Louisiana news briefs
Sunshine Bridge down to 2 lanes for next 2 years
DONALDSONVILLE (AP) — Both directions of traffic on the Sunshine Bridge have been consolidated to the westbound side of the Mississippi River crossing in St. James Parish.
The switch moves traffic completely to the upriver side of the bridge. Michael Ricca, project engineer with Gulf Engineers and Consultants Inc., says the change is expected to remain in place for two years as contractors rehabilitate and repaint the structure.
GEC is the consulting project engineer on the $25.1 million state Department of Transportation and Development project. Crews with North Star Painting Co. are repairing and repainting support trusses on the metal cantilever bridge.
Work began in early February. Ricca says DOTD will monitor traffic flow and work to minimize congestion.
Craig seeks 6th congressional seat again
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Libertarian Rufus Craig is a candidate again for the Baton Rouge-based 6th District congressional seat.
Craig, a Baton Rouge lawyer, has run for the seat as a Libertarian Party candidate in 2004 and 2012.
“If you are satisfied with the results of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, then by all means, keep them,” Craig said in prepared statement. “I am ready to bring real solutions to the people of Louisiana and America.”
Craig said he’s concerned that neither Democrats nor Republicans seem willing to tackle what he calls “out of control spending and the Byzantine tax code.”
“Without a profound shift in policy in Washington, our nation faces certain financial collapse. It is important to provide an alternative to the two major parties for people to know there are solutions which are not being addressed by either,” he said.
Louisiana has an open congressional seat because Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate, challenging incumbent Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Based in south Baton Rouge, the 6th District also includes all or part of Ascension, Assumption, East Feliciana, Iberville, Lafourche, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. John the Baptist, Terrebonne and West Baton Rouge parishes.
Counterfeit money found in home where man killed
AMITE (AP) — Amite Police Chief Jerry Trabona says authorities found $421,000 in counterfeit cash inside a home where a woman is accused of fatally shooting her brother on March 18.
Trabona said officers found about $231,000 in counterfeit cash on the same day 62-year-old Alfred Hill was shot and killed.
His sister, 63-year-old Daryl Lynn Hill, remains in jail on a count of manslaughter.
Trabona says Secret Service agents searched the home Monday and seized four printers and another $190,000 in counterfeit bills. He says police are not sure yet who exactly was making the fake cash.
Trabona say police do not believe the counterfeit money was a motive for the shooting, but the investigation is ongoing.
Police targeting illegal drug hauls along I-10
BATON ROUGE (AP) — State police say they confiscated more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana valued at about $1.5 million in three traffic stops between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
Trooper Jared Sandifer described last weekend’s stops as “proactive traffic stops.”
He says all three drivers were traveling east on the interstate.
In all three cases, Sandifer says troopers stopped the cars after spotting improper lane usage, a broad category that includes failure to signal during a lane change or crossing the center line.
All three drivers were booked on counts of improper lane usage and possession with intent to distribute narcotics.
Sandifer said the biggest haul of three stops — 586 pounds of pot — was handled by Lafayette based troopers.
split on new jail tax
THIBODAUX (AP) — Several Lafourche Parish councilmen are opposed to a proposal to increase sales tax to build a new jail.
Lafourche Parish voters will decide May 3 whether to levy a 0.2 percent sales tax to build and operate a new 600-bed, $30 million jail.
Sheriff Craig Webre said he filed the measure Tuesday with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.
Councilman Daniel Lorraine has said he was going to propose a 1.5-mill, 20-year tax for a new jail but has since tabled that plan. Lorraine has been adamant in his stance that he wouldn’t support a sales tax increase because the southern part of the parish, which he represents, already has a high sales tax.
Terrebonne sports park reaches milestone
HOUMA (AP) — The Terrebonne Parish Council is expected to approve borrowing $2.9 million to make headway on the Bayou Country Sports Park off La. 311 north of Houma.
The council is to meet today to take up the matter.
Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet said the government permission to borrow the money and repay it through revenues from the 1 percent hotel-motel tax voters approved late last year.
Claudet said the $20 million park will be built in stages.
The first phase will include a girls’ softball complex and parts of the baseball and soccer facilities.
The money will be used with the local recreation district’s savings of roughly $1 million.
From The Associated Press.