Local and Area News

Husband and wife killed in crash

LaSalle Parish-Earlier this afternoon, a crash involving two vehicles killed a woman and a man from Columbia, LA. A woman and a child, in a seperate vehicle, were moderately/severly injured.

Troopers responeded to the crash are 12:45 PM, which occurred on LA Hwy 28 East near US Hwy 84. The crash involved a 1995 Ford pickup, driven by Margie W. Moore and a 2010 Cadillac DTS, driven by Judith Hewitt of Ferriday, LA. The Ford was westbound on LA Hwy 28 East when Moore initially failed to observe that westbound traffic was slowing. In an apparent effort to avoid a rear end collision, Moore swerved left and crossed the centerline into the eastbound lane. This action resulted in westbound Ford colliding with eastbound Cadillac.

Moore was wearing her seatbelt, but was pronounced dead. Her only passenger, identified as Bluith Moore, was wearing his seatbelt and pronounced dead.

Hewitt was wearing her seatbelt and recieved moderate/severe injuries. she was transported to Rapides Regional Trauma Center for treatment. Her only passenger, identified as a juvenile of Ferriday, received moderate/severe injuries and was transported to Rapides Regional Trauma Center.

Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash remains under investigation.

VPSO warns of newfound scam Posted on 7-22-14

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office has released a warning in order to alert residents of a recently-discovered scam.
According to Sheriff Sam Craft, efforts to pay citations through an online website have resulted in residents being scammed.
“We are not sure who is responsible for this website, but we suspect it is just like the many others that have surfaced, such as the Publishers Clearing House,” said Craft in the release.
According to Craft, if you need to pay for a citation through the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office, you can go to www.vernonparishtix.com or call (800) 701-8560. These are the only means used by the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office to pay citations.
You can also use this website to pay for taxes and occupational licenses, said Craft.
Craft, stated the release, emphasized the following are numbers used by the other law enforcement agencies throughout the Vernon Parish to pay citations:
1. City Of Leesville – (800) 701-8560 or www.leesvilletix.com
2. Town of Rosepine- (800) 701-8560 or http://www.rosepinepayments.com/
3. Town of Anacoco – (800) 701-8560 or http://www.anacocopay.com/
4. The towns of New Llano and Hornbeck do not have such websites; therefore, you will need to contact them at the number printed on the citation.

 

Suspicious death of Sabine Parish man found in burned home ruled homicide Posted on 7-22-14

SABINE PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

The Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office has confirmed that foul play is suspected the death of a man found inside his burned home last week.

According to a newFirefighters were first called to the home on 4L Drive in the village of Fisher around 10:40 p.m. Thursday for a report of a structure fire. (Source: Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron Rivers)s release from Sabine Parish Detention Center Warden Joe Dewil Jr. says the preliminary results of the autopsy conducted on the the body indicate that the death will be ruled as a homicide.

Fire crews were called to the home of James Paul Green on 4L Drive in Fisher about 10:40 p.m. on Thursday, July 17. Firefighters had the blaze contained and left the scene. Crews got called back to the home about 7:15 a.m. Friday after the house started burning again. That's when firefighters found Green's burned body.

Dewil says the body was covered in debris. 

The discovery prompted further investigation, and it was then discovered that the green 1997 Chevy Cavalier belonging to Green was missing. An alert was issued for local law enforcement to be on the lookout for the vehicle. It was found 30 minutes later in Zwolle off LA 120.

Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron Rivers says it appears that someone had attempted to set Green's Cavalier on fire, and blood was found inside the car around the center console and in the area around the driver's seat. The vehicle will be processed for evidence by investigators with the North Louisiana Crime Lab.

The sheriff's office, the State Fire Marshal's Office, and the Fisher, LA Police Department are all involved with the homicide investigation.

While the sheriff's office is not releasing the name of the victim, family members told KSLA News 12's Jeff Ferrell the body is that of the 49-year-old Green.

Anyone with information about the case can contact the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-256-0006 or 318-256-9241.

GPSO arrests woman for throwing rocks, violence Posted on 7-22-14

GRANT PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office received a report of a female standing in the middle of Parsonage Road holding a knife and throwing rocks at cars as they passed on July 17, 2014. 

GPSO reported when a deputy arrived, she dropped the knife and began yelling at the deputy stating that people owed her money. 

When the deputy approached, she swung at the deputy and began running away from him. After a brief foot pursuit, she became physically violent by fighting the deputy. 

Connie Pennington, 50 of Colfax, was arrested for Battery of a Police Officer, 2 counts of Resisting an Officer, and Disturbing the Peace.

Bus Routes Available

Three bus routes are open for application. One route is a Many route in Fort Jessup area. The other 2 routes are Negreet routes. The general location of one of the Negreets routes in Queen's Road., Merritt Mountain Rd., and Toledo Town to Lanan Bridge (approx. 35 miles). The general location of the other Negreet route is Yello Pine, Behind BJ's Grocery, Oak Hill rd., Maxie Hippler Rd., and Kellie Rd., (approx. 26 miles). Priority will be givern to current drivers and/or applicants owning or purchasing their own bus.

Please call the Sabine Parish School Board, 318-256-9228, if you have further questions. Applications or letter of interest must be submitted by August 6, 2014

Teens charged after accidental shooting in West Shreveport

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

 Two local teens are facing criminal charges following an accidental shooting at a West Shreveport home on Saturday afternoon.

Officers were called to a home in the 3600 block of Valley Ridge Rd. at 4:50 p.m. and arrived to find a 15-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the hand. He was taken to University Health with injuries that are not considered to be life-threatening.

Investigators learned that the victim and a 14-year-old were handling a handgun inside the home when it went off, striking the 15-year-old in the hand. Police say it was also learned that the 15-year-old was carrying the weapon on his person before the shooting and decided to show the weapon to the 14-year-old and other juveniles at the house when the shooting occurred.

No other injuries were reported.

The gun was seized by officers at the scene and submitted as evidence.

The 14 year old juvenile was charged with a single count of illegal use of a weapon and booked into the Caddo Juvenile Detention Center. The 15-year-old was charged with illegal carrying of a weapon and following his release from treatment, will be booked into the Caddo Parish Juvenile Center.

Driver Education Course to be held by Northwestern State University

Northwestern State University's Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will offer a drive3r education course July 28-31. The class will be held in South Hall on Northwestern State University's campus from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The course will include 30 hours of classroom instruction with a minimum of eight hours driving. The fee is $350.

For more information call (800)376-2422 or (318)357-6355 or e-maill bedgoogm@nsula.edu

Homicide investigation prompted by discovery of body in burned Sabine Parish home

FISHER, LA (KSLA) -

 

The discovery of a body Friday morning inside a Sabine Parish home Firefighters were first called to the home on 4L Drive in the village of Fisher around 10:40 p.m. Thursday for a report of a structure fire. (Source: Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron Rivers)heavily damaged in a fire late Thursday night is being investigated as a homicide.

According to Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron Rivers, firefighters were first called to the home on 4L Drive in the village of Fisher around 10:40 p.m. Thursday for a report of a structure fire.

Firefighters put the fire out and left the scene, but Rivers says they were called back out Thursday morning, after receiving reports that the fire had flared up again. This time, they discovered a body in the rear of the house, in the kitchen floor. This is the area of the home that received the heaviest damage from the fire.

The discovery prompted further investigation, and it was then discovered that the green 1997 Chevy Cavalier belonging to the owner of the home was missing. An alert was issued for local law enforcement to be on the lookout for the vehicle. Rivers says it was found 30 minutes later in Zwolle off LA 120.

Rivers says it appears that someone had attempted to set the Cavalier on fire, and blood was found inside the car around the center console and in the area around the driver's seat. The vehicle will be processed for evidence.

Rivers says the body found at the house has not been positively identified, as the remains were severely burned. The remains will be sent to LSU Shreveport for an autopsy to determine the cause of death and identification.

While the remains are not yet identified, Rivers notes that the owner of the burned house has not been located.

BESE leaders offer Jindal new school testing proposal Posted on 7-18-14

BATON ROUGE — The leaders of Louisiana’s top school board offered a new compromise proposal Wednesday to Gov. Bobby Jindal in the ongoing disagreement over Common Core education standards.

The officers of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education agreed to have the Department of Education solicit new bids for standardized testing services in public schools, though they said that testing would have to align with “nationally recognized standards.”

They called it their final offer ahead of a Thursday meeting between the Republican governor and Education Superintendent John White over how to handle testing in the upcoming school year.

“With fewer than four weeks left until the school year starts, our schools, educators and families need guidance from the state as to the nature of state tests,” said the letter signed by board President Chas Roemer, Vice-President Jim Garvey and Secretary Holly Boffy.

Jindal suspended the existing testing contract in order to undermine use of tests tied to Common Core, which the governor opposes.

White and Roemer, who support the multi-state education standards, say the governor overreached his authority and is trying to circumvent education policy set by BESE and upheld by state lawmakers. Jindal said the education department didn’t follow state contracting law and needs to seek competitive bids.

With BESE leaders now offering a competitive bid process, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said she believed there’s room for compromise.

“I think it is a viable proposal,” she said.

But Nichols also said the education department would need to accept input from the governor before the request for bids will be issued.

“Certainly, the governor’s office is going to want to participate in the policy aspects of the (request for proposals),” she said.

That raises questions about whether the impasse can be broken and a new contract completed in time to administer spring standardized tests to students in third-grade through eighth-grade.

The Common Core standards are grade-by-grade benchmarks of what students should learn in English and math that have been adopted by more than 40 states. Supporters say the standards promote critical thinking. Jindal says the federal government is trying to use them to control local educational systems.

As part of the continuing dispute, the Jindal administration Wednesday released preliminary findings of a review it launched into the Department of Education’s testing contracts, saying the department appears to have repeatedly sidestepped procurement law.

The allegations involve contracts and amendments that go back over 11 years, covering four superintendents and three education board terms, and that earlier were approved by the governor’s contractual review office.

