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Local News
  • News for Thursday 072717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office reports a man and woman were found dead Tuesday in a Montgomery home. It’s believe 61 year old Ray Brown Killed 42 year old Rachel Flanagan and then turned the gun on himself. Officials say autopsies will be performed.

     

    Sammy Truck Auto Plaza and Casino in Bunkie was robbed early Tuesday morning. The FBI reports 4 armed masked men entered the facility just before 3am. Two of them pointed the guns at customers and demanded their wallets the other two kicked and broke a window that separated the casino floor from the teller's cage, making off with  most of the money from the cash drawer. The good news is nobody was injured. A reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to arrests and indictments in the case.

     

    Good news regarding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip on June 14th. The Congressman, who represents much of southeast Louisiana, has been discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital and he’ll begin a period of intensive inpatient rehabilitation, once completed, he can return to work.

     

    West Nile activity is picking up in Louisiana as the state Office of Public Health says seven individuals have been diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease this month. Three cases have been reported in the Baton Rouge area and the others are in in Bossier, Ouachita, Rapides and Morehouse. Two deaths were reported from the West Nile Virus in 2016 and so far none have been reported this year.

     

    Transgendered people will no longer be able to serve in the military after an announcement from President Trump. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham says this change makes sense. He says if someone decides to undergo a gender transformation surgery while enlisted, it could hinder their service to the military. But the ACLU of Louisiana says this is clear discrimination.

     

    A Gallup poll finds 51 percent of Louisiana voters approve of the president’s job performance. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says that’s not surprising since Mr. Trump carried Louisiana in the election with a whopping 58 percent.

     

    A vote from the Public Service Commission means Entergy Louisiana customers will have upgraded meters at their homes by 2021. Entergy spokesperson Greg Guilbeau says customers will be notified when crews will change their meters, but they should not see a noticeable disruption in service. Guilbeau says Entergy will start installing the new meters in 2019. He says this new technology will also help with outage detection. Cleco customers have had the, so called, smart meters for several years.

     

    A 10 and 12 year old are facing charges after they allegedly robbed a wireless store in Shreveport. Corporal Marcus Hines says video shows the youngsters breaking into the store on Monday night and taking phones and they returned again on Tuesday night.

    All of the stolen items were recovered.

     

    US Senator John Kennedy has filed amendments to the healthcare bill that would require abled bodied adults without children to work in order to receive Medicaid. The amendment would exclude people under age 19, those who participate in addiction treatment programs, and young adults in school and work training programs.

     

    Sports..

     

    Today, LSU head football Coach Ed Orgeron told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club quarterback Danny Etling will have to earn the job during preseason camp, which starts next week. He says the other quarterbacks on the roster will have a chance, including incoming freshman Myles Brennan.

     

    Former LSU Tiger Booger McFarland will be seen this fall on ABC as an in-studio analyst. McFarland has been working at the SEC Network since 2014.

     

    Can the Saints return to the playoffs this year? For the last three years, the Black and Gold have finished with a record of 7-and-9. Coach Sean Payton says he likes the additions they’ve made on defense and they are deep in the secondary, which should help out their offense. Payton says there’s a lot of work ahead for this team, because they play in a tough division and the beginning of the schedule is difficult.

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  • News for Wednesday 072617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A seven year old boy was found dead in Winnsboro Monday night after he was apparently electrocuted by his neighbor’s fence. Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb says the parents of Brandon McFarland reported him missing after he was last seen playing in his front yard. Authorities say McFarland tried to cross the fence to get his ball and was then electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. It appears the neighbor had electrified the fence because he was trying to prevent his dog from digging underneath it.

     

    As Congress is set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance program in September, the Natural Resources Defense Council is urging a shift to moving homeowners to a safer area rather than rebuilding properties that repeatedly flood. Rob Moore with the NRDC says they recommend that the National Flood Insurance Program provides homeowners a guaranteed buyout if they no longer want to rebuild. Louisiana leads the country for the number of repeated flooded properties. 

     

    The U.S. Senate is gearing up to debate the healthcare plan to replace Obamacare. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy proposed several amendments to the GOP replacement bill, with little support. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says as a doctor, Cassidy understands the risks of taking away health insurance. Senator John Kennedy has proudly stated he will vote to repeal the ACA even without a replacement.

     

    Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks’ campaign ad using audio from the shooting that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is making waves. Political analyst Silas Lee says Brooks might lose some middle of the road voters from this. The ad touts Brooks’ support for the second amendment. Scalise’s chief of staff tweeted that Brooks’ ad makes his stomach turn.

     

    An LSU study found the NBA All-Star game in February brought nearly 45 million dollars to the state. Co-author of the report Dr. Stephen Barnes says their report shows that local and state government should the necessary resources to attract big events like this to the Bayou State.

     

    More people than ever are lying on resumes to get a job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 85 percent of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or application, up from just 66 percent five years ago. UNO business professor Mark Rosa blames a competitive job market. Rosa says some applicants may only embellish a little bit, like adding a few years to their experience, while others go as far as to make diplomas from fake universities. But he says employers are getting better at catching them, because most things on a resume are verifiable. Rosa says the internet is helping employers weed out untruthful applicants, which increases the risk of getting caught.

     

    Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced his retirement Tuesday and will become a talk show host for WWL Radio in New Orleans. Normand has been a law enforcement officer since 1977 and is excited about his new career. Normand will replace Garland Robinette, who is also retiring.

     

    A new startup out of Lafayette called Short and Fat offers more clothing options to men with a different build. Co-founder Jeff Martin says men who are “vertically challenged and horizontally blessed” have to resort to shopping at big and tall stores. But they often end up trading one solution for more problems, like trying to find a shirt that fits around the neck. Short and Fat has a $15,000 goal on Kickstarter that Martin says will help them launch their own website.

     

    The Saints look to get back to the playoffs this season as they report for training camp. The New Orleans franchise has finished 7-and-9, the last three seasons. And NFL analyst Mike Detillier projects the Saints will once again be solid on offense with Quarterback Drew Brees at the helm. One of the big off-season additions was the signing of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Detillier says hopefully this means head coach Sean Payton will be more committed to the running game this year.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 072517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Gas prices are about 10 cents higher now than they were this time last year. That’s according to Don Redman with AAA, who says prices will continue to climb as we get closer to Labor Day. He says refineries are struggling to keep up with record high demand. The statewide average is about $2.08 a gallon.

     

    In a move that doesn’t surprise many in the Capital City, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie has announced his plans to retire immediately. Newly elected Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome promised a new top cop, in the hopes of easing tensions between the community and police following the shooting of Alton Sterling. The Mayor  has talked about firing Dabadie since she was elected, but civil service laws prevented her from doing so. Broome named Lt. Johnathan Dunnam as interim and says he is not going to apply for the permanent position.

     

    New Orleans and Baton Rouge are among the most segregated cities in the nation, according to a report from 24/7 Wall Street. New Orleans came in at number six on the list, and Baton Rouge ranked thirteenth. Editor-In-Chief Doug McIntyre says in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the black poverty rate is roughly 30 percent, while the white poverty rate is only about 10 percent. In New Orleans, about 43 percent of the black population lives in black neighborhoods, compared to 32 percent in Baton Rouge.

     

    A plane crash in Union Parish has claimed the life of a 73-year-old man from Monroe. Sheriff Dusty Gates says David Lockard’s small, private plane crashed into Lake D’Arbonne yesterday afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration is one site, trying to determine a cause for the crash.

     

    Calcasieu Parish authorities make an arrest in the 2009 murder of 19-year-old Sierra Bouziard. Her body was found on the side of the road in Moss Bluff. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says 31-year-old Blake Russel was taken into custody today after police work and DNA technology helped connect him to Bouziard’s murder. Russel was charged with second-degree murder.

     

    The Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a fatal hit and run crash in Rayne. They say 42-year-old Ivy Roger had been charged with driving while intoxicated five times before, and was booked last night after hitting a bicyclist and fleeing the scene of the crash. The victim, 61-year-old Ricky Joyner, died at the scene.

     

    A veteran New Orleans Police officer has been shot for the third time in his career. Authorities say Christopher Abbott is recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was in uniform working off-duty private security patrol when someone from a dark SUV fired one shot at him. The search is on for the shooter.

     

    USA Today’s Dan Wolken says former LSU head coach Les Miles is extremely interested in the head coaching vacancy at Ole Miss. Miles has reportedly made his interests known to influential Ole Miss boosters.

     

    National watchdog, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, believes the 100-thousand dollar fine against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for animal abuse at its New Iberia research center does not go far enough.  This is the fifth largest fine levied against a laboratory in the U.S. University spokesperson Kathleen Thames released a statement saying these incidents occurred as part of routine housing and care of nonhuman primates. But animal rights experts disagree, as there are multiple occurrences of monkeys being neglected or killed.

     

    The state Department of Environmental Quality will distribute 12 million dollars from the Volkswagen settlement to projects proposed by public agencies that offer long term benefits to the community. Thursday is the last day to submit a proposal.

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  • News for Monday 072417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police report a single vehicle crash claimed the lives of two people early Sunday morning on LA 112 when the driver lost control, left the highway and struck some trees. Troopers say the vehicle burst into flames. The identities of both occupants are being withheld, at this time, pending positive identification by DNA analysis. It is unknown, at this time, if seat belts were used by the occupants or if the driver was impaired.

    The investigation remains ongoing. 

     

    A former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lieutenant was officially indicted Friday after a July 2016 arrest for soliciting prostitutes, as well as other charges. An investigation revealed Stacy Bender, likely on duty at the time, had an ongoing relationship with a prostitute. Bender pleaded not guilty Friday to six counts of malfeasance in office, two counts of solicitation of prostitution, two counts of inciting prostitution, two counts of unlawful use of criminal records and one count of obstruction of justice.

     

    More than two thousand soldiers from Fort Polk will complete anti-terrorism operations during a deployment to Iraq this fall. Base spokesperson Kim Reischling says 60 percent of the base will deploy, leaving less than two thousand men and women of the combat team on the base. The 3rd Brigade Team has trained for this deployment for the past year.

     

    Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows Louisiana has added nearly 21-thousand jobs since June 2016 and the unemployment rate is down to a three-year low. State officials say Lake Charles continues to be the fastest growing job market with an increase in 55-hundred jobs over the last year. Baton Rouge, Monroe and New Orleans also saw job gains over the last year.

     

    Louisiana’s FastStart workforce training program has been named the best in the nation by Business Facilities magazine for a record eight years in a row. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this can help LED bring more companies to the Bayou State. Business Facilities also ranked Louisiana third for infrastructure, seventh for cost of doing business, ninth for exports and economic growth potential, and tenth for industrial electricity rates.

     

    The US has reached an agreement with China that will allow Louisiana and other states to export rice to China for the first time. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain expects Louisiana farmers will benefit from the new trade agreement. The US Department of Agriculture predicts China will import 5 million tons of rice in 2017 and 2018.

     

    A poll on the State Treasurer’s race finds it to be a wide open contest. The October 14th election features three well-funded Republicans, Angele Davis, Neil Riser and John Schroder. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillon says the GOP candidates are polling in the high single digits. There is a major Democrat in the race, New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards. Couvillon says in the horse race portion of the survey, Edwards polled at 18-percent, which is higher than the three GOP candidates. Couvillon says the biggest number from his poll is the undecided, which is at 60-percent…

     

    State Police report two Shreveport business owners have been arrested in connection to a multi-state human trafficking investigation. After receiving a call from the Missouri State Police alerting authorities, the owners the Palm Massage were arrested after police found evidence indicating that Chinese women were trafficked from the east coast to Louisiana and forced to work.

     

    Multiple agencies are investigating a fire in St. Tammany Parish in which a woman’s body was discovered. It was initially believed Nanette Krentel died in the fire, but autopsy shows she actually died of a gunshot wound. The investigation by both the sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office is heating up, as Krentel is the wife of the local fire chief.

     

    The Department of Children and Family Services launches a program aimed at improving the foster care system. On any given day, there are more than 4,000 Louisiana children in foster care. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they want to raise expectations for foster parents and caregivers through the new Quality Parenting Initiative. Walters says this initiative is about allowing foster parents to act more as parents instead of temporary caregivers, while expecting more of those foster parents.

