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  • News for Friday 011819

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    An Alexandria man with a long criminal record has been arrested and charged with beating a pregnant woman unconscious and then the next day coming back and burning down her home. 41 year old Joseph Elie III was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on Wednesday.  But, Elie is no stranger to local authorities, he entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of manslaughter in the October 1994 death of 82 year old Rita Rabalais, who was found, stabbed and bludgeoned to death, in a bedroom closet of her Alexandria home. Elie was sentenced to 13 years in prison at hard labor in August 2001. But, by the next month, was released from prison after getting credit for time served.

     

    State climatologist Barry Keim warns Louisiana residents to expect rapid changes in weather over the next few days. The first part of that rollercoaster starts today, where things may feel fine right now, but are set to take a drastic turn later tonight, as rain moves into the state. Keim says expect anywhere from half an inch to an inch and a half of rain and there is the possibility of some severe weather. And after all that nasty rain clears out, break out your heavy jackets as cold weather moves in..

     

    Kenner is the host city for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference that kicks off today at the Ponchartrain Center. President of the event, Roger Villere, says the conference is put on every couple of years by the 15 southern states of the RNC and will feature many guest speakers over the course of two days. Villere says both Republican candidates for the 2019 Governor’s race will be in attendance.

     

    Louisiana’s Speaker of the House Taylor Barras, for a third month in a row, has blocked the Revenue Estimating Conference from recognizing additional revenue for the state budget, despite suggestions from economists. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the delay will prevent State Police from recruiting the next class of officers. The stalemate could also hurt Governor Edwards’ proposal to provide teachers with a pay raise next fiscal year.

     

    Louisiana has distributed February food stamps to 337-thousand households. The early issuance is due to the partial federal government shutdown and the department of children and family services is advising food stamp recipients to budget accordingly, because these are not extra benefits. Assistant Deputy Secretary Sammy Guillory says if you recently applied for food stamps, your application is still being processed.

     

    A steel-covered walkway is being installed at the entrance of the state capitol to protect visitors from falling pieces of mortar from the 86-year-old building. Division of administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says  the state legislature will have to appropriate the 40 to 60-million dollars to repair the falling mortar.

     

    A pedestrian is dead following a hit & run in St. Landry Parish. State Police say the accident claimed the life of 51-year-old David Sonnier of Arnaudville.  It appears Sonnier was walking on or near LA 182 when he was struck by two vehicles, with both fleeing the scene. The investigation continues in an effort to local the drivers of the two vehicles.

     

    A military jury has convicted Barksdale Air Force airman Isaiah Edwards in the fatal stabbing of his roommate during a deployment to Guam last year. Edwards faces a life sentence. Edwards tried to claim he killed 20-year-old Bradley Hale in self-defense.

     

    Sports..

     

    The Who Dat nation is ready to rumble in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome again this Sunday as the Saints battle the LA Rams in the NFC Championship. A win and the Black and Gold heads to the Super Bowl in Atlanta. You’ll be able to hear the game on 96.9 KZMZ and 94.7 ESPN..

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  • News for Thursday 011719

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond said today that one of three people involved in last week’s fatal shooting of police officer Chateri Payne was the victim’s boyfriend and father of their child. He’s been identified as 26-year-old Treveon Anderson. Raymond says they also recovered the murder weapon, a 40 caliber gun. Raymond says two other men have been arrested and all three suspects are facing second-degree murder charges.

     

    An Alexandria man is facing a long list of charges after threatening the life of an APD officer yesterday afternoon. The officer stopped the man, Vernon Holden, for a traffic violation. After a physical confrontation, Holden grabbed the officer’s TASER and deployed it and then pulled a gun and threatened the officer before fleeing.  Holden was arrested a short time later.

     

    Fans wishing to get inside The Superdome for the NFC championship game will have to fork over several hundred dollars to get in. Ticket prices on the low end start at $285 dollars at StubHub.com. Ticket scammers are also likely to be looking to make a buck and Attorney General Jeff Landry says if a ticket deal seems too good to be true it is…

     

    The coveted one-day tickets to see the Rolling Stones on May 2nd at Jazzfest in New Orleans go on sale exclusively for Louisiana residents today at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Fans were allowed to start lining up at midnight in anticipation of the 10am box office opening. Stones fans should be ready to shell out $185 plus applicable fees per ticket. While only the one day tickets for May 2nd will go on sale today, all other tickets including VIP packages, will go on sale to the public Friday morning.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says nearly 6,000 federal workers in the Bayou State are suffering without paychecks as the longest government shutdown in history drags on. He noted the toll it’s taking on several different departments, and even the Coast Guard at the Belle Chase Naval Air Station. Edwards says he’s concerned that prolonging the shutdown could present safety risks to the public, as more and more vital programs close, or become understaffed.

     

    Monroe Democratic Representative Katrina Jackson is set to speak tomorrow morning at the National March for Life Rally in Washington D.C. Jackson authored a 2014 bill that ultimately passed that required abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital to operate. Jackson says their aim is the eventual reversal of the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. Tens of thousands are expected to be in attendance for the 46th annual march.

     

    For weeks we have seen gas prices on the decline but now they are heading back in the other direction. AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redman says even with the price of crude oil rising you shouldn’t expect any huge jumps in prices until the start of summer.

     

    Thompson Pipe Group will close its Zachary manufacturing plant later this year, a move that will impact 120 workers as the region faces its third announced plant closure in a week. The firm’s decision comes after Georgia-Pacific said last week it would close down a major division of its Port Hudson paper mill, laying off 650 at the site. And Tuesday, German chemical giant BASF confirmed it is shutting down its specialty chemical plant that employs 54 in the spring. All three closures will take place later this year.

     

    The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says they are preparing to fight back against any attempts to raise revenue to fund the Governor’s proposed 1,000 dollar teacher, and 500 dollar school support personnel pay raise. President Stephen Waguespack says unnamed leaders have mentioned their support a pay raise tax.  But, Instead of a flat raise for all Bayou State teachers, Waguespack, the business lobbying group, supports utilizing the same amount of funds, or fewer, to reward teachers who  perform better than their peers.

     

    Property once owned by Dukes of Hazzard star and country singer John Schneider sold for 385-thousand dollars at an auction. The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s office seized the land, which has two homes on it, a baseball field, studios and other features, because of unpaid mortgage payments. Schneider hopes the new owner will maintain the movie studio on the land.

     

    Terrebonne Parish Sheriff deputies have arrested a 12-year-old girl at Houma Junior High after allegedly threatening to shoot three of her classmates. The threat was made on Instagram. Deputies say the juvenile admitted to sending the message as a joke, but she was still booked at the Terrebonne Parish Juvenile Justice Center.

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  • News for Wednesday 011619

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    State Police report a Deville man died Monday when he lost control of the loaded log truck he was driving on La. Highway 913 in Catahoula Parish. 32 year old Matthew Howerton was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    The Rolling Stones and Katie Perry are two of the major headliners of the 50th annual New Orleans Jazzfest, as the event’s musical lineup was released Yesterday.  Festival producer Quint Davis explains the undercard isn’t too bad either as it features some of the biggest names in music. Davis says the rest of the US tour for the Stones has been sold out for months, but says locals will get the first opportunity to buy tickets this week. Tickets go on sale for Louisiana residents at the Superdome box office tomorrow.

     

    Postseason success for the Saints results in a victory for the local economy. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero says even retailers that do not sell Saints merchandise benefit from the Black and Gold, especially if they keep winning in the playoffs, The Saints will host the Rams Sunday in the NFC Championship game. Cicero says it’s hard to say how many Rams fans will show up in the Crescent City, but there will be plenty of Who Dats in the city this weekend

     

    When asked which teams she’d like to welcome to Atlanta for the Super Bowl, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says “Just anybody other than the Saints. If it can’t be the Falcons, then hey, as long as it’s not the Saints then I’m happy.” And if the Saints power past the Rams for this Sunday’s NFC Championship clash, they’ll be taking that trip to Atlanta. New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation President Mark Romig says the sparing is all in good fun. He says Atlanta is a wonderful city, and luckily for the Black and Gold Nation, easy to get to.

     

    A Board of Regents report shows students allowed into higher education through “academic exemptions” had noticeably lower college GPA and graduation rates. The report was spurred by LSU’s admission that they had doubled the number of exemption students allowed into the institution. Only 32 percent of those with exemptions in 2010-2011 graduated in six years, compared to half of those without exemptions, and their GPA’s averaged 2.0 while nonexempt students averaged 2.7.

     

    The first trial date for the man accused of killing Lafayette Police Officer Michael Middlebrook is set for Nov. 18. That trial will be for three attempted-murder charges against Ian Howard, who is accused of the shooting death of Middlebrook and shooting injuries of three civilians on Oct. 1, 2017 at a convenience store. The District Attorney’s Office is pursuing a separate capital murder case against Howard in Middlebrook’s death. No date has been set for the murder trial.

     

    LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing has been ranked the 10th best nursing school in the nation by Nursing Schools Almanac, and 4th among all public schools. The rankings surveyed 3,200 programs nationwide. Nursing Dean Demetrius Porche says they traditionally fare well in these rankings due to the wealth of programs available, and the success of their graduates. Porche says the program is a vital piece of the Louisiana healthcare machine, and will grow even more important as the healthcare needs of the state increase over time.

     

    Authorities have identified the 91-year-old man killed in a Union Parish house fire on Monday. Robert Jones of Marion and his two Labrador retrievers died in the blaze. State Fire Marshal spokesperson Ashley Rodrigue says they are still trying to determine the cause.

     

    Jeff Davis Parish Sheriffs office is investigating a case of suspected animal cruelty involving five cattle that had been shot in the head with a small caliber weapon. The cows are still alive and grazing, but authorities are hunting for the suspect in the abuse case, and are offering an award for anyone who presents information that can lead to an arrest and conviction.

     

    Louisiana residents on food stamps can expect their February benefits this week, because of the partial government shutdown. Department of Children and Family Services Deputy Assistant Secretary Sammy Guillory says recipients must be aware that these are not extra benefits, so budget accordingly for February.

     

    Louisiana Family Forum is on the hunt for the longest married couples throughout the state.  For the last three years, a couple from Benton have locked in the title for being married the longest.  But that couple passed away in 2018, and another couple will be taking the distinction.  General council at LFF Kristie Cross says the organization will be on the lookout through early February in an effort to make an official recognition on Valentine’s Day.

     

    One person died and two others were injured Tuesday in a six-vehicle crash on La. 1 in Addis. Addis Police Chief Ricky Anderson said a male driver caused the wreck near Sugar Plantation Parkway when he rear-ended the vehicle in front of him, causing a chain reaction that damaged six vehicles in total. Three people, including the driver who caused the crash, were transported to a hospital. One of those patients died en route

     

    German chemical giant BASF will shut down its Zachary manufacturing plant in April, a move that will affect 54 workers. BASF acquired the site in 2012. Despite making “significant capital investment” in the facility, the company decided to close the plant. The company said it is working to find employees jobs at other BASF sites.

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  • News for Tuesday 011519

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    President Trump spoke at the American Farm Bureau Convention in New Orleans Monday making his case on why a border wall is needed. Congressional Democrats have refused to go along with spending 5-point-7 billion dollars to build a physical barrier between the U-S and Mexico. Mr. Trump says Democratic leadership is playing politics. Despite the fact there were several hundred demonstrators outside of the Morial Convention Center where the president spoke, inside POTUS received a warm welcome..

     

    A Florida newspaper reports the family of Jeremiah Warren, one of the victims from Avoyelles Parish who died in the fiery crash on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Florida, is filing a lawsuit.  The lawsuit is aimed at both of the truck companies involved in the crash. The report states that the suit is to help in recovering damages for Jeremiah's parents.

     

    As the federal government shutdown continues, the focus of food stamp recipients turns to what they can expect as the SNAP program is federally funded. Department of Children and Family Services Deputy Assistant Secretary Sammy Guillory says February benefits are coming this week. However, Guillory says there is uncertainty as to what happens with the program beyond February.

     

    According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the flu is on the upswing as five percent of doctor visits in the state are for flu-like symptoms.  Louisiana is among several hotspots in the southeast.  LDH flu bug expert Dr. Frank Welch ays if someone hasn’t gotten a flu shot by now, they haven’t missed the boat. Late to get the shot is much better than never.

     

    Shreveport attorney and state representative Alan Seabaugh says he’s abandoning his quest to become a federal judge in favor of seeking re-election to the legislature, and then run to be the next House Speaker. Seabaugh says he hopes John Bel Edwards will be pushed out of the Governor’s Mansion in the 2019 election, so that the next speaker can focus on passing Republican priority legislation. But, when asked if the Democratic governor does win reelection, if he would be willing to work in a bi-partisan fashion… Seabaugh said no.

     

    The federal government shutdown is impacting the craft beer business in Louisiana as the industry is heavily regulated by the feds. President of the Louisiana Brewers Guild and Bayou Teche Brewing Karlos Knott says brewers are not able to get product labels approved during the shutdown, so some of the seasonal beers are being put on hold.

     

    Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser laid out the Office of Tourism’s goals for 2019 in a speech  at the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday. Among other things, Nungesser says he wants to build on international tourism. Recently, international flights from Germany and London started offering service to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airport and bringing in more out of country visitors could mean big bucks for Louisiana.

     

    Reports say that for at least one moment in Sunday’s Saints playoff win, the Dome rumbled as fans roared at a recorded 128 decibels. Southeastern Communications Professor Joe Burns says it’s a remarkable feat because exposure to any sound over 100-120 Db can be painful, and prolonged exposure can result in damage to your hearing. The NFL Db record is held by Seattle for a 137 decibel outburst in 2017, but Burns says that number is questionable because even momentary exposure to 140 Db may result in deafness.

     

    The Humane Society of Louisiana says there is a rise in horse abuse cases throughout the state.  H-S-L Director Jeff Dorson says rarely does a day go by the animal protection group doesn’t get a call about one or more horses being mistreated. Dorson says part of the issue is an endless cycle from the horse racing industry with an oversupply of horses being turned over to new owners without the proper credentials to care for the animals.

