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, 31 Jul 2014 21:07:35 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 More high school students earning college credit http://www.wbrz.com/news/more-high-school-students-earning-college-credit/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/more-high-school-students-earning-college-credit/ State News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 1:19:02 PM APNewsNow More high school students earning college credit

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's high school seniors are making increased strides on Advanced Placement exams that are used to earn college credit.

The Department of Education said Thursday that more than 4,500 public high school students who took an AP test in 2014 scored 3 or higher. That's the grade on a 1 to 5 scale that colleges require for students to earn credit.

Only about 3 percent of the 15,000 Louisiana students who took the tests did well enough to get college credit.

But it was an increase of 30 percent over the number of students who earned course credits in 2013.

Education Superintendent John White praised the results, saying Louisiana students have shown tremendous gains in AP performance since the state put a new emphasis on taking the courses and tests.


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551 new laws take effect Friday in Louisiana http://www.wbrz.com/news/551-new-laws-take-effect-friday-in-louisiana/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/551-new-laws-take-effect-friday-in-louisiana/ State News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 9:34:10 AM Melinda Deslatte 551 new laws take effect Friday in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE - More than 550 new laws take effect Friday, passed by lawmakers in the legislative session that ended in June.

Slug a referee at your child's sports game? You'll face jail time.

Sixteen and trying to improve your tan? You'll have to head outside because minors are barred from the tanning bed.

Want to snoop in your employee's social media accounts? You're prohibited from demanding access.

Many laws are minor, naming the mayhaw tree as Louisiana's official state fruit tree, or offering new specialized license plates for master gardeners and NRA members.

Others impact health care options and change educational programs.

Many of the laws focus on crime. For example, aiming a laser at an aircraft and flying drones over chemical plants are newly prohibited, carrying possible prison sentences for violators.


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Man on FBI's Most Wanted list in custody http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-on-fbi-s-most-wanted-list-in-custody/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-on-fbi-s-most-wanted-list-in-custody/ State News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 6:30:49 AM Man on FBI's Most Wanted list in custody

NEW ORLEANS - A man on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in connection with a 2008 rape and homicide has been captured and brought to Louisiana, where the crime took place.

The FBI reports on its website that Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara surrendered to authorities in Mexico and was returned to Lake Charles, Louisiana, Wednesday morning.

Guevara is accused of breaking into 26-year-old Wanda Barton's home in Lake Charles on Feb. 19, 2008, raping her and then stabbing her to death in the presence of her then-4-year-old stepson.

Guevara was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list last year. His was the 499th name to be added to the list, which was started in 1950.

State authorities in 2008 charged Guevara with second-degree murder, aggravated rape, and aggravated burglary.


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Louisiana schools go smoke-free Friday http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-schools-go-smoke-free-friday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/louisiana-schools-go-smoke-free-friday/ State News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 5:03:21 AM Hunter Robinson Louisiana schools go smoke-free Friday

ALEXANDRIA - Starting Friday, public colleges and universities in Louisiana will be required to make their campuses smoke-free.

Several schools have taken a step beyond that, making their campuses tobacco-free as well, including all of Central Louisiana's colleges and universities.

Central Louisiana Technical Community College, Louisiana State University of Alexandria and Northwestern State University are all enacting tobacco-free policies. Though not required to under state law, Louisiana College also has a tobacco-free policy.

Jennifer Gilchrist, regional manager for Louisiana Tobacco-Free Living, says tobacco-free policies, which include things such as oral tobacco products, prevent "sending mixed messages about tobacco."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.7 percent of people 18 and older in Louisiana smoked cigarettes in 2011.

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Hearing dates set in both Common Core lawsuits http://www.wbrz.com/news/hearing-dates-set-in-both-common-core-lawsuits/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/hearing-dates-set-in-both-common-core-lawsuits/ State News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:51:43 PM APNewsNow Hearing dates set in both Common Core lawsuits

BATON ROUGE - Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.

Judge Tim Kelley will hear arguments Aug. 15 in a lawsuit filed by 17 state lawmakers who are seeking an immediate suspension of the multi-state English and math standards in schools.

The lawsuit alleges the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the education department did not follow state law to enact Common Core.

