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Good Morning.. News For Tuesday August 11th, 2020

News for Tuesday August 11th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports 24 new COVID fatalities Monday. Among them is the state’s fourth death attributed to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children associated with COVID-19. Louisiana is seeing an increasing number of cases of MIS-C among young people. As of August 10, the number of confirmed MIS-C cases in Louisiana has risen to 44. To date, infants as young as 1 month and teens up to 19 years of age have received MIS-C diagnoses in the state.

 

The state reports 562 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. Hospitalizations were at 1382, down one. Ventilator usage … 215, up by 5.

 

The Department of Health reports there have been 22 COVID-19 outbreaks linked to daycare facilities across the state since the pandemic started. Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter says those outbreaks account for 75 cases.

 

The state’s legislative auditor debunks the claims of duplicate COVID-19 cases that have led some to believe the coronavirus outbreak data is being presented in a manner to be more alarming than it is. Suspicion of inflated COVID numbers was increased with a Facebook post from Red River Parish’s homeland security office claiming that state numbers were higher because of duplicates.  Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera says the investigation shows the numbers reported by the Louisiana Department of Health are not reflecting double-counted cases.

 

President Trump signed an executive order over the weekend deferring payroll tax collection for employees through the end of the year. But tax experts say it is very important to keep in mind that this is not a payroll tax holiday. The executive order was part of a suite of orders, others targeting unemployment insurance, evictions, and student loans. The constitutionality of the orders is in question and a legal challenge is expected. The recommendation at this point is to continue paying your usual payroll taxes to the IRS until more clarity is provided.

 

President Donald Trump’s executive order Saturday to renew federal unemployment benefits left Louisiana officials with more questions than answers Monday, topped by ongoing uncertainty about how they might pay out the extra money. Under the plan, those on unemployment would receive $400 in addition to the money paid by the state unemployment system. But, there is a catch, states would have to come up with $100 of the $400 payment. Most state’s, including Louisiana, are running out of money to cover basic unemployment payments. State will be forced to borrow money from the feds when they do..

 

A Big Ten spokesperson has told Yahoo Sports there has been no vote from school presidents and chancellors, debunking widely reported news that the conference had backed out of fall college sports. The SEC has made no announcement on changing their plans to start play September 26th, and neither has the Sun Belt Conference.

 

The LSU Ag Center is looking for Louisiana gardeners, those who are new to the hobby and experienced, to participate in an online survey about gardening during the pandemic. AgCenter Lead Researcher Heather Kirk-Ballard says gardening stores across the country are reporting an uptick in business as more people are staying home. Kirk- Ballard says the LSU Ag Center offers support for gardeners of all levels of experience and with the survey, they want to engage new green thumbs to use them as a resource.

 

The USDA announces it will buy 30 million dollars’ worth of Gulf of Mexico shrimp to help stabilize the market and avoid a total price collapse due to excess product.

Louisiana Shrimp Association President Acy Cooper says they’ve been hammered this year due to the closure of restaurants and the purchase is a big help.

 

 


Good Morning.. News For Monday August 10th, 2020

News for Monday August 10, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 2,653 more coronavirus cases and 56 more deaths over Saturday and Sunday. While hospitalizations decreased by 23 during this period, the number of patients on ventilators increased by three. There were 35,569 additional test results reported Sunday. Out of those tests, 7.46% were positive for coronavirus.

 

President Trump announces that starting later this month all states except for Texas,  Florida, California and Connecticut will have to start paying 25 percent of the cost of their National Guard COVID deployments. Governor Edwards says that could cost Louisiana up to 10 million dollars by the end of the year. Edwards sent a letter to Trump asking for Louisiana to be added to the list due to the fact that we have the most per capita cases of COVID-19 in the nation. About 1,100 members of the Louisiana National Guard have responded to the pandemic.

 

The variables that come with the pandemic and children returning to school can cause anxiety for both parents and kids.  Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at LSU Health New Orleans Dr. Rick Costa says preparation is key in being ready to tackle whatever pops up. Costa says when kids do have to participate in virtual instruction from home, it is important to have a proper atmosphere established for learning.

 

The Louisiana Restaurant Association estimates about 200 Louisiana bars have applied for and received restaurant conditional licenses so they can open back up. LRA President Stan Harris says only bars that were previously licensed by the Department of Health to do food service can apply, but for those that do qualify will have to make changes.. Harris says if you have the facilities to make the transition it doesn’t take long to get back up and running.

 

The University of Louisiana Monroe is seeking qualified adjunct instructors for the fall semester for courses like English, math, communications, psychology, and sociology. ULM VP of Academic Affairs Alberto Ruiz says the hiring push comes as the college is seeing an uptick in enrollment.

 

LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward says operating at a restricted attendance capacity for LSU football games is going to cost the program tens of millions of dollars this year. Woodward says they’re moving to trying and limit the fiscal damage that will be done to student-athletes as a result of the likely implementation of capacity restrictions once games start September 26th.

 

As cases of the new coronavirus have risen in recent weeks across Louisiana, hospitals and public health officials have nervously watched to see whether the rising number of cases in so many communities would impact the state’s nursing homes.

 

A number of the state’s hospitals, including the largest facility in Louisiana, are strained again by an influx of patients diagnosed since the state relaxed a stay-at-home order and started allowing businesses to reopen. Hospital managers fear a large outbreak at a nursing home could abruptly overwhelm healthcare systems, especially in hotspot cities.

 

Before the pandemic, more than one in three Louisiana hard-working households were financially vulnerable and classified as ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.  A new report from the Louisiana Association of United Ways shows just how many people were not financially prepared for the pandemic.  Louisiana Association of United Ways President Sarah Berthelot says the research estimates over half of Louisiana’s ALICE workers lost work because of the pandemic. Berthelot hopes the research can be used by charitable organizations to help direct assistance and by policymakers to guide decisions to increase wages for ALICE workers.

 

A University of Washington model projects 300-thousand Americans will die from COVID by December, but if we mask up that number would drop by 66-thousand.

Louisiana Department of Health Region 9 Medical Director Dr Gina LeGarde, lost her cousin Nadine to COVID in April but says others could be saved if more people would wear masks. 2,700 new cases of COVID were reported over the weekend, along with 56 new fatalities from the disease.

 

For the first time since 2000 ULM and La Tech football will play after the two teams agree to a November 21st contest at Independence Stadium in Shreveport. The game comes as both teams were scrambling to fill replace their previously scheduled games against SEC opponents.

 

The 2020 college football season is likely to be postponed after nationwide conference meetings are expected to take place this week, according to Sports Illustrated. On Sunday, ESPN reported that commissioners of the Power Five conferences held an emergency meeting over growing concern fall sports can't be played because of the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple outlets have reported Big Ten leaders are leaning toward postponing the season, and that other conferences might follow suit shortly after.


Good Morning... News For Friday August 7th, 2020

News for Friday August 7th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana crossed a grim COVID-19 milestone Thursday, we now have had more than 4,000 confirmed deaths from the disease. The state also reported 1,300 new cases yesterday continuing our slow but steady downward trend. Governor Edwards says that’s encouraging but we can’t start slacking. 1,457 people are hospitalized with COVID, and the positivity rate was 6.6 percent.

 

A Baton Rouge judge sides with Governor John Bel Edwards over business owners who filed suit in an attempt to lift coronavirus restrictions including the mask mandate, bar closures, and crowd size limitations.  Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says the venues just aren’t safe because the main purpose of going to a bar is drinking alcohol which decreases vigilance in spread mitigation efforts.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is expediting the process for shuttered bars to apply and receive temporary restaurant licenses if they qualify. Edwards says if bars show they can safely transition to restaurants they can reopen because functioning like a restaurant would make them safer.

 

In a less than smart move, a Grant Parish man, who was arrested yesterday on a domestic violence allegation, told the judge he was appearing before there were bombs in his house that would detonate unless he was released. After an inspection of the home, authorities determined there were no bombs. As a result, GPSO will be pursuing charges against Nicholas Hollingsworth for the communication of false information of a planned arson.

 

A 25 member task force aimed at studying policing policy reform met Thursday for the first time since being formed by the Legislature in response to the George Floyd protests. Baton Rouge Senator Cleo Fields was named chairman and the members come from a range of backgrounds, including civil rights activists, lawmakers, and law enforcement.

Fields authored the resolution that formed the task force and was nominated for the chairmanship by representatives of the law enforcement community.

 

More than half of Louisiana households are operating either below federal poverty standards or in the realm of “working poor” families as defined by ALICE, a United Way measure applied to people who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed.

In the report released yesterday, it showed that a family of four in the state needs income of $69,732 to make ends meet. That’s well above the pay standards of low-income jobs like cashier, the most common job in Louisiana, which pays an average of $9.10 an hour and about $18,200.

 

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center bumps up the number of expected storms for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, now calling for up to 19 to 25 named storms with 7 to 11 becoming hurricanes. Lead hurricane forecaster Dr. Gerry Bell says the development of La Nina conditions also factors into being more hospitable for hurricane formation and intensification.

 

COVID nasal swaps are very uncomfortable and LSU researchers say they’ve developed a potential fix for that: an effective saliva-based test.

