WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ News News en-us Copyright 2020, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Tue, 7 Jul 2020 HH:07:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Livingston Schools Superintendent announces current plans for reopening https://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-schools-superintendent-announces-current-plans-for-reopening/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-schools-superintendent-announces-current-plans-for-reopening/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 1:18:36 PM WBRZ Staff Livingston Schools Superintendent announces current plans for reopening

LIVINGSTON – Livingston Parish School Superintendent Joe Murphy announced Tuesday that district leaders have been closely monitoring and developing reopening plans for the 2020-2021 school year.

These plans include multiple phases and options pending what policies may be put in place by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and recommended guidelines from the Louisiana Department of Education, Louisiana Department of Health and the Governor’s Office.

Murphy said Livingston Parish Public Schools still plans to begin school on Aug. 7.

“Our leadership team created a COVID Committee of administrators – representatives from all grade levels for elementary, middle and high school – who have been working closely with individual school principals over the past few weeks to develop reopening plans. This has been a highly collaborative effort,” Murphy said. 

“Although current guidelines are in place, and our committee is taking action to adhere to those recommendations, we know those guidelines are subject to change. As a result, Livingston Schools will be issuing a parent transportation survey by Friday of this week to ascertain how our students will enter and exit our campuses during the phased reopening.”

“Livingston Schools is defining three general plans for reopening – Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3. These options give general structural plans that can be quickly implemented to meet guidelines,” he said.

Phase 1  

Livingston Schools will be forced to open schools with all students in a virtual environment, save for a very few small groups with specific needs who would require fact-to-face instruction and interaction.

Phase 2  

Livingston Schools would reopen in a blended format with an alternating schedule that facilitates student learning through both virtual and in-person instruction. In this phase, Livingston Schools would maximize, to the greatest extent possible, the number of days students can attend their home campuses while remaining within established guidelines.

Phase 3  

Livingston Schools would welcome students back to their home campuses with social distancing provisions in place, including some restrictions on activities during the school day to remain within established guidelines. This phase is the most desired among education professionals and local families based on feedback from individual school principals who have been in contact with their faculty, staff and parents.

“It’s important to note that BESE has been obligated by the State Legislature, through the passage of House Bill 59, to adopt and implement policies regarding COVID-19 and the reopening of school for all districts no later than July 15,” Murphy said. “Our administrative committee is anxiously awaiting the release of the state’s plan, and based on those recommended guidelines, will announce which phase we open with and give more details of how that will look, no later than July 17.” 

“Be assured that Livingston Schools is working on a fully functional plan that is focused on what is in the best interest of the education, health and well-being of all our students, employees and surrounding communities,” Murphy said.  

“Much thanks to all our employees, parents and community members for their continued support of our system, their patience in this uncertain time, and their faith in our ability to work together to implement a plan that is best for everyone.”


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Ascension Parish officials request public assistance in identifying burglars https://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-parish-officials-request-public-assistance-in-identifying-burglars/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-parish-officials-request-public-assistance-in-identifying-burglars/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 1:10:16 PM WBRZ Staff Ascension Parish officials request public assistance in identifying burglars

ASCENSION PARISH - Officials in Ascension are on the hunt for three men accused of burglarizing a vehicle in the parking lot of a Geismer hotel.

According to the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, officials are actively seeking the identities of three male suspects who broke into a vehicle on July 1 in the parking lot of Mainstay Suites in Geismar.

The suspect's actions were caught on surveillance video.

They're seen breaking one of the vehicle's windows and stealing approximately $1,500 worth of items.

The subjects fled the scene in what appears to be a newer model Nissan Frontier and all three subjects were wearing hoodies and gloves.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office at 225-621-4636 or by texting 847411 to its anonymous tip line from any cellular device or Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers

 at 225-344-STOP (7868). To be eligible for a cash reward, callers must contact Crime Stoppers immediately.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office is actively seeking the identity of three males who burglarized a vehicle on July...

Posted by Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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Daughter of radio host, Rickey Smiley, shot multiple times during road rage incident https://www.wbrz.com/news/daughter-of-radio-host-rickey-smiley-shot-multiple-times-during-road-rage-incident/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/daughter-of-radio-host-rickey-smiley-shot-multiple-times-during-road-rage-incident/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 12:21:11 PM WBRZ Staff Daughter of radio host, Rickey Smiley, shot multiple times during road rage incident

Radio Host and comedian, Rickey Smiley was angry on Monday as he took to his YouTube Channel to explain that his teenage daughter had been shot multiple times by crossfire during a road rage incident that didn't involve her at all. 

