'NASHVILLE' STAR HAYDEN PANETTIERE SAYS SHE'S MOVING TO NASHVILLE
Wow, TV show Nashville star Hayden Panettiere must be a method actress. She tells People magazine that she's moving to Nashville.
Hayden just got engaged to boxer Wladimir Klitschko, and she says the couple will buy a home in Tennessee.
Hayden said most of the cast got homes when the TV show started production in Music City just a year or so ago. But she wanted to wait. And Hayden says, no matter what happens with the show, she'd like a place around Nashville.
Now you know Hayden does all her own singing on the show. And she did put out one country music video. So now that Hayden lives in Music City, it won't be long before she's got a country album out, right?
CARRIE UNDERWOOD, 'THE SOUND OF MUSIC' SCORE NEARLY 19 MILLION VIEWERS
Carrie Underwood landed lots of eyeballs for her performance as Maria von Trapp in last week's live TV version of The Sound of Music.
The show landed nearly 19 million viewers, and that was good enough for NBC to win the ratings war Thursday night (Dec. 5). And that hasn't happened (outside of sports broadcasts) since 2009 when NBC aired the series finale for ER.
The next closest show was CBS sitcom Big Bang Theory, which got about 15 million viewers.
The bad news -- The critics were mixed about Carrie's performance.
People magazine, the AP and USA Today all said she sang well, but her acting lacked passion and finesse.
As for Carrie herself, she tweeted after the show that she was very proud of her performance.
In a couple of days, we'll find out how first-week sales for the soundtrack for The Sound of Music did. Will Carrie's voice carry the day?
BRAD PAISLEY: 'ONLINE CYBER WORLD HAS BEGUN TO TAKE OVER REALITY'
Once upon a time, Brad Paisley sang in a song called "Online" that "I'm so much cooler online."
But now, Brad tells The Tennessean newspaper, it's not so cool online.
Brad says, "I feel sort of really aware of how the … online cyber world has begun to take over reality."
Several things have made Brad think that.
First, there was the online uproar over his "Accidental Racist" song. Brad says some folks said some really ugly things about him on the web.
Then, there are those ridiculous rumors online about him cheating on his wife.
Brad says none of those things are reality, but they are getting attention here and there. And Brad says he's not angry, just amazed.
He tells the newspaper, "It’s this short-attention-span theater that we live in now, and it feels like it has accelerated in ways this year that I’ve never seen it before."
ASPIRING COUNTRY STAR JAMIE LYNN SPEARS GIVES NOD ON STAGE TO BIG SIS BRITNEY
You may know Britney Spears' little sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, from teen TV show Zoey 101. But did you know Jamie Lynn wants to be a country star? Yup, now 22, Jamie Lynn has been living, writing and recording in Nashville for a few years now.
And while lil' Spears wants to separate herself from her more famous big sister, Jamie Lynn apparently can't help but throw in a Britney tribute now and again.
The younger sister was doing a show at a small club called Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Ga., Thursday night (Dec. 5) when Jamie Lynn busted out with a little "Oops!... I Did It Again."
The crow went wild.
Afterward, Jamie Lynn said, "It's Jamie, bitch!" After that, the performer told the crowd that Britney has had a big influence on her life, so had to throw it back to her.
Jamie Lynn is doing her own thing, though. If you go to YouTube, you can check out lil' Spears country song, "How Could I Want More."
KENDALL JENNER REUNITES WITH HARRY STYLES
18-year-old Kendall Jenner has sparked rumors of a romance with Harry Styles once again after being spotted with the boy bander in NYC. According to E! Online, the pair was spotted leaving the Gansevoort hotel in New York City on Saturday (December 7th.)
Sources tell the website that Kendall arrived in New York for a meeting where she made plans to meet up with Styles who performed with One Direction on Saturday Night Live. The duo apparently tried to keep a low profile until fans swarmed them as they tried to leave which required security to escort them out through the hotel's restaurant. Another source close to the situation said, "I've never seen Kendall happier and more fan friendly. They came off the elevator holding hands and then she stood and watched while he posed with fans."
- Jenner and Styles were both spotted out together last month in West Hollywood. Both have denied reports that they are anything more than friends.
JAMES FRANCO GOES HALF-NAKED ON INSTAGRAM
James Franco offered a treat to his fans on Friday (December 6th) by posting a half-naked selfie on Instagram. According to Us magazine, the post was apparently a response to some fans who expressed disappointment that the actor didn't show any skin during his spoof of Kanye West's "Bound 2" video with Seth Rogen.
Franco uploaded the picture of himself in his bathroom wearing just a towel along with the caption, "#Almostnude -- You ASKED FOR IT, YOU GOT it." He also wrote, "Tryna work that body, tryin', tryin'."
- The 35-year-old posted another steamy photo on Sunday (December 8th) from back in his high school days when he participated in a hunk calendar.
News For Monday 12/9/13
News for Monday 120913
By Dave Graichen
LSU will spend the holidays in sunny Tampa, Fla., for the first time in 25 years. The Tigers will play Iowa in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Outback Bowl kickoff is set for noon at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be LSU’s second appearance in the Outback Bowl and first since losing to Syracuse following the 1988 season.
The Saints are in first place in the NFC South after clobbering Carolina 31-13 last night. Drew Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns. It was an historic night for Brees as he became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to surpass 50-thousand passing yards for his career. Brees accomplished the feat in just 183 games, the fastest of the 5 players.
