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, 30 Oct 2014 16:10:29 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Man shot, killed by Natchitoches deputies http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-shot-killed-by-natchitoches-deputies/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-shot-killed-by-natchitoches-deputies/ State News Thu, 30 Oct 2014 3:55:41 AM Hunter Robinson Man shot, killed by Natchitoches deputies

NATCHITOCHES - Natchitoches police are investigating a fatal shooting involving two Natchitoches Parish sheriff's deputies.

Police say 26-year-old Robert Vercher was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon when he exchanged gun fire with deputies, who were trying to serve a protective order.

Vercher was taken to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The names of the deputies involved have not been released. Sheriff Victor Jones says the deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Natchitoches police said there would be no further statements until the investigation is complete.


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Jindal to help in South Carolina governor's race http://www.wbrz.com/news/jindal-to-help-in-south-carolina-governor-s-race/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/jindal-to-help-in-south-carolina-governor-s-race/ State News Thu, 30 Oct 2014 1:11:12 AM Hunter Robinson Jindal to help in South Carolina governor's race

COLUMBIA, S.C.- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey says Jindal is campaigning Thursday with Haley as her bus stops along the South Carolina coast. The campaign's public schedule says the bus will stop at Coastal Carolina University in Conway and at restaurants in Pawleys Island and Summerville.

Jindal is among two potential GOP presidential contenders helping Haley in the days leading up to Election Day.

Godfrey says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will campaign with Haley on Sunday in Spartanburg.

Haley began her bus tour Wednesday with stops in Florence and Myrtle Beach. The 23-stop tour is set to conclude Monday evening in Lexington County, home to Haley's former House district.


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Economist says Jindal 'misinterprets' jobs data http://www.wbrz.com/news/economist-says-jindal-misinterprets-jobs-data-66217/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/economist-says-jindal-misinterprets-jobs-data-66217/ State News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 1:13:20 PM Melinda Deslatte Economist says Jindal 'misinterprets' jobs data

BATON ROUGE - The Legislature's chief economist and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration are at odds about what state employment data shows about Louisiana's job growth.

Greg Albrecht, with the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office, says the Jindal administration has been inaccurately describing Louisiana as outperforming much of the South and the nation.

Albrecht says the state is underperforming those regions, largely because of sizable cuts in state government jobs. But he says even if looking only at the private sector, Louisiana is simply performing on par with the South and the nation, not ahead of them.

Jindal's economic development secretary, Stephen Moret, says it's not his agency, but Albrecht that isn't reading the labor figures correctly. Moret says Albrecht is "cherry-picking" numbers.

Moret says Louisiana's private-sector job growth since January 2008 is fourth-best nationwide.


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EPA: agreement for Camp Minden explosives cleanup http://www.wbrz.com/news/epa-agreement-for-camp-minden-explosives-cleanup/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/epa-agreement-for-camp-minden-explosives-cleanup/ State News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:59:32 AM EPA: agreement for Camp Minden explosives cleanup

NEW ORLEANS - The Environmental Protection Agency says 15 million pounds of abandoned M6 propellant at Camp Minden will be destroyed in "burn trays" designed for the project.

The EPA says the Louisiana Military Department will burn the explosives. But a Louisiana National Guard spokesman says the guard will just handle the destruction contract.

Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak (KAZ-mer-zak) says National Guard soldiers won't be doing the actual burning.

The EPA's announcement did not give any details about the burn trays. An official was not immediately available for comment.

The EPA says the Army and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality also signed the agreement Wednesday.

The Army had shipped the propellant to now-defunct Explo Systems at Camp Minden, which is owned by the Louisiana National Guard.


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Ruling expected Friday in charter schools lawsuit http://www.wbrz.com/news/ruling-expected-friday-in-charter-schools-lawsuit/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ruling-expected-friday-in-charter-schools-lawsuit/ State News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:18:08 AM Melinda Deslatte Ruling expected Friday in charter schools lawsuit

BATON ROUGE - A state district judge says he will rule Friday on whether he'll issue a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from getting $60 million under Louisiana's public school financing formula.

Judge Wilson Fields heard testimony and arguments Wednesday in the case and said he would take two days before announcing his decision.

At issue is the funding steered to 33 charter schools that were authorized by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Louisiana Association of Educators union claims in a lawsuit that the spending violates the state constitution because those charter schools are created and operated outside of parish and city school systems.

Supporters say the schools offer more educational opportunities to students. Public school systems say they take needed money away from their schools.

