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Local News
  • News for Tuesday 052317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Yesterday we told you of an investigation that was underway into the death of an 18 year old man in Alexandria early Saturday morning. But yesterday, the APD announced that another man was killed within a few hours of the first. Officers responded to a report of a vehicle crash on a parking lot in the 3500 block of Lee Street. According to the APD  a 36-year-old man, had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his abdomen and was unresponsive. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Investigations into both incidents are continuing. Neither victim has been identified by police.

     

    Lawmakers in the House are expected to take up a proposal today that would raise the minimum GPA requirement for TOPS. The measure by Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil increases the requirement from a 2.5 to a 2.75. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this would knock out about 30 percent of the students currently eligible for the scholarship. Pinsonat says he doesn’t expect lawmakers to approve the measure. The governor also opposes the bill.

     

    State Police raises concerns about proposed budget cuts to the law enforcement agency. Major Doug Cain says the House has proposed a 23-million dollar cut in funding from this fiscal year, which would force them to cut a cadet class and make it difficult to replace patrol vehicles and 60-percent of them have over 100-thousand miles on their odometer. Cain says its State Police’s hope the Senate will fund their agency to the level that the governor recommended.

     

    A Mississippi lawmaker called for Louisiana leaders to be lynched after four confederate monuments were taken down in New Orleans. State Representative Karl Oliver also said in the Facebook post that the statues were removed in a “Nazi-ish fashion.” Courtney Carter with News Mississippi says state Republicans do not condone the public post. Oliver has since apologized for the post.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser had a meeting yesterday with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu about the future of the confederate monuments that were removed. Nungesser would like to put the monuments at a historic battlefield, but the mayor said that if the state office of tourism wants them, they’ll have to submit a financial bid. But it’s possible they could leave the state. Courtney Carter with News Mississippi says there’s been talk of rehoming them at the Beauvoir estate there. The estate is already home to many confederate-era memorials.

     

    Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle has been chosen to head the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in the Trump Administration. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this will give Angelle national name recognition after a disappointing loss in the gubernatorial and congressional elections.

    Angelle will have to resign from the PSC, as he begins his new position on Today.

     

    It’s been reported that Vice President Mike Pence will visit Baton Rouge on Tomorrow. The visit comes just as President Donald Trump releases the proposed budget. The Vice President is expected to meet with business leaders in a listening session. A spokesperson for the governor, John Bel Edwards, plans to meet with Pence at the airport. A location for the event has not yet been released.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has launched a new Horse Tourism Initiative to bring visitors to Louisiana racetracks, campgrounds, therapeutic riding centers and state parks. Nungesser says Texas and Mississippi have great horse shows, but Louisiana is also home to some of the finest equestrian services in the country. Nungesser says the Louisiana is one of the top three horse producing states in the country. He plans to put a statewide circuit together to bring national and international horse competitions to the state’s world class facilities.

     

    The LSU baseball team is in Hoover, Alabama preparing for the SEC Tournament. The Tigers will play tomorrow against the winner of today’s game between Missouri and Texas A&M. The Tigers are co-champs of the SEC Regular season. LSU heads into tournament play winners in 11 of its last 12 conference games.

     

    Louisiana Tech is the 5th seed in the Conference USA Tournament and they’ll face Charlotte on Wednesday night at MGM Park in Biloxi.

     

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  • News for Monday 052217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The APD continues to investigate the death of an 18-year-old man who was found dead early Saturday.  Police say the found the unidentified man dead when they arrived at  the scene near West Sandy Bayou Drive and Bennett Street shortly after midnight Saturday. It’s expected more information will be released today.

     

    Al Ater, who as interim secretary of state was instrumental in ensuring voters evacuated to other states after Hurricane Katrina were able to participate in local elections, passed away in Houston Sunday evening from complications with brain cancer. Ater was 63 and had lived in Concordia Parish. He was in Houston for treatment for a brain tumor. He died at the Houston Hospice.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping his office can take ownership of the four confederate monuments that were taken down in New Orleans. Nungesser is meeting with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu today to try and come to an agreement. Nungesser is optimistic Landrieu will let the Office or Tourism, Recreation, and Culture take the monuments, as the mayor has said publicly that’s where they belong.

     

    The Senate Finance committee has started hearings on the proposed spending plan for next fiscal year. Senate President John Alario says the budget the House approved does not properly fund the Department of Children and Family Services. Alario says the House did not allocate 206-million dollars that’s available to spend and they may use some of that money to fill the budget gaps.

     

    Senate President John Alario says the upper chamber is committed to fully funding the TOPS scholarship program. Alario says the budget plan approved by the House takes money away from the Department of Health to fully fund TOPS and they are taking a close look at that proposal. Alario also says the Senate also disagrees with a House bill to raise the minimum GPA in order to receive the TOPS scholarship.

     

    The Click It or Ticket campaign kicks off today in Louisiana. State Police Sgt. Jared Sandifer says during this wave of enforcement, drivers can expect to see more officers on the road making sure that everyone is buckled up. Sandifer says not only is wearing your seatbelt the law, it could also save your life. He says your chances of being killed or sustaining bodily injury are greatly reduced if you buckle up.

     

    The full House has approved a measure that would require higher training standards for police officers. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James’ bill would require cops to receive at least 400 hours of basic POST training before entering the field. James says he’s worked with law enforcement to come up with the best practices to prepare officers for work in the field.

     

    With the rain that fell over the weekend, officials and residents are keeping a close eye on the Mississippi River as water levels continue to rise. Crews in St. Francisville put down large sandbags near a tributary of the river, Bayou Sara, that is expected to flood in the coming days. Army Corps of Engineers says as the water rises, their flood fight will be upgraded.

     

    “The most brutal attack I have ever seen”…is how Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi described the alleged kidnapping and rape of a woman by a man from Golden Meadow. 33-yer-old Joshua Penny is accused of taking the victim to a secluded wooded area and causing injuries to her that required multiple surgeries and other procedures. Penny was booked on charges including first-degree rape, domestic abuse and false imprisonment.

     

    Louisiana’s film industry could rebound if the state’s film tax credit program is stabilized. That’s according to executive director of Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge, Patrick Mulhearn, who says a bill is being heard today that would do just that. He says TV in particular could be promising if the back-end cap on the program is fixed.

     

    The peach harvest is extremely slim this year thanks to a warm winter. Owner of Mitcham Farms in Ruston, Joe Mitcham, says the crop needs a lot of cold hours, temperatures under 45 degrees for a majority of the winter in order for the fruit to properly develop.  He says a fungus in the soil is also killing many of his peach trees.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU wrapped up the regular season over the weekend  by sweeping Mississippi State with an 11-7 win Saturday night to earn a share of the SEC title with Florida. It is LSU’s fourth SEC title under Coach Paul Mainieri and 17th overall. The Tigers claimed the No. 2 seed in this week’s SEC tournament. Their first game is at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

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  • News for Friday 051917

    By Dave Graichen

     

     

    Louisiana is set to receive another $51 million in federal flood recovery aid. That’s according to US Senator Bill Cassidy, who says HUD is divvying up $163 million congress recently appropriated for disaster recovery. The Governor’s Office suggests the new funds will go towards helping flood victims rebuild.

     

    A proposal to prohibit universities from having licensed alcoholic beverages was voluntarily deferred in the House Education Committee. Shreveport Representative Cedric Glover filed this bill because he believes LSU and UL-Lafayette trademarked “official” beers promote underage drinking. UL-Lafayette has Ragin Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale, while the LSU beer is Bayou Bengal Lager.

     

    Two arrests have been made, as a 7-year-old continues to recover after an accidental shooting at Moss Bluff Elementary School. Police say the gun fell out of a child’s backpack, and another child picked it up causing it to fire and hitting a third student. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says they have arrested the brother and father of the child who brought the gun to school. 50-year-old Michael Dugas and 17-year-old Jake Dugas are charged with negligent injury.

     

    The House Criminal Justice Committee approves a measure that would penalize adults for letting children handle fully automatic weapons. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton brought her bill after a 9-year-old accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi submachine gun in Arizona. The measure passed on a 7 to 6 vote.

     

    State regulations for Uber and Lyft are heading to the Senate. A measure by Jackson Representative Kenny Havard would establish a statewide set of regulations and collect a one percent fee.

     

    A measure to require litter prevention education in Kindergarten through 5th grade heads to the Senate floor for final legislative passage. The bill received approval from the Senate Education Committee and the author of the proposal Lafayette Representative Stuart Bishop told the panel Louisiana has a serious litter problem that needs to be addressed. Bishop says litter education would be included in regular science courses.

     

    And from the “You have to ask yourself why” department, The House unanimously approves a bill that would slightly lower littering fines in Louisiana. Under the measure the fine for second offense simple littering would drop from $1000 to $900.

     

    Former and current Saints players will participate in a weekend of fishing, shooting and entertainment at the Black and Gold Classic in Grand Isle. Former Saints tackle Stan Brock hosts the event and says today teams will participate in a private shooting event and tomorrow the fishing rodeo begins at 6 a.m. He says all the proceeds go to the Green Beret Foundation and All American Caliber, groups which support veterans.

     

    The Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association supports proposed changes to the state’s film tax credit program. A Senate-approved measure would place a front-end cap on the program, as opposed to the back-end cap enacted in 2015. Association president Robert Vosbein says he hopes this will bring back some of the filmmakers who left for other states because of the uncertainty surrounding the program.

     

     

    Sports..

     

    New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis has been named to the All-NBA first team for the second time in his five year career. Davis finished the season ranked fourth in the NBA points per game, seventh in rebounds per game and second in blocks per game, becoming just the eighth player in NBA history to finish the season ranked among the top seven of all three categories.

     

    ULM Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom’s contract will not be extended. In a release, ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno said he knew it was Wickstrom’s eventual goal to move to a larger program, and he’s pleased with all that was accomplished with him at the helm. Wickstrom has been with the Warhawks since July 2013, his contract expires on June 30th.

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  • News for Thursday 051817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A proposal to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour by 2019 wins approval in the Senate Labor Committee. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter says his bill would ensure workers earn a decent wage, which will boost morale and lower turnover rates for employers. But Jim Patterson with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says this will drive up costs for businesses. He says once low wage employees start making more, other workers will want a raise too. The measure now heads to the Upper Chamber and possibly the Senate Finance Committee, where it was killed last year.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says the possibility of another special session is increasing, because legislators have failed to advance proposals to address a billion dollar shortfall next year. About three weeks are left in the session and the majority-Republican House has approved just one tax bill that would address that looming deficit.

     

    U.S. Senator John Kennedy spoke on the Senate floor touting a Medicaid reform bill that he has filed.  Kennedy says it would require adults ages 18 to 55, that  have no dependents and are not disabled, to work 20 hours a week, go to school or do community service to receive Medicaid. Kennedy says he filed The Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017 as not an attempt to take Medicaid away from people in need but so fewer people need Medicaid.

     

    The House has passed a bill that would deny state funding to cities that are considered to be more lenient on illegal immigrants. The so-called Sanctuary Cities bill failed to pass the lower chamber last week, but it was rewritten so it no longer needed a two-thirds vote to pass. It now heads to the Senate.

     

    Louisiana residents will not receive a sales tax break on the purchase of diapers, tampons and other feminine hygiene products that are considered necessary. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell was seeking to provide families with a little financial relief, but it would cost the state 13-million dollars revenues, which was the main factor in why it was defeated in Senate Finance.

     

    A proposal to end the death penalty in Louisiana was rejected by the House Criminal Justice Committee. Bishop of the Diocese of Houma Shelton Fabre testified in support of the bill saying every human life is sacred, and an execution won’t bring back a loved one or heal wounds. The proposal failed on an eight to nine vote.

     

    Louisiana’s LGBT community would be protected from workplace discrimination under a proposal heading to the Senate floor. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in state laws. He says as an African American man, he hasn’t always been protected from discrimination under the law. The Louisiana Baptist Office of Public Policy opposes the bill.

     

    A Senate-approved bill seeks to refine the state’s film tax credit program. The proposal by New Orleans Senator JP Morell would place a $150 million front-end cap on the program. It would also sunset the program after 8 years. The bill would also ensure that 10 percent of the available credits are reserved for local Louisiana filmmakers. The measure was approved on a 33 to 3 vote and heads to the House.

     

    The second confederate monument to come down in New Orleans was hauled away early Wednesday morning. It took crews 7 hours to get the statue of PGT Beauregard off its base. Supporters celebrated just feet away from opponents.  The next monument to come down will be Robert E. Lee.

     

    A bill that is moving closer to final legislative passage is a bill that would limit first time opioid prescriptions for acute conditions to a seven-day supply. The goal is to prevent addiction by first time users. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the legislation makes sure patients who need them would have access to painkillers.

     

    LSU and Mississippi State battle for the SEC West championship starting tonight with a three-game series in Starkville. The Tigers lead the Bulldogs by one game in the standings. You can hear the entire series beginning tonight at 6:30 on KSYL 970am & 100.3 HD3fm

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  • News for Tuesday 051617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A 7-year-old “innocent bystander” was accidentally shot and wounded Monday morning at Moss Bluff Elementary School in Lake Charles. Kim Myers with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says the child had surgery and is reportedly in stable condition. Myers says they know that another child brought the gun to school. Investigators are working to determine if charges will be brought on the parents of the child who brought the gun.