     

    A Thibeaux High School student is under arrest after allegedly threating fellow students that he would bring a firearm to the campus. 18-year-old Cameron Boudreaux has been charged with Cyberstalking in relation to the incident. Authorities say Boudreaux had been threatening several boys and girls at the school through social media, including a death threat. An investigation is ongoing while Boudreaux remains in custody on a 10,000 dollar bond.

     

    LSU will look to remain unbeaten in SEC play tonight when the Tigers travel to Oxford to face the 18th ranked Ole Miss Rebels. Ole Miss moved up into the Top 25 in the latest poll by beating two ranked teams last week, Auburn and Mississippi State. Airtime 7:30 on KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM

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  • News for Monday 011419

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Another week, another rematch as the Saints continue their march toward Atlanta and Super Bowl 53. After a come-from-behind 20-14 victory over the reigning champion Philadelphia Eagles, they have set up another date with the Los Angeles Rams. New Orleans beat the Rams 45-36 in a Week 9 showdown earlier this season.

    The Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys 30-22 in their own divisional round matchup.

     

    A poll finds that about half of Louisiana voters approve of Governor John Bel Edwards’ job performance. Morning Consult, which polls the popularity of governors, found Edwards has a 49-percent approval rating, 30-percent disapprove and 21-percent are undecided.

     

    President Donald Trump is in New Orleans today to speak at the American Farm Bureau Convention. Rice and soybean farmers say the tariffs and now the government shutdown have hurt their ability to make money off their crop. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says despite the tariff issues, he expects the crowd to welcome the President.

    This is Trump’s first visit to New Orleans since a 2016 campaign stop.  

     

    Despite the recent talk of a slight uptick in the oil and gas business, when comparing 2008 to 2018, nearly 11,000 jobs were lost in the Acadiana area from the 24,000 oil jobs in 2008.  President and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority Gregg Gothreaux says the drop in the oil industry has seen a domino effect in job losses in other sectors.

     

    A 52-year-old Lake Charles man and his 59-year-old wife are dead in what authorities believe was a murder suicide early Friday morning. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says they believe David Bendley stabbed his wife and son and then fatally stabbed himself, the son survived the attack. Mancuso would not speculate on what sparked the attack.

     

    A Rockefeller Institute of Government study shows Louisiana receives $1.52 in federal spending for every tax dollar it sends to D.C. Director of Fiscal Analysis Laura Schultz says the Pelican State as a whole doesn’t pay a lot in federal taxes, compared to other states, because of the high percentage of low wage earners. That means the state receives $3,785 more in federal money per person than it sends, good for 17th lowest in the nation. Kentucky had the highest taxes out to revenue in ratio, at $2.35 received for every one dollar sent. Connecticut had the lowest at 72-cents received for every dollar sent.

     

    The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux released the names Friday of 14 priests who admitted or were convicted of sexual misconduct with children. That list contains the names of five priests who were credibly accused outside of a court setting. Houma-Thibodaux Bishop Shelton Fabre sent a letter to parishioners, apologizing for the egregious sins that have taken place.

     

    The administrator of the Louisiana Tax Commission is facing 65 criminal counts related to payroll fraud. State Police investigators say 51-year-old Charles Abels of Baton Rouge was paid for time he did not work. Authorities also say Abels used a state rental vehicle for personal use and submitted unauthorized fuel requests.

     

    Eric Prudholm was serving a life sentence for an aggravated rape and armed robbery that happened in a Bossier City motel in 1981, but he’s now a free man, after a DNA test of bed linens and the victim’s nightgown led to the courts deciding his original conviction and sentence should be vacated. Innocence Project New Orleans Executive Director Jee Park says Prudholm gained his freedom by pleading no contest to robbery with credit for time served

     

    A U.S. judge in California on Sunday (Jan. 13) blocked Trump administration rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control, from taking effect in 13 states and Washington, D.C.

     

    Judge Haywood Gilliam granted a request for a preliminary injunction by California, 12 other states and Washington, D.C. The changes would allow more employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing no-cost contraceptive coverage to women by claiming religious objections. Some private employers could also object on moral grounds.

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  • News for Friday 011119

    Compiled By Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    A female Shreveport Police officer is dead after being shot multiple times outside of a home Wednesday  night around 8:30 as she was on her way to start her shift.  The officer was identified as Chateri Payne, who had graduated from the police academy in November.  Police Chief Ben Raymond says law enforcement agencies from all across the northern portion of the state are assisting in the investigation and adds they are looking for the public’s help as well.

     

    A Bossier City mother and daughter are dead after an overnight double homicide shooting allegedly by the daughter’s boyfriend. 22-year-old Shandrell and 40-year-old Maeisha Simoneaux are believed to have been murdered by the father of Shandrell’s two kids, 22-year-old Frederick Jackson, who has been arrested. Public Information Officer Traci Landry says the children were present at the time of the shooting. Jackson has been booked into the Bossier City Jail on a 7.5 million dollar bail.

     

    Corporal Alan Stokes of the Alexandria Police Department has been reinstated to his job, after his termination back in September of last year. Stokes was fired after filing a police report back in May 2018 alleging that he was publicly intimidated by Mayor Jacques Roy during a phone call related to the selection of the city's next police chief, charges the Mayor was formally cleared of. Susan Broussard, the city’s new chief of staff would only say: "The City of Alexandria has reinstated Corporal Alan Stokes effective January 15. After a review of the matter, they determined reinstatement was the best course of action for the City”.

     

    Gov. Edwards has issued a state of emergency declaration due to flooding concerns.  Deputy director of GOHSEP Casey Tingle says the agency is continuing to ramp up prep for local emergency managers as they begin to combat issues relating to river flooding from periods of excessive rainfall over the last few weeks, and more rainfall in the forecast. Currently, eight parishes are included in the declaration including Beauregard, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Rapides, St. Tammany, and Washington.  Tingle says residents should keep an eye on local alerts of road closures.

    Many regions saw record rainfall for the first few days of 2019. 

     

    It’s a major blow to the North Baton Rouge economy. Georgia-Pacific announcing yesterday they will lay off nearly 700 people at its Port Hudson mill due to declining demand for office and copy paper. About 300 people will continue to work at the mill, producing toilet tissue and paper towels for retail purchase. The company says the shutdown should occur by mid-March.

     

    A study shows the University of Louisiana System contributes 10.9 billion dollars to the state’s economy. The report shows that one out of 18 jobs in the state are supported by the universities of Louisiana. UL System President Jim Henderson says it’s evidence the system produces a large return on investment. The study shows that the UL system positively influences the state’s economy plus it gives students the tools they need to succeed in an ever-changing job market.

     

    Louisiana is aiming to have a plan in place by July to offer Medicaid and incarcerated patient’s unrestricted access to curative treatments for Hepatitis C, to cut down on the spread of the deadly virus. Governor Edwards says the plan is the first of its kind for any state in the US. The plan aims to get Louisiana primary care providers easier access to the necessary drugs. Department of Health Secretary Rebekah Gee says doing this will keep costs down, while increasing the number of treated patients.

     

    President Donald Trump will visit New Orleans on Monday, so he can speak at the American Farm Bureau Convention. Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson is glad to see the President will be at their centennial convention. Rice and soybean farmers say the tariffs and now the government shutdown have hurt their ability to make money off their crop. There’s also concern among producers about whether documented workers living in Mexico can return for the growing season. Anderson says farmers are eager to hear from the president.

     

    The driver of a vehicle that struck and killed East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso last June as Amoroso was bicycling with a friend in West Feliciana Parish was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail. The judge in the case suspended 80 days of the sentence and gave credit for the three days he had already served. 21 year old Nicholas Alexander of Lafayette will only serve 12 days in jail. While some details about the wreck have been disputed, officials determined that Alexander was going the speed limit at the time of the crash and was not intoxicated.

     

    The state has completed the purchase of a 515 acre tract of land to resettle the Isle De Jean Charles community that will lose their homes due to coastal erosion. The 11.7 million dollar land purchase outside of Schriever is the first step in relocation. State Office of Community executive director Pat Forbes says they hope to start construction on the new community later this year. The island in south Terrebonne Parish has lost 98 percent of it’s landmass since 1955, and is at major risk of flooding. While the new site is in development, Forbes says inhabitants of the island, Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, have been offered rental assistance to find interim housing.

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  • News for Thursday 011019

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    18 year old Kevin Thompson of Pineville was sentenced this week in the shooting death of 19 year old Huey VanDyke III back in December of 2017. The Alexandria man was shot once in his back as he sat in the passenger seat of a car. Thompson was sentenced to 20 years in prison at hard labor for an amended charge of conspiracy to commit manslaughter and 28 years in prison at hard labor for conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

     

    After a 2015 GOP gubernatorial blood bath that saw the ascendance of The South’s only Democratic governor, Louisiana Republican operative Scott Wilfong, on a Baton Rouge Talkshow said yesterday,  the party is taking a hard look in 2019 at throwing their weight behind just one candidate before the October open primary. Wilfong says potential candidates will be given an opportunity to build support and compete for the Louisiana GOP’s backing, and he hopes that once a frontrunner becomes clear, the other competitors will bow out gracefully. The only two Republicans in the race so far are Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, and Congressman Ralph Abraham.

     

    President Donald Trump will be in New Orleans Monday for the National Farm Bureau Convention. It’s the second time the President has accepted the invitation to speak at the annual convention. Historically it’s a faction that’s backed the President, but ULM Poli Sci Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says the trade war could mean a chillier reception than his last appearance.

     

    The Pelican Institute is asking lawmakers to sign on to their revenue neutral tax plan that they say would slash corporate and upper-income tax levels by eliminating the myriad tax exemptions and deductions that have built up in the Louisiana constitution over the decades. Senior Fellow Chris Jacobs calls for eliminating refunds for businesses like job incentive, inventory tax credits, and others. But, to do that the state constitution would need to be rewritten.

     

    Educators are keeping their finger on the pulse of sports betting in Louisiana after Governor John Bel Edwards says he’s open to dedicating any revenue from the additional gaming to better preparing children for kindergarten.  While he expects the gains to be modest, Edwards says the sports betting is also an important aspect in making sure the state doesn’t see a decline in gaming revenue.

     

    Detectives with the Bossier City Police Department’s Juvenile unit arrested a daycare worker following an investigation into a report of cruelty to a juvenile.  On January 7, personnel from Epic Learning Center notified the parent of a toddler and the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services that an accident occurred at their facility.  The parent then contacted the police.  Detectives says it appeared an employee shook the toddler, then  slung the child to the floor.  The child suffered a bloody nose and busted lip.

     

    After the Board of Ethics vote to no longer allow campaign funds to be used for childcare for campaign events and activities, the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus has requested the board to reconsider the decision.  Caucus Chair Sen. Beth Mizell  says candidates may not have the financial means to cover the cost of child care for the time it takes to run a campaign.

     

    Louisiana has received a one-point-two million dollar federal grant will go towards improving the outcomes for child victims of human trafficking. Governor John Edwards says the money is needed, because a report released last February found 681 adults and juveniles identified as victims of human trafficking in 2017. In 2016, Shared Hope International ranked Louisiana number one in the nation for its anti-trafficking laws. Edwards says the state is making progress in trying to stop modern-day slavery, which is why the Department of Justice trusts Louisiana with this federal grant.

     

    An Acadiana restauranteur and chef has died following a plane crash while on a hunting trip in California.  Lionel Robin is fondly remembered in his community. Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette says he has known Robin is whole life. Robin had owned and operated Robin’s Restaurant in Henderson for about four decades, but had recently been working as the hospitality chef for Tabasco Pepper Sauce.

     

    The story of how former LSU offensive lineman Matt Branch lost his left leg in a hunting accident in Mississippi is making national headlines. Branch’s friend says a dog was sitting near a loaded shotgun on a pickup truck bed when the gun discharged, the bullet struck Branch in his left hip. Branch, who played for the Tigers from 2008 to 2011, is expected to recover.

     

    The Sean Peyton era Saints are an undefeated 5-0 at home for the playoffs, and fans and the players are getting hyped for the Sunday dome showdown with the reigning champion Philadelphia Eagles. Peyton says quarterback Drew Brees lives for playing on the biggest stages. Brees is 7-6 for his career in the playoffs, averaging 323 passing yards and over two touchdowns per game.

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  • News for Wednesday 010919

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    President Trump addressed the nation last night to lay out his case for increased funding for border security in the midst of a government shutdown over the President’s demand for 5.7 billion in funding for a physical border wall. Republican Congressman Garret Graves says we do not need another Great Wall, but additional physical structures would decrease illegal border crossings. Democratic New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond says with illegal immigration at the lowest point it’s been in decades, the wall would be a waste of money.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards re-election campaign announces it has 8-point-three million dollars in the bank after raising three-point-eight million dollars during 2018. The campaign says 87-percent of the money came from in-state donors. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Edwards will remain hot on the campaign fundraising trail. One of Edwards’ announced challengers, Eddie Rispone’s gubernatorial campaign says the Baton Rouge Republican has 5.5 million dollars in his campaign account. No word yet from the other Republican challenger Ralph Abraham.

     

    The RPSO is asking for the public’s help in tracking down a man who robbed the Fred’s store in Tioga Monday night. Capt. Tommy Carnline reports a black male, approximately 6’-6’2” wearing a mask and a gray hoodie, entered the store, produced a semi-automatic handgun and robbed the cashier of an undetermined amount of money. Anyone with information is asked to the Sheriff’s office or Crime Stoppers..

     

    USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke with the press in an effort to answer questions of how the food stamps program will be impacted by the government shutdown.  In an effort to extinguish as much confusion and anxiety as possible, Perdue says SNAP benefits should be okay through March, which he says he’s hopeful should give ample time to resolve the issues with the government shutdown.

     

    The United Way ALICE report shows in 2016, 48 percent of all households in the state did not make enough to meet their basic needs, up six percent from 2014. Louisiana United Way President Sarah Berthelot says 29 percent make above the poverty level, but still not enough to reliably pay the bills. The report shows a single adult needs to make 19,548 dollars a year to pay the bills, and the average family needs 54,000. Lead researcher Stephanie Hoopes says with 66 percent of all jobs paying under 20 dollars an hour, it’s clear this economy with the recent economic growth isn’t benefiting most workers.

