LSU and Louisiana Tech was a three-point game in the fourth quarter, but the Fighting Tigers scored the final two touchdowns for a 38-21 win over the Bulldogs.
The win moves LSU's record to 4-0, while the Dogs fell to 2-1.
Tech was down 24-0, but Quarterback J'Mar Smith threw three touchdown passes to cut the deficit to three.
"It's a 60-minute game, we started off slow, we went into halftime knowing we had to make some changes and we found out what we needed to do to compete at the highest level," said Smith.
Smith threw for 330 yards and completed some big passes on third down. La Tech was 9-of-18 on third downs. LSU linebacker Devin White says that will be a point of emphasis at practice this week.
"Wednesdays are third down days at practice, we don't want them nowhere near 50%, but we are going to fix it, we got a lot of defense that we got, we feel like those coverages were not the best for us, we'll run something different week. We are going to be better next week, I can promise you that."
LSU had 409 yards of total offense. Quarterback Joe Burrow was 16 of 28 for 191 yards. The running game was effective for most of the contest. Nick Brossette rushed for 78 yards and three touchdowns, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU will now get to host Ole Miss, which doesn't have a great defense. Louisiana Tech begins Conference USA play next week at North Texas.
A former McKinley High Marching Band member was awarded 185,000 dollars for damages related to a 2015 incident where he required to do 200 push-ups. The incident led to a five day stay in the hospital for Tristen Rushing due to his urine turning coke colored. Rushing family attorney Sean Fagan says that’s because the hyper exertion caused Rushing’s muscles to begin to die.
“They start to literally undergo necrosis, they release proteins and enzymes into the blood, which get into the kidney, causing your urine to go dark.”
Medical professionals who saw Rushing testified the injuries were potentially life threatening.
He was required to do the pushups in 15 minutes, about 13 push-ups a minute. Fagan says the band director pressured his client into pushing himself too far as a punishment for tardiness.
“He was ordered to do 200 push-ups in front of the entire band for being two minutes late, and the kid was late because he had met with one of his advanced English teachers.”
Fagan says the Rushing family hopes the settlement and public reaction to the event will send a message to other schools about disciplinary policies. He says in particular he hopes it sparks a policy shift from McKinley High administrators, who Fagan says backed the punishment at multiple levels.
“It was approved by the band director, and once it came to the attention of the principle, the principle was very dismissive of the family.”
The administration argued that the risk of injury was not reasonably foreseeable.
New Orleans-based Via Link, which provides crisis intervention for many Louisiana residents who call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, could stop taking calls in December, as it doesn’t have enough funding to keep up with the increased demand.
Via Link CEO LaVondra Dobbs says much of their funding comes from donations and grants, plus they get a yearly $1,500 stipend from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
She says they are also trying to get $175,000 from the Louisiana Department of Health, but so far a contract has not been signed.
Dobbs says they receive about 40 calls a day originating from Louisiana, but that number is rising and they don't have enough cash to cover the increase.
She says if Via Link can't provide this service anymore, the calls will go to a back-up center and the wait time would be much longer to talk with a counselor.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued its 10 millionth patent. But, over the past five years, Louisiana was issued the fifth lowest number of patents per capita compared to other states. Content Strategist at Digital Third Coast Roxy Fata says that makes the Bayou State one of the least innovative states.
"We just looked at companies that were getting patents issued and were applying for patent issues and they were always at the top of their industry, and for us that was a nice baseline," says Fata.
Fata says it’s a pretty steep climb to catch up with the number one most innovative state in the nation.
"When you look, in comparison with California, they are 100 times more per capita getting patent issues," says Fata.
Fata says there is potential for improvement with the industries that are present in the state.
"With manufacturing and stuff happening in Louisiana, there is a lot of opportunity for that to happen as well," says Fata.
Fata says there is no shortage of Southeastern states at the bottom of the list with Arkansas just behind Louisiana and Mississippi coming in dead last.