     

    Former Tunica-Biloxi Tribe Chairman Joey P. Barbry will make his initial appearance in federal court on May 23 after being indicted last week on a theft charge. The indictment alleges that Barbry wrote non-sufficient checks to Tunica-Biloxi Financial Services, a check-cashing service at the tribe's Paragon Casino and Resort in Marksville.

     

    Emotional debate took place Monday afternoon on the House floor over legislation that would give voters a say before a military monument, including those recognizing Confederate soldiers, can be taken down. The measure passed on a 65-31 and Black legislators walked out of the chamber after it was approved.

     

    The Senate finance committee heard emotional testimony yesterday from the mother of East Baton Rouge deputy Nick Tullier, who was critically wounded during an attack on police officers in Baton Rouge last July. Mary Tullier spoke before the panel to urge the passing of legislation that can provide financial support for officers or firemen who are catastrophically injured during a targeted attack in the line of duty. Mary Tullier says police officers don’t make enough money to cover this kind of unexpected expense.

    Senate Finance is expected to vote on the bill this week.

     

    A bill that would end the need for most motorists to buy a Louisiana vehicle inspection sticker was defeated Monday in House Transportation over concerns it will lead to unsafe vehicles on the road.

     

    The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that seeks to make sure the inspector general’s office receives two-million dollars a year in state funding. The I-G office investigates fraud, waste and abuse within state government. If the proposal makes it through the legislative process, it would go before the public for a vote.

     

    There are three bills slated to be taken up on the Senate floor today that deal with criminal justice reform. State Senator Danny Martiny has a measure that would allow consideration of parole for some offenders who meet specific requirements. He says this is about reducing the state’s prison population, not letting violent criminals out of jail.

     

    A proposal to increase the state gasoline tax by 17-cents is expected to finally receive a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee today. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter says admits the legislation faces an uphill climb, but he says Louisiana has poor and congested roads, because the tax on a gallon of gasoline hasn’t increase in 20 years.

     

    The McKinley High School quarterback was fatally shot at a party just days before his graduation. Baton Rouge Police say there’s no known motive or suspect. They’re asking  anyone with information on the Friday night shooting to come forward.

     

    An elderly Swartz man fatally shot an intruder who broke into his home. Glen Springfield with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says says the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Jessie Allin of Swartz, died at the scene. The investigation is ongoing, but as of now no charges have been filed against the homeowners.

     

    The St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation after a body was discovered. Chief of Detectives Joe Chaney says someone came in to report what appeared to be a shallow grave in a wooded area. Chaney says the Sheriff’s Office and State Police Crime Lab are conducting an investigation to determine the identity of the woman. He says they’re asking citizens to come forward with any information they have that could help with this investigation.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Health has received an $8.1 million dollar federal grand to address the state’s opioid crisis. They say the money will be used to enhance existing statewide prevention, treatment and recovery services that are available to individuals who are addicted to opioids.

     

    The Lafayette PD say they've solved a 10 year old cold case with the arrest of three people. Cpl. Karl Ratcliff says last December they re-opened the investigation into the brutal death of 39-year-old Malcolm Davis, who was beaten to death at a gas station on August 10, 2007. Ratcliff says after the murder, the individuals involved fled the area. He says two of the suspects were eventually identified through video evidence obtained in 2007 and the third suspect was identified through interviews. All three suspects are charged with second degree murder.

     

    LSU hosts Northwestern State tonight in the final non-conference game of the season for both teams. The Tigers will send freshman right-hander Todd Peterson to the mound. You can hear the game starting at 6 tonight on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.

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  • News for Monday 051517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a man from Colfax Saturday morning.

    The report says a pickup driven by Oliver Washington III  left  LA Hwy 492,  collided with a bridge rail and became airborne, before it became submerged in Bayou Darrow.

    Washington, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Today is the last day for residents to file their 2016 Louisiana individual income tax returns. State Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson says the easiest way to file is with Louisiana File Online, where taxpayers can file their state returns for free and make payments.

     

    A Village of Tangipahoa crash took the lives of two people, including former Mayor and retired NFL player Michael Dyson. State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight says 48-year old Dyson was riding on his motorcycle at a high rate of speed when he hit a vehicle that backed out directly in his path. Both Dyson and the driver of the vehicle were killed.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards gave the commencement address for LSU’s graduating Class of 2017 Friday, as the school handed out a record 4,163 degrees. Edwards says this class also sets records for diversity. Edwards encouraged the grads to live with heart, with purpose, and with passion.

     

    At least two people in the Greater Baton Rouge Area have sustained injuries as a result of tornadic activity on Friday. An EF-1 tornado touched down in Baton Rouge, flipping a pickup truck, and sending the driver to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. In Walker, another person was taken to the hospital after a tree fell on a vehicle. Many south Louisiana residents are without power, and there have been reports of dime-sized hail in the area.

     

    Today the state House takes up a controversial bill aimed at protecting Louisiana’s confederate monuments. Debates quickly became heated in committee, where the measure narrowly passed on a 10-8 vote. The bill by Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody would prohibit the removal of any military monument from any war without approval from a majority of voters.

     

    Waitr is growing its presence in Lafayette, as the fast growing food delivery app is opening its own permanent facility. Waitr CEO Chris Meaux says moving into their own facility will create new jobs in the Lafayette area. All in all close to 400 positions.

    The app launched in 2015 in Lake Charles and now the company operates over 20 cities in five states and employing more than 1,200 people nationwide. The app also provides food delivery service in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and New Orleans.

     

    Lafayette Police announce they’ve made the largest known cocaine seizure in the history of the department. Investigators said an independent drug interdiction operation with K-9 detected and seized over 11,000 grams of cocaine valued at $1.1 million dollars, as well as over 1800 oxycodone tablets valued at $56,000. A woman from Houston has been arrested.

     

    Twelve inmates at the Tangipahoa Parish Prison have been indicted for manslaughter after they allegedly beat a fellow inmate to death. The victim is 40-year-old Tommy Joe Smith of Independence, and officials say a witness described the attack as a “shark-feeding frenzy,” meaning it was an extremely brutal and very quick attack. Guards and rescue crews were quickly notified of the attack, but Smith died from his injuries.

     

    Louisiana support for President Donald Trump is split along party and racial lines, according to a Southern Media and Opinion Research survey. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans really like the President with 91 percent giving him a favorable approval rating. But he says that’s a stark contrast to how Democrats feel.

    The poll finds two-thirds of white voters approve of the President’s job performance with 25 percent saying he’s doing an excellent job. Seventy-two percent of Democrats disapprove of Mr. Trump’s job performance.

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  • News for Friday 051217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A state trooper and two police officers were injured yesterday during a standoff in Avoyelles Parish. The cops were reportedly trying to negotiate with a man barricaded behind a window when the man shot them. The trooper and the officers sustained nonlife threatening injuries. According to Louisiana State Police spokesman Scott Moreau, a subject was taken into custody just before 7:30 last night. The suspect is said  to be an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD.

     

    Over 160 soldiers in the Louisiana National Guard’s 1086th Transportation Company are heading to Fort Hood, Texas for training before being deployed to Kuwait. Col. Ed Bush says a deployment ceremony will be held for the Bunkie-based unit in Pineville on Saturday. He says during their one year deployment, the soldiers will provide logistic transportation support. The 1086th deployed in support of Operations Desert Storm in 1991, Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Enduring Freedom in Kuwait in 2011.

     

    A St. Landry Parish cold case becomes a murder case after an inmate confesses to killing his great uncle in 2011. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says Dale LaFleur has been missing since 2011 and his great nephew 23-year-old Phillip LaFleur was incarcerated in LaSalle Parish on a separate murder charge. Guidroz says they have an audio and video confession from LaFleur stating he killed his great uncle and dumped his body in the Atchafalaya River because the uncle was delaying giving him money. He says search efforts are underway to retrieve the body from the river.

     

    A Southern Media and Opinion Research Poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating has dropped nine percentage points since September of 2016. It now stands at 54-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the public is sick and tired of the governor and legislature not coming to an agreement on how to fix the state’s budget woes. He says African American residents continue to give Edwards’ a positive rating, while only 44-percent of white voters feel that way about the governor.

     

    Raising taxes is not popular among voters, according to a survey from Southern Media and Opinion Research. Lawmakers have proposed increasing taxes on everything from a pack of cigarettes to a gallon of gasoline to close a looming budget hole. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says two-thirds of voters say they do not want their legislator to raise the state’s gas tax. In this fiscal session, lawmakers had to resolve a $440 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, and deal with an imminent $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018. Pinsonat says according to his survey, the public thinks the state has more than enough money.

     

    In a Baton Rouge courtroom Thursday, former “Sons of Guns” reality television star Will Hayden was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 40 years for raping two young girls. The victims were about 12 years old at the time of the sex acts. Hayden also faces charges in Livingston Parish.

     

    A report by the personal finance website, WalletHub, finds Louisiana is the second worst state for working moms. Analyst Jill Gonzales says they measured the quality of child care and professional opportunities, which really brought Louisiana down. Gonzales says the gender pay gap is fairly large in Louisiana, ranking 44th, as women make about 76 cents to every dollar a man makes. She says another factor against Louisiana is females have a longer workweek than other states.

     

    The full house has approved a bill that would make it easier for voters to recall an elected official. Current law requires signatures from one-third of the registered voters in large districts and 40-percent of voters in small jurisdictions. Covington Representative Paul Hollis says that isn’t feasible in 180 days. The measure heading to the Senate reduces the number of signatures required.

     

    A measure approved by the House would give voters the chance to decide if they want to prevent a convicted felon from running for office until 8 years after they serve their sentence. Norco Representative Gregory Miller is the author of the constitutional amendment. The legislation now moves to the Senate and if it clears the upper chamber, it will need voter approval.

     

    Thursday lawmakers spent over half an hour debating licensing for hair braiding. A measure by Carencro Representative Julie Emerson waives the licensing requirement.

    The measure was approved on an 81-12 vote

     

    A Dominant Alex Lange set the tone last night as LSU took the series opener from Auburn 4-0 at the box. Game two is tonight.. hear it on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3

     

     

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  • News for Thursday  051117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Louisiana Economic Development receives a $7 million donation from Cleco for job-creating projects. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says Cleco executives presented Governor John Bel Edwards with the check for a fund that will be administered by LED.

    The fund seeks to grow economic development in Cleco’s 23 parish service area.

     

    A measure approved by the full House would make it easier for Louisiana voters to recall elected officials. The proposal by Covington Representative Paul Hollis would lower the required number of signatures for a recall petition. The bill now heads to the Senate.

     

    A 12-year-old boy is dead after he accidentally fatally shot himself in the head. Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot says they believe the boy was trying to intimidate his little brother with the gun. Fontenot says no charges will be filed.

     

    The House Criminal Justice Committee shot down a proposal that would allow residents to carry concealed guns without permits. The bill was defeated on an eight to five vote. The bill’s author, Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey, says he plans to bring the proposal back up next year.

     

    The House Education Committee approved a bill to increase the minimum GPA requirement for TOPS from 2.5 to 2.75. Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil says he’s heard frustration from voters, about the uncertainty of the scholarship program and this could help cut down on costs. The proposed change would go into effect with the Class of 2021.

     

    Louisiana is no longer the least healthy state for seniors, according to a report by United Health Foundation. The state rose three spots to 47th in the nation. But Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl says the Bayou State still has a long way to go in how we care for seniors. He says Louisiana consistently ranks towards the bottom for chronic diseases. The report finds Louisiana made strides in health screenings over the last two years, with 72 percent of seniors receiving recommended health screenings. Muhl says while we are making progress, we’re still stagnant in some key areas, like long term care. He says Louisiana ranks 49th for our nursing homes.

     

    A bill that would allow people convicted of drug-related felonies to get food stamps and welfare benefits when they leave prison advanced today. There is currently a one year ban. Lawmakers are trying to lessen Louisiana’s prison rate and help inmates once they are released.

     

    A second confederate monument comes down in New Orleans. Shortly before sunrise the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was removed from its base. It was fastened to a crane and protected with bubble wrap. A group of people who support the removal of the monuments cheered when workers lifted it. People who oppose the removal of the confederate monuments say they are like time capsules. Also slated for removal are statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T Beauregard

     

    Officials with Jazz Fest announced that this year’s two-weekend event at the New Orleans fairgrounds was attended by about 425,000 fans.

     

    A report from Wakefield Research finds more couples than ever are fighting over politics since Donald Trump took office. The data found 24-percent of Americans in a relationship say they’ve argued more about politics than any other time they’ve been together. Clinical Psychologist with LSU Health Sciences Center Dr. Michelle Moore

    advises potential couples to discuss their political views before dating or getting married to avoid problems down the road.