In a statement, Jindal chief of staff Kyle Plotkin said the findings show “systemic issues that fostered this laissez faire approach to public contracting.”

White said the education department followed the law.

“It is curious that they would take a sudden interest in these purported inconsistencies now, years after they happened, amid a debate about testing and education policy,” White said. “These are contracts and amendments that they stood behind way back when.”

Northwestern State University

Four hundred and seventy-six students at Northwestern State University have been named to the President's List for the Spring 2014 semester. From the nearby towns were:

Converse: Zachary Ebarb, Haley Faircloth

Florien: Abigail Bridges, Karley Oxley, Anna Robertson, James Stringer, Michael Williams

Hornbeck: Ashton Averitt, Richelle Dorris, Katland Lott, Nancy Williams

Many: Candace Eddington, Timothy Evans, Hannah Fulton, Mariam Haider, Martisha Johnson, Christopher Jordan, Zachary McLendon, Kaylee Medine, Stephanie Self, Joshua Steinke, Unessalyn Sweet

Robeline: Dustie Bridges, Nathan Dockens, Rebecca Rachal

Zwolle-Alyssa Martinez, Angel Remedies, Christian Sepulvado

 

Texas processing center for child migrants to open Posted on 7-18-14

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - A 55,000-square foot warehouse converted to process immigrant children who have entered the U.S. illegally will open July 20.

According to a U.S. Border Patrol invitation to local political and law enforcement leaders obtained by The Associated Press, VIPs will be given a walkthrough of the new facility in McAllen on Thursday.

More than 57,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Central America, have entered the U.S. illegally since October. The children had overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities, spurring the opening of this center. The agency had flown many children to a processing facility in Nogales, Arizona, but the new center in McAllen will be near the Border Patrol's busiest station.

The invitation says the facility will provide showers, laundry, meals, medical attention and recreation to children who are processed there.

Rosepine Police Department requests upgrades Posted on 7-16-14

ROSEPINE -- The town council met Thursday night, July 10, to address issues germane to Rosepine's citizenry.
Mayor Donna Duvall voiced her concerns about the newest round of base closure assessments, noting that Fort Polk is among the many posts slated for more troop cuts.
"We're looking at 70,000 soldiers nationwide and about 6,500 here at Fort Polk," she explained, adding it was important that people in the area respond to the threat.
She delineated the ways people can help, such as going online to the Fort Polk Progress site and signing the petition, writing letters or making telephone calls to show support for Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center.
The council accepted a motion to accept the Vernon Parish Police Jury resolution for August 2014.
"They've been doing a good job with the mowing and pothole-patching," acknowledged one resident.
The town's financial report ending June 30, 2014 was accepted as well.
One ordinance was up for discussion, and it involved adopting an amended operating budget of revenue and expenditures for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013.
The town's certified public accountant, Charles Randall Brown, addressed this issue, saying the town was free to amend the budget in light of grants, water and wastewater sales until he was finished with his current project's field work.
The most pressing problem was presented by Police Chief James Parrott late in the meeting, which lessened its priority not at all.
Parrott asked the council to give serious thought to allocating funds to the purchase of new computers for the police department because the current system was old, slow, and showing signs of imminent failure.
Those computers hold comprehensive databases, he said, and if the machines crashed, all of this data would be irretrievably lost.
However, based on research into the costs of the new machinery, the number he presented to the council was considerably higher than most aldermen were willing to permit, especially given the newly-adopted operating budget has no allowance for funds for this purpose.
The figure came to just over $11,000 to replace the old computers, which are still running Windows XP, and the server, also in need of replacement.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that, after 12 years, support for Windows XP would be terminated on April 8, 2014. According to Microsoft's website, there will be no more security updates or technical support for this operating system, making Parrott's request all the more urgent.
Alderman Jeffery L. Solinsky addressed the council with several suggestions.
"We need more information," he said. "We need to know what's needed, what alternatives there are, and where this money ($11,000) will come from. We need to see alternatives side-by-side, and we need to look at the differences between lease and purchase options."
"No one wants to deprive the police department of something they need," she said.
Alderman Billy Owens advised Parrott to back up all data immediately in light of the high probability of a crash within the current system.
The council agreed to seek an outside opinion from a subject-matter expert, and the issue was tabled until the next council meeting in August.

 

Shreveport Police searching for missing woman Posted on 7-16-14

The Shreveport Police Department needs your help finding a local woman who has been missing since earlier this month.

Back on July 8, officers were dispatched to a home in the 4200 block of Greenwood Road relative to a missing persons report. On officer’s arrival, they learnCarolyn Cole, 47 / photo courtesy of SPDed Carolyn Cole, 47, reportedly left the home the previous day following a verbal dispute with a family member.

Ms. Cole, who reportedly suffers from a medical condition which requires constant medication, is described as a white female, approximately five foot to five foot three inches tall, and weighing approximately 100 pounds. Ms. Cole was last seen wearing blue jean shorts, a green colored tank top and white tennis shoes.

If anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of Carolyn Cole, they are asked to immediately call Shreveport Police Headquarters at 318-673-BLUE(2583), 911, or Shreveport-Caddo Parish Crime Stoppers at 318-673-7373.

Louisiana campus shut down after 2 devices found Posted on 7-16-14

LAFAYETTE, La (AP) - Bomb technicians are working to neutralize a suspicious device near one of Louisiana's largest universities while authorities investigate a second suspicious package found in a in a nearby parking garage.

Louisiana state police said in a Facebook post that residents near University of Louisiana at Lafayette may hear a controlled explosion.

State Trooper Brooks David says the bomb squad was neutralizing the first device, which was found in a trash can. Authorities say they are carefully examining the second device.

Classes and other activities were canceled for the day.

Lafayette police spokesman Kyle Soriez says someone called about 5:35 a.m. to say a bomb had been placed at Girard Park, which sits next to the sprawling, 1,500-acre university campus.

University spokeswoman Kathleen Thames says about 5,500 students are enrolled in summer school and 400 freshmen were coming for orientation.

 

Meth arrests made at Alexandria motel Posted on 7-16-14

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On July 15, 2014, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Metro Division assisted Louisiana Probation and Parole Agents with an investigation at the Greenbrier Motel in Alexandria. 

RPSO had received several complaints of narcotics activity occurring at the motel. Joseph Richard, 45, of Alexandria, and Ray Rollins, 45, of Pineville, were found in a room and Richard, a parolee, had a syringe in his pocket, according to RPSO. 

Detectives located approximately 5 grams of Methamphetamine hidden inside a flashlight in Rollin’s pocket. Detectives continued to work the investigation to identify the source of the Methamphetamine and arranged a controlled delivery at the motel. 

When James Collins, 38, of Alexandria, arrived at the room, detectives identified themselves to him and he had approximately half an ounce of Methamphetamine in his possession. 

Detectives contacted Donald Collins, 33, of Alexandria, in the vehicle and he was found in possession of Crack Cocaine and Marijuana. 

Richard was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Parole Violation. He is currently held on a $250 bond.

Rollins was charged with Possession of CDS II to Distribute, and was released on a $10,000 bond.

 
James Collins was charged with Possession of CDS II to Distribute, and is being held on a $100,000 bond. It was his 71st booking.
 
Donald Collins was charged with Possession of CDS I/Marijuana and released on a $5,500 bond.

Field grade officer housing to replace transient quarters at Fort Polk Posted on 7-15-14

FORT POLK — Corvias Military Living began the demolition of transient family housing units on Fort Polk’s Bradshaw Chris Roofner of Chaney Trucking uses a back hoe to demolish one of the two-bedroom former transient quarters on Fort Polk's Bradshaw Court July 9.Court July 9, clearing the way for construction of 15 field grade officer quarters.
“We’ve been working for two years to get Bradshaw, Ellis and Garber courts into our housing program,” Corvias spokesperson Mary Ann Clary said. “It finally happened yesterday (July 8).”
The three streets were not originally included on Corvias’ lease limit agreement and still belonged to the Army, Clary said.
“We had to wait for the official transfer,” she said. “We heard that Monday evening (July 7) the paperwork had been approved and the transfer took place the next day. Once that happened, we were ready to start.”
Clary said residents of the Dogwood Housing Area should see new construction beginning in September or October. The expected completion date for the Bradshaw Court quarters is June 2014.
The Ellis and Garber court residences were originally scheduled to be renovations, Clary said.
“We showed the Army that it would be better use of the dollars to rebuild instead of renovate,” she said. “The quarters on Ellis and Garber will be replaced with two-family townhouses.”
When completed, Clary said the work would represent an $18-20 million investment in Fort Polk and the Army by Corvias. She also pointed to another money-saving idea by Corvias.
“We will use the existing slabs on Bradshaw Court,” she said. “They’ve stood the test of time and we’ve designed the new houses to fit the slabs. That stretches the dollars even more.”
Clary said it took a lot of people working together to make the Bradshaw, Ellis and Garber courts transfer a reality.
“We had the Corps of Engineers, Environmental and many other organizations contributing a lot of hard work to make this happen,” she said. “It was a wonderful experience watching everyone work together for Fort Polk and the Army.”

 

Jindal leases parking garage to balance budget Posted on 7-15-14

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is leasing the rights to a state-owned parking garage for $2 million to help balance Louisiana's budget, a deal that appears to have the state taking a loss for the cash up front.

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is leasing the rights to a state-owned parking garage for $2 million to help balance Louisiana’s budget, a deal that appears to have the state taking a loss for the cash up front.

The 91-year lease will generate less money than the state paid for the garage, while also giving away possibly millions of dollars the state stood to receive in parking revenue over the life of the contract.

The arrangement is part of a Jindal administration trend of leasing and selling state property to patch short-term budget gaps.

In several instances, deals are front-loaded to provide maximum benefit for the Republican governor while leaving his successors with less revenue to balance state budgets. For example, privatization deals for the state’s public hospitals included “advance lease payments” that provided millions in immediate cash.