News 2's Troy Gaulden will have more on the lawsuit during our 5 p.m. broadcast.


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Man dies in Tangipahoa Parish crash http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-dies-in-tangipahoa-parish-crash/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-dies-in-tangipahoa-parish-crash/ State News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 8:55:42 AM APNewsNow Man dies in Tangipahoa Parish crash

ROBERT - Authorities say a 44-year-old Robert man died in a single vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 190 in Tangipahoa Parish.

Master Trooper Greg Marchand says Bobby Creekmore Jr. was eastbound Tuesday night when his car ran off the road and struck a culvert.

Marchand said Creekmore was taken to North Oaks Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The accident remains under investigation.


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New and improved Smoothie King Center unveiled http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-and-improved-smoothie-king-center-unveiled/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-and-improved-smoothie-king-center-unveiled/ State News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 4:29:59 AM Hunter Robinson New and improved Smoothie King Center unveiled

NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Pelicans dominated in their home opener Tuesday night, but the team's stellar play wasn't all that impressed fans.

The Smoothie King Center received a facelift during the offseason. The renovations include a kids zone, interactive games throughout the arena and new sports bar. There were also changes to the outside of the arena. The old green exterior is no more.

"It looks really nice," opined Pelicans fan Jacob April. "I love the outside. It's a lot better than the old green it had before. That emerald green was horrible looking." 

The renovation is part of the team's effort to re-brand following last year's name change. The new monicker has finally grown on fans.

"It's definitely a sense of pride, that we did have Charlotte's original colors, so it's nice to see a new color that represents us," Reggie Parquet says. "It's our own team".

The Pelicans marked the Smoothie King Center's new era with a 17-point win over the Orlando Magic to open the season.


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Monroe plans chlorine burn against killer amoeba http://www.wbrz.com/news/monroe-plans-chlorine-burn-against-killer-amoeba/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/monroe-plans-chlorine-burn-against-killer-amoeba/ State News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 1:16:02 AM Hunter Robinson Monroe plans chlorine burn against killer amoeba

MONROE - The city of Monroe will be adding extra chlorine to its water next month as part of statewide precautions against an amoeba that has killed three people in Louisiana.

The free chlorine burn will start around Nov. 12 and last about 60 days.

It's a precaution against Naegleria fowleri. That's an amoeba that usually eats freshwater bacteria but can get into the brain and eat it if it gets high up in someone's nose.

The amoeba killed three people in 2011 and 2013 - one in DeSoto Parish and two in St. Bernard Parish.

Monroe Public Works Director Tom Janway says the burn will be good for the system, removing biofilm in the water lines.


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Prisoner says state conducts illegal body searches http://www.wbrz.com/news/prisoner-says-state-conducts-illegal-body-searches/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/prisoner-says-state-conducts-illegal-body-searches/ State News Wed, 29 Oct 2014 1:14:14 AM Kevin McGill Prisoner says state conducts illegal body searches

NEW ORLEANS - Lawyers for a Louisiana prison inmate whose conviction in the 1972 death of a guard was overturned say he has been subjected to illegal "body cavity searches" while he awaits the next step in his prosecution.

The inmate is 67-year-old Albert Woodfox, one of the prisoners supporters have dubbed the "Angola Three," owing to their long stretches in solitary confinement at the state penitentiary in Angola.

State officials say the searches are necessary to maintain security and that Woodfox is not treated any differently than other maximum security prisoners.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday on the body search issue.

A 5th Circuit decision is pending on state efforts to reinstate Woodfox's murder conviction.


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Nonprofit gives up on saving sinking cemetery http://www.wbrz.com/news/nonprofit-gives-up-on-saving-sinking-cemetery/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/nonprofit-gives-up-on-saving-sinking-cemetery/ State News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 1:03:37 PM APNewsNow Nonprofit gives up on saving sinking cemetery

LEEVILLE - A nonprofit has given up its proposal to protect the little that remains of a nearly submerged cemetery in Leeville.

Launch Leeville wanted to build a 280-foot-long bulkhead between what's left of Lefort Cemetery and the intersection of Bayou Lafourche and the Southeast Canal.

Director Janet Rhodus tells The Daily Comet that the nonprofit dropped its permit applications after the local coastal zone management board asked the state to put that application on hold.

Local historian Paul Chiquet says about 25 people were buried there in the early 1900s.

Now the tops of a handful of wrecked vaults show above salty water.

