KSYL Local News Archives for 2013-01

News For Thursday 01/31/13

News for Thursday 013113

By Dave Graichen


Louisiana  State  Police say three people on their way to Shreveport were found dead Wednesday  morning  in  a  car  that  was pulled from the Tensas River near Madison Parish. The victims left South Carolina on January  7th  and  were reported missing earlier this  month.  L-S-P spokesperson, Julie  Lewis,  says the last point of contact from the three was in Alabama. Two of the victims were from Texas  and  the  other  is  from  South Carolina.


The  funeral  service  for  the  Chitamacha police officer killed in shootings that also injured two St.  Mary  Parish Sheriff's deputies will  be  held  tomorrow. The service for Sgt.  Rick  Riggenbach  is scheduled  for  2pm  at  Crossing  Place  Church  in  Franklin.  The 52-year-old officer  was  a  four-year-member  of  the tribal police department and served for 10 years as a St. Mary deputy.


A 22-year-old woman from Rosepine,  in Vernon Parish, faces criminal charges  after  her  10-month  old baby tested  positive  for  meth. Heather Jenkins brought her child to the ER, who in turn alerted law

officers. Jenkins told them she  had  been  at  a home where crystal meth  was  used,  and was afraid the child was exposed.  She's  been released on bond.


The state’s board of elected utility regulators Wednesday chose Commissioner Eric Skrmetta as its chairman for 2013.The Metairie Republican replaces Louisiana Public Service Commission Chairman Foster Campbell, of Bossier Parish.The five elected members of the PSC then elected Commissioner Clyde Holloway, of Forest Hill, as vice chairman.


About three hundred soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard that are  heading to the Middle East will go through deployment ceremonies today.  Major James Slaven with the Louisiana National Guard says the members of  the 205th Engineer Batallion and the 922nd Engineer Company will aid in the construction of military bases in Kuwait.


Two defense experts have told a judge a man accused of beheading his disabled 7-year-old son and leaving the head in his yard appears to really believe that the boy was a robot or a ventriloquist’s dummy. The doctors told state District Judge John LeBlanc they don’t think Jeremiah Wright, charged with first-degree murder of Jori Lirette, is faking a delusion. The boy, who had severe cerebral palsy and little speech, was killed  in August of 2011. Testimony should conclude today in the sanity hearing.


The Evangeline Parish Sheriff's office says a Mamou school  crossing guard  is  under  arrest  for  allegedly selling drugs during school hours. They say John Johns Sr. was  distributing  pills while he was working. As you may suspect, he faces multiple charges.


The Monroe Police Department  is  investigating  a fatal hit-and-run where  a  female  was  found in the road Tuesday night. They  say  it's believed the victim was run over by a car that drove off. Two people who found the woman were  interviewed but there were no witnesses to the crash. The case remains under investigation.


U.L.-Lafayette  campus police arrest a man for making online threats against the school and other agencies via Facebook. ULL PD spokesman Sgt. Billy Abrams says 35-year-old Ryan Kazemi's posts mentioned his paranoid  schizophrenia   and  veiled  references  to  other  school shootings. He allegedly complained  about  law enforcement, but made no specific threats against those agencies


State Police  say  a  student at East Feliciana High, in Clinton, is under arrest, after he  was  overheard threatening to bomb and shoot up the school. 17-year-old Sean  Mahan  is charged with terrorizing. The  school was evacuated and checked for  explosive  devices.  None were found.


The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office says a  pastor  known  for his "Just  for Jesus" rallies in Lake Charles has been arrested on  drug charges.  They say James P. Bertrand was spotted in what appeared to be  a drug transaction  behind  a  gas  station,  but  when  he  was confronted  by officers he tried to conceal crack in his mouth after throwing away  a  plastic  baggie.  He  is charged with possession of crack and possession of drug paraphernalia.




News For Wednesday 01/30/13

News for Wednesday 013013

By Dave Graichen


Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives served a search warrant at a Pineville residence early Tuesday morning, resulting in the arrests of a couple on firearms and drug charges. Arrested were 28 year old Brett Lyons and 27 year old Lyric Rogers. Detectives found a firearm, narcotics and drug paraphernalia. Both were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.


A Rapides Parish man has been arrested for cooking  up  crystal meth in  his home...again. 43-year-old Steven T. Belgard was busted  back in September,  for  running  a  possible  meth lab. Acting on a tip, officers this week busted Belgard a second  time.  He's  in custody, without bond as yet.


We note the passing of Former Pineville High School French teacher Terri Juneau, who died yesterday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Juneau was a beloved educator of over 29 years at Pineville high and she will be sorely missed, or as one facebook post put it, "The world's loss is heaven's gain,".


State lawmakers known as  the  "fiscal  hawks" announce a package of bills that will change how the budget is  crafted  and  the  way the state handles budget cuts. Lake Charles Representative Brett Geymann says  one thing they want to do is open more areas of the budget  to cuts, so  higher ed  and health care are not hit the hardest during tough fiscal times. Geymann's legislation also  addresses the annual argument over using one-time funds on annual expenses.


State officials are calling this a win win.. A  fairly new state program,  that  intercepts  casino  winnings  of parents  behind  on  state-ordered  child support, is a success. The state  Department  of  Children  and  Family   Services   says  over $800-thousand in gaming winnings has been intercepted from about 600 persons,  since  the program started in Fall of 2011. That money  is routed to custodial parents taking care of their kids.


State  insurance regulators have  rejected a request  by  State Farm to  raise their rates by 16.6 percent.  Insurance  Commissioner  Jim Donelon   has  said  they  declined the company's  request  after  a review found the rate revision  not  to be justified. The  company's last   rate    request   of   7.8   percent   was  implemented  last February.


With more than a million people expected to be in New Orleans for the  Super Bowl, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency  Preparedness is activating their Crisis Action Team today. GOSHEP  spokesperson Christina Stephens says this is just a way to prepare for  any public safety issue.  Stephens says GOSHEP is working along with the local and state agencies  in order to make sure the Super Bowl is a fun and safe time for all the  visitors to the Big Easy.


State Police say a 7-year-old  girl  was  killed  last night, as she tried to cross a very busy Highway 190 near Eunice.  Trooper Stephen Hammons  says  little  Kendessa Castile was hit by two vehicles  and pronounced dead at the scene. Charges have not been filed against either driver. Police say they are still interviewing  family members to try to figure out why the child was so close to the busy highway.


Lawmakers  are  able  to  file  bills  for  the upcoming legislative session, and a Shreveport lawmaker is making  a  proposal that would require people to keep their firearms locked up. Barbara Norton says more and more children are gaining access to guns and her bill would require gun owners to be more diligent with their weapons. Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson is starting  a campaign to defend the rights of gun owners called "Defend Louisiana."  He  says he's not going to let stricter gun legislation go unchallenged. Norton  says  she's  not trying to take away anyone's guns. She just feels that if guns were  kept  in  a locked case, it would be harder for children and potential criminals to have access to them.


A federal judge has approved an agreement for BP to plead  guilty to manslaughter and other charges for the deaths of 11 men in the  2010 Deepwater  Horizon  oil  rig  disaster.  The  deal  allows BP to pay $4-Billion in criminal penalties. Judge Sarah Vance heard  testimony today  from  relatives  of  the 11 victims of the rig explosion.  BP agreed to plead guilty back in November.


More and more football fans are arriving in New Orleans for Super Bowl  47 and there are tickets available for the big game at the right price. The big game between the Forty-Niners and Ravens might be sold out, but  Glenn Lehrman (luhr-man), with StubHub.com, says tickets are still available on-line and actually less than last year's game.


Traffic  on  the  Mississippi  River remains at a standstill,  while crews  continue to contain oil leaking  from  a  barge  that  hit  a railroad  bridge  at Vicksburg early Sunday morning. It's unknown how much longer the river will be closed.







News For Tuesday 01/29/13

News for Tuesday 012913

By Dave Graichen


District 4 Alexandria city council member Harry Silver  is recovering after he passed out over the weekend at his business, Weiss and Goldring clothing. Ted Silver, the councilman’s son says his father’s low blood pressure was is what led to him fainting. Silver underwent a procedure yesterday to install a pacemaker. He is reported to be doing fine. The councilman, who celebrated that 91st birthday just last week, is well-known for his workout regimen, that includes a swim each morning. Silver, is expected to be released from the hospital today.


Pineville PD report a 60-year-old Pineville man died Sunday when he lost control of his motorcycle on Cottingham Expressway and was thrown from the bike. William Woolley was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police say they do not believe alcohol was a factor.


The spring like weather in Louisiana is about to come to an end and more  seasonable temperatures are on their way. Jeff Hood, with the National  Weather Service in Shreveport, says a cold front is approaching and it's  bringing with it a good chance for severe weather tonight and into  tomorrow morning. Hood  says heavy rain and strong winds are likely as the cold front moves  through the state


A hearing to determine whether a Thibodaux man, accused of killing and  dismembering his disabled 7-year-old son two years ago, is competent to  stand trial will finally happen today.31 year old jeramiah  Wright reportedly told investigators he killed the boy because he was tired of taking care of him. Whether or not Wright goes to a  murder trial or an asylum will hinge on today's hearing.


Cuts to health care services, here in Louisiana,  begin this week for at-risk children, low-income moms and HIV patients, part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's rebalancing of the budget to close a midyear deficit. Slated for elimination are programs that provide behavioral health services for at-risk children, offer case management visits for low-income HIV patients and pay for at-home visits by nurses who teach poor, first-time mothers how to care for their newborns. The Medicaid program will no longer cover physical therapy and speech therapy rehabilitation services for nursing home residents. Dental benefits to pregnant women through Medicaid will be cut off. Hospitals and doctors will be paid less when they care for Medicaid patients.


The  tragic  case of  U.L.  Lafayette  coed  Mickey  Shunick,  whose disappearance  and murder last year made national headlines, will be featured again tonight  on Dateline NBC. The story will also focus on sister Charlene Shunick's fight to find Mickey and not give up hope. Brandon Scott Lavergne is  serving life for Mickey's murder and the killing of Lisa Pate in 1999.


State Superintendent of Education John White yesterday took issue with a recent report that said  Teachers are leaving the classroom in any greater numbers now,  than before Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education system revamp. White said the figures from the state teacher’s retirement system, that showed a 25% increase in the number of teachers retiring didn’t tell the whole story. White said more retirements are based on financial considerations than changes in the classroom. He also went on to say “the teachers who are leaving are more likely to be ineffective.” White insists the overall teacher work force attrition rate has remained at or close to 12 percent for the last three years.