     

    Tangipahoa Sherriff Daniel Edwards has increased the reward for information related to a December 23rd double murder that claimed the lives of a mother and son in their Independence Home. The office is now offering 10,000 dollars, and Crime Stoppers have increased their offering to 2,500 dollars. The Sheriff is asking anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

     

    After rising through the ranks for 28 years in the New Orleans Police Department, Superintendent Michael Harrison is leaving for Baltimore to take the reins as its Police Commissioner. New Orleans only recorded 146 murders in 2018, the lowest number of murders since 1971. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says Harrison’s departure is a loss for the city. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has plans to announce a replacement soon.

     

    The Monroe Police are investigating the death of a United States Postal worker that was electrocuted Tuesday afternoon.  The incident happened outside of the Shannon Street Post Office in Monroe.   According to investigators, 47-year-old Paul Wesley Gammill was electrocuted while changing a lightbulb.

     

    South Louisiana Methanol has announced its plans to pursue a $2.2 billion project in St. James Parish.  Preliminary work began last year at a 1500 acre Mississippi River site.  Construction could begin later this year.  Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson initially there will be thousands of construction jobs that go into the project, followed by 75 new direct jobs.

     

    Congressman Garret Graves supports pending legal action against several federal agencies for refusing to distribute RESTORE funds to families who fall into the “duplication of benefits” loophole after the 2016 floods. Graves says the agencies had 45 days to write policy for the money to be distributed, but departments, like HUD, have ignored the Congressional mandate passed in October.

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  • News for Tuesday 010819

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    The residents of Marksville are still in mourning following the I-75 crash involving two 18 wheelers that left seven dead, including five local children who were on a church trip to Disney World last week.  A large crowd turned out for a candlelight vigil late yesterday afternoon at Marksville High School’s football field.  Marksville mayor John Lemoine says the support that has come in from around the country to help the grieving community has been overwhelming..

     

    You'll need a couple hundred bucks to snag a ticket to the Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints divisional-round playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday. As of Monday morning, the lowest price ticket on the secondary market was $150. Compare that to the Dallas Cowboys-Los Angeles Rams divisional-round game, and $150 isn't so bad. The lowest price ticket for that game as of Monday morning was $300.

     

    Entergy announcing Monday that both of Louisiana's nuclear power plants have been federally relicensed to operate into the 2040s, when both plants will be in their 50’s. The company operates the River Bend facility in St. Francisville and Waterford 3 in Killona. Each was originally licensed in 1985. Entergy also owns the Grand Gulf plant just over the state line in Port Gibson, Mississippi; it was relicensed in 2016. Nuclear power provides 16 percent of Louisiana's energy.

     

    Former Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider has opened up about why his production studio in Holden was seized by the Sheriff, saying plainly, that it’s his fault for not making the mortgage payments on the property. Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the hit show from 79-85, says he wants to make it clear that unlike many plots from Dukes, the seizure was not some nefarious, underhanded scheme from the local sheriff. Schneider says he was a much better storyteller than businessman.

     

    A single-vehicle crash on LA Hwy 135 in Franklin Parish on Sunday resulted in the death of a teenage driver and serious injuries to another teen. State Police Trooper Michael Reichardt says 16-year-old Angel Irwin of Winnsboro over corrected and hit a tree.

     

    Governor Edwards has been unsuccessful in his effort to increase the minimum wage, but he’ll try again this year. Edwards says this spring he’ll ask the legislature to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to eight dollars an hour by 2020 and $8.50 by 2021. He says the legislation is modeled after what Arkansas recently approved. The Governor is also planning on asking lawmakers to approve a pay raise for the state’s teachers, who continue to be paid below the southern regional average.

     

    Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond is now the highest ranked member of the Louisiana delegation in House, and says he plans on using his high ranking authority position to highlight, and push for solutions to the state’s most pressing issues. He says Democrats will be pursuing an aggressive climate change and green energy policy, one that can address the state’s coastal, and economic woes. Richmond was named Assistant to the Majority Whip for the 116th Congress.

     

    51-year-old Meshell Hale of Slaughter has pleaded not guilty to charges that she poisoned her boyfriend to collect on his $10,000 insurance policy.  Investigators initially thought 41-year-old Damien Skipper had died of a heart attack in 2015, but police determined Hale had researched barium poisoning and purchased the chemical prior to his death, prompting an examination of Skipper’s body.

     

    College football’s National Championship game in Santa Clara is now in the books, but New Orleans is already looking forward to next year, as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome welcomes the game in 2020.  COO of the Sugar Bowl Jeff Hundley says the finale of the college football playoffs has seen about a $300 million dollar economic impact for the host cities.

     

    After an eleven-day layoff, The LSU men’s basketball team jumps into SEC play tonight by hosting Alabama. The Tigers haven’t played since December 28th, while Crimson Tide are coming off a 77-75 win over nationally ranked Kentucky. You can hear the game starting at 7:30 on KSYL 970am/104.9fm.

     

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  • News for Monday 010719

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Five children from Louisiana died in a tragic multi vehicle wreck near Gainseville, Florida on Thursday as they traveled to Disney World. Witnesses to Thursday’s smoldering crash say the explosion occurred when two semi-trucks collided. The drivers of the two big rigs were killed. The passenger van from the Avoyelles House of Mercy church was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and was swept up in the accident. Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan expects a lengthy investigation into the cause of the crash.

     

    To date, no major disruptions have happened to crucial state programs, according to Division of Administration spokesman Jacques Berry. But officials are keeping tabs on what might ultimately happen if President Donald Trump and congressional leaders remain in a standoff over Trump’s desire for funding for a wall along the nation’s southern border to curb illegal immigration. More than 40 percent of the state’s nearly $30 billion budget comes from the federal government.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards addresses the Baton Rouge Press Club today as he begins the final year of his current term.  Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects Edwards will tout his accomplishments and also tell us his re-election message. Pinsonat says of the accomplishments, Edwards will likely highlight the stability in the budget as well as funding for education and health care. Pinsonat predicts Edwards will focus on the goal of teacher pay raises, as Louisiana is below the southern regional average.

     

    The St. Landry’s Veterans Memorial in Opelousas has been defaced with racial slurs and other profanities by vandals and investigators are looking for the culprits.  Project organizer of the memorial, Pat Mason-Guillory says the community has reached out to assist in the cleanup effort. St. Landry Detectives are working the case.

     

    The village of Turkey Creek in Evangeline Parish now holds the distinction of having the youngest mayor to hold the office in the history of the state.  Phillip Cavins, who is 23-years-old , says growing up, he’s always had an interest in government and politics.

    Cavins says the age distinction didn’t dawn on him.  Once he qualified for the position and found out he was running unopposed, someone reached out and let him know he was likely the youngest mayor in the history of the state.

     

    The US Surgeon General has declared teen vaping an epidemic as a report says an estimated 2.1 million middle and high school students are using the electronic cigarettes. Department of Health Assistant State Health Officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter, says just because it’s not a traditional cigarette, doesn’t mean it isn’t terrible for your health, particularly if you’re young.

     

    Construction begins today to improve the integrity of the I-210 Prien Lake Bridge in Calcasieu Parish.  The 35-million dollar project is expected to last one year.  DOTD spokesperson Tammy York says motorists need to be prepared for a slowdown in the area. York says the first phase kicking off today is to prepare the structure for a redecking that will happen in the second phase of the project.

     

    Shots rang out in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans in a gun fire exchange between four city police officers and a shooter on late Friday night leaving the suspected shooter dead. Officers were responding to a report of a suicide attempt when they were fired upon. One the officer was struck two times by shots in the chest, but his protective vest saved his life.

     

    Sports..

     

    Former Haughton star and Sulphur native Dak Prescott won his first NFL playoff game on Saturday as the Cowboys defeated the Seahawks 24-22. Prescott threw for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown as Dallas moves on to play the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.

     

    The Saints will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in the NFC Divisional Round. Former ULM star and Philadelphia Coach Doug Pederson is now 4-0 in the playoffs as a head coach. The Eagles stunned the Bears 16-15 yesterday with a dramatic wild card win in the Windy City. Pederson and quarterback Nick Foles have been unstoppable in the postseason the last two seasons.

     

    The Eagles and Saints will meet for a second time this season at 3:40 on Sunday. New Orleans smashed Philly 48-7 in the Superdome on November 18th. Pederson expects a much closer contest this time…

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  • News for Friday 010419

    Compiled By Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    A 64-year-old Texas man is in the Rapides Parish detention center accused of scamming a victim out of over $60,000 over the course of several months.  The scammer convinced the victim, he would be given a million dollars, but needed assistance paying US taxes and fees from Nigeria.  Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Capt. Tommy Carnline says the scammer claimed to be a retired FBI agent.

     

    Louisiana is one of nine states reporting a high activity level for flu-like illnesses. That’s according to CDC’s latest U-S Influenza Surveillance report. The CDC says 4.5 percent of the hospital visits in Louisiana during the Christmas week were because of the flu or flu-like illnesses. Last year saw record numbers of flu cases state wide.

     

    Parts of Caddo Parish received nearly twice as much rainfall in December as they normally do, leading to concerns the saturated ground could prevent flood waters from draining in a timely fashion. South Caddo and Wallace Lake will likely see the biggest impacts from deluge, with the Lake at risk of hitting a flood. Authorities are monitoring the situation.

     

    A 68-year-old Sulphur man was killed yesterday when a tree fell on his van. Police say the ground was totally waterlogged allowing the tree to simply fall over. A passenger in the van was also injured, the extent of his injuries are unknown.

     

    There was an officer involved shooting in Monroe early Thursday morning at the Super 8 Motel. Officers say they were responding to a disturbance complaint, and once they arrived on scene, shots were fired resulting in one policeman, and two subjects being hit. All three were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The two suspects were arrested.

     

    The DASH Diet, developed in part by LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, has been named number two diet of 2019 according to U.S. News and World Report. Researcher Catherine Champagne says the diet emphasizes more greens, and shares similarities to the popular “Mediterranean diet”. The number one goal of the Dash Diet is not weight loss, but lowering blood pressure.

     

    Louisiana is receiving a federal grant to revive a program that aims to reduce recidivism among inmates with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.  The revised Second Chance Act program, now known as the New Beginnings program, will work with prisoners returning to the Baton Rouge and St. Tammany areas. The original program was discontinued due to lack of funding.

     

    A Baton Rouge-area appeals court judge is suing an ex-girlfriend, seeking the return of a diamond-studded engagement ring he had purchased for $62,000 with a matching wedding band, but the woman says she intends to keep it. Wayne Ray Chutz, an elected judge on Louisiana's 1st Circuit Court of Appeal, filed the petition in Livingston Parish last month. The suit also seeks reimbursement for $30,000 to $45,000 for expenses he incurred on her behalf, including the purchase of a long-haired Chihuahua and an Amazon Prime subscription.

     

    Sports..

     

    The top-seeded Saints have the weekend off from playoff football, but there are three teams playing this weekend to keep an eye on. Depending on how the games shake out, the Cowboys, Seahawks, or Eagles could head to the Big Easy next Sunday. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says the most dangerous of the three, Dallas, gave the Black and Gold one of their three losses this year.

     

    Former New Orleans Saints star and ALS activist Steve Gleason will officially be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal after President Donald Trump signed the legislation into law Thursday. The measure introduced by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, was approved Dec. 20 after passing the House 390-2.

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  • News for Thursday 010319

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Much of Louisiana is under a flash flood watch as several inches of rain are expected to fall between now and tomorrow morning. Kent Kuyper with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles says Central Louisiana could see the highest rainfall totals, as three to five inches is forecasted.

     

    The attorney for Town of Ball’s Mayor-elect Roy Hebron has filed an appeal with the Third Circuit Court of Appeal after a judge said he’s unable to hold office. Charles Elliott filed the appeal for expedited consideration on Wednesday. This comes after Rapides Parish District Court Judge Monique Rauls ruled Hebron, a convicted felon, can’t hold office because of a constitutional amendment that passed the same day he was elected.

     

    Starting this year Hospitals are now required to put a master price list online for all of their services, but Unfortunately a brief survey of Louisiana hospitals indicated that many have either not posted those prices on their primary hospital website, have dead links to price charts, or have made them very difficult to access. So, if you’re interested in seeing what the real cost of that x-ray is, you may not have an easy time doing it.

     

    The shooting deaths of five horses at Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area is currently being investigated by Ft. Polk personnel.  Spokesperson for the Pegasus Equine Guardian Association Amy Hanchey says she believes the killings were no accident and is glad to know the base is investigating the matter. Hanchey say historical documentation shows the wild horses have roamed the area dating back to the 14th century and genetic testing indicates very strong Colonial Spanish ties.

     

    Gasoline prices continue to fall. According to Triple-A, the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is a $1.95. That’s about 20-cents cheaper than a month ago. Low gas prices are a double edge sword for Louisiana. Low oil prices means less revenue for state government. Triple-A fuel analyst Don Redman says says the current cost for a barrel of crude oil is 50-dollars and he says if that keeps going down it can cause real problems.

     

    The Louisiana Legislature is seeing a high turnover rate as the AP reports 22 state lawmakers, roughly 15%, have left office without completing their terms since January 2016.  Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says he doesn’t foresee the trend being reversed, as there are many more attractive jobs in government worth pursuing.

    He says low pay, longer than expected hours, and no benefits also add to the disinterest.

     

    Five out of six Louisiana US House members find themselves out of power as Democrats take control of the lower chamber today. LSU Poli Sci Professor Dr. Robert Hogan says the House and Senate couldn’t even agree on a budget when both were controlled by Republicans, so you should probably get ready for two years of hardcore gridlock.

     

    A pastor whose wife was killed in late November in a New Orleans carjacking has been declared missing after his vehicle was found abandoned in the city. David Plessy was last heard from by his daughter on Monday, who says they’re quite worried because it’s highly unusual for Mr. Plessy to be out of contact with his family for this long. His wife died after three teenagers threw her out of the vehicle, and struck her as they departed.