The governor’s Division of Administration said the 466-space parking garage was built for employees in a nearby state building that recently sold, so it wasn’t needed.

Spokeswoman Meghan Parrish said the lease will pay “for the highest appraised value of the property, allowing us to meet financial obligations while maximizing the use of the space.”

The attorney general’s office criticized the deal, saying the appraisal didn’t reflect the worth of the prime downtown Baton Rouge property, in the hub of successful revitalization efforts.

Currently, annual income from the garage ranges from $330,000 to $400,000, with the state and city splitting the revenue. If the revenue stayed flat at the low end, the state would lose at least $13 million in income over the life of the deal. That doesn’t count lost income from the lease of retail space on one side of the garage.

Meanwhile, the city of Baton Rouge will receive $1 million in the lease deal and keep one-third of the money generated by the facility. Local officials negotiated their deal separately.

The parking garage, which was completed in mid-2005, cost $6.9 million to build, with the city paying about $2.5 million.

Parrish said the facility was built for employees who worked in the art-deco State Office Building, which recently sold for $10 million to a developer that intends to convert it into a hotel.

“The previous administration built it, and it was for a specific purpose for the State Office Building. Once we sold that building, it wasn’t necessary for us to keep it up,” she said.

At a meeting of the Office Facilities Corporation, which oversees several state-owned buildings, the attorney general’s office raised objections.

Rick McGimsey, the attorney general’s Civil Division director, said the appraisal didn’t take into account construction planned for the area, according to the minutes of the meeting.

McGimsey wouldn’t speak to The Associated Press.

“Under our legal advice and opinion, the appraisal submitted in support of the value of the lease was insufficient, as we conveyed at the June 16 meeting,” said Laura Gerdes Colligan, attorney general’s spokeswoman.

The appraisal said there was a surplus of parking in Baton Rouge. As for a new $55 million IBM facility planned for downtown and the new luxury hotel in the Old State Office building, the appraiser said it would be two to five years before those impacts could be measured.

Red River Revel Arts Festival announces music lineup for 39th annual event Posted on 7-15-14

(SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, La) -- The 39th annual Red River Revel Arts Festival will Newsboystake place, Oct. 4-11, 2014 in downtown Shreveport's Festival Plaza. Known as north Louisiana's largest outdoor arts festival, the Red River Revel annually attracts more than 150,000 visitors to enjoy live music featuring national headliners, Louisiana favorites, and acclaimed local and regional talent.

Revel 39 headliners include rising stars, popular favorites, and breakout artists from a variety of music genres. Headliners include Trout Fishing in America (10/4-6), Blackberry Smoke, Kaminari Taiko of Houston, and The Cantrells (10/4); Black Violin (10/5, 6, 10); the Newsboys' We Believe 2014 Tour including performances by 7th Time Down and Family Force 5 (10/8); Dustin Lynch, The Black Cadillacs, and Dirtfoot (10/9); Jana Kramer and Zapp Band (10/10)and ; Dash Rip Rock, Goodbye June and the "Best Up-and-Comer" at the 2014 CMA Music Festival, Mama Dear (10/11). A complete schedule is available by clicking here.

Additional CHASE Stage performers include Washitaw Nation Mardi Gras Indians, Earshot Graffiti, Windstorm, Total Choice, Landry & Company, Professor Porkchop, Josh Hyde and the Hitchhikers, and more. Music lovers will also enjoy the immense, vibrant sounds of Port City Big Band, Centenary Suzuki School, and the Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band. Local and regional performing arts companies will showcase a broad range of talents including various dance genres, martial arts demonstrations, and gymnastics, Oct. 4, 5, and 7.

Gospel and Christian music fans are invited to a special day of praise and music on Sunday, October 5, featuring the music of Joanna Endsley, FUMC Bossier's Encounter Band, Broadmoor's DOXA, and Alive by Sunrise. Some of the many local and regional acts slated to perform on the Eldorado Performing Arts Stage include the Jared Mourad Band, Blackwater Bride, Cody Cooke & the Bayou Outlaws, Casey Martin, Matthew Davidson, Tyler Lenius Band, Voodoo Bayou, Trini Triggs, Super Water Sympathy, Louisiana Swamp Donkey, Aubrie Layne, Kate McRae, The Larangos, Shayliff, and more.

The Red River Revel has garnered considerable national recognition throughout the years. It is ranked as one of the Top 10 Events in Louisiana by Top Events USA, one of the Top 100 Fine Arts Festivals in the United States by Sunshine Artist Magazine, an official AAA Southern Traveler "Travel Treasure," and a Top 20 Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.

SPD searching for armed kidnapping suspect Posted on 7-15-14

SHREVEPORT, La -

Shreveport Police are searching for a man accused of kidnapping a local woman Monday afternoon in west Shreveport.

Just before 3:00 p.m. on July 14, 2014, Shreveport Police patrol officers were called to the 1400 block of Doris Street relative to a reported kidnapping. When they arrived, they were told a woman who lived at the home, was kidnapped at gunpoint by her ex-boyfriend. Witnesses told police the man allegedly forced the woman into a silver sedan and then drove off.

During the investigation, the alleged suspect reportedly returned to the victim's home where he is said to have dropped her off nearly three hours after the ordeal began. The victim was shaken, and suffered minor injury after allegedly being battered by the suspect. The suspect, reportedly armed with a rifle, fled the scene driving what has been described as a silver or gray colored, four door vehicle believed to be a newer model a Chevrolet Malibu. Investigators are in the process of procuring an arrest warrant for the man, whose name will be released at that time. Police are urging anyone with information about this crime to contact Caddo-Crime Stoppers at (318) 673-7373 or on their website at www.lockemup.com

Two arrested in $4,000 cigarette theft Posted on 7-15-14

PINEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On July 3, 2014, Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a convenience store on LA Highway 28 East in reference to a theft of approximately 46 cartons of cigarettes, valued at approximately $4000.00.

When deputies arrived, the suspects were gone. RPSO detectives also responded and reviewed video surveillance from the store. 

After reviewing the video, detectives were able to identify the suspects as Clinton Branch, Jr and Charles Demonte Hall. Detectives located Branch later that day and he was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center for Theft >$1500. 

Warrants were obtained for Hall and he was arrested on July 8th and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center for Theft >$1500. 

Both subject remain in the Rapides Parish Detention Center without bond.

Two Alexandria residents arrested for cruelty to juvenile, child desertion Posted on 7-15-14

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On July 13, 2014, the Alexandria Police were dispatched to the 1500 block of Bringhurst Street in reference to a family offense. 

The officers contacted Michelle Littleton, who stated her child was beaten by Jerry Chew with a belt. She stated he beat the baby because he would not stop crying. 

The officers then made contact with Chew. He stated he did in fact spank the child. Officers then observed whelps and bruises on the child’s legs and stomach area. The child is 16 months old.

While in the house the officers observed in plain sight, on an end table, suspected marijuana and a liquid substance in a bottle with the label torn off. 

The child was taken into custody and turned over to Child Protection Service.

Jerry Chew, 30, of Alexandria, was charged with possession/distribution of CDS III, possession distribution of CDS I, cruelty to a juvenile.

Michelle Littleton, 23, of Alexandria, was charged with possession/distribution of CDS I and CDS III and child desertion.

This case is still under investigation.

Caddo Parish man arrested for indecent behavior with juveniles Posted on 7-14-14

CADDO PARISH, La. -

Caddo deputies arrested a man Friday for indecent behavior with an underage neighbJoseph Michael Kurz, 61or.

Authorities say Joseph Michael Kurz, 61, initiated the inappropriate contact a few years ago when the victim was a minor. The victim is now an adult. Kurz lives in the 4100 block of Linda Lane.

Kurz was arrested by Sheriff's Detective James Moore and booked into the Caddo Correctional Center for indecent behavior with a juvenile. His bond was set at $100,000.

Police: Woman dead; companion, 3 children missing Posted on 7-14-14

Authorities say a suburban New Orleans woman has been found bludgeoned to death in her bathtub and the man she lived with and his three children are missing.

Sheriff's spokesman John Fortunato in Louisiana's Jefferson Parish says deputies have a warrant seeking the arrest of 43-year-old Pedro Alberto Monterroso-Navas on a second-degree murder charge. He says Monterroso-Navas is from Honduras and may also use the name Wilson Rigoberto Mina.

The 25-year-old woman's name is being withheld until her family is notified.

State police issued a missing children alert for a 12-year-old girl and boys aged 2 and 4.

The sheriff's office says two other boys in the blended household alerted neighbors Sunday. Sheriff Newell Normand says deputies found the woman unconscious with head wounds and she died in her apartment.

Teen girls missing from Bossier City Posted on 7-14-14

The search is on for two missing teenagers in Bossier City.  Early Sunday, a little after midnight, BCPD responded to investigate a report of two teenage girls(L) Rosie Cobb, 15 & (R) Myesha Alexander, 15 leaving their hotel room at Bossier Inn and Suites, 750 Diamond Jacks Blvd., and not returning.

The teenage girls were visiting the area from out of town, with family. They were last seen leaving the Bossier Inn and Suites, walking toward Hamilton Road. As of now, Bossier City Police Department are treating this case as a Runaway/Missing Persons case. Bossier City Police need help in locating the two teenage girls, making sure they are safe, and getting them back to their family.

The teenage girls are: Myesha Alexander, 15, who stands 5'6" and weights approximately 135lbs.  She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, brown cargo shorts, turquoise ankle socks, and Nike tennis shoes. Myesha also has white stud ear rings. Rosie Cobb, 15, is 5'7" and weighs 135lbs.  She was last seen wearing a yellow "SpongeBob" t-shirt, blue shorts, brown shoes and white or pink stud ear rings.

Call Bossier City Police if you were where these girls might be.

One teen, three juveniles arrested in Hudson Creek church break-in Posted on 7-14-14

GRANT PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On July 9, 2014, the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office received a report of a burglary at a church in the Hudson Creek community.  

