KSYL Local News Archives for 2013-10

News For Thursday 10/31/13

News For Thursday 103113

By Dave Graichen


There are flash flood watches still in effect for several parishes in  northern and western part of the state through tonight. State Climatologist Barry Keim says almost all of the state  will see showers and possible severe thunderstorms.


Senator David Vitter says folks who loaded up on groceries during a data  glitch with the EBT card system earlier this month should be held  responsible. The error caused cards to show no credit limits, causing  chaos at several Wal-Mart stores, as cardholders loaded their baskets to  the brim. Vitter urges Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to prosecute. Wal-Marts in Springhill and Mansfield were virtually cleaned out by a  "feeding frenzy" of EBT cardholders. Vitter says most of them KNEW they were purchasing far beyond the monthly credit limit of their EBT card. Some shoppers left without making any attempt to pay - even with an EBT  card - which is outright theft.


The 2014 Bayou Country  Superfest  lineup  has  been announced! Reba McIntyre will be joining George Strait Friday night  May  23rd, Luke Bryan  headlines  Saturday  along  with  Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean will close Sunday the 25th along with  Eric Church and Breaux Bridge's Hunter Hayes.


There  are  some  consolidation plans underway for the University of Louisiana at Monroe.  President  Nick  Bruno  plans to announce more budget cuts this week that will reportedly include  staff  reductions of  some  35 positions and the consolidation of ULM's five  colleges into three.   Bruno  says the cuts will save ULM almost 400 thousand dollars.


The LHSAA suspends five assistant football coaches from Destrehan for  hacking into a website that allowed them to see video of closed  practices for South Lafourche High School. Destrehan has also forfeited  its victory over South Lafourche as part of the ruling.


A  former  Calcasieu  Parish  priest  awaiting  trial on charges  he molested young boys is out of jail today on a one-point-five-million dollar  bond. Defense attorney Tom Lorenzi says friends  and  family

members of  57-year-old  Mark  Anthony  Broussard put together their resources to get Broussard out of jail after  he  missed  out  on  a family wedding. Broussard  is facing five counts of sexual abuse. He had been in the Calcasieu Parish jail since his March 2012 arrest.


State Police say a single vehicle  crash  overnight claimed the life of a woman from Natchitoches. They say it happened  around  12:40 am when  50  year old Sandra Ponthieux lost control of her vehicle  and exited the  roadway  before  slamming  into  a  tree.  The driver is suspected of being impaired at the time of the crash and she was not wearing her seatbelt.


The  Monroe Police Department says the boy who was run over by an 18 wheeler  after  falling  off  his  bike  into  the  road  was likely suffering some type of medical condition. Spokesman Sgt Mark Johnson says there were several witnesses to this tragic incident. Johnson says the bike fell directly into the path of the 18  wheeler and the little boy was pronounced dead at the scene.



News For Wednesday 10/30/13

News For Wednesday 103013

By Dave Graichen


Bad weather is on its way to Cenla on Thursday and with that in mind. Many  Rapides Parish municipalities have had to change their regularly scheduled Halloween events and trick-or-treat times. The city of Pineville’s Fall Festival at Kees Park, which had been scheduled for tomorrow night, will be held tonight. Pineville also changed its citywide trick-or-treating to 5 to 8 this evening instead of Thursday. Others moving their “Trick or Treating” up.. The city of Alexandria is this afternoon from 5:30 to 8:30. The town of Ball, 5 p.m. to 8  tonight. Cheneyville’s Halloween celebration has been changed to 5:30 to 7:30  this evening on the grounds of the Old Town Hall. Festivities will be moved inside in case of rain. Halloween in the Park in Forest Hill is planned for Halloween night, but if necessary, it will be moved to the Forest Hill Academy gymnasium on Blue Lake Road.


Fifth  congressional district Republican candidate Vance  McAllister has picked  up  the endorsement of democrat Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo. McAllister is in  a  November  16th  runoff against Republican State Senator Neil Riser. Political experts  say  Mayo's endorsement could be a game-changer for McAllister's campaign.


When  making  publicity  rounds touting his new reality show, rumors are  circling  that former Governor  Edwin  Edwards  is  considering another run for office. During a speaking engagement at LSU, Edwards says if he felt  people  would warm up to the idea and he thought he could  win, he would likely  run  again.  He  says  Louisiana  needs him. According to  state law Edwards would need a Presidential pardon to run for governor  in  2015 -- but he could run for US Senate in 2016

without the need of a pardon.


A financial website rates Louisiana the nation's worst state in which to  retire. "MoneyRates.com" looked at factors like overall senior  population, costs of living, crime and more to compile the list. The ranking also cites Louisiana's climate and the low average life expectancy past 65 as reasons our state tops its Worst  Places to Retire list.  Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne disagrees with the ranking and  says it will not change plans to continue  marketing Louisiana as a great place to spend one's Golden Years. He  says our state has so much to offer.


A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has filed legislation aimed at  sparing homeowners with National Flood Insurance from massive premium  hikes. One of the sponsors is Senator Mary Landrieu, who says nearly a  half-million policyholders will see unsustainable rate increases under  the 2012 Biggert-Waters flood insurance reforms.  Senator David Vitter is a co-sponsor too, plus senators from Georgia, New Jersey, Oregon, North Dakota, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.  Landrieu says the bill seeks to delay Biggert-Waters for several years,  while mandating FEMA to complete an impact and affordability study of  the proposed premium increases.


A coalition of conservative think tanks recommended Tuesday morning that Louisiana address its nation-leading incarceration rate by repealing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenses. The report concluded rolling back Louisiana’s harsh sentences would allow the state to better focus on ensuring violent criminals are kept behind bars. Laws enacted by the state during the past couple decades led to a doubling of the state’s prison population from 1992 to  2011.  ( The report was produced by the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based research group that says it promotes libertarian principles, in conjunction with the New Orleans-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a self-described study group that promotes free markets and limited government. http://theadvocate.com/home/7440265-125/groups-recommend-louisiana-legislators-rewrite


Whooping cough has set a post-1960s record in Louisiana and things are worse in Texas, where nearly 2,900 cases have been reported, and Arkansas, where numbers are double those of a year ago. Louisiana health officials are asking doctors to keep an eye out for it. Louisiana’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard, says 169 confirmed and likely cases as of mid-October breaks a vaccination-era record of about 160 for all of last year.


The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is asking questions about the financial arrangements needed to make privatization of LSU hospitals work. A top state health official said the inquiries are routine, but state Treasurer John Kennedy fears the privatization effort might be improperly laundering federal money. Kennedy said he is concerned the federal government will not accept the way the state is accounting for lease payments under the LSU plan. The payments are being included as part of the calculation that determines how much the federal government pays for reimbursing the hospitals for medical care to patients under Medicaid.


A Bossier City couple is charged with  cruelty  to  juveniles, after two  kids  were found living in their home with no electricity or  running   water.   Bossier   spokesman  Mark  Natale  says  the

11-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy  had  been  left home alone for over 15 hours with no food in the house either.


Police in Opelousas  report a car that hit a parked boat, tree and a fence was found to have  a  dead  man behind the wheel. The owner of the property where the damage was done  called  police and told them the driver was still in the car and was not moving.  Officers  found 35-year-old Daniel Hardy of Opelousas inside the car. It's unsure if he  was  killed  by  the  crash,  which was a high rate of speed, or something else.


Grambling State University  says civil rights activist Jesse Jackson plans on visiting the campus in the near future to help close a rift that's developed between students and administrators. School leaders

say Jackson will be able to promote a period of healing. Grambling's football  team  recently  held  a  boycott  that  resulted  in  them forfeiting a game against Jackson State.


A personal injury attorney from LaPlace admits he stole 58-thousand  dollars from an elderly client. Kurt Wall, director of the Louisiana  Attorney General's office criminal division, says 42-year-old Kerry

Brown represented a senior citizen in an automobile accident, but never  informed the client of the 58-thousand dollar settlement.





News For Tuesday 10/29/13

News for Tuesday 102913

By Dave Graichen


The statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline has hit $3.10 according  to  the American Automobile Association. The price at the pump has fallen  23  cents  over  the  last  month and Triple-A fuel analyst Don Redman says many retailers are selling unleaded gasoline for less than three dollars a gallon. Redman says January 2011 was the last time the statewide average was

below three-dollars a gallon.


The  East  Baton  Rouge Parish Sheriff's office is investigating, yet another apparent murder suicide. Police say Sunday afternoon  it appears 39-year-old Sedric Richard shot his girlfriend, 26-year-old Brittany Rogers. The motive in the incident is still unknown.


State Highway  safety  officials  say  seat  belt usage by Louisiana drivers  this  year has increased by 3%; it's biggest  jump  in  ten years. According  to  the  Highway  Safety  Commission,  82 & a half

percent  of us use our seatbelts regularly. Seat belt usage  doubles your chances of surviving an auto crash.


The tea party-connected Senate Conservatives Fund announced Monday it would support Rob Maness over fellow Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in the 2014 U.S. Senate race. It’s the biggest endorsement yet for the retired U.S. Air Force Col. Maness. of Madisonville, and gives the tea party candidate greater ability to draw in national fundraising dollars.


A bipartisan group of US senators and representatives will introduce  flood insurance reform legislation today that seeks to prevent dramatic  rate hikes for thousands of south Louisiana residents. Louisiana's US  Senators, Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, are part of this group, Vitter

 says one key provision would delay any extreme premium hike. Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program went into effect on  October first and an estimated 18-thousand Louisiana policies will see  an immediate impact. Vitter says Louisiana is not the only state that  could see these large increases, which is why he's confident Congress  will pass the legislation that will be filed today in the US Senate.


 LSU System President F. King Alexander says he's willing to discuss  raising the price of Tigers football tickets. Last week, Athletic  Director Joe Alleva asked LSU Board members to consider hiking tickets  next year. Dr. Alexander says they'll look carefully at Alleva's request  over the next six weeks, but any changes in prices are up to the board.  Some have suggested that, if LSU needs to increase game day revenues,  they should consider selling beer in Tiger Stadium. Alexander says

 that's never been debated by the LSU Board (to his knowledge) and he's  not sure it's a good idea.


East  Baton  Rouge  Parish coroner Dr. Beau Clark plans to work with state lawmakers to increase  sentencing  laws  for those individuals convicted of dealing heroin. Dr. Clark is advocating  for  a stiffer punishment  against  heroin  dealers,  because of a recent surge  in heroin overdose deaths. He says life sentences used to be handed out for dealing heroin, but lawmakers recently  changed  the  sentencing guidelines. He  says  heroin  has  become  more accessible and those dealing  it

should face great consequences.


Two years ago, Lafayette-based Schumacher Group announced it would spend $19 million to expand its emergency medical services management business and create 600 jobs by 2017. On Monday, the company announced its third layoff of the year; 42 people nationwide, 32 of them in Louisiana.


The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office  says a man is under arrest for allegedly banning an elderly woman from eating. They say 55 year old Sidney Elair of Centerville was booked  on charges of cruelty to the infirm, resisting a police officer, simple  assault  and  disturbing the peace intoxicated.


