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. () () Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:04:15 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Bayou filled with trash and filth to clean sweep http://www.wbrz.com/news/bayou-filled-with-trash-and-filth-to-clean-sweep/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bayou-filled-with-trash-and-filth-to-clean-sweep/ State News Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:52:05 PM Ryan Naquin Bayou filled with trash and filth to clean sweep

BATON ROUGE - People with paddle boards, canoes, and small boats will invade Bayou Fountain Saturday morning to rid the waterway of trash and filth that's settled along the stream.

The Bayou Manchac group along with Paddle BR will begin the cleanup at 9 a.m. at the Highland Road Park paddle launch site. 

Volunteers will cleanup a 3.5-mile stretch between Bluebonnet Swamp and Bayou Manchac.

The groups blame the litter on no control over Baton Rouge street drainage which flows directly to waterways.

Trash from Bayou Fountain makes its way to Bayou Manchac, the Amite River, the Diversion Canal, Lake Maurepas, Pass Manchac, Lake Pontchartrain, and the Gulf of Mexico, according to Jonathan Scott with Bayou Manchac Group.

The groups have removed nearly 30 blockages of trash in order to allow paddlers to explore the bayou as in years past.


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Early voting begins Saturday http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-begins-saturday-59637/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-begins-saturday-59637/ State News Fri, 18 Apr 2014 9:50:37 AM Kris Kreutz Early voting begins Saturday

BATON ROUGE - Early voting begins Saturday for the May 3rd elections in Louisiana, continuing through April 26.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler says 35 parishes are holding elections May 3.

In East Baton Rouge, Central voters will choose between Jason Ellis and Ralph Washington in a runoff for city council. Voters in the parish will also decide on tax renewals for schools and on taxes for fire protection districts for East Side and District 6.

Voters in Walker will vote on property taxes that would go to improvements for Walker High School.

Parishes holding May 3rd elections include: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Bienville, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Catahoula, Desoto, East Baton Rouge, Grant, Iberia, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafourche, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Richland, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Feliciana, and Winn.

Citizens who want to vote early can do so in person at their parish Registrar of Voters Office or at other designated locations.


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Louisiana tops 2 million employed http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-tops-2-million-employed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-tops-2-million-employed/ State News Fri, 18 Apr 2014 9:34:18 AM Kris Kreutz Louisiana tops 2 million employed

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana has set another all-time high in March, with more than 2 million people saying they have a job.

It's the six month in a row that the state has set a record. The state's unemployment rate for March is 4.5 percent, the same as it was in February. That's the eighth lowest rate in the country.

Payrolls grew in March, but remained below record levels of late 2013. The figures were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department.

The number of unemployed Louisianans remained below 100,000, falling to 93,500 in March. That's the lowest level since July 2008.


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Rapper Lil Boosie to take Louisiana stages http://www.wbrz.com/news/rapper-lil-boosie-to-take-louisiana-stages/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/rapper-lil-boosie-to-take-louisiana-stages/ State News Fri, 18 Apr 2014 8:15:19 AM Chevel Johnson Rapper Lil Boosie to take Louisiana stages

NEW ORLEANS - It's a big weekend ahead for Louisiana-grown Lil Boosie, who for the first time since his years long prison stint for a 2009 drug conviction, takes the stage in his home state with performances scheduled in Lafayette and New Orleans.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the rapper - whose real name is Torence Hatch - says he can't wait to get on stage Saturday at Lafayette's Cajundome and the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on Sunday.

Hatch says fans can expect a great show and a few surprises. He wouldn't spill any details, but says they should expect to leave the arenas sweaty because he plans to have them jumping the whole time.

The Louisiana concerts follow a sold-out April 11 performance in Nashville, his first post-prison show.


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Miss USA tickets on sale today http://www.wbrz.com/news/miss-usa-tickets-on-sale-today/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/miss-usa-tickets-on-sale-today/ State News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 8:38:36 PM Trey Schmaltz Miss USA tickets on sale today

BATON ROUGE- Tickets for the Miss USA pageant that will be held here go in sale Friday.

According to ticket information on Ticket Master, about half of the River Center Arena will be utilized for the event. There will be floor, lower, and middle level seating available.

The event, which is also broadcast on TV, is set for Sunday, June 8th at 7 p.m.

People with a presale pass were able to buy tickets Thursday. Sales started at about $87 and the most expensive tickets were going for almost $164.
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Legendary Pete Fountain putting down his clarinet http://www.wbrz.com/news/legendary-pete-fountain-putting-down-his-clarinet/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/legendary-pete-fountain-putting-down-his-clarinet/ State News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 7:35:41 PM Trey Schmaltz Legendary Pete Fountain putting down his clarinet

NEW ORLEANS- Legendary musician Pete Fountain has retired from public performing his family said late Thursday, according to WWLTV.com.

