Estimated read time: 13-14 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Louisiana at 5 p.m. on Friday
Good afternoon, Louisiana editors.
If you have any contributions for or questions about the report, call 1-800-662-7717. To report technical problems: 1-800-469-1362. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Reruns are also available from the Service Desk (800-838-4616). The news editor is Brian Schwaner. The breaking news staffer this evening is Jack Elliott.
LOUISIANA SEX SCANDALS
BATON ROUGE — The outcries from Louisiana's Republican leaders for Rep. Vance McAllister to resign after he was caught kissing a married woman on video are in sharp contrast to the mostly muted response from the GOP seven years ago when Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter was caught up in a prostitution scandal. While some say the response represents a GOP double standard, it also may be rooted in part in McAllister's outsider status within the Louisiana GOP establishment. Gov. Bobby Jindal and state party chairman Roger Villere — both of whom have called on McAllister to resign — won't explain why they feel differently about his sex scandal than Vitter's. The renewed attention comes at an especially bad time for Vitter, who's launched a campaign for governor and had hoped to leave his own scandal behind. By Melinda Deslatte. UPCOMING: 600 words by about 4 p.m.
UNDATED — Huntington Ingalls Industries will study redeveloping its Avondale, La., shipyard in conjunction with Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. The two companies say they could form a joint venture to redevelop the shipyard near New Orleans. By Jeff Amy. UPCOMING: 397 words.
GULF OIL SPILL-HEALTH
CHALMETTE — As the fourth anniversary of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster approaches, workers who cleaned up oil in the Gulf of Mexico are able to file claims for medical problems they developed after the spill. But questions about their long-term health linger. Research being done by the government's National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences may one day provide answers. The agency is tracking the health of more than 30,000 of those workers, hoping someday to see if there are links between exposure to oil spills and chemical dispersants and any current or future illnesses. The leader of that study has a midday news conference set Friday to discuss what researchers have found so far. By Stacey Plaisance and Kevin McGill. SENT: 1025 words.
AP Photos LAAM101-0307141129, LAAM110-0307141206, LAAM109-0307141145, LAAM102-0307141129, LAAM103-0307141130, LAAM111-0307141208, LAAM112-0307141150, LAAM106-0307141136, LAAM105-0307141135, LAAM104-0307141130, LAGH103-0228141026, LAGH104-0228141025, LAGH102-0228141024, LAGH101-0228141026
AP Video 0411dv_oil_health_spill
GULF OIL SPILL-NEWS GUIDE
NEW ORLEANS — April 20 marks the fourth anniversary of an explosion on the BP-operated drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 workers about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico and set off the nation's worst offshore oil disaster. SENT: 668 words.
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana lawmakers aren't giving up the Tulane University scholarships they get to dole out each year. But they might be willing to tweak who can receive them, in hopes of easing criticism of the program. Proposals to end legislative awarding of scholarships to the pricey private school have been jettisoned for the regular session. Lawmakers now are considering adding more transparency — and limits — to the scholarship awards. At least one such bill has advanced out of a House committee, while another is awaiting decision in a Senate committee. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 598 words.
HOUSING OFFICIAL INDICTED
NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans news organization has complied with a court order that it turns over information about online commenters for private review by a federal magistrate. The material was turned over Thursday. The court order came in the case of Stacey Jackson, the former executive director of New Orleans Affordable Housing. Jackson is accused of taking kickbacks from contractors for the agency. As part of her defense, she is seeking information on whether federal prosecutors were among those making anonymous comments about her on NOLA.com/The Times Picayune. The newspaper's lawyer said the paper disagrees with the ruling but submitted the materials while it continues to appeal. SENT: 226 words.
YOUNGSVILLE — The Youngsville City Council has introduced an ordinance that would ban all tobacco products in the new youth sports complex set to open in the spring. The ban would prohibit the use of cigarettes and chewing tobacco on the entire property. Tim Robichaux, director of the Youngsville Sports Complex, says there will be no designated smoking area. Mayor Wilson Viator said he agreed with the council's decision to introduce the ordinance, although he had suggested setting up a designated smoking area. Viator and Robichaux agreed that it could be tough to enforce the ordinance, but Robichaux said those who violate it will be warned, then asked to leave. SENT: 311 words.