Former Louisiana gubernatorial candidate John Georges, who has business holdings ranging from food service distribution to Galatoire’s restaurant in New Orleans , said Monday he has a “serious interest” in buying The Baton Rouge Advocate. The 52 year old Georges says talks with Capital City Press, which owns The Advocate, “have gone beyond a conversation.” Richard Manship, president and CEO of Capital City Press, disclosed Friday the family-owned newspaper was in talks with a potential buyer.


Chitimacha Police officer, Sgt. Rick Riggenbach, who was killed this weekend  in  a  shootout  with  a 48-year-old St. Mary Parish man is being hailed as a hero.  Wilbert  Thibodeaux  of  Charenton has also

been  charged  with  shooting  deputies  Jason  Javier  and  Matthew Strickland. State Police spokesperson Stephen Hammons says they also believe  Thibodeaux set a mobile home on fire and killed 78-year-old Eddie Lyons.


A  23-year-old old SLU graduate student was found shot to  death  in his  apartment  and  Hammond  police  say one suspect is in custody, while  another  remains at large. They say  Richard  Hudson  of  New Orleans is behind  bars  and  they're  still looking for 20-year-old Terry Landry. It is believed this shooting  occurred  during  a drug deal gone bad.


Police  in  Bossier  City say two people have been found dead inside their home. They say an  elderly couple lived there and police found signs of trauma but no signs  of  forced  entry.  The  investigation



After  two  weak  years, it looks like Louisiana's crawfish  harvest will be better this  year.  LSU  AgCenter aquaculture specialist Dr. Greg Lutz says even though the torrential  rains  earlier this month knocked  a  small  dent in the mudbug population, folks  coming  for Super Bowl will find plenty..:


A  part  of  the  Mississippi River near Vicksburg remains closed to ship traffic as a result  of a barge that hit a railroad bridge. The barge was carrying more than 80-thousand gallons of oil, and some of

it has leaked into the Mississippi  River.  Cleanup  crews are using booms to skim the oily water out of the river.


A Tangipahoa Parish man is recovering from a gunshot to the backside after  a  homeowner  caught him in the act of burglarizing the place. 20-year-old  Richard  Stewart   Jr.   was   reportedly  wearing  the

homeowner's clothes and had some of the man's firearms in hand, when confronted. He fired at the man and missed.  The homeowner fired his weapon--hitting Stewart in the buttocks.


A handcuffed suspect managed to get a New Orleans  Police  officer's gun  and  shoot him with it early Sunday morning. 41-year-old  Damon Jones was being  arrested for causing a disturbance at a convenience store in Eastern New  Orleans.  After  being  cuffed,  he  was being placed in the squad car, and grew combative--getting his hand on the officer's gun and pulling the trigger. The cop was shot in the  leg, but is listed in good condition.


The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied  death  row inmate Christopher Sepulvado's plea to stay his scheduled February  13  execution.  The 69-year-old  Shreveport  area  man was convicted in 1992 for beating and fatally scalding his 6 year old step son. Sepulvado continues to press for clemency from Governor Bobby Jindal.


A part of the Superbowl 47 pregame show  Sunday,  One  Republic  and Matchbox  20  will  be  performing.  Beyonce  will  be  the halftime entertainment and Alicia Keys will sing the National Anthem.



News For Monday 01/28/13

News for Monday 012813

By Dave Graichen


Governor Jindal's plan to eliminate income taxes in favor of higher  sales taxes could put an unfair burden on elderly and retired people. So  says Frank Jobert (jo-BEAR), executive director of the Louisiana Retired  State Employees Association. He says for over 100-thousand people, it  would paying higher taxes, because consumer goods will cost more.  Jobert says retired state employees drawing public pensions do not pay  personal state income taxes. He says they and thousands of others, who  live on limited fixed incomes, would be adversely affected by the  Governor's plan.


The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has voted in favor of  separate brackets for the football playoffs. One bracket will contain  public schools, the other will consist of schools that select their own

admission, like private schools.  The separate playoffs will go into effect this fall and it will likely

mean there will be seven different champions in high school football  next season, five public schools and two so-called select schools. But, it appears  the state legislature may have a say over the decision. Lafayette Senator Page Cortez says  he's heard from his constituents that separate playoffs for

football is a bad idea. He says the state legislature has approved  legislation in the past for the L-H-S-A-A to follow and  a bill could be introduced in the  upcoming legislative session that will address this controversy.


Super Bowl week kicks off today in New Orleans as thousands of  people from around the world will be here to take part in all the  events surrounding the biggest professional sporting event in  America. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says this is a major week for tourism in Louisiana.  Dardenne says this is a chance for people to come away from  Louisiana with a good impression of our state and experience true southern hospitality...and a good time.


State police report 40-year Christopher Travis from Grayson died Saturday when he lost control of his logging truck, left the roadway and struck a tree. The impact caused a load of logs to shift forward and crush the cab. Travis was not wearing his seatbelt and was pronounced dead the investigation into the LaSalle Parish crash continues.


About 500 U-S soldiers in Afghanistan will receive King Cakes this week  thanks to a non-profit group based out of Slidell. "Operation We Care"  sends care packages to servicemen and women throughout the year, but  before Mardi Gras, instead of toiletries they ship king cakes. Operation  We Care President Brenda Odgen says the soldiers are very appreciative.  Ogden says you can go to operation-we-care-dot-com to find out how to  donate to their cause.


Two St. Mary Parish sheriff’s deputies are still in stable condition after they were shot Saturday morning in a shooting that left two others dead. 48 year old Wilbert Thibodeaux is being held in the Iberia Parish Jail on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of arson in the incident. Thibodeaux is also accused in the fatal shootings of a Chitimacha police officer and a mobile home resident.






News For Friday 01/25/13

News for Friday 012513

By Dave Graichen


A Baton Rouge judge Thursday struck down a new 401(k)-type pension plan that was scheduled to take effect July 1 for future state employees. State District Judge William Morvant, who did not rule on the merits of the so-called “cash balance” plan, agreed with the Retired State Employees Association of Louisiana that the plan did not get a two-thirds vote in the 2012 legislative session, as required by the state’s Constitution. The state plans to appeal.


Mary  Landrieu and David Vitter are among a group of 53 senators who are urging  President  Obama  to  support  the  construction  of the Keystone  X-L Pipeline. The pipeline would transport synthetic crude oil from Canada  to  Texas.  Landrieu says members of the Senate are pushing the President to green  light  the project now that Nebraska no longer opposes it. Landrieu  says construction of the Keystone  Pipeline  will  provide much needed jobs and help the U-S move toward energy independence.


LSU  announces  today  that  Les Miles' contract extension  will pay him  four-point-three  million  dollars   a  year.  The  mad  hatter made  3.7 million  dollars  last  season. The  new  deal  also  runs through  the  2019  season.  Miles  would become  the fifth coach in college football to make four-million  dollars  or more  a year. The LSU  Board  of  Supervisors will vote on Miles amended  contract  at their next meeting on February first.


As  of next basketball season, the New Orleans Hornets  will  be  no more.  In  their  place will be the New Orleans Pelicans.  Owner Tom Benson  says it was  a  long  process  to  re-align  the  team  with something  more suitable for a professional basketball team in south Louisiana.   Team  officials  said  the  name  change was made after looking at more than one hundred possible new names.


Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon announced Thursday he has rejected a request by State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. to introduce a regional deductible for homeowner’s coverage. State Farm, Louisiana’ largest insurer, with more than 300,000 homeowner’s policies or 29 percent of the market, is the first company to request such a plan. According to commissioner Donelon, “The regional deductible plan submitted by State Farm neither illustrates the company’s intent to write new business nor denotes how the plan is in the best interest of policyholders.”


The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office says a mother is under arrest  for sending her daughter to school with a sock full of golf balls to  fight bullies. Captain Kip Judice says the 9-year-old child was  reportedly beat up by a group of older students at Charles M. Burke  Elementary School in Duson the day before.


Louisiana State Police  are  investigating  a  fatal deputy-involved shooting  in  St.  John  the  Baptist  Parish. They say  60-year-old Barbara Lassere was pulled over  Wednesday   night for not having her headlights on when she fled from officers. Deputies  pursued her vehicle  and  when they caught up with her she refused to leave  the car then shot at the authorities at which time they returned fire.


The FBI has  subpoenaed  over  1200  DWI case files from St. Charles Parish, that were filed during former  DA Harry Morel's last term in office.  The subpoena requests all records,  whether  the  case  was prosecuted  or not, also cases that were dismissed, refused or lined up for pre-trial diversion. The nature of the FBI's investigation is unknown, and agents aren't talking for now.


The Secretary  of  State's  Office  has  removed  the names of about 52-thousand inactive voters from state rolls. State  law require the periodic purge of voters who have not voted in the past  two federal elections or any state or local race within two years.


Some  folks  in Thibodaux and Terrebonne Parish have  received  fake ransom  calls--telling  them  a  family  member  was  kidnapped  and demanding  money;  usually a thousand dollars. Police say so far not one reported case has  proven  to  be  a  real  kidnapping. They ask residents who get such calls to alert police right away.


Port Allen's own Brandy Hotard is heading to Hollywood after getting  a "yes" from the four judges last night during the Baton Rouge  auditions of American Idol. 26-year-old Hotard, former Miss  Southeastern Louisiana, says this Season 12 was her third time to audition for Idol.



News For Friday 01/25/13

News for Friday 012513

By Dave Graichen


A Baton Rouge judge Thursday struck down a new 401(k)-type pension plan that was scheduled to take effect July 1 for future state employees. State District Judge William Morvant, who did not rule on the merits of the so-called “cash balance” plan, agreed with the Retired State Employees Association of Louisiana that the plan did not get a two-thirds vote in the 2012 legislative session, as required by the state’s Constitution. The state plans to appeal.


Mary  Landrieu and David Vitter are among a group of 53 senators who are urging  President  Obama  to  support  the  construction  of the Keystone  X-L Pipeline. The pipeline would transport synthetic crude

oil from Canada  to  Texas.  Landrieu says members of the Senate are pushing the President to green  light  the project now that Nebraska no longer opposes it. Landrieu  says construction of the Keystone  Pipeline  will  provide much needed jobs and help the U-S move toward energy independence.


LSU  announces  today  that  Les Miles' contract extension  will pay him  four-point-three  million  dollars   a  year.  The  mad  hatter made  3.7 million  dollars  last  season. The  new  deal  also  runs

through  the  2019  season.  Miles  would become  the fifth coach in college football to make four-million  dollars  or more  a year. The LSU  Board  of  Supervisors will vote on Miles amended  contract  at their next meeting on February first.


