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Politics
1:05 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

House fiscal conservatives set up PAC for efforts

A group of fiscal conservatives in the Louisiana House has set up a political action committee as part of continuing efforts to revamp the state's budget.

More than two dozen House members are involved with the group, calling itself the Budget Reform Campaign.

The effort, led by Lake Charles Rep. Brett Geymann, is designed to push for changes in the way Louisiana spends its money. Lawmakers in the group object to the use of patchwork, one-time funding to pay for ongoing programs and services and have criticized Gov. Bobby Jindal for the budgeting tactic.

Environment
1:04 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

LDWF sets drawdown for Lake Bistineau

In an effort to control aquatic vegetation, the water control structure on Lake Bistineau near Minden will be opened Aug. 8 for a lake drawdown.

As a result of mild winter temperatures, experts say giant salvinia has expanded beyond the control capacity of herbicide applications and salvinia weevils. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries survey estimates show giant salvinia coverage to be in excess of 2,000 acres.

The lake will be lowered seven feet below pool stage and will remain there until Jan. 31, 2013.

Jail Hate Crime
4:59 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Black inmate accused of hate crime against whites

HOUMA — A black jail inmate has been booked with a hate crime after allegedly saying he would squirt human waste on every white inmate in his dormitory, and then doing so.

Terrebonne Parish sheriff's Maj. Malcolm Wolfe says all seven white inmates were squirted with urine and feces from a shampoo bottle. He says the waste was on the walls and on inmates' clothes, bodies and personal property — but not on any of the three African-American inmates in the dorm with them and 41-year-old Avis James Williams of Houma.

Consent Decree
4:56 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Court meeting held on New Orleans police reforms

Attorneys for the city of New Orleans and the federal government met behind closed doors with a federal judge to discuss a new agreement to overhaul the New Orleans Police Department.

Participants in Thursday's status conference with U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan declined to go into details. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten described the meeting as productive but added that he was not at liberty to say more. It was unclear when Morgan might grant final court approval to the agreement, which was the result of long negotiations between the city and federal officials.

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Latest News
1:48 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Lafourche councilman accuses colleague of assault

One Lafourche Parish councilman has filed an assault complaint against another after an argument during a meeting continued outside.

Lafourche sheriff's Capt. Roy Gros tells The Daily Comet that since nobody else was present and the councilmen's accounts differ, no arrest was made pending further review.

Councilman Jerry Lafont told the newspaper that Councilman John Arnold shoved him Tuesday night.

Arnold said he just put his arm up to keep Lafont out of his face.

Environment
1:46 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Cargo ship operator to pay $1.2M in pollution case

A federal judge in New Orleans has ordered the operator of a cargo ship to pay a $1.2 million criminal penalty for violating pollution laws and obstruction of justice.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. also on Wednesday sentenced Athens, Greece-based Odysea Carriers to three years of probation.

Federal prosecutors say engine room crew members on the company's ship, Polyneos, used a hose to pump oil waste directly overboard in 2011. The ship's chief engineer allegedly tried to conceal the illegal discharges from the Coast Guard by falsifying the vessel's records.

Higher Education
1:44 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Ex-Rep. Bob Livingston donates papers to Tulane

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston, who spent 22 years in Congress, has donated his congressional papers to the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University, his alma mater.

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Health Care Fraud
1:39 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Covington woman pleads guilty in health care fraud case

A 45-year-old Covington woman has pleaded guilty for her role in a scheme stemming from her employment at a sleep study clinic.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten says Angelina Leahy entered the plea Wednesday to one count of health care fraud.

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Embezzlement
1:35 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Woman pleads guilty to stealing from nonprofit

A woman who served as chief financial officer of a Metairie nonprofit company has pleaded guilty to a charge she embezzled nearly $250,000 from her former employer and another company official.

Thirty-eight-year-old Kelley Williams, of Terrytown, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine following her guilty plea Wednesday to forgery. Her sentencing is set for Nov. 7.

Williams' former employer isn't disclosed in court records, but it provides personal care attendants, transportation, education and training to people with developmental disabilities.

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Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo
1:31 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

24-hour toll collections for Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo

State transportation officials say they will be offering 24-hour toll collections along LA Highway 1 in anticipation of increased traffic surrounding the country's oldest competitive fishing event.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said Wednesday their goal is to keep the flow of traffic at a steady pace as spectators arrive for the 90th annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. Rhett Desselle, assistant secretary of operations, said there has already been an increase in the traffic volume around the area.

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