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News for Tuesday 062717

By Dave Graichen

 

The LSU tigers lost game one of the College World Series Championship Game last night by a score of 4 to 3 to Florida. Tonight, it’s win or go home.If the tigers do win, the rubber game will be played Wednesday. Airtime tonight 6:30p on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm

 

Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy urging them to oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which is the Senate GOP health care plan. In the letter the governor says the bill would result in the loss of coverage for millions of Americans, punishes Louisiana for running a lean Medicaid program, and effectively eliminating the state’s Medicaid expansion.

 

The US Senate’s version of the federal healthcare bill has some worried about the future of healthcare in Louisiana. State Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says if passed as is, the bill would result in up to 500,000 Louisianans losing their insurance. Gee says this bill also does not address one of the biggest concerns that came after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, like the rising cost of health insurance. She says the Senate’s plan will actually drive up insurance costs even more.

 

Students who attend seven of the nine schools that make up the University of Louisiana System will pay higher fees for school next fall. The increase will cost students an extra 108-dollars on average. But UL System President Doctor Jim Henderson says college students will pay less for their education this year, because TOPS is fully funded.

 

In the long-running debate over vouchers, a report issued Monday says voucher recipients in Louisiana bounced back from dismal scores initially in math and English.

The study follows an earlier review that said voucher recipients did "significantly worse" than their peers in the first year, and "slightly less negative" after year two. The latest review said that, after three years in the program, voucher recipients were performing roughly the same as their public school peers in math and English/language arts. Around 7,100 students get the aid, and 87 percent are African American students, according to the study.

 

Even after lawmakers passed two laws aimed at addressing the state’s opioid epidemic, experts say more can be done to solve the growing problem. East Baton Rouge Parish coroner Dr. Beau Clark says the new laws are phase one, which is to stop creating new addicts by limiting opioid prescriptions. But he says many people are already living with an addiction, and they need treatment. Clark says the challenge with treating these people is that rehabs are not funded on the state level, which is why many addicts end up in prisons. He says addiction is an illness that belongs in a medical facility, not the judicial system.

 

One of four suspects in a brutal New Orleans beating and robbery has been arrested. Police say 21-year-old Dejuan Paul of Kenner surrendered under suspicion of second degree robbery. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says two victims from Boston were in town visiting when the incident occurred on Saturday night. Authorities say they have identified the remaining suspects and encourage them to come forward.

 

The LSU AgCenter will use a nearly one million grant from the USDA to study what could be impacting honeybee colonies. Entomologist Kristen Healy says one possible factor is mites, because they transmit pathogens to the bees, like the deformed wing virus. Healy says it’s important to protect the bee population because one out of every three bites of food we eat relies on bees for pollination.

 

A New Iberia father and son have been charged with killing a Louisiana black bear. The Louisiana Black Bear was killed near Lyida in 2015. LDWF officials say through ballistic testing they were able to determine that 59-year-old Elie Dupre owned a rifle that shot the fatal bullet which killed the black bear. It was determined his 15-year-old son was present during the shooting. The father and son face a significant fine and possible jail time.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has signed the bill into law that allows students in public schools to apply sunscreen themselves without a doctors note. School employees would also be able to apply sunscreen to students.

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News for Monday 062617

By Dave Graichen

 

People close to Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines say they are in shock over his  arrest Friday afternoon on drug charges.  The APD reports the 49 year old Grines was arrested around 5 p.m. near the Alexandria City Court complex. He was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence, malfeasance in office and illegal carrying of a weapon. Authorities say the arrest was the result of a lengthy multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional investigation.

 

After an amazing weekend.. The Tigers will go for their seventh national championship and second under coach Paul Mainieri. The Tigers will play at home tonight and tomorrow in Gainesville. If a third game is needed, it’s back to Baton Rouge. Airtime tonight, 5:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3 fm. 

 

More Louisiana students are graduating high school than ever before, as the state’s graduation rate is up to 77 percent. Education Superintendent John White says that is a result of the state’s hard work to increase the number of graduates and the education levels of those grads. Over 35-hundred more students graduated this school year than in 2012.

 

The Alliance for Excellent Education ranks Louisiana’s education plan one of the most promising in the country. Erin Bendily with the state Department of Education says Louisiana students are just as capable as students from other states. She says that’s why their plan sets ambitious but achievable goals for students and school systems.

State Education Superintendent John White says this plan is one of the reasons Louisiana’s high school graduation rate is higher than ever at 77 percent.

 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has moved out of the ICU, according to an update from MedStar Washington hospital. MedStar says the Jefferson Parish Congressman remains in fair condition as he continues to recover from a gunshot wound to a hip sustained in a shootout on members of congress at a ballpark.

 

The LSU board of supervisors accepted a recommendation to award the medical marijuana project to Las Vegas-based GB Sciences Inc. When finalized, LSU Ag Center head Dr. Bill Richardson says it could mean $3.4 million over five years, or 10% of gross receipts, whichever is higher. LSU and Southern University are the only institutions allowed to grow cannabis in the state..

 

Citing opposition from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, state Attorney General Jeff Landry has quietly abandoned his much-hyped effort to fight crime in New Orleans using a special task force of state agents. The task force generated at least 16 arrests and a heap of controversy over its short lifespan. The most recent criticism came earlier this month, after the task force had been disbanded, when a federal judge said Landry’s agents had no authority to make arrests in Orleans Parish.

 

A Hammond man is being held on more than a $70 million dollars bond for allegedly filming sexual videos of children and posting them online. 23-year-old Nicholas Paul Duvic is charged with 300 counts of possession of child pornography, 300 counts of distribution of child pornography, one count of production of child pornography involving children under 13 years old and 24 counts of video voyeurism.

 

A 79-year-old former Secretary of State employee has been arrested for possession of child pornography on his state issued computer. State Trooper Michael Reichardt says the department took immediate action against Bruce Barron. Reichardt says Bruce Barron was booked into the Union Parish Correctional Center on one count of possession of child pornography involving juveniles.

 

They call it Vaping and now many experts say it may not be the best way to kick your cigarette habit. Josselin Carter, with Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge,  says vaping can end up being a substitution for the same habit because many juices contain nicotine. Carter adds doctors aren’t sure vaping is safer than cigarettes, as there is no long-term data to support that claim. To get more information on how to quit smoking, visit SmokingCessationTrust.org

 

Tulane University’s Upward Bound Program has received a 2.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help high school students who hope to become their first in their family to go to college. Upward Bound is a program aimed at helping prospective college students academically prepare for higher education.

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News for Friday 062317

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD announced yesterday that their top man, Chief Loren Lampert, is resigning, effective July 15th. Lampert has been Chief of Police since September of 2011. Lampert says he plans to work as an assistant district attorney in another parish. Details of that will be announced at a later time.

