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. () () Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:09:51 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Malaria identified as cause of illness on ship http://www.wbrz.com/news/malaria-identified-as-cause-of-illness-on-ship/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/malaria-identified-as-cause-of-illness-on-ship/ State News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 9:37:16 AM Bill Fuller Malaria identified as cause of illness on ship

NEW ORLEANS - Health officials have identified malaria as the cause of an illness that hospitalized at least one crew member aboard a ship that's now docked in New Orleans.

The Centers for Disease Control says at least one crew member of the Liberian-flagged ship, Marine Phoenix, tested positive Wednesday for the potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease.

The CDC issued a statement saying that two other sailors had "mild symptoms."

The CDC says one of the ship's crew members disembarked in the Bahamas several days ago, where he was diagnosed with malaria and later died.

The ship's itinerary included a stop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The CDC says a test on the dead crew member showed negative for the type of Ebola that is causing the current outbreak in West Africa.

Image: WWL-TV

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La men make 33 percent more than women http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-men-make-33-percent-more-than-women/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-men-make-33-percent-more-than-women/ State News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 9:23:06 AM Janet McConnaughey La men make 33 percent more than women

NEW ORLEANS - New Census data show that women in Louisiana are paid about two-thirds of what men are paid - the nation's largest gender pay gap.

Figures from 2013 show Mississippi's gap was much smaller: about average nationally, at 77 percent. But average pay for both men and women in Mississippi was the nation's lowest.

In Louisiana, men's pay was in the top half nationally but women's pay ranked 44th among the states and Washington, D.C.

Lisa Maatz of the American Association of University Women says that indicates high gender segregation in Louisiana jobs. She notes that few women work in the high-paying oil and gas area.

The District of Columbia had both the highest average pay and the smallest gender gap: women's pay averages 91 percent of men's pay.

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Leesville officers to enforce cellphone law http://www.wbrz.com/news/leesville-officers-to-enforce-cellphone-law/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/leesville-officers-to-enforce-cellphone-law/ State News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 6:49:19 AM APNewsNow Leesville officers to enforce cellphone law

LEESVILLE - The city of Leesville will begin putting up signs in the next few days to remind drivers that a new state law prohibits them from using cellphones in a school zone.

Police Chief Greg Hill says officers weren't allowed to enforce the law, which took effect Aug. 1, until signs were posted.

Hill tells the American Press a backlog likely caused the delay in sending the signs, which will be posted alongside school zone signs.

Mayor Rick Allen said police will begin enforcing the law one month after the signs go up. First-time offenders can be fined up to $175; repeat offenses can garner fines of up to $500. Traffic accidents involving phone use could lead to doubled fines.

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Corps: Changes at Morganza flood control structure http://www.wbrz.com/news/corps-changes-at-morganza-flood-control-structure/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/corps-changes-at-morganza-flood-control-structure/ State News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 5:23:14 AM Associated Press Corps: Changes at Morganza flood control structure

BATON ROUGE - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold public meetings next week on plans to tweak the way the Morganza flood control structure is operated during floods.

The Morganza flood control structure diverts water from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya floodway to help prevent too much water from getting downriver.

Normally, the structure is opened when the river reaches a flow rate of 1.5 million cubic feet per second and rising. However, the river bottom has changed over the years, which has led to higher water flow levels in 2011.

Ricky Boyett, Corps spokesman, tells The Advocate the Corps is proposing making sure the structure is operated so that the river water height doesn't get higher than 57 feet.

Meetings will be held in St. Martinville, Morgan City and Baton Rouge.

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LSU at odds with hospital manager over contracts http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-at-odds-with-hospital-manager-over-contracts/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-at-odds-with-hospital-manager-over-contracts/ State News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 3:37:09 AM Associated Press LSU at odds with hospital manager over contracts

BATON ROUGE - LSU has rejected financial proposals from the manager of its Shreveport and Monroe hospitals that would govern the sharing of computer services, utilities and security.

University system health care adviser Jerry Phillips says the documents submitted by the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana didn't meet the terms sought by LSU.

Though management of the north Louisiana hospitals shifted nearly a year ago, LSU and the research foundation have been unable to reach terms on various financial contract details.

A behind-the-scenes dispute over the contractual arrangements spilled into public view last month when LSU sent the research foundation a collection letter demanding payment for $25 million in outstanding debts.

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Panel could give Jindal chance to kill oil lawsuit http://www.wbrz.com/news/panel-could-give-jindal-chance-to-kill-oil-lawsuit/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/panel-could-give-jindal-chance-to-kill-oil-lawsuit/ State News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 3:33:49 AM Associated Press Panel could give Jindal chance to kill oil lawsuit

HARAHAN, La. - A little-known state panel could have a big effect on the future of a lawsuit filed against the oil and gas industry last year by a south Louisiana flood board.