GPSO stated when deputies arrived, they discovered that entry into the church had been made through a window.  The suspects had eaten food that was in the freezer and refrigerator,  knocked holes in the walls of the church, and spread feces on the walls of the church.  

They had also painted obscenities and graffiti on the road in front of the church and on neighboring property. 

After a thorough investigation, deputies determined that a 17 year old female and three juveniles were responsible.  Alexandra Goodman, 17, of Colfax, was arrested for Simple Burglary of a Religious Building, 2 counts of Simple Criminal Damage to Property, and 2 counts of Criminal Damage to Property by Defacing with Graffiti.   

 

The three juveniles were also charged with the crimes, according to GPSO.

Robinson extradited to Caddo for 2004 murder Posted on 7-11-14

CADDO PARISH, La. -

A former Shreveporter was booked into the Caddo Correctional Center on Thursday to face charges that he murdered a man here in 2004.

Jake Robinson, Jake Robinson, 60 / photo courtesy of CCC60, was indicted in May for the murder of Harold Bruce Cotton. Robinson was located and arrested in Claremore, OK, where he had been living for several years, but he refused to willingly return to Caddo Parish. Robinson was transported here by deputies with the Caddo Sheriff's Warrants Division after the extradition process was exhausted. He was booked into CCC for second-degree murder on Thursday. Bond is set at $500,000.

Cotton's body was found on February 29, 2004, in his Olds 98 that was pulled to the shoulder of White Springs Road in south Caddo Parish. He had been missing for three days.

Caddo Sheriff's Detective Terry Richardson followed leads in the case for the past 10 years. In 2013, publicity on the 9-year anniversary of the homicide generated new witnesses and provided enough evidence to take the case before a Caddo Parish Grand Jury.

Choctaw-Apache faces leadership change, pushes for federal status Posted on 7-11-14

EBARB — For the first time in six years, the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb will have someone other than Chief Johnny ProceChristin Bison, left, and Pam Cartinez, puts ballets in the box at the Choctaw-Apache Tribal Office for the election of a new chief.ll as its leader.

Elections for the chief and other tribal leadership positions take place on a three-year cycle. But Procell’s name is not on the ballot because he stepped down in February due to health problems.

Jason “Jake” Rivers was tapped as interim chief. He and tribal council member Tom Rivers are in the running for the chief’s title. Other leadership positions are up for grabs, too.

Elections in a Native American tribe are similar to any other government body. Candidates announced their intentions. Ballots were prepared and mailed. And now those eligible members who are officially enrolled with the tribe are filling out ballots and returning them by mail or in person.

OvFor the first time in almost six years, the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb will have a new chief.er 3,900 ballots have been mailed, said Elections Committee member Ione Durr, who is joined by Donald Garcie and Pam Parrie on the committee. Ballots are due Aug. 1 in the office or postmarked by the same date if returned by mail.

Sabine Parish elections commissioners will count the ballots Aug. 9 at the tribal office. The results will be announced at day’s end.

Campaigning between the two chief candidates is amicable, carried out mostly through word of mouth, Facebook postings and signs dotting the community. Both are in agreement that moving the tribe forward and ramping up efforts to gain federal recognition are at the top of their list.

“It’s a major hurdle for us but it will help a lot. It would open the door for funding, economic development for the tribe and the community. It would not only help Ebarb and Zwolle but Sabine Parish and the entire state,” Jake Rivers said. “I’ve always said I don’t care about having a casino, but I would like for some type of industry to provide for some type of jobs for our people. I also would like to initiate programs for our elderly and children. Without our children, that’s the future, and without our elderly, we don’t know what went on before us.”

Tom Rivers has witnessed the tribe become more active in the past six years under Procell’s leadership, but particularly the last three years, in pushing for federal status.

“I want to keep that going. I want to get more tribal involvement within our own tribe; to get renewed interest,” said Tom Rivers, who last year spearheaded the committee that developed the tribe’s new pow wow grounds on Gene Knight Road. The 12 acres leased from the Sabine River Authority allows the tribe to return to its roots from the former swampy river bottom began in the 1700s.

“I’m honest, hardworking and reliable and will follow through with the plans and goals we have,” Tom Rivers said.

For the most part, the Choctaw-Apache Tribe centers its activities in the Ebarb community of Sabine Parish, stretching from Zwolle to the east and shores of Toledo Bend Reservoir on the west. Other than a small tribal office — and now the pow wow grounds — the tribe hasn’t had much to call its own.

Being a state recognized tribe doesn’t come with money attached, other than the opportunity to apply and receive vocational and educational grants. Gaining federal recognition and having the land accepted into trust would make the tribal members eligible for federal health, education, housing, and other program and technical assistance services.

For many tribes in Louisiana and elsewhere across the nation that also means casinos. Indian tribes are able to provide a revenue stream for members through the gaming facilities. Though that’s not the reason the Choctaw-Apache Tribe has ramped up interest in federal recognition, it remains an option.

Louisiana’s federal tribes are the Chitimacha Tribe, Coushatta Tribe, Jena Band of Choctaws and Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe. Adding the Choctaw-Apache Tribe and several other Louisiana tribes to that list may get easier soon as the federal process is streamlined.

The U.S. Department of the Interior in May announced proposed regulations that would reform the 35-year-old process by which it officially recognizes Indian tribes. Having federal acknowledgement puts the government as the trustee for tribal lands and resources and makes members and opens eligibility for federal assistance and program services.

A series of public comment meetings are planned this month across the country to allow tribal representatives to offer input on the recommended changes. The first meeting July 1 in Marksville was the only one in the South and was attended by Choctaw-Apache members as well as representatives of other tribes in Louisiana and other states.

Louisiana tribes with pending federal petitions include the United Houma Nation, the Clifton Choctaw Community and the Caddo Adai Tribe in Robeline.

“It is a slow bureaucratic process in need of major reform, but what is most important is that we continue to work hard for our recognition, strengthen ourselves and never give up,” Jake Rivers said.

The communications office for the Interior Department’s secretary of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., did not return a call Thursday seeking comment on reform of the federal process. But in a May news release, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell acknowledged tribal leaders have complained the current process is “inconsistent, cost millions of dollars and takes decades to complete.”

The proposed rule changes maintain the “rigorous integrity” but allows the process to be more timely and efficient, she said.

The existing regulations, known as “the Part 83 process,” were adopted in 1978 and updated only once 20 years ago. Prior to that, The Interior had addressed requests for tribal recognition on a case-by-case basis.

Key features of the proposed rule would promote transparency by updating the Part 83 criteria to include objective standards, promote efficiency by requiring a petitioner to show community and political influence from 1934 to the present rather than from as early as 1789 and eliminate the need for the petitioning tribe to demonstrate that third parties identified the petitioner as a tribe from 1900 to the present. The proposed rule would make changes to the petitioning process that facilitate timelier issuance of findings and determinations. It would also allow an administrative judge to conduct a comprehensive hearing and review of a negative proposed finding, according to the news release.

Jake Rivers supports that change in the process because “as you know our people have been labeled everything but since 1900. At the public forum we asked them to do away with that criteria.” That’s been the holdup for other tribes, he said, noting that since the mid 1980s there’s been fewer than 17 tribes federally recognized.

Choctaw-Apache member Robert Caldwell, appointed in 2011 by former Chief Procell to coordinate the tribe’s federal recognition efforts, has spent the past three years doing extensive research on the regulations and attending meetings across the U.S. calling on the federal government to revise the complicated maze. “The proposed rules, if adopted, would be an important step in the right direction in our journey toward federal recognition,” Caldwell said in an email.

In his speech last week at the Interior’s public comment meeting, Caldwell stated for the record the tribe’s support of the removal of the criteria that external parties be used to identify a group as Indian from 1900 to present. By relying upon an outside characterization of the tribe, the Interior has “privileged racial and racist folk beliefs regarding ‘Indianness,’” he said.

“History has shown that people with African and Indian ancestry are less likely to be regarded by others as Indian than Indian people with equal amounts of white ancestry. Similarly, in the folk racial taxonomy of the U.S., being a Spanish-speaking community can lead to a group being conceptualized as ‘Mexican,’ which is seen as contradicting or excluding being ‘Indian.’ The proposed rule recognizes that names or identification by outside entities may change over time. It should be clearly stated that various, or even pejorative, historic references used to identify the petitioner should not weigh negatively against Indian identity, but rather be considered as evidence supporting the petitioner’s claim of being a ‘distinct’ community.”

Indigenous groups have survived in many forms, and it is important to nurture them where they persist, Caldwell added.

“It bears repeating that tribes that have not been federally recognized are not always going to look exactly like tribes that have been federally recognized for hundreds of years, for a variety of reasons. We are not better or worse than federally recognized groups, just different. Yet we cherish our indigenous communities, and the federal government is legally and morally obligated to recognize our status as indigenous polities that have survived hundreds of years despite assimilationist pressures,” he said.

Caldwell noted that Assistant Interior Secretary Kevin Washburn, when appointed last year, was one of the first to begin talks of changing the process through several tribal consultations held in 2013.

“Reform of the process is long-overdue,” Washburn said in Interior’s May news release. “One of my first assignments at the Department was to search for ways to improve the federal recognition process and address long-standing criticisms of those regulations. This initiative is the product of substantial tribal consultation and public comment and we are grateful for the broad public interest in this reform effort and the helpful guidance we have received from tribes and the public.”

Additional written comments can still be submitted to the Interior by Aug. 1. The Choctaw-Apache Tribal Council and Federal Recognition Committee will pass along any new details as they are received, Caldwell said.

Jake Rivers is cautiously optimistic “it might not be tomorrow, next month, or next year, but our day is coming.”

VPSO: Woman arrested for exploitation of the infirmed Posted on 7-11-14

VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5)-- Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces the July 10, 2014 arrest of Melodie Lowens, age 21, of Leesville. 

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from a family member of an 81 year old female who resides in a local residential care facility. The family member indicated that the elderly female’s checking account showed $ 688.95 in fraudulent debit card charges. 

