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Local News
  • News For Wednesday 07/23/14

    News for Wednesday 072314

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The O.K. Allen Bridge will be closed much of the day today, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for inspection. The bridge is expected to be closed from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

     

    A group of parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Governor Jindal. They claim the governor violated his legal authority by using executive orders and contract suspensions to keep schools from using Common Core. Navis (Novice) Hill is a parent of a public school student and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Hill says Jindal is playing political games and because of that her fourth grader is preparing for a school year, not knowing what standardized test he’ll take. This pro Common Core lawsuit comes one day after a separate suit, which challenged whether BESE followed state law when it adopted the controversial education standards.

     

    The governor’s office has responded to the latest legal action over the Common Core debate. A lawsuit filed yesterday claims Governor Bobby Jindal overstepped his authority when he canceled the testing contract for Common Core. Jindal’s legal counsel, Jimmy Faircloth, says the suit has no legal basis. A collection of concerned parents and teachers were behind this latest filing. The suit claims the governor does not have the constitutional authority to dictate education policy. But Faircloth says there is no question as to whether Jindal has the authority to influence policy in this case. The lawsuit is seeking to reverse the Jindal administration’s decision to use the Division of Administration to cancel a vendor contract to supply Common Core testing

     

    According to the Annie B. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book, Louisiana ranks among the worst in the country in terms of the well-being of children. The Bayou State ranks 47th among all states and the District of Columbia. The report contributes Louisiana’s poor showing to children who live in poverty and single parent homes whose situation deteriorated from previous reports.

     

    Louisiana led all U.S. states in the value of industrial construction projects during 2013 and was ranked second overall for all commercial construction, according to a new report released Tuesday.

    Nearly $4.9 billion in direct industrial construction spending happened in Louisiana last year, well ahead of Iowa, which was second with just over $2 billion in industrial construction projects. All that industrial construction powered Louisiana to more than $5.5 billion in overall commercial construction projects. Texas, which had nearly $5.8 billion in direct commercial construction spending was first, while New York, at $4.8 billion, was third. That report was from The national commercial real estate development association.

     

    A federal judge has sentenced a Shreveport pastor to six-and-a-half years in prison for taking minors across state lines and having sex with them. 54-year-old Andrea (Andre) Lewis, pastor of Act on Faith Ministries, was found guilty of three federal sex crimes in May. Lewis was also sentenced to three years supervised release and must register as a sex offender. Lewis is also facing state charges.

     

    Officials say an arrest has been made in the case of the bomb threat last week at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that closed the campus down for an entire day. Louisiana State Police Troop I spokesman Brooks David says 30-year-old Devin Haywood of Lafayette is charged federally through the FBI with planting a hoax device and attempted armed robbery. David says they believe Haywood called KATC last Wednesday morning saying there was a bomb in a trash can at a park near the campus, then minutes later attempted to rob MidSouth Bank.

     

    The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office says they’ve arrested a Golden Meadow Police officer in connection with a methamphetamine investigation. Spokesman Brennan Matherne says they learned 37-year-old Officer Ashley Pollard and his brother, 33-year-old Courtney Pollard were allegedly making meth for personal use. They also learned the cop’s girlfriend, Anna King, was buying products for the meth lab. Matherne says they brought in Officer Pollard for questioning Monday. He says Golden Meadow Police Chief Reggie Pitre issued a statement indicating Pollard resigned from the department upon his arrest.

     

    The Monroe Police Department says a man has been arrested that they believe is responsible for hitting another man over the head with a large stick causing fatal injuries. 20-year-old Christopher Robinson is charged with second degree murder in the death of 48-year-old James Atwell. Robinson reportedly attacked Atwell during an argument over a cell phone.

     

    The Bossier Parish man who was convicted of killing his estranged wife, then dumping her burned remains in Webster Parish has been sentenced to 40 years in prison at hard labor. The body of 46 year-old Annie Bond was discovered in November. If he lives that long, Robert Bond will be 93 when he gets out.

     

     

  • News For Tuesday 07/22/14

    News For Tuesday 072214

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Lecompte Fire Chief Billy Norris died Monday afternoon in his home. Town officials said Norris had a massive heart attack after he returned home from the scene of a fire. Norris had been with the Lecompte Volunteer Fire Department for more than a decade. He was 62. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

     

    Funeral arrangements have been announced for long time Pineville City Marshall Larry Jeane, who died over the weekend after a Friday auto accident.  Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at Hixson Brothers in Pineville with a wake at 7 p.m. Visitation at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pineville will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday with a funeral mass at 10 a.m. Graveside services will be in Many.

     

    A lawsuit has been filed by 17 lawmakers challenging the methods the state used to adopt the Common Core education standards. The suit alleges the BESE board and the State Department of Education did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act. Meanwhile, the stand-off over Common Core between Governor Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent of Education John White continues.

     

    Republican US Senator David Vitter files legislation that he says will stop the flow of illegal border crossings. Between October and this past June, an estimated 57-thousand unaccompanied children were apprehended by Border Patrol. The Obama administration says that number could reach 90-thousand by the end of September. Vitter says law enforcement of immigration laws for decades has encouraged more immigrants to come here illegally. Vitter admits his legislation will have a difficult time getting a debate in the Senate, because Senate leader Harry Reid will not bein support of this legislation.

     

    The tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing over into neighboring Texas is raising concerns Louisiana may face an immigration problem of it’s own. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges, a member of the House Committee on Criminal Justice, is calling on the state leadership to develop a plan of action for immigration in Louisiana. She says the crisis next door is spreading to states across the country. With Texas shelters currently overflowing with the children, Hodges is concerned that Louisiana facilities may be used to house the immigrants.

     

    Covington Representative Paul Hollis has announced that he is endorsing Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s US Senate race. Hollis, a Republican, dropped out of the race last week.

     

    Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert is facing a federal racial discrimination lawsuit alleging he made working conditions unbearable for African-American employees. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three employees. Hebert says it is not a secret he inherited a troubled agency with problem employees, but he’s very proud of the way they’ve turned things around. The attorney for the employees n question alleges Hebert was trying to force out his clients in every conceivable way. Hebert denies the allegations.

     

    It was a violent weekend in the Crescent City as police report a total of nine people are recovering from gunshot wounds throughout the metro area. New Orleans Police say the gun violence ranged from New Orleans East to South Carrolton in broad daylight. While the city’s murder rate is down from last year, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas says it’s clear that NOPD needs more police officers.

     

    A Grant Parish woman has been arrested after she was standing in the middle of Parsonage Road, yelling, holding a knife an throwing rocks at passing cars. When a deputy arrived, she dropped the knife, took a swing at him, and ran away. When that deputy caught up to her, fifty year-old Connie Pennington of Colfax became violent. She was arrested on numerous charges.

     

    The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Donaldsonville man after finding his wife shot to death at their home. Police Chief Tony Bacala says deputies responded to the residence after receiving a call 10AM Monday morning. When deputies arrived they found 27-year-old Shella Howard dead in her bathroom, having been shot several times. 31-year-old Jaris Howard was found shortly thereafter and arrested without incident. He says the couple’s six year old child was in the home at the time and heard the gunshots, but did not witness the incident. Bacala says Jaris Howard is facing multiple charges

     

  • News For Monday 7/21/14

    News for Monday 072114

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Pineville City Marshal Larry Jeane (pronounced Gene) has passed away from injuries suffered Friday afternoon in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 107 in Pineville. Larry Jeane was in his third term as Marshal for Wards 9, 10 & 11, having held that office since 1997. Larry has also served as an adjunct instructor of Criminal Justice at Louisiana College, his alma mater. Larry Jeane has been a resident of Pineville, Louisiana for over 45 years and is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pineville, where he has served as a member of the Parish Council and the Finance Committee. In a press release from the Mayor’s office, Chief of staff Rich Dupree summed it up by saying “Larry loved to serve and our “Big Brother” will be GREATLY missed!” Funeral arrangements are pending. Larry Jeane was 68.

     

    Pineville Police are investigating that Friday afternoon crash in which  city marshal Larry Jeane vehicle crossed the center line on Melrose Street and hit a vehicle carrying four people. The driver of the other vehicle and City Marshall Jeane had to be extricated from their vehicles. A witness to the accident  reported that they observed Marshal Jeane slumped over the steering wheel while his vehicle was crossing over into their lane of travel. No word on the condition of the surviving victims of the crash.

     

    The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office says they’ve arrested 13 people during an operation targeting prostitution. Lt. Tommy Carnline says their detectives became suspicious illegal sexual activity was taking place at local hotels when they came across internet advertisements that offered “massages”, “quality time”, and “anything you want”. Carnline says in one night, over 17-hundred dollars was paid and taken as evidence from those soliciting prostitution He says several of those arrested are from various parts of the state including Bossier City and suburban New Orleans.

     

    The Wall Street Journal’s business website has listed Lafayette as the happiest city in America. In fact, the top 5 happiest cities are all in Louisiana. Houma was ranked number two, followed by Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and hold your heart, Alexandria. The list was compiled by a Harvard professor.

     

    On a not so happy note, For the second month in a row, Louisiana’s jobless rate has grown, and payroll rates have slowed. The U.S. Labor Department reports that unemployment rates went from 4.9 percent to 5 percent in June, which is still well below the nation’s rate at 6.1 percent. The total number of unemployed people in the state is now just above 100 thousand.

     

    State Farm has announced the hurricane deductible for home owner policy  holders will go up from 2 to 5 percent. Commissioner of Insurance Jim  Donelon met with State Farm officials and requested that they allow  policy holders in Louisiana the option to buy back down to the two  percent deductible in their policy by paying a higher insurance premium. Donelon says a typical policy holder with  a two percent hurricane deductible on a $150,000 home would pay $3,000  out of pocket before their insurance took effect...

     

     We're another day closer to the start of the school year and because of  the dispute over Common Core a standardized test is not in place for the  upcoming school year. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry  Erwin says a lawsuit needs to be filed, so the judicial system can  determine who has constitutional authority over education policy. Meanwhile, good government group, the Public Affairs Research Council,  has issued a commentary criticizing Governor Jindal for creating a  "crisis in education." PAR President Robert Travis Scott says Jindal's  actions call into question whether he's a reliable leader.

     

    Authorities in Sabine Parish are investigating an apparent homicide. The body 49-year-old James Paul Green was found  on the kitchen floor of his burnt home after firefighters extinguished the Blaze.

     

    The three day qualifying period for the November 4th election is now  one month away. Thus far the US Senate race between the incumbent  Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican Congressman Bill  Cassidy has been an extremely close one according to most polls. LSU  Political Science Professor Dr. Wayne Parent says it's a toss up. In the race for the 6th Congressional District, Parent says even  though a majority of the voters tend to vote Republican, former  democratic governor Edwin Edwards will most certainly make the runoff.

     

    A Shreveport researcher has a grant to help produce a potentially cancer  preventing gum. Dr. Cherie-Ann Nathan, with the LSU School of Medicine  in Shreveport, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the LSU System's LIFT2  Program. Nathan says she will use the funds to help produce a gum that  contains curcumin .  Curcumin is a food substance found in the spice turmeric that

    reportedly has cancer-preventing qualities.

     

    New research shows that stress can be passed on to another person as easily as the common cold. Michele Many, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the LSU School of Medicine says you shouldn’t let yourself be dragged down by someone else’s mood as it just spreads the stress.

     

  • News For Friday 07/18/14

    News for Friday 071814

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Very  sad  story  out  of  Terrebonne  Parish. State  Police  say  a 31-year-old  mother  and her 3-year-old daughter  died  after  their vehicle was submerged  into  a  canal  in Dularge Wednesday evening. They say Ashely Worrell of Theriot was driving her Nissan Titan when she traveled off the road and entered the  canal.  She and her young child were both pronounced dead.

     

    A small child was struck and killed by her father's truck in Bossier  City. The tragic incident occurred Thursday morning as 27-year-old Damion  Dacaldacal (Duh-call-duh-call) was preparing to take his three children  to daycare. Authorities say at some point the man lost track of one of his children, striking his 14-month-old child as he pulled out of the driveway. The case is being treated as a tragic accident, and charges are not expected.

     

    Wet weather is expected over much of the state over the next couple of  days.  Donald Jones, with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles,  says this week's rare cold front is moving out of the state and a low  pressure system is moving in from Texas. He says the rainy pattern should last through Saturday evening.  Jones  says the rainfall totals will range from two to three inches, with localized areas possibly getting four inches.

     

     A meeting between Governor Jindal and Education Superintendent John  White does not produce an agreement on where to go from here when it  comes to having a standardized test in place for the upcoming school  year.  This dispute erupted when Governor Jindal used executive authority to  keep tests associated with Common Core out of Louisiana. White says  BESE leaders believe they have the legal authority to determine the type  of standardized test students should take, but the Jindal administration  has made it clear they should be involved in that process. White says legal action may be  needed to settle this impasse...

     

    The idea of shifting state money traditionally used to pay for public school education into a fund that would pay for construction at the charter schools chilled some members of the State Bond Commission. The panel of high ranking state officials that oversee borrowing by government agencies asked the not-for-profit corporation running the charter school to delay its request until its officials could answer some of the questions about using part of the the Minimum Foundation Program, called MFP, to repay construction loans. The $3.6 billion MFP is the key source of funding for about 700,000 public school students.

     

    The  Louisiana  State Police Retirement System Board is looking into how State Police  Colonel Mike Edmonson and another trooper received a large increase in  retirement  benefits as a result of a bill that passed  in  the  final  hours  of  the legislative  session.  An analysis of the law that passed  shows it will cost the state an extra 300-thousand dollars.  Edmonson  has  told  reporters if an

    investigation shows the retirement increase is not legal,  he  won't take the added benefits.

     

    According to Forbe's magazine, the New Orleans Saints  are  the 36th most valuable sports team in the world.  The magazine estimates  the Saint's  value  at  just over 1-billion dollars, up from 971-million dollars a year ago.   That  ranks  the Black and Gold 23rd among NFL franchises.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal announces a Chinese firm will  be  building  a $1.85  billion  dollar world-scale methanol manufacturing complex on the Mississippi River  in  St.  James  Parish. Yuhuang Chemical will create over 23 hundred indirect jobs with 400 new direct jobs.

     

    Specialty hot sauce makers from around the globe are making their way to Lafayette this weekend for the inaugural Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival, where they hope to introduce hot sauce aficionados to new blends and spicy flavors. Descending upon the shady oaks and Cajun houses of Lafayette’s Acadian Village will be more than 100 vendors, including 30 different hot sauce makers, nine bloody mary mix makers, and arts and crafts makers.

     

    Ku  Klux  Klan  recruitment  flyers  are  popping  up  in south Lake Charles.  The flyers are contained in Ziploc bags and residents have found them in their driveway.  The flyers say "Save our  Land,  Join

    our  Klan"  and  "Our Race is Our Nation."  There's also a telephone number to call which leads you to this recorded message. The phone number on  the  flyer  has  an  area  code  out  of  North

    Carolina.   Lake  Charles  Police say they are investigating, but they point out the KKK or any group is entitled to freedom of speech.

     

    Unbelievable.  That's  just  one of the words used by Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith to describe  the  case  of a local store owner who found  one  of his company checks missing, and  later  discovered  a

    store employee  forging  it  to  receive services from a prostitute. The  surveillance video clearly showed  24  year  old  Charles  West involved  in  a  sexual  act  inside the store.  He was charged with theft, forgery and solicitation of a prostitute.

  • News For Thursday 07/17/14

    News for Thursday 071714

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A  Deville man has been arrested after a search of  his  home  found over  a  pound  of  methamphetamine.   The  Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office  believe 60-year-old Johnny Campbell was  possibly  supplying several local  dealers  in  addition  to  selling  small  quantities himself.   Campbell  is  charged  with possession of methamphetamine over 400 grams. The street value according to the sheriff’s department, $47k

     

    After a full day of investigation, the Louisiana State Police has determined  a bomb scare at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was a hoax. The  threat was called in to a local television station early yesterday  morning. State Police spokesperson Brooks David (DAH-veed) says  technicians examined the suspicious device and rendered it safe.  David says the device authorities found was packaged to look real. A  second suspicious object was found on campus, but they determined it had

     nothing to do with the situation. He says the investigation is  definitely ongoing.  The UL-Lafayette campus is back to normal operations today.

