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, 29 Aug 2014 05:08:23 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Judge: rule Friday if no abortion law agreement http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-rule-friday-if-no-abortion-law-agreement/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/judge-rule-friday-if-no-abortion-law-agreement/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:59:19 PM Janet McConnaughey Judge: rule Friday if no abortion law agreement

BATON ROUGE - A federal judge is asking lawyers for Louisiana and abortion clinics for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open for a while if a restrictive abortion law takes effect Sept. 1.

The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

However, attorneys for the state told U.S. District Judge John deGravelles that a federal appeals court ruling bars enforcement against doctors who have applied for but not yet received an answer.

DeGravelles asked whether the state will pledge to refrain from enforcing the law against all such doctors and whether clinics would then drop their request for an order blocking enforcement of the law while their suit against it continues in court.

DeGravelles says he'll rule Friday if the two sides can't agree.


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Future of 'Big Oil' suit at stake as panel meets http://www.wbrz.com/news/future-of-big-oil-suit-at-stake-as-panel-meets/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/future-of-big-oil-suit-at-stake-as-panel-meets/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:04:35 AM Kevin McGill Future of 'Big Oil' suit at stake as panel meets

NEW ORLEANS - It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a south Louisiana flood board that's suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.

The panel that nominates members for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East discussed plans to fill two expired terms Thursday. But members said a vote cannot legally take place until September. That also gives the panel time to consider an applicant who filed after the deadline.

One of the expired terms is that of Paul Kemp, a supporter of the lawsuit, which Jindal opposes.

Kemp has applied for another term. However, even if he is re-nominated, Jindal would likely seek to replace him with a lawsuit opponent.

Kemp continues to serve until a successor is named.


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State troopers to remain in New Orleans http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-troopers-to-remain-in-new-orleans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-troopers-to-remain-in-new-orleans/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 9:16:23 AM APNewsNow State troopers to remain in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana State Police will continue to patrol the streets of New Orleans.

Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson and interim New Orleans police Superintendent Michael Harrison say the troopers deployed throughout the city to assist with law enforcement will remain until November.

Edmonson originally said the officers would leave the city on Sept. 1.

Edmonson deployed 50 state troopers and public safety officers to help with law enforcement in New Orleans following a June 29 shooting in the French Quarter that left one person dead and nine injured. He says the extension came at the request of the police department and the City of New Orleans.

Image: WWL-TV


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Perry, Jindal, Cruz plan Iowa visits in September http://www.wbrz.com/news/perry-jindal-cruz-plan-iowa-visits-in-september/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/perry-jindal-cruz-plan-iowa-visits-in-september/ State News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 9:22:48 AM APNewsNow Perry, Jindal, Cruz plan Iowa visits in September

DES MOINES, IA - Republican presidential prospects are making plans to visit Iowa in September.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will campaign with 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Rod Blum on Tuesday. They plan stops in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Dubuque.

On Sept. 27, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will speak at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The event is billed as a "family banquet" and is intended to charge up conservatives ahead of the Nov. 4 election. It's also expected to feature Iowa candidates, including Gov. Terry Branstad.

Perry, Cruz and Jindal are among Republicans weighing 2016 presidential candidacies.

All have made repeated visits to Iowa, which will begin the presidential nominating process with its caucuses.


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5th arrest in New Orleans drive-by shooting case http://www.wbrz.com/news/5th-arrest-in-new-orleans-drive-by-shooting-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/5th-arrest-in-new-orleans-drive-by-shooting-case/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 3:05:27 PM APNewsNow 5th arrest in New Orleans drive-by shooting case

NEW ORLEANS - Police in New Orleans report a fifth arrest in connection with a drive-by shooting that killed two people and seriously injured a mother and two children

Police said 34-year-old Michael Finnie was arrested Wednesday in Chalmette on two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted first-degree murder. Police said Finnie is believed to be the driver of the vehicle used in the Aug. 10 shooting.

