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Here are constitutional changes Louisiana voters will consider in November

Louisiana voters this fall will decide whether college systems can boost their own tuition rates, whether to sock away money from oil price booms into savings and whether to rewrite the state’s corporate tax laws. Lawmakers passed six proposed constitutional amendments during their three legislative sessions that stretched from February until June. All the amendment proposals… Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge School Board president announces for Metro Council

Barbara Freiberg

The president of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Tuesday launched a campaign to join the Metro Council. Barbara Reich Freiberg is running for the District 12 seat being vacated by John Delgado, who is running for mayor-president. She will compete with fellow republican Sal Christina for the job. In a statement, Freiberg… Continue reading →

Joe Donchess, nursing home chief, to retire in December

Joe Donchess

Joe Donchess, a powerful force around the State Capitol as head of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association, announced Tuesday he would retire at the end of the year. He has been the group’s executive director since 1986. The nonprofit represents more than 250 nursing facilities and assisted living communities. “His guidance, leadership and expertise have been… Continue reading →

Matt Watson seeking to succeed Ryan Heck in Baton Rouge Metro Council District 11, where Watson served as Heck’s legislative assistant

Matt Watson (photo provided)

Matthew “Matt” Watson has spent the past four years running Metro Councilman Ryan Heck’s office, but is now ready to step into the starring role and run for the council seat. Watson announced his candidacy on Tuesday, saying the relationships he has made and knowledge he has gained about issues like zoning as Heck’s legislative assistant… Continue reading →

Crowley man wanted in Walmart shooting may be in California

Ronald Babineaux

Police are searching for a former Crowley man wanted for shooting and injuring a person last month in the Walmart parking lot. Ronald Babineaux, 26, who is wanted for attempted second-degree murder, has ties in California and authorities believe he may be in that state, according to a news release… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office defends hiring of East Baton Rouge prison security worker fired for soliciting sex

The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday defended its decision to hire a man who a year ago was fired by the sheriff’s office in East Baton Rouge Parish following his arrest for soliciting a woman for prostitution. Capt. Steve Juge said the Sheriff’s Office was aware of Jordan Zachary’s arrest but hired him… Continue reading →

Man claims FBI ‘extorted’ him on sex crime in exchange for dirt on former ATC chief Troy Hebert

Christopher G. Young

A former Louisiana liquor lobbyist is claiming the FBI used the threat of child porn charges against him in hopes of encouraging him to “wire up” on state Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert and possibly other officials to catch them in corrupt acts. And included in a court filing last week by Christopher G. Young… Continue reading →

Louisiana in for big changes, likely bumpy ride with Medicaid expansion; here's how we got here

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Gov. John Bel Edwards and Dr. Rebekah Gee, DHH Secretary, center, listen to Linda Simms during a discussion on Medicaid expansion as Edwards and Gee met with new enrollees of the Medicaid expansion program prior to the June 1 enrollment start date.

Perhaps more than in any other state, the expansion of Medicaid to give thousands of Louisiana residents no-cost health insurance stands to have a profound effect on health care — whether it’s better or worse than the system already established to cover the needs of the poor. Louisiana on Friday is set to become the 31st state… Continue reading →

Treasurer John Kennedy assails 'breathtaking' state tax increases; administration says, 'there's a reason for that'

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- State Treasurer John N. Kennedy said Monday the Louisiana Legislature last week approved the largest state spending plan since the hurricanes recovery.

Louisiana legislators last week passed the largest state budget since hurricanes Katrina and Rita a decade ago, State Treasurer John N. Kennedy said Monday. The $26 billion total budget for the fiscal year that starts Friday is about $3 billion more than the spending for this fiscal year, Kennedy told the Press Club of Baton Rouge luncheon.… Continue reading →

Dow Chemical to cut 2,500 jobs worldwide

Dow Chemical Co. said Tuesday it will lay of 2,500 workers worldwide and shut silicones manufacturing plants in North Carolina and Japan. It’s unclear how or whether the job cuts will affect Dow’s more than 6,000 employees and contract workers in Louisiana. “Workforce consolidations will come from Dow and Dow Corning and will vary by… Continue reading →

Planning a beach trip this summer? Check this website for Louisiana water-quality advisories

Photo provided by the Office of State Parks -- Grand Isle State Park is one of 24 beaches tested by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals..