     

    The US 11 bridge between Slidell and New Orleans will be shut down to traffic starting today, running through April 18th. Department of Transportation Spokesperson Rodney Mallet says it’s the continuation of a lengthy repair process that won’t be completely finished until summer of 2020. That bridge is close to 100 years old.

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  • News for Wednesday 010219

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Louisiana is seeing a wet start to the New Year.  A flash flood warning has been posted for Lake Charles, Alexandria, and Monroe as the state is expected to get pounded with rain.  National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Nuttall says the rain is expected to last until Thursday evening. Some areas in North Louisiana could see 4-6 inches of rain.

     

    Twenty states had minimum wage increases  take effect on the 1st, while the minimum wage in Louisiana remains set by the federal government, $7.25 an hour and it’s been that way since 2009. Governor John Bel Edwards will attempt once again this year to raise that minimum wage. Previous attempts to raise the wage have faced resistance from groups who say it will increase the costs of running a business.

     

    Several new state laws went into effect on the first day of 2019. Families can install video cameras in nursing home rooms to keep an eye on loved ones and boat registration fees are nine dollars higher.

     

    All felony convictions require a unanimous jury decision, as the unanimous juries constitutional amendment that passed in November is now in effect. It’s the end of a Jim Crowe era law that made Louisiana one of only two states that did not require unanimous decisions in those cases, and Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says it’s a positive change. 64-percent of voters approved the amendment. Opponents are concerned unanimous verdicts will make it tougher for justice to be served to those who commit heinous crimes. Ciolino says those concerns are exaggerated, as DAs in other states do just fine…

     

    A major story in 2019 will be the governor’s race. Democrat John Bel Edwards is up for re-election and there’s two announced Republican challengers, Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says it’s unclear who will be Edwards’ biggest challenge. The gubernatorial primary is October 12th.

     

    Only one person in Louisiana was sentenced to death in 2018, David Brown of Lafourche Parish, who was convinced of sexually assaulting, then murdering a mother and her two daughters, and setting their house on fire in 2012. Louisiana has not performed an execution since 2010

     

    A representative is bringing legislation in the upcoming session that would lock in protections for Louisianans with pre-existing conditions and allow dependents to stay on their parent’s plans until 26, even if a pending court case strikes down Obamacare. A Judge in Texas declared the entire ACA unconstitutional. The case is set to be heard next in the New Orleans based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

     

    The Harahan Police Department’s recent offer to screen methamphetamine for the Zika virus has captured the attention of social media and news outlets across the globe.  In a Facebook post, the department encouraged meth users to bring all of their drug to police for free testing.  Police Chief Tim Walker admits there is no meth actually contaminated with the Zika virus.  But has anyone been gullible enough to take him up on the offer of testing meth? He’s not saying..

     

    With the new year comes the tradition of making new year’s resolutions.  But many of the goals don’t necessarily withstand the test of time.  Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health at LHD, Alex Billioux says among the recommendations in order to complete goals, choose goals you can truly commit to out of desire. Billioux recommends setting goals that might not be so big and overwhelming.

     

    Sports…

     

    There will be no talk of a national championship at U-C-F. LSU ended the Knights 25-game winning streak with a 40-32 win in the Fiesta Bowl. Quarterback Joe Burrow bounced back from an early pick six to throw for 394 yards and four touchdowns.

    LSU finishes the season 10-3. It’s first ten-win season since 2013.

     

    After losing to the Carolina Panthers 33-14 in the regular season finale, the Saints say they will use the extra week before their January 13th playoff game to focus on fundamentals. New Orleans defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins says the mistakes they made against the Panthers are fixable. The Saints will play either Dallas, Seattle or Philadelphia in the NFC Divisional round. Rankins says having a week to focus on themselves will be good for the Black and Gold

     

    The Pelicans celebrated the new year by beating Minnesota 123-114 New Year’s Eve. . Anthony Davis did not play because of illness, but Elfrid Payton returned from a broken finger and it helped spark a nine-point win. Julius Randle led the way with 33 points and 11 rebounds. Tonight, The Pels are at Brooklyn to play the Nets.. Airtime 6p on 97.4 ESPN.

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  • News for Friday 122118

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards says 2018 was a successful year for Louisiana as the state continues to move in the right direction. Edwards says stabilizing the budget was his top accomplishment. He says the budget deal fully funded higher education, without raising taxes. Edwards also highlighted that Louisiana shed its title as having the largest incarceration rate in the world. He says he’s also proud to announce the state set a record in 2018 for the number of adoptions from their foster care system, with 912 children being adopted by over 600 families.

     

    On the down side.. Personal income growth in Louisiana for the third quarter was 48th worst in the nation, at 2.3 percent. That’s down from 4.8 percent in the second quarter, and 6.6 percent in the first quarter. Governor John Bel Edwards attributed this drop to the tariffs, which he says were largely responsible for a 101 million dollar drop in farm earnings. But Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says it’s more complicated than just the tariffs. While they hurt farmers, there was also a lot of nasty, heavy rains that hit just as harvest time had rolled around. And Strain says it’s not just farmers that took a huge hit this quarter. With the price at the pump at a remarkable low, the oil industry hurting  again, and suffering noticeable losses.

     

    President Trump says he will veto a resolution that would fund the government through February 8th because it did not include five billion dollars in funding for a proposed border wall. Senator John Kennedy says we may be looking at a government shutdown.

    Democrats have refused to pass any bill that includes the five billion dollars for the Mexican border wall that’s being sought by the White House.

     

    Saints legend and ALS advocate Steve Gleason will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal., Gleason played for the Saints from 2000 to 2007, memorably blocking a punt for a touchdown against the Falcons in the Saints first game back in the dome after Katrina. Senator Bill Cassidy says it’s the highest honor Congress can bestow. The bill passed nearly unanimously in both chambers of Congress.

     

    Louisiana’s START K12 saving program has been launched that now allows for funds to be used on the beneficiary in covering tuition and related expenses between kindergarten and 12th grade.  Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil says he’s excited about the plan that could see parents use up to $10,000 annually on private school tuition.

     

    A Monroe man is facing one count of solicitation for murder after he allegedly tried to pay a man to kill his estranged wife. Detectives say 47-year-old Michael Faubion asked his roommate, who has a criminal history, if he can contact people in jail that would be willing to execute a hit on his wife. But now Faubion is the one in jail on a one-million dollar bond.

     

    A Bossier City patrol cop has been arrested and charged with over three dozen animal sexual abuse related charges. The State Police Special Victims Unit busted 38-year-old Terry Yetman with possession of animal pornography. Yetman was honored in October for his work against domestic violence. The LSP investigation began in August.

     

    A new study out of Sweden finds the risk of having a heart attack rises nearly 40 percent on Christmas Eve.  Cardiologist Dr. Frank Smart at LSU Health New Orleans says that if someone suspects they are having a heart attack, the earlier they get to the hospital, the better, but they should not drive themselves to the hospital. The study observed the timing of 283,000 heart attacks over 15 years.  Smart says the research indicates that the peak timing of heart attacks on Christmas Eve and in case you want to set your watch, 10 pm seems to be most common time.

     

    A former assistant warden who worked in security at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has been charged with abusing his position by helping facilitate the underground market for contraband. 45 year old Kevin Benjamin has been charged with malfeasance in office. It is the second case in a widening multi-agency drug investigation, which includes the FBI and the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

     

    Bayou Country Superfest will return to Baton Rouge in 2019 after two years in Superdome. Producers announced yesterday the Superfest will return to its original venue, LSU's Tiger Stadium, for its 10th anniversary show on May 25-26, 2019. The talent lineup will be revealed in early 2019.

     

    The Saints can lock up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.

     

    Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

    We will be off until January 2nd.

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  • News for Thursday

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    59 year old William Ellington of Alexandria has been arrested on a charge of indecent behavior with a juvenile.  The alleged victim, according to police, is only 9 years old. At the time the department announced his initial arrest earlier Tuesday, it said another case was under investigation as well. Ellington remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

     

    AAA projects over 1/3 of the nation’s population will  be on the move during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Spokesperson Don Redman says for as long as AAA has looked at holiday travel numbers, they’ve never seen anything like this. Redman says it’s important that travelers practice patience and give themselves a little extra time to get where they need to go. There is some good news; Redman says travelers can expect gas prices along the Gulf Coast to be relatively low.

     

    According to  the US Census Bureau, Louisiana is among nine states that has seen a loss of population, with a decrease by nearly 11,000 in the time between July 2017 and July 2018.  Demographer Greg Rigamer says it’s not a good sign and a reflection upon the state’s economy. Since 2010, Louisiana’s population has only increased by 115,000, compared to Texas who has seen an increase of 3.5 million and Florida with 2.5 million.

     

    Louisiana’s two US Senators are on opposite sides of a criminal justice reform bill approved by the Senate on an 87-12 vote. Bill Cassidy says the legislation helps non-violent and low risk parolees re-enter society, get a job and stay out of trouble. But John Kennedy says the, just passed, First Step Act is a violation of American public safety.

     

    Bossier City will see 80 jobs, and Baton Rouge 160 as the result of two new Young Williams customer service call centers. The contract to process calls for the Department of Children and Family Services will run for five years. Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says it’s a prominent company, with a good background.

     

    The state GOP is calling for a return to closed primaries that only let party members vote for party candidates. Currently voters are free to vote for whomever in the primary, and the top two candidate’s progress to the general election. The call was made by GOP State Chairman Louis Gurvuich, who says the “Jungle Primary” creates issues for Republicans when they have large fields of candidates.

     

    Louisiana's nursing homes are among the nation’s worst. The state ranked 50th in patient quality of care in a recent AARP report. Elderly citizens widely prefer staying in their homes with help as long as possible, studies show. And advocates for changing the system say that making institutionalization a last resort would save the state money. But when legislation was introduced this year to address that imbalance, three prominent former lawmakers helped torpedo it before it could progress. Former House Speaker Jim Tucker urged the House Appropriations Committee to kill the proposal. Joe McPherson, the former chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, told his onetime colleagues the reform was impractical. And Sherri Buffington, the committee’s former vice chairwoman, watched from the audience.  Each of them is deeply connected to the nursing home industry, which has strongly opposed the changes. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, here Louisiana, more than a third of ex-lawmakers continue to try to influence their old colleagues and in many cases they are successful.

     

    While many internet transactions are already seeing sales taxes collected for the state, as of January 1, all purchases from out of state internet retailers will be subject to a flat 8.45 percent tax.  Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson says the idea behind the tax is to have level playing field between internet retailers and brick and mortar . Of the 8.45 percent sales tax rate collected, 4 percent of that will go to local government.

     

    There are people living in a Mandeville neighborhood hoping their neighbor takes down the five inflatable dragons up in her front yard. It started with two dragons, both of them wearing a Santa Claus hat. But the homeowner, Diana Rowland, says she received an anonymous note saying her neighbors were wondering if she was involved in a demonic cult. So Rowland decided to add three more dragons because of her judgy-mcfudgyface neighbor.

     

    A vivint-source-dot-com report finds that Louisiana has one of the highest rates for holiday thefts in the nation. PR Specialist Hilary Bird says over the past five years, Louisiana had an average of 68 thefts per 10-thousand residents during the holiday season. Larceny is the most common crime, which is pickpocketing or breaking into someone’s car.

     

     

    Sports..

     

    The nation’s number one prospect according to Rivals-dot-com is officially an LSU Tiger on the first day of college football’s early signing period. Derek Stingley Jr. signed his national letter of intent in front of classmates at Dunham High School. Based on who signed with LSU today and who might possibly sign in February, the Tigers could land a top 5 recruiting class. Stingley says he chose LSU, because it will benefit him after his playing days are over.

     

    LSU signed 19 players on the first day of college football’s early signing period as they work towards securing a top five recruiting class.

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  • News for Wednesday 121918

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Word yesterday of the passing of former District 27 State Representative Rick Farrar. Rick represented Rapides Parish from 1992 to 1996 and again from 2000 to 2008 and worked as an assistant DA under Philip Terrell.  The Parish DA’s office released the news Via social media saying Farrar died Tuesday morning at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. He will be missed Rick Farrar was  58.

     

    Another passing of note.. Charlie Baker, a longtime coach and teacher at Peabody High School died last Friday at the Alexandria VA Medical System Hospital. Funeral services for Charlie Baker will be this Saturday at Newman United Methodist Church in Alexandria with visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. and the funeral starting at 11. Charlie Baker  was 82.

     

    An investigation in to several damaged tombstones in the Dry Prong Cemetery earlier this month, has led to the arrest of 32 year old Felicia Ruiz. The GPSO charged the Dry Prong woman with hit and run and reckless operation of a vehicle. Sheriff McCain says It appears Ruiz not paying attention, when she ran off of the road, hitting the gravestones. It’s believed she panicked and left the scene.

     

    The Trump Administration has banned bump stocks, a firearm add-on that can be used to increase a semiautomatic weapon’s rate of fire. The Justice Department estimates 520,000 bump stocks have been sold in the US since 2010. Bump stock owners now have 90 days to destroy their devices, or turn them in to ATF.

     

    Governor Edwards says he’s concerned a recent Texas court ruling could mean the end of health insurance for over a million Louisianans, and scolded Attorney General Jeff Landry for his support of the lawsuit that may overturn Obamacare.  The Trump administration said yesterday that no changes will be made in the affordable care act until an appeal is heard.  480,000 Louisianans have received coverage under Medicaid expansion alone.

     

    The state health department has declared a Hepatitis A outbreak as they’ve confirmed 24 cases of hepatitis A, a highly contagious liver disease, in the Baton Rouge area. The illness is spread by consuming contaminated food or beverages, during sex or through close contact with an infected person. The state has received funding to vaccinate at-risk groups, which are drug users and those who are homeless.

     

    Attorney General Jeff Landry says he’s teamed up with the Connecticut AG in a suit against generic drug manufacturers, claiming the companies are violating anti-trust laws to push prices higher than they should be. Landry says they’re discussing a settlement with 18 manufacturers in a suit that involves 47 states.

