Good morning, Louisiana editors.
Louisiana at 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
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MOTHER'S DAY PARADE SHOOTING
NEW ORLEANS — Police late Monday identified a 19-year-old man as a suspect in the shooting of about 20 people during a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans, saying several people had identified him as the gunman captured by surveillance camera videos. Superintendent Ronal Serpas said officers were looking for Akein Scott of New Orleans. He said it was too early to say whether he was the only shooter. By Chevel Johnson.
AP Photos LAWH110-0513131939, LAWH111-0513131931, AX101-0513130844, AX104-0513130844, AX102-0513130844, AX102-0513130844, LAORS103-0512131541, LAORS106-0512130000, LAORS104-0512131541, LADP104-0512131552.
BATON ROUGE, La. — Action on crafting Louisiana's nearly $25 billion budget shifts to the Senate this week, after lawmakers in the House wrapped up work on a bipartisan compromise for how to pay for state programs and services next year. The Senate's financial analysts were combing through the details Monday of the House version of the 2013-14 budget passed late last week, with Senate Finance Committee hearings on the proposal slated to begin later in the week. By Melinda Deslatte.
BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly rejected an attempt Monday to repeal a 2008 law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside of the adopted textbook in the classroom — leeway critics say turns science into religion. It was Sen. Karen Carter Peterson's second unsuccessful effort this session to get the Louisiana Science Education Act removed from state law. By Littice Bacon-Blood.
BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. Bobby Jindal's push to privatize all but one of the LSU-run hospitals across south Louisiana will cost the state an estimated $42 million to make the layoffs, according to an audit released Monday. The review by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office said privatization of six hospitals in the LSU Health Care Services Division would require an estimated $29 million for termination pay and another $13 million for unemployment payments. By Melinda Deslatte.
(Information in the following story is from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)
ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. — A former West Feliciana Parish police juror has been fined and placed on probation for five years on theft counts related to the diversion of church money to his own use. The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/10ISfRu ) state District Judge William G. Carmichael sentenced John Cobb, 55, of Weyanoke, to three concurrent five-year prison terms, but suspended each and placed him on probation for five years. Under probation, he must pay $3,000 in fines and court costs and perform 180 days of community service.
FRENCH SETTLEMENT — Livingston Parish officials are launching a program to replace at least 15 bridges. The effort can't come soon enough for Rose Sabre, who says an ambulance couldn't get quick access to her Virgin Isles home because of a dilapidated bridge. After being rerouted through a private gravel road, the ambulance was able to get her daughter safely to a hospital. For months, Virgin Isles residents have had to cross private property to get to their homes, she says. Parish President Layton Ricks said the bridge there is one of the worst in Livingston and will be replaced. Fire trucks and school buses can no longer cross some of the old timber bridges, said Sam Digirolamo, director of the parish public works department.
HOUMA — Terrebonne's top public school administrator says no decisions have been made on cutting jobs or programs to deal with an expected $6 million budget shortfall. Superintendent Philip Martin said any discussion of massive layoffs in the works is unfounded. Officials are deliberating how to fill the revenue gap, with budget hearings scheduled in June. Typically, the School Board approves a budget by the start of the fiscal year July 1. The board delayed the process, hoping to be buoyed by an additional $25 million annually from a proposed 31-mill property tax increase. Terrebonne voters defeated the tax by a 3-to-1 margin in the May 4 election. Martin said the system has enough vacancies among its roughly 2,400 positions to avoid layoffs.
FOLSOM — A state audit of the finances of the village of Folsom cites 19 findings of deficiencies, including undocumented fuel expenses for a vehicle driven by the mayor. The report from the state legislative auditor's office, prepared by the firm of Griffin and Co., also finds that more than $169,000 in receipts for water and sewer bills were posted to the wrong accounts. The audit covers July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. Auditors say they found "numerous fuel charges related to the vehicle used by the mayor" but were unable to document that the charges were for use of the vehicle on village business. Marshell Brumfield is mayor of the St. Tammany Parish community. The audit recommends village officials request an accounting on the vehicle's use.
LAFAYETTE — An alternate route for Interstate 49 that would bypass Lafayette could be revived for discussion after being ruled out a decade ago. State Rep. Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, and state Rep. Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge, have asked the state Department of Transportation and Development to study the so-called "Teche Ridge" route, which would push I-49 to the east of Lafayette through mostly undeveloped rural areas in St. Martin Parish. The Teche Ridge route was originally proposed by opponents of a proposed elevated interstate through Lafayette and by St. Martin Parish officials who welcomed the prospect of a new interstate running through their parish. But officials involved in the push to complete I-49 worry that revisiting the Teche Ridge alternative could cause more delays in the project.
LOUISIANA IN BRIEF
XGR-VEHICLE TAX BREAK
BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Senate has agreed to rewrite the state's alternative fuel vehicle tax credit program, after concerns the law had been too broadly written and cost too much. The proposal by Baton Rouge Sen. Dan Claitor would definitively eliminate "flex-fuel" cars and trucks — which can burn ethanol but also use gasoline — from qualifying for the credit.
BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Lottery Corp. reports that nobody won the top jackpots in the multistate Powerball and Louisiana Lotto drawings on Saturday night but one Powerball ticket sold in St. Francisville matched 5 numbers to take a $1 million prize. Louisiana Lotto players matching all six numbers drawn would have won or shared a $500,000 prize. The prize will rise to an estimated $525,000 for the next drawing on Wednesday. Powerball players matching all five numbers and the Powerball would have won or shared a $270 million jackpot. A ticket sold in Lake Charles won the $60,000 Easy 5 prize.
