News for Tuesday July 21st, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
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.
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