A St. Charles Parish judge has issued a temporary restraining order that paves the way for Hahnville quarterback Andrew Robison to play against rival Destrehan Friday night. The LHSAA has said Robison is ineligible to play at Hahnville, after he transferred from Vandebilt Catholic in Houma. Attorney David Moyer says Robison never received due process from the LHSAA.
“The appeal was not a hearing on the merits, Andrew was only granted 20 minutes to present a case.”
Hahnville has yet to say if Robison will play tonight.
Head coach Nick Saltaformaggio is also serving a four-game suspension after the LHSAA determined the quarterback was illegally recruited to Hahnville. A 27-page report turned in by Vandebilt Catholic provided the evidence the LHSAA needed to hand down the punishment, which included $2,500 fine Hahnville has to pay.
Moyer says the LHSAA has not given a thorough explanation on why Robison can't play at Hahnville.
“The investigation and the report prepared by the LHSAA was incomplete and they did not put things in the report that were told to them.”
Robison says one of the primary reasons for his client wanting to transfer was his treatment by officials at Vandebilt Catholic, a point he says the LHSAA refuses to acknowledge.
“Andrew was bullied by the coach at Vandebilt catholic. That information was told to investigators but was not put in the report.”
A full court hearing on the issue is set for Wednesday.
Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana finished the fiscal year that ended June 30th with a budget surplus of approximately 300-million dollars. Edwards says the state's economy is performing better than what the Revenue Estimating Conference predicted.
"Corporate and personal income taxes appear to be higher than forecasted and we hope this is an indication of a continuing trend where we are going to see the economy improve," said Edwards.
Critics of the Edwards administration say the surplus shows the legislature didn't need to renew millions of dollars in temporary sales taxes earlier this year.
"Having a surplus is a good thing, it is not a bad thing, the only alternative to a surplus is a deficit," said Edwards.
The state constitution limits how state surplus dollars can be spent, but construction is one of those areas. Edwards says they may use some of this money to fund long-awaited highway projects.
The Public Service Commission is launching an investigation into the spending habits of rural energy co-ops. Commissioner Foster Campbell says he’s discovered excessive compensation for executives and expenses for board members. Campbell singled out Claiborne Electric Co-op.
“The director makes 15 times more than the average guy in Claiborne parish makes. It’s sickening.”
Campbell says some co-ops board members were receiving 50,000 a year in compensation, with GM pay at Claiborne at 195,000 a year. He says the excessive pay is driving up electric bills.
But Claiborne Coop General Manager Mark Brown says says they pay a fair wage. He says the nine member board clocked about 4,500 hours of work last year, and their pay is not exorbitant, it’s in line with national co-op compensation averages.
“We use that as the basis for our pay scale here at the cooperative so we ensure that we are always paying competitive rates of pay for employees.”
Campbell highlighted what he says were completely unnecessary educational and lobbying trips to places like Las Vegas and Washington, where he says costs for expensive meals and hotels end up on customer bills. He says the co-op’s justifications don’t hold up.
“As if (DEMCO) folks need to go to Washington to lobby their congressman. Why in the hell would they need to do that? Get their congressman, (Garret) Graves, to come by there and see them.”
Brown says the trips are needed, as they give co-op leaders the opportunity to learn about new advancements in the electric industry. He says they take those new lessons home to provide better service to coop customers.
“There’s quite an investment in education for these folks too, and that’s really the basis for all of their travel expenses.”
The LSU AgCenter has been awarded a five million dollar, five-year grant from the CDC that will fund an ongoing program to improve health in rural Louisiana and expand it to more parishes. The grant will support an initiative called Healthy Access, Behaviors, and Communities, or Healthy ABCs. AgCenter Nutrition Specialist Denise Holston says the program has been active for about three years.
"Using a community-based approached, we have been able to accomplish things that will improve the nutrition and physical activity environment in these communities," says Holston
Holston says among the techniques used to combat obesity are healthy check out aisles at grocery stores.
"And so there are 100% fruit juices, no candy, no sugar added beverages, and so people can make a healthy choice when they are checking out at the grocery store," says Holston.
Holston says overall the feedback on the program so far has been positive.
