increase in seven days.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards will take to radio and television airwaves Monday at 7PM for a one-hour broadcast to address Louisiana’s fight against the spread of COVID-19. Edwards’ spokesperson Shauna Sanford says there will be no audience at the LPB studio, but Edwards and a health professional along with other guests will answer questions from the public that were sent in over the weekend. You can hear the program tonight on KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM and on KISS 98.7 and you can watch it on L-P-B.

 

The Rapides Parish School Board is planning a special meeting for Monday with just one item on the agenda. The 12:25 p.m. meeting is for the purpose of adopting an emergency declaration and to "temporarily suspend all other open public board meetings and action until further notice."

 

Unemployment insurance claims are skyrocketing. Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Ava Dejoie says the department has received over 30,000 new claims last week and that number is expected to greatly increase this week. Dejoie says staffing of the department has been shifted from other divisions to help process the new claims. The first checks are anticipated to be sent out next week. The maximum unemployment benefit is $247 per week. Dejoie says the best way to file a claim is online at LAworks.net.

 

LSU announcing yesterday they will close the campus except for an extremely limited number of essential personnel and those students who have received permission from Residential Life to remain in on-campus housing.

 

The statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline has dipped to $1.93 and are expected to continue to drop. COVID-19 economic impacts, as well as overproduction between OPEC and Russia, are the main factors.  Oil prices are at their lowest levels since the early 2000s.

 

Ochsner Health CEO Warner Thomas says their health system is prepared to handle a potential influx of COVID-19 patients. Despite reports of hospitals lacking personal protective equipment and not enough respirators, Thomas says they are in good shape right now. Thomas says their estimates show the system can handle patients without being overloaded, assuming every Louisianan heeds the Governor’s call to for social distancing.

 

As children prepare to venture into the world of online learning, the experts are recommending a few tips and tricks for making the transition away from the traditional classroom an easier one.  Head of Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy Danielle Scott says make sure children have a designated area for learning. Children need a routine, so Scott says it is important for parents to create a schedule together with their child


Good Morning... News For Friday March 20th, 2020

News for Friday March 20th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Yesterday afternoon the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported the first case of COVID-19 in Rapides Parish and two cases in St. Landry Parish.

 

One of the newest reported cases is Saints head coach Sean Payton, who says he wasn’t feeling well so he went and got tested. The result came back positive despite the fact that he was not running a fever. Secretary for the State Department of Transportation and Development, Shawn Wilson, has also tested positive for the virus. Wilson says he has been in self-quarantine since Sunday, March 15. He began feeling bad and tested negatively for the flu on Sunday; he learned Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Louisiana Congressmen Steve Scalise announces he is in self-quarantine after extensive contact with one of the first two members of congress to be diagnosed with COVID-19. The Republican representative issued a statement that he has chosen to go into to isolation based on the guidance of the attending physician of the US Congress, but is not currently showing any symptoms of the virus.

 

The OMV is now closing all offices effective today as a result COVID-19. On line services at the OMV will remain up and running.

 

A staggering number of Louisianans have filed unemployment claims as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the world economy. By noon Thursday, 30,000 people had applied for unemployment insurance this week, versus 1,700 for all of last week. Laid-off workers can apply online at laworks.net or by calling 1-866-783-5567.

 

All this COVID-19 concern has Louisianans flocking to gun stores, but Gun shops are finding it hard to keep their shelves stocked. According to ammo.com, Louisiana’s increase in ammo sales is only being outpaced by Delaware and Oklahoma.

 

Governor Edwards warns healthcare capacity in the New Orleans area could be surpassed within the next seven to ten days under a worst case COVID-19 spread scenario. Edwards says it is early but the region’s trajectory of case growth is basically the same as Italy’s was in the same period of the outbreak. Italy has surpassed China to lead the world in COVID-19 related deaths with over 3,400. Texas is reporting 278 total positive tests so far, while Arkansas has 62, and Mississippi has 50. Louisiana has 392.