LIVINGSTON — Officials say Livingston Parish should save about $100,000 in legal fees for 2014 after officials restructured the way the parish legal adviser gets paid. Parish President Layton Ricks said legal adviser Christopher Moody now will be paid a flat rate of $8,000 per month, rather than $4,000 per month for basic advising, plus $175 per hour for work on lawsuits and other complex matters. The Parish Council began raising concerns about Moody's bills in July, after realizing the parish was paying five times more for his services than his predecessor had received. In an attempt to curb those costs, the parish's Charter Review Commission has been debating whether to allow the parish government to set up an in-house legal department SENT: 243 words.
BATON ROUGE — The Transportation Security Administration has set up an enrollment center in Baton Rouge to help frequent air travelers get to their plane more quickly and with less hassle. The TSA Precheck program, started in 2011, allows U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to go through advanced screenings prior to travel, then bypass certain security measures at the airport. TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said Thursday that the agency quietly launched the application office at 4305 Bluebonnet Blvd. a few weeks ago. Applicants begin the process online at TSA.gov. At the center, they complete the process by submitting documentation and fingerprints. The program costs $85 and the precheck is good for five years. SENT: 274 words.
LAFAYETTE CHARTER SCHOOL
LAFAYETTE — Nearly 500 slots have been filled at the new Willow Charter Academy, scheduled to open in August. Officials from National Heritage Academies, the charter school's management company, hosted an open lottery Thursday to determine which children would be accepted. The lottery was necessary because the school received 538 applications for the 492 available slots. Amy Johnson, a National Heritage Academies registrar, said those who did not receive slots were placed on a waiting list. SENT: 264 words.
WEBSTER SCHOOL SECURITY
MINDEN — If there ever will be a violent threat to a Webster Parish school, officials are better prepared to eliminate it. A security project several years in the works that allows school and homeland security to look inside the halls of every parish school, is nearing completion. A grant through the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness combined with the Webster OHS and school board security allowed for the purchase and import of digital map plans of parish schools. Webster Director of Homeland Security John Stanley also has access to the system so in the event of an active shooter, planning and coordination can begin immediately. Depending on the size, Stanley said each school has about 30 cameras. SENT: 211 words.
LOUISIANA IN BRIEF
Editors: The following brief items moved Friday on AP's Louisiana wire and may be of interest for your Saturday editions.
TALLULAH — The Tallulah City Council has named Michael Beckwith the interim mayor of Tallulah. Michael Beckwith is the son of late Mayor Eddie Beckwith Jr., who died in March after a battle with cancer. Michael Beckwith will serve until a new mayor takes office in July. He is not a candidate in the May 3 mayor's race. SENT: 126 words.
FRENCH LEGION HONOR
LAFAYETTE — When Hewitt Gomez was just 18 years old, he was navigating B-24 bombers under the cover of darkness in war-torn Europe, dropping spies and supplies to troops and Resistance fighters. On Thursday, French Consul General Jean-Claude Brunet honored Gomez for his part in freeing France from the grip of the Nazis by presenting him with the French Legion of Honor. SENT: 109 words.
LAFOURCHE-SCHOOL TAX RATE
THIBODAUX — A Lafourche Parish School Board committee will decide next week whether to adjust several property tax rates. The board is allowed to make minor adjustments each year to compensate for increases or decreases in the value of property in the parish. SENT: 75 words.
BATON ROUGE — For the sixth consecutive year, Andy Nyman, LSU associate professor of wetland wildlife management, and his service-learning students plan to spend spring break differently from those students flooding the beaches of Florida. Nyman's team will be traveling to the Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area at the mouth of the Mississippi River to conduct wetland restoration projects. SENT: 130 words.
LAKE CHARLES — A 22-year-old man already facing an attempted rape charge has been indicted on a sex charge from a separate incident. A Calcasieu Parish grand jury returned a sexual battery charge Thursday against Michael Anthony Dejean II, who is accused of battery against a 24-year-old on April 11, 2012. SENT: 112 words.
MANSFIELD — Convicted child killer Brian Horn will be formally sentenced to death at 9 a.m. May 28. District Judge Robert Burgess set the date Wednesday. It falls a few days after the 45-day window he initially envisioned Saturday after a jury sentenced the 37-year-old Horn to death. SENT: 130 words.
