Louisiana news briefs
Tulane offers $1M to best solution to solve ‘dead zone’
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — There is a $1 million prize available to the person who can devise the best way to resolve the “dead zones” that appear in oceans and lakes around the world.
Tulane University unveiled its Grand Challenge competition Monday. It seeks new ways of fighting hypoxia, the condition that occurs when water becomes depleted of oxygen and struggles to support sea life. Scientists attribute hypoxia to fertilizers that river currents carry into oceans and lakes.
Although registration is not open, Tulane is accepting public comment and letters of intent to compete. They can be emailed to email@example.com.
Lafayette crime edges up
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Crime reported in Lafayette crept up in 2013, led by increase in aggravated rapes.
Police Chief Jim Craft said Monday after the numbers were released, he was disappointed.
Lafayette did have two fewer murders in 2013, dropping from 12 to 10.
Craft said 2013 was looking like a better year for public safety, with total crime staying below 2012 numbers for most of the year. He says then in the fall, crime started ramping up.
Some of the year-to-year numbers show problem areas: Aggravated rape increased 55 percent, robberies, vehicle thefts showed a large jump, up 23 percent and last year’s number of nonvehicle thefts, from shoplifts to pickpockets and other thievery, increased 14 percent.
Red snapper season to open
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s weekend-only red snapper season will open on Friday at 12:01 a.m. until further notice.
The bag and possession limit for the state season is two fish, per person at a 16-inch minimum total length.
The department reminds anglers that a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit is required in order to possess certain species, including red snapper, tuna, billfish, swordfish, amberjack, grouper, hind, wahoo, cobia and dolphin, except for those fishing on a paid-for-hire trip where the captain holds the permit.
Anglers may obtain or renew the permit, free of charge at http://rolp.wlf.la.gov .
Former school board member wants to remain free
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Former St. Landry Parish School Board member Quincy Richard Sr. wants to push back the March 4 deadline he faces to report to federal prison for a 33-month sentence on bribery charges.
Richard filed court motions over the weekend requesting that U.S. District Judge Richard Haik allow him to remain free pending an appeal of his conviction and the sentence the judge handed down on Feb. 4.
A federal grand jury indicted Richard and former board member John Miller in 2012 for soliciting bribes of $5,000 each from superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere in return for their vote of support giving him the job.
It took a 12-member jury about an hour to return a unanimous guilty verdict against Richard after a two-day trial in August.
Kentwood musical instructor fired following arrest
KENTWOOD (AP) — School officials say a Kentwood High School music instructor has been fired after being arrested on accusations of housing child pornography on a computer at his home.
Kenneth Dillon, 64, was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on Friday on a count of pornography involving juveniles.
Detectives searched Dillon’s home and allegedly found sexually explicit images of children on his computer. Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto says detectives arrested Dillon and seized multiple electronic devices from his home.
Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Mark Kolbe said Dillon worked as a part-time musical instruments instructor.
3 arrested in burglary
of Skip Bertman’s home
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Skip Bertman and his family can sleep easy again.
Less than 72 hours after burglars sneaked into their home and stole a few championship rings, Baton Rouge police arrested three teens Monday.
Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. said 18-year-old Moises Marquez and two 16-year-old boys were booked with simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
Coppola says Marquez is related to the Bertman’s house cleaner and had been inside the home several times.
Police say the trio sneaked into the home early Saturday through an unlocked bathroom window.
During Bertman’s 18-year stint as LSU’s head baseball coach from 1984 to 2001, the program won five national titles at the College World Series. He also coached the 1996 U.S. Olympic team to a bronze medal finish in Summer Games in Atlanta
Deputy hurt in party fight
HOUMA (AP) — Police say a deputy was knocked unconscious in one of several fights that occurred during a Krewe of Hercules party in Houma.
Dylan Joseph Yates, 20, faces multiple charges, including battery on a police officer. He remains at the Terrebonne Parish jail awaiting a bond hearing.
Terrebonne sheriff’s Maj. Malcolm Wolfe says the deputy was knocked out Friday night while trying to break up the fight during the krewe’s annual party. Wolfe says multiple fights took place, with as many as 20 people involved at a time.
He says the deputy was treated overnight at Terrebonne General Medical Center for a concussion.
Soldier arrested after troopers find marijuana
PORT ALLEN (AP) — Louisiana State Police have arrested a U.S. Army sergeant after they pulled him over near Port Allen for a traffic violation and found 23 pounds of marijuana in a duffel bag.
Trooper 1st Class Jared Sandifer says troopers booked Sgt. Horace Brown, of Cantonment, Fla., into the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail on multiple counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and improper lane usage.
Troopers contacted the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division about the arrest.
Sandifer say troopers stopped Brown’s Chrysler 200 on Interstate 10, west of La. 415, at about 3 a.m. Sunday. When they searched the vehicle, he says troopers found the drugs in the bag.
Brown told troopers he had left Fort Polk and was headed to Fort Bragg, N.C.
Budget chairmen take home highest legislative pay
BATON ROUGE (AP) — New audit reports show the state lawmakers who chair the budget committees topped their colleagues in legislative compensation during the last fiscal year.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin made the most at $65,848, followed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue at $61,527.
Fannin and Donahue benefit from $28,000 in extra salary they get as chairman and vice chairman of the Legislature’s joint budget committee.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley and Senate President John Alario get a higher base salary for their leadership positions, giving them third and fourth place respectively in compensation rankings for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Kleckley’s compensation totaled $60,201, while Alario’s stood at $57,221.
The audit report showed that most other legislators’ salaries ranged from $33,000 to $35,000.