WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ News News en-us Copyright 2018, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 12 Dec 2018 HH:12:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Denham Springs homeowners apply for federal flood relief http://www.wbrz.com/news/denham-springs-homeowners-apply-for-federal-flood-relief/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/denham-springs-homeowners-apply-for-federal-flood-relief/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:14:40 PM Sydney Kern Denham Springs homeowners apply for federal flood relief

DENHAM SPRINGS - City officials in Denham Springs are taking steps to get homeowners federal dollars. The money would be put toward either lifting or buying out houses to prevent future flooding.

“The whole idea is to eliminate as many homes that could possibly flood, so that FEMA doesn't have to pay out any more losses,” said Mayor Gerard Landry.

Landry says this is the first time they're taking advantage of the Hazard Mitigation Assistance program, administered through FEMA.

“We found out we can do it on our own, so that’s why we're doing it this way,” he said.

The annual grant would provide $1,636,118 to those who have flood more than once. This year, 10 homeowners are applying. Eight are looking to elevate their homes, two are looking for a buyout.

City Council approved the applications during their Tuesday night meeting. The applications will now go to FEMA. Mayor Landry says they could get results on who was accepted by May.

Some of the homeowners may have to match the funds. That depends on the how often, and how badly they flood. That amount ranges from 10 percent to 25 percent of the cost.


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WWII vet on mission to publicize dwindling number of vets http://www.wbrz.com/news/wwii-vet-on-mission-to-publicize-dwindling-number-of-vets/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/wwii-vet-on-mission-to-publicize-dwindling-number-of-vets/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 9:59:19 PM Associated Press WWII vet on mission to publicize dwindling number of vets

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A World War II veteran is on a mission to travel all 50 states as part of an effort to raise awareness about the dwindling number of living veterans from that war.

Sidney Walton, of San Diego, met Tuesday with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards at the Commander's Palace restaurant.

The 99-year-old Walton started his tour in March. As he visits each state, he's been meeting with governors (17 so far), and regular people.

His son Paul is traveling with him, and says his dad always regretted missing an opportunity when he was younger to meet a group of the last surviving Civil War veterans.

Walton will turn 100 on February 11 and plans to visit the White House that day.


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Flood-damaged roadways in Denham Springs finally getting repaired http://www.wbrz.com/news/flood-damaged-roadways-in-denham-springs-finally-getting-repaired/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/flood-damaged-roadways-in-denham-springs-finally-getting-repaired/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 8:00:30 PM Earl Phelps Flood-damaged roadways in Denham Springs finally getting repaired

DENHAM SPRINGS - More than two years after the 2016 flood, some roadways in Livingston Parish are finally getting repaired. Crews were out and about in Denham Springs on Monday with heavy machinery ready to go.

"Glory hallelujah!" resident Charles Holdeman said. "Glad to see them here."

Dixie Street is one of several roads under construction.

"It was very bad," Holdeman added. "We had holes, some were three to five inches deep."

Even though the damaged streets are inside city limits, the parish stepped in to make the repairs.

"They don't mind spending money if it goes to asphalt," Livingston Parish Councilman John Wascom told WBRZ. "As of last week at the parish council meeting, we adopted a budget of $8 million to go towards road overlay in this parish."

Holdeman says he doesn't care where the money is coming from, he's just happy to see the work finally getting done.

"It's well overdue," Holdeman added. "We've been wanting this to be done for at least a year and a half."


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Local non-profit organization hands out toys, food to those in need http://www.wbrz.com/news/local-non-profit-organization-hands-out-toys-food-to-those-in-need/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/local-non-profit-organization-hands-out-toys-food-to-those-in-need/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 7:29:58 PM Paris Flannigan Local non-profit organization hands out toys, food to those in need

BATON ROUGE - On Tuesday, one non-profit organization handed out hundreds of toys and boxes of food to those in need.

Alisha Williams, a single mother, couldn't be more grateful. She took her three-year-old daughter, Aniyah, to the Christmas charity event presented by HOPE Ministries.