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  • News for Friday 072117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A Vernon pan has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. 35 year old Rodney Bailey Jr is believed to be responsible for the death of 2 year old Willow Rain Molina-Renteria whom he was babysitting earlier this year. The child’s mother came home to find her daughter and Bailey, the babysitter, missing. The girl's body was found the next day in a remote area of Beauregard Parish, after Bailey had been taken into custody.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has written a letter to House Speaker Taylor Barras that says now is the time to discuss proposals to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in revenue that will expire July 1st, 2018. The governor suggests Barras form a working group of Republicans and Democrats. The governor also says he plans to hold meetings across the state to discuss how to address the fiscal cliff.

     

    Lt. Bruce Simmons is back to work at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, just over a year after being shot in the police ambush. Casey Rayborn Hicks with the sheriff’s office says Sheriff Sid Gautreaux welcomed Simmons back by promoting him from sergeant to lieutenant and his fellow deputies gave him a standing ovation.

     

    A lawsuit filed yesterday claims Louisiana prison officials blocked attorneys from investigating "alarming" allegations of inmate abuse, including claims that mentally ill prisoners were forced to kneel or bend down and bark like dogs to get food. The federal suit, filed by the Advocacy Center, said the New Orleans-based nonprofit also has received reports that disabled prisoners at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer have been slapped, punched, kicked, sprayed with mace and bleach and stripped of clothing during the winter. The suit seeks court-ordered access to the prison so attorneys can fully investigate conditions at the facility.

     

    Work began this week on water proofing the first six floors of the exterior of the State Capitol building. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says new technology gave engineers a closer look that pieces of limestone were coming loose from the 80-year-old building.

     

    The Jefferson Parish coroner says an elderly woman who died in Metairie was not strangled, but instead died of natural causes. The hunt was on for a suspect and a motive after the coroner said physical findings suggested strangulation. However, the evidence shows 84-year-old Pauline Balloon actually died of natural causes.

     

    A Crime Prevention Research Center report finds more women and minorities are receiving concealed handgun permits compared to white males. Wade Duty, co-owner of Precision Firearms in Baton Rouge says he’s seen the exact same trend in recent years. He credits this spike to the increased awareness of domestic violence issues.

    The national report finds permits for men grew 22-percent from 2012 to 2016 and permits for women increased by a whopping 93-percent.

     

    Louisiana elected officials says they are praying for Arizona Senator John McCain’s who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Neuro-Oncologist Dr. Aaron Mammoser with LSU Health New Orleans says glioblastoma is the most common primary brain tumor doctors see, and unfortunately it’s also the most aggressive. He says there are more than 15,000 of these tumors diagnosed every year in the US. Mammoser says the average survival is somewhere in the 16 to 18 month range. He says McCain will be surrounded by a remarkable medical staff at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

     

    A veteran lawman assigned to a New Orleans-based federal drug task force pleaded guilty Thursday to pocketing thousands of dollars seized during drug raids, admitting to significantly reduced charges in a clear indication that he is cooperating with a secretive U.S. Justice Department probe into law enforcement misconduct.  Karl Newman was a federally deputized member of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force that has been accused of shaking down informants and stealing and distributing drugs seized during federal narcotics investigations.

     

    Southern University Vice Chancellor Brandon Dumas has been fired following a tumultuous period for the university. But Dumas, who oversees student affairs and enrollment management, will appeal the termination at a hearing before the Southern University Board of Supervisors today. The top Southern administrator was placed on administrative leave on June 23, also without explanation from the university about why officials were taking that step.

     

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  • News for Thursday 072017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    It’s official, almost. A private company will begin running the Rapides Parish Coliseum in September. The Rapides Parish Police Jury agreed to terms with SMG Wednesday. The company, which specializes in managing publicly owned facilities. The terms include a $125,000 yearly management fee for SMG, up to $50,000 a year in performance incentives and a 15 percent commission on advertising and sales. SMG is deferring this year's fees to 2018 and 2019, and kicking in a $100,000 grant for marketing and incentive funds to entice acts to the Coliseum. The Police Jury also voted Wednesday to dissolve the Coliseum Authority on July 31, on the condition that the contract with SMG is finalized.

     

    The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents not to fall for a scam in which callers try to convince people they face fines for missing jury duty. Callers are telling people they can be arrested and prosecuted for not reporting for jury duty in federal and state courts. The callers, of course, tell people they can pay a fine at the federal courthouse in downtown Alexandria to clear up the issue. But the victim then will receive a follow-up phone call with an offer to expedite the issue if the victim buys a Green Dot Visa card. The sheriff's office reminds people that no law enforcement agency would try to collect a fine in this manner, and neither would the courts system.

     

    The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a heat advisory for the northern half of the state through 7 PM tonight. Forecasters indicate hot and humid conditions could lead to temperatures that climb into the mid to upper 90s with heat index values up 108 degrees. They urge residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

     

    Zachary Police say they have made an arrest in the case of a fatal home invasion that occurred Tuesday night. Chief David McDavid says the deceased, 20-year-old Damon Hayes Jr, allegedly broke into an elderly residents home with 20-year-old Jordale Carter and possibly two other suspects. The resident opened fire killing Hayes. Carter was booked on many charges including murder because his accomplice died during a crime. McDavid says two other suspects are still at large.

     

    Three months ahead of the October 14 election, more than half of the races have already been settled. Candidates in 41 races had no opponents, while 16 saw no candidates at all. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they saw a similar rate just over a year ago when 44 percent of the races were settled before reaching the ballot.

    Schedler blames the public’s frustration with government for the disinterest in running for public office. Plus, he says these positions don’t pay much and they come with a lot of stress.

     

    Could state Education Superintendent John White’s job be in jeopardy? Governor Edwards says White was not reconfirmed by the Senate during the session. Over a dozen people filed a lawsuit alleging White needed that confirmation, but a judge dismissed the case. The judge noted few elected officials have the legal authority to file a petition to fire White, and the governor is one of those.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards is not endorsing Damon Baldone in the public service commissioner race. Edwards appointed Baldone to serve as interim when Scott Angelle vacated the position in June. A longtime Democrat, Baldone qualified in the race as a Republican. Election Day is October 14.

     

    Louisiana’s Congressional delegation is getting behind an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Congressman Clay Higgins is one of the co-sponsors and the Republican from St. Landry Parish says the proposal would protect policyholders from skyrocketing premiums. The current National Flood Insurance Program expires on September 30th, which is why there is a big push to reauthorize the program for another six years. Higgins says it’s their desire to limit rate increases to no more than 10 percent a year.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards is pleased with job growth and creation in the Bayou State. On his monthly radio call in show, the governor said several sectors of the economy are improving, especially health care thanks to expansion of the Medicaid program.  Edwards says in January of 2016, the state’s unemployment rate was at 6.2-percent and the latest numbers show the unemployment rate in May of 2017 was 5.7-percent and predicts that will drop even lower when the June numbers are released.

     

    Authorities say an 84-year-old woman at a senior living center in Metairie was choked to death and the search is on for suspects and a motive. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office says the victim was found dead Tuesday night. Detectives at first thought it was a death by natural causes, but an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be strangulation.

     

    Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes announces his plans to retire. Holmes said in a news conference he has been thinking about returning to teaching for quite some time. News outlets had reported that Mayor Jamie Mayo asked for a resignation, but he says that’s absolutely not true. Mayo says Holmes will remain chief until July 30 while his office works to find someone to serve in the interim. Holmes has served as Monroe’s top cop since 2011.

     

    A man rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital missed the birth of his child after being arrested in Rapides Parish. Creola Police Chief Health Landry says one of his officers clocked a vehicle doing 108 in a 55 mph speed zone. He says the officer witnessed more dangerous driving as he attempted to pull over Zak Evans. Landry says the officer radioed ahead to Pineville, where officers set up a road block because Evans would not stop. He says when officers finally pulled over Evans and got him out of the vehicle, he was livid. An ambulance took Evans’ wife Bridget to a local hospital, and Evans was arrested on charges of flight from an office and careless operation, as well as ticketed for speeding.

     

    Female military veterans will have a new support system, as the state Department of Veterans Affairs is set to launch monthly Coffee Conversations in August. Female veterans outreach coordinator Alex Juan says this will offer a safe space for military women to talk about the issues affecting them. She says the discussions will be live streamed and open to all of female veterans in the state. Louisiana is home to more than 32,000 women veterans.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday federal funding for flood control projects in the Baton Rouge area. Edwards says 220 million dollars will go to local governments in the Capital region as part of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

    Edwards says each parish will submit a plan to FEMA before the money will be allocated.  He says some of the money will be used to buy back significantly damaged homes from last year’s flood and make it a green space.

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  • News for Wednesday 071917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Tropical Storm Don degenerated to an open wave in the far southeastern Caribbean Sea late Tuesday evening after spreading bands of heavy rain and gusty winds across the Windward Islands Tuesday. Don became the fourth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season Monday afternoon.

     

    A national poll finds the governor’s approval rating is up to 58 percent. Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat says being in the upper 50s is good for any governor, but especially a Democrat in a red state. Edwards’ approval rating was at 54 percent in May.

     

    Yesterday Governor  Edwards, along with a bipartisan group of governors, issued a statement recommending a bipartisan approach to improving the nation’s health care system that engages governors across the United States in the process. It indicates that they feel it’s critically important that governors are brought to the table to provide input, and that they stand ready to work with lawmakers in an open, bipartisan way to provide better insurance for all Americans.

     

    According to a WWL-TV report,  Efforts by a group of Louisiana State Troopers to have Gov. John Bel Edwards remove State Police Commissioner Calvin Braxton have reignited after the state police said Braxton used his position to ask for special treatment from law enforcement for him and his family. The incident is connected to the arrest of Braxton’s daughter for drunk driving last year in Natchitoches.  Braxton reportedly chastised the then Commander of Troop E saying the arresting trooper "should have given his daughter a professional courtesy as well as utilizing discretion in not arresting her."

     

    As the race for State Treasurer is underway, now might be a good time to start the conversation about eliminating the position for good. That’s according Jeremy Alford, the publisher of LaPolitics.com, who says this is the first time in 17 years there has been an open race for the seat. Alford says there are currently 16 states that don’t elect their state treasurer. Alford says many voters have come to view the post of state treasurer as an unofficial watchdog to second guess and review the governor and legislature’s spending.

     

    Three Louisiana cities are among the most stressed in the country, according to a new study from the personal finance website Wallethub. Shreveport came in at number ten on the list. Jill Gonzales with Wallethub says Shreveport did particularly badly in the health category. New Orleans, which came in at number 19, and 21st ranked Baton Rouge are also seeing similar problems related to health and work stress.

     

    A Baton Rouge man turned himself into police after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend. 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of shooting 41-year-old Monique Maxie, who later died because of her injuries. Police believe Antoine fired multiple shots at two people, and Maxie was struck exiting a car. The suspect faces charges of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, aggravated battery and illegal use of a weapon.

     

    Another court hearing has been set for a Shreveport man accused of killing a police officer. Grover Cannon is accused of shooting Officer Thomas LaValley six times in 2015. The 29-year-old had a hearing with a judge yesterday, and another is set for August 24. His trail is slated to begin in April of 2018.

     

    Tulane University is the latest Louisiana school to trademark its own brew, after partnering with NOLA Brewing Company to release the Green Wave Beer. Brewery president Kirk Coco says the partnership with Tulane Athletics was a no brainer because the school is such a big part of the city, and NOLA Brewing is all about New Orleans.

     

    Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves expressed his frustrations over the barrier between lanes of I-12 at a FAST Act hearing in Washington. Graves says the barrier seemed to contribute to flooding in communities north of I-12. He says something has to be done to address drainage concerns on the highway. Graves says there was about a six foot difference in water levels on the north and south sides of the interstate.

     

    The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation names LSU head gymnastics coach DD Breaux the Most Outstanding Coach in Louisiana. Breaux just completed her 40th season in 2017. She says being recognized by people outside of gymnastics means a lot. LSU finished as the NCAA National Runner-up for the 2nd straight year this past season.

     

    New Orleans has been named the number four city in the US by readers of Travel and Leisure. Kristian Sonnier with the New Orleans CVB says the magazine ranked cities based on six categories, including culture, friendliness, shopping, and overall value

    Sonnier says the CVB works around the clock to ensure New Orleans remains at the top of these rankings.

     

    No-frills discount carrier Frontier Airlines is adding direct flights from New Orleans to four U.S. cities as part of a broader expansion that will boost its network to 82 destinations. Starting in October, Frontier will offer nonstop service from Louis Armstrong International Airport to San Antonio and Austin, Texas to Long Island New York and Providence, Rhode Island. For a limited time, Frontier is selling introductory, one-way fares on some flights starting at $39.

