News for Thursday 121919
Compiled by Dave Graichen
A tornado that flattened parts of central Louisiana during it’s 62 mile trip from DeRidder to Alexandria is confirmed to have peaked at EF-3, with winds of 140 to 160 miles per hour. at its peak, the twister was 400 yards wide. National Weather Service Forecaster Kent Kuyper says it’s the biggest tornado he’s seen strike the region in his 20 years. Governor John Bel Edwards declared a State of Emergency Wednesday.
Power outages have now been restored to all Alexandria city residents following Monday’s tornado. CLECO says power has been restored to most people here in Cenla. The largest outage left on to the south and west of Hope Baptist church off of highway 28w. about 150 customers are affected there..
Monday’s tornado created a great deal of storm-related debris. The City of Alexandria will collect tree limbs and other plant-based storm debris left curbside by residents.
Residents are also reminded that it is illegal to burn trash, including tree limbs, within the city limits. As far as other debris, such as roofing materials and shingles as well as large sections of sheet metal, those materials will need to be removed by private haulers or by contractors making repairs to damaged buildings. Samaritan’s Purse, a volunteer organization, has offered to assist the elderly, under-insured or uninsured residents with tree removal and debris clean-up at no charge. For more information, residents may call 211 and leave their address and contact information.
Governor Edwards celebrated the state’s progress over the past year at his end of year press conference yesterday. The governor says they continue to see positive results from the expansion of the Medicaid program, which is providing insurance to 466-thousand residents. Edwards says a recent Tulane study found more people are going to the doctor and taking their necessary medication. Edwards says in 2019 budget stability was achieved for the first time in years. He says it led to a pay raise for teachers and additional investments into education.
A National Student Clearing House report shows Louisiana was one of 15 states to see college enrollment increases when comparing this fall semester to last year’s. Louisiana saw a .6 percent increase in enrollment, but Reed says the state will need to see a much larger increase to meet it’s end of decade goals. Utah, New Hampshire, and Arizona led the nation in enrollment increases, while Alaska, Florida, and Arkansas saw the largest decreases.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he’s already met twice with Albany Representative Sherman Mack, who could be the next House Speaker. Edwards had numerous battles with House Republican leadership in the first term and he’s hoping for less friction in his second four years. Mack has the support of a majority of House Republicans to be the next Speaker, which will be voted on by the full House on January 13th. The Republicans have a near supermajority in the House, but Edwards hopes the lower chamber will value people over party.
The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump last night, and the Senate will take up a removal trial the first week of January. Senator Bill Cassidy says the Senate is preparing to take up the issue, but so far the only motive for impeachment he has seen is strictly partisan. The House vote was strictly along party lines last night, and a potential Senate vote will likely be the same, but Cassidy says he expects a fair and impartial trial to be held. A two-thirds vote is required to remove the President from office, a barrier that is highly unlikely to be met in the Republican-controlled Senate. There is also the chance that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will outright reject the trial.
Louisiana Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children is pushing to attract more African American and male volunteers in an attempt to diversify it’s volunteer base. CASA Louisiana Executive Director Kathleen Stewart Richey says nearly 60 percent of the children who get court-appointed volunteers are minorities, but most of their volunteers are white women. Stewart also adds that the average CASA volunteer is either retired, or near retirement, and while they need more young people to join the ranks. Stewart says the program needs to have more volunteers, seeing as 7,900 children are in foster care annually, but only 3,600 receive CASA agents.
A 13 game losing streak was broke last night at the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Timberwolves 107 to 99…Up the Pels at Golden State tomorrow night..
Eastern Tennessee State upended LSU last night at the Pmac Final score 74 to 63. Up next LSU meets USC Saturday Night..