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Baton Rouge motorcycle officer injured when hit by car in Baker

A Baton Rouge Police motorcycle officer riding north on La. 19 in Baker on Friday evening is recovering at a hospital from moderate injuries after hitting a car that pulled out into the highway from a side street, said Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps. “I guess they just didn’t see him,” Knaps said. “Pulled out right… Continue reading →

Senate leaders offer bill to control TOPS costs, with support this time from Taylor Foundation and the Board of Regents

Senator Jack Donahue

Legislation aimed at reining in the costs of TOPS, the state’s popular college tuition-paying program, was filed Friday. But unlike previous years, when similar measures have gone down to defeat, state Sen. Jack Donahue is more optimistic, saying the legislation has the backing of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, which founded the scholarship, and… Continue reading →

St. George petition forgery victim calls on organizers to file legal complaint: ‘If they know the fraud exists, then they should take action’

Advocate file photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Signs on Bluebonnet Boulevard notify drivers of a petition drive for city of St. George supporters outside Louisiana Lagniappe in Baton Rouge in January of 2014.

A man who said his signature was forged on the city of St. George incorporation petition wants leaders of the new city movement to make things right by filing a formal legal complaint with authorities. Meanwhile, three more people told The Advocate their names appeared on the petition without their consent, bringing the total number of forgeries… Continue reading →

Second Baton Rouge agency catches the ire of some on Metro Council over planned spending

First the parish’s library board and now mosquito abatement officials are taking heat from the Baton Rouge Metro Council over how they plan to spend tax money that voters have dedicated to them. The Metro Council narrowly approved this week the mosquito abatement program spending $600,000 to plan a new building that is estimated… Continue reading →

State representative race, tax proposals are among ballot items in East Baton Rouge and nearby parishes on Saturday

Voters head to the polls Saturday in select Louisiana parishes, picking a new state representative in the southern part of East Baton Rouge Parish and deciding possible sales tax increases in West Baton Rouge Parish and Zachary. Gonzales voters also will vote in a City Council contest, selecting among three Gonzales residents to fill a… Continue reading →

Nine booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison

Authorities arrested at least nine people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish — including one person on a fourth offense — and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Thursday and 2:30 p.m. Friday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Christopher Gray, 46, 12035 E.… Continue reading →

Police allege former Baker school system supervisor illegally purchased and pawned 717 items: gazebo, saws, folding tables, fireplaces, disco globes

Emmitt Whitfield

The former maintenance supervisor for Baker public schools was booked Thursday night in parish prison for the second time in four months, this time accused of buying without permission and stealing 717 items worth an estimated $128,000, enough apparently to stock a section of a Home Depot. The unauthorized purchases range from a gazebo to 117… Continue reading →

A quick visit to the doctor, via telemedicine clinic, now prescribed for Lafayette city-parish workers

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- From left, Lafayette General Health Predient and CEO David Callecod, Lafayette Utilities System Director Terry Huval, Lafayette General Medical Center RN Amanda White and Lafayette Consolidated Government President Joey Durel discuss the new telemedicine clinic that has opened in City Hall Friday in Lafayette.

City-parish government employees can now visit a doctor without ever leaving the office. Lafayette General Health and city-parish government launched a new telemedicine clinic this month, allowing local government’s roughly 2,200 employees to step into an exam room at city hall and connect with a doctor via the Internet. The physician and patient can chat… Continue reading →

Charges dismissed against former Lafayette police officer accused of molesting a woman while on duty

Jackie Hagan

Prosecutors dismissed charges Thursday against a former Lafayette Police officer accused of sexually accosting a woman while on duty and in uniform. Jackie Hagan Jr., 36, was accused of sexual battery and malfeasance in office in an August 2011 incident outside the woman’s Lafayette home. The woman said she had been partying with her boyfriend… Continue reading →

Sasol starts construction on $8 billion ethane cracker in Calcasieu Parish

Sasol has started construction on it $8.1 billion ethane cracker complex in Calcasieu Parish. The ethane cracker complex will include six chemical manufacturing plants, to be built near Sasol’s existing Westlake facilities. The project will roughly triple Sasol’s chemical production capacity in the United States. Site preparation and civil construction work have been underway since 2014.… Continue reading →

Six applications now on file for Lafayette superintendent of schools position

At least six people have applied for the Lafayette Parish School System’s superintendent job, but it’s possible more applications are on the way because the job advertisement required that applications be postmarked — not received — by Friday. The School Board meets Wednesday to discuss how to pare down the list of candidates, whose names are… Continue reading →

Authorities bust Rayne man accused in crawfish heist

Photo provided by LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES -- Cary Gordon Bastian, 28, of Rayne, is accused of stealing six bags of crawfish on March 26, 2015, and fleeing from authorities trying to apprehend him for the burglary.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents are searching for a Rayne man accused of fleeing from authorities twice on Thursday after stealing crawfish from a farmer on Abbeville Highway. Cary Gordon Bastian, 28, sped away from the farm in his white Chevrolet Camaro at speeds of more than 100 mph after agents and… Continue reading →

Lafayette man wanted in Mercer Street killing surrenders to police

Photo provided by LAFAYETTE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Jordan Bernard, 21, of Lafayette, surrendered to police March 27, 2015, in the shooting death of 24-year-old Albert Gilbert of Sunset.

