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Local News

Good Morning.... News For Wednesday May 20th, 2020

News for Wednesday July 1st, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported one-thousand new cases of Covid-19 yesterday as the state’s total case number surpassed 58-thousand. Governor John Bel Edwards’ next COVID-19 press briefing is this afternoon at 2:30. Edwards has said he’s looking for more compliance from businesses. Assistant State Health Officer Doctor Joseph Kanter says the governor would rather see everyone do more when it comes to spread mitigation efforts, than returning the state to Phase one coronavirus restrictions…

 

According to the state health department, only 59% of those who tested positive from COVID-19 since mid-May have responded to phone calls from contact tracers and only one-third are answering calls within the crucial first 24 hours after the test results.

 

State police report a  Plaucheville woman is dead following a three-vehicle crash yesterday in Avoyelles Parish.  According to the report 62 year old  Patricia Guillory was traveling north on Hwy 1179 when she failed to negotiate a curve near Duplechain Road and went off the highway. She then hit a tree and two unoccupied vehicles parked at a home. Guillory was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

 

KALB reports Cool Planet, an agriculture technology company that develops and markets products for soil health, is shutting down its Alexandria facility, according to multiple sources. The Central Louisiana Regional Port confirmed to KALB that yesterday was Cool Planet’s last day on its property. The company recently opened its new warehouse facility back in of last year.

 

Orleans and Jefferson Parish have issued mandatory mask-wearing ordinances for those visiting parish businesses. Jefferson Parish President Lee Sheng says their proclamation takes effect today and is the only way the parish will be able to one day move into Phase Three. Sheng says the parish is still working out the details of how it could be enforced, and what punishments would be handed out to businesses in violation.

 

The special Legislative session has concluded and many tort reform advocates are celebrating a deal cut in the final few hours of the session that led to the passage of a reform bill that supporters say will lower auto insurance rates. The bill sets the jury trial threshold at 10,000 dollars, limits when insurance company’s names can be mentioned in court, removes a ban on mentioning a crash victim’s seatbelt status, and make other adjustments to collateral source, which appeared to be the biggest stumbling block in negotiations between the GOP and Governor Edwards signaled his approval of the legislation, complementing Republicans for compromising.

 

The Legislature wrapped up work on the 34 billion dollar budget. Despite the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in CARES Act money Governor Edwards warned there will still have to be some cuts due to COVID-related revenue shortfalls. Edwards also indicated he is concerned about the revenue impact of a series of tax cuts for businesses that passed…

 

Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart announces a grand jury has returned an indictment against eight Shreveport police officers for allegedly using excessive force against two men who were apprehended back on January 24th. A written report from Stewart’s office says dash camera video from a Caddo Parish Sheriff’s deputy vehicle shows the eight Shreveport police officers physically striking two individuals at the end of a police chase. Stewart says the eight men charged have been booked and released on bond.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy says he expects another federal stimulus package to be passed sometime in late July. Cassidy aims to have CARES 4.0 focused on covering the estimated 500 billion dollars of lost revenue for local governments nationwide. Cassidy says Senators are evaluating whether they will maintain federal unemployment assistance set to expire July 31st but feels it won’t be necessary if economies can reopen. When asked how big the next stimulus might be, Cassidy expressed concern that about 50 percent of the money allocated for COVID recovery hasn’t even been spent yet.

 

Any Louisianan planning on heading to New York or New Jersey for the 4th of July may have to change their plans. Both states are now urging travelers from a number of other states, Louisiana included, to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry. New York and New Jersey were early epicenters of the pandemic but have seen cases drastically fall off. State health officials there say they don’t want travelers from growing hotspots to undo the progress they’ve made.

 

Sports..

 

New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin said today that three Pelicans players tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The unidentified players are in self-isolation and are tested daily. They need to have two negative tests before they can play. The 22 NBA teams that will resume their season in Orlando, must turn in a roster by the end of tomorrow. Griffin does not expect any Pelicans player not to play. 65-year-old head coach Alvin Gentry, who is a cancer survivor, also said he plans to be in Orlando with the team. But Griffin says Gentry’s status is to be determined.