 

31-year-old Joseph Roy of Marksville was arrested Wednesday night after he crashed his vehicle on Jackson Street Extension. The APD reports upon arriving at the scene of the crash officers found a syringe on the floor of the vehicle. During the on scene investigation, the officer found that the Roy had been injecting heroin while driving to work, and the effects of the drugs contributed to the crash. He was charged with second-offense DWI and a long list of drug charges.

 

Southern University was warned last week that it could lose its accreditation that is required for the school to offer degrees and receive federal dollars. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Southern University on a warning list during its June board meeting. Southern received the sanction because the school missed benchmarks related to its faculty, student achievement, "institutional effectiveness," and student complaints. The university will have a year to make necessary changes.

 

LSU students will have to pay more out of pocket in fees to attend school this fall.

With very little discussion and no objections, the LSU Board of Supervisors approved Thursday a student-fee increase of about 2 percent across the board. Depending on the program and the school the increase will be anywhere from a $4 per credit hour “athletic fee” for LSU Alexandria students to $270 for those attending the LSU Law School to $600 per semester “student excellence” charges at the LSU Vet School. The 30,000 or so undergrads on the flagship’s Baton Rouge campus will pay $270 more.

 

Louisiana will get a new medical school, as the Board of Regents grants a license to New York Institute of Technology, which will be hosted on the ULM campus. ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno says the Stubbs Hall building on campus could be the new home of the med school. ULM is also the only publicly funded pharmacy school in the state.

 

LSU and No.1 Oregon State play today at 2pm in the College World Series. With a win, the Tigers will force an elimination game versus The Beavers on Saturday. With a loss, the 2017 LSU baseball season will come to an end. The Tigers will start All-SEC pitcher Alex Lange, who says he’s ready to go.

 

The 67th Annual Ruston Peach Festival begins today at noon. Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Judy Copeland says even though the peach harvest wasn’t good this year, visitors can try a large variety of different peach flavored foods. She says all vendors are required to have a least one item on their menu with peaches.

Copeland says about 23-thousand people come to the festival each year. Uncle Kracker is the headliner for Saturday night.

 

The National Safety Council has launched a vehicle recall campaign to allow motorists to enter in their VIN number to determine if a there has been a manufacturer recall on the vehicle. President and CEO of the National Safety Council Deborah Hersman says Louisiana has the third highest rate of open recalls in the country, with one in four vehicles on the road in Louisiana have an open recall.

 

The Louisiana Nursing Home Association announces 18 facilities in the state have been chosen as a recipient for the Bronze-Commitment to Quality Award. This achievement spotlights providers who have demonstrated commitment to quality care for seniors.

The 18 facilities that received the achievement are located throughout the state from Bossier City to Houma.

 

Angola inmate John Floyd has been set free after spending 36 years behind bars after a U.S. District Court judge tossed his life in prison conviction. Judge Sarah Vance believed there was evidence that Floyd was wrongly convicted in the 1980 murder of William Hines, a proofreader with the Times- Picayune.

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News for Wednesday 062117

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD reports a car hit the Public Safety Complex building Tuesday morning, putting a rather large hole in the side..  Police believe the 81-year-old woman driving the vehicle hit the gas instead of the brake. Causing her car jumped the curb and strike the building. The woman received injuries and was taken to a local hospital. No on in the building was injured.

 

Flash flood watches are in effect across Central Louisiana through Thursday night as Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to make landfall in the next two days. State Climatologist Barry Keim says storm surge could be an issue in coastal areas and there is a possibility of tornados. But he says rain and potential flash flooding will be the biggest problem.

 

The National Weather Service's office in Lake Charles is forecasting 2-3 inches of rain in the Alexandria area through Thursday, as well as higher-than-normal wind gusts.

Parts of Central Louisiana to the west of Alexandria should see somewhat heavier rain. CLECO is urging residents to be prepared. The Utility says they will have crews on standby to restore power if the need arises.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that prevents public schools from physically punishing students with developmental disabilities. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says this allows the administration to take a step back and realize certain students are not allowed to receive corporal punishments. 38 out of 69 public school districts in the state permit paddling or spanking.

 

The Department of Education announces new applicants will be placed on a waiting list starting July 1st as the demand for state childcare assistance rises. Assistant superintendent of early childhood development Jenna Conway says this program offers subsidies for working families to choose a childcare provider. The program grew exponentially when the DOE lowered the work threshold for families to qualify, from 30 to 20 hours a week, and the lack of funding keeps them from accommodating everyone.

 

A survey by the Society for Human Research Management finds one third companies are willing to provide employees with better benefits in order to attract more talented workers. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says this can be a more beneficial way to entice people over an increase in salary.  Rosa says 401K’s and many company benefits went away during the recession but now those are coming back. He says businesses are adding even more benefits as they are trying to attract the right employees.

 

There is a new law that allows the state Office of Tourism to sell naming rights or grant leases for state parks to add new attractions. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state parks have always been a burden on taxpayers that never brought in any money. But he says this new law should change that and allow them to upgrade park attractions. Nungesser says they’ll ensure that whatever businesses they bring in to these partnerships does not compete with local business.

 

St. Tammany Parish authorities say a suspected murderer is behind bars after he was found walking down a wooded area of I-59. 40-year-old Jason Magee III is wanted in the death of his ex-wife and her boyfriend, who were fatally shot at home Monday  evening. Police say the investigation into the deadly shooting is ongoing.

 

Sports..

 

LSU faces Florida State again tonight in the College World Series. This time the loser will be eliminated. The Tigers defeated the Seminoles 5-4 in the opening round of the College World Series.  In two games in Omaha, the Tigers have driven in just four runs.

 

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News for Tuesday 062017

By Dave Graichen

 

State Police report an Olla man died Monday morning after his vehicle crossed the  center line and hit a loaded log truck. 29 year old Nick Harris died at the scene of the wreck on La. Highway 8 in Fishville.

 

State officials are preparing for potential flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moves towards the southwestern coast of Louisiana. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says heavy rains and potential flash flooding are the biggest threat. The National Weather Service is calling for three to six inches of rain across much of the state, with some areas a foot of rain. Steele encourages the public to prepare for the coming storm now.

 

Wounded Congressman Steve Scalise was elected US House Majority Whip three years ago, and experts say that no matter his condition the lawmaker from Jefferson Parish still has a bright political future. Analyst Clancy DuBos says Scalise is a classic Louisiana politician in the best and highest sense. Dr’s report the congressman’s condition continues to improve.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says he may not issue the call for a special session where lawmakers could address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018. Edwards says House Republicans did not support any of the recommendations from the tax reform task force in the regular session, nor did they propose a plan of their own. He’s skeptical anything would be accomplished in another special session. Edwards says he’s not giving up. He says he will continue to work with lawmakers to try and find common ground where a compromise can be reached.

 

Louisiana needs to improve the way it serves older adults and those with disabilities, according to a scorecard from AARP. Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl, says Louisiana has an unbalanced long term care system because Medicaid dollars tend to go towards nursing homes when many older adults want to stay at home with help from family and friends. He says as a state, we have a lot of work to do.