Detectives with the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office issued subpoenas in relation to the matter and were able to confirm that Melodie Lowens utilized the victim’s debit card to pay two utility bills, pay other personal bills, and conduct fast food purchases. Detectives also learned that Lowens was employed by the residential facility in which the victim resides. Detectives immediately contacted the director of the residential care facility. 

The director of the facility assisted in the investigation and indicated that the facility has a zero tolerance policy regarding this type of employee conduct. Detectives made contact with Lowens at her residence and took her into custody. 

Melodie Lowens was arrested and booked into the Vernon Parish Jail on one count of Exploitation of the Infirmed and one count of Identity Theft. Bond was set at $ 7000 and Lowens remains in the Vernon Parish Jail at the time of this release.

BESE opts to drop Common Core testing for 2014-2015 school year Posted on 7-11-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (WDSU) —The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education opted to drop Common Core testing for the 2014-2015 school year.

A conference call was held with Education Superintendent John White and BESE president Chas Roemer on Thursday, where they announced the decision.

BESE said it will continue with LEAP testing for the upcoming school year only.

Next year's test will include Common Core content as well as Louisiana-specific content, according to the board.

The board said it will work immediately on a plan for the 2015-2016 school year.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has been cited as saying he wanted a Louisiana standard test. He hasn't responded to this latest development.

According to the board, the short-term solution will allow Louisiana to compare student test results to those of other states without using the Common Core test specifically.

Roemer said the board still supports the Common Core standards.

Original story here: http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-orleans/bese-drops-common-core-testing-for-20142015-school-year/26883810?absolute=true&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=wdsu#!bcqKba

Natchitoches correctional officer fired, accused of forcible rape of inmate Posted on 7-10-14

A Provencal man waLindsey Webster Hokes fired from his position as a Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's correctional officer after being arrested Tuesday on forcible rape and malfeasance in office charges, according to a release.

Lindsey Webster Hoke, 28, of the 1700 block of Harmony Road, was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center after an investigation into a complaint filed on Friday by a female inmate.

Detective Reginald Turner, assistant chief of NPSO criminal investigations, began investigating the complaint against Hoke, who started at the detention center in 2008 and recently had been promoted to a supervisory position, according to Chief of Corrections Deputy Calvin McFerrin.

Hoke was charged with forcible rape, three counts of malfeasance in office and sexual conduct prohibited with persons in custody. No bond has been set.

"We hold each and everyone of our employees at a very high standard of professionalism and integrity. As Sheriff, it is mandatory that all deputies obey the oath of office, state law, ethics, and standard operating procedures of the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office," said Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. "I will not tolerate this type of behavior when a deputy decides to abuse his authority and responsibility to serve the people of Natchitoches Parish."

An investigation is continuing.

Jindal sets July 17 meeting with education chief Postyed on 7-10-14

Gov. Bobby Jindal has scheduled a July 17 meeting with Education Superintendent John White to try to negotiate a compromise in their dispute over testing tied to the Common Core education standards.

White was directed by the state education board last week to seek a meeting with the governor. Jindal spokesman Mike Reed said Wednesday that the meeting date had been set.

Jindal suspended a contract that White intended to use to buy testing material aligned with Common Core, as a way to derail use of standards the governor opposes.

But lawmakers and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have voted to maintain Common Core in public school classrooms, and White says Jindal has overstepped his legal authority.

The disagreement has stalled testing plans for the upcoming school year.

Many's Garrett Thomas, Haynesville's Kendrick Jackson commit to Division I football programs Posted on 7-10-14

Kendrick Jackson (15) celebrates after scoring on a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Golden Tornado's game against Mangham in the LHSAA 1A state football championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Haynesville's Kendrick Jackson (15) celebrates in the end zone after scoring on a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Golden Tornados game against Mangham in the LHSAA 1A state football championship game December 13, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Two area football players committed to power conference programs Wednesday.

Many High offensive lineman Garrett Thomas chose the University of Texas while Haynesville High linebacker Kendrick Jackson picked Arizona.

Thomas (6-foot-5, 306 pounds) had 19 scholarship offers, including Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe and Tulane. Oklahoma, Michigan, Ole Miss and South Carolina were also considered by Thomas.

Jackson (6-foot-1, 232 pounds) had 12 offers, including Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas and Hawaii (where former teammate Jerrell Jackson signed).

Both players appeared in state title games this past season, and both were on their respective All-State teams as juniors. Haynesville won the Class 1A title game while Many fell in the Class 2A title game.

Thomas is considered to be a three-star prospect by several recruiting analysts. He is ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the state by 247sports.com and the No. 27 guard prospect.

Jackson is also considered to be a three-star prospect, ranking as the No. 63 prospect in the state and the No. 50 inside linebacker prospect.

Jobless Claims-Louisiana Posted on 7-9-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending June 28 decreased from the previous week's total.

The state labor department figures released Monday show the initial claims decreased to 2,577 from the previous week's total of 2,604. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 3,027.

The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,791 from the previous week's total of 2,891.

Continued unemployment claims claimed for the week ending June 28 decreased to 20,876 compared to 21,837 the previous week.

The four-week moving average for such claims increased to 21,259 from the previous week's average of 20,934.

Legislature-Veto Session Posted on 7-9-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana lawmakers won't try to override Gov. Bobby Jindal's vetoes from the recently-ended legislative session.

Both the House and Senate have voted to cancel the veto override session set to start this week.

A vote tally released Tuesday by the Senate president and House speaker shows that 34 of 39 senators and 64 of 105 representatives voted against returning to Baton Rouge for the override session by Monday's midnight deadline.

All that was needed to kill the session was a majority vote of one legislative chamber.

The decision wasn't surprising. Lawmakers have never held a veto session since the current state constitution was enacted four decades ago.

Jindal vetoed 12 bills from the legislative session, including several that received overwhelming support. But there was little outcry for the override session.

Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gets 10 years in prison Posted on 7-9-14

(CNN) -- Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday in a bribery scandal that rocked the city, according to the Times-Picayune newspaper and CNN affiliate WDSU.

In February, a jury found him guilty of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and other favors from businessmen looking for a break from his administration.

Of the 21 counts against him, he was convicted of 20.

The former mayor maintained his innocence even after the conviction.

Prosecutors argued that Nagin was at the center of a kickback scheme in which he received checks, cash, wire transfers, personal services and free travel from businessmen seeking contracts and favorable treatment from the city.

A January 2013 indictment detailed more than $200,000 in bribes to the mayor, and his family members allegedly received a vacation in Hawaii; first-class airfare to Jamaica; private jet travel and a limousine for New York City; and cellular phone service. In exchange, businesses that coughed up for Nagin and his family won more than $5 million in city contracts, according to the indictment.

MPD officer suspended for playing ball instead of patrolling Posted on 7-8-14

MANSFIELD — A Mansfield police officer caught participating in an athletic event while on duty has been suspended for 29 days, according to Police Chief Gary Hobbs.

Jercarlous Colbert’s suspension is for “conduct unbecoming an officer,” Hobbs said in a release. It’s the result of Colbert’s supervisor observing him play softball Wednesday while he was supposed to be on patrol. He’ll be off work without pay.

Colbert, with the department since Feb. 29, 2012, was formerly employed with the Shreveport Police Department but resigned after he was arrested in 2011 for solicitation of prostitution.

Colbert was investigated after a complaint was received by the department alleging he solicited a prostitute while off-duty. He was booked into the Caddo Correctional Center following interviews with agents.

Police Chief Willie Shaw placed him on leave and ordered an administrative investigation. The status of the charge was unknown when the Mansfield Board of Aldermen hired Colbert at the recommendation of former Police Chief Joe Pratt. Colbert had been with SPD for less than year.

Colbert’s 29-day suspension imposed by Hobbs is the maximum allowed without action by the Board of Aldermen. Anything more would require Hobbs to make a recommendation on Colbert’s continuing job status to the board for consideration.

2 Shreveport men accused in shooting of man pumping gas because of 'dirty look' Posted on 7-8-14

SLIDELL - Three suspects who said they were furious that a man pumping gas Two Shreveport men are part of three suspects in a Slidell shooting.at a convenience store gave them a "dirty look" were arrested and charged after a shooting that left the victim in serious condition.

According to Slidell police, on July 5, just after midnight, police responded to the report of shots that were fired. Police said witnesses told them that they saw two men approach a man pumping gas and fire shots before fleeing. They told police that an argument preceded the shots.

The 23-year-old victim was rushed to the hospital in serious condition but is expected to survive, said police.

The spokesman said that the victim told police he was pumping gas and exchanged glares with two people he didn't know. He said the two men left the area and returned later with a gun, firing several shots, hitting him once.

Later that same morning, Slidell Police spotted the suspects white Ford Expedition parked at the Slidell Housing Authority, located on Martin Luther King Drive. Detectives were able link the vehicle back to three individuals: 24-year-old Jasmine Anthony of Slidell, 23-year-old Michael Wright of Shreveport, and 25-year-old Romallis Brightman of Shreveport.

Police said the suspects cooperated during questioning and admitted that they were furious at the victim for “giving them a dirty look” at the gas station. The suspects and the victim had never met prior to the Saturday morning incident.

Romallis Brightman was booked late Saturday night with attempted second-degree murder. Wright and Anthony were both charged with principal to attempted second-degree murder. All three suspects are currently being held at the Slidell City Jail, and will ultimately be transported to the St. Tammany Parish Jail.

Teen, juvenile arrested in Pineville on vehicle theft charges Posted on 7-8-14

A teen and juvenile from Lake Charles were arrested Thursday in Pineville in connection to two reportedly stolen vehicles.

All three occupants of veZachary Gauthierhicles stopped for a traffic violation fled on foot when Pineville Police approached the vehicle in the 500 block of Bragg Street, according to a press release from Lt. Darrell Basco.

Police learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen in Lake Charles.