 

ESPN announced today that former LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears will appear daily on NFL Live when the network relaunch’s the show in August. The sports network also says Spears has signed a new multi-year ESPN extension. The Baton Rouge native says it’s a pinch myself moment to talk NFL five days a week.

 

LSU linebacker Marcel Brooks has told the Athletic his decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal is because of family, but he didn’t elaborate. Brooks was expected to play a big role on the Tigers defense in 2020, but it appears he’ll look to continue his college career at a school closer to his Dallas home.

 

Former LSU safety Eric Monroe has reportedly decided to transfer to Texas Tech. Monroe was a highly rated defensive back out of the Houston area. In three seasons at LSU, Monroe had 21 tackles, most of those tackles occurred during his redshirt freshman season.

 

The Monroe News-Star reports Ruston High School has suspended football workouts for two weeks after a player tested positive for coronavirus.


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday May 20th, 2020

News for Wednesday May 27th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

New reported COVID cases and deaths continue to slow to a fraction of the pace they were just a month ago. Only 11 new COVID fatalities were reported yesterday, along with 245 new positive cases. 831 are hospitalized, down 16 from Monday and vent usage increased by one to 103.

 

Former south Louisiana Congressman and international pharma lobby head Billy Tauzin believes there will be an effective, non-vaccine treatment for COVID-19 by September. Tauzin says those treatments are focused on three categories: plasma infusions from COVID survivors, “decoy” proteins, and lab-created antibodies. Tauzin notes current plasma treatments appear to be effective for about 50 percent of patients.

 

A Senate-backed tort reform bill that supporters say will lower auto insurance premiums is heading to the House floor. However, Democrats are skeptical whether or not insurance companies will pass any savings along to consumers.  River Ridge Senator Kirk Talbot says the bill will lower the jury trial threshold which will settle cases for a more reasonable amount thus lower rates. Democrats would rather see laws passed that would prevent a person’s credit score, gender, or marital status from qualifying a person’s auto insurance rates.

 

A package of budget bills was passed by the House Tuesday calling for a 30 billion dollar spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1st. The budget now heads to the Senate with only a week left in the regular session, and it is not expected that the Upper Chamber will sign off on it before the regular session ends June 1st.  It is because of that a special session will begin immediately after the regular session ends. The State’s  constitution requires the budget be balanced and passed by July 1st.

 

Louisiana’s new state education superintendent will receive an annual salary of $285,000.  Cade Brumley, was chosen last week by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to oversee public schools. His pay package was approved by the joint House and Senate and Budget committee Tuesday. However, his job confirmation must still be approved by the Senate.

 

The Manning Passing Academy scheduled for next month in Thibodaux has been canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Manning Passing Academy attracts over 12-hundred campers and over 200 coaches, trainers, and support staff. College and pro football analyst Mike Detillier says the Louisiana Line Camp held at Nicholls State has also been canceled for this year.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to receive $73 Million in Federal Assistance to help the state’s fishing industry offset financial losses from freshwater flooding in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic. LDWF Assistant Secretary Patrick Banks says the total estimated loss to the industry from flooding last year is $338 million, but any assistance appreciated. Banks says LDWF must develop a spending plan for the funds before they are received.

 

State officials said Tuesday day care centers already reeling because of the coronavirus pandemic face a new challenge: How to lure teachers who make an average of $8.95 per hour to return to the classroom, and give up unemployment benefits that have more than doubled their pay. Jessica Baghian, assistant state superintendent of education, said the health crisis has shined a spotlight on the "untenable level of payment" for those who work in centers that largely care for infants and children up to age 5.

 

LSU officials are excited to welcome students back to campus in fall but warn campus life, while vibrant, will not be the same. Interim President Thomas Galligan says alongside their notebooks and other class supplies students will need to pack a mask before leaving their dorms. Galligan says it is certainly possible people will have to wear masks at football games.

