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. () () Sat, 25 Oct 2014 00:10:28 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 $200M borrowing plan tied up in surplus dispute http://www.wbrz.com/news/200m-borrowing-plan-tied-up-in-surplus-dispute/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/200m-borrowing-plan-tied-up-in-surplus-dispute/ State News Fri, 24 Oct 2014 2:22:15 PM Melinda Deslatte $200M borrowing plan tied up in surplus dispute

BATON ROUGE - A dispute over whether Louisiana ended last year with a budget surplus threatens to delay borrowing needed to keep state construction work on track.

Treasurer John Kennedy said Friday he won't sign financial documents needed for the $200 million in borrowing until he believes they accurately depict the budget picture. Otherwise, he said he could run afoul of anti-fraud laws.

Kennedy wants the documents to make clear that there is disagreement over the surplus figure.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's chief budget adviser, Kristy Nichols, says her office submitted language clearly explaining the additional cash reserves the Jindal administration identified as a $179 million surplus.

Kennedy says the calculation method strays from Louisiana's regular accounting practices, which would show a deficit last year.

Nichols says Kennedy is risking delays in construction work.

Permalink| Comments

'Kissing' congressman confronts scandal http://www.wbrz.com/news/kissing-congressman-confronts-scandal/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/kissing-congressman-confronts-scandal/ State News Fri, 24 Oct 2014 1:03:49 PM APNewsNow 'Kissing' congressman confronts scandal

MONROE- Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.

The first-term congressman was caught on tape earlier this year kissing a woman not his wife.

Despite saying earlier that he wouldn't seek a new term, McAllister is now asking voters for two more years in the House.

He's bringing up the kissing incident during campaign appearances, calling it a "personal mistake." In a campaign ad, his wife says he has owned up to that same "mistake."

McAllister is one of nine candidates in the race for the seat representing northeast Louisiana.

Unless one of them gets a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff on Dec. 6.

Permalink| Comments

Police: Woman offered to sell child http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-woman-offered-to-sell-child/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-woman-offered-to-sell-child/ State News Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:04:59 AM APNewsNow Police: Woman offered to sell child

HAMMOND - A couple that police say tried to sell a child at a southeast Louisiana gas station appear headed for Texas.

Master Trooper Brooks David, a Louisiana State Police spokesman, says the blue Dodge minivan with Florida license plates was spotted in Lake Charles Friday afternoon but headed west on Interstate 10 before troopers could catch it. He says Texas authorities have been notified.

Hammond Police Chief Roddy Devall says a woman offered to sell a girl about 10 years of age at a RaceTrac station on Friday morning, after begging for gas money.

Witnesses say the woman appeared to be Hispanic and pregnant, wearing a red shirt and black skirt.

Devall says the woman was seen leaving the Hammond gas station in the van with the girl and a man.

Permalink| Comments

La. DHH monitoring N.O. area man for Ebola signs http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-dhh-monitoring-n-o-area-man-for-ebola-signs/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-dhh-monitoring-n-o-area-man-for-ebola-signs/ State News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 4:16:34 PM Brock Sues La. DHH monitoring N.O. area man for Ebola signs

NEW ORLEANS - State health officials are monitoring a New Orleans man for symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus, but say the patient is at low risk and is only under observation out of an "abundance of caution".

Officials from Centers for Disease Control contacted state Department of Health and Hospitals officials on Thursday and alerted them to a New Orleans-area man who has recently returned from a visit to a country affected by the West African Ebola virus outbreak, according to DHH Communications Director Olivia Watkins.

Watkins confirmed that the man is a low risk for Ebola, but is being monitored by state health officials as a precautionary measure.


Permalink| Comments

OMV aims to ease wait times for senior drivers http://www.wbrz.com/news/omv-aims-to-ease-wait-times-for-senior-drivers/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/omv-aims-to-ease-wait-times-for-senior-drivers/ State News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 2:08:49 PM Brock Sues OMV aims to ease wait times for senior drivers

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday a pilot program they hope will help older drivers dodge the long lines and wait times often associated with the average OMV experience.