Parish Administrator Archie Chaisson says the application had numerous problems, including notifying only one of the property owners and lack of formal engineering plans.

Image: The Daily Comet


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State sues Corps over 'MRGO' restoration costs http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-sues-corps-over-mrgo-restoration-costs/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-sues-corps-over-mrgo-restoration-costs/ State News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 9:23:00 AM Kevin McGill State sues Corps over 'MRGO' restoration costs

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana coastal restoration officials are suing a federal agency over the cost of fixing damage blamed on a now-closed south Louisiana waterway.

The federal court lawsuit was filed Tuesday in New Orleans by the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority. It notes that the man-made Mississippi River Gulf Outlet is widely blamed for contributing to flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It says federal law ordering the closure of the channel also requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore wetlands damaged by years of poor maintenance of the waterway.

The suit says federal law requires the Corps to cover the restoration costs, while the Corps seeks 35 percent of the nearly $3 billion cost from Louisiana.

The Corps declined comment on the lawsuit.

Image: Anne Marino, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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New Gulf oil spill recovery program announced http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-gulf-oil-spill-recovery-program-announced/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-gulf-oil-spill-recovery-program-announced/ State News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 8:29:27 AM APNewsNow New Gulf oil spill recovery program announced

NEW ORLEANS - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says a new $40 million partnership will give money for conservation projects to landowners in states affected by BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He says the department's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation could eventually provide a total of up to $100 million over five years, each giving half the money.

Thomas Kelsch, the foundation's vice president for the Gulf, noted that it's helping to pay for Mississippi's restoration planning, which is expected to identify potential ways to improve areas such as Biloxi's Back Bay and the Mississippi Sound.


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Motorcyclist dies in Iberia Parish crash http://www.wbrz.com/news/motorcyclist-dies-in-iberia-parish-crash/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/motorcyclist-dies-in-iberia-parish-crash/ State News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 3:55:53 AM Hunter Robinson Motorcyclist dies in Iberia Parish crash

NEW IBERIA - State police say a two-vehicle crash on Louisiana Highway 14 has claimed the life of a 42-year-old Jeanerette man.

Master Trooper Brooks David says Michael Dooley of New Iberia was traveling west on Highway 14 Monday night when he turned left into the path of a motorcycle.

He says the driver of the motorcycle, Berwick Rhine Jr, struck the side of Dooley's pickup and was thrown from the motorcycle during the crash.

David said Rhine was pronounced dead on scene.

This crash remains under investigation.


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Hotel spa masseur booked with sexual battery http://www.wbrz.com/news/hotel-spa-masseur-booked-with-sexual-battery/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/hotel-spa-masseur-booked-with-sexual-battery/ State News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 3:54:29 AM Hunter Robinson Hotel spa masseur booked with sexual battery

NEW ORLEANS - A New Orleans masseur is accused of sexual battery on a woman during a session at the Ritz-Carlton spa, where massages cost $145 to $275.

Thirty-year-old Charles J. Russo's bond was set Monday at $75,000.

He remains in the Orleans Parish jail. It was not clear whether he had an attorney.

Russo was arrested Sunday, five months after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Police warrants allege that a customer accused Russo of masturbating during a session on June 1, 2013. The woman told police she told hotel staff and security, but they did not help her call police.

Ritz-Carlton general manager Jim Oliver says the hotel does not comment on pending litigation.


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Elderly man faces cockfighting charges http://www.wbrz.com/news/elderly-man-faces-cockfighting-charges/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/elderly-man-faces-cockfighting-charges/ State News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 1:37:50 AM Hunter Robinson Elderly man faces cockfighting charges

MARRERO - A 76-year-old Marrero man is accused of cockfighting and of mistreating 44 chickens.

Armando Alvarez was booked with one count of cockfighting, 44 of cruelty to animals and 40 of aggravated cruelty to animals.

The arrest report says Jefferson Parish Animal Control told deputies that animals were inhumanely housed. Deputies wrote that they found 44 caged birds standing in waste, including 40 roosters with scars and mutilation that indicated cockfighting.

It was not clear whether Alvarez has an attorney. He was arrested Oct. 21. A phone message to his home on Monday from The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

Cockfighting has been illegal in Louisiana since 2008. A 2013 ordinance makes it illegal to keep roosters in New Orleans.