"They really enjoy it because we are access to physical activity as well as healthy foods that are affordable as well," says Holston.
The program has been available since 2015 in the parishes of Madison, Tensas, St. Helena, and West Feliciana. The expansion will see the parishes of Assumption, Claiborne, East Carroll, and Morehouse will be added to the effort.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is sounding the alarm over a new report that shows more than one third of Louisiana law enforcement agencies do not have policies that address racial profiling. Deputy Legal Director Lisa Graybill says it’s a troubling discovery.
"It's a failure for both officers and the community," said Graybill. "Officers are not getting guidance on how to insure their behavior stays within the parameters of the constitution and the community is subject to over policing."
SPLC defines racial profiling as either unreasonable suspicion, when officers assume without evidence that a minority is committing a crime, and unequal enforcement, when officers are more likely to stop minorities for crimes than whites.
But she says it’s not necessarily being done out of malice. Greybill notes that after surveying law enforcement statewide, they discovered that many offices just weren’t familiar with what those policies were, and how they help lead to fair policing.
"The departments that are lacking appropriate policies are doing so out of lack of exposure, lack of awareness, lack of familiarity, which of course doesn't excuse that the burden is on them."
Graybill says the Bernice Police Department in Union Parish said they have no written policies on racial profiling, because they do not racially profile.
According to the SPLC, two-thirds of the Gretna's arrests in 2016 were black people, but only one-third of the city's population. The Gretna Police Department does not have a racial profiling policy.
Governor John Bel Edwards says his top priority next year is to increase funding for public education and secure a $1,000 teacher pay raise. Edwards made the statement during his monthly "Ask the Governor Show."
"I also want to make sure that we have a $500 raise to support workers, whether they are cafeteria workers, janitors or bus drivers," said Edwards.
This comes as teacher strikes in red states have had success in both securing pay raises and public school funding increases. Edwards says it’s the first step towards addressing the decade long teacher pay freeze.
"10 years ago we were at the Southern Regional Average in pay, today we are about $2,200 short," said Edwards. "I do not believe we can make up the entire gap in one fell swoop, but I do believe we can cut in half."
After a titanic struggle for funds during the last session, many wonder just where Edwards plans on finding the money to pay for the spending increase on education. He says the answer is straight forward.
"Our economy is going to continue to do well and we will have the revenue necessary to make this additional investment in K-through-12 education," said Edwards.
The proposed pay raise for teachers and school support workers would cost an estimated 114-million dollars.
A vote to denounce the drag queen story time event at Lafayette’s main branch of the public library did not pass the Lafayette Parish-City Council on Tuesday night.
UL-Lafayette students dressed up as women are set to read stories to children on October 6th about accepting LGBTQ individuals.
There were passionate arguments from both sides Tuesday night, including a speaker against the normalization of drag.
"If somebody comes to your library and says we want to have a young Shihadi reading hour, giving public empathy, understand, acceptance and etc, this is the potential path you are going down," said one opponent to the drag queen story time.
Another person protested library officials decision to allow the event to proceed.
"Bring this thing, this evil into my little grandchildrens' minds, but what happens later on."
But there were several speakers who asked the council to refrain from denouncing Story Time, including the event organizer.
"Give these kids a role model that they can say hey, I know someone that went through this and I will be okay, I can make it through this day."
And one resident who participates in drag, showed up to push the council to vote no on the resolution.
"Why are we teaching are children hate over an event that it is intent to teach that it's okay to be different and they should be loved for who they are."
Three members of the council voted "Yes" for the resolution, while all of the other members abstained.
The attorney for Blane Salamoni is responding to the recent document brought up by the legal team for the family of Alton Sterling. An email from a year before the Sterling shooting, was unearthed that called the former Baton Rouge police officer “nuts” during an altercation with another officer. Attorney John McLindon says the email will likely not make it into court during the civil case.
"This is probably won't even get into evidence into trial, it's what we call propensity evidence, its prohibited, I doubt seriously that the jury will ever hear about this," said McLindon.
McLindon says he expects the email was recently brought to light as part of a strategy ahead of the civil case.