     

    BESE leaders offer a final compromise to settle the Common Core dispute.  Because of an impasse between Governor Jindal and Education Supt John  White, a standardized test is not in place for the upcoming school year.  BESE president Chas Roemer proposes the department of education issue a request for proposals for a new testing contract.  Roemer hopes the bidding process and approval of a contract can be  completed in 90 days. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says BESE is taking the  right approach. But she advises the education department to consider  input from the governor, before the bids go out.

     

    Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration says the Department of Education appears to have repeatedly sidestepped requirements of Louisiana procurement laws on testing contracts. The criticisms were levied in a letter sent Wednesday to Education Superintendent John White, in an ongoing dispute over testing aligned with the Common Core education standards. The allegations involve contracts that go back over 11 years, covering three superintendents, and that earlier were approved by the governor’s contractual review office.The Jindal administration started digging into the education department’s testing contracts after the governor sought to stop Louisiana’s use of the Common Core and its tests.

     

    The head of the state Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday, Long awaited veterans’ clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles could receive federal authorization within the next couple weeks. Secretary David LaCerte, who is visiting Washington during a two-day trip, said he received assurances from members of the veterans affairs panels in the U.S. House and Senate that the Lafayette and Lake Charles clinics would stay in the legislation that is being worked over in conference committee. The finalized bill is expected to be on the president’s desk before the August recess.

     

    A husband and wife are accused in a cross country bank robbery spree that  ended  with their arrests in West Carroll Parish.  34-year-old April Elizabeth  Johnson and 26-year-old Jonathan James Johnson were arrested by the West Carroll Parish Sheriff's Office.

     

    Three  candidates  in  the  5th  District  Congressional  race  have reportedly  raised  over 100-thousand dollars, while incumbent Vance McAllister only has 48-hundred dollars in his campaign account.  ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says it's not surprising to see a slow start when it comes to fundraising for this race. The three candidates  that  raised  over  100-thousand  dollars  are Monroe  businessman Harris Brown, "Duck Dynasty" cousin Zach Dasher, and Richland  Parish  physician Dr. Ralph Abraham.  Stockley expects the  fundraising totals  to  pick  up  after  candidates  officially qualify for the race next month.

     

    Louisiana State Police say a former police  officer  in  Oakdale  is under arrest for allegedly having sex with a juvenile while on duty. 25-year-old  Skylar Frank was fired from his job after being accused

    of the allegation  in  May.  He  was  booked  Tuesday into the Allen Parish  jail for felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile  as  well  as malfeasance in office.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has seized, on  paper, nine large cats at the Yogie & Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary in  the northwest Louisiana town of Frierson. The owner, Jenny Senier, has  been cited for having the animals without a permit. LDWF spokesman Bo  Behringer says the site also failed inspection.

  • News For Wednesday 07/16/14

    News for Wednesday 071614

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Even though we're in the heart of summertime, Louisiana had an unusual  cold front move in beginning yesterday afternoon and overnight. State  Climatologist Barry Keim says most of the state should be feeling the  effects of this system, with a slight drop in temperatures but a  dramatic drop in humidity.  Keim says unfortunately the temperature and humidity will start to  rebound tomorrow, and we'll basically be back to normal on Friday.

     

    The 2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday has  been set for August 1st  and  2nd.  The holiday exempts most retail purchases  from  the 4-percent state  sales  tax.   Local  sales  taxes  will still apply during the event unless the local taxing authority waives the fees.

     

    The  New Orleans Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham have finally come to an agreement on a long-term contract.  As first reported by ESPN, Graham  will get 40 million dollars over the next four years with 21 million dollars  guaranteed.   NFL  Analyst  Mike Detillier believes Graham is worth every penny and this is a win-win  for the Black and Gold and the tight end. This is the richest deal in the history of the NFL for a tight end.

     

    Gov. Bobby Jindal made his case Tuesday for shaping debate in the mid-term elections by offering conservatives a stinging analysis of the federal Affordable Care Act. Jindal, a possible contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, released his policy document just hours after news broke that he is headed to New Hampshire in September. The governor told Time magazine that any decision about running for president will come after Thanksgiving. The magazine writer marveled at Jindal’s “oversized New Orleans Saints belt buckle” and “thick Cajun drawl.”

     

    Campaign  finance  reports show Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger  Bill Cassidy are nearly neck-and-neck when it comes to how much money they have available in this year's US Senate race.  Landrieu reports  6.2  million dollars on hand, while Cassidy says  he  has  5.8  million  dollars. Cassidy's  campaign  reports  they  raised over 1.6 million  dollars during the second quarter, while Landrieu  has  raised  2.1 million.

     

    Former New  Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has reportedly filed a notice of appeal on his  conviction  of bribery and other charges by a federal jury  in  February.  Last week  Nagin  received  a  10  year  prison sentence for  his  crimes.  The filing does not give reasons for the appeal.

     

    The Calcasieu Parish  Sheriff's Office says they are looking for the person who tried to steal  an  ATM  with  a  forklift  from a nearby construction  site.  They  say  it  occurred  in the earlt morning hours yesterday. The suspect rammed the ATM numerous times but, was unable  to gain access and no cash was stolen.

     

    Wi-Fi communications may improve soon in Louisiana Schools.  The FCC has approved a plan to funnel $2 billion over the next two years for high-speed  wireless  connectivity in public and private schools and libraries.  The Schools  and  Libraries  Program  gives  up  to a 90 percent discount on telecommunications and internet access costs.

     

    The  St.  Martin  Parish Sheriff's office says they arrested a drunk man at a truck stop  who  called  the  cops to report he'd planted a bomb in the facility. They say the suspect, 55-year-old Joseph Quinn of Parks refused to cooperate or identify himself. No bomb was found and  Parks  was  booked with terrorizing, disturbing  the  peace  by intoxication and battery of a police officer.

     

    The St. John Parish Sheriff's  Office  has  a Slidell man in custody after being caught with 120 pounds of marijuana while traveling with three children.  Deputies found the drugs after conducting a traffic

    stop  in  LaPlace.  33-year-old Adam Landry was  booked  on  several charges including possession of marijuana.

     

    Narcotics  agents  in St. Landry Parish have arrested two people for allegedly selling synthetic  marijuana  to  undercover  agents  at a convenience  store  in  Opelousas.   Store  owner and  a  store employee were taken into custody as a result of the operation.

     

    The Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal stayed a ruling Tuesday that, less than 24 hours earlier, had ordered a Donaldsonville man to serve out an unfulfilled two-year prison sentence stemming from a 19-year-old negligent homicide conviction. On July 10, 1995, Stanley White pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of negligent homicide following an alcohol-related crash on Airline Highway near Gonzales that had killed a 10-week-old girl nearly a year earlier. Though convicted, white was never call to serve his time. In the interim, White, who was 19 at the time of the accident, has earned a college degree, has held a job and has never again been in trouble with the law. No word yet as to when his next hearing will be..

     

     

     

  • News For Tuesday 07/15/14

    News for Tuesday 071514

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Grant Parish sheriff’s office reports 17-year-old Alexandra Goodman of Colfax and three juveniles have been arrested in connection with the burglary of a church in the Hudson Creek community. Goodman was charged with simple burglary of a religious building, two counts of simple criminal damage to property, and two counts of criminal damage to property by defacing with graffiti. The three juveniles were also charged with the crimes. During the incident authorities report fecal matter was spread on the walls of the church.

     

    The Pineville Police Department has filed a number of charges against an Alexandria man arrested Friday in connection to a string of purse-snatchings in the area. Pineville police charged 36 year old Desmond Price Monday with second-degree robbery, simple burglary, aggravated flight from a police officer, reckless operation of a vehicle and no driver’s license. The Pineville Report  that the second-degree robbery charge applied not only to the purse-snatching, but to the violent act committed against the victim, who told police she was knocked unconscious by the assailant before he stole purse. 

     

    ESPN is reporting today the much-criticized expose by Sports Illustrated last fall on NCAA violations within the Oklahoma State football program, which included LSU coach Les Miles’ time there from 2001-04, is apparently accurate enough for one governing body to take a closer look. The NCAA is investigating Oklahoma State for possible rules violations in its football program. Miles, who was 28-21 with the Cowboys with three bowl appearances after inheriting a program that had losing seasons in 11 of 12 previous seasons, was portrayed by SI as helping start a stampede of sex, drugs and cash at the Stillwater, Oklahoma, campus.

     

    Republican state lawmaker Paul  Hollis  announced Monday he's dropped out  of  Louisiana's  Senate race. Hollis says he came to his decision after "prayer and thoughtful consideration".  Recent  polls  showed Hollis had very low name recognition and very little support among voters. Hollis's decision leaves Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness as the two main Republican challengers to Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu.

     

    Retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness says his strength as a candidate  in this year's US Senate race is that he's not a career politician.  Maness talked about his candidacy during a speaking event in Baton Rouge  and said if elected he'll hold himself to just two terms and work to  develop solutions to solve the country's problems. Maness is one of two main Republican challengers to Democratic incumbent  Mary Landrieu. Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy is the other  Republican candidate.

     

    State regulators let payday lenders slide on more than 8,000 “major violations,” according to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, a lapse that had at least one lawmaker Monday formally requesting a joint legislative investigation. The state Office of Financial Institutions failed to assess any penalties against payday lenders found to have violated state law between Jan. 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013, according to a report. The audit found that 163 lenders committed 8,315 violations during the time period, including 8,082 that were considered “major,” in that they involved overcharging borrowers.

     

    New Orleans senator JP Morrell has called on the Board of Regents to  create a report detailing the number of sexual assaults reported across  state colleges over the last five years. Morrell is seeking information  after a national survey found that many college campuses are not doing   a good enough job addressing the problem.  US senator Claire McCaskill's report calls into question just how  effective colleges and universities are at handling potential sexual  assault cases.  Morrell is asking

    the Board of Regents to turn this information over to the state  legislature by September 15th

     

    The hot political issue across the country is immigration reform and  Senator David Vitter wants to hear what you think about the topic. The  Senator will be holding a Facebook chat this afternoon at 1:30 to answer  your questions. Vitter says to join in, all you have to do is log on to  his Facebook page.

     

    Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is leasing the rights to a state-owned parking garage for $2 million to help balance Louisiana’s budget, a deal that appears to have the state taking a loss for the cash up front. The 91-year lease will generate less money than the state paid for the garage, while also giving away possibly millions of dollars the state stood to receive in parking revenue over the life of the contract. The arrangement is part of a Jindal administration trend of leasing and selling state property to patch short-term budget gaps.

     

    Louisiana erroneously claimed more than $7 million in bonus payments related to its children’s health insurance program which need to be repaid. A federal inspector general’s report concludes the state Medicaid program “overstated” program enrolment , including ineligible individuals, in requests to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. DHH press secretary Olivia Watkins said the agency became aware of the “administrative error” and has corrected it.

     

    The  Orleans  Parish  DA's  office  says  the suspect in the Bourbon Street  shooting  is now back in Louisiana sitting  in  the  Orleans Parish jail. Governor Bobby Jindal signed an order which started the extradition process  for  20-year-old Trung Le who was in custody in Gulfport, Mississippi. Le, who is from Belle Chasse, was booked with one count of first-degree murder  and  nine counts of attempted first degree murder. The search for the second suspect continues.

     

    A sugar cane mill constructed in 2006 in Jefferson  Davis Parish, at the  request  of  then Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom,  ended  up costing  taxpayers  71-million   dollars.    That's   according   to

    Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera. Odom  predicted  the  state  owned  mill  would  yield  a profit and

    agriculture  employees  were  used  to construct the facility.   But Purpera says the mill was in operation  for  only  two months before current Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain sold it  for scrap late last year. The  audit  says Strain sold the sugar syrup mill  for  5.7  million dollars in October, but the state spent nearly 77-million dollars to build it.

     

    A Crowley man is dead following  a  shooting in the early morning hours of Monday. Crowley Police report that -after the  call  of  shots being fired - twenty-three year-old Ryan Gums was found inside a  residence.  Gums died  later  at  a  local  hospital.  Police  and the Acadia  Parish Sheriff's Office are on the hunt for the shooter.

     

    In Tangipahoa Parish, a tracker trailer has collided with an Amtrack passenger train in Amite.   The  driver  of  the  truck -who was not identified  -  was taken to the hospital with undisclosed  injuries. None of the 139  passengers  on the Southbound "City of New Orleans" passenger  train  were  injured,   and  they  were  bused  to  their destinations.

     

    The Army Corps Of Engineers say they will being dredging 20 miles of the Calcasieu River starting  in  the  fall.  They  say the first 10 miles will be dredged over 6 months with the second stretch expected

    to begin in fall of 2015.

     

    According  to  a  report from the  NFL  Network,  Jimmy  Graham  has appealed the arbitration  ruling  that designated him as a tight end and not a wide receiver.  The appeal  does  not  affect the deadline for him to negotiate a new contract with the Saints, which is 3PM This afternoon.  If a deal is not made by the deadline,  Graham will have to play under the franchise tag or sit out the season.

     

     

  • News For Monday 7/14/14

    News for Monday 071414

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Many wonder if the Rapides Parish Coliseum renovation project will ever get under way. The $20 million-plus project is on hold yet again while the Rapides Parish Police Jury and the city of Alexandria try to reach an agreement necessary for the project to move forward. At issue is a large portion of the Coliseum property that is co-owned by the city and the parish. The parish must secure an agreement to use that property for parking for construction to commence. To obtain building permits, Alliance Design had to show its design meets city code for number of parking spaces available in relation to the new arena’s seating capacity. To do that, clear ownership of the parking area or an agreement to use the area must be established. Both sides, the city and the parish are pointing the finger of blame at each other for the latest delay.

     

    Louisiana is among a handful of states that showed an increase in its number of troubled bridges in recent years, but officials of the state Department of Transportation and Development decline to say where they are located. DOTD officials rejected a June 13 public records request from The Baton Rouge Advocate for a list of the 1,827 bridges, 14 percent of the total statewide, rated as “structurally deficient” under a scoring system created by the federal government.  The condition of our bridges, many half a century old and older, has been criticized for years, including in a 2012 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers. That review gave the state’s bridges a rating of “D-plus.”

     

    The  state  department  of education reports for the third year in a row the state's high school  graduation  rate  has  increased. State Education  Superintendent  John  White says for the class  of  2013, 74-percent graduated in four years  a  12-percentage  point increase from 2001. White says while it's encouraging to see the graduation  rate  rise, they still have a long way to go.

     

    Once again there's a poll out showing that Congressman  Bill Cassidy and  incumbent  Senator  Mary  Landrieu  are  neck  and neck in  the upcoming  Senate race. The survey of 750 voters has Landriu  leading Cassidy 46-43 percent. Two other candidates  in  the race, Republicans Rob Maness and State Representative Paul Hollis, were not included in this poll.

     

    A Thibodaux Police Department officer  videotaped  himself locked in his patrol car for just 10 minutes to illustrate how  dangerous  the heat  can  become  inside  in  just  a  short  period  of  time. The

    Department  posted the video on YouTube and a day later it had  over 30,000 views.  Officer David Melancon said he became miserable after just 20 seconds. There  have  been  several  stories in the news lately about parents forgetting their kids were inside  the  car on hot days, which could lead to death.  Melancon says children and pets should never be left in hot cars, even for just a few minutes.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has  signed  a governor's warrant to extradite the  Bourbon  Street  shooting  suspect  from  a  Mississippi  jail. 20-year-old Trung Le was arrested  in  Gulfport  a  week ago and has resisted being sent back to Louisiana. Mississippi's  governor  must approve  the  warrant. Authorities say that could take weeks or even months.

