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News for Friday 052617

By Dave Graichen

 

The Town Talk is reporting the city of Alexandria is alleging more improper use of funds by former employee Daniel Williams. Williams, the city's former Director of Community Services, was charged in March with using a city credit card to pay for a $3,000 personal vacation. In a lawsuit filed on behalf of the city Thursday, Williams is accused of using the card for more than $2,600 in additional improper purchases. The lawsuit alleges Williams falsified the details of purchases to make them look like city business.

 

NOAA is calling for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season as their forecasters predict 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes. Acting administrator Ben Friedman says we can’t prevent hurricanes, but we can prepare. Hurricane season begins next week.

 

A sales tax discount is available for hurricane preparedness items this weekend. Eligible items like batteries, storage coolers, and portable generators will be subject to only 3-percent sales tax, a 2-percent discount from the normal 5-percent state sales tax. The Department of Revenue says the exemption was put in place to encourage people to buy emergency supplies before a storm hits.

 

The 2017 Memorial Day travel period, which began Thursday, is at its highest level since 2005, according to AAA. Spokesman Don Redman says they project 39.9 million Americans are taking to the roads, skies, rails and water this weekend, which is a million more than last year. He says it’s attributed to an improving economy.

 

Students with disabilities would be protected from corporal punishment in public schools under a proposal heading to the Senate floor. The bill has already been approved by the House and received the backing of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.

 

Lawmakers and the governor say it’s likely another special legislative session is necessary to solve the state’s looming 1.3 billion dollar fiscal cliff. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana Barry Erwin says there’s been very little movement in the current session to address the over one billion dollars in temporary taxes that will expire next year.

 

The circle of politics continues to spin at the Capitol as criminal justice reform bills have been temporarily put on hold because Republicans aren’t happy that Democrats are holding up an unrelated measure dealing with state-financed construction projects.

 

Concertgoers at this weekend’s Bayou Country Superfest can expect even more security after the attack at a concert in Manchester. Producer Quint Davis says safety is always the number one concern, and everyone should feel comfortable attending the event. Davis says this is the 9th annual B-C-S, but it’s the festival’s first time in the Superdome.

 

The author of a bill to raise the state’s gasoline tax by 17-cents continues to work on the legislation so it can receive the 70 votes necessary to get approval from the House. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter says he is looking at a variety of options, like lowering the proposed increase. But he says not everyone is pleased with that. Many Louisianans are worried the revenue generated from the proposed tax increase would not go to improving roads or new infrastructure projects.

 

The House rejects a proposal to prohibit children under 12 from handling Uzis and automatic weapons. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton authored the measure after a child in Arizona accidentally killed a gun safety instructor with an Uzi. The measure failed on a 59-21 vote.

 

The man accused of killing former NFL player Joe McKnight in an apparent road-rage incident was involved in a similar heated exchange while driving 10 years ago, and a judge said that can be used in court. But Legal analyst Tim Meche says the ruling to allow this as evidence is wide open for reversal on appeal. He says Ronald Gasser’s defense could even use it to their advantage. A trial date has not yet been set.

 

The principal at a New Orleans school has been fired after he wore Nazi symbols in a video posted online. Crescent Leadership Academy issued a statement saying Nicholas Dean will not return to his position. A video surfaced today of Dean wearing symbols associated with Nazism and white supremacy while being interviewed earlier this month at protests surrounding the removal of confederate monuments.

 

In LSU baseball, the Tigers shutout the University of Kentucky last night in the SEC tournament. LSU now advances  to Saturday’s semifinal game. Airtime 11:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3

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News for Thursday 052517

By Dave Graichen

 

With only two weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are not close to agreeing on a budget for next fiscal year and addressing the loss of over a billion dollars in temporary taxes set to expire in July 2018. That’s according to Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com. Alford says the majority in the House despise creating new taxes to solve a looming budget deficit, while the majority in the Senate and the governor believe that is the solution. He says there is no clear path for where this session will end.

