WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Links Links en-us Copyright 2015, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sat, 28 Nov 2015 16:11:42 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Edwards campaign launches official transition website http://www.wbrz.com/news/edwards-campaign-launches-official-transition-website/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/edwards-campaign-launches-official-transition-website/ Links Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:34:51 AM Kevin Dupuy Edwards campaign launches official transition website

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana’s new governor-elect is searching for people interested in serving his administration.

John Bel Edward’s campaign launched its official transition website OnwardLouisiana.com Wednesday.

The website features a newsletter sign-up form and a news archive so users can track announcements from the transition team.

Users interested in joining the administration can fill out an application and send in their resumes by navigating to the “Join the Administration” section.

“No matter your party affiliation, if you love Louisiana and you’re interested in working for our administration, we want to hear from you,” Edwards said.

Earlier this week, Edward announced that Louisiana State Senator Ben Nevers will serve as his chief of staff. Nevers will oversee the transition from the Bobby Jindal administration along with six transition co-chairs.

“I have known Ben Nevers for years, and he has been great to work within the legislature,” Edwards said Sunday. “I’m proud to have him leading the effort to make our government more responsive to the needs of the people and deliver on the commitments that I made in this campaign.”

Edward’s inauguration is set for January 11, 2016.

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Family, fans gather for Allen Toussaint funeral, tribute http://www.wbrz.com/news/family-fans-gather-for-allen-toussaint-funeral-tribute/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/family-fans-gather-for-allen-toussaint-funeral-tribute/ Links Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:47:28 AM Brock Sues Family, fans gather for Allen Toussaint funeral, tribute

NEW ORLEANS -  It was a rousing final tribute to New Orleans-born musician Allen Toussaint: Trombone Shorty joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in a spirited, up-tempo version of "I'll Fly Away" to close out a series of performances and eulogies at the historic Orpheum theater in New Orleans.

Toussaint died earlier this month of a heart attack following a performance in Madrid, Spain. WWL-TV reports that tributes from around the world poured in following the death of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy award winner and composer of some of the most enduring songs tied to the Big Easy. He was 77.

Another New Orleans legend, percussionist and vocalist Cyril Neville of The Meters, opened the tribute program by performing the Aaron Neville tune “Let’s Live.” Remarks by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, thanking Toussaint for being a source of inspiration, followed.

Jimmy Buffett, Boz Scaggs and Elvis Costello joined New Orleans favorites including Irma Thomas, Davell Crawford, John Boutte and Dr. John in the Friday tribute.

One of the most touching moments: a recording of Toussaint himself singing a soulful "Take Me the Rest of the Way."

A private burial is set for Saturday.

Public visitation was held at the recently restored theatre from 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. with musical performances starting at 11 a.m.

The services were broadcasted live via local radio station WWOZ’s website.

WWL-TV says Toussaint’s family, which includes four children, one step-child and six grandchildren, have asked that donations in the musician’s memory be made to New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, a charity Toussaint helped to found in the 1980s. Donations can be sent c/o Loyola University, Campus Box 12, New Orleans, LA 70118.

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LSP says no threats to Louisiana from Syrian refugee http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsp-says-no-threats-to-louisiana-from-syrian-refugee/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsp-says-no-threats-to-louisiana-from-syrian-refugee/ Links Thu, 19 Nov 2015 3:53:58 PM Russell Jones LSP says no threats to Louisiana from Syrian refugee

BATON ROUGE - Col. Mike Edmonson took to Facebook Thursday to give a point-by-point breakdown of how the Louisiana State Police responded to last week's terror attacks in France and give people an idea of the threats facing Louisiana.

The short answer: there aren't any, according to Edmonson.

"There currently is no credible information to suggest a terrorist threat is imminent in the state of Louisiana," Edmonson said. "Any reports otherwise with regards to Louisiana's Syrian refugees is wrong."

The state police superintendent said the LSP Fusion Center has been at talking to federal, state, and local authorities since the attacks happened. Edmonson said they learned that one of the Paris attack suspects may have been a Syrian refugee, which led them to ask about any such refugees in Louisiana.

Edmonson said they spoke with Catholic Charities, who has worked with the federal government for more than 45 years to help resettle refugees admitted into the U. S., and found out the sole refugee who came to Baton Rouge two months ago moved through official channels to Washington D. C.