The nominating committee for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East was set Thursday to nominate applicants for two people on the board whose terms have expired. One of them is Paul Kemp, who supports the flood board's lawsuit seeking to hold oil and gas companies accountable for coastal damage.

Kemp has re-applied for the board, but Gov. Bobby Jindal - who chooses from among the committee's nominees - has made it clear he would favor a lawsuit opponent.

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Report: ship's crew member has malaria http://www.wbrz.com/news/report-ship-s-crew-member-has-malaria/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/report-ship-s-crew-member-has-malaria/ State News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 4:03:39 PM WBRZ Staff Report: ship's crew member has malaria

MARRERO - Four crew members of a Liberian-flagged cargo ship are being treated at a hospital here after becoming ill Wednesday.

A few hours after one crew member arrived at the hospital, WWL TV reported a Jefferson Parish government official said federal health officials informed leaders that the patient was being treated for malaria, and it is not contagious.

Earlier in the day, the ship's crew alerted authorities that people on board had fallen ill. The ship anchored in the Mississippi River south of New Orleans where crew members were removed and rushed to the hospital. A river boat captain was among those who were taken to see doctors.

The ship is last known to have made port in Panama before heading toward Louisiana, according to a state official.  It had also stopped near parts of Ebola-ridden Africa. 

"A ship coming from a part of the world where there is a big outbreak occurring of Ebola, I think it's appropriate," said Dr. Fred Lopez of the LSU Health Sciences Center concerning the reaction to the ill crew members. Lopez spoke to WBRZ's partner-station in New Orleans, WWL TV.

Health officials from the CDC stated, "there is no evidence to suggest that the crew members traveled to, or had any contact with anyone... where Ebola cases are occurring."  

The CDC further stated that the chances are "exceedingly low" that the sick crew have Ebola.

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DA to drop charge against DeSoto big cat sanctuary http://www.wbrz.com/news/da-to-drop-charge-against-desoto-big-cat-sanctuary/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/da-to-drop-charge-against-desoto-big-cat-sanctuary/ State News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:02:18 AM Janet McConnaughey DA to drop charge against DeSoto big cat sanctuary

NEW ORLEANS - The DeSoto Parish district attorney says he's dropping a criminal misdemeanor charge accusing a sanctuary in Frierson of housing big cats without a state permit. And a judge in Baton Rouge has consolidated the sanctuary's challenge to a state big cat law with a similar suit filed by the owner of a truck stop outside Baton Rouge.

District Attorney Richard Johnson says that if the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a problem with the sanctuary called Yogie and Friends, the department should deal with it.

Fur and refuge division chief Maria Davidson says she doesn't know what the state will do.

Yogie and Friends has three aging tigers, four elderly lions, three servals and a bobcat. It could have been fined up to $500 if found guilty.

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GOP leader presses for more Landrieu flight detail http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-leader-presses-for-more-landrieu-flight-detail/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-leader-presses-for-more-landrieu-flight-detail/ State News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 9:46:31 AM APNewsNow GOP leader presses for more Landrieu flight detail

BATON ROUGE - The chairman of the Republican National Committee is calling on U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu to release all records of her taxpayer-funded charter flights for an independent review.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday if the three-term Democratic incumbent is unwilling to yield to such scrutiny, she should reimburse the federal treasury for all private flight spending.

The push for more information comes after Landrieu acknowledged she improperly billed her Senate office for nearly $43,000 in charter costs that should have been paid from her campaign account. Her campaign has reimbursed the federal treasury.

Landrieu's review of flights dated back to February 2002, leaving out her first term. Her campaign said federal rules changed in 2002 to allow flight costs to be split between Senate and campaign accounts for mixed-purpose trips.

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State orders closure of a landfill in Shreveport http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-orders-closure-of-a-landfill-in-shreveport/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-orders-closure-of-a-landfill-in-shreveport/ State News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 8:57:11 AM APNewsNow State orders closure of a landfill in Shreveport

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality, working with the State Fire Marshal's Office, has ordered the shutdown of a Shreveport landfill where long-burning fires have been a problem for years.

Tuesday's order requires Harrelson Material Management Inc. to cease landfill operations at its construction and demolition landfill on Russell Road in Shreveport.

In a news release, DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch said the company has failed to meet requirements of an earlier fire mitigation plan. Hatch said the company lacks the people and equipment needed to put out an underground fire believed to have been burning for months.

DEQ says that a third party will be hired to put out the fire, then Harrelson Materials will be required to complete the closure of the operation.