Officers arrested 17-year-old Zachary Gauthier of Lake Charles after they found him walking down Smith Street. He was charged with resisting an officer by flight and open container.

During the investigation and search for the other two occupants of the vehicle, officers received a report of another stolen vehicle, this time on Cummings Street, which is approximately a half-mile from the traffic stop location.

Officers recovered that vehicle on River Road in Avoyelles parish within an hour of the report. A juvenile from Lake Charles was arrested and charged with theft of a vehicle.

The third suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Joseph Kirklin of Lake Charles. He remains at large.

Family of missing Rosepine man speaks out Posted on 7-8-14

VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - A third person has been arrested in connection the disappearance and death of 31 year old James Stephens. 

Stephens has been missing since March 29th, and last Thursday, Vernon Sheriff's Deputies arrested 22 year old Cassandra Ward and 24 year old Jose Ayala. Both are being charged with second degree murder. 28 year old Matthew Andrews of New Llano was also arrested, and charged with accessory after the fact to second degree murder. 

"When they pulled in the driveway, I knew what they were there for," James' father Richard Stephens held back tears as he recalled the moment VPSO told him they found the remains of his son. 

"In the middle of last week, we finally started getting a couple of good leads which did materialize, it led us to the recovery of the remains of what we are quite certain is James Stephens," said VPSO Sheriff Sam Craft. 

Perhaps the toughest thing for the family, is to know their beloved "Jamey" knew all three of the suspects. 
"The girl was James girlfriend’s daughter and I knew they didn’t get along with each other, but never expected something like this. so far everyone who was involved, he knew them," said Richard. 

The family says knowing suspects are in custody gives them some closure, but it doesn't change the fact that Jamey, a father of two, is gone.

Jamey's Aunt Teresa Mcconathy said, "After he went missing, my heart broke for his parents and his girls. To know that Jamey had been brought home but not the way we wanted".

"We’ll get through it, we won’t ever forget, but we’ll get through it," said Richard. 

The Stephens family is now waiting for justice to be served. 

"The investigation is ongoing, but we are confident that we have the persons responsible charged and in custody at this time," said Sheriff Craft. 

"It makes you wonder about people it really does.. I hope the ones that have done this, get what’s coming for them," said Richard. 

Sheriff Craft says a motive is unknown at this time. The remains have been sent to the LSU Faces Lab. VPSO tells KALB it could take two to three months before they get a positive I.D. 

In the meantime the family is selling t-shirts for Jamey, all proceeds will go towards funeral costs. 

Former officer says charges filed in wrong place Posted on 7-7-14

MANY, La. (AP) - A former Natchitoches police officer accused of killing a Sabine Parish man wants his murder charge thrown out, saying it should have been filed in Winn Parish.

Robert Barthelemy's attorney, Jason Waltman, filed the motion to quash the charge in April. A hearing was held last week in Sabine District Court, The Times reports, but District Judge Stephen Beasley didn't rule. Instead, he gave District Attorney Don Burkett and Waltman time to file briefs outlining their positions. Another hearing is set July 24.

Barthelemy, a 34-year-old Natchitoches resident, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and home invasion in the Aug. 20 death of Tony Procell of Many. Sabine Parish officials say Barthelemy kidnapped Procell from his home, drove him to a wooded area in Winn Parish and killed him.

Barthelemy was arrested early the next morning after a high speed chase on Interstate 49 that ended in DeSoto Parish. He held officers at bay for an hour as the threatened suicide.

He offered no information on Procell's whereabouts, other than to tell investigators he left him alive on a dirt road in the Kisatchie National Forest. Deputies were able to trace some of Barthelemy's steps through his mobile phone.

Procell's body was discovered in a shallow grave by a family member on a search team. Investigators believe Procell was beaten with a baseball bat.

Barthelemy has pleaded not guilty. Burkett is seeking the death penalty.

The 24-year-old Procell and Barthelemy knew each other through their service in the Louisiana Army National Guard. The two reportedly had a dispute over a woman.

Waltman wrote that based on the state's response to Barthelemy's discovery motions, it appears the first-degree murder occurred in Winn Parish.

"There is no evidence to support the assertion that the homicide or the formation of the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily injury occurred in Sabine Parish," Waltman states in the motion.

If it cannot be determined where the offense happened then it is "deemed to have been committed in the parish where the body of the victim was found," he added.

Jurisdiction came into question soon after Procell's body was found because the burial site was on national park property. Federal officials deferred the case to the state of Louisiana. And Burkett and Winn Parish District Attorney Chris Nevils agreed to let Sabine Parish have jurisdiction because Procell's family is from there.

Two arrested after human remains found in Vernon Parish Posted on 7-7-14

VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces the July 3, 2014 arrest of Jose Israel Ayala III, 24, of Leesville, and Cassandra Ward, 22, of Leesville.

The arrests are the result of a three month investigation into the disappearance of James Stephens of Rosepine, Louisiana.

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the Polly Klaas Foundation Search Team, to include cadaver dogs, located human remains in an area on Highway 1211 in Vernon Parish.


The remains are believed to be those of James Stephens.

Jose Israel Ayala III has been arrested and charged with one count of Second Degree Murder. Bond has been set on Ayala at $ 250,000.00.  Ayala remains in the Vernon Parish Jail at the time of this release.

Cassandra Ward has been arrested and charged with one count of Second Degree Murder.  Bond has been set on Ward at $ 200,000.00.  Ward remains in the Vernon Parish Jail at the time of this release.


The investigation into this matter is ongoing.

RPSO makes homicide arrest in Glenmora Posted on 7-7-14

GLENMORA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - At approximately 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, 2014, deputies from the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office Glenmora Sub-station responded to what was reported as a victim of a gunshot wound in the 200 block of Freedom Rd in Glenmora. 

Deputies received the report from Oakdale Police Department as a subject, identified as Rodney Thompson, 52, of Pitkin, had came to the Police Department and reported the shooting, according to RPSO. 

When deputies made forced entry into the residence, they found an elderly female suffering from a gunshot wound. Deputies rendered aid to the victim until Acadian Ambulance arrived and transported her to a hospital in Oakdale. 

RPSO reported Thompson was taken into custody for Attempted 1st Degree Murder. RPSO Detectives and Crime Scene arrived to conduct their investigation. The victim was later transported to Rapides Regional Trauma Center where she died on Sunday. 

The victim has been identified as Gennieve D. Ashworth, 74. Thompson’s charges have been upgraded to 1st Degree Murder and he remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center without bond. 

As this investigation is still ongoing, no further information is available at this time.

VPSO arrests Leesville man for sexual misconduct with juvenile Posted on 7-7-14

VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces the July 1, 2014 arrest of James “Jim” Limbaugh, age 70, of Leesville.

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted on June 28, 2014 regarding a complaint of inappropriate sexual contact with a juvenile. 

During the course of the investigation Detectives learned that a 14 year old male alleged that James Limbaugh took him to a secluded location where Limbaugh then showed the juvenile pornographic material and touched the juvenile inappropriately, according to VPSO.

The juvenile was able to describe specific inappropriate sexual behavior by Limbaugh. The juvenile stated that he became fearful and left the vehicle walking. 

The juvenile stated that he was ultimately talked into getting back into the vehicle by Limbaugh at which time he was driven home.

VPSO said the juvenile indicated that Limbaugh advised during the drive to the juvenile’s residence that he shouldn’t tell anybody about the incident.

Detectives did interview Limbaugh at which time he did admit to inappropriate sexual behavior with the juvenile.

James Limbaugh was arrested and charged with one count of Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile and one count of Sexual Battery. Bond was set at $ 50,000.00 and Limbaugh did post bond and was released.The investigation into the matter is ongoing.

Woman arrested for July 4th attempted murder Posted on 7-7-14

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On July 4, 2014 at approximately 9:20 p.m., Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the 2400 block of McKeithen Drive in reference to a disturbance. 

Upon arrival, deputies contacted witnesses in the driveway who stated a subject, identified as Kelly Barton, 38, of Alexandria, was stabbing someone inside the residence. 

According to RPSO, deputies forced their way into the residence, locating a male subject suffering from stab wounds to the upper chest area. The suspect had already fled the scene. A deputy rendered aid to the victim as other deputies responded to locate the suspect. 

Acadian Ambulance arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital. Detectives and Crime Scene also responded to conduct their investigation. 

Deputies continued to search the area for the suspect and later that night, with the assistance of an Alexandria Police Department canine and handler, located the suspect in a dense briar patch off of McKeithan Drive, stated RPSO. The suspect was taken into custody after a brief struggle. 

Barton was transported to the Rapides Parish Detention Center where she was booked on Attempted 1st Degree Murder, Aggravated Battery, 2 counts Entry of Inhabited Dwelling, Resisting Arrest by Flight and Resisting Arrest by Violence. Barton remains in jail on a $220,500.00 bond. The victim remains in critical condition at a local hospital.

Arrest made in bank fraud case Posted on 7-3-14

TIOGA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - In April 2014, Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office Tioga detectives received a report from a local credit union in reference to a case of bank fraud and worthless checks.  

During their 2 month investigation, detectives identified the suspect as Anita Toney, 49, of Alexandria.  Toney had a credit account with the credit union and after a thorough examination of records, detectives discovered Toney had allegedly been fraudulently obtaining cash advances from a third party bank, using her credit union card, according to RPSO.  

Beginning in January 2014, payments were made with knowingly insufficient funds, but enough time elapsed for Toney to repeat the cash advance.  Detectives determined approximately $32,792.26 was obtained by Toney between January and April of 2014. 

In June 2014, an arrest warrant was issued for Toney and on July 2, she turned herself in to deputies at the courthouse.  Toney was booked for 1 count of Bank Fraud and 1 count of Issuing Worthless Checks >$500.  She was later released on a $5000.00 bond.

An era ends: Huey P. Long Medical Center closes Posted on 7-2-14

Monday was final day of operations at charity hospital

PINEVILLE — Monday was a day for sharing hugs, farewells and memories at Huey P. Long Medical Center.