     

    The 2017 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will kick off on Saturday, December 16th at noon, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation confirmed today. The game hosts teams from the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

     

    After a tough loss to South Alabama, LSU welcomes SEC foe Auburn to Alex Box Stadium for the start of a three-game series tonight. This is the final home weekend series for the Tigers, but LSU’s 32-17 overall record has them in position to host at least a regional.  You can hear tonight’s game starting at 6 on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3

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  • News for Wednesday 051017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    For the past several years the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working on the levees on the Red River here in Cenla. The Corp now says the levee on the Alexandria side of the Red River is up to federal standards. However, it may be next year before we get similar news for the Pineville side of the river.  Approval from the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will protect thousands of home and business owners from having to purchase costly flood insurance. FEMA de-accredited the levees in back in 2009.

     

    A 50-year-old man who is employed as a Ville Platte City Marshall has been arrested on two counts of promoting prostitution. Chief Deputy with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office, Chris Ivey, says deputies discovered this after arresting Maria Joseph for prostitution. He says Joseph told police, Arthur Phillips picked her up in his unmarked unit to bring her to Fenton to charge have sex with other men. Johnson says, Philips kept the money. Ivey says after taking statements from witnesses, authorities were able to arrest Phillips.

     

    Minors seeking  an abortion would be required  to have proof of identification from their parents before terminating a pregnancy under a bill before a Senate committee today. Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell says a photo ID of parents is required before high school report cards are handed out. She says it makes sense parents know their child is having an abortion. The bill would also require that a minor seeking an abortion get court-ordered counseling if it’s suspected that they are a victim of sexual assault.

     

    A study from WalletHub finds Louisiana is the worst state to be a police officer. Website analyst Jill Gonzales says they measured the quality of life and job hazards, which really brought Louisiana down in the ratings. She says the Bayou State is ranked 49th for the median income for law enforcement officers.

     

    A bill that would ban so-called sanctuary cities fails to get the necessary votes to pass the full House. The bill included a fee which is why 70 votes were needed to pass. The legislation is aimed at New Orleans, which has a policy that prohibits officers from questioning the status of individuals who commit or report a crime.

     

    Legislation backed by Governor John Bel Edwards’ that called for shifting the tax burden from individuals to businesses died in the House Ways and Means committee. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says it appears the Republican dominated legislature is not interested in overhauling the state’s tax structure. Edwards began the session pushing several different tax proposals, because one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes are set to expire in July of 2018. One proposal called for reducing income taxes for 90-percent of the state’s wage earners.

     

    A bill that would use riverboat gambling revenue to help fund the TOPS scholarship was shelved Tuesday in a House committee. State Representative Franklin Foil of Baton Rouge decided to voluntarily defer the measure after hearing concerns of committee members, including one that stated TOPS is already fully funded under the House-approved budget bill awaiting Senate consideration.

     

    The House Civil Law committee approves a bill that could suspend child support payments for parents who are incarcerated for six months or more. Gretna Representative Joseph Marino says the idea behind the bill is to reduce debt for inmates, so they have a better chance to succeed when they are released from prison. The proposal comes from a recommendation made by the governor’s task force that looked at reducing the state’s incarceration rate.

     

    The stripper age requirement bill advanced out of a Senate Committee Tuesday but it no longer requires that strippers must be 21 years old to be hired by an adult entertainment club. The minimum age is at least 18 under the proposed law and it also calls for establishments to undergo human trafficking training. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns still supports his bill even with significant changes.

     

    Former LSU basketball star Shaquille O’ Neal has told an Atlanta TV station that he plans to run for sheriff in 2020. O’Neal has homes in Florida and Georgia, so if he does run, it will likely be in one of those two states.

     

    A House committee approved legislation to amend a current state law so-foreign born applicants can obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate has filed a lawsuit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.

     

    US Senator Bill Cassidy jumped on board with Jimmy Kimmel following the TV show host’s news that his newborn son was born with health problems. Cassidy helped developed a Senate proposal that would allow states to keep Obamacare in place or come up with their own systems. He said on Jimmy Kimmel live that President Donald Trump wants all Americans to be covered. Cassidy says the nation’s healthcare law needs to pass the “Kimmel Test.”

     

    A 7-year-old Hammond girl is making her way across the country as she’s traveled to 10 states showing her appreciation for law enforcement by hugging them. Rosalyn Baldwin will head on a trip to Missouri to North Dakota to hug as many officers as possible. Police officers in Tulsa Oklahoma loved Rosalyn so much they named April 18th, Rosalyn Baldwin day.

     

    Sports..

     

    New LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade has completed the hiring of his assistant coaches by adding Bill Armstrong to his staff. Armstrong spent the past 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Ole Miss. Wade says Armstrong’s knowledge of the Southeastern Conference makes him a great addition.

     

    South Alabama chipped away at LSU’s lead for the majority of Tuesday’s game at the Box  before finally finding a crack in the armor in the ninth inning. And winning 7-6 The tigers begin a three game series at the Box Thursday night against Auburn.

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  • News for Tuesday 050917
    By Dave Graichen

    An early Sunday morning traffic stop on Coliseum Blvd led to the arrest of two Avoyelles  Parish men after officers found a store of drugs under the driver’s seat. 24 year old Jeremy Jackson of Moreauville and 19 year old Devin Coleman of Marksville were booked into the Rapides Parish detention center.

    Louisiana is one of just two states to see a decline in median wages between 2013 and 2016, according to Governing magazine’s analysis of federal data. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says that’s not surprising because the Bayou State has been in a recession since August of 2015. Delaware was the only other state to see a decline in wages.

    In a 61-34 vote, the full House rejected a measure to ban the spanking of misbehaving kids in public schools. New Orleans Representative Joe Bouie spoke in favor of the bill. He says 31 states have banned corporal punishment in schools and research shows this form of physical punishment does not work. Denham Springs Representative Rogers Pope spoke out against the measure. Pope is a retired school superintendent from Livingston and he says paddling is a way to discipline students without sending them home.

    The House has sent a bill to the Senate that would ban the use of tobacco products on school property. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman got 60 “Yes” votes for his proposal. Hoffman describes himself as an ex-smoker and told Baton Rouge Representative Denise Marcelle that he hopes this legislation gets teachers and school employees to quit smoking

    The House Transportation committee yesterday advanced a bill that would require training in driver’s ed on how to act when you get pulled over. Plaquemine Representative Chad Brown the author of the bill says this is just common sense legislation. The measure now heads to the full House.

    A bill that would ask voters statewide whether they would like to ban traffic enforcement cameras received little support in a House Committee yesterday. The vote was 14-to-1 against the bill. The Louisiana Municipal Association opposed it.

    A Tulane University professor has filed a lawsuit to keep the city from removing a statue of Confederate General P.G.T Beauregard, which is in New Orleans City Park. Richard Marksbury argues that the City Park Improvement Association is the true owner of the monument and Mayor Mitch Landrieu would need their approval before taking it down.
    A hearing is set for May 10.

    A measure that would increase the age requirement from 18 to 21 for exotic dance clubs to hire strippers is scheduled to be heard by a Senate Committee today. The bill has been touted as a way to stop human trafficking. A law to raise minimum age requirement to work as a stripper in a dance club passed last year, but three exotic dancers were successful in a lawsuit to get the law tossed out, and a federal judge ruled the wording was too vague. Kelly says the wording in this new proposed law is much more specific.

    FEMA is looking for Louisiana workers to help during disaster response. Supervisor of Human Resources Specialist, Carisa Berkeley says they want to hire people with a range of work experience. Find out more at careers.fema.gov.

    Authorities allege a 34-year-old Covington man attempted to run over his girlfriend’s eight year-old son with his pickup truck and eventually rammed his vehicle in a patrol car during a chase. St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Captain Daniel Seuzeneau says the man has been charged with attempted murder. Seuzeneau says the boy avoided getting hit by the vehicle, but a deputy was injured.

    West Monroe is once again the setting for a reality TV show, as the History Channel airs an episode of American Pickers filmed in the Ouachita Parish town. The show’s stars Mike and Frank picked through Pete Caldwell’s collection, at the request of the late collector’s children. Kaye Caldwell McBride says her father was an antique collector for many years. McBride says the pickers walked out with around 30 items including vintage toys and gambling machines.
    The episode aired Last night, but you can stream it online at History.com.


    Sports..

    Ruston native Zach Watson has been named SEC Freshman of the Week. The Tigers centerfielder was 5-for-19 with 4 RBI to help lead LSU to an SEC series victory over South Carolina. Tonight, the Tigers host South Alabama. Hear the game on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3. Air time 6p
     

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  • News for Monday 050817
    By Dave Graichen

    On a weekend where the weather could not have been any better, large crowds turned out for this year’s Alex River Fete`. Though the red was a bit wild, the Dragon boat races went off without a hitch on Saturday.

    The legislative session in Baton Rouge is nearing the halfway point. Criminal justice reform is a big priority for the governor. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says he sees lawmakers agreeing on new sentencing laws for nonviolent criminals, but they’ll have to wait next year to address to violent offenders. Governor Edwards says he wants to reduce the state’s incarceration rate, which is known as the largest in the world.

    The state Department of Veterans Affairs is concerned about the spending plan the House has approved. Undersecretary Homer Rodgers says it could lead to the closure of two veteran’s cemeteries. He says the cemeteries in Leesville and Rayville are a miniature Arlington National Cemetery and require a lot of upkeep. Rodgers says taking this money away is disrespectful to our soldiers. Rogers hopes the Senate will restore the funding when they take up the budget in the coming weeks.

    Today the full House is scheduled to take up a proposal to ban corporal punishment in public schools. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says 19 other states have similar laws on the books. The measure was narrowly approved by the House Education Committee on a 6 to 5 vote. Corporal punishment is allowed in 38 of Louisiana’s 69 school districts. Opponents to the bill say parents can opt their children out of spankings by signing a form.

    A measure to be heard before the House Transportation Committee today would give residents the chance to vote on removing red light or speed cameras that issue traffic tickets. Covington Representative Paul Hollis says enforcement cameras are money grabs for local government. Over the years lawmakers have brought up various bills to try to regulate traffic cameras and stop cites from installing them, but they have not fared well in the legislature. Local government say they help reduce crashes, especially at intersections.

    Louisiana students account for most of the Spring Break arrests in Okaloosa County, Florida. Police say of the 508 arrests, 34 were LSU students, and 23 were UL-Lafayette students. Seven students from St. Paul’s School in Covington were also arrested. Most of the arrests were reportedly for underage drinking.

    There are now barricades surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue in New Orleans. It is one of the three monuments that are still slated to be removed as a result of a city council vote two years ago. New Orleans Police put the barricades up. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Friday the monuments would not come down until Jazz Fest is over. It ended yesterday.

    Four people were arrested after a woman chased down her stolen car with the help of Baton Rouge police. Authorities say the victim was driving another car when she saw her stolen vehicle on I-10. She then called police to inform them four people were in the vehicle, and after a chase, all four suspects were arrested.

    A Sulphur man is behind bars after police say he waived his gun at another driver on I-10. State Police report the dispute started, because one driver was upset the other driver in the left lane wasn’t going fast enough.

    Lafayette native Antoine Duplantis’ fifth hit of the game sent home the winning run yesterday as the Tigers won a wild contest versus South Carolina, seven to six in ten innings. LSU lost 3-2 on Friday, but came back to win on Saturday and Sunday to take the series against the Gamecocks and stay within one game back of the conference leaders Florida and Mississippi State.
     

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  • News for Thursday 050417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The US Justice Department announces no federal charges will be filed against the Baton Rouge police officers involved in the Alton Sterling case. Acting US Attorney Corey Amundson says the investigation took so long because DOJ carefully looked at the officers’ actions.

    Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announces State Police and a special prosecutor will determine if state charges apply.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry have not seen eye-to-eye on many state issues, but the governor is anticipating Landry’s office will lead a thorough investigation into the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling.

     

    The officer who killed Alton Sterling has released a statement on the DOJ’s decision not to file charges. Officer Blane Salamoni’s attorney says this has been a trying time for him and his family. He says they’re glad to have this part behind them so they can move on to the state investigation.

     

    The full House is expected to debate the budget bill that would cut 235-million dollars more than Governor Edwards wanted from the state Department of Health’s budget. Governor John Bel Edwards opposes the proposed cut and is asking lawmakers to reverse them. LDH Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says she wasn’t asked about what the implications these cuts would have on the department.

     

    The Monuments in New Orleans will soon be gone. But, a bill seeking to protect the state’s remaining Confederate monuments was approved by a House committee today. Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody’s measure would prohibit the removal of any military monument from any war without a vote from the public. The bill was approved on a 10-8 vote and now heads to the House floor.

     

    Legislation aimed at bringing equal pay for equal work into the private sector failed in the House Labor committee. New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno attempted to pass a bill that would prohibit businesses from retaliating against an employee if they discussed their pay with a co-worker. But the measure failed on a 9-to-5 vote.

     

    46 year old Amanda Pollock of Leesville faces up to five years behind bars after she pleaded yesterday to one count of concealing a document in a federal investigation. Pollock was accused of falsifying records to cover up more than $1 million stolen from a bank branch she worked at on Fort Polk.

     

     

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  • News for Wednesday 050317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Washington Post reports the U.S. Department of Justice will not charge the two Baton Rouge Police officers who were involved in the shooting death of Alton Sterling last July. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the D-O-J’s ruling is consistent with the opinion of many lawyers he’s spoken with. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry can still investigate this case to see if state charges apply. No word as to whether or not he will do so.