A few years ago, Aniyah was fighting for her life in the hospital. She was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a severe respiratory tract infection.

"She was hospitalized for RSV," Williams said. "She died but then came back, then they had to incubate her."

It all happened around Christmas, a time Williams will never forget. But on Tuesday, Aniyah rushed into a room packed with toys. Her mother was overwhelmed with gratitude. 

"It's fantastic," Williams said. "I am so thankful. Low-income, single mom doing it all by myself. It's a great help."

HOPE Ministries gave out nearly 400 toys, and provided meals to 100 families around the capital city.


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Man convicted in shooting that paralyzed girlfriend gets 45-year sentence http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-convicted-in-shooting-that-paralyzed-girlfriend-gets-45-year-sentence/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/man-convicted-in-shooting-that-paralyzed-girlfriend-gets-45-year-sentence/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:13:24 PM WBRZ Staff Man convicted in shooting that paralyzed girlfriend gets 45-year sentence

BATON ROUGE - Officials say a man who shot a mother of four, paralyzing her from the chest down, has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.

According to District Attorney Hillar Moore, Carl Thompson, Jr., was sentenced Tuesday in the February 2017 shooting of his then-girlfriend, Angela Gabriel.

Investigators said Thompson shot Gabriel multiple times as she was bathing in a tub following an argument. One of her children was inside the home at the time of the attack

Thompson turned himself in immediately after the shooting.


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Officer shot in arm, suspect killed in Georgia traffic stop http://www.wbrz.com/news/officer-shot-in-arm-suspect-killed-in-georgia-traffic-stop/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/officer-shot-in-arm-suspect-killed-in-georgia-traffic-stop/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 5:47:13 PM Associated Press Officer shot in arm, suspect killed in Georgia traffic stop
CALHOUN, Ga. (AP) - Authorities say a Georgia police officer has been shot in the arm after a traffic stop involving a woman who was shot and killed.
  
Calhoun Police Chief Tony Pyle tells news outlets that two women were pulled over Tuesday afternoon in the north Georgia city.
  
Pyle says one of the women reached into the car's glove box, pulled out a gun and fired at the officer's chest.  He says the bullet ricocheted off the officer's cellphone and struck him in the arm. The officer was wearing a bulletproof vest and was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
  
Police say another officer fatally shot the woman with the gun. The other woman in the car was arrested.
  
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says it is investigating.


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Rat infestation forcing businessman to move http://www.wbrz.com/news/rat-infestation-forcing-businessman-to-move/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/rat-infestation-forcing-businessman-to-move/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 4:54:14 PM Brittany Weiss Rat infestation forcing businessman to move

PORT ALLEN - A man who runs a crawfish company at his rental property in Port Allen says there's a bad rat infestation in the area that's forcing him to make a tough business decision.

Rick Hasbert owns Rick's Westside Crawfish and says during crawfish season cars line up and down Atchafalaya Street in Port Allen for crawfish. He's lived in the same rental property for six years and says he's gained quite a following.

"I do like living here," he said.

While business has been good, there's a problem he is struggling with finding a solution to. Hasbert says he's been dealing with rats for about four years and he blames the poor upkeep of the neighborhood for his problems.

"All these abandoned houses around me... If I put poison and traps down and kill, kill, kill rats and they just come, come, come," said Hasbert.

On either side of Hasbert's rental, there are abandoned and boarded homes. The properties have been vacant for quite some time. He says it's the reason why there are so many rats living in his attic and around the area. It's why he and his landlord have put repairs on the back burner.

"It does us no good to tear it out, put new sheetrock and paint when the rats are going to cut through the sheetrock," he said.

Hasbert says the city has offered to bring rat poison to help the situation, but he says there's much more to be done.

"Clear down all the abandoned houses and clean up the lots around here," he said.

One of the homes, 227 Atchafalaya Street is on Port Allen's council agenda Wednesday night for a vote to be condemned. If approved, the city will begin condemnation proceedings and have it torn down within 30 days. The city says a lot of the homes Hasbert is concerned about have been abandoned but none of the property owners will step forward to have them torn down or repaired.

