Louisiana news briefs
Thu, 2013-10-31 14:27
From The Associated Press.
Goodman salutes vets with orchestra, WWII Museum
NEW ORLEANS — Actor John Goodman says he just wants to give something back to the men and women who fought World War II.
On Veterans Day, Goodman will take a break from producing a sitcom in development to narrate a piece as part of the “Honoring our Heroes” concert on Veterans Day at the National World War II Museum. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the museum are producing the concert, which features the world premiere of composer Jake Runestad’s “Dreams of the Fallen.”
Runestad’s piece for piano, chorus and orchestra is based on work by award-winning poet and Army veteran Brian Turner. Acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Biegel and the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans will join the symphony at 7 p.m. Nov. 11.
Goodman will narrate “Lincoln Portrait” by Aaron Copland.
Louisiana-Monroe faces cuts
MONROE — University of Louisiana at Monroe President Nick Bruno will announce further budget cuts this week that will likely include the consolidation of ULM’s five colleges into three.
ULM spokeswoman Donna Bernard declined to provide details, but it’s expected the surviving colleges will be business, arts and sciences and pharmacy. The colleges of health sciences and education will be absorbed into the new academic infrastructure.
Bruno announced on Oct. 9 the elimination of five administrative staff positions and said then he would announce another 30 position cuts before the end of October.
Bruno said the next round of cuts could come from the elimination of certain academic positions, which range from secretaries to executive staff.
He estimated the first cuts will save ULM $375,000 annually. ULM has cut more than 250 positions since 2009.
Bruno originally informed faculty and staff of a plan to trim $1.5 million in staff positions from this year’s budget during his State of the University Address in August.
Rayne man dies
in single vehicle crash
LAFAYETTE — State police are investigating a one vehicle crash on La. 342 which claimed the life of a 32-year-old Rayne man.
Trooper Stephen Hammons say Quinn Aubrey was driving west on La. 342 early Wednesday morning when his pickup ran off the road and struck a utility pole before the vehicle overturned.
Hammons said Aubrey was pronounced dead at the scene by the Lafayette Parish Coroner’s Office.
Man killed in Dulac trailer fire
DULAC — Police say an overnight fire in Dulac claimed the life of a man who was trapped inside the burning trailer.
Officials said 72-year-old Joseph Verdin was unable to escape the fire that engulfed his home and also temporarily trapped his wife.
Terrebonne Parish sheriff’s Capt. Dawn Foret says she ultimately escaped without injury, but Verdin’s body was found inside by responding firefighters.
Foret said authorities were alerted of the fire about 1 a.m. Wednesday by way of multiple 911 calls.
An investigation is underway into the cause of the fire.
Gulf platform owner sued over deadly 2012 blast
NEW ORLEANS — A Filipino worker who was severely burned in a deadly explosion on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico last year is suing the platform’s owner and operator.
Lawyers for Renato Dominguez, 53, filed the suit against Houston-based Black Elk Energy LLC on Oct. 16 in a county court in Galveston, Texas.
Dominguez was working as a pipefitter when the November 2012 explosion off the coast of Louisiana injured him and killed three other workers.
Dominguez’s attorneys said he has been permanently disfigured by burns on his face and most of his body.
The suit seeks unspecified damages against Black Elk and several other companies. It accuses them of failing to properly train and supervise workers or provide them with adequate safety equipment.
“Renato is seeking justice from the companies whose negligence forever changed his life,” Jason Itkin, one of his attorneys, said in a statement Wednesday.
A Black Elk spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a call and email.
The fixed production platform where the explosion occurred is roughly 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, in 52 feet of water. At the time of the explosion, a pipeline to the shore was being replaced.
All three of the workers who died as a result of the explosion worked for Grand Isle Shipyard Inc.
Orleans IG: Some thefts ‘misclassified’ by police
NEW ORLEANS — The inspector general of New Orleans says police in a district that includes parts of the central business district and the French Quarter improperly classified some cases of theft.
Wednesday’s report from Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux cites at least 177 incidents between Jan. 1 and July 31 in which people reported having lost wallets or purses.
Victims later found that unauthorized charges were made on their credit or debit cards.
Quatrevaux’s release says the incidents were classified as “miscellaneous” or “lost or stolen” when they should have been labeled with the more serious “theft” classification.
The report said the “misclassification” deprived police leadership of knowledge that would have revealed crime patterns.
LaPlace lawyer pleads guilty to theft from client
LAPLACE — The state Attorney General’s Office say a LaPlace lawyer has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $58,000 in settlement funds from an elderly client.
Prosecutors say Kerry D. Brown entered a guilty plea Monday to theft of the assets of an aged person, monetary instrument abuse, and forgery.
Brown, a personal injury attorney, represented an elderly client in an automobile accident which settled out of court in April 2010.
An investigation revealed that Brown did not notify the client of the settlement and failed to distribute the funds to the client.
Special Ad Hoc Judge Michael Kirby gave Brown a five-year suspended sentence on each count, two years active supervised probation and three years of inactive probation. He was also ordered to pay $58,041 in restitution to the victim.