Live After Five fall lineup released

The downtown Baton Rouge Live After Five concert series will kickoff the fall session with Louisiana-native Marc Broussard on Sept 5. The free fall concert series, which draws thousands of people downtown, runs from Sept. 5 until Oct. 24, will take place every Friday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Galvez Plaza. … Continue reading →

Transformer fire behind Matherne’s market on Bluebonnet put out

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- St. George Fire Dept. Firefighter Chase Cothern carries away a fire hose, as Entergy personnel work behind him evaluating a fallen transformer that caught fire, knocking out electrical power at Mathern's grocery store, and the other businesses in the Bluebonnet Village Shopping Center at Bluebonnet and Perkins Road, Friday around the noon hour. Observers at the scene did not know why the transformer pole fell.

Firefighters extinguished a fire that started behind Matherne’s Market at the corner of Perkins Road and Bluebonnet Boulevard late Friday morning. The fire was reported at 11:29 a.m. and when firefighters got to the scene minutes late they found a downed power pole and three transformers burning behind the building, the St. George Fire Department repoted. … Continue reading →

saintscamp

Analysis from Saints’ first practice of training camp

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints RB Khiry Robinson (29) runs as S Kenny Vaccaro (32) and OLB Junior Galette (93) defend during the Saints' first practice of the 2014 Training Camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Friday.

Advocate sportswriters Scott Rabalais, Ramon Antonio Vargas and Nick Underhill go over the highlights from the opening practice of the Saints’ training camp. … Continue reading →

Three accused of defrauding Medicaid program

A Zachary woman is under indictment on state charges that accuse her of defrauding Louisiana’s Medicaid program out of thousands of dollars and laundering more than $100,000 through her Baton Rouge personal care company. Sekari Washington Davis, 36, was arrested last month following a joint investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and … Continue reading →

Investar earnings rise

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Investar Bank went public two weeks ago and CEO John D'Angelo rang the opening bell for Nasdaq on Tuesday. D'Angelo talks about the growth of the company.

Baton Rouge-based Investar Holding Corp., the holding company for Investar Bank, reported second-quarter earnings dipped to $1.1 million, or 26 cents per share, compared to $1.7 million, or 44 cents per share, a year ago. However, the 2013 results included a $900,000 “bargain purchase gain” recorded in connection with the acquisition of First Community Bank in May … Continue reading →

Beer educators granted tax-exempt status

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Pints of beer are lined up for the

Beer education, it turns out, is a worthy cause for charity. The Bayou Beer Society, a Houma-based group that promotes zymurgy or brewing, has been granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. This means contributions to the society are tax-deductible. The group’s goals include preserving the cultural and historical beer recipes of south … Continue reading →

St. Mary’s deputies announce drug bust

Brady M. Broussard

St. Mary Parish sheriff’s detectives discovered a lode of illegal drugs in a car they stopped on U.S. 90, finding bags of methamphetamine and LSD, and the syringes, spoons and a tourniquet used in injecting drugs, officials said. Brady Broussard, Stacey Grubb and Scott Dehart were booked into the St. Mary Parish … Continue reading →

Chemical company looks to Ascension for $70 million plant

Specialty chemicals maker Stepan Co. announced the company will complete front-end engineering and design work for a potential $60 million to $70 million chemical production facility in the existing industrial corridor of Ascension Parish. The company, headquartered near Chicago, recently authorized the feasibility work and will make a final investment decision on the project in the second … Continue reading →

Plaquemine man dies after pickup hits tree

Louisiana State Police logo

A 64-year-old Plaquemine man died late Thursday after his pickup ran off of La. 75 and hit a tree south of La. 3066 in Iberville Parish, State Police said. Winsley J. St. Pierre Jr., who was unrestrained, suffered fatal injuries, Trooper First Class Jared L. Sandifer said in a press release. Troopers began investigating shortly before … Continue reading →

EBR School Board agrees to downsize to 9 members

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  East Baton Rouge Parish School Board members, from left, Connie Bernard, Jerry Arbour and Jill Dyason participate in the meeting scheduled Thursday for members to vote on redistricting plans that would reduce its size.

Shrugging off threats of litigation, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Thursday narrowly approved a new map that reduces from 11 to nine the number of representatives serving on the School Board starting Jan. 1. The winning plan, known as Freeman 9 Member 7, one of six introduced, was approved in a 6-5 vote after … Continue reading →

SU faculty spar with Mason over college finances

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Southern University Faculty Senate President Thomas Miller, right, announces the Southern University Faculty Senate's plans to return Southern to 'fiscal solvency and academic excellence' Thursday in front of the John B. Cade Memorial Library. Miller is an associate professor of French and German. Listening, from left to right,  are Irma Cobb, professor of Spanish and Chair of Foreign Languages, Don Hernandez, an assistant professor of History, and Faculty Senate vice-president Albert Samuels, professor and Chair of SU'svDept. of Criminal Justice and Political Science.

