WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ News News en-us Copyright 2021, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Tue, 22 Jun 2021 HH:06:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Dad of LSU Baseball pitcher dies in Father's Day weekend tubing accident https://www.wbrz.com/news/dad-of-lsu-baseball-pitcher-dies-in-father-s-day-weekend-tubing-accident/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/dad-of-lsu-baseball-pitcher-dies-in-father-s-day-weekend-tubing-accident/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 12:37:07 PM Trey Schmaltz Dad of LSU Baseball pitcher dies in Father's Day weekend tubing accident

LIVINGSTON PARISH - A tuber died in a river accident this weekend, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Keith Hilliard, 53, got off a tube into the river and did not resurface.  His body was later found and attempts to revive him failed, sheriff's deputies said.

Hilliard left the tube to try to find something he dropped into the water, deputies said.

The sheriff's office said an exact cause of death is pending the result of an autopsy, although deputies noted the situation appears to have been a freak accident.

The incident happened not long after launching near Hancock Lane. 

Hilliard is the father of LSU Baseball pitcher Ma'Khail Hilliard, a senior who graduated from Central High School. 

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Porch pirates on the prowl near Denham Springs https://www.wbrz.com/news/porch-pirates-on-the-prowl-near-denham-springs/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/porch-pirates-on-the-prowl-near-denham-springs/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 7:22:35 PM Earl Phelps Porch pirates on the prowl near Denham Springs

BATON ROUGE - Some package thieves have hit several homes in the Lakes at North Park subdivision near Denham Springs, snatching deliveries right off the front porches in the middle of the day with security cameras in plain sight.

"They had to see they were on film and they just knocked on the door, nobody answered, and they just grabbed the package and walked to the car like they lived there. It's crazy," Homeowner Twanya Talbert said.

Talbert saw a video of the so-called "Porch Pirate" in action, taking a package at a home not too far from where she lives.

It appears to be a woman is seen picking up a package, and getting into the passenger side of a car waiting with the door open.

"She looked right at the camera. You can tell she saw that there were cameras there, and strolled back to her car with it like nothing happened," Homeowner Matthew Woerner said.

Woerner also lives in The Lakes at North Park, and he's concerned because he's had packages that are scheduled to be delivered soon.

"I've got packages coming tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll be home waiting for them," Woerner said.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office has posted the video of the woman taking the package on their website, hoping it leads to the suspect's identity and arrest.

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Business owner working with public officials to address Baton Rouge crime problem https://www.wbrz.com/news/business-owner-working-with-public-officials-to-address-baton-rouge-crime-problem/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/business-owner-working-with-public-officials-to-address-baton-rouge-crime-problem/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 7:08:38 PM WBRZ Staff Business owner working with public officials to address Baton Rouge crime problem

BATON ROUGE - One crime scene hit too close to home for a business owner along Perkins Road.

After a road rage shooting brought crime to his door, Benny's Car Wash owner Justin Alford wants to try and do something about escalating violence in the city.

"It's obviously hurting business for us and everyone. It's just not a safe place anymore and I just think there's something we can do, and we need to get involved to try and make it better," Alford said.

Now he's organizing a group to offer solutions, getting with BRAC CEO Adam Knapp and District Attorney Hillar Moore to discuss options. Monday, they also met with the police chief and sheriff.

Right now, Alford and his group are pushing for businesses to install more lighting and security cameras and reminding people to lock their doors.

"Chief Murphy Paul said one of the best things we can do, there was 96 guns taken out of cars that we unlocked, he said please say the message: just lock your cars."

Specifically, Alford and his company Benny's will try to combat crime by offering at-risk kids jobs and hopes more businesses will join.

"We're hiring school kids. We're hiring college-aged kids, younger kids. Get them off the street. Let's put them to work. If they're working all day and they're tired when they get home from work, the less chance of any problems," Alford said.

The group plans to meet regularly to refine their ideas.

