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News for Thursday 062118

By Dave Graichen

 

A vote on the House floor is expected today on three different sales tax bills that raise different amounts of money and they renew up to a half-cent of an expiring one-cent sales tax. Governor John Bel Edwards remains optimistic one of those bills will reach his desk, if not significant cuts will occur. The fiscal cliff arrives on July 1st and this third special session must conclude Wednesday. It will take 70 votes on the House floor today for these sales tax bills to advance to the Senate.

 

US Representative Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish has cosponsored legislation to expand I-14 into Central Louisiana and Mississippi. I-14 currently ends a few miles west of Temple, Texas. Abraham says the legislation is waiting for a hearing in a House committee and it has the support of congressmen from Texas and Mississippi.

 

Students held a rally outside the State Capitol on Wednesday evening to demand that legislators provide adequate state aid for colleges and universities. The gathering took place on the third day of a 10-day special session aimed at solving Louisiana's latest budget crisis, this one a $648 million shortfall. Many of the students wore t-shirts with the names of schools they could have attended, or might attend, if the Legislature fails to resolve money problems.

 

The separation of families coming into the United States illegally is causing a firestorm of controversy across the nation.  President Trump has signed an executive order to allow children to stay with parents attempting to cross the border unlawfully.  US Representative Ralph Abraham says he supports President Trump’s efforts. Abraham says he co-sponsored the Goodlatte-McCaul Bill.  While he believes it could solve many of the border issues, he feels that there may not be enough support to pass the bill.

 

State utility regulators Wednesday allowed a northwest Louisiana electric company to purchase part of the nation’s largest wind-power project. The $4.5 billion “Wind Catcher” project in the Oklahoma panhandle began construction last December and is expected to start generating electricity in 2020. The PSC  allowed Shreveport-based  SWEPCO, to increase customers’ monthly bills to pay for a portion of the wind farm’s power.

 

59-year-old Gerald Manning is a free man today after spending 41 years in prison for the 1977 murder of Vonda Harris. Manning was just 17 years old at the time of the homicide and his attorney Kristen Wenstrom says recent DNA testing has exonerated him of the murder that even the victim’s family doesn’t think he committed. Manning plans to live with his mother in Monroe.

 

After many years as the nation’s leading jailer, Louisiana has ceded that title to Oklahoma. The Sooner State now incarcerates 719 people per 100,000 residents, compared with 712 per 100,000 residents in Louisiana. Both states remain solidly above all others in prisoners per capita. Mississippi, Arizona and Arkansas rounded out the top five incarcerating states as of 2016, according to federal Bureau of Justice figures.

 

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has paid more than a half-million dollars to settle claims that a longtime deacon and teacher repeatedly raped an altar boy at Holy Rosary School in New Orleans more than three decades ago.  The settlement, paid this month, brought a swift conclusion to a lawsuit filed earlier this year that accused the archdiocese of allowing a "sexual predator" to work among children in Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and doing "nothing to intervene and prevent such misconduct from occurring."

 

A State Police trooper has been arrested on allegations that he raped a 16-year-old girl in New Orleans. Thirty-six-year-old Lander Journee was booked on third-degree rape and posted a 25-thousand dollar bond. He’s been placed on administrative leave.

 

A 34 year old Baton Rough father of four died at the hospital Tuesday from gunshot injuries that  police say were the result of an argument over a dice game that took a violent turn. A warrant has been issued for a 22 year old man in connection with the shooting.

 

RPSO Detectives are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect in a church burglary. On June 16, a suspect burglarized the Church of God located off of Alabama Drive in Pineville. Multiple electronic items were taken. The suspect in the surveillance images is described as a black male, approximately 5’7” tall, with multiple tattoos. Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities. You can find the video images on the KALB TV5 website.

 

A Florida man has been convicted of attempted manslaughter in the stabbing of his passenger on I-49 last summer. On Wednesday, opening arguments wrapped and the first witnesses were called in the trial of Edwin Paul Frinks, Jr., who was arrested last July and indicted on a charge of attempted second degree murder.  He will be sentenced July 23.

 

Five star cornerback and the nation’s number one recruit according to Rivals-dot-com, Derek Stingley Junior of Baton Rouge, announced today he plans on signing with LSU in in December. Instead of holding a press conference, with hats of different schools in front of him, the Dunham High football star announced his decision with a video message on Twitter.

 

On The Ait Today….

 

NBA Draft 6p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Wednesday 062018

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD announced yesterday they are looking for 25 year old Korri Thornton in connection with a homicide on Henry Street earlier this month. The victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene,  was a 20 year-old man who has not been identified by the department. Korri Thornton is believed to be armed and dangerous.

 

A House committee heard testimony yesterday on tax bills during the first full day of the latest special session, but took no votes.  Most of the legislative action took place in the House Appropriations Committee where state health officials defended their spending, while higher ed and department of corrections discussed what budget cuts would mean to them.

 

Votes are expected today in the House Ways and Means Committee on different sales tax bills. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard’s proposal would renew a half-cent of an expiring one-cent sales tax and generate 507-million dollars in revenues, which would be enough money to prevent cuts to college campuses, TOPS and public safety programs. Some Republicans prefer to renew less than a half of a penny, but Havard says it doesn’t make sense to raise taxes and also cut the budget at the same time…

 

LSU Student Government will host a rally at the State Capitol this afternoon to call for full funding of TOPS and higher education. If lawmakers do not act before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, then students will face a 30% cut to TOPS and a $21 million dollar reduction in funding for LSU. LSU Student Government President Stewart Lockett says their message for lawmakers is simple and that is to stabilize higher education and TOPS. All public university systems are looped into this rally and the turnout is expected to be high.

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a complaint with the state’s ethics board accusing a handful of district attorneys of violating the state ethic’s laws. The Center claims D-As are hiring off-duty police officers to write traffic tickets and then treathen motorists with prosecution, unless they pay hundreds of dollars to the D-A’s office to dismiss the tickets. So far the claims are just an allegation.

 

The escalating trade war with China is not good for Louisiana’s Agriculture Industry. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says Louisiana has done a lot of work to open up China to rice, beef and poultry exports. President Trump initially proposed tariffs on 50-billion dollars in Chinese imports, because of an estimated 375-billion dollar trade deficit with China. And now the Trump administration is looking at imposing tariffs on another 200-billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods as the trade war worsens..

 

There are over two thousand nursing programs throughout the United States, but only one can be ranked number one. That distinction belongs to Louisiana Tech University’s Division of Nursing. Chair of the program, Dr. Donna Hood, credits the latest accolade to the determination of both the faculty and students. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing ranks programs based on the rate at which graduates pass the licensing exam, which is 100-percent at Tech.

 

The 2018 crawfish season is coming to a close after getting off to a slow start, because of a cold January. David Savoy with the Louisiana Crawfish Famers Association says For those that may have noticed smaller than normal mudbugs this year, it was because the harvesting began a little early in the developmental process of the crawfish.

 

One of the top high school prospects in the country will decide today whether he’ll attend LSU, Florida or Texas. Cornerback Derek Stingley Junior of Dunham High School in Baton Rouge was recently ranked by Rivals.com as the nation’s top recruit for the Class of 2019. His father, Derek Stingley Senior, calls his son a freakish athlete with a will to win.

 

A Louisiana winter wonderland in June?  That’s the scene in Downtown Lafayette as a holiday-themed independent film is in production in the area.  Production for the movie, entitled The Christmas Cupid, is spending a total of four months in the state, including twelve days in Lafayette.  Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment Chris Stelly says filming in the area presents a great opportunity for the community.

 

On air today….

 

Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays 6:35p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Tuesday 061918

By Dave Graichen

 

The third special session of the year is underway, and Governor John Bel Edwards addressed both chambers saying it’s time to break free of the partisan gridlock as the state approaches the fiscal cliff on June 30th. While the governor did express understanding with the frustration within the chambers, he relayed that the citizens are even more so. Edwards says he believes that a solution can be reached in the allotted 10 days for the session.

 

Alexandria Police yesterday found the body of a man, in the 600 block of Harold Glen Road, who had been shot multiple times. Later in the day they found a burnt out car, that apparently is linked to the victim, at a different location. The name of the 40-year-old victim has not been released by police.

 

State police report 56 year old Britt Holden of Boyce died early Monday morning when he apparently walked into the path of a garbage truck on Highway 28 west near Cooper Road.  The accident happen just before 5am. The driver of the truck told troopers he swerved to avoid Holden, but was unable to avoid hitting him.

 

The Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office has filed a court petition against the Rapides Parish Police Jury and its treasurer Bruce Kelly after the police jury voted last week to slash the DA's budget by $700,000. The petition claims that cutting the budget by such a large amount will result in irreparable harm to the office and cause an immediate funding crisis.