As  of next basketball season, the New Orleans Hornets  will  be  no more.  In  their  place will be the New Orleans Pelicans.  Owner Tom Benson  says it was  a  long  process  to  re-align  the  team  with

something  more suitable for a professional basketball team in south Louisiana.   Team  officials  said  the  name  change was made after looking at more than one hundred possible new names.


Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon announced Thursday he has rejected a request by State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. to introduce a regional deductible for homeowner’s coverage. State Farm, Louisiana’ largest insurer, with more than 300,000 homeowner’s policies or 29 percent of the market, is the first company to request such a plan. According to commissioner Donelon, “The regional deductible plan submitted by State Farm neither illustrates the company’s intent to write new business nor denotes how the plan is in the best interest of policyholders.”


The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office says a mother is under arrest  for sending her daughter to school with a sock full of golf balls to  fight bullies. Captain Kip Judice says the 9-year-old child was  reportedly beat up by a group of older students at Charles M. Burke  Elementary School in Duson the day before.


Louisiana State Police  are  investigating  a  fatal deputy-involved shooting  in  St.  John  the  Baptist  Parish. They say  60-year-old Barbara Lassere was pulled over  Wednesday   night for not having her headlights on when she fled from officers. Deputies  pursued her vehicle  and  when they caught up with her she refused to leave  the car then shot at the authorities at which time they returned fire.


The FBI has  subpoenaed  over  1200  DWI case files from St. Charles Parish, that were filed during former  DA Harry Morel's last term in office.  The subpoena requests all records,  whether  the  case  was

prosecuted  or not, also cases that were dismissed, refused or lined up for pre-trial diversion. The nature of the FBI's investigation is unknown, and agents aren't talking for now.


The Secretary  of  State's  Office  has  removed  the names of about 52-thousand inactive voters from state rolls. State  law require the periodic purge of voters who have not voted in the past  two federal

elections or any state or local race within two years.


Some  folks  in Thibodaux and Terrebonne Parish have  received  fake ransom  calls--telling  them  a  family  member  was  kidnapped  and demanding  money;  usually a thousand dollars. Police say so far not one reported case has  proven  to  be  a  real  kidnapping. They ask residents who get such calls to alert police right away.


Port Allen's own Brandy Hotard is heading to Hollywood after getting  a "yes" from the four judges last night during the Baton Rouge  auditions of American Idol. 26-year-old Hotard, former Miss  Southeastern Louisiana, says this Season 12 was her third time to audition for Idol.



News For Thursday 01/24/13

News for Thursday 012413

By Dave Graichen


A Rapides Parish teacher is facing more sex-related charges after first being arrested in December on two counts of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Heather Michelle Cooksey of  Pineville was arrested again Tuesday and charged with two more counts of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, four counts of prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student, two counts of sexual battery by fondling and one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile. When Cooksey was arrested in December, she was a teacher at Tioga High School. Cooksey was released on a $35,000 bond.


How Louisiana prepares teachers for the classroom got a C letter grade Wednesday in a national report, the same rating as last year. The state was criticized for what the report called, Lax admission rules to enter teacher training programs. Inadequate preparation for elementary school teachers to give instruction in more rigorous courses starting in 2014. Student teaching programs that fail to ensure a quality experience. On the plus side, the report cited Louisiana as one of just two states that has top-flight ways of rating teacher preparation programs. The report said that no state earned a grade higher than a B-minus. Texas got a C-plus and Arkansas and Mississippi each got a C.


The Louisiana Department  of  Health and Hospitals announces hospice care for Medicaid patients will continue and not end as scheduled on February first. In a statement,  DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein says they plan to use money from existing  grants to support the Medicaid Hospice program for the time being.


Governor Bobby Jindal is the headline speaker tonight at the Republican  National Committee winter meeting in Charlotte. U-L Lafayette Political  Science Professor Pearson Cross says this is a big event for the  governor, who many believe will be a Presidential contender in 2016. Cross says if Jindal is truly considering a run for the oval office in  2016, he needs to perform well tonight in front of the R-N-C.


In  his  first  public  comments after being reinstated by the  NFL, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton  admits  it was difficult to watch the Black  and  Gold during his suspension. He  says  he'd  see  certain

things during  the  games and would become frustrated, but he had to  realize the coaches and  players  were  dealing with a unprecedented situation. Payton says he met with NFL Commissioner  Roger  Gooddell for nearly four hours Monday and was asked by reporters if the Bounty situation came up...Payton replied that it's time to move on.


A recent study from the LSU Center for Energy Studies shows that the  abundant supply of natural gas in Louisiana has resulted in 62-billion  dollars in capital investments for the state over the next five to eight

years. Associate Executive Director for the Center, David Dismukes,  says these natural gas projects will result in thousands of jobs. Dismukes says manufacturers are benefiting from the low price of  natural gas, while natural gas production is also up, which creates  another set of jobs.  Dismukes says this study shows that Louisiana is on the verge of a  manufacturing renaissance and natural gas is driving the train.


Is the NBA team in the Big Easy going to be called  the  New Orleans Pelicans. Earlier reports indicate that's going to be the  new  name and  the  new  colors  will  be navy blue, gold and red. The Hornets

issued a press release yesterday saying a special announcement is going to be made this  afternoon.


The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Department announced  an  arrest yesterday in  last  November's  triple   homicide  that took place  in Lockport.  Sheriff  Craig  Webre says David Brown stabbed  to  death

29-year-old Jacquelin Nieves  and  her two daughters, who were seven years  old  and 20-months old at this  of  the  murders.  Brown  was arrested on separate charges, shortly after the triple homicide.


Here's an  interesting  mix of music. Journey and Rascal Flatts will headline the Super Bowl 47  CMT Crossroads Concert Saturday February 2nd at the Sugar Mill in New  Orleans.  The  show will air on CMT at 11pm the night before the big game between the Ravens and the 49ers.


The   Louisiana  Department  of  Wildlife  and  Fisheries   says   a 26-year-old  man from Carencro was shot in the foot during a hunting trip...allegedly  by  his  friend's dog. Spokesman Travis Huval says

the men had a loaded gun in  the boat and the dog discharged it with his  paw  and  the man was shot.  He  says  this  is  considered  an accidental shooting.


In  the  wake  of the Friday morning  abduction  and  assault  of  a University of Louisiana-Monroe  student,  university police say they are increasing patrols on campus. Lt. Steve  Mahon,  acting director

of the U-L-M police department, says all officers have been assigned 24-hour  patrol  responsibilities,  focusing mainly on areas  around dorms and classrooms.


Should   public   and   private high  schools  compete  in  separate playoffs?  That's   the   major   topic   of   discussion   at   the L-H-S-A-A's  annual convention  which  got   underway  today.  Under

the new proposal, schools would compete against  each  other  during the  regular  season,  but then separate for the playoffs. The  vote on  this controversial proposal will take place on Friday, the final

day of the convention.


An Ascension Parish jury has convicted a Gonzales man on a sixth charge of driving while intoxicated.

There was a problem with charging the man, it seems that state law does not list fifth- or sixth-offense DWI. In the end, 48 year old Paul Naquin Jr. was convicted on a count of fourth- or subsequent-offense DWI. He is being held on 100 thousand dollars bond pending sentencing.






News For Wednesday 01/23/13

News for Wednesday 012313

By Dave Graichen


Sad story out of West Monroe. A house fire  there  has  claimed  the lives of two children. Officials say they believe a 16 month old and a 3-year-old were in a room where the fire started. The cause of the fire  remains  under  investigation  but  no working smoke alarm was found in the home.


The  NFL  has  reinstated  Saints  Head  Coach  Sean  Payton.  In  a statement,  Commissioner  Roger  Gooddell said that Payton had fully complied with all of the requirements  imposed  on  him  during  his suspension.  Payton  will reportedly join GM Mickey Loomis and other coaches in Mobile today  where  they are scouting players for the draft.


Supporters of state funded hospice care will hold a candle-light vigil  on the steps of the State Capitol later this afternoon. As of February  1st, the state will no longer pay for a Medicaid patient to receive  hospice care. Elizabeth Harper, with the Alliance for the Advancement of  End-of-Life Care, says this budget cutting move will impact 1,700 people. Harper says if the state goes through with its plans, Louisiana will  become one of only two state to not pay for Medicaid hospice care.


Senator David Vitter files a series of reform-minded bills, aimed at  promoting "good government". Vitter says he has, again this year, filed  a bill to enact term limits on members of Congress.  Vitter's bill proposes limits of  2 terms for senators and 3 terms for  congressmen. One of his other bills would eliminate automatic pay raises  for Members of Congress. Vitter says it is true that these "auto-raises" have been temporarily suspended during the recession. Vitter has also filed a bill to reform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


The state Republican Party says Senator Mary Landrieu  should cancel a  planned  Saturday  event  in New Orleans featuring Vice President Biden. State GOP Chairman Roger  Villere says that's because of what he calls Biden's "crusade to violate the U.S. Constitution" with gun control laws.


There may be bills filed in the Spring legislative session to ban  certain guns & magazines, or limit ammunition sales, but many feel they  won't go far. Metairie Rep. Joe Lopinto chairs the House Criminal

Justice Committee. He says gun control legislation has little chance in  the Sportmen's Paradise.  Lopinto says there may be a clamor to enact gun controls in Washington  DC, but Louisiana voters just approved a Constitutional amendment last  fall - aimed at protecting citizen gun rights.


Former Governor Edwin Edwards has filed a motion in a federal  district court in Baton Rouge asking that his supervised release end  immediately. Former US Attorney Harry Rosenberg says if lifted,  Edwards wouldn't have to check in with a probation officer.  Rosenberg says Edwards has done his time, paid his fines and done  everything required for his supervised release. Federal prosecutors reportedly support the request to take off the  second half of the three-year supervised release saying Edwards is  "absolutely no risk to public safety”.


The production company for Former  Governor Edwin Edwards and wife Trina's cable  reality  show has applied  for state film & TV tax credits. The state is reviewing that application.  To  qualify  productions  must meet  certain  in-state spending benchmarks must be reached.


Conservative lawmakers in the state House are devising a package of proposals that aim to expand the state budget areas that can be cut during shortfalls and to limit the use of patchwork funding for ongoing programs. Rep. Brett Geymann, a Republican leading the “Budget Reform Coalition,” outlined the basic concepts Tuesday to a business organization. The bills will be unveiled next week. Geymann says the group, which has been at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration over spending tactics, wants more lawmakers involved in the budget. He says the legislation will seek to expand places where spending can be reduced, so colleges and health care don’t take the bulk of the slashing when budget gaps appear. Lawmakers will consider the ideas in the legislative session that begins in April.