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Deputies seize trove of illegal drugs, guns from alleged dealer https://www.wbrz.com/news/deputies-seize-trove-of-illegal-drugs-guns-from-alleged-dealer/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/deputies-seize-trove-of-illegal-drugs-guns-from-alleged-dealer/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 6:17:35 PM WBRZ Staff Deputies seize trove of illegal drugs, guns from alleged dealer

BATON ROUGE - On Monday the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Narcotics team carried out three search warrants which led to the arrest of an alleged drug dealer.

The sheriff's office arrested Lionell Ratcliff, 42, on a slew of drug and weapon charges. Other details related to his arrest were not immediately available.

The items seized in the searches include the following:

- 2.8 ounces of Heroin (approx. street value $6,300)

- 3.8 ounces of Crack Cocaine (approx. street value $4,100)

- 1.5 ounces of Powder Cocaine (approx. street value $1,650)

- 116 dosage units of pressed Fentanyl pills

- 6.2 ounces of MDMA pills

- 25 grams of Methamphetamine

- 54 dosage units of Hydrocodone

- 5 dosage unit of Oxycodone

- 1 pound of Marijuana

- 4 handguns

- $8,732 (pending seizure)

Ratcliff's charges include the following:

-Possession with intent to distribute (PWITD) Heroin (2.8 ounces)

-PWITD Fentanyl(116 dosage units)

-PWITD MDMA (6.2 ounces)

-PWITD Powder cocaine(1.5 ounces)

-PWITD Crack cocaine (3.8 ounces)

-PWITD Methamphetamine (25 grams)

-PWITD Hydrocodone (54 dosage units)

-PWITD Oxycodone (5 dosage units)

-PWITD Marijuana (1 pound)

-Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

-Possession of a drug paraphernalia

-Possession of a firearm with CDS

-Possession of CDS in the presence of a juvenile

The drug bust was assisted by EBRSO Intel, EBRSO K-9, and DEA Task Force.

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Two men arrested in burglary spree targeting businesses across EBR https://www.wbrz.com/news/two-men-arrested-in-burglary-spree-targeting-businesses-across-ebr/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/two-men-arrested-in-burglary-spree-targeting-businesses-across-ebr/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 4:38:32 PM WBRZ Staff Two men arrested in burglary spree targeting businesses across EBR

BATON ROUGE - Two men were arrested after a 10-day burglary spree that targeted several business in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office identified the suspects as Loyd Hamilton, 58, and Roderick Collier, 47.

The sheriff's office said it investigated the burglaries at numerous businesses from June 8 to June 18 along Plank Road, Airline Highway, and Hooper Road.

The Baton Rouge Police Department joined the investigation after a suspect vehicle tied to the EBR burglaries was also linked to similar crimes within the Baton Rouge city limits.

Detectives and deputies conducted a surveillance operation, leading them to find that vehicle leaving the scene of a burglary Friday. Shortly afterward, authorities conducted a traffic stop and arrested both suspects who were inside the vehicle. During the stop, deputies found cartons of cigarettes and several electronics.

Both men were booked on burglary charges. Collier is also facing charges of drug possession, bank fraud, forgery and theft.

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Some subdivision construction deferred, others up for approval after May flood https://www.wbrz.com/news/some-subdivision-construction-deferred-others-up-for-approval-after-may-flood/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/some-subdivision-construction-deferred-others-up-for-approval-after-may-flood/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 4:13:23 PM Sydney Kern Some subdivision construction deferred, others up for approval after May flood

BATON ROUGE – Homeowners push back on plans for a new subdivision Monday night after flash flooding in May. They are worried growth will bring more drainage problems and increase flooding.

There are multiple building proposals on the EBR Planning and Zoning meeting agenda. Some homeowners asking for construction to slow down are getting what they want.

“There’s a lot of fear of the unknown and I think we need to listen to that right now,” EBR Metro Council Member Denise Amoroso said.

