WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Links Links en-us Copyright 2015, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Mon, 27 Apr 2015 05:04:15 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Percy Sledge funeral set for today http://www.wbrz.com/news/percy-sledge-funeral-set-for-today/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/percy-sledge-funeral-set-for-today/ Links Thu, 16 Apr 2015 9:02:28 PM Trey Schmaltz Percy Sledge funeral set for today

BATON ROUGE - Funeral arrangements for soul icon Percy Sledge will take place today.

Sledge, who was famous for his song "When A Man Loves A Woman," died last Tuesday. The classic was recorded in 1966. He was 74.

Visitation will be this morning from 8:30 to 11:00 and funeral services follow at Bethany on Plank Road. Family members held a private service on Monday.

"His heart and blood just pumped Louisiana," his daughter, Tonya Jones, said after his death. "Once he came here, he just fell in love with the culture, the food and the people. This was his home," she said.

Sledge was born in Alabama.

After making his home in Louisiana, he quickly grew a following.

"We always had a close relationship," said Mickey Montalbano, a long-time friend of Sledge. "I really did like Percy," he said in an interview with WBRZ.

The funeral will be streamed live on Sledge's website.

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Easter baskets delivered to St. Vincent de Paul for needy http://www.wbrz.com/news/easter-baskets-delivered-to-st-vincent-de-paul-for-needy/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/easter-baskets-delivered-to-st-vincent-de-paul-for-needy/ Links Tue, 3 Mar 2015 3:16:40 PM Brock Sues Easter baskets delivered to St. Vincent de Paul for needy

BATON ROUGE - With Easter on the horizon, charitable organizations in the Capital City have already begun their efforts to brighten the holiday for children in the city with this year's Build a Basket effort.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, The Needy of Greater Baton Rouge dropped off 400 Easter baskets, destined to end up in the hands of needy children on Easter, to St. Vincent de Paul's main campus. The Build a Basket program is a combined effort by The Needy of Greater Baton Rouge and St. Vincent de Paul to "put smiles on a lot of little faces".

While the several hundred baskets delivered today are a great start, the organization can use your help to spread more springtime spirit. St. Vincent de Paul encourages anyone who is interested to get involved with putting together more Easter baskets or making a donation of money or basket materials to the cause.

To make a financial donation to this effort, send a check to Build a Basket, St. Vincent de Paul, P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.

SVP is also accepting donations of baskets, candy or toys to make the project a success. To contribute to the basket construction, they are looking for the following:

-New or gently used baskets
-Easter candy of all sorts (no peanut products)
-Small toys, stuffed animals, bubbles, colored chalk, jump ropes, Crayons, coloring books, etc.

St. Vincent de Paul asks that you place the candy and toys in a basket and wrap it with Easter cellophane. You can drop off your gift at the St. Vincent de Paul main charitable campus, located at 220 St. Vincent de Paul Place in Baton Rouge. They can be reached at (225) 383-7837, ext. 0, if you need more information.


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Officials meet to discuss improvements to Pecue Lane at I-10 http://www.wbrz.com/news/officials-meet-to-discuss-improvements-to-pecue-lane-at-i-10/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/officials-meet-to-discuss-improvements-to-pecue-lane-at-i-10/ Links Wed, 25 Feb 2015 5:15:16 AM Rebecca Buchanan and Brock Sues Officials meet to discuss improvements to Pecue Lane at I-10

BATON ROUGE - Easing traffic in Baton Rouge is always a hot topic, and the Green Light Project is trying to make progress forward. On Wednesday, plans are being discussed to deal with a roadway that's getting busier by the day: Pecue Lane at I-10.

There are several ideas of what to do with the area, including adding another exit off the interstate. Planners say the additional exit would alleviate build-up on nearby surface streets, including Bluebonnet Boulevard and Siegen Lane. The Department of Public Works agrees, speculating it would also decrease traffic in pressure areas like Airline Highway.

Others say Pecue Lane is in need of widening and have hopes of a toll road from the interchange that travels to the other side of the river.

The meeting to discuss viable options and progress in the design process is tonight from 4:30-7:30 p.m. in the Kleinpeter Activity Center at St. George Church and School.

To take a look at a document that will be handed out at tonight's meeting, click here. For a look at the proposed alternatives, click here.

