WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Links Links en-us Copyright 2014, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 31 Jul 2014 05:07:07 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Back-to-school tax holiday announced http://www.wbrz.com/news/back-to-school-tax-holiday-announced/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/back-to-school-tax-holiday-announced/ Links Fri, 25 Jul 2014 2:42:03 PM Russell Jones Back-to-school tax holiday announced

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Revenue released details about this year's back-to-school tax holiday on Aug. 1 and 2.

Most retails purchases on those days will be exempt from the state's 4 percent sales tax. LDR said parents may not also realized those expenses, and similar purchases made the rest of the year, may also qualify for a series of income tax deductions on state tax returns.

To qualify, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state individual income tax return, and you must be able to document the expenses.

There are three income tax breaks under the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Deductions:

Income Tax Deduction for Elementary and Secondary School Tuition - Allows an income tax deduction for amounts paid during the year for tuition and fees at a qualifying nonpublic elementary or secondary school. The deduction is for 100 percent of qualified expenses paid per dependent, limited to $5,000 per dependent.

Income Tax Deduction for a Quality Public Education - Allows an income tax deduction for the following expenses for a dependent enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school:

  • Purchases of school uniforms required by schools for general day-to-day use
  • Purchases of textbooks, curricula or other instructional materials required by schools
  • Purchases of school supplies required by schools

The deduction is for 50 percent of qualified expenses paid per dependent, limited to $5,000 per dependent.

Income Tax Deduction for Home-Schooling Expenses - Allows an income tax deduction for amounts paid for the purchase of textbook and curricula necessary for home-schooling. The deduction is for 50 percent of qualified expenses paid per dependent, limited to $5,000 per dependent.

Visit the Department of Revenue's website for more information.

Permalink| Comments

Alligator drawn out by flooding http://www.wbrz.com/news/alligator-drawn-out-by-flooding/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/alligator-drawn-out-by-flooding/ Links Wed, 28 May 2014 4:48:44 PM Russell Jones Alligator drawn out by flooding

PAULINE, La. - Flooding displaced a number of southeast Louisiana residents Wednesday, including a curious alligator in St. James Parish.

News crews from WWL-TV said the alligator was in a parking lot near where they were filming, swimming around in the floodwater.

State wildlife officials said people should not feed any wild alligators they come across, even though it's not illegal in the state. They said feeding alligators can cause them to come back to populated areas looking for food, becoming a nuisance as they lose their fear of people.

More information about nuisance alligators can be found on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website.

Permalink| Comments

State test scores stay largely flat http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-test-scores-stay-largely-flat/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-test-scores-stay-largely-flat/ Links Tue, 27 May 2014 11:50:44 AM Russell Jones State test scores stay largely flat

BATON ROUGE - State education officials released data showing 69 percent of public school students scored at the basic or better level on standardized tests this year, the same percentage as in 2013.

However, education officials noted that tests are about to become more challenging and school standards more rigorous as Louisiana transitions to Common Core standards. The state said since 1999, Louisiana schools have been rated "A" based on how many students score "basic" or better on their tests. That will soon change to "mastery" instead.

Tuesday's data did show an increase in the number of students scoring at the "mastery" level in both English and Math. For English, 27 percent had "mastery" level scores, an increase of one percent from 2013. For Math, 25 percent of students had "mastery" level tests, a two point increase from 23 percent in 2013.

Education Superintendent John White said the tougher standards are necessary to better prepare students for college.

Governor Jindal and Superintendent White are at odds over adoption of Common Core.  Jindal initially backed the standards four years ago, but has since flip-flopped on the issue.  Steve Monaghan, with the Louisiana Federation of Teachers said the political turmoil surrounding the state's transition to Common Core standards is adding confusion to the lives of educators.

"The superintendent spoke as if it's a forgone conclusion that's what we're doing next year," White said.  "I think the governor has made it anything but certain, saying everything from pulling out of Common Core to pulling out of PARCC."

East Baton Rouge Parish Schools stayed largely flat in their performance. The system saw 20 percent of students score "mastery" or better, a one percent increase from 2013, and 62 percent of students score "basic" or better, the same as 2013.

To see how public schools across the state performed, click here.

