News for Wednesday 112019
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The Division of Administration says most online state services are now back in action after yesterday’s ransomware attack. Authorities now believe the attack was initiated after an illicit file was downloaded to a state computer, and roughly 1,600 computers and 130 servers will need to be rebuilt as a result. The department of Motor Vehicles is still closed this morning. No word yet on when it may open.
Legislation that would direct hundreds of millions of dollars more in offshore oil and gas revenue to Louisiana clears a Senate Committee. If it gets signed into law the change could result in a windfall for the state, but one that Senator Bill Cassidy, who authored the legislation, says is constitutionally mandated to fund coastal restoration.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy weighs in on growing concerns over of whether multi-millionaire sex offender Jeffery Epstein killed himself in jail as was reported by officials. Kennedy voiced his concerns to Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Sawyer, saying “Christmas ornaments, drywall, and Jeffery Epstein, name three things that don’t hang themselves. Kennedy is asking for a thorough investigation.
The 2019 Governor’s race is in the books and ambitious Republican state leaders are reportedly eyeing a 2023 race that won’t feature a popular incumbent Democrat. Two prominent statewide elected figures stand out as early frontrunners, one of them is Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who tends to stay out of partisan fights, and is highly popular across party lines. Cross says the other is AG Jeff Landry.
Former LSU frat member Matthew Naquin who was found guilty of negligent homicide in the 2017 hazing death of Max Gruver is scheduled for sentencing today. Judge Beau Higginbotham previously sentenced two others involved in the death to the maximum sentence, but legal analyst Franz Borghardt says the judge is known to give reasonable sentences and many were surprised he gave maximum sentences to the two others involved in the case. The judge does have the authority to give Naquin felony probation.
A Cottonport Police Officer was injured Tuesday morning when, during a high speed chase, the officer lost control and flipped the vehicle. Cottonport Police Chief Earnest Anderson says the injured officer was assisted by bystanders and then airlifted to a hospital for medical treatment. Her condition is unknown at this time. The suspect involved was taken into custody.
Eleven more juvenile whooping cranes have been brought to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area near Gueydan as the state wildlife officials attempt to re-establish the population of the rare bird. LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski says one of the contributing factors to the bird’s decline was the disappearance of wetlands in favor of agriculture development. Now, the birds are starting to take a liking to some of those areas too.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of potential fake money that may still be in circulation after a counterfeiting operation was busted this month. Captain Scott Lee says it’s mostly small bills. Lee is asking area businesses to be cautious when receiving cash payments for now because they’re not exactly sure how much fake money is still out there.
A spokesperson for Frank's International is reporting layoffs at its Lafayette facility.
Spokeswoman Alison Greene says there are about 600 employees at that location, and a "small percentage" of them were terminated. According to Greene, the reason for the layoffs is because of Frank's "company-wide profitability improvement project."
The layoffs are a part of the broader efforts to streamline their organization.
A Tangipahoa Parish man who was reported missing Friday has been found dead in a wooded area, believed to be the victim of a homicide. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office says 27-year-old Pere Jackson's body was recovered around 4 p.m. Monday in a wooded area in Natalbany. Authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy to confirm the manner and cause of death.
UL Lafayette researchers develop technology that can predict an epileptic seizure in a patient up to an hour before it happens with a 99 percent rate of accuracy. Epileptic patients face a precarious life in which seizures can strike at any moment, often without warning. The device on the person’s head will sync up to an app that is accessible not just by the patient, but by anyone the patient wants to keep in the loop…
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The College Football Playoff rankings were unchanged at the top this week, with LSU first followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. The selection committee's third weekly rankings had little movement in the top 10, with Alabama fifth followed by Oregon, Utah, Penn State, Oklahoma and Minnesota.
Louisiana Tech has set a press conference for 11:30 Thursday. That’s when they’ll announce new plans for the complete rebuild of the University’s baseball, softball and soccer complexes. Those facilities were destroyed by an EF 3 tornado that hit Ruston last April.
In the latest F-C-S Coaches poll, Southeastern Louisiana is ranked 22nd and Nicholls is 23rd. The two teams will meet Thursday night in Hammond, the winner will earn at least a share of the Southland Conference title and an automatic bid to the F-C-S playoffs.
In high school football playoffs, rain is in the forecast on Friday night and some games are moving to Thursday. West Monroe will host Captain Shreve on Thursday, instead of Friday and the Union Parish-Caldwell Parish gave has been moved to Thursday too. Oberlin versus Gueydan has also moved to Thursday as well.
After playing the last two games on the road, the Ragin Cajuns return home Saturday to host Troy. The Trojans rank 10th in the F-B-S in scoring, averaging 39 points a game.