     

    The Environmental Defense Fund is suing the Trump Administration for extending the red snapper season. Director of the Gulf of Mexico Oceans program, Robert Jones, says his hope is to get rid of fixed seasons because they do not benefit anglers. He says this suit is a catalyst for change towards more flexible access. The group fears overfishing will hurt the snapper population, but opponents say that shouldn’t be a problem.

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  • News for Tuesday 071817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham says  the Defense Budget bill passed late last week by the House, can put the US back on the path to military superiority. Abraham, who is Louisiana's only member of the House Armed Services Committee, says Louisiana's federal military bases and troops would thrive under the bill, which he said would stave off any reductions or closures in the state. The bill, passed Friday, still has a long way to go, it still needs to pass the Senate and President Trump must sign it before it becomes law.

     

    It’s been a full year since an out of state shooter gunned down six law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. Three of those officers lost their lives that day. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says even a year later, the tragedy has put officers on high alert.

    Deputy Brad Garafola, Officer Matthew Gerald, and Cpl. Montrell Jackson were killed in the ambush.

     

    East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier continues to defy the odds. Nick has made tremendous strides in his recovery after being shot three times by a gunman who ambushed Baton Rouge police officers. His father James says Nick underwent major abdominal surgery last week to help with the infection he’s been battling since the shooting. He says Nick is able to move his arms and legs, and about a month ago he even said the word hello out loud, which are strides Nick was never supposed to make.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has launched a new program called Constituent Services on the Geaux to give Louisiana residents a chance to meet face to face with someone from the office to answer questions. Constituent Services receives nearly 1,000 inquiries each week. But, the new program that launches today will take the program on the road. The Governor’s office says they are working with local and statewide elected officials to alert residents in their districts when the program is coming to their town.

     

    This summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be the largest ever and Louisiana aquatic life will suffer most burden of the effects. LSU Professor of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences Nancy Rabalais says an increased load of nitrates were carried by the Mississippi River during the spring leading to the hypoxia, or dead zone. She says this is a lack of oxygen in the water and it is deadly for marine life.

     

    The state’s Cyber Crime Unit has arrested a man on over 100 counts of child pornography. They say 27-year-old Cameron Fairley of Sulphur was booked on 80 counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children and 29 additional counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children under the age of 13.

     

    State officials are ramping up efforts to boost participation in the flood recovery survey. Pat Forbes with the Office of Community Development says they’re bring the forms to the ground level and going door to door. He says this is the first step for flood victims to get the aid they need. The survey can be found online at restore.la.gov.

     

    According to a recent study, sleep deprivation is costing Americans billions. Dr. Jake Rodi with Ochsner says people are more sleep deprived than ever. He says the biggest medical cause of sleep loss is sleep apnea. The study from Rand Europe finds the US loses over 1 million working days a year to sleep deprivation.

     

    A man is behind bars on an attempted murder charge after a heroin overdose on LSU campus. Police say the 25-year-old was found unresponsive in a bathroom stall with a needle in his arm. 33-year-old Joshua Brian is accused of giving the drug to the victim, and making no attempt to call for help after the overdose. The victim was resuscitated by EMS. Brian also faces a slew of drug-related charges.

     

    A Ouachita Parish man was arrested after allegedly punching a pregnant woman over meth. The victim reportedly told police she fell asleep in the car on the way to 47-year-old William Chapman’s residence. Police say she woke up to Chapman and an unknown woman punching her and yelling at her to return the 36 grams of methamphetamine they believe was stolen from the home. Chapman was booked on one count of simple battery.

     

    The Baton Rouge Police Department is looking for a man they say fatally shot and killed his ex-girlfriend. Sgt. Don Coppola says 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of opening fire on two individuals early Saturday morning. He says Antoine should be considered dangerous.

     

    A Kinder man has been arrested after he was caught dumping a load of kittens off on the side of the road. Deputy Christopher Ivey with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says they were able to retrieve the kittens from the ditch and all have been adopted.

     

    A St. Helena Parish grand jury has indicted a woman on a murder charge in the death of her sister, whose body was found in a shallow grave. 38-year-old Deborah Palmer of Amite, will face one count of second-degree murder in the death of her sister, 36-year-old Rebecca Blades of Greensburg.

     

    Beginning this month, children with incarcerated parents can get backpacks full of school supplies through the Louisiana Corrections Association’s Kits for Kidz program. Vice President Angela Whittaker says these kids are thrilled when they get their backpack full of goodies. $15-thousand worth of supplies will be handed out this year.

     

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  • News for Thursday 071317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is once again out of ICU nearly a month after being shot at a Congressional baseball game. Scalise underwent surgery last week for an infection and was readmitted to the intensive care unit, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He remains in serious condition.

     

    The state Department of Education announces 33% of students scored mastery on LEAP tests in 2017, which is the same as last year. But Superintendent John White says more must be done to close gaps between advantaged students and historically disadvantaged students. 45 percent of white students achieved mastery this year compared to 19 percent of black students.

     

    34 year old John Cupp of Dry Prong man is facing drug and other charges after a traffic stop. Cupp was reportedly driving left of center when he was pulled over. Crystal meth was found in the vehicle. Cupp was arrested and charged with possession of crystal meth with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving left of center and felony probation violation.

     

    A 21-year-old is facing a murder charge after police say she stabbed another female multiple times. Terrebonne Parish authorities say Miranda Gilley was arguing about a man with 24-year-old Jessica McGehee when a fight broke out. That’s when Gilley allegedly stabbed McGehee, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Three out of four farm recovery grant program meetings are scheduled for today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses as a result of the March and August 2016 floods. Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says during these meetings, the guidelines and application process for receiving recovery grant money will be discussed. The meetings take place today in Welsh, Crowley and Opelousas and more information can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website. Strain says meetings in North Louisiana are in the process of being scheduled

     

    The U.S. Geological Survey has found the long term rate of Louisiana wetland loss is slowing. Research Geographer Brady Couvillion says analysis finds rates of land area loss have continued to decrease since the 1970s. He says one possible reason for this is the lack of major hurricane activity over the past 8 years. About half of the country’s wetlands have been lost over the last 200 years, with the greatest losses in Louisiana where an area the size of Delaware has been lost since the 1930s. The report does point out that these findings do not indicate that coastal wetland loss has ceased to be a serious issue

     

    The Waitr app is making its debut in Monroe today. The food delivery service has become wildly popular in south Louisiana and other states after its 2015 launch in Lake Charles and is picking up steam here in Cenla.  Co-founder and Launch Director Addison Killebrew says after adding new markets like Baton Rouge, they’re thrilled to put another Waitr location on the map. Killebrew says they’re eager to expand their options in Monroe, and they hope to have over 100 restaurants in the system in the near future.

     

    A Vermilion Parish man will spend 45 days in federal prison and pay a $2500 fine for killing a whooping crane in 2014. Adam Einck with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they offered a $10,000 reward for information when the protected bird was found shot, and multiple people reported 21-year-old Lane Thibodeaux.

     

    The August recess for the US Senate has been delayed by two weeks, and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy is glad lawmakers can keep working. He says the Senate hasn’t accomplished much, and he would feel guilty about taking four weeks off work.

    Kennedy and others urged Senate leadership to cancel the recess, but he says he’ll settle for meeting halfway.

     

    A one-year-old is in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle in Walker. Authorities say the toddler was transported to an area hospital. The child has been identified as Tavein Parker, and the child’s family says he was struck on private property in Livingston Parish. The investigation is ongoing as police try to piece together what led to this tragic incident.

     

    Former “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden pleaded no contest to two rape charges in Livingston Parish today. Hayden was sentenced to life in prison for an aggravated rape charge and 10 years for aggravated incest. The new sentences come after Hayden received a life sentence in April for aggravated rape and forcible rape in East Baton Rouge Parish.

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  • News for Wednesday 071217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The APD has charged a 17-year-old in connection with the fatal Friday shooting of another teen in Alexandria.  Tykarius Laneheart has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of another 17-year-old just after noon Friday in the 70 block of Louisiana Avenue. A warrant was issued for Laneheart, an Alexandria resident, on Monday, and he surrendered to detectives on Tuesday.  He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, as was 32-year-old Shondrika Laneheart, also of Alexandria. She was charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.

     

    The public boat launching ramps (operated by the Red River Waterway Commission) located in Grant, Rapides, and Avoyelles Parishes have been closed due to high water caused by heavy rainfall. These include the ramps at the Colfax, Red Bayou, Boyce, Fort Buhlow, Alexandria Levee Park, Poland, Ben Routh, and Brouillette recreation areas. The boat launches will be re-opened as soon as conditions permit the public to utilize the ramps safely. For up-to-the minute information, visit www.redriverwaterway.com

     

    State Troop E has a new man in charge. Jason A. Smith was appointed to the position of Captain over Troop E. on Monday.  Prior to his appointment, Captain Smith held the rank of Lieutenant.  Troop E is headquartered in Alexandria and serves 10 parishes

     

    The girlfriend of the man who was fatally shot by an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been released from jail after posting $75,000 bond. State Police say 21-year-old Dequince Brown attacked the deputy during the struggle with 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory who was killed in the incident. Brown’s lawyer, Joe Long, says Guillory was begging for his life when he was shot. State Police say they are reviewing dash cam video of the incident.

     

    Qualifying begins today for the October election. Yesterday New Orleans Representative Walt Leger announced he will not run to be the next mayor of the city. He said in an email that, “despite a clear path to victory” he wants to keep his public service focused on working hard and studying issues within the state legislature. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell also said his ongoing work in the capitol will keep him out of City Hall.

     

    Qualifying begins today for the state treasurer race, after John Kennedy vacated the office to become a US Senator. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this is the first time this post has been open since 2000, so it should be interesting. He says the fact that Kenner Representative Julie Stokes dropped out, could open it up to other contenders. Cross says many politicians see this office as a stepping stone to higher positions, as Kennedy did when he moved to the US Senate.

     

    Small business optimism is declining as federal lawmakers are gridlocked on plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. That’s according to a survey from the National Federation for Independent Business. State director Dawn Starns says businesses can’t plan for the future with all the uncertainty on the federal level.

     

    Louisiana drivers are jerks on the road according to a driving awareness campaign that promotes courteous driving. Speeding up to prevent someone from passing us and failing to use our turn signals puts us 4th worst in the US.

     

    A grand jury handed down a murder indictment against 25-year-old Christopher Landry of Denham Springs, who is accused of killing a sensual massage therapist at his home last month. Landry reportedly told authorities he strangled 24-year-old Kayla Denham because she tried to steal his wallet. Landry is being held in the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a $250-thousand bond.

     

    An Amite Walmart that was set on fire last weekend sustained over a million dollars in damage. That’s according to Sheriff Daniel Edwards, who says much of the damage was to the inventory in the store, not structural damage to the building. He says 45-year-old Larry Schouest of Hammond combined chemicals to start the fire. Edwards says the chemical smoke from the fire ruined all of the contents in the building. Schouest is accused of setting a string of fires in south Louisiana Walmart’s, beginning in Ponchatoula on June 27. From there, Schouest allegedly set fire to the Amite Walmart and one in Hammond on Saturday.

     

    Elio Motors in northwest Louisiana has been fined over half a million dollars by the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission who says the three-wheel car making company violated state law. Commission spokesman Keith Marcotte told KEEL in Shreveport that vehicle makers or sellers in Louisiana have to have a manufacturers and dealers license. Elio has yet to produce a vehicle, but they have a pre-purchase program which the commission says is breaking laws against car companies selling directly to consumers. Attorneys for Elio said they view their system as taking reservations for vehicles. The $545,000 fine was handed down Monday.

     

    New Orleans-based Glo Airlines has decided to suspend service beginning Saturday while it searches for a new operator. GLO Founder and CEO Trey Fayard said he will return to its Mid-South cities once the right partner is found.

     

    The Jeanerette Police Department announces one of their officers has been arrested on a Medicaid fraud warrant out of East Baton Rouge by officials with the state Attorney General’s Office. She is identified as 38-year-old Shekeitha Lewis. Lewis has been placed on administrative leave. An Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy was booked on the same charges and fired according to reports.

     

    The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a 10 foot tall yard giraffe that was stolen from a local storefront. Authorities say the statue weighs 200 pounds and is valued at one thousand dollars. Anyone with information on the missing giraffe is encouraged to contact police.

     

    It looks as though this year will be a good one for the brown shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA’s annual forecast, the harvest is expected to yield 44.2 million pounds, which is above the predicted value for the last two years.