According to CNN, Aaryn Smiley, who recently turned 19, is recovering after being shot in Houston's south side over the Fourth of July weekend. She was one of four people who were injured during an incident that she'd had nothing to do with.  

She posted an update of her progress on Instagram, saying, "This is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. I won't be out of the hospital for a while nor will I be able to walk for a while due to nerve damage."

She also shared an image that appeared to have been taken from a hospital bed.

"[T]he fact that the bullets that went thru my legs were armored riffled [sic] bullets made to go through anything (how they got through the car) but the one [that] would have hit me in the head was not that kind and ended up lodged in the car. God," a note accompanying the picture read. "Words can't describe how grateful i am to be alive right now."

The teen also posted about being unable to see her parents while hospitalized because of the Covid-19 pandemic, writing that she was "terrified."

Smiley posted an emotional video Monday saying, "I'm so mad right now, I don't know what to do. The reason I'm on Facebook Live is cause I just want you to see that it's raw and it's real. I want you to see what parents have to deal with when their children become victims of gun violence."

Investigators told reporters that, around midnight on Sunday, after an altercation at a separate location, a gun-wielding suspect pulled up to a car at a red light on the feeder road of Houston's Highway 288 and opened fire.

Smiley's daughter was in a different vehicle at the light, according to investigators, and was caught in crossfire.

Three other victims transported themselves to a hospital and all are expected to survive their injuries.

The radio host tweeted that his daughter had successfully made it out of surgery.

"My daughter made it out of her operation, " he tweeted. "She's doing great!!Thank you for your prayers!!!"

The elder Smiley posted a photo of himself wearing a mask, writing, "I respect the rules."

"Can't see my daughter @ryn.smiley because of #covid19... it's getting dark and I'm not leaving this park until I lay eyes on her," he wrote. "#Houston (Thanks to the @HoustonPolice for being so awesome and kind to us.)"

Smiley is an American stand-up comedian, television host, actor, and radio personality, known for his prank phone calls. The calls feature Smiley disguising his voice and carrying on a conversation with the recipient of the call.

He is the host of the nationally syndicated Rickey Smiley Morning Show based in Atlanta from its flagship affiliate WHTA "Hot 107.9".


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Absentee ballot deadlines for July 11 election https://www.wbrz.com/news/absentee-ballot-deadlines-for-july-11-election/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/absentee-ballot-deadlines-for-july-11-election/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 11:55:55 AM WBRZ Staff Absentee ballot deadlines for July 11 election

BATON ROUGE - The deadline for voters to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, July 7 at 4:30 pm.

Voters who have requested but not yet received an absentee ballot can check on the status of their ballot by visiting voterportal.sos.la.gov, and filling out the appropriate voter information and clicking "Check Absentee Ballot Status."

Absentee ballot requests are currently being processed by parish registrar of voters and voters should be aware that the deadline to return a completed ballot is 4:30 pm on Friday, July 10. 

Completed ballots can be returned to the parish registrar of voters and can be returned by the voter or a voter’s immediate family member. Should a voter be unable to meet an absentee ballot deadline, they can still vote in-person on election day. 

Polling locations can also be found on voterportal.sos.la.gov or on the free GeauxVote app.


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Marine Corps says shooting reported at California base https://www.wbrz.com/news/marine-corps-says-shooting-reported-at-california-base/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/marine-corps-says-shooting-reported-at-california-base/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 11:21:55 AM Associated Press Marine Corps says shooting reported at California base

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The U.S. Marine Corps said Tuesday it was investigating reports of an active shooter at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California.

Shots were reported to have been fired on base around 6:30 a.m. and military police cordoned off the area area but it was unclear if the suspect was taken into custody, said Capt. Nicole Plymale, a base spokeswoman.

No injuries were reported, she said.

A shelter-in-place order remained in effect but the gates to the base reopened.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department was not requested to assist with the incident, said spokeswoman Jodi Miller. She said information would come from the military.

The vast Twentynine Palms base is located in the desert 125 miles (201 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.