"It's a good settlement strategy on the plantiffs part to say hey look at this, however if you dig deeper into this email, I would warn the plaintiff attorneys, don't put a whole into this, because this is really nothing."
McLindon says in order for the Sterling family to win the civil case, they have to prove liability, which he doesn’t see happening.
"They may have trouble getting over that because so far all of the experts have said (Salamoni) did what was legal," said McLindon.
The case is set to go to trial in April 2020.
McLindon was a guest on AM Baton Rouge with Kevin Gallagher and Bill Profita on Talk 107.3 WBRP.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says it appears the state's auto insurance market is stabilizing as there's only been a two-percent average increase in rates this year. In 2017, auto insurance rates rose on average nearly nine-percent.
"Distracted driving has been driving rates up for the last several years and that effect is probably now embedded into our rate base and accounted for," said Donelon.
Donelon says State Farm, the state's largest auto insurance provider, has already announced a five-percent decrease in rates. He says companies are also offering discounts for good drivers.
The commissioner advises policy holders to ask their provider about a Usage Based Insurance Rate Discount.
"Up to 20% can be saved by demonstrating you are not a bad driver that you are a cautious driver," said Donelon.
Louisiana has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. Donelon says passage of the federal tax reform bill has also kept premium costs from jumping up even higher than they already are.
"And the recovering economy also allows companies to be more aggressive in competition with each other, which benefits their policyholders," said Donelon.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy wants to hear from Christine Ford before deciding on whether to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Ford alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s. Kennedy sits on the Senate Judiciary committee and says a hearing is scheduled Monday, so the California professor can tell her story.
"I want her to have her say in front of the American people and I trust the American people will draw their own conclusions, but I want Judge Kavanaugh to his say too," said Kennedy.
Ford's attorneys are requesting an FBI investigation before she shows up before the Senate. Kennedy is not sure what will happen if Ford doesn't show up at the hearing and give her story. The senator from Louisiana says he personally asked Kavanaugh if the allegations are true and the judge said they are not and he's ready to testify again.
"He's not angry, he's not critical of anybody, he just wants to be able to defend himself," said Kennedy.
Kennedy has previously said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh and today called him a legal "Rock Star." But the Senator wants to hear more about this allegation that dates back 35 years ago.
"I got to cast a vote here and I'm not going to do it on hearsay, I need first hand information, I need to hear from Dr. Ford, she's made a very serious allegation."
A study from Accountemps shows workers who listen to music at work tend to be more productive, and happier while clocked in. The survey backs up older results indicating increased productivity at warehouses that play music. Recruiting manager with Robert Half Carrie Lewis says it’s something employers should look into.
"When it's used appropriately and its not distracting others, it can help reduce levels of anxiety and depression and it can maybe improve your memory and attention, by blocking out outside distractions," said Lewis.
But of course, not everyone is a fan of the same kinds of music. While Pop topped the list of the most recommended genres, there’s a lot of people who’d quit before sitting through top 40 for eight hours a day. Lewis says when it comes to music, to each their own.
"Use your headphones, if you work in a shared office space and it's allowed by your company's policy, definitely don't sing or hum along to your favorite tunes, you don't want to have the music blaring when you are trying to communicate with your co-workers."
But Lewis says not all workplaces are good spots for music, and it has the potential to get out of hand.
"When it starts to disrupt others or it makes the employees appear unapproachable, that's where it turns south, so you got to be respectful of your colleagues," said Lewis.
Ground has been broken for a new medical school on the University of Louisiana at Monroe campus. The 100,000 square foot facility is expected to begin classes in the fall of 2020.
No state dollars are being used. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine is paying for the building and its operation. VCOM also has campuses in Virginia, Alabama and South Carolina.
ULM President Nick Bruno says this school could help address the reported 19% shortfall in the number of physicians needed by 2024. He hopes it leads to students from across the South attending school at ULM.
The proposed medical school still needs accreditation.