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  • News for Tuesday 071117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Since 2001, the state’s electorate has become more diverse. That’s according to John Couvillion with JMC Analytics and Polling. He says black voter registration comprised of 29-percent of the electorate at the start of President George W. Bush’s administration and is 31-percent today, but there has been much bigger gains with other racial groups.

    Couvillion says his research finds there’s been a decline in white Democrats and a steady gain in registered Republicans and Independents.

     

    Former Governor Bobby Jindal’s ex-budget chief, Angele Davis, joins the pool of candidates running for state treasurer. Republican state senator Neil Riser, Republican former state representative John Schroder and Democratic attorney Derrick Edwards are the others seeking the post vacated by U.S. Senator John Kennedy. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says none of the candidates are known statewide. Qualifying begins tomorrow.

     

    State Police has released more details about last week’s fatal shooting involving an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy. Authorities says the man who was fatally shot, 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory, allegedly stole a four-wheeler and struck the Deputy in the head during a traffic stop. L-S-P says during a struggle, is when the Deputy fatally shot Guillory.

     

    A 16-year-old has been arrested after allegedly beating an elderly couple with a hammer inside their Kenner home. Police responded after a 70-year-old woman walked to her neighbor’s home covered in blood asking for help for she and her 89-year-old husband. Kenner Police Lt. Brian McGregor says the teen also stole the victims’ vehicle. McGregor says teen was upset that the elderly couple he performed odd jobs for did not allow him to borrow their car.

     

    65% of high school seniors submitted FAFSA paperwork this year compared to 58% last year. Senior Educational Technology consultant with the department of ed, Stephanie Marcum, says the numbers should continue to grow, because it will be a requirement next year for all seniors to complete the forms for federal financial aid..

     

    The U.S. Senate is waiting on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make revisions to proposed legislation that would repeal and replace the nation’s health care law. Republican Bill Cassidy says the initial Senate healthcare plan doesn’t have enough support, so he hopes McConnell uses some of the ideas the senior Senator from Louisiana suggested months ago. Cassidy says since there are 52 Republicans in the US Senate, they need to come up with a bill that has the support of some Democrats.

    President Trump is urging Congress to pass a health care bill before they leave for the August recess.

     

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana has a new way for its members to make an informed decision when it comes to getting a medical procedure. It’s called Smart Shopper and David Hochheiser (Ho-heiser) says it’s available on the Blue Cross website. Hochheiser says if a customer needs an MRI they can use SmartShopper and they’ll likely notice a wide range in costs for the same medical service.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Workforce Commission will host a series of workforce summits as they seek to hire qualified individuals to work with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Executive Management Officer for the Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Tiffany Dickerson says summits are scheduled to take place Thursday in Lafayette and Friday in Alexandria. Dickerson says the outcome of the summits is to streamline and improve the hiring practices of providers, bring down onboarding costs and identify training opportunities.

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  • News for Monday 071017

    By Dave Graichen

     

     

    One of the officers wounded in the deadly ambush on cops in Baton Rouge last year is suing leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. On July 17th, 2016, 29-year-old Gavin Long killed three officers and wounded three others in a targeted attack. The suit accuses Black Lives Matter of inciting violence. But legal analyst Tim Meche doesn’t see this going far. The lawyer for one of the defendants says Black Lives Matter doesn’t have anything to sue.

     

    Congressman Ralph Abraham has secured a $1.5 million federal grant to boost the CenturyLink-IBM Century Village project in Monroe. The funding would create a new access road that would link Century Village and IBM. Abraham said the grant could stimulate up to $20 million in economic development and create at least 80 new jobs.

     

    Sen. Bill Cassidy says the initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health law is probably "dead" and President Donald Trump's proposal to just repeal it appears to be a "non-starter".  At this point Cassidy says They don't know what the plan is, But Clearly  the draft plan is dead. Sen. John McCain said Sunday it may now be time for Republicans to come up with a new proposal with support from Democrats.

     

    Abortions in the Bayou State have decreased by 4-percent from 2015 to 2016, according to numbers by the state Department of Health. Nearly 9-thousand abortions were performed in 2016 down from 93-hundred in 2015 and just over 10-thousand abortions reported in 2014. According to the data, women categorized as “nonwhite” accounted for 70-percent of abortions performed in 2016, 35 were under the age of 15.

     

    The oil and gas industry seems to be coming back slowly but surely. The number of rigs in the US increased by 12 this week to 952, including 2 in Louisiana. Only 440 rigs were active the prior year.

     

    Raising Cane’s has been named the fastest-growing fast food chain in the US by Nation’s Restaurant News. Cane’s has nearly 330 locations, including 50 in Louisiana.

     

    The State Police report a payroll supervisor bilked the Louisiana Supreme Court of $116,000 by setting up an elaborate web of fake judicial appointments and far-flung bank accounts. Authorities say 38 year old Misty Wood embezzled the money in a string of transactions between April 2016 and February 2017.  The fraud was discovered after the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office conducted a routine audit of pay records.

     

    Four jockeys from Texas have been arrested by State Police for a hazing incident that took place in a locker room at Delta Downs race track in Vinton. Authorities say they shaved off a juvenile male’s eyebrow and threw hot sauce on his genitals. The victim was a race track employee.

     

    The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office says a volunteer firefighter was killed when responding to a blaze in the Mt. Hermon area. They say 54-year-old Ronda Varnado of Franklinton was in a fully loaded firetruck when it ran off the road then tipped causing the water tank to crash into the cab.

     

    Have you ever thought of your pets as being fat or skinny? A recent State of Pet Health report found Louisiana ranks No. 5 for non-obese dogs, and No.6 for slim cats. But Dr. Nancy Welborn with the LSU School Of Veterinary Medicine says while your pet may not be obese, even an overweight furry friend faces serious health risks. The report found that one in three pets who visited vets in 2016 was overweight or obese.

     

    LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron returns to SEC Football Media Day today  in Hoover, Alabama. Orgeron’s last appearance was in 2007 as the head coach of Ole Miss. The Rebels went 3-9 that year and Orgeron was fired. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Coach O will be asked numerous times today how he’s changed as a coach.

     

    There was some hope pitcher Alex Lange would return to LSU for his senior season, because he had yet to sign a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted him in the first round. But Lange and the World Champs got a deal done before a 4 PM deadline Friday.

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  • News for Friday 070717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    District 79 State Representative Julie Stokes has announced she will no longer make a run for State Treasurer because she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her doctors have determined she must undergo at least five months of chemotherapy. Qualifying for the race is next week, Republican state legislators John Schroder and Neil Riser are the main candidates.

     

    U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in the hospital in serious condition following surgery Thursday to try to treat infection related to the wounds he sustained in a mass shooting last month. Officials with the MedStar medical center in Washington released a statement yesterday saying the Congressman tolerated the procedure well," adding that further updates would be provided as appropriate. The 51 year old Scalise  was readmitted to the intensive care unit at the Washington, D.C. hospital on Wednesday and his condition downgraded from "fair" to "serious."

     

    The Tax Foundation has updated its national review of sales tax rates and  Louisiana continues to rank number one with a combined state and local sales tax rate averaging just above 10-percent. Director of state projects for the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says the Bayou State has high sales taxes, because its property taxes are lower than most states thanks to the Homestead Exemption. Drenkard says when you combine sales, property and income taxes, Louisiana is one of the least tax burdened states in the country.

     

    As we approach the one-year anniversary of the deadly August south Louisiana flood, the head of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, Pat Forbes, says they are ramping up on spending the federal grant money designed to help flood victims get back in their homes. Forbes says a majority of grants that have been handed out, went to individuals who have finished rebuilding.

     

    Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies arrested two women and a man participating in a healthcare protest involving about 20 people at U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's offices in Metairie on Thursday morning. Deputies booked the trio on a count of remaining in a place after being forbidden, a form of criminal trespassing in Louisiana. That offense is a misdemeanor that can carry up to six months in jail as well as a maximum fine of $500.

     

    Louisiana will pay $5.4 million to the federal government to settle a debt tied to former Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of the charity hospital system, far less than the $190 million federal officials originally said the state owed, under a settlement released Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2014 ordered Louisiana to repay the money for pieces of the initial privatization deals that the Medicaid agency, known as CMS, rejected as improper. Louisiana officials have been haggling over repayment terms ever since.

     

    Education leaders are letting teachers and students know what policy changes can be expected when they head back to class in August. Debbie Meaux, Louisiana Association of Educators President, says a new law was recently signed by the governor that would limit testing time, to 2% of a student’s learning time. Meaux also says that teachers and administrators will be engaging with a new accountability system.

     

    A two-year-old Lockport boy is another child who has died in a rash of drownings around Louisiana. Lt. Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says around noon on the 4th of July deputies responded to a call of a child found unresponsive in the bottom of a pool. He says the family of little Kevin Cortez III was visiting the home. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

     

    An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy has been injured and one man is dead after an officer involved shooting in Mamou. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says the deputy was called to investigate an attempted burglary when an altercation took place between the officer and 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory and Guillory was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agents arrested five boaters for allegedly operating their vessel while intoxicated during their Operation Dry Water Weekend. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents were on patrol during the fourth of July holiday with a heightened awareness for impaired boat operators. Those arrested ranged in ages from 21 to 47.

     

    The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office announces an arrest in the death of a nine-month-old infant. 28-year-old Benjamin Joseph Carter Senior of Hammond has been charged with second-degree murder. An autopsy shows the toddler died from blunt force trauma.

     

     

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU pitcher Eric Walker will not pitch in 2018 as he needs Tommy John Surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his throwing elbow. Recovery time is usually one year. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Walker’s injury means there will be three new weekend starters for the 2018 season. Walker first complained of discomfort in his forearm before the College World Series.

     

    Michael Federico was introduced as ULM’s new head baseball coach today. The former assistant at Southern Miss will have the difficult task of building a program that won just 12 games last season. There are reports that Christian Ostrander is leaving Louisiana Tech to replace Federico as Southern Miss’ pitching coach.

     

    You can add another layer to the fuming rivalry between LSU and Florida on the gridiron. The Gators have announced their homecoming game will be the LSU game on October 6th.

     

    Many running back AJ Carter can’t make his mind on where he wants to play football in college. He originally committed to UCLA, then switched his commitment to LSU and now he’s switched back to UCLA

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  • News for Thursday 070617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have updated their annual hurricane season predictions, calling for above average activity for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. CSU forecasters are calling for 15 named storms, eight of which will become hurricanes. Three of those classified as major.

     

    On the one-year anniversary of Alton Sterling’s death, seven New Black Panther Party members were arrested while protesting outside of the Baton Rouge Police headquarters. Police say members of the party tried to storm the police barricade and one party member allegedly had a Taser in his hand. Those arrested are facing misdemeanor charges.

     

    Minden Representative Gene Reynolds has decided not to step down from his position as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus, saying he will finish out his term as chairman. He says many people from both parties reached out and asked him to stay on and make sure the person who moves into the position knows what all goes on behind the scenes.

     

    It looks as there is a mayoral shift moving through the state as five of Louisiana’s biggest cities have experienced a change in power over the last two years. That’s according to, Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com, who says Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and soon to be New Orleans have recently seen a change. Alford says the most interesting thing about these elections is only one candidate was able to flip a seat, Republican Nic Hunter replaced Democrat Randy Roach in Lake Charles. He says New Orleans residents will select a new mayor in the fall.

     

    Days after an interview that suggested she was preparing for a last-minute entry into the New Orleans mayor's race, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has told supporters she won't be jumping in after all. Peterson posted her decision on social media Wednesday.

    Peterson, head of the state Democratic Party and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, has long been seen as a potential contender to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who can't run for re-election because of term limits.

     

    Sometimes what’s lost is best lost. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office reports a suitcase checked into the lost and found today at Louis Armstrong Int’l airport in New Orleans. Inside, close to 10 pounds of marijuana.  Deputies were called to the airport and a short time later arrested 3 people who showed up to came the suitcase.

     

    A two-year-old boy is now the fourth child to die in a rash of drownings in Tangipahoa Parish. The state Department of Children and Family Services is advising parents of water safety during the summer months. Mona Michelli with the DCFS Division of Child Welfare says this is a time to be vigilant. Louisiana had the second highest rate of drownings in the nation from 2013 to 2015 with 71 children dying, according to the state Health Department.

     

    South Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins has apologized for posting a video inside a gas chamber used by Nazis. In the five-minute video, Higgins said he wanted to use the back drop of a prison camp to show Americans why our military must be invincible. But the director of a global Holocaust research center says making a political statement where thousands of Jews were killed is not appropriate. The video has been taken down.

