Louisiana news briefs
Woman booked with molestation, kidnapping
LAKE CHARLES — A 30-year-old Lake Charles woman has been booked with molestation of a juvenile, second-degree kidnapping, four counts of cruelty to juveniles and disrupting drugs to minors.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kim Myers said Lacey Cheree Dronet was arrested Friday after an investigation revealed that Dronet held a 14-year-old girl against her will from July 12-18.
Dronet remains in jail on a $650,000 bond.
Myers said Dronet allegedly punched, choked, bit the victim and held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.
Myers said Dronet also allegedly had sexual contact with the victim and provided and encouraged her to use cocaine and methamphetamine.
Fire department workers booked in prostitution case
SHREVEPORT — Police in Shreveport have announced the arrest of a third Shreveport Fire Department employee in connection with an investigation of alleged prostitution.
A police news release says Billy Glass, 37, of Haughton was arrested Tuesday on a warrant charging one count each of cruelty to the infirm and principal to prostitution. Two others — Clint Wayne Richardson, 26, of Keithville and Derrick Harris, 50, of Shreveport — have been arrested on identical charges since an investigation began in late July.
Police say the investigation followed a complaint about alleged criminal activity at a Shreveport fire station.
Police have not released details but say additional arrests are possible.
Tumor registry gets contract
to track cancer
NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Tumor Registry has been awarded a $1.3 million contract to continue tracking cancer cases throughout Louisiana and reporting the data to the National Cancer Institute.
The program, based at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, is one 18 cancer registries designated by the National Cancer Institute.
The program has operated out of LSU since 1995.
Board approves school choice plan
ALEXANDRIA — Parents of students of failing schools will have more freedom in choosing where their students attend this year.
The Rapides Parish School Board approved a school choice plan on Tuesday, which state law requires giving students at failing schools the option to attend a more successful school.
In previous years, the board was required to provide specific school options, but this year parents can choose from all schools in the district with a state School Performance Score of A through D where seating is available.
in Amite River
CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish sheriff’s deputies say volunteers recovered the body of a Denham Springs woman from the Amite River.
Sgt. Kevin Garig said the body of 38-year-old Martha Dartt was pulled from the river shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday near the Felixville community.
Garig said Dartt was swimming with her three children and friends in a shallow area off a sandbar when one of the children got too close to a deep area of water and began having trouble.
Dartt, who reportedly could not swim, pushed the child toward the bank but went under herself.
to limit rural members authority
LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette City-Parish Council has shot down a proposal that would have opened the door to limiting the authority of rural council members over issues within the city limits of Lafayette.
The council voted 5-4 Tuesday against the creation of a special commission to explore changes to the constitution-like charter for city-parish government.
The charter commission would have operated beyond the control of the council, with the power to bring a charter proposal directly to voters.
Under the current structure, the four council members with districts based largely outside the city have the same vote on city issues as the five members representing city districts.
Thibodaux council rejects tax hike
THIBODAUX — Thibodaux residents won’t be seeing their taxes go up in the next year, but city services are going to be reviewed because of budget issues.
The Thibodaux City Council on Tuesday rejected a measure to roll forward the city’s property tax rate. The city hasn’t rolled forward the rate since 2004.
The city collects 14 mills, and the increase would have been just 0.16 mills. A mill is $1 in tax levied on every $1,000 of taxable property.
On a $100,000 house, the increase would have been $1.60. The city collects $474,000 from the property tax.
Mayor Tommy Eschete estimated the increase would have brought in about $15,000. Though the increase would have been minimal, Eschete said with looming budget issues, every penny counts.
HOUMA — The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force is recommending fishermen be allowed to accidentally catch four active crab traps and not have to return them to the ocean until they’re done fishing.
The task force, a 19-member panel in charge of studying and monitoring the shrimp industry and making recommendations to the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and other state agencies, approved the measure at its Tuesday meeting in Houma.
Under state law, if a fisherman accidently catches an active crab trap, the trap must be immediately returned to the ocean.
Maj. Gubal Marceaux, a Wildlife and Fisheries law enforcement agent, says many fishermen agree that it would make their lives easier to hold the traps on board until they finish fishing instead of returning a single trap they could catch again.
Woman arrested after church break-in
LAFAYETTE — A 25-year-old Lafayette woman has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a church.
Erica Rodriguez was booked Sunday with simple burglary of a religious building after authorities says they found her hiding inside Nouvelle Church.
According to the arrest affidavit, authorities responded to a silent alarm. Officers at the scene reported one broken window pane near the church’s side door. While searching the building. authorities found Rodriguez hiding behind a rocking chair inside the church’s nursery.
Storm protection project begins
FORT FOURCHON — Parish officials say the first loads of sand have arrived for the Caminada Headland beach restoration that will help fortify parts of Lafourche against storm surge.
The long-awaited project aims to restore six miles of beach and dunes on Fourchon Beach from La. Highway 3090 east to Elmer’s Island.
The projected $70 million in renovations came in with a low bid of $55.5 million. Archie Chaisson, parish administrator and former coastal zone manager, said the extra money is being used for more restoration work on the headland.
The Caminada Headland includes Fourchon Beach from Belle Pass to Caminada Pass near Grand Isle.
The project will use about 5 million cubic yards of material dredged at the Ship Shoal with a hopper barge.
Dickerson enters plea in gas station attack
BATON ROUGE — The man accused of attacking a family at a Baton Rouge gas station earlier this year has pleaded not guilty.
Donald Dickerson entered the plea Tuesday during an arraignment on charges of second-degree battery and failure to register as a sex offender.
Police arrested Dickerson in May after they say he attacked a family on Scenic Highway. He reportedly told the victims, who were white, they were “in the wrong neighborhood.”
Last month, prosecutors decided not to pursue hate crime charges in the case.
The incident was Dickerson’s latest run-in with the law. He had recently been released from prison for purse snatching, carnal knowledge of a juvenile and armed robbery.
The district attorney’s office plans to try Dickerson as a habitual offender.
From The Associated Press.