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News for Friday 072018

Compiled by Dave Graichen

 

A heat advisory is in effect through Monday as temps are expected to reach the century mark or slightly higher each day. National Weather Service Meteorologist Mario Valverde in Shreveport says being too active in this kind of heat could lead to some serious health issues, even death.  Best advice, avoid prolonged exposure to the heat and drink plenty of fluids.  

 

The building the housed for many years the Owl Fine Foods Store on Chester Street In Alexandria has been sold, thus avoiding demolition. Plans are to renovate the facility and put a specialty shop there. It could be several months before the building’s new life begins.

 

Authorities in Natchitoches are knee deep in the investigation of an apparent home invasion that led to the kidnapping and death of a 6 month old infant. The body of Levi Cole Ellerbe will be laid to rest today. Rumors swirled around Natchitoches about what really happened that night, but police were not releasing any additional information on the investigation at this time.

 

Today is the deadline for 2016 Louisiana flood victims to fill out a survey in order to be eligible for federal assistance to repair their homes. The survey can be found at restore.la.gov. again, today is the deadline.

 

North Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham has been named to the conference committee that will try to resolve differences in the Senate and House’s Farm Bill. The Farm Bill sets agriculture policy for the next five years, and also sets the regulations for SNAP. Abraham says he’s looking for big changes to the food stamp program. Part of those changes would be a work requirement. Abraham is optimistic a new Farm Bill can be sent to the President in a couple of months. The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September.

 

Practitioners who use the hair-removal technique known as “eyebrow threading” no longer need to undergo hundreds of hours of expensive training to work in Louisiana. Institute for Justice Attorney Renee Flaherty says after a two-year legal battle, the state’s Cosmetology Board has a new policy. Flaherty says the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Cosmetology on behalf of two eyebrow threaders in order to change the previous mandate for 750 hours of training,

 

Louisiana’s Republican Congressional Delegation is lashing out against US Senate Democrats who blocked a House resolution from Congressman Clay Higgins that endorses the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE. Higgins says the movement to abolish ICE endangers national security. ICE has become a controversial agency in recent months, as the agency that has been tasked with carrying out the Trump Administration’s immigration policies such as family separations and detainment of asylum seekers. Immigrant activist say the agency is being used to terrorize immigrant communities.

 

A 66-year-old man has been arrested in Shreveport after authorities say they discovered that his wife had not moved from their couch in months, leaving her malnourished and suffering from substantial, life threatening injuries. The man was arrested and charged with Cruelty to Persons with Infirmities for what police say was his neglect of his wife.

 

The state department of corrections says two Angola inmates serving a life sentence were found dead in their cells Thursday morning. It’s believed they died from a drug overdose. Corrections officers are conducting a shakedown of all cells as they try to determine how the prisoners got a hold of the drugs.

 

Dog Feces, Rodents, Flies… just some of the reasons the Louisiana Department of Health has given for the closure of a Shreveport fish market.  Regional Medical Director Administrator at LDH, Dr. Martha Whyte says the decision to shut down the Dupont Fish Market comes after months of working with the business. No one has reported any illnesses stemming from the fish market’s short comings.  But Whyte said the agency was working in an effort to prevent that from happening.

 

Sports On the air today….

 

Houston Astros @ LA Angels 8:30p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Thursday 071918

Compiled by Dave Graichen

 

The National Weather Service has issues a heat advisory for the northern half of the state including Central Louisiana. Friday, Saturday and Sunday temps are expected to top out at or slightly above 100. That, coupled with high humidity, could push the heat index as high as 110 each day. Forecasters say the heat will stay with us right into next week.

 

A six-month-old baby is dead after a kidnapping that ended with authorities finding the child covered in severe burns. Tuesday night Natchitoches Police responded to a call from a mother who said her child had been stolen after a home invasion. Captain Christopher Payne says the mother was blindsided.  An hour after police responded to the initial call, Payne says they got a second call from someone reporting that a barn had caught fire about three miles north of the home. That’s where the child was found covered with burns.  Payne says no arrests have been made in the case as of yet.

 

The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office says a tip about an illegal tattoo parlor in the Prospect community uncovered more than that. Deputies serving a search warrant found the illegal operation but also crystal meth and a firearm. Two people were arrested and booked into the Grant Parish Detention Center.

 

State police report a four-vehicle wreck  killed an Alexandria man Tuesday afternoon on LA Highway 28 East near the border of LaSalle and Rapides parishes. An 18 wheeler being driven by a West Monroe man crossed the center line and struck a vehicle being driven by 86 year old William Lewis. Lewis who was not wearing a seatbelt died at the scene. The driver of the 18 wheeler, 30 year old Londell Smith Jr has been charged with negligent.

 

In the first day of qualifying for the fall elections only the three previously announced candidates made it official. More interesting, at least at this point is the Mayor’s race in the Town of Ball, where former mayor Roy Hebron threw his hat in the ring. There is still some question as to whether or not he can legally run.. Qualifying ends on Friday.

 

The Secretary of State’s race is officially on as qualifying is underway. Democrat Renee Fontenot Free, the director of the Public Protection Division in the state A-G-’s office, and Republican former state legislator A.G. Crowe joined the race yesterday, the first day of qualifying.

 

Attorneys for Louisiana College  announced yesterday the college will file an objection to a July 12 decision in the U.S. District Court to deny the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a former coaching prospect, Joshua Bonadona, that alleged racial discrimination. Bonadona has alleged that he didn't get the job at LC because the college's president, Rick Brewer, allegedly said Bonadona had "Jewish blood." In a press release issued Wednesday, LC's attorneys said the allegations are unwarranted and vehemently denied.  Brewer said the ruling "reflects a technical legal question that has no bearing whatsoever with the veracity of the allegations in the suit."

 

Bayou Bridge protesters attempted to break into a Baton Rouge radio studio where Governor John Bel Edwards was being interviewed to demand an audience with Governor Edwards. The Protesters wanted to question Edwards over his decisions regarding the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and the community of St. James’ fear that the project would strand citizens in the event of chemical accident. The protesters are part of the No Bayou Bridge movement that opposes the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline that runs from Lake Charles to St. James Parish. Opponents say the pipeline infringes on native territory, and is a danger to water sources.

 

The Louisiana Health Department announces six people have been diagnosed with the West Nile virus. It’s the first human cases of 2018. Assistant State Health Officer, Doctor Parham Jaberi, says the three cases of Neuroinvasive Disease, the sever form of the virus, were found in DeSoto, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa Parishes. Jaberi, says the public should take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 80-percent of people who get West Nile are unaware they have the virus, as they are asymptomatic.

 

Congressman Ralph Abraham has been named a member of the conference committee that will craft the final version of the Farm Bill.  The version of the Farm Bill being considered will set agriculture policy for the next five years.  The House passed its version of the Farm Bill on June 21, with the Senate passing their version a week later. The current Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of September.

 

In a letter from Attorney General Jeff Landry to Governor John Bel Edwards, Landry blamed the governor for the lack of executions in the state since 2010, saying victims’ families suffer in legal limbo while waiting for justice to be carried out. Edwards saying the Landry had not attempted to contact him or his office and letter was out of the blue. The governor insists the reason behind the delay of executions comes down to the lack of availability of drugs to carry out lethal injections. The AG’s office has suggested following the example of other states by expanding the execution method options.

 

The CDC advises customers to throw out any crab products from Venezuela. Health officials say a dangerous bacteria has been found in fresh crab meat from the South American Country, causing two people from Louisiana to get very sick.

 

The first black head football coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette wasn’t fired in 2001 because of the color of his skin, a Baton Rouge judge ruled Wednesday following the third trial in the long-running case. Jerry Baldwin was terminated after the third year of his four-year contract with a record of six wins and 27 losses but was paid for the final year of the contract. UL-Lafayette has said Baldwin was fired because of his poor overall record, a decline in football attendance and revenue and flagging  community support for the struggling football program that he inherited in 1999 from coach Nelson Stokley.

 

Can a black person get a fair trial in a courthouse with a confederate statue in front of it?  Attorney Niles Haymer says he doesn’t believe so.  Haymer has a black client currently facing a gun charge, but has requested a change of venue from the East Feliciana courthouse.  He says his client is intimidated by a thirty-foot soldier at the entrance of the building.

 

Sports On The Air Today…

 

St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs 5p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Wednesday 071818

Compiled by Dave Graichen

 

Qualifying for the November election begins today. It will give voters a final roster of candidates for Congressional seats, and the special election to replace Tom Schedler as Secretary of State. The race for the Mayor’s seat in Alexandria will also be on the line. So far three candidates, state Rep. Jeff Hall, local attorney Catherine Davidson   and a former member of Mayor Jacques Roy's administration Kay Michiels have announced their intentions to run for mayor.

 

You most likely noticed a heavy haze the past few days. Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Forecaster Patrick Zahn says its dust from over 5,000 miles away in the Sahara desert. Zahn says it could make it a bit more difficult to breathe these next few days for people who suffer from asthma.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has announced 23 new projects aimed at coastal recreation throughout the state.  The $60 million being used to fund the projects comes from a settlement stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser says the projects will be beneficial to those with or without a boat.

 

Baton Rouge Republican Congressman Garret Graves says he’s not exactly happy some of the comments made by President Trump in Finland. Graves saying it was a poor choice of words on the President’s part.  Trump has since reversed his initial statement, saying he has full confidence in the findings of US intel concerning Russian meddling in US elections.