 

Three state parks are being used to house people who are awaiting their coronavirus test results.  Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser says the test subjects that are being brought are those from nursing homes, the homeless, and people that just don’t have anywhere else to go. Nungesser says the use of individual cabins is a better idea than using hotel rooms for the same purpose.

 

The price of oil is hovering in the mid 20 dollars a barrel, prices not seen since the early 2000s.  The price collapse is hammering the industry, and Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs warns that even if the COVID crisis breaks in the next few weeks, the American oil industry is still threatened by Russia and OPEC, who are deliberately overproducing to deflate prices.

 

Senate Republicans are preparing to unveil their emergency stimulus plan to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It’s expected to cost around $1 trillion. Under the measure Americans who made $75,000 or lower last year would be eligible for $1,200 payments and those payments would increase by $500 for each child the person has.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health is offering free counseling for anyone experiencing stress or anxiety from the COVID-19 outbreak. Medical Director for the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health Dr. James Hussey says the line is open 24 hours a day with trained counselors. You can call the hotline at 1-866-310-7977

 

The crawfish industry is suffering major losses as the state goes into partial shutdown during the heart of crawfish season. Vermillion Parish farmer Christian Richard says Lent is always their best time of the year, but not this year with the closing of all of the state’s restaurants. Richard says if the governor wants to help out farmers, he’d allow food stamp recipients to use their benefits to buy crawfish.

 

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists of a speed limit change on Hwy 165 from Kingsville to the north end of Ball. Speed studies were conducted that produced results favoring the increase of the speed limit from 45 mph to 55 mph along this corridor. Signage is scheduled to be installed next week.


Good Morning.... News For Thursday March 19th, 2020

News for Thursday March 19th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state’s number of coronavirus cases is up to 281. St. James Parish officials announced late Wednesday that a patient there has died from the virus, bringing the total to 8 deaths statewide. Governor Edwards expects the number of coronavirus cases to increase dramatically over the next 24 to 36 as the state plans to receive about a thousand tests results. Edwards continues to implore Louisiana residents to wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing. First two cases of coronavirus in Lafayette were confirmed yesterday.

 

On Wednesday Attorney General Jeff Landy joined Governor Edwards during coronavirus his update. Some say the Governor is overstepping his authority by closing some businesses and limiting public gatherings. In a bipartisan stance, Landy backs the Governor. Republican Congressman Clay Higgins has been extremely vocal about the Democratic Governor’s authority during the pandemic. Landy says the Governor has the authority under the present situation. Landry also warned the public, especially seniors, that scam artists are taking advantage of the situation and preying on unsuspecting people.

 

Blood centers across the state are reporting that COVID-19 is causing a critical shortage of blood donations. Lifeshare Blood Center says March is usually a busy month for blood centers, but not this year. The arrival of the virus and fear has led to a loss of 4,000 scheduled blood donations during March, the biggest hit coming from the suspension of schools. 1 in 5 donors are teens. Donations are being accepted at Alexandria’s Lifeshare center on North Blvd. 

 

Governor Edwards says they’re expecting serious economic damage as a result of the need for social distancing but they are looking to help residents. The Governor has requested Small Business Administration disaster loan assistance for all 64 parishes and the suspension of eviction and foreclosure notices for now to prevent homelessness.

 

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy says the federal government is working to get more testing kits out. A drive-thru testing site in Baton Rouge had to suspend operations Tuesday after it ran out of testing kits. Cassidy says finding out who has the virus is critical to stopping the spread.  Congress is working on a massive economic stimulus package that will result in Americans receiving a direct payment from the federal government. Senator Cassidy says he supports Governor Edwards’ dramatic measures to close down schools, restaurants and bars. He’s been in contact with hospitals to make sure they are ready as the virus is showing no signs of slowing down…

 

New Orleans ranks second only to Seattle among US cities in per capita coronavirus cases.  Health experts say Mardi Gras was the ideal combination of factors to dovetail the number of infections.  Chair of the Global Community Health Department of Tulane’s School of Public Health Dr. Richard Oberhelman says the first factor is the international attraction of tourists. When Carnival season wrapped three weeks ago, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, but asymptomatic carriers may have relayed the spread to others in the time since.