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Brazil's President Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19 https://www.wbrz.com/news/brazil-s-president-bolsonaro-tests-positive-for-covid-19/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/brazil-s-president-bolsonaro-tests-positive-for-covid-19/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 10:52:16 AM Associated Press Brazil's President Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity.

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters in capital Brasilia.

“I’m well, normal. I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendationS,” Bolsonaro said.

The president has often appeared in public to shake hands with supporters and mingle with crowds, at times without a mask. He has said that his history as an athlete would protect him from the virus, and that it would be nothing more than a “little flu” were he to contract it.

He has also repeatedly said that there is no way to prevent 70% of the population falling ill with COVID-19, and that local authorities’ measures to shut down economic activity would ultimately cause more hardship than allowing the virus to run its course.

Cities and states last month began lifting restrictions that had been imposed to control the spread of the virus, as their statistical curves of deaths began to decline along with the occupation rate of its intensive-care units. Brazil, the world’s sixth most populous nation, with more than 210 million people, is one of the global hot spots of the pandemic.

On Monday, Bolsonaro told supporters in Brasilia that he underwent an X-ray of his lungs that showed they were clean, and that he would be tested for COVID-19. On Tuesday, he told CNN Brasil that his fever had subsided.

Over the weekend, the Brazilian leader celebrated the U.S. Independence Day with the nation’s ambassador to Brazil, then shared pictures on social media showing him with his arm around the ambassador alongside several ministers and aides.

None wore masks, despite being in close quarters.

The U.S. Embassy said on Twitter on Monday that Ambassador Todd Chapman is not showing any COVID-19 symptoms but would be tested.

Bolsonaro tested negative three times in March after meeting with the U.S. President Donald Trump in Florida. Multiple members of his delegation to the U.S. were later reported to be infected with the virus.

More than 65,000 Brazilians have so far died from COVID-19 and more than 1,500,000 have been infected. Both numbers are the world’s second-highest totals, and are considered to be undercounts to the lack of widespread testing.


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CareSouth, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church to host community testing site, supplies giveaway, Saturday https://www.wbrz.com/news/caresouth-shiloh-missionary-baptist-church-to-host-community-testing-site-supplies-giveaway-saturday/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/caresouth-shiloh-missionary-baptist-church-to-host-community-testing-site-supplies-giveaway-saturday/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 10:31:35 AM WBRZ Staff CareSouth, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church to host community testing site, supplies giveaway, Saturday

BATON ROUGE – CareSouth Medical and Dental and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church are hosting a COVID-19 Drive-thru Community Testing and Supplies Giveaway on Saturday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Shiloh, 185 Eddie Robinson Sr. Drive, in Baton Rouge.

CareSouth staff will be conducting the testing for up to 250 people. Patients must be tested first in order to receive the supplies and must pre-register to get the test. Residents will stay in their cars for the testing and the supplies. No walkups are allowed. No more than four people per car for testing.

The testing is open to anyone ages 12 and up with or without symptoms and with and without insurance. No doctor’s order required. There are no out-of-pocket expenses. If a patient has insurance, their insurance will be billed. If they don’t have insurance, CareSouth will cover the cost. 

“We’re excited to partner with Shiloh to help make COVID-19 testing more accessible to everyone in our community, especially those who are most at risk,” said Matthew Valliere, CareSouth CEO. "Getting tested is the only way to help stop the spread."

 “This is a great opportunity to bring the testing to our members, their families and the community at large," said Rev. Fred Jeff Smith, Pastor of Shiloh. "We’re very grateful to CareSouth for providing this service."

To pre-register, go to caresouth.org and fill out the registration form or call (225) 650-2000. The testing will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis.


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Capital Area Transit System (CATS) reminds riders to wear masks https://www.wbrz.com/news/capital-area-transit-system-cats-reminds-riders-to-wear-masks/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/capital-area-transit-system-cats-reminds-riders-to-wear-masks/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 10:02:47 AM WBRZ Staff Capital Area Transit System (CATS) reminds riders to wear masks

BATON ROUGE - Residents in the Capital City have been diligent when it comes to wearing masks, according to Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome during a Tuesday morning interview with WBRZ.

Later that morning, Capital Area Transit System (CATS) reminded residents that just as they must wear masks while frequenting local businesses, all riders must have a mask or some form of face-covering over their nose and mouth in order to ride CATS vehicles.

