News for Thursday July 2nd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards warns the state is on a bad trajectory of COVID case growth that could, if it were to continue, have him consider putting some restrictions back in place. Louisiana reported over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the 3rd largest single-day increase since the pandemic began and the highest since April 4th, the peak of the pandemic. We now have over 60,000 positive tests since March. 14 more people have been hospitalized as well, along with 17 new deaths.
Rapides: 1,578 cases (+42) / 62 deaths (+3)
Baton Rouge will now be one of three locations selected by the feds to ramp up testing by 5000 more tests per day. Governor Edwards says the uptick in coronavirus metrics has garnered the attention of the White House, especially in the Capital Region. Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has mandated the use of face coverings while inside of businesses.
State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry calls a pop theory advocating for the purposeful COVID infection of people under the guise of creating herd immunity a “myth”. Guidry says the theory has no evidence to back it up and ignores just how volatile viruses can be. To obtain herd immunity a population would need 60 percent immunity. Even in New York City, the worst single epicenter in the country, herd immunity is believed to be under 20 percent. Guidry says the theory is also based on a faulty assumption that if you can’t get infected more than once. Around the world many people are reportedly showing positive for a second time.
Sheriff-Elect Mark Wood officially took the title as Sheriff in the police jury room at the Rapides Parish Courthouse. Wood, who’s been in office for two months already, was first sworn in at the end of April, and a second time on Wednesday, since July 1 is officially when his term begins.
Also yesterday, Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain was sworn in to 3 tern as sheriff. On July 1, 2012, Steven McCain proudly took the oath of office as the new Sheriff of Grant Parish. At the age of 34, McCain was the youngest Sheriff in Louisiana.
KALB reports The Rapides Parish School District will be assuming control of all Head Start operations here in the parish effective immediately . This means that the program will be the responsibility of the Rapides Parish School Board for the next five years. The school board will serve a total of 850 children, a little over 600 of those being in the Head Start program, a little over 200 in the early Head Start program, and 18 pregnant moms. The school board will be posting several job openings over the next several weeks, looking for anything from teachers to paraprofessionals, school food service workers as well as janitorial staff. They also plan to host a job fair in the near future.
The Legislature approved a series of tax breaks for COVID-impacted businesses. Governor Edwards says he has his concerns with passing tax breaks at a time when revenue is already suffering. Proponents of the tax breaks say they are necessary to save businesses on the brink right now financially.
State Treasurer John Schroder announces that small businesses can begin applying for $275-million dollars’ worth of grants to supplement losses from COVD-19 towards the end of the month. Eligible businesses can receive up 15-thousand dollars. Schroder says his office will begin accepting applications on July 28th. The funding is on a first come first serve bases.
Southern University unveils its line of THC-based medical marijuana products known as AYO (I-O). The launch sees the release of six different products including tinctures for use under the tongue. Southern University President Ray Belton says the products have the ability to contribute to the health and welfare of the state and so much more.
Southern becomes the first HBCU to have THC and CBD product lines.
Eighteen private law firms have teamed up with the ACLU of Louisiana in a litigation campaign to challenge discriminatory policing practices. Legal Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Nora Ahmed says they are trying to capture cases that were not economical to be taken to court. The initiative is called “Justice Lab: Putting Racist Policing on Trial” and over time it seeks to bring up to 1000 cases in Louisiana challenging the constitutionality of the situations. Law firms will be handling cases on a pro bono basis. Ahmed hopes to form a blueprint for litigation that could be used across the nation.
To help keep students engaged in the learning process over the summer, the Louisiana Department of Education will partner with LPB and offer televised math instruction. Director of Math Science STEM, Jill Cowart says the instructional programming is designed for all students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Through the partnership with LPB, more families will now have access to resources beginning July 6th with a focus on keeping students engaged.
The Louisiana Department of Veteran’s Affairs is asking citizens to participate in a letter-writing campaign to show support to those in veteran’s homes. Currently, there are more than 600 residents living in five veteran’s homes across the state. LDVA spokesperson Brandee Patrick says you can find a listing of addresses at VetAffairs.LA.Gov.
The Saints Preseason could be set to get two games shorter according to a report from Pro Football Talk. The two most likely games appear to be the 1st and fourth games, which means an away game in Los Angeles against the Rams August 14th and a home game in the dome against the Dolphins September 3rd. This comes as the league is preparing to move ahead with its schedule for the regular season despite a nationwide spike in COVID cases.
Pels rookie sensation Zion Williamson will be one of three cover athletes for NBA 2k21, the long-running basketball video game. Williamson called it a dream come true in an interview with ESPN, saying he’s wanted to grace the cover of that game since he was a kid. Williamson will feature on the front of game boxes for next-gen ps5 and Xbox X consoles, while Portland star guard Damien Lillard will feature on the current-gen ps4 and Xbox One games. A final cover athlete has yet to be announced.
ESPN reports the NBA will not have an age limit for coaches heading into the “bubble” in Disney World for the restart of the NBA season. The league assured coaches and staff that those with those who are high risk for other reasons may be told to stay home.
LSU Pitcher Ben McDonald, second basemen Todd Walker, and shortstop Alex Bregman have been named to the ESPN all-time college baseball team.