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. () () Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:07:36 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 First Louisiana West Nile death of the year http://www.wbrz.com/news/first-louisiana-west-nile-death-of-the-year/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/first-louisiana-west-nile-death-of-the-year/ State News Fri, 25 Jul 2014 5:36:08 AM Hunter Robinson First Louisiana West Nile death of the year

SHREVEPORT - Louisiana health officials say a person in Shreveport has died from the West Nile virus.

The individual who died was between 60 and 74 years old. The gender of the victim has not been released at this time. Martha Whyte, public health chief in northwest Louisiana, tells the Times she cannot provide other information, citing confidentiality rules.

The death is the first in Louisiana this year from the mosquito-borne virus. It is among four total cases in Caddo Parish in the past week. State health officials also recorded two cases of neuroinvasive West Nile disease and one case of the less serious West Nile fever. One of the more serious cases also involves a Shreveport resident.

State health officials recorded 34 cases of the more severe neuroinvasive disease in 2013, down from a high of 204 in 2002.

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Hearing today for Bourbon St. shooting suspect http://www.wbrz.com/news/hearing-today-for-bourbon-st-shooting-suspect/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/hearing-today-for-bourbon-st-shooting-suspect/ State News Fri, 25 Jul 2014 1:23:07 AM Hunter Robinson Hearing today for Bourbon St. shooting suspect

NEW ORLEANS - A defense attorney is pushing for a faster "probable cause" hearing for the only suspect arrested so far in a deadly Bourbon Street shooting.

The hearing for 20-year-old Trung Le is currently set for Aug. 26. But defense attorney Martin Regan filed a motion saying Le shouldn't face another month in jail before prosecutors show they have probable cause to keep him locked up.

A magistrate judge in New Orleans' criminal court will hear arguments on the matter Friday.

Le was captured in Mississippi on July 4 and later extradited to Louisiana in connection with the June 29 shooting spree in which a woman from Hammond was killed and nine other people were hurt.

He is being held without bail, booked with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.


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La. casino winnings edge up from June 2013 http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-casino-winnings-edge-up-from-june-2013/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-casino-winnings-edge-up-from-june-2013/ State News Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:27:16 PM La. casino winnings edge up from June 2013

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier. State gambling revenues totaled $202.4 million in June 2013.

Revenues rose at six of the 14 riverboat casinos, most notably at Margaritaville. Its $9.8 million take was 24.6 percent higher than its opening month of June 2013.

Statewide, total riverboat casino revenues were even with a year ago at $142.4 million.

Revenues fell over the year in every market except Lake Charles, where $32.5 million won at L'Auberge Lake Charles marked a 21.3 percent increase. That counterbalanced much smaller drops at the Delta Downs track slots casino and the Isle of Capri riverboat.

The New Orleans land casino won $29.9 million, up 10.3 percent from a year earlier.

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BESE effort to hire lawyer faces Jindal resistance http://www.wbrz.com/news/bese-effort-to-hire-lawyer-faces-jindal-resistance/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bese-effort-to-hire-lawyer-faces-jindal-resistance/ State News Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:17:51 AM APNewsNow BESE effort to hire lawyer faces Jindal resistance

BATON ROUGE - The state education board has hit a roadblock from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration in its efforts to hire a law firm to pursue a possible lawsuit against the governor.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, whose office reviews state agency contracts, requested more information Thursday from BESE about its lawyer's contract. Nichols says the law firm can't represent a party in "an action adverse to the state."

BESE President Chas Roemer responded to Nichols in a letter which said their contract matched existing contracts with Jindal's outside counsel, Jimmy Faircloth, which have already been approved by Nichols' office.

Meanwhile, Education Superintendent John White told school superintendents he will have a standardized testing plan for schools by mid-August. Jindal has suspended testing contracts because of the Common Core dispute.

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Bourbon St. shooting suspect appears in court http://www.wbrz.com/news/bourbon-st-shooting-suspect-appears-in-court/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bourbon-st-shooting-suspect-appears-in-court/ State News Wed, 23 Jul 2014 9:36:52 AM APNewsNow Bourbon St. shooting suspect appears in court

NEW ORLEANS - The only suspect arrested so far in connection with a deadly gunfight on New Orleans' Bourbon Street has made a brief court appearance with new lawyers.

Twenty-year-old Trung Le remains in jail without bond on one count of first-degree murder in connection with the death of a bystander in the June 29 shooting spree.

He also faces attempted first-degree murder charges in the wounding of nine others.

His new attorney, Martin Regan, says Le is not guilty in the shootings. Regan also said Wednesday he believes video evidence may be available that will clear Le.