Catholic Charities said on Tuesday they started receiving threats after word got out they had helped resettle the refugee. Edmonson said LSP identified the person who made those threats, but investigators determined that person didn't actually represent a credible threat to the organization and so they weren't arrested.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks which killed more than 100 people in Paris and injured hundreds more this past Friday. Investigations and counter-terror operations across the European Union led to multiple arrests connected to the bombings, including a 7-hour police raid in a Paris suburb during which the suspected mastermind of the attack was killed.

The initial report about the attackers' connections to Syrian refugees came from a passport found near the body of one of the original Paris attackers. French authorities said the passport was a fake, and there has been a history of migrants in Europe using fake Syrian passports to gain passage and sanctuary in Europe as refugees of the civil war.

Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere also suggested Tuesday that fake Syrian passports could have been carried by the attackers as part of an Islamic State goal of demonizing refugees, which IS organizers previously stated is one of their goals.

More than 30 U. S. governors, the majority Republican and including Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, told the White House they did not want Syrian refugees resettled in their states after the Paris attacks. Jindal also issued an executive order directing state agencies not to provide assistance to Syrian refugees. The U. S. House passed a bill Thursday that would halt the U. S. resettlement of refugees, despite a veto threat by President Barack Obama who said turning away refugees would be a betrayal of America's values.

Col. Edmonson said the LSP Fusion Center would work to get "more transparency" from the U. S. State Department about refugees resettled in Louisiana. He said citizens in Louisiana can do their part to keep the public safe by reporting any tips of suspicious activity through the "See Something, Say Something" app or by calling the Fusion Center directly at (800) 434-8007.

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State suspends tax amnesty program over incorrect info http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-suspends-tax-amnesty-program-over-incorrect-info/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-suspends-tax-amnesty-program-over-incorrect-info/ Links Tue, 17 Nov 2015 4:36:34 PM Russell Jones State suspends tax amnesty program over incorrect info

BATON ROUGE - State revenue officials announced Tuesday they were suspending Louisiana's tax amnesty program for the rest of November due to incorrect information sent out to taxpayers.

The Department of Revenue said they discovered some amnesty invitation letters said people the wrong amounts of money, and determined it was best to suspend the program until correct letters were mailed out.

"We apologize to our taxpayers for this mistake and for any inconvenience that we may have caused them. LDR will exercise better quality assurance, review and control to prevent this type of human error from occurring again in the future," Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said.

The program will be suspended through Nov. 30 and begin again on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The program will then run until Dec. 31, during which time delinquent taxpayers file and pay any outstanding returns.

The state said impacted taxpayers should get an updated letter from the Department of Revenue by Dec. 1. Any amnesty payments received during the past two days will be applied to the taxpayer's account when the amnesty period resumes on December 1.

Amnesty will be granted for eligible taxes to qualified taxpayers who apply during the amnesty period and who agree to settle their accounts with the state by paying 100 percent of delinquent taxes, 83 percent of the remaining interest and 67 percent of the remaining penalties due. Once approved, the Secretary of Revenue shall waive the remaining 17 percent interest and 33 percent penalties.

Beginning Monday November 23, taxpayers can call 1-866-782-9241 for more information about their amnesty account.

State officials said they hope the 2015 amnesty program will raise $73 million. It's the third such amnesty approved under a 2013 law, with no new amnesties offered until at least 2025 in Louisiana.

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Livingston, Ascension parishes ready for possible flooding http://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-ascension-parishes-ready-for-possible-flooding/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-ascension-parishes-ready-for-possible-flooding/ Links Tue, 17 Nov 2015 3:54:07 PM Russell Jones Livingston, Ascension parishes ready for possible flooding

LIVINGSTON - Emergency officials in Livingston and Ascension parishes said they're getting assets ready in case of flash flooding or other sever weather tonight or tomorrow.

Livingston Parish said sandbags are available in the following locations for their residents:

Fire Dist 9 (23634 HWY 22)
Fire Dist 8 (Hwy 16/Keller Ln
Fire Dist 5 (Florida/Eden Church Rd)
Fire Dist 1 (Hwy 43/Montpelier)

Ascension Parish emergency officials said they're not putting out sand for bags at this time, but they're ready if the need arises. They told residents to keep on eye on social media channels for notifications if sandbags are made available.