     

    Louisiana is now on board with Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Utah and Washington, as Governor Edwards signed into law a measure to allow students to bring sunscreen to school. Supporters hope this law brings awareness to the dangers of skin cancer, along with the choice to bring sunscreen to school. School districts across the country have in place a ban on any non-prescription medication being brought to school. This law would make it okay in the case of sunscreen.

     

    Arguments were heard yesterday before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Christopher Ware, a Rastafarian inmate with dreadlocks, who doesn’t want to cut his hair as prison rules state,  because he says it goes against his religious beliefs. ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman says religious discrimination against prisoners is prohibited.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU pitcher Eric Walker will meet with a physician with the Texas Rangers tomorrow. Walker’s season ended during the College World Series, because of discomfort in his throwing arm. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says if the injury to Walker keeps him out of the 2018 season or forces him to miss an extended period of time, it opens another spot in the weekend rotation.

     

    In NBA news…free-agent guard Nick Young has signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. The Pelicans fron office was interested in signing the 32-year-old after he averaged 13 points a game for the Lakers a season ago.

     

    Former Saints Kicker Morten Andersen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month. It was announced today that his son will present his Dad in the Hall.

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  • News for Wednesday 070517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Secretary of State Tom Schedler will not turn over voter identification information as requested by President Donald Trump’s voting commission. Schedler says voter information like Social Security numbers, birth dates and mother’s maiden name should remain private. The Republican calls the request by Trump’s commission an overreach and politically motivated. Schedler says state law allows anyone to purchase limited voter information, which would include names, party registrations, voter histories, but not how a person votes.

     

    A suspect who shot at a sheriff’s deputy in Ouachita Parish has been taken into custody. The shooting happened at about 4:30 Tuesday morning in south Monroe during a traffic stop. A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Office says the deputy was not hit when two shots were fired.

     

    U.S. Senator John Kennedy is among 10 Senate Republicans calling for the cancellation of the August recess. Kennedy says Congress has three months to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires September 30th. He says a budget and 12 appropriations bills before that date also has to be approved to avoid a government shutdown. No word if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will cancel the August recess.

     

    About 38-thousand state workers will see a pay raise this fiscal year. The higher wages will cost the state an additional 48-million dollars, but state civil service director Byron Decoteau says the raises combat a high turnover rate in state government, which is also costly. Decoteau says prison guards and probation officers are among the state workers that will see an even higher pay on January 2nd.

     

    The state department of transportation is mourning the loss of one its employees who was killed while fixing potholes near New Iberia. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says 63-year-old Paul Featherston was standing behind a dump truck when he was struck. The State Police are investigating the fatal accident. At this time, no charges have been filed against the 88-year-old driver.

     

    Sgt. Staty Lewis with the St. John Parish Sheriff’s office is lucky to be alive after he was hit by a drunk driver. Sheriff Mike Tregre says 29-year-old Davis McGirt of Baton Rouge was travelling at high speeds when he slammed into the police unit. McGirt is charged with DWI, vehicular negligent injury, and careless operation. Lewis was assisting with an accident on the side of I-10 when he was hit. He was airlifted to an area hospital and treated for head, neck, and back injuries.

     

    A traffic stop by the Grant Parish Sheriff’s led to the arrest of a Pollock man for several drug charges. 36 year old Tillman Terrebonne, Jr was arrested for Possession of C.D.S. crystal meth, Possession of Hydrocodone, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and a Probation Violation.

     

    Public school students will learn to write cursive this year, as a law by Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell has gone into effect. Mizell pushed the bill through last year because she was worried kids won’t be able to sign their names or read cursive writing. The requirement was delayed until this year to give schools time to prepare.

     

    Farmers and ranchers impacted by last year’s floods could be eligible for recovery grants. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says the state has $10 million to help affected farmers. He says to qualify, you must have had at least $10,000 in uninsured losses.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU announces outfielder Antoine Duplantis will wear the jersey number eight next year. That jersey goes to the upperclassman who exemplifies leadership and dedication to the program.

     

    The LSU men’s basketball program recently picked a verbal commitment from one of the top point guards in the country. Ja’Vonte Smart from Scotlandville High School in Baton Rouge has chosen to stay home and play for the Tigers.

     

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  • News for Friday 063017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Plastipak Packaging announces its adding production lines at its manufacturing facility in Pineville. Plastipak makes plastic containers for food, beverage and consumer products. The state’s economic development office says Plastipak’s 15 million dollar investment will result in over 30 new direct and indirect jobs.

     

    Louisiana ranks ninth in the country for structurally deficient rural bridges, according to the transportation research group TRIP. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says that’s not surprising, as he just had to close a bridge in Vernon Parish.

    The report found 15-percent of rural bridges in Louisiana need to be repaired or replaced.

     

    LSU Health New Orleans unveils a plan to reduce cancer deaths over the next five years. Director of the Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control program Donna Williams says with expanded access to Medicaid more individuals should get screened and they’re also working in communities to reduce factors that contribute to cancer, like obesity and smoking. Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation in cancer deaths.

     

    A jury trial is set for December in the case against a Louisiana private investigator accused of trying to illegally obtain Donald Trump's tax returns before last year's presidential election. Jordan Hamlett's trial is scheduled to start Dec. 4. U.S. District Judge James Brady set that trial date on Thursday. Earlier this month, Brady refused to suppress statements that Hamlett allegedly made to federal agents before his arrest on a charge he misused a Social Security number.

     

    The US has reached a new sugar trade agreement with Mexico. General Manager of the American Sugarcane League Jim Simon says Mexico flooded the US market with subsidized sugar, and this agreement should end Mexico’s illegal dumping practices.

    Simon says the market flooding deflated prices, which hurts local farmers.

     

    The state office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control suspends the alcohol permit for Reggie’s Bar, a popular establishment near the LSU campus. On Monday night, Baton Rouge police arrested 37 individuals in a sting operation for underage drinking.

     

    Schools.com ranks the University of Louisiana at Monroe the best four year college in the state. ULM president Dr. Nick Bruno says it is exciting and satisfying to be recognized this way. He says ULM is a small institution that has a very big attitude.

    The ratings are based on factors like affordability and variety of degree programs.

     

    East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore will provide more details today on last July’s ambush on police officers in Baton Rouge. Moore has called a 10 AM press conference in which more details will be learned about Gavin Eugene Long, the gunman who ended up killing three officers and injuring three others. Former East Baton Rouge prosecutor Prem Burns says she’s not sure how those details would serve the community. She says she doesn’t understand the need for a media event because the ambush is still painful to many people.

     

    Today a north Louisiana legend is being laid to rest, as funeral services for Johnny Huntsman begin today at 2 p.m. in Oak Grove. Huntsman opened the first Johnny’s Pizza House in 1967 in Monroe, which has grown into an empire spanning several states.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU baseball had its most successful season since winning the national championship in 2009 and Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the pieces are in place to make it to Omaha again next year. Moran says the biggest question is with the starting rotation as the Tigers top two starters, Alex Lange and Jared Poche, are moving on to pro ball.

     

    This year’s College World Series set numerous multi-year total live audience viewership highs, and shattered streaming records over the course of the 10-day, 16-game event, according to LSU. The CWS Finals featuring the Tigers and Florida was the second most watched two-game finals ever, and when LSU lost in game 2, viewership peaked at more than 2.6 million people.

     

    Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is launching a co-ed youth flag football league called Football N America that he says would be an alternative to tackle football. He says flag football is a safe, fun and friendly way to get your kids involved with the sport.

    Registration begins today at PlayFNA.com.

     

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  • News for Thursday 062917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    At the request of President Trump, Governor John Bel Edwards has been reappointed to the council of Governors. The Governor made the announcement earlier in the week saying it was a true honor and that he is looking forward to continuing to working alongside other dedicated governors in service to our nation. Edwards said the Republican president once called him "his favorite Democrat," though the governor admitted he didn't know whether the president was joking or not.

     

    The RPSO is reminding people who are planning to shoot off fireworks this holiday weekend, there are a few rules you need to be aware of… Fireworks are prohibited within 25 yards of a public road or any residential sub-division. Fireworks are also prohibited within 50 yards of a church or school. Also, be sure to check with your local laws if you live INSIDE city limits.

     

    The National Safety Council ranks Louisiana the tenth safest state in the country overall, but the state receives an F rating for workplace safety. President and CEO Deborah Hersman says the state has lots of improvement to make in this category. Louisiana earned an A grade for roadway safety and a C for home and community safety and a “C” grade when it comes to safety policies and legislation that can help reduce preventable deaths.

     

    When is a Police Chase not worth the risk… A two-year-old is among the three dead after a car chase ended with a crash in New Orleans east. Louisiana State Police spokesperson, Trooper Melissa Matey, says state police units attempted to stop the vehicle in downtown New Orleans for a stolen license plate. Matey says the driver fled the scene and collided with a truck and ran off the road. Two people were thrown from the vehicle, including the 2-year-old. Both were killed. Matey says a third person took their own life after the crash.

     

    The Louisiana Public Service Commission unanimously approved construction for a new Entergy plant in Westlake. Entergy spokesperson Michael Burns customer savings are expected to exceed the $872 million cost of the plant in less than a decade. Burns says the new plant will also be cleaner and more energy efficient than older natural gas-fired plants. The plant should be up and running by June of 2020

     

    All four suspects in the brutal beating and robbery in New Orleans are behind bars. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says it was only a matter of time before these men were tracked down. Footage of the incident went viral, which helped law enforcement identify and locate the suspects. Police records indicate one of the victims suffered a serious brain injury. The other victim is going to be okay.

     

    A Minden woman will spend 40 years in prison for fatally shooting her 22-year-old son while she was intoxicated. Forty-eight-year-old Dora Blake was sentenced Tuesday for shooting her son in the back of the head as he drove her home after she was kicked out of a casino.

     

    Residents of St. John the Baptist Parish could have an increased risk of cancer, as the EPA finds the Denka Performance Elastomer plant in Laplace is releasing carcinogens into the air. Air testing found residents had been subjected to 88 times the concentration of chloroprene the EPA allows. EPA inspectors found 31 valve leaks in the plant, which did not have the proper tools to measure the chemical emissions. Denka officials could face criminal charges if the company is determined to have been negligent.

     

    Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says he’s filed a common-sense approach to reforming the food stamp program that would impact able-bodied adults without dependents. Graves says his bill would connect SNAP recipients with job search and job training programs to help them find work opportunities. Graves says the national debt is more than $20 trillion, and a majority of that is a result of these welfare programs. He says we need to incentivize people to work, not to stay home.

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  • News for Wednesday 062817

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The baseball season is over for LSU as they dropped game two of the College World Series Championships to Florida. The final, 6 to 1 . The win, was the first in the in the school’s history. Florida joins Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA as the only schools to have won a national championship in baseball, football and basketball.  

     

    Lawyers representing Alton Sterling’s children have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baton Rouge, it’s police department and police chief and the two white police officers involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of the black man. Attorney Chris Stewart says a culture of racial bias among Baton Rouge cops fueled the shooting

    The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages,  was filed in state court. A federal investigation has already determined no criminal charges should be brought against the officers.

     

    Jimmy D. Long Sr. School of Math, Science, and the Arts is the new official name of the Natchitoches high school, as the governor signed the bill adding the name of the late state lawmaker to the school’s title. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson authored the legislation. Thompson says there will be no expense associated with the name change. Long is one of the school’s founding fathers.

     

    For the third year in a row, the overall graduation rate of students in Rapides Parish high schools has improved.  The state department of education recently released graduation rates for 2015-16. The data shows 76.7 of parish students graduating in four years from Rapides Parish high schools. The statewide average is 77 percent.

     

    This year’s Fourth of July gas prices are the lowest since 2005. Senior petroleum analyst Patrick Dehaan with GasBuddy.com says prices usually peak around May when refineries finish up maintenance and transition to summer grade gasoline, and we usually see a slight decline after that. The statewide average of $2.06 a gallon is well below the national average of $2.25.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes a bill to provide freedom of expression on college campuses. In his veto message, Edwards said the legislation by Alexandria Representative Lance Harris was a solution in search of a problem. But Harris says freedom of speech is under siege on many college campuses around the country. The bill would have created a protocol for Louisiana universities to handle controversial speakers on campus.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards signs into law measures aimed at keeping both motorists and police officers safe during a traffic stop. The new laws set to go into effect August 1 would require driver’s education courses to teach soon to be drivers about what to do during a traffic stop. The Governor says while police officers receive training on how to conduct the stops, it’s important for us as citizens to react appropriately as well.