Police have said 33-year-old Terrance McBride was the shooters' target. McBride and 16-year-old Jasmine Anderson were killed. Five others were hit by gunfire including a mother and her sons, ages 2 and 4, who were seriously injured.

Others arrested include the alleged gunmen: 23-year-old Joseph Nelson III and 20-year-old Blair Taylor. Each faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Image: WWL-TV


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Wed. maintenance work to suspend EBT transactions http://www.wbrz.com/news/wed-maintenance-work-to-suspend-ebt-transactions/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/wed-maintenance-work-to-suspend-ebt-transactions/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 2:30:17 PM APNewsNow Wed. maintenance work to suspend EBT transactions

BATON ROUGE - Xerox, a third party contractor for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, will conduct system maintenance late Wednesday that will suspend Electronic Benefits Transfer transactions for about five minutes.

Xerox distributes benefits through EBT for the state's food stamp program and cash benefits through its Kinship Care Subsidy Program and Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program.

The department says the system maintenance is set for 11 p.m. During that time, no transactions will be approved. Any cardholder shopping or using an ATM at that time will receive a declined response. Those who get that response are encouraged to wait several minutes and try the transaction again.

The maintenance is routine and is not expected to last longer than five minutes.

Retailers with questions regarding the tests can call 1-866-880-5264.


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Pro-voucher group seeks to undo order in La. case http://www.wbrz.com/news/pro-voucher-group-seeks-to-undo-order-in-la-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/pro-voucher-group-seeks-to-undo-order-in-la-case/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:59:21 AM APNewsNow Pro-voucher group seeks to undo order in La. case

NEW ORLEANS - A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ordered the reports in April. He ruled that they are needed to make sure Louisiana complies with a 1975 desegregation order about state money going to private schools. The order requires that the state provide federal officials with lists of voucher applicants, information on schools in the voucher program, and enrollment and racial breakdowns on public schools and private schools in the voucher program.

Some voucher supporters, represented by the conservative Goldwater Institute, say the ruling resulted from a Justice Department effort to "stifle" the voucher program. State officials have said the ruling won't impede the program.


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ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty for 2012 oil spill http://www.wbrz.com/news/exxonmobil-to-pay-civil-penalty-for-2012-oil-spill/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/exxonmobil-to-pay-civil-penalty-for-2012-oil-spill/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 7:57:53 AM APNewsNow ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty for 2012 oil spill

NEW ORLEANS - ExxonMobil Pipeline Company has agreed to pay a $1.4 million civil penalty for an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act stemming from a 2012 crude oil spill from its "North Line" pipeline near Torbert in Pointe Coupee Parish.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday the company will pay the penalty to resolve the government's claim.

The federal complaint alleged that ExxonMobil discharged at least 117,000 gallons of crude oil when its pipeline ruptured April 28, 2012, about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge, spilling oil into the surrounding area and into an unnamed tributary connected to Bayou Cholpe.

EPA says the penalty is in addition to costs ExxonMobil incurred to respond to the oil spill and to replace the segment of ruptured pipeline.


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Bourbon St. shooting suspect pleads not guilty http://www.wbrz.com/news/bourbon-st-shooting-suspect-pleads-not-guilty/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bourbon-st-shooting-suspect-pleads-not-guilty/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 7:38:08 AM Hunter Robinson Bourbon St. shooting suspect pleads not guilty

NEW ORLEANS - A Bourbon Street shooting suspect has pleaded not guilty on two charges related to the June 29 gunfight in the French Quarter that fatally wounded one person and injured nine others.

Le entered his plea Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Le originally was arrested July 4 and booked with one count of first-degree murder and nine counts of attempted first-degree murder.

New Orleans police said Le was one of two men who opened fire toward each other. The second suspected gunman has not been arrested.

Last week, a grand jury indicted Le but only on the lesser charges of manslaughter and one count of attempted-second degree murder.