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Man who killed student sentenced to death http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-who-killed-student-sentenced-to-death/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-who-killed-student-sentenced-to-death/ State News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:42:34 PM APNewsNow Man who killed student sentenced to death

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL - An escaped Louisiana inmate convicted of killing a Florida State graduate student in northeast Florida has been sentenced to death.

Following a jury's recommendation, a St. Johns County judge sentenced 43-year-old Kentrell Feronti Johnson on Tuesday. He was previously convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping.

Authorities say 29-year-old Vincent Binder was found dead in an open field near Interstate 95 in April 2010 several weeks after he went missing. Deputy marshals caught up with Johnson and two other Louisiana prison escapees in Miami and linked them to Binder.

One of Johnson's co-defendants, Quentin Truehill, was previously convicted and sentenced to death earlier. Co-defendant Peter Hughes pleaded as charged to first-degree murder and kidnapping and received a life sentence.

Image: staugustine.com

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La. airports get federal grants for improvements http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-airports-get-federal-grants-for-improvements/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-airports-get-federal-grants-for-improvements/ State News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:14:30 AM La. airports get federal grants for improvements

BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport will receive nearly $1.68 million under a U.S. Department of Transportation grant program for improvements.

Also sharing in $13.32 million earmarked for Louisiana are Lafayette Regional Airport, $1.5 million, and Acadiana Regional Airport in New Iberia, $222,222.

The largest DOT grant in Louisiana was $7 million approved for Alexandria International Airport.

Other DOT grants went to: Allen Parish Airport, nearly $1.32 million; Leesville Airport, Vernon Parish, $709,536; Marksville Municipal Airport, Avoyelles Parish, $585,162; John H. Hooks Jr. Memorial Airport, Rayville, Richland Parish, $225,000; and Springhill Airport, Webster Parish, $86,440.

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Influential La. lobbyist Tommy Boggs dies http://www.wbrz.com/news/influential-la-lobbyist-tommy-boggs-dies/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/influential-la-lobbyist-tommy-boggs-dies/ State News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 9:04:28 AM Russell Jones Influential La. lobbyist Tommy Boggs dies

NEW ORLEANS - Well-known Washington D. C. lobbyist and Louisiana native Tommy Boggs Jr. has died. He was 73 years old.

Boggs' sister said he died of a heart attack Monday.

The New Orleans native was the son of Thomas Hale Boggs, a U. S. Representative from Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District, and Lindy Boggs, who succeeded her husband in Congress after his death and went on to become the U. S. ambassador to the Vatican. Boggs had two sisters, TV journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts and Barbara Boggs Sigmund, who served as mayor of Princeton, N.J.

A number of political leaders voiced sympathies at Boggs' passing, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

"Tom Boggs was an institution in this city," Reid said in the Senate Monday, "and I extend my sympathy to the entire family and want them to know that our country and Washington is a much better place because of Tommy Boggs passing through here."

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) currently holds the seat that Boggs' father did, and also expressed condolences Tuesday.

""Tommy's ambition and business acumen were only matched by his kindness and generosity," he said. "The contributions of the Boggs family to Louisiana cannot be overstated, and Tommy was no exception. The legacy he has built will live on for generations to come."

Boggs, a Democrat, began as a lawyer in New Orleans before moving his practice to Washington D. C. to become a lobbyist. He was named one of the most influential lawyers in the nation by the The National Law Journal.


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Caddo Parish remains could be Ark. woman http://www.wbrz.com/news/caddo-parish-remains-could-be-ark-woman/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/caddo-parish-remains-could-be-ark-woman/ State News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 5:43:09 AM Associated Press Caddo Parish remains could be Ark. woman

FULTON, Ark. - Arkansas State Police are working with Louisiana forensic experts to determine if a female skeleton found on a Red River sandbar is a missing Ashdown woman.

Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton tells the Texarkana Gazette authorities believe the remains could be 42-year-old Janice Northcross, who has been missing since Feb. 8. Authorities say Northcross jumped or fell in the Red River near Fulton to avoid a tractor-trailer that was skidding toward her on an icy Interstate 30 bridge.

Singleton says state police have sent DNA from the bones to the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana. The office will work with the county coroner and Louisiana State University forensic anthropologists.

Authorities found the skeleton last week near Fulton after dove hunters discovered a skull.

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La. public school teacher retirements remain up http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-public-school-teacher-retirements-remain-up/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-public-school-teacher-retirements-remain-up/ State News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 5:26:24 AM Associated Press La. public school teacher retirements remain up

BATON ROUGE - Newly released statistics find the spike in public school retirements eased somewhat, but the numbers are still higher than prior to passage of Gov. Bobby Jindal's education revamp.