Louisiana has the second highest rate of females killed by men in the United States according to a report from the Violence Policy Center. The Bayou State has seen its rate rise five consecutive years. VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand says there’s a number of factors that go into the state’s high rate, but one in particular stands out.
“A key factor is gun availability. In Louisiana, 69% of the victims were killed with guns.”
Advocates hope new legislation requiring convicted abusers and those who are the subject of a protective order to give up their guns to local law enforcement can impact these numbers.
The national rate has gone up 11% in the last four years, with 93% of all murders of women by men being done by someone the victim knew beforehand. Rand says that number should dispel the myth women are most at risk of being killed by strangers.
“That’s a myth that is out there, that women should fear strangers, when in fact women are much more likely to be killed by someone they know, and not by strangers.”
82% of all murders of women were not linked to another criminal activity.
Rand says Louisiana’s best shot at addressing the issue is by raising awareness of the dangers of domestic murders, and by expanding programs aimed at getting women out of abusive households.
“We really need to look at the availability of programs and resources for women especially for those in homes where there is domestic abuse.”
Black women were more than twice as likely to be murdered by a man than white women were.
LSU place-kicker Cole Tracy is reaching folk hero status after kicking the game winning field goal versus Auburn. Cole is a graduate transfer from Assumption College in Massachusetts. Now, that school is seeing donations from LSU fans in Cole’s honor. Assumption College Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Tim Stanton, says the donations started coming after LSU’s win over Miami.
"To date, we have received, from about 60 different donors, for close to $4,000 total," says Stanton.
Stanton says he regularly speaks with Tracy, who has expressed his excitement over the donations.
"He loved the school so much and anything he could do to help the school, he just thinks is the greatest and that's one of the really neat things about this happening," says Stanton.
Stanton says, if the donations continue to accumulate, the school may do something big in Tracy’s honor.
"We've even toyed with the idea, if this thing could snowball, if LSU nation really rises to the occasion, we'll name the field after him, call it Tracy Field," says Stanton.
The civil case involving the Alton Sterling shooting has uncovered a communication sent one year before Sterling’s shooting death by Officer Blane Salamoni where one his superiors questioned the former Baton Rouge cop’s sanity. Sterling Family Attorney Chris Stewart says the revelation validates the family’s claim that Salamoni should have never been given a badge.
“The training officer called Blane Salamoni border line nuts because he got into a fight at the firing range with a fellow officer. Yet, he was allowed to have a gun and patrol the streets.”
Sterling’s attorneys say unless the city agrees to settle the case, they plan on doing a deep dive into communications between everyone in elected positions, from the city council to the mayor, to discover if anyone else knew about Salamoni’s history.
Attorney Michael Adams says the new information raises some serious questions about BRPD’s hiring and discipline process.
“Officer Salamoni was not well trained. He probably should not have been a police officer. He probably would not have passed the requirements of any of law enforcement agency in the country.”
A trial date is set for April 20th, 2020.
Adams says his clients are pushing for a quick resolution to the civil case, and warns they’re ready to make life uncomfortable for city officials if they refuse a settlement.
“We call upon the city council, and we call upon the mayor to sit and listen to their lawyers, and join with us in saying it’s time for Baton Rouge to turn the chapter on his case.”
Blane Salamoni was cleared by both federal and state investigations of any criminal wrong doing in the shooting death of Alton Sterling in July of 2016.
Louisiana will receive $1.8 million annually over five years after receiving a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The funding will be used to establish a comprehensive Louisiana School Mental Health Support Program within thirty-four schools throughout Louisiana. Louisiana Department of Education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says it’ll help provide special training to school personnel.
"Also to connect students struggling with behavioral or mental health issues and their families to the appropriate services to help them," adds Dunn.
Dunn says students facing mental health challenges have a serious burden placed on their overall health and well-being.
"Our goal is to implement a program that can help them overcome these barriers, and in turn, better prepare them to succeed in school, both academically and socially," says Dunn.
Dunn says the state reviewed all of the school systems to see where the funds were most needed.
"We identified the school systems and the schools that had high rates of referrals for out of school discipline. These schools were also on our list of persistently struggling schools," says Dunn.
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