LSU virus expert Becky Christofferson says their research was inspired by patients stuck in situations where they have to be repeatedly tested by the convention nasal swab. Christofferson says the saliva spit tests are also easier to store and are not as temperature-sensitive as nasal swabs. The saliva test they’ve developed uses the same PCR testing procedure as the nasal test, making it highly accurate.

 

After missing for four days in the woods an elderly Calhoun man with dementia is found by a neighbor’s pet bloodhound. 85-year-old Kenneth Russell went missing Sunday and by Wednesday morning search crews had had no luck. That’s when local realtor Zach Stephens heard about it and showed up with his dog Ruby. After nearly 90 hours missing and repeated search efforts by local authorities Ruby tracked down Russell in just 34 minutes to a heavily wooded area several hundred yards away from his home.

Once Russell was found he was rushed to the hospital and was treated, but is in good condition.

 

Zachary's school board voted Thursday to postpone the reopening of its schools after 19 of the district's teachers were infected with or exposed to the coronavirus and after many faculty and staff quit in recent days, some fearing COVID-19, others uncomfortable with virtual teaching. In the special session, school board members agreed the opening should be pushed back to Aug. 17.

 

The Preseason Amway Coaches Football Poll for the 2020 college season lists Clemson at the top spot for the second year in a row. The LSU Tigers ranked fifth in the poll. The Ohio State Buckeyes filled the second spot, the Alabama Crimson Tide followed at three and the Georgia bulldogs took the fourth spot.  Three SEC teams filled out the top five of the poll.

 

New Orleans Saints long snapper Zach Wood and linebacker Kaden Elliss have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Thursday's transactions. The two are the first Saints players to be placed on the newly created reserve list since its inception July 26. Just because a player is placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list doesn't mean they have tested positive for the virus. Players can be designated reserve/COVID-19 if a team fears they've been exposed to the virus and require quarantine. NFL teams are not allowed to discuss the reasoning behind any player's placement on the list.

 

 


Good Morning.... News For Thursday August 6th, 2020

News for Thursday August 6th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state is on a six-day streak of COVID hospitalization decreases, down as of noon yesterday by 16 to 1,471. Ventilator usage is down by 17 to 223. Nearly 1500 new cases were reported, bringing the state’s total to just shy of 126-thousand. Total fatalities: 3978, an increase of 41. Governor Jon Bell Edwards will hold an afternoon COVID press conference today. You can hear it starting at 2 on KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM

 

The start of high school football has been pushed back by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Initially set for early September that date will now, tentatively, be at least October 8th, with an eight game season in the works. Championship dates have not been set but the playoffs reportedly could be extended into next year if need be.

 

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and the Louisiana Department of Education have partnered to provide a million masks for schools. State Education Superintendent Cade Brumley says the masks will be washable and durable. Anyone entering a Louisiana school campus during the fall semester will be required to wear a mask.

 

Louisiana residents receiving unemployment will now have to begin applying for at least three jobs a week in order to keep their benefits. 600 dollar a week federal enhanced benefits are ending and Louisiana Workforce Commission Assistant Secretary Robert Wooley says negotiations are ongoing in Congress about a potential extension. Democrats want a full 600 dollar a week extension through the end of the year. Republicans are seeking a lower number, closer to $200. Wooley says if you apply for jobs through LAworks.net those applications will autofill in when you submit your weekly unemployment certification. Wooley estimates over 400,000 Louisianans are currently receiving benefits.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy proposes a second round of stimulus checks that would send 1,000 dollars to most Americans, instead of the previous 1,200 to working adults and 500 to their children. It may be 200 dollars less for some people, but Cassidy says a grand would still go a long way. The annual income limit to receive a check would still be 75,000 dollars for an individual.

 

The Colorado State Hurricane forecast team has once again upgraded its 2020 Atlantic hurricane season forecast, this time to extremely active. The 2020 hurricane season has already produced nine named storms and this latest forecast from CSU increases their projected storm total from 20 to 24. C-S-U researcher Jhordanne Jones says warm sea surface temperatures and very low wind shear in the tropical Atlantic are primary factors for the extremely active season. 2005 set the record for most named storms in one year with 27 and that includes Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

 

Several thousand ExxonMobil Baton Rouge workers will see company contributions to a major retirement benefit halted in October in a decision that impacts the entire U.S. operations as the oil giant tries to cut costs, drawing anger from a union representing workers. ExxonMobil matches a 6% minimum employee contribution with 7% of the participant’s pay. The matching contribution will be suspended Oct. 1. The company did not say how much money that will save.

 

The Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction takes place tonight in Baton Rouge, recognizing those that have made significant contributions to the state’s ag industry. Louisiana Radio Network Farm Broadcaster Don Molino says the concept originated a few years ago when it became clear the industry wasn’t receiving enough praise.

This year’s class has four inductees. The annual ceremony was originally scheduled for March but got bumped back due to the coronavirus.  Molino says the event will look different this year with a live stream, but it brings the event to a bigger audience than ever. The live stream starts at 7 PM on the Louisiana Radio Network Facebook page.

 

The Saints are giving their coaches, players, and other key personnel the opportunity to stay at the Loews Hotel in downtown New Orleans through the season opener in an effort to prevent a coronavirus outbreak within the team. Coach Sean Payton says unfortunately with this virus, you can easily get it from someone inside your home.


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday August 5th, 2020

News for Wednesday August 5th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana will remain in Phase Two and the mask mandate and bar closure order will remain in effect for at least another three weeks. Governor Edwards says the White House coronavirus task force recommends that the state keeps its mitigation measures in place. But he says there is encouraging news, the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital is on the decline. There are currently 1,487 COVID-19 patients in the hospital statewide.

 

In case you are wondering.. these are the official guidelines on Phase Two.

 

Everyone ages 8 and older must wear a mask or face covering outside of their home.

All bars will be closed unless providing curbside pickup.

Indoor social gatherings are limited to 50 people.

Businesses can open at 50 percent occupancy, with the exception of bars

Casinos and video poker establishments may operate at 50 percent occupancy, but are limited to 75 percent of their gaming positions, with spacing for social and enhanced sanitation.

 

The following businesses remain closed:

Carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, arcades, trampoline parks, theme parks, concert and music halls and similar businesses.

Live entertainment is not permitted inside at public functions

 

KALB reports, at last night’s meeting, the Rapides Parish School Board approved a motion that will allow school-based health centers to perform COVID-19 testing. Testing will be done through Trinity Health Care, which provides 16 school-based health centers in Rapides Parish schools. Eight of these health centers will be rapid (or quick response) testing sites for students and school employees. Tests must be requested by parents or school employees at their discretion. If a test is requested and that individual’s school does not serve as a testing site, they’ll have to get the test done at the nearest school that does serve as a testing site. Anyone with a positive test will be placed in a “sick room” (or isolation) until they’re picked up.

 

Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says the state is having some difficulties getting results from the COVID contract tracing program. Billioux told reporters today that labs are not providing adequate contact info for a third of all COVID positive people, and that of those they can get in contact with 70 percent are not informing contact tracers who they potentially could have infected.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is looking into further actions to be taken against a Livingston Parish restaurant has been in operation despite having its food permit revoked for blatant defiance of spread mitigation efforts including a lack of mask-wearing for customers and employees as well as social distancing. Edwards encourages all business owners to understand that the immunity from civil liability for contracting coronavirus at private-sector establishments is not available to those not following CDC guidelines.

 

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry receives the state’s first reported case of a dog testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.  Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says the dog, like most animals that test positive for the virus, was not sick. Animals can show symptoms though as some suffer from mild respiratory or gastrointestinal issues.  Strain says the virus usually resolves quicker in dogs than with humans. But Strain recommends that if an animal does test positive for the virus that it is quarantined with the owner.

 

State Treasurer John Schroder estimates about 10,000 small businesses have completed an application for Main Street Recovery grants, but they’re running into some issues and misconceptions from applicants. The Treasurer says there’s also been misunderstanding about who can apply. One, you can apply if you received federal aid and two, the program is not just for minorities. Those who qualify can receive up to 15,000 dollars in no-strings-attached cash to help offset COVID related costs and interruptions. Applicants must have fewer than 50 employees to be eligible.

 

A Baton Rouge man arrested Tuesday is accused of making his three young children help him manufacture and sell drugs. Baton Rouge police started investigating after reports that Kevin Evans Jr.'s 10-year-old son had been shot in the hand and leg during a drug deal. Evans brought the child to the hospital for treatment but only after, police say, he hid his drugs. Evans' girlfriend was also arrested and accused of helping him in the drug business.

 

Legendary coach D-D Breaux announced today she’s retiring after 43 years as the leader of LSU women’s gymnastics program. Breaux is not completely leaving LSU as she’s been named as an ambassador for LSU, so she plans to be involved in a lot of different community service projects…

 

Preseason practice for LSU football was set to begin on Friday, but since the start of the regular season has been pushed back, the SEC announced today that the first allowable practice is now August 17th.

 

The Sun Belt Conference announced Tuesday its football season will begin over the Labor Day Weekend. The league says they will have an eight-game conference schedule and each school can play up to four non-conference games, beginning with week zero. The Sun Belt also plans on holding a championship game on December 5th.