The number of kindergarten through 12th-grade employees in the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana who retired in the fiscal year ending June 30 stood at 2,979. Seventy percent of those who retired had 20 years or more of service credit.

In the two prior fiscal years, there were 3,295 and 3,415 retirements, respectively. The 3,415 retirements came in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

State Superintendent of Education John White tells The Advocate economics is the driving factor as teachers, administrators and others make personal decisions on what's best for the future for themselves and their families.

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5 men shot in eastern New Orleans http://www.wbrz.com/news/5-men-shot-in-eastern-new-orleans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/5-men-shot-in-eastern-new-orleans/ State News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 4:40:54 AM Associated Press 5 men shot in eastern New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - Police are investigating a shooting in eastern New Orleans near a gas station and convenience store that left five men injured.

Officer Frank Robertson says the five men -- ages 20, 27, 35, 54 and 60 -- were shot around 8 p.m. Monday.

Robertson says the 27-year-old was struck multiple times, while the remaining men were each shot once. He says two of the men were taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance while three arrived by private vehicle.

Their conditions were not immediately available.

Robertson says evidence suggest that one of the men may have been the target of the gunfire.

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Ethics complaint filed against Sen. David Vitter http://www.wbrz.com/news/ethics-complaint-filed-against-sen-david-vitter/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ethics-complaint-filed-against-sen-david-vitter/ State News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:36:52 PM APNewsNow Ethics complaint filed against Sen. David Vitter

NEW ORLEANS - A Democratic group has lodged an ethics complaint against Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, alleging he violated state campaign finance restrictions.

The American Democracy Legal Fund announced Monday it filed the complaint with the Louisiana ethics board.

It seeks an investigation into a $100,000 fund transfer from Vitter's federal campaign account to an independent PAC supporting Vitter's 2015 candidacy for governor.

The PAC is called The Fund for Louisiana's Future.

The complaint says Louisiana law prohibits transfers of a candidate's federal campaign money to a PAC that supports that candidate.

Vitter's spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

State ethics administrator Kathleen Allen says she can't comment on whether a complaint was filed.

She said the ethics board decides behind closed doors whether to investigate a complaint.

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GOP says Landrieu charter flight review has holes http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-says-landrieu-charter-flight-review-has-holes/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-says-landrieu-charter-flight-review-has-holes/ State News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:18:23 PM Melinda Deslatte GOP says Landrieu charter flight review has holes

BATON ROUGE - Republicans say U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu fell short of her pledge to review all her taxpayer-funded private charter flights to make sure they complied with the law.

The Democratic senator, seeking re-election on the November ballot, released a review of flights dating back to February 2002.

Republicans, including Landrieu opponent U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, say the three-term incumbent cherry-picked what she chose to release. They question why she didn't comb through flights from her first six years in Congress.

Landrieu said her campaign reimbursed the federal treasury for nearly $34,000 in flight costs involving political fundraisers.

Her campaign says the review only went back 12 years because that's when federal rules changed to allow flight costs to be split between Senate and campaign accounts if the trip had mixed purposes.

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State seeks to reverse federal judge's ruling http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-seeks-to-reverse-federal-judge-s-ruling/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-seeks-to-reverse-federal-judge-s-ruling/ State News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 7:04:15 AM State seeks to reverse federal judge's ruling

BATON ROUGE - State officials are asking a federal appellate court to reverse the judge's finding that hot conditions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary's death row are unconstitutional.

In a filing with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for the state Department of Corrections argue that there is no basis in law for Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson's order that heat indexes on death row - how hot it actually feels - not top 88 degrees from April through October.

State officials claim the judge's ruling and order effectively requires the state to install an "extensive and expensive" air conditioning unit or some other humidity-controlling device, something no court has ever mandated.

Attorneys for three Louisiana condemned killers have until Sept. 23 to enter their response.

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La. State Fair head arrested on marijuana charge http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-state-fair-head-arrested-on-marijuana-charge/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-state-fair-head-arrested-on-marijuana-charge/ State News Sun, 14 Sep 2014 11:35:51 AM APNewsNow La. State Fair head arrested on marijuana charge

SHREVEPORT, La. - The State Fair of Louisiana's president and general manager is facing a drug charge following an arrest early Saturday morning.

43 year-old Chris Giordano was arrested for possession of marijuana according to the Shreveport Police Department.

KTBS-TV reports Giordano was initially pulled over for failing to stop at a stop sign.

After a search, officers found marijuana and took Giordano into custody.

He was booked into the Shreveport city jail and charged with possession of marijuana.

Giordano, succeeded his father, Sam, as the head of the State Fair of Louisiana after Sam Giordano died of heart failure in May of 2006.

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