 

The state has established a staging area for coronavirus patients who don’t need ICU care at Bayou Segnette state park.  Edwards says they are considering doing that at other state parks as well. The Governor has deployed 400 National Guard soldiers in response to the crisis, many of whom are manning posts at Bayou Segnette. Lake Bistineau and Chicot State Park are also being considered for use in COVID quarantines, but Edwards says finding room isn’t the biggest problem, it’s finding enough healthcare workers.

 

A capital region church is continuing to hold services as normal, defying the ban of gatherings of 50 or more people. The Life Tabernacle Church in Central had an around their average attendance of over 1,100 on Sunday. Rev. Tony Spell says police have shown up after services at the church, telling them next time it’ll be the National Guard that will disband the gathering.

 

The Department of Children and Family Services has seen a doubling in the usual number of food stamp applications. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says part of the surge in applications is likely because people think the program is being expanded as it does in natural disasters, but that’s not the case. SNAP sends benefits to roughly 770,000 Louisiana residents currently.

 

Beginning Thursday, March 19th through Monday, March 30th, the Louisiana State Capitol will be closed. Senate President Page Cortez and Speaker of the House of Representatives Clay Schexnayder, in coordination with other agencies housed in the building, have agreed that closure is necessary to ensure the health and welfare of the public and staff.

 

Sports..

 

LSU football Coach Ed Orgeron calls on citizens to follow the game plan in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Coach O participated in a unified command meeting with Governor Edwards. Orgeron says he knows this will be a challenge, but adds this is not the time to be selfish and urges young people to stay home. Orgeron says Louisiana residents are tough and resilient adding there is no better way to prove that than by beating down the spread of coronavirus.

 

It appears veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins will return to the Saints. NFL insider Ian Rapoport reports New Orleans is close to signing Jenkins, who has spent the last six years in Philadelphia. Jenkins was a standout rookie for the Black and Gold when the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009. He also helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl 2018. The former Ohio State Buckeye had 81 tackles last season, 2.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

 

Saints cornerback Eli Apple has reportedly signed with the Oakland Raiders. Apple has spent the year and a half in New Orleans and had mix results, 28 tackles, two interceptions and 13 pass breakups. New Orleans is set to play the Raiders this season.

 

Nick Underhill with New-Orleans-football-dot-com says the Saints have restructured the contracts of wide receiver Michael Thomas and tackle Terron Armstead to open up more cap space.

 

Instead of getting ready for Mississippi State this weekend, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is sitting at home wondering about the future of his program. The NCAA is expected to give an extra year of eligiblity to the two seniors on his team since their season was cut short after 17 games. Mainieri says that would be a good move by the NCAA, but that will bring more challenges when it comes to managing the roster…

 

 


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday March 18th, 2020

News for Wednesday March 18th, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

In the last update for the day, the Louisiana Department of Health reveals that 196 cases of COVID-19 have been found in the state so far up from 136 Monday. 136 are found in Orleans Parish. East Baton Rouge also finds it’s first case. Four people have so far died from the virus, with two of the victims coming from a New Orleans nursing home that’s seen a number of cases.

 

Chicot State Park in Evangeline Parish will be utilized as an overflow area for possible COVID-19 patients from certain regions of the state. Liz Hill, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security for Evangeline Parish, confirmed Tuesday night that the state park is being set up for those who may need to be quarantined due to the virus, but who cannot return to their homes or residential facilities. Hill said those that will be able to stay at the park will come from Regions 4, 5, and 6, which is the Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Alexandria area. There, Hill says, patients will be cared for by health care providers.

 

The Governor ordered the closure of a number of businesses Monday, and restrictions on restaurants as a result of the growing number of cases, and the 2020 Legislative Session was suspended until March 31st as a result. Southwest Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins isn’t happy about that decision. Higgins says it’s an infringement on people’s rights and questioned the Governor’s authority. The Governor’s office has responded saying Congressman Higgins clearly cares more about Facebook views than Louisianans.