On Aug. 18, Judge Todd Hernandez will consider arguments in a separate lawsuit filed by parents and teachers who have sued Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Their lawsuit alleges Jindal violated the Louisiana Constitution by issuing a series of executive orders aimed at undermining Common Core. BESE has voted to join in the effort against the governor.


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Retirement system reviewing last-minute law change http://www.wbrz.com/news/retirement-system-reviewing-last-minute-law-change/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/retirement-system-reviewing-last-minute-law-change/ State News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 1:11:07 PM APNewsNow Retirement system reviewing last-minute law change

BATON ROUGE - An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.

Irwin Felps, executive director of the Louisiana State Police Retirement System, said Wednesday the system's attorneys are reviewing whether the law change was handled properly.

Felps hopes to have an opinion letter within two weeks.

The retirement hike was tacked onto an unrelated bill in the final hours of the legislative session, sparking criticism it was a backroom deal for a political insider.

Edmonson announced last week he wouldn't take the pension boost and would ask lawmakers to revisit the issue.

Treasurer John Kennedy, a retirement system board member, pushed for the investigation to continue to determine the law's constitutionality and its cost implications.


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New suit claiming Chinese drywall destroyed homes http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-suit-claiming-chinese-drywall-destroyed-homes/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-suit-claiming-chinese-drywall-destroyed-homes/ State News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:09:54 AM Janet McConnaughney New suit claiming Chinese drywall destroyed homes

NEW ORLEANS - Lawyers for people who say defective Chinese drywall wrecked their homes have filed a new lawsuit against the manufacturers. It adds a new defendant - the Chinese commission that oversees 117 widespread companies including aerospace, nuclear power and electronics.

Attorney Lenny Davis says, "We're trying to get their attention."

The lawsuit filed Wednesday comes two weeks after U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and related defendants in contempt of court for ignoring court proceedings over harm allegedly done by the drywall. He ordered Taishan to pay $55,000 in fines and attorneys' fees, and to stop doing business in the United States.

The new lawsuit adds to the list of defendants China's State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, or SASAC.

Taishan's New Orleans attorney declined to comment.


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NOPD officer accused of sex charges with juvenile http://www.wbrz.com/news/nopd-officer-accused-of-sex-charges-with-juvenile/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/nopd-officer-accused-of-sex-charges-with-juvenile/ State News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:18:24 AM Brock Sues NOPD officer accused of sex charges with juvenile

NEW ORLEANS - A 26-year veteran of the New Orleans police force was placed on emergency suspension on Tuesday after he was arrested on sex charges with a juvenile.

Officer Willie Gant was booked into Orleans Parish Prison on two counts of indecent behavior with juveniles and two counts of sexual battery on a juveile, according to NOPD.

Gant was arrested on Monday after the NOPD child abuse unit opened an investigation following allegations of the crimes aimed at Gant.

Police did not release specifics on the allegations including age and gender of the victims, and they did not comment on when the allegations occurred, according to WWLTV.com.

The officer is on emergency suspension without pay.

 


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Joey Broussard new LDWF Enforcement Division head http://www.wbrz.com/news/joey-broussard-new-ldwf-enforcement-division-head/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/joey-broussard-new-ldwf-enforcement-division-head/ State News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 8:22:19 AM APNewsNow Joey Broussard new LDWF Enforcement Division head

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 23-year veteran Joseph "Joey" Broussard has been named head of the Enforcement Division. The 55-year-old from Port Barre was also promoted to colonel.

Broussard was chief of staff for Jeff Mayne, who recently retired as colonel of the Enforcement Division.

Broussard graduated in 1991 from the department's cadet academy. He was the state's Agent of the Year in 1994, when he also won the outstanding officer award from the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners

He also served as the lieutenant colonel overseeing field operations and search and rescue under former Chief Winton Vidrine.

Image : LDWF


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Legislator says La. abortion law not in jeopardy http://www.wbrz.com/news/legislator-says-la-abortion-law-not-in-jeopardy/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/legislator-says-la-abortion-law-not-in-jeopardy/ State News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 2:47:26 PM APNewsNow Legislator says La. abortion law not in jeopardy

BATON ROUGE - The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 Tuesday to overturn Mississippi's 2012 law, which would have shuttered the state's only abortion clinic. The judges said every state must guarantee the right to an abortion.