 

The criminal case against former Avoyelles prison warden Nate Cain and his ex-wife will move forward after a federal judge denied their request to suppress evidence key to their indictments for improper purchases on the Avoyelles prison's dime. U.S. District Judge Dee Drell of the Western District of Louisiana ruled last week that the now-estranged couple did not have standing to contest the Office of the Inspector General's 2016 search of their former home, which will allow the case to progress toward trial.

 

By 2045, nearly 41,000 homes in Louisiana could be at risk of chronic disruptive flooding caused by sea level rise, according to a report released Sunday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report says nearly 99,000 people could be affected by floods that would happen 26 times a year or more. The value of the homes affected by the flooding is pegged at nearly $4.3 billion, contributing $36 million in property taxes.

 

Legislators are back in Baton Rouge for a third special session called to address the fiscal cliff which arrives July 1st. Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says LABI supports a partial renewal of an expiring one-cent sales tax, even though businesses will pay 48-percent of what could be a 400 to 500-million dollar tax increase…

 

State Police arrested a Denham Springs couple after they were found in Calcasieu Parish transporting 25 undocumented immigrants. State Police Sergeant James Anderson says Stephanie and Nicholas Harris were booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center. Anderson says this appears to be a case of human trafficking.

 

Five protesters were arrested in New Orleans Monday as US Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at the National Sheriff’s Association Convention in New Orleans. During his speech, Sessions said the United States will NOT encourage people to bring their children to the country illegally by giving them immunity in the process.

 

A north Louisiana glass plant that received millions in tax incentives as part of a Jindal-era economic development deal to retain its workforce is planning to lay off up to 227 employees, cutting the facility’s capacity roughly in half. The company, the Ardagh Group, cites a growing plastics market that is cutting into many of the food product lines made at its facility in Simsboro, near Ruston, where it makes glass jars and bottles for brands including Tabasco, Smucker’s, Tito’s Vodka, and Seagram. Plant manager Chris DeCerbo said the firm is working to find new business to stave off the cuts, but added it would take “providence” to prevent the layoffs.

 

Last week’s announcement of the 2.3 million dollar return through the Unclaimed Property Program to a north Louisiana resident has more people interested in the program. State Treasurer John Schroder says the recent claim has more Louisiana residents wondering if they have money in the state’s unclaimed property fund. It’s easy to find out.. Visit La-Treasury-dot-com to see if you are owed money.

 

New research has found that opioids can increase the risk of bone fracture and also make it harder for bones to heal. Doctor Bob Zura from LSU Health New Orleans says it’s not just the heaviest users that are at risk. Zura says Tyenol maybe a better choice for treating pain associated with bone fractures, instead of opioids.

 

Three children at an outdoor party were struck by a fallen tree Sunday afternoon in Opelousas. All three kids were taken to the hospital. One child was transported to a hospital in Baton Rouge is listed in critical condition.

 

On air today….

 

Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays 6:35p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Monday 061818

By Dave Graichen

 

The city of Alexandria announced just after 10 Saturday night that the citywide boil advisory had been lifted by the state after samples collected on Friday cleared. However, traveling throughout the city Friday evening and Saturday you would never have known the advisory was in effect. This reporter visited three restaurants over the weekend, one Friday night and two on Saturday, where it was business as usual. Iced Tea and Fountain beverages, all of which used unboiled city water, continued to be served to patrons, without warning.

 

The Louisiana Workforce Commission says the number of people employed in the Bayou State has increased by 44-thousand over the last year. There were just over two-million people working in Louisiana in May, the second highest total in recorded history. Professional and business services added seven thousand jobs over the year.

 

The third special session of the year kicks off today, with some legislators expected to go to battle for the last time this year over the state’s persistent budget issues under the specter of deep cuts to TOPS and other state services. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says passing the half penny sales tax renewal will be the focus, because it fully funds the government.

 

If the legislature manages to pass a revenue bill, it will likely be a short term deal lasting at most 6 years. That means half a decade from now, the whole process will likely start again. Dardenne says he’s disappointed that it came down to another sales tax, instead of permanent structural tax reform.

 

The Governor signed the legislative budget that fully funds healthcare, but unless more revenue is generated would require 648 million in cuts to other sectors. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Johnson says after a hard fought battle to get the bipartisan budget, suggestions by Appropriation Chairman Cameron Henry would see that money be shuffled out of healthcare and state worker.

 

Louisiana could feel the pinch as President Donald Trump issued a new round of tariffs today on China, worth 40 to 55 billion dollars in new penalties, and the Chinese responded with a threat of 50 billion in retaliatory tariffs. The escalating trade dispute could damage the Bayou State economy that relies on shipping, but US Congressman Steve Scalise says the People’s Republic needs to be pushed to trade fairly. Scalise says despite some of the tough talk, the Trump administration is not looking for a dire escalation of the ongoing trade dispute.

 

Louisiana officials back an effort to impose a five to ten cent inspection fee on all imported seafood coming, in an effort to push back against lower quality, cheaper imported shrimp that’s hurting Louisiana shrimpers. During an appearance on Talk Louisiana, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says foreign seafood doesn’t meet our safety standards.

 

The US Senate approves legislation to honor former Saints standout and ALS advocate Steve Gleason with the Congressional Gold Medal which is the highest honor a citizen can receive from Congress. Senator Bill Cassidy was one of the bill’s sponsors.

The legislation now heads to the House seeking approval.

 

June 15th marked the beginning of open enrollment for the state’s Medicaid program known as Healthy Louisiana. Enrollment Services Manager Rebecca Harris says during this time window the over 1.5 million Louisiana residents on Medicaid have the opportunity to explore the five different coverage plans. Open enrollment ends July 31st.

 

Two high schoolers from Lake Charles want to bring delivery services to stadiums so that hot dog comes right to you in the stands. The idea from Malik Ellis and Alex Brown of LaGrange High School won the SEED Center Business Pitch Competition this year.

The potential app is called “Runner Eats” and would function similarly to Waitr.

 

On the air today..

 

Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays 6:35p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Friday 061518

By Dave Graichen

 

A report from the Governor’s Rural Water Infrastructure Committee show seven of the 10 most distressed water systems in the state are here in Central Louisiana. The committee is tasked with helping at-risk water systems to address their issues before they reach a crisis point. One of its first priorities was developing a list of the state's water systems most in need of immediate action. On the list, the Hammock Water System here in Rapides Parish,  plus water systems in LaSalle, Natchitoches, Catahoula and Concordia Parishes.

 

Medical marijuana, you doctor will have to prescribe the medicine to you. Or will he? The state department of revenue would like to change the word “Prescribe” to “Recommend”. That one word difference will allow the state to tax your prescription.   The Louisiana Department of Revenue confirmed in a statement this week that the prescription drug exemption on the state sales tax does not apply to medical marijuana sales. The sales tax applies at the point of sale to consumers, who will buy the drug from nine initial licensed marijuana pharmacies in regions throughout the state.

 

A 75-year-old priest has confessed to sexual misconduct with a minor. According to St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, Father Steven Michael Guidry has surrendered to authorities. The sheriff says the priest was forthcoming with information about the incident.

 

Heading into next week’s special session many agencies across the state are facing budget cuts.  District attorneys are not exempt from these cutbacks, and it looks like they could be quite steep to the tune of 82 percent if additional funding is not found.  Executive Director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association Pete Adams says the financial slash will be overwhelming. Adams says this is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously as it is a matter of public safety.

 

Despite a budget that calls for deep cuts to higher ed, The Louisiana Community and Technical College System will not be raising tuition or fees for the 2018, 2019 school years, continuing a two year trend of keeping costs stable for students. LCTCS President Monty Sullivan says the state cannot continue to place the cost of education on the backs of students.

 

Former Jindal Administration staffers are calling on the House to pass the half cent sales tax renewal that would fully fund state government, Former Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater says both Jindal and Edwards’ administrations failed to get the legislature to bite on long term tax reform that would end the cycle of fiscal cliffs.

 

Parents who are interested in saving up for their kids K through 12 education now have the option of a state backed, interest accruing, and federal tax free savings account as a result of a new law signed by Governor Edwards. The program is called START K12.

Under the program  parents are only allowed to withdraw 10,000 dollars per year, per child, from the account, which should cover the costs of many private schools.

 

Two Arkansas men who plead guilty to aggravated animal cruelty charges for slitting a dog’s throat and posting the video on Snapchat avoid jail time in Morehouse Parish. Judge Carl Sharp gave Boots Stanley and Steven Sadler a suspended three-year prison sentence. Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana Jeff Dorson can’t believe they are not going to jail.

 

In a case that tested the limits of Louisiana's "stand your ground" laws, a Walker man found guilty of attempted manslaughter in the 2015 shooting of a home invader was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison. 27 year old Aaron Neames had been found guilty in the shooting case in May. He was sentenced on Thursday by 21st Judicial District Judge Bob Morrison.