     

    Construction of the Prien Bridge portion of I-210 in the Lake Charles area is set to begin in early January.  The project will see the addition of extra lighting and a new surface for the 930-foot stretch of bridge.  DOTD spokesperson Tammy York says the main area of construction will begin near where I-210 splits off from I-10. The bridge was built in the 60’s and York says several issues are being tackled with the $35 million project.

     

    The early signing period for 2019 football recruits begins today and LSU is expecting a signed national letter of intent from the nation’s top prospect. Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says cornerback Derek Stingley Junior from Dunham High in Baton Rouge is expected to be impact player in 2019. Moran says LSU’s 2019 recruiting class also features two of the state’s best running backs, Destrehan’s John Emery and Southern Lab’s Tyrion Davis. The early signing period lasts through Friday.

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  • News for Monday 121718

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Monday Weather: Areas of dense fog before 9am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 64.

     

    A federal judge in Texas declares the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, because of the federal mandate that requires Americans to buy health insurance or face an additional tax if they do not comply. Judge Reed O’ Connor says now that Congress has removed the penalty for not having coverage, the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

     

    Governor Edwards is disappointed. He says hundreds of thousands of Louisianans could lose their health insurance, if the ruling stands through the appeals process. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry applauds the decision and says he’ll work with the state legislature to make sure those with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

     

    The APD reports an Alexandria woman was shot and killed Friday evening when a gun two brothers were struggling over fired and struck the woman who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 32 Jazzlyn Fields was pronounced dead at the scene of the Baker Street incident. 28 year old Edward Conner was booked into the parish detention center on a charge of Second-Degree-Murder.

     

    The holidays can be a dangerous time on the roadways so law enforcement is stepping up patrols as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.  Deputy Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Dortha Cummins says in the last five years, 139 people have died during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday period. Cummins says the campaign runs through New Year’s Day and drivers should be aware that law enforcement is out and actively looking for drivers who may be under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both..

     

    It’s a heck of a tax break.. The state Board of Commerce and Industry agrees to give a developer planning to build a massive liquefied natural gas export facility in Calcasieu Parish a tax break that could eventually reach two-billion dollars. The advocacy group, Together Louisiana, objected. Broderick Bagert says local government taxing bodies did not give residents enough information about the project

     

    This week marks the busiest week for the United States Postal Service.  USPS spokesperson Sean O’Neill says while some deadlines may have already passed to ensure delivery by Christmas, there are still two days coming up that those shipping gifts this holiday season need to keep on their radar. 1st class and priority mail should be mailed by the 20th, priority mail express by the 22nd.

     

    Former state superintendent of education Paul Pastorek will lead an investigation into allegations that T-M Landry College Prep in Breaux Breaux falsified college applications so their students can attend Ivy league schools. The New York Times reports one of the co-founders of the school, Michael Landry, also abused some of the children, however they produced no evidence to back up the accusation . State Police is looking into the abuse claims.

     

    Congressman Cedric Richmond has introducing a half-a- trillion dollar bill that would build an estimated 2.1 million new, affordable homes in America, and subsidize the purchase of existing houses. Housing NOLA Executive Director Andreanecia Morris says the bill would create over 30,000 affordable housing opportunities in New Orleans alone, and put an additional 513-million dollars into that city’s economy.

     

    Tax season is right around the corner and that means tax refunds. The financial technology company, SmartAsset, says just over 1.5 million taxpayers in the state will receive a refund, with the average being right around $3,300. VP of Financial Education at SmartAsset AJ Smith says you may be losing out on opportunities to make money on the money that is being withheld. If you want to make adjustments to your withholdings, you should speak with someone in HR at your job.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards was the commencement speaker at graduation ceremonies at UL Lafayette and UNO Friday. Edwards says these graduates are now equipped with the diverse set of skills that will be necessary to navigate the five or more different jobs many of them will have throughout their life.

     

    Just in time for Christmas, Saints quarterback Drew Brees has sent a commemorative football to every player and coach that helped him set the NFL’s career passing record. There were 174 balls that went out to Brees current and former teammates and assistant coaches too. The gift also includes a signed letter.

     

    The Saints visit the Panthers tonight in Carolina for the first meeting of the season between the two. Carolina sits at 6 and 7, and is riding a five game losing streaking that’s all but taken them out of the playoff conversation. Saints QB Drew Brees knows how vital a win tonight would be, with the top seed in the NFC on the line.

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  • News for Friday 121418

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Friday Weather..

    Mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of rain.. High 54

     

    Businesses and schools across the nation were evacuated yesterday because of bomb threats, that appear now to have been hoaxes. Here in Louisiana, State Police are aware of several threats in multiple cities.  The threats were sent via email, requesting money being paid to senders via bitcoin, some with the emails having the subject line “Think Twice.” Here in Alexandria First Federal Bank on North Blvd and Red River Bank off of Jackson Street Extension received the threats.

     

    It’s a dead heat. Congressman Ralph Abraham says a new poll he funded shows he’s the Republican to beat Democrat John Bel Edwards in next year’s governor’s race. President of the Remington Research Group Titus Bond says they surveyed nearly 17-hundred likely voters this week and both Abraham and Edwards received 44-percent. Edwards’ campaign says the poll is a desperate plea for credibility.

     

    For the 13th time since 1990, Louisiana has been ranked 50th in America’s health rankings.  Thirty-five different areas of health are factored in to determine the overall ranking.  Dr. Rhonda Randall with the United Health Foundation says among the areas of concern, child poverty, where Louisiana ranks last.

     

    A report out of Loyola says Louisiana has the second highest rate of food insecurity in the country, a result of the state’s substantial poverty, and proliferation of food deserts where residents don’t have access to, or can afford healthy food. The report calls for the state to increase incentives for grocery stores to operate in under-served communities, including refrigeration tax breaks for small grocers to allow them to bring in healthier food.

     

    The secretary of state’s office diverted more than $90 thousand dollars from computer upgrades to pay its portion of a sexual misconduct settlement involving former Secretary of State Tom Schedler.  A spokesperson for the current Secretary of State says none of the funds were obtained by making cuts to anything having to do with cybersecurity.

     

    Former Congressman Charles Boustany says the trade war with China is failing, and Louisiana is beginning to pay the price to the tune of over 100 million dollars in costs to Bayou State businesses and consumers this year, nearly 20 million in October alone. Boustany says the trade war is a hurricane, and we’re starting to feel the first bands of bad economic weather…

     

    The Chackbay man who shot his neighbor a year ago over a property line dispute has been convicted of 2nd Degree Murder.  61-year-old Keith Trosclair told police it was in self-defense, but But authorities say they had reason to doubt that version of events after reports from two witnesses that Trosclair was moving towards the victim while firing, and forensic evidence that indicated the neighbor, did not pose an immediate threat when Trosclair opened fire. 2nd Degree Murder carries a mandatory life sentence.

     

    Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain is reportedly under investigation for allegedly molesting several juveniles. Strain is also the target of a federal probe into public corruption involving his former work release program that he once supervised. The ex-Abita Springs police chief served as sheriff of St. Tammany from 1996 to 2015.

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  • News for Thursday 121318

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Thursday's Weather..

     

    90% Chance of showers and t-storms High 67

     

    The Bayou State can expect heavy rainfall as a storm system whipped up in Texas and Oklahoma moves into the state today. Paired with a cold front, one to two inches of rain is likely to land across Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says in some areas of Louisiana the rain could be even more intense and flooding is possible. The good news.. The weekend looks great!

     

    Authorities in Natchitoches report four people were shot, one fatally, in the city Tuesday night. Natchitoches PD responded to the shooting and found one victim had suffered a gunshot wound to his head. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The other three had been taken to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center in a private vehicle. Two had been shot in the abdomen, while the third had been shot in the back of the neck. The shootings remain under investigation.

     

    Louisiana Department of Health is conducting a special one-day, multi-location flu shot promotion, throughout Louisiana from 2 until 6:30 this afternoon.  LDH Immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says a similar event was conducted in January of this year during the middle of a rough flu season that saw more than 1600 deaths in Louisiana. Shots will be little to no cost and recipients are encouraged to bring an insurance card if they have it.  Here in Rapides Parish the shots will be available at the Parish Health unit on Coliseum Blvd.

     

    A 21 year old Grant Parish man was arrested yesterday after he was pulled over for the second time in as many days. The GPSO says Michael Reed Jr was stopped Tuesday  with a license plate that didn’t belong to the vehicle he was driving. Yesterday a deputy attempted to stop him again, this time there was no plate on the vehicle, but this time he took off and a short time later hit a tree. He also attempted to dispose of a glass smoking pipe and some meth. Reed was arrested and booked into the Grant Parish Detention Center.

     

    Congress is set to vote this month on a criminal justice reform bill that would give judges more leeway in sentencing non-violent offenders, and would increase funding for rehabilitation programs for prisoners. The bill is backed by President Trump, but Senator John Kennedy and other Republicans say they’re concerned the legislation would lead to more prisoners getting out of jail who could potentially be violent individuals. Kennedy says there’s a number of incidents in Louisiana where a prisoner was released early under the new guidelines, and went on to commit a crime.

     

    Over 98-thousand dollars was allegedly stolen from the Office of Motor Vehicles by three employees between March and June of 2017. That’s according to a new Legislative Auditor’s report that surveyed the OMV’s appropriation of funds. Auditor Daryl Purpera says the OMV has been receptive to changes since the release of the report. He notes it can be challenging for that department to prevent these kinds of crimes given how small most OMV outposts can be. All three were fired after the audit revealed the missing funds.

     

    Louisiana has three of the top 30 cities most in need of charity donations this holiday season according to WalletHub.com. New Orleans came in at 10, Shreveport was next highest in the state at 21, and Baton Rouge came in at 26. WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzales says the report took into account child poverty, unemployment, homelessness, high school drop outs, economic security, health, and safety ratings.

     

    Authorities are looking for two men facing hate crime charges for terrorizing a black woman at the West Monroe Walmart.  Investigators have identified the two as 22 year old Dylan Reynolds and 24 year old Michael Walters.  The woman was leaving the store as the men began yelling at her and calling her racial slurs.  One of the men is accused of chasing after her car on foot as she fled the scene.

     

    Former Port Allen police officers are accusing Police Chief Esdron Brown of forcing his religion upon his officers via mandatory religious meetings and using God’s will as a reasoning for promotions.  Legal analyst Tim Meche says those that lost their positions could potentially be entitled to compensation.

     

    Google’s annual Year in Search was released and shows what Louisianans want to look at online. The “Year in Search” lists are Google’s annual look at the trillions of searches performed throughout the year. Google Technology Expert Molly Vandenburg says the number one search in the Bayou State was a little surprising. The top list was for the “World Cup”. Next was everything LSU.

     

    Sports..

     

    The Saints have released wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall never appeared in a game with the Black and Gold after he was signed last month. To take Marshall’s place, tight end Erik Swoope signed with the Saints. Swoope was just released by the Colts.

     

    LSU has begun bowl practices for their New Year’s Day matchup with Central Florida. Coach Ed Orgeron says they will continue to work on getting the offense to score more touchdowns and it starts with doing more with their quarterback…

     

    LSU safety Grant Delpit has become only the ninth unanimous All-American in school history. Delpit was one of four Tigers who made the F-B-S Coaches All-America Teams

     

    ESPN ranks LSU’s seven overtime loss to Texas A-and-M as the best college football game of the year.

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  • News for Wednesday 121218

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Wednesday Weather..

    Today: Partly sunny, with a high near 64.
    Tonight: A 50 percent chance of showers after midnight. Cloudy, with a low around 55.
    Thursday: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 68.  Chance of precipitation is 90%.

     

    This Morning's News...

     

    The RPSO reports eleven Alexandria residents have been arrested after a months-long investigation spurred by heroin and fentanyl overdoses and deaths in the parish. A release announcing the arrests states a "fairly organized" group was selling heroin all over Alexandria, but was "primarily centered" around the Third Street area near Broadway Avenue. As the investigation is ongoing, more arrests are "imminent.

     

    The Grant Parish DA’s officer reports 55 year old Ricky Murphy will go to prison for more than nine years after being convicted in October for a Thanksgiving 2017 assault.

    Murphy was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years at hard labor on each count of  aggravated assault with a firearm and five years at hard labor on each count of attempted aggravated assault. The sentences will be served concurrently.

     

    It appears the Red River Charter Academy will open in 2019 in Avoyelles Parish for students in sixth through eighth grades. Seven members of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted in favor of the academy’s application Tuesday during a committee meeting. A procedural vote at today’s board meeting will take place, but the results are expected to be the same.

     

    A Sabine Parish teacher has been arrested for allegedly molesting a female student at the school in which he worked. 50 year old James Jones, a teacher at Pleasant Hill High School, surrendered to authorities after learning there was a warrant for his arrest. The warrant was issued after an investigation by Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives found that he allegedly had sexual relations with a 13-year-old female student on five different occasions.

     

    A female trainer at Opelousas high school has been arrested and charged with having sex with a student. Opelousas police report 28 year old  Laura Huval of Crowley has been arrested and charged with felony prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student. Huval had been working for a company in Lafayette that provides trainers to schools and had been assigned to Opelousas High. Opelousas Police Chief Donald Thompson said another employee of the company reported the conduct.

     

    Jim Bernhard, former president of the Shaw Group, says his private equity firm is willing to finance the cost of a new bridge over the Mississippi, and estimates the project would take about seven years to complete. Bernhard says the numbers look good for financiers investing in the project. But before the billion dollar project could be initiated, Bernhard says access roads and additional infrastructure leading up to the structure will need to be approved. He estimates waiting another five years on the project could inflate its cost by another 200 million dollars.

     

    An 11-month-old child is dead following an infection from untreated burns.  Emergency services received a call of an unresponsive child on Sunday in DeRidder, and found the child with burns covering the lower portion of the body.  Police Chief John Gott says the injuries were sustained when the mother’s boyfriend gave the child a bath. Gott says the mother and her boyfriend had attempted to home remedy the child’s burns but it clearly didn’t work.  While it is unknown why neither adult got the child proper care, authorities believe it was out of fear of legal ramifications.