The transportation department went on to say that customers without face-coverings are subject to denial of boarding as well as removal from the transit system.

Those who make use of CATS buses and other forms of transportation can keep up with announcements from the organization via its Twitter account or website.


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New physicians graduate amid historic pandemic https://www.wbrz.com/news/new-physicians-graduate-amid-historic-pandemic/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/new-physicians-graduate-amid-historic-pandemic/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 9:55:23 AM WBRZ Staff New physicians graduate amid historic pandemic

BATON ROUGE – While COVID-19 swept the local community and world into an unprecedented health crisis, eighteen physicians in residence at Baton Rouge General quickly adapted to the changing circumstances, eagerly stepping in and assisting at a critical time in the hospital's history.

This fortitude and adaptability led to their successful completion of Baton Rouge General’s (BRG) residency programs in Family Medicine and Internal Medicine and they're now beginning new careers at health systems and physician practices across the country.

“The Class of 2020 proved what it means to be a doctor during the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Vasudev Tati, Program Director for IMRP. “All of these graduates gave themselves over to their patients and were selfless to the cause, and it has been an honor and privilege to teach them, work with them, and watch them serve their fellow man.”  

Six graduates will remain at BRG – Rachel Brady, DO, Benjamin Levron, MD, and Robert Sudduth, DO, at Baton Rouge General Physicians clinics and Amar Dave, MD, Bayley Hubble, MD, and Aaron Williams, MD as hospitalists.

The Family Medicine graduates are Cassandra Barnes, MD; Rachel Brady, DO; Patrick Cudahy, MD; Jeremy Knott, MD; Vineeth Kumar, MD; Benjamin Levron, MD; Luciano Mancera, MD; and Robert Sudduth, DO.

 The Internal Medicine graduates are Amar Dave, MD; Bayley Hubble, MD; Dasha Lopez, MD; Sai Malireddy, MD; Dillon McCarty, MD; Abhishek Methukupally, MD; Ankitha Nukala, MD; Nipur Patel, MD; Nikhil Tarte, MD; and Aaron Williams, MD.

Family and internal medicine residency programs typically require three-year commitments following medical school.

Upon completion of residency, physicians take exams to obtain board certification, then begin medical practice; or continue with additional fellowship training in sub-specialties such as sports medicine, geriatrics, cardiology, OB/GYN, global health, or others.

Through its education programs, BRG trains annually more than 500 medical students, residents, fellows, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and radiation technologists, and provides instructional locations for medical students from other schools, including Tulane and LSU.

Click here for more information on Baton Rouge General. 


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Man allegedly robbed victim outside of Q Mart store https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-allegedly-robbed-victim-outside-of-q-mart-store/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-allegedly-robbed-victim-outside-of-q-mart-store/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 9:35:11 AM WBRZ Staff Man allegedly robbed victim outside of Q Mart store

BATON ROUGE - Investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department report catching up with and arresting a man accused in a June 15th robbery outside of a Q Mart store on North Foster Drive.

Police say a victim told them he'd just exited Q Mart when a woman walked up to him and began talking to him.

When he paused to reply, the victim told authorities, a man approached him from behind and placed what felt like a gun at his back, telling him to 'give him everything.'

An official police report says the victim handed over his wallet and the couple fled into their waiting vehicle with the victim's $840.

Police say they were able to track down the vehicle by its license plate number and discover it belonged to 50-year-old James Bell who was staying at a room in the Alamo Hotel on Florida Boulevard.

Police report finding Bell at the Alamo, which is where he was questioned and arrested. 

When asked about his whereabouts, Bell denied the robbery and said he hadn't even left his room all day, except for a brief visit to a nearby Burger King. 

Police say they could not find evidence of Bell having a gun and took this to mean he'd faked pulling a gun on the victim.

After the victim identified Bell as the man who'd robbed him, Bell was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one  count of first-degree robbery.  


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Sheriff: Man loses arm-wrestling match with son, pulls gun https://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-man-loses-arm-wrestling-match-with-son-pulls-gun/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-man-loses-arm-wrestling-match-with-son-pulls-gun/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 9:07:33 AM Associated Press Sheriff: Man loses arm-wrestling match with son, pulls gun

FLORENCE, Ky. (AP) — An arm-wrestling contest between a father and son turned violent and led to an 8-hour standoff with Kentucky deputies, authorities said.