 

A Bush man who was gifted a giant alligator snapping turtle for some home cooking got more than he bargained for, a human finger deep inside the reptile. St. Tammany Parish Sheriffs Spokesperson Scott Lee says cadaver sniffing dogs are on the case, but it’s certainly possible the creature could’ve just grabbed a snack from an unlucky angler.

 

On air….

 

The Houston Astros, high on an 8 game winning streak, begin a three game series tonight in Kansas City. Airtime 6:40p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Thursday 061415

By Dave Graichen

 

The final act of this year’s special session trilogy is less than a week away, with the administration and many legislators scrambling to find some extra cash for programs like TOPS, which is facing a 30 percent cut. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says LDH has 110 million dollars in funded vacant positions, which are jobs that have money allocated, but are not currently filled. The Representative says it would take roughly 90 million dollars to fund the remainder of TOPS. Henry says the legislature could also consider taking away state workers’ pay raises to fill part of the budget gap. The session starts Monday.

 

It’s a disciplinary action that has been around for years, but now a study involving Tulane University researchers finds that about three out of four pediatricians are saying spankings are no longer recommended.  Tulane associate professor Catherine Taylor says it’s important to remember that even though spankings are no longer recommended, discipline in a child’s life is still crucial. Taylor recommends consulting with your pediatrician for advice and to see what the best disciplinary actions are for your child.

 

The feds are pumping 40 million dollars into the state’s Childcare Assistance Program, that helps working and middle class parents pay for child care services. That means 4,000 more families will get help finding a safe environment for their pre-kindergarten age children while they’re at work.  The program has had to cut back dramatically in the last decade, as the state cut off all funds for Childcare Assistance after years of budget cuts. Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Executive Director Melanie Bronfin says those cuts kicked 25 thousand families out of the program.

 

Today is the one year anniversary of the shooting of US Representative Steve Scalise. Scalise was hit in the hip by assault rifle fire in a politically motivated shooting that targeted Republican legislators at a congressional baseball game in Alexandria Virginia. Scalise says his recovery was a tough journey, but he made it through with help from his family.

 

A potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba has been found in Terrebonne Parish. The Terrebonne Consolidated Waterworks District issued a notification saying they have taken steps to kill the organism in the water system. Officials says they will test the water in two weeks to make sure its eradicated

 

A Shreveport craft beer’s popularity has exceeded the expectations of the brewery behind the beverage.  318 Golden Ale, named for the area code where you can find the beer, was released in March.  Great Raft Brewing’s tasting room manager Bob Thames says although you can find other beers from the brewery widely distributed, the idea behind 318 Golden Ale is to have a beer solely for North Louisiana. Initially, the brewery expected to sell the equivalent of 4500 cases in the first 90 days.  However, the ended up selling closer to 7000.

 

A bid to repair the Lake Prien Bridge on I-210 in Lake Charles has been submitted that claims the work can be done in a surprisingly short time, only 365 days. The 44.5 million dollar repair will address the 54 year old bridge that is vital to transport in the area. Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says their own estimations pegged the time at 17 months at best. Wilson says the bridge is rapidly deteriorating and needs to be addressed soon, before the situation gets worse and the whole thing needs to be shut down.

 

Two big new rule changes from the NCAA. Starting October 15, college athletes will have the freedom to transfer to any university they want without fear of being blocked from their current school or any others. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the transfer rule will give players more freedom. Moran says these aren’t professional athletes and it was wrong for schools to control where they could get an education and play ball

 

On Air Today..

 

Houston Astros @ Oakland A’s 2p 94.7 ESPN

The Astros have won their last 7 games including last night’s 13 to 5 win over the A’s

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News for Wednesday 061318

By Dave Graichen

 

Some very good police work averted what could have been a very dangerous situation yesterday afternoon, as a Texas homicide suspect was captured in without incident.  U.S. marshals had alerted the Alexandria Police Department earlier Tuesday afternoon that Daryl Kelly was in the Home Towne Studios at 1000 MacArthur Drive. Police evacuated the building and closed down Mac Arthur Drive for close to 2 hours. Kelly, once seeing his options, surrendered to police.

 

The Rapides Parish Police Jury voted unanimously Monday to cut $700,000 from the District Attorney's Office, a move that will likely lead to more legal action. Jurors approved the motion that had come from its finance committee a week ago.

 

It was a traffic nightmare.. Flooding rains closed both lanes of I-110 in Baton Rouge Tuesday evening as a line of slow-moving storms inundated the area during rush hour.  Some areas of the highway had water several feet deep.

 

Negotiations have begun this week in advance of next week’s special session, with parties involved hoping to get a deal in place before Monday to avoid another dramatic last second finish to what will be the last session of the fiscal year. Senate President John Alario says after two special sessions, he’s convinced more and more legislators are leaning towards a deal that would fully fund state services.

 

Unless the Legislature approves additional revenue, TOPS will suffer a 30 percent reduction, a cost that will be passed right back to students and their families. Higher ed is also on the block for a substantial reduction, and Taylor Foundation Executive Director Dr. James Caillier says even if the state approves the funds, we’re already losing some of our highest performers who are tired of the uncertainty. That 30 percent reduction would result in the average LSU student with TOPS graduating nearly 14,000 dollars more in debt than they would have if the scholarship program was fully funded. Caillier says many working class students just could not bear that kind of increased cost.

 

US Senator John Kennedy is calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to step down due to his handling of the state’s fiscal cliff. Kennedy sites the legislature’s inability to find a long term solution to the budget crisis come down to a lack of leadership from Edwards. The Republican called for the Lt. Governor to take over the state.  Edwards’ Spokesperson Richard Carbo says “Sen. Kennedy’s absurdity knows no limits, and Gov. Edwards isn’t going to be distracted by childish comments or letters from our junior senator.”

 

During an event hosted by Washington news organization POLITICO, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise quickly answered no when asked if he plans to run for governor next year. The Jefferson Parish Republican is a candidate to replace the retiring Paul Ryan as U-S House Speaker.

 

The old Holsum Bread bakery in Baton Rouge, which shut down almost three decades ago, could get new life as a housing manufacturing facility. Ready Shield Solutions plans to open an assembly plant at the site. Preliminary documents filed with the Louisiana Economic Development department show the facility will involve a $60 million investment and will generate 300 new jobs.

 

The eyes of the world are on the recent meeting between President Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. US Congressman Ralph Abraham says he’s thankful that relations with North Korea are at a point where talking is a possibility.

The congressman says he’s got faith in President Trump’s ability to strike up an effective deal with Kim Jong Un.

 

Small business optimism has reached its highest level in 34 years.  That’s according to the National Federation of Independent Business.  NFIB state director Dawn Starns they are now hoping for tax reform in Louisiana as lawmakers consider what to do with the state sales tax, which is currently at 5%.

 

Rudy Guiliani is visiting Cajun country to raise money for US Congressman Clay Higgins primary challenger, Josh Guillory. The former New York City Mayor, and adviser to the President, will be attending a fundraiser for Guillory on June 25th in Lafayette at the Petroleum Club. Guillory is considered to be a more moderate republican, who may lean towards a message that resembles the districts former Representative, Charles Bustany.

 

Two Acadiana men are under arrest in connection to the murder of a St. Martinville teenager. Twenty-five-year-old Brandon Boutte of St. Martinville was charged with Obstruction of Justice and Second Degree Murder in the death of 19-year-old Simone Robin. St. Martin Parish Sherriff’s Spokesperson Major Ginny Higgins says Robin’s trailer was set on fire Saturday, and her body was found later that day on a levee in St. Landry.

 

Starting in September, travelers through Baton Rouge Metro Airport can expect more destination options with the addition of Via Airlines.  The airline, which has been in business for over a decade, will now provide direct service to Austin, Texas and Orlando, Florida.  Airport spokesperson Jim Caldwell says service will fly on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, as they expect a high demand for business travel to the capital city of the lone star state.

 

WWL-TV in New Orleans captured video of a cement truck in New Orleans getting stuck in a sinkhole in the French Quarter. Problem is, that cement truck was apparently on the scene to fix the sink hole. Another truck was called in to pull the truck out of the hole. City officials say no one was injured.

 

Sports..

 

Saints running back Mark Ingram talked to the media about his recent absence at OTAs, amidst rumors that he’s unhappy heading into the year without a new contract. The Saints will be without the pro bowl runner who went for over 1100 yards on the ground last year for the first four games due to a PED suspension, but Ingram has faith that the young guns can carry the Black and Gold In his absence. Ingram says the rumors that he was planning a hold out to protest his contract that runs out this year, are false.

 

On Air Tonight..

 

Houston Astros @ Oakland A’s 8:30p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Tuesday 061218

By Dave Graichen

 

The National Hurricane Center tells us they are monitoring a tropical disturbance in the Caribbean Sea that has low chance of tropical formation this week. The weather system is approaching the Gulf of Mexico, but at the moment seems like a bigger concern for Mexico than the United States.