"I just hate to move," said Hasbert. "I just really hate to move, you know, I've invested so much here."

While the decision has been difficult for Hasbert, he has decided the infestation problems are too great to solve and will be moving to a new location by the first of the year.


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New $22M manufacturing plant coming to Ascension Parish http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-22m-manufacturing-plant-coming-to-ascension-parish/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-22m-manufacturing-plant-coming-to-ascension-parish/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 4:42:05 PM WBRZ Staff New $22M manufacturing plant coming to Ascension Parish

GEISMAR - Governor John Bel Edwards announced plans for a new manufacturing plant in Ascension Parish Tuesday.

The governor says VEGA Americas Inc. will invest $22.4 million to build its 100,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility in Geismar.

In the Tuesday press conference, officials said the plant is expected to create about 120 manufacturing jobs in the area. The average salary for the workers is expected to be $52,000 plus benefits.

Officials with VEGA did not immediately provide a timetable for when the plant will be completed.


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Police investigating after person shot when bullet pierced home http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-investigating-after-person-shot-when-bullet-pierced-home/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/police-investigating-after-person-shot-when-bullet-pierced-home/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 4:34:46 PM Trey Schmaltz Police investigating after person shot when bullet pierced home

BATON ROUGE – A man inside a home was injured when a bullet was fired through the house from the outside.

Baton Rouge Police said it appears the gunfire originated from outside of a home on Hidden Garden Avenue Monday evening. The person injured will be okay.

Police said the incident is under investigation.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz


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Teen accused in pregnant classmate's murder appears in court http://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-accused-in-pregnant-classmate-s-murder-appears-in-court/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/teen-accused-in-pregnant-classmate-s-murder-appears-in-court/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 3:49:02 PM Associated Press Teen accused in pregnant classmate's murder appears in court
MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) - An Indiana judge has entered a preliminary not guilty plea for a high school football player accused of killing a 17-year-old schoolmate who was pregnant with his child.
  
The St. Joseph County judge also denied bail Tuesday for 16-year-old Aaron Trejo, who's charged as an adult with murder and feticide. He appeared at the hearing via a video feed.
  
Trejo's family plans to hire a private attorney.
  
Prosecutors say he told officers he fatally stabbed Breana Rouhselang because he was angry she waited so long to tell him she was pregnant that it was too late to get an abortion.
  
Her body was found in a dumpster in their hometown of Mishawaka, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of Chicago.
  
Trejo is a Mishawaka High School football player and Rouhselang was a team manager. Relatives say she was six months pregnant.


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LIVE UPDATES: Tuesday evening commute http://www.wbrz.com/news/live-updates-tuesday-evening-commute-115428/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/live-updates-tuesday-evening-commute-115428/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 2:22:47 PM Jordan Whittington LIVE UPDATES: Tuesday evening commute


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Mother who killed 8-year-old in 2016 found not guilty after insanity plea http://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-who-killed-8-year-old-in-2016-found-not-guilty-after-insanity-plea/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-who-killed-8-year-old-in-2016-found-not-guilty-after-insanity-plea/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 2:14:18 PM WBRZ Staff Mother who killed 8-year-old in 2016 found not guilty after insanity plea

WALKER - A judge has found a woman not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of her 8-year-old daughter more than two years ago.

Christine Courtney, 32, had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ariana Courtney. Officials said they arrived at the family's Walker home Aug. 21, 2016 and found the girl unconscious with deep lacerations to her throat. It appeared the mother had self-inflicted wounds to her own neck as well.

Deputies at the time said Courtney had to be restrained at the scene after she told deputies that different people were telling her to kill herself and her child.

The child was pronounced dead at the scene and Courtney was airlifted and underwent surgery for her injuries at the time.

Courtney was found not guilty by a judge after her lawyer entered an insanity plea.