For the first time in at least five years, many retired teachers, state workers and school system employees are in line for an increase in their pension checks. Louisiana’s four statewide retirement system boards are preparing to seek legislative approval of a general cost-of-living adjustment — likely between 1.5 percent and 2 percent — for tens of thousands of retirees over age 60. The cost-of-living adjustments, better known as COLAs, increase the regular benefits checks and must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. The next legislative session opens March 10.
Congressional District 2, as redrawn by the Legislature in 2011, looks like a wind-ruffled ribbon that curls from the eastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, through New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River to northern Baton Rouge. Three Baton Rouge residents of District 2 are asking U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick to declare the district’s boundaries racially gerrymandered. The plaintiffs also want Dick to bar Louisiana from holding the 2014 election in District 2 until it is redrawn.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s hard-fought bid to link teacher job reviews to the growth of student achievement , a key plank in his push to improve Louisiana’s public schools, has been sidelined until after he leaves office. The provision, which Jindal pushed through the Legislature in 2010, connects many of the roughly 50,000 annual teacher evaluations to how students fare in the classroom.
But that rule, which teacher unions bitterly oppose, has been set aside until at least the 2015-16 school year, in part because of complaints about the state’s adoption of tougher academic standards called Common Core.
Tolls, taxes and selling bonds backed by unclaimed property are some of the ideas floated to pay for construction of Interstate 49 South between Lafayette and the west bank of New Orleans. The State Bond Commission has approved the latter plan, to sell $20-million in bonds to get I-49 South started, using the state's unclaimed property fund as security. As of last July 1st, the state had over $120-million in unclaimed moneys, which could be used to secure the bonds.
LPB will air a documentary tonight that looks at the comeback of the Louisiana Black Bear. Black Bears have been on the Endangered Species List since 1992, when there were fewer than 300 of them in the world. Now there could be as many as one-thousand bears in the state.
Officials in Ascension Parish say they were taken by surprise by Shell's decision to bail out of a planned gas-to-liquids plant. The proposed plant would have employed over 750 at large salaries with benefits. Ascension Council Chairman Chris Loar says Shell blamed the high cost of the project, coupled with uncertainty in the long-term costs of oil and gas. He says he asked officials at Shell why they would bother making a site selection announcement if they weren't aware of the cost of the project. Shell says the estimated $12.5-billion construction cost had ballooned to over $20-billion, hence their decision.
Police in the Lafayette Parish town of Scott arrest a local man for allegedly beating up his wheelchair-bound girlfriend. Officers says the victim suffered facial bruised, a fractured eye socket and a broken rib. 38-year-old Gary Squires was arrested for domestic violence battery. He claims he was defending himself from her attack.
The District Attorney in Caddo Parish has decided not to file charges against the mother of a little girl who died last July, after being left locked in a hot vehicle for several hours. DA
Charles Scott says evidence indicates the incident was a tragic mistake, and that 31-year-old Krystal Delafosse will likely suffer the result of it for the rest of her life.
The former pastor who founded the Just for Jesus rallies in Lake Charles has been arrested again. This time officers say they found 52 year old James Bertrand parked on a dead end street with cocaine located on his center console and a needle in his lap. Bertrand has been arrested several times this year. His bond was set at $2.06 million dollars.
News For Friday 12/06/13
News for Friday 120613
By Dave Graichen
More big weather changes are coming today for Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says prepare for another bout of cold weather, which he says is already entering the state this morning. He says the cold front should reach the coast by later tonight. Keim says temperatures will be dropping throughout the day. He says with the colder air, we can expect lots of rain through the weekend.
State and local officials were on hand yesterday along with Gulf Coast Spinning Company CEO Dan Feibus announced the his company will invest 130 million dollars in a new spinning facility in Bunkie, with construction to begin in mid-2014. They estimate the creation of just over 300 jobs, and over 700 indirect jobs.
There was some bad economic development news yesterday. Shell announced they are scrapping plans to build a 12-point-five billion dollar natural gas-to-liquids plant in Ascension Parish. The project would have created over 700 jobs. Shell says the project is no longer viable, because of uncertainty in long-term oil and gas prices.
Sam Goodwin, the longtime coach at Northwestern State, was introduced Thursday afternoon as the next coach Alexandria Senior High School. The 69-year-old Goodwin, a Pineville native, has coached for more than 40 years at the collegiate and high school level in Louisiana and Arkansas.
The Louisiana National Guard announced changes in procedures that will allow its soldiers and employees with same-sex married partners to take advantage of federal benefits without violating Louisiana law. State law forbids state employees, which Guardsmen technically are, from taking any actions that would support the legality of same-sex marriage. Gay married couples employed by the Louisiana National Guard were unable to participate in the health care services, housing, shopping at low-priced military grocery and goods stores as well as other benefits available to other members of the military.
One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet secretaries said Thursday that JPMorgan Chase waited months before alerting the administration about a computer hacking that impacts 13,500 Louisiana residents.
State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield said he is reserving judgment but wants to know why there was a delay. He said JPMorgan Chase & Co. learned about the breach in September and phoned his office just this week.