 

Two years ago yesterday in Baton Rouge, a lone gunman opened fire on law enforcement in an ambush that would kill three officers and injured three others. East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says it goes down as one of the worst days in Louisiana’s history.  Corporal Nick Tullier continues his difficult recovery at a Houston hospital, however he cannot walk, talk, or move his limbs without assistance.

 

Louisiana has seen an uptick in productions around the state for television shows and motion pictures.  Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment, Chris Stelly credits a 2017 reform in the state’s incentive program for the boom.  Currently, five television shows being filmed in communities around the state.  Stelly estimates that the economic impact is in the billions, but says a true metric is being studied right now with more official results available in early 2019.

 

The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans says the jaguar that got loose on Sunday and killed nine other animals most likely bit through a stainless steel cable barrier near the roof of his enclosure. Zoo Director Kyle Burks says the big cat then pushed through an eight-by-ten inch hole in the roof and got out. Burks says the jaguar will not be euthanized and they are not sure how long he was out of his enclosure.

 

The Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington received a 42 million dollar grant to keep the lights on and the medical research on schedule. The grant, from the National Institute of Health, is aimed at maintaining the facility’s infrastructure and day to day operation. The center employs over 300 people in a variety of functions.

 

Despite seeing its losses more than double over the last fiscal year, GB Sciences is pushing forward with phase two of its medical marijuana growing operation in Baton Rouge and has landed another $3.8 million in funding from its Louisiana investor group. GB Sciences filed its annual financial results in late June for the fiscal year ending March 31, posting a net loss of $22.9 million for the year, and an accumulated deficit of $58 million since inception. GB executive John Davis, who is heading up the Louisiana operation, said the recent losses will “absolutely” not affect its partnership with LSU.

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News for Tuesday 071718

Compiled by Dave Graichen

 

In a surprise announcement late yesterday afternoon Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy announced he would not seek a fourth term as mayor. In a press release, Roy said "We leave our city measurably better, and I hope the next mayor does, too”. Roy has been mayor since 2006. Qualifying for the November mayoral election starts tomorrow.

 

The summer in Louisiana means high temps.  State climatologist Barry Keim says get ready for the seasonal peak. We can expect temps in the low 90s to mid to upper 90 during the work week, which are typical for this time of year.  But he warns the humidity levels will be above average, bringing heat indices to dangerous levels.  Remember, hydration in critical in this heat, even if you are not out in the sun.

 

Two adults and one juvenile are dead after a fire engulfed a trailer in Campti over the weekend. Investigators are still unsure exactly how the fire erupted and claimed the family’s lives. State Fire Marshal Spokesperson Ashley Rodrigue says the fire occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning. At this point in the investigation, Rodrigue says they aren’t sure why the family did not respond to the inferno but says early reports indicate they may not have been awake to react to it.

 

The RPSO reports The Federal Bureau of Investigation has initiated a probe into the it’s  Office over the March arrests of five corrections officers for an excessive force complaint from an inmate.  KALB TV is reporting that within the past few weeks, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division based out of Washington, DC and the FBI based out of Alexandria got involved with the case and opened a probe into the office. It’s also confirmed through multiple sources that the FBI seized multiple computers, phones and documents from the office. Channel 5 says they have also been told that the FBI's probe could extend beyond the incident involving the inmate.

 

Due to the renewal of a partial penny state sales tax rate and a tax rate drop in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana no longer holds the dubious distinction of the highest sales tax rate when combining state level and the average local sales tax rate.  An economist for the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says that title now belongs to Tennessee. In 2015, The Tax Foundation wrote a book on its recommendation of the tax situation in Louisiana. Among the suggestions is expanding the sales tax to cover services. That has yet to happen.

 

A new approach by the Louisiana Department of Health in providing home and community services will end the waiting list for thousands of citizens with developmental disabilities.  Deputy Secretary of LDH, Mark Thomas, explains that the new plan will also effectively end the 25-year-old Request for Service registry waiting list.  Thomas says the new method sees those in the most urgent of need, some who have been waiting years, will see services very quickly. There are currently 16,000 residents on that waiting list in Louisiana.

 

Three Louisiana State Police troopers disciplined last year for taking a lavish "side trip" to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon while driving to a law enforcement conference in California offered their first public remarks on the controversy during their appeal Monday before the State Police Commission. The troopers told the commission they had been scapegoated for a scandal that embarrassed the State Police and prompted the retirement last year of Mike Edmonson, the agency's longest-serving superintendent. After a full day of testimony action was deferred on the appeal. It’s expected it will be next month, at the earliest, before any decision is announced.

 

The US Department of Labor has ordered El Paso Mexican restaurant to pay close to $655,000 in back wages to 567 employees, including 58 here in Alexandria. In addition to the Alexandria location, the company operates a number of restaurants in Louisiana and Florida. The department found that the chain violated the minimum wage requirements at 23 of those locations.

 

A Winfield woman is facing 18 counts of theft by fraud, after she apparently tried to pass of a fraudulent raffle. The RPSO posted a picture of the woman on Facebook Friday evening and she was identified within minutes as 30 year old Nettie Adams. Adams was already under lock and key in Winfield on fraud charges and is being held on a $10,000 bond. Authorities in Rapides parish will be waiting to arrest her when she gets released.

 

29 people have been arrested since March in St. Tammany Parish in a parish wide crackdown on the crystal meth that has been flowing into the rural portions of the region. The arrests have targeted smaller distributors, and have resulted in the seizure  of guns, drugs, and money, and St Tammany Parish Sherriff Randy Smith says they do not suspect that the dealers who’ve been busted are part of a largescale, organized criminal effort to take over distribution in the parish.

 

The eyes of the college football world are on Georgia this week for SEC Media Days. LSU coaches and stars took the mike yesterday to talk shop. Head Coach Ed Orgeron is on the hottest seat in the SEC after a tumultuous season that ended with the departure of expensive OC Matt Canada. Orgeron says it’s for the best though, praising new coordinator and former tight ends coach Steve Ensimnger. Orgeron also told reporters he’s looking to have the never-ending quarterback question solved by the time the regular season starts.

 

Sports on air today….

 

The MLB All Star Game 6p 94.7 ESPN

 

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News for Monday 071618

By Dave Graichen

 

The investigation continues into an early Friday morning crash that claimed the life of 19 year old Hayden Graham of Colfax. State police Graham, who was not wearing a seatbelt, lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

An investigation is underway Saturday into a fire in Campti that killed three people. Investigators found the bodies of a woman, man and child in the rubble of a fire in the 1800 block of Clark Road in the Natchitoches Parish town. The names of the victims and the circumstances surrounding the fire have yet to be released.

 

Two more Audubon Zoo animals have died, bringing the total number of animals killed to eight after a jaguar escaped his habitat on Saturday The jaguar was captured and returned to its night house after being sedated by a vet team. No people were hurt and the zoo was reopened Sunday.

 

The New Orleans PD reports an eight-year-old boy drowned in Lake Pontchartrain Saturday afternoon.  Police said the boy had been swimming with his family off of a boat anchored when he removed a life jacket he was wearing and went under water. The boy was discovered unconscious a short time later.

 

Friday, members of the Restore Louisiana Task Force unanimously approved the resolution proposed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to expand the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program’s tiered grant reimbursement structure from 50 percent to 100 percent for all eligible homeowners.

 

With midterm elections rapidly approaching, there’s buzz a rising level of enthusiasm from Democratic voters could lead to a “Blue Wave” that washes dozens of new Democrats into office, potentially shifting power in DC. JMC Analystic’s analyst John Couvillion says while Democrats may make some major gains nationally, locally he doesn’t see any Republican congressional candidates falling.

 

The Louisiana Housing Corporation Board of Directors approved $6.1 million for LHC’s soft second mortgage assistance initiative, which is slated to launch August 2018 in select parishes. Executive Director of LHC, Keith Cunningham, says with the program being a home owner may be more affordable than you think. The purpose of the initiative is to bridge the affordability gap between the price of the home and the maximum amount a homebuyer can borrow with a first mortgage loan.  Cunningham says the program can help with other costs associated with initiating the process as well.

 

It’s an ailment that is causing a serious threat to the deer population, and from January through June of this year, a feeding ban was enacted in northeast Louisiana in order to minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, spreading into the state.  Now, Congressman Ralph Abraham is backing legislation for more in depth studies of the disease.  Abraham says there is a financial benefit for the state in ensuring a healthy deer population.

 

This week at a public meeting New Orleans dove deep into questions about the effects of short term rentals, like Air BnB, on the local housing market.  Jane Place Program Manager Breonne DeDecker says the long term damage of short term rentals could cripple New Orleans’ economy, as the working class that tourism is reliant upon  are increasingly being forced to leave. Air BnB released a statement  saying they worked closely with the City for two years to develop and implement rules for short-term rentals and hope to work closely with the city as the current rule making process moves forward.