     

    The Common Core debate rages on with no apparent solution in sight.  State education superintendent John White says something needs to be done because there is still no standardized test in place for next school year. He says we're four  and a half weeks away from the first day of school and they still have  no direction. BESE thought it would be moving forward with the Common Core test  until Governor Jindal said he would use an executive order to cancel  the contract.

     

    Parking and access at the Louisiana State Capitol is about to become a  little more difficult for visitors. A $4.3 million dollar project to  improve security around the building began last week. State Office of  Facility Planning Director Mark Moses says this will do more than just  add more security measures. It includes the installation of four security  posts and vehicles will be routed further away from the building. Moses  these upgrades will make the capitol a more pedestrian-friendly  campus. Work is expected to be completed next March, a few weeks before the 2015  legislative session is scheduled to begin. 

     

    The  Palmetto  man  who  was accused of driving drunk  when  he  got involved in a road rage fueled  2011 crash that claimed the lives of 5 people on I-10 in Baton Rouge,  has been found guilty. On Friday a jury convicted David Leger of 5 counts  of  vehicular  homicide. The tragic  head-on  collision and fire killed two women and 3  children ages 3, 7 and 11.  Leger  faces  up to 30 years in prison on each of the 5 charges.

     

    The SEC Media Days get underway today in Hoover, Alabama. Lyn Scarbrough  of Lindy's Magazine says some big storylines will develop over the next  four days. Many expect Alabama will win the SEC and play in the national  title game, even with a new QB this season.  LSU head coach Les Miles is scheduled to take the podium Wednesday  afternoon. Scarbrough sees LSU, Auburn, and Alabama as the top teams in  the SEC west.  In the east, he goes with Georgia and South Carolina.

     

    LSU Football officials have  announced that Tiger Stadium is now the nation's fifth largest college football venue with a capacity of 102,321. They say the south end zone expansion will move LSU's Death Valley to the No. 2 in the SEC behind only Tennessee which has about 100 more seats

     

     

  • News For Friday 07/11/14

    News for Friday 071114

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The  Board  of  Elementary  and  Secondary Education leaders offer a solution in the dispute with Governor Jindal over Common Core.  BESE President Chas Roemer says they are  proposing  to  use  LEAP  tests again  this  upcoming  school  year,  but  the  exams  will  contain questions  from  the  PARCC  exam,  which  is associated with Common Core. Roemer says the PARCC questions used on standardized tests next year will  be ones that Louisiana helped develop. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says  BESE's proposal is  undoable  because  contracts with the testing firms are not in place.

     

    A recent survey asked Louisiana voters what issue is most important in  deciding how you will vote for Congress this year. The survey, conducted  by Harper Polling, shows the economy as the top issue for voters. UL-  Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says that result is  not surprising. Cross was surprised that Obamacare was listed as the number two concern  for voters. He doesn't see Obamacare as a real issue in Louisiana by and  large. The poll surveyed 506 likely voters. They also asked voters if things in  the country are going in the right direction. 66-percent of respondents feel the country is moving on the wrong track.

     

    The Pelican State is once again getting more recognition as a hotbed for entertainment  as  several  Louisiana  filmed series earned Emmy nominations  including the HBO series "True  Detective",  which received  12.   Top Chef, which had some New Orleans  episodes, was nominated as was

    The Big Easy based show "Treme" and "American Horror Story:  Coven". We'll find out who wins on August 25th.

     

    As we begin to close out the summer driving season, the price at the pump  is  expected  to  dramatically decline.  The current statewide average price for a gallon  of  regular  gasoline is $3.46, down two cents from a week ago.  Gasbuddy-dot-com Senior  Petroleum  Analyst, Patrick  DeHaan, says gas prices in Louisiana could go down as  much as ten cents a gallon by August. He says you  can  attribute this to the cooling tensions in Iraq and Hurricane Arthur, which turned out to be no big deal.

     

    A survey released  by  Harper  Polling finds 88-percent of Louisiana residents say the nation's immigration  laws  need to be fixed.  Dr. Sue Weishar, a migration specialist at Loyola University,  says  the current  rules  keep  thousands  of  foreign born college grads with science,  technology,  engineering, and  math  skills  from  gaining employment. The  poll  also  found 58-percent  of  the  respondents  support  an immigration reform  plan  that  would  secure the borders and expand visas for high-skilled workers and allow  young  people  brought to the   US   illegally   by  their  parents  an  opportunity  to  earn citizenship.

     

    St. Landry Parish judge,  Donald  Hebert, passed away Wednesday night due to heart failure.  Hebert was one of four judges in 27th Judicial District, a one-parish judicial  district  that  served St. Landry Parish. Judge Hebert was 65.

     

    Wednesday, two different  Union  Pacific  trains struck two different people in Acadiana, with one resulting  in  a  death.  In St. Landry Parish near LeBeau, an unidentified man was struck  and  killed, and in  Basile,  a  12  year-old  on  a  bicycle  was seriously injured when he was struck. The   investigations  on  both  accidents  are continuing.

     

    The famous Lasyone's (Lassie-On) Meat Pie Kitchen in Natchitoches will  be featured on a new syndicated show which is scheduled to air this  fall called "Flip My Food with Chef Jeff." The television crew was in  town this week filming with the Meat Pie Kitchen  owner, Chef  Angela Lasyone.  Lasyone says in each episode, Chef Jeff meets with people to show them  how to "flip" their favorite dishes into dining experiences that are healthier. Lasyone says their episode of "Flip My Food with Chef Jeff" will air  on the Food Network either in September or October.

     

     New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick is in Shreveport this weekend  and not everyone is happy about it.  Vick will be hosting "The Michael  Vick Comedy Explosion" at the Strand Theatre Saturday night.  Local  animal rights activists plan to protest the event.  Local attorney Dan  Keele says the protest is against the venue for hosting the show.  But there are some who welcome Vick to Shreveport.  A "Forgiveness Rally" will take place at the Strand before the comedy show. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • News For Thursday 07/10/14

    News for Thursday 071014

    By Dave Graichen

     

    As expected, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo in Alexandria yesterday to announce his candidacy for the 5th Congressional District seat. The 57 year old Mayo barely missed a runoff in last year’s special election for the 5th Congressional District seat. He’s hoping to be the only Democrat in the race this year, which would better position him for a runoff spot and possibly victory in the general election.

    The 5th District’s current congressman, Vance McAllister is seeking re-election. The primary election is set for Nov. 4.

     

    Former  New  Orleans  Mayor  Ray Nagin was sentenced to ten years in federal prison yesterday on charges  of  bribery,  money laundering, and fraud.  Nagin was convicted in February for accepting  thousands  of dollars  in  bribes from businessmen who were seeking city contracts or favors from  Nagin. Nagin was ordered to report  to  the  federal  prison  in Oakdale by September 8.

     

    A Provencal man was fired from his position as a Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's correctional officer after being arrested Tuesday on forcible rape and malfeasance in office charges. 28 year old Lindsey  Hoke was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center after an investigation into a complaint filed on Friday by a female inmate. An investigation is continuing.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal and the Department of Education announce the  state school voucher program awarded more than 8,800 student with vouchers to  attend a school of their choice for the upcoming school year. That's  nearly 3,800 more vouchers than were issued just two years ago. The vouchers were awarded for student attendance at 133 participating  schools in 30 parishes across the state.   The program received more than 13,000 applications for vouchers for the  upcoming school year - up by 1,000 applications from last year.

     

    With about a year and a half left to go in his second term, Governor  Bobby Jindal's approval rating is at 32-percent. That's according to  Public Policy Polling, which surveyed over six-hundred registered voters  in Louisiana. Pollster Tom Jensen says Jindal continues to have the  worst poll numbers of just about any elected official in the country. Jindal is considering a possible run for President in 2016. But Jensen  says their poll of Louisiana voters shows he would not do well in a  republican presidential primary in his home state.

     

    Louisiana State Police say two people who worked at public works for Iberia Parish  died  in  a tragic accident Tuesday afternoon. They say 48-year-old Ross Migues of Lydia and 57-year-old Jody Anthony of St. Martinville were putting up signs on the road when they were hit by their own work truck after it was hit by a car that went into the shoulder. This crash remains under investigation.

     

    Louisiana State Police says a 4-year-old who stepped into the middle of  Highway  165  in Monroe shortly before 10pm Tuesday night, was struck and killed  by  a vehicle.  Trooper Albert  Paxton  says  the  investigation  revealed 45-year-old  Marvin  Jones  was traveling north on Hwy 165 when  his vehicle  ran  over  the little girl.   He  says  troopers  suspected impairment on part of the driver. Jones was arrested for 1st offense DWI. But, here’s where the story gets strange,  Jones submitted to an alcohol  breath  test  and  was  found to have a .06 blood alcohol content which is below the legal limit of .08. No word as to what a 4 year old was doing in the middle of a major highway at 10pm.

     

    Police  in  Baton  Rouge  say a man and woman are under  arrest  for allegedly going gambling and  leaving  their  children behind in the Bell  of  Baton Rouge Casino Hotel. Apparently the  two  were  found roaming the  halls  and  told police they'd seen their parents hours earlier. The suspects were discovered to have been in the casino and they were booked for child desertion.

     

    The 19th annual Manning Passing Academy, which brings in athletes from  across the country to Nicholls State University to work on their game,  kicks off today. The Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce estimates the event  has a nearly $2 million economic impact for their area. President and CEO Kathy Benoit says this is a tremendous event for the city. Not only does the camp bring in 1200 students and a staff  of about 120 pro football athletes, but their families also come in  for the 4 day event and they fill hotels and take big advantage of  their time in Thibodaux.

     

     

  • News For Wednesday 07/09/14

    News For Wednesday 070914

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State police report a Jena woman died Tuesday when she crashed and was ejected from her SUV. Killed was 47 year old Amy Webb. Troopers say Webb was heading south on LA 127 shortly after noon when accident took place. It’s believed she lost control and ran off the road. The vehicle overturned several times. Webb was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    The Alexandria City Council yesterday temporarily lifted a moratorium on new bingo halls. Lifting the moratorium means that new bingo sites can be established within a 120-day period by meeting regulations and permitting requirements. After that 120-day period, a moratorium would be put back into place. Passage of the resolution is expected to lead to Alexandria Country Day School moving its bingo operations from their current Lee St. location to the former Carroll Furniture store building on Memorial Drive.

     

    Louisiana  legislators  will  not  try  to  override any of Governor Jindal's 12 vetoes from the most recent legislative  session.   Both the  House  and  Senate  voted  to  cancel the veto override session

    scheduled to start this week.  The legislature  has  never held this session  since the current state constitution was enacted  40  years ago.

     

    A recent poll shows most Louisiana voters still oppose same-sex  marriage.  Public Policy Polling surveyed 664 registered voters. The  poll shows 55 percent of respondents are against same-sex marriage in  Louisiana, while 32 percent are in support. But Pollster Tom Jensen says  attitudes are changing. He says these numbers show a 12 point shift in favor of gay marriage  compared to a year ago. The poll shows that 62 percent of Louisiana  voters at least support civil unions for same-sex couples.

     

    Louisiana is seeing its first human cases of the west Nile virus this  year. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has discovered  three cases so far, all in Livingston parish. State Epidemiologist Dr.  Raoult Ratard says the three cases were Asymptomatic, meaning they were not showing symptoms of the virus. The first cases of West Nile this year were discovered later than usual,  which may lead to a lower number of infections, but Dr. Ratard still  urges people to take simple steps to keep themselves safe from  mosquitos.

     

    The U. S. Department of Education  says a new state law that will allow special education students a different route to a high school diploma may violate federal laws and jeopardize Louisiana’s public school aid. The measure, House Bill 1015, breezed through the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal last month. But it has triggered a split in the state’s special education community and criticism from national advocacy organizations, which have blasted the legislation and said it would pave the way for low standards for students with disabilities. Officials of the U.S. Department of Education, in a letter to state Superintendent of Education John White, made some of the same points as those raised by the national groups.

     

    Based  on  results  from  a monthly survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business,  small  business owners are less optimistic about the direction of the economy  as  they were earlier this year.  Dawn Starns, state director of the NFIB, says their June Optimism  Index  fell  one-point-six  point,  ending  a three  month rise. She  says  the growing lack of confidence with the nation's  economy could lead small  business  owners  to  put plans to expand and grow their workforce on hold.

     

    Today is the day that former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is set to be  sentenced in federal court on 20 criminal counts including bribery,  money laundering and fraud.  Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino. Says It'll be up to US District Judge Helen Berrigan and given  the gravity of the crimes Nagin is accused of, the 58-year-old could  face as much as 20 years behind bars. Nagin was convicted of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from city contractors for various projects following Hurricane Katrina.

     

    Louisiana State Police detectives on Tuesday arrested an employee of the state Office of Motor Vehicles in Hammond on counts of felony theft and malfeasance in office. An audit conducted by OMV found that during a nearly two-year period the employee manipulated the agency’s computer databases to show that insurance fee payments were made, but she kept more than $15,000 of the money for herself.

     

    A  recent  audit  finds  that 12 guns and 39 bulletproof vests which belong to the state Department  of Public Safety disappeared between 2010  and  2014  and  have  not  been  located.    First   Assistant

    Legislative  Auditor Paul Pendas says these are sensitive items  and the department should have better control over them so they don't go missing in the first place. He says they now  are required to take quarterly inventory audits of items such as weapons, vests, and radios.

     

    The Kenner Police Department says they got a 911 call Early Yesterday Morning from  a child reporting their parents were fighting and the mom had shot the dad. Police report a male was discovered inside the home shot multiple times and he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The couple's children were inside the home at the time of the shooting and they range in age from 4 to 14. No charges have been filed yet in this case as authorities work to figure out  what exactly happened that lead up to the shooting.

     

    Once again Tiger Stadium is getting major props. In a poll conducted by Athlon Sports released  Monday,  Death  Valley in Baton Rouge has been ranked as the best college football stadium  -AND- the one with the  best  atmosphere.  Tiger Stadium easily outpaced  Ohio  Stadium which came in at NO. 2.

     

     

  • News For Tuesday 07/08/14

    News for Tuesday 070814

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Rapides  Parish  Sheriff's  Office says a man is behind bars for allegedly shooting and killing his  mother.  Lt  Tommy Carnline says they  got  the  report  of  the  shooting from the suspect  himself,

    52-year-old Rodney Thompson of Pitkin, Saturday morning.  Seventy-four year old Gennieve (jah  NEEV) Ashworth died Sunday at a local hospital.  Thompson was taken into custody without incident. He has been booked on first degree murder charges in the death of his mother.

     

    The Alexandria City Council will meet today  to consider a resolution regarding the moratorium on new bingo halls. The proposed ordinance would lifting all Moratoria regarding Bingo Halls and expansion of gaming, plus regulating and franchising bingo halls and gaming, charitable or for profit, within the City limits. That meeting starts at 5 in the Council Chambers.

     

    A  state  audit  has  found that nearly $1.3 million in federal food benefits were used in Louisiana  after  the  legal  recipients died. Legislative  Auditor  Daryl  Purpera  says  benefits for over  3,900

    single-person households were spent after the  participant's  death. The  Department  of Children and Family Services, who administer the benefits,  has   entered  into  a  formal  agreement  with  the

    Department  of  Health  and   Hospitals   to   receive  more  timely information about deaths in Louisiana. They hope  this  will  reduce the time it takes to determine a recipient's death.

     

    In another report.. The state wrongly paid $2.7 million for Medicaid health insurance for prisoners over a nearly two-year period. The questionable spending occurred in the Jindal administration’s new privatized Medicaid programs — Bayou Health and the Behavioral Health Partnership. Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office had earlier found DHH making Medicaid payments for dead people during the same period.

     

    Governor  Bobby  Jindal  and Enquero executives announced today that the company will open a new  facility  in Lafayette that will create 350 new jobs over the next three years.   This will be the company's first  outsourcing  site  outside  of  Silicon  Valley.    Louisiana Economic  Development  estimates this move will create an additional 350 plus new indirect jobs for the area.