A Lafayette man surrendered to police Friday in a fatal shooting on Mercer Street. Jordan Bernard, 21, is accused of manslaughter in the March 21 killing of 24-year-old Albert Gilbert of Sunset. Police said they found Gilbert lying in the front yard of a residence in the 200 block of Mercer Street with multiple gunshot… Continue reading →

Diocese decides to close Trinity Catholic School in St. Martinville

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Trinity Catholic Elementary School, as seen Monday, March 9, 2015, in St. Martinville.

The Diocese of Lafayette announced Friday it will close Trinity Catholic School in St. Martinville because of the school’s low enrollment and concerns about its long-term financial stability. “With deepest regret and after prayerful reflection, Bishop (Michael) Jarrell will allow the school to close at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year,” Monsignor Richard Greene,… Continue reading →

U.S. Senate approves mental-health proposal backed by Bill Cassidy

The U.S. Senate has approved a bipartisan proposal to increase access to mental-health treatment that was co-sponsored by Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. The unanimous agreement on the Cassidy-Murphy amendment came during a marathon Thursday might-Friday morning session as the Senate considered a Republican federal budget plan, which passed shortly before dawn Friday. The legislation is not binding, but… Continue reading →

High school student punched by Jefferson Parish deputy seeks more than $5 million in federal lawsuit

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Brady Becker stands with friends outside his home in Reserve. His face still carries the bruises from his arrest last Friday night by an undercover JPSO detective.

The mother of a high school student repeatedly punched in the face last month by a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy has filed a civil rights lawsuit, accusing Sheriff Newell Normand of promoting a culture in which deputies are rewarded for using excessive force. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, seeks… Continue reading →

Both sides express outrage over fraudulent signatures on St. George petition

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Signs relating to the proposed new city of St. George line the road in front of houses on Wilderness Drive in the Shenandoah area off Jones Creek Road Thursday.

Ronald Cain, Beverly Cain and Arleen Williams Pitcher say they didn’t sign the St. George incorporation petition. But someone signed that petition pretending to be them. The names of all three with their current addresses, birthdays and voting precincts are listed on the petition, along with signatures they say aren’t theirs. Two different witnesses signed the… Continue reading →

LSU's Acacia fraternity booted from campus following university hazing probe

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Both foot and vehicular traffic pass the Acacia Fraternity house on LSU's Campus, Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015. The fraternity has been shuttered -- at least through 2018 -- after the university concluded that it had hazed new members last fall. According to LSU, the university was notified of several allegations against the fraternity, including forced alcohol consumption and physical violence.

LSU’s Acacia fraternity has been shuttered — at least through 2018 — after a university investigation concluded that the group had hazed new members last fall. According to LSU, the university was notified of several allegations against the fraternity, including forced alcohol consumption and physical violence. The university says it confirmed those and other Student Code… Continue reading →

Among Warren Drake's plans for East Baton Rouge schools: Value teachers, remove disruptive students from classroom

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Warren Drake, lone finalist to be the next East Baton Rouge Parish school superintendent, shows a copy of his "First 100 Days" plan as he speaks before the parish School Board, Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015, at the Instructional Resource Center. Drake, the former superintendent of top-rated Zachary schools, was named the finalist by the school board last Wednesday after just 45 minutes of examining the 10 applicants for the job.

Warren Drake suggested the best way East Baton Rouge Parish schools can grow in public support and student enrollment is to invite the community back to the schools, support teachers and make clear that parents are the customer and that education is about what’s best for kids. “Everyone has to feel like they are important and… Continue reading →

Woman who says she was kidnapped from East Baton Rouge survives crash that killed alleged abductor

Advocate staff photo by Terry Jones --A woman injured in a fatal one-car crash on Wednesday, March 26, 2015, in West Baton Rouge Parish told authorities that her boyfriend, who died in the crash, had kidnapped her from their Baton Rouge home.