News 2 will have the latest from the meeting during our evening broadcasts at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

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ATC says "troublesome" number of bars serving minors http://www.wbrz.com/news/atc-says-troublesome-number-of-bars-serving-minors/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/atc-says-troublesome-number-of-bars-serving-minors/ Links Fri, 13 Feb 2015 9:04:12 AM Russell Jones ATC says

BATON ROUGE - Alcohol control officials released details Friday about efforts to crack down on underage drinking ahead of Mardi Gras and said they're concerned how many bars aren't following the law.

Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco and Control said agents did more than 600 compliance checks since Feb. 2. Of those checked, ATC said 83 businesses were caught selling alcohol or tobacco to people who are underage.

"With the 5 largest days to go until Mardi Gras, a 13 percent non-compliance rate is troublesome," said ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert.

The commissioner warned businesses and servers that their establishment could have their permits pulled before Fat Tuesday if they don't shape up.

"The majority of undercover operatives used by ATC are 16 and 17 years old. With the legal age to purchase alcohol being 21, there's simply no excuse for these irresponsible sales," Hebert said.

Click here to see which businesses were cited during the ATC stings. To report suspicious activity at places which sell alcohol or tobacco, call the ATC's anonymous hotline at (225) 925-4070.


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Data breach unlikely to affect La. Blue Cross http://www.wbrz.com/news/data-breach-unlikely-to-affect-la-blue-cross/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/data-breach-unlikely-to-affect-la-blue-cross/ Links Thu, 5 Feb 2015 1:53:12 PM Brock Sues Data breach unlikely to affect La. Blue Cross

BATON ROUGE - With a federal investigation into a major healthcare licensee data breach ongoing, a spokesperson for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana made it clear Thursday morning that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana were not affected by the breach.

Anthem, the second-largest health insurance company in the nation, was the target of a series of cyberattacks on Thursday that resulted in a breach of the health insurer's computer networks. The company issued a statement saying the data leak includes their customers' personal identifying information, including names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, email addresses and income information. At this point in the investigation, Anthem does not believe the medical records or credit card information of their customers were accessed by hackers.

According to Anthem, the hackers gained access to database storing identifying information on some 80 million customers.

"I want to make it very clear that this breach did not occur at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana," said John Maginnis, spokesperson for BCBSLA. "Although both Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Anthem are part of the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, we are a separate and independent plan from them and all other Blue plans in the country."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana said they are already taking extensive steps to increase the overall security of their customer information databases to ensure that Louisiana members are not susceptible to a similar attack from hackers.

Maginnis says while Anthem does not provide healthcare coverage in Louisiana, a small number of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana members may be affected by the breach if they received care and incurred a medical claim in one of the 14 states where Anthem operates. An example of an individual who could be impacted by this would be if a BCBSLA member were traveling, became ill and needed medical treatment while in a region covered by Anthem. Following treatment, the member's information would then be stored in Anthem's database. John Maginnis says they are working hard to figure out how many, if any, customers could be affected in this way and said these customers will be notified immediately.

Anthem covers the following states:


  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin


If you're a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana member who got medical treatment in one of the states impacted by the breach and are concerned you might be affected, visit http://www.AnthemFacts.com/ or call 1-877-263-7995 for more information.

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Single-day tickets on sale for Superfest http://www.wbrz.com/news/single-day-tickets-on-sale-for-superfest/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/single-day-tickets-on-sale-for-superfest/ Links Thu, 5 Feb 2015 11:10:56 AM Russell Jones Single-day tickets on sale for Superfest

BATON ROUGE - Organizers announced Thursday that single-day ticket sales for Bayou Country Superfest were now open.

The two-day ticket package for the May 23-24 music festival at LSU Tiger Stadium are still available, according to a Superfest press release.

This year's festival will see country music stars Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and more performing in Baton Rouge.

Taylor Swift was originally announced as a Friday night headliner for May 22, but organizers later said her performance will be a separate event as part of her 1989 World Tour and not included in the Bayou Country Superfest tickets.

Concert lineups, ticket prices and RV parking information can all be found at the Bayou Country Superfest website.

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Jindal: "I have no reservations" about vaccines http://www.wbrz.com/news/jindal-i-have-no-reservations-about-vaccines/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/jindal-i-have-no-reservations-about-vaccines/ Links Tue, 3 Feb 2015 12:36:48 PM Jindal:

BATON ROUGE- Gov. Bobby Jindal has waded into the vaccine debate, urging parents to get their children vaccinated and saying he wouldn't send his children to a school that allowed vaccinations to be optional.