 

US Senator John Kennedy has filed a resolution that could lead to a congressional denouncement of the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Calls to Abolish ICE have mounted in recent months in the wake of the White House’s No Tolerance immigration policies, such as family separations.  US Congressman Clay Higgins has filed a similar resolution in the House.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain are taking a trip out to the farm. They will be meeting with local sugarcane farmers July 19th to discuss tariffs among other issues. Strain says they’re there to congratulate the farmers for their great work and to help understand what the state can do better to ensure another historic harvest…

 

Teams are headed to Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame to kick off SEC media days on July 16th. Coach O is in undoubtedly in the hot seat following last year’s shaky season but ESPN.com writer Chris Lowe says mystique also surrounds new Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and the immediate impact he’ll provide. Lowe says expectations are high after leaving Florida State a champion. Lowe says the quarterback battle for LSU is far from over, and there should be no surprise if it isn’t settled by the regular season.

 

Sports on air today..

 

2018 Home Run Derby 7pm 94.7 ESPN

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News for Friday 071318

Compiled by Dave Graichen

 

Jeff Hall, District 26 state representative, announced his candidacy for Alexandria Mayor yesterday. But, this isn’t his first go, around.  Hall previously ran for the position in 2014, finishing second to current Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy in what then, was a five-candidate race. In his press conference Hall said he is deeply concerned with public safety issues in Alexandria. He noted his campaign platform is one of economic prosperity, public safety and bringing leadership back to city hall. Qualifying for the Alexandria Mayor's race is next week with the election scheduled for November the 6th.

 

Caught in the act of having sex in the stairwell of the Rapides parish courthouse has led to the arrest of an Alexandria jail trustee and a 19 year old Pineville woman. Arrested was 20-year-old Miguel Glorioso, who was arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center and Jamie Lee Coutee. She was released on $1,500 bond. Glorioso also lost his trustee status and has been removed from duties at the Courthouse.

 

The Alexandria Fire Department held an unveiling yesterday of the new Fire Station Number 2 on Jones Street. The new facility has been in the works since 2008 as part of a department plan. The new facility along with a new state of the art fire truck is just down the street from the old fire station.

 

If you are searching for a place to retire, Bankrate says you may not want to be looking at the Bayou State. Their survey determined Louisiana was the fourth worst retirement destination in the country, joined by surprise picks California and New York in the bottom 5. Bankrate analyst Taylor Tepper says there are several reasons why Louisiana is at the bottom of the list. The overall health of it’s seniors, the quality, or lack thereof,  of it’s nursing homes and a lack of activities for seniors. South Dakota is rated the number one place to retire..

 

In the Central Neighborhood in East Baton Rouge, a resident had an unexpected house guest. 74 year old Garland Maxwell called police and barricaded himself inside his home after he discovered a black bear napping in a tree in his back yard shortly before 11 Wednesday night. Maria Davidson, the large carnivore program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries drove in from Lafayette. Her team monitored the animal all night and after sun-up "darted" the animal twice with an anesthetic to put it to sleep. The bear was transported to North Louisiana where it will be released.  

 

Improvements to federal fisheries policy, an issue pushed by that Congressman Garret Graves, has advanced to the U.S. Senate as the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 200 – Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.  Graves says the latest research implemented into the legislation provides more longevity to fishing in the state. The bill also addresses the concerns created by the influx of imported fish.

 

The White House announced it is considering 200 billion dollars in new Chinese tariffs, potentially raising the import cost on a broad range of goods by 10 percent. Senior Director at National Retail Federation Bethany Aronhalt says Tires, dog leashes, handbags, belts, shoe laces, and more are on the list, but it’s home improvement items in particular that could lead to price increases in places you weren’t expecting.

 

Animal activists are shocked as n Opelousas man will avoid jail time and will not be required to pay any fines after pleading guilty to Felony Cruelty to an Animal. Jermaine Doucet was accused of torturing an award winning race horse. The horse was found in June of 2017, in severe pain and malnourished. Vets on scene determined the horse needed to be put down immediately. Humane Society of Louisiana Executive Director Jeff Dorson says after two Bastrop men recently avoided jail time for slitting a dog’s throat on Snapchat, he’s concerned about a growing trend of under sentencing animal abusers in Louisiana.

 

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa is in the clear of allegations of bribery, accusations that have been lingering over his administration for the better part of two years.  State District Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr. ruled in the favor of Matassa saying prosecutors failed to prove the parish president offer cash and a job to A. Wayne Lawson in exchange for him dropping out of a 2016 city council race.

 

The LHSAA’s recent punishment handed down to McKinley High in Baton Rouge for recent violations comes with quite the price tag, a fine just shy of $50K. The ruling also saw the suspension of a coach and a ban on the school participating in post season competition for all sports for the next two school years.  School officials are saying the  school may have to resort to donations from alumni and fundraising to pay the fine.

 

Sports on air today..

 

Houston Astros vs Detroit Tigers 6:35p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Thursday 071218

By Dave Graichen

 

A Rapides Parish jury on Wednesday found 35 year old Nicole Johns Chandler guilty of manslaughter in the death of her 59-year-old cellmate. Chandler will be sentenced on Aug. 6. Chandler had been facing a second-degree murder charge in the July 29, 2017, incident that took place inside a holding cell at the downtown Alexandria jail.

 

56 year old Fredrick Kevin Harris pleaded no contest Wednesday to the negligent homicide of  70-year-old veteran, Charles Johnson, at the Alexandria VA Medical Center's psychiatric ward on March 13, 2013. Harris was set to be tried by Judge Harry Randow today, but an apparent plea deal was worked out. Harris received a year’s probation and was fined $1,000. He will have a chance to expunge his record, at a later date.

 

Former Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson, who’s under federal investigation, has been subpoenaed to testify at a hearing his week involving troopers who are appealing demotions and reprimands they received for taking a tax payer funded adventure to Vegas. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says even if the troopers can prove that Edmondson signed off on the excursion, it might not be enough to reverse the disciplinary action taken against them. The troopers claim to have text messages saved that show Edmonson was aware and permitting of the trip throughout the duration that they were gone.

 

The State Police trooper who shot and injured a passenger during a traffic stop early Tuesday had fired her taser during another traffic stop in the same area just hours earlier. Affidavits show that Trooper Kasha Domingue had stopped one driver who was operating a vehicle without a license plate and pulled over the other because he had made an illegal U-turn. She fired service weapons during both encounters after people in the vehicles tried to flee.

 

With the race for the governor’s mansion just fifteen months away, allies of Governor John Bel Edwards are discussing the variables of the campaign trail, laying out their pitch for voters.  During an appearance on a Baton Rouge Talkshow, chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, Stephen Handwerk, says he believes things look favorable for the governor.

 

The Department of Education has released an application that will allow public school teachers to enroll in college courses at the state’s expense. Department of Education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says with only 7 seats available for each of the next three semesters space is limited. Dunn says equipping teachers in STEM courses is paramount as new skills obtained by teachers will immediately trickle down to the students, and offering the classes could lead to better teacher retention rates as well..

 

 

A Shreveport man has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of Bigamy. 40-year-old Jeffery Brooks had already been convicted of sex crimes in November against two teenage girls when investigators discovered he has also married to two different women.

 

The family of a murdered New Orleans teenager chose a unique manner to honor his memory by displaying his body as he lived: playing video games and surrounded by snacks.  The images of the teen’s wake are spreading across the internet.

 

It’s commonplace in European countries. But, not here.. but that could be changing. The City Council in Sulphur  on Monday unanimously authorized Mayor Mike Danahay to enter into a joint services agreement with other parish entities to fund a feasibility study on bicycle-sharing programs. Also involved in the study are the city of Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana.

 

A Tulane geologist has been selected to join scientists from around the world who are traveling to Antarctica to research the history of glaciers at the bottom of the globe. Tulane Assistant professor Dr. Brent Goehring says this could give us a peek into potential sea rise levels in the future. The 25 million dollar research collaboration will send 101 experts to complete eight large-scale projects. Goehring says the prep for the trip is rigorous, including wilderness and survival training but the process will be rewarding.

 

Sports on air today..

 

Houston Astros vs Oakland A’s 12:35p 94.7 ESPN

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News for Wednesday 071118

Compiled By Dave Graichen

 

A 75 year old Boyce resident now has a nice stack of cash after claiming a lottery ticket matching all five numbers with the Powerball’s June 23rd drawing. Louisiana Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says this serves as a reminder that luck could be in anyone’s favor with the drawings. 75-year-old Glenn Feazell won one million dollars, and after taxes, he takes home a cool $710K.

 

34 year old Michael Walker of Colfax has been charged simple burglary, criminal trespassing and felony probation violation, that after a Burglary investigation in the Bagdad Community. Walker was booked into the Grant Parish Detention Center.

 

Two Grant Parish Teens have been arrested after a routine traffic stop led to detectives finding drugs and a glass smoking pipe inside a milkshake. Arrested were 18 year old Dustin Mitchell of Colfax and 17 year old Sophie Bashel of Dry Prong.  Both were charged with possession of crystal meth, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice. Mitchell also was charged with a probation violation.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is asking the Restore Flood task force to expand the 2016 flood recovery grant program to expand grant reimbursement eligibility to 100 percent, up from the current 50 percent. The change means an additional $110 million could be dispersed to thousands of Louisianans. The deadline for filling out a survey that qualifies Louisianans effected by the flooding for reimbursement is set for July 20th, after which point if you haven’t submitted, you won’t be able to be reimbursed by the state for any damage suffered.