On the House floor Thursday, democrats mustered enough votes to prevent the passage of a construction financing bill in the hopes that it will lead to serious negotiations on tax reform.

 

As expected, the Senate Finance committee rejected a proposal to increase Louisiana’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 an hour by 2019. Republicans on the panel raised concerns about how this legislation could lead to layoffs, while Democrats say $7.25 is not a living wage. The author of the bill says he’ll bring the bill back next year. Governor Edwards issued a statement expressing his disappointment by saying the Legislature had the opportunity to actively value families, but it failed.

 

House debate on a 17-cent gas tax hike proposal has been delayed until next week. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter told NOLA.com he’s a considering a change to the legislation so that the gasoline tax would gradually increase.

 

Vice President Mike Pence echoed many of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises when he told a crowd in Port Allen yesterday the administration will make America prosperous again. He says the president’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference in the economy. He says businesses are responding to the president’s call to buy American and hire American. Pence also says it remains the President’s priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on the Louisiana congressional delegation to oppose President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says they’re disappointed the budget repeals the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which entitles Louisiana to a portion of offshore drilling revenue for oil leases. Carbo says they understand the need to balance the budget, but this spending plan does it in a way that’s harmful to Louisiana and its citizens.

 

The Senate Education Committee will discuss today whether a task force should be formed to study how to ensure the TOPS scholarship program’s long-term liability. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the taxpayer funded program has not been examined since it was created over 20 years ago. Morrish says the task force’s findings will provide good information for lawmakers when they consider proposed changes to the scholarship program in the future.

 

More people may have been affected by the Great Flood of 2016 than we thought, according to a recent LSU survey. Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says 18 percent of the state’s residents took on water during the March and August floods. He says 30 percent of workforce was also impacted. Henderson says respondents did not give favorable ratings to FEMA or the state government for their response to the floods.

 

The 7-year-old who was accidentally shot at an elementary school in Moss Bluff is doing well after undergoing surgery for a second time. The family of the first-grader says the child will remain in the PICU for a few more days. According to Calcasieu Parish authorities, the shooting occurred on May 15th when another student brought a gun to school and it accidentally went off and struck the 7-year-old.

 

A deadly virus is threatening Louisiana crawfish. Aquaculture specialist Mark Shirley with the LSU AgCenter says the white spot syndrome originated in shrimp ponds in Thailand and Southeast Asia in the early 1990s. Shirley says this virus can greatly affect a crawfish farmer’s income by killing off the harvest. But he says it’s not a threat to humans.

 

The search is over for a south Louisiana man accused of living in his ex-girlfriend’s attic, as 21-year-old Taylor Broussard is behind bars. The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Larose woman reported her ex had stolen her vehicle after brandishing a knife. State troopers located the suspect in Baton Rouge Wednesday. Broussard faces 9 charges in Lafourche Parish including stalking, domestic abuse battery, vehicle theft, and home invasion.

 

The LSU Tigers beat  Missouri 10-3 last night to faces Kentucky in the SEC winners bracket this evening. Now a reminder, it is a floating start time.. But, we should take to the air at 7:30 on KSYL 970a  and 100.3 HD3.

 

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News for Wednesday 052417

By Dave Graichen

 

Alexandria City Councilman Joe Fuller is requesting a Legislative audit of all City’s credit card purchases from the past five years.  Fuller sent a letter to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor asking that the audit look into charges made at hotels and restaurants as well as other ones related to travel. Fuller, as a result of an employee's alleged misuse use of funds, says he’s concerned that the city has a credit card problem. The city maintains though its internal audit following the alleged misuse showed no cause for further concern.

 

The APD has arrested and charged 18-year-old Demetrice Welch with second-degree murder in connection with the death of an unidentified man whose body was found early Saturday morning in the 4600 block of West Sandy Bayou Drive in the city. Welch, who is from Alexandria, was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on Tuesday.