Curtis Zimmerman, 55, was charged Monday with wanton endangerment, news outlets reported.

Deputies were sent to Zimmerman’s home around 1 a.m. Monday.

Boone County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Philip Ridgell said Zimmerman was intoxicated when he challenged his son to an arm-wrestling competition.

When Zimmerman lost multiple times, he became “agitated” and got into a physical fight with his son, Ridgell said.

Zimmerman grabbed a gun and fired two shots into the ceiling while his son was going upstairs, Ridgell said. No one was injured.

Police did not identify the son or give his age.

When authorities arrived, two family members were outside but Zimmerman refused to leave the home, leading to an 8-hour standoff. Zimmerman surrendered around 8:30 a.m.

It’s unclear whether Zimmerman had an attorney who would comment on his behalf.


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Wall Street slips as virus outbreaks dim rebound hopes https://www.wbrz.com/news/wall-street-slips-as-virus-outbreaks-dim-rebound-hopes/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/wall-street-slips-as-virus-outbreaks-dim-rebound-hopes/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 9:00:26 AM Associated Press Wall Street slips as virus outbreaks dim rebound hopes

U.S. stocks are falling in early trading Tuesday as expanding coronavirus outbreaks dim hopes for a speedy recovery.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average followed benchmarks in France, Germany and Britain lower after the European Union slashed its forecasts for economic growth in 2020.

Investors worry that recovery from the global recession and the lockdowns on businesses will take longer than expected.

Stocks also fell in Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, while the Shanghai Composite index advanced.

Precious metals and crude oil prices also fell, as did the 10-year Treasury yield.


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Man apprehended with runaway juvenile; charged with rape, human trafficking https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-apprehended-with-runaway-juvenile-charged-with-rape-human-trafficking/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/man-apprehended-with-runaway-juvenile-charged-with-rape-human-trafficking/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 8:47:57 AM WBRZ Staff Man apprehended with runaway juvenile; charged with rape, human trafficking

BATON ROUGE - Investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department followed up on the whereabouts of a runaway juvenile out of Jefferson Parish and discovered the girl appeared to have been the victim of human trafficking at the hands of an alleged rapist.

According to a police document, on June 16, an officer with BRPD was dispatched to Homewood Suites on Corporate Boulevard where he discovered 37-year-old Emilio Joaquin Zavala Paguada and a young girl who told officers she'd been attacked.

Police say the youth spoke fluent Spanish but not English and used an interpreter to explain that Paguada told her he'd give her a cell phone if she accompanied him to Baton Rouge, so she went with him.

But, she went on to say, once they got to Baton Rouge, Paguada tried to have sex with her and when she refused he threatened that certain drug-dealing members of his family would hurt either her or her family.

The girl told police after Paguada raped her, she pretended to take a shower but secretly called her mother.

Paguada was arrested on charges of second-degree rape and human trafficking.


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World Championship Gumbo Cookoff 2020 postponed https://www.wbrz.com/news/world-championship-gumbo-cookoff-2020-postponed/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/world-championship-gumbo-cookoff-2020-postponed/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 8:22:52 AM WBRZ Staff World Championship Gumbo Cookoff 2020 postponed

NEW IBERIA - Iberia Chamber of Commerce (GICC) announced Tuesday that the 2020 World Championship Gumbo Cookoff will be postponed until 2021.

The decision is the result of the resurgence of the spread of COVID-19.

“We all love gumbo and the gumbo event, but when it came to the final decision the board vote was about doing everything the chamber can, as a leading organization, to protect our greatest asset which is our people," reported Wendell Verret, first vice-chair/gumbo event chair.

"The chamber’s work is dedicated to creating the best quality of life possible. Seeing Iberia Parish and regional COVID-19 cases increasing again, not moving into Phase III of the state’s re-opening plan are all indicators that hosting such a large event is not in the best interest of our residents and visitors."

However, plans are underway to offer a virtual gumbo experience which will take gumbo to the world, since the world cannot come to Iberia Parish this year.

The proposed event is inevitably a marketing strategy for the return of the World Championship Gumbo CookOff on October 9-10, 2021, and for Iberia Parish businesses and attractions.

Click here for more information on the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff.