Image : Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office

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Louisiana ranks 47th in national Kids Count survey http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-ranks-47th-in-national-kids-count-survey/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-ranks-47th-in-national-kids-count-survey/ State News Wed, 23 Jul 2014 1:11:11 AM Hunter Robinson Louisiana ranks 47th in national Kids Count survey

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana fell one spot to 47th in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.

The Kids Count report was released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization that had Louisiana ranked at 46th in 2013.

The state improved on education and health care benchmarks, like proficiency in reading and math, high school graduation rates and health insurance coverage. The number of child and teen deaths dropped, along with the number of teen births.

But the state saw worsened data elsewhere, including rising numbers of children whose parents lack secure employment.

The percentage of children who live in poverty remained steady at 28 percent, and the percentage of children who live in single-parent families grew to 48 percent.

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No more arguments in Louisiana gay marriage case http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-more-arguments-in-louisiana-gay-marriage-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-more-arguments-in-louisiana-gay-marriage-case/ State News Wed, 23 Jul 2014 1:06:36 AM Hunter Robinson No more arguments in Louisiana gay marriage case

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman has already heard arguments regarding Louisiana's refusal to recognize the unions of gay couples legally married in other states. At the end of that hearing he asked for briefs on related issues - including whether the state's refusal to let same-sex couples marry in Louisiana is constitutional. Feldman said he didn't want to make a piecemeal ruling on the gay marriage issue.

Feldman this week issued an order stating that he has studied the briefs in the case and found that no further briefs or arguments are needed. He gave no indication when he will rule.

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Ex-BP engineer's retrial postponed http://www.wbrz.com/news/ex-bp-engineer-s-retrial-postponed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ex-bp-engineer-s-retrial-postponed/ State News Tue, 22 Jul 2014 3:33:46 PM APNewsNow Ex-BP engineer's retrial postponed

NEW ORLEANS - The August retrial of a former BP engineer accused of obstructing justice in an investigation of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been postponed while an appeals court decides whether a judge was right to throw out his earlier conviction.

Federal prosecutors allege that Kurt Mix illegally deleted text messages to obstruct an investigation involving the amount of oil flowing from BP's Macondo well after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.

Mix, who pleaded not guilty, was convicted in December. But U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval ordered a new trial, saying the verdict had been tainted by remarks the forewoman made to other jurors.

Federal prosecutors have appealed Duval's decision. So, Duval canceled the August trial date Tuesday, saying trial will be rescheduled "at the appropriate time."

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Dueling rulings could impact La. insurance subsidies http://www.wbrz.com/news/dueling-rulings-could-impact-la-insurance-subsidies/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/dueling-rulings-could-impact-la-insurance-subsidies/ State News Tue, 22 Jul 2014 8:39:54 AM Russell Jones Dueling rulings could impact La. insurance subsidies

WASHINGTON - There's another legal battle involving President Barack Obama's health care law, which could impact thousands in Louisiana who receive help paying for their plans.

Two federal appeals courts today have issued contradictory rulings on a key financing issue. The rulings came within hours of each other.

A divided court panel in Washington called into question the subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people pay their premiums. The court said financial aid can only be paid in states that have set up their own insurance exchanges.

But in Virginia, another appeals panel unanimously came to the opposite conclusion. That court said the IRS had correctly interpreted the will of Congress when it issued regulations allowing consumers nationwide to purchase subsidized coverage.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, an opponent of the president's health reforms, refused to set up a state exchange. A study released earlier this year by the Kaiser Family Foundation said around 40,000 residents in the state qualified for tax credits under the new law, averaging $3,610 per person.

The Obama administration said health care subsidies will keep flowing despite the court's decision. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says while the case works its way through the courts, it has "no practical impact" on tax credits. He said the White House is confident in Justice's legal case.

Both cases are part of a long-running political and legal campaign to overturn the health care law.

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Suspect arrested in bomb scare that closed campus http://www.wbrz.com/news/suspect-arrested-in-bomb-scare-that-closed-campus/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/suspect-arrested-in-bomb-scare-that-closed-campus/ State News Tue, 22 Jul 2014 8:15:53 AM APNewsNow Suspect arrested in bomb scare that closed campus

LAFAYETTE - Police say a 30-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a July 16 bomb threat that closed the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

At a news conference Tuesday, Lafayette police and FBI agents identified the suspect as Devin Haywood of Lafayette.

Police Sgt. Randal Leger says Haywood also was booked with trying to rob a bank before it opened the day of the bomb threat. Authorities say more arrests are possible.