State Police say the driver of an 18 wheeler died in a single vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon in Sabine Parish. They say 29 year old Eldon Hendrix II of Center, Texas lost control on LA High 191 and overturned his truck. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say the pilot of a helicopter that crashed in Port Fourchon Thursday morning is a hero because of the way he handled the situation. They chopper was carrying 9 people headed offshore when some sort of malfunction occurred and they had to make a hard landing. Nobody on board the helicopter suffered any injuries in the crash.
ULM launches a campaign to try and get the Warhawk football team in the Advocare V100 Bowl in Shreveport. Athletic director Brian Wickstrom says digital billboards are up in the Monroe area, urging fans to call and email bowl officials and tell them they want the Warhawks in that bowl game for a second straight year. The Warhawks played in the Bowl last year, but lost to Ohio University.
A former LSU football player is facing a felony charge after he allegedly stole money from a wallet located inside an off-campus apartment last month. Baton Rouge Police Corporal Don Coppola Jr says Jeryl Brazil faces a charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling. Coppola says surveillance video helped identify Brazil as the thief.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has launched an App for iPhone and iPad that their customers can now use to find urgent care, check the status of a claim and more. The group says the Blue Cross app is named "BCBSLA" and contains many features that allow their customers access to their healthcare coverage information easily.
A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputy has been fired after admitting to illegally buying pain meds for a family member. An investigation turned up evidence that 30-year-old Jon-Michael Norris was buying hydrocodone pills for a relative who was reportedly addicted. Charges against Norris may be coming.
A federal judge has dismissed a civil suit against the city of Shreveport - filed by a woman who says she was raped in 2010 by then chief administrative officer Rick Seaton. She sought to hold the city accountable for what happened to her inside a city office. Seaton was convicted and is still serving time for the crime. The judge ruled the victim's civil suit invalid.
News For Thursday 12/5/13
News for Thursday 120513
By Dave Graichen
US Senator David Vitter sent an email to his supporters this Wednesday saying that friends and family members have been encouraging him to run for Governor in 2015. Vitter says he and his wife Wendy plan to pray about the decision over the Christmas holiday and they will make an official announcement one way or the other next month.
U.S. Representative Vance McAllister from the sixth district hasn't been in Washington that long, but he's already secured spots on the House Natural Resources and House Agriculture committees. He has a one-year term because of the time left on Rodney Alexander's term, who resigned in the middle of his sixth term.
Get ready for a change in the weather. Meteorologist Gary Chatelain with the National Weather Service says the mild temperatures we've seen this week will go away, as the result of a very strong cold front that arrives in the bayou state today. The cold front won't push through south Louisiana until tomorrow, but once it does, temperatures will drop. On Saturday, high temps will be in 40s for much of south Louisiana, upper 30s for north Louisiana. Chatelain says there's a chance for mixed precipitation from I-20 to the north on Saturday.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols announced late Wednesday, personal information for about 13,500 Louisiana residents was compromised when the data collected by three state government agencies was breached. Computer hackers penetrated the computer security systems at JPMorgan Chase. About 6,000 recipients of a pre-loaded debit card used by the Louisiana Department of Revenue to distribute state income tax refunds could have been compromised, as well as approximately 5,300 Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services child support debit cardholders and about 2,200 people receiving unemployment benefits from the Louisiana Workforce Commission via a Chase debit card.
A last-ditch bid to impose a two-year moratorium on letter grades for public schools failed Wednesday. Instead, the state’s top school board voted to tweak a new policy so that schools will not be unfairly penalized as they move to the national academic standards called Common Core. All the action followed Tuesday’s three-hour debate, which ended with the panel endorsing a wide range of changes to soften the impact of the overhaul. The grades stem from a 2010 state law. They are aimed at showing parents and others how schools are operating. Critics say the grades are too imprecise to be meaningful.
State Sen. Dan Claitor said Wednesday he will run for Congress in the 6th district after deciding he could bring some “reason” back to Washington. The state senator from Baton Rouge is serving his second term in the Legislature after first being elected in 2009. The 6th congressional district seat is being vacated after 2014 because current Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate next year.
Louisiana’s higher education commissioner said Wednesday that he won’t seek a contract renewal when his current deal as the state’s chief policy leader for public colleges ends in March. Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting. The announcement wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Purcell has often been at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal over the depth of budget cuts, with more than $700 million in state funding stripped from higher education by the Jindal administration and lawmakers since 2008.
You could call it Karma, The Opelousas Police Department says a man carjacked a vehicle
Wednesday, crashed the SUV he stole a short time later and is now in serious condition. They say 28 year old Kendall Reed allegedly whacked the victim in the head with a tool as he was leaving for work and sped off in his vehicle. Reed is suffering from internal injuries and several cuts on his head and hands. Once he gets out of the hospital, police say they will be waiting for him.
LSU freshman Quarterback Anthony Jennings will be the play caller for the Tigers' bowl game in January. That's because of Zach Mettenberger's season-ending knee injury. Football analyst Mike Detillier says the news for Mentenburger is not all bad. In fact, he still has a chance to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft, even with the injury. Mentenberger became the third quarterback in LSU history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season and he's one of the nation's leaders in passing efficiency.
Sheriff's deputies in Iberia Parish seek a pair of armed robbers, who used Facebook to set their victim up for a holdup. Sheriff's spokesman Captain Ryan Turner says the 28-year-old victim had been communicating with a man on the social media website, and agreed to meet him face-to-
face. When the woman arrived at the address given by the Facebook friend, but was quickly confronted outside the home by two armed men who took her money.