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St. Landry Parish crash results in woman's death https://www.wbrz.com/news/st-landry-parish-crash-results-in-woman-s-death/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/st-landry-parish-crash-results-in-woman-s-death/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 8:13:44 AM WBRZ Staff St. Landry Parish crash results in woman's death

ST. LANDRY PARISH - A Monday night crash took the life of a 34-year-old Eunice woman.

Louisiana State Police say Jada Elizabeth Boulet was behind the wheel of a Toyota Camry headed east on US 190 in St. Landry Parish when her vehicle ran off the road for unknown reasons.

When this happened, the Camry struck a culvert and overturned.

Police say Boulet was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and was ejected from the vehicle.

She was rushed to a local hospital where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries.

Police say impairment is unknown and standard toxicology samples were obtained for analysis.

The tragic crash remains under investigation.


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Erath woman arrested for allegedly setting fire to Aunt's mobile home https://www.wbrz.com/news/erath-woman-arrested-for-allegedly-setting-fire-to-aunt-s-mobile-home/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/erath-woman-arrested-for-allegedly-setting-fire-to-aunt-s-mobile-home/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 7:57:52 AM WBRZ Staff Erath woman arrested for allegedly setting fire to Aunt's mobile home

ERATH - A Vermilion Parish woman allegedly set her Aunt's vacant mobile home on fire after learning of her Aunt's plans to rent it out.

According to The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) 21-year-old Nikita Bourque was heard expressing disapproval of her Aunt's hope to move a new tenant into the residence.

Shortly after this, on Friday evening (July 3), the Erath Fire Department responded to a call regarding a residential fire in the 200 block of North Broussard Street where they found a fire at the previously mentioned vacant mobile home, which had no utilities connected.

Once the blaze was extinguished, Fire Marshal deputies assessed the scene and noted the fire appeared to have been intentionally set in the home's bedroom.

After working with Erath Police and speaking with eyewitnesses, investigators spoke with Bourque who eventually admitted to setting the fire. 

She was booked into Vermilion Parish Jail on one count of Simple Arson.



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Halle Berry issues apology, backs out of transgender film role https://www.wbrz.com/news/halle-berry-issues-apology-backs-out-of-transgender-film-role/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/halle-berry-issues-apology-backs-out-of-transgender-film-role/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 7:27:10 AM WBRZ Staff Halle Berry issues apology, backs out of transgender film role

Actress Halle Berry was featured in a recent Instagram video informing fans of her plans to portray "a character where the woman is a trans character, so she's a woman that transitioned into a man."

But shortly after the 53-year-old actress made her announcement she was criticized for misgendering the character multiple times during her interview.

According to Variety, Berry pulled out of a role and issued a public apology on Monday night.

Berry said, “the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories.”

Her Friday interview most notably caught the attention of the Twitter account for the Netflix documentary “Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen,” which was released last month and examines Hollywood’s portrayal of transgender people and their stories.

The doc’s account asked that Berry watch the film to “understand how cis actors like yourself acting in trans roles has major cultural consequences offscreen.”

After Berry’s apology, the account thanked her for “listening and learning.”

The LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD also responded, saying “We are pleased that Halle Berry listened to the concerns of transgender people and learned from them. Other powerful people should do the same. A good place to start is by watching ‘Disclosure’ to learn about trans representation in media.”

In recent years, cisgender actors have faced controversy over playing transgender characters. In 2018, Scarlett Johansson was cast as a transgender character in the film “Rub and Tug,” sparking criticism from trans rights groups and activists.

Johansson, like Berry, eventually exited the role.


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Protests sparked in Phoenix following officer-involved shooting of man in parked car https://www.wbrz.com/news/protests-sparked-in-phoenix-following-officer-involved-shooting-of-man-in-parked-car/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/protests-sparked-in-phoenix-following-officer-involved-shooting-of-man-in-parked-car/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 6:50:55 AM Paula Jones Protests sparked in Phoenix following officer-involved shooting of man in parked car

PHOENIX, Arizona- Over the Fourth of July weekend, protests in Arizona's city of Phoenix were revived after Phoenix Police fatally shot a man who was sitting in a parked car at a residence. 

According to CNN, 28-year-old James Garcia lost his life when Phoenix police were dispatched to a home for an aggravated assault complaint.