Two major subdivisions sit in Amoroso’s district, including a 26-home lot on S. Harrell’s Ferry Road, and 23 townhomes on Jones Creek. Amoroso is deferring both projects Monday night.

“We need to make sure the developers are doing their due diligence and make sure their drainage is good,” Amoroso said. “We’re not saying no to these developers, we’re just saying we need some more time and the constituents do too.”

One subdivision still up for approval is Garden Hill off Tiger Bend Road. Developers are looking to build 62 homes across 13 acres next to the already existing Rose Hill neighborhood.

“We want to make sure that whatever is put in place is something that can be maintained and the water needs somewhere to go and we need the Baton Rouge problems to be solved,” said Crystal Lewis, who is the secretary for the neighborhood H.O.A.

Lewis and her family live in Rose Hill off of Tiger Bend Road. Their homes would back up to a proposed subdivision called Garden Hill, which is still up for approval.

“We can respect for the desire to grow, but all of the aspects of this are going to be negative for us,” Lewis said.

Lewis and her neighbors are trying to halt this construction while government officials are discussing if the parish is ready and able to keep up with more homes popping up near existing neighborhoods.

Councilmember Chauna Banks is also deferring a large residential development that would contain more than 900 homes on Old Scenic Highway. The deferred projects will be discussed in a month.

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Sheriff: Intoxicated man arrested after throwing beer can at deputy's head https://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-intoxicated-man-arrested-after-throwing-beer-can-at-deputy-s-head/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-intoxicated-man-arrested-after-throwing-beer-can-at-deputy-s-head/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 3:41:59 PM Logan Cullop Sheriff: Intoxicated man arrested after throwing beer can at deputy's head

NAPOLEONVILLE - A man was arrested after he allegedly threw a can at a deputy's forehead and doused other deputies with beer.

Ashton Trevon Johnston, 23, was arrested Saturday morning at the Napoleonville Community Center after the sheriff's office was called to disperse a large crowd.

Authorities said they intervened when two people got into a fight.

During the confrontation, the arrest report said Johnston "very aggressively" threw an open beer can that struck a deputy in the forehead and sprayed beer on other deputies.

Johnston allegedly resisted arrest when authorities tried to take him into custody.

Johnston was booked into the Assumption Parish Detention Center on charges of:
*Resisting Arrest by Force or Violence (2 Counts)
*Battery Upon a Police Officer
*Disturbing the Peace – Appearing in Public in an Intoxicated Condition

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Woman dies after falling 200 feet from cliff in Wyoming https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-dies-after-falling-200-feet-from-cliff-in-wyoming/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-dies-after-falling-200-feet-from-cliff-in-wyoming/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 3:18:41 PM Mallory Panzavecchia Woman dies after falling 200 feet from cliff in Wyoming

SHERIDAN, WY- A woman on a sunrise hike with her husband died after falling more than 200 feet from a Wyoming peak, according to the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said it received a report Tuesday around 5:50 a.m. that a woman fell off of Steamboat Point, a peak in the Bighorn Mountains, about 24 miles south of the Wyoming-Montana border. The victim was identified as 28-year-old Calli Aust of Sheridan.

Aust's husband was unsure of where she was at the time of the call, the sheriff's office said. The first emergency personnel arrived to search for Aust around 6:30 a.m., although multiple agencies responded to assist in the rescue.

About 45 minutes later, she was found dead at the base of Steamboat Point's southwest side, according to the sheriff's office.

The department said Aust fell when she and her husband reached the top after hiking up Steamboat Point Tuesday to see the sunrise.

It's unclear why she fell, but the sheriff's office says there are no signs of foul play. Her death is being treated as an accident.

The sheriff's office is leading an investigation with help from the Wyoming Highway Patrol and Bighorn National Forest Service Law Enforcement. The Sheridan County Coroner's Office is also conducting an investigation.