Reviews  are  rolling  in  for  The Governor's Wife starting  former Governor Edwin Edwards and wife Trina  which premiered Sunday night on A&E.  Some are calling the reality show,  "creepy  in  almost  every way." But  there  are  some  who are intrigued and can't wait to see more.  The Governor's Wife airs Sunday nights at 9 on A&E.


The  Lafayette  Police Department says a 14-year-old is under arrest for attempted first  degree murder for allegedly stabbing a woman in the chest. They say the victim was in an argument with the mother of the suspect when the teen  intervened.  Reports  indicate  the  stab wounds  placed  the woman in critical condition at a local hospital. The teen was booked  into  the  Lafayette  Parish Juvenile detention center.


The Coast Guard is searching  for a welder who fell from on offshore rig in the Gulf; about 55 miles from shore. They say the 38-year-old man was knocked overboard when  an  empty  barrel  fell  on him. Few other  details  are  known  at  this  time.




Saints Coach Sean Payton had the players at the team's practice facility  yesterday going over some of the mistakes that were made in the 35-17  win over Buffalo. Payton says there were a number of things they could  have done a lot better. The head coach says the corrections will be made  as they get ready to play the Jets.


Louisiana Tech announces they plan to break ground this spring on an  18-million dollar South End Zone complex which will close the south end  of the Stadium. Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says the three  story athletic facility will be 70-thousand square feet and it will  feature state of the art technology and furnishings.  McClelland says the facility would not be possible without the genoristy

of some of their loyal supporters and alumni.




News For Monday 10/28/13

News for Monday 102813

By Dave Graichen


The University of Virginia's Center for Politics, which is known for  predicting  elections, no longer labels next year's US Senate race in  Louisiana as a "toss up." Their crystal ball leans democratic, meaning  Landrieu is a slight favorite. University of Virginia political analyst  Kyle Kondik says the  latest campaign finance totals show Landrieu has two million dollars more compared to Cassidy in her campaign war chest. He says  Landrieu also has a history of winning close elections, which is why  they give her a slight edge in the race.  Kondik  says Louisiana's unique open primary system for federal elections  also gives Landrieu an edge.


State health officials say now is the time to get the flu shot, even  though the peak of the influenza season in Louisiana is not until  February. The state department of health and hospitals flu shot expert,  Doctor Frank Welch, says it's best to get the shot now, before the flu  bug gets you. DHH urges everyone six months and older to get a flu shot. Welch says  it’s especially important for pregnant women, adults 65 and older and  children under the age of five to get the flu shot. He reminds Louisiana  residents that the flu is an illness that can kill.


Another West Nile virus death has been reported by the state Department of Health and Hospitals. It is the fourth death in the state this year. DHH said the death is from Ouachita Parish, the second death in that parish this year. The other two deaths were in Rapides Parish. DHH also confirmed four new West Nile virus cases this past week, bringing this year’s total to 55 cases.


Two Americans remain hostages of pirates on a Louisiana owned ship  off the coast of Nigeria. The C-Retiever ship, which is owned by Edison  Chouest Offshore, was attacked by Nigerian pirates last Wednesday.  Tulane maritime law director Martin Davies says the kidnappers are  likely demanding money for the safe return of the two men. Davies says these hostage situations off the coast of Africa could go on  for months, but if the kidnappers are seeking ransom, then the victims  are usually treated well. According to the International Maritime Bureau there's been 40 piracy  attacks in the first three quarters of 2013 in the Gulf of Guinea, where  this attack occurred. Davies says companies who vessels that work in  these areas, understand the dangers and purchase insurance for it.


A group of business, faith and conservative leaders from Louisiana are  headed to Washington DC today to urge members of Congress to pass  comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Group spokesman Randy  Hayden says it's vital to Louisiana's economy to help immigrant  workers become Americans so they can easily enter the workforce. Hayden says reform is needed in agricultural visas to help our farmers  and also reform in high-tech visas to help colleges and universities.


With less than a month until the runoff election for Louisiana's 5th  Congressional District, the two Republican's vying for that job are  campaigning hard to come out on top. Columbia state Senator Neil Riser  has been considered front-runner all along. He says he'll bring true  conservatism to Congress for Louisiana. Political newcomer Vance McAllister is Riser's opponent. He has run a largely self-funded campaign and finished in the October 19th election with 18% of the vote, to Riser's 32%. McAllister suggests Riser has  become a career politician, and voters now want something else.  Both men will spend the next three weeks campaigning hard to win voters over - especially the many Democrats  and independent voters in District 5.


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has been the subject of some  controversy this week regarding the way it chooses to refer to itself.  The school says it's not trying to change its name, but State Senator  Francis Thompson of Delhi is one of many who doesn't think it's right  for UL-Lafayette to simply have "Louisiana" on its jerseys.  Many Ragin' Cajuns feel most of the outrage is coming from the ULM  nation but before the Monroe school was known as The Warhawks, they  used "Louisiana Indians" on their football helmets. Thompson says he's  gotten many calls from angry ULM alumni who are angry the Lafayette  school is trying to refer to itself as Louisiana.




The LSU Tigers head into the bye week ranked 13th in the coaches poll  and 11th in the AP poll after beating Furman 48-to-16 on Saturday night.


 Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw five touchdown passes as New Orleans  improved to 6-and-1 on the season with a 35-17 win over the Buffalo  Bills.



News For Friday 10/25/13

News for Friday 102513

By Dave Graichen


School  performance scores released today by the state department of education shows a record 43% of Louisiana public schools received an "A" or "B"  under  a new accountability system. State Superintendent of Education John White  was  happy  to share the good news during a conference call with reporters this afternoon. The number of failing schools is at an all time low, decreasing from

12 to 8 percent. Parents can see how  their  child's school is performing by going to Louisiana believes dot com.


An Alexandria woman wanted in a fatal shooting Monday on Lee Street has been captured, along with four others who are accused of helping her elude authorities.  21-year-old Stormy Cofer was found in a house in the 1700 block of Beatrice Street. She was arrested, booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center and charged with second-degree murder and a warrant for failure to pay a fine. Four other Alexandria residents werealso were arrested and all charged with accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.


Two  years from today it will be election day in Louisiana as voters will be  choosing a new governor. A large field is anticipated since Governor Bobby  JIndal is not allowed to run for a third consecutive

term.  Political  Analyst   Clancy  Dubos  says  several  well-known republicans could enter the race. Lt.  Governor  Jay  Dardenne,  state  treasurer  John  Kennedy,  PSC Commissioner Scott Angelle and former  Congressman  Rodney Alexander have made their expectations to run known.


A man from Jackson is suing  the  East Feliciana Parish Sheriff amid claims he was wrongly arrested for  rape  last year. George Sheppard reportedly  held  in prison for 6 months before  a  judge  ruled  no probable cause of prosecution.


 If you've ever wanted a little Duck Dynasty in your gumbo, Willie  Robertson has that on the menu at his new restaurant opening today in  West Monroe. Courtney Hornsby is the president of the West

 Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce. She says "Willie's Duck  Diner" is sure to attract Duck Dynasty lovers far and wide.  Hornsby says the menu features great southern home cooking comfort  foods like chicken-fried steak, pork chops, meatloaf, biscuits, frog  legs and of course duck --- served up fried or in gumbo. She also  says there are pictures, both new and old, of the family on the walls  of the restaurant.


US Senator David Vitter has support from 29 other senators as he seeks  an explanation regarding the US Justice Department's lawsuit against  Louisiana's voucher program. Attorney General Eric Holder says it upsets  the racial balance of students in districts under federal desegregation

orders. Vitter says that civil rights argument doesn't make sense..  A letter signed by Vitter and 29 other senators seeks answers on why the  federal government filed this lawsuit. Vitter wonders why Holder is more  concerned about a quota than the type of education a child receives. Vitter says the lawsuit will return 570 voucher students to public  schools so that it can preserve a school's racial make-up.


46-year old Gregory Walker of Baton Rouge has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges after he admitted receiving almost one million dollars in bogus state film tax credits. Walker is facing  up to 20 years in prison and a quarter million dollar fine.


First-offense DWI pleas arranged in a bribery scheme at the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office could be called into question in a lawsuit planned by a Lafayette defense attorney. At issue are plea deals in Lafayette Parish allegedly arranged by private investigator Robert Williamson, who is under federal indictment in an investigation of bribes paid to employees of the District Attorney’s Office in return for favorable treatment in DWI cases. Meanwhile, some DWI defendants who made the special plea have since been arrested again on new DWI charges. At least five of those defendants now say they should not face more severe penalties for second-offense DWI, arguing that their first DWI pleas are not valid because they were effectively denied the right to an attorney and were represented instead by Williamson, a private investigator.


The reality TV show starring Former Governor Edwin Edwards and his  young wife will hit the airwaves for the first time on Sunday. The  show "The Governor's Wife" centers around the family life of Trina  Scott Edwards and her 86 year old husband. Trina says the entire  filming experience was surreal.  The A&E show was originally scheduled to air over the summer but  Edwards says a difficult pregnancy put things on hold. She says the  thing she's looking forward to the most on the show is the final  episode...:(The series premiere episde entitled, "Happy Birthday Mr..  Governor" is on Sunday at 9 on A&E.)


The Lafayette Fire Department says a 64 year old man is under arrest for allegedly setting a mobile home  on  fire  because he thought it was  ugly.  They say William Riley is booked on a  count  of  simple arson. The home  was  vacant  and  Riley  indicated  to officials he didn't  like  the  tall  grass and the abandoned appearance  of  the trailer in his neighborhood.


The  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries  says  they  are actively  investigating  the  shooting  death  of a black bear which occurred earlier this month. They've determined  the  bear, which is on the threatened and endangered species list, was shot in the head. An  $8000  cash  reward is being offered for information that  would lead to an arrest.


Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who was indicted in  January  on charges  relating  to  accepting  free  trips  and  over $200,000 in bribes,  has had his trial delayed. A federal judge Thursday  set  a new trial date of January 27th.



News For Thursday 10/24/13

News for Thursday 102413

By Dave Graichen


Alexandria police are looking for a 21-year-old woman in connection to the shooting death Monday of an 18-year-old woman on Lee Street.  Police describe Stormy Cofer, of Alexandria, as being about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds. Her hair is colored reddish, according to the release. If you know the whereabouts of this woman, contact the APD.


If  you  plan  on  buying  tickets  to LSU football games and you're worried about the price going up and  by how much, you're just going to have to wait a while longer. The LSU  Board  of  Supervisors   had scheduled  the  item  for  a  vote this coming Friday, but the board decided to wait a while before deciding what to do. They'll now vote on the ticket price hikes at their December meeting.


Since  the  Grambling  State Football team decided not to show up to its game on Saturday, their  opponent Jackson State says it plans to sue. The Mississippi university  claims the cancellation of the game cost  them  millions  of  direct and indirect  dollars.  The  game  was  also Jackson State's homecoming which the university says  draws thousands  of  fans.  Tickets  are  being  refunded  and

businesses are reporting losses.


Two Louisiana congressmen  John  Fleming  and  Charles  Boustany are calling  for the resignation of Health and Human Services  Secretary Kathleen Sebelius  because of the ongoing issues with the Affordable Care Act. Boustany says  people are finding it difficult to purchase insurance because  of  technical  glitches  in the system.  Fleming  plans  to  file  legislation to stop collection of personal  data  when  people sign up for  the  Affordable  Care  Act because he's afraid the information would not be kept confidential.