     

    A third man has been charged in connection to the case of a missing man whose remains were believed to have been discovered last week in Vernon Parish. 28 year old Matthew Andrews of New Llano, was arrested and was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail. Andrews was charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder, his bond has been set at  $75,000. The charge is related to the case of James Stephens, a Rosepine man who has been missing since March 29.

     

    According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers  University, our state legislature has the lowest representation of  women in the nation for the second year in a row. Of the 144 members  of the state legislature, just 18 are women. Louisiana has just 12.5% women lawmakers and the national percentage  of state legislators who are women is 24.2%.

     

    The Houma Police Department has identified the  man they believe was shot in the head by another man who was upset about  being  woken up at  3am.  They  say  29-year-old  James  Rube  was  banging  on  his ex-girlfriend's  door and a neighbor, 58-year-old Ray Carlos, walked over and allegedly  shot  the  victim  in the head for waking him up. Carlos was charged with  one  count  of 2nd Degree murder.

     

    The suspect in last week's Bourbon Street shooting is refusing to be extradited from Mississippi.  20-year-old Trung  Le  of Belle Chasse was arrested in Gulfport Friday.  Governor Bobby Jindal will have to issue  a  request  for  Le's  transfer to Mississippi Governor  Phil Bryant.  Officials say that could take a few months.

     

    Louisiana State Police have arrested an Opelousas man after a single vehicle accident north of  Krotz  Springs  claimed  the  life  of an Opelousas  woman  and  hospitalized  two  others.   Authorities  say

    28-year-old  Nicholas  Lafleur allegedly lost control of his vehicle and  struck  a  tree.  54-year-old  Judy  Stelly  of  Opelousas  was pronounced dead at a local hospital.  They say impairment appears to be a factor in the crash.  Lafleur is charged with DWI and vehicular homicide, among other charges.

     

    State Police are searching for a vehicle that struck and killed a  bicyclist in Lafayette Parish. The hit and run occurred on LA 92 at  Mermentau (Mer-men-tow) Road just east of Milton Monday morning.

    Master Trooper Brooks David (Dah-veed) says as of now, they have no  information on who hit 30-year-old Lon Lomas of Youngsville.

     

    The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested a Thibodaux woman who  runs  an animal rescue organization after her 3-year-old  child and several  dogs were found living in filthy conditions. Authorities say when deputies entered the home of Danielle Morgan they noticed a large  amount  of  feces  all over  the  floor.   He  says  not  only was the child walking in the feces, deputies also noticed scratches on the child that appeared to have been made by an animal.  He says  the toddler was released into the care of a family member.

     

     The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections is working  with the clothing store Men's Warehouse to provide professional attire  to inmates through a clothing drive. DPSC spokesperson Pam Laborde says  that its an important step in helping inmates reintegrate into the  workforce. Laborde says if you have any business attire that you don't plan on  wearing again, consider donating those items to Men's Warehouse stores  throughout the state. The clothing drive ends July 31st. Laborde says that having at least one  nice set of clothing can makes a big difference for the soon-to-be-released inmates.

     

     

  • News For Thursday 07/03/14

    News for Thursday 070314

    By Dave Graichen

     

    At a public meeting yesterday in Leesville, the mode was somewhat somber. The message, The public must take action to help save Fort Polk from a 60 percent troop reduction that would devastate the Central Louisiana economy. Michael Reese, chairman of Fort Polk Progress, a nonprofit group that supports the Army base in Vernon Parish said the cuts would decimate the economy here in Central Louisiana. Jon Grafton executive director of the England Authority pointed out that this is as serious as it gets. Fort Polk possibly could lose about 6,500 personnel from its military population of close to 11,000. All involved yesterday emphasized that the public must write letters and send emails to show support for keeping Fort Polk’s troop strength at current levels.

     

    Attorney Robert "Bob" Levy has ended his campaign for the Division G seat in the 9th Judicial District Court. Levy cited the recent candidacy announcement of incumbent Judge Harry Randow as the reason for his withdrawal.

     

    The Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control issued 40 citations to Central Louisiana businesses since the agency’s Summer Crackdown operation began June 2. Dozens of businesses were cited, some more than once,  for selling alcohol and tobacco to minors. Businesses doing so are subject to criminal and administrative charges and face fines and penalties that could result in suspension or revocation of their alcohol and tobacco permits. The complete list of the businesses can be found in today’s “Town Talk”.

     

    Now, here’s an interesting twist in the battle between the BESE board and Governor Jindal over common core. The state education board announced earlier this week it’s plan to hire attorneys for advice on a possible lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal. Here’s the twist, The contract for special legal counsel appears to need the governor's approval.  Under Louisiana law, state agencies, boards and commissions that hire outside lawyers must get written approval from the attorney general and the governor. Board President Chas Roemer said the two law firms selected for the work have agreed to represent the education board for free, which gives the Jindal administration no room to argue over payment structure.

     

    A new poll on  Louisiana's  US  Senate  race  shows  it's a toss-up. Democratic  incumbent  Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger  Bill Cassidy each had 47-percent  of  the  vote  in  a potential run-off, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy  Polling.  Pollster Tom  Jensen  gives a slight edge to Cassidy, because  of  Landrieu's poor approval ratings. In the Senate  primary,  the  Public  Policy  Polling  survey  shows Landrieu  with  44-percent  of  the vote, Cassidy at 27-percent, and other Republican challengers Rob  Maness  and Paul Hollis had single digit support.

     

    Authorities say Jonesville man died after the ultralight aircraft he was piloting crashed near Wallace Lake. Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly said 56-year-old Richard Stafford was flying the aircraft on an apparent pleasure trip when he struck the top of a tree and crashed approximately five miles north of Jonesville The crash happened around 8 p.m. Monday evening.

     

    Authorities  say  a 21-year-old victim in the Sunday morning Bourbon Street shooting has  died.   Brittany Thomas of Hammond succumbed to her injuries this afternoon.   A total of 10 people were shot in the incident.  Four victims remain hospitalized.  The New Orleans Police Department has identified 20-year-old  Justin  Odom  as  a person of interest in the shooting.

     

    Lafayette  Police  havemade an arrest in the case of one of their officers who was run over two times by a vehicle at Wal Mart  during an apparent robbery overnight.  Cpl  Paul  Mouton  says during the investigation, the officer was hit once by a vehicle then run over again.  He  says  the   officer then held on to the car and was drug for about 100 feet. 19-year-old Alexis  Pitre  of  Lafayette is charged with attempted 1st degree murder and felony hit and run.

     

    The Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office wants everyone to be cautious when  using fireworks during this Fourth of July holiday.  State Fire Marshal  Butch Browning says they document about 17,000 injuries nationwide per  year due to fireworks use.  Having a fire extinguisher or bucket of water on hand to put out a  potential fire is recommended.  Browning says you should read all labels  and follow all instructions when lighting fireworks.  He says if a  firework is designed to shoot up in the air, it's important that  that firework shoots up.  Browning says you should never consume alcohol while using fireworks.

     

    Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has  ruled  that  Jimmy  Graham should be franchised as a tight end, not a wide receiver.  The  decision gives Saints  management  leverage in negotiations over a long-term  deal. Under the Collective  Bargaining  Agreement,  Graham  can appeal the decision within 10 days.

     

    NFL.com is  out  with  a  2014  list  of  the  Best College Football Stadiums and LSU's Death Valley made number two.  Bryan Fischer says opponents can't argue that a trip to Baton Rouge for a game lives up to all the hype with "ridiculous" tailgating and an environment that gets louder than anywhere else when the Tigers need  the  noise. The Rose Bowl Stadium came in at No. 1 and Husky Stadium a No. 3.

     

    A Slidell woman is facing criminal charges after she allegedly forgot  that her five-week-old infant was locked inside a parked car at a strip  mall. Authorities say an alert citizen  saw the child and immediately called 9-1-1. The outside temperature was 90-degrees and temps inside the vehicle were probably over 130-degrees. It's believed the toddler was in the  steamy car for more than 30 minutes. Officers say when they got to the child it was  unresponsive, sweating profusely and had internal temperature at a  deadly level. This story has a happy ending, the toddler has made a full recovery.

     

    Lake Charles PD says  a  man  is  still  behind  bars  for allegedly stealing  a Mermentau Police Car. They say 38-year-old Russel  Shane was driving the stolen vehicle down I-10 with it's lights and sirens going and refused  to  stop.  He  was eventually detained and booked into  the Calcasieu Parish Jail for  illegal  possession  of  stolen things.

     

     

     

  • News For Wednesday 07/02/14

    News for Wednesday 070214

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The 2014 Hurricane Season’s  first  tropical  depression  has formed off  of Florida's Atlantic coast.  The storm is projected to  travel up the  Atlantic  coast  of the United States and poses no threat to

    the Gulf of Mexico.

     

    He says reports about his retirement are greatly exaggerated! Yesterday 9th Judicial District Judge Harry Randow announced he will be running for re-election. Just one problem, the distinguished judge will soon be 71. Retirement age for judges in Louisiana is 70. The judge is anticipating voters in the state will approve a constitutional amendment, on the ballot this fall, that would lift that age restriction, thus allowing him to continue serving. The downside,  If the proposed constitutional amendment fails, Randow would not be able to take office even if he wins re-election.

     

    Louisiana’s top School Board on Tuesday voted 6-3 to hire special legal counsel in its bid to implement Common Core tests that Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes. But the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education stopped short of authorizing any legal action for now, in part because some panel members said they do not want to sue the governor. In addition, BESE voted without objection to order talks between state Superintendent of Education John White and Jindal’s office in a bid to resolve the dispute. White is then supposed to provide an update on any progress in the standoff by July 18.

     

    The Jindal administration has repaid a $70 million state treasury loan that was needed to keep public colleges and universities operating. However, state Treasurer John Kennedy raised concerns Tuesday about where the administration found the money to repay the borrowing. He said the administration grabbed dollars from another fiscal year. Kennedy also said the 2013-2014 fiscal year ended this week with a nearly $63 million deficit.

     

    The Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a state law that forbids felons from possessing firearms, ruling that lawmakers did not intend to invalidate the state’s weapons laws when they proposed a constitutional amendment declaring gun ownership a fundamental right. Justice Jeff Hughes wrote in a unanimous opinion that the state’s ban on the possession of firearms by convicted felons “is not affected” by the constitutional language approved by voters in 2012.

     

    The Fourth of July is just around the corner.  With the holiday falling  on Friday, it makes a three-day holiday weekend for a lot of people  which means many will be traveling.  American Automobile Association  spokesman Don Redman says even with higher gas prices, more people  are expected to hit the road.  He says approximately 41-million Americans are expected to travel for  the holiday. 

     

    Indicted state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Walter Lee is now facing state ethics charges. The state Board of Ethics alleged in documents made public Tuesday that Lee violated three state conflict of interest laws. The charges involve incidents of Lee’s alleged use of his position as DeSoto Parish schools superintendent for personal gain. Lee was indicted in January by a DeSoto Parish grand jury on felony theft, public contract fraud and malfeasance in office during his tenure as schools chief. He has pled not guilty.

     

    Louisiana has fewer automobile deaths related to impaired driving, but  speeding related deaths are up seven percent according to a new study by  the governors highway safety administration. Director of the Louisiana  Highway Safety Administration, Lt. Col. John Leblanc, says across the country, speeding is a factor in nearly one third of highway deaths, but in Louisiana the number is closer to 50%.

     

    The Lafayette Parish  Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 19-year-old woman found lying unconscious and nonresponsive on the side  of  the road yesterday.   Authorities  say  the  circumstances surrounding  the woman's death are suspicious and an autopsy will be performed to determine  the  cause  of death.  The incident is being treated as a homicide.

     

    Two  parents are under arrest in Livingston Parish for child cruelty and endangerment and other charges connected with them leaving their infant  locked  in  a  hot  car  at a Walmart Parking lot in Walker. The two walmartians were also arrested on drug possession charges.

     

    The State Fire Marshal's office says they are treating the tragic  passing of Captain Robert Thomas, who worked with Bienville Fire  District 7, as a Line of Duty Death. The 52-year-old crashed and then

    was crushed by his own fire truck on the way back from a structure  blaze Monday night. Browning says this is the first Line of Duty firefighter death we've  had in Louisiana over the past year and a half.

     

    Following  the  recent  New Orleans French Quarter shootings,  today Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked  Governor  Bobby Jindal to send 100 state troopers to the city to stay on what he calls a permanent basis.  He called the shootings infuriating.

  • News For Tuesday 07/01/14

    News for Tuesday 070114

    By Dave Graichen

     

    US  Representative  Vance  McAllister will seek re-election, despite initially saying he would not  seek  another  term.  McAllister took office last November after a special election,  but  the  politician who  ran  on  a faith and family campaign, was involved in a kissing scandal earlier  this  year.   The  Republican  from Ouachita Parish admits  he  made  a  mistake, but that mistake made him  a  stronger person and a better Congressman. He says his wife has encouraged him to run for re-election. Shortly after McAllister’s announcement yesterday, Governor Bobby Jindal  has released a statement calling McAllister's decision to seek re-election "disappointing".

     

    The city of Alexandria’s water conservation order has been rescinded, and the city’s water system has returned to normal following repairs to a massive water main that burst over the weekend.

     

    State police report  an Oberlin woman was killed Sunday night in a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 26 east of Oberlin. Troopers say 72-year-old Emily Adams lost control of her vehicle, crossed the center line and crashed into a ditch. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    An Alexandria teen is in hot water after being charged with several armed robberies. 17 year old Dontreal Hampton is in the Rapides Parish Detention Center, his bond set at $300,000. Hampton was arrested by APD officers over the weekend and charged  in connection with three robberies in the city.

     

    She was last seen in the front yard of her Natchitoches home on Friday evening. Now authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating 17 year old Bianca Chew. She was last seen wearing a blue and white shirt with pink tight-legged jeans and pink house slippers. Anyone with any information concerning her whereabouts is asked to contact the Natchitoches Police Department.

     

    The National Hurricane Center reports, Tropical Depression 1 has formed off the Florida east coast, about 105 miles east southeast of Cape Canaveral, and could strengthen to become Tropical Storm Arthur on today as it moves northward along Florida's east coast. At this point, the storm is no threat to the gulf.

     

    US Senatorial candidate Col. Rob Maness begins a 50 Town Hall series  today in Houma.  Maness will be holding Town Hall meetings across the  state during his campaign.  UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Maness is starting to establish himself as a viable  candidate in this race, particularly in fundraising.  The Maness campaign said last week that they have now raised over one-million dollars for his election bid.  Maness has been endorsed in this race by former Vice-Presidential  candidate Sarah Palin, The Tea Party Express, and The Tea Party  Leadership Fund, among others.

     

    The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education holds a special meeting  today where it's likely the state's top school board will discuss taking  Governor Jindal to court for his attempt to remove the Common Core  education standards out of public schools.  An agenda item for today's meeting calls for BESE to consider hiring special legal counsel.

     

    Interest in soccer seems to be at an all-time high as Team USA enters  knockout round of the 2014 World Cup taking on Belgium today.  Baton  Rouge American Outlaws President Mark Jones says the interest has  surpassed his expectations.  He thinks interest in the game has finally  "trickled up" from kids to adults.  The American Outlaws is the unofficial supporters club for United States  Soccer with over 150 chapters nationwide.  In addition to Baton Rouge, Outlaws chapters have also sprouted up in New Orleans, Lafayette, and  Covington, with a Shreveport chapter coming soon.

     

    Catahoula Parish investigators are reportedly looking into a case in which human remains were discovered  in  a  cornfield  about 5 miles north  of Sicily Island. The report indicates two people  have  been arrested  in  connection  with  the  case including 30-year-old Leah Marie Pontiff on obstruction of justice and 36-year-old Daniel White on second-degree kidnapping. The victim  has not been identified and the case remains under investigation.