 

Louisiana is the first state in the country to ban the box on college admissions asking if a prospective student has a criminal record. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the measure into law. Research finds two out of three people with convictions stop filling out their college application after seeing this box.

 

The Supreme Court struck down a law in North Carolina which bans sex offenders from using social media. The law in Louisiana specifically applies to people convicted of sex crimes with children. Justices say taking Twitter, Facebook and other popular accounts away all together would prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights.

 

The 10th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off gets underway today at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says this is a great way to showcase the fresh seafood of the Bayou State. He says a dozen Louisiana chefs will compete in the cook-off. This is the first year the event will be held in Acadiana, as it usually takes place in New Orleans.

 

Louisiana’s craft beer industry is growing rapidly. That’s according to Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, Cary Koch, who says we’re on track for more growth if the state fosters a good business environment. He says 6 new breweries opened last year, and even more are in the planning stage.

 

The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Springhill teen is charged with second degree murder for allegedly shooting another teen Sunday in Plain Dealing following an ongoing dispute. The suspect is identified as 19-year-old Phillip Woods, and the murdered victim is 16.

 

LSU fell and fell hard last night in the college world series, 13-1 to No. 1 seed Oregon State. But they are not out yet.. The Tigers will have to win two games to win now, starting with an elimination game against  Florida State at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

 

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News for Monday 061917

By Dave Graichen

 

 

The Louisiana Legislature finally passed a budget for next fiscal year. Senate Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur calls it a smart and reasonable spending plan that adequately funds the state’s biggest priorities. With the passage of the budget, the special session ended Friday afternoon. But another special session will most likely be called early next year to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in temporary taxes.

 

UL System President Dr. Jim Henderson calls this legislative session one of the most successful for higher ed in nearly a decade. He says he’s thrilled lawmakers approved a budget that fully funds TOPS, after failing to do so for the first time in the program’s history last academic year. The spending plan is the first in nearly a decade that did not reduce funding to higher education.

 

Doctors remain encouraged over the progress Jefferson Parish Congressman Steve Scalise has made over the last few days as he’s recovering from a gunshot wound to the hip. Director of Trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Dr Jake Sava says Scalise has a long road ahead of him but is expected to be able to walk and even run again.

 

Louisiana’s economy is picking up as nonfarm and private sector jobs are improving. Over the month of May, nonfarm employment gained 10,500 jobs, the best one month gain since July of 2011. Private sector jobs increased by more than 9-thousand over the month. The Bayou State is among four other states with the largest percentage gains in jobs.

 

Louisiana officials were in a federal courtroom seeking to have a lawsuit thrown out that challenges recent laws that restrict abortions in the state. The laws extend waiting periods, ban certain procedures and restrict which doctors can perform abortions. Pro-choice organizations say the regulations interfere with the constitutional right that allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy.

 

It’s expected the governor will call a special session early next year so legislators can address the fiscal cliff. Alford says the governor may propose ideas recommended by a task force that studied the state’s tax code, but that doesn’t mean the legislature will agree to those proposals. A big portion of the temporary taxes that will expire next year is the additional penny put on the state sales tax last year by legislators to address a massive budget shortfall. Alford says the easiest thing for lawmakers to do is to keep the fifth sales tax penny on the books.

 

Attorney General Jeff Landry announces 51 people have been arrested on child exploitation charges under Operation Broken Heart. With the work of numerous police departments, sheriff’s officers and state and federal agencies these individuals from all around the state were arrested. The charges range from possession of child pornography to Solicitation of minor.

 

Bayou Teche Brewing has a newly expanded Arnaudville brewery. President Karlos Knott says they added 50-percent more floor space, including new office space and an automated keg washing system. The expansion was needed to increase sales of their year-round LA 31 beers and seasonal beers. This brewhouse, made by an Italian firm,  is the first of its kind in the country.

 

The Beauregard Parish Police Jury hopes to transfer the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard from New Orleans to their parish. Police Jury President Rusty Williamson says it’s the right place for the monument to be, given the fact that the parish is named after the Confederate General. Members of the Beauregard Community Coalition do not support moving the statue to Beauregard Parish. But Williamson says they determined bringing it to the parish was the best idea to avoid the namesake statue ending up in the trash. He says there are a variety of places to erect the statue other than the courthouse.

 

Something has to give in tonight’s College World Series winner’s bracket matchup between LSU and Oregon State. The Tigers have won 17 in a row, while the Beavers have won 22 straight.  Both teams rallied from behind to win in the opening round of the C-W-S and Coach Paul Mainieri says expects another hard fought battle tonight.

First  pitch is scheduled for 6p tonight on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.

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News for Friday 061617

By Dave Graichen

 

A day after he was shot in the hip by a lone gunman who fired into a crowd of Republican lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise remained in critical condition Thursday evening after undergoing another lengthy third surgery, this one aimed at repairing a broken bone and other internal injuries caused by the bullet. The MedStar Washington Hospital Center reported last night The Metairie congressman, who serves as House majority whip, “has improved in the last 24 hours”. They say the Congressman will require additional operations and will be in the hospital for some time.

 

New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond says it is time to ramp up security for federal lawmakers, after a shootout at a baseball park in Virginia left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise seriously injured. Richmond says in these polarizing times, Congressional leaders need to be aware of the potential danger of their positions.

 

There’s a chance the special session could end today as a budget deal is near. The Senate Finance Committee approved the nearly 29-billion dollar spending plan yesterday, one day after the House approved it. So if the full senate passes the budget today without any changes, it will go the governor for him to sign it.

 

An extensive criminal justice reform package approved by the legislature is now law as the bills associated with the overhaul were signed by Governor John Bel Edwards Thursday. Edwards says many of these measures were successful in other states when it came to reducing the prison population. The bills signed into law will lead to shorter sentences for many non-violent offenders and expanded rehabilitation programs.

 

The LSU AgCenter selects a vendor for the medical marijuana program. AgCenter Chancellor Dr. Bill Richardson says this is the last major hurdle to getting the drug into the hands of those who need it. He says the details of the agreement have not been released, but the plan is to contract with a biopharmaceutical research company from Las Vegas called GB Sciences. Richardson says the Board of Supervisors will act on the plan at their June 22 meeting. He says they hope to have the product available to the patients by early 2018.

 

I will be a busy red snapper season for Louisiana anglers. Under an agreement with the federal government, fisherman will get 39 days, beginning today until September 4th,to fish for red snapper in federal waters on weekends.  Recreational anglers will be permitted to start fishing 200 miles off the coast of Louisiana for red snapper every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 4th, also included are July 3rd and 4th and Labor Day.

 

State Police say a trooper is under arrest for allegedly using excessive force when taking someone into custody in New Orleans. They say Trooper John Neal is accused of kicking the suspect and bashing his head into a window while the suspect was handcuffed. Neal has been on forced leave since the February incident and is booked with on one count of simple battery.

 

Sports..