As families pack up the car with coolers, blankets, food and fishing poles for a fun-filled time along the coast, there’s one more thing that should be checked before heading to the beach — health advisories. Every week, the state Department of Health tests and posts the results of water-quality samples taken along Louisiana’s beaches. The… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for June 28

Arrests posted June 27, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. GAVIN M. ANGELLE: 59, of the 100 block of N. Romero Street, Carencro. He was booked on warrant/bench warrant. JAMIE ARCENEAUX: 28, of the 100 block of Dogwood Drive, Lafayette. She was booked on simple burglary and two counts of theft… Continue reading →

Who’s who list of health, research institution CEO’s serving as founding members on Baton Rouge Health District board of directors

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Baton Rouge Area Foundation executive vice president John Spain discusses the Baton Rouge Health District master plan during a December unveiling. Spain will serve as chairman of the district's founding board of directors.

The Baton Rouge Health District has enlisted chief executives from some of the area’s largest health and research institutions for its founding board of directors, with John Spain, executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, serving as chairman. The master plan for the district was funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation at… Continue reading →

Attorney General's office arrests 3 for bank fraud, theft

. Three people were arrested on counts of bank fraud and theft in the amount of $200,000, Attorney General Jeff Landry said Tuesday. Jason Lipscomb, of Ponchatoula, was arrested on one count of bank fraud and theft by fraud in the amount of $200,000, Landry said in a news release. He was booked into the East Baton Rouge… Continue reading →

Report: Medic describes I-10 crash that injured six, left him with gash, broken toe, shattered teeth

William Smith, 26, DWI, vehicular injuring, hit and run, reckless operation, etc.

An Acadian Ambulance medic injured in a Sunday crash involving an alleged drunk driver recently described the incident, which also injured five others, according to a report. “I didn’t even realize I was injured until somebody told me,” John Piker told WBRZ-TV. Piker, who suffered a gash in his arm requiring 12 stitches, a broken toe and six… Continue reading →

Pat Summitt, winningest coach in D1 history, dies at 64

FILE- In this March 19, 2012, file photo, Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt waves as she leaves the court after Tennessee defeated DePaul 63-48 in an NCAA tournament second-round women's college basketball game in Rosemont, Ill. Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women's game from obscurity to national prominence during her career at Tennessee, died Tuesday morning, June 28, 2016. She was 64. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women's game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee, died Tuesday morning. She was 64. With an icy glare on the sidelines, Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight national championships and prominence on a campus steeped in the… Continue reading →

Report: Rita LeBlanc says ‘no matter what ... I’ll still be partial owner’ of Saints, Pelicans

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Rita LeBlanc, grand daughter of Tom Benson, follows her lawyer Randy Smith into the Louisiana Supreme Court in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 before a hearing of the appeal filed after Tom Benson was declared mentally competent to change up who would inherit control of his nearly $2 billion business empire after his death. Rita LeBlanc, is followed by her mother Renee Benson and her brother Ryan LeBlanc, left, who are challenging Tom Benson's competency.

Rita LeBlanc, the granddaughter of Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson, believes she will remain partial owner of her grandfather’s teams “no matter what happens” in the legal feud that has ensnared her family for well over a year, she recently told Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. A little more than a… Continue reading →

Cleco customers to receive credit of about $475 off their July electricity bills

Many of Cleco’s customers will receive a free month of electricity in July, possibly August too, as the utility makes good on a promise made earlier this year in return for permission to sell itself to a group of private investors, the company announced Monday. Beginning Friday, Cleco will apply the credit — about $475 for most… Continue reading →

State’s youngest students getting focus in drive for higher scores

Louisiana’s latest push to improve student achievement will focus in part on why some of the state’s youngest students are failing to master basic skills. “Elementary school leaders have expressed concern that students too frequently arrive in the third grade not prepared for success, and that there is not academic clarity in the early grades,” according to… Continue reading →

Healthcare premiums for Central school system employees: some to see increase, others a decrease

Starting Sept. 1, health insurance premiums for employees of the Central school system will increase an average of 4.5 percent overall, but those who pay to cover only themselves will pay less than they do now. The premium changes were the only change the Central School Board made Monday to its health insurance. Minnesota-based… Continue reading →

Two booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge from Sunday to Monday

Authorities arrested at least two people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 2:30 p.m. Monday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Caitrin Borrel, 32, 2365 Honeysuckle Ave., Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI and failure to maintain… Continue reading →

Physician-led group partners with Blue Cross

Aledade’s Louisiana Accountable Care Organization, which is made up of six physician practices in Lafayette, New Iberia, Abbeville and Opelousas, will join the Blue Cross Quality Blue Value Partnership program. Aledade’s Louisiana ACO provides care to 5,200 Medicare beneficiaries. The partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Aledade’s first commercial contract here, will… Continue reading →

Iberia sheriff signs one-year pact with New Iberia

Advocate stafffile  photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal

Iberia Sheriff Louis Ackal on Monday signed a one-year agreement with the City of New Iberia, but it’s not clear how much law-enforcement coverage the city will get out of the contract. “In making this announcement, the Sheriff said that the City of New Iberia has refused his request for additional funds to maintain the level… Continue reading →

Acadiana legislators weigh in on state budget picture

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Rep. Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, speaks during a meeting of the Acadiana Press Club, Monday June 27, 2016, at The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. Other speakers included Rep.Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, center, and Jean-Paul Coussan, R-Lafayette.