Le's attorney has contended that his client acted in self-defense when he fired his weapon.

Image: WWL-TV


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High school student dies after attack at school http://www.wbrz.com/news/high-school-student-dies-after-attack-at-school/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/high-school-student-dies-after-attack-at-school/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 6:40:15 AM Hunter Robinson High school student dies after attack at school

ALEXANDRIA - A student at Natchitoches Central High School has died after he was beaten during a fight.

The victim was identified as 18-year-old Johnquaries Smith.

Smith was attacked in what police are calling a random act of violence. He was air lifted to the hospital following the attack and placed on life support but later died.

A sixteen-year-old was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Because he's a minor, his name will only be released if prosecutors decide to try him as an adult.

The attack is under investigation.


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I-10 through New Orleans opens after truck fire http://www.wbrz.com/news/i-10-through-new-orleans-opens-after-truck-fire/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/i-10-through-new-orleans-opens-after-truck-fire/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 3:59:17 AM Hunter Robinson I-10 through New Orleans opens after truck fire

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans police have reopened eastbound Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans after a tank truck hauling 8,600 gallons of fuel overturned, exploded and burned in the median.

The accident closed the highway late Tuesday afternoon. The wreckage was removed overnight and the eastbound lanes reopened early Wednesday morning.

Firefighters say the truck driver suffered face, arm and knee injuries but left the cab on her own. Police say the 24-year-old driver told emergency officials she overturned when she swerved to avoid a vehicle that cut her off while she merged from Interstate 510.


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Tanker fire closes down I-10 in New Orleans http://www.wbrz.com/news/tanker-fire-closes-down-i-10-in-new-orleans/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/tanker-fire-closes-down-i-10-in-new-orleans/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 3:19:49 PM Caroline McDougall Tanker fire closes down I-10 in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS - A tanker truck carrying fuel overturned during a crash, causing an explosion that shut down part of Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans late Tuesday afternoon.

According to LADOTD, there were no deaths in connection with the wreck, but the truck driver was hurt during the crash and taken to the hospital suffering from various face, arm and knee injuries.

The 24-year-old driver told emergency officials she overturned the tanker as she swerved to avoid a vehicle that cut her off while she merged onto the interstate.

Traffic officials said they believe excessive speed may have been a factor in the 18-wheeler's collision with a median barrier, but the crash remains under investigation.

HazMat crews were on the scene to clean up spilt fuel and wreckage after the fire was extinguished while the Eastbound and Westbound lanes of I-10 remained closed.

State police and local police assisted DOTD in diverting traffic and created a detour around the cleanup efforts.

Officials say up to 20 New Orleans fire crews helped fight the blaze.

 


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Landowner appeals in gopher frog dispute http://www.wbrz.com/news/landowner-appeals-in-gopher-frog-dispute/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/landowner-appeals-in-gopher-frog-dispute/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 1:31:37 PM Caroline McDougall Landowner appeals in gopher frog dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana landowner is appealing a federal judge's decision that a tree farm where an endangered burrowing frog was last seen in 1965 is necessary for the animal's recovery.

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Reed Hopper filed the notice of appeal on Tuesday in federal court in New Orleans for Markle Interests LLC.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ruled that U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials were within the law when they declared 1,544 acres in Louisiana as "critical habitat" for dusky gopher frogs.

He rejected arguments that the agency should have prepared an environmental impact statement and failed to adequately consider the possible economic impact.

The agency also listed 5,000 acres in Mississippi, but nobody challenged that decision. Most is federal land.

The frogs once also lived in Alabama.

By Glen Johnson / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain]


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Monitor: New Orleans jail far from reformed http://www.wbrz.com/news/monitor-new-orleans-jail-far-from-reformed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/monitor-new-orleans-jail-far-from-reformed/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:31:26 PM Kevin McGill Monitor: New Orleans jail far from reformed

NEW ORLEANS - A court-appointed monitor's report says reform efforts at the New Orleans jail are moving slowly while inmates and staff "continue to face grave harm."

