Louisiana News Briefs
PAR forms tax advisory group
BATON ROUGE — A nonpartisan government watchdog organization has assembled an advisory panel to look at potential tax code changes for Louisiana residents and businesses.
The Public Affairs Research Council’s study work comes as the Jindal administration pushes a revamp of the state’s tax structure in the next legislative session.
PAR’s tax advisory panel includes 15 members with experience in accounting, law, business, government and public policy.
On the panel are three former commissioners of administration who serve as budget advisers to Louisiana governors: Angele Davis, who worked for Gov. Bobby Jindal; Jerry Luke LeBlanc, who worked for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco; and Mark Drennen, who worked for former Gov. Mike Foster.
Co-chairmen of the tax advisory group are LSU economist Jim Richardson and PAR President Robert Travis Scott.
Former congressional candidate arrested
NEW ORLEANS — Former congressional candidate Gary Landrieu was arrested Monday on an aggravated battery charge.
Gary Landrieu, 54, the cousin of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, was arrested shortly after 9 a.m. after voluntarily surrendering to police, authorities said.
Police said Landrieu was in his car arguing with a woman Friday night as she stood outside the vehicle. Authorities said at some point he grabbed the woman by her jaw, but she was able to break free. He then grabbed her by her hair and began to drive off, dragging her several feet. The victim, whose name was not released, refused medical aid at the time of the incident, police said.
WVUE-TV reports Landrieu remained at Orleans Parish jail. It was not known if he has an attorney.
Democratic U.S. Rep Cedric Richmond last week defeated four challengers to win a second term in Congress. Final unofficial results show Richmond won 53 percent of the vote. Landrieu, also a Democrat, finished second.
Sheriff gears up for bike giveaway
THIBODAUX — Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is gearing up for his office’s annual Christmas bike giveaway.
Webre said Monday the sheriff’s office is accepting donations and names of children who might qualify for the program.
Last year, deputies and Explorers from Post No. 323 helped deliver 232 bikes to children in need. Since the program’s inception in 1996, more than 2,800 bicycles have been distributed.
Anyone who knows of a child in need is asked to contact Capt. Dean Savoie, who manages the program, at 985-632-5843. Bicycle donations can be dropped off at any sheriff’s office in Lafourche parish. Monetary donations are also being accepted to purchase new bikes for the giveaway.
Lafayette schools to buy propane buses
LAFAYETTE — By early spring, some Lafayette Parish students will be riding to school on buses fueled by propane rather than diesel.
The Advocate reports that the parish school board has approved about $710,000 to buy eight new propane-fueled buses.
Transportation director Bill Samec says each costs about $6,000 more than a diesel-powered bus, he expects to save about $3,000 a year per bus. He says they also pollute less than diesel and cost less to maintain.
He outlined the proposal to the board in late October, and members voted to accept it Nov. 7.
On Monday, Samec said he’d like to see the district add another eight or 10 new propane buses to gradually replace the existing diesel-fueled fleet.
Dog taken during carjacking recovered
NEW ORLEANS — An 11-year-old dog that had been missing since a carjacker drove away with him on Oct. 30 has been reunited with its owner.
The Humane Society of Louisiana says the Chihuahua-Jack Russell terrier mix was in a sport utility vehicle taken from a woman in uptown New Orleans.
News of the missing dog spread. A reward fund raised close to $4,000. And volunteers gathered in the area where the stolen vehicle was found to hand out flyers and search for the dog named Skeeter.
On Sunday, word came that a woman had found Skeeter. The dog was described as scared and dirty but safe.
made at State Fair
SHREVEPORT — Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator and Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw say a drug operation at the Louisiana State Fair netted three carnival workers and five fair-goers.
Drug agents made the arrests on Saturday. Seven were booked with possessing a drug; 41-year-old Timothy Haley of Hawkins, Texas, was booked with possessing drugs with intent to distribute them.
MARRERO — The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says a 15-year-old student was hospitalized with stab wounds and a 17-year-old was arrested after a fight at John Ehret High School in Marrero.
A release from Sheriff Newell Normand says Detective Brian Johnson was notified of the altercation by a teacher. The fight followed an ongoing disagreement between the two girls.
Sorrento police charge harassment
SORRENTO — Three Sorrento police officers have threatened to file suit against the town and its Police Department, alleging harassment and retaliation by Police Chief Earl Theriot.
An attorney for the three officers — Catherine Gil, Tige Scott and Kermit Givens — tells The Advocate he faxed a letter to town officials Saturday telling them the officers plan to appear at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting to discuss the allegations.
The letter was sent to Mayor Wilson Longanecker Jr. and the five members of the Town Council.
Efforts to reach Longanecker and Theriot for comment were unsuccessful.
Henry L. Schoemaker III, the Baton Rouge attorney representing the officers, said in the letter that he will ask the council to go into executive session to discuss allegations of sexual and racial discrimination and retaliation by Theriot and others in the department.
He said that if the claims cannot be resolved at the meeting, he will move forward with a lawsuit.
The Town Council is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. at the Sorrento Town Hall.
Councilman Randy Anny said he and other council members have been “trying to promote Sorrento in a positive way.” He said he was disappointed to hear about more negative allegations against the Police Department.
Recently, the Police Department was the subject of a nearly two-month investigation by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office into alleged criminal activity. Sheriff Jeff Wiley said he found no criminal activity and no charges were filed.
Anny said that council will look into the new allegations.
From The Associated Press.