Louisiana news briefs
Stars line up to pay special tribute to Dr. John
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stars including Gregg Allman, Mavis Staples and Allen Toussaint have signed on to a special tribute concert to musician Dr. John.
“The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music” is set for May 3 at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
The concert will be Dr. John’s only appearance during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Also slated to perform for and with the Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member are Widespread Panic, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Bingham, The Blind Boys of Alabama and fellow Louisiana musicians like Cyril Neville, Zigaboo Modeliste and Chief Monk Boudreaux.
Performances will be recorded and released at a later date. Tickets go on sale Monday.
accused of Medicaid fraud
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A 36-year-old Zachary woman is accused of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program out of thousands of dollars and laundering more than $100,000 through her Baton Rouge personal care agency.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says agents arrested Sekari Washington Davis this week following a joint investigation involving the Attorney General Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the FBI into Distinctive Healthcare Services LLC, a personal care agency.
Davis was booked with a total of seven felony counts: one count of criminal conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud; two counts of Medicaid fraud; one count of theft by fraud of $1,500 or more; two counts of filing or maintaining false public records; and one count of money laundering $100,000 or more.
An arrest warrant for Davis claims she was fraudulently billing the Louisiana Medicaid Program for services not being rendered. In one case, Davis is accused of paying a Medicaid recipient monthly kickbacks in return for signing up for personal care Medicaid services through Davis’ company.
Last year alone, Distinctive Healthcare Services billed the Louisiana Medicaid Program more than $885,000.
Today is the deadline
to register for April elections
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisianians should register by today to vote in the April 5 municipal primary election.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says 84 percent of eligible Louisianians are registered.
The April election will be held in 42 parishes.
Individuals can register to vote online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.GeauxVote.com.
In addition, voter registration opportunities are available at the parish’s Registrar of Voters Office, while obtaining services at the Office of Motor Vehicles, public assistance agencies, public schools, colleges and libraries and by mail.
Louisianians can also utilize the Secretary of State’s smartphone app, GeauxVote Mobile, to check the status of their registration, review sample ballots and find polling place information.
Arraignment set for BESE member Walter Lee
MANSFIELD — A former DeSoto Parish school superintendent is set to appear in state district court today for arraignment on four felony charges.
Walter C. Lee, 79, of Shreveport, is accused of two counts of felony theft and one count each of public contract fraud and malfeasance in office. He’s a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The charges stem from allegations outlined in an investigative audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office. Lee is accused of double-billing expenses to the school district at to BESE. He’s also accused of personally benefiting from the return of a leased vehicle and intentionally performing his duties as a superintendent in an unlawful manner.
2 men killed in shooting
near Port of New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police are investigating an overnight double homicide.
The shooting happened late Tuesday night as Mardi Gras was winding down in a parking lot near the Port of New Orleans.
Police say a 25-year-old man was found dead inside a car and a 28-year-old man was found lying on the ground. The victim’ names are being withheld pending notification of family members.
Detectives say both victims dead from multiple wounds.
Several unattended vehicles were also struck by bullets during the incident.
Police say a handgun and multiple bullet casings were also recovered on the scene.
There was no word on possible suspects or a motive.
Breaux Bridge shifts
grades to new schools
LAFAYETTE (AP) — About $7 million in work will get under way in the next year to prepare the campuses of Breaux Bridge Primary and Breaux Bridge Junior High for the addition of new grade levels as part of St. Martin Parish’s plan to balance enrollment in schools.
The school district previously shifted grade levels on campuses in Cecilia and St. Martinville. Superintendent Lottie Beebe says the Breaux Bridge grade reconfiguration will take effect in the 2015-16 school year.
The reconfiguration plan alters grade levels for the primary school to preschool through second grade, elementary to third through fifth grades and the junior high to sixth through eighth grades.
Some of the projects involve renovations and the construction of additional classrooms and cafeteria space.
Welsh town council trims $400,000 from budget
WELSH (AP) — Welsh officials have agreed to cut their current budget from $2.2 million to $1.8 million to help offset a more than $300,000 budget shortfall.
The town council amended the budget Tuesday by trimming $484,955 in expenses and cutting $418,094 in income to help close the budget gap.
Mayor Carolyn Louviere said official hope the budget cuts will help the town continue to operate until the new fiscal year and a new budget begin on June 1.
Among the cuts, officials will no longer attend conferences. Some positions, including the town superintendent, are not being filled when employees leave, saving the town on salaries and benefits.