News

September 19, 2016

LIVINGSTON, La. (AP) — Livingston Parish officials say less than 6 percent of students missed their first day back in the classrooms last week as classes resumed following widespread flooding in August. Superintendent Rick Wentzel tells The Advocate more than 24,500 students, or roughly 94.5 percent of last year’s Oct. 1 enrollment count, returned to classes.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A defense attorney says real estate heir Robert Durst has been assigned to an Indiana prison for medical care, rather than the California prison requested because he faces a murder charge in Los Angeles. Dick DeGuerin (duh-GEHR-in) says that when Durst goes on trial, he’ll be moved from the prison in Terre Haute to the state of California’s custody. He said in an email Sunday that he learned about the assignment late on Friday, and doesn’t know when Durst will be moved.

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — The owners and four officials of a company that abandoned 7,800 tons of potentially explosive artillery propellant at Camp Minden in northwest Louisiana are scheduled for their first appearance in federal court. Magistrate Judge Mark Hornsby has scheduled arraignment at 3 p.m. Monday for the Explo Systems Inc. owners and executives. They’re accused of lying to get contracts to “demilitarize” the M6 artillery propellant, storing it unsafely and obstructing inspections.

VILLE PLATTE, La. (AP) — Investigators with the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office are looking into the cause of a house fire that claimed the life of a 62-year-old Ville Platte man. Chief Deputy Brant Thompson said in a news release Ville Platte firefighters responded to a report of a fire early Sunday morning and found smoke and flames coming from a wood-framed home.

September 16, 2016

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — Four top candidates in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race drew distinctions in their backgrounds more than in policy as they introduced themselves to voters who are just tuning in to the campaign. Republican U.S. Rep Charles Boustany, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, Democratic lawyer Caroline Fayard and Republican Treasurer John Kennedy were the only contenders invited to the Thursday night forum at Nicholls State University.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tulane University has formally opened a new institute to study and protect Louisiana’s waterways and coast. The university on Thursday announced the opening of the “ByWater Institute” and a new riverfront campus in downtown New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans native Wynton Marsalis will be one of a dozen people to receive a National Humanities Medal at a ceremony later this month. NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports Thursday ( http://bit.ly/2d5h1YK) that Marsalis is being honored for his work as a composer and a musician. The newspaper reports that Marsalis will not be in attendance during the Sept. 22 ceremony at the White House.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Nearly one in five Louisiana residents lived in poverty last year. That’s according to the latest U.S. Census data, released Thursday, which shows little change in Louisiana’s poverty rate from 2014 to 2015. Louisiana had the third-highest rate of poverty in the country for 2015, at 19.6 percent, falling behind only Mississippi and New Mexico.

September 15, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a tough time for a governor to come to Washington, hat in hand, to ask for billions of dollars for a hard-hit state, especially with Congress in the midst of election-season dysfunction and dominated by tightfisted tea party Republicans. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is back for a second week, pleading for almost $3 billion. Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott wants aid to combat Zika.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany is blaming one of his GOP rivals in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race for spreading allegations that Boustany was involved with prostitutes who were later killed. The congressman blasted Treasurer John Kennedy and his campaign staff, saying they have been engaged in a “smear campaign,” sending around the allegations contained in a new book released this week. Boustany called the prostitution allegations “totally false, despicable lies.”

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Landry says two of his budget requests to lawmakers are being improperly bottled up by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration. Landry wrote to members of the Legislature’s joint budget committee complaining Edwards’ Division of Administration has stalled budget adjustments he wanted lawmakers to consider Friday. Landry suggested the delay was politically motivated. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says politics had nothing to do with either rejection.

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — The Rapides Parish Police Jury has hired a law firm to try to recover money they say was stolen by a District Attorney’s Office employee. The Town Talk reports that the police jury agreed on Monday to hire Corkern, Crews, Guillet & Johnson, LLC to sue Beard and Travelers Insurance. The police jury wants to collect on an insurance claim against the Employee Dishonest Policy issued to the police jury by the insurance company.

 

September 14, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Baton Rouge police say a 69-year-old woman shoved to the floor by a burglar in early August died last week at a medical rehabilitation facility. Sgt. said in a news release Tuesday detectives are now investigating her death as a homicide. McKneely says Earnestine Johnson confronted a burglar inside a friend’s home on Aug. 11.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Trinity Marine Products Inc. said it will shut down its Brusly plant beginning on Oct. 31, a move that will put 288 employees out of work. The Advocate reports two other companies also announced layoffs Tuesday: Bradken’s Amite foundry and ProActive Technologies Inc.

GONZALES, La. (AP) — The Ascension Parish School Board has picked CSRS, a Baton Rouge firm, to oversee rebuilding flood-damaged school buildings and seeking FEMA reimbursement dollars. Chad Lynch, director of planning and construction for Ascension Parish schools, told board members at a special meeting Tuesday, CSRS was recommended by a selection panel of school district administrators.