     

    A Farm Bill is in conference committee with votes expected on a final version in Congress later this week. The bill houses the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or food stamps, along with farming policy for the next several years. Congressman Ralph Abraham says he’s disappointed the bill leaves out SNAP work requirements, but overall it’s a good bill. The bill has the support of Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy and Congressman Steve Scalise. Senator John Kennedy says he won’t vote for it due to its lack of work requirements.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health has received a $23.1 million State Opioid Response grant. Assistant Secretary at the Louisiana Department of Health in the Office of Behavioral Health Karen Stubbs says the grant will fund a multitude of programs to the benefit of those suffering from opioid use disorder. Stubbs says the next step is increasing access to treatment through community outreach.

     

    According to a report by the Commonwealth Fund workers and their families in Louisiana are spending the largest share of their income on health care compared to the rest of America. Vice President for Healthcare Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund Sara Collins says what an employer has to pay on the overall premium is lower than the national average, but the issue stems from what an employee has to pay.

     

    The man wanted for the shooting of a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy over the weekend was captured this morning in New Orleans.  There had been a manhunt for 38 year old Tynonne Louis since Sunday. Lopinto credits the help of Crime Stoppers for getting the tip that lead to the arrest.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received 12 juvenile whooping cranes at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge as they attempt to reestablish a flourishing population to the Bayou State.  The state’s population of the bird at one point was as high as 10,000, but dropped to just one in the 1950s. 

     

    LSU All-American linebacker Devin White remains undecided on whether he’ll skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. White, who won the Butkus Award which goes to the nation’s best linebacker, says he still has some unfinished business. White could be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft, if he decides to enter.

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  • News for Tuesday 121118

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    A robbery at the Silver Dollar Pawn Shop back in September, in which a number of guns were stolen, has led to the offering of a $10,000 reward. Half of the reward is being put up by the ATF's New Orleans Field Division, while the other half comes from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is a trade association for the firearms industry. The $10,000 would go to whomever provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the burglary. Anonymous tips can be sent to the ATF through its mobile app, ReportIt, available for Android and iPhones, or by visiting www.reportit.com.

     

    The Alexandria Police Department reports in the last seven days, six guns were stolen in the area from car burglaries and only one of the cars was locked. APD reminds residents not to leave guns or valuables in your vehicles. If for any reason you must, put it in the trunk and be sure your vehicle is locked.

     

    It appears a deadly fire early Sunday morning in the Campti area was not set and appears to be the result of something in the home. The fire killed a 71 year old grandmother, Lucy Telsee and her 6 year old granddaughter Rosia Mae Telsee. After escaping the blaze, the grandmother reentered the burning home in an attempt to rescue the child. She apparently found the child, but both were unable to escape the fire. Fire officials found the two in the wreckage of the home. 4 people survived the fire..

     

    A Monday afternoon fire caused extensive damage to a home  in the 3000 block of Herbert Street in Alexandria. The fire has been ruled as accidental after investigators determined that a space heater was being used too close to combustibles. There were six people were living in the house but fire officials say there were no injuries.

     

    The current revenue forecast for state government will stay in place after Speaker Taylor Barras votes down an increase today in the Revenue Estimating Conference. The committee has indicated they hope the Speaker will change his mind by early next year, and that a new meeting will be called that can get the unanimous approval necessary. Barras says he likely would support a forecast increase, but later down the road.

     

    The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeals of Louisiana challenging lower courts’ decisions to prevent the Bayou State from excluding Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid contractor. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented. The newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, was among the justices voting not to hear the case.

     

    The statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline continues it’s descent as it currently sits at $2.10 per gallon.  It’s just over a 30 cent drop from this time last month, and the lowest price since last December. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says it is a welcomed trend with the holidays. Redman says late last week, some oil producing countries have agreed to cut back on production by about a million barrels a day.  Redman expects that may impact prices next spring.

     

    Louisiana has the second highest credit card burden in the United States according to a survey conducted by creditcards.com. The credit analysts found came to the conclusion by comparing the average credit card debt to the median income in each state. Industry Analyst at creditcards.com Ted Rossman says compared to other states Louisiana’s credit card debt is right in the middle but the burden stems from earnings differences.  

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards is gearing up his 2019 campaign with a focus on his record of bipartisanship, including his cordial relationship with the President. While national Democrats are solidifying their pre-presidential primary base by challenging the President, Political Analyst Clancy DuBos says that likely isn’t pleasing the Democrat’s base, but Edwards’ situation is unique being elected in the Deep South. A recent poll found 55 percent approval for the President in Louisiana.

     

    A new social media platform called First Responders Emergency Media outlet, or FREMO, has been unveiled by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. Nungesser says the website will serve as an outlet of expression for first responders who experience things on the job that might leave them a bit shaken. Many first responders may not want to seek help as they feel they run the risk of being labeled as having some sort of problem.  Nungesser says this website will be a secure, confidential platform.

     

    The man who lost a challenge for the Melville Chief of Police in St. Landry Parish, and allegedly punched an officer at a parade for the winner, has bonded out of jail. Cleven Clark denies that he assaulted the officer, and says police were harassing his family by running the parade in front of his house after the election, but Chief Anthony Moreau says it’s an unfortunate incident, but that he won’t tolerate anyone putting their hands on his officers.

     

    Two Louisiana schools have been named “National ESEA Distinguished Schools” for outstanding academic performance.  L.W. Ruppel Academy for Advanced Studies in Jefferson Parish was recognized in the category of “Exceptional Student Performance Schools.” Eastside Elementary School in Livingston Parish was recognized in the category of “Closing the Achievement Gap.”

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  • News for Monday 121018

    Compiled By Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Fire officials are drying to determine the cause of a deadly fire yesterday morning just north of Campti in Natchitoches Parish. The NPSO has confirmed two fatalities, also four injuries. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office is also involved in the investigation.

     

    Pineville voters approved all five propositions on the ballot relating to the city’s alcohol regulations, four of which expanded allowable alcohol sales. Previously, only restaurants were able to sell alcohol in Pineville. That option was again approved Saturday, along with propositions that will allow stores to sell packaged alcohol and businesses like bars to serve alcohol. All five propositions received at least 62 percent of the vote in elections that saw turnout of about 22 percent.

     

    Louisiana voters decide to keep Republican Kyle Ardoin as Secretary of State. Ardoin defeated Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup in Saturday’s special  election. Ardoin received 59-percent of the vote in a low voter turnout election. The 51-year-old Ville Platte native has served as interim Secretary of State since Tom Schedler resigned in May amid a sexual harassment scandal.

     

    Shreveport has a new mayor. 33-year-old West Point graduate, Adrian Perkins, easily defeated Mayor Ollie Tyler, who was seeking a second term. Perkins received 64-percent of the vote. Perkins is a war veteran and attorney with no previous political experience. His promise of a better Shreveport led to a landslide victory over the incumbent…

     

    US Representative and now candidate for governor, Republican Ralph Abraham, says Governor John Bel Edwards has been relentless in his effort to raise taxes. But Eric Holl, spokesperson for the 2019 Democratic Coordinator Campaign team, says Abraham’s proposal for over a billion dollars in across the board cuts would have devastated the state. Abraham also says Louisiana is heading in the wrong direction. But Holl disagrees, based on what’s happen during the first three years of the Edwards administration.

     

    A useful app you may want to download to your smart device is available now, and the developer behind the app is an LSU grad from Walker, Louisiana.  The app is called Find a Spot and it links you with a friend to find the best possible geographical meetup place in the middle of your two locations.  App developer Derrick Denicola says the idea came to him while sitting in traffic. Denicola says it took about seven years to produce the app after first coming up with the idea. The 2007 LSU grad says it’s simple to use, even his parents can figure it out, which was his goal.

     

    St. Tammany Parish has been awarded a $25 million BUILD grant to widen I-12.  The widening is needed due to unsafe conditions and bottlenecks along a 3.8 mile stretch and comes after four fatalities over Memorial Day weekend this year. St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister calls the quick turnaround on locking in the money to move forward with construction a huge success.

     

    Sports..

     

    For the first time in franchise history, the Saints are back-to-back division champions. New Orleans clinched the NFC South crown on Sunday with a come from behind 28-14 win over Tampa Bay. New Orleans trailed 14-3 in the third quarter, but scored 25 unanswered points to avenge an earlier loss to the Buccaneers.

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  • News for Friday 120718

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    There’s rain moving in across the state today that could total anywhere from 2 to 5 inches.  The heaviest amounts are expected in the northwest portion of the state.  State Climatologist Barry Keim says once this front moves through, the state should see cool air move in next week.

     

    5th district Congressman Ralph Abraham made it official yesterday that he is joining the race for Governor. Abraham, a conservative Republican, says he’s been concerned about the direction the state is moving since Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards took over in 2015, the same year he was elected to Congress. He joins Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone as the only two Republicans to have officially joined the race.  However, Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says be on the lookout for a few more candidates to rise to the challenge. Governor Edwards responded to the announcement by releasing a statement saying he welcomes the debate.

     

    5 different propositions dealing with Pineville's regulations on selling alcohol will be on the local ballot Saturday, along with five tax propositions. Currently, only restaurants are able to sell alcohol in Pineville, but that could change, depending on Saturday's election. The propositions range from no alcohol sales of any kind in the city to expanding alcohol sales into other types of businesses, such as retail stores and bars.

     

    Congress punted yet again on overhauling the National Flood Insurance Program, extending the program for two more weeks as part of a broader stop-gap funding deal. The NFIP has lurched along for more than a year on a series of short-term extensions as lawmakers have deadlocked and then put off overhauling the federally run program, which underwrites most flood coverage in the U.S.

     

    Former President of the Shaw Group Jim Bernhard says he is ready to back the loan, if need be, to build a new bridge across the Mississippi River. Bernhard says his company is willing to underwrite the bonds for the project. Bernhard says there is much infrastructure work that needs to be done prior to the bridge being built.

     

    75 year old Former Governor Kathleen Blanco, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, told a Council for A Better Louisiana luncheon Wednesday that her cancer has spread to other parts of her body and that while she remains optimistic, she understands there’s “no escape. Blanco said that she is at peace with the disease and that she realizes the monster is not far down the road.”  

     

    After spending $750 million to construct an oil pipeline that’s scheduled to open at the end of the month, the builders must spend another $450 to settle claims it didn’t properly seize a swath of undeveloped land in St. Martin Parish. In a ruling released Thursday, state judge Keith Comeaux said those building the Bayou Bridge Pipeline had a right to seize the land under eminent domain, but he refused to forgive their trespassing against three property owners. He ordered the pipeline’s owners to pay them $150 each. The judge then said the company was clear to seize the land.

     

    It’s the tenth year of the George Rodrigue Foundation art scholarship contest is seeking submissions. Spokesperson Christine Dunaway says it’s been an important program for art students in it’s over decade of existence. The school with the top number of submissions will win a 1,000 dollar art kit.

     

    The security website SafeWise has put together it’s list of the twenty safest cities in the state for 2018.  Safety and Security analyst for the site Rebecca Edwards says Louisiana has struggled to keep it’s statewide crime rate down as the average number of violent crimes per 1000 citizens was 8.6, nearly double the national average. Edwards says among the safest cities are De Ridder, Harahan, Scott, and topping the list was the St. Mary Parish city of Patterson.

     

    Advanced cancer patients are a lot better off receiving palliative care, where treating symptoms is the focus, than traditional treatments, according to a new study by Tulane. Graduate student Laura Perry says the research, led by Tulane Assistant Professor Michael Hoerger, could inspire a new norm for patients with severe prognoses .2,092 patients were observed, and 56 percent of those who received palliative treatment survived past a year, compared to 42 percent who got typical treatments.

     

    A win Sunday over Tampa Bay and the Saints clinch a second consecutive NFC South title. The Bucs beat New Orleans in the season opener and Quarterback Drew Brees says Tampa Bay’s defense has been playing well lately. Last time out the Saints had their 10-game winning streak snapped with a Thursday night loss in Dallas. Brees says it’s a defeat they can learn from.

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  • News for Thursday 120618

    Compiled By Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Pineville PD report  a multi-vehicle accident occurred on HWY 165 in the Kingsville area yesterday afternoon involving a Rapides Parish school bus, an 18-wheeler and a van. According to Pineville Police, no children were inside of the school bus at the time of the crash. Police report there was one person in the van who had to be extricated. The condition of the person is unknown. The bus driver and the driver of the 18-wheeler have non-threatening injuries.

     

    Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Deputies say a man wanted for shooting his father in the hip, fatally shot himself during a standoff with authorities near Chopin Wednesday morning. Deputies began a manhunt for Joseph Dauzat Tuesday night after he reportedly shot his dad.

     

    An appellate court decision Wednesday will move an armed robbery trial back to the 9th Judicial District Court division now presided over by new Judge Chris Hazel. Defense attorney Chad Guillot had filed an emergency writ to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal Monday after Judge Greg Beard denied a motion that sought to move the trial of Anthony Strong back to Hazel's Division B. Jury selection had started on Tuesday but, after the 3rd Circuit's decision to consider Guillot's writ, that was put on hold.

     

    Due to the less than pleasant weather forecasted for the weekend, several towns have decided to reschedule their Christmas parades… The City of Pineville’s parade has been moved from this Saturday to next Monday evening at 7, Town of Ball moved their parade to Saturday, December 15 at 2 p.m., while the town of Boyce moved theirs to Sunday the 16th at 3p.

     

    It didn’t take long for a candidate to come forward to fill the District 26 State House seat vacated by Alexandria’s new mayor Jeff Hall. Rapides Parish School Board Member Sandra Franklin announced on Wednesday she will run for the seat as a Democrat.. Another candidate believed to be running is Alexandria City Councilman Ed Larvadain. Though not officially announced, he’s holding a press conference on Friday..  In the District 27 seat vacated by Chris Hazel, Pineville attorney Mike Johnson announced, back in June, he will run as a Republican.

     

    With the holiday season in effect, the state has seen an uptick in flu cases.  This news comes after a horrible flu season last year, with triple the number of hospitalizations and deaths than normal.  Flu Bug expert for Louisiana Department of Health Frank Welch says getting the flu shot doesn’t guarantee someone won’t get the flu, but if they do get the flu after getting the flu shot, it won’t be so severe.