 

Sister Virginia Lee Vanderlick, who was the principal at Our Lady of Prompt Succor School for 30 years, died Sunday in San Antonio. A memorial mass followed by a reception and lunch will be held at 11 a.m. a week from this Thursday, June 21 at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church in Alexandria. Sister Virginia Lee became principal at OLPS in 1972. She stepped down in 2002 and continued to teach religion classes until she retired in 2013 for health reasons. Our thoughts and prayers are with her many family members here in Cenla.. Sister Virginia Lee Vanderlick was 90 years old.

 

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services warns that unless more funding is approved in the special session, that the food stamps program will be shut down. Walters says 64 percent of people who receive SNAP benefits are either children, disabled, or the elderly, with another 27 percent being the working poor who a earn paycheck that’s not enough to feed their families. The department is currently set for 34 million dollars in cuts.

 

We’ve all heard the story of a distant rich relative passing and leaving someone a fortune.. That just happened here in Louisiana.  A North family got a huge surprise when the state’s Treasury Department informed them that they were owed 2.3 million dollars as part of the Unclaimed Property Program that returns uncollected money from estates to the next of kin.

 

A crash leaves a Eunice man is dead after fleeing from police at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour on State Highway 383.  Shortly after 7 Monday Morning, a Kinder police officer observed a Ford Mustang commit a traffic violation.  The driver, 26 year old Aaron Charlot, chose not to stop and later lost control of his vehicle. 

 

More details are emerging from a Denham Springs incident that left two people dead this weekend.  The initial call that came in was for a home invasion, but it is now believed that this was not a random act.  Investigators with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office have now identified the victim at 36 year old Beaux Bailey.  The second death is the suspect in the case, 37 year old Ted Bourn of Tupelo, Mississippi.  Police say both died as the result of gunfire exchanged between the two men.

 

More tech jobs are coming to Louisiana with the recent announcement that Accruent, a company that focuses on real estate digital integration, will be coming to New Orleans.  Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says the tech center is expected to bring in 350 jobs into the Big Easy. Accruent is already hiring and they plan to be fully staffed by 2020.

 

A new state law allows Louisiana public school teachers up to 30 days of paid leave for the adoption process. Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds sponsored a package of bills promoting adoption after seeing families tackle the hurdles of the process during his campaign and says he wanted to see the burden put on families eased by the new legislation. The change also applies to school social workers and school psychologists.

 

The first entrants into the race for the Secretary of State’s office are trickling in, in the wake of a poll that showed nearly a third of Louisianans are undecided on who they will be voting for come November. Attorney General’s Director of the Public Protection Division, and Democrat, Renee Fontenot Free says her years of public service make her the ideal candidate. She’ll be running to replace Tom Schedler, who stepped down after being accused of sexually harassing and stalking his secretary for nearly a decade.

 

It’s an ailment that is causing a serious threat to the deer population, and since January, a feeding ban was enacted in northeast Louisiana in order to minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, spreading into Louisiana says state wildlife veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour. But now, in the parishes of East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas, LDWF has lifted the feeding ban after initial testing of deer in the area did not detect the disease.  Dr. LaCour explains the preemptive measure’s purpose. The state of Mississippi also conducted testing in the area where the deer was found, and is still awaiting results.

 

The fiscal cliff debate is revealing a wide range of opinions from within Louisiana’s Republican Party, ranging from moderates who support the governor’s call for a half cent sales tax renewal, to anti-tax conservatives who favor budget cuts to plug the 648 million dollar shortfall. River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot, who supported a third penny but not a half, says the state needs to tighten its belt. The difference between a half penny and a third penny sales tax on a 100 dollar purchase is 17 cents.

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News for Monday 061118

By Dave Graichen

 

The third special session of 2018 will begin a week from today and must end June 27th. Governor John Bel Edwards is still looking for a fix to the fiscal cliff. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Carbo says after the legislature failed to replace a large portion of the 1.4 billion dollars in temporary taxes that expire June 30th, they had no choice but to give it one more shot.

 

The Louisiana Department of Corrections warns unless additional tax revenue is raised by June 30th, thousands of inmates will be released. Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says his department is facing a nearly 63-million dollar reduction in state funding.

 

For the first time since its inception in 2001, the state may have to reduce enrollment to its taxpayer funded pre-k program. State Superintendent of Education John White says state budget cuts are the reason for the reduction, but he hopes legislators will raise the necessary revenue to fully fund this program.  Based on the current budget for next fiscal year, pre-k would see a 10-to-20-percent cut.

 

Louisiana has seen a 29 percent increase in the suicide rate since 1999. That’s according to a CDC report that revealed national suicide rates have skyrocketed over the last two decades. Louisiana Department of Health Suicide Prevention Coordinator Danita Leblanc says the state needs to beef up suicide detection efforts, increase the amount of mental health education, and expand mental health services, but that’s tough to do under a budget crunch.

 

Two people died after a home invasion early Sunday morning in the Denham Springs area, but details on what happened remain scarce. Sheriff Jason Ard said he could confirm two fatalities but had not yet released their identities as of Sunday evening. He also said nothing about whether the intruder or intruders were among those killed.

 

Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says they’re one step closer to a massive reform of the way the feds handle flooding and hurricane protection projects. The 2018 Water Resources and Development Act would allow local governments to take over funds for the execution of protection projects from the Corps of Engineers. Graves says passing this bill would speed up construction of some desperately needed hurricane protection and coastal restoration plans.

 

There are nearly 800 crashes annually along a notorious stretch of Interstate 10 just west of the Mississippi River. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallet says the DOTD has taken multiple measures to ensure the safety along this stretch of highway with additional signage, cable barriers and ruble strips.  Mallett says it also comes down to the responsibility of drivers to make a difference. Mallet says that 77 percent of the 800 accidents are from people not paying attention.

 

Public school students can have a bulletproof backpack next school year as a result of a new state law. Republican Senator Mike Walsworth, who sponsored the bill, says it could protect students in the event of an active shooter on campus. But, if you are interested in obtaining one, you may need to act now to have one in time for the next school year. Some schools require students to carry mesh fabric backpacks?  But Walsworth says even with a mesh backpack, you can purchase a kevlar plate to provide protection.

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News for Friday 060818

By Dave Graichen

 

A statewide poll from JMC Analytics shows despite a 42 percent national approval rating for President Donald Trump, Louisianans are still on board, as 56 percent of those surveyed approve of his administration. Pollster John Couvillion says “never Trump Republicans” never caught on in the Bayou State. The poll also indicates the president has strong support amongst white Democrats and independents.

 

That same statewide poll shows an indecisive early start to the Secretary of State’s race. The special election will be held in fall as a result of a sexual harassment scandal that toppled the former Secretary Tom Schedler. It looks like most folks have no clue who many of the possible candidates are at this point, and Couvillion says that likely means it’ll take a big name to break the race open.

 

Governor Edwards used his veto pen to take out 40 projects contained in the state’s three-point-six billion dollar construction spending plan. Most of the projects are in parishes represented by Republicans, who have voted against his tax plans. This comes just a day after Edwards vetoed a gas station bill that would have benefitted GOP House Chairman Lance Harris’ personal businesses.

 

A Shreveport woman is facing felony charges after her three dogs were found dead in her car.  Bossier City Police Spokesperson Mark Natale says that 47 year old Nancy Western was at Willis Knighton Medical Center, when she left her two Labrador retrievers and cocker spaniel in the vehicle. Animal Control assisted law enforcement with the situation and conducted a temperature test on the windows, and even after the vehicle had been opened, was still over 100 degrees. 

 

A teen driver has been charged with careless operation after a crash that killed a jogger early Thursday in Sabine Parish. Louisiana State Police say 46 year old Matthew Haggard died at the scene of the crash, which happened just before 7 in the morning. A 17-year-old male was driving a pickup truck westbound on La. Highway 6 when he lost control, running off the road, hitting Haggard.

 

Once again, the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" must be measured in the size of a U.S. state. LSU scientists predict this summer's iteration will exceed the size of Connecticut,  about 6,620 square miles. After the record-setting dead zone last year, 2018 is expected to return to about average size..

 

Nicholls State is launching a new program, called CROWN, aimed at helping young black men stay at college, and finish their degree. After reviewing information from last year, the university discovered that only 53 percent of African American men returned after their freshman year. CROWN administrator Dr. Sean Chadwell says young black men are often the first members of their family to go to college.

 

The US Department of Justice has teamed up with several state agencies to help ensure people with serious mental illnesses have the opportunity to live in a community setting.  The agreement follows a review by the DOJ in December of 2016 that claimed the state was unnecessarily relying on nursing homes to serve people with serious mental illnesses. The Department of Health has begun it’s assessments of the more than 2,500 mentally ill people currently residing in nursing homes.