VIDALIA, La. (AP) — Fruit of the Loom has contacted Vidalia officials about continuing operations in the city through March 31. Martin Mills Inc., a subsidiary of Union Underwear Company, announced May 11 it would permanently close Vidalia Apparel Fruit of the Loom distribution center and vacate the building by Dec. 31.

September 13, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say an Ethel businessman accused in a $3.5 million investor fraud scheme allegedly spent some of their money at fine dining restaurants, casinos, Victoria’s Secret, Disney and LSU athletic events. U.S. Attorney Walt Green said in a news release Monday 55-year-old Bryan Addington was indicted on five counts of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Freeport-McMoRan will sell its deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas properties to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for $2 billion. The Advocate reports the Phoenix-based company said Monday it was part of a broader strategy to shed debt and concentrate on its copper business. Richard Adkerson, Freeport-McMoRan’s president and CEO, said that the company has sold more than $6 billion in assets this year.

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (AP) — Millions of people have seen the viral video of a good Samaritan rescuing Hailey Brouillette and her dog from south Louisiana floodwaters, but she isn’t one of them. A month after her harrowing brush with death, Brouillette finally got to meet the man who pulled her from a car as it sank into the murky water. A Red Cross volunteer who befriended Brouillette at a shelter arranged her reunion Monday with 27-year-old David Phung.

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — The city of Gulfport is partnering with the United Services Organization, Gulfport businesses, military and the fire department to send donations to the areas of Louisiana affected worst by flooding. The Sun Herald reports it’s the second trip for the city in less than a month.

September 12, 2016

Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator is making the rifle range at the Caddo Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy available to the public for sighting in rifles for the upcoming deer season.

 

Four Saturdays have been designated for the public to make use of the facility: September 24 and Oct. 1, 8, and 15.

 

Targets will be furnished and shooters will be assisted by state-certified firearms instructors. Participants are asked to call ahead and reserve a time to work with instructors. Shooters must provide their own ammunition, eye and ear protection, and should arrive with weapons unloaded.

 

The Academy is located at 15639 Highway One South, directly in front of Lock and Dam #5. To register, call the Caddo Sheriff’s Office Community Programs Division at 681-0875.

 

For questions regarding this press release, please contact Cindy Chadwick at (318) 681-0666

 

September 9, 2016

Applications from the Caddo Sheriff’s Office are now available for citizens of unincorporated areas of Caddo Parish who would like to close their streets for National Night Out block parties.

The applications are available at any of the sheriff’s substations or on-line at caddosheriff.org. They must be completed and returned to the Sheriff’s Office substation nearest to the applicant’s residence no later than September 30. If approved, a copy of the application will serve as the citizen’s permit to block portions of their street.

National Night Out is being celebrated in Caddo and Bossier parishes on October 4. Residents are encouraged to take a public stand against crime by participating in neighborhood gatherings and crime prevention events.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet your neighbors, show support for law enforcement, and learn what’s happening close to home,” said Sheriff Steve Prator. “Criminals can’t win if we are united in our approach to fight crime.”

For more information about National Night Out, contact the Sheriff’s Office Community Programs Unit at 681-0875.

Click Here for Application

For questions regarding this press release, please contact Cindy Chadwick at (318) 681-0666

September 8, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Eleven years ago, Hurricane Katrina exposed huge gaps in the disaster response plans of Louisiana and the nation. Lessons formed the backbone of state and federal reaction as flooding ravaged 20 Louisiana parishes last month. The immediate response was praised by officials and storm victims _ a striking contrast to Katrina. But the slog of the longer-term recovery is starting to show that cracks remain in the disaster safety net _ and that wariness lingers about federal help after Katrina.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The wife of an officer killed in a lone gunman’s ambush in Baton Rouge in July has announced that she’s pregnant. Dechia Gerald tells WAFB-TV that she believes she conceived just five days before her husband, 41-year-old Officer Matthew Gerald, died in the line of duty. Gerald, Officer Montrell Jackson and sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola were slain during a July 17 shootout outside a convenience store by 29-year-old Gavin Long.

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — Alexandria is expanding its use of body cameras for police officers. The police department already has 20 cameras, and the City Council has voted to buy another 132.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration is making its final offer Thursday to the operator of LSU’s hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe for a renegotiated contract with the state. The governor has been trying to rework the privatization deals that turned over patient care previously handled by LSU at its hospitals and clinics to outside managers. Renegotiation terms have been proposed to the other operators.

September 7, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans is going international. The company announced Wednesday the opening of its first location in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, in the Vincom B Center Shopping Mall.

MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) — An associate director at a Mandeville assisted living center that cares for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has been accused of covering up evidence that an employee raped a 78-year-old resident. Mandeville police said in a news release that 55-year-old Julie Henry was arrested Tuesday on charges of obstruction of justice and failure to report abuse of adults. Henry is the program services director at Beau Provence Memory Care.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Contractors in parts of Louisiana affected by recent flooding can qualify for a limited number of scholarships when registering for a new program to help small construction companies grow. The Louisiana Contractors Accreditation Institute will help people with small and emerging construction companies learn industry basics, including construction management, and prepare for the state licensing exam.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Diagnosed with cancer, LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike VI, won’t take the field during home football games this season but will remain in his habitat instead. The university, in a news release Tuesday, said in light of Mike’s recent cancer diagnosis, no attempt will be made to load him into his trailer. Instead, officials say he will be let out into his yard early on game day so that Tiger fans can see and visit with him throughout the day.

September 6, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard says a south Louisiana pipeline has been secured and authorities are investigating what caused roughly 5,300 gallons of crude oil to leak near Bay Long. The Coast Guard in New Orleans received a report Monday about the leak from a pipeline owned by Harvest Pipeline Company.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Hermine is expected to begin weakening as it churns hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasters are warning that it could continue to impact areas from New Jersey to southern New England with pounding waves, coastal flooding and beach erosion before it moves out to sea.

GRETNA, La. (AP) — The mother of a 2-year-old boy who was found buried in a garbage bag under a New Orleans-area bridge has turned herself in to police. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that 21-year-old Gabrielle Whittington surrendered Sunday. Deputies had issued second-degree murder warrants Friday for both Whittington and 21-year-old Onterio Thompson, who were the parents of Timothy Thompson IV. The boy’s decomposed body was found July 6 in a bag near the Huey P. Long Bridge.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State police say there’s an overwhelming demand for Office of Motor Vehicle services following disastrous flooding in August. In a news release, state police say office hours at the OMV Field Office on Independence Boulevard in Baton Rouge is extending office hours through next week. The office is processing up to 600 cancelled plates a day from flooded vehicles as well as duplicate drivers licenses and IDs.

September 2, 2016

CARRABELLE, Fla. (AP) — Hermine is getting weaker as it moves over Georgia, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center says winds are increasing along the Southeast coast and flooding rains continue. The tropical storm’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 60 mph with additional weakening forecast while Hermine stays over land. As of 8 a.m. EDT Friday, Hermine was centered about 35 miles northeast of Valdosta, Georgia, and moving north-northeast near 14 mph.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New government data shows Louisiana adults are still the fattest in the nation. More than 36 percent of the state’s adults reported they were obese in 2015, the highest of any state. Louisiana’s rate didn’t change from 2014. Colorado is the skinniest state, with adult obesity rates just over 20 percent. Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia also have adult obesity rates above 35 percent.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s efforts to improve Interstate 10 are getting a boost from $40 million in federal highway aid. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the latest funding grant Thursday. The Advocate reports with that additional money, the state is receiving the full $100 million in federal grants Edwards sought in April from the FASTLANE program.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Individuals who suffered flooding damage in St. James and West Baton Rouge parishes are now eligible for federal disaster assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency made the announcement Thursday, adding them to a list of 20 other south Louisiana parishes that have been declared federal disaster areas. The agency also says governments in Assumption, Cameron, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and West Baton Rouge parishes are now eligible for FEMA assistance.

September 1, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A newer and larger Norwegian Cruise Line International ship will be repositioned to New Orleans in the fall of 2017. The company said in a news release it would replace the smaller Norwegian Dawn with the larger Norwegian Pearl, which is 20 feet wider and holds 54 more guests.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — When Livingston Parish students return to school on Sept. 12, many will be at a new campus and some students going to their usual schools will have different start and end times to their school day. The Advocate reports Livingston Parish school officials announced Wednesday the schedules and assignments for those students whose schools have been severely damaged by the floods.

HOUMA, La. (AP) — Alligator hunting season is officially open in the eastern part of the state, but prices are way down. Hunters and processors says the current prices for alligators are $20 per foot for a 9-foot or longer gator, $17 for 8 feet, $13-$15 for 7 feet and $13-$14 for 6 feet.

August 31, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has distributed more than $1.6 million so far to local nonprofits helping people affected by the floods, including more $600,000 to schools and groups focused on education. The Advocate reports the grants are the first round of giving coming from the Louisiana Flood Relief Fund, which the prominent foundation established with $100,000 of its own money.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. government will decide in coming years if federal protections are needed for a small, fanged predator of the Northern Rockies, a massive snapping turtle that lives in the Deep South and seven other species. Deadlines for the decisions were contained in a Tuesday settlement between government attorneys and the Center for Biological Diversity. The advocacy group sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March after officials missed previous decision deadlines, sometimes by years.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service says it’s granting a regulatory waiver requested by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy to allow those impacted by August floods in Louisiana early access to retirement funds without penalty. Cassidy, in a statement Tuesday, said the hardship waiver will be critical for helping Louisianans get back on their feet quickly.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Allegiant Air is adding a new year-round nonstop service between New Orleans and Concord, North Carolina. Allegiant said Tuesday the route is the fourth it has added this year at Louis Armstrong International Airport. The Las Vegas-based airline will offer twice weekly flights from Concord Regional Airport to New Orleans starting Nov. 18.