     

    Potential" new evidence prompted the continuation of a hearing set for Tuesday in the Norris Greenhouse Jr. case, which in turn led to an agreement to move his trial to Oct. 2. The 25 year old Greenhouse faces charges of second-degree and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2015  shooting of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and the serious wounding of his father, Christopher Few. Greenhouse's fellow Marksville Ward 2 deputy marshal on that night, Derrick Stafford, was tried on the same charges in March before a jury found him guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. Now word yet as to what the Potential" new evidence may be.

     

    An unrestrained teenager died after a crash in St. Landry Parish after hitting a cow that was standing in the road. State Police Sgt. Jared Sandifer says the female victim is identified as 16-year-old Adrian Johnson of Washington. Johnson was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Leaders of state agencies are urging lawmakers not to cut their budgets, as the spending plan heading to the House floor is $237 million less than the governor’s budget proposal. The Louisiana Department of Health is facing a $235 million cut. Secretary Rebekah Gee says that means programs like school-based health centers, Zika defenses, and in-patient psychiatric treatment would be eliminated. The Department of Children and Family Services would see a $19 million reduction and $11 million would be cut from the Department of Corrections.

     

    Three bills that seek to reduce Louisiana’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate were approved by a Senate committee Tuesday. The proposed laws would shorten sentences for some non-violent offenders and expand opportunities for probation and parole. Governor Edwards  says changes are needed, because the state is spending too much money on its prison population.

     

    Also at the capitol yesterday, The House Governmental Affairs committee approved a bill that would make it easier to recall elected officials in larger voting districts. That same panel also approved the calling of a constitutional convention to make changes to Louisiana’s constitution where it deals with money issues.

     

    Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been named a potential 2020 presidential contender by a New York Times Report. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says it’s too early to guess who could be on the ballot. He says Landrieu could be influential in the party but doesn’t have name recognition outside of the Bayou State.

     

    The number of high school students here in Louisiana completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the highest in the state’s history. Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Student Opportunity Ken Bradford says students are already at a 51-percent completion rate and the deadline to fill out the form is still two months away. The national average for completion is 55-percent.

     

    A bill to be heard in the House Labor Committee today would protect employees from retaliation for talking about their wages. Opposition is expected to come from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

     

    A memorial fund has been set up for the family of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Deputy who died while on-duty in a crash over the weekend. Deputy Justin Beard will be laid to rest on Thursday at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in West Monroe. Anyone who wants to help out his wife and three children can do so at any Ouachita Independent Bank location.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 050217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The House Appropriations Committee has voted to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program for the next fiscal year. Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil amended the state’s proposed budget to take 82-million dollars from the Department of Health’s budget to fund it.

    New Orleans Representative Walt Leger raised concerns about how these cuts would impact LDH. He says the only areas of the health budget that can be cut are optional Medicaid programs that will greatly impact Louisiana residents. More debate will take place on the House floor when the full 28-billion dollar budget will be discussed.

     

    A study by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab and the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children finds a lack of quality childcare costs employers and employees over a billion dollars a year. LPIC Executive Director Melanie Bronfin says Louisiana has cut funding to early child care programs 70-percent since 2008. The report finds one in six workers in Louisiana quit their jobs because of trouble with child care.

     

    Legislation that would regulate car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft received approval from the House Commerce committee. Uber and Lyft support having standard rules across the state, so they don’t have to negotiate agreements with local jurisdictions. They say it could help expand their service into smaller communities. The measure heads to the House floor for more discussion.

     

    LSU and a news organization have created a website which would let the public give an opinion on how Louisiana’s budget woes could be repaired. LSU’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs and The Advocate, together developed “solve-the-budget-dot-org.” LSU Mass Communications Professor Len Apcar says poll participants can select “Yes” or “No” to a number of different options related to revenue and spending, with the dollar amounts included for each. The info will eventually be passed onto lawmakers.

     

    Congressman Clay Higgins has sent a letter to Governor John Bel Edwards urging him to take action to keep Louisiana’s confederate monuments in place, after the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans was taken down under the cover of night. Higgins says this is something that has to be done at the state level. He says the decision to surgically remove this part of our history reflects weakness and fear.

     

    Two out of state residents are dead after a private plane crashed Sunday in a field in Morehouse Parish. Sheriff Mike Tubbs says the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation into what caused the crash.

     

    Funeral services will take place Thursday for Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s deputy Justin Beard. He was killed in a single vehicle wreck on Sunday while responding to a burglar alarm.

     

    An 83-year-old LaRose man will be sentenced next month for a sex crime he committed over 30 years ago. Lafourche Assistant District Attorney Kristine Russell says the victim was seven years old at the time and this is a huge victory for her. Warren Danos was convicted of sexual battery and faces at least 25 years behind bars.

     

    The Diocese of Lafayette says the Reverend Felix David Broussard is expected to enter a guilty plea tomorrow in court on charges of accessing and possessing child pornography. Louisiana State Police arrested the Acadia Parish native last July after investigators allegedly found over 500 images of child porn his personal computer. Broussard served as a priest for the Diocese of Lafayette for over 20 years.

     

    Evangeline Parish is cleaning up after flooding that occurred when those strong storms rolled through the state over the weekend. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Liz Hill says although the water wasn’t as high as it was in the August flood, some people had to be rescued from their flooded homes. Flooding impacted about 60 homes in Mamou, along with the schools, hospital, and city hall.

     

    Congress is working on a spending bill that contains 400-million dollars in additional flood recovery dollars for Louisiana and other states, but that’s well short of the two-billion Governor Edwards requested. The state has already received one-point-six-billion, but Edwards says there’s over one-billion dollars in unmet needs for homeowners alone.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser unveils a new initiative called Destination Louisiana to encourage Louisianans to vacation in their home state. Nungesser hopes residents will staycation in the Bayou State rather than jumping on a plane. He says there is so much beauty to see right here.

     

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  • News for Monday 050117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Bad weather rolling through the area over the weekend caused scattered damage, flooding and a loss of power to over 24,000 CLECO customers. In Avoyelles Parish, upwards of 10 inches of rain was received in a 3 to 4 hour period early Sunday morning. CLECO expected most customers who lost power would be back online early today.

     

    You may not have been aware of it, but Saturday was an election day.. here in Rapides Parish, Three of seven tax renewals for Rapides Parish schools failed. Two renewals in the Rigolette School District No. 11 and one in Fifth Ward School District No. 51 failed to pass. Renewals in the Cotile School District No. 22A, Ruby-Wise School District No. 56 and two in the Big Island School District No. 50 did passed.

     

    A measure gaining popularity with lawmakers that will be heard in the House Way and Means Committee today would place a flat corporate income tax from 1 to 2 –percent on the profits a business makes. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says his bill would generate an estimated 200 million dollars in tax revenue. Havard says the bill would eliminate exemptions and the franchise tax. Business groups like LABI are not supportive, because corporate loopholes will be closed

     

    The Senate Education Committee approved a proposal that would require universities to create action plans to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Author of the measure, New Orleans Senator Wesley Bishop, says pregnancy prevention is something that should be taught along with time management and study habits. He is confident if young people knew better, they would do better. The proposal now heads to the full Senate.

     

    The House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve a spending plan for the next fiscal year today. Chairman Cameron Henry of Metairie says they plan to hold back about 2 percent of the revenue forecast by the Revenue Estimating Conference. He says the REC is usually wrong, and withholding this money could prevent midyear cuts. Under the governor’s proposed budget, TOPS was only funded at 70 percent for the next fiscal year. Henry says it’s his intention to fully fund the taxpayer funded scholarship program. Henry says that means lawmakers will have to find $81 million from somewhere else to fund the program.

     

    The Capitol City is anxiously awaiting a decision from the Department of Justice on whether or not civil rights charges will be handed down against the Baton Rouge police officers involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. Former Metro Council member John Delgado says he’s heard the DOJ should announce its decision by Tuesday. The Mayor’s Office says speculation that a decision could be made this week is just that. The President of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the NAACP, Mike McClanahan believes if DOJ does not bring forth charges, there will be protests and rallies around the city.

     

    President Donald Trump has reached 100 days in office, but what does that mean for Louisiana? ULM political science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office have been turbulent and unorthodox. He says there’s been very little direct policy change at the federal level under the new administration. But Mr. Trump has won the support of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, business leaders, and officials from the oil and gas industry. Stockley says the president hasn’t really done anything at this point to help or hurt them one way or the other.

     

    Curt Eysink, the executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission from 2009 to 2016 has passed away at the age of 54. Eysink was in intensive care after he lost consciousness while driving to New Orleans. Doctors believed it was a heart issue after suffering a stroke during treatment. Eysink passed on Friday.

     

    A Lake Charles man has been arrested after allegedly sending nude photos to news reporters. Police say 38-year-old Clint Ashworth is charged with two felony counts of cyberstalking. Employees at TV stations in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles reportedly received the photos in Facebook messages.

     

    LSU baseball team won an extra-inning thriller Saturday sweeping their weekend series at Alabama. The Tigers will get to rest up a bit this week before they open a weekend series Friday night at the Box against South Carolina.

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  • News for Friday 042817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A bill to provide parole eligibility for juveniles convicted of murder has been approved by the state Senate. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor’s measure calls for parole after 25 years. He says that would apply to a handful of jailed offenders. Claitor says his proposal would bring Louisiana in line with a Supreme Court decision that prohibits juvenile offenders from receiving life sentences without parole.

     

    A jury hands down a unanimous guilty verdict against a Homer man accused of fatally shooting a Webster Parish Sheriff’s Deputy in 2016. It took the jury nearly an hour to find Andrew Critton guilty in the death of 69-year-old Sulyn Prince, who prosecutors say was buried in a shallow grave after Critton used a fire extinguisher to kill her. A second person also faces murder charges in the case and his trial will be held at a later date.

     

    A new drug called ‘pink’ is hitting the streets in Louisiana and is more deadly than heroin. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark says pink is a synthetic opioid combined with Fentanyl. He says this drug has all of the same effects as heroin.

     

    Music lovers from all over the country are gathering in New Orleans for the Jazz & Heritage Festival that kicks off today. Producer Quint Davis says they have 580 musical acts over a two-weekend period. Harry Connick Junior, Maroon 5, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are headliners this weekend and 2nd weekend performers are just as good. Davis says the two-weekend festival has a $300 million annual economic impact.

     

    Over 30 dogs were rescued after Webster Parish authorities raided three alleged dogfighting rings. Anna Ware is with an Atlanta-based group that investigates animal cruelty cases. She says they received an anonymous tip about an operation in North Louisiana so they contacted police. Four people have been arrested in connection with the case.

     

    A House panel approved two bills that would expand who is covered under domestic violence laws. One measure by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno would include couples who are dating. She says currently the laws only apply to couples who are living together or married. The other measure headed to the full House would include same sex couples.

     

    The House overwhelmingly approved a measure to allow children to bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves, or parents could designate someone at the school to help. The lone dissenting vote came from Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith, who raised concerns about teachers putting lotion on students. The measure was approved on a 99-1 vote and now heads to the Senate.

     

    Speculation is growing the U.S. Department of Justice is close to announcing whether civil rights charges will be handed down against the two Baton Rouge Police officers who were involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. John Delgado is a lobbyist for the Baton Rouge Union of Police and he told two media outlets that people close to the situation say a decision will be announced on or before next Tuesday.

     

    U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is confident Congress can approve a tax reform package, because President Donald Trump is committed to the effort. Cassidy says there hasn’t been a significant tax reform since the Reagan administration. He says although it took a while to pass, President Reagan was thoroughly engaged, just as Trump is. Cassidy serves as a member of the Senate Finance Committee and will play a role in the passage of any tax reform plan.

     

    Northeast Louisiana could become the future home of a new medical school. University of Louisiana Monroe President Dr. Nick Bruno says the university is actively engaged in discussions with a private medical school they hope to partner with, but they still have to work out a lot of details. Bruno says the school could begin accepting students as early as the fall of 2019. The school would have about 200 students on campus after two years, with 200 more doing clinical rotations in the community.

     

    Sports…

     

    LSU opened up their three game series in Alabama with a big win in Game 1 in the final 8 to 2. They will try to keep up the momentum in game 2 tonight.. airtime 5:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3

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  • News for Thursday 042717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A bill that would ban so-called sanctuary city policies barely passed out the House Criminal Justice Committee. Chairman Sherman Mack broke a 7-7 tie by casting the final “yes” vote.

    The legislation targets New Orleans, because it’s police force has a policy that prohibits officers from questioning the immigration status of individuals who commit or report a crime.

    A lengthy debate on the House floor on this issue is expected as early as next week.

     

    Louisiana’s roads, bridges and drinking water receives a D rating on the 2017 Report Card for Louisiana Infrastructure produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Executive Director of the Report Card project, Dr. Kam Movassaghi (Mo-vuh-sah-gee) says the state’s infrastructure needs immediate attention. Of the 9 categories graded in the last report in 2012, 8 of them got worse or stayed the same.