Ascension Parish residents can also call the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at (225) 621-8360 if they need assistance.

Nearly all of the WBRZ viewing area is under Flash Flood and Tornado watches through Wednesday morning. More details on the possibility of severe weather can be found here.

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Trial date set for death at unlicensed daycare http://www.wbrz.com/news/trial-date-set-for-death-at-unlicensed-daycare/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/trial-date-set-for-death-at-unlicensed-daycare/ Links Tue, 17 Nov 2015 10:45:47 AM Russell Jones Trial date set for death at unlicensed daycare

BATON ROUGE - The operator of an unlicensed Baton Rouge daycare where an infant died this summer appeared in court Tuesday morning.

A judge set trial for January 20 for the case of Shelia Newman. She faces negligent homicide charges in the death of 22-month-old Angel Green this past June.

Police reports said Newman left Green in a van back in June for an extended period of time. Investigators said the girl's body temperature when she was brought to a hospital was 108 degrees, and she later died from exposure to the heat.

Authorities arrested both Newman and a daycare worker, April Wright, on negligent homicide charges. The News 2 Investigative Unit found that Newman was currently operating without a license, and that the state had revoked her daycare license in 2014.

Joy Green, the girl's mother, told News 2 she had no idea Newman was running an unlicensed daycare.

In court Tuesday a charge of obstruction of justice against Newman was also dropped, which Green's attorney said was upsetting to the family.

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Voting opens Saturday in Louisiana's Nov. 21 runoff election http://www.wbrz.com/news/voting-opens-saturday-in-louisiana-s-nov-21-runoff-election/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/voting-opens-saturday-in-louisiana-s-nov-21-runoff-election/ Links Fri, 6 Nov 2015 4:46:58 PM Melinda Deslatte Voting opens Saturday in Louisiana's Nov. 21 runoff election

BATON ROUGE - Early voting begins Saturday for the Nov. 21 runoff election, with competitions for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general on the ballot.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler is hoping to draw more voters in the runoff, after a low 39 percent turnout for the primary election last month.

At the top of the list of state and local elections is the tighter-than-predicted race between Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter to be Louisiana's next governor. The winner takes over from term-limited Gov. Bobby Jindal in January.

Voters can cast ballots early through Nov. 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at parish registrar of voters' offices and other locations. Early voting shuts down on Sunday and Wednesday for the Veterans Day holiday. More info is available at www.geauxvote.com .

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Many trick-or-treating hours moved to Friday http://www.wbrz.com/news/many-trick-or-treating-hours-moved-to-friday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/many-trick-or-treating-hours-moved-to-friday/ Links Wed, 28 Oct 2015 11:37:19 AM Russell Jones Many trick-or-treating hours moved to Friday

BATON ROUGE - Multiple parishes and municipalities moved their official trick-or-treat hours Wednesday because of expected bad weather.

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden's office said official trick-or-treat hours for the city and unincorporated areas will be Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The mayor-president said the strong possibility of rain and lightning pushed them to make the decision.

"I have never changed Halloween hours as Mayor-President, and this is not a decision I take lightly. However, our first priority must always be keeping everyone, especially our children, safe," Holden said.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office also moved its annual Trick-Or-Treat With Deputies event to Friday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 9350 Antigua. It's a free event with food, a costume contest, prizes, entertainment and other attractions.

Livingston Parish also moved their trick-or-treat times Wednesday afternoon to Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. This came after mayors of Denham Springs and the town of Livingston said they would move their times.

Ascension Parish officials announced late Wednesday they were also changing to Friday night for unincorporated parts of the parish, but the cities of Gonzales and Donaldsonville were sticking with Saturday night.

For a detailed Halloween forecast, CLICK HERE. Or, check in with our weather team on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.


The State Fire Marshal's Office released a list of Halloween safety tips including what kinds of costumes to wear and how to safely decorate your home.

Local trick-or-treat times

Parishes are in bold, municipalities in plain text

East Baton Rouge - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Central - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Baker - 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31

Zachary - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

West Baton Rouge - 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 (includes Port Allen, Brusly, Addis)

Ascension - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Gonzales - 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31

Donaldsonville - 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31

Sorrento - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, October 30

Livingston - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Denham Springs - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Town of Livingston - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Walker - 6 to 8 p.m.