August 30, 2016

NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) — Authorities in Natchitoches (NAK’-uh-tish) Parish continue to search for three inmates who escaped from the parish Detention Center. The sheriff’s office said in a news release that 34-year-old Willie E. Ethridge, 24-year-old Michael Elliot and 35-year-old Walshea Mitchell escaped Saturday night and then apparently jumped over two rolls of razor-wire fence. On Monday, deputies said the men may be traveling in a stolen, white 2015 Ford truck with Louisiana license number 240146.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A small plane that crash into Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana is now out of the water and sitting on a barge. Recovery workers used a crane to lift the plane onto the barge Tuesday morning. A woman survived Saturday night’s crash but two men remained missing. There was no immediately information on whether the men’s bodies were inside the aircraft.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State officials are allowing childcare facilities that were not affected by recent flooding to receive more children to offset the increased demand. The State Fire Marshal’s Office says daycare facilities requesting a capacity increase must be located within or near a flood-affected parish. The facility must not have received any floodwater or other damages. The higher numbers will be allowed until Nov. 30.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana state police say four children listed as missing in California have been found and their mother has been arrested along with a man wanted for alleged lewd acts with a child. State police say troopers spotted the man in Acadia Parish, acting on information from the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

August 29, 2016

MIAMI (AP) — A tropical depression that formed in the Florida Straits is moving into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it could soon become a tropical storm. The depression’s maximum sustained winds early Monday are near 35 mph (55 kph) with some strengthening expected during the next two days. Meanwhile, another tropical depression that formed west of Bermuda is moving toward the coast of North Carolina.

LAPLACE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State Police say a 21-year-old Mississippi man was killed and three other Mississippi residents were critically or seriously injured when a bus hit a fire truck and three other vehicles. Trooper Melissa Matey says Jermaine Starr of Moss Point was killed when the bus rear-ended the Toyota Camry in which he was a rear-seat passenger. Matey says the bus also hit three St. John the Baptist Parish firefighters, killing one and leaving a second in critical condition.

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Authorities say a former quarterback for Kansas State and McNeese State has been arrested for his part in a fatal home invasion in Louisiana. Lake Charles police say 32-year-old Daniel Sams was arrested Saturday. His bond was set at $200,000.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Fire Department says crews plan to retrieve the wreckage of a small plane that crashed last week into the muddy bottom of the lake along New Orleans’ northern shore. Capt. Edwin Holmes says that may also bring information about two men who have been missing since the crash during a training exercise Friday night. He says retrieval was to begin early Monday about 1,000 feet west of the runway the Cessna was heading fo

 

August 26, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A former code enforcement officer and inspector has pleaded not guilty to a charge of extortion after officials say he tried to shake down a Baton Rouge business. According to the arrest warrant, 29-year-old Jeremy Jamal Johnson went to Tammy’s Nails and requested $3,000 to conduct an unplanned inspection. Johnson was fired after his February arrest.

KENNER, La. (AP) — A Jefferson Parish grand jury has indicted a man accused of killing a Kenner couple in their bedroom as their newborn child slept in their bed. News outlets report that 28-year-old Shawn Barnett was indicted Thursday on two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the slayings of 28-year-old Dawn Scott and 31-year-old Raynell Kimbrough, who were shot to death in their apartment on April 4. The couple’s 2-week-old daughter was in bed with them at the time and was not hurt.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Health is reopening three molluscan shellfish growing areas located in Vermilion and Iberia parishes, 30 minutes before sunrise Friday. The department, in a news release, said areas 26, 27 and 28 were closed last Friday due to environmental conditions related to flooding in the area. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the order to reopen the waters Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former Maryland corrections official from Maryland has been tapped to run the violence-plagued New Orleans jail. Gary Maynard will fill the role of “compliance director.” Sheriff Marlin Gusman announced the choice Thursday. It was subject to approval by a federal judge overseeing Gusman’s compliance with a 2012 reform agreement.