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LIVE UPDATES: Monday afternoon commute https://www.wbrz.com/news/live-updates-monday-afternoon-commute-143617/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/live-updates-monday-afternoon-commute-143617/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 2:50:27 PM Falon Brown LIVE UPDATES: Monday afternoon commute

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Louisianans can now register for $1M vaccine lottery; click here for details https://www.wbrz.com/news/louisianans-can-now-register-for-1m-vaccine-lottery-click-here-for-details/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/louisianans-can-now-register-for-1m-vaccine-lottery-click-here-for-details/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 1:31:43 PM WBRZ Staff Louisianans can now register for $1M vaccine lottery; click here for details

Monday marks the first day of Louisiana's "Shot at a Million" campaign, allowing residents to register for their shot at the COVID-19 vaccination lottery.

Over July, there will be four weekly drawings with prizes of a single $100,000 scholarship for those ages 12 to 17 and a single cash prize of $100,000 for those ages 18 and older.

Finally, at the start of August, there will be a grand prize drawing with a single cash prize of $1 million and five $100,000 scholarships.

Anyone who's gotten at least their first dose of the vaccine is eligible for the drawings. Other residents can become eligible by receiving their first dose before the deadlines of each drawing.

There was a rush to register for the lottery Monday morning, with many reporting wait times up to 30 minutes on the state's official website.

For more details on how to register for the lottery, click here.

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Boy, 7, found dead after group of tubers went over dam in North Carolina https://www.wbrz.com/news/boy-7-found-dead-after-group-of-tubers-went-over-dam-in-north-carolina/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/boy-7-found-dead-after-group-of-tubers-went-over-dam-in-north-carolina/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 1:08:43 PM Mallory Panzavecchia Boy, 7, found dead after group of tubers went over dam in North Carolina

EDEN, N.C. - A 7-year-old boy was found dead in a North Carolina river days after a group of tubers went over a dam.

The body was retrieved Sunday from the Dan River near Draper Landing in Eden after a 911 call alerted emergency responders, CNN reported.

The child was one of nine tubers who went over the dam near a Duke Energy power plant on Wednesday evening. Four tubers from the group were found alive Thursday after a power plant worker saw something and alerted 911, Officer Lt. Kevin Suthard of Rockingham County Sheriff's Office Public Information said.

Three other tubers' bodies were recovered Thursday. One tuber is still missing.

Another search was conducted Sunday between the dam and where the boy's body was found, but emergency officials still have not found the final victim.

Rockingham County officials believe it is "very unlikely" for victims to surface due to the release of water from Belews Lake Saturday night increasing river flow.

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Waitress kidnapped after following customers who skipped out on bill https://www.wbrz.com/news/waitress-kidnapped-after-following-customers-who-skipped-out-on-bill/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/waitress-kidnapped-after-following-customers-who-skipped-out-on-bill/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 12:48:17 PM WBRZ Staff Waitress kidnapped after following customers who skipped out on bill

WASHINGTON, N.J. - A waitress was assaulted and abducted after confronting a group of customers who refused to pay for their meal.

The attack happened around 11:15 p.m. Saturday at a Nifty Fifties restaurant.

Washington Township Police said a 20-year-old waitress followed a group of customers to the parking lot after they did not pay a $70 bill.

The diners allegedly forced her into their vehicle, assaulted her and drove around briefly before pushing the victim out of the car.

The waitress ran back to the restaurant to call the police. She was later taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The suspects were last seen driving in a newer model white Dodge Durango on Route 42 south near Monroe Township.

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Tornado sweeps through suburban Chicago, causing damage https://www.wbrz.com/news/tornado-sweeps-through-suburban-chicago-causing-damage/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/tornado-sweeps-through-suburban-chicago-causing-damage/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 11:32:30 AM Associated Press Tornado sweeps through suburban Chicago, causing damage

CHICAGO (AP) — A radar-confirmed tornado swept through communities in heavily populated suburban Chicago, damaging more than 100 homes, toppling trees, knocking out power and causing multiple injuries, officials said.