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge gets nearly $16-million in grants for continued studies of optimal nutrition and combat readiness for soldiers. The two Department of Defense grants will continue research into nutrition and fitness strategies for America's fighting men and women.
News For Wednesday 12/4/13
News for Wednesday 120413
By Dave Graichen
After weeks of speculation, republican US Senator David Vitter says he is thinking about running for governor in 2015. Vitter told the Associated Press that he and his wife will send an email to
supporters letting them know about a potential gubernatorial campaign. Vitter plans to make a decision by January.
The state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education (BESE) has approved changes in implementing the new performance standards known as Common Core. Teacher evaluations, student promotion and school letter grades won't be affected by Common Core for two full years.
Teachers unions, school boards and parents have voiced plenty of opposition to the unproven performance standards being pushed by federal education officials.
Tonight the national spotlight shines on Central Louisiana. To be more exact McNeeley Crossing, just south of Colfax on highway 8 in Grant Parish. “Mud People,” filmed at Louisiana MudFest premieres at 10 p.m. tonight on the Travel Channel.
Officials in north Louisiana are doing a study of plans to provide Amtrak passenger rail service across the region, with possible stops in Shreveport, Ruston and Monroe. Kent Rogers is Executive Director of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments. He says DOTD has awarded them $250,000 to conduct the study.
Louisiana oystermen say oysters are very hard to come by this winter and their $300-million industry is hurting. Louisiana Oyster Task Force Chairman John Tesvich says, in his 35 years in the oyster business, he's never seen it this bad. Tesvich says many oyster businesses along Louisiana's coast are reduced to only one working boat, because harvests are just too small. He says it's not just a decline; it's practically zero population. He says it's likely not a coincidence that the shortage of oysters comes just a few years after the massive BP oil spill.
Sentencing is scheduled today for a Jefferson Parish 13-year-old who admitted killed his little sister, while imitating moves he learned watching TV wrestling. In court Tuesday, Armstrong Desvallons (day val on) pleaded guilty to the death of his 5-year-old half-sister, using repeated elbow and body
slam moves he learned watching WWE wrestling on television. She died of internal bleeding, liver lacerations and broken ribs.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office says a two-car accident Monday evening leaves one dead and another facing charges. They say an initial investigation revealed that one vehicle hit another
from causing both cars to catch fire. One driver died and charges are pending against the other. Alcohol is a suspected factor.
A man from Thibodaux is in the Lafourche Parish Detention Center amid allegations he stole cerebral palsy donations from a gas station. Police say about $40 was stolen and Frank McKenzie's bail is set at $18,000.
Grambling Police say a Houston woman is dead after being hit by a car early. Police say 58 year old Diane Watson was walking in the middle of the road when she was run over. She was pronounced dead at the scene. They believe an autopsy will indicate she was intoxicated.. .
Law enforcement officials have ramped up patrols around the LSU lakes after some who jog there have expressed concerns about their safety. A woman was choked unconscious during an evening run last month. Police say it's still a safe place to work out, they just encourage joggers to remain vigilant of their surroundings.
Jury selection has begun in Baton Rouge for the trial of 33-year-old Dustin Musso - accused of murdering his own grandfather in 2009, then setting his house on fire to try to cover it up. An autopsy showed 76-year-old Pete Musso Jr. died from trauma to the head, and smoke inhalation from the fire. Prosecutors waived a death penalty in order to get the younger Musso to trial faster.
Organizers of the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans say their headliner next July 4th weekend will be none other than Prince. It's not known what night he will top the billing, but the festival goes on July 3rd through 6th in the Superdome. Tickets have already gone on sale - six months in advance.
Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will not play in LSU’s bowl game, ESPN reported Tuesday night. The team plans to address the issue publically today.
Mettenberger suffered the injury midway through the fourth quarter in LSU’s 31-27 comeback win over Arkansas on Friday.
Tulane announced yesterday that it has accepted a bid to play in the New Orleans Bowl. The Green Wave will face the Ragin Cajuns at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on Saturday December 21st. It's Tulane's first bowl game since 2002, when it beat Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.
News For Tuesday 12/3/13
News for Tuesday 120313
By Dave Graichen
So after a crazy week of college football, it looks like LSU is probably going to the Cotton Bowl. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says things are falling into place for The Bayou Bengals to head to
Arlington after Auburn's crazy win over Alabama Saturday...sending them to the SEC Championship game. The Bowl Selection show will air Sunday on ESPN.
The state Legislative Auditor releases a report showing the Department of Revenue failed to collect millions in unpaid severance taxes from oil & gas companies. Nicole Edmonson, with the Auditor's office says there were several problems, ranging from computer software issues to not verifying information provided by those companies. She says they're not sure exactly how much money oil & gas companies owe the state.
The state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education will meet today to consider a slow-down of implementing more stringent performance standards for schools, teachers and students known as Common Core. After much protest from parents, educators and the state school board association, Education Superintendent John White is proposing changes to BESE that will delay full implementation of Common Core.
A New Orleans man is behind bars for manslaughter after confessing to a hit and run that claimed the life of a 29 year old woman and a 2 year old child Sunday morning. Ervin Freeman is also charged with one count of felony hit and run.