The Louisiana OMV's "Senior Day" program will be held participating locations with one day of each coming month set aside to allow exclusive access of OMV services to older motorists as a trial period for the program.

It begins on Nov. 1 when OMV locations will open their doors to people 60 years and older only from 8 a.m. to noon, according to an OMV spokesperson.

Senior citizens in the Baton Rouge area can visit the Office of Motor Vehicles located at 7701 Independence Blvd. on Nov. 1 to take advantage of the first trial. To get directions to this location, click here.

The program will be held at locations throughout the state. The complete list of participating offices is as follows:

*5602 Coliseum Blvd., Alexandria
*7701 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge
*108 Capital Blvd., Houma
*3241 N.W. Evangeline Thruway Suite, Lafayette
*951 Main Streetke Charles
*5171 Northeast Road, Monroe
*9310 Normandie Drive, Shreveport
*1514 W. Lindberg, Slidell
*100 Veterans Blvd, New Orleans

Following November debut, the program will be held on Dec. 6, Jan. 10, Feb. 7, Mar. 7 and Apr. 11.

Officials said they plan to make the program available year-round if it is successful.


Permalink| Comments

Arraignment of Destrehan teacher delayed http://www.wbrz.com/news/arraignment-of-destrehan-teacher-delayed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/arraignment-of-destrehan-teacher-delayed/ State News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:16:07 AM APNewsNow Arraignment of Destrehan teacher delayed

HAHNVILLE - Arraignment of a former Destrehan High School teacher at the center of sex allegations involving a 16-year-old student has been pushed back to next month.

Shelley Dufresne, 32, was set to be arraigned Thursday, but will be delayed after Retired Judge Anne Lennan Simon granted the continuance on Wednesday. The arraignment is now scheduled for Nov. 25.

Dufresne faces criminal proceedings in both St. Charles and Jefferson parishes.

Dufresne was arrested Sept. 30 by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office and booked on one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile stemming at a home in Montz based on allegations that she had inappropriate sex with a teenaged student.

A day later, Dufresne was arrested again, along with a second teacher at Destrehan High, 24-year-old Rachel Respess, who was accused of having a group sexual encounter that involved herself and the same student in Respess' Kenner apartment after a football game last month.

The next court appearance for Dufresne and Respess comes on Nov. 17 when they will appear before the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna for a status conference.

Permalink| Comments

Many La. voters not registering with main parties http://www.wbrz.com/news/many-la-voters-not-registering-with-main-parties/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/many-la-voters-not-registering-with-main-parties/ State News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 9:05:08 AM Many La. voters not registering with main parties

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's voter rolls jumped by nearly 36,000 in the last two months of the registration period leading up to the Nov. 4 election, with more than half of the new voters opting for neither Democrat nor Republican designation.

That's according to registration statistics released Wednesday.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler says more analysis needs to be done to determine what's behind the increase in independents - whether it's strictly new voters or Democrats and Republicans who switched registration because of frustration over party politics.

Schedler's office Wednesday certified 2.93 million voters eligible to participate in the Nov. 4 election in which a U.S. Senate seat and 14 constitutional amendments are on the statewide ballot.


Permalink| Comments

Man on lawnmower booked with 3rd-offense DWI http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-on-lawnmower-booked-with-3rd-offense-dwi/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-on-lawnmower-booked-with-3rd-offense-dwi/ State News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 3:57:54 AM Hunter Robinson Man on lawnmower booked with 3rd-offense DWI

BOYCE - Authorities say a 67-year-old Boyce man eluded a Rapides Parish sheriff's deputy by driving his lawnmower down a trail off La. Highway 121, but later was arrested on several charges.

A deputy spotted Ralph Rufus Carroll driving his red riding lawnmower down the middle of the highway Tuesday morning. The deputy tried to stop Carroll, but he drove into some thick brush.

Officials say the deputy was able to follow Carroll to his home.

Carroll was arrested and booked with operating an unsafe vehicle, having no driver's license on his person and third-offense DWI.

Deputies say Carroll had been given a warning about a week ago for driving his lawn mower on the roadway.

It was unclear whether Carroll has an attorney.