When first responders arrived at a one-vehicle crash scene Thursday morning on Rosedale Road, a woman inside the vehicle told them she was the victim of a kidnapping by her boyfriend. The woman, 34-year-old Rae Michelle Carrell, was airlifted to a hospital where she remained in critical condition Thursday night, Baton Rouge… Continue reading →

Escaped female prisoner caught; Assumption sheriff says investigation of escape is ongoing

Felicia Daigle

A 30-year-old Napoleonville woman who escaped from custody while being transported to Avoyelles Women’s Correction Center at 6:40 p.m. Thursday was back in custody by 10:20 p.m., said Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack. Felicia Daigle, 30, of 394 La. 1012, Napoleonville, was arrested Thursday on theft charges and was not considered armed or dangerous, he said.… Continue reading →

Former Baton Rouge lawyer sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for receiving child porn for years

A former Baton Rouge lawyer who admitted last year that he received child pornography over a three-year period was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Thursday and ordered to pay $22,000 in fines and restitution. William Steven Mannear, 62, permanently resigned from the practice of law in July and pleaded guilty in August… Continue reading →

Co-pilot deliberately slams plane in Alps; families ask why

ALTERNATE CROP TO CIP101 - Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Thursday, March 26, 2015. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and intentionally rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captains frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. In a split second, he killed all 150 people aboard the plane. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

PARIS — Passengers with moments to live screamed in terror and the pilot frantically pounded on the locked cockpit door as a 27-year-old German co-pilot deliberately and wordlessly smashed an Airbus carrying 150 people into an Alpine mountainside. The account Thursday of the final moments of Germanwings Flight 9525 prompted some airlines to immediately impose stricter… Continue reading →

Video: Student reaction to closing of Acacia fraternity

LSU Kappa Delta sorority sisters Claire Hilse, 19, left, and Erin Jewell, 19, speak on the closing of Acacia fraternity. The fraternity has been shut down through at least 2018 after an LSU probe determined the fraternity engaged in hazing of its new members last fall.… Continue reading →

Southern Athletic Director William Broussard reassigned temporarily, men's basketball coach Roman Banks takes over for now

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Southern University Athletic Director Dr. William Broussard answers questions regarding the university's NCAA postseason eligibility on five winter teams, including basketball, on Thursday at Southern's A. W

Southern has temporarily reassigned athletic director William Broussard without explanation. The university announced in a statement Thursday afternoon that Broussard will move to the Southern University System Office on April 1 with the expectation that he will return to the athletic department Aug. 1. Men’s basketball coach Roman Banks will double as athletic director during that time.… Continue reading →

‘In God We Trust’, but not in Livingston Parish officials — councilman says spat over courthouse sign led to rejected building oversight proposal

The Livingston Parish Council rejected a proposal Thursday to let officials who work at the parish courthouse oversee the operations and upkeep of the building. Council members feared the proposal would create a committee on which agency heads outnumbered parish government officials, possibly silencing parish government in matters affecting its own… Continue reading →

Amoroso and Ourso square off in Saturday runoff for House District 66

On paper, both of the candidates in Saturday’s runoff to represent southeast Baton Rouge in the Louisiana Legislature look similar: conservative Republicans with experience on the Metro Council. Though they come from the same philosophical place, they represent opposing factions: one unyielding and the other, practical. East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso says… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge police: Man surrenders Thursday in shooting death of neighbor over alleged rape

Yovanni Anibal Ramos-Salazar

A Baton Rouge man surrendered to authorities Thursday in what police have described as the vigilante killing Sunday of his neighbor. Yovanni Anibal Ramos-Salazar, 31, was accompanied by his attorney when he surrendered to Baton Rouge police at about 6 p.m., said Cpl. Don A. Coppola Jr., a police spokesman. Ramos-Salazar is accused of second-degree… Continue reading →

Census report: Lafayette sixth largest parish in state and fourth fastest growing

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Sugar cane is harvested last year from a field along Chemin Metairie Parkway in Youngsville. A New York company will invest $312 million for construction of 10 refineries designed to turn Louisiana sugar cane wastes into fuel pellets for global power companies,

Lafayette Parish was the fourth fastest-growing parish in Louisiana in 2014 and the fifth fastest since 2010, according to new census data. Lafayette grew 1.9 percent between 2013 and 2014 and nearly 6.1 percent since 2010, pushing the parish’s population to 235,644 on July 1, 2014, and making it the sixth-largest in Louisiana. Only St. Bernard,… Continue reading →

Raising Cane’s to open its first overseas restaurant in Kuwait City

Advocate photo by John McCusker -- Raising Cane's, which has grown to about 210 restaurants in the U.S., plans to open its first overseas franchise location in a mall in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

One love is going international. Raising Cane’s will open its first overseas location this summer with a restaurant in The Avenues mall in Kuwait City, Kuwait. The restaurant should be open by mid-July, said Todd Graves, Cane’s co-founder and CEO. “We’ll see how our franchise partners operate, then we’ll go from there,”… Continue reading →

Youngsville man convicted in double slaying insists he is innocent; says relationship with girlfriend was fueled by crack addiction

Police said Eric Jude Abshire shot and killed his girlfriend and her stepfather early Wednesday morning in Lafayette.

A Youngsville man accused in a 2011 double homicide in Lafayette was convicted Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Lona Carter and Lemuel Brown. Eric Abshire, 53, faces mandatory life sentences on both convictions and was taken into custody Thursday evening. Ten of 12 jury members returned guilty verdicts on both… Continue reading →