East Feliciana - Not announced for unincorporated areas

Jackson - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

West Feliciana - 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31

St. Francisville - 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Iberville - 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31

St. Mary - 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31

Tangipahoa - 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31

Pointe Coupee - 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

Terrebonne - 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31

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State puts out call for more foster parents http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-puts-out-call-for-more-foster-parents/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-puts-out-call-for-more-foster-parents/ Links Tue, 27 Oct 2015 4:05:45 PM Russell Jones, Ambria Washington State puts out call for more foster parents

BATON ROUGE - State officials are asking more people to consider becoming foster parents to help find homes for a growing number of children in Louisiana's foster care system.

Sheri Soper is a foster parent of two children. For her and her husband, being foster parents is the way they give back to the community.

"They are thriving and that's what makes you continue to do it," said Soper. "You see that you are providing something for these children that will last a lifetime for them."

Secretary Suzy Sonnier with the Department of Children and Family Services said there are close to 5,000 children in the program today, a 13 percent increase from three years ago.

"We need more homes, we need more families who are willing to say 'I can love a child and I can provide a safe place to be, and I'm in,'" she said.

Sonnier said one of the biggest challenges is finding a home for a child within their community so they're not forced to leave their school or friends.

"Our job is to make sure they have a loving home that is safe and cares for them and that they can feel comfortable," said Sonnier. "Because they're not with the people that they know."

Currently, Louisiana serves 4600 children a month in foster care. Foster parents must meet a number of qualifications, including being 21 or older and having a sufficient income.

Caretakers must have a clean record and attend trainings and orientation. The next orientation for local parents interested in being foster caretakers will be at the East Baton Rouge Office, 160

South Ardenwood, Baton Rouge on Thursday November 5th at 6:00 p.m. There are a number of other orientations coming up in November and December across the state. You can find a list of

locations and times on DCFS's website.

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Election 2015 - Everything you need to know http://www.wbrz.com/news/election-2015-everything-you-need-to-know/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/election-2015-everything-you-need-to-know/ Links Fri, 23 Oct 2015 12:09:17 PM Russell Jones Election 2015 - Everything you need to know

BATON ROUGE - Voters will choose or begin to choose a new governor Saturday, while also voting on six other statewide offices and four constitutional amendments.

Early voting turnout has been low according to the Secretary of State's Office, with 222,162 of the state's eligible voters going to the polls early. That's 7.6 percent of voters statewide. Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicted voter turnout for Saturday's election would run between 45 and 50 percent.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. People who are in line to vote at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. You can view a sample ballot for your area, find your voting precinct and check on any assistance you can get to help you vote by clicking here.


The Oct. 24 statewide election is an open primary for Louisiana's top office. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote the top two will go into a runoff during the November 21 general election.

The four major candidates jockeying for a top finish include a U. S. senator, public service commissioner, lieutenant governor and state representative. Through six debates televised statewide the candidates have spoken on issues including Louisiana's budget crisis, gun rights, higher education and expanding health insurance for the state's poorest citizens.

The most-visited topic, however, is one of those candidate's absence from the debates. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has only appeared in two of the six televised debates, citing scheduling conflicts with his work in Washington D. C. Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, the other major Republicans in the race, hammered his absence as well as Vitter's D.C. prostitution scandal as they attempt to pass him for one of the expected runoff positions.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards, the lone Democrat, seems poised to secure the other runoff position in recent polls.


Nearly all the rest of the state's top positions are also up for a vote this weekend. Candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state treasurer are on the ballot, as are the commissioner of insurance and commissioner of agriculture and forestry.

The lieutenant governor's race is a four-way primary between state Senator Elbert "Lee" Guillory, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, former Plaquemines Parish President Bill Nungesser, and Jefferson Parish President John Young. The seat is being vacated by Jay Dardenne due to term limits.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler faces LSU law professor Chris Tyson, a Democrat and former aide to then-Senator Mary Landrieu, in his bid for re-election. Treasurer John Kennedy is also running for re-election, and faces Baton Rouge attorney Jennifer Treadway, a fellow Republican.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell faces four opponents in his bid for re-election, two Republican and two Democrat. They include former U. S. Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA), Assistant District Attorney Marty Maley from the 18th Judicial District, Garyville attorney Geraldine Baloney and former assistant AG Ike Jackson of Plaquemine.


