WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ State News State News en-us Copyright 2014, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Mon, 1 Sep 2014 23:09:56 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Louisiana following judge's order on abortion law http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-following-judge-s-order-on-abortion-law/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-following-judge-s-order-on-abortion-law/ State News Mon, 1 Sep 2014 2:38:36 PM Melinda Deslatte Louisiana following judge's order on abortion law

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana health department says it will follow a federal judge's order and refrain from immediately penalizing doctors who are trying to comply with a new abortion law.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles issued a temporary restraining order late Sunday, blocking enforcement of a new law that took effect Monday.

The law requires doctors at all five abortion clinics in Louisiana to obtain privileges to admit patients to a local hospital.

State Department of Health and Hospitals spokeswoman Olivia Watkins tells The Associated Press on Monday that the agency won't take action against any provider who shows he or she has applied for admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

It was not immediately clear whether doctors from all five clinics have applied for hospital privileges.

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Judge: Marullo can stay on ballot http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-marullo-can-stay-on-ballot/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-marullo-can-stay-on-ballot/ State News Mon, 1 Sep 2014 2:15:39 PM APNewsNow Judge: Marullo can stay on ballot

NEW ORLEANS - Orleans Parish Criminal Court Judge Frank Marullo Jr. has survived an initial challenge to his seeking a sixth term

The 74-year-old Marullo is running against lawyers Graham Bosworth, Brigid Collins, Rudy Gorrell and Marie Williams.

A judge Friday Marullo was not only qualified to run for another term, but that his age didn't threaten his eligibility as a candidate.

The attorney for three New Orleans voters who want Marullo's name off the Nov. 4 ballot will appeal.

Marullo joined the criminal court bench in September 1974. The 1974 constitution went into effect on Jan. 1, 1975, and set judges' retirement at 70.

Marullo argued an earlier constitution set retirement at 75 and he would finish his term.

Voters will decide in November whether to repeal the retirement age for judges.

Image: WWL-TV

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Cool spring hurts La. sugar crop http://www.wbrz.com/news/cool-spring-hurts-la-sugar-crop/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/cool-spring-hurts-la-sugar-crop/ State News Mon, 1 Sep 2014 11:25:38 AM APNewsNow Cool spring hurts La. sugar crop

THIBODAUX - The cold spring is coming back to haunt local sugarcane farmers who are expecting a stunted crop and later harvest season.

American Sugar Cane League executive director Jim Simon says he expects the harvest to begin later this year because of spring's cold temperatures.

Usually, harvesting starts in mid- to late-September. It often ends in late December.

The Courier reports Louisiana farmers harvest about 13.5 tons of sugarcane on average. Last year, the crop topped 14.5 million tons. The largest Louisiana crop came in 1999 when farmers brought in almost 16 million tons.

Spring's cooler temperatures have produced about 4- to 5-foot sugarcane stalks, about a foot shorter than normal, farmers say. The shorter stalk can affect how much farmers earn because they are paid by weight.

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No jackpot winners in Louisiana Lottery drawings http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-jackpot-winners-in-louisiana-lottery-drawings/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-jackpot-winners-in-louisiana-lottery-drawings/ State News Mon, 1 Sep 2014 8:07:15 AM APNewsNow No jackpot winners in Louisiana Lottery drawings

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana Lottery Corp. says nobody won jackpots in three big weekend lotteries.

That means estimated jackpots for Wednesday's drawings rise to $80,000 for Easy 5, $1.15 million for Lotto and $100 million for the Powerball.

The lottery corporation says the biggest prize for any ticket sold in Louisiana for Saturday's drawings was $20,000. Two Powerball tickets are worth that much. Each is a PowerPlay ticket matching four numbers and the Powerball.

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Clooney's new film sets Slidell casting call http://www.wbrz.com/news/clooney-s-new-film-sets-slidell-casting-call/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/clooney-s-new-film-sets-slidell-casting-call/ State News Mon, 1 Sep 2014 5:45:50 AM Hunter Robinson Clooney's new film sets Slidell casting call

SLIDELL - As George Clooney and Sandra Bullock prepare this fall to shoot the political comedy "Our Brand Is Crisis," in New Orleans, producers are looking for locals interested in appearing as extras in the film.

A casting call is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium.

Background actors are being sought to portray Bolivian men and women of all ages. Specifically, the production is looking for those who have a Hispanic and Native American look.