 

The restaurant industry is having to adapt to the precautionary closings of dining areas.  President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association Stan Harris says there is a fear of the unknown within the industry as questions remain as to how long this could last. The Governor’s proclamation deems operations may be able to resume on April 13, however, the situation will be reevaluated a week prior to that date. Restaurants are still allowed to serve food via drive-thru window, curbside pickup, or delivery.  Restaurants are adapting and Harris says the industry is grateful for these exceptions.

 

With many workers being laid off the Louisiana Workforce Commission is expediting results on COVId-19 related unemployment insurance claims and loosening requirements for those collecting benefits. LWC is waiving the requirement that workers wait a week from their last paycheck to file a claim. The easiest way to file a claim is online at www.louisianaworks.net/hire.

 

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says committee hearings are already scheduled and bills are in order to start moving when the legislative session is scheduled to resume on March 31.  Schexnayder says he and Senate President Page Cortez have worked on a contingency plan in the event that COVID-19 slows down things even worse, but he does not foresee that being an issue.

 

Congress and the President are discussing a massive series of potential bailouts and financial aid packages to counter the economic devastation being caused by COVID-19. A growing number of lawmakers and the President are backing a plan to send every American a check in the next few weeks. Senator Bill Cassidy says that is one of the plans would send a check to every American. Lawmakers are debating how much the check should be, but the most common number proposed is 1,000 dollars. The price tag for this economic intervention is huge, likely over 800 billion dollars, but Cassidy says it must be done and can be done responsibly..

 

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says state companies are getting hammered right now as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns. LABI President Stephen Waguespack says the crisis is an major threat to the state’s 450,000 small businesses that employ 900,000 people whose jobs are now threatened. LABI is also encouraging residents to buy gift cards from local impacted businesses, and order online to support them. Waguespack says if you want to see those businesses reopen, you have to support them.

 

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is seeking a waiver so they can cancel standardized exams for this year, which would also mean test scores would not be part of a teacher’s evaluation. BESE President Sandy Holloway says certain requirements for graduating seniors have also been set aside. BESE has already decided that annual school performance scores will not be announced next year.

 

Here's something positive on a grim news day: Jazz Fest will happen this fall. The annual two-weekend festival held in New Orleans was canceled because of COVID-19, but organizers announced Tuesday that it will be rescheduled for the fall. No dates are set yet, but more details and new dates will be announced soon, they say.

All purchases for the original dates will be honored for the fall dates.

 

Drew Brees and the Saints have reportedly agreed to a new two-year 50-million dollar contract to keep the future hall of famer in New Orleans. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says he’s getting old but Brees can still win games. There are some Saints fans who believe the team should turn to backup Teddy Bridgewater. But Bridgewater is reportedly finalizing a deal with Carolina.

 

 


Good Morning.. News For Tuesday March 17th, 2020

News for Tuesday March 17th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana is up to 136 positive COVID-19 cases, and is now reporting it’s third death, a victim at a New Orleans area nursing home.

 

Governor Edwards yesterday issued a new series of business restrictions, calling for the closure of gyms and bars, along with the closure of dining rooms for restaurants. Restaurants will be confined to providing curbside pickup take out options until April 13th, with a 13-day extension possible. All gatherings of 50 or more people are banned by the state, while are gatherings of ten or more are not recommended by the CDC.

 

Rapides Regional Medical Center announced yesterday, that as of today, visitors for most patients will not be allowed.  The only visitors allowed will be one parent/caregiver for pediatric or mentally disabled patients who can't be left alone, one partner for active labor and delivery patients during delivery only, one caregiver/driver for outpatient surgery or cath lab patients and one family member for patients being given end-of-life care.

 

After the recommendations of the CDC, the Louisiana Legislature has adjourned until at least March 31.  Lafayette Republican Stuart Bishop spoke to the House and says mathematically, there is no way to get business done if following CDC guidelines.