 

On The Air…

 

Tonight..

NBA Finals Game 4  Golden State @ Cleveland GS could win the title tonight.  7p 94.7 94.7 ESPN

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News for Thursday 060718

By Dave Graichen

 

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor says it was Billing Software that was not updated properly that led to Pinecrest Supports and Services Center in Pineville failing to collect nearly $50,000 in Medicaid funds between May 2016 and February 2018. The audit also uncovered two employees who were over paid by close to $5,000. The misappropriation was found through in-house investigations. However, management failed to notify the legislative auditor. Both employees have since resigned.

 

The Governor says a bill sponsored by House GOP leader Lance Harris that would allow independent gas stations to sue larger gas station companies over unfair pricing would have led to higher prices at the pump. But, some are saying the Governor’s veto of the bill was political retribution. Harris owns a chain of gas stations in the Alexandria area and could have benefited from the bill.  Harris dismissed suggestions it was improper for him to push a proposal in which he, as an independent gas station owner, had a financial interest. Edwards and Harris have clashed over legislation and policy since the governor’s term started.

 

A group of anti-tax, pro cut Republicans in the House, named the “Caucus of No” by the Governor are standing their ground, defending their move to block any move to renew a portion of an expiring sales taxes that hits June 30th. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says that group has refused to work with other legislators to find a real, long term solution to the state’s perpetual budget woes. The Moderate Republican says most of the state is willing to raise some revenue if it means preserving programs like TOPS, funding universities, and keeping state agencies open.

 

But Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo, one of the House members refusing the revenue measures, stands by his, and his colleagues, decision to prevent any portion of the one point four billion in expiring taxes to be renewed. He says the Governor’s decision to expand Medicaid was irresponsible and Medicaid needs some cuts to reign in the cost.  Louisiana, one of the unhealthiest states in the country, was one of 33 states to expand Medicaid.

 

Can you imagine working hard at a job for 10 years and never getting one pay raise.. Public school teachers in Monroe will receive a two-percent pay raise next school year, it will be their first increase in ten years. Superintendent Brent Vidrine hopes the increase will boost morale. 

 

How about a good news story.. Rep. Steve Scalise, who has vowed to someday return to his starting post at second base got his wish yesterday and even fielded some balls at his old position.  It was the first time the Louisiana congressman took to the field with his Republican colleagues since a gunman fired on them during a practice last June in a Virginia suburb not far from the U.S. Capitol. Scalise, the House majority whip, was shot in the hip that morning and nearly died. It has been a long road to recovery..

 

In a letter sent to Governor Edwards, US Senator John Kennedy expressed his concern over what he called an “inexcusable waste of taxpayer funds at the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission” based on a legislative audit.  Kennedy says the bulk of the problems appeared to have occurred under the leadership of Katara Williams, who has since been moved to a position with Southern University. Not only did Kennedy send his letter of concern to the governor, but he also sent a copy to President Donald Trump.

 

The State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries seeks to get more people outdoors with a free fishing weekend. So Saturday and Sunday residents and visitors can fish Louisiana waters without an otherwise required fishing license. LDWF Spokesperson Rene LeBreton says they hope to attract new anglers. LeBreton says a quick visit to the LDWF website http://www.wlf.la.gov has lots of information for those who may not know where to get started…

 

Low wage workers with kids will be getting a 40 to 50 dollar boost on their 2019 tax returns as the legislature approved an expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s all but guaranteed to be signed by the Governor. Louisiana Budget Project Executive Director Jan Moller says the extra cash will go right into the pockets of thousands of Louisiana families.

 

Entergy and most utility companies recommend you set thermostat to 78 degrees for maximum savings on your electric bill. For most people…. That’s not going to happen…. Most folks surveyed said they didn’t have a problem leaving the temperature at 78 while they were at work, but nearly everyone said when their home, the plan on being comfortable. Entergy says each degree below 78 will add approximately 3-percent to the cost of your electric bill.

 

An Opelousas man is under arrest after allegedly setting a series of fires targeted at harassing his ex-girlfriend. 35-year-old Austin Ceasar was slapped with a series of Arson related charges after authorities found evidence that connected him to three fires dating back to March 9th. State Fire Marshal Spokesperson Ashley Rodriquez says a neighbor caught him committing the first arson.

 

On the air….

 

Tonight..

Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers 6:30p 94.7 ESPN

 

Last Night

 

NBA Finals The Golden State Warriors have a 3 game advantage now over the Cleveland Cavaliers after last night’s 110 to 102 victory. They could walk away with the title tomorrow night when they face off in game 4.  Hear it 7p on 94.7 ESPN!

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News for Wednesday 060618

By Dave Graichen

 

The second special session of 2018 ended without a sales tax bill passing that would replace 648-million dollars in expiring sales taxes. A Senate backed tax bill that renewed half of the expiring penny sales tax to fund higher ed, healthcare, and TOPS was six votes short of passage. Louisiana Budget Project director Jan Moller says if the revenue can’t be raised in an expected third special session, 500 million dollars of cuts will be distributed across state government.

 

A budget approved by lawmakers in the final hour of the second special session would reduce higher education funding by 96-million dollars and TOPS would be funded at 70-percent.  President of the University of Louisiana System Dr. Jim Henderson says the idea of cuts to higher ed and TOPS is disappointing. A sales tax bill that would have prevented cuts to higher ed and TOPS failed in the final moments of the second special session. Dr. Henderson says going back on the promise of a fully funded TOPS scholarship is a message that the state should not want to convey to the students.

 

With the second extra legislative session of this year ending in a partisan gridlock, and a third coming up, State Representative Malinda White of Bogalusa says she’s taking action by donating her pay from an expected third special session to a worthy cause in District 75. A third special session would cost at least 50-thousand dollars a day.  By failing once again to pass a solution to fund the budget, White says that her constituents are aggravated with the costs and delays caused by the extra sessions. The donation she is making is estimated to be about $1500.

 

In a state struggling to raise revenue, this may be a win win.. A Louisiana parish has issued 8,000 tickets for uninsured cars and trucks after installing license plate readers last year. Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington said the $200 citations were mailed to vehicle owners who drove by the cameras and were found to be uninsured. One of the reasons Louisiana his the highest auto insurance rates in the country is because of the high number of uninsured motorists.

 

The reward has trippled for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in last week’s fatal shooting of 29-year-old Cameron Mack and his four-year-old daughter Cali in LaPlace The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s office has announced a 15-thousand dollar reward. They’ve been searching for the gunman, who fatally shot the two as they were walking up the stairs to their home.

 

A town councilman in LaFourche Parish has been charged with his third D-U-I. State Police arrested 39-year-old Wayne Bourgeois of Lockport after he allegedly side-swiped another vehicle. Bourgeois says he regrets the incident and he’ll appear in court July 6th.

 

Googling “how common is barium poisoning “on your phone might not be a good idea if you plan on poisoning someone. That information is in the warrant for 50-year-old Meshell Hale of Slaughter ,who was arrested and charged with second degree murder in the 2015 poisoning death of a Damian Skipper. A new autopsy revealed the presence of barium.

 

Livingston Parish deputies were informed about a domestic dispute and dispatched to a Denham Springs home around 1 am Tuesday morning.  Sheriff’s office spokesperson Lori Steel, says the results were a deadly tragedy witnessed by several children. Officials are saying it appears the suspect stabbed the victim multiple times with a knife, as well as attacked another individual with his bare hands. Steel says thankfully, none of the children who witnessed the crime were injured. The suspect, Christopher Glen, is currently being held in the Livingston Parish Detention Center and more charges are pending.

 

Sports…

 

The only LSU player selected during day two of the Major League Baseball Draft is sophomore left-hander Nick Bush who was drafted in the eight round by the Colorado Rockies. Bush boasted an ERA of 3.40 in 47.2 innings this past season.

 

No LSU baseball players were selected in the first seven rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft, which is good news for Coach Paul Mainieri. Zack Hess, Zach Watson and Antoine Duplantis are draft eligible and if they were selected high enough and received a big enough signing bonus, they may decide to end their college career and play professional baseball.

 

On air today..

 

NBA Finals Game 3 Golden State @ Cleveland 7p 94.7 94.7 ESPN

 

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News for Tuesday 060518

By Dave Graichen

 

The special session crashed and burned last night as lawmakers failed once again this year to agree on a budget and tax plan that solves the fiscal cliff and funds the government next year. The key moment of the night was the House’s 64-40 rejection of a Senate backed tax plan. That Senate backed plan would have raised 507 million dollars by renewing half of the expiring penny sales tax, and fully funding TOPS, higher ed, and healthcare. The bill received opposition from key Republican leaders House GOP Chairman Lance Harris, and Speaker Taylor Barras who questioned some of the tax’s legitimacy. Governor John Bel Edwards says he was embarrassed by the lack of cooperation in the legislature. Edwards says the body’s failure means another session will have to be called, costing taxpayers 50,000 dollars a day, in part to pay per deims to legislators for their return trip to the capitol.