In a statement Tuesday, the Republican governor and former health care official said he has "no reservations" about vaccines. He said: "Science supports them and they keep our children safe."

The possible presidential candidate criticized what he called fear-mongering about vaccines and called it irresponsible "for leaders to undermine the public's confidence in vaccinations that have been tested and proven to protect public health."

Jindal's statement sharply differs from comments made by two other Republican White House prospects. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul suggested parents should have some choices in vaccinating their children.

For more information on vaccination requirements in Louisiana, visit the Department of Health and Hospitals website.

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40 Livingston Parish roads getting overhauled http://www.wbrz.com/news/40-livingston-parish-roads-getting-overhauled/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/40-livingston-parish-roads-getting-overhauled/ Links Fri, 30 Jan 2015 2:32:07 PM Troy Gaulden 40 Livingston Parish roads getting overhauled

DENHAM SPRINGS - Forty of Livingston Parish's worst roads will be overhauled soon after the parish council awards a contract for the lowest bid.

R.J. Daigle & Sons of Gonzales is expected to be awarded the contract at the parish council meeting on Feb. 12. The company submitted the lowest bid at $4.47 million, according to engineer Gasper Chifici.

Both Chifici and Department of Public Works Director Sam Digirolamo say Southpoint Road in Denham Springs tops the list as the worst road in the parish. Residents there say the parish has done patchwork over the years that deteriorates exposing potholes time and time again.

"It's not good on my vehicle, or for that matter, anybody else's vehicle. Having to dodge holes, it's been really rough," said resident Richard Roy.

"I've seen it this bad and not quite this bad in Iraq like in a bombing situation when mortars, rockets and stuff like that come in," said resident Craig Van Oeveren. "They actually patch them sooner than they have this road."

Digirolamo says the contractor will determine where to begin work from the list of 40 roads. The contractor will have 210 days to finish all 40 roads. People in the Southpoint subdivision hope work starts on their road first.

"Well for one thing my car will surely appreciate it, cause it could throw a front end out," said Roy. "I think it will be much better driving down a nice paved road."

Here's the list of the road overlay project roads ordered by district number:

District 1 - South Satsuma Drive
District 2 - Sims Road, Perkins Road, Masion de Lane, Lynchburg Drive, Herman Ernest Lane, Versailles
District 3 - Dunn Road, Linder Road, Landsdown Drive
District 4 - Jason Drive, Pine Bluff Road, Lynn Drive, Darrin Drive, Leigh Drive, Colonial Drive, South Redwood Drive, Abyss Lane, Red Willow Drive, Willow Point Drive, Cypress Lake Drive
District 5 - Southpoint Drive, Falcon Crest Drive
District 6 - Hammack Road, Cuba Wheat Road, Cypress Point
District 7 - Travis Street, Sutcliff Drive, Brian Park Road, Kellywood Drive, Fox Run Drive, Brett Drive, Mayer Street, Kirbywood Drive
District 8 - Swamp Drive, Chene Blanc,
District 9 - Trappers Run, Ross Trail, Karli Lane, Sherwood Lane

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Applications now being accepted for energy bill assistance program http://www.wbrz.com/news/applications-now-being-accepted-for-energy-bill-assistance-program/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/applications-now-being-accepted-for-energy-bill-assistance-program/ Links Wed, 28 Jan 2015 9:23:56 AM Brock Sues Applications now being accepted for energy bill assistance program

BATON ROUGE - Qualifying low-income households may be able to get some help with paying their energy bills for the remainder of winter through the Office of Social Services' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

To see if your household qualifies for funds available through the program, refer to the chart below. To qualify for assistance, households must not have received funds through the program in the past six months.

Household Size

Max Income
Per Household
Per Month

 1 1,807

Applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis according to the program's waiting list. To get your household onto the waiting list, please contact your nearest Office of Social Services location (based on zip codes provided below) on Friday mornings between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon. Applications are taken by appointment only, starting on Monday, Feb. 2.