The Warner Bros.-backed "Our Brand Is Crisis" is based on the 2005 documentary of the same name and focuses on the exporting of American political strategies to South America. It's being produced by Clooney and producing partner Grant Heslov, who also produced 2012's Oscar-winning "Argo."

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Vitter: $180K in criminal justice grants for state http://www.wbrz.com/news/vitter-180k-in-criminal-justice-grants-for-state/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/vitter-180k-in-criminal-justice-grants-for-state/ State News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 8:41:47 AM APNewsNow Vitter: $180K in criminal justice grants for state

NEW ORLEANS - U.S. Sen. David Vitter says the federal government is awarding $181,269 in grants to support criminal justice services in Louisiana.

The grants include:

  • $132,984 to Shreveport and the Caddo Parish sheriff's office to buy equipment and supplies
  • $28,856 to Bossier City and the Bossier Parish sheriff's office to buy equipment and supplies
  • $19,429 to the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government to buy equipment for the Houma Police Department.

Vitter, in a news release this week, said the grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Justice's Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which supports states, tribes and local governments in preventing and controlling crime.


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Judge: rule Friday if no abortion law agreement http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-rule-friday-if-no-abortion-law-agreement/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-rule-friday-if-no-abortion-law-agreement/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:59:19 PM Janet McConnaughey Judge: rule Friday if no abortion law agreement

BATON ROUGE - A federal judge is asking lawyers for Louisiana and abortion clinics for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open for a while if a restrictive abortion law takes effect Sept. 1.

The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

However, attorneys for the state told U.S. District Judge John deGravelles that a federal appeals court ruling bars enforcement against doctors who have applied for but not yet received an answer.

DeGravelles asked whether the state will pledge to refrain from enforcing the law against all such doctors and whether clinics would then drop their request for an order blocking enforcement of the law while their suit against it continues in court.

DeGravelles says he'll rule Friday if the two sides can't agree.

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Future of 'Big Oil' suit at stake as panel meets http://www.wbrz.com/news/future-of-big-oil-suit-at-stake-as-panel-meets/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/future-of-big-oil-suit-at-stake-as-panel-meets/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:04:35 AM Kevin McGill Future of 'Big Oil' suit at stake as panel meets

NEW ORLEANS - It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a south Louisiana flood board that's suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.

The panel that nominates members for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East discussed plans to fill two expired terms Thursday. But members said a vote cannot legally take place until September. That also gives the panel time to consider an applicant who filed after the deadline.

One of the expired terms is that of Paul Kemp, a supporter of the lawsuit, which Jindal opposes.

Kemp has applied for another term. However, even if he is re-nominated, Jindal would likely seek to replace him with a lawsuit opponent.

Kemp continues to serve until a successor is named.

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State troopers to remain in New Orleans http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-troopers-to-remain-in-new-orleans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-troopers-to-remain-in-new-orleans/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 9:16:23 AM APNewsNow State troopers to remain in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana State Police will continue to patrol the streets of New Orleans.

Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson and interim New Orleans police Superintendent Michael Harrison say the troopers deployed throughout the city to assist with law enforcement will remain until November.

Edmonson originally said the officers would leave the city on Sept. 1.

Edmonson deployed 50 state troopers and public safety officers to help with law enforcement in New Orleans following a June 29 shooting in the French Quarter that left one person dead and nine injured. He says the extension came at the request of the police department and the City of New Orleans.

Image: WWL-TV

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Perry, Jindal, Cruz plan Iowa visits in September http://www.wbrz.com/news/perry-jindal-cruz-plan-iowa-visits-in-september/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/perry-jindal-cruz-plan-iowa-visits-in-september/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 9:22:48 AM APNewsNow Perry, Jindal, Cruz plan Iowa visits in September

DES MOINES, IA - Republican presidential prospects are making plans to visit Iowa in September.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will campaign with 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Rod Blum on Tuesday. They plan stops in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Dubuque.

On Sept. 27, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will speak at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The event is billed as a "family banquet" and is intended to charge up conservatives ahead of the Nov. 4 election. It's also expected to feature Iowa candidates, including Gov. Terry Branstad.

Perry, Cruz and Jindal are among Republicans weighing 2016 presidential candidacies.

All have made repeated visits to Iowa, which will begin the presidential nominating process with its caucuses.