Responding to Tuesday's report by monitor Susan McCampbell, Sheriff Marlin Gusman said he's committed to the court-ordered reforms. Gusman said his office is in final negotiations to contract with a new mental health and medical care provider. And he's hired a compliance officer who will help speed up compliance with the reforms.

The monitor's report said mental health care is "virtually non-existent" at the jail while fire safety and sanitation problems remain.


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Woman accused of child sex trafficking http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-accused-of-child-sex-trafficking/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-accused-of-child-sex-trafficking/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:51:07 AM Russell Jones Woman accused of child sex trafficking

MARRERO - The state Attorney General's office said Tuesday that a Marrero woman faces charges of trafficking children for sexual purposes in Louisiana.

Authorities arrested Candice Caulfield, 38, for multiple human trafficking and prostitution charges. Investigators said she also went by the alias Candy Perrin.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said state and federal agencies started investigating Caulfield after they got a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Law enforcement searched Caulfield's residence before arresting her Friday. The AG's office said the joint investigation involved their Cyber Crime Unit, Homeland Security Investigations and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

"It's important for people to know that child sex trafficking is not just something that happens in other countries or something you see in the movies," Caldwell said Tuesday. "It's real, and, despite having some of the toughest human trafficking laws in the nation, it exists right here in Louisiana."

If convicted as charged, Caulfield faces a combined total of more than 200 years in prison.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation or other incidents of child sex trafficking should contact the Louisiana Attorney General's Cyber Crime Unit at 1-800-256-4506. Suspected cases of human trafficking can also be reported to local and state law enforcement agencies, or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.


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Section of facade falls from Gallier Hall http://www.wbrz.com/news/section-of-facade-falls-from-gallier-hall/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/section-of-facade-falls-from-gallier-hall/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:48:48 AM APNewsNow Section of facade falls from Gallier Hall

NEW ORLEANS - A small section of the facade on historic Gallier Hall fell to the sidewalk, damaging steps at the entrance to the former New Orleans City Hall.

WWL-TV reports the 5-foot stone section fell Tuesday from the ornate rim along the roofline of the antebellum building and broke into two pieces, damaging six granite steps.

No injuries were reported.

City crews barricaded the front of the building along St. Charles Avenue as they began to clean up.

Gallier Hall served as City Hall from its completion in 1853 until the 1950s, when the present New Orleans City Hall opened elsewhere in the business district.

It is now used for special events and receptions.

Image: WWL-TV


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Books balanced for last La. budget, with borrowing http://www.wbrz.com/news/books-balanced-for-last-la-budget-with-borrowing/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/books-balanced-for-last-la-budget-with-borrowing/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:10:35 AM Melinda Deslatte Books balanced for last La. budget, with borrowing

BATON ROUGE - The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but with a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.

To fill gaps in the budget that ended June 30, the treasury had to dip into dollars slated to pay for state agency operations this year. Treasurer John Kennedy says the state used $24 million from this year's budget to plug last year's holes.

That's part of a continuing balancing act used by Gov. Bobby Jindal and state lawmakers that relies on patchwork funding to keep state programs operating.

Jindal's commissioner of administration, Kristy Nichols, said Tuesday the budget was fully funded and the borrowing was only temporary. But Kennedy says there's a "structural deficit" in the budget, relying too heavily on uncertain sources of cash.


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Psychiatrist sentenced in Medicare fraud case http://www.wbrz.com/news/psychiatrist-sentenced-in-medicare-fraud-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/psychiatrist-sentenced-in-medicare-fraud-case/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 1:29:26 AM Hunter Robinson Psychiatrist sentenced in Medicare fraud case

BATON ROUGE - Federal authorities say a Louisiana psychiatrist has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme.

The Justice Department says Dr. Zahid Imran was sentenced Monday for his role in the $258 million scheme. The department says the scheme included falsified patient treatment records reflecting services when no such services were provided.