Members  of  the  state  House and Senate Insurance committees heard yesterday from state and local officials who are concerned about impacts of dramatic rate increases  for  flood  insurance  in Louisiana. St. Charles Parish President VJ St. Pierre Jr. says FEMA  has told their residents that flood insurance rates could be as high as 35-thousand dollars. An  estimated  18-thousand  Louisiana policies will see their  rates skyrocket  because  of  changes  to  the  National  Flood  Insurance



A Baton Rouge woman is now facing two  years in prison after a judge suspended 15 years of her 17 year sentence  for a road rage incident that  claimed  the lives of five people just south  of  the  capitol

city. Kelsy Hall  was  convicted  of  negligent homicide in the 2011 accident. The other defendant accused in  the  deadly  crash,  David Leger, will be standing trial early next year.


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering a reward for tips on who illegally killed a black bear in Avoyelles Parish earlier this month. A citizen reported finding the bears remains  in some woods a few miles south of the Grassy Lake Wildlife Management Area. A necropsy revealed  the bear had been dead for about five to six days and that it had been shot in the head. Agents also collected an arrow nearby and think the bear might have been shot with an arrow first.


Caddo Parish deputies arrest four people who were allegedly involved in  the theft of 63 semi-automatic guns delivered to a Shreveport gun  distributor. Sheriff's office spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says they were  called into investigate after the freight company noticed some of the guns

were gone. Chadwick says their investigation led them to a 21-year-old  security guard  who was on duty at the freight company on the day the guns arrived.  Three more people were arrested as their investigation continued.  Chadwick says they have yet to recover any of the guns and it's likely the semi-automatic weapons have already been sold.


The  police  department in Many will be posting pictures on Facebook of people who  loaded up their Wal-Mart buggies with groceries while the  food  stamp system  was  experiencing  a  computer  glitch  and balances couldn't  be checked. They simply loaded up and walked out. Investigator Jo Ann  Carter  says  they're targeting people who were specifically taking advantage of the October 12th frenzy.


Police in  Richwood  say  a  woman  is  under  arrest  for allegedly slapping  a  child  on a school bus then doing the same to  the  bus river. They say 32-year-old  Menza  Hudson entered the bus where her child and another child were fighting  and  got in the middle of it. She is booked with cruelty to a juvenile.


The  St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office say a  man  is  booked  with negligent  homicide  in  the death of a motorcyclist for leaving his truck on the side of the road when it ran out of gas -- then was hit

by the cyclist who died. They say Marcus Amos didn't leave lights on to warn others.


A former Livingston Parish deputy sheriff 38-year old Jeremy Brister of  Denham  Springs  has  been sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to contributing  to  the  delinquency of a juvenile.

Brister  was arrested in January of last year  on  three  counts  of indecent behavior  and  one  count  of  molestation  of  a  juvenile involving a 15-year old girl. He will also have to serve one year of

supervised probation, pay a 15-hundred dollar fine and register as a sex offender.


Today the 107th Louisiana State fair opens in Shreveport. The fair is  taking extra safety precautions this year to make sure there are not any  accidents on the carnival rides. State Fair General Manager Chris  Giordano says that a third party has been hired to make constant  inspections throughout the duration of the fair.  There have been mechanical errors the last two years that resulted in  injuries, including a four year old boy who was severely hurt in 2011.


A freshman on the LSU football team is in trouble with the law. LSU  police say they arrested defensive back Jeryl Brazil after he allegedly  grabbed a woman by the throat and threw her onto a sofa.  Captain Cory Lalonde says the incident occurred last week at  the West Campus Apartments. Coach Les Miles says Brazil has been suspended indefinitely. He's only  played in one game this season. He was an All-State player at Loranger  High School last season.



News For Wednesday 10/23/13

News for Wednesday 102313

By Dave Graichen


Alexandria police detectives are investigating a shooting on Lee Street Monday evening that killed an 18-year-old woman. The  body of Leiunna  Collins of Alexandria, was found at the intersection of Dallas and Lee streets shortly before 6 Monday night. Collins was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police say the investigation continues.


Drive-thru flu shots will be available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the Rapides Parish Health Unit, 5604-A Coliseum Blvd. in Alexandria. The shots are free if people present proof of insurance. Bring a photo copy of both sides of your insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card. For those without proof of insurance, there will be a $10 charge.


A jacket for when you are outside and another blanket at night could be  needed this week as more cool air is filtering into Louisiana. State  Climatologist Barry Keim says a cold front has brought more Canadian  air to the Bayou State.  Keim says high temperatures will be in the mid 70s today and low

temperatures will be in the mid 40s over the next few mornings. He says  we'll see another temperature drop later in the week.  Keim is not anticipating any record lows, but we'll experience the

coolest temps of the fall this week.


State lawmakers gather in Baton Rouge today to discuss the impact of  rising flood insurance premiums for some Louisiana property owners.  Senate Insurance Committee Chairman, Blade Morrish of Jennings, says  much of the public is in the dark on who will be impacted as a result of

flood insurance reform legislation that went into effect on October 1st   An estimated 18-thousand Louisiana policies will see an immediate impact  and some property owners could see rate increases of up to four-thousand  percent.


Louisiana Public Broadcasting will air a program tonight that  discusses whether or not Louisiana should legalize the recreational  use of marijuana. Kirby Goidel from the LSU Public Policy Research

Lab is co-hosting the show.  A release from LBP says mandatory drug sentencing costs Louisiana

taxpayers millions of dollars to incarcerate people charged with  simple possession of marijuana. Goidel says a recent survey showed  overwhelming support for de-criminalizing pot in Louisiana.  The show will air tonight on LPB at 7pm.


The Caddo Parish Sheriff's office arrests a man for allegedly trying to  extort  a  contestant on the popular music competition show "The Voice. Spokeswoman  Cindy  Chadwick says Harold Martin of Texarkana, Arkansas  faces  extortion  charges   for   threatening   to  defame 22-year-old  Cole  Vosbury  of  Shreveport  if he didn't perform  at benefit concerts for free. She  says Martin then started to threaten Vosbury,  after  he  began appearing on the NBC television show.


The  East  Baton Rouge Sheriff's office  says  a  47-year-old  woman killed her 84-year-old  mother  and  a  dog, before fatally shooting herself  at a home in an upscale Baton Rouge  neighborhood.  Colonel Lawrence McLeary  says  investigators learned Karen Diamond suffered from severe depression and  was  also  concerned  about  her  mother needing home health care, which could explain why the murder-suicide occurred. It's  been  reported  Diamond was a doctor, who had a drug addiction and recently left her job at a Baton Rouge hospital.


Amid new controversy surrounding the Tulane legislative scholarship program, a state senator from Baton Rouge said Tuesday he will propose legislation to scrap the program, which allows each of Louisiana’s 144 lawmakers to award a one-year scholarship worth an estimated $43,150 to the private university each year. The program dates to the 1880s, when the then-public University of Louisiana was privatized into Tulane.


Governor Bobby Jindal joined former Governor Mike Foster in Franklin earlier Tuesday  to  announce  that  more than two million dollars has been  set  aside to maintain the archives  of  Foster,  a  two  term Republican  Governor   of   the  Pelican  State.  According  to  the governor's office, the money  will  be  used  to  preserve the third floor  of  the  former  Crowell Elementary School. That  school  now houses the Franklin City hall on the first two floors.


The University of Louisiana System Board plans a comprehensive review of  Grambling State University. UL System President Sandra Woodley says outside experts and consultants will be  brought in to look at all aspects of the university. Grambling's troubles came to particular light last week, when the  football team boycotted the Jackson State game due to terrible conditions and problems with the school’s administration. Woodley says the institutional review of Grambling State could take  several months to complete.


Five people had to be rescued  Tuesday  morning  from  the  Mississippi River  when  their  tugboat overturned in uptown New Orleans.  There were  no injuries reported.  New  Orleans  port  officials  say  its possible  that  a  wake  from  a  passing ship caused the tugboat to



News For Tuesday 10/22/13

News for Tuesday 102213

By Dave Graichen


The state’s school voucher program continues to grow, but at a pace slower than expected.  The program added more than 1,800 students this year, according to the first official tally for the current 2013-14 school year released Monday. The state Department of Education said 6,751 students are enrolled in 126 private schools across the state with taxpayer dollars. Another 24 students have switched to a high-performing public school through the voucher program, for a total of 6,775 enrollments. That's a 37 percent increase, up from 4,944 students using vouchers at the same point last year, in the first year of the statewide program.


On Monday the Department of Defense announced a Marine, 20-year-old Lance Corporal Christopher Grant of Monroe, , died on Sunday during combat  operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Grant was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th  Marines, 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and had  been serving in Afghanistan. Friends say a candlelight vigil is planned for this weekend in Monroe.


Natchitoches Police Department Assistant Chief Cary Hargrove was suspended for one day for a policy violation related to a Sabine Parish homicide investigation. Hargrove is alleged to have had a telephone conversation with officer Robert Barthelemy charged in the beating death of Tony Procell, of Many, while Barthelemy was on the run from police in August. Barthelemy was indicated in September on charges of first-degree murder, home invasion and aggravated kidnapping. Natchitoches Police Chief Micky Dove did not disclose the nature of incident that led to an internal investigation into Hargrove’s actions.


After residents of Pineville voted to approve the sale of alcohol in restaurants over the weekend, city officials say it will most likely be  the first of the year before they start doing so. The city’s chief of staff Rich Dupree says the  City Council must still make any change official by ordinance. Such an ordinance would be introduced at the Nov. 12 council meeting at the earliest, and voted on at the Dec. 10 meeting. Dupree said city officials are working with the Rapides Parish Sales and Use Tax Office, which issues alcohol permits, on the language in the city’s future alcohol ordinance.


Human rights activists call on state officials to release the last  imprisoned member of the Angola Three. Laura  Downton is with the  National Religious Campaign Against Torture and she says Albert Woodfox  has been in solitary confinement for 41 years, even though his conviction for  killing a prison guard has been overturned three times. Federal judge James Brady ruled last February Woodfox should be released  on the issue of racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury  foreperson. But Woodfox remains imprisoned as the Attorney general's  office appeals the decision to the fifth circuit. Downton says they have  a petition containing 25,000 signatures calling for Woodfox's release


State Police say a 1 year  old child died from injuries sustained in a New Orleans crash shortly after 1am Monday. They say 30-year-old Jeremiah Price was ignoring road closure  signs  in  the  area  and  ended up hitting  a  construction  vehicle  from  behind. The baby was in the front seat and was thrown forward as a result of the crash and later died  from  head injuries. Price's charges include  DWI  with  child endangerment, vehicular homicide, and no child restraint.


Sen. David Vitter announced Monday he plans to block for now the nomination of the proposed undersecretary of the Department of Energy because of project delays at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. President Barack Obama has nominated NASA Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Robinson for the undersecretary position and Vitter contends she is directly responsible for delayed, job-creating contracts at Michoud. The Michoud facility has tried to reinvent itself since the end of the space shuttle program and has contracted more with commercial and government contractors to use the site.