Described as a musical icon and great clarinetist, the 83-year-old said it is time to retire. The announcement came from his son-in-law who has acted as his manager for some time.

The station's website reports Fountain is in good health, though.

Fountain last performed nearly a year ago at Jazz Fest and he will not perform there this year. Most recently, Fountain rode on a float with his Half-Fast Walking Club during Mardi Gras but did not perform.
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New Orleans tax preparer arrested for fraud http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-tax-preparer-arrested-for-fraud/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-tax-preparer-arrested-for-fraud/ State News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 1:48:21 PM New Orleans tax preparer arrested for fraud

BATON ROUGE - A New Orleans woman has been arrested for allegedly defrauding the state of more than $900,000 through the filing of false tax returns.

The state Department of Revenue said Thursday that 28-year-old Kenshika Jiles was arrested Wednesday and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on two felony counts of computer fraud and injuring public records. It was not immediately known if she remained in custody or was represented by an attorney.

Investigators say Jiles, owner of S&A Tax Service, prepared and submitted tax returns containing false information including phony business expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses and improper child care tax credit claims. Her alleged actions resulted in $923,751 in unpaid taxes and fraudulent refunds.


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Michelle Obama to address Dillard graduates http://www.wbrz.com/news/michelle-obama-to-address-dillard-graduates/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/michelle-obama-to-address-dillard-graduates/ State News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:13:19 PM Michelle Obama to address Dillard graduates

NEW ORLEANS - The First Lady of the United States will address 243 graduating students along with their friends and family during Dillard University's 2014 commencement ceremony.

The ceremony is set for May 10 at 10 a.m.

Michelle Obama studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988.

As first lady, she launched the "Let's Move!" initiative to bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses and parents in a nationwide effort to fight childhood obesity.

Dillard officials said that Mrs. Obama continues to work on issues such as supporting military families, helping women work to balance career and family, encouraging national service, promoting the arts and arts education and fostering healthy habits for children and families.


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Bond Commission backs Jindal plan for surplus cash http://www.wbrz.com/news/bond-commission-backs-jindal-plan-for-surplus-cash/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bond-commission-backs-jindal-plan-for-surplus-cash/ State News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 8:22:57 AM Melinda Deslatte Bond Commission backs Jindal plan for surplus cash

BATON ROUGE - Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget has received the backing of the State Bond Commission.

The plan is a budget sleight of hand, using dollars that are limited in how they can be spent, to pay off debt early. The maneuver frees up the same amount of unrestricted money in next year's budget to spend on general operating expenses.

Treasurer John Kennedy suggested Thursday the plan violates the spirit of the state Constitution. He said it will create a hole a year later because the state will have another debt payment to make and the one-time and surplus dollars will be gone.

But Kennedy was the only Bond Commission member to vote against moving ahead with the debt pre-payment.


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Gov. Jindal to deliver commencement at Liberty University http://www.wbrz.com/news/gov-jindal-to-deliver-commencement-at-liberty-university/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/gov-jindal-to-deliver-commencement-at-liberty-university/ State News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 5:06:37 AM Hunter Robinson Gov. Jindal to deliver commencement at Liberty University

LYNCHBURG, VA - Another early Republican presidential prospect is heading to Liberty University.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will deliver the keynote commencement address May 10 at the Virginia university founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. The Lynchburg school announced his appearance on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, another possible Republican presidential hopeful, Ted Cruz, spoke at Liberty. The Texan is a tea party favorite.

An appearance at Liberty University has become a familiar stop along the early presidential campaign trail, similar to states like Iowa and New Hampshire where voters and party activists get the first shot at winnowing the field of Republican and Democratic candidates.


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Man accused of stealing crawfish from traps http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-accused-of-stealing-crawfish-from-traps/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-accused-of-stealing-crawfish-from-traps/ State News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 5:01:11 AM Hunter Robinson Man accused of stealing crawfish from traps

CROWLEY - Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old Crowley man who is accused of stealing crawfish from traps in an Acadia Parish pond.

Sheriff Wayne Melancon said Jason Paul Mire faces up to 10 years in prison at hard labor and a fine up to $3,000.

Melancon said state wildlife agents saw Mire in a crawfish pond that does not belong to him. The arrest, aided by sheriff's deputies, occurred at the site of the alleged thefts on Crowley Eunice Highway near Mire's home.

He said his office has received numerous complaints of theft from crawfish farmers parish-wide.