 

This year’s LEAP Test results are in, and average scores are up one percent over the 2016-2017 school year. The percentage of students in the 3rd through 8th grade who scored mastery level or above is 34 percent; however that number was only 21 percent for African American students. Superintendent of Education John White says closing that gap needs to be a major focus going forward.

 

Louisiana’s Republicans US Senators are impressed with President Donald Trump’s nomination for the US Supreme Court. DC-based federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh is widely considered a consistently conservative jurist. Senator Bill Cassidy says he’s been impressed with the Kavanaugh’s track record on past decisions, and compared his approach to the President’s first nominee, conservative US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Senator John Kennedy says Kavanaugh has a good resume and a positive judicial history, but he’s holding his final judgment until he gets a chance to question the nominee in Congress.

 

According to Politico, Kavanaugh has ruled and dissented against labor unions and workers’ rights in employment disputes, against regulatory agencies policies, and called the Net Neutrality “Unlawful”.

 

Louisiana US Senator Bill Cassidy will chair a hearing on paid family leave after meeting with Ivanka Trump, who’s been pushing the idea in DC. The United State is one of only eight countries worldwide, and the only developed nation on earth not to have guaranteed leave for newly minted parents. Cassidy says he’s open to the idea, but wants to know if the US has enough money to pay for it first.

 

30-year-old Robert Kimble from Pointe Coupee Parish has been ordered to pay over 10-thousand dollars in civil restitution for killing a black bear in Concordia Parish last November. General Counsel with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Yolanda Martin says Kimble admitted to shooting the bear.

 

The State Police Bureau of Investigations is looking into Tuesday morning’s police shooting in Baton Rouge involving a State Trooper and a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a traffic stop. Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says the officer at the scene suffered a minor injury, while the non-compliant passenger was sent to a local hospital with a gunshot wound.

 

The Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in connection with a video that was spread via Snapchat and various other social media outlets.  The graphic video shows a dog being executed with the sound of two gunshots and someone laughing.  Sheriff Mike Tubbs says they are currently investigating people involved.

 

Lafayette Regional Airport will soon have seasonal service to two more cities, Orlando and Denver, with the addition of Frontier Airlines.  The flight prices start at just $39 and Airport Director Steve Picou says the action starts up this fall.

 

The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday took the first step to dividing itself into separate bodies, one for the city and another for the parish. The council voted 5-3 to introduce an ordinance that would place a charter amendment on the Dec. 8 ballot for voters to decide the question.

 

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News for Tuesday 071018

By Dave Graichen

 

Judge Harry Randow said no yesterday to two motions to continue the trial of a former Alexandria VA Medical Center employee accused in the 2013 death of a patient. 56 year old Fredrick Harris faces trial this week on a charge of negligent homicide in the death of 70-year-old Charles Lee Johnson, who was a psychiatric patient at the VA. The trial is expected to begin today.

 

Jury selection is expected to start today as well for a Pineville woman facing a second degree murder charge in the death of a fellow Rapides Parish jail inmate. 35 year old  Nicole Chandler is charged in connection with the death of 59-year-old Rachel Smith, who was found unresponsive in a cell of the Rapides Parish Detention Center in July of last year.

 

Tonia Brandy the business manager at the Avoyelles Parish Correctional Center and the ex-wife of the former warden, Nate Cain, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in federal court on Monday. As a result, 17 counts of wire fraud were dismissed. Cain and her former husband are both accused of making many unauthorized purchases with a state credit card and with using state money to purchase lumber and plumbing supplies to build an unauthorized house on the prison grounds.

 

Amazon.com has applied for a permit to build a 21,000 square-foot distribution center for small packages in Baton Rouge. Officials with Louisiana Economic Development , who say they were not involved in any negotiations to bring the facility to the capitol, said to the best of their knowledge, this will be the first Amazon-branded distribution center in Louisiana.

 

A 10-year-old Baton Rouge Police Union contract will remain in effect for a few more months while representatives for the city and the officers await the results of a study looking at the Police Department's salary and benefits. The document outlines the basic conditions of employment, including wages and hours, but also discusses how the Baton Rouge Police Department handles allegations of wrongdoing against officers and disciplines them. Both sides expect pay and benefits to be the centerpiece of contract negotiations, whenever they occur.

 

Prison reform appears to be working in Louisiana. The state will save 12.2 million dollars as a result of the criminal justice reforms of 2016, that from a new report issued by the Department of Corrections. 70 percent of those savings will be reinvested into programs that will help inmates at parish prisons, increased the number of parole staff, new reception centers, and more. The state has seen a noticeable drop in the number of inmates in the system since 2016.

 

A recent Politico article has reignited the intrigue around former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s plans for the 2020 presidential race. The Crescent City Politician did not confirm his interest in the race, but the comments he made may indicate an interest in the Democratic primary. UNO Political Science Professor Ed Chervanek says this has gained the attention, and interest of national establishment Democrats who are looking to unseat Donald Trump.

 

A former local state trooper who pleaded guilty in state district court last week to two felony counts of malfeasance in office took to Facebook over the weekend and said he was indeed guilty of doing something that he said “hundreds, if not thousands of troopers” have also done. Rogers was arrested on one count of malfeasance in office and 74 counts of injuring public records. He admitted he falsified times on traffic tickets he wrote during overtime shifts.

 

The body of a contract worker at a Louisiana refinery has been recovered days after a fatal fall. A Phillips 66 says a HydroChemPSC employee fell into the 15-foot-deep water basin of the refinery's primary cooling tower on Wednesday night. After a shutdown of the facility, the unidentified worker's remains were recovered and turned over to the Plaquemines Parish Coroner.

 

Got some suppressed aggression issues you need to alleviate?  A new businesses in Lafayette Parish might just be right in your wheelhouse.  It’s called All The Rage, and customers can destroy old computers, dishes, and almost anything else your heart desires. In fact, Owner Kevin Richard says if traditional relationship counseling isn’t quite your thing, he says All the Rage has you covered.

 

Louisiana has surpassed Tennessee to become the number one state in the nation for the number of high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  The news comes following the most recent report by the National College Access Network, which also indicates the state now leads the nation with the most completion growth since last year.

 

About 20 children between the ages of three and seven years old were stranded on a tour boat on the Vermilion River Monday. Weather conditions forced the vessel to get stuck on a sandbar. The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s office marine unit assisted in making sure the campers got back to land safely.

 

If you love political cartoons, you’ll need to check out the new exhibit at the Old State Capitol Museum called “Lines with Power and Purpose: Editorial Cartoons.” Director of State Museums, Mary Durusau says the exhibit will feature original editorial cartoons from the nation’s best newspapers throughout the first half of the 20th century. The exhibit will run until September 29th.

 

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News for Monday 070918

By Dave Graichen

 

It has been 2 years since Governor Jon Bell Edwards signed into law a bill that expanded the state’s Medicaid health care program. Figures released by the state show in the two years since the expansion, more than 400 women enrolled have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are receiving treatment. Nearly 8,000 adults have had precancerous colon polyps removed, and another 330 are being treated for newly diagnosed colon cancer. Also since expansion, More than 57,000 people are receiving mental health treatment, and more than 21,000 people have received substance abuse treatment. Though the program cost the state $9 billion a year, state health officials point out a good chunk of that money comes from the feds..

 

Just a few years ago, Louisiana trailed much of the nation in the number of high school seniors seeking college aid. Now the state ranks No. 1 in student applications for federal dollars, ending a long-standing complaint that students were leaving $50 million or more of potential college aid on the table every year. More than three out of four public and private high school seniors, 76.5 percent, have completed the form, called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

 

Louisiana ranks second in the South for strongest economic development results for 2017 according to Southern Business & Development magazine. Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says last year they announced DXC Technology is coming to New Orleans, plus an 800-million dollar LNG production and export facility in Lafourche Parish. Then There’s Lake Charles. That SW Louisiana city was titled Small Market of the Year for the eighth year in a row as they continue to secure capital investment projects.

 

49 year old Roger Dale Boggs, the CEO of a company who promised to build a $1.5 billion plant in was arrested on a fugitive warrant after a court appearance Friday.

Boggs was supposed to have been arraigned on a felony bank fraud charge,  but asked for a continuance after showing up in court without an attorney. The Judge continued the arraignment until July 23, but warned Boggs that he would be arraigned on that date. Once the haring was over, Boggs was arrested on a Louisiana fugitive warrant from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office. He is wanted on a charge of unauthorized use of a movable, but no details were released.

 

Billions in Chinese tariffs went into effect Friday, and Louisiana industries are bracing for what could be a rocky ride.. Port of New Orleans VP Robert Landry says the Chinese tariffs on steel will have ripple effects throughout all economies that rely on Mississippi river shipping. Landry says right off the bat, he expects hours to be cut back at the port for the men who load and transfer goods from international shipping barges.

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson also expressed concern about the tariff’s impact on the state’s economy. He highlighted the damage that could be inflicted on Louisiana’s agriculture industry that ships massive qualities of goods overseas.

 

Qualifying for next year’s governor’s race is 13 months away, so when we see Republicans who plan to challenge Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards announcing their candidacy soon? Political analyst Clancy Dubos says US Senator John Kennedy, Congressman Ralph Abraham, Attorney General Jeff Landry and state senator Sharon Hewitt have been mentioned as possible candidates. Dubos doesn’t foresee any announcements until next year.