 


Good Morning.. News For Tuesday August 4th, 2020

News for Tuesday August 4th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Good news on the corona front, Louisiana saw its lowest one day number of new cases yesterday since June 29th with only 1,099. Hospitalizations are also down a good bit and below 1,500 since July 19th. Unfortunately, 17 more deaths were reported.

 

The legal battle centered around the Confederate monument outside of the Rapides Parish courthouse got more interesting yesterday when the Parish Police Jury announced it wants to be declared the sole legal owner of the statue. Back in June the City of Alexandria filed a petition to have the Rapides Parish 9th Judicial District Court declare the City the sole owner of the statue so it could be removed from public view. In the event the court believes there’s a co-ownership, the Parish believes it’s one of the legal owners - either alongside the United Daughters of the Confederacy, or with the group and the City. No court date to determine the matter has been announced yet.

 

Nearly 700 businesses have been found to have noncompliance on COVID spread mitigation measures, but State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says that’s only about ten percent of the total number of businesses they have even investigated. The most common shortcomings included face mask violations, table spacing, large gatherings, exceeded capacities, and self-serve buffet dining.

 

Bar owners who sued the state in federal courts in Lafayette and New Orleans over the bar closure order have their request for a restraining order against the closures rejected. The New Orleans case will be heard on the 14th and the Lafayette case will be heard on the 17th. Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino doesn’t expect they’ll have much success. The Governor’s order restricts bars from serving customers on-premise but does allow for customers to buy to-go drinks.

 

The state sets guidelines for movie and TV crews to begin filming again after all production shut down at the start of the pandemic. Louisiana Entertainment Director Chris Stelly says the health guidelines are pretty similar to other jobs. Wear a mask, social distance while on set, limit access to the studio. Stelly says 14 projects were in motion in Louisiana before the pandemic. Not all of them may return.

 

Federal lawmakers are working on legislation to extend the extra unemployment benefits funded by the feds to those out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator John Kennedy says the legislation would give states a choice as to how to go about paying the benefits. The amount of time the benefits would be provided is up for debate, but Kennedy says the extra money could continue through the end of October.

Kennedy expects every Democrat and many republicans to vote against the bill.

 

Louisiana Lottery’s flagship game, Lotto, has been upgraded to see starting jackpots of a half-million dollars.  The change marks only the fourth time the game has been altered in its 28-year history.  Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the changes are being done to spur more excitement with players. The first drawing with the new format is Wednesday night.  You should know, with the increased size of the starting jackpot, the odds against winning have also gone up.

 

United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that he has resigned from the Department of Justice, effective August 3, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. CDT, at which time he assumed the duties of United States District Court Judge. Joseph was appointed by President Trump to the position of United States Attorney in March of 2018.

 

Ochsner Health is one of 120 sites worldwide chosen to participate in phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine study with drug maker Pfizer.  Ochsner Principal Investigator Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz says the selection comes as a result of its expertise and history in conducting clinical trials. Another factor that brought the study to Louisiana is its status as a COVID-19 hotspot.

 

Tulane researchers say an antibody treatment has shown signs in animal trials that it can be effective at preventing coronavirus from multiplying once it infects you. Tulane Internal Medicine Chair Dr. Jay Kolls says lab mice that received a protein called  MDR 504 were far less likely to see the virus replicate once infected. Kolls says the treatment could be fantastic for frontline workers like nurses who are regularly exposed to the virus.

 

Drew Brees’ notable quirk where he licks his fingers throughout a game is a no-go for this season. Brees says he’s been working all offseason to break the habit given the current circumstances…The Saints are back to strength and conditioning work yesterday after the entire team tests negative for COVID-19.


Good Morning.. News For Tuesday August 4th, 2020

News for Tuesday August 4th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Good news on the corona front, Louisiana saw its lowest one day number of new cases yesterday since June 29th with only 1,099. Hospitalizations are also down a good bit and below 1,500 since July 19th. Unfortunately, 17 more deaths were reported.

 

The legal battle centered around the Confederate monument outside of the Rapides Parish courthouse got more interesting yesterday when the Parish Police Jury announced it wants to be declared the sole legal owner of the statue. Back in June the City of Alexandria filed a petition to have the Rapides Parish 9th Judicial District Court declare the City the sole owner of the statue so it could be removed from public view. In the event the court believes there’s a co-ownership, the Parish believes it’s one of the legal owners - either alongside the United Daughters of the Confederacy, or with the group and the City. No court date to determine the matter has been announced yet.

 

Nearly 700 businesses have been found to have noncompliance on COVID spread mitigation measures, but State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says that’s only about ten percent of the total number of businesses they have even investigated. The most common shortcomings included face mask violations, table spacing, large gatherings, exceeded capacities, and self-serve buffet dining.

 

Bar owners who sued the state in federal courts in Lafayette and New Orleans over the bar closure order have their request for a restraining order against the closures rejected. The New Orleans case will be heard on the 14th and the Lafayette case will be heard on the 17th. Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino doesn’t expect they’ll have much success. The Governor’s order restricts bars from serving customers on-premise but does allow for customers to buy to-go drinks.

 

The state sets guidelines for movie and TV crews to begin filming again after all production shut down at the start of the pandemic. Louisiana Entertainment Director Chris Stelly says the health guidelines are pretty similar to other jobs. Wear a mask, social distance while on set, limit access to the studio. Stelly says 14 projects were in motion in Louisiana before the pandemic. Not all of them may return.

 

Federal lawmakers are working on legislation to extend the extra unemployment benefits funded by the feds to those out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator John Kennedy says the legislation would give states a choice as to how to go about paying the benefits. The amount of time the benefits would be provided is up for debate, but Kennedy says the extra money could continue through the end of October.

Kennedy expects every Democrat and many republicans to vote against the bill.

 

Louisiana Lottery’s flagship game, Lotto, has been upgraded to see starting jackpots of a half-million dollars.  The change marks only the fourth time the game has been altered in its 28-year history.  Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the changes are being done to spur more excitement with players. The first drawing with the new format is Wednesday night.  You should know, with the increased size of the starting jackpot, the odds against winning have also gone up.

 

United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that he has resigned from the Department of Justice, effective August 3, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. CDT, at which time he assumed the duties of United States District Court Judge. Joseph was appointed by President Trump to the position of United States Attorney in March of 2018.

 

Ochsner Health is one of 120 sites worldwide chosen to participate in phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine study with drug maker Pfizer.  Ochsner Principal Investigator Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz says the selection comes as a result of its expertise and history in conducting clinical trials. Another factor that brought the study to Louisiana is its status as a COVID-19 hotspot.

 

Tulane researchers say an antibody treatment has shown signs in animal trials that it can be effective at preventing coronavirus from multiplying once it infects you. Tulane Internal Medicine Chair Dr. Jay Kolls says lab mice that received a protein called  MDR 504 were far less likely to see the virus replicate once infected. Kolls says the treatment could be fantastic for frontline workers like nurses who are regularly exposed to the virus.

 

Drew Brees’ notable quirk where he licks his fingers throughout a game is a no-go for this season. Brees says he’s been working all offseason to break the habit given the current circumstances…The Saints are back to strength and conditioning work yesterday after the entire team tests negative for COVID-19.


Good Morning.. News For Monday August 3rd, 2020

News for Monday August 3rd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The latest Covid-19 numbers are in for the weekend and state Health officials are reporting 3,477 new cases since Friday, for a total of 119,747 cases statewide since the Pandemic began. There were 58 more fatalities as well over the weekend, to bring the total to  3,893 deaths. To put that number in perspective, that would be like 10 and ½ fully loaded 747 jet liners crashing, killing all on board. Here in Rapides Parish we saw 92 new cases and 2 fatalities.

 

Twitter has banned the account of former KKK leader and state lawmaker David Duke for violating the platform’s rules on hate speech. Duke was already banned from YouTube. Duke infamously ran for Governor against Edwin Edwards in 1991, and last ran for office in 2016, getting 58,000 votes in a campaign for the Senate seat that was won by John Kennedy.

 

Governor Edwards tells Louisiana residents not to expect major changes with the Phase Two coronavirus guidelines as he expects to extend the mask mandate and bar closure order next week. The current order expires next Friday and Edwards it will likely be extended for another two weeks.

 

A traffic stop in Franklin Parish leads to a trooper discovering a dead body in a trunk. Master Trooper Michael Reichardt says the trooper saw bullet holes in the side of the vehicle and asked the driver if he could do an inspection, leading to the discovery and arrest of 18-year-old Michael Mitchell Jr. That arrest led to another arrest, that of 19-year-old Cameron Powe, who allegedly joined with Mitchell Jr. in the robbery that led to the death of, Michael Robinson.

 

Three candidates have signed up to take on incumbent Congressman Clay Higgins in the 3rd District November race. Former oil driller, Democrat Rob Anderson, Democrat and Mount Olive Baptist Church Pastor Braylon Harris and Restaurant manager Brandon Leleux, a Libertarian, is also in the race. Higgins won the 2018 race with 55 percent of the vote in a first-round that featured another Republican that also received twelve percent of the vote.

