News for Friday 050319
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Northwestern University is in mourning today after word of two students dying yesterday in separate, unrelated incidents. The students were 46 year old Samuel Taylor of Natchitoches and 23 year old Michael Robichaux of Pineville. University Police Chief Craig Vercher said foul play is not suspected in either incident. According to Vercher, the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office will conduct autopsies to determine the cause of death of the students.
Former Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard's appeal that sought to terminate an arbitration agreement between the two parties has been denied. Both sides had argued during arbitration whether Aguillard was an "at-will" employee or whether he had an employment contract specifying a term of five years.
Rapides Parish School Board members will be asked to accept Superintendent Nason Authement's resignation at their meeting next Tuesday. Another motion, submitted by board President Wilton Barrios, seeks to "discuss and take action" on searching for a replacement for Authement, who ends his term after six years. His tenure began on June 1, 2013. He came in with a plan focused on eliminating some jobs at the district's central office and restructuring low-performing schools.
Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Lafayette this afternoon and will visit Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, one of the three churches recently torched in St. Landry Parish. Pence will meet with community and church leaders.
The Baton Rouge Advocate has purchased New Orleans’ longest running major paper, The 182 year old Times Picayune and it’s website NOLA.com The Advocate will publish a seven-day, home-delivered newspaper in New Orleans using the brands and features of both publications. The new paper will debut in June. The two papers’ websites will be combined under the nola.com brand around the same time.
The loosening of regulations based on rules written following the 2010 BP oil spill may make the Gulf of Mexico more attractive to those looking to establish offshore rigs. Tulane Energy Institute Professor Eric Smith describes the rules set following the oil spoil as overly harsh and now that they’ve been loosened, it opens the Gulf of Mexico to being more competitive with other deep water drilling sites around the world.
One year after the state legislature restored voting rights for some convicted felons, there’s an effort to allow some convicts to be eligible for jury duty. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says his legislation would allow convicted felons to be called for jury duty once they are off parole or probation for five years. The House Criminal Justice Committee sent the proposal to the full House after a 9-6 vote.
The Harrah’s Casino 30 year license extension effort rolled through the House and is on it’s way back to the Senate, where it died last year. In return for a substantial extension, House Speaker Taylor Barras’ bill asks for Harrah’s to invest 325 million dollars to upgrade the facility, including building a new hotel. This year’s version pays the state 130 million dollars more over the length of the deal than last years.
The House health committee approves legislation that would allow medical marijuana patients to receive the drug through an inhaler, instead of a liquid or pill. Members of the House Health and Welfare committee heard moving testimony from veterans. An 11-year combat veteran from Belle Chasse says he’s using medical marijuana to treat P-T-S-D.
A construction firm has been selected to manage the first phase of what would, if approved, ultimately be a 450-million dollar Superdome renovation. The first phase of construction will cost about 100 million dollars, and Superdome Commission spokesperson Mike Hoss says it focuses on making the dome easier to traverse, and bringing the food up to New Orleans standards. The plan is for all four phases of renovation to be completed before the 2024 Superbowl in New Orleans.
Ecologists are sounding the alarm about a huge increase in the number of dead dolphins being found off the coast of Mississippi, and are pinning the blame partly on the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in March. Institute for Marine Mammal Studies President Dr. Mody Solangi says it’s not just the Spillway at fault. In previous decades, the spillway’s opening wasn’t as devastating, but the Mississippi River has grown so polluted that dumping that water into the gulf is disastrous. There have also been reports of Oyster beds being destroyed.
The Cenikor Foundation, a drug rehab with a Baton Rouge facility, has been hit with lawsuits alleging the organization funneled patients to work at local chemical plants and the LSU student union without paying them, less than a week after an investigative report was published with similar findings. According to an attorney representing one of the former patients, the rehab sent patients to do things like put up scaffolding at petrochemical plants and make king cakes at local bakeries, all without pay.
Louisiana Tech raised 1.23 million dollars for it’s inaugural Giving Day fundraiser. Nearly 2,000 donors contributed to the fund, a record for Tech fundraisers, which averages out to a little over 615 dollars a donor. A tornado ravaged the campus last week.
LSU pitcher Zach Hess has agreed to head to the bullpen as a reliever after two years of trying to mold himself into a starting pitcher. The junior admitted in a recent interview that he’s better when he can give his all on every pitch, instead of having to stretch his stamina out across 8 or so innings.
12th ranked LSU baseball takes on Ole Miss at Alex Box for a three game series this weekend, but Freshman right-hander Cole Henry is still not available to pitch because of a sore elbow.
Louisiana Tech will be playing it’s final home series against Western Kentucky at Warhawk Field at Louisiana-Monroe’s campus. The Bulldog’s home field is still in tatters after being heavily damaged by a Tornado that tore through the campus last week..
On the air…
Friday May 3rd
LSU Baseball vs Ole Miss 6p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM
Saturday May 4th
Houston Astros @ LA Angels 5:30p
LSU Baseball vs Ole Miss 5:30p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM
Sunday May 5th
LSU Baseball vs Ole Miss 1:30p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM
Houston Astros @ Minnesota 2:30p 94.7 ESPN