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Suspected serial rapist wanted for attacks in Louisiana, Missouri arrested http://www.wbrz.com/news/suspected-serial-rapist-wanted-for-attacks-in-louisiana-missouri-arrested/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/suspected-serial-rapist-wanted-for-attacks-in-louisiana-missouri-arrested/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:58:09 PM WBRZ Staff Suspected serial rapist wanted for attacks in Louisiana, Missouri arrested

NEW ORLEANS - Authorities say an alleged serial rapist believed to be responsible for several attacks in New Orleans and Kansas City has been arrested.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office said that 34-year-old Daniel Meridy was booked with four counts of first-degree rape and four counts of aggravated kidnapping, WWL-TV reports. Meridy is a suspect serial rapist based on a DNA profile that linked him to at least four cases in New Orleans as well as three unsolved sexual assaults in Kansas City.

The Kansas City attacks happened between 2004 and 2005 while the New Orleans incidents happened between June 2015 and October 2018. 

Detectives with the New Orleans Police Department received a search warrant to get a cheek swab from Meridy last week. Authorities say they got a DNA confirmation Monday and Meridy was arrested the same day.

The district attorney's office said it would seek an indictment from a grand jury as early as next month, according to WWL.


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After video stokes outrage, charges dropped against NYC mom http://www.wbrz.com/news/after-video-stokes-outrage-charges-dropped-against-nyc-mom/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/after-video-stokes-outrage-charges-dropped-against-nyc-mom/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:42:16 PM Associated Press After video stokes outrage, charges dropped against NYC mom
NEW YORK (AP) - Brooklyn's district attorney has dismissed all charges against a mother who was violently separated from her toddler son by police in a videotaped encounter at a city social services office.
  
Jazmine Headley has been in jail since Friday, when she was arrested after a dispute with a guard in a crowded waiting room.
  
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Tuesday that he was "horrified by the violence depicted in the video." It showed officers yanking Headley's 18-month-old son from her arms.
  
He said "the consequences this young and desperate mother has already suffered as a result of this arrest far outweigh any conduct that may have led to it."
  
It was unclear when Headley might be released from jail. She remained held Tuesday on an unrelated warrant issued in New Jersey.

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15 people with minor injuries after Disney World bus crash http://www.wbrz.com/news/15-people-with-minor-injuries-after-disney-world-bus-crash/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/15-people-with-minor-injuries-after-disney-world-bus-crash/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:49:31 AM Associated Press 15 people with minor injuries after Disney World bus crash
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - Fifteen people have been taken to a hospital with minor injuries after two buses collided at Walt Disney World.
  
The Florida Highway Patrol says one bus rear-ended another at a parking booth near Epcot Tuesday morning.
  
There were 51 passengers on the two buses.
  
A highway patrol spokeswoman says the passengers taken to the hospital had "very minor injuries."

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California man accused of killing dog that peed on yard http://www.wbrz.com/news/california-man-accused-of-killing-dog-that-peed-on-yard/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/california-man-accused-of-killing-dog-that-peed-on-yard/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:10:58 AM Associated Press California man accused of killing dog that peed on yard
TULARE, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a man accused of using an assault rifle to shoot and kill a dog that peed on his yard and car was arrested and faces animal cruelty charges.
  
The Tulare County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Monday that the dog's owner contacted officials Saturday after noticing her dog was missing and told authorities she suspected her neighbor, 23-year-old Modesto Ramos.
  
The office says Ramos was arrested later Saturday after he told investigators he became angry at the dog for urinating on his yard and car, fatally shot him and then buried the dog.
  
Deputies searched Ramos' home and found AR-15 and AK-47 rifles that are banned in California.
  
The sheriff's office says Ramos also faces possession of banned assault weapons and negligent discharge of firearm charges.


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Trump administration proposing major rollback of water rules http://www.wbrz.com/news/trump-administration-proposing-major-rollback-of-water-rules/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/trump-administration-proposing-major-rollback-of-water-rules/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 9:41:46 AM Associated Press Trump administration proposing major rollback of water rules

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration is poised to withdraw federal protections for countless waterways and wetlands across the country.

Tuesday's scheduled announcement at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters would make good on President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to relax some landmark water protections. Environmental groups say the proposal would have a sweeping impact on how the country safeguards the nation's waterways and drinking water.