Permalink| Comments

Bayou Country Superfest Fun Fest to offer free fun http://www.wbrz.com/news/bayou-country-superfest-fun-fest-to-offer-free-fun/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bayou-country-superfest-fun-fest-to-offer-free-fun/ Links Tue, 13 May 2014 4:20:24 PM Bayou Country Superfest Fun Fest to offer free fun

BATON ROUGE - Organizers for the fifth annual Bayou Country Superfest Fan Fest at Tiger Stadium released their schedule of events and more information Tuesday.

The country music festival runs Friday, May 23, through Sunday, May 25, and includes high-profile country music stars in the stadium as well as traditional tailgating outside at Fan Fest.

The Fan Fest will be held at Lot 101 in the shadow of Tiger Stadium on LSU's campus and is free to the public. Attendees will have the opportunity to see free musical performances, meet and greet artists, win prizes, and buy official festival merchandise.

Full information on tickets for the Superfest, schedules, and event parking can be found here.


Permalink| Comments

2014 La. Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday http://www.wbrz.com/news/2014-la-hurricane-preparedness-sales-tax-holiday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/2014-la-hurricane-preparedness-sales-tax-holiday/ Links Mon, 19 May 2014 7:05:16 AM 2014  La. Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

Hurricane season is two weeks away and now is the time get prepared. The annual Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is coming this weekend, Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 25 for residents to get supplies ahead of time.

During the two-day annual holiday, tax-free purchases are authorized on the first $1,500 of the sales price on the following items:

portable self-powered light source;
portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather band radio;
tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting;
any ground anchor system or tie-down kit;
any gas or diesel fuel tank;
any package of AAA-cell, AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries;
any cellular phone battery and any cellular phone charger;
any non-electric food storage cooler;
any portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage;
any "storm shutter device," as defined in the Act;
any carbon monoxide detector; and
any blue ice product.



Permalink| Comments

Students near goal for life-changing trip http://www.wbrz.com/news/students-near-goal-for-life-changing-trip/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/students-near-goal-for-life-changing-trip/ Links Fri, 11 Apr 2014 1:40:32 PM Jessica LeBlanc Students near goal for life-changing trip

BATON ROUGE - Teachers at a Baton Rouge middle school say they've almost met their goal to send students to out-of-state colleges and get a taste of life outside Louisiana.

Elroy Johnson, a history teacher at Prescott Middle School, said the trip will send several 20 of the school's top eighth graders to see colleges in Texas. He also plans to take them around to tour historical sites around Dallas.

"The purpose of this trip is to... broaden their horizons a little bit. See a different part of the country. And so hopefully, it allows them to enter high school from a college-focus mindset," Johnson told News 2. "When you're travelling it's opening your mind, you're seeing new things, you're seeing how people live differently. Then you start thinking about what you can accomplish in life."

The students selected for the trip are also excited to get opportunities they may not be able to otherwise.

"It's very important because as a student we work hard during the year and sometimes we can't pay for stuff like this, but with the school field trip we can go," said student Brandon Searles.

The trip's even more special to the students and their teachers because Prescott is closing its doors at the end of the school year.

The school is nearly halfway to its goal. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

Permalink| Comments

10th Kite Fest Louisiane this weekend http://www.wbrz.com/news/10th-kite-fest-louisiane-this-weekend/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/10th-kite-fest-louisiane-this-weekend/ Links Fri, 4 Apr 2014 11:15:38 AM Russell Jones 10th Kite Fest Louisiane this weekend

PORT ALLEN - The 10th Annual Kite Fest Louisiane is this weekend in West Baton Rouge Parish.

The annual kite festival will be held Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the West Baton Rouge Soccer Complex.

The festival is free and open to the public, and people are encouraged to bring kites to fly. The festival will also feature live music and a fireworks show Saturday night.

For more about Kite Fest Louisiane, visit their website.


Permalink| Comments

29th Wearin' of the Green parade Saturday http://www.wbrz.com/news/29th-wearin-of-the-green-parade-saturday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/29th-wearin-of-the-green-parade-saturday/ Links Fri, 14 Mar 2014 10:45:06 AM Russell Jones 29th Wearin' of the Green parade Saturday

BATON ROUGE - Preparations are underway for the 29th Annual Wearin' of the Green parade in Baton Rouge Saturday.

The parade has been a longstanding St. Patrick's Day tradition in Baton Rouge. This year's grand marshal is Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson.