August 24, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As thousands of south Louisiana flood victims apply for disaster assistance, residents of two Mississippi communities have been told they are not eligible for assistance. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokes tells The Natchez Democrat the damage in Crosby and Centreville wasn’t enough to meet the criteria for a federal declaration of disaster. Flynn said MEMA and the state are working on several available options to help Crosby residents.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The release of 2016 ACT college readiness scores show relatively few Louisiana public school students are meeting benchmarks showing readiness for college-level science, math and reading studies. Fifty-nine percent meet the English benchmark, but only 35 percent reached the reading benchmark; 26 percent hit the math benchmark; 27 percent, the science benchmark.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal government says that, for the first time, it’s broadcasting an oil and gas lease sale live on the internet. The sale Wednesday offers all 23.8 million acres available for drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast. At earlier sales, an official from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management read bids to oil company representatives and others in a Superdome ballroom. A bureau spokeswoman has said protests that disrupted a sale in March played a part in the change.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish dropped 2.4 percent in June, the second consecutive month that less money was spent than the year before. The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/2bNiUpt) the city-parish Finance Department said nearly $710.9 million was spent in the parish in June. That compares with nearly $728.5 million in June 2015.

August 23, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The LSU AgCenter estimates that the floods in south Louisiana have caused at least $110 million worth of damage to agriculture _ and the figure is likely to grow. Economist Kurt Guidry says in a news release that factors include damage to crop yield and quality, damage to infrastructure and loss of stored commodities.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An air conditioning expert appointed by a federal judge has testified a portable air conditioner consisting of an ice chest, fan and duct has a high potential for success in helping to drop the extreme heat indexes on Louisiana’s death row that threaten three ailing condemned killers. The Advocate reports Shane Hernandez, a professional engineer and A/C expert in Lafayette, told Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson Monday the low-tech units placed outside the inmates’ cells work.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Five months after protesters disrupted an oil and gas lease sale in New Orleans, the government is livestreaming a sale while closing the site where bids are read. Spokeswoman Caryl Fagot (fuh-GOH) says the demonstration contributed to the decision to close the site while livestreaming Wednesday’s sale. But she says the bureau has been holding its lease renewals entirely online for several years, and has been looking at livestreaming for a while, to broaden the audience.

August 22, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The south Louisiana floods, which have forced tens of thousands of people to look for housing, comes at a time when the metro Baton Rouge housing market was already grappling with a limited inventory of homes. As of July, the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service found there were 3,382 homes on the market in the metro areas.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man was killed and a Louisiana State Police trooper was wounded after being shot in the arm in New Orleans. New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble says the department is investigating “an officer-involved shooting.” He says two men escaped on foot, and a search for them was underway Sunday evening.

WASHINGTON (AP) — After two weeks of sunshine and 10 rounds of golf, President Barack Obama is preparing for the busy fall awaiting him. Given what lies ahead, the glow from his vacation may fade sooner than expected, though.

August 19, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Even as most schools in the Baton Rouge area ready to reopen in the coming days, public schools in the hard-hit town of Central won’t reopen until after Labor Day at the earliest and perhaps later. Central Superintendent Michael Faulk tells The Advocate only one of Central’s five schools, Tanglewood Elementary, sustained flooding, but it’s a large school. The East Baton Rouge Parish school system, the state’s second largest school district, will reopen classes Wednesday.

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope on multiple felony counts after he allegedly withheld public records and used his position to advance Chad Leger’s campaign for sheriff. KATC-TV reports Pope was processed Thursday at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center and released after posting $25,000 bond.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police are searching for a man who they say strangled a woman, broke her nose and threw bleach on her. News outlets report police say a 52-year-old woman was attacked by 51-year-old Jeffrey Ballard after the two got into an argument Wednesday evening in the Uptown neighborhood. A police report says Ballard threatened to kill the woman, hit her so hard that he broke her nose, and then threw bleach on her. The woman was taken to a hospital. Ballard faces a charge of attempted murder.

MONROE, La. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Delhi doctor has pleaded guilty to writing illegal prescriptions. U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, in a news release Thursday, said 64-year-old Dr. Dan J. LaFleur, entered the plea Tuesday before U. S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes to one count of distribution of Suboxone, a Schedule III medication used to treat opiate addiction. LaFleur faces up to 10 years in prison, two years of supervised release, and a $500,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set.

August 18, 2016

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (AP) — Dogs displaced by flooding in southern Louisiana are going to a shelter in Florida. WFTS-TV in Tampa reports the Humane Society of Tampa Bay agreed to take 18 dogs from Acadiana Animal Aid shelter in Lafayette. The dogs will be available for adoption Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former NFL star Darren Sharper has a sentencing hearing in federal court Thursday following an earlier multi-jurisdiction plea deal related to allegations he drugged and raped as many as 16 women in four states. Sentencing was originally planned for June, but Judge Jane Triche Milazzo rejected the 9-year prison sentence prosecutors recommended under the plea deal. Sharper now faces a possible 15-to-20 years.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Hammond, Louisiana-based plastering contractor has agreed to pay $365,000 in a dispute involving overtime. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Brownlow Plastering LLC misclassified employees entitled to protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act as independent contractors. Officials say the payment will cover wages for 147 employees.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Lottery Corporation says nobody won the two major jackpots in the Louisiana Lotto and multistate Powerball drawings on Wednesday night. The Lotto prize rises to an estimated $1.1 million and the Powerball jackpot goes to $110 million for Saturday’s drawing

August 17, 2016

GONZALES, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has taken a step to make sure widespread flooding in Louisiana doesn’t cause problems in pending legal proceedings. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said in a Tuesday news release that Edwards has issued an executive order imposing an emergency suspension of all deadlines for legal proceedings in state courts, administrative agencies and boards.