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5th arrest in New Orleans drive-by shooting case http://www.wbrz.com/news/5th-arrest-in-new-orleans-drive-by-shooting-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/5th-arrest-in-new-orleans-drive-by-shooting-case/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 3:05:27 PM APNewsNow 5th arrest in New Orleans drive-by shooting case

NEW ORLEANS - Police in New Orleans report a fifth arrest in connection with a drive-by shooting that killed two people and seriously injured a mother and two children

Police said 34-year-old Michael Finnie was arrested Wednesday in Chalmette on two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted first-degree murder. Police said Finnie is believed to be the driver of the vehicle used in the Aug. 10 shooting.

Police have said 33-year-old Terrance McBride was the shooters' target. McBride and 16-year-old Jasmine Anderson were killed. Five others were hit by gunfire including a mother and her sons, ages 2 and 4, who were seriously injured.

Others arrested include the alleged gunmen: 23-year-old Joseph Nelson III and 20-year-old Blair Taylor. Each faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Image: WWL-TV

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Wed. maintenance work to suspend EBT transactions http://www.wbrz.com/news/wed-maintenance-work-to-suspend-ebt-transactions/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/wed-maintenance-work-to-suspend-ebt-transactions/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 2:30:17 PM APNewsNow Wed. maintenance work to suspend EBT transactions

BATON ROUGE - Xerox, a third party contractor for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, will conduct system maintenance late Wednesday that will suspend Electronic Benefits Transfer transactions for about five minutes.

Xerox distributes benefits through EBT for the state's food stamp program and cash benefits through its Kinship Care Subsidy Program and Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program.

The department says the system maintenance is set for 11 p.m. During that time, no transactions will be approved. Any cardholder shopping or using an ATM at that time will receive a declined response. Those who get that response are encouraged to wait several minutes and try the transaction again.

The maintenance is routine and is not expected to last longer than five minutes.

Retailers with questions regarding the tests can call 1-866-880-5264.

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Pro-voucher group seeks to undo order in La. case http://www.wbrz.com/news/pro-voucher-group-seeks-to-undo-order-in-la-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/pro-voucher-group-seeks-to-undo-order-in-la-case/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:59:21 AM APNewsNow Pro-voucher group seeks to undo order in La. case

NEW ORLEANS - A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ordered the reports in April. He ruled that they are needed to make sure Louisiana complies with a 1975 desegregation order about state money going to private schools. The order requires that the state provide federal officials with lists of voucher applicants, information on schools in the voucher program, and enrollment and racial breakdowns on public schools and private schools in the voucher program.

Some voucher supporters, represented by the conservative Goldwater Institute, say the ruling resulted from a Justice Department effort to "stifle" the voucher program. State officials have said the ruling won't impede the program.

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ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty for 2012 oil spill http://www.wbrz.com/news/exxonmobil-to-pay-civil-penalty-for-2012-oil-spill/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/exxonmobil-to-pay-civil-penalty-for-2012-oil-spill/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 7:57:53 AM APNewsNow ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty for 2012 oil spill

NEW ORLEANS - ExxonMobil Pipeline Company has agreed to pay a $1.4 million civil penalty for an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act stemming from a 2012 crude oil spill from its "North Line" pipeline near Torbert in Pointe Coupee Parish.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday the company will pay the penalty to resolve the government's claim.

The federal complaint alleged that ExxonMobil discharged at least 117,000 gallons of crude oil when its pipeline ruptured April 28, 2012, about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge, spilling oil into the surrounding area and into an unnamed tributary connected to Bayou Cholpe.

EPA says the penalty is in addition to costs ExxonMobil incurred to respond to the oil spill and to replace the segment of ruptured pipeline.

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Bourbon St. shooting suspect pleads not guilty http://www.wbrz.com/news/bourbon-st-shooting-suspect-pleads-not-guilty/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bourbon-st-shooting-suspect-pleads-not-guilty/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 7:38:08 AM Hunter Robinson Bourbon St. shooting suspect pleads not guilty

NEW ORLEANS - A Bourbon Street shooting suspect has pleaded not guilty on two charges related to the June 29 gunfight in the French Quarter that fatally wounded one person and injured nine others.

Le entered his plea Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Le originally was arrested July 4 and booked with one count of first-degree murder and nine counts of attempted first-degree murder.

New Orleans police said Le was one of two men who opened fire toward each other. The second suspected gunman has not been arrested.

Last week, a grand jury indicted Le but only on the lesser charges of manslaughter and one count of attempted-second degree murder.