 

The LSU Baseball team arrived in Omaha yesterday ahead of College World Series play that begins against Florida State on Saturday night. If the Tigers win it all, it would be the school’s seventh national championship, but head Coach Paul Mainieri says they will take it one game at a time. Mainieri told his players it’s been a great season regardless of what happens in the CWS.

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News for Thursday 061517

By Dave Graichen

 

New Orleans area Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is recovering after surgery after he was shot in the hip while at practice for a charity baseball game yesterday. The Illinois man identified as the shooter belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.” 5th district congressman Ralph Abraham said yesterday, it’s a sad day in America. The gunman was killed by Capitol police officers. St. Landry Parish Congressman Clay Higgins says that’s just fine with him and he wishes his colleague a full and speedy recovery.

 

President Donald Trump spoke at the White House about the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise. The two have developed a close relationship as Scalise has been a huge ally in the U.S. House in the President’s attempt to overhaul health care and reform the nation’s tax code. Mr. Trump says he has offered full and complete support to the Scalise family.

 

Legislators have taken a significant step towards ending the budget impasse and the special session. On a 56-44 vote, the House has approved a budget that allocates 100-percent of the available money. A large contingent of House Republicans wanted to withhold at least 100-million dollars, because the state constantly has midyear revenue shortfalls. But New Orleans Representative Walt Leger said if the state didn’t allocate all of the available dollars, cuts will occur to areas of the budget that could least afford it.  The 28-billion dollar budget proposal will be heard in the Senate finance committee today, and it has the support of the Governor.

 

A  Marksville man threw his girlfriend under the bus, so to speak, after the pair paid for fast food, at a North Blvd. restaurant, with a counterfeit $100 bill. The fake bill was immediately reported to the APD who responded to the scene and found the couple still in the restaurant’s parking lot. The man inside the truck, 26-year-old Chancey Johnson, denied knowing the bill was fake, telling officers he got it from his girlfriend. Both were arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

 

A new law that limits first time opioid prescriptions may not address Louisiana’s opioid epidemic as much as we hoped. St. Tammany Coroner Charles Preston says according to numbers he’s seen; only four to 13 percent of patients will misuse their opioid prescription, and four percent of those will go on to use harder drugs. He says that means less than one percent of those who receive opioid prescriptions will abuse drugs.

Preston says this new law is a positive step. But he hopes it doesn’t cloud the importance of funding addiction treatment programs.

 

State Police say a Baton Rouge Police officer shot and killed a passenger who allegedly got out of a vehicle during a traffic stop with a gun last Tuesday night. The investigation is ongoing. The deceased is identified as 35-year-old Jordan Frazier.

 

Tulane researchers have found Louisiana is sinking at a rate of just over one third of an inch per year, which is 50-percent faster than what was estimated two years ago. Geology professor and co-author of the report, Tor Tornqvist, says we’ve always known the state is sinking, but they developed a map of coastal Louisiana to determine how rapidly it’s going underwater and where.  He says this research should alarm all residents about future of Louisiana’s coastline.

 

Good news for Baton Rouge area motorists, as the state Department of Transportation announces plans to widen Interstate 10 from four to six lanes in East Baton Rouge and Ascension Parishes. The project also includes the replacement of the LA 42 overpass. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says construction will begin early next year. The $72 million project is funded through a combination of state and federal funds.

 

Sports..

 

The LSU Tigers leave for Omaha this morning. It’s their first trip to the College World Series since 2015. LSU pitcher Alex Lange will start versus Florida State on Saturday night. Lange says everyone is excited about the opportunity to win the school’s seventh national championship. Saturday Airtime for the game is 6:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3

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News for Wednesday 061417

By Dave Graichen

 

Allen Parish Sheriff’s deputies have located the body of a 12-year-old who possibly drowned in the Calcasieu River Sunday evening. Authorities believe the child tried to swim across the river, went into distress and went under.

 

A Pollock firefighter has been accused of making more than $11,000 in purchases for herself with the department's credit card. 39 year old Christy was charged by the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office with unauthorized use of an access card and malfeasance in office.

 

The House Appropriations Committee approved a 28-billion dollar budget that spends more than what they proposed in the regular session, but still less than what the Senate and governor wanted. Chairman Cameron Henry says the new proposal represents nearly 99 percent of the state income forecast. Under the latest proposal, $100 million would be left on the table as opposed to $206 million. The full house will debate the budget today.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says the House’s idea to withhold money from the budget in case of a shortfall is not a responsible approach. He says any money not appropriated cannot be spent later. Edwards adds that money can also not be used in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood.

 

Col. Kevin Reeves has been named as the permanent superintendent of Louisiana State Police, after serving as interim since March. Reeves says he remains committed to the public. Reeves began his career with State Police as a motorcycle trooper in 1990.

 

The Agenda for Children ranks Louisiana 48th in the country for overall child wellbeing in their KIDS COUNT report. KIDS COUNT Coordinator Theresa Falgoust says Louisiana made strides in some key areas, like more parents having high school diplomas and full-time jobs, fewer babies born with low birthweights, and other areas.

Falgoust adds 96 percent of Louisiana children now have health insurance and that’s a major improvement.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has announced the replacement for former Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle on the LSU Board of Supervisors. In a statement, the governor says Mary Werner will take over the vacated seat for the remainder of the term representing the 3rd Congressional District. Angelle left his role as public service commissioner after he was named director of the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

 

Although increasing slightly nationally, gas prices are dropping in 30 states and Louisiana is one of those seeing a decline in prices at the pump. That’s according to AAA spokesperson Don Redman, who says prices are slightly lower than at this time last year. The statewide average of $2.14 a gallon is well below the forecast for June of $2.40 a gallon. Redman says how low it will go is hard to predict. He says we’re seeing higher demand like we typically do for summer, but refineries have kept up with the demand.

 

A suspect has died following an officer involved shooting in St. Martin Parish. Authorities say deputies attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect, when the male subject pulled a gun. Shots were fired at the suspect, and he was transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

 

Three people have been arrested for allegedly sneaking drugs into Angola after police received a tip about a package containing what is believed to be marijuana and tobacco products. Police say the three Morgan City suspects are charged with criminal conspiracy to introduce contraband into a penal facility. Officals say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could be made.

 

The Department of Children and Family Services encourages Louisiana residents to pre-register for disaster food stamps in preparation for hurricane season. Kim Matherne with DCFS says pre-registering gets your information in the system and makes things move smoother following a disaster. She says people can pre-register at dcfs.la.gov

 

Sports..

 

The pairings and game times for the first two days of the College World Series have been announced. LSU will take on Florida in the second game in Omaha on Saturday at 7pm. The first game that day is scheduled to begin at 2pm, and will feature Cal St. Fullerton against No. 1 national seed Oregon St.

 

The city of Omaha is excited LSU is back in the College World Series. Tracie McPherson with Visit Omaha says they always enjoy when Tiger fans visit because the Purple and Gold Nation love a good party. The Tigers will face Florida State on Saturday at 7pm.