To be eligible for LIHEAP assistance, applicants must provide the following documentation at the time the application is taken:

-Copies of each household member's social security card
-Proof of income of all household members age 18 or older
-A copy of an energy bill (must be within the last 6 months)
-A photo I.D. of the applicant
-At least one other document that was mailed to the applicant at the service address indicated on the energy bill.

If the Office of Social Services requires additional documentation, the applicant will be notified of the extra requirement at the time of application. Households that report zero income must also provide additional documentation. To find out more about this eligibility requirement, contact your Office of Social Services location. Income eligible applicants who have received a disconnect notice from their energy provider and who have not received assistance for a disconnect notice in the past year may also apply for assistance through the LIHEAP program.

CentersPhone NumberZip Code
Central Office
4523 Plank Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
70807 North of Blount Rd.
70811 North of Hooper Rd.
Chaneyville Community Center
13211 Jackson Road
Zachary, LA 70791
70807 North of Blount Rd.
70811 North of Hooper Rd.
Charles R. Kelly Community Center
(Delmont Service Center)
3535 Riley Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
357-5013 70739 South of Hooper Rd
70811 South of Hooper Rd
70818 West of Joor Road
Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center
950 East Washington St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
70802 (So. of Govt. St.)
Dr. Martin L. King Community Center
4000 Gus Young Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
70802 North of Govt. St.
70818 (East of Joor Rd.)
Jewel J. Newman Community Center
(North Baton Rouge Community Center)
2013 Central Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
70807 South of Blount Rd.
Rural Program
5736 Rollins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70791


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Thousands of cards deactivated over ATM skimmers http://www.wbrz.com/news/thousands-of-cards-deactivated-over-atm-skimmers/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/thousands-of-cards-deactivated-over-atm-skimmers/ Links Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:56:15 AM Russell Jones & Rob Krieger Thousands of cards deactivated over ATM skimmers

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State Police confirmed Monday local, state, and federal authorities are looking into a major compromise of ATMs along the I-10 corridor from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

The investigation reportedly centers around devices called "skimmers" which were placed on dozens of ATMs at Whitney Banks. The devices intercept data such as card and PIN numbers during a transaction which thieves can use to gain access to bank accounts.

The Secret Service has since become involved in the investigation as well. A News 2 source claims thousands of credit cards may have been compromised by the breach.

Whitney Bank released a statement Monday afternoon saying they detected unauthorized activity on their ATMs Saturday night. The bank said someone attached a plastic mold and metal plate to the ATM card receptor in order to capture card information and PINs. The bank said they alerted law enforcement and as a precaution deactivated more than 7,100 debit cards, which they are in the process of reissuing.

Authorities think the thieves are likely targeting only one type of bank.

"They usually do focus in one bank, because they study that ATM, they know the inner workings of it, or they've collected equipment from that ATM and so they usually will stick to the same type of bank," said Jacquelyn Norris with the Secret Service.

They warn, though, thieves could hit banks other than Whitney, so you should be vigilant when making an ATM transaction.

"Our advice is: check your accounts daily, if not often, when you come up to an ATM or gas pump, pull on it, usually it's going to be very secure, if there's a slight wiggle, notify law enforcement," said Norris.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends people who are concerned their bank information might be compromised should monitor their accounts and credit reports, change any passwords or PINs, and put a fraud alert on their credit reports if they suspect they've become the victim of identity theft.

Whitney Bank said they are notifying customers they believe were affected and will not let them suffer any losses due to the fraud. Anyone who notices a suspicious device attached to a Whitney ATM should contact authorities.

Image: Kaspersky

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State audits find $31M in unclaimed life insurance http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-audits-find-31m-in-unclaimed-life-insurance/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-audits-find-31m-in-unclaimed-life-insurance/ Links Tue, 13 Jan 2015 8:14:05 AM APNewsNow State audits find $31M in unclaimed life insurance

BATON ROUGE - State Treasurer John Kennedy says audits of life insurance company policies have uncovered more than $31 million in Unclaimed Property for beneficiaries in the past eight years.

The Treasury Department discovered the benefits after comparing the outstanding policies of a dozen insurance companies with the Social Security Death Master File. The reviews turned up a number of policies, including one $500,000-plus payout, where heirs didn't realize the policies existed.

The audits are just one component of the Unclaimed Property Program. Since 1972, the Unclaimed Property Program has returned more than $338 million to nearly 570,000 Louisiana citizens.

To check if you have any unclaimed money, visit the state Treasury's website or call 1-888-925-4127.

