News for Thursday January 30th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Cenla Broadcasting notes the passing of Willie Harp Tuesday night. Willie was a very successful Central Louisiana entrepreneur and publisher, but more than that, for those who called him friend, he was a great guy. Willie Harp started the Cenla Focus Magazine more than 20 years ago. He also started several businesses in Cenla including Taco Bell, Smoothie King and Cenla Perks. Willie was also passionate about the "Perfect Fit Fundraiser" which bought shoes for school children. We will miss his smile and pancake breakfasts. Funeral arrangements are pending for Willie Harp.
A Celebration of Life service honoring Mrs. Florice Delores Evans Hall, mother of Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall, will be held Tomorrow at 11 a.m. at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Alexandria. Visitation will be at the church from 8:30 a.m. Friday until time of service. Burial will follow at National Cemetery in Pineville. Mrs. Hall passed away Monday, she was 89.
The APD was at the scene of another shooting in the city Wednesday afternoon, this time in the 1800 block of Levin Street. Police arrested two people and recovered a handgun, after a vehicles and a house were shot at. Police say no one was injured and the investigation continues.
A Chalmette Representative is bringing this year’s major lawsuit reform bill aimed at limiting damages in jury trials, hopefully bringing down auto insurance rates as a result.
HB 9 is a core part of a suite of insurance premium related bills this session. The bill increases the period of time you can wait before filing a lawsuit to two years, in a hope to allow for more out of court settlements, and decreases the jury trial threshold to 5,000 dollars. Opponents argue that these changes could limit a victim’s winnings in court while providing no promise rates would actually go down.
Crawfish farmers have been setting traps over the last month or so and the crop production so far is showing positive signs for the rest of the season. LSU AgCenter Crawfish specialist Mark Shirley says supply is good for this weekend and there should be plenty to go around for the Super Bowl.
At the White House yesterday, President Trump signed a new trade deal with Mexico and China. Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says this trade deal has the potential to empty every grain bin and cold storage facility in the state. The President calls the agreement a colossal victory for farmers and manufacturers.
Governor John Bel Edwards has promoted Treone Larvadain to lead Protective Services, making her the first African-American female captain in Louisiana State Police History. Larvadain succeeds Captain Clay Chutz, who is retiring after providing security services for six governors.
The Westwego City Council votes unanimously to not allow any permitting of a proposed 500 million dollar Wanhua chemical storage and distribution facility in it’s suburban New Orleans city limits. Councilmember Glen Green says the public and council had serious concerns about the flammability and combustibility of the facility, it’s emissions and the potential for leaks. The site selected was directly across the river from the Audubon Park and Zoo, formerly used by KinderMorgan.
Environmental groups are raising concerns that Formosa Plastics is seeking to build a chemical plant in St. James Parish on top of a slave cemetery, but a private archaeologist says he’s not sure who is buried at the site. Co-owner of TerraXplorations Paul Jackson says they’ve looked at old newspapers, diaries and personal land records in an effort to establish who might be buried there, but they have not found any conclusive indications.
Three parishes will see an expansion of high-speed internet access as the USDA commits $15.5 million into rural broadband. USDA rural development state director Roy Holleman says this portion of the Reconnect Program covers 136 square miles of Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Landry parishes. Star Telephone Company will use the half grant and half loan funding to rollout 154 miles of optical fiber and 95 miles of drop optical fiber cable.
E. Pluribus Unum has assembled a substantial list of every 2020 presidential candidates’ positions on 3 major topics concerning racial equity in the South. Unum Founder and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says some of the topics include the racial wealth gap, health equity, gun safety, and gerrymandering. Landrieu says it’s a non-partisan collection of positions from both Republican and Democratic contenders. You can see all 15 candidate’s positions at unumfund.org
Seven hotel workers, including clerks and managers, are being accused of defrauding a Shreveport Holiday Inn Express of $280,000. Caddo Parish Sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says the company did an internal audit and upon realizing the size of the theft, contacted authorities in November. Three people have been taken into custody so far.
18-year-old Daniel Smith of Homer is under arrest for the alleged killing of a bald eagle in Claiborne Parish, one of the most heavily protected species in the country. Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says Smith’s loose lips ultimately did him in and pointed authorities in his direction. Shooting a bald eagle is a serious offense that can land you jail time and up to 100,000 dollars in fines.