At least five people, including a woman who was listed in critical condition, were hospitalized in Naperville, where 16 homes were left “uninhabitable” and dozens of other homes were damaged when a reported tornado touched down after 11 p.m. Sunday, said city spokeswoman Linda LaCloche.

More than 120 other reports of property damage had been received by 5 a.m. Monday in the city about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Chicago and those were expected to grow as residents surveyed the storm damage, she said. About 450 power outages were reported.

“We’re lucky that it wasn’t worse,” LaCloche said Monday morning. “We have a lot of utility poles and electrical wires down, and tree damage.”

Video showed several large trees downed and damage to homes and vehicles in the path of the storm. Some gas leaks were reported in Naperville, and crews went door to door shutting off lines, she said.

Officials in the nearby village of Woodridge said a tornado touched down late Sunday, damaging at least 75 structures, and a damage assessment was underway. There were no reports of significant injuries in the community, but people were urged to avoid the area due to downed power lines and trees.

The storm destroyed the second floor of Bridget Casey’s Woodridge home. She sat in a lawn chair in the driveway before sunrise Monday. Her son, Nate Casey, 16, said he was watching TV when the storm swept through and he raced to help his mother get his three younger siblings to the basement.

“I just heard a loud crash and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, what are my brothers up to?’ I go look and I see the sky, and then I hear my brothers screaming from the room,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Illinois, said a team from the weather service would be surveying storm damage Monday to determine the reported tornado’s strength and its path. He said the same storm is believed to have rolled through Naperville, Woodridge and Darien, and may have also caused damage in Burr Ridge, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Chicago,

“If there were no fatalities — and there haven’t been any reported to us — that’s great news considering the population of the area, the level of damage and the time of day, after 11 p.m. when many people may be asleep,” he said.

Radar had also showed storm rotation over several other areas of suburban Chicago, and also in northwestern Indiana in the Hobart and South Haven areas, Friedlein said.

The threat of wind damage remained for a few hours as the line of storms moved over northern Illinois and into northwestern Indiana, forecasters said. The severe threat was declared over at 2 a.m. local time.

Severe storms hit other parts of the Midwest, where a tornado damaged several buildings and knocked down power lines and trees in eastern Iowa on Sunday night. Most of the storm damage was reported in rural areas near the town of Bernard. No injuries were reported.

Late Sunday and early Monday, severe thunderstorms brought gusting winds and drenching rains to parts of Michigan. And in Missouri, a thunderstorm with strong winds whipped through parts of the state late Sunday and early Monday — knocking down trees and power lines.

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Federal gov issues guidance regarding FEMA Decision Letters https://www.wbrz.com/news/federal-gov-issues-guidance-regarding-fema-decision-letters/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/federal-gov-issues-guidance-regarding-fema-decision-letters/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 11:16:29 AM WBRZ Staff Federal gov issues guidance regarding FEMA Decision Letters

According to a Monday news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Louisiana residents who applied for federal assistance after sustaining damage from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from May 17 - 21 should expect to receive a letter from FEMA in the mail or via email.

The letter will explain the status of their application and how to respond.

If a citizen has turned in all required information and is eligible for a FEMA grant, the letter will tell them the dollar amount of their grant and how the funds should be used.

On the other hand, if the letter says their application is ineligible, it will explain why it did not qualify or what FEMA still needs to know. It also tells citizens how to appeal the decision if they disagree.

Applicants may only need to submit additional information to FEMA. Examples of missing documentation may include proof of insurance coverage, a copy of an insurance claim settlement document, proof of identity, proof of occupancy, proof of ownership and/or proof that the damaged property was the applicant’s primary residence when the storms, tornadoes or flooding happened.

One way to provide any additional information needed is by setting up an online account and uploading documents there.

To set up a disaster assistance account:

-Go to www.disasterassistance.gov/.

-Select the Create Account button at the bottom of the page and follow instructions.

-A PIN will be sent to the email address on file. Then log into the account.

-You can then upload your important documents in the Upload Center. (This page takes you to the login if you are returning to add more documents: https://go.usa.gov/xUPX5.