 

The LA Wallet app that allows Louisianans to access a digital copy of their driver’s license, is available now on your Iphone or Android app store. The app was developed by a Louisiana company, Envoc. The app is a useable substitute for any state based license checks, like traffic stops, and in the near future could be valid for ID checks in bars, other states, and at the airport. In the event someone totally clears you out, taking your wallet and phone, Fabre says you can still access your license on other devices.

LA Wallet comes with a $5.99 activation fee.

 

The man who performed the first heart transplant in the Gulf South has passed away in New Orleans. Doctor John Ochsner conducted over 12-thousand surgeries during a 57 year career. He passed away at the age of 91. Doctor Ochsner’s father, Alton Ochsner, helped found the Ochsner health care system. Doctor John Ochsner stopped performing surgeries at 75, but was still involved with the clinic on a daily basis.

 

Sports..

 

And in Louisiana sports news, the Pelicans are reportedly bringing back point guard Ian Clark.  He’s signing a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract.  Clark was one of the team’s top guards off the bench last season as he averaged seven points and two assists in 74 games. His role grew on the team after DeMarcus Cousins went down with a torn Achilles tendon in January.

 

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News for Friday 070618

By Dave Graichen

 

Alexandria has lost one of it’s favorite sons with the announced passing of Brent Caplan. Caplan was a well-known businessman who ran his family's longtime Alexandria clothing business. But, he will be remembered by many as a great father, husband and friend and for the many civic organizations he was involved with. Caplan passed Wednesday after battling brain cancer for nearly a year. Services will be held this weekend here in Alexandria. Brent Caplan was 54.

 

Can you imagine being a child who spent the night at a friend’s only to come home the next day to find your family has moved, leaving you behind? That’s exactly what happened to a Leesville boy. The VPSO is asking for the public's help in finding 44-year-old Gail Bernard Odom. She is wanted on a warrant for criminal neglect child desertion. Authorities believe Odom may be here in Rapides or possibly in Avoyelles Parish. Authorities report the boy is being take care of by the parents of a friend.

 

It appears now no charges will be filed against a Hineston who hit and killed a Leesville man in late May on highway 171. Louisiana State Police on Thursday issued a release after what it called a "very thorough and comprehensive investigation" into the May 29 crash that killed 31-year-old Sherell Lewis Jr. It said the investigation found that 18 year old Matthew Martin was not to blame for the accident. For many it was comments made on social media after the crash, where he used a racial slur to refer to Lewis and seemed more concerned about the damage to his truck than what happened to Lewis, who died on his birthday.

 

It’s been three months since four-year-old Junior Phillips was reported missing from his home in Claiborne Parish. Despite an extensive search, the child has not been found. The child’s parents have seen legal troubles with arrests since the disappearance, but Sheriff Ken Bailey is not sure if there is a connection between their legal woes and the missing child. The FBI has offered a ten-thousand reward for information leading to the whereabouts of the child.

 

The Louisiana Revenue Department is estimating that they’ll be ready to start collecting sales taxes on all items purchased online by the start of next year. A recent Supreme Court decision has paved the way for collection of sales taxes from stores without a physical presence in states they ship too. Secretary Kimberly Robinson says a recent report says that’ll be a good chuck of change in state coffers. Many major online sellers, such as Amazon, already collect state sales tax for online purchases, but Robinson says right now they’re not getting 100 percent compliance form many of the smaller online outlets.

 

It took a couple of tries but Southern University Thursday became the second higher education institution to raise fees in the last week. The Southern Board of Supervisors approved Thursday increasing fees by 5 percent for students on the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport campuses and at the university’s law school. LSU’s governing board last week also approved a similar 5 percent fee hike.

 

A former State Police trooper pleaded guilty Thursday to two felony counts of malfeasance in office, admitting he falsified times on traffic tickets he wrote during overtime shifts.  Jimmy Allen Rogers was sentenced to three years probation and paid more than $2,500 in restitution in the 14th Judicial District Court in Lake Charles.

Rogers was charged following a statewide investigation of a controversial traffic-ticket program intended to raise money for district attorneys, public defenders and other law enforcement agencies.

 

A Lake Charles man found suffering from gunshot wounds in a wrecked car has died from his injuries. State Police report several people at the scene trying to render aid to the driver, 21 year old Dorian Colston who in addition to crashing his vehicle, had been shot several times. Authorities believe Colston was shot while he was in his car and drove a short distance before crashing into a tree.

 

A recent escape from Swanson Center for Youth by Monroe marks at least the fifth excape so far this year for the juvenile detention facility.  While attention can be turned to staffing issues, Deputy Secretary for the Office of Juvenile Justice, Dr. James Bueche says dated facility infrastructure such as doors and fences are partially to blame.

Bueche does say staffing is a big portion of the problem in dealing with the offenders and the agency continues to pursue additional funding. While the agency hopes the most recent jailbreak is the last, Bueche says it is hard to guarantee that it will be.

 

A federal appeals court judge with New Orleans roots is among President Donald Trump's top three choices to fill the seat on the Supreme Court bench left vacant by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is the only woman among the three people said to be finalists. Barrett was born in New Orleans in 1972 and graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican High School. Barrett has lived away from New Orleans since graduating.

 

The Comite River Diversion Canal project has been fully funded, one of several projects that’s received cash in a three billion dollar funding package from the feds. Comite will be completed in an estimated three to four years. Other projects funded include 760 million to the West Shore Hurricane Protection Project, 15 million to Grand Isle, and 15 million in other coastal restoration projects.

 

A juvenile was arrested after crashing a stolen truck through a home in Lafayette  Thursday around noon. The driver fled a traffic stop and immediately crashed through the house, causing major damage. Two people in the home at the time of the crash escaped injuries.

 

Suspected members of the infamous Felony Lane Gang were arrested Tuesday as part of a routine traffic stop, where officers discovered nearly 12,500 dollars, 22 credit cards, 5 checkbooks, 40 grams of pot, 11 drivers licenses from across the country and even 14 wigs. The suspects were arrested on Veterans Boulevard in Jefferson Parish

 

An Arnaudville teen has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and attempted first-degree murder following an early Wednesday morning police pursuit.  St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Major Ginny Higgins says it appears that the suspect intentionally aimed his vehicle at deputies when the crash occurred, injuring the officers involved.

 

Despite being given a five year sentence for injuring 32 people when he drunkenly plowing his truck into a crowd at a New Orleans Mardi Gras, 26 year old Neilson Rizzuto who was sentenced in January will be free later this month.  With the 2017 prison reform law allowing the release of well-behaved inmates after serving 35% of their sentence for non-violent offenses,

 

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News for Thursday 070518

By Dave Graichen

 

The National Hurricane Center is watching two areas of tropical weather in the Atlantic Ocean, one of which it now gives a "high" chance of developing into more organized system over the next two to five days.

 

Studies have shown Louisiana saw an increase of 14.7% in drug overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016.  The Opioid Crisis Solutions Summit recently formulated several recommendations for curbing the impact of the epidemic.  President of the Healthcare Leadership Council, Mary Grealy says one of the main focal points is making sure those handling opioids are equipped with the proper knowledge of the drug’s effects and alternatives.

 

A Forbes report shows Louisiana is the state most at risk of being economically crippled by the escalating trade wars initiated by the Trump Administration. The study shows nearly 21 percent of the state’s GDP comes from exports, with five percent coming from Mexico and China specifically.

 

Next time you get carded, you could have the option of pulling out your smartphone instead of your billfold.  Commissioner at the Office of Motor Vehicles, Karen St. Germain, says with the new LA Wallet app, users can display photo ID from a mobile device and it’s quite easy to get on your phone. St. Germain says the safety of the app has been tested with top of the line security measures and that the app is available now.

The app itself is free to download, but the ability to use it as an ID will set you back six bucks and the digital license is good until the expiration of the physical ID card.

 

US Senator John Kennedy says the Legislative Auditor’s report detailing the Department of Health’s failure to collect important payment information from companies it works with in Medicaid is an example of the state’s poor spending habits. But LDH is pushing back, Undersecretary Jeff Reynolds says that information would not have changed how much the state spent, and they plan on quickly implementing practices that will insure the data is collected properly. Kennedy says a message needs to be sent that this kind of negligence from LDH leadership will not go unpunished.

 

A 40-year-old man is accused of "brutally" abusing his 15-year-old son in Calcasieu Parish, where he and his girlfriend would handcuff and hog-tie the teen and force him to wear shock collars for up to 12 hours at a time. Thomas Wininger and Desirae Tomcanin were arrested Wednesday. Police report the teen ran away when his handcuffs were removed so he could use the bathroom. Police were called when the boy arrived at a neighbor's home with injuries on his face and belt marks on his back.

 

Today marks the 2 years since the shooting death of Alton Sterling by Officer Blane Salamoni. Since then legislation has been passed to try to address the gap in trust between some Louisiana communities and law enforcement. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says they’ve had some initial success with programs aimed at increasing training for cops on how to interact with communities they serve.  He says while the new, diverse group of cadets entering the force is showing great promise, he’s concerned by the attitudes of veteran officers who’ve resisted the changes.

 

It is now official. A member of the state house of representatives is now preparing to run for another elected position.  Republican District 66 Representative Rick Edmonds, has announced his candidacy for Secretary of State in the fall election.  Edmonds says security of state elections is one of his top priorities. Edmonds says he views the handling of new voting machines as a vital piece of the job once in office.

