News for Wednesday 070214
By Dave Graichen
The 2014 Hurricane Season’s first tropical depression has formed off of Florida's Atlantic coast. The storm is projected to travel up the Atlantic coast of the United States and poses no threat to
the Gulf of Mexico.
He says reports about his retirement are greatly exaggerated! Yesterday 9th Judicial District Judge Harry Randow announced he will be running for re-election. Just one problem, the distinguished judge will soon be 71. Retirement age for judges in Louisiana is 70. The judge is anticipating voters in the state will approve a constitutional amendment, on the ballot this fall, that would lift that age restriction, thus allowing him to continue serving. The downside, If the proposed constitutional amendment fails, Randow would not be able to take office even if he wins re-election.
Louisiana’s top School Board on Tuesday voted 6-3 to hire special legal counsel in its bid to implement Common Core tests that Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes. But the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education stopped short of authorizing any legal action for now, in part because some panel members said they do not want to sue the governor. In addition, BESE voted without objection to order talks between state Superintendent of Education John White and Jindal’s office in a bid to resolve the dispute. White is then supposed to provide an update on any progress in the standoff by July 18.
The Jindal administration has repaid a $70 million state treasury loan that was needed to keep public colleges and universities operating. However, state Treasurer John Kennedy raised concerns Tuesday about where the administration found the money to repay the borrowing. He said the administration grabbed dollars from another fiscal year. Kennedy also said the 2013-2014 fiscal year ended this week with a nearly $63 million deficit.
The Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a state law that forbids felons from possessing firearms, ruling that lawmakers did not intend to invalidate the state’s weapons laws when they proposed a constitutional amendment declaring gun ownership a fundamental right. Justice Jeff Hughes wrote in a unanimous opinion that the state’s ban on the possession of firearms by convicted felons “is not affected” by the constitutional language approved by voters in 2012.
The Fourth of July is just around the corner. With the holiday falling on Friday, it makes a three-day holiday weekend for a lot of people which means many will be traveling. American Automobile Association spokesman Don Redman says even with higher gas prices, more people are expected to hit the road. He says approximately 41-million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday.
Indicted state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Walter Lee is now facing state ethics charges. The state Board of Ethics alleged in documents made public Tuesday that Lee violated three state conflict of interest laws. The charges involve incidents of Lee’s alleged use of his position as DeSoto Parish schools superintendent for personal gain. Lee was indicted in January by a DeSoto Parish grand jury on felony theft, public contract fraud and malfeasance in office during his tenure as schools chief. He has pled not guilty.
Louisiana has fewer automobile deaths related to impaired driving, but speeding related deaths are up seven percent according to a new study by the governors highway safety administration. Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Administration, Lt. Col. John Leblanc, says across the country, speeding is a factor in nearly one third of highway deaths, but in Louisiana the number is closer to 50%.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 19-year-old woman found lying unconscious and nonresponsive on the side of the road yesterday. Authorities say the circumstances surrounding the woman's death are suspicious and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. The incident is being treated as a homicide.
Two parents are under arrest in Livingston Parish for child cruelty and endangerment and other charges connected with them leaving their infant locked in a hot car at a Walmart Parking lot in Walker. The two walmartians were also arrested on drug possession charges.
The State Fire Marshal's office says they are treating the tragic passing of Captain Robert Thomas, who worked with Bienville Fire District 7, as a Line of Duty Death. The 52-year-old crashed and then
was crushed by his own fire truck on the way back from a structure blaze Monday night. Browning says this is the first Line of Duty firefighter death we've had in Louisiana over the past year and a half.
Following the recent New Orleans French Quarter shootings, today Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked Governor Bobby Jindal to send 100 state troopers to the city to stay on what he calls a permanent basis. He called the shootings infuriating.