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Judge won't block St. Tammany anti-fracking suit http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-won-t-block-st-tammany-anti-fracking-suit/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-won-t-block-st-tammany-anti-fracking-suit/ State News Tue, 28 Oct 2014 1:36:18 AM Hunter Robinson Judge won't block St. Tammany anti-fracking suit

BATON ROUGE - A state district judge in Baton Rouge has refused to block a lawsuit filed by St. Tammany Parish officials who hope to stop a proposed oil drilling and fracking project.

Parish officials filed the lawsuit in June. They argue that the well is proposed for an area zoned residential and that the parish has the authority to ban hydrauling fracturing.

The state Department of Natural Resources' Office of Conservation wants the suit thrown out.

But Judge William Morvant, of the 19th Judicial District, told attorneys Monday that the case has enough merit to be heard.

Fracking extracts oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel, and chemicals.


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Above average turnout expected for La. midterm election http://www.wbrz.com/news/above-average-turnout-expected-for-la-midterm-election/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/above-average-turnout-expected-for-la-midterm-election/ State News Mon, 27 Oct 2014 3:38:49 PM APNewsNow Above average turnout expected for La. midterm election

BATON ROUGE - Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he expects about half of Louisiana's 2.9 million registered voters to cast ballots for the Nov. 4 election.

That's above turnout in the last midterm congressional election, but still well below the 68 percent of voters who showed up at the polls for the 2012 presidential election.

Early voting numbers also indicate that the greater Baton Rouge area has passed New Orleans and its outlying areas as the largest voting block in Louisiana. Schedler confirmed this when he spoke at the Press Club in Baton Rouge on Monday afternoon.

Schedler said that of Friday, more voters in East Baton Rouge Parish had gone to the polls early than anywhere else in the state. EBR Parish voters dropped off last Saturday, allowing Orleans Parish to cast more votes, but Schedler attributes this to the Saturday night LSU football game.

In total, 151,982 Louisianians have voted early. Schedler says he anticipates an overall voter turnout of 45% to 50% and attributes the shift toward Baton Rouge as the largest voting block to "post-Katrina demographic changes".

 


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50 percent voter turnout predicted for Louisiana http://www.wbrz.com/news/50-percent-voter-turnout-predicted-for-louisiana/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/50-percent-voter-turnout-predicted-for-louisiana/ State News Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:29:47 PM APNewsNow 50 percent voter turnout predicted for Louisiana

BATON ROUGE - Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he expects about half of Louisiana's 2.9 million registered voters to cast ballots for the Nov. 4 election.

That's above turnout in the last midterm congressional election, but still well below the 68 percent of voters who showed up at the polls for the 2012 presidential election.

Schedler is Louisiana's top elections official. He based his projection Monday on turnout in the state's early voting period, which runs through Tuesday.

About 30,000 people per day have been casting their ballots early, with the strongest turnout in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Top of the list of elections is a heated U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republicans Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness, along with several hotly-contested congressional races.


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Child killed, 3 injured in La. head-on crash http://www.wbrz.com/news/child-killed-3-injured-in-la-head-on-crash/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/child-killed-3-injured-in-la-head-on-crash/ State News Mon, 27 Oct 2014 5:41:25 AM Hunter Robinson Child killed, 3 injured in La. head-on crash

NAPOLEONVILLE - State police say a head-on crash on La. Highway 1 in Assumption Parish killed a 10-year-old girl and injured 3 others.

Trooper Evan Harrell says Neveah Pierson, of Gray, died when the car she was riding crossed the center line and struck another car Sunday afternoon.

Harrell says 31-year-old Sommer Pierson, the mother of the victim and driver of the car, and another passenger were injured.

The driver of the other car suffered moderate injuries.

Harrell says the accident remains under investigation.


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Oil group hosting job fair Wed. in Lafayette http://www.wbrz.com/news/oil-group-hosting-job-fair-wed-in-lafayette/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/oil-group-hosting-job-fair-wed-in-lafayette/ State News Mon, 27 Oct 2014 4:03:31 AM Hunter Robinson Oil group hosting job fair Wed. in Lafayette

LAFAYETTE - The Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition is hosting a job fair Wednesday at the Cajundome & Convention Center from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. for oil and gas industry companies looking for qualified employees.

Military veterans will get special attention in the form of access to career experts from 8:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. and then interviews with company human resources officials.

LAGCOE, an oil and gas industry nonprofit organization, holds an exhibition every two year. The job fair is held yearly.

Angela Cring, the group's executive director, says the goal is to provide the industry with an outlet for recruiting and facilitate networking between existing and future professionals.


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