Employees and former employees gathered for an appreciation luncheon and to reminisce about their years at the charity hMary Smith (right) hugs nurse Irma Venson (left, back to camera) at Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville on Monday, the hospital's final day of operations.ospital in Pineville, which officially closed Monday after three-quarters of a century of providing health care to needy people in Central Louisiana.

“It’s a sad day, and I have cried, and I prayed for a miracle that we would stay open,” said Juanita Atwood of Hineston, an operating room educator who has been with the hospital for more than three decades.

“I’m going to miss the place,” said Sylvia Carter of Alexandria, a certified nursing assistant who has worked at Huey P. Long for eight years. “The family, the employees, the love, the commitment and just being together as one.”

John Dailey, vice chancellor for administration at LSU Health Shreveport, who is handling the transition of charity medical care in Central Louisiana from public to private, said Monday was the last day of operations other than “wind down” activities.

“The patient-care services stopped at midnight (Sunday) when we discharged our last two patients,” he said, describing the mood Monday as “bittersweet.”

An appreciation luncheon was held for employees and former employees on Monday to “say thank you. They’re not just employees. They’re friends, they’re neighbors,” Dailey said.

The luncheon gave them a chance to “share the moment” of the hospital’s final day. “This is really their family away from home so it really has a special place in people’s hearts,” Dailey said.

“The hospital is more than bricks and mortar. … Hospitals are more people than they are buildings, so this is really recognition of all that.”

Outside the hospital, Rapides Parish sheriff’s deputies stopped visitors to let them know about that medical services were no longer available there, although they let motorists drive by the checkpoint if they were going to get a prescription filled at the Incarnate Word pharmacy behind the hospital.

Flowers adorned the entrance area at the hospital building, having been moved there from the “memorial service” that some employees and former employees held Sunday at nearby Mount Olivet Cemetery as they paid their respects to the hospital’s legacy.

At the luncheon, written on a purple and gold cake were the words: “HPL: Gone But Not Forgotten.” The room was decorated with balloons and photos from the hospital’s past. As they left, employees each were given a disc that had photos from throughout the hospital’s history.

Deborah Rhodes of Pineville worked at the hospital for 12 years, but Monday was her last day working at the switchboard. She has not yet found another job.

“It’s a sad day for so many reasons. … Sad, very sad, for all the areas and the people that came to this hospital and depended on them for their health care, and it’s sad for employees,” Rhodes said.

She said the hospital has always had a family atmosphere. “I’m going to miss employees and patients, just a little bit of everything,” Rhodes said.

Irma Venson of Alexandria, the acting director of nursing, has worked at the hospital for 33 years. She’ll stay on for another two or three months during the full closure process, and she has another job lined up.

“There’s some sadness there … but a chapter of my life is closing, and I have to move on to something else,” Venson said.

She said she will keep in touch with friends she has made at the hospital.

“I’m just hoping the patients will continue to get the best of the care as they got here,” she said.

Debra Mathews of Alexandria, a nurse who is now working at LSU Family Medicine in Alexandria, is thankful for her years working at Huey P. Long.

“When I came here, I had only been a young nurse. A lot of my leadership skills I gained here and my knowledge and my ability to be a supervisor was ingrained in me here,” Mathews said. “So I’m taking that with me.”

Mathews is also taking with her some special memories. “I actually met my husband here,” she said. Her husband, Stephen, formerly worked in radiology.

“It’s time to move on, but at the same time it’s sad to leave the place you’ve been at for so long,” Mathews said.

Matt Salley of Pineville has been employed with facility management at the hospital since 2008 and will stay on at least a few more months to make sure the building and equipment “don’t fall into disrepair, and make sure everything stays running.”

He laments HPL’s closure. “I just love this place. I’ve been here my whole life. I hate to see it go.”

He added, “I think it’s a shame, honestly. I would love to see this place continue on. I think there’s a big need just like when it opened. I think the need is still here for the people.”

Some of Huey P. Long’s equipment is being distributed to LSU of Alexandria, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, Rapides Regional Medical Center and LSU Family Training Program at Rapides Regional. Some of it will help outfit and equip a Student Health Clinic for LSUA, and some will be shared with the Medical and Allied Health schools in Shreveport.

Dailey praised the hospital’s employees for their years of service and how they handled the closure process.

“I’ve never seen a more dignified and more professional group of people facing very challenging times,” he said.

“The patients, the families, the state of Louisiana were all very well served. … It’s a very, very positive legacy. … But by the same token, the changes we went through were necessary,” Dailey said.

“The legacy of Huey P. Long will live on in many ways. It lives on in the lives of our patients that were saved and the families that were kept intact,” he added.

Atwood is retired as an operating room nurse in 2008 but came back in 2012 as an operating room educator.

She said some of the patients she served became friends.

“There were many times you would get so close to them, you would think, ‘What does that patient need?’ And I’d go buy it and bring it back. Some of them, they didn’t have anyone here, so you just go see them so they’d have a visitor.”

She said the flowers from the memorial service helped bring home the reality of the closure.

“It hit me this morning when I walked in and there’s bouquets of flowers on the marble steps in front. I thought, ‘That’s so dead. That’s so final.’ It was like a funeral,” Atwood said.

She is still working there as part of the closure/transition process, and that may continue for two or three months.

She said the hospital and the employees “served very nobly. I also think we had a lot of good years left.”

Atwood said some of the hospital’s patients, because they are needy, “will put off going to the doctor until they absolutely have to go, and by then, they are very sick. … Cabrini and Rapides are in for — I hate to use the term ‘rude awakening’ — but I don’t think they really understand what they have taken on.”

Her husband of 48 years, Stanley Atwood, is a former HPL employee, having retired in 1992. He was born in the hospital in 1940 and went to work there in 1960.

“The year after it opened, he was born here, so he has his whole life history here. I have half my life here. It wasn’t just an eight-hour-a-day job. … Sometimes you would put in 25 to 30 hours overtime a week.”

Still, Atwood said, “I don’t regret a day that I worked here. Not a day.”

Fort Polk needs your help to sustain troop levels Posted on 7-2-14

LEESVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Fort Polk is facing a possible reduction in force of 6,500 troops.

 Fort Polk Prog
ress has announced a second press conference at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday July 8, 2014 at the War Memorial Civic Center, 250 W 7th Street in response to the 2014 Army SPEA.

The DeRidder event will present the same information as the event scheduled in Leesville for tomorrow, 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 2. 

On June 26, the Department of the Army released its Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) for Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI).

The SPEA builds on the foundation of the 2013 Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and assesses the impacts of a potential reduction of an additional 70,000 soldiers and associated reductions in Army civilians, down to an Active Component end-strength of 420,000 soldiers. According to the Department of the Army, these reductions are necessary to achieve the savings required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The SPEA analyzes the impact of force reductions at a total of 30 installations, including Fort Polk.

 The Army will again conduct a commenting period, which will last until August 25, and also hold listening sessions at affected communities. The press conferences on July 2 and July 8 will outline the SPEA; provide comments on what incorrect information may be included in the SPEA; and share Fort Polk Progress's plan to address not only issues involving the SPEA, but also how the public can help throughout the commenting period and at the listening session.

"Maintaining troop strength at Fort Polk is going to be an annual battle," said DeRidder Mayor Ron Roberts. "Polk Progress is our best resource for getting the job done."

"The responses during last year's commenting period and listening session were phenomenal," said Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese. "As a result, last year's drawdown minimally impacted Fort Polk. Because of the significant cuts being considered at other military bases across the country, we'll have to respond with even more force than we did last year.

"I know that we can depend on our Congressional Delegation, Louisiana government and communities from all over Louisiana and East Texas to come together again to show the Army that not only do we provide them the best value for training our soldiers to fight on the world stage, but that we will not be deterred from our mission of becoming a station of choice for soldiers and their families."

Last year, more than 4,000 comments were submitted to the Department of the Army concerning possible troop reductions at Fort Polk. On April 15, 2013, thousands more people showed up from all over Louisiana and East Texas to express their support of sustaining and growing Fort Polk. In fact, more people responded concerning Fort Polk than those concerning any of the 20 other bases combined undergoing the same scrutiny by the Department of the Army, a fact that was not lost on Army decision makers, Pentagon officials and communities all over the country where other bases facing similar threats to force structure are located.

Fort Polk Progress has known all along that another round of troop reductions was inevitable, given the current budget environment, and has been proactively planning its response for months, from creating the Education Initiative, which shows the Army just how engaged the local communities are in providing valuable quality of life enhancements for soldiers; to keeping our Congressional Delegation in Washington informed and active in countering force structure decisions; to engaging the Louisiana legislature for funding to help cover the costs of efforts to keep the military a strong economic force throughout the state.

Now, Fort Polk Progress is again asking the community to show its support of maintaining and growing force structure at Fort Polk.

"There's more involvement than ever before from throughout the region and at all levels of our state government to support Fort Polk and communicate to decision makers the real value they have in this base," said Reese.

The SPEA and draft FNSI may be accessed at:

http://aec.army.mil/Services/Support/NEPA/Documents.aspx

Written comments about the SPEA and draft FNSI should be sent via email to

USARMY.JBSA.AEC.NEPA@MAIL.MIL

or through the U.S. Postal Service to:

U.S. Army Environmental Command
ATTN: SPEA Public Comments
2450 Connell Road (Building 2264)
Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664

Fort Polk Progress urges residents of the communities surrounding Fort Polk to send in their comments as soon as possible and to share the address with their friends and neighbors.

"We want our message to the Army to be loud and clear: 'Don't cut troops at Fort Polk. Of any base in the nation, Fort Polk offers the most cost effective, rigorous and relevant training, together with exceptional maneuver space, air space and rapid deployment facilities, on a modern facility surrounded by communities dedicated to supporting soldiers and their families."