     

    The  New  Orleans  Police  Department  now  says  the Sunday morning Bourbon Street shooting has injured 10 people, six  women  and  four men.   Five victims remain hospitalized, four in fair condition, one in critical  condition.  NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas says they are close to getting to  the  bottom  of this investigation. But, he is still asking for the public’s help with the case. Serpas  says  the shootout apparently stemmed from two young men who had gotten into an argument early Sunday morning. Neither of them are the victims.

     

     

     

     

     

  • News For Monday 06/30/14

    News for Monday 063014

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The City of Alexandria remains under a conserve water order following the blowout of a 42” water line on Saturday. The line was quickly repaired by the utility department, however there was a 24 hour delay before the water from that main was allowed to flow in to the main city system. The fear is a drop in the water level and pressure could force a boil advisory to be issued. So far so good, no such advisories have been posted. However, residents who utilize the Poland and Latanier water systems are under a boil advisory til further notice. Both water system receive part of their water supply from Alexandria. The city was forced to shut off their tap Saturday.

     

    5th district congressman Vance McAllister has scheduled a press conference for this morning during which many expect he’ll recant his declaration from April and announce he will seek re-election this fall. Entering just the eighth month of his first year in Congress, the Swartz Republican businessman has had an eventful rookie season. In November 2013 he assumed the final year of the two-year congressional term of Rodney Alexander, who abruptly announced his resignation in August 2013.

     

    A  special  meeting  of  BESE is set to take place on Tuesday and we could find out then whether  the  state's top school board will seek legal action against Governor Jindal's  attempt to remove the Common Core education standards out of Louisiana.  There  is an agenda item that calls for "consideration of the potential retention  of special legal counsel."

     

    Synthetic marijuana is illegal to use in Louisiana. But, it’s becoming the new drug of choice, exceeding cocaine,  because many users think it’s a safe, modified version of marijuana. It’s not, say law enforcement and health officials. Calls to the Louisiana Poison Control Center have increased in recent months. The Southeast Veterans Health Care Center reported a disturbing escalation of calls from young veterans experiencing psychotic episodes after use.

     

    New Orleans Police report nine people were wounded in gunfire on Bourbon Street early Sunday. Two of them were listed in critical condition after the shooting around 2:45 a.m just around the corner from Pat O'Brien's and Preservation Hall. The shooting victims were taken to nearby hospitals, and the NOPD continued to gather details. No arrests had been made.

     

    The National Hurricane Center reports A low-pressure system meandering south along Florida's east coast could form a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon. The system is becoming better developed as it takes on a more southwestern course. Forecasters put the odds of it developing into a tropical storm at 60 percent by Tuesday.

     

    State lawmakers held a special  meeting  at  the  capitol  Friday  to discuss  problems  with federal V-A hospitals and clinics.  Veterans are having trouble getting  access  to  treatment  at V-A facilities

    nationwide.   State  Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary  David LaCerte says they've sent  complaints  to  the  federal  V-A and its inspector general for years. Reports  have surfaced that veterans are facing long wait times  and other lapses  in care.  LaCerte says he's even had trouble making an appointment.  He  says  it  will  be up to the federal government to improve health care for its veterans,  but  he urged state lawmakers to apply pressure to get something done.

     

     The Louisiana Workforce Commission won a federal grant of over six- million-dollars to train workers in high-demand occupations and help  the cost of worker training. The grant focuses on industries that are driving employment demand in  South Louisiana.  LWC estimates 1,200 people living in South Louisiana  will qualify for a combination of services under the grant. 

     

    An Avoyelles Parish judge has approved a $5.9 million settlement against Acadian Ambulance.

    A hearing on a proposed settlement in the class-action lawsuit against Lafayette-based company happened Friday. 440 Louisiana residents have filed claims that they were overcharged by Acadian Ambulance for services over the last two decades. Claim reimbursements should be distributed later this year.

     

    A former St. Martin Parish Sheriff's  deputy has been charged in the shooting  death  of  her husband in Breaux  Bridge.   A  grand  jury charged Chrystal Alexander with second degree murder in the December death of 34-year-old Kendall  Alexander.   Chrystal  Alexander was a lieutenant in the Sheriff's Office.

     

    The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of a  restricted-use pesticide to help combat tawny crazy ants in Louisiana.  Termidor SC was given an emergency exemption for use against the  pests.  LSU entomologist Dennis Ring says tawny crazy ants grow to huge  populations with multiple nests.  Ring says they believe this pesticide will reduce the number of the ants.  Ring says the tawny crazy ant problem covers 18 parishes, so far.

     

    Baton Rouge Congressman and US Senate candidate Bill Cassidy touted the  benefits of increasing domestic energy production while delivering the  Weekly Republican address. Cassidy says a common sense solution to  creating jobs and lowering energy costs is the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.  President Obama and democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid oppose

    the keystone pipeline. A Cassidy victory this fall could help the  GOP take control of the Senate. And the Baton Rouge republican made it  known in his address that it’s time to retire Reid as the leader of the  Senate.  Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who Cassidy is challenging this fall,  also supports the Keystone Pipeline and has a bill in the Senate that  would green light the construction of the pipeline.

     

    A 28-year-old Baton Rouge man has been found  guilty  of killing his unborn child when he shot his pregnant wife in 2012.  A  jury  found Frank  Atkins  guilty  of second degree murder and attempted murder. He faces life in prison.

     

    A  four  year-old  boy  died over the weekend in a backyard swimming pool. Caddo Parish authorities responded  to  a  home  to  find the child unresponsive. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.  The incident occurred at a home while a family gathering was taking place.

     

  • News For Friday 06/27/14

    News for Friday 062714

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Fort Polk is one of 30 army bases around the country in jeopardy of  losing troops as the Army looks to cut 40-thousand troops from its  active duty force. Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese there's the  potential the military base in Vernon Parish could lose 6,500 troops.  The Army also considered a large troop reduction at Fort Polk last year,  but because of a big lobbying effort from local community and business  leaders the base only lost 250 troops. Reese says a similar organized response will be needed again this year.  Reese says the Army is now taking public comment on why Fort Polk and  other bases should not be subjected to a reduction of troops.

     

     Roosevelt Johnson is running for Alexandria city councilman in District 2. Johnson has previously served on the council for several years, but he does not currently hold a seat.  Johnson is known for his door-to-door campaigning, and he says voters can expect the same during the upcoming election. Incumbent Councilwoman Mitzi Lasalle has not announced her plans for this election which takes place in November.

     

    The Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs will be holding  a meeting today to discuss issues their members and constituents are  having accessing healthcare facilities at the VA medical centers. New  Orleans Rep. Nick Larusso is the chairman of the committee. He says  they hope to hear from any of their vets who are having problems. Larusso says since VA healthcare is regulated by the federal  government, they hope to apply some pressure with expressing issues  concerning our veterans and members of our armed forces. Larusso says a change needs to be made with the system because the one  in place now is not working.

     

    The Jindal Administration  says  there  shouldn't  be  any delays in scoring  of standardized tests retaken this summer by public  school students.   Superintendent  of  Education  John White said in a memo that summer retests cannot be scored right now  because  of Governor Jindal's  suspension  of  the  testing contract.  The administration says they have notified the testing  contractor  that the state will pay for test scoring without disruption.

     

    The  Department  of  Education announces that for the second straight year the number of high  school  students  earning  a score of 18 or higher on the ACT has increased.  23,560 students in  the  class  of 2014  posted  a  college-going  score, which is an increase of 1,472 students  from 2013.  They say this  will  lead  to  more  graduates entering college without having to take remedial courses.

     

    Louisiana State Police and other local law enforcement agencies say, due to about a 30% increase in fatalities, ther are enforcing a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to people who don’t wear their seat belts. Summer Heat 2014 is an enforcement effort targeting unrestrained drivers and passengers, reckless drivers and impaired drivers and it’s underway now.

     

    Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford was booked into the Caddo Parish Correctional  Center  today on five counts of malfeasance in office, handed down by a Caddo  Parish  grand jury, They were looking at the fire department's response into allegations of abuse by firefighters involving a mentally disabled man.  The chief denies the allegations that he covered up in the investigation.

     

    It's  official,  the green light has been  given  for  a  ride-share program to begin in  Baton  Rouge.   It  allows  companies like Uber (oober) to provide a cab like service to those individuals seeking a ride.  New Orleans is also looking into whether they should  allow  Uber to conduct business there.

     

     

     

     

  • News For Thursday 06/26/14

    News for Thursday 062614

    By Dave Graichen

     

    U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman threw a curveball Wednesday at the lawyers arguing both sides of a case over gay marriage in Louisiana, deciding he will rule not only on whether same-sex marriages performed in other states should be recognized in Louisiana, but also on whether gay and lesbian couples should be able to wed in the state. The case before Feldman includes six couples, all of whom argue that Louisiana should recognize marriages performed elsewhere. The judge has not indicated when he will rule.

     

    Judge Dee Drell saying yesterday Attorney Craig Davidson, can proceed in state court on the issue of whether there is a lien through which Davidson could collect a $1.3 million judgment against the city of Alexandria.  The Baton Rouge attorney claims he is owed  attorney fees from the city for services rendered in it’s lawsuit against Cleco. That contract with the city was later ruled void. Although Judge Drell was doubtful about whether the lien can “survive the demise” of an unenforceable contract, he said that matter could be heard in state court. A hearing is set for Friday before 9th District Judge Harry Randow on the lien issue.

     

    Two alleged pimps were arrested in Alexandria last week during an FBI nationwide prostitution sting targeting commercial child sex trafficking. 35 year old Peter Metoyer of Alexandria and 40 year old Gregory Harris of Lafayette were charged with promoting prostitution and drug charges. Both remain in jail. Five adult prostitutes were issued citations and later were released in Alexandria.

     

    Governor  Bobby  Jindal  has signed legislation that would allow the state to take casino winnings from someone who owes debts like child support and taxes.  The  Department  of  Children  and  Family  Services   can   already confiscate  casino  and  lottery winnings for child support payments, but this law would  take money for ANY debt owed to the state.

     

    Louisiana State Police say  they  have  made two more arrests in the case  of the Vermillion Parish Sheriff's deputy  who  was  shot  and killed  on  Monday. Spokesman Steven Hammons says 51 year-old deputy and father of  2  Allen  Barres was murdered while he was mowing his lawn. The first two men arrested are charged with first-degree murder, and the suspects arrested just  today  are  charged with accessory after the fact. involving first degree murder.

     

    Tuition won’t be rising at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Southern’s Law Center or Southern University at Shreveport this fall, but that’s because those schools didn’t meet the student success goals required to hike costs. Universities and community colleges that meet their yearly goals can increase tuition by up to 10 percent. Those who don’t can’t, and they lose 15 percent of their overall state funding. Last year, all of the colleges and universities met the performance targets. The three Southern University System colleges were the only three that failed to pass muster this year.

     

    Summer is here, school is out and families are heading to the beach, where the motto is “come on in, the water’s fine.” Well, most of the time, anyway. The Natural Resource Defense Council’s 24th annual beach water quality report ranks Louisiana among the states with some of the highest percentage of water samples that exceed federal recommendations for beach swim advisories.

    Louisiana was joined at the bottom of this list by Ohio, Alaska, Mississippi and Maine.

     

     A Jefferson Parish man is free  after spending 17 years in a state  prison for a crime he did not commit. Nathan Brown was convicted in 1997  in the attempted aggravated rape of a woman who was returning to her  Metairie apartment late at night. Innocence Project Attorney Vanessa  Potkin says D-N-A evidence exonerated the 40-year-old father of two. Potkin says Brown consistently maintained his innocence since he was  first arrested and also took the stand in his own defense. Brown was  finally released from prison Tuesday he's ready for life as a free man

     

    Researchers predict the annual low-oxygen "dead zone" that forms off the  coast  of  Louisiana  every  summer  will be average size  this summer, which means roughly the size of the  state  of   Connecticut. Executive  Director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Nancy Rabalais,

    they  anticipate  the  "dead zone" will cover between 46-hundred and 58-hundred square miles  this  year.  A goal has been set to reduce the annual size of the "dead zone"  to less than 1,930

    square miles.

     

    A lawsuit has reportedly been filed to strike down  the law allowing Tony the Tiger to remain in his enclosure at a truck  stop in Grosse Tete.  Former state Representative Warren Triche Jr. and  two  other Louisiana  residents  are suing the state, Tiger Truck Stop, and its owner, Michael Sandlin, saying the law is unconstitutional.

     

  • News For Wednesday 06/25/14

    News for Wednesday 062514

    By Dave Graichen

     

    An investigation  in  underway  in  the shooting death of an off-duty Vermillion Parish Sheriff's deputy.  Allen  Barres  was  gunned down after  he reported suspicious activity by suspects while mowing  his

    lawn.  Louisiana  State Police Spokesman Stephen Hammons says, after they allegedly shot  Barres,  they fled in his vehicle, which showed up in South Abbeville. Police arrested 20 year-old Quintalyn Richard and 19 year-old Baylon Taylor.

     

    A Jennings man has been arrested  for  shooting  a  police  officer. Jennings Two police officers responded to a disturbance just  before noon Monday, and Sargeant Ricky Benoit was shot in the neck by 30 year-old  George  D.  Lowdins  who  was  hiding  from  view.  He was apprehended  by the other officer, and charged with attempted  first degree murder  of a police officer.  Benoit is in serious but stable condition.

     

    Despite a ruling from a Baton Rouge judge, the state will continue with  its plans to close the Huey P Long Medical Center in Pineville. Judge  Robert Downing says the Senate violated the open meetings law when the  Health and Welfare panel heard legislation authorizing the hospital's  closure. The hospital is in the district of state Senator Rick Gallot.  Gallot opposes the closure of the hospital, and knew at that time, the  Senate Health and Welfare Committee did not give enough advanced  notice to allow for public comment, when they considered the issue. But, the bottom line, patients  who used the Huey P Long Medical Center will use two nearby private  hospitals. The Jindal administration says the privatization deal will  lead to better health care, but Gallot  has some concerns. He feels the Jindal administration rushed the closure of HPL.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has signed legislation  that  would  require a doctor, in most cases, to leave a brain dead pregnant woman  on life support  until  her baby is born.  New Orleans Representative Austin Badon says it's their duty as lawmakers to do everything possible to protect human life  which  is currently in state statute.  Opponents to the measure say this takes  away the rights of the family and the husband in making end of life decisions. The new law goes into effect immediately.

     

    State Treasurer John Kennedy says  Governor  Bobby Jindal has vetoed the bill that would require additional financial  accountability and legislative  over  sight  of  state contracts. The bill  would  have

    required  that all state dollar  contracts  $40,000  or  more  get approval from lawmakers.

     

    A tragic accident in Ascension Parish has claimed the lives of two  children and injured three adults after an SUV crashed into a group of  people fishing near Bayou Manchac.  State Trooper Jared Sandifer says  the two children, ages six and nine, were pronounced dead at the scene.  The three adults, all men, were transported to a local hospital with  minor to moderate injuries.  Authorities say impairment doesn't appear to be a factor in the accident  but the investigation is ongoing.

     

    Today a federal judge will hear arguments whether Louisiana should  recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The issue will come down  to how US District Judge Martin Feldman interprets the Supreme Court's  decision in the US v Windsor case. A ruling for Louisiana to recognize same-sex marriages would  give gay married couples numerous benefits not afforded to them  currently, like issues with inheritance laws, income taxes, retirement  benefits, health insurance, and more. Whatever way Feldman decides to rule on this issue, this case is most  likely headed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

     

    A former managing auditor for the state Department of Children and Family Services told a federal judge Tuesday that he used his state credit card to rent hotel suites for Mardi Gras in New Orleans and also was reimbursed more than $27,000 for official travel that never occurred. 33 year old Corey Polk is the third ex-DCFS auditor to plead guilty to federal program fraud since late May.

     

    Two months ago ship builder Boyse Bollinger endorsed US Senator Mary  Landrieu in a commercial. Today the lawmaker from Louisiana announced  she included $318 million for new vessels that would be built at  Bollinger in a bill that funds the Dept. of Homeland security. LSU  Political Science Prof. Robert Hogan says this is good and bad for her. Hogan says this is why incumbents have somewhat of an advantage during  campaigns because they can show their voters they have the power to bring money to the state. However he feels her opponents will point  out that she had a hand in moving cash to a major supporter.