 

Thirty-two-year-old running back Adrian Peterson says he’s ready to catch passes in the Saints offense. Peterson caught 241 passes during his 10 seasons in Minnesota and doesn’t know why people say he can’t be a pass catching running back. Peterson has nearly 12-hundred rushing yards during his Hall of Fame career and he says he’s looking forward to playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees this season.

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News for Tuesday 061317

By Dave Graichen

 

Lawmakers are back at the state capitol trying to iron out a budget for next fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne went before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday and said he doesn’t understand why they didn’t support the Senate’s spending plan, which would have spared cuts in many areas. But Covington Representative John Schroder says needs and wants are not relevant, but this is about what the state can afford. A budget must be approved before the special session ends, which is June 19th. Discussion of the spending plan will continue on the House floor today.

 

It’s been 17 years since the legislature adjourned a regular session without passing a budget, until this year of course. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne was there nearly two decades ago, as chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Dardenne says 17 years later, we’re having many of the same discussions. He says this session was their chance to implement the reform they promised, and lawmakers failed to do so.

 

Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden wants to see a more balanced representation on the Republican-dominated House Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees. He believes more Democrats or even moderate Republicans could change some of the voting patterns.Reynolds says currently these committees are not structured for success.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards signed three bills to help with the state’s growing opioid abuse problem. One of new laws prohibits a doctor from prescribing more than a seven day supply of opioids for a first time prescription for acute pain.  The two other bills signed into law creates a task force to study how to prevent opioid abuse and another requires doctors to look at a statewide prescription monitoring system to make the sure the patient is not “doctor-shopping.”

 

Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves files legislation aimed at providing financial relief to 2016 flood victims. Graves says he’s spoken with many flood victims who had to tap their retirement savings to rebuild their homes or replace lost items. He says his bill also provides some financial relief for extra costs associated with drawing from retirement savings prematurely. The legislation which has bi-partisan support,  would help flood victims from both the March and August floods.

 

A Shreveport man in serious condition getting shot while driving on Interstate 20 this morning. Shreveport police corporal Marcus Hines says detectives are still searching for a shooter and a motive.

 

For the first time in 20 years, the legendary band U2 is coming to New Orleans. The Mercedes Benz Superdome announced on their website that an additional concert on the Joshua Tree Tour has been added to include The Big Easy on Thursday September 14th.

 

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approves a proposal to open the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters for the next 12 weekends as part of a compromise with the federal government and four other Gulf Coast states.

Louisiana fishermen are upset over the current three-day federal red snapper season.

The reason for the strict federal season is to ensure the once depleted red snapper population has time to grow.

 

LSU is considered one of the heavy favorites to win the College World Series. The Tigers have won 16 in a row and Coach Paul Mainieri likes his team’s chances as well. LSU will play Florida State this weekend. Top-seded Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton are the other two teams on LSU’s side of the bracket. LSU brings a 48-17 record to Omaha and they are five victories away from a national title

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News for Monday 061217

By Dave Graichen

 

With one special session started, another one is already looming in the future. The goal of the current special is to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, but the governor says another one will be needed to implement tax reform and address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018.  Over $1 billion in temporary taxes that were approved last year are set to expire in 2018.

 

The House convenes at 9 a.m. as lawmakers try again to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year, after failing to do so in the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says his recommendation is that lawmakers pick up where they left off with the conference committee report. The big debate over the budget came down to lawmakers arguing over how much, if any, of the revenue forecast to withhold in case of midyear cuts. The House wanted to hold back about $200 million, while the Senate pushed to spend more.

 

Democratic lawmakers are calling for a change of leadership in the House after what many call a grueling session. Some blame House Speaker Taylor Barras and Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry specifically for not approving a budget. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says currently there is no leadership in the House.

But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh says he absolutely disagrees with that. He says the House has the perfect leadership.

 

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is challenging a move to charge state employee smokers a surcharge on their health insurance policies. The Louisiana Department of Justice, or DOJ, letter asks House and Senate leaders to allow the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to intervene on efforts by the state Office of Group Benefits to impose the smoking surcharge and other changes to cover a budget shortfall. OGB oversees nine different health insurance plans for about a quarter million state workers, school teachers, public employees, retirees and their dependents.

 

A New Orleans Senator told a north Louisiana Representative to shut the f up on the House floor. Haughton Representative Dodie Horton says she would never disrespect her colleagues like that. She called the ordeal with Senator Karen Carter Peterson embarrassing. The Louisiana Republican Party is calling for Peterson to step down as chair of the state Democratic Party.

 

According to city records, it cost more than $2 million to remove the four confederate monuments in New Orleans. City officials say half of the money was from public funds, while the rest came from private donors. The city cut $90-thousand in costs to remove the Liberty Place monument, but the contractor who took three of the four statues down was out more than $200-thousand after the city refused to cover additional costs.

 

At least two cases of dog flu have been confirmed in Louisiana, as canine influenza is rearing its head in Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Dr. Phillip Cancellari says some early symptoms include coughing, running nose, and red eyes. He says the virus can look a lot like allergies, so it’s important to get your pet checked at the vet.  He says typical backyard dogs probably aren’t at much risk of contracting the virus.

 

Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says the evidence doesn’t “fully” support claims made by Christopher Landry that Kayla Denham tried to rob him during a home visit for sensual massage services. Landry told police he left the room and returned to find the 24-year-old sealing his wallet. That’s when he allegedly hit her in the head with a pipe and choked her. Landry is charged with second degree murder, and the investigation is ongoing.

 

For the 18th time in program history, the LSU Baseball team is Back Home in Omaha!

LSU scored six runs in the fifth inning to break open a close game and complete a two-game NCAA Super Regional sweep of Mississippi State, 12-4, early Monday morning at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers will take a 16-game winning streak to the 2017 College World Series. LSU will face Florida State in its CWS opener on either Saturday or Sunday.

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News for Friday 060917

By Dave Graichen

 

Lawmakers have entered another special session because the legislature failed to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year during the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says it was a failure of leadership in the House that led to this unnecessary special session because lawmakers put partisan politics ahead of the people’s business. The governor says he will keep the legislature in Baton Rouge as long as it takes to pass a budget that fully funds state services. This is the fourth special session of Edwards term, and it must end by June 19.

 

The US Inspector General reviewed 225 cases of suspected Medicaid fraud in Louisiana, and the state had a 100% compliance rate. That’s according to Chief of Staff with the Louisiana Department of Health, Andrew Tuozzolo. He credits the use of state-of-the-art software to look for potentially fraudulent billing practices. Louisiana is one of only four states to pass this audit since 2014.

 

Murderers convicted as juveniles will be eligible for parole after 25 years, as a bill by Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor wins final passage. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juveniles could not be sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole. Crowley Representative John Stefanski says without this bill, Louisiana could be subject to litigation for not complying with federal law. The measure finally passed on a 67 to 34 vote. It’s one of the 10 bills that are part of the governor’s criminal justice reform effort.