 

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News for Tuesday 070318

By Dave Graichen

 

Bad news for Fourth of July revelers, it’s going to rain. Thunderstorms that have the potential to produce heavy rainfall is in the forecast through Independence Day. State Climatologist Barry Keim says while the rain might be coming at an inconvenient time for the holidays, it’s sorely needed for much of the state that is getting dangerously close to drought conditions.  Another upside: lower temperatures throughout the rest of the week.

 

If you are looking for some Fireworks the 4th of July you have many choices, weather permitting. Tonight, it the 14th annual Fireworks over Buhlow Independence Day celebration. The event is free and gates to Buhlow Lake will open at 4:30 p.m. with musical entertainment scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled to start around 9:45 p.m

 

Tomorrow, it’s Rock the Red. A free event that will take place at the downtown amphitheater. Activities start at  7 p.m. with fireworks over the Red River starting at 10.

 

The City of Natchitoches will present fireworks over the Cane River at 9 p.m

 

In Pollock, the annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration will take place at LaCroix Park on Highway 8. Refreshments and drinks will be provided. The fireworks are set to launch at dark.

 

The annual Avoyelles Arts and Music Festival opens at 10 a.m. tomorrow in downtown Marksville,  with fireworks at 8 p.m.

 

Moody’s investor Service has raised Louisiana’s credit outlook from negative to stable, in a sign that Wall Street may be gaining more confidence in the Bayou State economy. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says this was one of the many reason the Edwards administration pushed for a stable final budget deal.After a sustained period on the negative watch list, Dardenne says the Moody’s decision is a validation of the governor’s financial policy.

 

Colorado State forecasters are downgrading their expectations for this year’s hurricane season, now saying we’re looking at a below average season for tropical activity. Colorado State University Research Scientist Phillip Klotzbach says they’re now projecting 10 more named storms, four hurricanes, and one major hurricane before the end of the season. He says conditions have changed over the last month. But Klotzbach says that doesn’t mean the gulf coast should get complacent. He warns that just because fewer named storms are predicted, doesn’t mean that one mega storm won’t cruise in and cause havoc.

 

AAA estimates this Fourth of July holiday will see a record-breaking 47 million Americans travel 50 miles or more. This is a five percent increase over last year and AAA Spokesperson Don Redman says the growing economy is propelling families to travel. AAA says the statewide average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.57, which is the highest in four years for Independence Day.

 

An early morning jailbreak marks at least the fifth of the year from the Swanson Center for Youth.  Investigators say two teenage inmates escaped from the state juvenile prison in Monroe.  The duo stole a state vehicle and drove it more than 40 miles south to the town of Olla, where they were captured after an hours-long manhunt.

 

Governor Edwards has released a video message asking Louisiana residents to look before they lock their vehicle in an effort to avoid leaving children unattended in hot vehicles. Edwards says over the last 20 years in Louisiana, there were 27 pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths. Edwards says in this summer heat, the temperature inside your parked vehicle can quickly climb to over 110 degrees.

 

The 11th Annual National Suit Drive is underway through the end of July.  The Louisiana Department of Corrections has once again partnered with Men’s Wearhouse to collect suits for offenders released from jail.  CEO of Refined by Fire Ministries, Elaine Ellerbe, says when a recently released inmate receives a suit, they then have the appropriate clothing to go on a job interview.

 

State Police is reminding motorists about the three foot rule when passing bicycles following a fatal wreck on Saturday in  St. Francisville that killed avid bicyclist and East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso. Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says Alexander was booked into the West Feliciana Parish Jail on several charges, including negligent homicide. Amoroso was pronounced dead at the scene, while fellow bicyclist 71-year-old Thomas Clement of St. Gabriel sustained serious injuries.

 

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News for Monday 070218

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD reports that all four suspects wanted for the burglary of a gun store on Jackson Street early Friday morning are in custody. Dontaevious Zone turned himself in on Friday night and Aveion Hall was located and taken into custody on Saturday morning. The other two suspects, Derrick Charles and Tyrique Bennett, we already in police custody. All four are facing burglary charges, and APD says more charges may be coming due to other incidents.

 

US Congressman Clay Higgins is introducing legislation that would require imported seafood be held to the same safety standards as American seafood. The Importated Seafood Safety Standards Act would increase inspections to 20 percent of all food imported, up from roughly ten percent now, demand that food meet FDA standards, and require that first set of shipments from any new overseas company have 100 percent of its cargo inspected. The Republican Congressman says the bill faces opposition from major international seafood suppliers.

 

Louisiana State University is again raising student fees at its main campus by 5 percent.

The price hike approved Friday drew worries the consistent, annual increases could price some students out of school. Campus leaders say the $282 per-semester fee hike for full-time students and the $14 million raised by it is needed for pay raises and other expenses. They say they're trying to keep pace with peer institutions and make up for nearly a decade of state financing cuts.

 

State leaders have had a week now to stew about the results of the special session that ended with a 4.45 percent compromise sales tax that fully funds most state programs. With the fiscal cliff in the rear view mirror, attentions now turn to the upcoming Governor’s race next year. GOP House Charmain Lance Harris says the results of the session make it clear the state needs a conservative governor. But Democrats are touting the results. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Johnson says the Democratic coalition’s ability to preserve healthcare, higher ed, and TOPS sends a strong message about the party’s values heading into the governor’s race, as well as their success in solving the budget crisis created by the last administration.

 

Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says he expects US Senator, and former State Treasury Secretary, John Kennedy to be Governor John Bel Edwards’ main opponent for the governor’s mansion. He says having Kennedy spearhead a conservative push in Louisiana next year will likely boost the profile of the 22 House Republicans who refused the final tax bill.

 

With much of the recent attention on funding Louisiana’s budget, the state is making upgrades to the way residents can keep a better eye on how tax dollars are spent as they roll out the Louisiana Checkbook. The website mirrors efforts in other state’s like Ohio to improve transparency. Policy Director at the Division of Administration, Jaques Berry, says he hopes the push for more openness in government spending will catch on.

 

Those headed to the beach need to be aware of a menace plaguing Gulf waters. Gulf coast beaches, especially those in Florida are dealing with microscopic baby jellyfish known as sea lice. Audubon Aquarium Curator James Arnold, says those with particularly sensitive skin should be on the lookout for purple flags…

 

A Baton Rouge police has been placed on administrative leave after he struck and killed a pedestrian Saturday night while on duty. A Police spokesman says the investigation is ongoing and that speed does not appear to be a factor in the accident.

 

60-year-old Elie Dupre has been ordered to pay $2,500 after his 15-year-old son killed a black bear in 2015. The son didn’t escape punishment either after being given 100 hours of community service and having his hunting license suspended for a year. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Spokesperson Adam Einck says the two were aware of their actions…

 

Sports..

 

The NBA free agency period started Sunday at 12:01AM, and after one of the best years in franchise history, the Pelicans have a lot of big decisions to make. Locked On Pelicans Publisher Jake Madison says bringing back the same crew likely will not be enough to push the team past Houston, Golden State, or a potential LeBron led Lakers team. New blood is needed to keep pace in the Western Conference arms race.

 

The Houston Astros have the day off today after a tough weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astro’s lost three of the 4 games in the series. Tomorrow, the Astros  begin two game series in Arlington to play the Rangers..

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News for Friday 062918

By Dave Graichen

 

Eleven bayou legends will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches this weekend. CEO and President of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, Ronnie Rantz, says it’s a strong year, with two wide receivers who were Super Bowl champions, Reggie Wayne of New Orleans and Brandon Stokley of Lafayette. Russ Springer began his career at LSU then spent 18 years pitching in the Major League and is also being inducted. Louie Cook, another inductee, served eight seasons as an offensive coordinator for the Ragin’ Cajuns and 32 years as a head coach for three different high school football teams.  We can’t forget former KSYL Alum Lyn Rollins. He will receive the distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.  The ceremony is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Natchitoches.

 

Republicans are taking stock of a contentious series of special sessions that took three attempts this year to come to a resolution. The final deal was a 4.45 percent sales tax, set to start July 1st, that received support from a majority of House Republicans. Despite support from the leadership, not every Republican supported sales tax plan. 24 House members and 6 Senators, mostly conservative Republicans, rejected the final compromise deal that was cut.

 

Pineville attorney Mike Johnson has announced he will be a candidate for the House District 27 seat when it becomes available. The seat is currently held by Chris Hazel who is a candidate to replace retired Judge Tom Yeager on the Ninth Judicial Division Court. That election will be held in November. If Hazel wins that race, Johnson says he will then run to fill the open House seat in a special election, most likely in January of next year.

 

After an invite from US Senator Bill Cassidy, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will be taking a trip to the Bayou State to assess infrastructure needs, including ports.  With five of the top 20 ports in the country in Louisiana, Cassidy believes having Chao take a first-hand look at the problem will expedite the process of getting old and new projects approved.

 

After an invite from US Senator Bill Cassidy, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will be taking a trip to the Bayou State to assess infrastructure needs, including ports.  With five of the top 20 ports in the country in Louisiana, Cassidy believes having Chao take a first-hand look at the problem will expedite the process of getting old and new projects approved.