     

  • News For Tuesday 06/24/14

    News for Tuesday 062414

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Cleco Corp. confirmed Monday that more than one company has offered to acquire the Pineville-based utility. Cleco subsidiary Cleco Power, a regulated electric utility, serves about 284,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. Cleco said it has hired Goldman Sachs & Co. and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. as its financial advisers to help evaluate any proposals. Cleco said there is no guarantee the review will result in a merger or business combination. Also, Cleco does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the review unless its board of directors approves a specific deal or a course of action that requires disclosure.

     

    A Baton Rouge judge says lawmakers didn’t follow the Louisiana Constitution in authorizing Gov. Bobby Jindal to close the LSU-run public hospital in Pineville. But the decision doesn’t require the Jindal administration to slow plans to shutter the Huey P. Long Medical Center within a week. Judge Robert Downing ruled Monday that the Senate violated the open meetings law when the legislation was heard by its health care committee. He granted a preliminary injunction request sought by two hospital closure opponents. However, Downing also suspended that judgment, effectively allowing the hospital closure plans to continue,  pending an appeal of his decision, which heads directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Senate intends to appeal.

     

    A Winsboro  mother  of 5 has been arrested for throwing her 20 month old baby from a moving car, reportedly to get the attention from the father.  Twenty-three  year  old  Lasasha  Allen is facing attempted second-degree murder charges.  She retrieved  the  seriously  injured baby,  but  delayed  hospital treatment.  The baby was airlifted  to Shreveport, where it’s  in  serious  condition.   The woman’s 5 other children were taken into the care of child services.

     

    The National Council on Teacher Quality has ranked Northwestern State  and LSU in the top ten nationally for all elementary teacher preparation  programs.  Louisiana Board of Regents Associate Commissioner for Teacher  and Leader Initiatives, Jeanne Burns, says Louisiana was one of the first states to recognize the need to create a  more rigorous teacher certification structure and a more rigorous  teacher preparation approval process.  The rankings are based on information collected from approximately 1,600  programs nationwide.  64% of Louisiana's elementary teacher preparation programs met fully with the NCTQ standard.  The national average is 16%.

     

    Auditions for the 14th season of American Idol will be held in judge  Harry Connick Jr's home city of New Orleans all day tomorrow. You can  try out to be a contestant on the reality talent show at the UNO  Lakefront Arena starting at 7am Wednesday morning. Connick Jr. says  the producers will be looking for true performers.  Tomorrow is the very first round of auditions and producers say you'll

    get about 30 seconds to sing and will be told right away if you get to  sing for the celebrity judges

     

    Poverty  Point State Historic Site in West Carroll Parish  has  been named  a World  Heritage  Site  by  a  United  Nations  agency.  The designation was granted Sunday by the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural  Organization  during  a meeting in Qatar. Poverty Point is now one of 20 sites that were added worldwide in an ongoing meeting. Poverty  Point is a 400-acre complex of carefully engineered  mounds and ridges more than 3000 years old.

     

    A Jennings Police Officer is in the hospital after being shot in the neck  yesterday.   Ricky  Benoit  is  listed  in stable condition  at  a Lafayette hospital.  A suspect is in custody,  but  authorities  are

    not ready to release the name at this time.

     

    A  Westlake  man  has  been charged with his fifth DWI after a crash that occurred near Kinder.  Thirty-seven  year-old  Bent  Hetzler was charged  with  DWI 5th offense, tampering with an interlock device, no seatbelt, texting  while  driving,   and   child  endangerment  when  troopers discovered an 8 year-old in the vehicle with him.

     

    Parents who lose their temper and strike a referee at their child’s Little League game now will face larger fines and more time behind bars in Louisiana. House Bill 227 was one of 56 bills that Gov. Bobby Jindal announced signing Monday.

     

    Kenner Police say a road  rage  incident on I-10, which began with a cigarette butt being thrown from  a  car window and hitting a pickup truck, lead to a child being shot.  Authorities  say  after  a chase

    with the truck, David Sean Jackson allegedly pulled a gun and  fired three  shots  at  the  pickup.  A 10-year-old passenger in the truck suffered a graze wound to  the  and required surgery.  Jackson faces attempted murder and other charges.

     

    Three  juveniles have been recovered in a Louisiana law  enforcement operation targeting child sex trafficking.  Enforcement actions took place in  all  major  cities across the state,  except Lafayette.  It's also reported that sixteen pimps and 75 prostitutes  were  arrested, police seized cash,  several  vehicles,  cell  phones  and  a  cross   section  of narcotics.

     

    The Jackson Parish  Sheriff's  office  is  investigating an apparent murder-suicide after they say the bodies of  a  man  and  woman were found  in  their  home  Saturday  morning. They say a child called 911 after hearing gunshots in the home.  Investigators  found 50-year-old  James  Smith and 32-year-old Amanda Henderson dead from gunshot wounds to the  head.  They believe Smith shot Henderson then killed  himself.  Henderson's  three   children  were  taken  in  by relatives in Ouachita Parish.

     

    Two  people  from  Prairieville  have  been  charged with aggravated cruelty  to  animals  after  reportedly  hosing  down   a   dog  and continuously beating it with a baseball bat.  The dog died from  its injuries.    31-year-old   Jamari   Jackson   and   his  girlfriend, 25-year-old Sammi Corely, were booked into the Ascension Parish Jail where they were released on bond.

     

     Kickoff time for LSU's Thanksgiving night game against Texas A&M has  been set for 6:30PM in College Station.  This will be LSU's first  Thanksgiving Day game since 1973 according to the athletic department.

     

     

     

     

     

  • News For Monday 06/23/14

    News for Monday 062314

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A very close call this weekend for Chamber President Deborah Randolph  and former mayor Ned Randolph as they were traveling to Baton Rouge on highway 71. A collision between an SUV and a sedan in the oncoming lane tossed the sedan across the roadway and caused it to land on the hood of the Randolph’s car. Both Ned and Deborah received minor injuries, but miraculously survived, as did the drivers of the other vehicles.  

     

    Summer officially arrived over the weekend. State climatologist Barry Keim says  the climate prediction center is calling for hotter and dryer conditions for Louisiana this summer. An El Niño weather condition could form a little later than originally expected this summer but will likely still be in time to help put a dampening effect on tropical storm development.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has signed the  state's  $24.6  billion dollar operating  budget. In the end, out of all of the expenditures approved by lawmakers, he only vetoed eight. The new fiscal year begins on the first of July.

     

    Some are wondering if our Governor is advocating a coup. Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday night accused President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for “a hostile takeover” of the nation’s capital. Jindal spoke at the annual conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by longtime Christian activist Ralph Reed. Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders attended the three-day gathering. Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical voters continue to play a critical role in GOP politics.

     

    According to a new survey, Former Louisiana  Governor  Edwin Edwards leads  a  poll  for the US House of Representatives open primary  in November, but he  trails  in  a  head-to-head  against two potential rivals  in  a  runoff. The poll by Glascock Group indicated  Edwards would lead in the  open  primary  with  the support of 32 percent of those questioned, but either Republican Paul  Dietzel  or Republican State  Senator  Dan Claitor could win in a possible runoff  match-up according to the report.

     

    As we approach the heart of the summer driving season, prices at the gas  pump are going up.  The price for a gallon of regular gasoline in  Louisiana has risen nearly ten cents in the past week.  AAA fuel analyst  Mike Right says gas prices typically begin to lower after Memorial Day  and remain steady throughout the summer. But, Right says anxiety over  what's going on in the middle east is costing  the price of energy  goes up.  The statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in  Louisiana is about $3.50.   It appears we will be stuck paying above average gas prices through the  summer. 

     

    According  to  a new  state-by-state  scorecard  released  by  AARP, Louisiana ranks  37th  in  the  nation  when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents.  Andrew  Muhl,  director of advocacy  for  AARP  Louisiana, says the bottom line is that  family caregivers need more help. Muhl says most Louisianians  want  to  live independently at home as they age, most with the help of unpaid family  caregivers.  He  says more needs to be done to help older residents achieve that goal.

     

    Tony the Tiger can stay. Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation on Friday that  provides  an  exception  for the live exotic animal who lives  at  the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse  Tete.  The  Animal  Legal Defense Fund, vowed to challenge the new law in court.

     

    Louisiana State Police says you can now apply online for a concealed handgun permit. Sgt. Nick Manale says citizens can now utilize the a special  website   that's  been  set  up  to  submit  a  CCP  online application. He says  any  paperwork  involved  can  be  scanned and emailed to LSP but this should make things a lot easier. The  Louisiana  Concealed  Handgun  Permit  website can be found  at chp-web.dps.louisiana.gov.

     

    The  Lafayette  Police  Department says the man who led police on a high speed chase on I-10  this  week with a missing 16-year-old girl from Florida has been released from  the  hospital  and  booked into jail. They say 41-year-old Steven P Myers is charged with  attempted first  degree murder. The victim, Ashley Lyon, apparently suffered 10 stab  wounds  and  remains  in  serious  but  stable  condition at a Lafayette hospital.

     

    WDSU in New Orleans is reporting that friends,  family  members  and  even  some governmental  employees  have written letters to U.S. Distrcit Judge Ginger Berrigan, asking for  leniency  for  former New Orleans Mayor Ray  Nagin  in  the  sentencing  for  bribe-taking   and   receiving

    kick-backs.  Sentencing is scheduled for July 9th.

     

    As  part  of  the  fight to stop child abuse and child  trafficking, Governor Bobby Jindal  has  signed  SB 586 into law that creates the new crime of "re-homing" children. That would involve an transaction

    or action that an individual might do  to  to  avoid or divest their parental  reponsibilty  by  placing  the  child  in the  home  of  a non-relative  without court approval. For people who  actually  sell children, the Governor says that will be prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.

     

    The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered two bodies Sunday evening on the Upper Amite River near Watson and deputies said the two likely drowned while tubing with a group of friends.

    The two victims were 26 year old Joshua Brantley of Hammond, and 26 year old Philip White of Marrero. Authorities say alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be a factor in the incident.

    Deputies began a search at about 2 p.m. Sunday following reports of two people missing who had been tubing on the river with about 10 other friends

     

    A woman who argued with her boyfriend late Saturday was stabbed to death on Grand Isle beach in front of her year-old daughter. Grand Isle Police and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies captured 28 year old Randy Paul Marcel of Chauvin, after he ran from scene of the stabbing. Marcel and the victim had been dating for about five years.

     

  • News For Friday 06/20/14

    News for Friday 062014

    By Dave Graichen

     

    It’s happened again, Louisiana College has been placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS  cited issues related to trustee board governance, institutional integrity, personnel policies and audit findings that pertain to some financial control matters and student financial aid. LC interim President Argile Smith says Fortunately, the issues don’t bring into question in any way the excellent classroom work being done by our professors and students. The issues have to do with administrative areas. Smith said he’ll work with key administrators at LC on preparation of a “monitoring report” before a SACS team visits the campus in April 2015.

     

    State Civil Service director Shannon Templet has approved an employee layoff plan associated with the closure of LSU’s hospital in Pineville. The plan involves abolition of 123 positions at Huey P. Long Medical Center which is scheduled to close June 30. The hospital is the third LSU facility to close as a result of a Jindal administration plan to move public hospital care into private control.

     

    The Pineville based  Cleco  Power's  customers  will  start to see a reduction in their electricity bills and get a refund because  a new rate  plan  was approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The one time  refund  will  mean  an  average  of $46 for an average residential customer and should show up on September bills.

     

    TheDeal.com  is reporting that Pineville-based  utility Cleco Corp. is exploring the possibility of a sale to a Canadian Corporation. Citing unnamed sources, the website dedicated to news on mergers and acquisitions reported Cleco has retained Goldman Sachs to advise on a sale. Cleco received an unsolicited bid from a Canadian group called Borealis Infrastructure.  Cleco has had no comment so far on the report. However, Cleco’s stock price jumped more than 6 percent Thursday to an all-time high of more than $56.

     

    US House Republicans elected Jefferson Congressman Steve Scalise to be  the new Majority Whip, the number 3 position in the leadership. He  defeated Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois and Marline Stutzman of  Indiana.  Scalise is the first Congressman from Louisiana to hold such a high  position since the early 70s.

     

    According to a new report from the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana  once again leads the nation in gun-related deaths.  The report states  that Louisiana's gun-related death rate nearly doubles the US average.   The report used data from 2011, the most recent year such data is  available.  Louisiana is followed by Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and  Montana on the list. Executive Director Josh Sugarmann says weak gun laws and high gun  ownership rates are contributing factors for the top 5 states.  The figures show that nearly 19 out of every 100,000 Louisiana citizens  died by gunfire in 2011. 

     

    A quick thinking clerk at Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete blew the  whistle  on  a teenager abduction by a registered sex offender. The employee called  911 after recalling a TV story about a 16-year-old girl from  Florida who has been missing since last week. Once deputies spotted the suspect, forty-one year-old Steven Patrick Myers fled the scene and  led them on a chase to Lafayette, where he crashed his vehicle and stabbed  his  victim, and apparently stabbed himself. Sixteen year-old Ashley Lyon is in the hospital in serious condition but stable condition.

     

    The  Wednesday  debate  between  Governor  Bobby   Jindal   and  the Department of Education over Common Core has left many people  in  a state of confusion.  So what's next?  Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says he feels the DOE and BESE will stand firm

    and  continue  with  the  implementation  of  the  national academic standards.   Even  though  Jindal  announced  he's  working   toward removing  Common  Core  from  Louisiana, Erwin doesn't see a way the governor would legally be able to do that. Erwin says the education system  in  Louisiana  now  has  no  active contract to buy standardized tests for next year.

     

    Governor  Bobby  Jindal  signed legislation that will create the WISE fund, which is  a  $40  million  pool of money for colleges and universities  linked  to  research and workforce  development.   LSU

    System President and Chancellor  Dr.  F  King  Alexander sys with so many high tech jobs coming to Louisiana, this money  will  be put to good use. The WISE fund gives every public college or university in the  state a  chance  to  collect  a  share  of  this  money  based on how many graduates  they produce in high-demand fields like computer  science and engineering.

     

    Louisiana was  once  again  featured  on  "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central.  The show sent correspondent Al Madrigal to the Bayou State for  a segment that aired last night entitled  "Chicken  boxing  vs. cockfighting".   The  piece  featured  interviews  with  New Orleans Senator JP Morrell and Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory.  It can be viewed online at The Daily Show dot com.

     

     

  • News For Thursday 06/19/14

    News for Thursday 061914

    By Dave Graichen

     

    In case you haven’t heard, the OK Allen bridge has a new name and that announcement has several local and state officials upset. It appears, in the waning hours of the past legislative session, the house approved a conference committee report for HB 1140.  Inserted into the report, by State Rep. Herbert Dixon,  was language to change the name of the O.K. Allen Bridge spanning the Red River in Alexandria to the Curtis-Coleman Bridge.  With the exception of Dixon, this was done without the knowledge of all Central Louisiana Legislators. Several are now asking the governor to veto the bill.

     

    Chief Judge Harry Randow of the 9th Judicial District says he will qualify to run in November 4th election despite a 70-year-old cap on age. Randow notes there will be a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot, which lifts that ban. That would then permit him to be elected and take office January 1st. Several candidates have already announced for that seat. Campaign Insiders report several of those candidates my drop out of the race. Randow is chief judge of the district.

     

    Until recently, he was a major supporter, But yesterday Governor  Jindal took steps to remove Louisiana from the Common Core education  standards.  Jindal  has  informed  the makers of the PARCC  exam  that  Louisiana is no longer committed to  implementing their test, which is  tied  to  Common  Core. Jindal says the Common Core allows the federal government to establish  education standards in Louisiana.  Superintendent  of  Education John White responded  to  the  Jindal

    announcement by saying  the  state  department  of  education will continue to move ahead with the program’s implementation. White  says  Jindal does not have the authority to remove  Louisiana

    from Common Core. BESE board president Chaz Roemer seconded that thought.