The four constitutional amendments on the Oct. 24 ballot, unsurprisingly, deal largely with the state's budget and mineral revenues. The Public Affairs Research Council published their guide to the amendments online, including a worksheet which voters can fill out and take into the booth with them.

The first proposed amendment would split the state's rainy day fund into two different pots of money, the Budget Stabilization Fund and the new Transportation Stabilization Fund. Right now the state saves up to $850 million in the Budget Stabilization Fund for a "rainy day," and must refill the fund whenever it's tapped to bail out the state budget. The proposed amendment would cap that fund at $500 million, and create a new Transportation Stabilization Fund which would store another $500 million. This new fund could also be tapped to help the budget, and can be used to supplement transportation and infrastructure projects.

The second proposed amendment also deals with transportation, allowing the state treasurer to invest public funds into the state's new Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which was created during the last legislative session. The bank would give loans to local governments who want low-cost financing for transportation projects, but needs money to get started. This amendment would create another way to get those funds, by directly depositing them from the state's coffers.

The third proposed amendment would clarify what kinds of items lawmakers can consider during a fiscal session of the legislature instead of a general session. It would specifically replace restrictive language in the Louisiana Constitution describing what can be allowed with generalizations. Proponents say those restrictions have led to confusion and litigation in the past and should be relaxed, while critics are concerned such loosening will allow the fiscal sessions to become more like a general legislative session.

The fourth proposed amendment would allow local governments to collect property taxes from public land in Louisiana owned by other states. One example listed by the Public Affairs Research Council is if a city utility in a different state stores natural gas in Louisiana, which happened in a recent court case involving Memphis Light, Gas and Water and West Carroll Parish. The Tennessee utility successfully argued in court they were exempt from being taxed by the parish because it was a "public property used for public purposes," which the Judicial District Court of Louisiana agreed with in 2013 and was later upheld by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Southern University holding Give Day on Thursday http://www.wbrz.com/news/southern-university-holding-give-day-on-thursday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/southern-university-holding-give-day-on-thursday/ Links Thu, 15 Oct 2015 4:19:42 AM Joe Hagan Southern University holding Give Day on Thursday

BATON ROUGE- Southern University is asking for donations to help strengthen their student programs.

The school is hosting "Give Day" on Thursday, October 15th. It's the final appeal for the Million Dollar March viral fundraiser that kicked off back in July.  So far, over 2,000 online donors have contributed to the cause.

All donations will go to scholarships, faculty research and important campus initiatives. Click here for the donation form.

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LSU Athletics: Parking situation normal for LSU/South Carolina http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-athletics-parking-situation-normal-for-lsu-south-carolina/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-athletics-parking-situation-normal-for-lsu-south-carolina/ Links Wed, 7 Oct 2015 3:46:13 PM Brock Sues LSU Athletics: Parking situation normal for LSU/South Carolina

BATON ROUGE - Despite the unusual circumstances, LSU Athletics says normal game day parking policies and procedures will be in effect for Saturday’s South Carolina game.

Following tragic flooding in Columbia, SC, it was announced Wednesday that the game, originally scheduled to take place in South Carolina, will take place in Baton Rouge in Tiger Stadium at 2:30 p.m.

LSU Athletics said season parking permit holders can use their Western Kentucky parking pass (grey pass No. 5 in the parking booklet) to gain admission to their normal parking lot for the game.

Season permit holders are urged to take care with their Western Kentucky pass as it will be needed again to park for that game, scheduled for Oct. 24.

Fans who don’t have a parking permit can use free game-by-game parking. It normally costs $20 to $40, but LSU waived that cost for Saturday's game.

For more info and locations for free parking, visit www.LSUsports.net/parking.

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Early voting starts Saturday http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-starts-saturday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-starts-saturday/ Links Fri, 9 Oct 2015 7:15:02 AM Melinda Deslatte Early voting starts Saturday

BATON ROUGE- Early voting begins Saturday for Louisiana's Oct. 24 election.
Candidates are urging supporters to cast their ballots in advance as the various statewide and local races are expected to compete for attention on Election Day with college football games and hunting plans.
Top of the ballot is the Louisiana governor's race and six other statewide elected jobs. Voters also will be sifting through legislative races, competitions for seats on the state's top school board and local elected positions.
Four statewide constitutional amendments are on the ballot.
Early voting runs from Saturday through Oct. 17, at parish registrar of voters' offices and other designated locations. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., but early voting is closed Sunday.
More information is available at the Secretary of State's website at GeauxVote.com.