Lake Charles Republican Phillip Tarver objected to the adjournment saying it is the wrong message to send to citizens and it is the duty as leaders of the state to conduct business. The resolution of adjournment was adopted a 100 to 1 vote.    Bishop says the move is in the best interest of the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says initially the plan was for the session to continue, with social distancing enforced and to check those who enter the Capitol for a fever but it’s the right call because it only would have taken one positive test to shut down the Capitol. Pinsonat says the compressed schedule is likely going to result in non-essential legislation being abandoned. However a budget will still need to be passed by July 1st.

 

Casinos in Louisiana have ceased gaming operations for at least the next two weeks as the coronavirus continues to impact Louisiana.  Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board Ronnie Jones says the casinos were notified this was likely to happen, adding owners have been very supportive. Jones estimates the lost state revenue will be about $1.6 million each day of the closure. The closure is not enforceable at any of the state’s Tribal Casinos, however It appears most have either closed or will close later today.

 

The Louisiana Department of Education will continue serving meals during the statewide school shutdown.  Assistant State Superintendent Catherine Pozniak says the food service is made possible by waivers from the federal government, adding that more schools are working out the details of exactly how to best serve food. Schools will remain closed until April 13th

 

Louisiana Public Broadcasting officially launches "At-Home Learning," with the Louisiana Department of Education. If you are a parent or teacher of students in grades Pre-K-12, LPB has resources available to help make your students' time at home more educational and productive. The information can be found at lpb.org/athome.

 

Ag Commissioner Mike Strain is asking Louisianans not to abandon their pets during the COVID-19 crisis and if you do get infected, to hand them over to friends or family. Strain says unless you absolutely cannot care for your pet, don’t turn it over to the state, or set it loose because shelters are beginning to fill up, and if you receive a pet from an infected family member, Strain says you need to disinfect it. A good soapy bath will do that..

 

Festival International in Lafayette has been called Off for this spring. The music festival was scheduled for April 22-26. Festival organizers of the five day event say they are looking at the possibility of moving the event to the fall.. 

 


Good Morning.. News For Monday March 16th, 2020

News for Monday March 16th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Congratulations to all involved in the KRRV Country Cares for Kids, St Jude Radiothon. The event, held last Thursday and Friday raised more than $103, 000. 

 

All public schools are closed today through April 13th.

CLTCC postpones classes as part of COVID-19 response

 

In a little over a week, Louisiana has gone from having no reported cases of Coronavirus to, as of 7 last night, having 104 positive cases and two people dead. The number of positive cases comes from only 284 people tested statewide. More tests should be available this week and it is expected the number will go up substantially. The big concern now for  viral experts is that those how are not showing outward signs, and therefore would not be tested, will spread the virus.

 

Louisiana saw it’s first two COVID-19 deaths over the weekend, and Governor Edwards says data now shows per capita the state has the third or fourth-highest number of infections in the nation. Governor Edwards says the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people is serious, and is being done to flatten the curve.  “flattening the curve” refers to spreading the number of infections out over a longer period of time so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system.  The CDC recommends that gatherings of 50 people or more in US be canceled or postponed in next 8 weeks because of coronavirus.

 

As a resident of a facility serving people with developmental disabilities, 58-year-old Ives Green, who had limited had limited contact with the outside world, Saturday became the first person in Louisiana to die from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.  A second patient at that same facility, a 53 year old man, also died over the weekend. Health officials also report a 45 year old attorney in Kenner is in critical condition with the virus.

 

State lawmakers return to the capitol today for the second week of the legislative session. Ten committee hearings are set for today. The three-month long session will end June 1st. But because of the spread of the coronavirus, there’s a chance the session could end early, so lawmakers are putting more of an emphasis on bills that must be passed.  Public access into the building will be limited. Fewer people will be allowed in the committee rooms and in the House and Senate chambers. Also individuals entering the capitol will have their temperature checked. If a person has a fever, they will not be allowed in.