Imran was a medical director for Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Baton Rouge, and co-owned Serenity Center of Baton Rouge and Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Texas.

Imran pleaded guilty on May 13 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, the result of an investigation that the Justice Department says has led to 17 convictions.


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Slap Ya Mama gets slapped with NFL ad ban http://www.wbrz.com/news/slap-ya-mama-gets-slapped-with-nfl-ad-ban/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/slap-ya-mama-gets-slapped-with-nfl-ad-ban/ State News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 7:38:08 PM Caroline McDougall Slap Ya Mama gets slapped with NFL ad ban

NEW ORLEANS - The cajun spice company, Slap Ya Mama, is no longer allowed to superimpose their banner ad on the football field in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The local favorite spice brand got a notice from the NFL saying they could no longer electronically superimpose their logo on the field during Saints preseason games.

NFL executive officials released a statement saying, "the increasing presence of virtual signage can detract from telecasts and create a less desirable viewing experience for fans." But later, the league sent a memo saying, "certain advertisers and brands are not consistent with League standards and messaging."

The ban on the literal take on the name stunned company owners who say they plan to retaliate with a commercial making fun of the NFL's decision.

"I'm in shock over it, it's wild, it's absurd," said Slap Ya Mama Vice President Jack Walker. "Our mother is actually the owner of the company, and she approves it," Walker said. "She's the one that wanted it to be named 'Slap Ya Mama.' No, who is going to slap their mama? Who in their right mind would want to do that?"

According to WWL-TV, eleven other teams with similar pre-season banner ads got the same memo from the NFL.

Photo courtesy of: Slap Ya Mama


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Tulane player arrested for bicycle theft and student beating http://www.wbrz.com/news/tulane-player-arrested-for-bicycle-theft-and-student-beating/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/tulane-player-arrested-for-bicycle-theft-and-student-beating/ State News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 7:01:56 PM Caroline McDougall Tulane player arrested for bicycle theft and student beating

NEW ORLEANS - Police arrested Tulane football player, Robert Kelley, 21, for allegedly beating up a fellow Tulane student and stealing his bicycle, according to WWL.

Kelley was booked on charges of simple robbery and simple battery on Aug. 4, and freed with a $10,000 bond.

According to the warrant application, on July 30th, Kelley and a few football players approached the victim outside a popular student bar on Broadway and started to rough-housing him. Afterwards, somebody took his bike and placed it in a portable toilet "to mess with him."

The victim reported that Kelley followed him after he retrieved his bike.

"Mr. Kelley became angry and punched (the victim) in his right abdomen area," Detective Sgt. Scott Meunier wrote. "The victim advised that he fell to the ground in pain and Mr. Kelley jumped on top of him and began to beat him."

Later that night, Kelley took back the bicycle for good before pouncing on the victim again. The victim reported suffering minor scrapes and bruises.

According to Sgt. Meunier, Kelley later confessed.

"I then interviewed the suspect, Mr. Robert Kelley, who admitted taking the bicycle from the victim and hiding it. He also admitted to receiving a telephone call from the victim asking for his property back and advised that he hung up on him," Meunier wrote.

Kelley's attorney issued the following statement:

"The allegations that Robert Kelley intended to rob or harm the alleged victim are not supported by credible evidence.

"The alleged victim knows Mr. Kelley and has spent time with Mr. Kelley as well as multiple members of the Tulane football team. There was never any intent by Mr. Kelley to either harm the alleged victim or deprive him of his property.

"We do believe that the alleged victim was harmed and struck by other persons later that evening. And we believe that other incident is supported by credible evidence. However, Mr. Kelley was not present or in any way involved in that other incident."

Tulane football coach, Curtis Johnson, said Kelley struggled with academics and was absent from spring drills last year.

The running back is not currently with the team and his status at the university is not known, but Kelley is due back in court on Sept. 9 for a status report.

 

 


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