     

    A Report from Hunger Free America says Louisiana has the third highest rate of food insecure children in the nation. About 25 percent of kids in the state live in households where their parents do not make enough money, and CEO Joel Berg says that doesn’t mean the state is of third world status, but it does mean many families are having to make tough choices between absolute necessities despite living in such a wealthy country.

     

    The Avondale Scout Reservation in East Feliciana Parish has been closed after two boy scouts were hospitalized with histoplasmosis. It’s a flu-like illness that comes from soil contaminated with bat or bird droppings. State Epidemiologist Raoult Ratard says histoplasmois is a fungus and you can sick after breathing in the spores from the fungus.  At least 15 campers were reportedly exposed to histoplasmosis. Ratard says symptoms can develop three to 17 days after exposure, but usually infected individuals recover quickly…

     

    Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has provided a gift to some 400 WalMart shoppers in New Orleans. Mrs Benson paid off nearly 100-thousand dollars in gifts that were on layaway for the holiday season, which came as a complete shock to those consumers who learned of the nice gesture. The Saints owner will be looking for more holiday cheer this weekend as the Black and Gold try to get even with the Bucs this Sunday.

     

    A $25 million dollar bond has been set for a Ponchatoula man accused of possession of child pornography.  The FBI New Orleans Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes State Police, arrested 59-year-old Edd Scafidel Jr.  Senior Trooper Melissa Matey says authorities received the information on the suspect last month.

     

    Sports

     

    LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva told Alexandria’s 94.6 ESPN yesterday that despite the great year for the Tigers, it’s not time to talk about a contract extension for Coach Ed Orgeron. Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says it’s Alleva’s style to wait after the final game is played. Orgeron is currently getting paid 3.5 million dollars a year.

     

    McNeese State has apparently found a new head football coach. Nothing official from the school but there’s a report the Cowboys have hired South Florida offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert. Gilbert is also a former offensive coordinator at Texas and played high school football in the Lone Star state.

     

    The Monroe News-Star reports Grambling State and its athletics director Paul Bryant have decided to go their separate ways. Bryant will leave the school at the end of the month and President Rick Gallot says the vice president for student affairs, David Ponton, will take over as A-D at the first of the year. Gallot says Bryant wanted to explore other opportunities.

     

    The high school state football championships kick-off today at the Superdome, as nine teams will be crowned champions before the prep classic concludes on Saturday night.

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  • News for Wednesday 120518

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Today is a national day of mourning in honor of the passing of George HW Bush, the 41st President who served from 89-93. Bush only served one term after losing his re-election bid to then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in 92, in what turned out to be a heated race. Through all that though, the two presidents remained close personal friends, a friendship that lasted until the passing of Bush last week. President Bush helmed the country through a monumental shift in world power, including the dismantling of the Berlin wall and the final days of the former Soviet Union.

     

    The Alexandria Fire Department is investigating an early morning blaze Tuesday involving three homes in the 200 block of 12th Street. Officials say the fire started at one home and spread to two more. Five people were able to escape the blaze.

     

    An Alexandria man accused of rape and sexual battery will be examined by a sanity commission after his attorney contended he doesn't understand the charges against him. 19 year old Jalen Carter was indicted by a Rapides Parish grand jury in September on two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of sexual battery and two counts of oral sexual battery, charges he pled not guilty to. Police say the victims were both under the age of 13.

     

    We need more companies like this in Central Louisiana.. Monday night RoyOMartin presented the Alan Parish Police jury with check for $3.25 million Dollars. This coming after the ten-year tax exemption given to the Martco plant comes to an end. RoyOMartin thank Allen Parish and specific communities that have spent the past ten years helping make Martco the success that is today. Due to this tax exemption, RoyOMartin was able to invest $234 million to build the plant, providing 174 direct jobs, 105 of which are held by Allen Parish residents, along with over 600 indirect jobs.

     

    St. Landry Parish Sheriffs have arrested a substitute teacher for allegedly having sex with two students off campus. 38-year-old Tara Richard is facing four counts of Felony Carnal Knowledge, and one count of Oral Sexual Battery in connection with what authorities say were her actions involving a 15 and 16 year old who attended a local school. Richard has allegedly admitted to having sex with the two over the summer.

     

    The 2019 Governor’s race took a turn that blindsided many when Senator John Kennedy announced he would not be challenging Governor Edwards.  Republicans are in a scramble to find a candidate with less than a year until the election.  Political consultant Roy Fletcher says there’s a reason why the GOP didn’t have a Plan B candidate. It was pretty much a given that Kennedy would run. While several names have been discussed including Congressman Ralph Abraham, Attorney General Jeff Landry, State Treasurer John Schroder, and Senator Sharon Hewitt of Slidell, Fletcher says they all face a similar obstacle, lack of name recognition.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards hopes U.S. Senator John Kennedy’s decision to stay out of the 2019 governor’s race and remain in DC will give the Senator a new-found focus on his federal responsibilities, instead of using his time to verbally spar with state leaders.

    Kennedy released a statement yesterday saying many of the state’s issues were related to a “top down institution.” and said he’s confident another Republican will defeat Edwards.

     

    A Baton Rouge woman told Grant Parish Sheriff's deputies she was selling drugs to get Christmas money after she allegedly dropped a bag of meth inside a business. The GPSO reports 34 year old Claire Brewton admitted there was meth in the bag and that it was hers.  Brewton was booked into the parish jail.

     

    Good news for LSU fans looking to attend the Fiesta Bowl: tickets will likely be available through the school for at least the next week for the game against undefeated UCF in Glendale, Arizona. LSU Ticket Manager Brian Broussard says it’s an attractive vacation spot, and he hopes it will draw in Purple and Gold from around the country.

     

    The FCC is encouraging TV viewers who use an antenna to watch television to rescan their TV as many stations are moving frequencies in an effort to free up airwaves for high speed internet and mobile broadband.  Chair of the FCC Incentive Auction Task Force Jean Kiddoo (ki’doo) says if you subscribe to TV, through Cable or Satellite, you don’t have to worry about the changes. The changes will have an effect in Lafayette, Monroe, Alexandria, and Lake Charles.  Some stations have already made the switch, so you may be missing them, if a rescan hasn’t been performed recently. 

     

    Four West Baton Rouge sheriff deputies are charged with malfeasance after an investigation into multiple inmate escapes. Major Dale Simoneaux says during their probe they learned a 23 year old deputy had sex with an inmate, while another deputy took a bribe to look the other way. Simoneaux says they discovered one trustee escaped while taking out the trash and another escaped by simply scaling the fence at the end of the night.

     

    A state judge sets a January 28th date on where he’ll decide whether Matthew Naquin should turn over his personal passcode to his cell phone. The former LSU student is accused of negligent homicide in the 2017 alcohol-related hazing death Max Gruver.

     

    The State Fire Marshal’s Office is mourning the loss of one of it’s explosive ordinance detection K-9 officers.  The 10 year old black lab, named Barry, had been with the agency since 2012.  Barry came to the State Fire Marshal from the US Marine Corp where he served two tours of duty overseas.  Barry died following surgical complications to remove a large mass in his stomach.

     

    Sports..

     

    Former Seahawk and Saints cornerback Brandon Browner was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday on an attempted murder charge. Browner plead no contest after prosecutors say he threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend last July when he attempted to smothered her with a carpet.

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  • News for Tuesday 120418

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Canadian air is back in Louisiana this morning, causing temperatures to plummet after an unusually warm streak of weather to start off the month of December. State Climatologist Barry Keim says north Louisiana is suffering near freezing temperatures, while the south sits around the 40s. And it gets even colder tomorrow.

     

    Jeff Hall was sworn in as the new mayor of Alexandria yesterday. Hall replaces Jacques Roy, who opted not to run for re-election after 12 years. Hall is a graduate of Grambling State University and worked at Cleco for 32 years as a Senior V-P and then served as an accountant for the City of Alexandria.

     

    Also yesterday, Chris Hazel was sworn in a Judge. Hazel was a longtime state representative, as well as a former Marine and assistant district attorney. He won the election for 9th Judicial District Court, Division B last month. He took the position opened by Retired Judge Tom Yeager, who actually came to swear Hazel in.

     

    Senator John Kennedy says after much consideration, he will not be running for governor, ending months of speculation that he would challenge Governor John Bel Edwards in the 2019 contest. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says it’s a shock announcement considering his not-so-subtle public interest in the position. Other names are being discussed for the ballot, including State Treasurer John Schroder who says the announcement took him by surprise. 5th Dist. Congressman Ralph Abraham says he will make a decision soon on whether or not he’ll run.

     

    Governor John Bel Edwards responded to Senator Kennedy’s decision yesterday by saying Kennedy’s flirtation with running for governor was to put the spotlight on himself. Edwards says he now hopes Kennedy and the entire Congressional delegation can work with him to get things done for the hard working families in Louisiana.

     

    Hanna Nicole Barker, the mother accused in the burning death of her 6-month-old boy in Natchitoches, was sentenced to five years in prison Monday after her probation on 2016 drug charges was revoked. Barker also was arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder, after her indictment by a  Natchitoches Parish grand jury. She pleaded not guilty, and her trial date was set for Jan. 13, 2020.

     

    The St. Landry Sheriff’s office says a local doctor is in critical condition after he was shot during a home invasion early Monday morning. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz his detectives are hoping to interview Doctor John Vallain to find out what happened.

     

    A pretrial scheduled for Monday for Roger Boggs, the CEO of Revolution Aluminum who was supposed to bring a $1.5 billion aluminum plant to Pineville back in 2015, has been continued until February 20. Boggs was indicted on a bank fraud charge back in April. A charge he pled not guilty to.

     

    After law enforcement made the discovery of more than a dozen horses that all appeared to be emaciated on her property in Lockport, the Lafourche Humane Society President, Pamela George and fellow property owner John Gautreaux, have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty. George and Gautreaux, have been booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center on a $2000 bond each.

     

    The Louisiana Department of Health has released six recommendations of an expert panel on steps to fight the opioid epidemic, much of which Assistant State Health Officer for LDH Dr. Joseph Kanter says is common sense.  Kanter says the state has a long way to go in expanding access to effective treatment and the use of other means of treating chronic pain. Kanter says behind every one of the recommendations are a series of measurable items that can be used to gauge the state’s progress.

     

    Pollster Bernie Pinsonat has this Saturday’s Secretary of State’s election at 43-40 for Republican Kyle Ardoin of Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup, with 17 percent still undecided. The close numbers may be a bit surprising for a race most assume Ardoin will win handily, but Pinsonat says a lot of it has to do with voters who are still up in the air. He expects the numbers to start tipping notably in Ardoin’s favor as we get closer to voting day, and the Interim Secretary of State’s substantial cash advantage increases.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU star cornerback Greedy Williams will not play in the Tigers bowl game against UCF as he’s declared for the NFL draft. Williams is considered to be a top five pick and Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says not playing in a bowl game, is a growing trend for future first round picks. Linebacker Devin White announced Monday he will play in LSU’s bowl game.

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  • News for Monday 120318

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Senator John Kennedy says he will not run for governor, ending months of speculation that he would challenge Governor John Bel Edwards in the 2019 contest. Kennedy says after much consideration, he’s decided he can get the most done for Louisiana, and the country, in the Senate.

     

    Jeffery Hall will be sworn in as Alexandria’s next mayor today. The Inaugural Ceremony will begin at 10:45 a.m. at the Randolph Riverfront Center where Hall will be introduced by his wife Patricia.  Around noon, Hall will provide an acceptance address to the community. Following the ceremony, an Inaugural Reception will be held for invited guests.

     

    One of the last things outgoing Mayor Jacques Roy did Friday was signed off on the confirmation of Alexandria Police Chief Jerrod King. The document signed by the mayor stated that King had successfully completed a standard probation process.

     

    It was announced Friday night that the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush had died.  It was in New Orleans that his road to the White House became official when he accepted the nomination at the GOP National Convention at the Superdome in 1988.  Bush was applauded for his efforts in establishing the Bush-Clinton Katrina fund, which he formed with Former President Bill Clinton that donated millions to local schools, libraries, and non-profits.  Bush was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, who passed away earlier this year. George H.W. Bush was 94 years old.

     

    New CDC data indicates drug overdose deaths rose 12% in Louisiana from 2016 to 2017.  Overdose deaths have contributed to the life expectancy rate declining for  three straight year in the United States, a pattern not seen in 100 years. President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health John Auerbach says this marks the first time that more than 1,000 people died in a single year from overdoses in Louisiana.

     

    A federal judge has ordered $34.8 million in restitution from the owner of Explo Systems, a military contractor hired to demilitarize artillery charges at Camp Minden in Webster Parish, in a case stemming from a huge munitions blast in 2012 due to illegal dumping of the materials.  In addition to the restitution, five people are heading to the clink with sentences between 2-5 years.  US Attorney David Joseph says he’s happy with the outcome.

     

    A 23-year-old North Shreveport woman was seriously injured from a gunshot wound she received in the back.  Her two-year-old child is believed to have accidentally discharged the unsecured weapon.  The investigation is ongoing.

     

    Shreveport Police are looking for one or more people who fired gunshots at a five-year-old boy and a man and a woman who arrived at a location to sell a puppy. Authorities say the child was shot once, while the adults were shot multiple times. The gunshot wounds to the three individuals are not considered life threatening. A motive for the shooting has not been established. The puppy was not hit by gunfire.

     

    A Koch brother’s backed conservative advocacy group has begun airing anti-gas tax ads on social media and at gas station video screens across the state ahead of next year’s legislative session that may include a push to raise the tax to pay for road projects. Americans for Prosperity State Director John Kay says gas taxes hurt everyday Louisianans most. Last year infrastructure advocates attempted to pass a 17 cent gas tax that would have raised half a billion dollars a year.

     

    A Fort Polk interior designer and military spouse had the honor last week of joining 150 volunteers for the annual Christmas decoration of the White House. Amy Hirata was one of the seven thousand people who sent in an application to take part in the activities.