Baton Rouge Police say a two-year-old child is dead as a result of a teenager playing with a gun inside a home. BRPD spokesperson, L'Jean McKneely  says the accidental shooting took place Monday  night and the child died from his wounds Tuesday  morning


The state Department of Health and Hospitals is getting ready to hire an internal inspector general to help it with Medicaid fraud prevention efforts. The legislative auditor issued a report finding improper payments and falsification of documents in several programs in which it did spot checks. It was the fifth finding of ineffective audit controls in the non-emergency medical transportation program, according to the auditor’s report. The internal inspector general’s main role will be “to assess risk and devise an Internal Audit Plan for the department. The position is expected to be filled by March.


St. Tammany Parish deputies  say  a  bicyclist  was hit by a car and killed yesterday in Covington. Officers say the teen riding the bike ran a stop sign and was hit by an SUV. That driver  has been cleared of fault in the crash.


Should public and private high schools compete in separate playoffs.  That's the major topic hanging over high school principals as they  gather for the L-H-S-A-A's annual convention which begins today. LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson says the proposal is coming from schools  who think public and private schools should compete for separate titles.

News For Monday 01/21/13

News for Monday 012113

By Dave Graichen


Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and activities are planned throughout the area. In Alexandria, the MLK parade will kick off at 10a on Bolton avenue and finish up at the River Front center downtown, where a noon service will be held with special guest speaker and Pineville native Judge Monique Freeman Rauls.


The Grambling State University Band is participating in today's  Presidential Inaugural Parade. The Grambling Marching Band is one  of only two making a return trip to the inaugural parade. Band

Director Larry Pannell says he's heard President Obama and First  Lady Michelle are big fans of the Grambling band.  The marching band from Grambling is the only historically black  college slated to participate in the parade. Pannell says they plan  to make Louisiana proud.


New federal labor statistics show Louisiana's unemployment rate at 5.5%;  its lowest level since late 2008.  According the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, just under 2-million  people in Louisiana were working in December. The number of jobless  benefits claimants was just under 115-thousand; a decrease of nearly  30-thousand in one year. Louisiana is tied with Minnesota and Virgina for 11th lowest jobless  rate in the U.S.


State lawmakers and medical professional hope they can restore midyear  state budget cuts that will cut Medicaid payments for hospice care. St.  Martin Parish state Senator Fred Mills says he was with lawmakers who  met with hospice providers, who worry the cuts will cost the state more, not less. Mills says that families who can no longer afford hospice care for a  loved one, will be force to use hospitals and emergency rooms for end-of life medical care. He says that racks up much higher Medicaid costs

than would hospice. He hopes the Governor's Office will reconsider the  matter.


Poverty Point in northeast Louisiana has a chance to be included with  other famous sites like the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge and Taj Mahal.  The U-S government has nominated Poverty Point's ancient Native

American mounds for a spot on the World Heritage List. Lt. Governor  Jay Dardenne is glad to see this archaeology site being recognized. There are 962 sites recognized by the World Heritage Center in Paris,

only 21 of those are in North America. Dardenne says the ancient Native  American mounds were built over three-thousand years ago and scientists believe they were constructed in 90 days.




News For Friday 01/19/13

News for Friday 011813

By Dave Graichen


Inspectors taking the first-ever inventory of flood control systems overseen by the federal government have found hundreds of structures at risk of failing and endangering people and property in 37 states, including throughout Central Louisiana. Some of the Cenla levee problem locations cited are in Pineville, Natchitoches, Sicily Island covering Catahoula and Franklin parishes, the Larto-Jonesville area of Catahoula and LaSalle parishes and more. Two levees do not have ratings; the remainder all are classified as “minimally acceptable.”


The state's top school board has  approved  changes to how Louisiana teachers  are  evaluated.  One of the changes will  result  in  more educators receiving a highly  effective  rating,  which is important

for a teacher who is trying to achieve tenure. BESE  President  Chas Roemer  says  they  wanted  to reward more teachers for doing a good Job.


A legislative committee heard yesterday ways public schools are  protecting themselves in the wake of the mass shooting in Connecticut  last month. State Superintendent of Education John White says state law  requires every school to have a crisis management plan, but those plans  can be enhanced. The issue of whether teachers should be armed with guns was brought up  during the discussion. Louisiana Federation of Teachers President  Steve Monaghan says security guards should handle firearms and teachers should worry about educating. Law enforcement officials from around the state agreed Tuesday that it's only a matter of time before a gunman decides to start shooting on a Louisiana school campus.


Shreveport  Rep. Barbara Norton says she intends to file legislation that would require  armed  guards  at all public elementary schools. She made the announcement today at a  meeting  of the House Homeland

Security Committee on the topic of school safety.


A coalition of gun rights and conservative groups has designated  Saturday as "Gun Appreciation Day." Organizer Larry Ward says tomorrow  will be a day where Americans can show their support for gun ownership. Ward says the Obama administration is trampling on the Constitutional  rights of Americans with its gun control policies. He says Saturday will allow second-amendment supporters to protest the President's assault on  gun rights. Meanwhile, gun sales are through the roof.


It's being reported that CenturyLink  plans  to  boost its corporate headquarters in Monroe and break ground as early as  next month on a 250,000-square  foot  expansion.  The  company  says the CenturyLink Technology   Center   of   Excellence  will  include  research   and development labs, network operations  centers and office and meeting space. The state will put up close to $15 million of the $30 million expansion cost.


An assistant district attorney and his secretary pleaded guilty Thursday in an ongoing federal probe of  bribery in the local court system. The pleas come after 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson’s longtime secretary and office administrator, Barna Haynes, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy on Monday in an investigation of bribes paid for favorable treatment, mainly in DWI cases. On Thursday, Greg Williams, an assistant district attorney in Harson’s office, and Williams’ secretary, Denease Curry, both pleaded guilty in the investigation.


The city of Ville Platte and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed an agreement ending the ACLU’s lawsuit against a pedestrians-only curfew. The city has agreed that any future curfew will be the least restrictive needed to meet a “compelling need.” It did not admit liability but will pay the ACLU nearly $16,900 in attorneys’ fees and costs. A rash of break-ins and burglaries prompted the curfew, adopted in February 2011. The ACLU says about 134 people were cited, arrested, fined or jailed before the curfew was suspended in October, after the suit was filed.


The   St.   Landry  Parish  Sheriff's  Office  says  an  Arnaudville Elementary school  teacher  was arrested and charged with six counts of "exhibition of material harmful  to  minors. Deputies say Brandon

Levier admitted to showing R rated movies  to his students. They say a  parent  complained  that her child came home  and  told  her  the teacher showed a movie with a naked woman in it and cuss words. The movies shown were Ted and Hangover.


The Livingston Parish man accused of stabbing his wife last October, and cutting her unborn child from  her  womb,  says he was under the influence  of  synthetic marijuana at the time. 31-year-old  Jeffrey

Reynolds told a judge Thursday  he deeply regrets what he did, and hopes the state will take  steps to eradicate the designer drug. Reynolds' wife survived the gruesome  attack,  the  baby  did  not. He's still

being held in custody awaiting his trial.


The lineup for the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is out. Among top headliners this year, Billy Joel, the Dave  Matthews Band, Willie  Nelson,  Fleetwood Mac and dozens more. Tickets are  now  on sale at "nojazzfest.com" and at ticketmaster. .


A new debt refinancing plan for the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District includes a $108 million payment to get out of a loan agreement that became too costly. The $108 million termination charge is part of a $361 million bond refinancing approved by the State Bond Commission on Thursday. State treasurer John Kenney said, the state in the end, got a good deal and that the agreement got the state out of one of the worst deals he has ever seen. The initial borrowing was done to put what is now called the Mercedes-Benz Superdome back into commerce following Hurricane Katrina and included money for renovations, improvements and working capital. Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s administration initiated the borrowing plan which was opposed by Bond Commission staff. The commission approved it anyway.


Crime Stoppers is seeking help to find the driver of a truck that backed into Tunk's Restaurant off La. Highway 28 West on Wednesday, causing damage to the building and its air conditioning unit, according to a release. The driver was in a black Ford dually pickup truck, and the incident happened around 10:30 p.m. The total amount of damage done hasn't been determined. Anyone with information can call Detective R. Rollins at (318) 473-6727 or Crime Stoppers at (318) 443-7867.

News For Thursday 01/17/13

News for Thursday 011713

By Dave Graichen


Louisiana's  republican  lawmakers  are expressing  their displeasure  with  President  Obama's plan to  combat  gun  violence.  The President's gun-control proposal  includes  a  ban  on high-capacity

magazines  and  "military-style"  assault  weapons,  plus  universal background  checks  on  all  gun  buyers.  Governor Jindal says  the President   is  abusing  his  authority  by  seeking   to   restrict

law-abiding citizens from having access to firearms and ammunition.


Yesterday morning Kentwood Police  Chief  Greg  Newton  turned himself in after an investigation uncovered $2000 seized from a  burglary  that was misappropriated by the Chief. State Police say Newton was booked on  one  count of malfeasance in office and one count of obstruction of justice.


Some  state  tourism officials are concerned with Governor  Jindal's plan to eliminate  state  incomes  taxes,  while raising state sales taxes to offset revenues. They worry that significantly higher sales

taxes  could  have  a  chilling  effect  on the state's  hospitality industry--especially in New Orleans, where  local  sales  taxes  are already  high  and there's a 14% tax on hotel rooms. They say they'd be supportive of some kind of exemptions.


Cigarette smokers could pay more to puff if Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax package succeeds in the upcoming legislative session. Aides confirmed Wednesday that the governor is looking at what neighboring states charge in tobacco taxes and is considering putting Louisiana more in line with its neighbors. At 36 cents per pack of cigarettes, Louisiana’s state sales tax is among the lowest in the region. Texas and Arkansas charge more than a dollar in state sales tax. Just two years ago, the governor opposed a 70-cent hike in the state sales tax on a pack of cigarettes. He also vetoed a 4-cent cigarette tax renewal, characterizing it as a tax increase. Now, with the task of replacing nearly $3 billion in state revenue that would vanish through his push to eliminate the state personal income and corporate taxes, it’s believed the governor will take a different stand on the matter.