 

More Louisiana residents will have the ability to treat ailments with medical marijuana. Despite some early objections, the bill gathered surprising bipartisan support in what was an otherwise contentious regular session. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill which was authored by Baton Rouge Democrat Rep. Ted James. It adds glaucoma, PTSD, Parkinson’s and other ailments to list of illnesses eligible for medical marijuana.

 

Three people are accused of a widespread livestock theft ring with quite the price tag. State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says the husband and wife, Rickey and Wanda Thompson of Pitkin, along with their son Justin Thompson, are accused of the thefts that occurred from August to October of 2017. Ricky and Wanda Thompson have turned themselves in to the Allen Parish Jail, however Justin Thompson has yet to surrender to authorities.

 

The Secretary of State’s office has been warning the public that Louisiana has aging voting machines that could fall apart, and now we have a price tag for replacing them, 60 million dollars. The feds have offered to chip in with nearly 6 million to get the process started. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin says it’s not going to happen overnight. But, thousands of machines will have to be repaired or replaced Soon!

 

With the expansion of medical marijuana, The Baton Rouge Democrat anticipates a bill in  2019 to potentially green light recreational use. He says he’s already heard from some of his colleagues across the isle that the legislation would get serious consideration from some Republican lawmakers who are interested in the fiscal benefits.

 

About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime and now, a new study has found that many breast cancer patients can skip chemo.  Dr. Lucio Miele (MEE-LAH) of LSU  Health New Orleans says The report, which is being considered a landmark study, is the largest ever done of breast cancer treatment, and comes as the focus turns to cases where chemo’s value increasingly is in doubt. There are some that are hesitant to put their full faith into the study’s results after years of campaigns advocating for chemotherapy.  Dr. Miele says it is time to trust the research. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.

 

The pastor of St. Peter Church in St. Landry Parish has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor in an alleged incident that occurred several years ago. Michael Guidry has been a priest for nearly 50 years, while running St. Peter for the last nine. The Catholic Church was been hit with claims of widespread, and covered up cases of sexual abuse of minors over the last decade, specifically cases involving priests who’ve been moved to other diocese after allegations surfaced. Lafayette Bishop Doug Deshotel says Guidry’s past record is clean.

 

Sports…

 

Houston Astros vs Seattle Mariners 6:35p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Monday 060418

By Dave Graichen

 

The Senate passed a budget, and a tax bill to pay for it, that fully funds TOPS, higher ed, and healthcare. The tax bill raises 508 million dollars by renewing half of the expiring penny sales tax, and eliminating some business tax deductions. Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur says it’s a compromise that he hopes everyone can be content with. Governor John Bel Edwards praised the legislation, saying “Louisiana has moved one step closer to avoiding catastrophic cuts.”

 

The Louisiana House and Senate leaders are expected to spend much of the day today attempting to hash out differences in the Political Analyst Pinsonat says several GOP lawmakers have already said they will not vote for the Senate version. If the two chambers cannot agree on a budget and tax plan by 12PM Monday night, yet another special session will be called.

 

Governor Edwards signed River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot’s nursing home camera bill, as it breezed through the legislature. The law allows families to place remotely accessible cameras in their loved ones nursing home rooms for monitoring. The legislation was inspired by a nursing home incident where a family suspected that the staff was physically abusing their relative.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation allowing riverboat casinos to move up to 12-hundred feet onto land from their current berth space. Executive Director of the Louisiana Casino Association Wade Duty says riverboat casinos will not come ashore immediately, as there’s some regulatory work to do and operators have to design and come up with financing. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns, says the Shreveport-Bossier City market will benefit the most, because they face tough competition from Oklahoma, where Indian tribes are building huge casinos. Duty says this is the first major change in Louisiana since casino gambling was legalized in 1991

 

Louisiana authorities are looking for 50-year-old Meshell Hale of Slaughter, who is accused of poisoning a man for a 10-thousand dollar life insurance payment. Originally, officials though 50-year-old Damian Skipper died from a heart attack in 2015. His body was exhumed and his death has now been reclassified as a homicide. Authorities also believe Hale poisoned her real husband Arthur Noflin. His body was found in the back of a burned out a truck in New Orleans in 2016

 

Hurricane season has officially begun. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness spokesperson Mike Steele encourages residents to visit getagameplan.org to get an idea of what kind of items you need in a supply kit.

 

State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents captured a big Louisiana black bear in the back yard of a home in Winnfield. Sheriff Cranford Jordan says it’s the first bear that he can remember in Winnfield and it had residents a little nervous. The bear was tranquilized and tagged and will be released into a wildlife area.

 

A scathing audit has been released that alleges the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission allowed an excessive amount of overtime pay and travel expenses, misused state and federal dollars and failed to track employee leave. Katara Williams was the executive director at that time and new Commission Director Lisa Freeman says the audit will be used as a blueprint to overhaul the agency.

 

Health New Orleans School of Public Health founding dean Dr. Elizabeth Fontham, says there’s been an alarming new trend. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. 

The American Cancer Society recommends the average adult undergo regular screening with any of the six testing options, with the hope more screenings would save lives. A colonoscopy is recommended once every ten years. Unless you have a family history of cancer.. Then, more often.

 

Entergy Louisiana is planning on purchasing solar power generated by a solar farm that’s set to be the largest such facility in the state. The facility by Eagle Solar Group will be based in West Baton Rouge Parish, and should be up and running by 2020. Entergy Louisiana CEO Phillip May says it’s a huge project and a 20 year agreement. The purchasing plan is estimated to save customers 29 million dollars over the life of the contract.

 

Sports..

 

After a second lopsided victory Sunday against LSU, the No. 3 national seed Oregon State Beavers are headed to a super-regional matchup against No. 14 national seed Minnesota next weekend in Corvallis.

 

The NBA Finals are at 2 to nothing in favor of The Golden State Warriors as ther defeated Cleveland 122 to 103.. Game three is Wednesday night.

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News for Friday 060118

By Dave Graichen

 

It was an amazing joint law enforcement effort. Yesterday afternoon Dintivia Alexis, one of four suspects involved in an armed robbery incident in Monroe, was captured near the intersection of Hwy 8 and US 71, near Colfax. Alexis had been on the run since Tuesday morning, and was the last of the four suspects to be captured.

 

It is the end of an era in Central Louisiana, the Sears department store in the Alexandria mall will close in early September. Sears Holdings on Thursday announced plans to close 63 non-profitable Kmart and Sears stores, including the Alexandria location in September. Last month, plans were announced to close the Sears stores in Lafayette and Lake Charles. Along with yesterday’s announcement, were the plans to close a Kmart Store in Lake Charles. 

 

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season officially starts today despite the fact that the Gulf Coast has already seen its first named storm of the year. NOAA projects 10 to 16 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes, and 1 to 4 major hurricanes. State Climatologist Barry Keim says that’s not too far off base for an average year.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards holds a bill signing today for Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith’s legislation that restores voting rights to individuals who have served time on felony offenses, and have been out of prison for five years, but are still on parole or probation. Edwards says giving people back their rights reinvests them in their communities. Edwards says many convicted felons deserve a second shot at life.

Its estimated voting rights will be restored for 70,000 Louisianans.

 

The Governor also put into law the “Max Gruver Act” which tightens and strengthens Louisiana’s anti-hazing laws, making partic8ipating in a hazing event that leads to a death punishable by up to five years in prison.

 

An anti-bestiality law has been signed by Governor Edwards despite initial pushback by supporters of Louisiana’s unconstitutional anti-sodomy law. Louisiana  Director of the Humane Society of the United States, Julia Breaux Melancon, was surprised by the early objections, but the new law will strengthen prohibitions on bestiality and animal cruelty.

 

The governor is signing legislation by New Iberia Senator Fred Mills that’s aimed at pushing down drug prices by requiring prescription benefit plans (that prescription card in your wallet) inform consumers when they get rebates from drug manufactures. Mills says before, your drug plan could hide those rebates, and pocket money that should have been going back to you. Similar legislation has passed that would require benefit plans provide that information to the state, so the state can negotiate lower Medicaid prices.

 

An icon in the Louisiana culinary industry has passed away. Ella Brennan, the long-term proprietor of Commander’s Palace has died at the age of 92. Brennan also helped launch the careers of celebrity chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Brennan got her start in the restaurant business in the 1970s at the namesake restaurant Brennan’s, on Royal Street in the New Orleans French Quarter.