 

Walmart has now joined a growing list of grocery and discount store chains that are changing their operating hours in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Walmart announced over the weekend that all of its stores, including Neighborhood Markets, would be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. The company says this will give employees more time to clean stores and restock shelves. Kroger, America's largest supermarket chain will move now be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

As the COVID-19 cases continue to add up, health experts recommend preparing the immune system to fend off the ailment.  Chief of community and population medicine at LSU Health New Orleans Dr. Benjamin Springgate says in addition to good hygiene, the body’s intake is key to being as healthy as possible. Eat healthy, limit alcohol intake and limit smoking. Springgate also recommends getting plenty of sleep. Springgate anticipates there will be companies hoping to cash in on the epidemic and will sell whatever they can that will land them a buck, regardless of effectiveness. Do your homework before you purchase anything and know there is no miracle cure.

 

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell says New Orleans has been selected for a federal pilot program to expand COVID-19 testing in the city, with implementation set for mid-week. Testing won’t be available to all, with first responders prioritized, and followed by high-risk groups.  The city has released a list of restrictions on restaurants which includes a requirement to reduce seating by 50 percent, and mandated early closures. The ballooning number of NOLA based cases didn’t keep French Quarter revelers from packing into bars over the weekend.

 

The coronavirus is impacting the crawfish industry.  The season saw a slow start before Carnival celebrations, and now people aren’t congregating for a crawfish boil because of the pandemic. President of the Crawfish Research and Promotion Board David Savoy says the harvest of crawfish has been bountiful and the prices have been relatively low all season already, so he doesn’t anticipate this price going down much further.

 

 

 

 


Good Morning... News For Friday March 13th, 2020

News for Friday March 13th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Five more people have presumptively been sickened by the new coronavirus in Louisiana, bringing the statewide total to 19.

 

As of Thursday evening, Louisiana had tested just 64 people for COVID-19, largely because of the paltry number of test kits provided to states by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yesterday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases acknowledged the government's efforts to track the virus are "failing."  Many Louisianans, including medical professionals, are worried that the testing bottleneck is helping to mask a much wider spread of the coronavirus than has yet been reported. It should be noted, Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaking before State Lawmakers yesterday said he feels confident Louisiana has enough testing available in the state.

 

Louisiana Department of Health is now working with the statewide 211 network to answer questions about the coronavirus outbreak.   Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says the 211 service is one of the most trusted points of information for the public when it comes to health and human services. (9)

 

LSU and Southern announces that all classes are now going online for the remainder of the spring semester as coronavirus fears worsen. The step follow similar announcements from Loyola, Tulane, and UNO.  The move also affects UL Lafayette, LSU Shreveport, LSUE and LSUA

 

Rapides Parish Superintendent of Schools Jeff Powell released a statement regarding concerns over COVID-19, saying that as of now schools in the Parish are set to remain open.

 

Here in Cenla, word that tonight’s performance of the Harlem Globetrotters at the Rapides Parish Coliseum has been postponed.  The Globetrotters encourage all ticket holders to hold on to tickets, as the team will make every effort to reschedule as soon as possible.

 

COVID-19 continues to dominate events at the Capitol, where the Governor hosted US Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Adams touched on whether or not Louisiana has enough testing kits, saying he thinks we’re fine. But Adams, along with Governor Edwards, stressed that unless you are showing symptoms, you should not try to get tested. After adjournment, the House Speaker had all members of the media, public, and House staff removed according to the AP to talk to House members about COVID-19 in private.

 

A contingency plan was reportedly discussed about Capitol operations and the session, a contingency that for now is on hold as the session is expected to continue despite the closures of Universities and the cancelations of events across the state. Members were told to stay at home if sick, wash their hands, and disinfect frequently.

 

Roughly 24,000 people were warned in mid-February they could lose Medicaid eligibility due to income requirements, with those cancelations set to happen mid-March right as COVID-19 is ramping up. Louisiana Budget Project Executive Director Jan Moller says it would be hard to find a worse time to kick people off of Medicaid. He’s calling for the program to freeze all coverage suspensions. LDH Health Secretary Stephen Russo told the advocate when asked about the topic that “there has not been any talk that we would delay any of that.”