Leaders of the Louisiana House and Senate have decided to keep secret hundreds of documents that disclose whether Louisiana’s 144 legislators are awarding Tulane University scholarships to relatives of fellow politicians. The clerk of the state House of Representatives recently sent a letter to the New Orleans Advocate and WWL-TV explaining his refusal to disclose the one-page application forms. All students who receive Tulane legislative scholarships fill out the forms, which require them to disclose whether they are related to an elected official. It’s against the law for lawmakers to give those scholarships to family members. However, some believe certain members of the state legislature are awarding the $30,000 scholarships to the children of other lawmakers, thus skirting the law.


East Baton Rouge Parish deputies are investigating what appears to be a murder-suicide. The bodies were found when deputies received a phone call from a woman asking that they check on her friend. When deputies arrived at the home yesterday afternoon they found the two bodies. No other information is being released at this time.


State Police say a man is facing vehicular  homicide charges after a single  vehicle  accident happened south of Lake  Charles  Saturday. They say a teenage  passenger  died  in  a car driven by 21-year-old Ryan  Adams.  Hannah  McVey  was not wearing a  seat-belt  when  the vehicle hit a metal traffic signal  pole and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Adams was also booked with DUI, careless operation and open container.


Grambling State football players have ended their boycott and will play  their  home game against Texas Southern this Saturday. The players didn't play last Saturday, because they are upset with the  condition of their football facilities and the university's  administration. Vines says the players have received a commitment that  their facilities will be updated.



News For Monday 10/21/13

News for Monday 102113

By Dave Graichen


The voters have spoken and the sale of alcohol in Pineville  restaurants will now be allowed. Rich Dupree is the Chief of Staff  for the city of Pineville. He says this move will be a good one for the for the entire central Louisiana community. Dupree says national chain restaurants have shown interest in  Pineville but were shying away because alcohol sales were not  allowed. He feels now that the restaurant only ordinance has passed,  it won't be long before new eateries start popping up. Dupree says he is glad the citizens of Pineville were given the  opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter. He wants to  emphasize that this means alcohol can only be sold places that sell  food.


Louisiana has a $153-million budget surplus; left over from the fiscal  year that ended June 30th. That news was delivered Friday to the  Legislature's Joint Budget Committee. Commissioner of Administration  Kristy Nichols says it's good news, and a sign of an improving economy  and labor market.  Nichols says the surplus is largely from higher-than-expected income tax  revenues. She says the surplus will be presented to the state's Revenue  Estimating Conference in January, so it can be officially "recognized."  She says state lawmakers will decide where those funds will be used.


Louisiana's health department says the number of people who have died  from West Nile this year is up to 3. The latest death is from Rapides  Parish and it’s the second death this year from Rapides. There's been a  total of 51 cases this year, but D-H-H regional health director David  Holcombe says this is the time of year the season begins to wind down.


Louisiana's 5th District congressional race will go to a November 16th  runoff between Columbia state Senator Neil Riser and Monroe businessman  Vance McAllister. Riser took a third of the vote Saturday, and U.L.-  Monroe political science professor Joshua Stockley says McAllister came  from behind to take 18%. Democrat Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo took 3rd place, with 15% of the vote Saturday, Republican Clyde Holloway was 4th with 11%.


A kindergartner has been  suspended  from his school in Monroe after he brought a BB gun to class. Ouachita  Parish School superintendent Bob Webber says the incident occurred at  Swayze  Elementary School. Webber says the kindergartner actually brought the bb gun, which was not  loaded,  to  the teacher and the teacher quickly  notified  the principal. Webber says the  boy  will  probably  not  be  expelled, but remains suspended  until  they  can conference with his parent  or  parents, which they're having trouble contacting.


Governor Jindal has appointed  former Bossier Parish state Rep. Jane Smith  to  a  vacant seat of the Board  of  Elementary  &  Secondary Education. Smith also serves a legislative liaison for the  department

of Revenue.


A  babysitter  in  Jefferson  Parish has been arrested after doctors determined  a  child  under  her  care  suffered  from  shaken  baby syndrome. The baby girl is alive, but has limited mobility in one of

her limbs and has had some bleeding in her brain. 56-year-old Sherry Savois of Gretna is charged with cruelty to a juvenile, and the case is still under investigation.


LSU is ranked 13th in the coaches and media poll and 12th in the Harris  poll after they were upset by Ole Miss 27 to 24 on Saturday night. It  was a day full of upsets, but when the dust settled the Tigers chances  of playing in the conference championship game are bleak. Coach Les  Miles says they can still have a great season, despite having two losses.



News For Friday 10/18/13

News for Friday 101813

By Dave Graichen


An Alexandria eatery will be featured tonight on CBS's "Undercover Boss"  Whitney Durant works at the Ryan's Buffet in Alex. She says she was  unaware of what was going on, when her supervisor recruited her for a  special project.  Durant was asked to take a trainee under her wing; a man named Mike, with zero experience in customer service. She was asked to teach him  everything she knows about the business, while TV cameras caught it all. She says she cannot reveal any more about tonight's program, but will  say that her Undercover Boss, Anthony Wedo (we-dough), the CEO of Ryan's  parent company was a good student.


Tomorrow is election day, and voters in the state's 5th Congressional  District will select their next representative in Washington. There are  14 candidates for that job. How is the race stacking up? U.L.-Monroe  political science professor Joshua Stockley predicts a runoff between  Columbia state Senator Neil Riser and one of the other Republicans. Republican Riser has been seen as the front-runner throughout the  campaign. Stockley feels other GOP candidates Jay Morris and Clyde  Holloway are the two most likely to make a November runoff with Riser. 


Lafayette  Congressman  Charles Boustany is the lone republican from Louisiana to vote in favor  of  legislation  that  ended the federal government shutdown. The legislation also gives the  US Treasury the ability  to borrow money through February 7th, avoiding  a  national default. Boustanty  says  he  did not want to jeopardize the economy over political disagreements on capitol hill. Democrats Mary Landrieu and Cedric  Richmond  also  voted to finance the federal government through January 15th and the raising  of  the debt ceiling.


Governor Jindal announced Thursday  that  $190,000 in capital outlay funding for new evidence technology and renovations  at  the  St.  Helena Parish Sheriff's Office has been submitted to the State Bond Commission for approval. The renovations would include new radio control  room  for booking offenders and taking tip calls to solve crimes faster.


LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva announces he plans to ask the  school's Board of Supervisors to approve an increase in football  ticket prices starting next season. The proposal would also seek to increase the Tradition Fund which is mainly paid by season ticket  holders.  Alleva is asking for a six percent increase in season ticket  prices for football with the price of no section in the stadium going

 up by more than $100. He is also seeking approval to price tickets  based on opponent and the date of the game.


The Lottery announces several changes will be made to the Mega  Millions game starting tomorrow. Louisiana Lottery spokeswoman  Kimberly Chopin says these game enhancements are designed to create  larger jackpots and more millionaires. She one of the key changes  includes a higher starting jackpot of $15 million. Chopin says even though all these changes are coming to Mega  Millions, the price of the ticket will remain $1. However, to make these new game features possible, 19 white ball numbers will be added for a total of 75 --- and 31 numbers will be  removed from the field of yellow Mega Ball numbers. That means the  the odds of winning the jackpot will get longer.


The Lafayette Parish  Sheriff's  office  says two men are charged in connection with pipe bombs that were found in their vehicle during a traffic  stop  Wednesday  in Carencro. Captain  Kip  Judice  says  a surveillance team followed  a  vehicle  leaving a home that had been under investigation over matters that were drug related. Judice says the exact intended use  for  the  bombs  is  not  known.

20-year-old  Jake Richard of Loreauville and 30-year-old Paul Parker of Carencro were  each charged  with manufacturing and possession of bombs.


A judge in Sorrento has tossed  out  hundreds  of  speeding  tickets written  by  a  Sorrento  cop, who himself is apparently an habitual speeder. The data recorder  in  Officer James Bell patrol unit shows

he exceeded 75 on well over 700 occasions between July and September, often outside his jurisdiction. The officer also admitted that he has not been calibrating he radar gun.


The man  from Breaux Bridge who runs a swamp tour group and was seen in video enticing  a  gator  with  an  oar,  has  the animal cruelty charged dropped against him. St. Martin Parish DA Chest  Cedars says there  was  no  evidence  to support such a charge. LDWF did however cite the man with illegal possession  of  an alligator and he has to pay a $250 fine for that.


Two former East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court employees, one the son of a state judge, pleaded not guilty along with four others Thursday to charges stemming from the alleged theft of 48 pounds of cocaine and five guns from the clerk’s evidence vault last year. The prosecutor handling the case said after Thursday’s arraignments that attorneys for several of the indicted defendants have approached her about possible plea bargains.


Ouachita   Parish   Schools   is  checking  into  the  circumstances surrounding  a  video  that administrators  believe  shows  a  coach paddling two students at  Richwood Middle School in violation of the district's  corporal  punishment  policy.  That  policy  does  allow reasonable corporal punishment,  but  has  strict  rules for who can administer it, and coaches aren't on the list.


A  Baton Rouge firefighter has been sacked from his job,  for  using his  fire  house  as  a set to shoot a racy movie. 40-year-old Dewey Allen is a 10-year veteran.  Officials  say  he  violated  policy by shooting  the  film  in the workplace. The film is not pornographic, but certainly qualifies  as  R-rated.  Allen  says  the  termination violates  his  First  Amendment  rights.  A  review  of the case  is

scheduled next month.


A Thursday afternoon fire at LSU’s Huey P. Long Fieldhouse on Field House Drive caused the evacuation of a handful of students, faculty and staff from the building, but did not injure anyone, Baton Rouge Fire Department investigators said. A preliminary investigation pointed to a blow torch used during some construction work


ULL campus police say a man is under arrested for allegedly  hacking into  his  ex girlfriend's computer, deleting things and creating  a fake match.com  profile  for  her. They say 23-year-old Sean Michael Gray  was  booked  on  charges  of  computer  tampering  and  online impersonation.

News For Thursday 10/17/13

News for Thursday 101713

By Dave Graichen


New data from the Ourso College of Business at LSU suggests Louisiana  will soon have more jobs than ever before. Economist Dr. Loren Scott  collaborated on the report. He says business expansions, new industries  and high-tech companies moving to the state will account for about 70-thousand new jobs within the next two years. Scott says by 2015, Louisiana employment should surpass 2-million jobs  for the first time ever.  Scott says job growth  is forecast for all eight of the state's metro areas.


The state Supreme Court strikes down a 2002 law that made it a felony  for non-U.S. citizens to drive in Louisiana without proof of lawful  status. The court  ruled the law redundant, due to a similar federal law that carries lesser  penalties.  Critics of the law say it's led to exactly zero arrests.


A  fatal  shooting  involving  an  officer is being investigated  by Shreveport police. The incident happened  around  7:45 Tuesday night when the Shreveport Fire Department called for help  dealing  with a man  who had become combative. The man began threating officers  and the firemen with a knife and that is when he was shot. The man's name has not been released.