 

A state health department study finds that most pregnancy-related deaths of women in 2017 were preventable. State Perinatal Medical Director Dr Veronica Gillispie-Bell says 65 total deaths were reviewed and 80-percent could have been prevented. The most common cause of death that that was not pregnancy-related was homicide, followed by motor vehicle crashes and accidental overdose. In researching the homicides among pregnant women, they found that many were connected to intimate partner violence.

 

The SEC agrees to play a ten game conference only schedule this year starting September 26th. LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron says he’s excited to play more SEC games this year, and the team is ready for whatever the pandemic throws at it…

 

LSU is polling season ticket holders to get an idea of how many of them still want to watch football inside Tiger Stadium this season.  LSU ticket manager Brian Broussard says they are planning to have fans in attendance, but to get an idea on how many season ticket holders want to attend games this year, they are sending them an online questionnaire this week. The governor, state and local health officials will have final say on how many fans can be inside Tiger Stadium.  The governor’s office says it would be purely speculative to say what kind of capacity guidelines there will be for gatherings and events in two months and any state guidance would come in September.

 

If you ever doubted college sports was all about the money.. The SEC’s decision to play only conference games this season, leaves ULM with two holes on their football schedule and the school will miss out on a reported three-point-two million dollars. That’s how much the school would have received for playing Arkansas and Georgia.

 

 


Good Morning... News For Friday July 31st, 2020

News for Friday July 31st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

New COVID numbers for the state showed an increase in cases of 17-hundred yesterday. Hospitalizations decreased for the third day in a row, down by 20. The use of vents also decreased, down by 16. however Fatalities increased by 42. Governor Edwards says that’s due to our spike in cases over the past few weeks.

 

Unions and citizens’’ groups rallied yesterday outside the offices of U-S Senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy demanding they vote for a coronavirus relief package that continues the 600-dollar weekly benefits for unemployed workers. Cassidy has said there needs to be a greater focus on moving unemployed people into available jobs. But many protesters say they can’t find a job that pays the rent. Democrats are in support of continuing the 600-dollar a week unemployment checks.

 

Several bar owners in Acadiana have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Governor Edwards over his emergency order that bans onsite consumption at bars. Attorney Jimmy Faircloth is representing the plaintiffs and he says several of these bar owners met with the governor to find out why casinos are allowed to remain open, but a small bar owner can’t have ten patrons inside their establishment. The state health department has traced 464 confirmed coronavirus infections to 41 bars.  Governor Edwards says bar closures were a necessity in spread mitigation and have the support of the feds.

 

Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder says thousands of small business owners from across the state have started the application process for a grant from the state’s Main Street Recovery Program. Each grant, worth up to $15,000, helps business owners cover unforeseen costs from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this spring, the Louisiana Legislature created the $275 million Main Street Recovery Program. The program prioritizes businesses that have not received financial help from their insurance companies or the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Schroder says more than 15,000 businesses started the application process in the first two days of the program. He says the initial demand indicates just how bad businesses have it right now.

 

It was announced yesterday that the Baton Rouge region "erased a decade of job growth in a month" because of coronavirus, marking a drop in progress not seen since the Great Recession began in late 2007.

 

Beginning Saturday access to medical marijuana will increase dramatically in Louisiana. Legislation passed this year that allows physicians to prescribe without having to obtain a special license. LSU medical marijuana licensee Wellcana CEO John Davis says as, with other medications prescribed in the state, marijuana dispensaries have access to the state’s prescription program to reduce abuse. Medical cannabis is not currently covered by health insurance, but some lawmakers are hoping to change that.

 

Beginning tomorrow, state law will allow for year around nighttime hunting of feral hogs on private property.  Jonesboro Republican Jack McFarland authored the measure and

says the bill would also extend to other damaging species such as armadillos, nutria, beavers, and coyotes. Hunters would be required to contact the parish sheriff’s office within 24 hours prior to the attempted nighttime take.  McFarland says feral hogs will eat anything and have negative impacts on farmland as well as other wildlife.

 

The number of first-time unemployment claims in Louisiana dropped sharply last week, but the number of people who continued to get jobless benefits rose. There were 18,511 initial unemployment claims filed during the week ending Saturday, according to figures released yesterday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. That’s down from the 32,079 first-time claims filed the week ending July 18. In comparison to more typical numbers, just 2,022 first-time claims were filed this week last year.

 

SEC presidents approve a plan that would reduce the football schedule from 12 regular-season games to a ten-game season against conference opponents. According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the ten-game schedule would begin on September 26th and the SEC title game will be held on December 19th.


Good Morning.. News For Thursday July 30th, 2020

News for Thursday July 30th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported 69 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 3,769. Louisiana’s health department also reported 17-hundred new cases, but for the third time in four days, the state reported fewer COVID patients in the hospital. Here in Rapides Parish we say 31 news cases of the virus for a total of  2,817  The Parish also hit the Century Mark for fatalities with the report of 2 more deaths.

 

Sports Illustrated reports SEC Athletics Directors have agreed to join the Big Ten and PAC 12 in moving to a conference only schedule for the upcoming college football season. The plan is not set in stone yet though as school presidents must approve it. They are scheduled to meet virtually tomorrow to discuss the proposal.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation to consider funding Louisiana’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in the current proposal for COVID-19 relief legislation. Edwards says if the fund gets to the point where it needs to borrow money from the feds, that borrowing is available interest free, but a mechanism has to be set up to pay it back. Under Louisiana law the Louisiana Workforce Commission must impose a surtax on businesses up to 30% on taxable payroll.

 

The state graduation rate declined from 81.4 percent for the class of 2018 to 80.1 percent for the class of 2019. New Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley says it’s a disappointing development after years of gains in the graduation rate. Louisiana high schools did graduate a record 42,650 students for the class of 2019. In some good news, the number of students graduating with college credit or industry credentials went up ten percent. Brumley says further increasing that number will be a focus during his tenure. Just over half of all students in the 2019 class graduated with college credits or credentials.

 

Business Facilities Magazine ranks Louisiana Economic Development’s FastStart program as the top workforce development program in the nation for the eleventh consecutive year.  Executive Director of the FastStart program Paul Helton, says there is no secret to the success, they just produce results. The magazine also ranks Louisiana number one for best industrial electricity rates, New Orleans number one among logistics leaders, and the Port of South Louisiana number one for imports.

 

A Minden Senator is asking the Edwards administration to allow clergy members into healthcare facilities to tend to sick and/or dying patients. The current public health emergency bars family from entry, but Robert Mills says clergy should be considered mental health support personnel. This would include nursing homes, hospitals, and adult residential facilities. Mills says it’s not just a quality of life issue, but a quality of death issue for those with little time left.

 

The state Agriculture Department has received about 300 calls from Louisianans who’ve received mystery packages of seeds from China and Eastern Europe. Commissioner Mike Strain says it’s part of some kind of nationwide plot. He says the items come in marked a jewelry, ear buds or other small items. The fear is the seeds could be from an invasive species that could damage crops. If you get a package, do not open it and call the Ag department.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says Louisianans are pouring into state parks in numbers never before seen. After breaking records earlier in the pandemic Nungesser is celebrating the fact that last weekend was the biggest attendance weekend in Louisiana State Park history. Attendance records were first recorded in 2008.

 

A mystery philanthropist makes a 20 million dollar donation to Xavier University, a historically black college in New Orleans. Xavier President Dr. Reynold Verret says representatives of the anonymous donor requested that the funds be used to create a tuition endowment. The Associated Press suggests the donation may have been made by MacKenzie Scott, the recently divorced former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

 

Sports..

 

LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron says he’s preparing his team for the season to start on time with the season opener in Tiger Stadium versus U-T-S-A on September 5th. Orgeron says if the schedule changes, they will not blink. Orgeron made the comments during a Facebook Live Interview with the Baton Rouge Rotary Club.

 

Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry says Zion Williamson will be a game-time decision tonight  when New Orleans restarts its season versus Utah. Williamson practiced for the first time yesterday after leaving the NBA bubble to attend to a family emergency. Gentry says the team’s medical staff will determine if Williamson will play.

 

Saints players are getting tested this week for the coronavirus. The players will need to test negative for COVID-19 three times in a four-day period. If they do, they will undergo a physical this weekend. Even though there was no offseason conditioning program, Coach Sean Payton expects the players will be in great shape. Payton also says despite efforts to promote social distancing and wearing masks inside the team’s training facility, he expects there will be games that will not be played this season because of outbreaks that occur within a team.

 

The ACC has announced that its schools will play a 10-game conference schedule starting the week of September seven to 12. Notre Dame will be part of that conference schedule and will be eligible for the ACC Football Championship game. ACC schools can also play one non-conference game, but the game must be played at that school’s home state.


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday July 29th, 2020

News for Wednesday July 29th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports 1125 new COVID cases Tuesday, the lowest daily case count in three weeks. Fatalities rose by 26 to 3,700. Hospitalizations are down by 17. Governor Edwards announced yesterday that the state is now number one in per capita new cases. Baton Rouge now has more cases of COVID-19 than New Orleans.

 

In a weekly report compiled by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, 51 Louisiana parishes, including all of Cenla, are being classified in a so-called ‘Red Zone’, suggesting further restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the state. For parishes in the ‘Red Zone,’ the White House Coronavirus Task Force suggested people wear a mask at all times outside the home and to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer. The task force also suggests that public officials “close bars and gyms, and eliminate inside dining. It was thought going into the Governor’s press conference yesterday that he would announce more closures, however, he did not.