Image: Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office

Permalink| Comments

Woman ripped off dirt bike by hair, man arrested http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-ripped-off-dirt-bike-by-hair-man-arrested/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-ripped-off-dirt-bike-by-hair-man-arrested/ State News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 1:31:04 AM Hunter Robinson Woman ripped off dirt bike by hair, man arrested

ARABI - St. Bernard Parish authorities arrested a New Orleans man Tuesday after they say he yanked a woman off a dirt bike and stole the vehicle.

The 18-year-old victim was riding at the intersection of Patricia Street and Rowley Boulevard in Arabi on Monday when the suspect got out of a car and approached her.

Investigators say the woman tried to drive away but the man grabbed her by the hair and pulled her off the vehicle.

Deputies say Shiquille Robinson was arrested the next day.

He was booked with carjacking and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Deputies say Robinson took them to a location in eastern New Orleans where the dirt bike was recovered.

It was not immediately clear whether Robinson has an attorney.

Image: WWLTV

Permalink| Comments

Workshops announced for small business competition http://www.wbrz.com/news/workshops-announced-for-small-business-competition/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/workshops-announced-for-small-business-competition/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 3:51:56 PM Russell Jones Workshops announced for small business competition

BATON ROUGE - Small businesses have the chance to compete for a combined $60,000 in cash and prizes for coming up with plans to create more jobs in Louisiana.

Capital One Bank announced plans for their 2014 Bayou Classic Business Plan Competition this week, with the winners scheduled to be announced on the field at the annual Bayou Classic in New Orleans.

Businesses which take part will attend development workshops, then must submit a letter of intent by Oct. 31 and a business growth plan by Nov. 7. Finalists will be chosen to pitch their plans on Nov. 28, and winners will be announced at the game the next day.

Overall winners in the contest's two categories will receive $25,000 each. Runners-up will get $5,000.

Applicants must attend one of two business development workshops offered on Oct. 24 or 25 in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, or New Orleans. For specific locations, dates, and eligibility requirements, click here.

Permalink| Comments

French Quarter home collapses http://www.wbrz.com/news/french-quarter-home-collapses/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/french-quarter-home-collapses/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:43:32 AM Brock Sues French Quarter home collapses

NEW ORLEANS - A building in the French Quarter that suffered a partial collapse late Tuesday afternoon, entirely gave way Wednesday shortly before 1 p.m., according to WWL-TV in New Orleans.

No one was injured in the collapse, but a reporter on the scene said the collapse and ensuing cloud of dust made people in the vicinity run for cover.

Royal Street from St. Ann to Dumaine Street were still closed off to pedestrian and vehicle traffic after the historic New Orleans home's partial collapse yesterday.

Crumbling bricks and mortar rained down onto the 800 block of Royal Street shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and the area filled with NOFD firefighters, emergency responders and Entergy technicians. The unusual sight also drew a crowd of on-lookers as the wall of the three-story French Quarter residence tumbled down to the pavement.

One witness reported seeing large amounts of dust and some dripping water along with the smell of gas. Fire officials say no one was home when the partial collapse happened, and no pedestrians were in the area at the time to be injured by the falling debris.

The road closures and remnants of wall that remain in the street concern area business owners and their patrons as they wonder how long it will take to get the mess cleaned up. A store next to the collapsed building is forced to stay closed until the job is complete.

Investigators are still trying to figure out why the wall and its connected balcony collapsed. NOFD spokesperson Captain Edwin Holmes told WWL-TV that while the building is old like most of "The Quarter", the age of structure alone does not explain why part of the structure came down on Tuesday and then completely gave way the following day.

Firefighters worked past sunset to continue efforts to stabilize the building, and Entergy workers shut off power and gas to prevent an explosion after a small gas leak was confirmed by investigators.

Residents of the area were forced to wait until the workers called it quits to return to their homes for the night.

According to the City of New Orleans, Royal Street from Dumaine to St. Ann will remain closed to car and pedestrian traffic until further notice.