"Mike Edmonson certainly has used his talents, abilities, and expertise to assist many in this community, for civic, youth and church programs and in the State of Louisiana, throughout the United States and most recently - countries outside of the United States," said parade organizer Grey Hammett.

The parade rolls at 10 a.m. Saturday and starts at 100 Oaks and South Acadian, then travels around local neighborhoods before ending just past the Perkins Road overpass. Click here for a full map of the parade route.

The parade's opening ceremonies will be streamed live on WBRZ.com and our mobile apps.

Permalink| Comments

Mayor Holden unveils city data website http://www.wbrz.com/news/mayor-holden-unveils-city-data-website/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/mayor-holden-unveils-city-data-website/ Links Wed, 15 Jan 2014 1:27:39 PM Russell Jones Mayor Holden unveils city data website

BATON ROUGE - City-parish leaders released details Wednesday about a new website that would display maps full of data about East Baton Rouge.

Mayor-President Kip Holden said the site, BRCityKey.com, would have demographic information such as neighborhood education levels and crime rates, as well as the location of services like bus stops, libraries, and parks. The site would also have a forum for community discussion and to publicize community events.

Holden said the project is part of his Healthy City initiative, and would be a useful tool for community organizations as well as government agencies.

The project was funded by a combination of public and private groups.


Permalink| Comments

Snapchat suffers security breach http://www.wbrz.com/news/snapchat-suffers-security-breach/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/snapchat-suffers-security-breach/ Links Thu, 2 Jan 2014 8:41:32 AM Snapchat suffers security breach

NEW YORK - Snapchat, the disappearing-message service popular with young people, has been quiet following a security breach that allowed hackers to collect the usernames and phone numbers of millions of its users.

Snapchat said Thursday that it is assessing the situation, but did not have further comment.

Earlier this week, hackers reportedly published 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers on a website called snapchatdb.info, which has since been suspended. The breach came less than a week after security experts alerted Snapchat of a vulnerability and warned that such an attack could take place.

In response to the warning, Snapchat said in a blog post last Friday that it had implemented "various safeguards" over the past year that would make it more difficult to steal large sets of phone numbers. But the measures appear to have fallen short.

Since the breach, some developers have created tools to let people check if their information has been compromised. The first, GSLookup, asks people to enter just their username, which it checks against the released data. The second, Snapcheck.org, lets you enter either your username or phone number.

Permalink| Comments

Seniors feel better when they use the Internet http://www.wbrz.com/news/seniors-feel-better-when-they-use-the-internet/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/seniors-feel-better-when-they-use-the-internet/ Links Wed, 25 Dec 2013 7:03:13 PM Trey Schmaltz Seniors feel better when they use the Internet

BATON ROUGE- The public library provides assistance to seniors who are looking to learn how to use a computer.

It's helpful, since a study recently suggested elderly people who know how to use a computer feel better. Researchers believe they lower their risk of depression by 20%.

Another study found seniors who use Facebook have improved their memory.

Click HERE to get information about classes at public libraries.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz


Permalink| Comments

Politicians uncovered breaking rules, not paying fines http://www.wbrz.com/news/politicians-uncovered-breaking-rules-not-paying-fines/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/politicians-uncovered-breaking-rules-not-paying-fines/ Links Mon, 18 Nov 2013 4:34:04 PM Ryan Naquin Politicians uncovered breaking rules, not paying fines

BATON ROUGE - There's nearly a $1 million in fines owed to the state and our own public officials and political groups are running up the bill.

The Louisiana Ethics Commission fines politicians who fail to file financial reports properly.

Public officials who are late or ignore deadlines can be slapped with a fine, sometimes for several thousand dollars.

A quick search on the ethics commission's website shows the penalized offenders most of whom filed late.

"The purpose of disclosure is for the public the voters to know who is influencing you, who is underwriting your campaign." Says political watchdog C. B. Forgotston.

 "There's no other way around it. You're a dead beat if you owe money. It doesn't make a difference if it's taxes or ethics fines or whatever."

"The decision was just rendered that I had to pay it so I'm working with them to pay it," Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Denise Marcelle said.

The commission sent her a bill in August to pay up. She's still yet to have paid her $3,640 dollars in fines that date back to 2008.