 

Louisiana’s COVID-19 testing has hit another hurdle with the turnaround time on getting results.  Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says the timeliness makes the difference in stopping the spread versus just adding numbers to the stats. Early in the pandemic, there was a lack of nasal swabs to conduct tests, but now Billioux says some labs are struggling with the supply chain for supplies need to process the tests.

 

The country’s second biggest teacher’s union threatens to back strikes in areas that are not doing enough to ensure school safety for teachers and students. That came from the American Federation of Teachers and their Louisiana Chapter President Larry Carter says in hotspots across Louisiana union members are actively discussing that as an option of last resort. The AFT earlier this month adopted a resolution backing the reopening of schools only in areas where the positivity rate for tests was under five percent. Over the past few weeks, the rate has hovered around ten percent but has recently dropped under eight percent.

 

The last 600-dollar weekly enhanced unemployment benefits are being sent out Friday, and the Louisiana Workforce Commission is encouraging those set to lose benefits to apply for a new job on the LWC website. Congress is currently debating whether to renew the benefits. Republicans are seeking to reduce it to 200 dollars a week, Democrats want to extend the 600 for the rest of the year. Unless the feds renew the enhanced benefits people receiving state unemployment will be capped at 247 dollars a week, and those receiving PUA assistance will be capped at 107 dollars a week.

Those looking for a job should visit laworks.net

 

The Louisiana Department of Revenue is busy reviewing applications and prepping to send out the first $250 frontline worker checks this week. Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue Kimberly Robinson says if you are eligible there’s still time to  apply. A variety of workers are eligible, for example, grocery clerks, garbage collectors, and healthcare workers, people who worked during the stay at home order and make less than $50-thousand a year. As of Tuesday, the department says they’ve received approximately 205-thousand applications for the Hazard Pay Rebate.

 

Pineville PD are looking for 39 year old Jason Maricle on multiple Charges after a fire yesterday afternoon on Edgewood Drive caused extensive damage to a home and injured two people. When fire fighters arrived at the scene, they located an unconscious male victim near the front of the house and a female victim nearby. They were both transported to a hospital. Their condition is unknown at this time.

 

Four bars are facing permit suspensions following noncompliance with Governor Edwards’ emergency order aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The permits are for the Sand Dollar Tiki Bar in Grand Isle, Frosty Factory in Lake Charles, Pelican Pub in Gonzales, and Wo-de’s Chill Spot in Harvey. Hearings are set for August 5th and 6th.

 

Former LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow has reportedly signed a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals worth 36-million dollars. And the deal includes a 24-million dollar signing bonus.

 

There’s some good news for those hoping we will see high school football this fall. The LHSAA will allow schools to hold seven on seven practices starting on Monday, but you can’t have more than 25 players involved in one group. Players can wear shoulder pads on August sixth and teams will be allowed to do more activities in larger groups once the state moves into phase three


Good Morning.. News For Tuesday July 28th, 2020

News for Tuesday July 28th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The Main Street Recovery Program will begin accepting applications at 9 AM today from small businesses impacted by the pandemic. State Treasurer John Schroder says Eligible businesses can receive up to 15,000 dollars, and the money will be sent out on a first-come-first-served basis. For the first 21 days, the program will only disburse funds to businesses that did not receive federal assistance or insurance payments. But, it is likely the money in the fund will not last more than a week. Businesses must have a brick and mortar location and fewer than 50 employees to be eligible.

 

In a rather bizarre story, people around the country have been receiving seed packages that appear to be from China or Eastern Europe. At this point officials are not saying whether or not they are dangerous, what they are saying is if you’ve received a mystery package please not open it, and if you already have, do not dispose of the seeds or plant them. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says authorities will come to you to handle the disposal of the mystery seeds. The issue appears to be nationwide.

 

Former Vernon Parish Sheriff and former State Representative Frank Howard has died at the age of 81 due to complications from COVID-19.  Howard was Sheriff for 24 years. Following a few years of retirement from law enforcement, Howard was elected to be a state representative and served three terms in that position before being termed out in 2019.

 

According to a study from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a rise in chronic conditions is putting more Louisiana residents at risk for colorectal cancer.  Medical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Dr. Jeremy Wigginton says there has been a substantial uptick in cancer cases for those with inflammatory colon conditions.

Wigginton says someone with a history of such conditions should talk to a doctor about when to get screened.  Wigginton adds that the screening process has become much easier in recent years and people just need to get it done. Wigginton says early detection is key.

 

The Acadiana area is seeing the addition of nearly 400 new jobs as educational software company SchoolMint announces it will be moving their headquarters from San Francisco to Lafayette.  Governor John Bel Edwards was on hand for the announcement has says this is further evidence of the state’s economic growth for the 21st century. The move comes following SchoolMint’s acquisition of Lafayette-based Smart Choice Technologies in 2019. 

 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany announced on Monday that the two will be donating $5 million to build multiple health care centers throughout Louisiana in a partnership with Ochsner Health. The money will come from the Brees Dream Foundation and their personal giving.

 

Veterans on the Saints report for training camp today but it will be a few days before they get on the field. Players must pass three COVID tests during a four-day period before they can enter the team’s training facility in Metairie. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says the Saints are positioned well to handle this unique season. The NFL and its players’ association have agreed to an extensive list of health and safety protocols and players will be tested often. But Detllier says there will be no preseason games this year and training camp rosters are 80 players, instead of 90.


Good Morning.. News For Monday July 27th, 2020

News for Monday July 27th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Health officials in Louisiana are now reporting there are 107,574 cases of COVID-19 That number went up by 3,840 since Friday. There have been 3,651 deaths, that up by 48 over the weekend. Some good news, statewide the number of those hospitalized and those on vents over the weekend went down. Here in Rapides parish the number of cases increased by 102 over the weekend and there were 2 more deaths.

 

SEC presidents and athletic directors will hold a series of virtual meetings this week to discuss fall sports plans. College football insider Brett McMurphy says because so many states are struggling to contain the coronavirus, it’s unlikely the college football season will kick off Labor Day weekend. Voluntary workouts for college football teams began in June and some teams were hit with an initial cluster of COVID cases. But McMurphy says there’s a concern for community spread when students return to campus. The PAC-12 and Big 10 have already made the decision to play conference only football schedules this season. The SEC has said they plan to make a decision in late July. McMurphy expects the ACC, Big 12 and SEC to decide on a shorter schedule, filled mostly with conference games.

 

As hospitals across the state reach capacity with COVID-19 patients, some healthcare facilities have enough beds, but they are having staffing issues to provide adequate care for patients.  As daily case counts continue to set records across the state with community spread, many hospital workers and coming down with the virus as well, making the shortage of staff even worse. Late last week Governor Edward asked FEMA for approximately 700 healthcare workers.

 

The C-D-C has changed the guidelines for returning to work after a person tests positive for COVID. Instead of having to quarantine for 14 days, the C-D-C says a person can return to work 10 days after the first symptoms appear. Also, the CDC no longer recommends a person to get repeatedly tested before returning to work.

 

Hopefully School is set to begin soon. The Louisiana Department of Health is trying to get the word out that some students need to get up to date on vaccinations. State Immunization Director Doctor Frank Welch says because of the pandemic, some parents have put off getting the necessary vaccinations. Welch says not every kid needs a vaccine every year and the best thing to do is to ask your child’s pediatrician what may be needed.

 

There's a good chance that the next tropical depression of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will form this week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters say a broad area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave several hundred miles west/southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands has a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression today or tomorrow and an 90% chance of developing within the next five days. Hurricane Hanna made landfall along the lower Texas coast over the weekend.

 

The ACLU is looking for Louisianans who feel they were the victim of racist policing to help them file lawsuits challenging discriminatory policies. ACLU Louisiana Legal Director Nora Ahmed says this includes racially motivated traffic stops, searches, seizures, detainments, and incidents where police dogs were used to assault people on racial grounds. The recruitment initiative is part of ACLU Louisiana’s Justice Lab project that includes the participation of 35 law firms and 14 law schools working together to challenge racist criminal justice policies. Interested participants can reach out via email to Justicelab@LAACLU.org.

 

A study from the career website Zippia polled 2,000 people nationwide to find out how likable their bosses are and the top things they hate about their bosses.  Head of content at Zippia Kathy Morris says in Louisiana, 18-percent of workers disliked their boss. Nationally, the most disliked traits about bosses were micromanaging, never being available, and incompetence. Morris says 59% of workers have quit a job because of a bad boss, which is one of the biggest expenses in hiring and adds Louisiana has one of the higher monthly quit rates in the nation.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration will send millions of dollars to Louisiana’s local government agencies in August to reimburse their coronavirus spending, but that reimbursement money is slated to run out this fall without another influx of federal aid.

State lawmakers earmarked $525 million in direct congressional aid for the COVID-19 outbreak to reimburse municipalities for expenses related to their response, in a program managed by the Edwards administration. More than $127 million has been paid out already, and the second round of multimillion-dollar payments will start going out Aug. 1.