Le's attorney has contended that his client acted in self-defense when he fired his weapon.

Image: WWL-TV

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High school student dies after attack at school http://www.wbrz.com/news/high-school-student-dies-after-attack-at-school/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/high-school-student-dies-after-attack-at-school/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 6:40:15 AM Hunter Robinson High school student dies after attack at school

ALEXANDRIA - A student at Natchitoches Central High School has died after he was beaten during a fight.

The victim was identified as 18-year-old Johnquaries Smith.

Smith was attacked in what police are calling a random act of violence. He was air lifted to the hospital following the attack and placed on life support but later died.

A sixteen-year-old was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Because he's a minor, his name will only be released if prosecutors decide to try him as an adult.

The attack is under investigation.

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I-10 through New Orleans opens after truck fire http://www.wbrz.com/news/i-10-through-new-orleans-opens-after-truck-fire/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/i-10-through-new-orleans-opens-after-truck-fire/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 3:59:17 AM Hunter Robinson I-10 through New Orleans opens after truck fire

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans police have reopened eastbound Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans after a tank truck hauling 8,600 gallons of fuel overturned, exploded and burned in the median.

The accident closed the highway late Tuesday afternoon. The wreckage was removed overnight and the eastbound lanes reopened early Wednesday morning.

Firefighters say the truck driver suffered face, arm and knee injuries but left the cab on her own. Police say the 24-year-old driver told emergency officials she overturned when she swerved to avoid a vehicle that cut her off while she merged from Interstate 510.

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Tanker fire closes down I-10 in New Orleans http://www.wbrz.com/news/tanker-fire-closes-down-i-10-in-new-orleans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/tanker-fire-closes-down-i-10-in-new-orleans/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 3:19:49 PM Caroline McDougall Tanker fire closes down I-10 in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - A tanker truck carrying fuel overturned during a crash, causing an explosion that shut down part of Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans late Tuesday afternoon.

According to LADOTD, there were no deaths in connection with the wreck, but the truck driver was hurt during the crash and taken to the hospital suffering from various face, arm and knee injuries.

The 24-year-old driver told emergency officials she overturned the tanker as she swerved to avoid a vehicle that cut her off while she merged onto the interstate.

Traffic officials said they believe excessive speed may have been a factor in the 18-wheeler's collision with a median barrier, but the crash remains under investigation.

HazMat crews were on the scene to clean up spilt fuel and wreckage after the fire was extinguished while the Eastbound and Westbound lanes of I-10 remained closed.

State police and local police assisted DOTD in diverting traffic and created a detour around the cleanup efforts.

Officials say up to 20 New Orleans fire crews helped fight the blaze.


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Landowner appeals in gopher frog dispute http://www.wbrz.com/news/landowner-appeals-in-gopher-frog-dispute/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/landowner-appeals-in-gopher-frog-dispute/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 1:31:37 PM Caroline McDougall Landowner appeals in gopher frog dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana landowner is appealing a federal judge's decision that a tree farm where an endangered burrowing frog was last seen in 1965 is necessary for the animal's recovery.

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Reed Hopper filed the notice of appeal on Tuesday in federal court in New Orleans for Markle Interests LLC.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ruled that U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials were within the law when they declared 1,544 acres in Louisiana as "critical habitat" for dusky gopher frogs.

He rejected arguments that the agency should have prepared an environmental impact statement and failed to adequately consider the possible economic impact.

The agency also listed 5,000 acres in Mississippi, but nobody challenged that decision. Most is federal land.

The frogs once also lived in Alabama.

By Glen Johnson / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain]

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Monitor: New Orleans jail far from reformed http://www.wbrz.com/news/monitor-new-orleans-jail-far-from-reformed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/monitor-new-orleans-jail-far-from-reformed/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:31:26 PM Kevin McGill Monitor: New Orleans jail far from reformed

NEW ORLEANS - A court-appointed monitor's report says reform efforts at the New Orleans jail are moving slowly while inmates and staff "continue to face grave harm."

Responding to Tuesday's report by monitor Susan McCampbell, Sheriff Marlin Gusman said he's committed to the court-ordered reforms. Gusman said his office is in final negotiations to contract with a new mental health and medical care provider. And he's hired a compliance officer who will help speed up compliance with the reforms.

The monitor's report said mental health care is "virtually non-existent" at the jail while fire safety and sanitation problems remain.

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