Louisiana news briefs
Flu vaccine campaign begins
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state health department is kicking off its annual flu vaccine campaign, urging people to get prepared for flu season.
The Department of Health and Hospitals is holding events today at health centers around the state, a state police office in Lafayette and the Alexandria Museum of Art to tout the campaign, with local leaders and medical officials getting vaccines at each location.
DHH says Louisiana typically sees increased flu activity start around January.
Lafourche boys arrested for tossing rocks at cars
THIBODAUX (AP) — Four teenage boys have been arrested for throwing rocks off a railroad bridge just south of Thibodaux.
Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s detectives say the boys, who are all 14 and 15, threw rocks at about 50 vehicles passing underneath the bridge on La. 1 on Nov. 2, hitting as many as 30.
One person was taken to a hospital after a window shattered for fear that glass had landed in an eye.
The four juveniles are each charged with criminal damage to property and authorities said additional charges are possible. All were released to the custody of their parents.
So far, six people have filed complaints, claiming damage worth a total of $10,000. Authorities are encouraging other victims to come forward.
Several vehicles, including Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre’s car, were damaged in a similar incident in June 2007 on La. 308. The same bridge crosses Bayou Lafourche and both highways 1 and 308, which parallel the bayou on opposite banks.
Webre and two others had vehicles were damaged by paint ball pellets and rocks. Webre, whose windshield was shattered, arrested to teenagers at the scene. Two others were arrested later.
4 people killed in wreck on U.S. 165
COLUMBIA (AP) — Four people have died after a wreck in Caldwell Parish.
State Troopers say a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe was traveling north on U.S. 165 about 2 p.m. Tuesday when it crossed the median and hit a 2014 Toyota Camry in the southbound lanes.
The Hyundai’s driver, 23-year-old Allen Atkinson of Grayson, died at the site, as did passenger 21-year-old Seth Shipp of Columbia.
Toyota passenger 60-year-old Donald Griffin of Columbia also died at the wreck scene. Toyota driver 55-year-old Bertha Griffin of Columbia was taken to Citizens Medical Center in Columbia, where she died.
All four were wearing seat belts.
The wreck happened about two miles north of U.S. 165’s junction with La. 4.
Troopers say they’re not sure why the Hyundai crossed over and are still investigating.
pay cut measure
OPELOUSAS (AP) — The Opelousas Board of Aldermen voted to send a measure proposing pay cuts for the aldermen and mayor back to a Budget Committee for further discussion.
Mayor Donald Cravins Sr. said at the board’s October meeting of the board that he and the aldermen have annual salaries that are excessive for a city the size of Opelousas.
In response, the board voted to introduce the salary reduction ordinance for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.
Cravins offered a salary schedule that set the mayor’s yearly salary at $51,739, while his proposal included an annual salary of $13,200 for the aldermen.
The mayor now receives about $72,000 in salary, while the aldermen are paid about $20,000 in addition to the monthly payments for vehicles.
Slaughter corrects bookkeeping issues
SLAUGHTER (AP) — A financial audit for the town of Slaughter for the fiscal year 2012-2013 shows late payments for insurance and employee health care coverage, improper bank reconciliation of funds and late bond reserve payments.
Auditors say the problems were all due to a town clerk out on an unexpectedly long medical leave.
Mayor Robert Jackson said the town’s municipal clerk was expected to be gone no longer than three weeks.
However, Jackson said that three-week time frame turned into 10 months so far and, as a result, town finances were affected.
Pineville expediting alcohol law changes
PINEVILLE (AP) — The Pineville City Council is moving as fast as it can to implement new regulations on the sale of alcohol.
Voters overwhelmingly approved allowing restaurants in the city to sell alcohol in an Oct. 19 election. On Tuesday, the council moved forward with the necessary steps that must be completed before drinks land on restaurant tables.
All alcohol sales are currently prohibited in Pineville, though that will change once the provision allowing restaurants to serve goes into effect.
rail yard noise
DONALDSONVILLE (AP) — Donaldsonville councilmen asked City Attorney Chuck Long to draft a letter to Union Pacific asking for a response to a previous request to curb loud noise coming from a local rail yard switching station.
During Tuesday’s regular meeting, Councilman Reginald Francis Sr. said he thinks Union Pacific’s lack of a response to the petition and resolution is “a slap in the face.”
In September, the council approved a resolution asking the railroad company to limit the noise to only daytime hours. Francis said he has seen no response by the company.
Long said the city should research exactly where the noise is coming from, either the switching yard or train tracks, to see if city noise ordinances apply.