Louisiana's law, sponsored by Monroe Rep. Katrina Jackson, takes effect Sept. 1.

Jackson, a Democrat, says she's not concerned that Louisiana's law will be struck down if a lawsuit is filed, even though appeals would go through the same court. She says two Louisiana abortion clinics have a doctor with admitting privileges, so the law won't close every clinic.


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Shreveport Amtrak study finally under way http://www.wbrz.com/news/shreveport-amtrak-study-finally-under-way/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/shreveport-amtrak-study-finally-under-way/ State News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 9:02:20 AM APNewsNow Shreveport Amtrak study finally under way

SHREVEPORT - A 12-month study is finally underway to examine the feasibility of re-establishing Amtrak Passenger Rail Service from Shreveport-Bossier City to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Kent Rodgers, North Louisiana Council of Governments executive director, says the study will look at the condition of existing railroad tracks between the cities, potential stops, hours of operation and the cost to operate the service.

Rodgers contends that the addition of passenger rail service through the north Louisiana corridor can have a positive impact on economic development as well as offer residents an alternative method of transportation.

The Louisiana study is one of three studies that will look at the extension of passenger rail service from the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area to Meridian, Mississippi.


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Shooting in New Orleans leaves two dead, another injured http://www.wbrz.com/news/shooting-in-new-orleans-leaves-two-dead-another-injured/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/shooting-in-new-orleans-leaves-two-dead-another-injured/ State News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 4:09:35 AM Hunter Robinson Shooting in New Orleans leaves two dead, another injured

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans police are investigating a shooting that left two men dead and an 18-year-old man injured.

Police responded to a shots fired call around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and found two men in red four-door Jaguar suffering from gunshot wounds.

Police say the unidentified men were pronounced dead at the scene.

They say an 18-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken to a nearby hospital where he is listed in stable condition.

Investigators say they have no suspects or motive for the shooting.


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Southwest La. veterans clinics included in deal http://www.wbrz.com/news/southwest-la-veterans-clinics-included-in-deal/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/southwest-la-veterans-clinics-included-in-deal/ State News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 3:35:43 PM APNewsNow Southwest La. veterans clinics included in deal

BATON ROUGE - A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.

That's according to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, who each announced Monday that the clinics made it into the agreement between the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate veterans affairs committees.

In separate news releases, both Landrieu and Boustany said authorization for southwest Louisiana's new clinics has moved too slowly, but each said the deal represents a significant step in seeing health care access expanded for veterans in the state.

Landrieu's office says 50,000 veterans live in the region.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill by the end of the week, before Congress leaves for a five-week recess.


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Ag commissioner seeks preservation of La. farmland http://www.wbrz.com/news/ag-commissioner-seeks-preservation-of-la-farmland/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ag-commissioner-seeks-preservation-of-la-farmland/ State News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 2:00:37 PM APNewsNow Ag commissioner seeks preservation of La. farmland

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's top agriculture official is concerned about the loss of farmland in the state.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said Monday that 15,000 acres of farmland in Calcasieu and St. Charles parishes have been lost in the last year to wetlands mitigation projects.

In St. Charles Parish, landowners were paid to turn farmland over to expand levee protection. In Calcasieu Parish, Strain said the landowners were paid to convert farmland into wetlands by industrial construction projects that are required to enhance or restore wetlands as a trade-off when their plants will have an environmental impact.

Strain says he's talking to federal officials about ways to encourage sustainable farmland preservation when considering mitigation projects. He says the country needs to keep its agricultural lands intact to meet the future projected food demand.


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New Orleans police officer suspended without pay http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-police-officer-suspended-without-pay/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-orleans-police-officer-suspended-without-pay/ State News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:20:01 PM APNewsNow New Orleans police officer suspended without pay

NEW ORLEANS - A 33-year-old New Orleans police officer is on emergency suspension without pay after being arrested for allegedly trying to run over a man with her car.

Police said Monday that Officer Stephanie Caldwell got into a fight with a 47-year-old man about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Investigators say as the man ran Caldwell pursued him in her personal car, driving against traffic and hitting a parked car. She later hit a wooden post, cracking it in half and disabling her vehicle.