It was unclear whether Mire has an attorney.


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Worker resigns after Congressman's kiss goes viral http://www.wbrz.com/news/worker-resigns-after-congressman-s-kiss-goes-viral/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/worker-resigns-after-congressman-s-kiss-goes-viral/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 8:23:41 PM Trey Schmaltz Worker resigns after Congressman's kiss goes viral

MONROE- The woman some have fingered as the source of a leaked video where Rep. Vance McAllister is seen kissing an aid has resigned, KNOE TV reported Wednesday.

Leah Gordon was the district manager at the office where McAllister kissed the woman who was not his wife. The video was a recording of security video and Gordon was one of three people who had access to it, the station reported. Last week, a pastor who was familiar with the situation also blamed Gordon for the leak.

McAllister's staff also said the House Employment Counsel and an independent firm are investigating the video leak. You can read more about Gordon and her resignation HERE.

McAllister canceled his events for the Easter break and said he will return to Congress after the recess.
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Medicaid fraud roundup nets 20 arrests http://www.wbrz.com/news/medicaid-fraud-roundup-nets-20-arrests/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/medicaid-fraud-roundup-nets-20-arrests/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 2:25:38 PM Russell Jones Medicaid fraud roundup nets 20 arrests

NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Attorney General's Office announced more than a dozen recent arrests as part of a crackdown on Medicaid fraud in the New Orleans area.

The AG's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested 20 personal care attendants on suspicion of defrauding the state's Medicaid program by $150,000 over the course of one year.

"This week's roundup would not have been possible if not for the help of the Orleans, Jefferson and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs' Offices. With this heightened level of cooperation, our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is achieving great results," Caldwell said.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said investigators received a tip about potential fraud at a senior residential facility in New Orleans. Checking security sheets, the agents said they discovered multiple cases where attendants from four different Medicaid providers submitted payment claims for work they never did.

Personal care attendants are hired by Medicaid providers to care for physically handicapped and disabled Medicaid recipients. The personal care attendants keep service logs and records of hours worked with each client and submit the hours to the Medicaid provider for payment. In turn, the Medicaid provider submits the hours to the Medicaid program for payment of services rendered.

The following people were arrested as part of this investigation:

Tonisha A. Ambeau
Personal Care Attendant for Courteous Care, Inc.
5 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Johnsie M. Bradford
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Kiyanta R. Branch
Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.
2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Bertha A. Charles
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
4 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Yolanda K. Duncan
Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.
6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Denise T. Hingle
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
4 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Shawn M. Johnson
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
4 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Sydnee B. Jolla
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Catherine E. Lee
Personal Care Attendant for Courteous Care, Inc.
2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Regina Matthews
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Mikkeshia A. Ricard
Personal Care Attendant for Positive Care, LLC
2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Betty L. Sanders
Personal Care Attendant for Courteous Care, Inc.
6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Cherie V. Simmons
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
3 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Moniqusha M. Simmons
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Tiffany N. Davis
Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.
2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Melissa S. Williams
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
3 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Latrice A. Woods
Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.
2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Shantrelle T. Boothe
Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.
6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Sandra A. Jackson
Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services
3 Counts Medicaid Fraud

Ariane M. Jones
Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.
2 Counts Medicaid Fraud


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Winter holidays bill backed by Education Committee http://www.wbrz.com/news/winter-holidays-bill-backed-by-education-committee/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/winter-holidays-bill-backed-by-education-committee/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 2:13:18 PM Winter holidays bill backed by Education Committee

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's public schools would be given explicit authority to put up nativity scenes and Christmas trees as part of a holiday display, under a proposal that received the backing of the House Education Committee.

Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, said he sponsored the proposal (House Bill 876) to "support Merry Christmas."

The displays on school properly could include a menorah, nativity scene, a Christmas tree or other symbols "associated with traditional celebrations in winter" if the display either represents more than one religion or includes one religion and at least one secular symbol. The display couldn't include a "message that encourages adherence to a particular religious belief."

Seabaugh's bill also would spell out in law that students and staff can say "Merry Christmas," ''Happy Hanukkah" or other holiday greetings at school.

The committee approved the measure without objection, sending it to the full House.


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Senate approves public school switch bill http://www.wbrz.com/news/senate-approves-public-school-switch-bill/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/senate-approves-public-school-switch-bill/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 2:10:14 PM Senate approves public school switch bill

BATON ROUGE - Students at poor-performing public schools could have the possibility of switching to higher-performing schools, under a bill that received the unanimous support Wednesday of the Senate.

Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said he proposed Senate Bill 61 to offer choice to public school students, like the state has offered through the taxpayer-funded voucher program.