     

    A bill to require President Barack Obama to approve the stalled Keystone XL pipeline cleared a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday, but Republicans, who generally support the project, denounced the move as a political stunt by committee Chairwoman and Democrat Mary Landrieu. The committee-approved bill, sponsored by Landrieu and John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, would clear the way for completion of the final, northern section of pipeline, which would link Canadian tar-sands oilfields to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The committee’s decision advances the measure toward the Senate floor, and Landrieu said she will push for a vote there.

     

    State Police arrested four former Lafayette Parish Sheriff  deputies for their alleged roles in the beating of an inmate at the Lafayette Parish  Correctional  Center.  Authorities  say the inmate sustained serious bodily injury and spent several days in a local hospital.

     

    A group of environmentalists are planning to march from  Grand  Isle to  the  governor's  mansion  to  protest  the legislation signed by Governor Jindal that nullifies a lawsuit against  oil  companies for

    coastal  damages. The march is expected to begin Saturday  and  take eight days to complete.

     

    Police  in  Washington  say  a  12-year-old  boy  is recovering in a hospital  after  a  pit  bull attack. They say the dog's  owner  was arrested for allegedly violating the town's pit bull ordinance which

    says the dogs have to be kept  on leashes with muzzles or in a crate at all times.

     

    Police are questioning a person of interest  in  connection  with an Tuesday night  shooting  death  of  an Opelousas man.  Nineteen year-old Donnie Sam was found with three gunshot  wounds, and pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    The popular False River Fourth of July Boat Parade is back on, just days after the event’s organizers announced they’d have to cancel it this year. New Roads Mayor Robert Myer said Wednesday that the city is stepping in to take over and ensure the popular tradition continues, although it will be on Saturday, July 5, this year. The family that has organized the event for the past decade had said they had to give it up because of new pressure from the state to obtain liability insurance and provide adequate security patrols for the safety of participants, a burden they weren’t prepared to shoulder.

     

    Athlon  Sports  has  ranked  LSU's Tiger Stadium as the best college football stadium in the Southeastern  Conference.   Texas  A-and-M's Kyle  Field was ranked second followed by Georgia's Sanford Stadium. Athlon  Sports  polled 12 SEC experts to come up with their results. Eight of the 12 voted Tiger Stadium number one.

     

    A former Louisiana prep football star is charged with murder. Janzen Jackson, who played at Barbe and Carencro,  allegedly  strangled his mom's boyfriend to death. Jackson, who played at Tennessee  and  was recruited by LSU, pleaded not guilty.

     

    A former Harrah's Casino  Black  Jack  dealer  is  being  sought for allegedly   cheating  the  Casino  out  of  some  $32,000  in  cash. Twenty-four  year-old  Breanna  Lewis of New Orleans was observed on surveillance video of awarding bets  to  four  different patrons who appeared to know her.

     

     

     

  • News For Wednesday 06/18/18

    News For Wednesday 061814

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Welcome home ceremonies will take place today throughout the state to  welcome back over 300 Louisiana National Guard soldiers, who spent  ten months on active duty in the Middle East. Louisiana National Guard  spokesperson, Colonel Mike Kazmierzak says the returning soldiers are part of the 844th Engineer Company and 1021st Engineer Company.  The 1021st is based in Covington, while the 844th is based in Pineville. The 844th engineering company will fly into the Alexandria International  Airport tonight. Kazmierzak says the 1021st is busing back to various locations throughout Louisiana, because they couldn't find an airliner to fly the men and women home.

     

    Jim Elder is the new executive director at The Shepherd Center. Elder, an Alexandria native, is a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina. He also spent 11 years in California before moving back to Alexandria. The 54 year old Elder returned to Central Louisiana in 1995 as a single parent to six children. He since has been involved in church ministry and non-profit work. He has served on the board of directors of The Shepherd Center, Rapides Parish Advocacy Center and the Renaissance Home.

     

    If your dream is to become the next American Idol, your chance is  coming to New Orleans one week from today. Auditions for the Fox  network's singing competition show will be held at UNO's Lakefront

    Arena on Wednesday June 25th. Supervising Producer Patrick Lynn says  this year they are hold registration and auditions on the same day. The season 14 auditions are going to be held from about 9am to 5pm and  anyone between the ages of 15-28 is eligible to attend.

     

    It didn't start off as the perfect story-book wedding in  Bunkie, as a  wedding  crasher  stole  thousands  of  dollars’ worth of wedding presents, claiming he was from the Department of Homeland  Security. Bunkie  Police Spokesman Chad Jeansonne says the suspect-25 year-old William Girard  Logan-spoke  with  many people at the reception, and then was seen loading all of the presents  into  a  pickup after the couple had left. Jeansonne says after obtaining a search  warrant of the suspect's home, some of the wedding presents were found, but not all of them. The search continues to find the rest.

     

    A  Bossier Parish man pleads guilty to manslaughter in the murder of his estranged wife. Prosecutors say Robert Bond kidnapped Annie Bond from  her  home last November. Robert Bond eventually killed her and the victim's  charred  remains  were found in Webster Parish. Bond faces up to 40 years in prison.

     

    The  sentencing for former New Orleans  Mayor  Ray  Nagin  has  been delayed  again.  It is now on July 9th when Nagin will know how long he will be  in  prison  for  taking bribes and a kickback during the rebuilding of the city following Hurricane Katrina.

     

    Popeye's  has  purchased  the  recipes  for  the restaurant from the family of founder Al Copeland for $43 million  dollars.   Previously the  fried-chicken  restaurant chain paid over $3 million in  annual

    royalties for the recipes.   Copeland  founded Popeye's in 1972.  He lost the company in a bankruptcy case in  the  90s,  but retained the exclusive contract to supply spices to the chain.

     

    The  Rhode  Island  Board  of Education  has picked  former Louisiana higher ed commissioner Jim Purcell  to  lead  their  state college  system.  Purcell was higher education commissioner here for

    three years and decided  not  to seek a new contract this year after coming under fire over but cuts to state colleges.

     

    The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office says  a  Monroe  man  is  under arrest for allegedly burning his 2 year old son in a hot bathtub  on Sunday.  They  say  an  investigation  revealed 23-year-old Jonathan Wilson failed to seek medical treatment  for the victim and returned the child to his mother the following day.  The  toddler  reportedly suffered severe burns.

     

    Ice-cold beer and buttery popcorn? They’re already on the menu at AMC theaters in Harvey, Metairie, Harahan, Houma and Hammond, as well as Celebrity Theatres in Broussard. Senate Bill 654 would allow other commercial film theaters across the state to stock alcoholic beverages. The bill squeaked out of the Louisiana House with exactly the number of votes it needed. Now it’s before Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is under pressure to veto it. On the governor’s desk are letters from legislators and a vocal church congregation. They all ask Jindal to stop the bill from becoming state law.

     

    Officials say a former State Correctional  officer  has been charged for allegedly beating an inmate at Angola. 33-year-old Mark Sharp of Amite is charged with deprivation of rights under color  of  law and

    making  false  statements. The suspect allegedly struck a handcuffed inmate with a baton which resulted in bodily injury then lied to the FBI.

     

    According  to  associate  athletic  director  Brian  Broussard,  LSU expects to dish out a record 73,000-plus season tickets  this  year. He says the school has already sold more than 30,000 tickets to  the season-opening  game  against  Wisconsin  in  Houston. The home game against Alabama on November 8th is already sold  out and they expect the  game  against  Ole  Miss  will  do the same. LSU will  have  an official season ticket count by mid-July.

     

    Oklahoma State announced Monday  that LSU point guard Anthony Hickey will transfer to OSU and be eligible  for  the upcoming season. They say the NCAA has approved a waiver for Hickey  who  spent  the  past three  seasons  in  purple  and gold. He averaged 8.4 points and 3.8 assists as a junior and led the team with 62 steals.

     

     

  • News For Tuesday 06/17/14

    News for Tuesday 061714

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The  true nephew of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch  Phil  Robertson,  Zach Dasher,   has   announced   his   candidacy   for   Louisiana's  5th Congressional District.  Dasher, a Republican from Calhoun, says his

    background is in the pharmaceutical industry.  He's been involved in the  real  estate  business  and  with  fundraising  for  non-profit organizations. Dasher  has  the  support  of the entire "Duck Dynasty"  clan. The election for Congress takes place on November 4th.

     

    Meanwhile,  State  Senator Neil Riser announced yesterday  that he will not be making a run for that  seat, and even though he is bowing out of the race, he did say that his  polling numbers were an encouragement for another political run in the future.

     

    Governor  Bobby  Jindal  signs  into  law  a  measure that prohibits individuals who receive government assistance from  using  their EBT benefit  card  at  strip  clubs,  liquor  stores,  and  nail salons. Hammond  Representative  Chris  Broadwater wrote the legislation  to ensure  the  integrity  of  government   programs  that  offer  cash assistance to financially struggling families.The Louisiana Department of Children and  Family  Services  issued a rule  earlier  this  year  to  prohibit  the  use of EBT benefits at certain retailers, Broadwater's legislation puts it into law.

     

    Governor Jindal was in Houston yesterday  to  discuss  energy policy with other Republican governors from oil and gas rich states.  He was joined  by  Texas  Governor  Rick Perry, North Dakota Governor  Jack Dalrymple, and Wyoming Governor  Matt  Mead.  The event  hosted by

    the Republican Governors Association.

     

    During a public speaking event in Baton Rouge, Senator David Vitter, who  announced earlier this year that he's running for governor,  was asked about TOPS. Governor Jindal has opposed any significant change to the tax-funded scholarship  program, but Vitter admitted something must be done to control costs.  Unlike Jindal, Vitter says he's open to expanding the state's Medicaid

    program. But the senator says that expansion must result in a better  health insurance program for the working poor, without taking money away  from other important areas of the budget.

     

    Sabine   Parish  Sheriff's  Deputies  have  arrested  a  father  for allegedly  stabbing  his 21 year-old son during an argument.  Thomas L. Shoemaker was arrested  and charged with second-degree battery in the Father's Day attack.  The  son  was  transported to the hospital where he is in fair condition.

     

    An I-20 road rage  episode  near  West  Monroe  has  resulted in the arrest  of a Ruston man on aggravated assault charges.   A  motorist called State Police reporting the incident,  saying  a man got angry and pointed a gun at her.  After they got the description of the vehicle, police arrested 56 year-old James  Robinson.   He  was  booked  him  into  the  Ouachita  Parish Correctional Center.

     

    A study from Tulane University finds that the more domestic violence  takes place within a household, the more likely children will bear the  scars down to their DNA. Study author Dr. Stacy Drury says they looked  at children that came from homes affected by domestic violence,  suicide or the incarceration of a family member.  She says they hope to use this study to  spread awareness that a child with traumatic home life could have, not  only mental issues, but serious physical health issues later in life.

     

     A grievance hearing over Saints' tight end Jimmy Graham's franchise- tag designation begins today.  The Saints franchised Graham as a  tight end in March, however the Pro Bowler feels he should be

    declared a wide receiver.  NFL Analyst Mike Detillier anticipates  the arbitrator will rule in favor of Graham. So, how much the Saints will have to pay Graham under the franchise tag  lies in the balance.  The franchise-tag salary for a tight end is a  little more than $7 million, for a wide receiver it's $12.3 million.

     

  • News For Monday 06/16/14

    News for Monday 061614

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Congressman  Vance  McAllister  said  Friday  he's  leaning  more towards  running for re-election this fall than not. In an interview with Jim Engster  on  W-R-K-F,  McAllister  says it's more likely he

    will qualify for the November election. McAllister says the kissing scandal at the end of last year has made him a stronger man.

     

    For veterans in  southeast Louisiana there's now a place for them to be laid to rest.   After  a  couple  of years work and eight million dollars from the federal government, a  veterans cemetery in Slidell

    is  now  open.   The  only  other  veterans  cemetery  in  southeast Louisiana is in Chalmette, but it doesn't have any more room for new burials.   Ted  Krumm  is  the  director of the Southeast  Louisiana Veterans Cemetery and he is pleased  a  new  final resting place for heroes is now available. The new cemetery will service over 100-thousand veterans who live in the greater New Orleans area. Preliminary design plans are in place for the new Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery which will be built near Rayville in Richland Parish.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed a bill  Friday  that  would  require dogs to be secured in the back of pickup trucks.  The Governor said the bills' definition of the criterion for securing was too broad.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed one of the few Common Core bills to make it through the legislative session.   House Bill 953 would give an additional year to prepare for the new set of academic standards. Many opposed the measure because it was yet  another  delay to rules

    that were approved in 2012.

     

    With Governor Jindal examining options on how to get the state out of  Common Core, over three-dozen business, education and civic groups have  have asked the governor to keep the new academic standards. Council for  for a Better Louisiana president Barry Erwin reminds the governor that  most members of BESE and the Legislature support Common Core.  Common Core are new academic standards in reading, writing and math that  will go into full effect in the upcoming school year. Erwin says over 40  states are also using Common Core, which will increase rigor in the

    classroom and give Louisiana an opportunity to see how it's students  fare with the work of other students across the country.

     

    PETA is urging Governor Jindal to veto legislation allowing a tiger to  remain a roadside attraction at a truck stop in Grosse Tete.  Senate  Bill 250 allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony the Tiger at his place of  business just off I-10.  PETA attorney Carney Ann Nasser says it's  inappropriate for the legislature to pass a bill to appease one person.  She says the courts have already decided that Sandlin wasn't lawfully  keeping Tony at the time the dangerous wild animal ban went into effect.

     Sandlin says he takes excellent care of Tony and the people who come to  his truck stop love him.  But Nasser says tigers are apex predators who  roam for hundreds of square miles in the wild.  Nasser contends that keeping Tony in a cage deprives him of many of his  species specific instincts. 

     

    Another Louisiana summer is setting in and that means home cooling costs  are going up. In an effort to keep those monthly utility bills down,  Cleco spokesperson Robbyn Cooper suggests you set your thermostat at 78- degrees... Cooper says another good piece of advice is keeping your blinds closed

    during the day to keep the hot sunlight out. She says making sure your  attic is properly insulated is also important.  Entergy spokesperson Tom Peters says installing energy efficiency light  bulbs are also a good idea.

     

    The University of New Orleans has announced that a working group will determine which of the university’s 84 degree programs will be eliminated in the coming months. UNO President Peter Fos said layoffs are likely to follow those recommendations, which will seek to identify and build on the university’s strengths. The school laid off 28 employees earlier this year to help close a multimillion-dollar deficit.

     

    Former  LSU  pitcher  Aaron  Nola  has been named one of  the  three finalists for the National College Baseball  Hall of Fame's National Pitcher of the Year. The award will be presented  in  Lubbock, Texas on June 28th.

     

    U-L Lafayette  is  shelling  out the big bucks in a new contract for head football coach Mark Hudspeth,  which  would  make Coach Hud the highest paid coach in Sunbelt Conference.

     

    The   New  Orleans  Saints  mini-camp  is  now  in  the  books,  and Quarterback  Drew Brees is clarifying comments he made about Saints' contract negotiations with tight end Jimmy Graham, saying the Saints would be fine  with  or  without  Graham.   Yesterday, Brees set the

    record straight, saying he believes the black  and gold are a better team with Graham, and he's confident he will be back.

     

     

  • News For Friday 06/13/14

    News for Friday 061314

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Project Road Warrior traveled through Alexandria Wednesday during its inaugural cross-country event. Riders left Seattle on June 5.  The Warriors are made up of eight riders, all of whom have been wounded in some way while serving our country. 35 year old Air Force pilot Craig Anders, one of the organizers says, “A lot of (rehabilitation programs) don’t focus on the person. With this, the ride is the rehab. He says they are giving them back a little freedom and independence.” The riders will hang up their helmets in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday.“

     

    Walter Guillory, who served as executive director of the Lafayette and Opelousas housing authorities, was sentenced Wednesday to 28 months in federal prison for bribery and bid law violations. Guillory also had central Louisiana connections as well, working for  the Alexandria Housing Authority from December of 1994, to June  of 1998. He also served as assistant director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisiana in the late 1990s.

