News for Wednesday 022118
By Dave Graichen
We’ve been telling you for some time now that this is a very deadly flu season. That claim was confirmed by Rapides parish Coroner Jonathan Hunter this week. Hunter confirmed that The flu has claimed the lives of at least six people in Rapides Parish alone since October. Rapides Regional Medical Center is reporting 230 confirmed flu cases between October 2017 and January 2018, compared to 98 between October 2016 and January 2017. Best defense is still to get the shot.
Schools in Evangeline Parish were closed yesterday because of social media threats. Officials say the schools have been cleared. A 15-year-old was arrested for posting one of the threats. All in all, Six threats were reported. All school campuses in Rapides Parish were placed on "soft lockdown" Tuesday morning while authorities investigated a potential email threat.
Four parishes in northwest Louisiana, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne and Webster, are under a flash flood watch through Thursday morning. Forecaster Brandi Hughes, with the National Weather Service in Shreveport says several inches of rain are possible.. And more rain could be coming. Hughes says the long range forecast looks wet for the next several days, which could add to already swollen creeks and rivers.
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on a series of bills that would make changes to the state’s tax code as part of the effort to plug the billion dollar budget shortfall. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says the current system, which provides tax breaks for businesses in certain industries, is unfair. But Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey says he’s concerned that the current push to fix the fiscal cliff by taxing business will hurt the state’s economy. He says it could result in jobs heading out of state. No agreement has been reached on a detailed proposal to solve the fiscal cliff, as legislators have shied away from specifics in the first two days of the special session.
Automotive insurance rates are on the rise again, after the Louisiana Department of Insurance approved double-digit hikes last year for at least six insurance companies. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says State Farm Insurance accounts for 30 percent of Louisiana insured drivers and it’s customers are paying on average ten-percent more starting this month. Donelon advises motorists to shop around if they think their rates are too high.
New data is out that shows salaries for Louisiana public school teachers is 17-hundred dollars less than the Southern Regional Average. Legislative Director for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers Cynthia Posey says it’s disappointing to see this, when ten years ago, educators were paid about the same as other southern states. Posey hopes lawmakers can stabilize the budget, so more money can be available for teacher salaries.
A bill to create a transparency tool called Louisiana Checkbook passed the House Appropriations committee, and may be considered on the House floor later this week. The program closely mirrors Ohiocheckbook.com, where Ohio residents are presented a detailed report about state expenses.
Tangipahoa Parish School Board member Mike Whitlow is facing heavy backlash for posting a picture of a noose on his public Facebook page. The picture had the caption: “If we want to make America great again, we will have to make evil people fear punishment again.” Whitlow says the post was not racially motivated, he says it was about criminal justice.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry have agreed to coordinate efforts in the State of Louisiana’s litigation against opioid manufacturers.
Under this agreement, the Attorney General’s office will take over primary responsibility for the suit filed by the Louisiana Department of Health in the 19th Judicial District Court. Furthermore, the AG’s office will lead the efforts with other state agencies and departments to pursue all claims Louisiana has as a result of the opioid crisis.
Emile the crawfish will be allowed to live his life out peacefully thanks to Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser who picked “Emile” to be pardoned for their “annual pardoning of the crawfish” in New Orleans yesterday.
After poor starting pitching performances in the series loss to Notre Dame, LSU Coach Paul Mainieri is making changes to his weekend rotation. Mainieri says Zack Hess will start on Friday against the Texas Longhorns, instead of Caleb Gilbert. Thibodaux native Cam Sanders will start on the mound tonight against UNO. Airtime 6p on KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3fm.