 

Today lawmakers in the House are expected to debate raising the state’s gasoline tax for the first time in 27 years. A proposal by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter would up the tax by 17 cents a gallon. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana, Barry Erwin says more revenue is needed to pay for better roads.

 

Vice President Mike Pence will be in the state today to discuss health care, jobs and the economy.  The White House says the Vice President will participate in a listening session with local business leaders in the Baton Rouge area and he’ll make remarks afterwards at Cajun Industries in Port Allen. The governor’s office says John Bel Edwards plans on meeting with the Vice President at the Baton Rouge airport.

 

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would end oil lease royalty payments to Louisiana before they even begin. The proposal repeals the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which splits offshore revenue among Gulf States. Managing Director with the America’s Wetland Foundation, Val Marmillion says Louisiana stands to lose a lot of money if the act is repealed. Gulf States would lose a total of $3.6 billion over the next decade. US Senator Bill Cassidy released a statement saying that taking this funding away from Louisiana’s coastline is a nonstarter.

 

A Senate Judiciary committee voted to raise the fees for individuals on probation and parole in Louisiana to increase salaries for parole officers. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris’ measure would up the fee by 37-dollars to 100 dollars. Harris hopes this would be an incentive for parole officers to stay in their position.

 

The bill that would require students starting 9th grade this fall to have at least a 2.75 GPA in order to receive the TOPS scholarship advanced on the House floor. The current requirement is 2.5. A concern about this bill by opponents was that it would cut out poor kids who need help paying for college the most. The bill heads to the Senate on a 53-32 vote.

 

A bill that would include dating partners in Louisiana’s domestic violence laws advances in a Senate committee. Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White raised concerns about situations that could arise, like a boyfriend pushing his drunk girlfriend into the car after a night out. The measure was sent to the Senate floor without objection.

 

The House Health and Welfare Committee approves a proposal to require parents of minors seeking an abortion to show a photo ID at the clinic. Currently minors only need a notarized statement from a legal guardian. The Senate-approved bill adding the picture identification requirement now heads to the full House for consideration.

 

Authorities in Lafourche Parish are looking for a man accused of living in the attic of his ex-girlfriend to stalk her. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Brennan Matherne says 21-year-old Taylor Broussard has nine active warrants for several felony crimes including stalking, auto theft, battery, and aggravated assault.

 

The full House will vote on a Senate approved measure that would give drivers a warning before an upcoming speed camera. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter says local municipalities shouldn’t have a problem with this if they argue that the devices are meant to deter speeding. Carter’s bill has been approved by the Senate and awaits final passage on the House floor.

 

Authorities are investigating the death of an 8-month-old in Baton Rouge. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner says the infant died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen. Police say no charges have been filed at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.

 

Sports..

 

Freshman right-hander Todd Peterson will start on the mound today as the LSU Tigers begin play in the SEC Tournament. Peterson will make his fourth start of the season. Airtime set for 12:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm

 

McNeese State heads into the Southland Conference Tournament in Sugar Land, Texas as the top seed after winning the league’s regular season championship. The Pokes will take on Lamar today after taking two of three from the Cardinals last week.

 

 

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News for Tuesday 052317

By Dave Graichen

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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News for Monday 052217

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sports..

 

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

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News for Friday 051917

By Dave Graichen

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Sports..

 

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

 

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

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News for Thursday 051817

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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News for Tuesday 051617

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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News for Monday 051517

By Dave Graichen

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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News for Friday 051217

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

The measure was approved on an 81-12 vote

 

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

 

 

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News for Thursday  051117

By Dave Graichen

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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News for Wednesday 051017

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sports..

 

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

 

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

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News for Tuesday 050917
By Dave Graichen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sports..

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

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News for Monday 050817
By Dave Graichen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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News for Thursday 050417

By Dave Graichen

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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News for Wednesday 050317

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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News for Tuesday 050217

By Dave Graichen

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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News for Monday 050117

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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News for Friday 042817

By Dave Graichen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sports…

 

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

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News for Thursday 042717

By Dave Graichen

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Sports..

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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