The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is trying to address  the concerns surrounding Common Core, which are new academic standards  that public school students will be asked to achieve starting with next  school year. BESE President Chas Roemer says the state will allow local school districts to use their own instructional materials and textbooks.  Roemer says the  state's education board also approved a provision that gives parents or  guardians the opportunity to review the materials that will be used in  the classroom.  The Board made the rule changes yesterday  after hearing hours of testimony earlier  this week


A  full  time  substitute teacher in Baton Rouge is under fire today after a video allegedly  of her cussing out 8th-graders during class was released to the media  by  a mother. In the video given to WAFB, the unidentified teacher is seen at the front of the classroom using extremely foul language while reprimanding the students. School officials say the incident is under review.


Kaiser Family Foundation reported Wednesday, eighty-seven percent of Louisiana’s poor, uninsured, non-elderly adults will fall within a health insurance coverage gap because the state did not expand Medicaid with the federal health care revamp. The percentage translates into 242,150 individuals who have incomes above the state Medicaid program’s eligibility levels but not enough to qualify for tax credits in the marketplace insurance exchanges. Nationwide the number is 5.2 million. a large percentage of those people live in Texas and Florida.


Gov. Bobby Jindal told Politico on Wednesday that he is launching a nonprofit to “play offense in the war of ideas” on Capitol Hill. The initiative accelerates speculation that Jindal is trying to mount a run for the White House in 2016. Jindal told Politico “America Next” will focus on ideas, such as an alternative to Obamacare.  Describing the nonprofit to Politico, the governor did not rule out a run for the White House, telling the political news organization that he is undecided on running for president. The statement is the first time Jindal has publicly acknowledged he is giving the idea consideration.


A  St. Martin Parish swamp tour operator is facing an animal cruelty charge  as  a  result of a video that shows him hitting an alligator with an oar during  one  of his tours. Kristin Simon with the People for  the Ethical Treatment  of  Animals  says  in  the  video,  Ryan Champagne  is  tormenting  the  animal  and should be prosecuted for animal cruelty. The  Department  of  Wildlife  and  Fisheries issued  two  citations against Champagne, simple cruelty to  animals  and  possession  of a live  alligator  without a permit.


The  Terrebonne  Parish  Sheriff's  office  says  they've arrested a father and son for allegedly sexually abusing a disabled little girl over the period of several  years.  Captain  Dawn  Foret says a 14 year  old  girl reported to authorities that she had been  sexually assaulted by her stepfather and step grandfather. Foret  says  the  investigation  led  to the arrest  of  29-year-old Russell Leblanc Jr and 65-year-old Russell Leblanc Sr. on aggravated incest  charges.  She says each man's bond  has  been  set  at  over $500,000.


A man from  Baton  Rouge  has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the death of his  11  month  old  daughter  in June. Larry Leflore is accused of inflicting brain damage and cigarette burns on the baby. DA Hillar Moore says he hasn't decided if his  office will seek the death penalty.


More fallout from last Friday's arrest of two prep football referees in Covington.  The  Covington  PD stands by the busts, which occurred when the refs tried to eject two cops from the game. Now the Greater New Orleans Football Officials Association  tells St. Tammany Parish schools  they  will  not provide officials for those  schools'  home games if security is done by Covington Police. More as it develops.


State licensed casinos report a drop in  revenues for September from the previous month. The total figures represent  a  9%  decline from August  totals. Baton Rouge saw the biggest slide. The three  casino there report  business  down  nearly  17% from the month before. The State Police Gaming Control Board compiled the numbers.


St. Tammany  Parish  Coroner  Dr.  Peter Galvin pleads not guilty to charges he conspired to steal money  from  his  own office and other charges. Galvan allegedly took over $100-thousand  in  pay he didn't earn,  and misuse of an office debit card for personal goods,  meal and more. His bond is set at $100-thousand.


Leaders of the two groups who won their appeal with the state education board to open charter schools in Lafayette Parish said they are securing sites for three of the schools so they can open by August. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the applications from Lafayette Charter Foundation to open two K-8 schools by August and a high school by 2017, and an application from Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies to open one K-8 school by August and another K-8 school in 2015.


News For Wednesday 10/16/13

News for Wednesday 101613

By Dave Graichen


Get ready for some more cool Autumn-like weather. State Climatologist  Barry Keim says it's coming via a cold front that is bringing rain to  parts of the state already. Keim says the cool front is expected to make its way from northwestern  parishes  to coastal regions by later today, bringing a nice cool  snap.  He says expect overnight lows in the upper 50's and daytime highs in the  mid-to-upper 70's, with very little rainfall after today.


Blue  Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana announces they are dropping its prescription  drug  plan  for  seniors.  That  move  will impact 13-thousand residents who will now have to find a new Medicare  Part D  Coverage.  Members  can  enroll  into  a  new plan starting today through February 28th.


A  manhunt  is  underway  for a Natchitoches man who is  accused  of fatally shooting 37-year-old  Ted  Charles Brou (Broh) during a home invasion  late  Sunday  in  the  town  of   Creston,   which  is  in Natchitoches Parish. Alan Virgil Brumfield is considered  armed  and dangerous.  He's   a  white  male,  about five-foot-ten, 150 pounds. Authorities believe he's driving a blue Nissan Sentra with a Florida license plate.


Deputies in Rapides Parish seek an  inmate who escaped Monday from a work detail on US 71. They say 28-year-old Randy Girod, of Columbia, is not considered to be dangerous. They ask anyone who may have seen him to contact the Sheriff's Office in Rapides.


Campaign  finance  reports  show  Senator  Mary  Landrieu  ahead  in fundraising for her 2014 re-election  bid  for  the third quarter of this  year. Between July and the end of September,  Landrieu's  team raised  over  $1.3-million,  compared to her nearest challenger, GOP Congressman Bill Cassidy, who raised about $700-thousand. Landrieu's total raised is nearly $6-million. Cassidy $3.4-million.


Cleanup  is  underway a Fourchon Beach, after a ton of oil was found under the sand  there.  Tropical  Storm  Karen brought the oily mess partially to the surface. Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Anderson says it's a mat of oil, beneath the sand,  that  only became visible as Karen dissipated. It is assumed the tar mats and tar balls were from  the  2010 BP oil spill.  He  says  active  cleanup  is underway and so far about  500 pounds have been removed.


Benedictine  monks  in  St. Tammany Parish win the final round of  a lawsuit to allow them to  sell  their  handmade  caskets.  The state Board  of Embalmers and Funeral Directors have protested the  coffin sales, as  cutting  into their business. The case went on appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme  Court.


The legal battle over who owns the phrase "Who Dat" is going back to court. Two new suits have been  filed  by  a  company called Who Dat Inc.  against a number of New Orleans t-shirt shops  for  using  the phrase  without  permission. Many say no one OWNS the expression and it dates back to the late 18th century.


Senator Mary Landrieu recommends that President Barack Obama appoint Walt  Green  as  the  U.S.  Attorney  for  the  Middle  District  of Louisiana.  Green  has  been acting  U.S.  Attorney  in  that  Baton Rouge-based federal district  since  Donald Cazayoux stepped down in July.


Police in the Jefferson Parish town of Harahan say a woman told them hundreds of  dollars  in bras and underwear had disappeared from her dresser drawers. She placed  a  hidden  camera and caught video of a neighbor entering her home, her bedroom and  helping  himself to her lacey  things.  Police  arrested 19-year-old Ross Frioux for  simple burglary and possession of stolen things.


Grant Parish Sheriff's deputies  were  called  to a Colfax Church on Sunday. Not by the holy spirit but by parishioners  who  didn't  care for  the  7-and-a-half  foot  gator  that got a bit too close to the

church. The deputies were miraculously  able to return the alligator to the Red River.



News For Tuesday 10/15/13

News for Tuesday 101513

By Dave Graichen


Deputies in Rapides Parish arrest a man for killing  his  own mother and dumping her body in a lake in Grant Parish. Sheriff's Lt.  Tommy Carnline  says  they  found  61-year-old  Paula  Kimberlin's remains October 1st. Investigators noticed her car was missing  and  so  was her  son,  38-year-old  Anthony  Deville.  Texas Rangers spotted the reported-stolen  car  in Cooke County, Texas with  Deville  driving. He's been sent back to Rapides to face murder charges. Carnline says the investigation is ongoing, and he cannot yet talk about Deville's possible motive, or how the victim was killed.


State police report 52-year-old Michael D. Cooley of Deridder died early Monday in a three-vehicle crash in Allen Parish. The accident happen just after six in the morning on highway 112.


A glitch in the government's Electronic Benefit Transfer card system Saturday  led  to  customers with EBT cards stripping shelves at two Wal-Mart stores in northwestern Louisiana bare. The computer problem prevented the cards  from  showing  balances; something many took as free reign to spend as much as they chose  -  filling multiple carts with  food items. When the stores - in Springhill  and  Mansfield  - announced on loudspeakers that the system was back online and they'd be checking balances, most just left their full shopping carts where they were  and  exited the store. One woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had .49 on her card. She was held

by police until corporate  Walmart  said they wouldn't press charges if she left the food.


The Republican National Committee is making robocalls into Louisiana,  claiming Senator Mary Landrieu and other senate democrats are playing  politics with the government shutdown. The call states that this  political game could result in veterans losing their benefits. House republicans say senate democrats should act on a bill that would  continue disability compensation for veterans, despite the shutdown. The  robo call urges residents to call Landrieu's office and let their voices

be heard.


An impaired driver heading the wrong way on I-10 over the Bonne Carre  Spillway  near Kenner led to several accidents Monday  morning.  State Police report  a  drunk  driver  was traveling  eastbound  in  the westbound  lanes  and  it  caused  one 18-wheeler to swerve and overturn  and  the  SUV  eventually slammed into another 18-wheeler. No one was seriously hurt.


Deputies in Beauregard Parish say a 51-year-old man fatally shot his wife,  then  ended  up  in  a hospital after getting in a car crash.  Randall Langley allegedly  shot  his wife while and took off,  but got  into  a  wreck near Merryville; some 20 miles away. He's now in the hospital. The couple’s  22-year-old daughter was present. She is the one who called 911.


Monroe police have arrested a 13-year old after he  allegedly fired a weapon in the bathroom of Carroll Junior High Monday. Police believe the gun went off accidently as the boy was showing it to  some friends.  The bullet went through the ceiling causing only minor damage. No one was injured.


Deaths connected to using the drug heroin are on the rise in Louisiana. State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson says statewide heroin deaths  in 2011 numbered 16. In 2012 that number was over 50. This year it's on  track to be hundreds.


Marathon  swimmer  Tim  Root says he will try to  swim  across  Lake Pontchartrain to raise money  for  Our  Lady  of the Lake Children's Hospital.  The  swim,  more than 25 miles from Madisonville  to  New Orleans, will take place in November.


An investigation continues over the arrest of two high school football  officials by Covington police during a game on Friday. Head referee Jim  Radcliffe of Metairie and linesman Chris Gambino of River Ridge were  charged with public intimidation of an officer after an incident on a  sideline got heated.