"It gives our public school students the same rights as our scholarship students in private schools," he said.

The proposal would start with the upcoming 2014-15 school year.

Parents would be able to enroll their children in the public school they choose if the student was assigned to a school that was graded with a D or F in the state's school grading system. The school that a parent chooses must be rated at an A, B or C level - and it must have the space to take the student.

The bill contains an exception for schools under court orders. It also would require parents to get their children to the newly-selected school if it's located outside the geographic boundaries of the school system or would cost the system more than it would otherwise pay for transportation.


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House approves bill blocking family planning info at schools http://www.wbrz.com/news/house-approves-bill-blocking-family-planning-info-at-schools/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/house-approves-bill-blocking-family-planning-info-at-schools/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 2:06:31 PM House approves bill blocking family planning info at schools

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana House agreed Wednesday to ban organizations that perform abortions from distributing any information on family planning or human sexuality at public schools.

Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, said his bill (House Bill 305) was in line with "Louisiana's long-standing policy of respecting the dignity of human persons, including unborn babies."

"This bill assures that children in state-funded schools are not targeted by abortion providers to subtly sell abortion," he said.

Planned Parenthood opposes the measure, describing it as an effort to keep comprehensive sex education out of Louisiana schools and to deny students important information to help them make responsible decisions.

The House approved Hoffmann's proposal in a 91-6 vote, sending it to the Senate for consideration.


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Recovered guns part of art project in New Orleans http://www.wbrz.com/news/recovered-guns-part-of-art-project-in-new-orleans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/recovered-guns-part-of-art-project-in-new-orleans/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:24:09 AM Recovered guns part of art project in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - Weapons will become raw materials for artists in a project getting underway in New Orleans.

City officials and civic leaders were set to gather Wednesday at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in the city's Warehouse District to announce the project that is being called "Guns in the Hands of Artists."

Wednesday's program includes the display of 186 guns removed from the streets of New Orleans through the city police department's gun buyback program. Organizers say participating artists will select guns from that display to use in their artworks.


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New drinking and driving campaign a blast from the past http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-drinking-and-driving-campaign-a-blast-from-the-past/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-drinking-and-driving-campaign-a-blast-from-the-past/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 8:16:08 AM Hunter Robinson New drinking and driving campaign a blast from the past

BATON ROUGE- Col. Mike Edmonson was just a state trooper when he appeared in a ground-breaking drinking and driving PSA in 1986. 28 years later, he's back for a new commercial and a new campaign.

The commercial and campaign were so successful it was copied by groups around the country. Louisiana State Police and Alcohol and Tobacco Control have teamed up to update the PSA and continue the fight against drunk drivers.

Col. Edmonson and ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert appear in the new commercial that is very similar to the old one. Watch the video to check out the new PSA that was unveiled when Col. Edmonson visited 2une In on Wednesday.

 


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At the Capitol with La. Senator Sharon Weston Broome http://www.wbrz.com/news/at-the-capitol-with-la-senator-sharon-weston-broome/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/at-the-capitol-with-la-senator-sharon-weston-broome/ State News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 7:18:23 AM Hunter Robinson At the Capitol with La. Senator Sharon Weston Broome

BATON ROUGE - La. Senator Sharon Weston Broome joined us on 2une In Wednesday to talk about the latest from the capitol, including gun-carrying lawmakers, common core, St. George incorporation and more.

She also discussed one of her bills that is coming up soon this legislative session. It's a Good Samaritan law that, if passed, would allow someone who sees an overdose victim to call 911 and take the necessary steps to help them. It would also allow all first responders in the state to carry the antidote needed for overdoses.

For more information, check out the video.


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Speed trap labeling bill dies in the La. House http://www.wbrz.com/news/speed-trap-labeling-bill-dies-in-the-la-house/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/speed-trap-labeling-bill-dies-in-the-la-house/ State News Tue, 15 Apr 2014 3:51:57 PM Speed trap labeling bill dies in the La. House

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana won't have any officially labeled "speed traps."

Rep. Steve Pylant's effort to brand tiny towns that get more than half their annual income from speeding tickets with the moniker has failed to get the backing of the state House.

Even after a list of changes, Pylant could only get 47 votes for the bill Tuesday, six votes short of what was needed for passage.

The issue had become a contentious one for House members.

Pylant, a former Franklin Parish sheriff, said more than a dozen towns in Louisiana were using excessive enforcement of speed limits to drum up cash. He said law enforcement should be about public safety, not generating revenue.

Opponents argued that people should obey the speed limit and the towns shouldn't be penalized for law enforcement.


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