     

    Tiger fans will soon have a new brew of their own, as Louisiana’s own Community Coffee gears up to launch an LSU Blend full-bodied special dark roast coffee. Spokesperson Jodi Conachen says the Baton Rouge based company wanted to honor its roots. Conachen says the LSU Blend will be available next month.

     

    Warrants have been issued for the final two suspects in the brutal beating in New Orleans that left one victim with acute brain injury. Two suspects have turned themselves in, and the remaining two are still at large. Police encourage the suspects to come forward.

     

    The state will study what would happen if the legal smoking age was raised to 21. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman authored the resolution calling for the study. He knows there will be some pushback but says former smokers will approve. The study will be completed before the start of the next legislative session.

     

    LSU pitcher Jared Poche’s father helped save a Florida fan’s life at Game 1 of the College World Series finals. Dr. Jerry Poche says the 87-year-old man had no pulse when he was alerted by the family. Poche helped perform CPR on the man until medics arrived. The unidentified man is reportedly in good condition.

     

    Authorities in Tangipahoa Parish believe they have found the body of the little 9-year-old girl who went missing in the river Sunday while swimming. They say Gabriell McCoy was recovered about two miles where she was last reported to have been seen. The body was taken to the Tangipahoa Parish Corner’s Office for positive identification.

     

    The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance and the State Treasurer’s Office launch a new savings program to help people with disabilities. Tyana Dequana with LOSFA says the LA ABLE program enables people with disabilities to put money aside for future expenses. Dequana says people can save up to $14,000 a year without losing those benefits. But once the account reaches $100,000, social security payments would end until the amount goes back under that threshold. She says this comes as a relief to many with disabilities who will finally be able to do something to help themselves for the future.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 062717

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The LSU tigers lost game one of the College World Series Championship Game last night by a score of 4 to 3 to Florida. Tonight, it’s win or go home.If the tigers do win, the rubber game will be played Wednesday. Airtime tonight 6:30p on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy urging them to oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which is the Senate GOP health care plan. In the letter the governor says the bill would result in the loss of coverage for millions of Americans, punishes Louisiana for running a lean Medicaid program, and effectively eliminating the state’s Medicaid expansion.

     

    The US Senate’s version of the federal healthcare bill has some worried about the future of healthcare in Louisiana. State Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says if passed as is, the bill would result in up to 500,000 Louisianans losing their insurance. Gee says this bill also does not address one of the biggest concerns that came after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, like the rising cost of health insurance. She says the Senate’s plan will actually drive up insurance costs even more.

     

    Students who attend seven of the nine schools that make up the University of Louisiana System will pay higher fees for school next fall. The increase will cost students an extra 108-dollars on average. But UL System President Doctor Jim Henderson says college students will pay less for their education this year, because TOPS is fully funded.

     

    In the long-running debate over vouchers, a report issued Monday says voucher recipients in Louisiana bounced back from dismal scores initially in math and English.

    The study follows an earlier review that said voucher recipients did "significantly worse" than their peers in the first year, and "slightly less negative" after year two. The latest review said that, after three years in the program, voucher recipients were performing roughly the same as their public school peers in math and English/language arts. Around 7,100 students get the aid, and 87 percent are African American students, according to the study.

     

    Even after lawmakers passed two laws aimed at addressing the state’s opioid epidemic, experts say more can be done to solve the growing problem. East Baton Rouge Parish coroner Dr. Beau Clark says the new laws are phase one, which is to stop creating new addicts by limiting opioid prescriptions. But he says many people are already living with an addiction, and they need treatment. Clark says the challenge with treating these people is that rehabs are not funded on the state level, which is why many addicts end up in prisons. He says addiction is an illness that belongs in a medical facility, not the judicial system.

     

    One of four suspects in a brutal New Orleans beating and robbery has been arrested. Police say 21-year-old Dejuan Paul of Kenner surrendered under suspicion of second degree robbery. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says two victims from Boston were in town visiting when the incident occurred on Saturday night. Authorities say they have identified the remaining suspects and encourage them to come forward.

     

    The LSU AgCenter will use a nearly one million grant from the USDA to study what could be impacting honeybee colonies. Entomologist Kristen Healy says one possible factor is mites, because they transmit pathogens to the bees, like the deformed wing virus. Healy says it’s important to protect the bee population because one out of every three bites of food we eat relies on bees for pollination.

     

    A New Iberia father and son have been charged with killing a Louisiana black bear. The Louisiana Black Bear was killed near Lyida in 2015. LDWF officials say through ballistic testing they were able to determine that 59-year-old Elie Dupre owned a rifle that shot the fatal bullet which killed the black bear. It was determined his 15-year-old son was present during the shooting. The father and son face a significant fine and possible jail time.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has signed the bill into law that allows students in public schools to apply sunscreen themselves without a doctors note. School employees would also be able to apply sunscreen to students.

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  • News for Monday 062617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    People close to Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines say they are in shock over his  arrest Friday afternoon on drug charges.  The APD reports the 49 year old Grines was arrested around 5 p.m. near the Alexandria City Court complex. He was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence, malfeasance in office and illegal carrying of a weapon. Authorities say the arrest was the result of a lengthy multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional investigation.

     

    After an amazing weekend.. The Tigers will go for their seventh national championship and second under coach Paul Mainieri. The Tigers will play at home tonight and tomorrow in Gainesville. If a third game is needed, it’s back to Baton Rouge. Airtime tonight, 5:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3 fm. 

     

    More Louisiana students are graduating high school than ever before, as the state’s graduation rate is up to 77 percent. Education Superintendent John White says that is a result of the state’s hard work to increase the number of graduates and the education levels of those grads. Over 35-hundred more students graduated this school year than in 2012.

     

    The Alliance for Excellent Education ranks Louisiana’s education plan one of the most promising in the country. Erin Bendily with the state Department of Education says Louisiana students are just as capable as students from other states. She says that’s why their plan sets ambitious but achievable goals for students and school systems.

    State Education Superintendent John White says this plan is one of the reasons Louisiana’s high school graduation rate is higher than ever at 77 percent.

     

    House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has moved out of the ICU, according to an update from MedStar Washington hospital. MedStar says the Jefferson Parish Congressman remains in fair condition as he continues to recover from a gunshot wound to a hip sustained in a shootout on members of congress at a ballpark.

     

    The LSU board of supervisors accepted a recommendation to award the medical marijuana project to Las Vegas-based GB Sciences Inc. When finalized, LSU Ag Center head Dr. Bill Richardson says it could mean $3.4 million over five years, or 10% of gross receipts, whichever is higher. LSU and Southern University are the only institutions allowed to grow cannabis in the state..

     

    Citing opposition from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, state Attorney General Jeff Landry has quietly abandoned his much-hyped effort to fight crime in New Orleans using a special task force of state agents. The task force generated at least 16 arrests and a heap of controversy over its short lifespan. The most recent criticism came earlier this month, after the task force had been disbanded, when a federal judge said Landry’s agents had no authority to make arrests in Orleans Parish.

     

    A Hammond man is being held on more than a $70 million dollars bond for allegedly filming sexual videos of children and posting them online. 23-year-old Nicholas Paul Duvic is charged with 300 counts of possession of child pornography, 300 counts of distribution of child pornography, one count of production of child pornography involving children under 13 years old and 24 counts of video voyeurism.

     

    A 79-year-old former Secretary of State employee has been arrested for possession of child pornography on his state issued computer. State Trooper Michael Reichardt says the department took immediate action against Bruce Barron. Reichardt says Bruce Barron was booked into the Union Parish Correctional Center on one count of possession of child pornography involving juveniles.

     

    They call it Vaping and now many experts say it may not be the best way to kick your cigarette habit. Josselin Carter, with Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge,  says vaping can end up being a substitution for the same habit because many juices contain nicotine. Carter adds doctors aren’t sure vaping is safer than cigarettes, as there is no long-term data to support that claim. To get more information on how to quit smoking, visit SmokingCessationTrust.org

     

    Tulane University’s Upward Bound Program has received a 2.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help high school students who hope to become their first in their family to go to college. Upward Bound is a program aimed at helping prospective college students academically prepare for higher education.

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  • News for Friday 062317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The APD announced yesterday that their top man, Chief Loren Lampert, is resigning, effective July 15th. Lampert has been Chief of Police since September of 2011. Lampert says he plans to work as an assistant district attorney in another parish. Details of that will be announced at a later time.

     

    31-year-old Joseph Roy of Marksville was arrested Wednesday night after he crashed his vehicle on Jackson Street Extension. The APD reports upon arriving at the scene of the crash officers found a syringe on the floor of the vehicle. During the on scene investigation, the officer found that the Roy had been injecting heroin while driving to work, and the effects of the drugs contributed to the crash. He was charged with second-offense DWI and a long list of drug charges.

     

    Southern University was warned last week that it could lose its accreditation that is required for the school to offer degrees and receive federal dollars. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Southern University on a warning list during its June board meeting. Southern received the sanction because the school missed benchmarks related to its faculty, student achievement, "institutional effectiveness," and student complaints. The university will have a year to make necessary changes.

     

    LSU students will have to pay more out of pocket in fees to attend school this fall.

    With very little discussion and no objections, the LSU Board of Supervisors approved Thursday a student-fee increase of about 2 percent across the board. Depending on the program and the school the increase will be anywhere from a $4 per credit hour “athletic fee” for LSU Alexandria students to $270 for those attending the LSU Law School to $600 per semester “student excellence” charges at the LSU Vet School. The 30,000 or so undergrads on the flagship’s Baton Rouge campus will pay $270 more.

     

    Louisiana will get a new medical school, as the Board of Regents grants a license to New York Institute of Technology, which will be hosted on the ULM campus. ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno says the Stubbs Hall building on campus could be the new home of the med school. ULM is also the only publicly funded pharmacy school in the state.

     

    LSU and No.1 Oregon State play today at 2pm in the College World Series. With a win, the Tigers will force an elimination game versus The Beavers on Saturday. With a loss, the 2017 LSU baseball season will come to an end. The Tigers will start All-SEC pitcher Alex Lange, who says he’s ready to go.

     

    The 67th Annual Ruston Peach Festival begins today at noon. Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Judy Copeland says even though the peach harvest wasn’t good this year, visitors can try a large variety of different peach flavored foods. She says all vendors are required to have a least one item on their menu with peaches.

    Copeland says about 23-thousand people come to the festival each year. Uncle Kracker is the headliner for Saturday night.

     

    The National Safety Council has launched a vehicle recall campaign to allow motorists to enter in their VIN number to determine if a there has been a manufacturer recall on the vehicle. President and CEO of the National Safety Council Deborah Hersman says Louisiana has the third highest rate of open recalls in the country, with one in four vehicles on the road in Louisiana have an open recall.

     

    The Louisiana Nursing Home Association announces 18 facilities in the state have been chosen as a recipient for the Bronze-Commitment to Quality Award. This achievement spotlights providers who have demonstrated commitment to quality care for seniors.

    The 18 facilities that received the achievement are located throughout the state from Bossier City to Houma.

     

    Angola inmate John Floyd has been set free after spending 36 years behind bars after a U.S. District Court judge tossed his life in prison conviction. Judge Sarah Vance believed there was evidence that Floyd was wrongly convicted in the 1980 murder of William Hines, a proofreader with the Times- Picayune.

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  • News for Wednesday 062117

    By Dave Graichen

     

    The APD reports a car hit the Public Safety Complex building Tuesday morning, putting a rather large hole in the side..  Police believe the 81-year-old woman driving the vehicle hit the gas instead of the brake. Causing her car jumped the curb and strike the building. The woman received injuries and was taken to a local hospital. No on in the building was injured.

     

    Flash flood watches are in effect across Central Louisiana through Thursday night as Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to make landfall in the next two days. State Climatologist Barry Keim says storm surge could be an issue in coastal areas and there is a possibility of tornados. But he says rain and potential flash flooding will be the biggest problem.

     

    The National Weather Service's office in Lake Charles is forecasting 2-3 inches of rain in the Alexandria area through Thursday, as well as higher-than-normal wind gusts.

    Parts of Central Louisiana to the west of Alexandria should see somewhat heavier rain. CLECO is urging residents to be prepared. The Utility says they will have crews on standby to restore power if the need arises.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that prevents public schools from physically punishing students with developmental disabilities. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says this allows the administration to take a step back and realize certain students are not allowed to receive corporal punishments. 38 out of 69 public school districts in the state permit paddling or spanking.