News For Monday 10/14/13

News for Monday 101413

By Dave Graichen


Food stamp recipients were able to use their debit-style cards in grocery stores on Sunday, a day after a system outage that affected people across 17 states, including Louisiana. People from Alabama to California found themselves temporarily unable to use their food stamp cards on Saturday morning, after a routine test of backup systems by Xerox sparked technical problems that shut down the states’ electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, systems. Xerox said late in the evening that access was restored for all users.


With   three  new  cases  being  reported  this  week,  the  state's year-to-date  total  of West Nile virus infections is 48. One of the three was the more serious  brain  and  spinal cord infection. There

have been two deaths as well this year in  Louisiana  caused  by the mosquito spread virus.


Louisiana Ag Commissioner  Dr.  Mike  Strain  is  trying to make the public  aware  of  a  little-known  effect  of  the partial  federal government shutdown. He says the safety of the nation's  food supply

could  be  at risk because almost half of the current Food and  Drug Administration staff is not working. Those staff make inspections at over 200 food  plants  a  week.  Strain  says  normally  only  about 10-percent of imported food is inspected. He says if the shutdown  ends within the next few days the situation is unlikely to reach crisis level.


As we head into the third week of the federal government's partial  shutdown, Governor Jindal says there is some growing concern over parts  of state government that rely on the feds to operate. Mr. Jindal says  some state agencies, like the Department of Children & Family Services  are partially funded with federal dollars.  The Governor says Medicaid and other "entitlement" programs will not be

impacted by the continued Government shutdown. He says most federal  funding is good through the end of the year, but some programs are only  funded through the current month.


A Lafayette  Parish  parents  group  is  trying  to stop two charter school  operators from moving into their district. Their  concern  is that it does  not  provide help with the problems they have already

and it may under mind  the  good  programs  they  have  in place. The parents group plans to hold a rally in Baton Rouge this  Tuesday.


A  Texas  based  company  is  moving  its headquarters to Louisiana. Jogler LLC makes level gauges. They announced  Friday that their new location will be in Baton Rouge next month. Jogler  has  been  given tax  breaks from the state, along with assistance in worker training for the  eventual  60  new  jobs being created over the next several years.


A man from Deridder  is under arrest after being accused of raping a 3-year-old girl according  to  police.  They  say  Jerry  Palmer  is charged  with  aggravated  rape  after they investigated a complaint regarding  a 3 year old who had been  sexually  assaulted.  Palmer's bond is set at $750,000.


A  former  Ascension  Parish  sheriff's deputy who was arrested last month for indecent behavior with  juveniles,  was  arrested  again - charged  with  hundreds  of counts of child pornography. 24-year-old

Todd Tripp allegedly had over 300 illegal images on his computer and cell phone. Tripp was fired after his September arrest.


The St. Tammany Parish coroner  is  charged with conspiring to steal money  from  his own office, and other  charges.  54-year-old  Peter Galvan allegedly plotted with another employee to be overpaid to the tune of $111-thousand. He's also accused of using a coroner's office debit card for  personal  items--running  up  over  $15-thousand  in charges.  Galvan  will  reportedly  resign from his elected position this week.




 The LSU Tigers defense is back to playing dominant football. The Bayou  Bengals kept Florida out of the end zone on Saturday in LSU's 17-6 win  over the Gators. LSU climbs to No. 6 in AP Top 25 Poll


 The Saints were on their way to a 6-and-0 record, but Patriots  quarterback Tom Brady threw a 17-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds left  to give New England a 30-27 victory over New Orleans.



News For Friday 10/11/13

News for Friday 101113

By Dave Graichen


After  a  second  Louisiana Parish Water system tests positive for a brain eating amoeba,  one state lawmaker calls for statewide testing of public drinking water  systems.  New  Orleans  state  Senator  JP Morrell  says finding the amoeba in St. Bernard Parish water means a possible systematic problem. Morrell has  written  Governor  Jindal  and  the  health department, urging  statewide  testing and a set benchmark for chlorine amounts that will kill the amoeba yet still be harmless to humans.


There are just two more days to cast early ballots for the October 19th  special election. Secretary of State Tom Schedler reminds us to take  advantage of the ease and convenience of casting your vote early. There are local issues on ballots in 46 parishes, but the highest  profile race will be in the state's 5th Congressional District, where  voters must choose a successor the Rodney Alexander in the U.S. House. So far only around 23-thousand early ballots have been cast. Early voting ends Saturday at 6p. The election is one week from tomorrow


State employee layoffs since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office neared the 8,000 mark as of September’s end, according to the latest state Civil Service report issued Thursday. Employee layoffs associated with the transfer of LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe to private operation pushed layoffs of classified employees to just under 8,000. The numbers are in a report to the Legislature which updates layoff activity through the first three months of the state fiscal year. About 41,800 classified, rank-and-file employees remain on the state payroll.


State  Police say an elderly couple from Ferriday  has  been  killed following  a three-vehicle crash last night. They says the driver of a pickup, 77-year-old  Carolyn  Smith,  failed to stop at Highway 84

and  two  cars traveling in different directions  slammed  into  the truck. Smith and her 80 year old husband both died.


State Police report one of their officers collapsed and  died  while on   duty   Yesterday   in   Houma.  Supervisor  Sgt.  Brett  Lange  was 48-years-old. Attempts to  revive  him  by  fellow troopers and EMTs were unsuccessful. He was a 23-year-veteran of the State Police. His cause of death is under investigation. Lange  leaves  behind  a wife and two sons.


 The federal government shutdown is, of all things, affecting  beer...at least on a small scale. Bayou Teche Brewing President  Karlos Knott says they're one of Louisiana's craft brewers waiting  for permission to release seasonal beer from a federal agency whose  employees are furloughed.  Knott says the labels on new beers have to be approved by the  Alcohol and Tobacco Tac and Trade Bureau or TTB before they can go  out.


 A Bossier Parish judge denies parole eligibility for a Ouachita Parish  teen convicted of murdering his parents in September 2010. Dalton Fletcher's first sentence was tossed out after the U.S. Supreme Court  ruled last year that juvenile convicted of murder may not be denied  possible parole. That ruling leaves it up to judges on a case-by-case  basis. Fletcher’s Attorney says he will appeal.


A  43-year-old  Livingston  Parish  man  is  convicted of conning an elderly  woman  with dementia out of virtually everything  she  had. Gary Gorman romanced  the  75-year-old victim and convinced her they would get maried. She gave him  over  $80-thousand  from  a  reverse mortgage,  $132-thousand  from  an annuity and signed over power  of attorney. He also maxed out all her credit cards. The jury took just 30 minutes to convict him. His sentencing is in December.


A Lafayette school teacher  is being disciplined for allegedly doing something to influence students  into  gluing  themselves into their seats. The matter is being investigated, but the  teacher  is  under



It's  going  slowly still but Louisianians are signing up for health care coverage  through  the  federal  government's "health insurance marketplace." Vantage Health Plan spokesman  Billy Justice says just over a dozen people have completed the signup  &  purchase  of their offered plans so far. Justice  says  there  have  been numerous sign-ups via Vantage sales agents,  as  many seek to avoid  problems  with  the  HealthCare.gov website.


A former state Representative who  was  accused of federal tax fraud plead guilty in US District Court in New  Orleans today to all three counts.  Girod Jackson who represented the West  Bank  of  Jefferson Parish is  scheduled  to  be  sentenced in January and faces up to 3 years in prison.


Two men who allegedly  cut  through  a  prison  fence  at Angola and attempted  to elude officers for two hours before being caught  have plead not guilty to simple escape. 49-year-old Melvin Johnson who is a rapist from Orleans Parish and 24-year-old Aaron Francois who is a murderer from  Lafayette  were  assigned defense attorneys and trial has been set for March 17th.


The team that claimed LSU's first Bowl Championship Series title in 2003 will be honored during a halftime ceremony Saturday night in  Tiger Stadium. It's been ten years since the Tigers claimed the first national title for LSU in 45 years beating Oklahoma 21-14 in  the Sugar Bowl. Skyler Green will be among those honored.  The 40 members of the 2003 national championship team will be there

for the ceremony.




News For Wednesday 10/09/13

News for Wednesday 100913

By Dave Graichen


The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office has taken over the investigation into the death of  a Deville woman, whose body was found in Grant Parish. Sheriff's  spokesman Lt. Tommy Carnline says deputies in Grant discovered the human  remains on October 2nd.   Carnline says Grant Parish investigators and the coroners' office  determined the woman,  61-year-old Paula Marlene Kimberlin,  was from Rapides Parish and was probably killed  here and dumped there. The RPSO is asking anyone with information to please come forward.


Opelousas  Police  say a man is charged with the first degree murder of his wife after allegedly  brutally  stabbing  her  to  death Tuesday  morning  during a domestic dispute. They say 44-year-old Hank  Moran was found in their home standing over his wife who'd been stabbed 14 times with a small pocket knife. The man is being held without bond.


Police in Alexandria say a woman is under arrest for allegedly lying about being raped. They say 49-year-old Vanessa Pierce told officers she  was  the victim of  rape  and  a  suspect  was  even  detained. Detectives discovered Pierce had given false information and she was charged with  one  count  of  injuring  public record. The person in custody was released.


The  city  of New Orleans plans to submit a major bid package to  the NFL to host the Super Bowl in 2018. The city especially wants to get the big game that year, because it will be the 300th birthday of the Crescent City,  and  will  be  a  great  beginning  to  a  year-long celebration.


As the October 19th special election to replace 5th District Congressman  Rodney Alexander heats up, many politicos are giving the advantage to  Columbia state Senator Neil Riser. Riser has the support of U.S. House  majority leader Eric Cantor. UL-Monroe political science professor

Joshua Stockley says things seem to be stacking up in Riser's favor.  Stockley says the 5th district is fairly heavily populated with actively  voting Republicans, so despite the Democrats and "other" party

candidates in the race,  he foresees a probable November runoff between  GOP candidates.


As expected, the Ouachita Parish  Police  Jury  has approved a total smoking  ban  in  bars and bingo halls. The 100-percent  smoke  free ordinance will go into  effect  January  2  and includes ALL tobacco products including electronic cigarettes, which only release water vapor.


Governor  Bobby  Jindal  is  chiming  in  on  the federal government shutdown  - now in its second week. On Fox News  yesterday,  Mr. Jindal says  the  President  is  providing  poor leadership with the matter. In addition the President is calling  for  Congress to raise the debt ceiling before October 17th. Jindal says he  opposes  that, as a way to simply "kicking the can down the road".


The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office says a man is under arrest for allegedly using a cell phone to video tape under a woman's dress  at a department store. They say a deputy working off duty security at a Wal Mart noticed 29-year-old Jarion Sherman of Baton Rouge following the  woman  and  putting  a cell phone under her dress. He is booked with video voyeurism which is a felony.


An East Baton Rouge Parish jury finds two men not guilty in the case of the murders of 2 LSU grad students in 2007. They deliberated  for more  than  six  hours  and  EBR DA Hillar Moore says ultimately the feeling  was  the  prosecution did  not  prove  its  case  beyond  a reasonable  doubt. The  victims  were  international  students  from India.


A woman whose  pit  bulls  attacked  an  8  year old girl in 2012 is sentenced  to  six months in the Tangipahoa Parish  jail.  DA  Scott Perriloux reports  40-year-old  Bridgette  Harper  was  charged with negligent  injuring  after  her dog bit a little girl several  times while she was playing outside.  Another  owner  of the dog's case is still pending.