The recently completed 2016 legislative season was a grueling exercise in trying to balance the budget during three sessions — 19 weeks — as partisan politics raged in Baton Rouge, Acadiana legislators said. New Iberia Rep. Terry Landry and Lafayette Rep. Vincent Pierre, both Democrats, said legislative efforts to undo eight years of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s… Continue reading →

Around Acadiana for June 27

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Acadiana Advocate reporters Billy Gunn, from left, Lanie Lee Cook and Richard Burgess photographed January 21, 2016.

The main public library in downtown Lafayette will celebrate the one-year anniversary of major renovations at an event set July 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The celebration will feature a magic show, a scavenger hunt, balloon animals, crafts and coloring. Refreshments will be provided. The library reopened July 7, 2015,… Continue reading →

Lafayette crime blotter for June 27, 2016

Arrests posted June 27, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: TYRUS GEORGE ARCENEAUX: 28, of the 100 block of Collins Street, Carencro. He was booked on two counts of probation violation. JESSIE JAMES BROUSSARD: 39, of the 100 block of Sunflower Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on possession and prohibited activities… Continue reading →

Louisiana drug dealer sentenced to 10 years in federal prison; was convicted in 2015 on opiate distribution charge

A Louisiana man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, ordered to forfeit $60,000 in cash and pay a $25,000 fine following his conviction in the trafficking of opiates. Kendrick D. Alexander, 43, with residences in Baton Rouge and New Iberia, was convicted on March 12, 2015, of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, U.S.… Continue reading →

Pei Wei closes Acadian Village location in Baton Rouge

The Pei Wei restaurant in the Acadian Village Shopping Center has closed. The restaurant’s sign has been removed and a note taped to the front doors said the location has been permanently closed. Employees were on hand Monday afternoon, cleaning out the restaurant. One manager said the restaurant’s last day was Sunday, and referred… Continue reading →

Realtor vying for East Baton Rouge parish-president miffed the state association backing other candidate

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Darryl Gissel listens to a questionTuesday, May 24, 2016  at a press conference announcing his candidacy for East Baton Rouge Mayor-President.  Gissel, a longtime community activist who is also a real estate broker, investor, and historic preservationist,  will run as an Independent No Party.

The East Baton Rouge Parish race for mayor-president is five months away, but the in-fighting in the crowded candidate pool already has begun. Mayoral candidate and Realtor Darryl Gissel filed complaints Monday with the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors and the Louisiana Realtors Association over a donation they plan to make to mayoral… Continue reading →

St. Amant man killed in motorcycle wreck

U.S. Supreme Court overturns Texas abortion law, ramifications could reach into Louisiana

Bethany Van Kampen, left, hugs Alejandra Pablus as they celebrate during a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2016, after the court struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics. The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics that had argued the regulations were a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation's second-most populous state. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

With a similar 2014 Louisiana abortion law hanging in the balance, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a 2013 Texas statute that required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in the event complications arose. The decision in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstadt is being touted by legal… Continue reading →

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down restrictive Texas anti-abortion law

Activists demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, June 27, 2016, as the justices close out the term with decisions on abortion, guns, and public corruption are expected. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics Monday in the court's biggest abortion case in nearly a quarter century. The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics that had argued the regulations were a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation's… Continue reading →

Prairieville man killed in Blood River boating incident after colliding with bulkhead, trees

A Prairieville man died late Saturday in a boating accident on the Blood River in Livingston Parish, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported. LDWF agents found the body of Larry Andre Jr., 59, about 10:15 p.m. Saturday. Andre was thrown into the water after he “collided with a bulkhead and subsequently trees,” according to a… Continue reading →

‘I’m going to kill y’all’: Baton Rouge man slaps, threatens grandmother, deputies say

Wilfred Guerin

East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies on Saturday arrested a man accused of slapping his grandmother during an argument, then pointing kitchen knives at another person who stepped in to protect the woman. Wilfred Guerin, 33, is accused of slapping his grandmother, leaving a “large red mark” on her wrist, according to a Sheriff’s Office report. Another person… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge man arrested in domestic abuse case, shouts threats at deputies and hospital workers, deputies say

Cory Ray

A Baton Rouge man shouted threats Saturday at medical staff and sheriff’s deputies at a hospital he was taken to for treatment of injuries he received in a domestic abuse case he’d been arrested in earlier, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office reported. Corey Ray, 39, was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center… Continue reading →