 

In a bit of out of state COVID-19 Legislative news, the Georgia Legislature has decided to suspend their session after Friday.

 

All SEC sports events have been axed through March 30th.  LSU Baseball coach Paul Mainieri says after the hard work being put in by everyone involved with the team, the timing is discouraging but says he’s explained to the players about putting this into perspective.

 

The NCAA announced the cancelation of March Madness, including the Women’s Final Four that was scheduled to take place in New Orleans. Governor John Bel Edwards says every Louisiana resident has a role to play in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus. Edwards says the virus can be spread by a person who doesn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms. 

 

SWEPCO announces that an employee at their downtown Shreveport office has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is quarantined. The electric company says most of their downtown Shreveport office employees are working from home until further notice.

 

COVID-19 is provoking anxiety in many as the number of cases continues to grow internationally, and locally. LSU Health New Orleans professor of Clinical Psychology Michelle Moore says one way to reduce anxiety is to make sure that you are getting your news from a legitimate source. Moore says logging off of social media, for the time being, is another way to reduce anxiety.

 

Louisiana is restarting its stalled effort to replace its voting machines, with the solicitation for bidders expected to go out shortly. But, according to Sec. of State Kyle Ardoin, new machines won’t be in place quickly. Louisiana will continue casting ballots this fall on the same types of voting system that it has used for 15 years, without the paper backup advocated by many elections security experts. Allegations of improper bid handling derailed a previous effort to replace Louisiana’s voting machines, so the secretary of state’s office has had to redo its vendor search process.

 

 


Good Morning.... News For Thursday March 12th, 2020

News for Thursday March 12th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a worldwide pandemic. Louisiana now has 13 presumptive cases of COVID-19, a number that’s ballooned from just one reported case Monday.  The elderly are at risk for the most devastating impacts of coronavirus. With that in mind, The Louisiana Nursing Home Association is asking the public not to visit nursing facilities across the state until further notice, in order to limit potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

 

Cases of the virus are now being found around the state and Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says it appears people are now contracting the illness within Louisiana.

 

COVID-19 was the talk of the Capitol yesterday as the Senate Health and Welfare Committee questioned the State health officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry. Guidry and other health officials at the meeting begged business owners to prepare work-from-home options, and to not pressure workers into coming in sick.  Guidry says know that your workforce is likely to shrink…

 

The nationwide spread prompted a historic decision by the NCAA to bar fans from attending all Men’s and Women’s NCAA tournament games, including the Women’s final four set for April 3rd and fifth in New Orleans.

 

Tulane, Loyola, and UNO have also announced they are transitioning to online teaching.

 

The NBA has confirmed its season has been suspended after a player has tested positive on Wednesday for coronavirus.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is criticizing New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrel’s decision to cancel several city events, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade set to roll this weekend. Nungesser says until the Governor or feds call for events to be canceled such a declaration is only going to hurt the tourism industry, and tell tourists that Louisiana is not open for business.

 

With the cancellation of those New Orleans events there’s growing interest in whether or not other major festivals like French Quarter, or Jazz Fest, would also be axed. State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry says those events and more are being looked at.

 

Lawmakers in D.C. are considering their options for potential economic stimulus if coronavirus fears lead to a prolonged economic slowdown. President Trump has floated the idea of a substantial payroll tax cut. Senator Bill Cassidy says they haven’t seen any firm plans for it yet, and he’s unsure about the idea. There are growing fears the lack of sick days and hourly pay of the service industry could result in sick workers spreading the virus because they can’t afford to miss work. Cassidy says that’s a real concern.

 

The state will be receiving $7.8 million in funding in support of the COVID-19 response. The funds are part of a national funding package signed last week.

 

Parks Senator Fred Mills files legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, which would align state law with the federal law that was enacted in December 2019.  Mills says the clock is ticking to comply with the federal legislation. The federal law holds retailers responsible for underage sales, and applies to vape sales as well.