Investigators say a man had called KATC-TV and police, saying a bomb was in a trash can at a park next to the university.

Police say a package found in the can turned out to be a fake bomb.

The university canceled classes for about 5,500 students while investigators from several agencies searched the park and campus.

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Elderly man booked in woman's stabbing death http://www.wbrz.com/news/elderly-man-booked-in-woman-s-stabbing-death/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/elderly-man-booked-in-woman-s-stabbing-death/ State News Tue, 22 Jul 2014 1:08:43 AM Hunter Robinson Elderly man booked in woman's stabbing death

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans police have arrested a 75-year-old man in the weekend fatal stabbing of a woman.

Police arrested Seabon "Tom" Gibson early Monday on a charge of second-degree murder. It was not immediately known if Gibson had an attorney.

Police say Gibson confessed to killing his long-time live-in companion about 6 a.m. Sunday. The 58-year-old woman's body was found on a street in the Treme neighborhood. Her name has not been released.

Police, in a news release, said they were called to the scene on a report of a "woman down" in a vacant lot. Authorities say she suffered multiple stab wounds to her body.

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New Orleans putting smoked butts in a better place http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-putting-smoked-butts-in-a-better-place/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-putting-smoked-butts-in-a-better-place/ State News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 3:34:30 PM Stacey Plaisance New Orleans putting smoked butts in a better place

NEW ORLEANS - In New Orleans, discarded butts are being turned into something useful.

The first of 50 cigarette butt recycling receptacles was installed at a downtown intersection Monday. Developers of the program say the large-scale recycling effort launched in Canada last year.

Trenton, New Jersey- based recycling company TerraCycle Inc. is working with city officials and says New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate.

TerraCycle spokesman Albe Zakes says the company turns leftover organic materials such as tobacco and paper into compost. The filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic. They are melted into plastic pellets for industrial use in the same way a plastic bottle would be recycled.

Zakes says New Orleans will be paid $4 for each pound of cigarette waste collected.

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White calls Common Core lawsuit a stalling tactic http://www.wbrz.com/news/white-calls-common-core-lawsuit-a-stalling-tactic/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/white-calls-common-core-lawsuit-a-stalling-tactic/ State News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 2:02:06 PM Brock Sues, Russell Jones White calls Common Core lawsuit a stalling tactic

BATON ROUGE - A group of state lawmakers filed a lawsuit Monday in an effort to stop the adoption of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana public schools.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday afternoon by Rep. Brett Geymann and 16 other lawmakers, contends that the state education board failed to follow Louisiana's Administrative Procedures Act for introducing new standards in public schools when goals were established in 2010.

Superintendent of Education John White called the lawsuit a stalling tactic to keep Common Core from being implemented, saying there was "no legal basis for this claim whatsoever."

BESE President Chas Roemer said they would announce a special board meeting soon to address the suit, and that they were "more determined than ever" to see Common Core implemented in the state.

The Common Core standards for reading, writing and math are set to go into effect in the upcoming school year, but the continued battle between BESE and Common Core's critics leave future implementation of the standards uncertain.

To read a copy of the lawsuit, click here.

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Edwards: If elected, state budget would be focus http://www.wbrz.com/news/edwards-if-elected-state-budget-would-be-focus/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/edwards-if-elected-state-budget-would-be-focus/ State News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 1:13:19 PM Melinda Deslatte Edwards: If elected, state budget would be focus

BATON ROUGE - The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, says Louisiana's next leader will need to focus on stabilizing the state's finances.

Edwards criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."

He says Jindal's use of piecemeal financing, his draining of reserve funds and refusal to take certain federal dollars will leave his successor with a troubled budget situation.

Jindal has described his budget maneuvers - which have been approved by a majority of lawmakers each year - as helping to preserve critical services.

Speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club, Edwards described himself Monday as a centrist running for governor in 2015. Other candidates include U.S. Sen. David Vitter and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, both Republicans.

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1 dead in St. Tammany crash, alcohol suspected http://www.wbrz.com/news/1-dead-in-st-tammany-crash-alcohol-suspected/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/1-dead-in-st-tammany-crash-alcohol-suspected/ State News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 1:08:15 PM Brock Sues 1 dead in St. Tammany crash, alcohol suspected

ST. TAMMANY - State Police said a man killed in a wreck on LA 40 in Brusly Monday wasn't wearing a seat belt and may have been intoxicated.

Troopers said Billy W. King II, 35, of Bush was driving a pickup truck eastbound on La 40 west of La 1082 shortly after 1 a.m. on Monday. Investigators said he swerved to the right, over-corrected and spun off the left side of the road.