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The Who, Elton John among 2015 Jazz Fest lineup http://www.wbrz.com/news/the-who-elton-john-among-2015-jazz-fest-lineup/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/the-who-elton-john-among-2015-jazz-fest-lineup/ Links Mon, 12 Jan 2015 9:18:18 AM Russell Jones The Who, Elton John among 2015 Jazz Fest lineup

NEW ORLEANS - Fans of The Who, Elton John, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga should make plans to head to New Orleans in April.

Organizers for the 46th New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival released their lineup Monday for the 2015 music festival. The annual event covers April 24-26 and April 30-May 3 this year.

Trombone Shorty, Chicago, Keith Urban, Pitbull and No Doubt are also among the headliners.

For the full lineup and ticket information visit the Jazz Fest website.

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BREC offers Wi-Fi to park users in EBR http://www.wbrz.com/news/brec-offers-wi-fi-to-park-users-in-ebr/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/brec-offers-wi-fi-to-park-users-in-ebr/ Links Mon, 5 Jan 2015 12:02:14 PM Brock Sues BREC offers Wi-Fi to park users in EBR

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH - After months of gearing up, BREC is now offering public Wi-Fi internet access at more than 30 of its facilities throughout the parish.

The Recreation and Park Commission calls the new service "BREC Open", and says it will allow park visitors to choose between three different packages based on their individual needs for connection speeds. The service starts with a free "basic" package that has no download limits, but comes with the limitations of slower speed and limit of two usage hours per day. BREC says the basic package is perfect for the casual web browser who is visiting one of their parks

Information about the Premium offerings can be found on BREC's website and can be paid for through mobile devices with several payment methods.

"I am pleased that BREC is able to offer this service to park visitors as we continue our efforts to enhance their experience at our facilities," said BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight. "We want to help our visitors stay connected as they enjoy the serenity of their local park and allow them to more easily access information about their parks, register for programs or sign up to volunteer for BREC."

BREC Open is currently available at the following locations:

-Church Street Recreation Center
-Forest Community Park Recreation Center
-Independence Community Park Recreation Center
-Lovett Road Park Recreation Center
-North Sherwood Forest Community Park Recreation Center
-Perkins Road Community Park Recreation Center
-Zachary Community Park Recreation Center
-Beaver Creek Golf Pro Shop and Deli
-City-Brooks Community Park Golf Pro Shop
-Woody Dumas Golf Pro Shop and Waterfront Café
-Howell Park Golf Pro Shop
-J.S. Clark Park Golf Pro Shop
-Santa Maria Golf Pro Shop, Deli, Fitness Center
-Webb Golf Course Pro Shop and Fitness Center
-BREC's Administrative Building at Womack Park
-Upper Deck Batting Cages and Training Facility
-Baton Rouge Gallery
-Bluebonnet Swamp and Nature Center and Educational Building
-Highland Road Community Park Observatory
-Independence Community Park Theatre
-Liberty Lagoon Water Park
-Magnolia Mound Plantation Visitors Center
-Perkins Extreme Sports Park
-Independence Community Park Tennis Center
-Greenwood Community Park Tennis Center

More sites are expected to be added in the year ahead. For more information, call (225) 272-9200 or visit BREC's website.


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Biden marks start of Hanukkah at national menorah http://www.wbrz.com/news/biden-marks-start-of-hanukkah-at-national-menorah/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/biden-marks-start-of-hanukkah-at-national-menorah/ Links Tue, 16 Dec 2014 2:00:34 PM Josh Lederman Biden marks start of Hanukkah at national menorah

WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden says Hanukkah is about the miracle of courageous warriors overcoming great odds to protect their people's culture and dignity.

Biden is marking the start of the Jewish holiday by observing the lighting of the national menorah. A trio of cantors sang Hanukkah songs as a rabbi lit the giant menorah in front of the White House.

Biden says Jewish heritage is American heritage.

Jews mark each of the eight days of Hanukkah by lighting candles on a menorah, or candleholder. The national menorah has been lit in front of the White House every year since 1979, when President Jimmy Carter attended the first lighting.

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians. The holiday started Tuesday. There are Hanukkah events scheduled for the Congregation B'Nai Israel this Friday and Saturday, and at the Beth Shalom Synagogue.