State Superintendent of Education John White got a positive job review Wednesday from the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Chas Roemer, president of the board, said the superintendent got the second highest rating of four — effective/proficient, which is defined as meeting between 75 percent and 99 percent of goals. The superintendent has held the job for about one year, and the review was the first of its kind since he took the job.


Louisiana's state school board agreed Wednesday to shrink the number of mandates required of local districts, despite concerns the move would let schools eliminate counselors and librarians to cut costs.


Superintendent of Education John White proposed changes to 150 different sections of policies governing school systems. They included eliminating the statewide school calendar and changing physical education standards to allow credit for extracurricular activities such as cheerleading and participation in marching band. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education backed the changes with no discussion, after making modest adjustments a day earlier in a committee meeting. As approved, schools can sidestep requirements for how many counselors and librarians they must have, raising complaints that it will let schools do away with the jobs altogether.


There’s been another major drug bust in Cenla.  The Rapides parish sheriff’s office reports 5 people have been arrested and charged with the selling of meth and other drugs in the Hineston area.  Deputies said they found meth, three types of Xanax, marijuana, digital scales and drug paraphernalia at a highway 121 home.


The word isn’t official yet, but an Austin, Texas, clean energy company’s website says it plans to develop a $1 billion methanol plant at the Port of South Louisiana in LaPlace. Zero Emissions Energy Plants Ltd. said on its website that construction of the facility is set to begin in the third quarter of 2013 and the plant will be operational by the end of 2015.


Has the bad weather this week got you down? According to Michelle  Moore, a clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the LSU  Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, it's very common to get the

blues during nasty weather.  Moore says bad weather increases depressive symptoms and also  anxiety. She says when it's cold and rainy outside, it takes more  effort for people to go out and do anything.


A state legislative committee meets today to discuss how Louisiana  schools are protecting themselves following the tragic mass shooting in  Connecticut. Chairman of the Homeland Security committee, Rep. John  Schroder, says legislators want to make sure schools around the state  are safe for Louisiana students.  Schroder says during today's meeting, school superintendents, principals  and law enforcement officials will discuss if any new procedures need to  be put in place by the state Legislature.  Schroder says in the light of the Newtown school shooting one popular  topic of discussion is the possibility of arming teachers or school  administrators or having armed security guards on campus.


The flu outbreak has been bad in the Bayou state. Health officials say  children are particularly vulnerable to the flu and other illnesses. But  L-S-U AgCenter nutritionist Denise Holston-West says parents can help ward  off the flu by providing their little ones with a healthy diet. Holston-West recommends a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and  vegetables for children along with whole grains and calcium-rich foods.

 She also says proteins can help ward off illnesses. By the way,  Holston-West says it's better for children to get nutrients from the  food they eat, rather than get them from vitamins.


A sign outside a New Iberia motel  has  been turning some heads. The recently renovated Mike's Inn Motel has a  sign  reading "drug free, 'ho  free  motel"...the  owner's  way of saying his business  is  no

longer a haven for illegal activity.  He  says  it's  working and he stays booked up.




News For Wednesday 01/16/13

News for Wednesday 011613

By Dave Graichen


The threat of icy roads has forced the closure of the following schools today: Rapides, Grant and LaSalle  parish Public  schools and all Catholic schools in Rapides Parish, Hope Baptist, Calvary Baptist Daycare, Bright Beginnings, Alexandria Country Day, Emmanuel Baptist Day School and Horseshoe drive United Methodist in Alexandria, England Airpark Child Development Center,  Montessori Educational Center in Alexandria  First Baptist in Pineville,  Bentley Christian Academy and Temple Christian Academy in Jena. Also, Unitech Training Academy and Kolin Learning Center in Pineville. All Closed..


*Munchkinland Child Development Center ,Extra Care Academy in Pineville, Creative Development Center in Pineville, Tiny Tot Skool in Alexandria, Kollege Kamp, *Litte Hearts & Hands Daycare  Y.A.L.E. Private School in Ball, Little Angels' Activity Center in Ball,


NSU Cenla campuses at the Learning Center & RRMC will be closed Weds. All other NSU campus locations will be open.


LSUA and satellite campuses, including Learning Center for Rapides Parish will open at noon Weds.

LSUE at LSUA Campus will open at noon Weds.


Rapides Parish Courthouse Note: Those on Judge Yeager's Jury should report to court at 9am on Thurs.
YWCA of Alexandria-Pineville.
Rapides Senior Centers.


Also due to the weather, I-49 is now closed between MacArthur Drive Rapides Station. Also closed is the Broadway Avenue overpass.


The Gillis Long or Jackson Street bridge is also closed.



An article in today’s Town Talk, written by Jeff Matthews, reports Multiple entities have expressed interest in taking over public hospitals in North and Central Louisiana, including Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville. According to a recently released report from LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, "multiple written indications of interest were received" from potential nonprofit or private partners.  However, Names of the interested providers or other details were not released, and may not be until deals are struck. Representatives from Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital and Rapides Regional Medical Center confirmed they have had discussions about Huey P. Long, but did not provide further details. In an effort to cut costs, the state decided last year to pursue turning over LSU-run health care services for the poor and uninsured to the private sector. That includes the three hospitals under the management of LSU health science center in Shreveport,  Huey P. Long, University Medical Center in Shreveport and E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe.


Two Jefferson Parish state lawmakers  file  a legal challenge of the state's   budget--saying   its   financing   violates    the   state Constitution.  Republican  Representatives  Cameron  Henry and  Kirk

Talbot  allege that the Governor's budget tactics--particularly  his use   of   one-time    money    to    pay   recurring   expenses—is unconstitutional.  Attorney  General  Buddy   Caldwell   and   State

Treasurer John Kennedy are named in the suit as defendants.


State Treasurer John Kennedy says Governor Jindal's plan to end state  incomes tax is a bold idea, but it raises a LOT of questions. Kennedy  says the proposed tax swap would do away with payroll taxes while hiking  sales taxes by up to 3 percent. He'd like to see some of the Jindal  team's math on that. Kennedy agrees the plan is innovative and may help to bring more  commerce to Louisiana. However, he says, until the Governor's Office  provides a lot more details, he's brimming with unanswered questions.


Another gun in school incident. This time, in Morehouse Parish where a 17-year-old at  Bastrop  High brought a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol to school...with a loaded clip on his person. The school says

the boy's parents tipped them off that their son might have the gun. Deputies  say  the clip was not in the gun when the boy was arrested.


A Prairieville woman  wins  a quarter-million dollar Louisiana Lotto jackpot  on  a  ticket  she  didn't   even   mean  to  buy.  Lottery spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says Shannon Peabody  meant  to  buy  a

Powerball  ticket  for the November 28th drawing. Peabody tucked the Lotto  ticket  into her  purse  and  forgot  about  it  for  over  a month. After taxes, Peabody took home $175-thousand, which she plans to use for a college fun for her 9-year-old daughter.


Slidell Police  say a burglary suspect wore camouflage to break into a local business,  but  forgot  one  important  thing  - a mask.  The owner of  Kenney's Seafood quickly realized he had been burglarized, when he found cash missing from the register, so he checked the security cameras. The video showed the crook with a bucket over his head. Just one problem, he had to keep lifting it up to see where he was going. The  suspect,  23-year-old Richard Boudreaux is charged with simple burglary and as you may suspect, drug  possession.


Police in Monroe say a man is under  arrest for setting his mother's house  on  fire Sunday while there were  people  inside.  Monroe  PD spokesperson Detective Jeff Gilbert says 38-year-old Dominique Ellis

was told to  leave  the residence after he told his mom he wanted to watch her die. He says when police arrived they encountered Ellis on the scene after he'd set a small corner of the house on fire. Ellis is charged with aggravated arson.


A couple from Lafourche Parish who just got married, are each headed to separate prisons. 30-year-old Tanna Hawkins and 28-year-old  Tara Hawkins  were  married  the  first  week of January, after they knew

they'd both be pleading guilty on cocaine  distribution charges. The convictions  on un-related charges would have  prevented  them  from living together  after  their release from prison (each as convicted

felons) unless they were married.


New  Orleans Police say a Texas woman they arrested for working as a prostitute  out of a downtown hotel had her 4-year-old son with her. Officers were  tipped  to  28-year-old Miranda Crisp by an online ad

she placed for sexual services  on a trading website. They found the child, when they moved in to make  the  arrest.  The  child  will be placed with Protective Services.



News For Tuesday 01/15/13

News for Tuesday 011513

By Dave Graichen


The Louisiana Department of Transportation says they're preparing to  deal with icy road conditions as the possibility of snow, rain and  sleet threatens north Louisiana. DOTD spokesperson Susan Stafford says emergency personal are ready to mobilize crews if roads ice over. Stafford says they will give drivers advanced warning, if roads become  unfavorable for travel.


The state department of education is proposing to make it slightly  easier for new public school teachers to achieve tenure status. A  teacher with tenure has more job security. But state Superintendent of

of Education John White says under this proposal a vast majority  teachers will still not achieve tenure status and that's by design.  A new teacher must be rated "highly effective" in five out of six  years to gain tenure. The proposed change will allow a new teacher to  receive a "highly effective" rating if they are in the 80th percentile,  instead of the 90th of all public school teachers.  The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will discuss White's  proposal today and a vote by the entire board is expected tomorrow.


Public  school  teachers  are retiring at a higher rate than normal. The Teachers Retirement System  of  Louisiana  says  there's  been a 25-percent  increase  in  the number of teachers retiring. Louisiana

Association of School Superintendents  President  Michael Faulk says many teachers are leaving the profession, because of the new teacher evaluation system. Faulk says state education officials  recognize a problem  and  will  ask BESE to approve changes on how teachers  are evaluated. BESE is expected to consider  the  changes  to  the  current teacher evaluation system at their meetings tomorrow and Wednesday.


Congratulations going out to Rapides Parish Police Juror Joe Bishop. Bishop, who represents District B, was elected president of the police jury, without opposition, at the jury's monthly meeting Monday. District A Juror "Bubba" Moreau was elected vice president, also without opposition.


State police are investigating a crash yesterday morning on HWY 1 in Natchitoches parish that left a Pineville man with serious injuries. Troopers say 28 year old Michael Moore Jr lost control of his vehicle and struck two trees. He was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Routine toxicology tests are pending.  The crash remains under investigation.


State police have arrested a former Jennings police chief, who stayed on the force as a police officer,  on suspicion that he removed items from police department’s evidence room. 52 year old Johnny Lassiter  resigned from the department last Tuesday and was  arrested a short time later. Jennings police requested assistance from the State Police, which led to an audit of the department’s evidence room and to Lassiter’s arrest.