 

A Baton Rouge woman accused of stealing a truck with a dog inside and then abandoning the vehicle on a hot summer day, resulting in the canine dying, has pleaded to several criminal charges. 30-year-old Leslie Aguillard will be sentenced in June.

 

On the air today…

 

The Athletic Director 2p 94.7 ESPN / 1410AM


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday March 12th, 2020

News for Wednesday March 10th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Authorities in Avoyelles parish report an 18-year-old Pineville High School student died Sunday in a single vehicle accident in Effie. Corry Barbay, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and passengers were wearing seatbelts and alcohol is not a suspected factor in the crash.

 

Pineville mayor Clarence Fields put the rumors to rest yesterday on Talkback 970 when he was asked by Host Matt Dunn whether or not he would run for reelection. That mayor said yes, he plans to run again for another term, unless something happens that says he can no longer function or do his job. Mayor Fields said he wife Rosa says he needs a job.

 

Cenla Broadcasting would like to take a moment to congratulate some of our own. At yesterday’s Louisiana Association of Broadcasting awards banquet, KRRV’s Melissa Frost and David Atwood received the award for Best Radio Personality/Team.  On Magic 100.9 Murphy, Sam and Jodi won the Best Morning Show in the state for the 3 year running. Congratulations!

 

The Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office has confirmed that a body found Tuesday afternoon is believed to be that of James Gunnels, the man who went missing from Alexandria on February 13.Authorities say a local farmer and his employee found a body in a field Tuesday, a few hundred feet from the spot where Gunnels truck was found on February 14th

 

Governor Edwards announced Tuesday afternoon two more presumptive cases of coronavirus, bringing the grand total to three in Louisiana.  All are in the New Orleans area. Keep in mind only 17 people have been tested in the entire state.

 

While the focus of many may be on coronavirus, Louisiana is still dealing with an intense flu season. Assistant state health officer Dr. Joseph Kanter says the seasonal flu is should still not be taken lightly as it can be devastating for both age extremes in both younger and older people. In a typical flu season, the regional baseline for the percentage of doctor visits for flu-like symptoms is just below 4 percent. Here in Louisiana that number is now at 10%. The best protection from the flu is getting vaccinated.

 

Some of the biggest festivals in the nation are getting cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus. Could we see that here in Louisiana?  State Immunization Director Dr. Frank Welch says they are monitoring the situation and working with event organizers.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival takes place over the course of ten days and welcomes around 400,000 visitors each year. All of the St. Patrick’s parades in New Orleans this weekend have been canceled.

 

Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects the legislature will have a bitter fight this session over the right for local governments to sue oil and gas companies for damage to their coastlines. The oil lobby is pushing hard for the change. Pinsonat says Governor Edwards has always supported the lawsuits, and he may come out swinging against the proposed change.

 

Six people have been arrested in a human trafficking sting executed by north Louisiana law enforcement.  Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Davis says the arrests took place at an area hotel. Three of those arrested were also hit with drug charges.

 

Washington Parish Sheriff’s deputies make an arrest in the shooting death of 17-year-old Ja’Quarius Taylor.  Taylor was shot in the head three times in January and his body was found in a wooded area near the town of Angie.  Chief Deputy Mike Haley says their suspect is the victim’s cousin, 20-year-old Jo’Andre Dawson. Haley says the family suspected the suspect  was someone Taylor knew. Bond is set at $800,000.

 

A New Iberia woman is dead and her boyfriend, 59-year-old Luis Valdez is charged with second degree murder. Authorities have not released how 38-year-old Stephanie Worley was killed.

 

A series of bills has been filed by Houma Rep Beryl Amedee that would require doctors disclose more information to patients about vaccines, and bar employers from requiring employees be vaccinated. Amedee says current events are likely to raise the bill’s profiles….

 

19th ranked LSU hosts South Alabama tonight before it begins SEC play on Friday at Ole Miss. We’ll see if sophomore Gavin Dugas is back in the line-up tonight. The Houma native hit two home runs on Sunday in a come from behind six to four win over U-Mass Lowell.

 

 


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