 

A former Louisiana Senator is now throwing his name in the hat for another elected position.  Pearl River Republican A.G. Crowe has announced his candidacy for Secretary of State in the November election.  The office has faced challenges with the previous administration being plagued with a sexual harassment controversy.  Crowe says he’s taken preventative measures to combat that type of activity during his time as a legislature.

 

Louisiana is no longer leading the nation for incarcerations. That distinction is now locked up by Oklahoma.  Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the latest research that showed the numbers indicating prison populations are going down in the state. The governor goes on to say, 7% more of the prison beds are filled with violent criminals.  Reducing incarceration rates was a marked as a priority for the governor during his campaign.  Edwards says there is satisfaction with the direction of the change, but there is still more progress to be made.

 

A child was returned to his family after an Amber Alert was issued for 9-month-old Liam Allen who was abducted Wednesday night after 43-year-old Terry Doehling stole a vehicle the child was sleeping in. Doehling drove the vehicle from Jeanerette to New Orleans allegedly unaware that the child was in the vehicle. Louisiana State Police Spokesperson Trooper Melissa Matey credits the Amber Alert system for the successful child rescue.

 

A conservation coalition led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is filing a lawsuit to protect the Louisiana Black Bear. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted black bears from the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in March of 2016, but PEER General Counsel Paula Dinerstein says the decision was premature. Dinerstein says the black bear’s habitat is at risk now that federal restrictions have been lifted.

 

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News for Thursday 062818

By Dave Graichen

 

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has ruled the firing of a city of Alexandria employee who used a racial slur against a co-worker was justified.  Dustin Bonial, who told the civil service board that he had used the slur against the co-worker several times, had argued that his 2017 firing was too severe in relation to the offense.

 

RPSO Deputies yesterday arrested a Lafayette man wanted on child pornography.

65 year old Durice Richard Jr was wanted by the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation on 30 counts of possession of sexual abuse images/videos of children younger than 13 and other related charges.

 

30-year-old Kirk Dauzat of Hessmer has been arrested and now faces charges of Stalking and posting pictures of his victim on social media.  RPSO detectives spoke to the alleged victim, earlier this month, that victim reported that Dauzat was the person responsible for the stalking.  Dauzat was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention and was later was released on a $3,000 bond.

 

Donald Gene Parker III A former teacher who took a plea deal last year in a child pornography case now faces charges for allegedly not complying with it.

Parker was arrested Tuesday by the Woodworth Police Department on charges of failure to maintain sex offender identification and failure to register his vehicle with the sex offender registry. No bond has been set on the new charges.

 

The latest KIDS COUNT Data Book ranked Louisiana 49th in overall child well-being, despite improvements since 2010 in nine of the 16 measures tracked in the annual report. KIDS COUNT manager at Agenda for Children Teresa Falgoust says the child poverty rate is on the rise.

 

A Legislative Auditor’s report says some companies that are paid by the state to help run Medicaid are not providing the Department of Health with information on what they are charging for their services. Managed Care Organizations, or MCOs, are required to give LDH detailed information that’s used to set the rates they are in turn paid. Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera says it’s not just MCO’s at fault, LDH has been lax about requiring the information. He says this may allow for people abusing Medicaid to get away with fraud, because the proper checks and balances are not being enforced.

 

Senator John Kennedy has sponsored an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill that would require SNAP program recipients to show a photo ID during a transaction. Kennedy highlighted one incident in New York in which someone committed food stamp fraud for over 5 years, getting thousands in benefits. Opponents argue implantation would make it more difficult for legal food stamp users to utilize their card, due to the expenses associated with obtaining a photo ID.

 

A 17-year-old suspect is in custody in Morehouse Parish following arson allegations. Marquarious Williams fled to McKinney, Texas in 2017 after the incident at Bastrop high where he allegedly set a fire in a bathroom after school hours. Williams currently awaits prosecution.

 

The LSU board of supervisors has selected twelve innovations to support with grant money.  The funds are the result royalties from the licensing of earlier inventions and innovations from the university.  CEO of the LSU Research and Technology Foundation, Arthur Cooper, explains how the selection process takes place. Among the innovations that obtained funding included oyster flavoring, as well as biodegradable Mardi Gras beads.

 

A research team at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded a five year, $4.5 million grant.  It comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, to evaluate two treatments for childhood obesity.  Dr. Amanda Staiano says they are accessing families via pediatricians. Staiano says they are working with families not only in Louisiana, but Missouri and New York.  The research is expected to have a wide distribution of results.

 

A recent commission meeting involving the LDWF to discuss red snapper season has produced the estimated amount of red snapper landed this season.  Finfish program manager for the agency, Jason Adriance says the state has already taken in more than a third of its federal allowance. Red Snapper season runs through July 8th.

 

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News for Wednesday 062718

By Dave Graichen

 

Surveillance video from the scene of a robbery at a Tioga Church has led to the arrest of a 28 year old Alexandria man. The RPSO reports Cory Miles was arrested at his home where detectives found several of the stolen items. Miles was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center where he , at last report, remains. His bond is set at  $3,000.00

 

State Police arrest a 23-year-old Jonesville man for a fatal hit and run that killed a 14-year-old girl taking out the garbage. Troopers say Earl Hancock lost control on Taylor Road in Catahoula Parish and hit Cadance Parker and then fled the scene. Hancock was apprehended a short time later and authorities believe he was under the influence when the wreck happened.

 

In Grant Parish sheriff’s deputies have arrested the Managers of two Convenience stores, and an employee, after receiving complaints of alcohol being sold to minors. The Managers of The Rock In Colfax and A convenience store in the Bagdad Community were charged with multiple counts of selling to minors. Plus, the manager of the Rock will be facing a long list of drug charges.

 

The state’s fiscal cliff is officially gone as the Revenue Estimating Conference recognized 500-million dollars in revenue that will be used to shield TOPS, public colleges and most state agencies from cuts after July 1st. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne led the meeting, one day after the governor signed a new sales tax bill into law…

 

Most state agencies survived the special session without a cut, but the Department of Corrections was not so lucky. Construction and repair projects were put off once again, leading to concerns from department officials that the facilities used to house inmates could be running low on time. Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says they got hit pretty hard at the last second.

LeBlanc says the state has not provided funding for new facilities in over ten years, which he says is bound to catch up with Louisiana sooner than later.

 

Since 2016, the state legislature has battled huge budget deficits, but the Edwards’ administration now says we can look forward to financial stability over the next seven years. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the legislature’s decision to renew a portion of an expiring one-cent sales tax will give the state a stable revenue source.

 

Many Republicans are concerned the state budget will keep growing because of the governor’s decision to expand the Medicaid program in 2016, but Dardenne says by having more people insured will result in better health outcomes, therefore reducing the overall cost of healthcare.

 

Lieutenant governors from around the nation are converging in New Orleans for a three day summit.  Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser will welcome the annual 2018 meeting of the National Governors Association with opening remarks. 

 

Following the discovery of 20-year-old girl dead in her home in Fordoche, her ex-boyfriend is now in custody.  Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres says 21 year old Eric Duhon Junior has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Madeline Falgout.

 

Bishop Michael Duca is leaving the Diocese of Shreveport to become the Bishop for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Duca says he’s surprised by the appointment made by the Vatican, but looking forward to the opportunity. Duca has been the bishop of Shreveport for the last ten years.

 

The man who struck and killed a Sterlington police officer, David Elahi with his car in 2016 was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. 46-year-old Tracy Govan was found guilty of vehicular homicide and vehicular negligent injury in February. Govan’s Attorney, Louis Scott, says  it’s a gross over sentencing of his client, considering the sentences handed out for similar crimes.

 

Tangipahoa Parish Sherriff Danial Edwards is now reporting that two people who were found on the interstate Monday with gunshot wounds are in stable condition, but still critical. 35-year-old Sylvia Foxx and 44-year-old Shane Jones, both of Milwaukee were involved in what witnesses say was a murder-suicide attempt. Foxx was found with a gunshot wound to the head, Jones with a gunshot wound to the face. Jones, if he survives, could face charges of attempted second degree murder.

 

Over three decades ago The Bossier Educational Excellence Fund was started with just $500,000 from the yearly state tax revenue of Louisiana Downs. Now, that fund has grown to over $50 million, and the man that’s credited with its start, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell estimates the fund continues to grow by about 2-3 million annually.

 

Sports…

 

Texas Southern will introduce former LSU coach and player Johnny Jones as its new men’s basketball coach tomorrow. The DeRidder native spent last season as an associate head coach at Nevada, helping the Wolfpack reach the Sweet 16.

 

Saints quarterback Drew Brees comes in at number eight in the NFL Network’s annual list of the top 100 players. It’s the first time Brees has been ranked in the top ten since the 2014 season. He set an NFL record last season with a 72-percent passing percentage.

 

LSU-Eunice’s Zach Hester has been named the national junior college division two player of the year. The right-hander from Texas was 13-and-1 with a 2.34 ERA with 133 strikeouts as he helped LSU-E win a national title.

 

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News for Tuesday 062618

By Dave Graichen

 

Summer is back with a vengeance as State Climatologist Barry Keim tells us we can expect higher than normal temperatures through the week due to a high pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico which will see higher humidity levels and reduced cloud cover.

