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BC-LA-MS--Louisiana-Mississippi News Digest, LA

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Good evening, Louisiana and Mississippi editors.

If you have any contributions for or questions about the report, call 1-601-948-5897 or 1-800-222-0046. To report technical problems: 1-800-469-1362. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from Reruns are also available from the Service Desk (800-838-4616). The news editor is Brian Schwaner. The supervisor is Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans, 504-523-3931, 800-662-7717, 601-948-5897 or 800-222-0046.




BATON ROUGE —Louisiana's budget worries have lessened as the state's income has started to rebound from the recession, giving lawmakers more breathing room to bicker over other issues as they kick off their annual legislative session Monday. The three-month regular session is a free-for-all, with legislators able to consider most any topic — except taxes. High-profile disputes already are burgeoning over whether to change educational standards, legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes and raise the minimum wage. By Melinda Deslatte. 750 words.


(Information in the following story is from: The Advocate,

NEW ORLEANS — Inmates and the U.S. Justice Department say Orleans Parish Prison is still dangerously understaffed and the sheriff's office needs at least $10 million more to meet court requirements. The New Orleans Advocate ( ) reports that court papers filed late Friday say the sheriff's office needs more than 600 new workers. Attorneys say the cost will be closer to $22 million if the sheriff's office brings starting salaries up to those of neighboring law enforcement agencies. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 250 words by 7 p.m.


NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans police say they're looking for a Los Angeles man accused of trying to steal a big chunk of cinderblock wall bearing a painting by the world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy. An emailed news release says police have a warrant to arrest 30-year-old Christopher Sensabaugh on charges of attempted theft and criminal damage to property. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 250 by 7 p.m.


HOUMA, La. — The long, cold winter means crawfish are scarce and expensive. During cold weather, crawfish stay at the bottom of their ponds or streams, and don't eat. That means they're much smaller than usual for this time of year — and they're not taking the bait in crawfish traps. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 250 by 7 p.m.


BATON ROUGE — A legislator has prefiled a bill that would move the city-parish one step closer to getting a full-time misdemeanor jail. House Bill 915 by state Rep. Alfred Williams, D-Baton Rouge, would create funding to operate the Baton Rouge City Jail as a misdemeanor jail. The city jail, which can hold up to 150 people, now is used as a temporary holding and processing center for about 20 people a day. The bill would authorize the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, Baker City Court and Baton Rouge City and Family courts to levy a $50 warrant recall fee to people who fail to appear in court for misdemeanor and traffic violations, creating a funding stream for the jail for misdemeanor offenders. SENT: 400 words.


MINDEN — State transportation authorities say work to install cable barriers along Interstate 20 in north Louisiana — delayed by a series of winter storms that dumped ice and snow on the state's northern tier of parishes — may finally get underway soon. SENT: 225 words.


SLIDELL — Slidell completed its first Carnival season under stricter parade regulations and Mayor Freddy Drennan says the city is still compiling its reports to determine how well the krewes adhered to the new regulations. SENT: 238 words.


THIBODAUX — An internal review of Lafourche Parish's Community Action Office shows misuse of grant money since 2011. The office oversees Community Service Block Grant money that's intended to provide one-time help for residents who have suffered a setback and are seeking emergency help to get back on their feet. SENT: 418 words.


(Information in the following story is from: Enterprise-Journal,

MCCOMB, Miss. — Pike County supervisors continue to debate the costs of building a new maintenance barn. The Enterprise-Journal reported ( the board's engineering consultants forecast a cost of $787,000 for an 8,100-square-foot building. SENT: 250 words.



(Information in the following story is from: The Advocate,

CONVENT, La. — The owners of a Convent refinery say a worker trying to disassemble a scaffold apparently started a fire that damaged a diesel production unit on Feb. 24. Motiva Enterprises LLC told the state Department of Environmental Quality that the worker's hammer missed the scaffold and broke a half-inch-wide tube on the production unit. SENT: 130 words.


(Information in the following story is from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union,

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Northeast Florida jurors have recommended death for an escaped Louisiana inmate convicted of killing a Florida State graduate student. A St. Johns County jury made the recommendation Friday for 26-year-old Quentin Truehill, who was previously convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping. A judge will make the final decision. SENT: 130 words.


DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. — The Diamonds, who first came on the pop music scene in the 1950s, will perform March 23 in Diamondhead. The concert will be at 7 p.m. at the Diamondhead Country Club. SENT: 74 words.


THIBODAUX — The Nicholls Players will present Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible" March 13-16. Performances are at 7 p.m. each day in Talbot Hall on the Nicholls State University campus in Thibodaux. SENT: 40 words.


HAMMOND — Hammond firefighters have new fire equipment to work with. Chief John Thomas said the new engine and crash fire rescue truck for the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport went into service at the end of February. Ferrara Fire Apparatus of Holden manufactured the new units. Previously, firefighters used a 1985 model engine at the airport. It was retired late in 2013. SENT: 65 words.



BATON ROUGE — Back from a daylong swamp tour, tourists stepped off buses parked on South River Road downtown to board the American Queen, moored on the chocolate brown surface of the Mississippi River. Groups of tourists, mostly couples who were either holding hands that flashed shimmering wedding rings or clutching cameras, passed three homeless men before boarding their riverboat. The men were waiting for pastor Keith Richard. Nobody knew for sure if they were waiting for the food Richard and his outreach program volunteers were bringing or if they just wanted to hear something inspiring from Richard's brief sermon. By Steven Ward, The Advocate. SENT AS ADVANCE: 940 words.


FORT POLK — History is documented through writing, evidenced by artifacts and sometimes, if you're lucky, recounted by witnesses. The Fort Polk Museum showcases the installation's history through dioramas and exhibits that include samples of uniforms, weapons, equipment and personal effects. Some exhibits include the personal stories of those who were there, and the new Vietnam-era display has just that — the personal touch, thanks to two veterans who were willing to donate their military items and share a little of their own histories with the world. By Jean Dubiel, Southwest Daily News. SENT AS ADVANCE: 610 words.



LOS ANGELES — Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper has been ordered held in jail without bail by a Los Angeles judge, who warned that she would have to free him soon if charges aren't filed against him in a similar case in Louisiana. Friday's ruling was the latest development in several ongoing sexual assault investigations involving the 38-year-old Sharper in Louisiana, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. By Anthony Mccartney. SENT: 650 words.

AP Photos NY107-0214141204, LA107-0220141616.


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hameed Ali scored 12 points and Zane Knowles grabbed 11 rebounds as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi held Nichols State to just 11 first-half points, leading to a 58-44 victory on Saturday. Nicholls State (13-14, 10-8) went scoreless for nearly 10 minutes in the first half and Texas A&M-CC (17-14, 14-4) led 19-11 at the break, in a slow-paced first period. SENT: 160 words.


NATCHITOCHES, La. — Zikiteran Woodley scored 22 points and Jalan West had 19 to lead Northwestern State to an 88-82 victory over Oral Roberts on Saturday. Woodely, who hit 8-of-12 field goals, also had three blocks. West was 5 of 10 from the floor as Northwestern State (16-13, 12-6 Southland) made 50 percent of its field goal attempts. SENT: 160 words.


HUNTSVILLE, Texas — New Orleans' women tied the Division I record for futility in a single season Saturday with an 87-56 loss to Sam Houston State. SENT: 300 words.


BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU has opened spring football practice with some players at new positions and a couple of regulars sitting out while recovering from offseason surgeries. Senior defensive end Jermauria Rasco is recovering from shoulder procedures and junior safety Corey Thompson from knee surgery. SENT: 130 words.


BATON ROUGE, La. — The Georgia Bulldogs aim to close out the regular season with their eighth victory in 10 games Saturday when they visit LSU. The Tigers hope to finish with a third win in four games heading into the Southeastern Conference tournament. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING, 700 words, photos. Tip-off 4 p.m.


BATON ROUGE, La. — Anglers out on salt water for up to three days could bring home their total daily limit of black bass under a rule being considered by the state. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is taking public comments about the proposal through June 4. SENT: 230 words.


LAKE CHARLES, La. — Top-seeded North Central takes on No. 2 seed Central Catholic in the Louisiana girls' Class 1A championship game on Saturday. UPCOMING, 150 words. Tip-off 2 p.m.


LAKE CHARLES, La. — Top-seeded Ville Platte meets No. 3 seed University Lab for the Louisiana Class 3A girls' state championship on Saturday. UPCOMING, 150 words. Tip-off 4 p.m.


