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, 27 Nov 2014 16:11:48 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Cassidy has $1.3M for final days of Senate race http://www.wbrz.com/news/cassidy-has-1-3m-for-final-days-of-senate-race/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/cassidy-has-1-3m-for-final-days-of-senate-race/ State News Wed, 26 Nov 2014 1:57:09 PM APNewsNow Cassidy has $1.3M for final days of Senate race

BATON ROUGE - Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has $1.3 million to spend in the final days of his front-runner campaign to oust Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu.

Cassidy's campaign released its latest fundraising report Wednesday, outlining donations and spending through Nov. 16. The report was due to the Federal Election Commission earlier this week.

It shows donors have given Cassidy $1.3 million in the 11 days after the Nov. 4 election and $11.8 million for the entire election cycle.

Combined with earlier dollars in his campaign account and after spending was tallied, the GOP congressman was left with $1.3 million to spend on TV ads, get-out-the-vote efforts and other expenses.

Landrieu has an uphill climb to win on Dec. 6. Her campaign hasn't responded to repeated requests for the senator's latest fundraising report.


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New Orleans police: woman's body in trash can http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-police-woman-s-body-in-trash-can/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-police-woman-s-body-in-trash-can/ State News Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:41:08 AM APNewsNow New Orleans police: woman's body in trash can

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans police say a city building inspector opened a garbage can and found the partly clad body of a woman who had been stabbed to death.

Officer Frank Robertson III says the inspector moved the can to get down an alley about noon Wednesday and opened it because it felt so heavy.

He says the inspector had been surveying an abandoned house but the trash can was behind an occupied house. The woman has not been identified.

Police say investigators are interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence and working to learn a motive.

The body was found about noon on Danneel Street in the Central City neighborhood.


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Tweaks to health program will cost state, schools http://www.wbrz.com/news/tweaks-to-health-program-will-cost-state-schools/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/tweaks-to-health-program-will-cost-state-schools/ State News Wed, 26 Nov 2014 8:09:51 AM Melinda Deslatte Tweaks to health program will cost state, schools

BATON ROUGE - By lessening the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration gave itself and school boards a new budget headache.

The administration's latest plan for the Office of Group Benefits is scheduled to take effect March 1. It reduced intended increases in out-of-pocket costs and deductibles for active employees and did away with those price hikes altogether for retirees.

In exchange, health insurance premium costs will rise by an estimated 11 percent in the budget year that begins July 1.

Premium hikes are shared between employees and employers. That means insurance costs for state agencies and 44 local school boards will grow by $94 million next year.

School boards are seeking help from the state to cover their $38 million projected share.


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Protesters demonstrate in several La. cities http://www.wbrz.com/news/protesters-demonstrate-in-several-la-cities/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/protesters-demonstrate-in-several-la-cities/ State News Wed, 26 Nov 2014 8:04:28 AM APNewsNow Protesters demonstrate in several La. cities

NEW ORLEANS - Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Micheal Brown.

About 100 people marched through the streets of New Orleans Tuesday night, blocking traffic and nearly making their way onto the Pontchartrain Expressway before being turned back by police. The protest winded down outside the Hale Boggs Federal Building.

No arrests were reported.

More than 200 people turned out for a Michael Brown memorial on LSU's campus. THe memorial, organized by an LSU student, remained non-violent and mostly solemn.

In Shreveport, The Times reports about 15 people marched around the Caddo Parish Courthouse. The demonstrators said they wanted to stand in solidarity with the Brown family.
No arrests were reported.

Image: WWL-TV


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Dufresne pleads not guilty in group sex case http://www.wbrz.com/news/dufresne-pleads-not-guilty-in-group-sex-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/dufresne-pleads-not-guilty-in-group-sex-case/ State News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:39:53 AM Dufresne pleads not guilty in group sex case

HAHNVILLE - A 32-year-old Destrehan High School teacher accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student has been charged in St. Charles Parish with carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

Shelley Dufresne's attorney, Deanne Williams, entered a not guilty plea to the felony charge at her arraignment Tuesday.

Dufresne remains free on $200,000 bond and under house arrest until her trial. Retired state District Judge Anne Simon, who was appointed to the case, agreed to loosen some house arrest restrictions, allowing Dufresne to attend an exercise program that's part of her therapy and to play a greater role in helping her husband care for their three young children.

Dufresne and teacher Rachel Respess also face charges in Jefferson Parish for allegedly having group sex with the same student.