     

    At least two Boy Scout campers who returned from a recent trip with fevers, chills and a cough have been hospitalized for exposure to a rare and unusual disease linked to bird and bat droppings found in the soil, spurring involvement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. St. Francisville resident Emiley Bonano has been battling histoplasmosis since she traveled to Camp Avondale with her little brother’s Boy Scout troop in early November. Reports say other scouts have reported similar symptoms. However, CDC and Louisiana Health officials will not say how many.

     

    Sports..

     

    For the first time in the 125-year history of LSU Football, the Tigers will play in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona on New Year’s Day and they’ll face UCF, who has won 25 in a row. Coach Ed Orgeron says his team deserved to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl game. U-C-F beat Auburn in last year’s Peach Bowl.

     

    Louisiana Tech will face former Western Athletic Conference foe Hawaii in the Hawaii bowl on Saturday night, December 22nd. The Bulldogs will play in a bowl game for a fifth consecutive season. Coach Skip Holtz says playing a bowl game in Hawaii is an unique experience and he’s glad his team has this opportunity.

     

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  • News for Friday 113018

    Compiled By Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Alex Winter Fete’ officially kicked off last night with the Lighting of the Christmas tree and downtown lights. Mayor Jacques Roy flipped the switch for the last time. The mayor saying it was a bitter sweet experience. Alex River and Winter Fetes were a very successful  accomplish of the Roy administration, something the mayor was proud to point out. Winter Fete’ continues tonight and concluding Saturday night, after a full day of activities and entertainment.

     

    Some residents in the Carlyle area of Alexandria are counting their blessings after an 18-wheeler crashed into the back of a home in that neighborhood last night. Police say the truck ran off of I-49. The miracle is, no one was injured. No word yet about any citations for the incident.

     

    State police report a two vehicle crash just before noon yesterday claimed the life of an 86 year old Pitkin man. Troopers say a logging truck had been involved in an accident on LA HWY 399 and was stopped in the highway. James Johnson, upon approaching the truck from behind, failed to stop and hit the back of the truck. Johnson was wearing his seat belt, but was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Congress pushed back its deadline to deal with the National Flood Insurance Program by at least a week, passing yet another short-term extension of the program late Thursday. A deadline to avoid a lapse in the federal program, which underwrites most flood insurance coverage in the country and covers a half-million Louisiana homes, had been looming at midnight tonight. The short-term deal is the eighth temporary extension for the program since it first came up for periodic renewal more than a year ago.

     

    Senator John Kennedy is delaying his announcement on whether or not he’ll run for governor until Monday, siting travel issues. The 2019 race is now less than a year away, and only one Republican, Eddie Rispone, has declared against Governor Edwards. ULM Poli Sci Professor Joshua Stockley says the Senator’s repeated delays are beginning to look like non-interest. Stockley says if Kennedy does not declare, he’s hurt the GOP cause in the race by boxing other candidates out of fundraising for the last few months.

     

    A statewide poll of 500 Louisiana chronic voters finds that Republican US Senator John Kennedy leads Democratic incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards 49-to-45-percent in a head-to-head race for governor. The poll indicates only six-percent of voters are undecided with the election just over 10 months away. Pinsonat says Edwards remains a popular governor, 60-percent of respondents approve of his job performance. But Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the governor is a Democrat in a Red state…

     

    President Donald Trump’s approval is up to a clear majority of voters in Louisiana in a new poll from Bernie Pinsonat. Pinsonat says 2018 has featured a few big signature wins for causes close to the heart of white conservative voters that dominate the state’s electorate. Trump sports a 70 percent approval rating in total from white voters in Louisiana.

     

    The candidates in the Secretary of State’s special election are seeing increases in fundraising ahead of the December 8th run off.  Democrat candidate Gwen Collins-Greenup reportedly has $16,400 in her campaign account.  Meanwhile, Republican Kyle Ardoin has just under $136 thousand in the bank.

     

    Today marks the final day of the 2018 hurricane season, a season that was initially forecasted to be below average.  Even though Louisiana was spared of the impact of any major weather event, other coastal areas in the US were not so lucky.  Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast says they under-predicted the slightly above average season.

     

    Senator Bill Cassidy announced yesterday Federal officials will clear the way for Louisiana to dole out recovery grants to flood victims who'd taken out Small Business Administration loans and they would do that without additional action from President Trump. Congress changed federal law in October to allow 2016 Louisiana flood victims who'd taken out the loans to tap grants from the Restore Louisiana program. But checks haven't gone out as Louisiana officials waited on guidance from the Trump administration. Cassidy say we should get that guidance sometime in December.

     

    Tangipahoa Parish authorities say they believe the 3 pound baby boy found in the back of a Tickfaw garbage truck was likely a stillborn. Sheriff Daniel Edwards says they’re searching for the child’s mother, and have honed in on the likely dumping location after determining where the corpse was located relative to other trash in the truck that had been compacted. The child was discovered by a Waste Management worker yesterday while he was loading trash cans into his vehicles compactor.

     

    Good news for the thousands of motorists who use the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish. The bridge was closed last month for repairs after a barge hit the structure, but after testing and inspections, it will be partially reopened tomorrow.

     

     

    It was a tough start to the game last night for Drew Brees. Brees started the game against the Dallas Cowboys with four consecutive incomplete passes,  the first time he's done that in his 18-year career.  The final score, the Saints lost this one 10 to 13. They’ll play a week from Sunday at the Buccaneers.

     

    The Pelicans at in Miami to play the heat tonight.. game time 6:30 on 94.7 ESPN.

     

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  • News for Thursday 112918

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Rapides Parish Sheriffs say they walked in on a fairly horrific scene in Plainview after responding to a call about a natural death, and now three people are under arrest and facing 2nd Degree Murder, Cruelty to the Infirm, and other charges. Captain Tommy Carnline says the deputy arrived after the call, and realized something was terribly wrong at the scene of the 25-year-old special needs woman’s death. Carnline says authorities have called it one of the worst cases of negligence they’ve seen in their entire careers.

     

    Starting Tonight and ending Saturday, downtown will be transformed into "A Magical Winter Wonderland" for Alexandria's popular Christmas festival, Alex Winter Fete’. Festival-goers can enjoy snow, ice skating, shopping, food and holiday-themed activities, plus plenty of food and shopping vendors. The Commencement ceremony and lighting up of downtown, is at 6 this evening.

     

    It was something we don’t see very often, the Alexandria City Council making a unanimous decision. But, that was the case Tuesday when the Council unanimously decided  to re-name the Riverfront Center in honor of former mayor Ned Randolph. Randolph served as mayor for 20 years, that after serving the area as a state representative and state senator. Mayor Ned passed away 2 year ago.  But, his legacy goes on as his late wife Deborah Randolph continues to serve the area as President of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce.

     

    Governor Edwards is putting out a call to action for Louisiana citizens to start stocking their local food banks for the holidays, as a series of natural disasters have devastated stores just at the time when banks usually can begin stocking up for spring and summer. Edwards says he’s gravely concerned after touring the half empty Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank yesterday. Food Bank of Central Louisiana Executive Director Jayne Wright-Velez says it’s troubling that supply is running low as demand skyrockets. Food banks accept cash and food donations, but say they can use funds to purchase foods at lower prices than you would pay for them at grocery stores.

     

    Some House Republicans are discussing legislation for the next session that would roll back the .45 percent sales tax passed in June because of a rosier than expected revenue forecast for the state. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris did not confirm that such legislation will be brought but says he has heard talk of phasing out last session’s sales tax over a few years. The .45 percent sales tax, that is set to expire in 2025, is estimated to generate 466 million annually.

     

    120 jobs are coming to Minden in Webster Parish as a result of Catamaran Solutions plans to assume operation of a 135,000 square foot industrial fabrication center. The jobs will come with an average salary of 61-thousand dollars a year.  Catamaran plans on anticipating its Louisiana workforce to as many as 500 employees statewide over time.

     

    The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit is investigating the discovery of a deceased infant in the back of a waste management truck. A waste management worker discovered the body as he was performing his regular. The infant was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    A recent survey found that 1 in 3 Americans suffers from a “festive burnout” due to the holidays being a stressful time.  Even though it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, LSU Health New Orleans clinical psychologist Dr. Michelle Moore says  for those already dealing with festival burnout, it may be time to reconsider your holiday activities.

     

    Prosecutors are attempting to obtain the cell phone passcode of Matthew Naquin, a former LSU student charged with negligent homicide in the Max Gruver case.  But Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says the Fifth Amendment prohibits Naquin from being obligated to give a testimony revealing his cellular passcode

     

    If you’ve purchased a fresh Christmas tree yet this year, you’ve probably noticed they cost a little more than last year. Blake Huval, the owner of Huval’s Tree Hut in Central, says during the Great Recession farmers scaled back on planting new trees, so a decade later the supply is not enough to keep up with demand. Huval says if you’re look to save a few bucks, look for trees that may have a hole or two on one side and have that side face the corner of a room.

     

    WBRZ-TV is reporting Dedrick Lee, who is the son of convicted south Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, has been charged with negligent homicide, in the fatal shooting death of a 16-year-old. The East Feliciana High School student was killed in a home in Clinton. Dedrick Lee has posted bond and you may remember his dad died in prison.

     

    Sports..

     

    LSU is number 10 in the latest College Football playoff rankings which puts them in position to play in either the Fiesta or Peach Bowl. Jerry Palm does bowl projections for CBS Sports says LSU could be knocked out of contention for a New Year’s Six Bowl if, Northwestern beats Ohio State in the Big 10 championship or if Pittsburgh upsets Clemson in the ACC title game.

     

    Palm has Louisiana Tech going to the New Orleans Bowl to face the winner of Saturday’s Sun Belt Championship game between the Cajuns and Appalachian State. But there’s another report showing Louisiana Tech heading to the Hawaii Bowl to face old WAC rival Hawaii.

     

    The loser of the Sun Belt Game goes to the Cure Bowl in Orlando.

     

    The Saints defense will face one of the top running backs in the NFL tonight. Ezekiel Elliot leads the NFL with 1,074 rushing yards and averages nearly five yards a carry for the Cowboys. Kick-off is this evening s at 7:20 from AT-and-T Stadium.

     

    Saints Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson reportedly underwent successful brain surgery. Details on why the surgery was needed have not been released. Jackson was a member of the famed Dome Patrol and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

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  • News for Wednesday 112818

    Compiled by Dave Graichen

    Cenla Broadcasting

     

    Pineville High School was evacuated for a short period of time yesterday, after what school officials called an “electrical malfunction” in the Heating and A/C unit in one classroom. Parents were notified and students returned to classes after an short period of time.

     

    Two proposed ordinances on the Alexandria City Council agenda that sparked controversy on social media have been removed just hours before they were to be voted on yesterday. The first ordinance would have broadened the definition of retired unclassified employees specifically for health insurance plans. Essentially, the change would have allowed employees, who meet certain criteria and are no longer employed with the city, to stay on the city’s health insurance plan with no employer contributions. That means former employees would have to pay 100 percent of the cost to stay on the health plan. A second item was also removed from the agenda. It was an ordinance that would keep current rules in place for the city’s 457 retirement plan.

     

    Governor Edwards’ plans to fund 43 million dollars in additional projects for the year are on hold after  Representative Cameron Henry put a stop to the Revenue Estimating Committee’s plans to improve the state’s revenue forecast at a Committee meeting. Henry says he disagreed with the REC’s projections that the state’s revenue situation has improved. The Edwards’ administration was hoping to use a better forecast to authorize tens of millions in additional spending for Corrections, Sheriffs, and Juvenile Justice, among other items.

     

    Time is running out for Congress to renew the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance will lapse if a sought after six month extension is not passed by Friday. Senator John Kennedy says they’re working towards an extension, but there’s some lawmakers who are trying to kill the program, permanently. Kennedy says the opposition is not partisan, but geographical, comprised of leaders from non-flood-prone states.

     

    Former Congressional candidate and Democrat Justin DeWitt was fired less than two days after his failed attempt to unseat Garret Graves in Louisiana’s 6th District. DeWitt worked as a surveyor for Baton Rouge based SJB Group, which a report says is owned by Republican Wilfred Barry. DeWitt says after receiving a performance raise in July, and a performance bonus in October, the decision came as a shock. The Democrat says he’s approached the DA about criminal charges.

     

    Early voting for the Secretary of State’s election run-off set for December 8th is off to a slow start. JMC Analytics Pollster John Couvillon says the 31,000 early votes in the first two days are likely due to the fact that most folks aren’t even aware that there is an election less than two weeks away. The run-off features Republican Interim Secretary Kyle Ardoin and Democratic Minister Gwen Collins-Greenup.

     

    The West Monroe Police Department have arrested a person of interest during the course of a suspicious death investigation.  31-year-old Shomari Clemons facing charges of mutilating, disinterring the human remains of his grandmother. Why? Authorities aren’t saying anything yet.

     

    The Supreme Court sides with a St. Tammany landowner who argued a portion of his land was wrongfully deemed critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog, by forcing the lower courts to re-evaluate their previous decision. The landowner’s lawyer, Mark Miller says they’ll get to state their case that making the land livable for the frog would be an undue burden. Wildlife and Fisheries argues that the land, which is just across the border from where the frogs currently reside in Mississippi, will be crucial for the future survival of the species.

     

    Louisiana sees many productions around the state for television shows and motion pictures.  Now a recently released film, Green Book, is getting attention for possibly being an Oscar contender. 

     

    Sports..

     

    Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. The headline says its time to rethink Drew Brees and it also says please stop calling Brees an underdog. Writer Greg Bishop calls Brees one of the greatest quarterbacks, if not the greatest, who’s ever lived.

     

    The Pelicans lost their fourth straight last night as they fell to Boston 124 to 107 Monday night. New Orleans hosts Washington tomorrow night. You can hear the game beginning at 6:30 on Alexandria’s 94.7 ESPN.

     

    LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says some unprofessional acts occurred after the seven overtime loss to Texas A-and-M. Coach O spoke with the 94.6 ESPN Radio show Off the Bench. Video shows a credentialed member of the Aggies staff shoving Kragthorpe during what should have been a postgame hand shake. Kragthorpe has Parkinson’s Disease and a pacemaker and Orgeron says that should not have happened.

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