     

    Not guilty is the verdict in the case of a former Destrehan high school teacher who was charged with having sex with a teen student in Jefferson Parish. One of the allegations claimed that Shelley Dufrense had a three some with a 16-year-old football player in 2014. The judge who handed down the verdict said Dufrense’s behavior was shameful, but the teen’s testimony was not believable. Dufrense previously pleaded guilty to an obscenity charge in St. Charles Parish.

     

    On a six-to-five vote in a House committee, a bill to ban corporal punishment in Louisiana schools advanced to the House floor. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton says it shouldn’t be up to educators to punish kids by paddling them Corporal punishment is currently allowed in just over half of Louisiana’s school districts.

     

    The House Health and Welfare Committee advances a bill that would limit first-time opioid prescriptions in Louisiana, in the hopes of addressing a growing opioid epidemic. Former Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Karen DeSalvo says 90 people die a day nationwide from opioid overdoses. The proposal by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno would limit first-time opioid prescriptions to a 7-day supply.

     

    The House Education committee passed a bill that would require public schools to teach litter prevention and awareness to students from kindergarten to fifth grade. Executive director of the Louisiana School Board Association Scott Richard says they support the bill. The measure heads to the House floor for more discussion.

     

    13 UL Lafayette football players were arrested for allegedly breaking into a dorm room and stealing several items totaling 24-hundred dollars. Lt. Billy Abrams with campus police says the student-athletes are charged with conspiracy to commit felony theft. Football Coach Mark Hudspeth has suspended the 13 players from the team indefinitely.

     

    Two teachers in St. Landry Parish are in trouble for allegedly asking other students to punish an 11-year-old classmate by fighting, or receive failing grades if they didn’t. The Washington Elementary teachers face charges including encouraging or contributing to child delinquency and simple battery.

     

    The Festival International de Louisiane is underway in Lafayette, and festivalgoers are lining up to enjoy the festivities from all over the world. Kelly Strenge with the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau says there will be entertainers from as far away as Europe and Africa.

    Strenge says attendees can even expect to see some big local names like Marc Broussard. She says this is a family friendly event, and during the weekend, there’s a section of the festival that’s just for kids. She says attendance is free, and they even have free parking at the Cajun Dome.

     

    Two bills approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee seek to extend domestic violence protections to more Louisiana couples. One proposal by Harvey Representative Patrick Connick would include same sex couples in domestic abuse laws. Jody Fortunato with the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office says they are running into problems handling felony domestic abuse charges against same sex couples. Another proposal by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno would include couples who are dating in the law.

     

    Sports..

     

    Tonight it’s round one of the NFL draft. The Saints have seven picks, five in the first three rounds. The Saints need pass rushers and cornerbacks to help a defense that’s ranked near the bottom in the NFL over the last three seasons. New Orleans will also look to boost the offensive line and possibly draft a quarterback as Quarterback Drew Brees is 38 and entering the final year of his contract. Hear complete coverage of the draft tonight and tomorrow on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3

     

    Draft Analyst Mike Detillier says 10 former LSU players could be drafted over the next three days, which would break the previous school record, which is nine set in 2014.  Jamal Adams will become the highest ever picked safety, if he’s a top four pick. There’s a good chance that Carolina, with the eighth overall pick, will take running back Leonard Fournette.  But Detillier says he could see a team like Philadelphia trade up and pick Fournette before the Panthers get to pick.

     

    Junior right-hander Alex Lange takes the ball tonight as LSU begins a three-game series at Alabama. The Tigers are 10-8 in the SEC and tied for fourth place in the West Division. Lange says LSU has yet to play its best baseball. You can hear all three games of the series starting tonight on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3

     

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  • News for Wednesday 042617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Boyce pair recently accused of stealing from a convenience store now face more charges, and one is facing extradition to Mississippi because of parole violations. The second complaint regarding 48 year old Richard McCormic and 50 year old Patricia Pickering came only two days after their April 19 arrests on charges of theft and resisting arrest.

     

    The governor’s proposal to impose a new tax on business sales has been pulled. John Bel Edwards touted the measure as a way to stabilize Louisiana’s budget, especially since one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes expire in mid-2018. Edwards says since the Republicans didn’t like his plan, he’s waiting for House GOP leaders to unveil their own proposal. House republican leaders favor budget cutting over additional taxes.

     

    It may be a little too late, but, Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell says she will continue to move forward with her bill to require state legislative approval before Confederate monuments are removed, even though New Orleans officials have started the process in the Crescent City. Mizell says it’s unclear when the Senate Governmental Affairs committee will hear her bill.

     

    The full House rejects a bill that would cut in half the wait time for couples with minor children to get divorced. Supporters say the measure would be better for children if their bickering parents can divorce after six months from filing. But opponents say the one-year wait time can help prevent a divorce and lead to reconciliation between the parents.

     

    On a 6 to 1 vote, a Senate Judiciary committee approves a proposal to abolish the death penalty in Louisiana. Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux says taking a life should be left to a higher power. There was emotional testimony from opponents to the bill.

    The measure now heads to the Senate floor for more debate.

     

    The deal with the contractor selected to oversee the state’s disaster recovery program is now official. IEM is set to oversee the $1.3 billion dollar federal flood system for homeowners. The size of the contract is an estimated $226.7 million. IEM was the same firm originally chosen to do the work, but the state scrapped the contract because it was too costly. The governor’s office said re-opening the bidding process ended up saving the state money.

     

    Prosecutors are negotiating the definition of “nonviolent” with the Governor’s Office to see if some middle ground can be found that would allow the district attorneys to back the sweeping package of bills aimed at reducing Louisiana’s nation-leading prison population. The state’s district attorneys and sheriffs fear too many violent criminals could be among the 13 percent of the population released if the 10 bills in Edwards’ criminal justice revamp is approved without changes. The legislation to lower criminal sentences, make parole easier and improve rehabilitation programs would save taxpayers $300 million.

     

    A measure that would prohibit the use of tobacco products anywhere on a public or private school campus is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee today. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says in the 90’s, Louisiana made it illegal to smoke in schools, but this legislation will expand on that law. Hoffman says there will be some exceptions to the bill, like churches or other non-educational buildings.

     

    Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says three suspects, with criminal records, tied up an 83-year-old man in his home in Starks for seven hours and stole his guns, cell phone and wallet. Mancuso believes these individuals stalked and took advantage of this elderly man. Mancuso says two of the suspects are in custody, the search is on for the other.

     

     

    Sports..

    Boosted by five-run 7th-inning rally,  Tulane defeated the  LSU Tigers  9-6 in college baseball last night in New Orleans. It was the fourth consecutive loss to Tulane. Up next, the Tigers are on the road for a three game series at Alabama starting Thursday night.

     

     

    The Saints and 32-year-old Adrian Peterson agree to a two-year contract. Coach Sean Payton believes the future Hall-of-Fame running back will be an excellent fit in the locker room and on the field.

     

    The future home of the New Orleans Pelicans’ NBA Development League team was narrowed to six cities Tuesday. The franchise announced just six of their proposed 10 sites responded to the team’s Request For Proposal, leaving in-state suitors Baton Rouge, Shreveport and St. Tammany Parish in the picture as well as Jackson, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. The Pelicans did not receive RFP responses from Lafayette, Monroe, Alexandria and Biloxi, Mississippi, removing them from contention. The team won’t begin play until the 2018-19 season.

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  • News for Tuesday 042517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The centerpiece of Governor John Bel Edwards plan to overhaul Louisiana’s tax structure did not receive a warm reception from Republicans in the House Ways and Means committee yesterday. The governor is proposing a Commercial Activity Tax on businesses as a way to generate revenue to make up for the one-point-three billion dollars in temporary sales taxes that expire next year. Discussion on this bill continue Today.

     

    The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs committee approves a proposal to exempt diapers and tampons from the state sales tax. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says the state constitution already exempts essential items like water, food, and prescriptions from the states sales tax. The measure heads to the Senate floor.

     

    A northwest Louisiana lawmaker wants to put an end to the need of an inspection sticker for your vehicle. Stonewall Representative Larry Bagley believes the stickers are more about money than safety. Bagley’s bill will be heard soon in the House Transportation Committee. State Police uses some of the money from the purchase of the sticker to fund their operations. Inspection stickers will still be required in the five-parish Baton Rouge area, because federal law mandates it, due to air quality concerns.

     

    A bill that would eliminate the death penalty in Louisiana goes before a Senate Committee today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says this would end the death penalty for first degree murder and rape offenses committed after July 31st. The former prosecutor says he used to be in support of the death penalty, but his views have shifted because of moral and religious beliefs. Claitor, who is Catholic, says we should promote life, not snuff it out. The measure would not affect individuals currently on death row.

     

    Contractors removed one of the four controversial confederate monuments in New Orleans early this morning. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the work of taking the Liberty Place monument down was done in the middle night for the safety of the workers. The statue honors the killing of police officers by white supremacists. Landrieu says they’ll move to remove the three other monuments sooner rather than later.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is not happy the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans was taken down under the cover of night. The monument commemorated a group of white supremacists who fought against the racially integrated police force in 1874. Nungesser says the monuments should stay in place because they’re part of Louisiana’s history.

     

    Iberia Parish Sheriff Major Wendell Raborn says they are receiving a lot of tips regarding the murder of an 80-year-old woman early Saturday morning in New Iberia. Authorities says bullets flew through the front door of Bertha Hill’s home and she was fatally struck multiple times.

     

    Lafayette Police are searching for a 21-year-old woman who is wanted for attempted manslaughter. Authorities say Natasha Portis intentionally struck two women along the side of the street early Monday morning.

     

    It’s expected a 30 second commercial from Governor John Bel Edwards will hit the airwaves this week, promoting his budget plan. The governor is pushing a proposal to place a new tax on businesses while reducing individual income taxes. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says he doesn’t have much support from legislators. The governor is recommending this tax plan as a way to offset 1.3 billion dollars in temporary sales taxes that are set to expire next year. Pinsonat says Republicans are not overly concerned with the higher sales taxes but Edwards is looking out for his low income supporters.

     

    A man helping with a jambalaya cookout to help pay for the funeral expenses of an Ascension Parish resident fatally gunned down last week was arrested Monday on allegations he shot the dead man's brother as the event was winding down. Gonzales City police 31 year old Melvin Sanders shot 26 year old Jonathan Harvey at least six times Sunday after Harvey had gotten in a fight with two others. Harvey was in stable condition Monday evening after surgery.

     

     

    Sports..

     

     

    Tigers Take on Green Wave tonight in New Orleans airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3

     

    There are reports the Saints and future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson are moving closer to agreeing on a three-million dollar contract. Peterson is 32-years-old and played in just three games last season, because of a knee injury.

     

    Coach Ed Orgeron announced yesterday the leader in LSU's open quarterback competition underwent a minor back procedure Monday. Danny Etling has been battling back pain for several months, and the surgery is expected to relieve the pain. Coach O says It's not expected to be a long recovery.

     

    KALB’s reporting Dennis Dunn, the Louisiana College Foot Ball coach will step down from his position with the Wildcats to become Pineville High School's new coach. Pineville will introduce its new head football coach and athletic director at today during a news conference on the school’s campus. Dunn went 65-45 in 11 seasons as LC's coach

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  • News for Monday 042417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The number of people working in Louisiana dropped by 85-hundred between February and March based on the latest employment survey. Louisiana’s employment total is also lower than at this time last year, a sign of weak economy. The state’s unemployment rate is five-point-seven percent, fourth highest in the country.

     

    The investigation continues into the death of a 17 year old Menard student early Sunday morning. The Pineville Police Department reports officers responded to a call regarding an accident on Lallah Street at Military Highway, in which Adam Jeansonne was run over by a vehicle. It’s believed that Jeansonne fell from the bed of a  Pickup truck being driven by another 17 year old boy and was subsequently run over by the vehicle’s tire. Jeansonne was  pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

     

    The attorney for Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s filed a motion Friday that states his client intends to claim self-defense when he goes on trial in June for the attempted murder of Christopher Few and the death of Few’s son. The motion serves as notice to the prosecution that Greenhouse will claim his actions were justified for his defense or for the defense of others.

     

    An agreement between Louisiana State University of Alexandria and Central Louisiana Technical College means students are now able to dual enroll at both schools. The new partnership was one of two made official Friday by leaders of LSUA and CLTCC. The other agreement allows up to 60 hours of general education credits earned at the community college to count toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology or history with a minor in education from LSUA.

     

    The Parc England Hotel and Bistro on the Bayou restaurant, which have been closed since September of last year will be auctioned on May 3. The owner of the properties, Parc England Holdings LLC, has been in bankruptcy since March 2016. The minimum bid for the auction is $650,000. An appraisal completed in October put the value of the hotel and restaurant at close to $2 million dollars.

     

    The House Ways and Means Committee has set aside two days to dive into the intricate Commercial Activity Tax proposed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The CAT is a sales tax businesses pay on their transactions. So far there’s very little support for the proposal. Franklin Representative Sam Jones will present the bill to lawmakers today and he hopes they will change their mind after learning more about it. Jones says so far this is the only plan that’s been presented in this session to deal with the $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018, when the extra penny of the sales tax and other temporary taxes expire.