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Special greetings, deals planned to welcome S. Carolina fans http://www.wbrz.com/news/special-greetings-deals-planned-to-welcome-s-carolina-fans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/special-greetings-deals-planned-to-welcome-s-carolina-fans/ Links Thu, 8 Oct 2015 1:22:00 PM Russell Jones Special greetings, deals planned to welcome S. Carolina fans

BATON ROUGE - When University of South Carolina fans arrive in Baton Rouge for this weekend's game against LSU, they'll find special greetings prepared to give them a warm Louisiana welcome.

The Convention and Visitor's Bureau said Lamar Advertising will use electronic billboards around Baton Rouge to display special welcoming messages to visitors from South Carolina. The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport also ordered special banners to greet people flying in for the game. Uber said they would also offer free rides from the airport costing less than $20 for first-time Uber riders who use a special code, which will be displayed on signs at the airport.

WBRZ-TV also plans to include special messages during its gameday coverage to draw attention to the plight of South Carolina residents battling historic flooding and rainfall there.

The heavy rains are blamed for 19 deaths so far and potentially more than one billion dollars in damages. Around 35 dams are being monitored by emergency managers, who said 11 dams have been breached so far because of high water levels. Gov. Nikki Haley urged residents in coastal areas to evacuate Thursday as that storm water flows downstream toward the coast.

John Spain with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation told tourism officials he recalled the efforts made in Arizona to help out and welcome LSU and Louisiana residents when the Tigers' game was moved to Tempe during Hurricane Katrina. He said he was hopeful similar efforts would happen around the capital area this weekend.

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva sent out a message to students letting them know Red Cross volunteers would be accepting donations at the stadium to assist with flood relief. He also said they appreciated the suggestion from some students that the field be painted with South Carolina's colors, but with another LSU home game next week that wasn't feasible.

University President F. King Alexander also sent out an email saying the school would host a ceremony before the game to "transfer" the keys of Tiger Stadium to the University of South Carolina's student government representatives. Alexander said the school will also host a tailgate with free food and drinks for all South Carolina and LSU fans from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Parade Ground in order to foster a "home-team environment" for USC. 

Multiple restaurants said they will offer discounts to USC fans traveling in from Columbia. Marty J's Seafood said they're giving all South Carolina residents 20 percent off their meals through the weekend, and said 10 percent of everything they make during their tailgate Saturday for the game will go to flood victims.

Restaurant IPO said they will give 15 percent off to South Carolina visitors Friday and Saturday, while the Office Bar will give those traveling in from the state their first drink for free. Pastime restaurant said those traveling from South Carolina will get to take half off the price of their meals.

Domino's Pizza said they will also hold a donation night on Monday, Oct. 12 with 20 percent of all sales that night being donated to the American Red Cross.

Sammy's Grill is offering traveling South Carolina fans a 20 percent discount at all of their locations including Highland Road, Zachary, Central and Prairieville. The discount, available to those with South Carolina driver's license or student ID, started today and will continue through Sunday.

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Tips for preventing contractor scams http://www.wbrz.com/news/tips-for-preventing-contractor-scams/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/tips-for-preventing-contractor-scams/ Links Tue, 6 Oct 2015 4:56:01 PM Troy Gaulden Tips for preventing contractor scams

BATON ROUGE - There are several ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a bad contractor's scam.

When you see a great deal you might not think twice about checking out a contractor. The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) says that is the biggest mistake you can make.

"More often than not the consumer is more interested in the pricing, and cheap prices don't always indicate the best result," said LSLBC Executive Director Michael McDuff.

A few elderly Baker residents learned that the hard way when Tanweer Bhatti and his company Southern Siding allegedly made off with $500,000 while promising home repairs. Bhatti was arrested by Baker Police Monday. LSLBC revoked the license for Southern Siding a few months ago after the company plead "no contest" to charges of fraud and failing to perform contracts.

"In Louisiana there's lots of great contractors. Unfortunately for the consumers there are a lot of unqualified, unscrupulous contractors that are not licensed that we have to enforce and try to protect the public," said McDuff.