'Moon Griffon' leaving Monroe for Lafayette Posted on 7-2-14

"The Moon Griffon Show," the long-running, Louisiana-based conservative raMoon Griffon is taking his radio show from Monroe to Lafayette.dio talk show, will soon originate in Lafayette.

Griffon's show will be broadcast from the KPEL studios in Lafayette beginning July 7 or July 8, said Griffon and Mike Grimsley, general manager for KPEL.

The Griffon family is moving, so it's hard to say exactly which day will be the first at KPEL.

But "we'll get it going next week," Griffon said.

The show is leaving long-time home KMLB in Monroe. Griffon is moving to Lafayette with wife Tonia because the youngest of their four children has been accepted into a program at St. Thomas More High School.

Expect little change in the time, 9-11 a.m. weekdays, the number of affiliates, 12, or the format.

"We're conservative, and we deal with state issues," Griffon said. "But we also cut up. I even laugh at myself a little bit."

Griffon estimated his daily audience at about 35,000 with a weekly reach of about 100,000. Grimsley said his audience here is comparable to uber-conservative Rush Limbaugh's and is strongest n the male 25-54 demographic.

"We're excited to have him here," Grimsley said.

Griffon said he's thought about moving to Lafayette for years. The city, the show's second-largest market behind Shreveport, has been a source of Republican strength, even during Louisiana's yellow-dog Democrat days. A Lafayette base will be closer to newsmakers from the state capital.

Griffon has been the show's host and its advertising account executive for its two decades on the air.

The move "is going to be a great rejuvenation for me," Griffon said.

Choctaw-Apache leaders work for Federal reforms as a step toward recognition

For many years petitioning tribes, experts, and even Congress told the US Department of the Interior that the Federal Acknowledgment Process is broken and in need of reform.  The Choctaw-Apache Community of Ebarb requested recognition prior to the current regulations were set in place. In 1978, that request for recognition was converted to a Notice of Intent to Petition. Over 35 years later, the Choctaw-Apache tribal government continues to advocate for that recognition.  “It is a slow bureaucratic process in need of major reform, but what is most important is that we continue to work hard for our recognition, strengthen ourselves,  and never give up” said tribal Chairman Jason “Jake” Rives.

In 2011, former Chief John W. Procell appointed Robert Caldwell to coordinate federal recognition efforts. The two attended numerous meetings including the 2012 National Congress of American Indians Midyear conference in Lincoln, Nebraska (Sabine Index). The NCAI (http://www.ncai.org/) called on the Federal Government to revise the regulations so that they are both more fair and transparent. 

Last year under the direction of Assistant Secretary Washburn, the Department began working toward that reform.  A series of tribal consultations and public forums were held throughout the United States in 2013 asking tribal representatives and interested parties what they would like to see changed. Procell and Choctaw-Apache Federal Recognition Chairman Robert Caldwell attended those meetings and encouraged tribal members and well-wishers by providing templates for letters of support. Mr. Caldwell, who has spent the past three years studying the existing regulations, called them “a complicated and sometimes contradictory maze.” In January, Caldwell attended a national conference to focused on reforming the Federal recognition process, hosted by Arizona State University School of Law’s prestigious Indian Legal Program  http://conferences.asucollegeoflaw.com/triberecognition/ 

On May 22, 2014, the Department of Interior released its long-awaited new rules for granting federal recognition to Native American tribes.  According to the press release:

"Key features of the proposed rule would promote transparency by updating the Part 83 criteria to include objective standards; promote efficiency by requiring a petitioner to show community and political influence/authority from 1934 to the present rather than from as early as 1789; and eliminate the need for a petitioner to demonstrate that third parties identified the petitioner as a tribe from 1900 to the present.  The proposed rule would make changes to the petitioning process that facilitate the timely issuance of proposed findings and final determinations.  It would also allow an administrative judge to conduct a comprehensive hearing and review of a negative proposed finding."  (For the Bureau of Indian Affairs Press release, see  http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/public/documents/text/idc1-026774.pdf)

The proposed rules, if adopted, would be an important step in the right direction in our journey toward Federal Recognition . A summary of rules as they exist and proposed changes is available here: http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/xopa/documents/text/idc1-026770.pdf

Throughout July, the Interior will be holding a series of tribal consultations and public meetings to hear comments related to proposed reform.  Tribal consultations are generally only open to leaders of federally recognized tribes; whereas, public meetings are open to everyone.

            Choctaw-Apache tribal leaders will be attending the Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at the Paragon Casino and Resort in Marksville, Louisiana.  The public meeting will be from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm.    Chairman Jason “Jake” Rivers, Federal Recognition Chairman Robert Caldwell encourage tribal citizens and supporters who are able to attend to make the meeting to contact them in advance.   

The revised process affects a number of other Louisiana tribes, including the Untied Houma Nation, the Clifton Choctaw Community, and the Adai at Spanish Lake. There are 5 additional locations of public meetings throughout July in the following cities - Portland, OR, Keshena, WI, Brooks, CA, Billings, MT and Mashpee, MA.  Additional written comments on the proposed rule are due by August 1, 2014.  The Tribal Council, and the Federal Recognition Committee will provide additional details to tribal members and supporters following the meeting in Marksville. Rivers is cautiously optimistic: “it might not be tomorrow, next month, or next year, but our day is coming. Until then I will continue to work tirelessly for all of our people, at the local, state, and federal levels.”

Unrestrained firefighter dies in Bienville Parish crash Posted on 7-1-14

BIENVILLE PARISH, La. -

A tragic crash has claimed the life of a Quitman, Louisiana firefighter.  He died when the fire truck he was driving, while unrestrained, crashed Monday night. Louisiana State Police say they responded to the call about 10:30 yesterday evening on Louisiana Highway 155 near Mount Olive.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a 1999 Freightliner fire truck, registered to Bienville Fire District 7, was traveling north on LA 155 when the vehicle entered a curve and drifted off the roadway. The driver, Robert B. Thomas of Quitman, 52, overcorrected, crossed the center line and crashed into a ditch. The fire truck overturned pinning Thomas under the vehicle. Thomas, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bienville Parish Coroner's Office.

A routine toxicology sample was obtained from Thomas for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana law requires every vehicle occupant, front seat and back seat, to be properly restrained day or night. Anyone, including a first responder, who chooses not to wear a seat belt increases the likelihood of injury or death in the event of a crash. 

Troop G has investigated 7 fatal crashes resulting in 7 deaths this year.

Rare summer flu cases reported in East Texas Posted on 7-1-14

TYLER (KYTX) - It's not anywhere near flu season, but all over East Texas, hospitals and clinics are still testing patients positive for the flu. Doctors at Tyler Urgent Care have seen a spike of flu cases in may and just this week there have been several people coming in testing positive for the flu. They say it's extremely rare, but it's not unheard of.

One Tyler man in particular doesn't take the flu lightly. It's been six months since a strong flu strain attacked 38-year-old Will Goodson's lungs, and put him in a coma for three weeks.

Even though his kidneys had failed and his body was weak, he woke up and gained his strength back. Today, months later, he is still at home recovering, but he's alive. His wife, Soledad, calls it a miracle, but still can't believe the flu almost took her husband's life.

"I think a lot of people don't realize you can be healthy, and never have an underlying health condition, and this could be you. You could be laying in a bed just like him," Soledad says.

So even though summer flu cases are rare Soledad and Will Goodson want to remind you, they're no less serious.

Doctor Bill Wallace with Tyler Urgent Care say random flu spikes like this are more common after big flu seasons like we had last year.

"Influenza can hit any time for example, the H1N1 that was so bad several years ago, that started in August and September," Dr. Wallace says.

The problem is when the flu hits in these off seasons, you can't count on strong protection from the vaccine you got last fall.

"People who get a flu shot in the fall still have some protection in the spring and summer but it definitely wears off as time goes on," Wallace says.

Flu strains also change from season to season, so unfortunately, the strain you get this summer might not be covered in last fall's vaccine.

The bottom line? If you have a fever, headache, respiratory issues, and body aches, it really could be the flu. So head to the doctor, because as Will Goodson now says, "better safe than sorry."

We know the flu is an airborne virus and can be extremely contagious, it's always smart to keep washing your hands to make sure that the flu doesn't enter your home this summer. Try to avoid people who have been sick lately, and choose a fist bump over a handshake.

Dr. Wallace says even though the flu is going around again, it's not bad enough to get another vaccine this early. He says to plan on getting it again in early fall, so when the big season hits, you'll be fully prepared.

LA Highway Safety Officials urge safe holiday driving Posted on 7-1-14

With the Independence Day holiday falling on Friday, Louisiana highway safety officials warn traffic will likely be heavy on the state's roads as many take advantage of the holiday weekend. 

Louisiana State Police and law enforcement agencies from across the state have joined the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which features officers working additional overtime patrols July 2nd-6th. 

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is a nationwide effort coordinated in Louisiana by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

An estimated 90% of holiday travel is by personal motor vehicle, meaning the long Independence Day weekend will likely see thousands of additional cars on Louisiana roads.

"More vehicles on the road and people driving longer distances usually results in more crashes, more injuries and more fatalities," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "Alcohol is a factor in more than 40% of all vehicle crash deaths in Louisiana, but drunken driving is often even more prevalent during holidays such as the Fourth of July."

In 2012, the most recent year for which final statistics are available, alcohol was a factor in all three of the traffic deaths during the Independence Day break. 

In addition to the fatalities, 207 people were injured during the 2012 Independence Day holiday in Louisiana.

Traffic fatalities in Louisiana have been declining over the past several years and officials attribute at least part of the improvement to safety programs such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

"The high visibility campaigns we have coordinated are raising awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and other behaviors that can result in fatal and injury crashes," LeBlanc said. "We concentrate these campaigns during periods when more vehicles are on the road and impaired driving is a greater problem."

Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense in Louisiana, with a first-offense arrest costing as much as $1,000 in fines, plus court costs and even jail time. An adult driver can be arrested in Louisiana if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher. The limit for drivers under 21 is .02 BAC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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