Louisiana news briefs

Louisiana holds sales tax holiday this weekend

Louisiana holds sales tax holiday this weekend
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s annual state sales tax holiday is Friday and Saturday.
Over the two-day period, most retail purchases are exempt from the 4-cent state sales tax, up to the first $2,500 of an item’s price.
The tax holiday doesn’t apply to vehicle purchases, meals at restaurants or taxable services, like hotel room rentals or athletic event tickets.
The state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business says the tax holiday will help stores still struggling after the recession.
Dawn Starns, state director for the NFIB, called the tax break period “the shot in the arm small businesses need,” and she encouraged people to shop at locally-owned stores.
Local sales taxes are still applied to purchases, unless a municipality added its own exemption.
Further details are available online at: www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxholiday.

No big winners in drawings
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The Louisiana Lottery Corporation says nobody won the two major jackpots in the Louisiana Lotto and multistate Powerball drawings on Wednesday night.
Louisiana Lotto players matching all six numbers drawn would have won or shared a $700,000 prize, which will rise to an estimated $725,000 for Saturday.
Players matching all five numbers and the Powerball would have won or shared the $60 million jackpot. The prize goes to an estimated $70 million for Saturday.
The Easy 5 drawing rises to an estimated $120,000 after none of the tickets matched all five numbers drawn for Wednesday’s $100,000 jackpot.

Baton Rouge-area among tops for construction jobs
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Large amounts of construction in the Baton Rouge area has led the region to be named among the top gainers in the nation for new construction jobs.
The recognition was announced Wednesday in a report issued by Associated General Contractors of America.
The Baton Rouge-metro area added 5,900 construction jobs — the fourth largest gain in the country, and an increase of 13 percent from the year before.
That was behind the top-ranked Dallas-Plano-Irving area, which added 11,700 jobs, the Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Glendale area, which added 10,000 jobs, and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, which added 8,200 jobs.
The association’s numbers were based on an analysis of federal employment data.
Ranking by percentage increase, the Baton Rouge area was 18th in the country. The Lake Charles area was second.
Statewide, Louisiana saw a 4 percent increase in construction jobs over the past year. The report didn’t provide rankings comparing states to other states.
The New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner area added about 200 construction jobs over the past year, a 1 percent increase.

Judge rejects Renee Gill Pratt’s bid for new trial
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has rejected former New Orleans City Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt’s bid for a new trial.
U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled Wednesday that that jurors who convicted her in a 2011 racketeering trial were not “tainted in any way” by a former federal prosecutor who posted inflammatory comments about the proceedings under online news articles.
Gill Pratt’s attorney, Mike Fawer, said Lemelle’s ruling was “disappointing but not unexpected.” He said he plans to appeal the ruling.
The ruling paves the way for Gill Pratt to begin serving a federal prison sentence she has managed to put off for several years.
Lemelle had ordered Gill Pratt to surrender Sept. 2 to begin serving 50 months behind bars.

La. groundwater program may need $900,000
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Members of the state Water Resources Commission have been told the state will need to find up to $900,000 a year to extend its groundwater monitoring program past 2015.
The monitoring program is a result of a 2011 report calling for better information about the condition of the state’s groundwater resources. About $2.7 million from federal sources funded the initial three-year ramp up of the groundwater monitoring conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.
John Lovelace, with the USGS Louisiana Water Science Center, said the program almost doubled the number of wells that could be monitored across the state from 279 to 473.
While water levels are measured four times a year at most of the wells, he says hourly readings are being conducted at 32 wells representing 19 aquifers.

Bookkeeper accused
of $125,700 fraud
HAMMOND (AP) — State police say a 70-year-old bookkeeper for a logging company is accused of cashing fraudulent checks worth over $125,700.
In February, Master Trooper Greg Marchand says Barbara Dantone’s employer started noticing serious discrepancies in how financial documents were filed, but the owner did not notify state police until May, allowing time for an accountant to confirm the discrepancies.
Marchand says it was unclear when the fraudulent check cashing began, but Dantone was hired in 2005.
Dantone, of Robert, was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail in Amite Tuesday on more than 250 counts of forgery as well as more than 250 counts of bank fraud.

New Iberia woman arrested, infant found in hot car
NEW IBERIA (AP) — A New Iberia woman faces charges after leaving a 7-month-old baby in a hot car.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal says deputies responded about 6 p.m. Tuesday to a Walmart parking lot where a child was reportedly left unattended in a vehicle.
Ackal said deputies had to break a window to get to the baby boy. Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Richard Fleming says it was about 90 degrees at the time. It’s unclear how long the baby was in the car.
Ackal says 42-year-old Crystal Derouen arrived after deputies removed the baby. She was booked with cruelty to a juvenile and released after posting bond. Fleming says Derouen was the child’s caretaker.
Fleming says paramedics assessed the baby, who was unhurt, and returned to his mother’s custody.

City bus services to expand to Louisiana-Lafayette
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Officials say University of Louisiana at Lafayette students may soon ride to and from campus on Lafayette city buses.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is set to vote Aug. 19 on an agreement with the university that could add up to five city buses to ferry students between campus and the parking lot at Cajun Field, adding to the university’s fleet of 11 buses and three shuttles.
The enhanced transit service could be in place by Aug. 25 and start carrying students during the fall semester. The deal also would allow students, faculty and staff to ride city buses anywhere in Lafayette for free by presenting their university ID card.
Officials say the university will lease the buses and use drivers from their Office of Transportation Services.
New Iberia woman arrested, infant found in hot car
NEW IBERIA — A New Iberia woman faces charges after leaving a 7-month-old baby in a hot car.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal says deputies responded about 6 p.m. Tuesday to a Walmart parking lot where a child was reportedly left unattended in a vehicle.
Ackal said deputies had to break a window to get to the baby boy. Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Richard Fleming says it was about 90 degrees at the time. It’s unclear how long the baby was in the car.
Ackal says 42-year-old Crystal Derouen arrived after deputies removed the baby. She was booked with cruelty to a juvenile and released after posting bond. Fleming says Derouen was the child’s caretaker.
Fleming says paramedics assessed the baby, who was unhurt, and returned to his mother’s custody.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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