Caldwell, who was off-duty, was booked with domestic aggravated assault, domestic simple battery, reckless operation of a vehicle, hit and run and driving against traffic.

The victim, whose name was not released, was not injured.

Caldwell is a 10-year veteran assigned to the Special Operation Division Tactical Unit.


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Landrieu hammering Cassidy on banking agency http://www.wbrz.com/news/landrieu-hammering-cassidy-on-banking-agency/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/landrieu-hammering-cassidy-on-banking-agency/ State News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 9:01:39 AM Melinda Deslatte Landrieu hammering Cassidy on banking agency

BATON ROUGE - U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is making a campaign issue out of a congressional fight over a banking agency targeted for elimination by conservative Republicans.

The Democratic incumbent supports the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies. Landrieu says it promotes trade, creates jobs and helps small businesses.

She's been hammering her Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, to state a position on whether to renew the bank's charter, which expires in September.

Cassidy is hedging - raising questions about the worth of the Export-Import Bank and saying reforms are needed before he'd support re-authorization. He says the bank costs taxpayers $200 million a year and largely benefits big, already profitable corporations.

The issue puts Cassidy in a tough spot, choosing sides between establishment Republicans and tea party groups.


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Police probe latest New Orleans shooting http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-probe-latest-new-orleans-shooting/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-probe-latest-new-orleans-shooting/ State News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 8:47:54 AM APNewsNow Police probe latest New Orleans shooting

NEW ORLEANS - Police in New Orleans say they have begun a homicide investigation in connection with a death in the city's Algiers area.

Police said the victim in the Monday morning incident was a 23-year-old man.

Police said they were responding to a call at 6:45 a.m. about a man who had been shot. They found the victim in a grassy area between a canal and an apartment complex.

IMAGE: WWL-TV


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Wreck closes I-12 near Hammond http://www.wbrz.com/news/wreck-closes-i-12-near-hammond/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/wreck-closes-i-12-near-hammond/ State News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 8:35:21 AM Russell Jones Wreck closes I-12 near Hammond

HAMMOND - Traffic officials closed a portion of I-12 after a wreck near Hammond Monday morning.

The wreck happened on I-12 East near Pumpkin Center Road, according to the Department of Transportation and Development.

Traffic is passing through the area on the right shoulder. DOTD reported the road reopened at 10:35 a.m., and that congestion in the area was minimal.

There's no word of any injuries from this wreck.


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Trial date to be set in ex-BP exec's case http://www.wbrz.com/news/trial-date-to-be-set-in-ex-bp-exec-s-case/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/trial-date-to-be-set-in-ex-bp-exec-s-case/ State News Sat, 26 Jul 2014 8:24:16 AM Trial date to be set in ex-BP exec's case

NEW ORLEANS - A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt has scheduled an Aug. 11 conference where lawyers will discuss a trial date in the case of David Rainey.

The move follows a recent appeals court decision that Rainey can be tried on the obstruction charge. Prosecutors allege that Rainey - during a May 4, 2010, congressional briefing - failed to disclose information about the estimated rate that oil was spewing from BP's blown-out well after a rig explosion.

They also claim Rainey responded to a letter from a subcommittee chairman with false and misleading information. Rainey has pleaded not guilty.


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One killed in sailboat accident on Lake Pontchartrain http://www.wbrz.com/news/one-killed-in-sailboat-accident-on-lake-pontchartrain/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/one-killed-in-sailboat-accident-on-lake-pontchartrain/ State News Fri, 25 Jul 2014 7:28:05 PM Trey Schmaltz One killed in sailboat accident on Lake Pontchartrain

MADISONVILLE - One person died in a sailboat accident at the mouth of the Tchefuncte River in Lake Pontchartrain Friday evening.

A second person was thrown from boat and was rescued, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said.

WWL TV reported the boat flipped over. Deputies said they received a call about a boater in distress at about 5:30 p.m. The body of the unidentified person who was killed was found three hours later.

The TV station reported the deceased man was in his early 20s. The coroner's office will release the man's identity after family notifications have been completed.
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