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LSP warns drivers not to park along interstates http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsp-warns-drivers-not-to-park-along-interstates/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsp-warns-drivers-not-to-park-along-interstates/ State News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:34:29 AM Russell Jones LSP warns drivers not to park along interstates

BATON ROUGE - Authorities in south Louisiana said they're dealing with an increasing problem near interstates this hunting season.

It's not animals that are popping up, though. It's cars and trucks parking to go after them.

State Police said Tuesday an increasing number of vehicles are parking on roadway shoulders and grassy areas along interstates and state highways during hunting season. Troopers said it's particularly noticeable on I-10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

State Police reminded drivers that it's illegal to park in those areas, which are designed for emergency stops only. They said parked vehicles pose a threat to drivers leaving or re-entering the road, and can be a hazard to those stopping for real emergencies.

Troopers said if drivers see anyone creating a hazard like this, call them at *LSP (*577) from any cell phone.


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GOP works to keep voters' interest for Senate race http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-works-to-keep-voters-interest-for-senate-race/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-works-to-keep-voters-interest-for-senate-race/ State News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 9:45:15 AM GOP works to keep voters' interest for Senate race

BATON ROUGE - Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has cast his ballot early, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen away from people's minds as they focus on the holidays.

Cassidy is the front-runner in the race against Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu. He's hoping to maintain that position with a series of high-profile events from GOP heavyweights in advance of the Dec. 6 election. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was rallying with him Tuesday.

As he voted early Tuesday morning, Cassidy said voters should view the nation's last Senate race as "Louisiana's chance to put an exclamation mark" on the Republican surge in the midterm election cycle.

Landrieu is trying to gain ground with attack ads against Cassidy, but she faces an uphill climb to a fourth term.


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Man surrenders after standoff inside VOA center http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-surrenders-after-standoff-inside-voa-center/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-surrenders-after-standoff-inside-voa-center/ State News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 8:18:31 AM APNewsNow Man surrenders after standoff inside VOA center

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans police say a man who barricaded himself in a Volunteers of America center has surrendered to police.

Police spokeswoman Hilal Williams said Tuesday that 38-year-old Christophe Alfred surrendered about 12:20 p.m. and will face charges of domestic assault and domestic battery.

Williams tells The Associated Press a woman called police about 5 a.m. after she and her boyfriend were involved in an argument that escalated into a physical altercation.

Williams says Alfred allegedly threw bleach on the woman and threatened to kill her. The woman was able to get away and called police and he barricaded himself inside the apartment, threatening to kill himself.

Image: WWL-TV


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Lafayette man arrested in benefits fraud http://www.wbrz.com/news/lafayette-man-arrested-in-benefits-fraud/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lafayette-man-arrested-in-benefits-fraud/ State News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 3:56:02 AM Hunter Robinson Lafayette man arrested in benefits fraud

LAFAYETTE - State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.

During their investigation, state police say it was discovered that 47-year-old Alan Jude Bernard also had committed tax fraud through the auto sales business.

Troopers say Bernard filed false statements to the Social Security Administration and the Louisiana Department of Disability Determination Services when he applied for disability benefits.

Police say he's also accused of illegally lowering the sales prices on his auto-sales receipts to reduce tax costs.

Bernard was booked with felony theft, filing false public records and first-degree injuring public records.

It was unclear whether he has an attorney.


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Man charged with stealing timber http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-charged-with-stealing-timber/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-charged-with-stealing-timber/ State News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 1:05:58 AM Hunter Robinson Man charged with stealing timber

JENA - A 39-year-old man from Jena has been charged with felony theft of timber.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry says James Marcus Ainsworth was arrested Monday and booked into the LaSalle Parish jail on two counts of felony timber theft totaling just over $18,600.

This wasn't the first time Ainsworth was accused of timber theft. In September and in October, forestry agents booked him on timber theft charges.

Officials say the new arrest stemmed from complaints by two LaSalle Parish landowners. The landowners alleged Ainsworth did not pay them what he had promised to pay them for cutting timber on their land.


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Audit: La. 1 bridge finances stabilize http://www.wbrz.com/news/audit-la-1-bridge-finances-stabilize/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/audit-la-1-bridge-finances-stabilize/ State News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 9:27:06 AM APNewsNow Audit: La. 1 bridge finances stabilize

LEEVILLE - A state audit says the La. 1 bridge in Leeville is collecting more money from tolls after years of under-collecting.