 

 


Good Morning.... News For Wednesday May 20th, 2020

News for Wednesday May 20th, 2020

Compiled by Dave Graichen

Cenla Broadcasting

 

The state reported 18 new COVID fatalities and 329 new cases on Tuesday, along with declines in ventilator use and hospitalizations.

 

Alexandria Police made an arrest Monday in connection with a shooting investigation that occurred on May 1, at Levin and Mary Streets. 42 year old Jerrol Marshall of Alexandria was charged with attempted first degree murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting an officer and three counts of contempt of court. The case remains under investigation.

 

House Republicans pass legislation telling Governor Edwards to reconsider his blanket 25 percent occupancy cap on businesses during Phase One. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the limit is a one size fits all solution that doesn’t work for places like restaurants.

 

But Governor Edwards says the limitations are a public safety requirement that will cautiously guide the state economy back into action without risking a new wave of cases. The Governor says if we continue seeing lower caseloads through the end of the month it is likely the state will progress into Phase Two in June. Edwards says they’ll use two weeks of data to determine if Louisiana is still doing a good job in stopping the spread of COVID-19

 

Cal-Maine foods, an egg producer, donates 280,000 eggs to five food banks across the state. The eggs will be distributed to food banks in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Monroe, New Orleans, and Shreveport by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. Commissioner Mike Strain says Cal-Maine has a surplus of eggs right now and found donating to be a better use than disposal.

 

A House committee shoots down a proposal allowing all registered voters in Louisiana to vote by mail. Vote by mail advocate and recent LSU grad Catherine McKinney says the legislation would have allowed all voters to request the Secretary of State’s office mail them a ballot. Voters would have to submit their license to file their vote. The proposal ran into opposition from Republicans like Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges who says vote by mail is more prone to fraud than showing up at a booth. But McKinney countered that actual voter fraud is incredibly rare under all voting systems in the state.

 

Louisiana receives an additional $58 million in fishery disaster funding due to the impacts of the Bonnet Carre opening in 2019.  Congressman Garret Graves says of the three states receiving funding from the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening, Louisiana is receiving 2/3 of the allocated $88 million. There is an additional $12 million to be allocated at a different time.

 

Senator Bill Cassidy is one of two lawmakers introducing bipartisan federal legislation aiming to deliver $500 billion in emergency funding to states and communities with the State and Municipality Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act.  Cassidy says the first payment could go out immediately, the second would go out at the end of June, and the third at the end of the year.

 

Forbes Magazine reports Mercedes Benz will not renew its naming rights deal with the Superdome when it ends in 2021. UNO Senior Associate Dean and Marketing Professor, Paul Hensel, says it’s tough to say what corporation would like to put its name on the side of the iconic sports arena right now with the economy in shambles. The Superdome is scheduled to host its next Super Bowl in 2024.

 

Police conducting a welfare check late Tuesday morning, at a Baton Rouge Apartment complex, found a man and woman dead, launching a homicide investigation Few details were available hours later, including how the victims were killed. Police are considering the incident as a homicide.

 

Two measures described as making it easier for people convicted of crimes to find and retain jobs edged closer to final passage Tuesday in the Louisiana Legislature. A House-backed House Bill 77 would allow probation and parole officers to use their cellphone or other electronic devices to check on people under supervision, rather than requiring an in-person hearing. The proposal also requires probation and parole officers to accommodate a person's work schedule when scheduling those check-in meetings.

The measure won approval from a Senate judiciary committee Tuesday, sending it to the full Senate for debate.

 

 A bid to help legalize sports betting in Louisiana is steps from final legislative passage, though the wagering still would be a year or more away. Senate Bill 130 which won easy passage Tuesday from the House criminal justice committee would let voters in each parish determine on the Nov. 3 ballot whether to allow sports betting in that parish.

 

More workers are returning to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to continue building rockets for the Artemis Program, which aims to put the first woman on the moon by 2024. Michoud Director Robert Champion says some technicians returned Monday after a long hiatus. Champion says they’ll still be under 25 percent of their full production capacity as they enter NASA’s Stage 3 Return to On-site Work.


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