 

The FDA has told several companies to stop claiming that their sunscreen pills will protect consumers from the suns. Co-founder at Audubon Dermatology in New Orleans, Dr. Deirdre Hooper, says there is no dietary supplement that can prevent the sun’s harmful U-V rays. The FDA and Dr. Hooper emphasize the only way to protect yourself from sun exposure is to apply sunscreen…

 

A major road closure is expected for the Mississippi River Bridge in Port Allen/Baton Rouge, starting Friday night at 7pm and ending noon Sunday. The eastbound lane will be shut down for some repair work. It’s the second weekend for the repairs. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallet says if you’ve got road plans that lead you through BR this weekend, plan accordingly.

 

The Golden State Warriors took an early lead in the N-B-A finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, With a 124 / 114 win. Game two of the series will be played Sunday Night.

 

On air today..

 

LSU Baseball vs San Diego NCAA Tournament 2:30p KSYL 970AM / 100.3 HD3

 

Houston Astros vs Boston Red Socks 6:35p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Thursday 053118

By Dave Graichen

 

Authorities are seeking tips in the fatal double shooting of a 29-year-old man and his four-year daughter in LaPlace. St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre says Cameron and Cali Mack were gunned down Tuesday night by an unknown shooter.

The victims were heading up the stairs to their home when they were shot.

 

The official announcement was made yesterday; Jerrod King is the new chief of police for the Alexandria Police Department. King is a 20-year veteran of APD and currently holds a role training cadets in the police academy. In making the announcement Mayor Jacques Roy also gave recognition to Lieutenant Patrick VanDyke, who Roy announced will eventually transition into a commissioner position, overseeing Public Safety.

 

The Alexandria City council has voted down a request that would have led to an investigation of Mayor Jacques Roy, for the alleged intimidation of Alexandria police officer. The request for the investigation was in the form of a motion that was authored by Councilman Ed Larvadain. An investigation by the Louisiana State Police came to the conclusion that  no cause could be found to charge Roy with public intimidation.

 

19-year-old Kelvin Monte and 17-year-old Jon’Torras Bryant have been charged with aggravated kidnapping of a child and negligent homicide for their roles in the death of an 11-year-old Bryla Bell who crashed after a pursuit by law enforcement. St. Landry Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says Bell’s mother knew her daughter snuck out of the home to be with the young men. The suspects jumped out of the vehicle in Opelousas and Bryla took the wheel and eventually crashed and died.

 

To the uneducated eye, one would think that Alexandria / Pineville has more than enough places to hold meetings and conventions. But, the England Authority Board of Commissioners apparently thinks otherwise. The commission voted 5-4 last week to advertise for bids on the multi-million dollar project, over objections that it will compete with private-sector events centers and that the money could be better spent on economic development projects.  The current design estimate is for a 13,850-square-foot building with a price tag of between $3.5 million and $3.7 million.

 

GOP House Chairman Lance Harris’s tax bill underwent huge changes in a Senate committee. The legislation would now renew one third of the expiring penny sales, but eliminate hundreds of millions in tax deductions that plug the full 648 million dollar budget gap. Harris says his original version that included 283 million in budget cuts was take it or leave it, and the committee decided to leave it. The committee amendments completely eliminate business tax exemptions for manufacturing machinery, farm equipment, and business utilities completely.

 

The Governor signed a series of bills that passed through the legislature and ended up on his desk, that cover a wide range from abortion, to fantasy sports. One of the issues the governor signed off on was Senator Neil Riser’s legislation that removes a training mandate that was passed in 2010, requiring anyone who brings a weapon into a church, mosque, synagogues or other religious building to take an additional eight hours of weapons training before entering the premises.

 

The governor also signed a 15 week abortion ban that closely mirrors an effort in Mississippi that is under a federal court challenge. The legislation flew through the legislature, and marks a notable separation between Edwards and the national Democratic Party. The legislation would only go into effect  only if Mississippi’s ban survives a court challenge.

 

The governor has also put his signature on a bill that would require public schools to display the motto “In God We Trust” in their buildings and the legislation requires the teaching of that motto to the students.

 

Online fantasy sports gaming will be on the ballot for parish approval in November after grabbing the governor’s signature. The legislation by River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot breezed through the legislature this year after past attempts stalled out. Talbot says it just took some time to educate lawmakers about why fantasy sports is not the same as sports betting.

 

US Senator Bill Cassidy says just because last year’s Obamacare repeal failed, doesn’t mean he’s going to stop chasing healthcare reform. The Senator has released a plan he says will help expand access and drive down prices. Cassidy says the first step is enforcing price transparency for medical care providers. The proposal also includes plans to allow insurers to tie prescription costs to international prices, seeks a reduction of hospital monopolies, and calls for an increase to subsidies to young people’s health insurance, as well as allowing employers to not provide health insurance to employees.

 

On Air Tonight….

 

NBA Finals Game 1 Cleveland @ Golden State 7p  94.7 ESPN

 

Corvallis, Oregon, is nearly 2500 miles away from Baton Rouge, but you can still expect a good contingent of LSU Fans in attendance for this weekend’s NCAA Regional at Oregon State. Sean Fredenburg with the LSU Alumni Association Portland Chapter says the Fighting Tigers do not play often in the Pacific Northwest but when they do there’s a lot of Purple and Gold… LSU will face San Diego State to begin the tournament on Friday at 3 P.M.

 

LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri has named sophomore left-hander Nick Bush as his starting pitcher for the regional opener against San Diego State. Mainieri says he also considered Zack Hess, but decided to go with Bush, because he didn’t throw as many pitches as Hess did last Saturday.

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News for Wednesday 053018

By Dave Graichen

 

The RPSO confirm that have been successfully captured two of four men who they’ve been searching for since around 9 yesterday morning. According to RPSO, the incident started as a speeding traffic stop in Georgetown, but the suspects would not stop the vehicle. The pursuit continued into Rapides Parish and eventually the Rigolette Bayou area. The search continues for the remaining two men at large.

 

Channel 5 reports, Patrick Murry, the suspect involved in the Sherwin-Williams barricade situation earlier this month, is facing more charges. Murry was charged Friday with three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, one count of firearm possession by a felon, and one count of resisting an officer with force or violence. He remains in the Rapides Parish jail.

 

State Police Report a Vernon Parish man was killed Tuesday after being struck by a pickup on US Hwy. 171 north of Pickering.31 year old Sherell Lewis Jr of Leesville had stopped his vehicle on the southbound shoulder of Hwy 171 in an attempt to remove debris in the roadway, that's when a pickup driven by 18 year Matthew Martin of Hineston struck him. Lewis was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

 

A jury trial has been set for November 26 for former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lieutenant, Stacy Bender. Bender was indicted on charges of filing false public records, abuse of office and malfeasance in office after being arrested in July 2016 by Louisiana State Police. The State Police investigation revealed that he allegedly had an ongoing sexual relationship with a prostitute. Investigators believe that Bender was on-duty at the time. He has pleaded "not guilty" to all charges.

 

After several days of inaction, The Appropriations Committee passed four budget bills to the House floor for consideration. The proposed spending plan from Representative Cameron Henry would fund TOPS at 80 percent, and cut higher education by 26 million dollars.

 

Governor Edwards weekend veto of a bill will give local governments the ability to require real estate developers set aside a certain portion of their units for affordable housing, to combat ballooning rent prices. Senator Dany Martiny, the bill’s sponsor, argued that cities should not be allowed to dictate what developers build, and that rent prices should be left up to the market.

 

In a video message, Destrehan-based televangelist Jesse Duplantis is asking for 54-million dollars in private donations so that he can purchase a new jet, to replace his current 12-year-old aircraft. Duplantis says he’s looking at the Dassault Falcon Seven-X, because of it fuel capacity. With it he says he can preach the Gospel all over the world. Duplantis says he was also told by God to specifically purchase a brand new Falcon Seven-X.

 

After four people died in a fiery wreck on Interstate 12 over Memorial Day Weekend, St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister sent a letter to Governor Edwards asking him to expedite progress on widening the interstate lanes. She says right now, it’s a dangerous situation with the crush of traffic moving through such a tight corridor. With budget concerns dominating state news, there’s concerns that Louisiana just doesn’t have enough money to fix all the roads that need to be addressed.

 

In Southwest Louisiana, authorities arrest 31-year-old Wayne Barras of Lake Charles on attempted rape charges after he allegedly tried to assault two unsuspecting women. In both cases, the victims’ screams, alerted neighbors, who came to their aid. Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon says Barras is behind bars on a 900-thousand dollar bond.

 

Louisiana is kicking off its 6th Annual Teacher Leader Summit in New Orleans today. The conference is expected to be attended by 7,000 teachers from districts across the state. This year’s conference will have a focus on how to improve outcomes for students who are struggling the most.

 

Gas prices have only increased by a few cents over the last week and AAA’s current projection calls for gasoline prices in Louisiana to hover around $2.80 a gallon for the summer

 

 

On the Air Today..