Good Morning... News For Friday July 24th, 2020

News for Friday July 24th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana surpassed 100,000 total confirmed COVID positive cases since the pandemic began Thursday as the count continues to grow at a rapid pace. 2,300 new cases were reported yesterday alone. Governor Edwards says that grim accomplishment should inspire residents to redouble their spread mitigation efforts. A conspiracy theory questioning whether that figure includes multiple tests from one person is gaining steam. Edwards called it a disinformation campaign aimed at minimizing how serious the situation is. Edwards’ Phase Two order has been extended for another two weeks with added restrictions on bars and the mask mandate. He says it’s the only way we can get back to a sense of normalcy.

 

Healthcare officials in Acadiana warn the public that they are running out of regional healthcare capacity due to COVID-19 case growth. Lafayette General Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amanda Logue says their system hospitals and ICUs are full of COVID patients. As of Thursday, the Lafayette General Health system had 143 COVID patients. That number was only 20 six weeks ago. Our Lady of the Lourdes CMO Dr. Henry Kaufman says their healthcare workers have seen a 300 percent increase in cases in this second wave compared to the first wave.

 

New unemployment claims and existing claims both increased again last week, with more than 313,100 workers remaining on the unemployment rolls across Louisiana.

There were 32,079 first-time unemployment claims filed last week, up from 26,351 one week before. State officials shuttered bars in recent weeks in an attempt to curb the spike in new coronavirus cases and ease the squeeze on local health care systems. That move is being reflected in the unemployment claims, with first-time claims in the food services and accommodation sector jumping more than 6,100 last week.

 

The National Hurricane Center says a tropical depression heading towards Texas has developed into Tropical Storm Hanna overnight and is expected to produce heavy rains in Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the tropical storm could produce about an inch of rain here in central Louisiana through Monday, two to four inches along the I-10 corridor and four inches along the coast. The forecast calls for the storm to make landfall on Saturday between Houston and Brownsville, Texas.

 

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins officially qualifies to challenge Senator Bill Cassidy.  Perkins, a Democrat says his decision to run rose from the concerns he has about how Congress is handling the coronavirus pandemic and this moment calls for strong, decisive leadership in DC. Perkins says DC is moving too slow in helping families and cites legislation sent from the House to the Senate over two months ago that would have provided much-needed relief to working families.

 

Local governments have been reimbursed 127 million dollars so far as part of the CARES Act. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the money did not reimburse revenue losses for local governments and only paid for COVID-related expenditures. Dardenne says the bulk of the money reimbursed so far has gone to southern parishes hit hard in the early days like Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. The funding comes from a 524 million dollar fund for local governments.

 

The U-S Senate is about to begin debating the fifth coronavirus relief package, which will likely come with a trillion-dollar price tag.  Senator John Kennedy expects there will be additional help for unemployment compensation, but it will not be at the same $600 per week level that it has been at. Not all Republican lawmakers are in agreement with the latest relief effort as some feel the cost is too much with a national debt that continues to climb.

 

 


Good Morning.... News For Thursday July 23rd, 2020

News for Thursday July 23rd, 2020

Compiled By Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reports 60 new COVID-19 fatalities in the latest COVID report yesterday, the highest daily addition since May 1. Total statewide death toll: 3,558. The state also added another 2,800 cases and is on course to surpass 100,000 total cases today.

The state is nearly back to where it was in late April when it comes to hospital bed usage, and several regions of Louisiana are now actively working to move ICU patients into less slammed areas. Some have called the recent concern over ballooning cases hysteria caused by higher overall testing but Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says that’s false, and the state now has an over ten percent positive rate for COVID tests.

 

A Remington Research Group poll commissioned by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder shows wide and bipartisan support for the Governor’s mask mandate and public health emergency declaration. 76 percent of those surveyed last weekend support a government mask mandate. UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says

57 percent of respondents agreed with the way the state government has handled the pandemic so far, only 26 percent disapproved. 61 percent of Louisianans oppose canceling the public health emergency declaration while only 22 percent agree. Cross says that’s a blow to legislative efforts to accomplish that.

 

Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins will challenge Republican Senator Bill Cassidy in the November 3rd election. Before he got into politics, Perkins served in the Army and is a former student body president at West Point and Harvard. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Cassidy cannot underestimate Perkins. Perkins says Washington’s poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak persuaded him to jump into the Senate race. Pinsonat says Perkins is a qualified candidate, but running as a Democrat for a statewide office is a challenge in the Bayou State.

 

Seven candidates for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District seat qualified on Wednesday, looking to fill the position currently held by Ralph Abraham who is not pursuing an additional term.  Among them is Abraham’s Chief of Staff Luke Letlow.

Republican Ouachita Police Juror Scotty Robinson announced his bid for the position last November. Clinical social worker, addiction counselor, and small business owner Candy Christophe lives in Alexandria and is running as a Democrat. Chief Operating Officer of Grambling State University Martin Lemelle of Ruston enters the race as a Democrat with a focus on education and helping local small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, a Republican, says he sees a bunch of career politicians in DC and touts his balance of holding elected office and being a business owner as the reason voters should cast a ballot for him. Additionally, Allen Guillory of Opelousas and Matt Hasty of Pineville, both Republican, qualified on Wednesday.  The primary election is scheduled for November 3rd.

 

A tropical system in the Gulf has a good chance of developing into a tropical cyclone and dumping a good bit of rain on the southern portion of the state on its way to Texas. National Weather Service forecaster Donald Williams says parts of Louisiana could see some impacts as soon as this afternoon. In the form of showers and thunderstorms. Williams says the system is not expected to develop into a hurricane, and at most may become a weak tropical storm.

 

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell files paperwork seeking a fourth term in the office representing northwest Louisiana. Campbell is one of the state’s longest-serving elected officials, first elected to the State Senate in 1975. Campbell says he wants to continue his work serving the working people of the state. Campbell has made several attempts to run for federal and statewide offices but has not been successful, his most recent effort a loss to now-Senator John Kennedy in 2016.

 

LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine posted a letter on Wednesday, July 22, intended to let parents and athletes know the association is committed to fall sports.

“The LHSAA is committed to conducting fall sports to the direct benefit of your student-athletes. However, we will not put schools in conflict or in harm’s way,” Bonine wrote. “We have no intention of canceling fall sports unless schools are closed or the pandemic dictates that it is not safe to play.”

 

Hancock Whitney posted a $117.1 million loss in the second quarter, or $1.36 per share, that reflects the bank’s decision to sell off $497 million in energy loans and increase its reserve for possible credit losses as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In comparison, Hancock Whitney posted a profit of $88.3 million in the second quarter of 2019, or $1.01 per share.

 

Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett says they are planning to proceed with the upcoming football season as scheduled. Burnett says they expect a full slate of games will be played on Labor Day weekend. Burnett says university presidents and athletic directors continue to meet and the health and safety of the student-athletes is their top priority…


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday July 22nd, 2020

News for Wednesday July 22nd, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Governor Edwards extends the state’s current Phase Two order and COVID health restrictions for another two weeks as Louisiana reported another 1,700 cases Tuesday, along with the highest level of hospitalizations since early May. Here in Rapides Parish, 58 new cases were reported and 2 news deaths.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards extends Phase Two by two more weeks. Not everyone is a fan of the announcement. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry expressed their disappointment in the decision. Edwards cites the positivity rate of new tests as another red flag. However, the governor says his biggest concern is the hospitalizations per capita, over the last couple of weeks numbers have been climbing in all regions of the state.

 

Qualifying for the November ballot begins today and as of now, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy does not face a major Democratic challenger, but Outgoing State Democratic Party Director Stephen Handwerk says we may be surprised by a prominent member of the party signing up this week due to the high level of energy in the party right now…

Antoine Pierce, a Baton Rouge progressive activist, and New Orleans teacher Peter Wenstrup are the two announced Democrats so far.

 

The 5th District Congressional seat held by the retiring Ralph Abraham should be competitive. ULM Poli Sci Professor Josh Stockley says there are three well-known Republicans running, Abraham’s Chief of Staff Luke Letlow, Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, and Ouachita Police Juror Scotty Robinson.

 

As expected the Alexandria City Council passed an ordinance yesterday to remove the confederate statue located in front of the Rapides Parish Courthouse. The ownership of the monument is still pending in the 9th Judicial District Court. The statue’s future will be decided once ownership is determined.

 

The National Hurricane Center has upgraded the chance of development for a tropical wave currently over western Cuba and making its way into the Gulf. State Climatologist Barry Keim says there’s a medium chance the disturbance will develop into a tropical depression over the next five days. The system is set to move into the central Gulf tomorrow, and the northwestern Gulf Thursday and Friday.

 

New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell says one of the bodies that has been trapped in the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site is likely to be recovered by the end of the week and the other by the middle of next week. McConnell says the rubble is very delicate and potentially dangerous to recovery workers. It’s been ten months since the construction site partially collapsed, killing three.

 

Homeschool advocates say interest in homeschooling is surging with the fate of K-12 education still up in the air. Coalition for Responsible Home Education Director Rachel Coleman says homeschool families must have a caregiver who can commit to homeschooling full time. If not, consider virtual enrollment through your district. Coleman says if you’re committed to home school for the coming semester you need to submit a form to BESE and be approved. But keep in mind, the Louisiana Department of Education does not provide funding or resources for homeschooling.

