News for Wednesday 100219
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Violent crime in Louisiana was down three percent year to year in 2018, and the murder rate is down eight points according to new FBI crime data. Despite the good news Louisiana still leads the nation with the highest murder rate, and LSU Health New Orleans Criminologist Peter Sharf says our murder rate is roughly ten times that of New York’s. He says there’s a lot of work to be done.
State police report 59 year old Michael Routon of Olla was killed early Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in Natchitoches Parish. Routon was driving an 18 wheeler that troopers say left the roadway, struck some trees and overturned. Routon , who was wearing his seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
President Donald Trump tweets encouragement for Louisiana Republicans to vote for either Ralph Abraham or Eddie Rispone in the gubernatorial primary, calling them both “great”. Recent polls put Governor Edwards in the upper 40s with roughly 15 percent of voters still undecided.
Last month was the warmest September on record for the state dating back to 1895. State climatologist Barry Keim says after calculating a preliminary value for the entire state, the state exceeded the previous record by half a degree.
The State Attorney General’s Office reports 21 people have been arrested as part of the 2019 National Health Care Fraud Takedown, including three from Cenla. The effort involved numerous federal and state agencies working together to fight health care fraud in the state.
Chevron is awarding up to 375,000 dollars to state teachers in the form of 1,000 dollar grants aimed at building up the STEM experience in Louisiana classrooms. H.L. Bourgeois High Math Teacher Melissa Williamson says it’s a big help because STEM classrooms can be incredibly expensive to maintain due to the need for hands-on work. Louisiana is an energy economy, and Williamson says emphasizing STEM skills increases the chances students can stay at home after they graduate and contribute to the local economy.
Ruston’s recovery from last April’s deadly EF-3 tornado has stalled due to the wait for FEMA assistance reimbursement. Mayor Ronny Walker says debris was removed and power restored in the days after the twister, but recovery efforts are going slower than desired now. The city owns its own power distribution system and dipped into reserve funds to restore electricity within four days. Walker says it was much quicker than the initially anticipated two weeks. Plus, five miles of the city’s fiber network had to be replaced.
More than 150 restaurants in the state have been cited for not disclosing to customers that their seafood is imported as opposed to domestic. The Louisiana Department of Health is issuing the citations since the new law is now in effect. However, no fines are associated with the citation.
A new gasoline tax took effect yesterday in our neighbor to the north, Arkansas. The gas tax rose by three-cents to 24.5 cents a gallon and diesel fuel went up an additional six-cents. It’s the first change in Arkansas’ fuel taxes in 20 years and it’s expected to generate an additional 95-million dollars annually.
A St. Landry Parish man is dead a week after falling out the back of a pickup truck that travelling down LA 103. 38-year-old Fredrick Freeman was in the back of the truck when for some reason he fell off the back and slammed his head on the concrete. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but the injuries turned out to be too severe. Neither the driver nor Freeman were impaired at the time.
A $100 million bio-fuel refinery could be coming to Acadiana and it could mean more money for local sugar cane farmers. Houston-based Praj industries has been working to create what it calls 2G Ethanol Technology. It takes what's left after the sugar refining process and makes a form of ethanol. This would be the first refinery of its kind in the United States and a milestone in the history of sugar cane harvesting.
At Christmas five years ago LSU grad Katelyn Williams came home and told her family she was going to make ice cream. When she learned her sister couldn’t have dairy anymore, it spawned what is now Kate’s Ice Cream, a dairy-free, gluten-free ice cream business in Portland, Oregon. Williams graduated from LSU in 2013. She says her goal is to have nationwide shipping available in a year so her native state can enjoy her dairy-free and gluten-free creations.
A new law signed in California will allow college athletes to hire agents and make money from the use of their image, name or likeness, starting in 2023. LSU QB Joe Burrow says he believes it is a step in the right direction for athletes. California is the first state to pass a law that defies the NCAA’s stance on compensation for amateur athletes.