     

    A convicted killer and rapist was not released on parole on Sunday as originally scheduled. Samuel Galbraith was sentenced in 2000 to 71 years in prison for the brutal murder of 21-year-old Karen Hill, a convenience store clerk in Vernon Parish. The state parole board granted Galbraith’s parole, but it was learned the victim’s mother never received a parole notification letter. It was sent to a different address to a different state. Another hearing will be scheduled in the future.

     

    The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee will look at a proposal today that would exempt items like diapers and tampons from the state sales tax. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says his bill would acknowledge that these are not luxury items, they’re essential. The proposed constitutional amendment would be put on the ballot for voters, if it’s approved by the legislature. Morrell says other constitutional amendments already exempt essential items like water, food, and prescription drugs from the state sales tax.

     

    An-anti tax group called Truth in Politics says a poll they commissioned finds the public doesn’t want to see their taxes increased. Executive Director Kelli Bottgher says 75 percent of respondents oppose a recommended 23 cent hike on the state’s gasoline tax. The survey also finds 80 percent of respondents say government spends too much, taxes too much, or both

     

    Iberia Parish Sheriff deputies are trying to determine who fatally shot an 80-year-old woman. Officers were called to the scene just before one AM this morning after gunshots were heard in the area. Investigators say they found several bullet holes in the front door of a home and after forcing the door open, the elderly victim was found dead, apparently struck by multiple gunshots.

     

    Last week US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy met with White House officials seeking an additional $2 billion for flood recovery. Kennedy says he’s thankful for the financial assistance Congress has provided to flood victims, but it is not enough to help the middle class and small businesses fully recover. Congress has already appropriated $1.6 billion in flood recovery.

     

    The Louisiana National Guard says the burn chamber at Camp Minden will be leaving soon. The burn chamber has completed burning thousands of tons explosive material that was left abandon by Explo Systems. There was talk of keeping the chamber operational at Camp Minden to burn more hazardous materials. But area residents opposed such an idea. The Guard says the burn chamber will not be used again at Camp Minden.

     

    Police are searching for three armed men who robbed three other men when their vehicle was broken down on Interstate 10 on the Bonne Carre Spillway. Police say them robbers pulled over and offered help to the victims, before pulling a gun and stealing a wallet, cash, and a cellphone.

     

    A major construction project begins today on the first 8 blocks of Bourbon Street. Director of New Orleans Public Works Col. Mark Jernigan says they’ll remove and replace the existing pavement, drainage lines, waterlines, sewer lines, and gas lines. He says this is much needed repair work on New Orleans’ most historic street. Jernigan says the project will cost a total of $6 million, and construction is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. He says pedestrians will have access to Bourbon Street during construction, even if the block is closed to vehicular traffic.

     

    Sports..

     

    The LSU Tiger Baseball team dropped the series' rubber match 10-2 yesterday afternoon. By the time the seventh inning had ended, LSU had allowed a season high 17 hits. That topped  the mark of 16 set by the Wildcats in Friday’s series opener.

     

    LSU coach Ed Orgeron was not happy with how his quarterbacks played in the spring game. The contest was moved into the indoor practice facility, because of severe weather on Saturday. For the portion of the game that was played in Tiger Stadium, last year’s starter, Danny Etling, was just 4-of-11 for 53 yards and an interception. Orgeron says the play of the quarterbacks on Saturday shows that no one has earned a starting spot.

     

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  • News for Friday 042117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police say charges are pending in the case of a fiery 5-vehicle, 18-wheeler involved crash on I-10 in West Baton Rouge Parish that claimed the life of a man from Alexandria. Trooper Bryan Lee says 26-year-old Ronald Allen was hit by an 18 wheeler from behind while in traffic, then became trapped between two of the big rigs. He says the DA has the case.

     

    The APD reports 44 year old John Matthews of Alexandria has been charged with manslaughter in the death of 27-year-old Anthony Session, a homeless man, found dead in a relative's yard on the night of April 15. Detectives interviewed Matthews on Wednesday and arrested him and booked him into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on the manslaughter charge.

     

    The senate approves legislation that scales back the second amendment sales tax holiday that takes place during the first weekend of September. Sales taxes will be collected on purchases of off-road vehicles, airboats and animal feed, but firearms and ammunition remain tax free. The measure heads to the House.

     

    A very rare April tropical storm has formed over the north Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Arlene, which formed Thursday, has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. The storm is far from land, about 815 miles west of the Azores. The system is expected to dissipate today. Forecasters say tropical storms are rare in April and Arlene is only the second one observed in the month since weather satellites went into use.

     

    A bill that would require TOPS recipients who leave the state to repay some of their assistance was defeated Thursday in the Senate Education Committee. The party line vote was 4-2 to shelve the measure, with Republicans prevailing. The proposal, Senate Bill 110, would generally require TOPS graduates to repay 50 percent of their assistance if they left the state less than four years later. The same would apply to TOPS recipients who quit school.

     

    Louisiana lost the fight to become the home to the largest ethane cracker plant in the world, as ExxonMobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp announce the $10 billion plastics complex will be built in Texas instead. Louisiana Chemical Association President Greg Bowser says the Bayou State lost out because of its poor business climate. Exxon cited Texas’ predictable tax climate and high quality school and community college systems as top reasons for choosing the Lone Star State.

     

    Race relations are worsening in eyes of the public, according to a recent LSU survey. Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says the share of people who believe race relations are getting worse rose by almost 20 percent since 2014. He says there’s a racial divide in opinions on whether racial equality exists today.

     

    The Orleans District Attorney’s office says they are disappointed Cardell Hayes was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for a fatal road rage shooting in New Orleans that left former Saints star Will Smith dead. Legal analyst Tim Meche believes Judge Camille Buras handed down a fair sentence. Hayes was facing up to 60 years in prison.

     

    A coalition called Louisianans for Prison Alternatives made their case for criminal justice reform during a rally on the State Capitol steps. Foundation for Louisiana President Flozell Daniels served as a member of the governor’s Justice Reinvestment Task Force and he’s pushing for legislation to reduce the incarceration rate and save the state millions of dollars.

    The governor is urging legislators to pass bills that will give some inmates more parole hearings, alternatives to prison and shorter sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.

     

    The Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee Thursday favorably sent to the full chamber for debate Senate Bill 127 that would prohibit certain coverings, substances and devices from obstructing a license plate for the purpose of foiling attempts for speed cameras to read it. It also deferred for next week Senate Bill 27 that would require that driver education programs include instruction on the appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer.

     

     

    A former personal assistant to U-S District Court Judge Patricia Minaldi has been arrested on charges he stole from her as she was attempting to recover from a condition caused by alcohol abuse. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s office spokesperson Kim Myers says 28-year-old Justin Gray’s bond was set at 56-thousand dollars.

     

    A Shreveport man has been arrested for pretending to be a state trooper. LSP Trooper Matt Harris says they received a complaint about a door to door steak salesman impersonating a trooper. He says 47-year-old Lester Wells confessed to crime, claiming it helped his sales to portray himself as a state trooper.

     

    Sports..

     

    Because of the likelihood of rain on Saturday in Lexington, the LSU baseball team will play a doubleheader today against Kentucky airtime 12:30p on KSYL 970 & 100.3.  Both games today will be nine innings. There’s no game on Saturday and the series will conclude on Sunday at noon.

     

    On the plus side, with no LSU baseball game Saturday, the LSU Spring Football game will be broadcast in it’s place starting at 6:45p

     

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  •  

    News for Thursday 042017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Drivers could see a hike in the gasoline tax, if a bill by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter is approved by the legislature. He says his proposed 17 cent hike would generate 500 million dollars a year for new projects. The bill requires the state to use at least half of the money to begin construction on new megaprojects, like a new bridge in Baton Rouge.

     

    A bill that would allow public school students to bring sunscreen to school without parental consent or a doctor’s note and apply it on their own is heading to the House floor. Ville Platte Representative Harvey LeBas says skin cancer is a major problem and the goal of his bill is to protect kids from sunburns when they go outside for school activities. Currently, it is against the law for children to bring over the counter drugs to school. The measure passed on a 12 to 1 vote.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana’s coast. The emergency declaration will be sent to President Trump to raise awareness about this crisis and expedite restoration projects. If nothing is done to protect the coast, Louisiana stands to lose an estimated 22-hundred square miles of coastal land in the next 50 years.

     

    A proposal by Shreveport Representative Cedric Glover would put an end to official university beers. LSU and UL-Lafayette already have their own trademarked suds from local breweries. Glover says colleges branding their own alcohol only encourages underage drinking. Schools say companies already use university colors and logos to promote their beers, and they deserve their fair share of that money. But Glover says if that’s the case, then universities should start paying college athletes their share of the revenue they generate. Glover’s bill will be heard in House Education.

     

    Student body leaders call on the state legislature to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program. Under the governor’s current budget proposal, TOPS is only funded at 70 percent. This year TOPS students had to pay over half of their spring tuition for the first time ever.

     

    A judge rejects a motion for a new trial for Cardell Hayes, the man convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of former Saints star Will Smith. Hayes attorneys had a man testify that he heard two different gunshots on the night Smith was killed, but testimony was reportedly bizarre and now Hayes is set to be sentenced on Friday.

     

    Sex trafficking cases reported in Louisiana rose by 25-percent last year. That’s according to a report by the state Department of Children and Family Services. Child Welfare Consultant Walter Fahr says of that number, 45-percent of those victims were juvenile. He says the highest number of human trafficking reports came from Orleans and Caddo Parishes.

    The report identified 447 victims statewide. Six people were arrested yesterday in Bossier City for human trafficking as a result of an undercover prostitution operation.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says the state should not get involved in the city of New Orleans’ decision to remove confederate monuments. The city is attempting to hire a contractor to take down three Confederate statues and a monument that city officials say commemorates an attack by a white supremacists. Louisianans from all corners of the state have voiced their opinions on social media. But Edwards says it isn’t the state’s place to get involved. Two different bills have been filed seeking to protect confederate monuments around the state.

     

    North Louisiana is known for its great locations for bass fishing, which is why the Lt. Governor’s office in partnership with the office of tourism and state parks has announced the launch of the Louisiana Bass Trail. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the trail includes 7 lakes at 8 state parks and he believes this will help attract recreational fishermen from all over.

     

    The DeSoto Parish Coroner’s office says Cameron Anthony Hernandez from Diana, Texas, was killed when a tank exploded near Mansfield Tuesday. A crew was working at the site to clean damage caused by a recent storm.

     

    The Caddo Sheriff’s Office says a nearly 11 foot long alligator shut down traffic on La Highway 1 for nearly an hour early yesterday morning. They said a passerby reported the gator sighting in the middle of the road about 330am and that its tail had been run over by an 18-wheeler. Trappers were called to remove the animal.

     

     

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  • News for Wednesday 041917
    By Dave Graichen

    The RPSO reports Divers located the body of a man who drowned in Cotile Lake late Monday night. Witnesses reported to police that 29 Travis Savage of Alexandria, was swimming with family members and attempted to swim out to a buoy. Savage went underwater about halfway to the buoy, and did not resurface.

    A proposal to shorten the waiting period to be granted a divorce for couples with children under the age of 18 moves to the House floor. Homer Representative Patrick Jefferson would reduce the waiting period from a year to six months. Jefferson says resolving a difficult situation sooner helps the kids. President of the Louisiana Family Forum, Gene Mills also opposes the measure. He says the current one year waiting period gives couples more time to resolve their issues if possible.

    A Senate committee has approved a bill that would give inmates a chance at parole, if they are serving a life sentence for a murder they committed when they were minors. It has the support of Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson. However, a similar measure failed last year.

    Today is the deadline for lawmakers to file tax bills. It’s expected Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter will propose a bill to increase the state’s gasoline tax by 17 cents. We’re also expecting several bills that will change how the state charges sales taxes and eliminate exemptions that currently exist for certain purchases.

    Columbia Senator Neil Riser sponsors a bill that would exempt flood victims from having to pay state income taxes for 2017. Under Riser’s proposal, the first $100,000 of income that a family earns this year would be exempt from the state income tax if the family sustained $10,000 or more of losses during 2016 flooding. $50,000 if filing single.) It’s unknown when this bill will have its first hearing.

    Cardell Hayes, the man who shot and killed former Saints star Will Smith, will be sentenced today after being convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino expects Judge Camille Buras already has a sentence in mind for Hayes and it’s most likely a lengthy one. The shooting happened on April 6, 2016 when Hayes rear-ended Smith, which then resulted in the fatal shooting of Smith and the injuring of his wife, Racquel. Ciolino says this is a serious crime, but it’s not murder and Hayes is not a habitual offender.

    Southeastern Louisiana University is issuing a promise to incoming freshmen not to raise their tuition, if they commit to completing their degree in four years. University President John Crain says they’re seeing students taking longer and longer to earn a bachelor’s degree, and the Southeastern Promise encourages students to graduate in four years.

    Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain has delayed the sale of Kaput feral hog bait in Louisiana, because of the danger it poses to other animals. Kaput is a poison that can kill wild pigs, but Strain says the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has found black bears can overturn the feeders containing the bait and dump the contents. Louisiana is home to an estimated 600,000 feral hogs, which are prolific breeders. Strain says they are looking into different kinds of feeders that cannot be accessed by other animals. He says another option would be to use a food that bears and other animals don’t want to eat.

    Sports..

    LSU fans will get their first glimpse on Saturday of what the Fighting Tigers offense will look like next fall when the Tigers compete in the Spring Game. Senior offensive tackle K.J. Malone of Ruston says it will look a lot different since it will be played under the lights in Death Valley.
    The Spring game will get underway at seven o’ clock.


    The Tigers exploded for 10 runs on 13 hits to defeat Lamar 10-4 Tuesday night. Up next, the tigers begin a three game weekend series in Kentucky this Friday..


     

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  • News for Tuesday 041817
    By Dave Graichen

    Authorities in St. Landry Parish are searching for a missing priest. Father Juilus Ohiaege of Nigeria, was last seen yesterday dropping a fellow priest off at the Lafayette Airport driving a white 2010 Toyota Camry. Father Ohiaege hasn’t been seen or heard from since. His cell phone last pinged in Baton Rouge and Opelousas but is now off.

    The House Ways and Means continues its review of the various bills to change Louisiana’s tax structure in an effort to provide more budget stability. Today the panel looks at sales taxes. Houma Representative Tanner Magee has a proposal to lower the state sales tax from five to two-percent, and remove the unnecessary exemptions when a sales tax is not collected. Magee expects some stiff opposition to removing some of the exemptions.

    It’s the second week of the legislative session and it looks like lawmakers aren’t anywhere close to agreeing on a funding plan for the budget for next fiscal year. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says legislators must look over about 150 tax bills and many are still missing vital information. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says he supports Governor John Bel Edwards’ tax reform plan, which includes getting rid of tax incentives on big corporations and reducing personal income taxes. The Democrat says the governor’s proposals have not gained a lot of traction among Republicans and there no alternatives at this point.

    A bill heading to the senate floor would scrap the education tax credit that parents or guardians are able to claim. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says his measure would save the state $11 million. He says that money could be more wisely invested in other education programs.

    Nascent (Nay-Cent) Technologies Corporation, on the LSU campus, received two cyber security contracts totalling nearly five-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Defense. N-T-C president Jeff Moulton says they will solve real worldwide problems. He says they’ve been contracted to identify and assess the risk and exposure in the energy industry supply chain.

    United Healthcare Children’s Foundation is seeking financial assistance applications from families with children that have medical needs not covered or not fully covered by health insurance. Joe Ochipinti (ahki’pinti), CEO of United Healthcare-Gulf States Region, says grants cover up to $5000 annually per child. Families can apply online at uhccf.org.

    The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office has identified they teen they believe stabbed her 47-year-old boyfriend to death in North Louisiana. They say 17-year-old Ronnie Francis is originally from New Orleans but had been living with the victim, Melvin Peterson, in Dubach for 3 months. Francis is charged with Manslaughter and is currently being held in the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

    If you love to eat, LSU needs your help. The Sensory Services Lab on the Baton Rouge campus is recruiting Tiger Tasters to sample tasty new foods before they hit the shelves. Sensory Services Lab Manager Ashley Gutierrez says the AgCenter works with food companies around the country developing new healthy food items. To sign up to be a Tiger Taster, visit the LSU School of Food and Nutrition website.

    Sports..

    The LSU baseball team will host Lamar tonight night. The Tigers have won five of their last six after going through a stretch where they lost six of nine. The Tigers are 9-6 in league play and in fourth place in the SEC West, two games back of division leader Arkansas.

    The Saints began their offseason workout program Monday. Receiver Willie Snead is participating even though he’s yet to sign his one-year tender offer. Tight end Josh Hill also reportedly showed up yesterday as he continues to rehab from a broken fibula.

    Tulane, McNeese State and UL-Lafayette are in first place in their respective conferences or divisions. The Green Wave swept UCONN this past weekend and they are 7-2 in the AAC. The Ragin Cajuns swept Arkansas State and they lead the West Division of the Sun Belt. McNeese State is 16-2 in the Southland after sweeping UNO.


     

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  • News for Monday 041717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The centerpiece of Governor John Bel Edwards’ plan to overhaul’s Louisiana tax code is expected to be filed today. The measure has been referred to as a gross receipts or Commercial Activity Tax. Publisher of la-politics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says there’s very little support for this tax that businesses currently do not pay. Under the bill, any business that has sales over one-point-five million dollars, a portion of those sales are taxed. Many small business owners would be assessed a flat tax. But Alford says even members of the governor’s party are not supportive.

     

    Democratic Shreveport Rep. Cedric Glover has filed a bill that would forbid State Universities,  for what he calls health reasons or moral reasons, from partnering with brewers for a university beer. Glover said he is using one of his five allotted bills in a legislative session that’s supposed to focus on fiscal matters, to ban public universities from licensing "official" alcoholic beverages. His House Bill 610 also would forbid LSU and UL-Lafayette from renewing the contracts with local brewers when they expire.

     

    A Baton Rouge lawmaker is pushing for 18-wheelers to be required to drive at least 10 miles lower than the posted speed limit on Interstate highways. Representative Steve Carter filed the legislation after the speed limits were reduced on Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. This measure would also pertain to drivers of school buses and tractor trailers. Carter says multiple other states have similar laws and this would greatly improve safety.

     

    The Humane Society of Louisiana is searching for who is responsible for apparently dragging a pit bull from a moving vehicle in Acadia Parish. Executive Director Jeff Dorson says they have no idea who could have done such a thing to a helpless animal. Dorson says the owner didn’t have the resources to care for the dog, so their members raised over $800 to help pay for the dog’s care.

     

    Although the burning of M6 propellant at Camp Minden in Webster Parish is finished, the job might not be over yet. The Louisiana National Guard could extend their contract with ESI to continue burning hazardous substances there but LSU Shreveport science professor Brian Salvatore wants it to stop. He says the Webster Parish Police Jury passed a resolution in December for the company to remove the burn chamber. But he says they voted again last week and decided to rescind the resolution.

     

    Ochsner Cancer Institute in Jefferson Parish will provide more treatment options, thanks to the hospital’s new Precision Cancer Therapies Program. Medical Director of the program, Dr. Marc Matrana (Muh-tron-ah) says this program connects Louisiana cancer patients with access to cutting-edge, early-phase clinical trials, something currently not available in our state.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled a drawdown of Lake Bistineau to control rapidly growing giant salvinia. LDWF Biologist Manager Jeff Sibley says the drawdown, set for May 1st, is a little bit earlier this year in order to get the situation back under control.

     

    Sports..

     

    The LSU tigers took their weekend series against Ole’ Miss with a 3 to 2 victory Saturday afternoon. The Tigers will take on Lamar tomorrow night.

     

     

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  • News for Thursday 041317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The group Truth in Politics seeks to tell Louisiana residents the truth about Governor John Bel Edwards’s tax plan. Executive Director Kelli Bottger says they are launching a digital ad campaign to keep lawmakers from raising taxes on businesses. The Governor’s Office referred to TIP has a deep-pocketed special interest group.

     

    The Louisiana Budget Project has (also) studied Governor Edwards’ tax plan and determined 95 percent of Louisiana taxpayers would receive a tax cut. L-B-P executive director Jan Moeller says the largest tax cut would go to those individuals earning between 36-and-56-thousand dollars a year.  Moller says only the top five-percent of wage earners would pay higher taxes.

     

    Higher education leaders made their case during a legislative budget hearing to not cut state funding to public colleges. Governor John Bel Edwards proposed budget calls for a 17-million dollar reduction in funding for campuses. Louisiana Community and Technical College President Monty Sullivan says their institutions can’t keep doing more with less. Since 2008, Louisiana has reduced state funding to its public colleges by 700-million dollars. President F King Alexander says the LSU School system is looking at its 17th cut in nine-and-a-half years.

     

    Southeastern Louisiana University has received the largest single donation in its history. Mike Rivault with SLU says Seth Ryan, a 1953 grad, donated $10 million to go towards scholarships for women majoring in STEM programs. He says in his honor, the university is going to rename the Biology Building on campus after Ryan’s wife. He says Ryan wanted to provide opportunities for women because his wife was not able to attend college.

     

    College Choice ranks Louisiana Tech’s elementary education program as the fourth best in the country and first in the state. College of Education Dean Dr. Don Schillinger says if they can produce better teachers, it will have a lasting impact on elementary education in Louisiana. He’s hopeful this ranking will attract more student to LA Tech.

     

    Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has written a letter to President Trump asking him to protect Louisiana’s confederate monuments. The letter comes after the New Orleans City Council voted to remove the monuments in place around the city. Nungesser says the memorials have been in place for a hundred years, and if you try to erase history, it has a habit of repeating itself.

     

    A Baton Rouge contractor was indicted yesterday on 51 counts of fraud, theft and other charges in Livingston Parish, shortly after pleading not guilty to 84 counts of contractor fraud in Ascension Parish. The judge ordered 39-year-old Matthew Morris to be held without bail. The charges come after Morris allegedly defrauded nearly 30 flood victims after the August flood.

     

    The man who New Orleans police say was behind the wheel when he plowed into a crowd of Mardi Gras parade goers pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday. 25-year-old Nielson Rizzuto is facing multiple counts for the February 25th incident.

     

    The on-demand food delivery app, Waitr, recently added a web ordering option and restaurants are already benefiting. Chief Marketing Officer for Waitr, Sonny Mayugba (My-ou-ba), says Waitr is currently available in the majority of the Bayou State, except for Alexandria, which is expected to be on board soon. Waitr was founded in Lake Charles in 2015 and over 2-thousand restaurants currently partner with the company.

     

    A north Louisiana lawmaker seeks to end bullying in Louisiana schools with a comprehensive bill waiting to be heard in this legislative session. Shreveport senator and attorney John Milkovich says his bill requires that instances of bullying be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours. The bill also gives teachers the power take all steps necessary to prevent bullying and keep students safe, including using physical force. Milkovich says this would prevent teachers from being suspended for breaking up fights. The bill will first be heard by the Senate education committee. A hearing date has not been scheduled.

     

    Louisiana’s top highway safety official says distracted driving is becoming a “dangerous epidemic” in the state and will only get better when those behind the wheel modify their behaviors. Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Katara Williams is reminding drivers to stay attentive to what is happening on the road, as April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to LHSC, 192 people were killed in Louisiana from 2011 to 2015 because of some distraction.

     

    A 71-year-old man from Baker is under arrest amid allegations he locked his 13-year-old son in a horse trailer overnight as punishment. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says Douglas O’Neal told authorities that whipping the victim was no longer working so he decided to put the teen in the trailer with manure inside.

     

    The former Louisiana State Museum interim director Tim Chester claims Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has used museum’s property for his own personal use and caused political interference with the agency’s operations. Nungesser says Chester is an angry old man.

     

    Sports..

     

    The Pelicans finished their season on an up note last night with a 103 to 100 win over the Portland Trailblazers. The Birds finish the season with a 34 – 48 record..

     

    LSU returns to SEC play tonight as the Tigers host Ole Miss for the start of a three-game series. Hear tonight’s game starting at 6 on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3.

     

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  • News for Wednesday 041217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Rapides Parish School Board voted yesterday to take no action on its controversial plan to close and consolidate schools for the upcoming school year. The Board said it was the outpouring of public concern that led to their decision. The decision was met with a standing ovation from those in the audience.

     

    For the second time since taking office, Governor John Bel Edwards will face Attorney General Jeff Landry in court. Landry is suing the governor after the administration withheld 4 million dollars from the AG’s operating fund. But the governor says Landry has not legal claim to the money, which came from a 2014 pharmaceutical settlement.

     

    The House Ways and Means Committee began looking at various tax proposals Tuesday that will be discussed over the next several weeks. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard is pushing legislation that lowers income taxes on residents and asks businesses to pay a little more. A vote was not taken on Havard’s proposed legislation. There are over 140 tax bills filed in the House.

     

    Most Louisiana residents approve of Medicaid expansion, according to an LSU survey. Director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, Dr. Michael Henderson says 72 percent of respondents approve of the state expanding government-funded health care insurance. He says the survey also found more people approve of the Affordable Care Act.

     

    Louisiana is down to just three abortion clinics statewide, as Bossier City Medical Suites has closed. Executive Director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, Amy Irvin says the only remaining clinics are in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport. She says this closure will greatly impact Louisiana women seeking an abortion.

     

    For a fifth consecutive year, Louisiana broke a record for tourism. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says in 2016, the state welcomed a record 47 million visitors, which is more than a 2 percent increase over the previous year. He says tourists spent an average of $360 a person. Nungesser says the revenue represents a 40-to-1 return on investment.

     

    There’s a split opinion in the business community over whether the state should increase the state’s gasoline tax to pay for better roads. A coalition of business groups are supporting it, but Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent business, says a majority of small businesses oppose a gas tax hike. Lawmakers are expected to take up bills that would increase the gasoline tax by at least seven-cents a gallon.