FEMA says those who are unable to set up an online account or have questions about their letter should call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.

Anyone who disagrees with FEMA’s decision on whether they are eligible for assistance, or the amount of assistance, may submit an appeal letter and documents supporting their claim, such as a copy of a utility bill or a contractor’s estimate for home repairs.

FEMA says it cannot duplicate assistance provided by another source, such as an insurance settlement. But if insurance did not cover the cost of repairs, citizens may receive further assistance after their claim is settled by submitting the insurance settlement documents to FEMA.

Appeals must be made by sending a signed and dated letter, explaining the reason(s) for the appeal. 

It should also include: the applicant’s full name, the disaster number (4606 in Louisiana), the address where the applicant lived at the time of the disaster and the applicant’s current phone number and address.

A FEMA Helpline specialist can provide assistance at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.

Letters must be postmarked within 60 days of the date on the determination letter. Appeal letters and supporting documents may be submitted to FEMA by fax or mail or via a FEMA online account.


FEMA National Processing Service Center

P.O. Box 10055

Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055



Attention: FEMA

For the latest information on the May 17-21 severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4606. 

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LSU offering merit raises to some employees https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-offering-merit-raises-to-some-employees/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/lsu-offering-merit-raises-to-some-employees/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 10:56:16 AM WBRZ Staff LSU offering merit raises to some employees

BATON ROUGE -  Interim LSU President Tom Galligan says some of the university's employees will see raises soon.

Galligan said in a statement Monday that each department at the school will get a three-percent merit raise pool. LSU said it will explain the details of the merit raise process later Monday.

Read the full statement below.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As I prepare to return to the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, I am incredibly happy that one of my last messages to you is to announce that LSU will provide a 3% merit raise pool to each department. Raises were my number one priority during the legislative session and thanks to the support of the Governor, the Legislature, and a host of too many others to name, our goal is now a reality.

The 3% merit raise pool will be available for eligible unclassified faculty and staff, and your leadership teams will receive the details of the merit raise process later today. The effective date of the pay raise will be July 1 for fiscal year and professional hourly employees and August 15 for employees paid on an academic year basis. Classified employees will be given a Market Pay Adjustment effective July 15, in accordance with the Department of State Civil Service guidelines.

My hope is that pay raises will become an annual occurrence because you deserve it. Our fantastic faculty and staff are what make our university great. You produce research, scholarship, and creative work that define LSU’s academic reputation, and you provide our students a wonderful experience through your teaching, hard work, and support.

I speak for the LSU Board of Supervisors and the entire university administration when I say thank you for your continued devotion to LSU and our students. We appreciate you and we wish you the very best as we enter the new fiscal year and continue to plan for our fall semester.

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Pockets of high water spotted along I-110 Monday morning https://www.wbrz.com/news/pockets-of-high-water-spotted-along-i-110-monday-morning/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/pockets-of-high-water-spotted-along-i-110-monday-morning/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 9:43:31 AM WBRZ Staff Pockets of high water spotted along I-110 Monday morning

BATON ROUGE - Heavy rainfall in the capital area resulted in flooding along I-110 near the Governor's Mansion on Monday morning.

Pockets of high water were spotted in the area around 9:30 a.m.

WBRZ will continue to monitor the area and update viewers throughout the day.

Traffic advisories are available on WBRZ's newscasts, and on Twitter at @WBRZTraffic. 

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Supreme Court rules against NCAA caps on education-related gifts, benefits for student-athletes https://www.wbrz.com/news/supreme-court-rules-against-ncaa-caps-on-education-related-gifts-benefits-for-student-athletes/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/supreme-court-rules-against-ncaa-caps-on-education-related-gifts-benefits-for-student-athletes/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 9:34:10 AM WBRZ Staff Supreme Court rules against NCAA caps on education-related gifts, benefits for student-athletes

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court ruled in a major case involving whether the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is breaking anti-trust law by limiting what student-athletes can receive by way of education-related gifts and benefits, ABC News reports.

