Louisiana news briefs
Mon, 2013-10-21 14:38
From The Associated Press
DHH: 3rd West Nile virus death, 3 new cases
NEW ORLEANS — A Rapides Parish resident died last week from West Nile virus, and three new cases were confirmed, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported Friday.
The death was the second this year in Rapides Parish, where three dangerous infections of the brain or spinal cord, called neuroinvasive disease, have been reported.
The other death was in Ouachita Parish, where one of the three new cases was reported. Like the two new cases in Lafayette Parish, it was neuroinvasive, the department said in a report on the week through Oct. 12.
Ouachita parish has had 14 neuroinvasive cases this year, Lafayette nine, Caldwell three, and Calcasieu, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes one each.
The new cases bring the year’s human West Nile total to 51, including 32 neuroinvasive cases and 15 of flu-like West Nile fever. The other four people had no symptoms and were identified through blood tests.
At this time last year, doctors had confirmed 312 West Nile cases, 130 of them neuroinvasive and 141 of fever.
High tides delay oil cleanup near Fourchon Beach
PORT FOURCHON — More than two tons of matted tar, sand and other matter believed to remain from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill has been hauled from an area near Fourchon Beach but high tides have delayed a complete cleanup.
The Coast Guard had recovered 4,167 pounds by Wednesday and had found much more, though the amount wasn’t available.
The tar mat uncovered last Saturday by the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen is not expected to be as big as the 20-ton mat found in June, Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Anderson said.
The oil is believed to remain from more than 200 million gallons of crude spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Macondo well.
BP PLC spokesman Jason Ryan says it’s in an area where authorities knew the storm might expose residual oil. He says the cleanup is part of BP’s commitment to cleaning it up under the Coast Guard’s direction.
‘Swamp People’ cast members plead not guilty
HOUMA — Two members of the reality television show “Swamp People” have pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they attacked a man with a beer bottle at a store in August.
Roland “R.J.” Molinere Jr. and his son, Roland “Jay Paul” Molinere III pleaded not guilty Friday in a Terrebonne Parish court.
The two men said they had no comment on their plea to the aggravated battery charges.
Both men are accused of attacking a 24-year-old man Aug. 8 at a convenience store, hitting him repeatedly with the beverage. Authorities say the victim suffered a black eye, a swollen jaw and a welt on his forehead.
Trial is scheduled for Jan. 13
If convicted, each faces up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
The sheriff’s office has said the incident followed a verbal altercation that initially occurred on the Bourg-Larose Highway and the Molineres followed the victim to the store.
“Swamp People” follows several southeast Louisiana alligator hunters during the monthlong gator season.
The Molineres are recurring cast members on the show.
pipe bombs were for fishing
CARENCRO — A suspect charged with possessing explosives told police that the homemade pipe bombs that caused the evacuation of eight homes in Carencro were intended for fishing.
Police found two homemade explosives in a truck stopped on Wednesday.
The pipe bombs caused the evacuation of eight homes for several hours.
According to the arrest affidavits for Paul Parker, 38, the passenger of the truck, and driver Jake Richard, 20, the vehicle was pulled over for driving 55 mph in a 35 mph zone.
Both men were arrested after officers found the devices.
While Richard was questioned about the bombs, according to the affidavit, he told deputies he didn’t know the bombs were in the vehicle and that a “friend of his makes the pipe bombs and uses them for fishing.”
The use of explosive or electric devices for fishing is illegal, but there have been reported cases of such methods in Louisiana.
Kenner ticket wins
$1.9M Lotto prize
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana Lotto ticket purchased in Kenner is worth just over $1.9 million.
The Louisiana Lottery Corporation said the ticket matched all six numbers drawn Saturday night. The jackpot for Wednesday’s Lotto drawing drops back to $250,000.
Nobody won the $186 million Powerball jackpot Saturday. Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is estimated at $216 million.
Nobody won the $50,000 Easy Five jackpot Saturday.
Republicans hang onto Louisiana’s 5th District
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s 5th District congressional seat will remain firmly in Republican hands, after two GOP contenders advanced to a November runoff and shut out the Democrats in their bid to retake the seat they held less than a decade ago.
State Sen. Neil Riser, a Republican from Columbia, and Vance McAllister, a businessman from Monroe, will compete in the Nov. 16 election, after winning the most support from voters in Saturday’s election.
The real surprise wasn’t that two Republicans will face off in the runoff, but that McAllister, a political newcomer, managed to distinguish himself among a pack of 14 candidates, including six elected officials, in only two months of campaigning.
Restaurant alcohol sales approved in Pineville
PINEVILLE — Pineville voters have decided to loosen the city’s restrictions on alcohol sales.
A measure approved Saturday will allow restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages. Previously, all alcohol sales were prohibited in the city.
The measure passed with just over 78 percent of the vote: 1,849 voting for; 515, against.
“We tried to communicate the information to people, but to be honest, we had no idea,” said Mayor Clarence Fields. “You don’t know what people are thinking. We know now, and now we have to move forward.”
City officials started taking the alcohol issue to voters months ago, after developers requested the issue be revisited.
Supporters say national restaurant chains have been interested in Pineville but shied away because of the alcohol ban.
More restaurants, supporters argued, could lead to the development of hotels and a chance for the city to compete for events such as youth sports tournaments and small conventions.
The last time an election on allowing alcohol in Pineville was held was 1981.
Our objective from the beginning was to give people the choice,” Fields said. “The people have voiced their opinion. Now it’s up to us to follow up and follow through on what they believe. Hopefully, it will lead to more development and those other things.”