The  Louisiana  Department  of  Ag  and  Forestry  says  a  man from Greeenwood  keeps stealing timber. They say 61-year-old David  Lubas was booked into  the  Claiborne  Parish  jail  in Homer charged with theft  by  fraud of timber for the fourth time in  less  than  three months.


The price for Shrimp is up about a $1 from where it was this time last year  because there are fewer foreign shrimp available. Thomas Hymel (Hee-Mel) who is a marine extension educator with  the LSU Ag Center. He says we only produce about 10% of the shrimp  we consume in this country domestically. Hymel says the shrimp are in short supply here because some  shrimpers overseas are dealing with a viral disease outbreak in  their ponds. He says that's working towards Louisiana shrimpers  favor but the prices are up for everyone.



News For Tuesday 10/08/13

News for Tuesday 100813

By Dave Graichen


The Rapides Parish Sheriff's office says they busted up what  appeared to be a very large and organized dog fighting ring  Saturday night. spokesman Lt. Tommy Carnline says they received a complaint about suspicious activity going on at an abandoned house  on the south end of Alexandria. Carnline says many people were seen running from the residence when  officers arrived, and they later discovered 16 vehicles parked  behind the house and 3 pit bulls inside some of the cars. Deputies also located an actual dog ring just outside the abandoned dwelling. Carnline says all of the vehicles were seized and the dogs were  taken to a local animal control. Two men were arrested. More arrests are expected.


A delegation from SACS’ Commission on Colleges will begin a three-day visit to Louisiana College today to examine the private Baptist College, which is operating under warning status from SACS for the second straight year. Louisiana College was denied reaffirmation of accreditation in December last year leaving it on warning for a second straight year. Which by the way is  the maximum amount of time an institution can be on that status. The visiting team will make a recommendation to the SACS board, which will announce its decision on the college’s status at its annual meeting in December.


Operations at Fort Polk are back to 100 percent after the government shutdown forced the base into partial closure last week. Eighty percent of the civilian workforce was furloughed last week. But, it appears all employees are back on the job.  Congress passed the Pay Our Military Act on Sept. 30, and President Barack Obama signed it just before the government shutdown began, allowing active-duty military to continue to be paid. The Pay Our Military Act also covers civilian employees as well.


With the falling  temperatures, come the falling gas prices. The American Automobile Association says it varies throughout the state, but the average gas price  in  Louisiana  for a gallon of regular is

$3.18. Shreveport Bossier is paying the least at $3.14 a gallon.


State education officials have more-or-less abandoned local school  districts to their own resources to implement rigorous new student test  standards known as Common Core. So says Scott Richard, executive  director of the Louisiana School Boards Association.  Richard says Common Core and related testing standards will require a  new curriculum and updated technologies put in place, but the state  offers no plan for getting that done. DOE calls it empowerment of the  local districts, but Richard says it's like "building an airplane while  you fly it".


The partial federal government shutdown moves into its second week and  members of Louisiana's Congressional delegation are blaming the other  political party for failing to approve a funding bill that would send  government employees back to work again. Republican Steve Scalise of  Jefferson points the finger at the democratic controlled Senate. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu says the republican controlled House  is only willing to talk, if they get everything they want. And so it goes..


A  US  judge  in New Orleans began hearing testimony Monday about how much oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico suing the 2010 BP spill. The US government's  estimate is 4.2 million barrels. Associate Director of the Tulane Energy  Institute,  Eric  Smith,  says the estimate is based on video that showed large amounts of oil slowing  out  of the blow out well. BP's estimate is much lower at 2.45 million barrels and that is  the argument they will make.


LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger is the SEC Offensive Player of the week  after  leading  LSU to a 59-26 victory over Mississippi State. Mett  completed 25 passes  on  29  attempts  for  340  yards  and  4 touchdowns.


A Bossier Parish man is behind bars, after viciously stabbing both his  parents Sunday. Authorities say 29-year- old Steve Hall II lived with his mom and dad. Though his motive is yet unknown, it’s believed he was upset with his folks after they asked him to get a place of his own.


An insanity hearing is scheduled in a Livingston court today for the  man who allegedly cut his unborn baby out of its mother when he claimed to be high on bath salts. The disturbing incident took place almost  exactly  a  year ago. Jeffrey Reynolds of Walker was charged with feticide.



News For Monday 10/07/13

News for Monday 100713

By Dave Graichen


Louisiana wakes to brisk Autumn weather today. State Climatologist Barry  Keim says a cold front entered the state over the past several hours,  bringing cold, dry conditions.  Keim says the blast of cool air over the state started over the northern  Pacific Ocean, before crossing the Rocky Mountains and slowly working  its way southeast. He says we can enjoy the cool snap now through Wednesday.


Early  voting  for  the  October  19th election runs now through Saturday. Polling hours are from 8:30 AM to 6 PM at  your  parish Registrar of  Voters  Office  or at other designated locations. Voters  in  49 parishes  have  various   items   on   the   ballot   including  tax propositions.  The biggest item is the Fifth Congressional  district election, which impacts 24 parishes in the state.


The federal government shutdown will NOT affect benefits for Louisiana  mothers and their kids, under the Women, Infants and Children Program,  commonly called "WIC." J.T. Lane is Assistant Secretary for Public  Health at the Department of Health and Hospitals. He says a local budget surplus is the reason why.  Lane says feds gave DHH to permission to use  leftover WIC funds from last year to assure that doesn't happen here.


A 7-year-old child outside playing was shot and wounded in the leg Sunday afternoon when a man opened fire on a nearby SUV. Baton Rouge PD report the gunman approached the SUV, which was occupied by two people, and opened fire with bullets going through the front windshield and the driver’s side door. Neither of the occupants was injured in the attack.


With the help of a private consultant, the Jindal administration plans to give a tune-up to a state government IT system that employs hundreds of workers and costs nearly half a billion dollars a year. Roughly 800 people work in information technology, the computer and telecommunication systems that store and use data  departments in 20 executive branch agencies. Jindal administration aide Ruth Johnson said any positions eliminated will not be through layoffs, but when people retire or take other jobs. She said the goal is not privatization in and of itself. although there may be some of that.


The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is meeting today along with both  the Monroe and West Monroe City Councils to vote on an ordinance  that would ban smoking in bars and establishments like Bingo

Halls. Police jury president Shane Smiley says this is an extension of  the state smoking ban that's already in place for restaurants. He says the  parish-wide smoking ban would mean a level playing field for  businesses. Smiley says Monroe and West Monroe have agreed to  a workplace smoking ban as well and he expects it will pass today.


It's Fire Prevention Week and that's important, because Louisiana has  one of the highest death rates in the country based on data compiled by  the US Fire Administration. The state's fire death rate is 7th highest  in the nation. United States Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell says  most of these fatalities happen at night and are preventable.  Mitchell says the best thing you can do it to make sure your smoke detectors work.






 Louisiana Tech won its first ever Conference USA game on Saturday with a

 38-35 victory over U-TEP. Coach Skip Holtz says it was a big win for his



 The Ragin Cajuns won their Sun Belt opener on Saturday by beating Texas

 State 48 to 24.


 The 10th ranked LSU Tigers bounced back from their loss to Georgia with

 a 59-26 win over Mississippi State.


 The Saints are an NFC best 5-and-0 after beating the Chicago Bears 26-18





News For Friday 10/04/13

News for Friday 100413

By Dave Graichen


The state is preparing for whatever Tropical Storm Karen may bring our  way. State Climatologist Barry Keim says warm sea surface temperatures  are feeding Karen's intensity, but other weather factors are working to  diminish it. The National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service predict  Karen will become a hurricane later today, but will likely lose strength  before coming ashore, somewhere between Plaquemines Parish and the  Florida panhandle. Keim advises southeast Louisiana be prepared for a  Category One hurricane.


The   Governor's   Office   of   Homeland   Security  and  Emergency Preparedness is keeping a close eye on this  storm.  GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis is encouraging you to listen to advisories  as  we  head into  the  weekend and check your emergency supplies and review your emergency plans.


You can receive emergency alerts on  most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new ALERT FM App.  It  is  free  for  basic service. You can also download the new Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other important information at www.getagameplan.org.


The early voting period for the October 19th election begins tomorrow  morning. Early voting will go from tomorrow until Saturday October 12th,  from 8:30 AM to Six PM, excluding Sunday. Secretary of State Tom  Schedler says citizens who want to vote early, may do so in person at  their parish Registrar of Voters Office or at other designated locations. Voters in 49 parishes have various items from tax propositions that are  on the ballot for the October 19th election. The biggest item is the 5th Congressional district election, which impacts 24 parishes in the state.


The Wildest Show in the South is back as the Angola Prison Rodeo  kicks off this weekend. Cathy Fontenot is the assistant warden of  programming at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. She says this is

probably the most unusual and unique event you might ever attend.  Fontenot says people from all over the world come to Angola to  catch one of the October Sunday rodeos and enjoy music from inmate bands and the famous offender-made arts and crafts. She says  tickets for this Sunday's rodeo are almost sold out and they  expect over 13,000 people to attend.


The  state  Department  of  Revenue  is  reaching  out to delinquent taxpayers to remind them there's a tax amnesty going  on.  From  now 'til  November  23rd, those behind on state taxes can get caught up, with no penalty fees  and  pay  only  half the accrued interest. LDR executive  counsel  Jason  Decuir  says  the   goal  is  to  collect  $200-million by then. He cannot say how much they've  brought  in so far..:


One of the most famous houses in Louisiana  is  hitting  the auction block.  The  Cook-Taylor  House  aka  the "Steel Magnolia House"  in Natchitoches is being sold to the highest  bidder  on  October 26th. Auctioneer  Barbara  Bonnette says owner Christina Landry  has  been operating the house as a bed and breakfast.


Tenth ranked LSU will look for a bounce back performance tomorrow night  against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.  LSU has won 13 straight over the Bulldogs. 1999 was the last time State beat the Tigers and that was in Starkville. The Bulldogs home stadium  seats 55-thousand, but it gets loud with all of those  Cowbells.




News For Thursday 10/03/13

News for Thursday 100313

By Dave Graichen


The police chief of Colfax has been arrested and charged with theft and malfeasance in office. A complaint to the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office led to an investigation and the arrest of 43 year old  Charles Stickell. The release from the sheriff’s office does not go into any detail, like what was alleged in the complaint or even when the arrest was made. It does state that a warrant for Stickell's arrest was issued after the investigation. Neither Colfax Mayor Gerald Hamilton or representatives of the Colfax Police Department would commented on the arrest.


Authorities in grant parish report two fishermen found the body of an unidentified woman in the Little River just south of Pollock Tuesday. The grant parish sheriff’s department reports the body was that of a white female between the ages of 35 to 65. There have been no reports of anyone matching that description in the parish. The body has been sent for an autopsy, and an investigation is continuing.


The price of gasoline has fallen for the past 30 days here in Louisiana. The AAA now reports the statewide average for a gallon of gas is $3.22 and there are reports some stations in the Slidell are selling it for less than $3 a gallon.