A Lafayette Councilman says there are too many dollar stores in his area and he wants to do something about it. Kenneth Boudreaux says there are 30 Dollar General and Family Dollar stores in Lafayette Parish. He reportedly feels the discount stores hurt neighborhood businesses.
The University of Louisiana System has teamed with the website and app "MyEDU" to guide students in their career path and help employers find qualified help. UL System President Sandra Woodley says they just launched MyEDU last month, and student signups are growing fast without a promotional campaign. Dr. Woodley says about 14 thousand of the UL System's 90-thousand students have already signed up.
State and local officials have discussed ways to make the Interstate 49 interchange safer at U-S 190 in Opelousas. Mayo Don Cravins says it's a dangerous intersection and there's been over 40 accidents with injuries over the past few years. He says there's been talk about improving the safety at the I-49/US 190 interchange for the last decade, but it's becoming more of a problem because the traffic volume in that area has increased.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office says a man from Houma is dead after he fell off a houseboat during a hunting trip. They say Wayne Cancienne (KAHN'-si-en) was located after the weekend floating next to the houseboat. The death is being ruled an accident.
The old Mississippi River Bridge which connects Baton Rouge and Port Allen, is getting a makeover. Chris Guidry is the assistant bridge design administrator for the Louisiana Department of Transportation. He says the 73 year old bridge was in rough shape. As a matter of fact, If there were no repairs, the bridge would be lucky to last another 20 years. He says they hope to have the $100 million project done by 2016.
The City Council in Thibodaux is expected to vote on the saggy pants ban tonight after they hear comments from the public. The Lafourche Parish Council passed a similar ordinance in 2007, but it doesn't apply in Thibodaux. Mayor Tommy Eschete says the ordinance has a lot of support, but the decision is ultimately up to the Council.
It was a good night for the New Orleans Pelicans last night as they claimed a 131-128 victory over the Chicago Bulls in triple overtime..
On the other hand.. not a good night for the saints.. Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
News For Monday 12/2/13
News for Monday 120213
By Dave Graichen
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon agrees to implement an adjustment to Obamacare that would allow many consumers, facing cancellation of their current health insurance, to keep their plans one more year. John Maginnis, with Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana says they will honor Donelon's decision, and try to extend all coverage that had previously been slated for cancellation for one more year.
On the surface it looks like the School voucher plan is doing just what it is supposed to do. But, one report says, we need to take a closer look. New data indicate that many students in Louisiana's voucher program attended schools that were graded D or F on the state's grading scale. At least 45 percent of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year attended such schools. However, an investigative piece in the Times-Picayune say the report is not complete. It appears the state released scores only for one-fifth of the 118 voucher schools. Those were schools with at least 40 voucher students in the third grade and up. They served about 2,900 of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year.
Today has been designated Cyber Monday; a day to make your online holiday purchases, but state officials remind you those purchases are not tax-free. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesman Byron Henderson says some websites will add the 8% applicable state tax to your purchases, but a greater number still do not. State law requires you must pay the state tax if they don’t collect it. Henderson says you can go online to "revenue.louisiana.gov" and download the consumer use tax return to report your online purchases.
The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended Saturday, having produced the fewest actual hurricanes since 1982. Stacy Stewart, with the National Hurricane Center says The 2013 storm season saw 13 named storms, which was slightly above normal, as predicted. However, there were only two hurricanes – Humberto and Ingrid in September. Neither of those reached a strength of Category 3 or higher.
We'll get another chance to hear Shreveport's Cole Vosbury tonight on the extremely popular NBC singing competition show, "The Voice." Cole is now a part of the top 6 after advancing last week. The show airs tonight at 7 on KALB TV5. The results show is tomorrow night at 8
As 2013 draws nearer to a close, Congress is concentrating on getting some important bills passed. Senator Mary Landrieu says one she is working hard to get to the President's desk would fix the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform, which calls for drastically high premium hikes. Landrieu says another matter of importance to get through Congress before year's end is funding for the Morganza-to-the Gulf Flood Protection plan. and a new Farm Bill. She says the prices we all pay for our groceries relies on having an effective federal Farm Bill in place.
There's reason that Natchitoches is known as the City of Lights. City tourism spokeswoman Samantha Bonnette says a Yahoo! travel blogger ranks the Natchitoches Festival of Lights as the NO. 3 top Holiday Light show in the nation after Rockefeller Center and Disneyland. Bonnette says some estimates show that over 250,000 people attend the Festival of Lights throughout its 45 nights of lights, which ends on January 6th.
Louisiana's Office of Tourism has been named the top tourism office among the 14 southeastern states. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne oversees tourism in the state. He says the designation from the Southeast Tourism Society is a real honor. Dardenne says Louisiana is more popular as a travel destination with the nation, and the rest of the world, than it has ever been.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says a hunter who was not wearing a life jacket died when his boat hit a branch and capsized before dawn Saturday in heavy fog, dumping him and a friend into the Atchafalaya River. A news release from the sheriff’s department says the second hunter was wearing a life jacket. He swam to the river bank and called for help.
The Saints and the Seahawks battle each other in Seattle tonight in a match-up of the two best teams in the NFC. The winner will be in the driver's seat to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. There's a good chance of rain, and the temperature will be around 40. Seattle brings a 13-game home winning streak into the game.