The former secretary and office administrator for 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson in Lafayette  pleaded guilty Monday to allegations of accepting at least $55,000 in bribes to give criminal defendants a break, mainly in DWI cases. 58 year old Barna Haynes faces up to five years in prison on a count of conspiracy in an ongoing federal investigation of bribery in the local court system. U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said Monday that she anticipates more guilty pleas in the investigation. The scheme was carried out without Harson’s knowledge or approval but occurred because of a “lack of oversight and safeguards,” according to a summary of the allegations filed by prosecutors.


The  rain  on  top  of the rain in South Louisiana  is  causing  the mudbugs  to swim out of  their  ponds.  Louisiana  Crawfish  Farmers Association  president  David  Savoy says not only are they having a

problem with crawfish getting out,  predator  fish  are getting into the  ponds  and  eating  the  crawfish. The end result will be, as you may suspect, higher prices.


It's being reported that the city of  Denham  Springs has decided to settle what's being called "the middle finger display" case and will not take action against Sarah Childs. The ACLU  of  Louisiana  filed

suit on her behalf after the woman claimed she was asked to take the unconventional  lights  down  or pay a fine. Law officials in Denham denied such a threat was made.



Police in Baton Rouge say they arrested a 13-year-old  sixth  grader at  a  local  middle  school  after a loaded .380 caliber pistol was found  in his book bag. School officials  made  the  discovery  while

breaking  up  an argument between the student and another child. The boy is charged  with  Carrying  a  Firearm  by  a  Student on School Property and Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm.


The  former  Shreveport  city  official  convicted of raping a woman after the 2010 Independence Bowl wants his  conviction  tossed  out. Rick  Seaton  says the sexual contact he had with a young woman that

night was consensual. He's currently serving an 18-year prison term.




News For Monday 01/14/13

News for Monday 011413

By Dave Graichen


After a warm weekend, get ready for some cold temperatures today. Matt  Hemingway with the National Weather Service in Shreveport says it's the  result of a strong cold front.  High temperatures today will struggle to get out of the 30s along the  I-20 corridor. Highs will be in the low to mid 40's in central Louisiana and  upper 40s in south Louisiana. Hemingway says this latest blast of cold  air will be around for a few days.  Hemingway says there is a slight chance for some wintery precipitation tonight and into tomorrow morning in north Louisiana, but it shouldn't cause problems.


Funeral services will be held tomorrow for Marion Edwards, the brother of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards. Edwards died Saturday at his home in Broussard.  Visitation for Marion Edwards will be held at in Crowley today and tomorrow morning. The funeral will be held at the First Church of the Nazarene in Crowley  at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Marion Edwards was 84.


State lawmakers react to Governor Jindal's proposed tax reform plan that  would eliminate personal and corporate income taxes. Mr. Jindal's  proposal would raise state sales taxes from 4% to 7% to offset revenues.  Lafayette Rep. Joel Robideaux chairs the House Ways & Means Committee.  He says, at first blush, the plan looks good. Robideaux says Florida and Texas have no income taxes and both have

growing economies. He says doing the same will make Louisiana more  attractive as a place to live and a place to locate a business.  The Governor's Office says current tax exemptions for groceries,  utilities and prescription drugs would remain.


Economic development officials in northern Louisiana feel 2013 will be a  great year for business and jobs growth, based on momentum generated in  2012. Scott Martinez is President of the North Louisiana Economic  Partnership. He says there are a number of companies planning to locate  or expand along the I-20 corridor. Martinez says the region is well-positioned to capture a substantial  share of new projects that are eyeing Louisiana. He says those projects  will mean significant growth in jobs for northern parishes. He says, if Louisiana eliminates its corporate and personal income tax  this legislative session, even more projects are likely to come here


In the 2013 National Report Card on education, Louisiana's overall  ranking jumped to 15th this year, from 23rd last year and up from 44th  in 2008. State Superintendent of Education John White says these

numbers are something to be proud of and indicate that the state is  moving in the right direction.  Louisiana got an overall grade of C+ for the third consecutive year.  The state received an A for education standards, assessments and  accountability and aligning early childhood education for college and

careers. However, Louisiana received an F for public  education achievement.






Can spring be very far away? The start of the college baseball season is about one month away and  today the 4th ranked Tigers begin individuals work-outs.



News For Friday 01/11/13

News for Friday 011113

By Dave Graichen


The rain has stopped for the moment. Flooded streets and yards have started to drain. That after a very slow moving storm moved it’s way across the state over the past few days. The National Weather Service reported rainfall totals of 7.30 inches in Alexandria between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday. The Rapides Parish Highway Department closed 62 roads Thursday due to flooding. In Concordia parish there are unconfirmed reports of up to 17 inches of rain from the storm.


St. Martin Parish has declared  a  state of emergency,  after  an  EF-1  tornado  touched  down in Breaux Bridge Wednesday. The twister was about 50 yards wide and cut a three-mile-long swath  through  the  area.  About  30  or more homes and  businesses sustained damage; some minor, some severe.


Security cameras at the SNF Flopam plant in  the  town of Plaquemine captured images if an EF-1 tornado that tore through  the  facility; doing  structural and roof damage. Employees hunkered down and  rode out the twister. No one is reported hurt.


There is a plan circulating from the governor’s office that may prove quite  popular  with  a  lot of people, but is far from being a done deal:  eliminate the state income tax and corporate taxes.  Governor

Bobby Jindal's office says their plan would replace the lost revenue by increasing the state sales  tax.   According  to  the Monroe News Star, eliminating the state income tax would require increasing  the

state sales tax from four to seven percent.  The governor says he'll be  meeting  with legislators during the coming weeks to discuss the plan.


The Rapides Parish sheriff’s department reports two inmates who walked away from a detention center Wednesday night have been recaptured. Both were found and taken into custody without incident. The men were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center and each charged with simple escape.


Local authorities have shut down a meth lab in Pineville. According to the Rapides parish sheriff’s department, it was a tip from a concerned citizen led to the arrests of three people at 1715 Oakland St., and the seizure of the lab..


Public school counselors said Thursday their education role would be radically diminished or even eliminated under a plan by state Superintendent of Education John White to give local districts more flexibility. Under current rules, high schools are supposed to have one counselor for every 450 students.

White’s proposal would eliminate that requirement. A committee of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is set to take up the issue on Tuesday of next week.


Louisiana got an F for public education achievement Thursday for the third consecutive year in an annual study done by Education Week magazine. However, better grades in other areas allowed the state to finish 15th in the nation in the rankings, up from 23rd last year and 44th in 2008. The review, which is called Quality Counts, assigns grades to each state in six areas, including academic performance, standards and assessments and teacher quality. Louisiana got an overall grade of C+ for the third consecutive year.


Congratulations to Bob Tompkins and Lyn Rollins. They are the state’s winners of the 2012 National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Awards, announced Thursday. Lyn Rollins, a resident of Pineville who is a broadcaster for Cox Sports and host of Tiger Talk on 969 KZMZ, was named the Louisiana Sportscaster of the Year for the fourth time. Tompkins, a senior sports reporter and columnist for The Town Talk, was named the Louisiana Sportswriter of the Year for the fourth time. They’ll be honored as part of the 54th Annual NSSA Awards Weekend in Salisbury, NC later this year.


After a brief spell of prices around or below $3, gasoline is on the  rise again. Louisiana AAA (Triple A) fuel analyst Don Redman says  tensions in the Middle East, and the threat of possible war between

Israel & Iran, are behind the recent spike in crude oil prices. He says  that means we all pay more at the pump.  Average retail gasoline prices have risen 6-cents in the past week.


An 8-year-old Houma girl is the youngest person to ever be nominated for an Oscar for  Best  Actress.  Quvenzhane (kwa-vin-jin-ee) Wallis was just 6 when she appeared as "Hushpuppy"  in the independent film "Beasts  of The Southern Wild", which was shot  here  in  Louisiana. Critics are raving about the girl's stirring performance. The Oscars will be handed out in late February.




News For Thursday 01/10/13

News for Thursday 011012

By Dave Graichen


Southern Louisiana braces for more possible flash flooding, as showers  and thunderstorms drench the state again today. State Climatologist  Barry Keim says there's still the potential for another 3 to 4 inches of rain  on top of the soaking the state got Wednesday. Heavy rains Wednesday caused flooding of low-lying areas, and closure of  numerous roads due to high water. Keim says river basins are swollen to

capacity, and more rain is expected today and into tomorrow, with  another front coming over the weekend.


Louisiana is one  of  29 states reporting high levels of people with flu-like symptoms. Flu  bug  expert  Dr.  Frank Welch with the state office of public health says they've seen a  surge  in  flu activity since  the  Christmas  holidays. Welch  says  they  are  hearing every four of  ten  patients  in  an emergency room are suffering from flu-like symptoms.  He says many health care providers still have flu vaccines available and  Louisiana residents should do what they can to prevent flu cases.  Again, welch says  he can't say  it enough. Please wash your hands often and if you feel like you have the flu...stay home.


The  Crowley Police Department says a  34-year-old  woman  is  under arrest  for  sending  threatening text messages to herself. They say Trudy Miller tried convince  investigators  that  the  messages were

coming from her ex-boyfriend. But the cops found out that  phone was actually  in  her  possession.  She  is charged with a felony: false swearing for violation of health or safety.


A 35-year-old Lake Charles man has plead  guilty  to manslaughter in the  February  2009  murder  of  his  grandmother. Carl  Webb  was sentenced to 12 years in prison to run concurrent  with  the 65 year

sentence he received on unrelated weapons charges.


Gas prices  on  the  rise  again.  The statewide average price for a gallon of regular jumped 2 cents last  night to $3.21. That's up six cents from last week.


A  number  of New Orleans residents have rented their homes out  for the Super Bowl.  Only  trouble  is  there's a city ordinance against doing that. Homeowners who rent temporarily  have to carry insurance

for their short-term tenants, and  very few have  that coverage. It's unknown if the city will enforce the ordinance.


Significant provisions of President Barack Obama's federal health care  law go into effect in 2014, but Louisiana residents will notice some  changes this year. Louisiana Association of Health Plans Chief executive  officer, Jeff Drozda, says many residents will set their premiums  increase.  Under the new federal health care law, Louisiana individuals and  families will no longer have deductibles or co-payments for certain  preventive health care services. But Drozda says those costs will show  up elsewhere.  Drozda says as the year goes on, expect to hear more about the  insurance exchanges that will become available in 20-14. He says the  "exchanges" are where uninsured individuals can buy coverage next year.