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Donate food in December to ditch library fines http://www.wbrz.com/news/donate-food-in-december-to-ditch-library-fines/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/donate-food-in-december-to-ditch-library-fines/ Links Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:47:02 PM Brock Sues Donate food in December to ditch library fines

BATON ROUGE - Next month at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, patrons with past due fines erased in exchange for non-perishable food items as the parish library pitches in to feed the less fortunate for the holidays.

According to an EBRPL spokesperson, patrons can donate non-perishable food items at any of the 14 library branch locations in the parish throughout December. The library will waive $1 of the total late check-out fine per each donated item. All items will benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank which needs extra help to stock its pantry during the winter months.

Food eligible for donation includes:

-Canned items (vegetables, soup, meat)
-Peanut butter
-Corn meal
-Breakfast cereal bars
-Any bagged or boxed non-perishable food items

For more information on EBRPL's Food for Fines program, call the library at (225) 231-3740 or visit their website at www.ebrpl.com.


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Protecting your home and family from the cold http://www.wbrz.com/news/protecting-your-home-and-family-from-the-cold/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/protecting-your-home-and-family-from-the-cold/ Links Thu, 13 Nov 2014 5:05:27 AM Hunter Robinson Protecting your home and family from the cold

BATON ROUGE - People in the Baton Rouge area got their first taste of cold weather this morning with temperatures dropping into the 30's. There are ways you can protect your self and your home this winter.

We visited St. Vincent de Paul on 2une In, where they're looking for people to donate blankets, jackets and food. You can more about their assistance on their website.

"We served 240,000 meals last year, but St. Vincent de Paul is much more than food," Michael Alcado explains. "We also provide shelter to 1,200 homeless men, women and children every year. The next couple of nights, we'll likely be filled to capacity."

News Two's Rebecca Buchanan also spoke with State Fire Marshal Butch Browning about safe ways to keep warm. He says space heaters are the #1 cause of fire during the winter months.

"If you use space heater, you need to make sure you maintain a 3 ft. area around them," Browning cautions. "Make sure there's no combustible materials around it like chairs, clothing or anything else that could burn."

People are also going to be firing up the stove to cook meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. More fires are caused by unattended cooking each year than any other reason.

"Never leave a stove unattended, and be cautious with children in the kitchen," Browning warns. "A lot of burns and scalds occur because pots are knocked over."

Browning also says appliance maintenance is important. Grease fires can occur because stoves and ovens aren't properly cleaned."

We also spoke to Michael Davidson from Home Depot. He had some tips to winterize your home:

1) Protect your pipes using a faucet cover, some type of pipe insulation and some duct tape. If you live in a raised home, you should invest a thicker insulation because your pipes are more exposed.
2) Before you fire up the fireplace, make sure your chimney is cleaned from the year before.
3) If you have outdoor plants, a good watering 12 hours before a freeze can actually help protect them.
4) Know where and when you plan to use a space heater before your buy it. There are plenty with automatic shutoffs that can help decrease the risk of fire.
5) Make sure your smoke detectors are working.

Click on the video links for more safety tips. 

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OMV aims to ease wait times for senior drivers http://www.wbrz.com/news/omv-aims-to-ease-wait-times-for-senior-drivers/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/omv-aims-to-ease-wait-times-for-senior-drivers/ Links Thu, 23 Oct 2014 2:08:49 PM Brock Sues OMV aims to ease wait times for senior drivers

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday a pilot program they hope will help older drivers dodge the long lines and wait times often associated with the average OMV experience.

The Louisiana OMV's "Senior Day" program will be held participating locations with one day of each coming month set aside to allow exclusive access of OMV services to older motorists as a trial period for the program.

It begins on Nov. 1 when OMV locations will open their doors to people 60 years and older only from 8 a.m. to noon, according to an OMV spokesperson.

Senior citizens in the Baton Rouge area can visit the Office of Motor Vehicles located at 7701 Independence Blvd. on Nov. 1 to take advantage of the first trial. To get directions to this location, click here.

The program will be held at locations throughout the state. The complete list of participating offices is as follows:

*5602 Coliseum Blvd., Alexandria
*7701 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge
*108 Capital Blvd., Houma
*3241 N.W. Evangeline Thruway Suite, Lafayette
*951 Main Streetke Charles
*5171 Northeast Road, Monroe
*9310 Normandie Drive, Shreveport
*1514 W. Lindberg, Slidell
*100 Veterans Blvd, New Orleans

Following November debut, the program will be held on Dec. 6, Jan. 10, Feb. 7, Mar. 7 and Apr. 11.