     

    The Department of Education announces new applicants will be placed on a waiting list starting July 1st as the demand for state childcare assistance rises. Assistant superintendent of early childhood development Jenna Conway says this program offers subsidies for working families to choose a childcare provider. The program grew exponentially when the DOE lowered the work threshold for families to qualify, from 30 to 20 hours a week, and the lack of funding keeps them from accommodating everyone.

     

    A survey by the Society for Human Research Management finds one third companies are willing to provide employees with better benefits in order to attract more talented workers. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says this can be a more beneficial way to entice people over an increase in salary.  Rosa says 401K’s and many company benefits went away during the recession but now those are coming back. He says businesses are adding even more benefits as they are trying to attract the right employees.

     

    There is a new law that allows the state Office of Tourism to sell naming rights or grant leases for state parks to add new attractions. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state parks have always been a burden on taxpayers that never brought in any money. But he says this new law should change that and allow them to upgrade park attractions. Nungesser says they’ll ensure that whatever businesses they bring in to these partnerships does not compete with local business.

     

    St. Tammany Parish authorities say a suspected murderer is behind bars after he was found walking down a wooded area of I-59. 40-year-old Jason Magee III is wanted in the death of his ex-wife and her boyfriend, who were fatally shot at home Monday  evening. Police say the investigation into the deadly shooting is ongoing.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU faces Florida State again tonight in the College World Series. This time the loser will be eliminated. The Tigers defeated the Seminoles 5-4 in the opening round of the College World Series.  In two games in Omaha, the Tigers have driven in just four runs.

     

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  • News for Tuesday 062017

    By Dave Graichen

     

    State Police report an Olla man died Monday morning after his vehicle crossed the  center line and hit a loaded log truck. 29 year old Nick Harris died at the scene of the wreck on La. Highway 8 in Fishville.

     

    State officials are preparing for potential flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moves towards the southwestern coast of Louisiana. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says heavy rains and potential flash flooding are the biggest threat. The National Weather Service is calling for three to six inches of rain across much of the state, with some areas a foot of rain. Steele encourages the public to prepare for the coming storm now.

     

    Wounded Congressman Steve Scalise was elected US House Majority Whip three years ago, and experts say that no matter his condition the lawmaker from Jefferson Parish still has a bright political future. Analyst Clancy DuBos says Scalise is a classic Louisiana politician in the best and highest sense. Dr’s report the congressman’s condition continues to improve.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says he may not issue the call for a special session where lawmakers could address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018. Edwards says House Republicans did not support any of the recommendations from the tax reform task force in the regular session, nor did they propose a plan of their own. He’s skeptical anything would be accomplished in another special session. Edwards says he’s not giving up. He says he will continue to work with lawmakers to try and find common ground where a compromise can be reached.

     

    Louisiana needs to improve the way it serves older adults and those with disabilities, according to a scorecard from AARP. Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl, says Louisiana has an unbalanced long term care system because Medicaid dollars tend to go towards nursing homes when many older adults want to stay at home with help from family and friends. He says as a state, we have a lot of work to do.

     

    Louisiana is the first state in the country to ban the box on college admissions asking if a prospective student has a criminal record. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the measure into law. Research finds two out of three people with convictions stop filling out their college application after seeing this box.

     

    The Supreme Court struck down a law in North Carolina which bans sex offenders from using social media. The law in Louisiana specifically applies to people convicted of sex crimes with children. Justices say taking Twitter, Facebook and other popular accounts away all together would prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights.

     

    The 10th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off gets underway today at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says this is a great way to showcase the fresh seafood of the Bayou State. He says a dozen Louisiana chefs will compete in the cook-off. This is the first year the event will be held in Acadiana, as it usually takes place in New Orleans.

     

    Louisiana’s craft beer industry is growing rapidly. That’s according to Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, Cary Koch, who says we’re on track for more growth if the state fosters a good business environment. He says 6 new breweries opened last year, and even more are in the planning stage.

     

    The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Springhill teen is charged with second degree murder for allegedly shooting another teen Sunday in Plain Dealing following an ongoing dispute. The suspect is identified as 19-year-old Phillip Woods, and the murdered victim is 16.

     

    LSU fell and fell hard last night in the college world series, 13-1 to No. 1 seed Oregon State. But they are not out yet.. The Tigers will have to win two games to win now, starting with an elimination game against  Florida State at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

     

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  • News for Monday 061917

    By Dave Graichen

     

     

    The Louisiana Legislature finally passed a budget for next fiscal year. Senate Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur calls it a smart and reasonable spending plan that adequately funds the state’s biggest priorities. With the passage of the budget, the special session ended Friday afternoon. But another special session will most likely be called early next year to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in temporary taxes.

     

    UL System President Dr. Jim Henderson calls this legislative session one of the most successful for higher ed in nearly a decade. He says he’s thrilled lawmakers approved a budget that fully funds TOPS, after failing to do so for the first time in the program’s history last academic year. The spending plan is the first in nearly a decade that did not reduce funding to higher education.

     

    Doctors remain encouraged over the progress Jefferson Parish Congressman Steve Scalise has made over the last few days as he’s recovering from a gunshot wound to the hip. Director of Trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Dr Jake Sava says Scalise has a long road ahead of him but is expected to be able to walk and even run again.

     

    Louisiana’s economy is picking up as nonfarm and private sector jobs are improving. Over the month of May, nonfarm employment gained 10,500 jobs, the best one month gain since July of 2011. Private sector jobs increased by more than 9-thousand over the month. The Bayou State is among four other states with the largest percentage gains in jobs.

     

    Louisiana officials were in a federal courtroom seeking to have a lawsuit thrown out that challenges recent laws that restrict abortions in the state. The laws extend waiting periods, ban certain procedures and restrict which doctors can perform abortions. Pro-choice organizations say the regulations interfere with the constitutional right that allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy.

     

    It’s expected the governor will call a special session early next year so legislators can address the fiscal cliff. Alford says the governor may propose ideas recommended by a task force that studied the state’s tax code, but that doesn’t mean the legislature will agree to those proposals. A big portion of the temporary taxes that will expire next year is the additional penny put on the state sales tax last year by legislators to address a massive budget shortfall. Alford says the easiest thing for lawmakers to do is to keep the fifth sales tax penny on the books.

     

    Attorney General Jeff Landry announces 51 people have been arrested on child exploitation charges under Operation Broken Heart. With the work of numerous police departments, sheriff’s officers and state and federal agencies these individuals from all around the state were arrested. The charges range from possession of child pornography to Solicitation of minor.

     

    Bayou Teche Brewing has a newly expanded Arnaudville brewery. President Karlos Knott says they added 50-percent more floor space, including new office space and an automated keg washing system. The expansion was needed to increase sales of their year-round LA 31 beers and seasonal beers. This brewhouse, made by an Italian firm,  is the first of its kind in the country.

     

    The Beauregard Parish Police Jury hopes to transfer the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard from New Orleans to their parish. Police Jury President Rusty Williamson says it’s the right place for the monument to be, given the fact that the parish is named after the Confederate General. Members of the Beauregard Community Coalition do not support moving the statue to Beauregard Parish. But Williamson says they determined bringing it to the parish was the best idea to avoid the namesake statue ending up in the trash. He says there are a variety of places to erect the statue other than the courthouse.

     

    Something has to give in tonight’s College World Series winner’s bracket matchup between LSU and Oregon State. The Tigers have won 17 in a row, while the Beavers have won 22 straight.  Both teams rallied from behind to win in the opening round of the C-W-S and Coach Paul Mainieri says expects another hard fought battle tonight.

    First  pitch is scheduled for 6p tonight on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.

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  • News for Friday 061617

    By Dave Graichen

     

    A day after he was shot in the hip by a lone gunman who fired into a crowd of Republican lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise remained in critical condition Thursday evening after undergoing another lengthy third surgery, this one aimed at repairing a broken bone and other internal injuries caused by the bullet. The MedStar Washington Hospital Center reported last night The Metairie congressman, who serves as House majority whip, “has improved in the last 24 hours”. They say the Congressman will require additional operations and will be in the hospital for some time.

     

    New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond says it is time to ramp up security for federal lawmakers, after a shootout at a baseball park in Virginia left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise seriously injured. Richmond says in these polarizing times, Congressional leaders need to be aware of the potential danger of their positions.

     

    There’s a chance the special session could end today as a budget deal is near. The Senate Finance Committee approved the nearly 29-billion dollar spending plan yesterday, one day after the House approved it. So if the full senate passes the budget today without any changes, it will go the governor for him to sign it.

     

    An extensive criminal justice reform package approved by the legislature is now law as the bills associated with the overhaul were signed by Governor John Bel Edwards Thursday. Edwards says many of these measures were successful in other states when it came to reducing the prison population. The bills signed into law will lead to shorter sentences for many non-violent offenders and expanded rehabilitation programs.

     

    The LSU AgCenter selects a vendor for the medical marijuana program. AgCenter Chancellor Dr. Bill Richardson says this is the last major hurdle to getting the drug into the hands of those who need it. He says the details of the agreement have not been released, but the plan is to contract with a biopharmaceutical research company from Las Vegas called GB Sciences. Richardson says the Board of Supervisors will act on the plan at their June 22 meeting. He says they hope to have the product available to the patients by early 2018.

     

    I will be a busy red snapper season for Louisiana anglers. Under an agreement with the federal government, fisherman will get 39 days, beginning today until September 4th,to fish for red snapper in federal waters on weekends.  Recreational anglers will be permitted to start fishing 200 miles off the coast of Louisiana for red snapper every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 4th, also included are July 3rd and 4th and Labor Day.

     

    State Police say a trooper is under arrest for allegedly using excessive force when taking someone into custody in New Orleans. They say Trooper John Neal is accused of kicking the suspect and bashing his head into a window while the suspect was handcuffed. Neal has been on forced leave since the February incident and is booked with on one count of simple battery.

     

    Sports..

     

    The LSU Baseball team arrived in Omaha yesterday ahead of College World Series play that begins against Florida State on Saturday night. If the Tigers win it all, it would be the school’s seventh national championship, but head Coach Paul Mainieri says they will take it one game at a time. Mainieri told his players it’s been a great season regardless of what happens in the CWS.

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  • News for Thursday 061517

    By Dave Graichen

     

    New Orleans area Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is recovering after surgery after he was shot in the hip while at practice for a charity baseball game yesterday. The Illinois man identified as the shooter belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.” 5th district congressman Ralph Abraham said yesterday, it’s a sad day in America. The gunman was killed by Capitol police officers. St. Landry Parish Congressman Clay Higgins says that’s just fine with him and he wishes his colleague a full and speedy recovery.

     

    President Donald Trump spoke at the White House about the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise. The two have developed a close relationship as Scalise has been a huge ally in the U.S. House in the President’s attempt to overhaul health care and reform the nation’s tax code. Mr. Trump says he has offered full and complete support to the Scalise family.

     

    Legislators have taken a significant step towards ending the budget impasse and the special session. On a 56-44 vote, the House has approved a budget that allocates 100-percent of the available money. A large contingent of House Republicans wanted to withhold at least 100-million dollars, because the state constantly has midyear revenue shortfalls. But New Orleans Representative Walt Leger said if the state didn’t allocate all of the available dollars, cuts will occur to areas of the budget that could least afford it.  The 28-billion dollar budget proposal will be heard in the Senate finance committee today, and it has the support of the Governor.

     

    A  Marksville man threw his girlfriend under the bus, so to speak, after the pair paid for fast food, at a North Blvd. restaurant, with a counterfeit $100 bill. The fake bill was immediately reported to the APD who responded to the scene and found the couple still in the restaurant’s parking lot. The man inside the truck, 26-year-old Chancey Johnson, denied knowing the bill was fake, telling officers he got it from his girlfriend. Both were arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

     

    A new law that limits first time opioid prescriptions may not address Louisiana’s opioid epidemic as much as we hoped. St. Tammany Coroner Charles Preston says according to numbers he’s seen; only four to 13 percent of patients will misuse their opioid prescription, and four percent of those will go on to use harder drugs. He says that means less than one percent of those who receive opioid prescriptions will abuse drugs.

    Preston says this new law is a positive step. But he hopes it doesn’t cloud the importance of funding addiction treatment programs.

     

    State Police say a Baton Rouge Police officer shot and killed a passenger who allegedly got out of a vehicle during a traffic stop with a gun last Tuesday night. The investigation is ongoing. The deceased is identified as 35-year-old Jordan Frazier.