Image: Meg Farris, WWL-TV

Permalink| Comments

GOP candidates in La. not embracing Bobby Jindal http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-candidates-in-la-not-embracing-bobby-jindal/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-candidates-in-la-not-embracing-bobby-jindal/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 1:50:48 PM Melinda Deslatte GOP candidates in La. not embracing Bobby Jindal

BATON ROUGE - While Democrats in Louisiana are largely dodging ties to President Barack Obama this election season, Republicans aren't necessarily embracing Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Asked to grade the Republican governor's performance, GOP congressional contenders have answered with middling marks to outright avoidance of the question as support for Jindal has waned in Louisiana.

The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.

At a Tuesday forum, only two of six Republican candidates in the 5th District congressional race said they would support Jindal for president.

In the 6th District congressional race, even Jindal's former coastal restoration chief, Republican Garret Graves, hedged when asked to rate his former boss. Other candidates gave the governor lukewarm ratings.

Image: Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Permalink| Comments

4 held in New Orleans prison stabbing http://www.wbrz.com/news/4-held-in-new-orleans-prison-stabbing/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/4-held-in-new-orleans-prison-stabbing/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 1:40:06 PM 4 held in New Orleans prison stabbing

NEW ORLEANS - Four men being held at the Orleans Parish Prison face additional charges after allegedly attacking a man with a knife.

Prison officials say a fight broke out Tuesday morning at the prison.

A 43-year-old inmate was found with multiple stab wounds. It was not clear how many individuals were involved in the fight.

The suspects were identified as Darnell Jymes, Dernell McGuffey, Cleveland Ross and Davell Jenkins.

Officials say they were being held at the prison on various charges and now face aggravated battery charges from the stabbing incident.

It was not immediately clear whether they have attorneys in the latest case.

Permalink| Comments

Most teachers 'effective' or 'highly effective' http://www.wbrz.com/news/most-teachers-effective-or-highly-effective-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/most-teachers-effective-or-highly-effective-/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 1:39:58 PM APNewsNow Most teachers 'effective' or 'highly effective'

NEW ORLEANS - A new state report says 92 percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in the second year of a statewide evaluation process.

Last year, the figure was 89 percent.

The latest figures were released Wednesday.

The new system does not yet require that growth in student achievement be part of a teacher's evaluation. That factor is being delayed as the state phases in tougher Common Core standards. Meanwhile, teachers are rated on subjective classroom observations by principals.

The state Department of Education said that in the best-performing school districts, it appears to be more difficult for teachers to earn a "highly effective" rating. Districts that did best at boosting student achievement often had a lower number of teachers rated "highly effective" than the state average.

Permalink| Comments

Audit questions $13 million in Tulane Katrina aid http://www.wbrz.com/news/audit-questions-13-million-in-tulane-katrina-aid/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/audit-questions-13-million-in-tulane-katrina-aid/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 8:56:38 AM Audit questions $13 million in Tulane Katrina aid

NEW ORLEANS - The inspector general for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says federal emergency officials should recover nearly $13 million in Hurricane Katrina recovery aid awarded to Tulane University.

The report also says Louisiana officials should review more than $290 million in recovery aid given to Tulane after the 2005 storm.

An Oct. 8 audit report says a contractor working on a Tulane project either overbilled or could not document $13 million in costs.

The report noted nearly $7 million in unsupported fuel, equipment and labor costs and another $3.8 million in excessively high equipment costs. It also cited more than $1 million in volume discounts the university should have received, which would have reduced costs.

A Tulane spokesman said the university would comment later Wednesday.

Permalink| Comments

Driver dies in Ouachita Parish crash http://www.wbrz.com/news/driver-dies-in-ouachita-parish-crash/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/driver-dies-in-ouachita-parish-crash/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 3:46:23 AM Hunter Robinson Driver dies in Ouachita Parish crash

WEST MONROE - State police say a Monroe man died when his car ran off the road into a ditch and overturned.

The accident happened Tuesday on Louisiana Highway 143 near West Monroe.

Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt says 32-year-old Jason Jones of Monroe was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from his car

He says Jones was taken to Glenwood Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The crash remains under investigation.