When police arrived, they say a victim told them a man who'd stabbed him during a previous incident was at a nearby residence with a knife and that he was accompanied by another person who had a gun. The victim then directed officers to a house where they found several people, including Garcia who was sitting in a parked car.

While Garcia's family maintains that he did not have a gun and was merely sleeping in his car, police released a statement saying the following:

"Officers talked to the man for approximately 10 minutes, asking him to leave his car so they could secure the scene. He refused and eventually rolled up the windows and pulled out a gun." 

"Officers ordered the man to drop the gun but he refused. The man repeatedly told officers to shoot him and lifted the gun toward the officers. That's when two officers fired their weapons."

Footage from a body-worn camera was released on Monday afternoon and the deadly incident was followed by protests against police brutality in Phoenix on Sunday night. 

One protester, Jacob Raiford, told reporters, "As we continue to see, they're not hearing us, so we are going to be out here every day and we are going to utilize every disruptive, non-violent demonstration tactic that we have in order to make sure that they hear us loud and clear." 

The demonstrations were held outside of a police station and authorities eventually asked the protesters to leave, a directive which they peacefully complied with. 

But tensions between the public and local police remain high. 

In a Facebook post, City Council member Carlos Garcia criticized the police's use of force in the incident and cast doubt on their description of events.

"It does not shock us that despite all the scrutiny from community Phoenix PD continues to respond violently to calls. But, we must all continue to ask for transparency and accountability," he wrote on Facebook.

"The department also issued a premature statement leaving out facts about the case. We cannot allow for dishonest narratives to be built by violent departments. We will continue to call for independent investigations into officer involved shootings."

The protests in Phoenix followed a series of demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality throughout May and June. The movements were sparked by viral video footage of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a police officer while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill to pay for goods. 


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Central Area Youth League cancels remaining games of season due to COVID-19 https://www.wbrz.com/news/central-area-youth-league-cancels-remaining-games-of-season-due-to-covid-19/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/central-area-youth-league-cancels-remaining-games-of-season-due-to-covid-19/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 5:51:20 AM WBRZ Staff Central Area Youth League cancels remaining games of season due to COVID-19

CENTRAL - The Central Area Youth League announced Monday (July 6) that due to the recent statewide uptick in cases of novel coronavirus, all remaining games of the season have been canceled. 

Bill Ensminger, the League's Commissioner, said the decision was made shortly after four of the League's teams revealed, over the weekend, that either a coach and/or parent tested positive for COVID-19.   

After learning this, BREC suggested the League suspend play for three weeks, and officials decided to simply cancel the remainder of the season. 

Ensminger's full statement is issued below: 

The CAYL Board and staff regret to announce that we have decided to cancel the current all remaining games this season out of precaution of safety and concern for all involved.

Unfortunately, we had 4 of our teams that have contacted us this weekend who have had either a coach and/or a parent test positive for COVID-19. 

As of this time, we have not heard of any children that have tested positive for COVID-19.

BREC suggests that we suspend play for three weeks but that would run our season into the start of school.

This is not an option, therefore we have cancelled all remaining games this season. It was our intention to play this summer to give the kids an activity after the lockdown and hopefully we were able to provide that for you and your family.

This was a very difficult decision. We will try as hard as we can to have a Fall League which will be dependent on the health status of our community.

Click here for additional information on The Central Area Youth League. 


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State Farm plans another car insurance rate cut in Louisiana https://www.wbrz.com/news/state-farm-plans-another-car-insurance-rate-cut-in-louisiana/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/state-farm-plans-another-car-insurance-rate-cut-in-louisiana/ News Tue, 7 Jul 2020 5:25:49 AM Associated Press State Farm plans another car insurance rate cut in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s largest auto insurer is slashing its rates again, as fewer drivers are on the road because of the coronavirus outbreak.

State Farm, which covers nearly one-third of the private passenger car insurance market, will cut its auto rates in the state by 9.6%, a move approved and announced Monday by Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.

It’s the fourth rate cut that State Farm has made in the last two years, according to the insurance department.

The latest reduction will begin Aug. 24 for new policies and renewals after that date. The Advocate reports the new rate drop is expected to save $131 million across the company’s 1 million policy holders in Louisiana.

Despite recent premium cuts for 1.4 million Louisiana drivers, the state’s car insurance rates remain among the most expensive in the country.


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