LSU moved up one spot to No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA/Today Coaches polls and is No. 15 in the BCS standings. The Tigers (9-3) continue to remain the highest-ranked three-loss team in all three rankings.
News For Wednesday 11/27/13
News for Wednesday 112713
By Dave Graichen
Today is one of the busiest days on the roads and state police and other local law enforcement agencies around the state will be stepping up checkpoints for the Holidays. The Louisiana
Highway Safety Commission says the increased patrols will be looking out for suspected impaired drivers, those who aren't buckled up and speeders.
The state has unveiled its new "I'm Cajun...and Proud" specialty license plates. The plates feature a fleur-de-lis on the left side with a crawfish playing an accordion, and the words, "I'm Cajun...And Proud." The cost to motorists, an extra $15.00, with $11.50 of that going to the Council for the Development of French In Louisiana (CODOFIL), the help train teachers for French immersion education. Another program allows motorists to have the same slogan on their individual driver’s license.
A man has reportedly come forward and said he was abused by a woman who was arrested last week amid allegations she molested one of her students 10 years ago. 25 year old Phillip LeBourgeois says he was sexually abused by his teacher at Catholic High-New Iberia when he
was 15. 48 year old Paula Latiolais was booked Friday into the IBeria Parish Jail and released on $35,000 bail.
Bond has been set for seven men accused of setting fire to the historic LeBeau Plantation in St. Bernard Parish early Friday completely destroying it. The suspected leader in the incident, 31 year old Dusten Davenport, had the highest bond set -- $450,000. The Judge also set bonds of at least $75,000 for the other six.
Following a 3-month investigation, a total of 26 establishments that sell alcohol in the Acadian region have been cited with violations for selling adult beverages to underage drinkers. The State Office
of Alcohol and Tobacco Control says they will be cracking down on other problem areas in the state as well. They says now might be a good time for bar and club owners to talk to their employees about the rules.
State Police are seeking a man and woman from Lafayette in an investigation into child sex trafficking. 22 year old Darneesha Martin and 19 year old Alcoby LaSalle are wanted on counts of trafficking children for sexual purposes and promoting prostitution. State Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Caddo Parish deputies report one person killed at a brand new I-49 interchange at US Highway 71. A traffic light had just been installed there. An SUV stopped for the light, but was
rear-ended by a Ford pickup. No one in the pickup was hurt, but three passengers in the Jeep SUV were taken to a hospital, where one passed away. The crash is under investigation.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning residents of FAKE black panther sighting photos that are circling social media. They say when these incidents are investigated they almost always turn out to be house cats, bobcats, otters, dogs or feral hogs.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office says a 13 year-old is facing attempted 2nd degree murder charges for allegedly stabbing his mother's fiancé. They say the man was trying to discipline the
teen, and the young suspect grabbed a large kitchen knife and stabbed the victim in the back. The fiancé was taken to a New Orleans hospital.
An elderly woman in West Baton Rouge parish was killed when her mobile home went up in flames yesterday morning. Authorities believe a space heater to close to the bed caused the blaze.
News For Tuesday 112613
by Dave Graichen
An ironic tragedy in Rapides Parish, as a local fireman died Sunday, when his own house caught fire. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says Dustin Bordelon was likely asleep when the fire started, but it appears something was left on the stove and that caused the blaze. Bordelon died at a nearby hospital. Browning says its a tragic time for the Bordelon family and for all the firefighters, who've lost a comrade. Browning says it appears there were no working smoke detectors in Bordelon's home.
Gas prices have jumped 14-cents in the past week, according to gasbuddy.com. They have the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline at around $3.15. Gasbuddy's senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan says several refineries along the gulf coast had unexpected maintenance issues and that's led to a higher price at the pump. But DeHaan says this sudden jump in gas prices shouldn't last long. Prices should begin to drop next week.
Louisiana is seeing the beginnings of a construction boom that may last through 2016 and beyond. Figures from the Associated General Contractors of America shows Louisiana had an 8.3% increase in construction jobs over the past 12 months; the 3rd-highest in the nation. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says the boom is just beginning. He says low natural gas costs are driving a boom in expansion of chemical plants - mostly across the southern parishes and river
regions that should last into 2017 or 2018.
Related news: Sasol officials announced Monday that Technip, of Paris France, has been awarded the front-end engineering design contract for the company's gas-to-liquids complex near Lake Charles. Once complete, Sasol's GTL complex is expected to produce more than 96,000 barrels of diesel fuels and chemicals each day.
The state Bond Commission has approved a funding plan to build the final segments of I-49 North, and begin work on upgrading US 90 into a new I-49 South. State Treasurer John Kennedy says the plan is to sell up to $100-million in bonds, by using money in the state's unclaimed property fund. Kennedy says the unclaimed property dollars will be used as collateral for the bond sales, which will begin almost immediately. He says the plan calls for $80-million to be invested in completing I-49 North, and $20-million as an initial investment in I-49 South, between Lafayette and New Orleans
The Louisiana Department of Revenue says the tax amnesty period that ended on Friday reached the goal of collecting 200-million dollars in unpaid taxes. Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield says they are still processing all of the paperwork from those taxpayers, so a final number is not known.