 

Monroe has a new mayor with the swearing-in of Friday Ellis.  Ellis takes the position after defeating Jamie Mayo who held the position for 19 years.  Ellis says the city will now embark on a new journey that will create jobs and move the area forward.

 

Sports..

 

The Pelicans hold their first scrimmage game tonight against Brooklyn. Still no word on when rookie sensation Zion Williamson will return to the NBA’s bubble in Orlando. Williamson left last week to attend to a family emergency and there’s been no new information. Hear tonight’s game starting at 5:30 on 94.7 ESPN

 

The coronavirus has had a significant impact on sports, and now football is beginning to see the virus affect the sport. NFL Network reports that the league and players’ union agreed to not hold a preseason this fall, which would have gotten underway next month.

The decision comes with the likelihood of teams playing in front of no or a limited number of fans during the regular season. Several states have said that large gatherings will be limited into the fall. NFL Network added the league will expand training camp rosters, and there will be an opt-out for players at a “high risk” of having coronavirus complications.

 

Since the SWAC has postponed its football season to the spring that leaves Louisiana Tech looking for another opponent. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Prairie View A-and-M for their home opener on September 19th. Tech athletics director Tommy McClelland says they are talking with other programs about filling that open slot on their home schedule.

 

The Outland Trophy Watch List was unveiled today and it features several interior linemen. LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin is on that list and so is Louisiana Tech center Kody Russey, along with Ragin Cajuns sophomore offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence.


Good Morning.. News For Tuesday July 21st, 2020

News for Tuesday July 21st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The number of people hospitalized from COVID-19 is back above 15-hundred as 39 additional people had to be hospitalized because of the virus from Sunday to Monday. The state also reported 31-hundred new cases, but officials say about half of the cases are from a two-month backlog. Here in Rapides Parish 5 more people were reported to have died since Sunday’s report was released.

 

The Southwest Athletic Conference will explore playing football in the spring as the conference announces Monday it will postpone all fall sports. The schools met Monday to vote. According to a conference release, football will seek a seven game schedule proceeded by an 8-week training period that begins in January.

 

After receiving 40-thousand applications, the state has temporarily suspended a 24-million dollar program to provide rental assistance. State officials say 24-million dollars can only help 10-thousand households who are behind on their rent. Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center director Cashuana Hill estimates it will take 500-million dollars to address the impending rental crisis. No word on what the state is trying to do to get more funding.

 

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring three tropical waves, but none of the disturbances are a serious threat to Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a weak low pressure area south of the Texas-Louisiana border has caught the attention of forecasters. Keim says there’s another disturbance way out in the Atlantic and the other is over Cuba and heading towards the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The back and forth between Governor Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry continued Monday. Landry sent another letter to Edwards criticizing him for cheering on the recent social justice protests even though they could have contributed to the latest surge in coronavirus cases. Landry is not happy the governor chose to shut down bars, but Edwards says contact tracing has shown that bars contributed to hundreds of new cases.

 

The Louisiana Restaurant Association predicts a 25-30 percent drop in restaurant revenue for 2020 due to the pandemic. LRA CEO Stan Harris says they projected 11 billion dollars for the year before the pandemic, generating over a billion dollars in state and local taxes. That’s no longer the case. Harris predicted 25 percent of the state’s  restaurants could permanently close due to the pandemic.

 

A study shows more than a third of Louisiana residents are food insecure, meaning they lack access to an adequate food source during the pandemic.  Center for Planning Excellence is behind the analysis and CEO Camille Manning-Broome says the state has had a half million people fall into this category since the pandemic started. Manning-Broome says nearly half of the newly food insecure communities are small towns and unincorporated rural areas, but metropolitan areas are also feeling the burden.

 

Chevron will take over Noble Energy for $5 billion in the first big deal announced since the coronavirus pandemic shook the energy sector. The total value of the deal is $13 billion, with Chevron assuming Noble’s debt. Chevron has been shopping for assets since last year and with crude prices down more than 30% this year, it jumped Monday with its all-stock offering for the independent Houston oil and gas driller.

 

Eldorado Resorts, the owner and operator of the Belle of Baton Rouge, has completed its $17.3 billion purchase of Caesars Entertainment Corp., which operates the Harrah’s land-based casino in New Orleans. The deal closed Monday, after the New Jersey Casino Commission approved the merger Friday. New Jersey was the last state to sign off on the transaction. The combined company, which goes by Caesars Entertainment Inc., is now the largest casino operator in the U.S. Caesars now owns five properties in Louisiana.

 

Baton Rouge Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that killed a domestic violence suspect at his Tigerland apartment early Monday morning. The identities of the officers and the deceased have not been released. Four officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave. A K-9 officer injured in the gunfire is in stable condition. The suspect was wanted on a warrant obtained in May and the said they officers had tracked him down to the apartment complex after a tip given to CrimeStoppers.

 

Sports..

 

Saints Quarterback Drew Brees has joined a social media campaign that features several players calling on the NFL to follow the advice of health experts when it comes to safely playing football during the coronavirus pandemic. Brees and the other players used the hashtag We Want to Play. Veterans will report to training camp next week and the NFL and its players association have not reached an agreement on the proper protocols to promote player safety.

 

The Monroe News-Star reports that Louisiana Tech has had ten positive COVID-19 cases involving football, basketball and volleyball players. Tech officials say three of the ten student-athletes have recovered, while the other seven are in self-quarantine.

 

LSU’s Jacoby Stevens and Derek Stingley are on the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list. The award goes to the nation’s best defensive back in college football. ULM’s Corey Straughter is also on that list.

 

 

The Pelicans’ first scrimmage is Wednesday night versus Brooklyn. That game will be streamed on the team’s website. So will Saturday’s scrimmage against Denver. The final tune-up before the re-start is a week from tonight against Milwaukee. You can hear that game on Alexandria’s 94.7 ESPN airtime 5:30p


Good Morning.. News For Monday July 20th, 2020

News for Monday July 20th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Coronavirus in Louisiana: 91,706 cases | 3,433 dead | 1,469 in hospital | 53,288 recovered. Here in Rapides Parish we’ve had a total of 2,278 cases, an increase of 77 over the weekend. Also 2 more deaths were reported bringing the number to 85 dead.

 

Louisiana reported a weekend total of 3,116 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, pushing the state's coronavirus tally above 90,000. Louisiana has now reported a total of 91,706 cases and is considered by the White House to be a "red zone" state for increasing cases and the percentage of positives among tests. The state reported a two-day total of 56 new hospitalizations Sunday for a total of 1,469. Hospitalizations have more than doubled during the past month. Thirty-four new deaths were reported Sunday for a total of 3,433.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says he will consider the implementation of new White House COVID-19 guidelines.   Louisiana is one of 18 states in the red zone for cases and one of 11 in the red zone for testing positivity.  Edwards feels the state already is covering the most prioritized spread mitigation efforts from the CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force. The recommendations call for red zone states like Louisiana to close gyms, put tighter restrictions on indoor dining capacity to 25%, and limit gatherings to 10 people.

 

Louisiana Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says a CDC investigation into an incident in Missouri shows the effectiveness of masks. Health officials say two hairstylists tested positive for the coronavirus, but none of their 136 customers and co-workers got the virus, because everyone involved wore a mask. The two COVID positive workers had gotten tested for COVID, but went back to work while waiting for the results during this period. The hairstylists spent on average over 15 minutes within six feet of their customers, which is considered “close contact. Billioux says it’s a remarkable discovery…

 

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder is asking fellow Republicans to reconsider their efforts to revoke Gov. Edwards’ pandemic state of emergency, saying an override would be a “grave decision with potentially dire consequences.” Schexnayder sent a letter to Republican House members discouraging support of Shreveport GOP Rep. Alan Seabaugh petition. Schexnayder’s letter states both Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump administration supports the mask mandate.

 

After only four days, Louisiana had to shut down the $24 million program to help residents pay their rent after the program was inundated with applicants seeking aid amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program unveiled Thursday was expected to benefit about 10,000 residents by providing up to three months of direct payments to landlords of eligible tenants, but was soon hit with four times as many applications and had to be suspended. The housing advocacy group HousingLOUISIANA said the inundation of the program was to be expected, given an estimated 142,000 unemployed renters across the state who are in need of its services.

 

Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders are expected to discuss this week on a 5th coronavirus relief funding bill.  Senator John Kennedy says it’s unclear what this round of aid may look like, but he doubts it will be as broad as past COVID stimulus bills. Kennedy says he’s concerned about the rate of spending on COVID economic bills and he says the only way for the economy to survive is for Americans to get back to work. Kennedy is also pushing school districts to resume in-person education once the fall semester begins. Kennedy says young people don’t often suffer fatal outcomes when they develop COVID-19. Kennedy says the rewards of continuing kids’ social and academic development outweigh the risks of having them more exposed to the virus.

 

The SEC announces that student-athletes who choose to not play sports in the fall due to COVID-19 concerns will not lose their scholarships. According to the statement released Friday, those who sit out will have their scholarships honored and will remain in good standing with their team. LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward also released a statement of support for the announcement and student-athletes’ in their decision if they choose to compete or not.