FORT POLK, La. (AP) — The Army plans to remove hundreds of horses from Fort Polk in Louisiana. An estimated 700 to 750 wild horses roam training lands on and around Fort Polk. The fate of the horses has been the subject of debate since the Army proposed removing them about a year ago. Army officials say the animals represent a safety hazard, while advocates have argued they should be left alone.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former Louisiana prosecutor who was accused of soliciting sex from at least 20 women in exchange for favorable treatment faces sentencing Wednesday in federal court. Seventy-three-year-old Harry Morel was district attorney for 33 years in St. Charles Parish, about 20 miles west of New Orleans. Now he faces a maximum of three years in prison after pleading guilty to a single obstruction charge.

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — Renovation of the Rapides Parish Coliseum is on pace, but officials plan to hold off for about a year before renovating the inside of the Coliseum’s Exhibition Hall. Exhibition Hall is a separate building on the Coliseum grounds. The Coliseum itself is undergoing a $22.9 million renovation.

August 16, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has activated its mobile pet shelter to the Baton Rouge River Center which is now sheltering evacuees. Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said in a news release Monday the mobile pet shelter can hold approximately 50 pets.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has granted a delay in the trial of a former New Orleans police officer charged in the cover-up of deadly shootings by other officers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Gerard Dugue (DOO’-gay) had been set for trial this month. But the trial was put off until October to provide time for plea negotiations that prosecutors recently said are ongoing.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana officials are encouraging those affected by flooding to pre-register for benefits under the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Department of Children and Family Services is preparing an application for parishes currently included in the federal disaster declaration: East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa. DSNAP provides food assistance to eligible households who do not receive regular benefits and need help buying groceries following a disaster.

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — A downgrade of BancorpSouth’s Community Reinvestment Act rating means two mergers have been tabled for the time being. BancorpSouth announced in January 2014 its intent to acquire Ouachita Bancshares Corp. of West Monroe, Louisiana, and Central Community Corp. of Temple, Texas.

August 15, 2016

WALKER, La. (AP) — The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says damage reports are coming in on the flooding in south Mississippi. Greg Flynn, an agency spokesman, says Wilkinson County Emergency Management reported 71 homes damaged from flooding, primarily in the towns of Crosby and Centreville.

FENTON, La. (AP) — Authorities say a southwest Louisiana police officer has died, six days after he was hit by a car at a traffic stop. Police in the Jefferson Davis Parish village of Fenton tell KPLC-TV (http://bit.ly/2aLAs8c) that Officer Shannon Brown died Saturday. Louisiana State Police said Brown was standing between his car and a vehicle he’d pulled over on Aug. 7, when another car hit his car from behind.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The federal fraud trial of politically connected Mandeville businessman Raymond Reggie has been pushed back from next week to next June in Baton Rouge. Reggie pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges in 2014 and was sentenced last summer to more than 11 years in prison, but a federal appeals court threw the plea and sentence out in May because Reggie was impaired by a stroke when he pleaded guilty.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Police say an 18-year-old Milwaukee man was seriously injured when he was shot during a late night protest over the police killing of a black man. Authorities said Monday that the man was shot Sunday during a second night of unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side. Officers used an armored vehicle to retrieve the injured man and take him to a hospital. Police say they are seeking suspects in the shooting.

August 12, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Heavy rain and street flooding have prompted five school districts in southeast Louisiana to cancel classes. St. James, Washington, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes and the Bogalusa City School District announced early Friday schools would be closed due to weather and flooding concerns.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal prosecutors are asking a judge for time to complete a plea agreement with a former New Orleans police officer charged in connection with the cover-up of deadly shootings by his colleagues after Hurricane Katrina. Gerard Dugue (DOO’-gay) is set for an Aug. 22 trial, but prosecutors asked for a delay on Wednesday. He was indicted on charges including obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of shootings at the Danziger Bridge in 2005.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas and 12 other states will ask a federal judge Friday to halt an Obama administration directive on bathroom rights for transgender students. The Republican-controlled states are challenging federal officials following a May announcement that schools must let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Virginia school for now can block a transgender male from using the boys’ restroom.