President Bob Irvin of the American Rivers environmental nonprofit calls the proposed changes a "Christmas gift to polluters." White House talking points obtained by The Associated Press say the administration will propose withdrawing large categories of wetlands and waterways from oversight by the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Supporters of a rollback say the protections are an obstacle to farmers and businesspeople.


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Military veteran, 83, to receive Ph.D. from LSU http://www.wbrz.com/news/military-veteran-83-to-receive-ph-d-from-lsu/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/military-veteran-83-to-receive-ph-d-from-lsu/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:19:47 AM WBRZ Staff Military veteran, 83, to receive Ph.D. from LSU

BATON ROUGE - You are never too young to learn something new. An 83-year-old veteran has continued his education and soon will receive his Ph.D. from LSU.

According to the university, Johnnie Jones will get the degree on December 14. Before working on his Ph.D., Jones already had his bachelor's degree as well as a master's degree.

“Every person regardless of his station in life, or his or her limitations, should seek to be the best he or she can really be. And you spend your time living not thinking about dying. Death will take care of itself,” Jones said in a video shared by the university.

The eager student said he hopes to go to law school next. While Jones said he doesn't plan to become an attorney, he wants to go to law school "for knowledge."

Jones, originally from Mississippi, joined the Marine Corps at 18. His LSU education started while he was deployed in Vietnam.

“I wanted to stay connected, so to speak. I didn’t want to run the risk of losing interest, because I had begun studies at San Diego Community College when I went to Vietnam,” Jones said. “LSU’s correspondence course was offered to any student, regardless where they were or what their status was, so I just happened to take advantage of the program.”

After leaving Vietnam, the veteran got a degree from the University of Hawaii and moved to California. He then applied to LSU for graduate school and got in.

Jones got his Masters of Social Work from LSU in 1975. Before he could complete his path to getting his PhD, Jones said he took a job with the Department of Corrections to provide for his family. At the time, he was only nine hours away from getting his next degree. Unfortunately, Jones ran over the required seven-year time period give to complete his PhD.

Years later, Jones attempted to start over but became ill and couldn't finish. He later got help from a professor who helped him get an extension, allowing Jones to complete his dissertation without starting over.

The university said that Jones will be getting his diploma during the LSU College of Agriculture Friday at 12:30 p.m.


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Two children injured after school bus goes off-road http://www.wbrz.com/news/two-children-injured-after-school-bus-goes-off-road/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/two-children-injured-after-school-bus-goes-off-road/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 9:15:47 AM WBRZ Staff Two children injured after school bus goes off-road

PORT ALLEN - School officials say two students were injured after a school bus went into a ditch in Port Allen. 

The incident was reported before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities say the West Baton Rouge school bus was taking the head start students on a field trip when it took a turn, and one of the back tires went into a ditch. The ditch is located in the 600 block of Rosedale Road near North Jefferson Avenue.

There were 45 to 50 children on the bus at the time. School officials say two kids sustained minor injuries. The parents of the injured children were called to the scene.

The two children were transported to an area hospital as a precaution. 


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Coast Guard working to clean oil, gas leak in Louisiana http://www.wbrz.com/news/coast-guard-working-to-clean-oil-gas-leak-in-louisiana/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/coast-guard-working-to-clean-oil-gas-leak-in-louisiana/ News Tue, 11 Dec 2018 9:00:26 AM Associated Press Coast Guard working to clean oil, gas leak in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Coast Guard is cleaning oil, gas, and water leaking from a well in Louisiana.

News outlets reported the Coast Guard was notified of the leak in Rattlesnake Bayou near Port Sulphur on Sunday. The Coast Guard says the well produces more than 5,000 gallons of oil a day.

The Coast Guard says five response and oil recovery vessels and four shoreline cleanup vessels are working on the effort. The agency said more than 1,700 feet of hard boom and 2,000 feet of absorbent boom have been set up to contain and collect the oil.

The Coast Guard said Monday it had collected about 630 gallons of oily water from the area. The cause of the leak is under investigation.


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