LAKE CHARLES, La. — Sixth-seeded Destrehan takes on No. 9 seed Mount Carmel in the Louisiana Class 5A state championship game on Saturday night. UPCOMING, 150 words. Tip-off 6 p.m.


LAKE CHARLES, La. — Top seed Salmen faces second seed Warren Easton for the Louisiana Class 4A girls' championship on Saturday night. UPCOMING, 150 words. Tip-off 8 p.m.




JACKSON — Lawyers for a man convicted in the 1995 killing of a woman in Tunica County will argue his innocence on March 18 before the Mississippi Supreme Court. The state Court of Appeals last year upheld the murder conviction of Joe Cotton. Cotton appealed to the Supreme Court. According to court records, Fannie Lee Burks was slain in her Tunica apartment. The case went cold as investigators did not bring charges. Then in 2008, the county Sheriff's Office tested biological evidence found under Burks's fingernails. Authorities say the resulting DNA profile was consistent with that of Cotton. In 2011, Cotton was charged with Burks' murder. He was convicted in April 2012 and sentenced to life in prison. The case is among dozens the Supreme Court will consider during its March-April term. By Jack Elliott Jr. 550 words.


JACKSON, Miss. — The funeral for Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (SHOW-kway Lu-MOOM-bah) brought hundreds of mourners to the Jackson Convention Complex. Myrlie Evers-Williams remembered Lumumba during the service Saturday as someone who pushed federal prosecutors to try the man accused of killing her husband, civil rights leader Medgar Evers. That trial convicted Byron de la Beckwith. Former Gov. William Winter, apologizing for what he called an old man's stereotype, said he was wrong to think Lumumba would divide Jackson. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 300 by 7 p.m.


Four years after the tea party rocked the political world by ousting several prominent Republicans in Congress, the ultra-conservative movement finds itself with slimmer prospects as it moves into the new election season. In Tuesday's first-in-the-nation primaries in Texas, the movement mostly settled for having an impact on key races rather than actually winning them. That may become a pattern in other states as primaries continue into the fall, many national GOP strategists believe. By Thomas Beaumont. SENT: 900 words.


(Information in the following story is from: The Clarion-Ledger,

CLINTON, Miss. — A church where a former music minister admitted sexual abuse will host a program for all denominations to learn how to keep their ministries free of child molestation. The Clarion-Ledger ( ) reports that the Baptist Children's Village will hold the sexual abuse awareness and training program April 29 at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 250 by 7 p.m.


HOUMA, La. — The long, cold winter means crawfish are scarce and expensive. During cold weather, crawfish stay at the bottom of their ponds or streams, and don't eat. That means they're much smaller than usual for this time of year — and they're not taking the bait in crawfish traps. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 250 by 7 p.m.


MCCOMB — Pike County supervisors continue to debate the costs of building a new maintenance barn. The board's engineering consultants forecast a cost of $787,000 for an 8,100-square-foot building. Neel-Schaffer representative Keith Lott said the cost breaks down to $97 per square foot. Supervisor Gary Honea questioned the estimate, saying he's purchased metal buildings on concrete slabs for less than $100,000. But Lott and architect Steve Cox say a county barn would need lights, exhaust systems, plumbing, lift cranes, heavy support beams, high overhead doors, hydraulic lines and office space — all adding to the cost. Lott and Cox were asked to bring a detailed estimate to the board's March 14 meeting. Supervisors also are considering renovation of the existing barn. SENT: 222 words.


BROOKHAVEN — Mississippi College may offer classes in Brookhaven for the fall 2014 semester, allowing area residents to pursue a master's degree without having to travel to the university's main campus in Clinton. College officials met recently with local interests to talk about a plan to establish a presence in Brookhaven. The college's director of field experiences, says several master's level programs may be offered. The program may begin with one course offering in the fall focused on elementary education. Proposed courses for the fall semester would include teaching elementary and junior high mathematics and technology in education. SENT: 355 words.


TUPELO — Shoppers cut back in December in Tupelo, Northeast Mississippi's retail hub, but some of the region's cities like Corinth, New Albany and Oxford saw an increase in sales. The Mississippi Department of Revenue's sales tax diversion to Tupelo for December was about $1.86 million, a 5.7 percent decline from the $1.97 million collected a year earlier. The department collects sales taxes from stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses each month, and issues the diversions to cities a month later. The January report reflected activity in December. SENT: 335 words.