BATON ROUGE — The deadline for filing 2012 Louisiana individual income tax returns is Wednesday. The state Department of Revenue says filing can be made electronically and more information is available at the department's website, www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline . Officials say the average refund processing time for electronic returns is 10 business days; for paper returns it's 12 to 16 weeks. Taxpayers needing more time to prepare 2012 individual state income tax returns must submit an extension request by May 15 to avoid late-filing penalties. More information on extensions is available online at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/extensions.
HOUMA — The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office is offering its 38-foot-long fishing boat for sale on the online auction site eBay. The starting bid is $180,000. The auction ends May 18. Since taking office, Sheriff Jerry Larpenter has criticized former Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois' decision to buy the boat. Larpenter says his office has no use for the luxury fishing boat, and it's too expensive to maintain. It's not the first time the boat has been up for bid. Previous attempts did not yield a bidder. Larpenter says if the boat doesn't sell on eBay he will try to sell it in a sheriff's auction June 19-20.
RV DENTAL CLINIC
ST. MARTINVILLE — St. Martin Parish students are eligible for dental care through a mobile clinic that's scheduled to hit the roads this summer. A recreational vehicle equipped as a dental clinic was set to begin offering services last year but officials say there was a delay in receiving federal and state approvals for the project. Roderick Campbell, CEO of Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center, says they received a $462,000 federal grant to launch the project with a dentist and two assistants and build a pediatric behavioral health unit in St. Martinville to improve students' access to health services.
BOSSIER CITY — Authorities say two people have been taken into custody after shots were fired at an apartment complex in Bossier City on Monday morning. Police said that around 1:30 a.m. they were called out to the Riverwood Apartments in the 2300 block of Riverwood Drive after residents reported shots fired. Police say a resident told them he heard neighbors arguing and then gunshots. Authorities said no injuries were reported but two people are in custody. No charges had yet been filed and the investigation is continuing.
WOMEN'S POLICY COMMISSION-APPOINTMENT
BATON ROUGE — Elizabeth Dent has been named to the Louisiana Women's Policy and Research Commission. Dent, of Baton Rouge, is president of Financial and Management Services. The commission is an advisory group focusing on women's issues in Louisiana. The appointment was made by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
PEARLINGTON, Miss. — Hancock County's buy-out program has finally gotten off the ground. Four homes in the Pearlington community are currently in the process of being purchased through the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency program. Pearlington is located in Hancock County along the Mississippi-Louisiana state line. County leaders said they will have up to $10 million to purchase as many repetitive loss properties as they can.
SHREVEPORT — A home is west Shreveport was heavily damaged by fire early Monday, but authorities say the family living there was able to get out without injury. The fire was reported about 1 a.m. at a house in the 7900 block of Best Drive. Firefighters arrived to find smoke and flames coming from the utility room. It took them about 10 minutes to get the blaze under control. No injuries were reported, officials say. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
MANY — Two Many men were arrested Saturday and booked in connection with the shooting death of a man whose body was found in a crashed vehicle earlier in the day. The suspects are Melvin C. Maxie, 29, and Philip Dewayne Jones, 22. Maxie was booked with first-degree murder and Jones with second-degree murder. Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron Rivers says the victim was Tyruss Thomas, 27. Rivers says an autopsy determined Thomas died of a single gunshot wound.
MUSIC REVIEW-TRACE ADKINS
Trace Adkins works with five different producers on his 11th album, suggesting the country music veteran and reality TV star is searching for an infusion of fresh energy. And "Love Will ." does find Adkins occasionally trying out new sounds. There's the soul-country vibe of "So What If I Do," which features a saxophone to play up the pop-crossover possibilities. And there's a duet with pop singer Colbie Caillat on "Watch The World End," a strange love song set during the apocalypse. By Michael McCall. With AP Photos.
MUSIC REVIEW-PJ MORTON
PJ Morton's major label debut, "New Orleans," offers an introspective take on his life and internal desire to return to the roots of the music that made him happy years ago. To that end Morton has made the album he set out to make. Still, it falls short in terms of songwriting and depth. Tracks featuring Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and the legendary Stevie Wonder offer a little bit of zest to an otherwise middling R&B album. Levine's vocal turn on "Heavy" is a high note. And Wonder's brief harmonica work on "Only One" is instantly recognizable and enjoyable on the album's best track. By Ron Harris.
COTEAU — The New Iberia owner of a landfill closed in 2009 has agreed to pay $73,904 and at least $150,000 for environmental cleanup work as part of a pending settlement with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ and Gordon's Disposal, owned by businessman Gordon Doerle, have agreed to the settlement terms but the deal has yet to be formalized.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF
PALISADES PLANT SHUTDOWN
COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Nuclear Regulatory Commission member and a Michigan congressman plan to visit the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, which was taken off line over a repeated water leak problem. New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. shut down the southwestern Michigan plant May 5, one day after operators found a tank leaking faster than regulations allow. Some slightly radioactive water entered Lake Michigan, but the NRC says there's no health risk.
SPORTS IN BRIEF
METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the club has signed six players who received tryouts at rookie camp last weekend. The signings announced Monday include that of Brent Leonard, who was Louisiana-Monroe's leading receiver last season. Also signed were defensive end Baraka Atkins, defensive back Korey Lindsey, kicker Jose Maltos, running back Khiry Robinson and guard Jeremiah Warren.
— The Associated Press, New Orleans