 

More charges have been filed against the Baton Rouge man accused of running over and killing a 12-year-old boy during a police chase. State Police had already charged Joshual Hilton with manslaughter for running over the child, but BRPD has just released its report on the initial investigation of the suspect. Those findings lead to additional charges of obstruction and possession and distribution of drugs. Bond is now $307,500.

 

More mosquitos are possible as a result of all of the rain that has fallen across the state over the last week. LSU Ag Center Entomologist Kristen Healy says while we haven’t seen local transmission of the Zika Virus yet, that’s still a possibility.  Healy recommends taking the proper precautions from getting bitten by a mosquito.

 

In case you didn’t hear, there were no jackpot winners in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing. That rises the estimated prize to $435 million dollars for tomorrow night’s drawing.

 

A report from Time Magazine finds New Orleans is one of the top five metro areas in the country for millennials to live. Demographer Greg Rigamer says it’s obvious that when you’re in the Crescent City the main age group is 25 to 34 and many businesses target that demographic. The survey from Urban Land Institute finds the city saw a nearly 9-percent increase in millennials from 2010 to 2015.

 

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News for Thursday 060817

By Dave Graichen

 

A partially blind Boyce man, who had been reported missing Tuesday by his family,  has been found in a wooded area near St. Clair Road, says the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office. The RPSO says 48 year old Charles Pickering suffered minor injuries and exposure, but should be fine. Family members thanked authorities and the media for helping to find Pickering.

 

With the school year just ending, the shuffling of school principals were announced by the school board yesterday. Catherine Lewis is the new principal at Horseshoe Drive Elementary in Alexandria. She replaces Denise Cater, who retired at the end of the year. Lewis was an assistant principal at Martin Park Elementary. Northwood High in Lena and Carter C. Raymond Elementary in Lecompte, are swapping principals. Kelli Welch will take over at Northwood for Jill Summers who became principal at the school in 2015. Summers will go to Carter C. Raymond where Welch has been principal since 2008.

 

The 2017 regular session comes to a close today, and Capitol observers say not much was accomplished. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the state has been dealing with budget deficits for the last decade, and this was supposed to be the year to address the problem. But, that didn’t happen. Erwin says a special session is imminent to address a looming fiscal cliff. The House plan calls for cuts to health care, public colleges, state prisons and child welfare.

 

Budget negotiations continue at the Capitol, but the House and Senate say they plan to fully fund TOPS next fiscal year. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says education leaders are still holding their breath until the session ends this evening. He says funding TOPS gives students some certainty, but its possible scholarship recipients will pay some money towards tuition costs. Rallo says all of the uncertainty surrounding TOPS and higher ed funding in Louisiana could impact enrollment numbers. He says other states like Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama are trying to recruit Louisiana students.

 

Former-FBI Director James Comey is slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today on his role in the investigation into possible Russian hacking in the presidential election. US Senator John Kennedy says he’s anxious to hear what Comey has to say. President Donald Trump fired Comey last month, amid the investigation that alleges Russia hacked into Democratic Party emails, which may have helped Mr. Trump win the election. Kennedy says we have to get to the bottom of what Russia did during the election.

 

The Eunice Police Department says they’ve arrested a teenager in a bizarre series of criminal acts including a 7-year-old passerby being shot and injured. Chief Randy Fontenot says the first shooting happened around 8pm Tuesday when 17-year-old Jamie Ned allegedly shot at a car. When combined with a later shooting, Ned is charged with five counts of attempted first-degree-murder.

 

The Livingston Parish Coroner has released the autopsy findings for the massage therapist found dead in a vacant building in Livingston Parish. 24-year-old Kayla Ann Denham reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head associated with strangulation. Bond has been upgraded to $250-thousand for 22-year-old Christopher Landry, who is charged with second degree murder in connection with Dunham’s death.

 

Congressman Clay Higgins stands by his Facebook post that said “every conceivable measure” should be used to hunt down and kill anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical. Suspected seems to be the word that has upset many people. Some saying  statements like that from elected officials could be used as propaganda by terrorists to fuel radicalization.

 

Three Jennings men have been arrested for allegedly shooting alligators from the bed of a pickup truck. Adam Einck with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the three were cited for illegally hunting gators, among other things. The men were also cited for taking frogs using illegal methods, as they were shooting the frogs as well. Einck says one of the men posted a video of the incident on Facebook. He says LDWF agents were informed about the post and made contact with the suspects.

 

Colleges would be prohibited from asking students about their criminal history when filling out an application under legislation heading to the governor’s desk. Executive Director of Operation Restoration Syrita Steib-Martin spent nine years in prison on a theft charge. Once released, she applied to the University of New Orleans where she checked the felon box on her application. She was turned down for admission.

Martin says a few years later, she applied to UNO again with exact same information and was admitted because she did not check the box on her application. She says education plays a big factor in an individual’s success after being released from prison.

 

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News for Wednesday 060717

By Dave Graichen

 

A Grant Parish caregiver is behind bars after allegedly stealing $37-thousand from one of her cancer patients. Police say 42-year-old Jennifer Lintzen of Colfax is charged with unauthorized use of an access card, forgery, theft, and exploitation of the infirmed.

 

Drug felons will soon be eligible to receive food stamps upon their release from jail. In the 90s, offenders with drug related charges were barred from the program for one year after their release. The bill by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno lifts that ban. LSU School of Public Health criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says this gives newly released inmates the chance to get back on their feet, which means they are less likely to return to prison.

 

A bill heading to the governor’s desk provides parole eligibility for murderers convicted in the 70s. Houma Representative Tanner Magee says when these people were sentenced, they had parole eligibility, but the legislature later removed it. He says this bill simply rights that wrong. The bill would affect around 160 inmates serving life sentences.

 

A 22-year-old has been arrested after the body of a missing massage therapist was discovered in a vacant building in Denham Springs. Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says 24-year-old Kayla Ann Denham never returned home after meeting Christopher Landry at his residence for a massage. He says this was the first time the two had met.

 

Former U.S. Senator David Vitter has joined a New Orleans law firm. Butler Snow says Vitter will practice in the firm’s business department and focus on business and economic development in the energy sector. Vitter will also continue his work with the lobbyist group Mercury Public Affairs.

 

Disabled students will no longer be subjected to paddling in public schools, thanks to a bill that won final passage in the legislature. Allison Badgerow testified in support, saying her autistic son is thriving in school after switching to a school district that does not allow spanking. She says her son was showing violent tendencies in a school where physical punishment is allowed.

 

And the legislature has passed legislation that says students can bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves without a doctor’s note.  Seven other states have approved similar legislation.

 

U.S. Senator John Kennedy is backing legislation in Congress to support small breweries in Louisiana by reducing their federal excise taxes. Kennedy says the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 helps to grow jobs and the economy by creating a fair and comprehensive tax structure for small independent brewers. Kennedy, who is a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, says there are over 52-hundred breweries in the U.S. and if the bill passes it would create 9-thousand jobs in the first year.