The bridge was built partially on money to be repaid through the tolls. But revenue from those tolls lagged, and the state lagged on repaying the debt.

Recent years have seen a human toll collector added to the bridge as well as better efforts to penalize those who cross without paying.

The audit, release Monday, says that has resulted in some $5.8 million in tolls collected in the most recent fiscal year up, from $4.2 million the previous fiscal year.

The Courier reports state officials authorized engineers to proceed on the final design of another stretch of La. 1 that includes elevating the road over the levee in Golden Meadow.


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Audit: Elderly office needs stronger leadership http://www.wbrz.com/news/audit-elderly-office-needs-stronger-leadership/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/audit-elderly-office-needs-stronger-leadership/ State News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 8:14:05 AM Melinda Deslatte Audit: Elderly office needs stronger leadership

BATON ROUGE - Gov. Bobby Jindal fired the head of his Office of Elderly Affairs in 2012 and never named another executive director. A new audit says that lack of leadership has lessened the effectiveness of the agency's mission to help the elderly.

In a review released Monday, the Legislative Auditor's Office says the agency's funding formula that sends state and federal money to local councils on aging doesn't determine where needs are greatest.

The audit says the Office of Elderly Affairs doesn't use demographic and waiting list data to target spending like other states do, and doesn't consistently track the services it funds.

The Jindal administration defended its formula, saying it was approved by federal officials, but says it will work more closely with parish councils on aging to monitor spending.


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Victim ID'd in deadly Causeway wreck http://www.wbrz.com/news/victim-id-d-in-deadly-causeway-wreck/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/victim-id-d-in-deadly-causeway-wreck/ State News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 4:43:23 AM APNewsNow Victim ID'd in deadly Causeway wreck

MANDEVILLE - St. Tammany Parish authorities have identified the driver of a sport utility vehicle that went over the railing of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway into the water.

Divers with the sheriff's office recovered the SUV Sunday afternoon. The driver, 38-year-old David Zapot of Lacombe, was still in the vehicle.

Deputies say the SUV was traveling southbound around 10:30 a.m. when it veered from its lane and flipped over the railing of the bridge.

The accident happened near the 16-mile marker, which is about 8 miles from the north shore.


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Fiery crash kills 2 in Concordia Parish http://www.wbrz.com/news/fiery-crash-kills-2-in-concordia-parish/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/fiery-crash-kills-2-in-concordia-parish/ State News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 1:36:18 AM Hunter Robinson Fiery crash kills 2 in Concordia Parish

VIDALIA - Louisiana State Police say two men are dead after a fiery crash in Concordia Parish.

Master Trooper Daniel Moreau says a pickup truck was trying to turn left from Louisiana Highway 565 and collided with a northbound Volkswagen, which overturned and caught fire.

He says the VW's driver, 36-year-old Ernie Climer of Cheneyville, was trapped in the burning car.

Moreau says the pickup's driver, 66-year-old Johnny Warren of Monterey, pulled Climer's passenger out before flames engulfed the car Saturday evening, but 36-year-old Jeremy Chad Elliott of Trout was dead at the scene.

Moreau says Warren and a 6-month-old girl in his truck both were treated for minor injuries, and Warren was ticketed with failure to yield

The wreck occurred on Louisiana Highway 565 south of Louisiana Highway 129.


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Norwegian Cruise, Port of NOLA reach 4-year deal http://www.wbrz.com/news/norwegian-cruise-port-of-nola-reach-4-year-deal/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/norwegian-cruise-port-of-nola-reach-4-year-deal/ State News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 1:28:41 AM Hunter Robinson Norwegian Cruise, Port of NOLA reach 4-year deal

NEW ORLEANS - Port of New Orleans president and CEO Gary LaGrange says Norwegian Cruise Line will keep at least one cruise ship sailing from New Orleans for the next four to seven years.

New Orleans CityBusiness reports that the port and Miami-based cruise line signed a contract last week, days before the 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn was to arrive. It can carry 322 more passengers than the Norwegian Dawn, the line's previous New Orleans-based ship.

A three-year agreement expired Oct. 31.

Norwegian has homeported cruise ships in New Orleans since 2003 for seasonal western Caribbean cruises.

Royal Caribbean International said in June that it will leave when its contract ends in April.

In July, the port and Carnival Cruise Lines reached a five-year contract to keep two ships in New Orleans year-round.