LSLBC has revoked seven contractor licenses so far this year and suspended 177 licenses for missing insurance after receiving more than 300 complaints. The board meets twice a month and keeps a database updated with licensed contractors. The board says it is worth doing a little digging before shelling out any cash.

"If they need information to verify a license you can contact this office, but also check on other work that the contractor has done to make sure that they've completed the work and certainly not to pay up front any percentage beyond 10 percent of the contract value," said McDuff.

You can look into whether a contractor has a license on the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors website here.

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Southern's Devon Gales transferred to rehab hospital http://www.wbrz.com/news/southern-s-devon-gales-transferred-to-rehab-hospital/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/southern-s-devon-gales-transferred-to-rehab-hospital/ Links Wed, 30 Sep 2015 3:39:48 PM Trey Schmaltz Southern's Devon Gales transferred to rehab hospital

ATHENS, Ga. - Southern University football player Devon Gales has been transferred to a rehabilitation hospital, Southern said on its sports website Wednesday.

Gales, 21, sustained a spinal cord injury during the Saturday, Sept. 26 game against the University of Georgia. Gales was taken off the field following a collision during a kickoff in the third quarter.

Gales was moved from Athens Regional Medical Center to Shepherd Center in Atlanta for evaluation, care and observation. His rehabilitation program begins Thursday. 

"He will begin a rigorous rehabilitation program under the guidance of a full team of medical and rehabilitation specialists," the university said in their statement.

Shepherd Center specializes in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord and brain injuries.

The Gales family said they appreciate the support from Southern and Georgia fans but asked that their privacy be respected. Southern University officials thanked the University of Georgia for their efforts to ensure Gales received the best care possible, including paying to fly his family out to Georgia in order to be with him.

On Monday, the university launched an official fund to provide financial assistance to Gales and his family and cover medical expenses. Learn more about the fund and how to donate by clicking here.

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Ascension balloon festival set for this weekend http://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-balloon-festival-set-for-this-weekend/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-balloon-festival-set-for-this-weekend/ Links Thu, 24 Sep 2015 4:11:59 PM Natalia Verdina Ascension balloon festival set for this weekend

GONZALES - The countdown is almost over for Ascension Parish's biggest event of the year.

The 5th annual Hot Air Balloon Festival starts Friday at 4 p.m. and runs through Saturday at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center.  Doors open at 7 a.m. Saturday, and close at 10 p.m. both nights.

Last year, nearly 50,000 people made their way to the festival, and organizers expect an even bigger turnout this year.

"That's why we've taken all these precautions to make the traffic better, to make the traffic flow better, the parking better," said Martin McConnel, marketing director of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center.

Unlike last year, both entrances will be wide open, allowing traffic to flow from both the front and back of the center.

The center can accomodate over 4,000 cars.

"So there's room for you to park," said McConnell, "so you get here and we'll get you in here."

Event organizers also recommend drivers take a certain route, depending on where they're coming from:



Take Hwy 30.

Turn Left onto St. Landry Rd.

Turn Right at the front gate into Lamar-Dixon.


Baton Rouge:

Exit I-10 at Hwy 73.

Turn Left onto Hwy 30.

Turn Right onto Ashland Rd.

Enter the back gate into Lamar-Dixon.


New Orleans:

Exit I-10 at Hwy 22 and turn Left.

Turn Right onto River Rd.

Turn Right onto Ashland Rd.

Enter Lamar-Dixon via the back gate.


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Running of the Santas to host event in Baton Rouge http://www.wbrz.com/news/running-of-the-santas-to-host-event-in-baton-rouge/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/running-of-the-santas-to-host-event-in-baton-rouge/ Links Mon, 14 Sep 2015 4:05:14 PM Kevin Dupuy Running of the Santas to host event in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE – “Running of the Santas,” which bills itself as the largest Christmas event in the country, announced plans to host an inaugural event in Baton Rouge on Saturday, December 5.

“Running of the Santas” will kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 5, from the “South Pole” located at the Draft House at 421 3rd Street. At 5:45 p.m., Santa and his friends will run to the “North Pole” located at the Roux House at 143 3rd Street.

Participants of the “Running of the Santas” are asked to wear festive holiday costumes and enjoy tasty holiday drink specials, savory food and lively music. One lucky attendee will receive a “Best Holiday Costume” award.