PASCAGOULA — Jackson County lawmakers are lobbying colleagues to support an amendment that could help local officials in their fight with the Public Employees' Retirement System over reduction in benefits for some county retirees. Rep. Manly Barton, R-Moss Point, won approval this week in the Mississippi House of an amendment that puts the burden of proof on a state agency and not the county. If a personnel policy is considered wrong or unlawful, then it would be PERS taking a local government to court and not the other way around, he said. SENT: 457 words.



(Information in the following story is from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal,

TUPELO, Miss. — The executive director of Tupelo's arena says last week set a record: 28,811 people in four days. Todd Hunt tells the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ( ) that turnout equaled 10 percent of last year's total attendance at BancorpSouth Arena. SENT: 130 words.


JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has reopened several oyster reefs to tonging. A news release says the areas opened at legal sunrise Saturday include southern parts of the Pass Christian and Henderson Point reefs, Square Handkerchief Reef and northern parts of the Pass Marianne and Telegraph reefs. SENT: 130 words.


JACKSON, Miss. — Students in Jackson public schools will have to go to school on Saturday, April 5, and Monday, April 21, to make up days missed because of bad weather on Jan. 28 and 29. April 21 is the Monday after Easter. SENT: 130 words.


JACKSON — The Mississippi Development Authority will lead a delegation of Mississippi companies on a business development mission to Central America from June 9-13. SENT: 130 words.


DIAMONDHEAD — The Diamonds, who first came on the pop music scene in the 1950s, will perform March 23 in Diamondhead. The concert will be at 7 p.m. at the Diamondhead Country Club. The group had 16 Billboard top hits, including "The Stroll" and "Little Darlin.'" SENT: 66 words.


STARKVILLE — Authorities in Starkville say a mother and her daughter were arrested Thursday on drug charges after a routine traffic stop. Officers said 62-year-old Judy Lucius and 43-year-old Elesha Lucius were arrested after officers pulled over their vehicle for speeding. Investigators both women were found to have crack cocaine. They were booked with possession of a controlled substance. SENT: 72 words.


JACKSON — The Mississippi Supreme Court has rescheduled oral arguments in two firing discrimination cases. Oral arguments are now scheduled for April 14 in Jackson. SENT: 119 words.



NATCHEZ — As a member of the commercial sea force known as the merchant marine, Alton Hickman Sr. has spent a lot of time on the water. But now he's making plans to spend a lot more time on solid ground. Hickman says he is ready to turn in his notice of retirement after 42 years on the high seas. While his time as a mariner has been good, it's time to retire, he said. By Vershal Hogan, The Natchez Democrat. SENT AS ADVANCE: 605 words.


OLIVE BRANCH — "He's Sew Fine" by the Chiffons? Close, for a quilting/sewing bee taking in '50s rock classics as they stitched away at the Olive Branch Senior Center. But the dozen women gathered were abuzz with dedication to service — helping autistic kids across DeSoto County sleep and find solace with specially designed, gaily decorated weighted blankets — and having fun doing it. "This is 'Thelma and Louise,'" quipped Brenda Garner of Southaven, describing her repartee with pal Phyllis Alford of Olive Branch. "Oh, I'm just kidding. It's more like 'Lucy and Ethel' with us." By Henry Bailey, The Commercial Appeal. SENT AS ADVANCE: 750 words.



OXFORD, Miss. — Moments after the final buzzer sounded, the Mississippi fans rushed down to the tunnel where the players leave the court, cheering for Marshall Henderson one last time. One of the most popular and polarizing players in program history had left a winner. By David Brandt. SENT: 780 words.

AP Photos MSRS102-0308141315, MSOXF201-0308141333, MSRS104-0308141327.


STARKVILLE, Miss. — South Carolina's Brenton Williams had seven 3-pointers and a game-high 27 points in a 74-62 road victory over Mississippi State Saturday. Williams had four of those 3-pointers in the second half to highlight a 22-4 run by South Carolina. Sindarius Thornwell added 22 points for the Gamecocks (12-19, 5-13 SEC). By Paul Jones. SENT: 475 words.

AP Photos MSJL103-0308141625, MSJL101-0308141544, MSJL102-0308141506, MSJL104-0308141633, MSJL105-0308141636

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