Louisiana farmers are facing an uncertain future because Congress has  failed to pass a new farm bill. Over the Holidays Federal lawmakers  approved an extension to the current farm bill which will expire at

the end of September. But LSU Ag Center Economist Mark Salassi says  this makes it difficult for farmers to make planting decisions. He says the  current farm bill includes direct payments that benefit many of  Louisiana row crop farmers, but those could become a thing of the  past when a new farm bill is passed.


A Winnsboro police officer is facing a charge of malfeasance in office  for shooting a deer while on patrol. Louisiana Department of Wildlife  and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says 34-year-old Chester Coleman  of Enterprise was booked into the Franklin Parish jail. Einck says Winnsboro police officer Joshua Martin and a local prison security guard, Hunter Guimbellot (Gum-bellow) of Winnsboro, were also  cited for helping to put the deer into a trunk of a patrol vehicle for  later cleaning.



News For Wednesday 01/09/12

News for Wednesday 010913

By Dave Graichen


Most of south Louisiana to northeast Louisiana is under a flash flood  watch through Thursday. State climatologist Barry Keim says a warm front  colliding with a cold front will bring the chance of large amounts of  rain throughout the state. That along with  the already drenched surfaces could lead to flooding. Keim says the warm front will most likely create only drizzly conditions  today, but says Thursday might be worse, with thunderstorms likely and  the possibility of hail and even tornadoes.


The Alexandria City Council voted Tuesday evening to take the next step in answering the $150 million question: Should the city become its own power supplier or not?  The ordinance  allows the city administration to go forward and decide which of two scenarios -- the city generating its own power or renegotiating a new agreement with Cleco -- is the best choice for long-term rate stability for the city and its ratepayers.


From the who’s watching the store department, The Rapides Parish School Board has so far paid more than $20,000 to the private firm it hired to aid its search for a permanent superintendent of schools. Invoices from the firm were released and presented to School Board members on Monday. That’s for work done to this point. The companies new contract has kicked in and more charges will be rung up over the next 4 month. Those charges are expected to be close to an additional $7,000. The most current timeline shows the Board naming the next superintendent of Rapides schools on April 9.


According to an education policy organization known as StudentsFirst,  Louisiana tops the nation for policies that prioritize the interests  of children. State Superintendent of education John White says the

state earned the highest grade in policies involving teacher  development, school choice and turning around low performing schools.  White says Louisiana is in the middle of a great turnaround in the education system. He says they've recognized that students test  scores are some of the lowest in the country and that's  unacceptable.


After a one-month delay, Louisiana’s top school board is expected to approve a proposal by state Superintendent of Education John White that would give local school districts more flexibility.

The changes, among other things, would let districts set their own academic calendars and give them new authority over awarding credit hours. The board is set to take up the issue on Jan. 15th.


An advisory panel that will offer guidance to the LSU System board about ways to reorganize the system and its campuses started its work yesterday with a tight timeline. The group is expected to provide its first  recommendations by March. The 10-person group will talk to higher education experts, comb through previous studies and look at other university models as it suggests restructuring proposals to the Board of Supervisors. LSU’s system-wide reorganization comes after five years of state budget cuts across Louisiana colleges and universities.


The  man  who  pled  guilty  to  the murders of UL-Lafayette student Mickey Shunick and Lisa Pate is asking  a  judge  to void the pleas. Brandon  Scott  Lavergne alleges he felt pressured to  plead  guilty

because he faced  the  death  penalty.  It's being reported Lavergne filed hand-written court motions seeking to not only void the pleas, but also the life sentence.


Washington Parish authorities report  three people are facing  two counts of first degree murder in connection with the murders of two men over the weekend. Brandon Alexander and Denzell Wise were killed in the shooting that took place near the village of Varnado. Authorities says they are still trying  to determine a motive, but there's speculation the men were arguing over  a four-wheeler that was possibly stolen.


A new poll by Public Policy Polling ranks Congress pretty unpopular. How unpopular? Respondents  had higher opinions of cockroaches, root canals, traffic jams, used car salesmen and brussel sprouts.


L-S-U's  Pennington  Biomedical Research Center is studying whether a smart phone  can  help  a  woman control her weight during pregnancy.  Study  co-leader  Dr.  Leanne  Redman  says  the  weight management program is called "Smart  Moms".  She  says two-thirds of pregnant women exceed the recommended weight gain guidelines  by  30 to 50 pounds. Redman  says  if  the study shows that "Smart Moms" is successful in helping pregnant women  control  their  weight,  the  app could help

thousands of soon-to-be mothers around the country.


State Police say a 33-year-old Jeanerette man  is dead after his car struck a loaded sugarcane cart. They say Wilbur  Alexander,  who was not  restrained,  was northbound on La Highway 85 when the collision

occurred...and pronounced dead later at a local hospital.


Police in Slidell  are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year old man who was discovered  in  a  parking  lot Monday  night. They say Warren Pryor appears to have been shot twice  in  the  head  and was pronounced  dead at the scene. New Orleans police apparently have  a suspect in custody  and  the  victim's  car  was also located in New Orleans after it was burned.



News For Tuesday 01/08/12

News for Tuesday 010812

By Dave Graichen


Former Governor Buddy Roemer says it might be time for Governor Jindal  to consult with he and other former governors on budget cuts and higher  education funding. Roemer says colleges continue to struggle and it may  be time for some helpful brainstorming on the matter with others  experienced in running the state.  In 2009, Roemer initiated a meeting with Governor Jindal to talk budget cuts and state colleges. He says he asked former governors Kathleen Blanco, Dave Treen and Mike Foster to accompany him. Unfortunately, former governor Edwin Edwards was, shall we say, pre-occupied at the time. However, this time he is willing and able to attend.  Roemer feels that meeting will happen sometime this year.


State Police arrested a school bus driver in Calcasieu Parish yesterday  morning that allegedly had a blood alcohol level two-and-a-half times  the legal limit. State police say 26-year-old Matthew Richard of Sulphur was observed speeding and weaving on  Highway 27 about six miles south of DeQuincy. Troopers say the bus, which is registered to the Calcasieu Parish  School Board, did not have any children on it at the time of the traffic stop. But he says the bus was loaded with kids earlier in the morning.


At the same time Gov. Bobby Jindal is launching a study committee on school safety, his administration is cutting a program that helps children with behavioral health problems.The Early Childhood Supports and Services program will stop providing assessment, counseling and case management to young children in low-income families at the end of the month. The program employs 76 people, who will lose their positions. The $2.8 million the program is slated to receive in federal funds over the next five months will be used elsewhere in the $25 billion state operating budget to supplant state dollars.


US Senator David Vitter says Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is an  idiot for saying that Hurricane Katrina was nothing in comparison to  what happened to the people in New England after Hurricane Sandy.  Reid made the comments Friday on the Senate floor. Vitter says both  storms were horribly destructive that caused human misery. Vitter says it's never a good idea to compare disasters, but even More so when a statement is completely false. He says Katrina caused  1800 deaths compared to about 130 from Hurricane Sandy. Senator  Mary Landrieu issued a statement saying Reid misspoke,  has clarified  his  statement  and  has  been a strong advocate for Gulf Coast's recovery.


Vitter  says  he'll   vote   against  President  Obama's  choice  of Republican  former Nebraska Senator  Chuck  Hagel  to  be  the  next Defense Secretary.  Vitter says Hagel is hostile towards Israel, who

are the U.S.'s strongest  ally  in  the Middle East. He says Hagel's appointment would embolden radical Islamic  extremists. Vitter is on the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Just 54 teachers in Louisiana achieved certification in 2012 from a well-regarded national teaching organization, a fifth as many teachers as when the program was at its peak in this state. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced the results Monday. The totals are down from 102 in 2011 and 148 in 2010. Louisiana’s peak for nationally certified teachers was 250 teachers in 2005. The downward trend is likely to continue, at least in Louisiana. Michelle Accardi, director of state policy and outreach, said the number of new Louisiana applicants for certification for 2013 is down 60 percent from where it was a year ago.


The state Judicial Compensation Commission on Monday recommended a multiyear pay raise plan for Louisiana’s judges. The plan would this year increase Supreme Court justices’ pay by 5.5 percent, appeals court judges by 3.7 percent and general trial court judges by 4 percent. The raise would cost an estimated $1.7 million. After that the judges’ pay would increase 2.1 percent a year through 2017 The plan now advances to the Louisiana Legislature for consideration.


Public broadcasting's most popular show is coming to Louisiana.  Louisiana Public Broadcasting president and CEO Beth Courtney says  PBS's "Antiques Roadshow"  will be at the Baton Rouge River Center on July 27th  to film three episodes. Courtney says the last time the show came to  Louisiana was in 2002, when it filmed in New Orleans. Tickets to be in the Roadshow will be free, but only 6000 (3000 antique owners plus their guest) will be chosen by lottery.   The Antiques Roadshow show is watched by  over 10-million viewers each week.


The star of another Louisiana based A&E reality show, The Governor's  Wife, promises this is one like no other. 34-year-old Trina Scott  Edwards, wife of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, says even though her husband is 51 years older than she is, they're your  typical married couple. She says that's why she agreed to do the show. Edwards says the show will highlight their home life with her own teenage sons, as well as her step-daughters, 62-year-old Anna and 60  year old Victoria. She also says a large part of the show's storyline  is about her efforts to have a child with her 85-year-old husband.  The show will premiere on February 27th and will air right after the  popular West Monroe based reality show, Duck Dynasty.


Washington Parish Sheriff's  deputies  are still looking for two men they believe may be involved in a shooting  that  left  two men dead and  two  injured. They say Denzell Wise and Brandon Alexander  were found dead  in a vehicle north of Bogalusa. Two suspects are already in custody and  two others are being sought. It's being reported the incident sparked  because  of  a  dispute  regarding the sale of a 4 wheeler.


Vernon  Parish  deputies  arrest  an  Oakdale man for making threats against a school. Arrest records say 31-year-old Keith Hernandez was booked into parish jail on a $100-thousand  bond. 





Tigers running back Michael Ford is the latest LSU junior who has  decided to forego his senior year and enter the NFL draft. Ford rushed  for nearly 400 yards and scored 3 touchdowns in 2012. Tiger Rag Magazine  Editor Cody Worsham says Ford is one of nine underclassmen who have decided to leave LSU early  for a chance at getting selected in the NFL draft. Worsham says the loss  of these players will keep the Tigers from competing for a national  title next season.