 

Baton Rouge Rep. Ted James announces his candidacy for chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Current party Chair Karen Carter Peterson, a state senator from New Orleans, says she will not seek reelection. James said the Democratic Party must speak for those who “feel invisible to the politics of today” to energize the party.  Katie Bernhardt, a Lafayette small business owner, previously announced her candidacy. The chair is elected by party leadership and will be chosen August 29th.

 

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is celebrating the tort reform legislation signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards that aims to lower auto insurance rates.  LABI President Steven Waguespack says the measure will lead to lower claims, lower settlements, and lower insurance rates for commercial drivers. Waguespack says the history of high auto insurance rates has been devastating for  Louisiana businesses.

 

Toward the middle or end of the week, the National Hurricane Center says there's a 20% chance a tropical wave could develop into a depression in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday’s update indicates that a tropical wave located over Hispaniola and the southwestern Atlantic is expected to enter the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by late Tuesday, move across the central Gulf on Wednesday and reach the northwestern Gulf on Thursday. By then, conditions are expected to be marginally conducive for development.


Good Morning... News For Friday July10th, 2020

News for Friday July 10th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

Louisiana reported 1,843 more coronavirus cases Thursday and hospitalizations also rose by 20. The state reported 16 more deaths. The state has reported 151-thousand test for this month, but the huge surge in testing has led to delays in people getting their results back. Governor John Bel Edwards says they are working on trying to speed up the process. Here in Rapides Parish there were 47 new cases yesterday and 1 death.

 

State contact tracing data has identified 16 outbreaks linked to restaurants leading to at least 68 known cases. Assistant health secretary, Doctor Alex Billioux, says compliance checks are happening, but he’s unaware if any business has been cited. That data has also identified that Bars lead the way with 36 outbreaks that have produced at least 393 cases.

 

The number of people hospitalized as result of COVID-19 has nearly doubled over the last month. According to the state department of health, there are just over 40 ICU beds available at each of these three regions, central Louisiana, the River Parishes and Acadiana.  As of yesterday, the number of ICU beds available in southwest Louisiana was down to 27.  Governor Edwards says some hospitals also report a low supply of Remdesivir, which is an approved therapeutic drug for severely ill COVID patients. Edwards says hospital officials say they are seeing more younger white males hospitalized as a result of COVID-19.

 

LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron says coronavirus cases involving his players are under control as his team goes through voluntary workouts. At one time LSU reportedly had at least 30 players in quarantine, but in an interview on WWL Radio, Orgeron said that was inaccurate. The Big 10 announced today that they’ll only play conference games this fall.

 

According to the U-S-A Today, Teurlings Catholic offensive lineman Jacob Lemaire has spent four days in the intensive care after being infected with COVID-19 and developing pneumonia. Lemaire’s mother tells the USA Today that her son is on oxygen, but he’s doing really well.

 

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers is asking the state mandate facemask usage while on school campuses, instead of the current policy of recommending their use.

Some localities and parishes have adopted mandatory face mask usage while in businesses and public buildings, but most have not.

 

Louisiana’s K-12 schools and colleges will be shielded from most civil lawsuits if a student or teacher contracts the COVID-19 disease. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday he has signed the new liability limitations into law. The measure will keep people exposed to COVID-19 at a school or school facility from being able to sue for damages unless they can prove the high legal standard of “grossly negligent or wanton or reckless misconduct.” The protections cover public and private K-12 schools; charter schools; and public and private colleges and universities. The new law is retroactive to March 11.

 

LSU Interim President Tom Galligan says school officials are working to ensure international students meet the necessary requirements to avoid being deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). New guidelines coming from ICE say that international students can be deported to their own countries if their courses move mostly to online classes. Some international students at LSU feel they have more to fear than getting sick.  Earlier this week, ICE made modifications to its Student Exchange Visitor Program which says students who are strictly taking online classes will be deported.

 

New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson is stepping down as chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. She’s led the party for the last eight years. Candidates to replace Peterson have emerged. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says he may run and Lafayette lawyer Katie Bernhardt has already announced her candidacy. An election is set for August 29th

 

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is developing a smartphone app aiming to make it easier for consumers to stick to their diet plans by gauging calorie consumption.  Co-principal investigator Dr. Corby Martin says the PortionSize app helps tackle a critical problem in weight management, getting people an idea of what they are actually eating.  How long it will be before the app ends up in the hands of the public is still to be determined.

 

Saturday is Election Day for the Presidential Preference Primary.  The voting process will look a little different than other elections.  Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin says there will be spread mitigation efforts in place and they’ve recruited poll workers that are less susceptible to poor outcomes from COVID-19 exposure.


Good Morning.... News For Thursday July 9th, 2020

  

News for Thursday July 9th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

For the first time in a week and a half the state sees a decrease in the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19, even if it’s only three. Total new reported cases jumped sharply though, up nearly 1900,  putting our total number of cases since the pandemic began at over 70,000.  Just over 10 percent of all tests today are positive, a benchmark the feds use to track problem areas. 20 additional fatalities are also being reported.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is heading in the wrong direction in its battle to stop the spread of COVID-19, but he is not contemplating a statewide mask mandate. But Edwards says you should wear a mask when interacting with others outside of your home. The state health department reports over 70-thousand coronavirus cases since the pandemic started and one-thousand COVID patients are hospitalized.

 

Governor Edwards on Wednesday announced that he has signed the state's budget for the FY 2020-2021. The state House and Senate approved the $34 billion spending plan on June 30, the final day of a 30-day special legislative session. The budget sets aside funding for healthcare, workforce and education services that are needed during the pandemic.

 

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Edwards announced that he has ordered cabinet agencies to prepare for possible mid-year budget cuts by sequestering at least 10 percent of their budgets, and recommends the same for the judicial and legislative branches. He will also issue an executive order to freeze hiring of state employees.

 

Oil City Representative Danny McCormick denounces masking mandates in a video posted to Facebook as Shreveport becomes the latest municipality to enact a mask mandate while inside a business.  In the clip, McCormick compares mask-wearing to the holocaust and brandishes a chainsaw and blow torch.   McCormick says a mask mandate is a gateway to other government efforts of overreach.

 

The Alexandria Police Department is currently investigating a shooting incident that occurred in the 2900 block of Masonic Drive on yesterday. APD says that two people got into a fight, leading to one of them pulling out a handgun and shooting the other. The gunshot victim was transported to a local hospital. The one that fired the weapon is still at large. APD requests that anyone with information regarding this incident to call them.

 

Authorities say a West Monroe man wanted for shooting at a State Trooper during an attempted traffic stop was killed early Wednesday morning during a gun battle with law enforcement at a motel in Monroe. Master Trooper Michael Reichardt says they’ve been looking for 31-year-old Erroll Johnson since the first shooting incident on Sunday. No troopers were injured during the exchange of gunfire.

 

Hurricane researchers at Colorado State have increased their projected storm total for this year from 19 to 20 as we’ve already seen five named storms this year. Jhordanne Jones says sea surface temperatures are above normal and there’s no El Nino to suppress storm development…

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that $50 million through the CARES Act Fund is now available for K-12 schools and Higher Education. Approximately $35 million will be made available to the Louisiana Dept. of Education and $15 million to the Board of Regents.

 

A OnePoll survey of Americans finds two-thirds of people admit to gaining weight since the pandemic began with most saying its due to snacking. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Public Health Melinda Sothern says that’s not surprising because there’s a lot of scientific literature explaining why we’re snacking more often now. 69 percent of respondents said the increased snacking was due to boredom. Sothern says this is a really bad time to be packing on the extra pounds as COVID tends to be worse in people who are overweight.

 

Houma Representative Tanner Magee submits a letter to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Sandy Holloway requesting that the board does not consider a recommendation to cancel high school sports at this time. Magee says among the reasons to continue moving forward with sports is to motivate many of students to stay in school and to combat the health concerns of those struggling with adolescent obesity. The LHSAA released a statement late Wednesday afternoon that said they are fully committed to the safe return of high school sports in the fall.

 

A white East Baton Rouge Parish school system elementary school PE teacher was arrested after allegedly pulling a gun on a black family driving through her neighborhood, and beating their car with a bat. It happened during a period of heavy rain and flooding. A social media video shows the alleged aftermath with 38-year-old standing near the car with a gun. She claims people driving through the flooded neighborhood were forcing flood waters into the homes.

 

Sports..

 

The Pelicans are in Orlando and head coach Alvin Gentry is with the team. ESPN reports Gentry was cleared to be inside bubble that the NBA has set up in Orlando for 22 teams to resume the season. Gentry is 65-years-old and the league is concerned about those over 65 entering the bubble.

 

The 2019 LSU football team has received their championship rings and they got three of them. One for winning the SEC Championship, one for winning the college football playoffs and another for winning a national championship. For the players and coaches who are no longer with the program, they had their rings shipped to them.

 

The NFL and its players association have begun discussing the rules for the likelihood of players opting out for the 2020 season. The Baltimore Ravens say if fans are allowed at their games, they’ll have no more than 14-thousand in the stands.

  


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