Permalink| Comments

Shreveport officer admits buying teen son beer http://www.wbrz.com/news/shreveport-officer-admits-buying-teen-son-beer/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/shreveport-officer-admits-buying-teen-son-beer/ State News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 1:22:32 AM Hunter Robinson Shreveport officer admits buying teen son beer

SHREVEPORT - A 21-year veteran of the Shreveport Police Department, placed on administrative leave this month, has pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Sgt. Jason Brook faces up to six months in jail when sentenced next month by Judge David N. Matlock.

Brook admitted buying his 15-year-old son two beers at a Shreveport bar on Sept. 13 during a hearing Tuesday in Caddo Parish Juvenile Court.

His wife, Sgt. Kimberly Brook, who is also on administrative leave, was with him at the bar and appeared at the hearing. She faced the same charge as her husband, but her case was dismissed.

Police spokesman Cpl. Marcus Hines confirmed both officers remain on paid leave pending an internal investigation to determine whether they committed policy violations.

Permalink| Comments

Part of building falls in French Quarter street http://www.wbrz.com/news/part-of-building-falls-in-french-quarter-street/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/part-of-building-falls-in-french-quarter-street/ State News Tue, 21 Oct 2014 3:52:40 PM Brock Sues Part of building falls in French Quarter street

NEW ORLEANS - Part of a building in the French Quarter near Royal St. and St. Ann drew a crowd of onlookers on Tuesday afternoon as it collapsed into the street below.

WWL-TV reported that debris from the building closed up to two blocks of Royal Street while Quarter denizens gathered to watch the action.

The New Orleans Fire Department was on hand shortly after the collapse to close the roadways and assess the situation.

Image: Chad Bower

Permalink| Comments

FACES Lab to analyze remains found in Belle Chasse http://www.wbrz.com/news/faces-lab-to-analyze-remains-found-in-belle-chasse/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/faces-lab-to-analyze-remains-found-in-belle-chasse/ State News Tue, 21 Oct 2014 2:24:28 PM Brock Sues FACES Lab to analyze remains found in Belle Chasse

BATON ROUGE - The LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services Laboratory will analyze skeletal remains found on Monday morning inside of an abandoned Belle Chasse home.

Sheriff's deputies in Plaquemines Parish said the complete skeletal remains including human skull were found by a laborer who was cleaning the property in the 16000 block of Hwy 23 on Oct. 21.

The FACES Lab on LSU's campus will analyze the remains in order to determine the possible age, gender, race and identity.

Officials said there is no foul play suspected. The cause of death is unknown, and the investigation is ongoing.

Permalink| Comments

Agents arrest fishy fisherman after bayou boat chase http://www.wbrz.com/news/agents-arrest-fishy-fisherman-after-bayou-boat-chase/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/agents-arrest-fishy-fisherman-after-bayou-boat-chase/ State News Tue, 21 Oct 2014 1:38:59 PM Brock Sues Agents arrest fishy fisherman after bayou boat chase

BAYOU DECADE - Agents with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said they arrested a Houma man accused of trying to conceal his catch after a Terrebonne Parish bayou boat chase early Monday morning.

Agents said they first made contact with Charlie Usè, 32, on Bayou DeCade south of Houma when they attempted to stop his vessel for improper navigation lighting shortly after 6 a.m. As they approached, agents said they saw the man dump several redfish into the water before he cranked the motor and took off.

Agents chased Usè for a mile before the fishy fisherman gave up and allowed authorities to board his 18-foot vessel.

After a search of Usè's boat, LDWF agents determined that the man had more than 10 redfish in his possession and some of them were under the legal size set by state law. Usè admitted to dumping undersized redfish back into the bayou during questioning, according to one of the arresting agents, Lt. Joe Arnaud of LDWF.

Charlie Usè was arrested and booked into Terrebonne Parish Prison on charges of aggravated flight from an officer, careless operation of a vessel, taking or possessing more than 10 redfish, taking or possessing undersized redfish, no navigation lights, intentional concealment of fish. He will also face fines and possible jail time for fishing without a license.

In total, Usè's offenses will land him a minimum $3,500 in fines and could send him to jail for more than five years.

Image: Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office

Permalink| Comments