And in case you were under a rock last night, the No. 2 Crimson Tide of Alabama  rolled top-ranked Notre Dame 42-14 for the BCS championship. In doing so, the tide locked up a second straight national title and third in four years






News For Monday 01/07/13

News for Monday 010713

By Dave Graichen


In the wake of the school shooting tragedy in Connecticut, Governor  Jindal has formed a special Study Group to look at safety measures in  Louisiana schools and colleges. State Police Superintendent Col. Mike  Edmonson will head up the group. He says folks from numerous agencies will take part. Edmonson says the panel will look at safety and security measures  currently in place, with an eye on how they can be improved to assure  Louisiana students are safe. Edmonson says the Governor has set no deadline for the panel's findings.


A Lake Charles gun range offers to provide firearm training to school  teachers. Louisiana Shooters Unlimited told the Calcasieu Parish School  System they would provide the free training to teachers approved by the  school board. The gun range's lead trainer, Matthew Courtney, says it's not enough to just have armed  security guards at schools.  Schools statewide are firearm free zones. But Courtney says a state law  gives school principals the authority to allow certain teachers to carry  a gun into the school. He says they may ask other school boards around  the state if they want their teachers to attend one of their hand gun  training sessions.


Women's shelters and other domestic violence abuse programs across  the state are taking the brunt of the latest round of state budget  cuts. Beth Meeks is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition

Against Domestic Violence. She says because of the cuts she estimates  they will be forced to cut the number of beds for  battered women and children by a third. She says outreach programs  and services may also be forced to shut down. The Jindal administration says the state wants to move away from  costly residential care for domestic violence victims in favor of  short-term hotel stays.


Flu season in Louisiana is off to a roaring start, with a large number  of reported cases and no peak in sight. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy  Guidry says there's more flu virus activity this year than has been seen  in recent years. Guidry says it's important to go see your doctor  if you feel sick--even if you've already had the flu shot.


About 85 Louisiana Army National Guard soldiers are heading to the  Middle East to assist in military aviation operations. The 204th Theater  Airfield Operations Group and the 2-244th Airfield Operations Battalion  deployed out of Pineville yesterday.  The Louisiana National Guard says they have about 270 of their soldiers  and airmen already deployed overseas. The units will conduct mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, before deploying overseas for at least a year.


Rep. John Fleming was the only member of the Louisiana Congressional delegation to vote against a bill that will set aside $9.7 billion to pay flood insurance claims related to the Superstorm Sandy. Fleming, a Republican from Minden whose district includes parts of Central Louisiana, said he could not support the measure because it was not offset with spending cuts elsewhere. The bill passed 354-67 in the House with all of the "no" votes coming from Republicans. The Senate passed the measure later in the day on a voice vote.


Four term Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards and his 34-year-old wife, Trina Scott Edwards, will be the stars of their own A&E reality show  called "The Governor's Wife."  The show, which debuts in February,  will focus on the dynamics of the couple's May-December romance and check in on Edwards' grown daughters and Trina's two teen sons. It will also follow the Edwards’ efforts to have another child… Word is Trina is expecting.


The official start to the Mardi Gras Season got under way yesterday, on Twelfth Night, and that means it's King Cake time. Dave Haydel Jr. of Haydel's Bakery in New Orleans says they're expecting a huge  demand for King Cake's this year because the Superbowl falls right in  the middle of Carnival season.


Louisiana’s health department has recalled oysters from one Cameron Parish harvest area and has closed it to shellfish harvesting because nine people got stomach illness after eating oysters gathered there. The department says nobody was ill enough to be hospitalized. It says they may have had norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.






News For Friday 01/04/12

News for Friday 010413

By Dave Graichen


The owner of BP's ill-fated Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Transocean Inc.,  has made a $1.4-Billion settlement with the federal government for civil  a criminal fines related to the 2010 oil spill. The recently passed “Restore” Act  means hundreds of millions  of the billion-dollar Transocean settlement will come to Louisiana for  coastal projects.


Shreveport's now-closed GM assembly plant will soon reopen--making low  cost, high mileage 3-wheeled vehicles. Paul Elio (ee-lee-oh) is head of  Elio Motors. He says the front-wheel drive "car" can get over 70 miles  per gallon of gas.  Elio's vehicle is a two seater, but the passenger sits behind the driver, reducing wind resistance and increasing fuel efficiency. The price tag about $6,800. Elio will hire up to 1500 workers by 2015--paying average  salaries around $47-thousand. Production should begin by June of 2014.


The 113th Congress has been sworn in and the new term means bigger  responsibilities for a couple of Louisiana federal lawmakers. Quitman  Republican Congressman Rodney Alexander is now a chairman of an  appropriations subcommittee. Alexander says this position will give him  a larger say on how the federal budget should be constructed. Republican Senator David Vitter has become the top GOP member of the  Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Vitter says this panel  has jurisdiction over environmental regulations. The committee also has supervision over the Corps of Engineers and has a say in funding for  highway transportation projects.


It's crawfish time again and it looks like it's going to be a  plentiful season. Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association Executive  Director Stephen Minvielle says at the start of the season you'll  typically see small mudbugs with hard shells, but this year they're nice and big. He says crawfish farmers are off to a great start.


Contained within the " fiscal cliff" legislation passed by Congress is  an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. The short-term extension is good  through September and then the federal government will have to pass a  new Farm Bill. State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says the  extension keeps in place many subsidies for farmers.  Strain says the Farm Bill extension also blocks milk and bread prices  from drastically increasing.


Detectives are investigating the deaths of two people found dead inside  a Shreveport home by a family member. Police Corporal Marcus Hines  says when officers arrived, the bodies of an adult female and adult  male were found inside the home. Hines says if it is a double homicide, it would be the first two murders  within Shreveport's city limits this year. He says they are in the early  stages of the investigation.


It’s just  one month until the Super Bowl is held in  the  Superdome  in  New  Orleans.  Already  crews are hard at work, getting  the  Dome  ready  -  inside and out - for  the  big  event. Hundreds of thousands are expected  to come to the Crescent City for the  47th Super Bowl; over 5000 media  people  will  be  there  too. Police  warn  locals to expect street closures near the dome and for parking to be...difficult.


Let’s not forget the everyday heroes, A state trooper and an off-duty firefighter rescued a woman from her burning car, after she ran it up under an 18-wheeler yesterday morning  in  Livingston  Parish.  The  woman is believed to have passed out behind the wheel due to a medical  condition. The fireman and trooper were nearby and pulled the woman from her car before she could be seriously injured.


Two Tioga  men are behind bars after locking themselves out of a home and trying to  break  back in using an axe. Rapides deputies say Joe McCartney and Travis Barlow  -  both  25  -  were  pretty drunk when officers found them fighting in the home's yard. They've  both  been released on $250 bond. Deputies kept the axe.





News For Thursday 01/03/13

News for Thursday 010313

By Dave Graichen


After months of rumors, it appears Cowboy Town finally may have a long-term owner. The former entertainment venue off Interstate 49 is being purchased by Sundrop Fuels, which is investing nearly half a billion dollars to develop a pilot plant for biofuel on adjacent land in Rapides Station. The Cowboy Town property includes nearly 28 acres and a building of approximately 200,000 square feet. Local real estate professional and talk show host Rod Noles reported a sale price of $2.5 million on his radio show Wednesday.


Louisiana Congressmen check in on their votes on averting the fiscal cliff.  Baton Rouge area Congressman Bill Cassidy says he voted "NO" to  the  11th  hour  deal,  because  it  does  nothing  to  get  the government's fiscal house in order. Quitman  Congressman   Rodney   Alexander  was  the  lone  Louisiana Republican in the House to support  the deal. Republican  Senator  David  Vitter  also  voted for the fiscal cliff deal, along with Democrats Mary Landrieu and New Orleans CongressmanCedric Richmond.


The Natchitoches Parish School Board has denied an application for a new charter school. The Mandelbrot Charter School was to serve a specific target group of at-risk middle school students. It was to be a Type 1 charter school,  a new start-up school authorized by the local school board. But the application was deemed inadequate by consultant firm hired by the School Board. State legislation that will provide vouchers to approved charter schools requires school boards to hire consultants to review applications.


State  Police  happily  report no fatal crashes occurred  during  the hours of the New Year's holiday.  There  was one fatal crash in East Feliciana Parish Monday afternoon, but none  on New Year's Eve night

or the overnight into New Year's day.


A major announcement will be made this afternoon at the former General  Motors' assembly plant in Shreveport. The Shreveport Times is reporting  the news conference is to announce the sale of the plant. The former G-M assembly plant closed its doors last August.


Bossier City Police say the woman who was run over by her own car in a grocery store parking lot should  fully  recover.   The  woman had parked  her  car,  but  her grandchild inside the vehicle put it  in reverse. When she ran around to try and stop the car, she apparently slipped and the car ran over her.  She suffered non-life-threatening injuries.


The president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association is slamming the new Matt Damon film, "Promised Land", saying  it paints an inaccurate  picture  of  hydraulic  fracking for oil & gas. LOGA  president  Don

Briggs says the movie is  a big PR tactic for environmentalists, who he says ignore factual data  that  shows fracking is not a source of contamination. He says the real facts  favor the energy industry, no

matter what story the movie tells.


The New  Year  is  off  to a violent start in New Orleans, with four people shot and two murdered  in  the  first  24  hours of 2013.


A feasibility study is set to begin  this  month  on  whether  a new concert  and event arena in Monroe would be a worthwhile investment. Mayor Jamie  Mayo  says  it will take about 90 days for a consulting

firm out of Jackson, Mississippi,  to  complete a study to determine whether the population of the Monroe area  can  help  sustain  a new arena.


Shreveport's own Lauren Vizza is in Las Vegas, gearing up for the 20-13  Miss America pageant. Vizza was crowned as Miss Louisiana last June.  She's optimistic that she could become the first from the Bayou state to  become Miss America. Vizza, who is a political science major at Louisiana Tech, says she's  looking forward to all the elements of the competition. The preliminary competition begins on January 8th with the live  televised finals on January 12 on A-B-C.


Legislation to prevent toxic drywall from entering U.S. retail markets  is on its way to the President for his signature. Senator David Vitter  authored the legislation, which he says is intended to protect consumers

from buying shoddy, unsafe product from overseas.


Authorities continue their search for a woman who escaped from a state  prison in St. Gabriel Parish Tuesday. Department of Corrections  spokesperson Pam LaBorde says 33-year-old Keana (key-ANNA) Barnes  remains at large, after scaling a prison fence--topped with razor wire. Barnes was serving 25 years for manslaughter.








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