The news outlet notes that the case highlights NCAA restrictions on athlete compensation, and could dramatically alter the nature of college sports.

The court ruled unanimously against NCAA limits.

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US stocks open higher, led by gains in banks and industrials https://www.wbrz.com/news/us-stocks-open-higher-led-by-gains-in-banks-and-industrials/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/us-stocks-open-higher-led-by-gains-in-banks-and-industrials/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 9:18:27 AM Associated Press US stocks open higher, led by gains in banks and industrials

Stocks were posting solid gains in early trading Monday, following the market’s steep declines the previous week. Bank and industrial companies, which were hit hard last week, were among the biggest gainers.

The S&P 500 index was up 0.5% as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.9% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq was down 0.2%.

Stocks fell sharply last week after Federal Reserve officials indicated that they were willing to start raising interest rates in 2022 or 2023, earlier than what the Fed had forecast previously. The change of outlook comes as the U.S. economy is recovering from the pandemic, but also being impacted by inflation for the first time in more than a decade.

The Fed also has begun talks about slowing its $120 billion of monthly bond purchases, which are helping to keep mortgages and other longer-term borrowing cheap. But the Fed’s chair has said such a tapering is still likely a ways away.

Any pullback in Fed support would be a big change for markets, which have been feasting on ultra-low rates for more than a year.

Investors will get a slew of economic data this week that will help give the market some direction, including another read on inflation on Friday. Other data out this week includes sales of previously occupied homes, manufacturing and a final reading on first quarter GDP.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.50%.

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As Amazon Prime Day begins, BBB issues warning regarding online shopping scams https://www.wbrz.com/news/as-amazon-prime-day-begins-bbb-issues-warning-regarding-online-shopping-scams/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/as-amazon-prime-day-begins-bbb-issues-warning-regarding-online-shopping-scams/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 8:35:05 AM WBRZ Staff As Amazon Prime Day begins, BBB issues warning regarding online shopping scams

Amazon's biggest sale event of the year is in full swing Monday, as Amazon Prime Day 2021 kicks off. 

Online shoppers are invited to scour the website to find savings on thousands of products from top brands from Monday, June 21 until Tuesday, June 22.

But as consumers peruse their favorite Amazon departments, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reminding folks that the big day will likely be rife with scammers hoping to snag dollars from innocent consumers via phishing scams, misleading ads, and look alike websites. 

The BBB suggests consumers implement the following practices to avoid online shopping scams on Prime Day: 

-Beware of fake look alike websites: Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information, and read online reviews.

-Professional photos do not mean it’s a real offer. Scammers often steal photos off other websites, so don’t believe what you see. 

-Make sure the website is secure. Look for the “https” in the URL (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and a small lock icon on the address bar. Never enter payment or personal information into a website with only “http.” It is NOT secure.

-Be careful purchasing sought-after products. If something is sold out everywhere, don’t be tempted by a seemingly great deal. Scammers often trick shoppers by offering the most popular products at low prices. Here’s one example involving game consoles.

-Pay with a credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, you will be able to contest them through your credit card company. Be alert of any retailer that asks you to pay by digital wallet apps, prepaid money cards, or other non-traditional payment methods. 

Click here for more information from the BBB on how to avoid scams while shopping online. 

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Tokyo Olympics to allow local fans but with strict limits https://www.wbrz.com/news/tokyo-olympics-to-allow-local-fans-but-with-strict-limits/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/tokyo-olympics-to-allow-local-fans-but-with-strict-limits/ News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 8:19:53 AM Associated Press Tokyo Olympics to allow local fans but with strict limits

TOKYO (AP) — A sharply limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics, organizers announced Monday as they tried to save some of the spirit of the Games where even cheering has been banned.

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans, all of whom must be Japanese residents — for each Olympic venue, regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors. Officials said that if coronavirus cases rise again the rules could be changed and fans could still be barred all together. Spectators from abroad were banned several months ago, and now some local fans who have tickets will be forced to give them up.