 

A Rapides Parish Sheriff's corrections officer was arrested on Sunday after an inmate made sexual misconduct allegations against him. 32 year old Jonathan Deville was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of sexual battery and malfeasance in office. Deville later was released on his own recognizance.  The complaint was received through the Prison Rape Elimination Act hotline on Sunday. Deville was terminated by the Sheriff’s department.

 

It was announced yesterday that Gray Television, the owner of KALB-TV5 and Raycom Media have entered into an agreement to combine their companies in a transaction that will create the single largest owner of top-rated local television stations and digital assets in the country. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The parties expect to close the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2018.

 

After two years and seven special sessions, the state now has a path forward on revenue that as of now provides enough money to fully fund most state services at their current levels. Most of the tax plan has a seven-year sunset, setting up another round of budget battles in 2025, unless a permanent tax reform plan can be enacted. There’s growing interest in a constitutional convention to facilitate that reform, but Political Analyst Clancy DuBos says many opponents are worried about just who would run the convention.

 

The legislature has appropriated four-million dollars to begin operating a new juvenile justice facility in Bunkie. Once fully funded at 12 million dollars, the site will host 72 beds, and emphasizes rehabilitation methods to deal with young offenders. Office of Juvenile Justice Deputy Secretary Dr. James Bueche (Bush) says he trusts that, if the new facility gets fully funded, they’ll be able to show the same positive results that have been produced in other states.

 

Even with the sales tax plan that will see the state sales tax rate go from 5 percent to 4.45 percent coming up July 1st, economist from the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says residents still pay the most expensive sales tax rate in the nation. However, even though the sales tax rate is as high as it is in the state, Drenkard says Louisiana does have more desirable tax rates in other areas, such as property taxes and income taxes.

 

Higher education is celebrating the passage of the budget and tax plan that saves universities and TOPS from further budget cuts. Without the passage of the 4.45 percent sales tax, TOPS was on the block for a 30 percent cut, with higher ed looking at tens of millions in reduced funding. Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Reed says a mobilization of students helped push the bill over the finish line.

 

Following a stop at a gas station in Grand Coteau this weekend, someone is now $2 million richer.  The St. Landry Parish convenience store has produced other big lottery winners in recent months and word has spread.  The 1 Stop store owner says more people are showing up at his business with high hopes.

 

A man and woman are in critical condition after being found shot on the side of I-55 in the Amite area.  First responders were dispatched for a welfare check and found the two wounded by a vehicle on I-55 North.  The man was airlifted to the hospital and the woman was taken by ambulance.  The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.

 

The Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s office is investigating the death of a 20-year-old woman. Investigators say the door of the home belonging to Madeline Falgout was kicked in and she was found unresponsive inside her home at yesterday morning. No arrests have been made.

 

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News for Monday 062518

By Dave Graichen

 

The Louisiana Legislature wrapped up its special session ahead of schedule on Sunday night. The thirds special session of the year ended with the passage of a sales tax proposal and final spending plan for the budget that begins July 1st.  The state sales tax rate will go from 5 percent to 4.45 percent on July 1 through 2025. The nearly $480 million generated annually in the process of keeping a portion of the sales tax hike will go to fund TOPS scholarships, college and university funding, social services, public safety and other state programs that had not been funded.

 

A budget deal is on its way to the governor’s desk that fully funds higher ed, healthcare, and TOPS, and sets the state’s sales tax to 4.45 percent. The bill raises 466 million dollars and is set to expire in 2025. Mandeville Senator and Republican Jack Donahue, the bill’s cosponsor, says it’s the compromise the legislature needed to get a deal out the door. The budget uses 46 million dollars in one time BP money, removes some tax exemptions, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, and includes cuts to the Department of Corrections.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards celebrated the passage of the budget bill at the end of a grueling start to the year that saw four total sessions needed to solve the state’s impending fiscal cliff that’s been at the center of state politics since short term taxes were passed two years ago. Edwards congratulated lawmakers on keeping healthcare and education off the chopping block. Edwards, who is gearing up for what is expected to be a tough reelection battle in 2019, says the budget may not score anyone political points, but it does give the state stable finances for the next 7 years.

 

President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani is in Lafayette today to host a fundraiser for Republican Congressional candidate Josh Guillory, who is seeking to unseat GOP Representative Clay Higgins this fall. Meanwhile, President Trump endorsed Higgins. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says it’s a bizarre set of circumstance. Giuliani is likely supporting Guillory, because his girlfriend, Jennifer LeBlanc, is the campaign finance chair for Guillory’s campaign. But Pinsonat says Giuliani should have thought twice before participating in this fundraiser…

 

US Senator John Kennedy says he’s attached an amendment to an appropriations bill that will end the practice of federal employees flying first class on the taxpayers dime, unless there’s a legitimate medical or security reason. In a report released last March, EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt allegedly spent 105-thousand dollars on first class flights in his first year on the job.

 

A group of Republican US Senators will head to Russia this week, including Louisiana’s John Kennedy.  Kennedy says he wants to establish some rapport with high-ranking government officials and he hopes one of those meetings will include Russian President Valdimir Putin. Kennedy says he intends to discuss the allegations of election interference in the US and other countries through the use of social media, a claim he says Russian denies.

 

A US Supreme Court ruling gives states the authority to receive sales tax revenues on purchases made by consumers with a business that has no physical presence in that state. However, Tax Foundation spokesperson John Buhl says Louisiana’s sales tax laws are too complex for them to take advantage of this ruling. Even if Louisiana lines itself up to collect, creating the logistics to do so will not be a quick task

 

A Shreveport police Corporal Marcus Hines is on administrative leave after he accidentally fired his department-issued gun while teach two summer interns about gun safety. No one was injured in the incident.

 

A Hammond Police officer suffered a gunshot wound to the foot while attempting to load his shotgun into his patrol car. Police Chief James Stewart says the officer dropped the weapon and it went off.

 

Two teenagers are now facing negligent homicide charges for their role in the death of 18-year-old Delicia Ceasor of Jonesville. Ceasor died in a car crash in Catahoula Parish on March 22nd. State Police Troopers have determined a 17-year-old driver and another driver, 19-year-old Victor Barber were drag racing and traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour when the crash happened.

 

Miss Heart of Pilot Holli' Conway was named Miss Louisiana 2018 on Saturday night in Monroe. She will represent the state for the coming year and go on to compete for the title of Miss America in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

Sports…

 

There is more good news for LSU on the football recruiting front, as the Tigers received a verbal commitment from four-star quarterback Peter Parrish. He is ranked as the 11th best dual-threat QB in the 2019 recruiting class.

 

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News for Friday 062218

By Dave Graichen

 

A U-S Supreme Court ruling issued Thursday gives states the authority to collect sales taxes on online purchases. Previously, Louisiana and other states couldn’t collect taxes on items bought from a warehouse or store that didn’t have a physical presence in their state. Global Tax Consultant Jason DeCuir says today’s ruling changes those rules.

DeCuir says Louisiana will collect more tax revenue, but it may take months and possibly legislation passed on the state level to get it done.

 

We were expecting a big day of votes on the House floor regarding sales tax bills that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used to soften proposed cuts to higher ed, TOPS and public safety programs. But the online sales tax ruling by the Supreme Court has postponed those votes.

 

The House yesterday failed to approve a proposal to renew a half cent of an expiring one cent sales tax as a way to generate revenue to avoid cuts to state services.  The measure received sixty votes, but it needs seventy in order to receive passage and head to the Senate.  The legislation can be brought up for reconsideration.  And it can be amended to lower the amount that is renewed.  But time is ticking as the special session is set to end Wednesday.

 

President Donald Trump has endorsed U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins in his re-election bid, a day after a report about Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's connection to Higgins' opponent's campaign. The endorsement comes one day after a detailed report from Politico about the reaction among some Republicans who were surprised that vocal Trump surrogate Giuliani had endorsed a challenger, rather than the Republican incumbent.

 

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported Thursday Louisiana’s personal income grew by 3.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, lagging behind the rate of growth in both the U.S. and Southeast region. The growth in Louisiana ranked 43rd in the U.S.  In all, the state added around $1.8 billion in earnings over the period.

 

Although average gas prices in Louisiana are lower this week than they were last, the current average is still forty-nine cents higher than this time last year.  AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redmond says soon those prices may be on the rise again.

 

The Mighty Lions of Lafayette High School are working out in their new weight room today, thanks to a generous donation by former NBA superstar Shaquille O’ Neal who helped fund the project that cost a little more than $40,000. O’Neal’s donation was part of South Louisiana Giving Day.

 

Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham calls the passage of the Farm Bill in the US House a great days for America’s farmers. Abraham, who is the only member of Louisiana’s delegation on the agriculture committee, says it help farmers recover from natural disasters. Abraham says the legislation heading to the Senate also requires able-body adults to either work or participate in a job training program for 20 hours per week in order remain eligible for food stamps.

 

LSU’s live mascot, Mike the Tiger, has gone viral after a video was posted of him slowly stalking several guests visiting his habitat. The guests had their backs to Mike which prompted him to approach the glass enclosure before pouncing against it. LSU Veterinary school spokesperson Ginger Guttner asks Mike’s visitors to not turn their backs to him. Guttner says even though Mike is still a playful juvenile, he is also a predatory animal and they are concerned Mike could break his teeth if he hits the glass to hard.

 

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