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Crash kills 16-year-old girl, injures woman http://www.wbrz.com/news/crash-kills-16-year-old-girl-injures-woman/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/crash-kills-16-year-old-girl-injures-woman/ State News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 1:27:14 AM Hunter Robinson Crash kills 16-year-old girl, injures woman

IOWA - Louisiana State Police say a crash in Calcasieu Parish killed a Lake Charles teenager and injured a woman from Jennings.

Master Trooper Daniel Moreau says 16-year-old Britney Anne Trahan apparently failed to yield at a stop sign when entering U.S. 90. He says her Toyota Scion was hit by an eastbound pickup truck.

He says the pickup truck's driver, 52-year-old Sharlene Ann Parsley-Istre, was taken to Jennings American Legion Hospital with minor injuries.

Moreau says the crash remains under investigation. It occurred about 7:15 p.m. Saturday west of Iowa.


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Sheriff to state police: investigate inmate death http://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-to-state-police-investigate-inmate-death/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-to-state-police-investigate-inmate-death/ State News Sun, 23 Nov 2014 2:13:09 PM JANET McCONNAUGHEY Sheriff to state police: investigate inmate death

NEW ORLEANS - The Orleans Parish sheriff has asked state police to investigate a jail death that the coroner says was homicide.

Col. Mike Edmonson, head of state police, says he will meet with Sheriff Marlin Gusman on Monday to decide what to do.

Authorities have said 40-year-old Willie Lee collapsed and died within 90 minutes of a fight with another inmate on March 23.

Orleans Parish Coroner Jeffrey Rouse said in a statement Thursday that Lee had a heart attack, but his death was homicide caused by a fight between inmates.

Gusman wrote to state police on Friday, saying his office is investigating Lee's death but he also wants an independent investigation by state police.

Edmonson emailed a copy of Gusman's letter to The Associated Press on Sunday.


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Deputy on security detail hurt by drunk driver http://www.wbrz.com/news/deputy-on-security-detail-hurt-by-drunk-driver/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/deputy-on-security-detail-hurt-by-drunk-driver/ State News Sat, 22 Nov 2014 2:37:51 PM Deputy on security detail hurt by drunk driver

METAIRIE, La. - A Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy has been hospitalized after his vehicle was struck as he provided security for a film shoot in Metairie.

The sheriff's office says Deputy Sean Williams' police cruiser was hit about 2:20 a.m. Saturday.

Williams was working a detail and was seated in his car parked at an intersection when a car driven by 33-year-old Rachel Gremillion, of Metairie, hit the police car.

Williams suffered a broken right leg and cuts to the face and mouth. He's listed in stable condition at an area hospital.

Gremillion suffered a broken right ankle. After treatment, the sheriff's office says she was booked with DWI, negligent injury and reckless operation.


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Trial for accused Bourbon Street shooter delayed http://www.wbrz.com/news/trial-for-accused-bourbon-street-shooter-delayed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/trial-for-accused-bourbon-street-shooter-delayed/ State News Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:09:40 AM Trial for accused Bourbon Street shooter delayed

NEW ORLEANS - The trial of Trung Le, the only person arrested in this summer's mass shooting on Bourbon Street, has been continued until Feb. 23.

Le was scheduled to be tried Dec. 1 on one charge each of attempted murder and manslaughter.

Prosecutors moved Friday for a continuance, arguing that several of their witnesses wouldn't be able to travel from out of town in time for the trial.

Laura Rodrigue, the lead prosecutor for the case, said the state intends to call witnesses from as far as Australia to testify.

Gary Wainwright, one of Le's attorneys, said the continuance was an attempt by the District Attorney's Office to delay trying a weak case.


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Woman fatally shoots husband in domestic dispute http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-fatally-shoots-husband-in-domestic-dispute/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-fatally-shoots-husband-in-domestic-dispute/ State News Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:05:22 AM Woman fatally shoots husband in domestic dispute

NEW ORLEANS - Police say a New Orleans woman fatally shot her husband after he allegedly tried to hit his family with his truck during a domestic dispute.

Officer Frank Robertson said Saturday that 50-year-old Steven Swanson died Friday at an area hospital shortly after being shot multiple times by his 40-year-old wife. Police responded shortly after 8 p.m. outside the couple's eastern New Orleans home.

Investigators say Swanson and his wife were arguing and the man refused to let her leave. She told police that as she and her children moved to get into her car, Swanson "tried to hit them with his truck." She says she then pulled a gun and fired at him in self-defense.

No arrests have been made. The incident remains under investigation.


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