The truck crashed into an embankment and threw King from the vehicle as it flipped, according to investigators.

King was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the wreck and was pronounced dead on the scene by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office.

Investigators said King they suspect alcohol was a factor in the crash, and toxicology tests are planned.

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FBI investigating armored car holdup in New Orleans http://www.wbrz.com/news/fbi-investigating-armored-car-holdup-in-new-orleans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/fbi-investigating-armored-car-holdup-in-new-orleans/ State News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:23:48 AM FBI investigating armored car holdup in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The FBI is looking for a gunman who held up an armored car near Audubon Park and got away with a bag of money.

Spokesman Mary Beth Romig says the gunman forced his way into the Dunbar Armored vehicle at gunpoint Monday morning, when one of the two guards returned from a business on Broadway near Leake Avenue.

She says the man made the guards drive around the corner, then ran off with the bag. Officials don't know how much money it held.

A white garden-style hat covered his face. He also wore a long-sleeved blue shirt, dark pants, and white cloth gloves with rubber tips. He carried a black revolver. The only physical description is black, slim, about 6 feet tall, and in his mid-20s to early 30s.

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Former Senate race candidate endorses Cassidy http://www.wbrz.com/news/former-senate-race-candidate-endorses-cassidy/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/former-senate-race-candidate-endorses-cassidy/ State News Mon, 21 Jul 2014 8:22:10 AM APNewsNow Former Senate race candidate endorses Cassidy

BATON ROUGE - Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy has picked up support for his U.S. Senate campaign from a former GOP competitor.

Rep. Paul Hollis, the St. Tammany Parish state lawmaker who recently dropped out of the race, announced Monday that he is endorsing Cassidy in the Nov. 4 election, instead of tea party favorite Rob Maness.

Hollis issued a statement saying Cassidy will "represent our conservative Louisiana values" in the Senate.

Cassidy and Maness are trying to unseat Democrat incumbent Mary Landrieu, who is seeking a fourth term in office. Cassidy is running with support of the GOP establishment.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in November, the top two vote-getters advance to a Dec. 6 runoff.

Image via Wikimedia Commons BY CC 3.0

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Aphids spreading from sugarcane fields http://www.wbrz.com/news/aphids-spreading-from-sugarcane-fields/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/aphids-spreading-from-sugarcane-fields/ State News Sat, 19 Jul 2014 10:06:16 AM Aphids spreading from sugarcane fields

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Scientists at the LSU AgCenter say aphids that have plagued Louisiana sugarcane fields have spread to the state's sorghum crop.

Entomologist David Kerns says the pests first showed up in cane fields in 1991 and are now causing significant damage in sorghum fields.

Kerns says the aphids were found in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi last year. They have since spread across much of Mississippi and into Arkansas.

Aphids produce a sticky dew that collects on sorghum and clogs combine harvesters and could mean a reduction in yields. The sorghum harvest in Louisiana begins in late July and runs through September.


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Jazz trumpeter Lionel Ferbos dies http://www.wbrz.com/news/jazz-trumpeter-lionel-ferbos-dies/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/jazz-trumpeter-lionel-ferbos-dies/ State News Sat, 19 Jul 2014 8:37:49 AM Jazz trumpeter Lionel Ferbos dies

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Centenarian jazz musician Lionel Ferbos has died at his home in New Orleans. He was 103.

Family friend Regina Dillings says the trumpeter died Saturday morning surrounded by friends and family.

Ferbos performed all over New Orleans and its suburbs for decades. His ability to read music made him an in-demand musician for gigs that took him to parks, schools, churches, dance halls and even prisons. He also performed at his 102nd birthday party and at every New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival until this past year.

Ferbos performed regularly at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe in the French Quarter and at every New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since the event's inception in 1970.


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Judge finds Chinese drywall maker in contempt http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-finds-chinese-drywall-maker-in-contempt/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-finds-chinese-drywall-maker-in-contempt/ State News Fri, 18 Jul 2014 4:13:52 PM Judge finds Chinese drywall maker in contempt

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has ordered a China-based maker of drywall to pay $55,000 in penalties and attorney fees - and to stop doing business in the United States - as punishment for refusing to take part in court proceedings over harm allegedly done by the product.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon found Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. in contempt of court.

Taishan had contested U.S. Courts' jurisdiction over claims that gases released by the drywall corroded metals and caused major appliances to fail.

Fallon's ruling Thursday noted that Taishan lost that argument at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He noted instances where Taishan refused to appear at later court proceedings.

An attorney for Taishan declined to comment Friday.

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