A report from the Legislative Auditor's office suggests the state has done a poor job of overseeing the Women Infants & Children food benefits program. The report says the Office of Public Health, who administers WIC, didn't verify grocery prices charged through the program, overpaid for food, didn't follow regulations governing the program and more. WIC costs taxpayers $126-million a year.
Police in New Orleans seek a hit & run driver that knocked a woman and a toddler off the I-10 High Rise Bridge over the Industrial Canal. 29-year-old Danielle Rhone and her 2-year-old nephew were passengers in a sedan that broke down on the bridge Sunday. A chain reaction crash hit them, tossing them over the bridge railing. Police seek a white Chevy Suburban with damage on the passenger side and a Ford pickup truck, both of which fled the scene.
A Legislative Auditor's report shows the state hasn't sought to collect thousands of unpaid tolls for crossing the Highway 1 bridge on the way to Grand Isle. An audit released today said nearly
300,000 images taken of license plates for people who apparently didn't pay the toll on La. Highway 1 in Leeville remained unbilled when the last fiscal year ended, June 30.
Louisiana Lottery officials say one ticket, sold in Kenner, in Jefferson Parish, won the $475-thousand jackpot in Saturday's Louisiana Lotto drawing. The Lotto jackpot will reset to a
quarter-million bucks for Wednesday night's drawing. There was no Powerball winner Saturday night. That jackpot will be $60-million for Wednesday.
Another argument against riding in pickup truck beds. An 18-year-old man was killed over the weekend, when he was tossed from a moving pickup, as it turned from a side road onto U.S. 61 near Gonzales, in Ascension Parish. State Police say Eric Martin was thrown out into oncoming traffic and hit by another pickup truck. They say the driver was unable to avoid him.
News For Monday 11/25/13
News for Monday 112513
By Dave Graichen
A recent poll on the 2015 governor's race in Louisiana shows GOP U.S. Senator David Vitter is the favorite. Southern Media and Opinion Research surveyed 600 voters; running a five candidate trial heat. Vitter took a leading 30%. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Vitter's edge is due to his popularity with Republican voters.Vitter has not announced a run for governor two years from now, but speculation to that effect is abundant. The only announced Democrat for that race, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, took only 8% in Pinsonat's poll.
State Police will have extra manpower on the roads this week in an effort to reduce injury and fatal crashes. It's also part of the Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign, which begins today. Sgt. Nick
Manale says troopers will focus on seat belt use and Louisiana law requires all occupants in a vehicle must be buckled up.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says Louisiana's new Office of Debt Recovery will begin going after unpaid ethics violation fines, totally nearly $2-million. He says some of these have gone unpaid for years. Kennedy says unpaid fines from individual public officials total over $1.6-million, PACS owe $70-thousand and lobbyists owe $18-thousand. He says the state's new Office of Debt Recovery, which is under the Department of Revenue was created for just this sort of purpose. The ODR will be up and running after the first of the New Year. It'll have sweeping powers to go after unpaid debts to the state, by seizing bank assets, some personal properties and even suspending licenses until the amounts are paid.
A federal judge in New Orleans has given state and federal lawyers two months to come up with modifications to a longstanding court order to make sure that the state's private school voucher program doesn't lead to segregation of schools. The state contends that the vouchers have no effect on desegregation and no federal interference is needed.
An appeals court in Monroe has upheld the 110 year sentence of a local man for a 2010 domestic violence case. The court stated that even though the sentence given Allen Robinson was extreme it was warranted given the gruesome nature of his crime. Robinson was found guilty of kidnapping and battery for deliberately burning his girlfriend with a clothes iron multiple times. Because he was ruled to be an habitual offender, Robinson was given the maximum sentence possible.
Police in Bastrop arrest a local woman for robbing a branch of Richland State Bank in Bastrop Wednesday. 45-year-old Katrina Gamble allegedly indicated she had a gun, demanded cash and made off with an undisclosed amount. Officers say she tried to disguise herself as a man. She's being held pending $75-thousand bond.
A bit of Louisiana history was lost lastweek. An early morning fire Friday gutted the historic LeBeau Plantation in St. Bernard Parish. The landmark in Old Arabi was built in the 1850's and was one of the largest in the New Orleans area. The building was vacant with no electrical service at the time, so arson is not being ruled out. An investigation is underway.
A judge in Lafourche Parish has ruled the man accused of dismembering his disabled son more than two years ago IS competent to stand trial. The ruling clears the way for Jeremiah Wright to be tried for the murder of little Jori Lirette in 2011. Wright was arraigned Friday morning and has reportedly pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His next status hearing is scheduled for late
January. No trial date has been set.
State Troopers report a Winnsboro man was killed Friday in a crash on I-20 in Richland Parish. LSP says 58-year-old Lorenzo Navarro's pickup was westbound on 20, when it crossed the grassy median and crashed headlong into a big rig. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was not seriously hurt.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation is working with Texas officials to replace the Sabine River Bridge on U.S. 84, in DoSoto Parish. Construction is set to begin in January, and it will cost $20 million. The bridge currently has two lanes but the construction will create two separate bridges. Construction will take over two years to complete.
Police in Kenner arrest a 19-year-old for robbing his neighbor at gunpoint. The victim says his assailant wore a mask and pointed a shotgun at him; making off with his cellphone and wallet. Trouble is he watched the robber run into a house just yards away. Police found the mask in the house, the gun in the back yard. Johnny Washington was taken into custody a short time later ad charged with armed robbery.