The leaders of Southern University’s Faculty Senate say system President Ron Mason is to blame for the cash-strapped school’s financial woes and other problems. The group went public with its complaints on campus Thursday in front of the library, raising questions over Mason’s latest proposal to merge the president and campus chancellor jobs, which he says will … Continue reading →

Jurors find Richardson guilty in 2012 shooting death

Marcus Richardson

A West Baton Rouge Parish jury deliberated for approximately two hours before convicting a 24-year-old Port Allen man of second-degree murder Thursday in the May 2012 fatal shooting of a Brusly High student. Marcus Richardson, 24, Freeman Lane, was found guilty as charged after two days of testimony in … Continue reading →

Feeling jilted, Livingston council sends attorney packing

The Livingston Parish Council sent the parish’s arbitration attorney packing back to Washington, D.C., on Thursday night after refusing to go into executive session with him to discuss what options the parish might have after losing a $59 million case over Hurricane Gustav cleanup costs. A three-judge panel of the Continue reading →

Man accused in cyclist hit and run out on bond

The man accused in a hit-and-run that killed 30-year-old Youngsville cyclist Lon Lomas is out of jail on bond — a bond the victim’s family says was set far too low. Troopers arrested Fitzpatrick Doucette, 42, of Kaplan, Sunday night on charges of negligent homicide, felony hit-and-run, driving under suspension and failure to follow state … Continue reading →

Street name motion stirs strong emotions at WBR Council

Pointe Coupee board approves plan for alternative school

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board on Thursday approved a plan from School Superintendent Linda D’Amico to create an off-site alternative school — an endeavor most of the board has wanted for several years. The new school, which will consist of a modular building housing two double classrooms with restrooms, will … Continue reading →

Nearly 300 dead after cluster of plane crashes

Associated Press photo by /Wally SantanaA forensic team recovers human remains among the wreckage of crashed TransAsia Airways flight GE222 on the outlying island of Penghu, Taiwan, Thursday. Stormy weather on the trailing edge of Typhoon Matmo was the likely cause of the plane crash that killed more than 40 people, the airline said. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents.

Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel’s largest airport after rocket attacks. An airliner crashes during a storm, and yet another disappears. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents. Industry analysts and … Continue reading →

Special ed overhaul called 'monumental'

Louisiana’s education establishment faces a huge challenge implementing a controversial new law to make it easier for high school students to earn a high school diploma, superintendents said Thursday. “The bottom line is it is going to be a very difficult process,” said Doris Voitier, superintendent of the St. Bernard Parish school system and president … Continue reading →

Acadiana crime blotter for July 25, 2014

Joseph Brent

A Baldwin police officer was arrested Thursday for allegedly fathering a child with a 14-year-old who was living with the officer and his wife, State Police said. Joseph Brent, 39, was booked into the St. Mary Parish jail on counts of molestation of … Continue reading →

Two killed in East Feliciana fatal accident

Updated at 8:16 p.m. – An 86-year-old man and his 19-year-old granddaughter died Thursday afternoon when, for unknown reasons, their sedan crossed into oncoming traffic on La. 67 and slammed head-on into an 18-wheeler. Both vehicles flew off the road and were engulfed in flames, said Trooper First Class Jared Sandifer, a state police spokesman. William Blalock and Ariel Foster, both … Continue reading →

Around Baton Rouge for July 25, 2014

NEIGHBORHOOD ARTS PROJECT: 10 a.m., Leo S. Butler Community Center, NAP sets up tents in neighborhoods with art supplies for the community to create art for free. (225) 389-7207 or lsumoa.org. LIVE AFTER FIVE REVEAL PARTY: 11:30 a.m., Town Square, North Boulevard, downtown. Come see the unveiling of the fall lineup … Continue reading →

Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

Associated Press photo by /Wally SantanaA forensic team recovers human remains among the wreckage of crashed TransAsia Airways flight GE222 on the outlying island of Penghu, Taiwan, Thursday. Stormy weather on the trailing edge of Typhoon Matmo was the likely cause of the plane crash that killed more than 40 people, the airline said. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel’s largest airport after rocket attacks. An airliner crashes during a storm, and yet another disappears. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents. Industry analysts and safety … Continue reading →

Acadian Middle student’s discipline is focus of federal investigation

The discipline of an Acadian Middle School student is the center of a federal investigation of a race-based complaint against the Lafayette Parish School System. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights notified Superintendent Pat Cooper last month about the complaint and requested information specific to four disciplinary incidents involving … Continue reading →

Across U.S. job market, layoffs are becoming rare

In this photo taken Wednesday, July 16, 2014, job seeker U.S. Army veteran John Godman, right, talks to recruiters Nicole Rushton, left, and Megan Hogan, center, at a Hiring Fair For Veterans in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims on Thursday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The risk of losing your job is getting smaller and smaller. As the U.S. economy has improved and employers have regained confidence, companies have been steadily shedding fewer workers. Which is why applications for unemployment benefits have dwindled to their lowest level since February 2006 — nearly two years before the Great Recession began … Continue reading →

Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA

The U.S. Capitol is seen in early morning light in Washington, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — With Congress scheduled to recess in a week, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee’s chairman has offered to scale back a Senate-passed bill to improve health care services for veterans. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Thursday that a new proposal to improve veterans’ access to health care would cost less than $25 billion over three … Continue reading →

Nichols, Roemer disagree on Common Core lawyer request

Kristy Nichols

Sparking new disagreements, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said Thursday she needs more information on the state school board’s request to hire special legal counsel in the battle over Common Core. In a letter to state Superintendent of Education John White and Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, … Continue reading →

BR casino revenues down for June

Advocate staff file photo by Mark Saltz -- The winnings at Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos were lower in June than they were the year before, because of a dropoff in activity at Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge.

The winnings at Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos were lower in June than they were the year before because of a dropoff in activity at Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge. The three local riverboats brought in nearly $22.5 million during June, compared with almost $25.6 million in June 2013, a 4.7 percent drop, according to figures released Thursday … Continue reading →

2 robbery suspects arrested

Joshua Wells

Two Zachary men suspected in the Monday night armed robbery of Southern Belle Truck Stop near the south end of West Feliciana Parish have been arrested in East Baton Rouge Parish. Joshua Wells, 21, 421 E. Flanacher Road, and Reginald Jackson, 21, 474 E. Flanacher Road, each face one count of armed robbery, said Erin … Continue reading →