The decision comes as opposition among Japanese to holding the Games in July remains high, though may be softening, and as new infections in Tokyo have begun to subside.

Still, health officials fear that in a country where the vast majority of people have yet to be vaccinated, crowds at the Olympics could drive cases up. The country’s top medical adviser, Dr. Shigeru Omi, recommended last week that the safest way to hold the Olympics would be without fans. Allowing fans presents a risk not just at the venues but will also lead to more circulation on commuter trains, in restaurants and other public spaces.

It’s already become clear that these Olympics Games will be unlike any others, but organizers have said they are determined to hold them and billions of dollars in broadcast rights and ticket sales are at stake. Still, much of the fanfare that surrounds them — people from around the world rubbing elbows, a celebratory atmosphere in the host city and the showcasing of the host country’s culture — will be off the table or far more muted this year.

Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, called the decision “the last piece for the Olympics” to proceed on July 23.

But as with everything about these Olympics — the first postponed in the history of the Modern Games dating from 1896, though previous ones were canceled during both World Wars — the decision raised many questions.

For one, it is not quite what it seems. Although a maximum of 10,000 fans will be allowed in any given venue, so-called stakeholders — including sponsors and sporting federation officials — will not be counted toward that total, according to organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto. Japanese media, for instance, reported that up to 20,000 people might attend the opening ceremony, over and above athletes, though Muto said he thought it would be less than that.

The decision on local fans was announced after so-called Five Party talks online with local organizers, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the Japanese government and the government of metropolitan Tokyo. A decision on the Paralympics comes on July 16.

Hashimoto, meanwhile, left the door open for a no-fans Olympics if the conditions worsen around the pandemic.

“We need to be very flexible. If there is any abrupt change in the situation, we will hold five-party meetings again to make other decisions,” Hashimoto said. “If there is an announcement of a state of emergency during the Games, all the options like no-spectator games will be examined.”

Officials say local fans will be under strict rules. They will not be allowed to cheer, must wear masks, and are being told to go straight home afterward.

“We would like people to go directly home from the venue without stopping by anywhere,” Muto said.

He said 3.64 million tickets were already in the hands of Japanese residents. He indicated that was about 900,000 more than the seats likely to be available. That will mean a lottery to see who can attend.

Tokyo organizers had expected about $800 million in revenue from ticket sales, but Muto said the actual figure would be no more than half that. Any shortfall will have to be picked by some Japanese government entity.

The University of Oxford has said these are the most expensive Olympics on record. The official cost is $15.4 billion, but several government audits suggest it might be twice that much. All but $6.7 billion is public money.

The IOC relies on selling broadcast rights for almost 75% of its income. Another 18% is from sponsors. A cancelation would cost the IOC an estimated $3 billion-$4 billion in lost broadcast income — an enormous blow especially at a time when its income flow has already been slowed by the pandemic.

The decision comes just as Tokyo has emerged from a state of emergency as the curve of new cases has flattened. The seven-day average for new infections in the city is about 400 daily.

The capital and other areas are now under “quasi-emergency” status until July 11. The new rules will allow restaurants to serve alcohol during limited hours, the main outcome from the reduced restrictions.

Overall, more than 14,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in Japan, which has managed the pandemic better than many countries but not as well as some others in Asia. Its vaccination campaign remains behind many Western ones, with about 6.5% of Japanese fully vaccinated and 16.5% with at least one shot.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has favored allowing fans, said before the official announcement that he would bar fans if conditions change. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike echoed that.

“If a state of emergency is necessary, I will be flexible and open to no fans in order to achieve that the Games give top priority to safety and security for the people,” Suga said.

He said he took “seriously” Omi’s recommendations but did not follow them.

In recent polls, support seems to be increasing for holding the Olympics, though a majority still appear to favor postponing or canceling the Games, depending how the question is worded.

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