Officials said they plan to make the program available year-round if it is successful.


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Constitutional amendments explained http://www.wbrz.com/news/constitutional-amendments-explained/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/constitutional-amendments-explained/ Links Wed, 29 Oct 2014 4:31:49 PM Rob Krieger Constitutional amendments explained

BATON ROUGE- Voters will have to consider 14 constitutional amendments when they hit the polls next Tuesday, and with a three-minute time limit behind the curtain it could prove difficult to tackle the ticket without some studying ahead of time.

Some of the amendments only affect the New Orleans area, though the entire state will vote on them. Others likely won't affect many people overall.

There are six amendments, though, that should grab voters attention as they head to the polls. Amendments No. 1 and No. 2 both deal with health care funding, especially when it comes to matching federal dollars. Number 1 seeks to constitutionally protect the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund, which would benefit nursing homes. 

According to Robert Travis Scott, president of the Public Affairs Research Council, the AARP, home care providers and higher education institutions are against this amendment.

Amendment No. 2 seeks to create a new assessment for hospitals, something many hospitals support. The assessment would get matching federal dollars that would be constitutionally protected and help offset costs from uninsured patients.

"They want to protect that in the constitution so that these monies that come back from the federal program don't get spent on other Medicaid priorities," said Scott.

Higher education institutions also oppose this amendment, because it could leave them out of the budget process in the future.

Amendment No. 3 takes of the sale of property with delinquent taxes and allows local governments to use private third-party firms to collect delinquent taxes and guide the municipalities through the sales of those property.

Opponents of this amendment think the role of tax collection should remain in the hands of the government, not private companies.

Amendment No. 5 seeks to eliminate a mandatory retirement age for judges. Currently judges must retire after they turn 70 and then complete their term, but if the amendment is approved, judges could serve for as long as they'd like, if they continue to win elections.

Amendment No. 10 takes of the tax sale of vacant, blighted or abandoned properties and would allow parishes to shorten the period of redemption for properties sold from three years to 18 months. Opponents think this amendment may give too much power to the government over property owners, while governments think it would help clear out eyesores.

"Local governments would like to see this so they can move quicker on these blighted properties," said Scott.

Amendment No. 11 seeks to expand government from 20 to 21 state departments. If passed, it would create the office of Elderly Affairs, something proponents think would help streamline services for the elderly. While people against the expansion of government note that many of those services are already provided under the governor's department.

You can take an in depth look at each amendment on the ballot with this guide created by the Public Affairs Research Council. The Secretary of State's office also recommends you download the "Geaux Vote" app, where you can fill out a sample ballot to use as a cheat sheet while you vote.

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Early voting begins Oct. 21 in La. http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-begins-oct-21-in-la-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-begins-oct-21-in-la-/ Links Mon, 20 Oct 2014 9:30:45 AM Russell Jones Early voting begins Oct. 21 in La.

BATON ROUGE - Early voting in Louisiana begins Tuesday, Oct. 21 for the Nov. 4 election.

The early voting period continues until Oct. 28 with voting times from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except for Sunday, Oct. 26.

"This election has garnered a lot of interest throughout the state and early voting is a great way to conveniently cast your ballot," said Secretary of State Tom Schedler.

Besides congressional primaries such as the Senate race between Mary Landrieu, Bill Cassidy, and Rob Maness, there are 14 constitutional amendments for voters to consider as well. Schedler suggested voters do their homework before going to their polling place.

Voters can get more information on what's on the ballot and where their nearest early voting location is through the GeauxVote mobile app, or by visiting the Secretary of State's website. You can also call (225) 922-0900.

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Check your helmet rating http://www.wbrz.com/news/check-your-helmet-rating/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/check-your-helmet-rating/ Links Sun, 12 Oct 2014 4:00:57 PM Trey Schmaltz During WBRZ News 2 at 5:30 Sunday, we told you about a high school in Michigan that has ended its football season because too many students were getting hurt.

One issue were the amount of concussions players were having. 

Click HERE to read more about the helmet rating system and to see how the helmets used at the high school you follow ranks.

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