Expect to spend a bit more again this year to prepare the traditional Thanksgiving feast. A recent survey by the LSU AgCenter shows the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will average $48.50 this year; up from $44.35 last year. Economist Jeanette Tucker says the "star of the show" is the biggest reason for the increased cost. Tucker says turkey production is down this year, and birds cost about
23-cents a pound more than in 2012.
LSU is coming off its best effort of the season, as they head into the regular season finale. The Bayou Bengals thumped Te
News For Thursday 11/22/13
News for Friday 112213
By Dave Graichen
State Superintendent of Education John White recommends a delay in how students, teachers and schools will be judged under the Common Core standards. White says with the state shifting from LEAP to a new state-administered test called PARCC and a move to improve technology in classrooms, they've decided to give schools two years of additional learning time. White's proposal will be considered by the Board of Elementary and Secretary next month. There's been increasing criticism over the state's use of Common Core and how it will impact a student's ability to learn.
A state teachers union is pleased with Education Superintendent John White's decision to delay full implementation of controversial "Common Core" education standards. Louisiana Association of Educators President Deborah Meaux (MO) says they were concerned about the fast pace with which the new system was being rolled into place.
Yesterday in Washington D.C., US Representative Vance McAllister was sworn into office. The Republican from Ouachita Parish is enjoying his first trip to our nation's capitol as Louisiana's newest congressman representing the 5th district. McAllister says one of his first orders of business will be to come home and answer concerns of constituents who have been without a congressman for nearly two months.
A new statewide poll shows Senator Mary Landrieu's job approval rating has fallen 10-percentage points this year. Southern Media and Opinion Research pollster Bernie Pinsonat says the falling approval numbers are likely tied to the roll out of Obamacare. Forty-six-percent of the respondents to the Pinsonat poll say Landrieu is doing a good job, that's down from 56-percent from a similar survey
conducted in the spring. The poll conducted a three-way trial heat between Landrieu and GOP challengers Congressman Bill Cassidy and Rob Manness. Landrieu received 44-percent of the vote, Cassidy 34-percent and Maness 10-percent. The rest were undecided.
A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research shows Governor Bobby Jindal's approval ratings are up slightly from a similar survey last spring. The governor's ratings moved up from 38 percent to 42 percent in this newest survey.
Officials in DeSoto and Sabine parishes announce 31 arrests have been made in a sweep up of suspected drug dealers. They say these suspects had been identified as alleged street and mid-level drug dealers through a 6 month undercover operation.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office says a West Monroe man is under arrest after he allegedly destroyed family property with a bulldozer while he was drunk and high on meth. They say 31 year old Noah White drove a bulldozer over an abandoned family home's driveway, fence and porch. He blew a .034 and admitted to using a quarter gram of meth according to the arrest report. He faces numerous charges.
A 71 year old Lake Charles man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole after pleading guilty in August to indecent behavior with a juvenile. Prosecutors say David Tarver had been molesting a girl since she was 11 years old.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office has identified the suspect who allegedly opened fire on officers serving warrants Wednesday morning then shot and killed himself. They say 22 year old Jessie Gordon of Denham Springs was wanted on numerous outstanding warrants relating to drugs and burglary from several different agencies. The officers involved in the shootout received only minor injuries. The suspect was pronounced dead on the scene from a self-inflicted
The State Department of Health & Hospitals says it has completed a huge backlog of health inspections of retail food outlets across the state, and has taken steps to assure no new backlog emerges. DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert says an overhaul of their food inspection system has yielded a 60% increase in timely health inspections.
Today a grand jury decided not indict a man from Acadia Parish who is accused of defacing the 9-11 monument in downtown Lafayette. They decided there was no evidence that indicated a crime had been committed by 35 year-old Salvador Perez of Rayne. That may change, however if more evidence is presented.
An outdoor fall festival at a north Baton Rouge charter school spun out of control Thursday morning after a large fight broke out, prompting worried parents to rush to the school to collect their children.
The Career Academy high school locked down after 15 to 20 students began fighting, a fracas involving boys and girls that the school’s principal described as “a lot of hair pulling and punching.” Authorities say no one was seriously injured.
LSU is trying to bring back certain songs played by the band during football games that had been previously shelved because some fans were signing inappropriate lyrics. LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva says the "Tradition Matters" campaign is about the return of songs like "Neck" and "Tiger Rag". Alleva says they want the band to be able to play all of their songs and they need a commitment from the students to refrain from using profanity.
Louisiana Tech has two games left on its regular season schedule and they have to win both of them in order to play in a bowl game. The Bulldogs host Tulsa tomorrow night and Coach Skip Holtz would like to have the opportunity to be a part of post-season play. The Bulldogs are 4-and-6 overall, while Tulsa is two and eight.
In the 16 times the Sean Payton-era Saints have met the Atlanta Falcons, the games have almost always been close, and New Orleans almost always has won. Nothing changed when the teams met at the Georgia Dome on Thursday night and the Saints beat Atlanta 17-13. Because of that, the Saints (9-2) have positioned themselves about as well as they could hope as they prepare to travel to Seattle on Dec. 2 and fight for postseason home-field advantage against the Seahawks (10-1), the NFC front-runner.