The event started in 1998 in Philadelphia when 40 friends decided to suit up in holiday costumes and go bar hopping. Since 1998 the event has been hosted in over 20 cities from California to New Zealand. “Running of the Santas” has 10,000 participants in Philadelphia and over 3,000 participants in New Orleans each year.

Tickets to the event are now available online at www.runningofthesantas.com and at the Roux House in Baton Rouge. Advanced tickets are $20 and VIP tickets are $75. 

A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit “That Others May Live Foundation.” The foundation provides scholarships, family counseling and aid to surviving children of the United States Air Force Rescue Heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice during a rescue mission.

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Imported cucumbers in Louisiana are being recalled due to Salmonella http://www.wbrz.com/news/imported-cucumbers-in-louisiana-are-being-recalled-due-to-salmonella/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/imported-cucumbers-in-louisiana-are-being-recalled-due-to-salmonella/ Links Sat, 5 Sep 2015 1:57:30 PM Michael Vinsanau Imported cucumbers in Louisiana are being recalled due to Salmonella

BATON ROUGE, La. - Cucumbers across Louisiana are being recalled after they were identified as the source of a multi-state Salmonella outbreak. 

The Department of Health and Hospitals and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration teamed up to recall all imported cucumbers that were distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

Since the start of the outbreak, three cases in Louisiana may have been linked to the contaminated cucumbers. One of those cases was in the Baton Rouge area.

Across the country, there has been 282 cases, including one death. 

Officials say that the risks of eating one of the cucumbers is low, but the DHH is recommending precautionary steps. 

Symptons usually show within 12 to 72 hours, and include fever, diarrhea, and cramps.

For more information on the recall and steps to take, visit the Food and Drug Administration's website.

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LSU Tiger Stadium policies, game day schedule released http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-tiger-stadium-policies-game-day-schedule-released/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-tiger-stadium-policies-game-day-schedule-released/ Links Tue, 1 Sep 2015 11:06:32 AM Russell Jones LSU Tiger Stadium policies, game day schedule released

BATON ROUGE - LSU reminded Tiger football fans of the policies and security measures they'll have to consider when they attend games at Death Valley this year.

The Tiger Stadium bag policy prohibits backpacks or any bag or purse larger than 8 ½ x 11" from being brought into the stadium. People are also prohibited from bringing the following items into the stadium:

Coolers, ice chests, bottles, cans, cups (or containers of any kind)
Outside food and drinks
Any type of artificial noise makers - violators are subject to ejection
Pets of any variety (except for service animals)
Video Cameras
Weapons of any kind - including pocket knives, multi-function tools and any other items deemed inappropriate
Banners/Flags/Poles of any kind (or any obtrusive/obstructive signage)

The stadium and campus are also a smoke- and tobacco-free zone, which includes e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigars. Stadium seats which affect the view or comfort of people around their owner are also not allowed.

Once a ticket has been scanned to let someone into the stadium that ticketholder cannot leave and re-enter, unless they have a new and unscanned ticket. Tickets must be presented for someone to enter the stadium, and reselling tickets on stadium grounds is not permitted.

The LSU athletic department also released the following schedule of events for a typical night game with a 7 p.m. kickoff in Tiger Stadium. The event times will vary on days with earlier kickoff times.

Noon LSU Ticket Office opens * (first floor of LSU Athletics Administration Building)
2:30 p.m. Live band performs at Zatarain's Tiger One Village
4:00 p.m. Club level and Suites open at Tiger Stadium
4:15 p.m. LSU Student gates open at Tiger Stadium
4:30 p.m. All remaining gates open at Tiger Stadium
4:50 p.m. LSU walks down "Victory Hill"
5:00 p.m. LSU Gameday presented by CST on the air
5:05 p.m. Mike the Tiger comes down "Victory Hill"
5:10 p.m. LSU band marches down "Victory Hill"
6:25 p.m. Mike the Tiger Field Parade
6:40 p.m. Guest Captains Presentation
6:45 p.m. Golden Band from Tigerland takes the field for pregame performance
6:50 p.m. Alma Mater and National Anthem
6:56 p.m. LSU takes the field
6:57 p.m. Visitor takes the field
7:00 p.m. Kickoff
*Ticket office will open at 8 a.m. for games that start prior to 6 p.m.

For more game day policies and security information, visit LSUSports.net.

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