 

The sister of the missing 18-year-old from Lafayette is pleading for answers in the case of their beloved family member known as “Daisy Lynn.” Jacqueline Landry left home with a friend on May 23rd and has not been heard from since. Her oldest sister, Lori Sonnier, says they’d do anything to have Daisy Lynn back home. Twenty-two-year-old Malik Davis of Lafayette has been charged with second degree murder in connection with Daisy Lynn’s disappearance. But Sonnier says they still don’t have any answers or closure.

 

A state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist says they are receiving an increase in calls from the public who are concerned about foxes near their home. Melissa Collins says it is normal to see foxes in urban areas. Collins says it’s unlikely they will attack humans and they tend to stay away from pets. She says do not to feed them, because many times that tempts them to stay close to your home.

 

Sports

 

It will be LSU versus Mississippi State in the Super Regionals and it will get underway Saturday night at 8 PM. The Bulldogs advanced out of the Hattiesburg Regional by beating Southern Miss twice yesterday. The Tigers and Bulldogs met in the final weekend of the regular season in Starkville and LSU swept them to win a share of the SEC Regular season championship.

 

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News for Tuesday 060617

By Dave Graichen

 

The legislative session concludes Thursday night and zero tax reform bills designed to help stabilize Louisiana’s budget will make it to the governor’s desk. That means another special session could happen again next year to address what would be a one-billion dollar budget deficit. But Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey doesn’t see any real tax changes coming in a special session either. Ivey had several bills in this session to change the state’s tax structure. All were shot down.

 

Three significant bills that are part of the governor’s plan to reform the state’s criminal justice system received approval in the House yesterday. The proposals would reduce sentences for mostly non-violent offenders and expand probation and parole opportunities for some offenders.

 

A proposal to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts nears final passage. The Natchitoches school would be named Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in honor of the late state lawmaker. The bill was amended to allow the original name on diplomas and transcripts.

The measure passed the House, but there are still plenty of alumni who oppose the bill.

 

A measure that suspends child support payments for individuals incarcerated for over 180 days nears final legislative passage as the bill heads to the House for approval of Senate changes. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny is a co-author and says it’s virtually impossible for a parent behind bars to pay child support. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau supports the measure saying this gives an incarcerated parent the time to build up funds to actually pay child support. The bill is one of 10 different proposals that make up with governor’s criminal justice reform package.

 

The Pineville PD reports the arrest of an Alexandria man, who according to police, blocked a woman's vehicle, climbed inside and stole it while two children were inside. The incident occurred Saturday afternoon. Police arrested Malvin Torres-Carrero and charged him with disturbing the peace, simple obstruction of a roadway, false imprisonment, domestic abuse, child endangerment and carjacking.

He remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.

 

A report from Credit Suisse (s uu – EE s) finds at least one in five U.S. shopping malls will go out of business within the next five years, because of the growth in online sales. LSU Marketing Professor Dr. Dan Rice says attracting shoppers to physical stores is still possible, as retail sales are higher than ever. Credit Suisse estimates 86-hundred stores will close by December.

 

Search crews are out in full force looking for Jacquelyn “Daisy Lynn” Landry, the 18-year-old girl from Lafayette who was last seen on May 23rd. Acadian Search and Rescue Director Jeffery Istre says they are encouraging the public to spread the word far and wide. Twenty-two-year-old Malik Davis has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her disappearance.

 

Congressman Clay Higgins is coming under fire for controversial statements the former Cajun John Wayne made on Facebook. Higgins suggested that anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical should be killed.

 

Testing on a water sample from puddles on Bourbon Street finds more than just spilled Hurricanes and Hand Grenades. Milwaukee-based Microbe Detectives finds traces of fecal-related bacteria. Another words poop.. but, it appears, for the most part, the nasty stuff is from the police horses used to patrol the area.. While no pathogens were found, officials are still advises people not to drink the so-called Bourbon Gumbo street water. Was that ever an issue??

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News for Monday 060517

By Dave Graichen

 

The investigation continues into a traffic accident that claimed the life of a Montgomery man late Saturday night.. State police report a vehicle being driven by 22 year old Jacob Kuhlman was traveling at a high rate of speed on US Hwy 71 north of Montgomery, when it appears Kuhlman lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway, striking some trees.  Kuhlman was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Kuhlman was not wearing a seatbelt.

 

The regular legislative session ends Thursday at 6 p.m. and lawmakers are optimistic a special session will not be needed 30 minutes later. LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says to avoid a fourth special session since Governor John Bel Edwards took office, the legislature will need to approve a budget for next fiscal year and a financing bill for construction projects. The Senate approved a budget on Saturday, but it differs from what the House has approved. The Senate’s proposal spends more money in an effort to avoid cuts to various state agencies.  

 

The current legislative session has not addressed tax reform or the loss of one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes next year and the Daily Advertiser blames House Speaker Taylor Barras. The Lafayette newspaper is calling for him to step down as Speaker. But conservatives in the House say Barras has shown great leadership.

 

Today the House takes up three Senate bills aimed at implementing criminal justice reform lawmakers promised to deliver during the session. The measures would provide parole eligibility for more prisoners and reduce sentences for first-time offenders. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny says he understands it’s a hard vote because everyone wants to be tough on crime. Louisiana currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

 

They are calling it Traffic stop educate. Two bills that would require driver’s ed teachers to tell student drivers how to conduct themselves if they are pulled are waiting for the governor’s signature.

 

Covington Representative Paul Hollis is upset his bill to make it easier to recall elected officials died without a fair hearing. Hollis says he only had 7 minutes to present his measure in committee after the controversial confederate monuments bill. Hollis plans to bring the measure back up next year.

 

A bill to revamp the film tax credit program has received final legislative passage. The measure makes it easier for film makers to redeem these credits. Proponents say that would help grow the industry. There will be a 180-million dollar limit on the amount tax credits that will be handed out for TV and movie productions.

 

The Louisiana legislature approved the 2017 Coastal Master Plan and now implementation can begin. Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Spokesperson Jimmy Frederick says thanks to bi-partisan support this plan was developed with the best science available to help preserve Louisiana’s coast. Frederick says between 640 to 800 million dollars a year is expected to be spent on coastal restoration projects for the next four years,

 

Inmates would get a break on their child support payments while incarcerated under a House-approved measure. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says it’s hard for inmates to walk out of jail and find a job, and this will give them a chance to get financially stable. The proposal still needs Senate approval, and the legislative session ends Thursday.

 

Drivers could soon have warnings if speed enforcement cameras are in place. A bill waiting on the Governor’s signature requires signs to be posted several hundred feet ahead of speed cameras, or the ticket is void. Senators gave the bill unanimous final passage, and it would take effect August 1.

 

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office has announced the arrest of three people for not seeking medical attention for a child who was burned by melted wax. The child’s mother, and two others face charges after deputies responded to a report of the child unsupervised outside with severe burns on the arms and legs. The three adults are charged with cruelty of a juvenile.