PLAQUEMINE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana sheriff says one of his deputies shot and critically wounded a man brandishing a gun outside a trailer home. Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said the man pointed a gun at a deputy but didn’t fire any shots before a deputy shot him in the buttocks Thursday around noon.

August 11, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The convicted trigger man has refused to take the stand to testify in a New Orleans courtroom in the case of Emma Raine, who is on trial for allegedly arranging the murder of her second husband in 2006. Alfred “Terry” Everette, who is appealing his second-degree murder conviction in the death of Ernest Smith, walked into the courtroom but refused to approach the witness stand. He also refused to be sworn in and he didn’t answer questions before being escorted out.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans officials are urging residents to take precautions as severe weather is forecast for the area. The New Orleans area is under a flood watch through Saturday morning. In neighboring Jefferson Parish, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for that area through Friday morning. Rainfall totals of up to 8 inches are expected in some areas.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s top school board has given state Superintendent of Education John White a positive job evaluation, but no more job security than the month-to-month deal he’s had since the new board’s term began in January. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education reviewed White’s performance in a closed-door session Wednesday. BESE President Jim Garvey said White’s evaluation was “favorable.”

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Industrial Development Board has released the findings of the appraisal group selected to value the shuttered Six Flags park. Local media outlets reports the McEnery Company of New Orleans submitted its findings to the board on Aug. 4 and fixed the value of the former amusement park at $3 million.

August 10, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — One of two deputy city marshals charged with murder in a 6-year-old boy’s fatal shooting wants Louisiana prosecutors to disclose whether any of their witnesses were hypnotized to elicit trial testimony. A court filing dated last Friday doesn’t explain why Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s lawyer, George Higgins III, is asking whether if prosecution witnesses underwent hypnosis or any “truth-determining examinations,” such as polygraph tests or sodium pentothal.

KENNER, La. (AP) — Officials say Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has come up with $10 million to start work on a flyover ramp that will link Interstate 10 to the new terminal under construction at Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner. State officials tell local media outlets the full ramp project is expected to cost another $90 million, which has yet to be secured.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Opening statements could begin Wednesday in the complicated case of Emma Raine. She’s on trial in the death of her second husband in New Orleans 2006. And that case is linked to the mysterious death of her third husband in Mississippi in 2011. Conviction could mean life in prison for the 52-year-old woman.

LIVINGSTON, La. (AP) — A proposal to curtail door-to-door sales in Livingston Parish may see another round of changes before it is adopted. The Advocate reports the proposed ordinance would require solicitors to get a parish permit, including paying a $50 fee and getting a background check, before peddling their wares at private homes.

August 9. 2016

HOUMA, La. (AP) — The Terrebonne Parish Council has extended the life of the ordinance that increased bingo days at a single facility from two to three a week. In January, the parish council increased the number of games after members of charitable groups that sponsor them and bingo hall owners debated whether the measure would result in increased revenue for either.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former youth pastor at First Baptist Church New Orleans has been sentenced to a 10-year state prison term after pleading guilty to a dozen criminal charges related to the molestation of a young female member of his congregation. Thirty-five-year-old Jonathan Bailey pleaded guilty Monday to five counts of molestation of a juvenile, six counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and a count of obstruction of justice.

PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) — Louisiana Offshore Oil Port has started operations at three new above-ground crude oil tanks located at its Clovelly hub, adding 1.1 million barrels of storage capacity and giving the facility a total 10.1 million barrels of above-ground storage. The Advocate reports the tanks began service about 3 months ahead of schedule and will help LOOP meet market demands.

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — South Louisiana’s disappearing dancehalls will be highlighted during the 2016 Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, which is set for Oct. 13-16 at Lafayette’s Girard Park. This annual festival, which started in 1974, traditionally honors a musician who has had a significant impact on Cajun and Creole culture.

August 8, 2016

AP POLL-YOUNG AMERICANS-TERRORISM

GenForward poll: Young Americans worry over extremist threat

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The threat of violence by people inspired by foreign extremists invokes fear in a majority of young Americans across racial groups. But for young people of color, particularly African-Americans, that fear is matched or surpassed by worries about violence from white extremists.

A new GenForward poll of Americans age 18-30 shows widespread anxiety among young people about attacks from both inside and outside the United States.

Sixty-two percent of young African-Americans and 55 percent of Hispanics surveyed say they are very concerned about the threat of violence committed by white extremists. That’s compared to one-third of whites and 41 percent of Asian-Americans.

COLD CASE TRIAL

Trial: Man, 76, accused of killing 1st wife in October 1962

A half-century after a 22-year-old woman died in southwest Louisiana, her husband is going on trial, accused of killing her.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the second-degree murder case against 76-year-old Felix Vail. He has asked the judge to move his trial out of Calcasieu (KAL-kuh-shoo) Parish, where Mary Horton Vail died in October 1962.