BILLINGS, Mont. — A Louisiana private corrections company is seeking to turn a long-vacant southeastern Montana jail into a treatment center for Bureau of Indian Affairs inmates from the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest. Steve Afeman with Emerald Correctional Management said Friday the Lafayette, La.-based company has a tentative agreement with Hardin's Two Rivers Authority to operate the jail. SENT: 130 words
HAMMOND — Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards is asking the public for help in solving the still unexplained death of 23-year-old Joseph David Hayden, whose body was found in a field near his home 14 years ago Sunday. The sheriff's office says Hayden was reported missing April 12, 2000. His truck, keys and belongings were intact but there was no sign of him. His body was found the next day. SENT: 129 words.
LAFAYETTE — May 1 is the deadline for South Louisiana Community College students to apply for more than $60,000 in available scholarships for the upcoming academic year. New and continuing students may begin applying for SLCC scholarships Saturday. SENT: 74 words.
BANK ROBBERY ARREST
MORGAN CITY — A 53-year-old man suspected in a Tuesday bank robbery in Bayou Vista has been arrested in Morgan City. Barry P. Gilmore, of Patterson, was booked on one count of simple robbery after Morgan City police found him at a restaurant on La. Highway 182 at around 7:30 a.m. Thursday. SENT: 114 words.
WEEKEND MEMBER EXCHANGE
Stories moved in advance for Saturday or Sunday editions.
HOUMA — With local food becoming more popular, small town roadside fruit stands have been busy carving out their own market share, bumping and edging one another out for prime locations. The signs start a few hundred yards up the road from a produce stand on U.S. Highway 90 heading east. "FRESH STRAWBERRIES! LOUISIANA GROWN! $16 PER FLAT! PICKED FRESH! STOP HERE!" In a small cutaway section of farmland sits Michael Capadona's bright yellow stand. Flats of bright red strawberries greet visitors who pull in and out of the gravel lot next to Lafourche Parish's busiest thoroughfare. "It has gotten kind of ridiculous," Capadona said. "My family has been in the produce business forever, but things have really gone away from family farms. It's too risky for a lot of people." By John Harper, The Courier. SENT: 830 words.
AP Photos LAHOU101 and LAHOU102
BATON ROUGE — Southern University President Ronald Mason says the 134-year-old historically black university needs higher entrance standards. Others say that could be the death of an institution that traditionally has been all-embracing. The discussion is just starting, Mason said: "I'm not saying we're going to become Yale or Harvard, and there's no plan in place yet, it's just a vision." His vision is based on two facts: Louisiana has been raising standards for college admission and it's been giving schools less public money, forcing them to rely more heavily on tuition to survive. This means that state policy is causing a shift in Southern's traditional model — serving students who don't have a lot of college options. "Because we are more tuition dependent, we need to focus on students who are better prepared out of high school," Mason said. "The state is going to higher standards, which means we have to get more rigorous over time." Mason anticipates a move to fewer students but higher tuition. By Koran Addo, The Advocate. SENT: 1040 words.
BATON ROUGE HOUSING
BATON ROUGE — The 2014 outlook for the Baton Rouge real estate market is largely positive, thanks to the thousands of new jobs that are projected to come to the area and an improving national economy. Tom Cook, an appraiser with Cook, Moore & Associates, said the residential market is on fire. There were 8,870 home sales in the eight-parish Greater Baton Rouge Multiple Listing Service for the 12-month period ending in February. That's a 15.3 percent increase over sales for a similar period ending in February 2013. In East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes, Cook says there's a 90-day market going on, referring to the average number of days a home is on the market. Cook says the biggest problem homebuilders are facing are delays in getting permits. SENT: 272 words.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF
BATON ROUGE — First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending April 5 increased from the previous week's total. The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,101 from the previous week's total of 1,985. There were 2,444 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013. SENT: 107 words.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Thunder go for their third straight win when they host the New Orleans Pelicans. Tip-off 7 p.m. By Cliff Brunt. UPCOMING: 780 words. With AP Photos.
SPORTS IN BRIEF
HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana University has named Jay Ladner as its new men's basketball coach. Athletic Director Jay Artigues says Ladner's hiring, announced Thursday, is pending approval of the University of Louisiana System's Board of Directors. Ladner will replace Jim Yarbrough, whose contract was terminated after the 2013-14 season and nine years as head coach. SENT: 109 words.
METAIRIE — The New Orleans Pelicans have signed forward James Southerland for the final four games of the season, starting with Friday night's contest at Oklahoma City. The signing of the 6-foot-8 Southerland, announced Friday, comes one day after New Orleans decided to sit out All-Star forward Anthony Davis for rest of the season to rest his sore back. SENT: 114 words.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.