"That's just not my priority right now," Livingston Parish Councilman Chance Parent said when asked about his $640 debt.

"Definitely a learning curve when we took office. once I know how the process works it shouldn't happen again," he said.

Parent said he plans to pay the fine before his November 2015 election.

The list of public officials and political groups keeps going and adding up.

Ethics commission record show East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor/President Kip Holden owes $2,500 from 2008.

Saint Gabriel police Chief Kevin Ambeau owes $2,000. Former Capitol Area Transit System Board Chair Isaiah Marshall owes $8,000.

The Livingston Parish Republican Executive Committee owes $2,900.

All of these fines have not been paid.

"That's just wrong," Forgotston said. "They're jerking the public around. The only reason they're doing it is because they're politicians.

The ethics commission says it's cracking down on officials to pay their fines.

Tuesday at 10 p.m., News 2's Investigative Unit digs deeper into Mayor Holden's fines and finds out why some complain the commission is a powerless agency without any teeth.

Click HERE for a list of fines for candidates.


Permalink| Comments

What they make: college football coaches http://www.wbrz.com/news/what-they-make-college-football-coaches/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/what-they-make-college-football-coaches/ Links Wed, 6 Nov 2013 2:33:46 PM Trey Schmaltz What they make: college football coaches

BATON ROUGE- Les Miles makes the most of any football coach in the state, and he is far ahead of his colleague at the other public university in the city.

USA Today released a list of what coaches make and Miles is ranked as the 7th highest paid.

Miles makes a reported $4.4 million with a maximum bonus of $700,000. At Southern, Roman Banks earns $115,000.

UL Lafayette's head coach, Mark Hudspeth, reportedly takes home about $803,000 with a possible bonus of $105,000.

Louisiana-Monroe and Tulane are also listed. For those salaries and others plus the earnings of some athletic directors, click HERE.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz


Permalink| Comments

Report: Jindal, RGA blamed for Cuccinelli loss http://www.wbrz.com/news/report-jindal-rga-blamed-for-cuccinelli-loss/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/report-jindal-rga-blamed-for-cuccinelli-loss/ Links Wed, 6 Nov 2013 2:34:28 PM Report: Jindal, RGA blamed for Cuccinelli loss

BATON ROUGE - A new report claims Governor Bobby Jindal is being blamed for the loss of Virginia GOP gubernatorial candiate Ken Cuccinelli the day after the election.

The report on the conservative political website The Daily Caller cites an unnamed Cuccinelli aide who criticized campaign spending by Jindal and the Republican Governor's Association, which Jindal is chairman of, in the final days of the election.

"Bobby Jindal and his political team totally blew it," the aide reportedly told The Daily Caller. "Bobby Jindal's presidential campaign is over... He screwed this up so bad. And I don't know why."

The aide reportedly called into question the RGA's decision to pay for their own ads attacking Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, rather than give the money directly to Cuccinelli's campaign to use.

The RGA responded by noting they were the Cuccinelli campaign's largest donor with $8.5 million spent. RGE Executive Director Phil Cox told Politico they donated money to Cuccinelli's campaign "early and often", including a $125,000 donation which they said Cuccinelli called and asked Jindal for directly, and he okayed.

Permalink| Comments

Early voting for Oct. 19 election begins Saturday http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-for-oct-19-election-begins-saturday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-for-oct-19-election-begins-saturday/ Links Fri, 4 Oct 2013 5:21:31 AM Early voting for Oct. 19 election begins Saturday

BATON ROUGE - Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging all residents eligible to vote in the Oct. 19 municipal and 5th Congressional District primary election to consider voting early starting this Saturday.

Early voting continues through Saturday, Oct. 12, and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, excluding Sunday, Oct. 6.

Ballots will be cast for the Oct. 19 election in 49 parishes.

Citizens who want to vote early may do so in person at their parish Registrar of Voters' Office or at other designated locations including the State Archives in Baton Rouge.

For a complete listing of locations, visit the Secretary of State's Geaux Vote website.

Permalink| Comments

IBM Service Center breaks ground http://www.wbrz.com/news/ibm-service-center-breaks-ground/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ibm-service-center-breaks-ground/ Links Thu, 26 Sep 2013 4:36:53 PM Rebecca Buchanan IBM Service Center breaks ground

BATON ROUGE - IBM broke ground on their new $55million service center in downtown Baton Rouge Thursday.