Vail said she’d fallen into the Calacasieu River. He was arrested, but the coroner ruled the death an accidental drowning and a grand jury declined to indict. The Mississippi native was freed.

The current coroner reopened the investigation after The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi, published a series about Mary Vail’s death and the disappearances of two other women close to Vail in 1973 and 1984.

Vail is charged with second-degree murder. Conviction would require life in prison.

UNO ENROLLMENT

New UNO president turns to boost enrollment, retention

(Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With classes set to begin this month, University of New Orleans President John Nicklow is ready to learn a lot about his new students.

A year after UNO’s student head count sank to its lowest level since 1967, The New Orleans Advocate reports Nicklow is turning to a new approach in higher education that relies on mining student data to find potential signs of academic trouble and taking action to keep the students in school.

UNO’s enrollment last fall — 8,423 students — was less than half of what it was before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Nicklow’s target is for UNO to have 12,000 students in five years.

Nicklow sees a few opportunities in that area, like stepping up recruiting efforts in Texas, or bolstering Hispanic enrollment.

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I-49-LAFAYETTE CONNECTOR

Final I-49 concept expected in December

(Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com)

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Planning for the Interstate 49 connector in Lafayette is moving into the next phase now that the number of design concepts has been narrowed.

The Advertiser reports the goal is to have a single concept in place by the end of December.

Project consultants released evaluation results of 19 design concepts for a section of the connector on Thursday. The concepts included the design approved in the 2003 federal Record of Decision and others that emerged since the project was resurrected in 2015 after a hiatus.

The 2003 design and a proposed refinement to it were ranked lowest by both groups. But that design will move forward through the process for comparison purposes.

Mayor-President Joel Robideaux said Friday he believes the results reflect what people in the community have been saying they want.

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AGENCY HEAD FIRING

Lafourche council to consider firing parish agency head

(Information from: Daily Comet, http://www.dailycomet.com)

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — A proposal to fire the head of a parish agency that oversees low-income aid programs in Lafourche is up for consideration Tuesday.

Parish Council Chairman Jerry LaFont has introduced a measure to terminate Community Action Executive Director Freddia Ruffin-Roberson.

The Daily Comet reports Roberson and the agency she manages have been the subject of criticism in the past. The parish administration fired her as Community Action director in 2012 for an undisclosed reason. In at least one public meeting following her firing, council members debated whether a federal grant program administered by the agency that paid workers to seal cracks and other openings in low-income homes to make them more energy-efficient was handled properly.

Its agenda says the council plans to discuss Roberson’s firing in closed session.

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LOTTERY RESULTS

1 ticket win Louisiana Easy 5 drawing

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lottery officials say one ticket won the $270,000 Easy 5 drawing Saturday night. It was purchased in Metairie.

There were no jackpot winners in the multistate Powerball jackpot or the Louisiana Lotto.

The Powerball jackpot goes to an estimated $67 million for Wednesday night’s drawing.

Louisiana Lotto will have a top prize of $975,000 for Wednesday night.

The Easy 5 drawing will have an estimated jackpot of $50,000.

–Powerball: 20-33-36-47-52, Powerball: 12, Power Play: 3

(twenty, thirty-three, thirty-six, forty-seven, fifty-two; Powerball: twelve; Power Play: three)

–Louisiana Lotto: 5-7-10-13-26-30

(five, seven, ten, thirteen, twenty-six, thirty)

–Easy 5: 1-10-13-14-23

(one, ten, thirteen, fourteen, twenty-three)

LFT PRESIDENT

Louisiana Federation of Teachers gets new leader

(Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The interim president of one of Louisiana’s two teachers unions is a veteran New Orleans educator.

The Advocate reports 48-year-old Larry Carter also hopes to become full-time president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers in November.

Former LFT President Steve Monaghan retired after nearly 13 often turbulent years.

Carter is president of the United Teachers of New Orleans, an affiliate of the LFT.

UTNO includes about 600 teachers and other school workers in traditional and public charter schools.

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ELMER’S ISLAND RESTORATION

Coastal restoration to close Lafourche beach for 12 days

HOUMA, La. (AP) — Coastal restoration will close a Lafourche Parish barrier island for 12 days, starting Wednesday.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the work at Elmer’s Island is part of a $200 million project to restore the Caminada Headland beach and dune. The project started three years ago to fortify 13 miles of barrier shoreline.

The chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Johnny Bradberry, says it’s the biggest project the agency has undertaken so far.

Sand is dredged from Ship Shoal, about 30 miles away, loaded onto barges and pumped through a pipeline to the project just east of Grand Isle.

The Courier reports that the project’s estimated total 3.3 million cubic yards of sand would be enough to fill the Empire State Building twice.

 

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