 

LSU defeated Texas Southern, Southeastern Louisiana and then the Owls for the program’s 23rd Regional title. They’ve won 14 straight. The Tigers will find out today who they’ll play in the Super Regionals. It will be either Mississippi State or Southern Miss.

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News for Wednesday 053117

By Dave Graichen

 

 

A Texas Girl Scout group needed help from federal, state and local officers after they were stranded at Saline Bayou in Natchitoches Parish. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says the group left around 4 PM Sunday afternoon and few hours into their journey, a strong thunderstorm hit and then it got dark and they were not able to get back. The group was found early Monday morning.

 

A vote is expected in the House today to raise the state’s gasoline tax to fund more highway construction projects. State Representative Steve Carter originally called for a 17 cent a gallon hike, but he’s willing to amend it to a 10 cent increase. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says lowering the proposed tax means fewer megaprojects will be completed. The Republican Party of Louisiana has asked residents to call their legislators and ask them to vote against it.

 

A measure to prohibit local or state government from removing military monuments, including Confederate, without a vote of the people will be heard in a Senate Committee today, but Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody says the votes are not there for it to pass. Critics of the bill say the state shouldn’t get involved in decisions made by local elected officials.

 

A Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a proposal to end so-called sanctuary city policies in Louisiana. New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison spoke out against the bill saying it’s all about building trust. He says if the measure passed, it would hurt their ability to maintain public safety. Proponents says the bill would increase public safety.

 

Baton Rouge lawmaker Barry Ivey has ended his attempt to change the state’s tax laws. Ivey says his legislation would improve a tax structure that’s complicated and features too many loopholes. But the majority of lawmakers are not in the mood this session to pass any tax bills.

 

A bill to put statewide regulations on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is dead for the session. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard filed the bill in an effort to have standard rules, with the hope these companies would expand to smaller cities. Opposition came from New Orleans lawmakers, who were concerned the city would lose out in two-million dollars as part of existing agreements they have with Lyft and Uber.

 

A study out of Australia finds late night phone usage could hurt teens’ sleep quality and mental health. LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans clinical psychologist Michelle Moore is not surprised by the findings and says parents shouldn’t allow their kids to have cellphones in their rooms at night.

 

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says one of their deputies has been fired after being charged with felony third degree rape. The suspect is identified as former Deputy old Bradley Smith of Calhoun.

 

Alzheimer’s disease deaths have increased 55 percent in the last 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medical investigator for Alzheimer’s research, Dr. Patrick Gahan with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center says this is the most costly disease we face as a country, and it has no treatment options. He says Pennington has multiple drug trials, and they’re looking for patients over the age of 50 with a family history of Alzheimer’s to participate.

 

Sports..

 

The LSU Tigers have begun preparations for this weekend’s Baton Rouge Regional. The Tigers first game is Friday at 2:30 against Texas Southern at Alex Box Stadium. The other two teams coming to Baton Rouge are Southeastern Louisiana and Rice. And if LSU wins the B-R Regional they’ll face the winner of Hattiesburg Regional, which features Southern Miss and Mississippi State.

 

CBS has released a partial TV schedule for the upcoming season. Once again the network plans on a doubleheader for the Saturday that LSU plays Alabama, televising one game at 2:30 and the other at 7 PM. Which means the Tigers-Crimson Tide game could be televised at 7 PM, but we won’t know for sure until October. Also, CBS says it will televise the Arkansas-Missouri match-up on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so that means it’s likely LSU-Texas A-and-M in Tiger Stadium will be November 25th

 

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News for Tuesday 053017

By Dave Graichen

 

The severe weather that rolled through the area Sunday night has left two people dead. In DeSoto Parish a tree fell and hit a vehicle in which 21-year-old Demontre Lewis was a backseat passenger. An 18-year-old in Caldwell Parish was killed after a tree fell on his home. It’s reported that an estimated 27-thousand people are without power after the storm passed.

 

A Senate committee will hear the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill today. The House-approved measure would prohibit cities that do not fully cooperate with immigration authorities from receiving certain state grants. It took two votes for this bill to pass the lower chamber. Opponents believe it would unfairly target Hispanics. New Orleans could be impacted by this legislation, if it becomes law.

 

There’s 10 days left in the regular session and very little has been accomplished. Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden says he’ll meet with Republican leaders to see what can be done in the final days. He says with only 41 votes in the House, it’s hard for Democrats to get anything through the process.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards and Democrats are pushing for tax reform, because 1.3 billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire July 2018. But Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats haven’t presented a plan that the legislature and the public can get on board with. It’s likely a special session will be needed to address the fiscal cliff.

 

A bill to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts in Natchitoches has sparked a big discussion and will be heard in House Education on Wednesday. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson’s proposal would change the school’s name to Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Thompson says Long helped open the school in 1983. But many LSMSA alumni oppose the name change saying the school would lose its identity, especially with prestigious colleges.

 

There’s a new program from Louisiana Economic Development to help military veterans start a business after returning home. Secretary Don Pierson says the idea for the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program came after hearing LSU’s Baton Rouge campus was helping disabled veterans in a similar way. There are plans to expand the program to other regions of the state.

 

Pet owners will soon have more time to claim their lost pets after a natural disaster. A measure awaiting the governor’s signature gives pet parents 30 days to claim their animals following a state of emergency. Currently, local laws only gives 10 days.

 

An Alabama man was killed in a skydiving accident in Slidell on Sunday. St. Tammany deputies say 53-year-old Benjamin Leroy Crowell was training another person when he lost consciousness shortly after jumping out of a airplane. Witnesses say the two men hit the ground hard. The trainee was airlifted to a hospital and his condition is not known.

 

A note on a napkin saved a woman’s life in West Monroe. Authorities reports a woman was being held hostage by her boyfriend at a motel. She reportedly convinced 30-year-old Dennis Griffin to take her to Chili’s. While returning from the bathroom, she passed a note to her server asking for help. West Monroe Police responded immediately.

 

Thirteen people have been arrested and three are still at large after an insurance fraud investigation by State Police. Master Trooper Brooks David says all 16 individuals were involved in a number of fictitious crashes. David says it’s possible more arrests could be made.

 

Sports..

 

The LSU Tigers are a number four national seed in the NCAA Tournament and they’ll start regional play this Friday at Alex Box Stadium against SWAC Tournament champion Texas Southern. The other two teams in the Baton Rouge regional are Southeastern Louisiana and Rice. The Lions are a number two seed with a 36-20 record. The Owls received an automatic bid after winning the Conference USA Tournament.

 

LSU softball is heading back to the Women’s College World Series after coming back from one game down to beat Florida State in consecutive games to win the super regional series over the Seminoles. It’s the third consecutive trip for the Tigers and the fourth with Head Coach Beth Torina at the helm. LSU will play UCLA at 1:30 in Oklahoma City on Thursday.

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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 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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