The project is expected to directly create 800 jobs, 500 indirect jobs and 600 construction jobs. The mixed-use complex has an eight story IBM office, 11 story apartment building and a parking garage, expected to be complete by the spring of 2015. 

IBM says they're looking for a local workforce.

"We've had almost 86 percent of our current hires from the state of Louisiana and so our first priority is to recruit to those that are in the state and then those that Governor Jindal talked about who want to come back home so we're reaching out to those individuals as well," said Christine Alford, IBM General Manager.

"We're working specifically with LSU right now to create the frame work. We're going through the whole computer science curriculum and were actually making recommendations on what courses they should keep what they should change and making a number of additions."

Alford says they've hired a hundred local college grads.

For more information on applying, go to their IBM Louisiana website.

Permalink| Comments

Groundbreaking today for IBM facility http://www.wbrz.com/news/groundbreaking-today-for-ibm-facility/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/groundbreaking-today-for-ibm-facility/ Links Thu, 26 Sep 2013 8:58:25 AM Russell Jones Groundbreaking today for IBM facility

BATON ROUGE - State and local leaders will break ground this afternoon at the location of the planned IBM technology center in downtown Baton Rouge.

The sale of the property where the tech center will be located was finalized earlier this week. The Manship family owned the property, which used to be the site of The Advocate newspaper offices.

The Manships are also owners of WBRZ-TV.

IBM is expected to open the office in spring 2015, and employ around 800 people there once it's fully up and running. They recently launched a page where people can sign up for job fairs.

The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 1:50 p.m. at the nearby Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center.

News 2 will have more from today's groundbreaking starting at 4 p.m.

Permalink| Comments

Balloon championship this weekend in Gonzales http://www.wbrz.com/news/balloon-championship-this-weekend-in-gonzales/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/balloon-championship-this-weekend-in-gonzales/ Links Wed, 25 Sep 2013 1:11:03 PM Balloon championship this weekend in Gonzales

GONZALES - The 2013 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championships starts this weekend in Ascension Parish.

The festival gets fully underway Friday morning at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, with the first competition flight scheduled for 7 a.m. There will be activities for kids and families around the Expo Center grounds throughout the championships, which conclude Sunday.

Festival organizers and balloon pilots plan to "Light Up The Night" Friday night at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center after the first set of flights are completed.

For more information and resources about the festival, visit their website or Facebook page.

Permalink| Comments

U. S. beaches report card finds thousands of issues http://www.wbrz.com/news/u-s-beaches-report-card-finds-thousands-of-issues/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/u-s-beaches-report-card-finds-thousands-of-issues/ Links Thu, 27 Jun 2013 2:47:57 PM U. S. beaches report card finds thousands of issues

NEW YORK - Concerns over dirty water may not be your biggest worry for your next trip to the beach, but the latest report card on America's beaches finds there have been more than 20,000 closings and advisories for the third consecutive year.

The report is put out each summer by the National Resources Defense Council. About 80 percent of closures were issued because bacteria levels were too high.

Swimming in contaminated water can cause stomach problems, skin rashes, pink eye and hepatitis. Kids and older people have the highest risk.

You can find out how beaches stack up by going to their "Testing the Waters" website and putting in the beach's ZIP code.

Permalink| Comments

Ascension teen dies after house fire http://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-teen-dies-after-house-fire/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-teen-dies-after-house-fire/ Links Tue, 28 May 2013 10:42:11 AM Kevin Davidson Ascension teen dies after house fire

PRAIRIEVILLE - The State Fire Marshal's Office says a 15-year-old boy rescued from a house fire Sunday died from his injuries last night.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's office said Antonio Collins was rescued from a burning home at 15005 Beau Jon Avenue by the Prairieville Fire Department.

"This is a terrible loss, the firefighters did all they could to save this young man," Fire Marshal Butch Browning said. "We must remember that smoke alarms save lives."

Collins was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales, then transfered to Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center in Baton Rouge. He died from his injuries Monday night.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Fire marshals said there were no working smoke alarms in the home at the time of the fire.

Homeowners can apply for grants to cover the cost of purchasing and installing fire alarm systems. For more information, visit the State Fire Marshal's website.

Permalink| Comments