     

    Tulane researchers have found Louisiana is sinking at a rate of just over one third of an inch per year, which is 50-percent faster than what was estimated two years ago. Geology professor and co-author of the report, Tor Tornqvist, says we’ve always known the state is sinking, but they developed a map of coastal Louisiana to determine how rapidly it’s going underwater and where.  He says this research should alarm all residents about future of Louisiana’s coastline.

     

    Good news for Baton Rouge area motorists, as the state Department of Transportation announces plans to widen Interstate 10 from four to six lanes in East Baton Rouge and Ascension Parishes. The project also includes the replacement of the LA 42 overpass. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says construction will begin early next year. The $72 million project is funded through a combination of state and federal funds.

     

    Sports..

     

    The LSU Tigers leave for Omaha this morning. It’s their first trip to the College World Series since 2015. LSU pitcher Alex Lange will start versus Florida State on Saturday night. Lange says everyone is excited about the opportunity to win the school’s seventh national championship. Saturday Airtime for the game is 6:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3

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  • News for Wednesday 061417

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Allen Parish Sheriff’s deputies have located the body of a 12-year-old who possibly drowned in the Calcasieu River Sunday evening. Authorities believe the child tried to swim across the river, went into distress and went under.

     

    A Pollock firefighter has been accused of making more than $11,000 in purchases for herself with the department's credit card. 39 year old Christy was charged by the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office with unauthorized use of an access card and malfeasance in office.

     

    The House Appropriations Committee approved a 28-billion dollar budget that spends more than what they proposed in the regular session, but still less than what the Senate and governor wanted. Chairman Cameron Henry says the new proposal represents nearly 99 percent of the state income forecast. Under the latest proposal, $100 million would be left on the table as opposed to $206 million. The full house will debate the budget today.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says the House’s idea to withhold money from the budget in case of a shortfall is not a responsible approach. He says any money not appropriated cannot be spent later. Edwards adds that money can also not be used in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood.

     

    Col. Kevin Reeves has been named as the permanent superintendent of Louisiana State Police, after serving as interim since March. Reeves says he remains committed to the public. Reeves began his career with State Police as a motorcycle trooper in 1990.

     

    The Agenda for Children ranks Louisiana 48th in the country for overall child wellbeing in their KIDS COUNT report. KIDS COUNT Coordinator Theresa Falgoust says Louisiana made strides in some key areas, like more parents having high school diplomas and full-time jobs, fewer babies born with low birthweights, and other areas.

    Falgoust adds 96 percent of Louisiana children now have health insurance and that’s a major improvement.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards has announced the replacement for former Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle on the LSU Board of Supervisors. In a statement, the governor says Mary Werner will take over the vacated seat for the remainder of the term representing the 3rd Congressional District. Angelle left his role as public service commissioner after he was named director of the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

     

    Although increasing slightly nationally, gas prices are dropping in 30 states and Louisiana is one of those seeing a decline in prices at the pump. That’s according to AAA spokesperson Don Redman, who says prices are slightly lower than at this time last year. The statewide average of $2.14 a gallon is well below the forecast for June of $2.40 a gallon. Redman says how low it will go is hard to predict. He says we’re seeing higher demand like we typically do for summer, but refineries have kept up with the demand.

     

    A suspect has died following an officer involved shooting in St. Martin Parish. Authorities say deputies attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect, when the male subject pulled a gun. Shots were fired at the suspect, and he was transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

     

    Three people have been arrested for allegedly sneaking drugs into Angola after police received a tip about a package containing what is believed to be marijuana and tobacco products. Police say the three Morgan City suspects are charged with criminal conspiracy to introduce contraband into a penal facility. Officals say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could be made.

     

    The Department of Children and Family Services encourages Louisiana residents to pre-register for disaster food stamps in preparation for hurricane season. Kim Matherne with DCFS says pre-registering gets your information in the system and makes things move smoother following a disaster. She says people can pre-register at dcfs.la.gov

     

    Sports..

     

    The pairings and game times for the first two days of the College World Series have been announced. LSU will take on Florida in the second game in Omaha on Saturday at 7pm. The first game that day is scheduled to begin at 2pm, and will feature Cal St. Fullerton against No. 1 national seed Oregon St.

     

    The city of Omaha is excited LSU is back in the College World Series. Tracie McPherson with Visit Omaha says they always enjoy when Tiger fans visit because the Purple and Gold Nation love a good party. The Tigers will face Florida State on Saturday at 7pm.

     

    Thirty-two-year-old running back Adrian Peterson says he’s ready to catch passes in the Saints offense. Peterson caught 241 passes during his 10 seasons in Minnesota and doesn’t know why people say he can’t be a pass catching running back. Peterson has nearly 12-hundred rushing yards during his Hall of Fame career and he says he’s looking forward to playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees this season.

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  • News for Tuesday 061317

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Lawmakers are back at the state capitol trying to iron out a budget for next fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne went before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday and said he doesn’t understand why they didn’t support the Senate’s spending plan, which would have spared cuts in many areas. But Covington Representative John Schroder says needs and wants are not relevant, but this is about what the state can afford. A budget must be approved before the special session ends, which is June 19th. Discussion of the spending plan will continue on the House floor today.

     

    It’s been 17 years since the legislature adjourned a regular session without passing a budget, until this year of course. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne was there nearly two decades ago, as chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Dardenne says 17 years later, we’re having many of the same discussions. He says this session was their chance to implement the reform they promised, and lawmakers failed to do so.

     

    Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden wants to see a more balanced representation on the Republican-dominated House Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees. He believes more Democrats or even moderate Republicans could change some of the voting patterns.Reynolds says currently these committees are not structured for success.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards signed three bills to help with the state’s growing opioid abuse problem. One of new laws prohibits a doctor from prescribing more than a seven day supply of opioids for a first time prescription for acute pain.  The two other bills signed into law creates a task force to study how to prevent opioid abuse and another requires doctors to look at a statewide prescription monitoring system to make the sure the patient is not “doctor-shopping.”

     

    Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves files legislation aimed at providing financial relief to 2016 flood victims. Graves says he’s spoken with many flood victims who had to tap their retirement savings to rebuild their homes or replace lost items. He says his bill also provides some financial relief for extra costs associated with drawing from retirement savings prematurely. The legislation which has bi-partisan support,  would help flood victims from both the March and August floods.

     

    A Shreveport man in serious condition getting shot while driving on Interstate 20 this morning. Shreveport police corporal Marcus Hines says detectives are still searching for a shooter and a motive.

     

    For the first time in 20 years, the legendary band U2 is coming to New Orleans. The Mercedes Benz Superdome announced on their website that an additional concert on the Joshua Tree Tour has been added to include The Big Easy on Thursday September 14th.

     

    The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approves a proposal to open the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters for the next 12 weekends as part of a compromise with the federal government and four other Gulf Coast states.

    Louisiana fishermen are upset over the current three-day federal red snapper season.

    The reason for the strict federal season is to ensure the once depleted red snapper population has time to grow.

     

    LSU is considered one of the heavy favorites to win the College World Series. The Tigers have won 16 in a row and Coach Paul Mainieri likes his team’s chances as well. LSU will play Florida State this weekend. Top-seded Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton are the other two teams on LSU’s side of the bracket. LSU brings a 48-17 record to Omaha and they are five victories away from a national title

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  • News for Monday 061217

    By Dave Graichen

     

    With one special session started, another one is already looming in the future. The goal of the current special is to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, but the governor says another one will be needed to implement tax reform and address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018.  Over $1 billion in temporary taxes that were approved last year are set to expire in 2018.

     

    The House convenes at 9 a.m. as lawmakers try again to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year, after failing to do so in the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says his recommendation is that lawmakers pick up where they left off with the conference committee report. The big debate over the budget came down to lawmakers arguing over how much, if any, of the revenue forecast to withhold in case of midyear cuts. The House wanted to hold back about $200 million, while the Senate pushed to spend more.

     

    Democratic lawmakers are calling for a change of leadership in the House after what many call a grueling session. Some blame House Speaker Taylor Barras and Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry specifically for not approving a budget. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says currently there is no leadership in the House.

    But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh says he absolutely disagrees with that. He says the House has the perfect leadership.

     

    Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is challenging a move to charge state employee smokers a surcharge on their health insurance policies. The Louisiana Department of Justice, or DOJ, letter asks House and Senate leaders to allow the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to intervene on efforts by the state Office of Group Benefits to impose the smoking surcharge and other changes to cover a budget shortfall. OGB oversees nine different health insurance plans for about a quarter million state workers, school teachers, public employees, retirees and their dependents.

     

    A New Orleans Senator told a north Louisiana Representative to shut the f up on the House floor. Haughton Representative Dodie Horton says she would never disrespect her colleagues like that. She called the ordeal with Senator Karen Carter Peterson embarrassing. The Louisiana Republican Party is calling for Peterson to step down as chair of the state Democratic Party.

     

    According to city records, it cost more than $2 million to remove the four confederate monuments in New Orleans. City officials say half of the money was from public funds, while the rest came from private donors. The city cut $90-thousand in costs to remove the Liberty Place monument, but the contractor who took three of the four statues down was out more than $200-thousand after the city refused to cover additional costs.

     

    At least two cases of dog flu have been confirmed in Louisiana, as canine influenza is rearing its head in Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Dr. Phillip Cancellari says some early symptoms include coughing, running nose, and red eyes. He says the virus can look a lot like allergies, so it’s important to get your pet checked at the vet.  He says typical backyard dogs probably aren’t at much risk of contracting the virus.

     

    Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says the evidence doesn’t “fully” support claims made by Christopher Landry that Kayla Denham tried to rob him during a home visit for sensual massage services. Landry told police he left the room and returned to find the 24-year-old sealing his wallet. That’s when he allegedly hit her in the head with a pipe and choked her. Landry is charged with second degree murder, and the investigation is ongoing.

     

    For the 18th time in program history, the LSU Baseball team is Back Home in Omaha!

    LSU scored six runs in the fifth inning to break open a close game and complete a two-game NCAA Super Regional sweep of Mississippi State, 12-4, early Monday morning at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers will take a 16-game winning streak to the 2017 College World Series. LSU will face Florida State in its CWS opener on either Saturday or Sunday.

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  • News for Friday 060917

    By Dave Graichen

     

    Lawmakers have entered another special session because the legislature failed to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year during the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says it was a failure of leadership in the House that led to this unnecessary special session because lawmakers put partisan politics ahead of the people’s business. The governor says he will keep the legislature in Baton Rouge as long as it takes to pass a budget that fully funds state services. This is the fourth special session of Edwards term, and it must end by June 19.

     

    The US Inspector General reviewed 225 cases of suspected Medicaid fraud in Louisiana, and the state had a 100% compliance rate. That’s according to Chief of Staff with the Louisiana Department of Health, Andrew Tuozzolo. He credits the use of state-of-the-art software to look for potentially fraudulent billing practices. Louisiana is one of only four states to pass this audit since 2014.

     

    Murderers convicted as juveniles will be eligible for parole after 25 years, as a bill by Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor wins final passage. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juveniles could not be sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole. Crowley Representative John Stefanski says without this bill, Louisiana could be subject to litigation for not complying with federal law. The measure finally passed on a 67 to 34 vote. It’s one of the 10 bills that are part of the governor’s criminal justice reform effort.

     

    More charges have been filed against the Baton Rouge man accused of running over and killing a 12-year-old boy during a police chase. State Police had already charged Joshual Hilton with manslaughter for running over the child, but BRPD has just released its report on the initial investigation of the suspect. Those findings lead to additional charges of obstruction and possession and distribution of drugs. Bond is now $307,500.

     

    More mosquitos are possible as a result of all of the rain that has fallen across the state over the last week. LSU Ag Center Entomologist Kristen Healy says while we haven’t seen local transmission of the Zika Virus yet, that’s still a possibility.  Healy recommends taking the proper precautions from getting bitten by a mosquito.

     

    In case you didn’t hear, there were no jackpot winners in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing. That rises the estimated prize to $435 million dollars for tomorrow night’s drawing.

     

    A report from Time Magazine finds New Orleans is one of the top five metro areas in the country for millennials to live. Demographer Greg Rigamer says it’s obvious that when you’re in the Crescent City the main age group is 25 to 34 and many businesses target that demographic. The survey from Urban Land Institute finds the city saw a nearly 9-percent increase in millennials from 2010 to 2015.

     

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