 

Houston Astros @ NY Yankees 5p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Tuesday 052918

By Dave Graichen

 

GOP House Caucus Chairman Lance Harris’s tax bill that raises 360 million dollars of the 648 million dollar budget shortfall passed the House after a weekend of deliberations that got the legislation 76 votes, 6 more than it needed to make it to Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs.

 

The bill renews a third of the expiring penny sales tax, and eliminates some sales tax breaks. Harris says that would require 126 million dollars in budget cuts, but Governor Edwards administration says the cuts would be much closer to 300 million. The Governor’s office says Edwards has not decided whether or not he would veto the any budget that included those cuts if it made it to his desk.

 

While the Senate will now face the tax bill that’s on its way to the upper chamber, The Governor’s office is raising concerns that with a June 4th deadline for the special session rapidly approaching, that no budget bill has yet been filed. Republicans have blamed this on Edwards’ budget veto in the regular session, but the governor says there’s no reason why that is preventing the legislature from bringing a budget again in the special session.

 

In response Republican Representative Cameron Henry attempted an override of the Governor’s veto of House Bill One from the regular session. After a contentious debate, the move failed 52-48. A veto reconsideration can be brought up only one more time.

 

An eleven-year-old girl was killed in a police chase in Opelousas on Sunday morning and authorities are looking for two men she was with prior to her death. The family of Bryla Bell say she snuck out of the home and got into a truck with two people inside. When Opelousas Police approached the vehicle, two men jumped out and the girl took the wheel of the vehicle and which eventually struck an embankment and she died.

 

If your home was damaged in the 2016 floods, there’s a July 20th deadline to complete a survey that starts the process for aid through the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. Housing Assistance Centers in Lafayette, Hammond, Monroe and Baton Rouge are open during regular business hours to help individuals complete the survey.

 

State Police Report a Holden man was killed Sunday when he lost control of an all-terrain vehicle. Authorities say the man was ejected from the ATV and landed in a roadway where he was struck by an oncoming vehicle. 28 year old Brandon Swindle  was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

The Manning Passing Academy will host its first ever clinic and camp for girls. The Manning family has been running the premier football camp for high school boys for over two decades. Camp organizer Jeff Hawkins says the camp is open to girls between 8th and 12th grade and all women, June 25th and June 26th on the Nicholls State campus.

 

 

LSU and Northwestern State are in the same NCAA Baseball regional, the Corvallis Regional and the Demons will face number three national seed Oregon State, while the Tigers will take on San Diego State at 3 PM central time Friday. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the Tigers beat some of the best teams in the country in the SEC which should make them very confident going forward.

 

It will be the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Championship series starting this Thursday. That after Golden State took Game seven of the western division finals yesterday from Houston. 102 / 92. In the Eastern division, The Boston Celtics fell to Cleveland Sunday in their 7th game of the series. 

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News for Friday 052518

By Dave Graichen

 

The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating a fatality that occurred Thursday   morning at the Proctor and Gamble Plant in Pineville. Officials say an explosion involving a fork truck claimed the life of the driver and injured 6 other people. The man killed in the accident has been identified as 56 year old Allen Kendrick of Jena.  It's the first fatal accident in the plant's 49-year history.

 

There’s now a 70-percent chance over the next 24 to 48 hours we can see our first tropical system of the year. Invest 90L, the low-pressure system in the west Caribbean,  is starting to get a narrower prediction track, and more confidence that it will grow into a tropical depression or storm. State Climatologist Barry Keim says nasty weather could start to pop up nearby as early as Saturday, but Keim says they expect the system to really hit starting next week.

 

NOAA says their forecast for the upcoming hurricane season calls for a near-normal or above normal hurricane season and that means anywhere between 10 and 16 named storms. The federal government’s lead forecaster, Doctor Gerry Bell, says the severity of Atlantic hurricane seasons have been increasing since 1995.

 

Amidst increased Memorial Day weekend travel, Louisiana Troopers are partnering with Mississippi Highway Patrol in a new highway safety initiative called “Line to Line.” Trooper Dustin Dwight says more troopers on the road will hopefully reduce the number of crashes and help respond time. Trooper Dwight says the goal of the program is to keep motorists safe during increased travel times.

 

House GOP Caucus Chairman Lance Harris’s tax bill passed House Ways and Means and is on it’s way to the floor. The proposal would retain one third of the expiring penny sales tax, as well as a few other sales tax breaks, and cut government spending by 126 million dollars.  Harris’s legislation would raise 366 million dollars in revenue.

 

Harris says the proposal does not fill the 648 million dollar budget gap that has brought legislators into the second special session of the year. The Alexandria Republican says it’s time to start cutting government spending.

 

House Republicans voted down the administration’s favored plan, New Iberia representative Terry Landry’s tax bill, would have raised 543 million dollars. The special session ends June 4th.

 

The state Board of Regents has approved a license for a new medical school on the ULM campus. President Nick Bruno says its great news for northeast Louisiana and the entire state, because there’s a projected 19-percent shortfall in the number of physicians needed in the coming years.

 

An America’s Health Rankings has Louisiana ranked dead last in the nation for the quality of senior’s health. The report detailed the particularly perilous situation that many of Louisiana’s rural seniors find themselves in, relative to urban based elderly. Dr. Rhonda Randall with the United Health Foundation says after identifying two major problem areas, social isolation and obesity, she hopes the report can spur people into action. In the six years the report has been released, Louisiana has never ranked higher than 47th.

 

Red Snapper season is now underway, with a two fish bag limit and 16 inch catch minimum in place for anglers looking to head out on the waters. This season should be even more convenient than past years, as federal waters have been ceded to the state. The season will run seven days a week until 743,000 pounds are harvested.

 

In LSU Baseball, The Tigers beat South Carolina last night to advance in the SEC tournament. They will play next this evening around 6p, the looser of the Arkansas / Florida game, which will take place earlier in the day.

 

The Boston Celtics could wrap up the NBA eastern Conference finals tonight with a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gametime 6 pm on 94.7 ESPN

 

Last Night, it was the Houston Rockets coming alive and taking a 3 game to 2 advantage in the NBA West Finals. That series could be decided tomorrow night.   

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News for Thursday 052418

By Dave Graichen

 

The House Ways and Means committee held its first hearing of the special session and it became more of a gripe session. Republicans on the panel criticized the Edwards administration for vetoing a budget in the regular session, and expressed concerns about raising revenues, instead of finding savings. Democrats are also frustrated.

The state is facing a 648 million dollar shortfall that could lead to mass reductions in healthcare services, higher education funding, and TOPS.

 

As a way to generate revenue, the Edwards administration is also proposing the elimination of certain tax breaks enjoyed by specific industries and businesses.

 

Reports indicate that a consensus may be growing on plugging a portion of the budget shortfall by renewing half of the one penny sales tax that is set to expire. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says the Edwards administration is not asking for an overall increase in taxes, because renewing just some of the expiring revenue would still be a tax cut relative to last year…

 

A Marshall Project report shows Louisiana saw its largest drop in prison population in a decade between 2016 and 2017. State Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says  the good news is, a declining incarceration rate has not led to an increased crime rate in Louisiana. LeBlanc says it’s a testament to recent criminal justice reforms.

 

A big win for the Big Easy as the city has been awarded the 2024 Super Bowl. New Orleans officials say the last Super Bowl, in 2013, had a 480 million dollar economic impact, and Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President Jay Cicero confirmed that the city and state had to provide an economic incentive package to seal the deal.

 

Despite higher gas prices, AAA estimates nearly 42-million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That’s a five-percent increase from last year and the highest number of travelers in more than a dozen years. AAA Spokesman Don Redman says about 37-million travelers will hit the road…

 

LSU’s only Heisman winner, running back Billy Cannon, was laid to rest Wednesday, surrounded by friends, family, and fans. Several people spoke and gave their best memories of one of the greatest athletes in Bayou State history. Angola Warden Darrel Vannoy says after news got out that Cannon had died, the inmates took up a collection for his casket.

 

The state will hold a sales tax holiday this Saturday and Sunday for storm supplies to help folks get a jump start on their hurricane preparedness. State taxes will be reduced from the usual 5 percent to 3 percent. Department of Revenue Spokesman Byron Henderson says it’s a great opportunity to pick up some essentials.

 

On the air today..

IN LSU Baseball, the Tigers lost the 2ns round of the SEC to Florida 3 to 4. This afternoon, the Tigers meet 24th ranked South Carolina Airtime 1:30. KSYL 970 AM /100.3 HD3 FM

 

NBA Western Conference Finals Game 5  Golden State @ Houston 7p 94.7 ESPN Series tied at 2

 

The Boston Celtics Stomped the Cleveland Cavaliers last night 96 to 83 In game 5 of the eastern conference series. The Celtics could win the division Tomorrow night.

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