     

    A new poll by the Glascock Group shows a dead heat developing in the 5th  Congressional District between incumbent Congressman Vance McAllister  and state Senator Neil Riser.  In a hypothetical runoff, the survey  gives Riser 53 percent while McAllister comes in at 47 percent.  Pollster Darrell Glascock says McAllister's showing is no big surprise.  Riser has told lapolitics-dot-com he's expecting to make an announcement  next week.  McAllister has said he's leaving his options open at this  time.  The poll does suggest voters are willing to give McAllister a  second chance.  Glascock says when it comes to politics, Louisianians,  historically, have been able to forgive and forget.

     

    The Louisiana Federation of Teachers says 87-percent of the teachers  they surveyed say their schools do not have the technology required for  all students to take the PARCC exam, which is an online exam tied to the  new Common Core standards. LFT spokesperson Les Landon says the survey also found most teachers believe their students do not have the computer skills necessary to take online tests. He says  this could pose a problem when it comes to judging what a student really knows based on an online test.

     

     Governor Bobby Jindal travels to Iowa this weekend to speak at a  Republican  Party of Iowa fundraiser tonight, further fueling  speculation of a run for the White House. Tonight Jindal is the headline speaker a Road To Victory Reception in  Des Moines.  He will also speak at Iowa's GOP state convention on  Saturday. 

     

    Governor  Bobby  Jindal  has  signed  legislation that would require abortion doctors to have active admitting  privileges  at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.  Opponents of this bill say  it could

    force  the  closure  of  up to four of the five abortion clinics  in Louisiana which would lead  women  to  choose  an  unsafe  method of ending a pregnancy.  Executive Director of Louisiana Right to  Life,

    Benjamin  Clapper, says if these clinics have to close it means they are sub-standard  and that means they are not able to reach a higher standard of care.

     

    The  ratings  for  the  season  premiere of Duck Dynasty are out, and according to overnight research, the show Wednesday night - even with the appearance of Governor Bobby Jindal  -  lost about 4 million viewers when compared to the season premiere of last year.

     

    A 3-year-old Lake Arthur  boy's  death  has been ruled a homicide by the Acadia Parish Coroner.  Authorities say when Keaghyn Parsons was visiting his stepmother on May 19 in Evangeline,  he collapsed.  The boy was taken to a local hospital where he died.  The  Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating

     

    Lafayette native Matthew Mosely completed a 15-hour swim across Lake Ponchartrain  yesterday.  It's believed he is the first person  ever  to complete the swim.   The  47-year-old  spent six months training for the 26-mile swim that started at West End  Lighthouse  and  ended in Mandeville.  Mosely  made  the  swim to highlight the restoration efforts made by the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation.

     

    The  attorney  for  LSU  defensive  back Jalen Mills is speaking out about  the  arrest of his client on second-degree  battery  charges, where it is alleged  he punched a woman in the mouth. Attorney Brent Stockstill says his client  is  innocent,  and  there  were  several people around when this incident took place and people should not be so quick to judge. Mills has been suspended indefinitely from the LSU football team.  A bond hearing is set for late July.

     

    According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend  about $7.4 billion dollars less on dad for Father's Day than they did  for mom on Mother's Day. They predict dad will get an average of

    $113.80 in gifts this year, while mom got $162.94 worth of goodies.  But, before you feel bad for dad, we should point out, spending for dad this year is expected to be about  $12.5 billion while we spent $19.9 billion for Mother's Day.

     

     

  • news For Thursday 06/12/14

    News for Thursday 061214

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Attorney Tiffany N. Sanders has announced her candidacy for the Division A judgeship of the 9th Judicial District Court. Sanders is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Southern University Law Center. She has served as an assistant Alexandria city attorney and worked in the Office of the Chief Counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

     

    You  can  expect  tuition to go  up  at  Louisiana's  community  and technical colleges this fall.  The Louisiana Community and Technical College Board approved  the fee increase of up to 10 percent without dissent.   The fee hike needs  approval  from  the  state  Board  of Regents before going into effect.

     

    Figures from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis show Louisiana's  economy grew 1.3 percent in 2013, which was below the national average  of 1.8 percent. The report also says Louisiana lags behind neighboring  states, but LSU Economist Loren Scott disagrees and says Louisiana has  better post-recession job numbers than other states in the southeast.  Scott says Louisiana is also on the cusp of an economic boom, as the  state has announced plans for 90-billion dollars in oil and  chemical  industrial announcements.  Scott says when this same report comes out next year, he anticipates  Louisiana's growth rate will be higher than the national average.

     

    State  Police say 37 people have died in the last six months in  the Acadiana  area  as  a  result  of  not  being  buckled up in traffic accidents.   Troop I spokesperson Stephen Hammons  says  that's  why they are taking a zero tolerance stand in the Lafayette area against those who are not buckled up. Those who are  caught  without  a seatbelt face a 25-dollar fine and St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor says, in some cases, community service is the punishment.

     

    LSU  defensive back Jalen Mills has been suspended indefinitely from the team  following his arrest for allegedly punching a woman in the mouth.  Mills  was taken into custody early this morning on a charge of second degree  battery.   Baton Rouge Police Corporal Don Coppola says the incident happened on May 4th at an apartment complex.  LSU Sports Information Director  Michael  Bonnette  says  Coach  Les Miles is aware of the incident and suspended Mills indefinitely.

     

    U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, of Jefferson, will run for the position of House majority whip as part of the Republican leadership scramble set off by the unexpected defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary, Scalise said Wednesday. The post of whip is No. 3 in the U.S. House majority pecking order, after House speaker and majority leader. The current whip is Kevin McCarthy, of California, who said he would run for majority leader.

     

    The Baton Rouge Police Department says a 16-year-old is under arrest in the accidental shooting death  of a 14-year-old boy. They say the suspect was sitting in the back of a vehicle playing with a gun when it went off and struck the front seat passenger, 14-year-old Brandon Bindon, in the torso. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he later died. The 16-year-old is charged with negligent homicide.

     

    Lafourche  Parish  authorities  have  arrested   a   Larose  man  in connection  with  the  murder  of a Jefferson Parish woman  and  her unborn child.  29-year-old Emilio Calderon told investigators he was visiting Katherine Martinez at her  home  in Terrytown Saturday when an argument ensued.  He admitted to stabbing  Martinez several times and choking her until she was lifeless.  Calderon  will be booked in Jefferson  Parish  with  second  degree  murder  and  first   degree feticide.

     

    A man who claimed he was  too hot to work outside on a job site, has been arrested for his allegedly  making  a bomb threat to the plant, so  he  could get the day off. Fifteen hundred  people  had  to  be

    evacuated  from the Williams Olefin's plant in Geismar. The 18 year old from Terrytown Texas has been charged with terrorism..

     

    The Louisiana Restaurant Association says they are excited to announce  the findings of a new report from the Food and Drug Administration  encouraging pregnant women to eat more seafood. LRA spokeswoman Wendy  Waren says the new advice is based on extensive peer-reviewed science

    that looks at fish as a whole food.  Waren says the new advice recommends pregnant women eat at least 8  ounces, or two servings, of seafood per week.  Waren says Omega 3's that are found in seafood improves overall baby  development and brain health.

     

    A 28-year-old Louisiana woman was wrongly arrested twice by the Clay  County Sheriff's Office in Florida.  Ashley Nicole Chiasson of Chalmette  shares the first and last name of a woman wanted for grand theft and  writing bad checks.  Chiasson's attorney Andrew Bonderud says the  sherrif had precise details about the woman wanted for the crimes.  Chiasson spent 28 days in jail in January and another week in jail last  month. During the course of the ordeal, she lost her home.  A similar situation happened with the same sheriff's office last year with a 17- year-old young man.  Both plan to sue.

     

     

  • News For Wednesday 06/11/14

    News for Wednesday 061114

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Alexandria Police officers have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the death of 27-year-old Sheterica Brewer, whose body was found June 1. Brad Edward Jeansonne, a Louisiana National Guard soldier from Alexandria, was arrested on Monday and was charged with second-degree murder. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. A joint investigation by the Alexandria Police and the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force led detectives to Jeansonne, but authorities are not releasing a motive or the manner of death.

     

    State Rep. Chris Hazel has made it official announcing his candidacy for Rapides Parish district attorney. Hazel, R-Ball, is a two-term representative of House District 27. Hazel is a  former U.S. Marine, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent and a former assistant district attorney for Grant and Rapides parishes.

     

    An 88-year-old Anacoco man died late Monday night in a fire, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office.Firefighters from Anacoco and Sundown were dispatched to the fire at 192 Watkins Road just after 9:30 p.m. after a 911 call. When they arrived, the entire residence was in flames.

    The body of Donald Beebe was found in the master bedroom after the fire was put out.

     

    The Alexandria City Council yesterday agreed to the Central Louisiana Community Foundation managing the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. Council members discussed the proposed agreement at length in the council Finance and Legal Committee meeting before signing off on the deal in the full council meeting. The Central Louisiana Community Foundation is the parent organization of the Arts Council of Central Louisiana, which had managed the Coughlin-Saunders center since 2004. They have combined on management since December 2012.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal announced  Monday  he's  signed two bills into law that would prohibit smoking near Louisiana's  public schools and also the entrances of state-owned office buildings. The bill banning people  from  lighting  up  around  the  schools  goes  into  effect immediately. On January 1st, smoking won't be allowed within 25 feet of a door to an office owned by the state.

     

    The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the latest university to ban tobacco from all of its  campuses  on August 1st. And, according to U-L-L Associate Director of of Public Safety Joey Pons, they will offering  students, faculty and staff additional  smoking  cessation resources in their "Breathe Easy" educational campaign.

     

    A Civil Service report claims that more than 8,000 classified  state employees  have  lost  their  jobs  since  Governor Jindal has taken office.  It states that most of the layoffs occurred in the last two

    state   fiscal  years  as  a  result  of  the  governor's   hospital privatization  plan.   Jindal administration officials claim most of those employees were offered  jobs  by private firms taking over the services.

     

    Governor Jindal is expected to sign a $53 million dollar fee hike on  uninsured drivers. The measure, by Baton Rouge Representative Barry  Ivey, increases fees for the reinstatement of driving privileges for  those caught driving uninsured. Ivey says the fee increase will fund the Insurance Verification System and also  state trooper salaries.

     

    Governor Bobby Jindal will be making an appearance on tonight's new  episode of Duck Dynasty as the West Monroe Robertson's return for  their 6th season. Tonight The Pelican State leader will be shown  presenting the family with an award for their Duck Commander business.  Jindal says Duck Dynasty is a great commercial for Louisiana.

     

    Based on projections released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the  state's annual employment growth is expected to outpace the national  rate. L-W-C executive director Curt Eysink anticipates the state's work  force will grow at an annual rate of 1.7 percent through 2015.  The employment forecasts are based on historical data and interviews  with business leaders. Eysink says the Lake Charles area should see the  largest employment growth through 2015, when compared to other metro  areas in the state.

     

    The State Fire Marshal's office  says  three people died in a tragic fire at an apartment in Metairie early yesterday morning.  The  cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but investigators are treating  it as  suspicious.  One person was injured when jumping from the second story window

     

    The  Monroe  Police  Department  says  a  mother  allegedly shot and critically injured her son following a dispute.  Sgt.  Mark  Johnson says the 69-year-old woman seems to have snapped during some type of confrontation  with  her  47-year-old  son  at  the home they shared together. The victim is in critical condition at a local hospital.  The mother, who also shot and killed the family dog, has not been charged at this time and the case has  been turned over to the District Attorney's office for review.

     

    President  Barack  Obama  signed  a  bill  into  law Tuesday that will provide  Louisiana  with  significant  flood  protection   and   the construction  of  key  coastal  restoration projects.  Senator David Vitter says the authorization for  the  Morganza  to  the Gulf flood protection and six Louisiana Coastal Area projects go hand  in  hand. Vitter says  in  order  to  nail down the funding for these critical projects, there will still need  to  be  battles  fought and it will take some time, but he is optimistic this will happen.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries  is adding 13 new agents  to  its  roster.   The department holds its law  enforcement academy graduation  today to give the oath of office to their newest officers who have gone through six months of training.

     

    Authorities in Assumption Parish says a 4-year-old is who was playing outside his home in the driveway is dead after he was accidentally run over by his grandmother. Police  says  the  4-year-old  was  transported to a hospital in Morgan City where he died of his injuries.

     

    According to Slidell  Police, a fight between two families outside a restaurant ended with two people shocked with a stun gun, one person grazed by a bullet and  several  people  injured.  They say 9 people were  arrested in the incident which apparently started  when  words were exchanged between the two families who did not know each other. Investigators   believe  there  were  about  20-30  people  actively fighting including juveniles and more arrests are expected.

     

     

  • News For Tuesday 06/10/14

    News for Tuesday 061014

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The APD reports 17 people have been charged with soliciting for prostitution after a two day sting in the city. The operation was conducted by the Alexandria Police Department in conjunction with the Central Louisiana Safe Streets Task Force and FBI Task Force. Those arrested were all males and ranged  in age from 18 to 43. Officials said the operation is part of an ongoing effort to combat vice and human trafficking in Central Louisiana.

     

    Some severe weather is expected across the state today as a cold front  slowly moves across Louisiana today and tomorrow.  The front brings the possibility of severe weather in the form of damaging wind, hail, and tornados. State climatologist  Barry Keim says this a late season front  that we don't see often in the Bayou State.  He says, the good news is,  we could use the rain.  Rainfall potential is in the two to two and a half in range with the  greatest possibility in southeast Louisiana. 

     

    A report from the US Veterans Affairs Department indicates the average  wait times for a new patient at the three major VA medical centers in  Louisiana can run anywhere from 30 to 51 days.  Secretary of the  Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs David Lacerte says the wait times are dependent on the hospital and the type of care that  is needed.  The report was prompted by the ongoing nationwide VA scandal  which has revealed long waiting times and falsified appointment lists at  VA hospitals. 

     

    A report released yesterday by the state legislative auditor shows nursing homes rank among the worst in the nation in key quality measures, with high rates of bed sores and use of restraints among the 25,000 elderly and disabled people who live in them. In addition, the informational report said Louisiana has the lowest overall nursing staff out of all 50 states. The auditor’s report looked at occupancy rates, costs to the state and quality of care delivered at the state’s 259 Medicaid nursing facilities.

     

    A  Monroe  woman  has  been  arrested  for  allegedly  stabbing  two children.   The  Ouachita  Parish  Sheriff's Office says 32-year-old Latasha Denise Hampton jumped through a closed window of a residence and began to strangle a two-year-old and then stabbed him.  Upon her arrest, police realized an 11 year old stabbed earlier in the evening was Hamilton’s son. Police say they do not believe the woman even knew the family where she attacked the child. Both victims are recovering.

     

    Louisiana  has  some  of  the lowest  gas  prices  in  the  country. According to the American Automobile  Association, the average price at  the pump for regular gasoline in the  Pelican  State  is  $3.40. Only  Mississippi  and  Missouri  are  slightly lower.  Triple-A  says gas prices should remain steady through the summer months.

     

    Opelousas Police have  arrested  a  31-year-old  man for the alleged rape  of an 83-year-old  woman over the weekend.  Karl Shelvin  was  booked for home  invasion  and  aggravated rape.  The victim remains in the hospital for observation.

     

    Governor Jindal signs a series of bills into law he says will protect  victims of human trafficking and prosecute those to the fullest extent  of the law who exploit women and children into sexual activity. Jindal  says human trafficking crimes are on the rise in Louisiana and he  believes this legislation can have a profound impact. The governor says they've also  added 250-thousand dollars in the state budget to develop and implement  a human trafficking course.

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