     

    An Easter egg hunt with numerous children in attendance turned violent when a Thibodaux man’s ex-girlfriend showed up with a shovel handle and began beating him with it. The man then returned the favor. They both face aggravated battery charges. The altercation took place in front of the man’s wife and child.

     

    The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating an early morning incident in which they believe a person or persons drove by a bunch of houses and cars and started shooting at random. Chief Deputy Mike Haley says they received reports of gunfire in Mt. Hermon around 4am. He says the investigation is ongoing.

     

    Sports..

     

    It was a good night for the LSU Tiger Baseball team as they defeated  UL-Lafayette, 3-2, in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at the box. Up next, the tigers begin a 3 game series against Ole’ Miss Thursday night.

     

    The New Orleans Pelicans called in another one last night as they lost to the Lakers 96 – 108

    The birds are now 33 and 48 on the season. They have one game left that’s tonight at Portland. Airtime 9p on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3

     

     

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  • News for Tuesday 041117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    This evening the Rapides Parish School Board  will decide at a special meeting whether or not to proceed with a vote on school closures and consolidations recommended by the district.  Prior to the meeting, there will be an opportunity for public comment. The recommendations were presented partially out of concern for failing schools with a high number of substitutes and vacancies, with the district suggesting as many as 50 teaching positions would be cut. The meeting is scheduled for 5 this evening.

     

    An 18 year old Pineville man lost his life yesterday afternoon on Indian Creek when he dove from the bow of a boat into the water and never resurfaced. RPSO deputies recovered the body of Orlando Banks a short time later.  Banks was a student at Alexandria Senior High.

     

    The 2017 Legislative session is officially underway in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards spoke to lawmakers in a joint session and outlined what he hopes to see accomplished over the next two months. He said among his proposals, he wants to model Louisiana’s sales tax structure utilizing best practices from other states. He urged lawmakers to take a serious look at what we can do to better invest in our state’s roads — Increase minimum wage and support equal pay. And work to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. He says the most important thing they all must do, is work together. He said he hopes politics and partisanship don’t blur the path to the goal. The session must end by noon on June 8th.

     

    Alt. read

    The legislative session is in full swing, and Governor John Bel Edwards told lawmakers now is the time to implement comprehensive tax reform, so Louisiana can end the cycle of midyear budget cuts. The governor’s proposals would increase taxes on many businesses, but lower rates for individuals. This will be the last time law makers can deal with fiscal issues until 2019. The legislative session will last for two months.

     

    The governor also wants to pour more money into Louisiana’s roads. In so many words, he announced his support for an increase to the gasoline tax. There’s been talk of raising the gas tax anywhere between seven and 17-cents.

     

    The House Ways and Means committee today begins pouring over some of the proposals included in the governor’s tax plan. John Bel Edwards ambitious proposal will increase taxes on many businesses, but he says it will lead to lower income taxes for 90-percent of the taxpayers. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James is confident once more details of the plan come out, there will be ample support. But West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth says Louisiana has one of the lowest income tax rates in the nation. He’s concerned about putting too much of the tax burden on businesses and losing jobs. He says lawmakers need to be cautious about lowering taxes for individuals and getting businesses to foot the bill.

     

    Gas prices are on the rise as the summer driving season approaches. AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redman says the statewide average of $2.19 is about 7 cents higher than the prior week which is typical for this time of year. Gas prices are at their highest level since January.

     

    A Chinese chemical company chooses Louisiana over Texas to build a 1.1 billion dollar manufacturing complex. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this will help Louisiana grow as a global leader in chemical manufacturing and he says the project by Wanhua (Wan-hwah) Chemical Group will bring 170 new direct jobs to the state. LED estimates the project will also result in 945 indirect jobs. The specific location of the site will be decided later in the year.

     

    Another study by LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott finds the return isn’t there when it comes to state’s film tax credits program as the report shows it causes a significant hit to Louisiana’s budget. Scott says the return of investment was 22-percent in 2016.

     

    Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says he will resign if the federal government is the reason flood victims have not yet received any federal assistance. Graves made the comments on a Baton Rouge Talk Show, also issuing a call for Governor John Bel Edwards to do the same. The governor’s communications director, Richard Carbo, denies the state is holding up the process and instead blames red tape with the federal government. Carbo says Graves comments are not helping homeowners. 

     

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has granted Louisiana access to start dispensing 1.6 billion dollars to flooded homeowners in federal aid. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor Julie Baxter Payer says this will finally allow the state to move forward with recovery plans. Payer says an action plan had to be submitted to HUD in order to spend the money, which is why the process of receiving funds took so long. Payer expects to have a contractor in place within the next week who will manage the Homeowner Assistance Program.

     

    Sports..

     

    After taking two of three from Arkansas, LSU is once again back in the top ten in three major college baseball polls heading into tonight’s matchup against UL Lafayette. Airtime 6:30 pn KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3

     

    The pelicans are in LA tonight to take on the Lakers in the next to last game of the season. Airtime 9p on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3

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  • News for Monday 041017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Christopher Few, the father of the 6-year-old boy killed in the 2015 slow-speed chase with deputy marshals in Avoyelles Parish, was booked Saturday evening on domestic abuse Charges. Deputies received a call around 5 p.m. Saturday from a woman who said she had been in an argument that turned physical with her boyfriend. Avoyelles Parish Sheriff Doug Anderson says Upon arrival at a residence, deputies found the woman had marks on her neck and she told them Few had choked her. Sheriff Anderson reports Few is also wanted in St. Landry Parish on at least two warrants for theft. Few remains in Avoyelles Parish Jail, his bond has yet to be set.

     

    State Police report an early Sunday morning single vehicle crash claimed the life of a Montgomery man. Troopers say 26 year old Dewayne Lambert was traveling at a high rate of speed on US Hwy 71, near the Winn/Grant Parish line when he lost control and struck a tree. Lambert, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    TOPS, criminal justice reform and proposals to raise the gasoline tax are some of the big topics up for discussion as the legislative session begins today. There are bills filed that raise the minimum GPA to qualify for the TOPS scholarship. There’s also a push to raise the state’s gasoline tax, which is currently 20-cents. Many lawmakers are concerned that the additional revenues will not go towards their intended purpose. Governor John Bel Edwards is pushing for criminal justice reform as part of his legislative agenda.

     

    Even Democrats are unsure about the Governor John Bel Edwards ambitious tax plan that he’s asking lawmakers to pass during the legislative session. Edwards’ proposal calls for a new tax that would be placed on the state’s largest businesses. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds heads the state Democratic Caucus and says getting the necessary 70 votes in the House will be a challenge. Lawmakers won’t have another chance to revisit the state’s tax code until the next fiscal session in 2019.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has some big priorities for the legislative session that begins Today. One of those is raising the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour, a hike he calls modest but meaningful. Edwards says in 2017, $7.25 an hour is inadequate to pay for the basic cost of living. Edwards adds several other states have already increased their minimum wage well above the federal minimum.

     

    Flood impacted homeowners can now fill out a survey to see if they qualify for federal assistance. The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer says this is a very important first step for homeowners who were affected by the March and August 2016 floods. She says they need to know what their recovery needs are now. The survey can be found online at restore.la.gov.

     

    A man from Baton Rouge is in big trouble for allegedly cashing his dead mother’s state retirement checks for 18 years. Attorney General Jeff Landry says 42-year-old Lester Joseph stole over $400 thousand from the state’s Teacher’s Retirement System. Joseph is charged with 201 counts of felony theft and two counts of identity theft.

     

    A bill to raise the minimum age of strippers to 21 is back again for this legislative session. A similar measure passed last year but the law was recently temporarily blocked by a judge over broad wording. That’s why Lake Charles Representative Ronnie Johns says he’s trying again. He says the judge didn’t seem to have an issue with the age restriction aspect.. Johns says many victims who are brought into Louisiana end up working in strip clubs. He says the new bill is a clarification of the original goal of putting some type of a dent into the human trafficking trade.

     

    Neil Gorsuch will be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s 101st associate justice today, and Louisiana’s junior U.S. Senator, John Kennedy, is praising Friday’s confirmation. Kennedy says Gorsuch is the right choice as he truly understands how to interpret the law, not make it.

     

    Former Sons of Guns reality TV star Will Hayden has been found guilty on both counts of aggravated rape for which he was on trial. The jury only took a little more than an hour to make the call, and the verdict was unanimous and comes with a mandatory life sentence. Hayden’s conviction is for raping two young girls over the course of two decades.

     

    The widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith is suing the man convicted of killing her husband. Racquel Smith filed in Orleans Parish Civil Court on Friday, seeking damages from Cardell Hayes. The 29-year-old is awaiting sentencing for murdering Smith and injuring Racquel. Hayes faces between 20 and 60 years in prison.

     

    A New Orleans lawmaker has filed a bill that would eliminate the state sales tax when purchasing feminine products. Senator J.P. Morrell’s measure would exempt items like tampons and diapers. Supporter of the bill, executive director of Lift Louisiana, Michelle Ehrenberg, says these products are not luxury items for women. Ehrenberg says this is common sense legislation.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU took a crucial road series behind a brilliant outing from Eric Walker in a 2-0 win over Arkansas Sunday. The Tigers lost the opening game of the series Friday night. But, Saturday was a different story. Arkansas carried a six-run lead, 8-2, into the top of the eighth inning. LSU won by two runs, 10-8, by the bottom of the ninth. The Tigers play UL-Lafayette Tuesday night.

     

    With just two games left to the season, the New Orleans Pelicans lost to the Golden State Warriors Saturday Night 101 to 123. The Pels visit the Lakers Tuesday night and finish up a disappointing season at Portland Wednesday.

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  • News for Friday 040717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The National Weather Service has confirmed at least 17 tornadoes hit Louisiana on Sunday and Monday during that severe weather outbreak. One of the twisters killed two people, including a three-year-old girl near Breaux Bridge. Injuries from twisters were also reported in Catahoula and Franklin Parish. Thankfully, there is no severe weather in the forecast for the rest of this week.

     

    A report from United Way finds 42 percent of Louisiana families can’t afford their basic needs. Dr. Stephanie Hoopes of Rutgers University authored the report. She says we’re seeing an increase in the number of families that are Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, or ALICE, because cost of living is going up and inflation is not. ALICE families make up at least 25 percent of the population in every parish.

     

    The State Department of Natural Resources says the controversial Bayou Bridge Pipeline project can move forward. DNR Spokesperson Patrick Courreges (Koo-rezge) says after a permit was submitted, the DNR took public comment and reviewed the plans. The state Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corp on Engineers still have to approve the pipeline.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards was at a Walgreens in Baton Rouge yesterday to announce the pharmacy will have safe drug disposals at a dozen of their stores around the state to dispose old prescriptions. Health officials say narcotic overdoses have surpassed homicide deaths in Orleans and East Baton Rouge.

     

    Louisiana Economic Development announces Lotte Chemical is moving their headquarters from Houston to Lake Charles. LED Secretary Don Pierson says Lotte already has a chemical plant under construction at the junction of Interstates 10 and 210. He says this is a big win for the Bayou State. Pierson says the company is also teaming up with Westlake Chemical to build a roughly $3 Billion Dollar Facility.

     

    Former Sons of Guns star Will Hayden took the witness stand today, denying allegations he sexually assaulted two preteen girls, only hours after a 15-year-old accuser became ill detailing the alleged rape. Hayden is being tried on two counts of aggravated rape of the girl, and another count of forcible rape from the early 90s

     

    The Louisiana Survey finds 91 percent of Louisianans support equal pay for equal work. But Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says there are gender and party differences in how people view gender discrimination. He says this could lead to some divide on equal pay legislation. A majority of Democrats believe there’s at least some discrimination, while only 11 percent of Republicans agree.

     

    The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State is calling for a slightly below-average 2017 Hurricane Season. They are predicting 11 named storms and four hurricanes. Lead Researcher Dr. Phil Klotzbach says the primary reason is the predicted development of an El Nino in the Pacific Ocean.

     

    A student who used to play football for UL-Lafayette but was kicked off the team in March, has been accused of raping someone in a residence hall. According to campus police, Artez Williams was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a charge of second degree rape with a $100,000 bond. He was reportedly removed from the Ragin Cajuns team last month for a violation of team rules.

     

    The Department of Transportation has broken ground on a project to widen a 7 mile section of Interstate 10 from I-49 to the Atchafalaya Basin. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says they are replacing the original pavement and widening it to three lanes. He says this will increase the interstate’s capacity for the 60-thouasnd people who drive this stretch of highway every day.

    Wilson says construction will begin in May, and the project is expected to take two years to complete.

     

    The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival gets underway today and lasts all weekend. The Festival is the second largest free festival in the state next to Mardi Gras. Also this weekend, the Boggy Bayou festival takes place in Pine Prairie.

     

    Sports..

     

    The LSU baseball team begins a huge series tonight in Fayetteville against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hogs are tied for first in the SEC West with a 7-2 record, while the Tigers are 5-4 and have lost their last two conference series. Hear the game tonight beginning at 6 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.

     

    After losing to the Nuggets earlier this week at home, the Pelicans take it to Denver tonight with the hopes of some revenge. Airtime 7:30 on ESPN1410 & 93.1 HD3.

     

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