Isn't it a little late in the year for a possible tropical storm? History says "no", there've been numerous storms and even hurricanes in October for Louisiana, including Hurricane Lili in 2002. Right now a tropical wave, just east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is headed for the southern Gulf and predicted to turn north in our direction. There's a 70% chance it could reach named storm intensity within the next two days.


Good news for Louisiana sportsmen; the Federal government shutdown will have no effect on the state's wildlife management areas. That's represents over a million acres of public areas within the areas that hunters can access. Deer and resident game season opens this week.


Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Brees threw for 413 yards in New Orleans 38-17 victory over Miami. It's the 15th time he's won the award since coming to the Saints. Former LSU Tiger, Patrick Peterson, is the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Peterson had two big interceptions to help Arizona rally to beat Tampa Bay 13 to 10.


A Belle Chasse man is behind bars, pending a $50-thousand bond, for shooting secret nude videos of his fiancée’s teen daughter in the bathroom. Plaquemines Parish authorities say the mother found the video files on the family computer and called them. Once arrested, the man admitted everything. If convicted of video voyeurism he could face 10 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender. The suspect's identity is being withheld to protect the identity of his 15-year-old victim.


Another Louisiana city is considering tougher anti-smoking laws. Thibodaux's city council is considering a ban on smoking along walking paths in the city's public parks. One park in question is next to the Nicholls State campus, where lighting up is banned entirely. Citizens complain the park is littered with cigarette butts.


State Farm is raising the rates on its homeowners insurance policies in Louisiana. That means premiums will rise an average of eight-point-seven percent for the nearly 308-thousand homeowners policyholders. State Farm spokesperson Gary Stephenson says the higher rates are already in effect for new customers and existing policyholders will see the rate increase after November first. State Farm's last rate adjustment was in February 2012 and that was a statewide average increase of eight percent.


A 150-million dollar expansion and modernization of a grain facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge will help Louisiana farmers ship their grain  around the world. LSU Ag Center economist, Doctor Kurt Guidry, says the new facility should help increase producers income.Louis Dreyfus, a global merchandiser of commodities,  invested the money into the project. Guidry says expectations for the expanded facility are high.




News For Wednesday 10/02/13

News for Wednesday 100213

By Dave Graichen


The  partial  federal government shutdown has thousands of Louisiana residents at home  and  missing  out  on  a paycheck.  There's an estimated 20-thousand federal employees in Louisiana. Fort  Polk  in Vernon  Parish  has about three-thousand government workers and base spokesperson Scott  Stearns  says  80-percent  of their workers have been furloughed. This is the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.


The National Hurricane Center is  watching  an  area of low pressure that  shows  some  signs of organization in the western  Caribbean. Richard  Pasch,  with  the  National  Hurricane  Center,  says  this disturbance is expected  to  move  into  the southern Gulf of Mexico later this week. He says they give it a medium  chance of developing into a named storm.


Opening day glitches were apparent Tuesday as the online insurance marketplaces at the heart of the national health-care overhaul opened. A spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana,   one of four companies providing insurance through the exchange in Louisiana, said no one among about a dozen testers of the system was able to complete a transaction early Tuesday.

Company spokesman John Maginnis said BCBS is advising people to take a deep breath, relax and check back. The exchanges are going to be open for quite a long time. The enrollment period lasts six months. Louisiana is among the states that refused to run its own marketplace, leaving that to the federal government under a decision made by Gov. Bobby Jindal.


State Superintendent of Education John White reiterated his support Tuesday for tougher academic standards and blasted what he labeled as a static public school establishment. In a speech in Washington, D.C., White noted that students in Louisiana have long ranked between 45th and 49th. White and other backers say the standards will improve student achievement and allow state-to-state comparisons on how students fare in the classroom. Critics contend the new guidelines will pave the way for a federal curriculum.


From the WHAT? Department.. A  federal  judge orders the immediate release of an Angola prisoner

who has spent  four  decades  in  solitary  confinement. Judge Brian Jackson says Angola 3 member Herman Wallace should  be  free  to go, because  there  were  no women on the jury that convicted him in the stabbing death of an Angola prison guard in 1972. Wallace, who is in the late stages of liver cancer,  was released late last night and transported to a new Orleans hospital.


Just before the federal government shutdown, Louisiana received word  from the US Department of Veterans affairs that they'll provide funding  for a veterans cemetery in Rayville. David LaCerte, deputy secretary of  the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, says this newest cemetery

provides for the needs of about 35-thousand Veterans and their families.  The cemetery will be located near I-20 on property donated by the  Franklin family. It will span about 50 acres. The hope is to have a new veterans cemetery completed in early 2015.


 The Louisiana Hospitals Association, along with state and local partners  launch a six month initiative to help make a healthier Louisiana. LHA  Board Chairman Stephen Wright says the "Geaux Lite" challenge has an  eye toward a slimmer Louisiana. Geaux Lite seeks to challenge Louisianans to lose a combined 200 tons  of weight. That's 400-thousand pounds. Department of Health & Hospitals  Secretary Kathy Kliebert (KLEE-bear) says 34.7% of Louisianans are  overweight.


The Iberia Parish Sheriff's office placed a deputy on leave who  allegedly beat a man in handcuffs with a baton at the Sugar Cane  Festival. Reverend Raymond Brown with Action Now says it started

Saturday when several people were arrested on rioting charges. He says  the police doubled up forces for Sunday and things got out of control. Brown says one of the people at the festival asked a deputy why they  were being so mean, and that's when that man was cuffed and then  clubbed with a baton. He says a video of the incident has gone viral.


Two  teenage  girls  from  Baker have been arrested and charged with cyber stalking after using Twitter  to threaten to kill another girl. Chantel Williams and Jasmine Montgomery,  both  17,  were apparently making  the  threats because one of their boyfriends was  expressing interest in the victim.


A 23-year-old Franklin man is facing first-degree murder charges  in the fatal shooting of a man whose body was found in the roadway near Jeanerette  early  Monday  morning. St. Mary Parish Sheriff's office spokesperson, Tracy Landry,  says 23-year-old Jazmine Jackson is now behind bars..


One of the five men suspected in a triple homicide and home invasion case in Ascension Parish has pleaded guilty before the trial was set to begin. Michael Aikens is accused of taking part in the murders of Irwin and  Shirley  Marchand  and  their son Doug Dooley in order to steal  coins from their house. Aikens  agreed  to  plead  guilty  in exchange for three life sentences without the possibility of parole.


Jefferson Parish Sheriff's  deputies have retrieved a body from Lake Pontchartrain. It's believed to be the remains of the man whose truck drove  off  the  Causeway  bridge   yesterday,   though  a  positive identification has not yet been made. An autopsy  of  the  male body has been ordered.


Loyola University in New Orleans has been awarded a NASA grant for a new  invention  that uses body heat  to  recharge  smartphones.  The invention refines  the science of thermoelectricity; converting heat into electric current.  A physics professor at Loyola leads the team who are developing the device.


State Police rescued a child that was reported  missing from Florida Tuesday .  Troopers say they were on the lookout for  a  blue  Chrysler minvan traveling  west  on  I-10.  They  spotted  the  vehicle  near Henderson and pulled it over. The child was inside and recovered  by troopers.  The  driver,  38-year-old  Gloria  Reyes, of Orlando, was arrested for warrants in Florida. Her relationship to the 5-year-old is yet unknown.



News For Tuesday 10/01/13

News for Tuesday 100113

By Dave Graichen


A mess on I-49 yesterday morning, between The Forest Hill and Meeker exits, after a tanker truck caught on fire. Traffic was detoured for hours as authorities contained the mess. The roadway was reopened shortly before 2 in the afternoon.


The  price  at  the  pump  has  slipped  once  again.  The  American Automobile Association  says  the  current  statewide  average for a gallon of regular is $3.22 which is down a penny from yesterday  and 21 cents less than this time last month.


New federal data shows personal income in Louisiana grew at the fourth-fastest rate in the nation, for the first half of this year. The report  from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates that growth rate was  1.3 percent. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says that's largely driven  by new business and industry, and building to house them.  In the report, only Arizona, Florida and New Hampshire show higher rates  of personal income growth in the years first two quarters.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is advising people to be  patient and prepared before you sit down and shop the health insurance  marketplace which opens today. BCBS Spokesman John Maginnis  says they are working closely with the government but it's possible  there will be some technical issues at the start. Customers will be able to begin purchasing health  insurance today, but the deadline to purchase coverage for a January  1, 2014 start date is December 15th. He says the marketplace is  scheduled to remain open through March 31st.


State officials have lifted the outdoor burn ban that had been in place  for fully half of Louisiana's parishes. State Fire Marshal Butch  Browning says daytime high temperatures are falling, and there's been a  fair amount of measurable rain in drought-stricken areas. However, Browning says even though the ban is over, remember outdoor fires will still be subject to any state or local  laws and fire department restrictions.


Governor Bobby Jindal has invited President Obama to Louisiana so he can meet with parents  of  children  who  received  taxpayer  funded vouchers  to  attend private schools. Jindal's invite is in response to the federal  government's  lawsuit  against  the  program. The US Justice Department filed the suit seeking to prohibit Louisiana from giving  out  future  vouchers to students who attend public  schools that under federal desegregation orders.


The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office says the  wife  of the suspect in the case of the pastor who was shot while giving a church sermon, filed  rape  charges against the preacher last Wednesday.  They  say Pastor Ronald  Harris and the suspect Woodrow Karry's wife exchanged text messages that  were found by the suspect last weekend. Both the shooting  and  the  rape   allegations  are  being  investigated  to determine  if  there was a consensual  sexual  relationship  between Harris and Karey's wife or if it was non-consensual.


In St. Landry Parish, 34-year-old Todd Richard  of  Arnaudville  has been   arrested   after   allegedly   slipping  narcotics  into  his 78-year-old grandmother's food to make  her sleep. Sheriff deputies

say Richard gave her drugs so he can smoke  crystal met in the house and  he  also  allegedly  stole  seven-thousand  dollars   from  his grandmother.


Deputies  in  St.  Mary  Parish are investigating the death of a man whose  body  was  discovered   lying  on  state  Highway  182,  near Jeanerette, early Monday morning.  An  autopsy  has  been  ordered  to determine  exact cause of death, but detectives have already started investigating the man's death as a homicide.


Flood insurance rate hikes for many south Louisiana homes and businesses built prior to the first 1973 federal flood maps will begin being phased in today as new changes for the National Flood Insurance Program goes into effect.  The Oct. 1 trigger applies to properties — businesses, secondary vacation homes and homes that have been repeatedly flooded — that were grandfathered into artificially lower premiums for flood insurance before flood maps were created. Such impacted policyholders will see 25 percent annual premium increases over a few years. However, those not grandfathered in could see their rates go from $400 a year to $15,000.





Can you say 4 and 0… Drew Brees passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns as the  Saints served a meal of whoop ass to the Miami Dolphins last night.. the final   38-17.


LSU has dropped four places on the AP Top 25  College Football Poll, after  Saturday's  hard fought loss to Georgia. LSU  went  from  6th place last week to 10th.  The Tigers are also ranked 11th on the USA Today Coaches' Poll.




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