Louisiana news briefs
Wed, 2013-10-23 14:26
From The Associated Press
Off-duty New Orleans officer arrested
GRETNA (AP) — An off-duty New Orleans police officer has been arrested for impaired driving and placed on emergency suspension without pay.
The police department said Tuesday that an off-duty Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy spotted Officer Lindy Collins driving erratically in his personal vehicle in Gretna at about 5:30 p.m. Monday. Authorities say Collins’ vehicle hit a curb, which caused one of the front tires to blow out.
Police say the deputy approached Collins and determined he was incoherent. An off-duty New Orleans police officer assisted the deputy and both stayed with Collins until Gretna Police arrived.
Collins was booked on a charge of driving while impaired.
Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook immediately suspended Collins pending an investigation.
Film featuring Will Smith seeks extras
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hundreds of extras are needed for an action film featuring Will Smith that’s being shot in New Orleans.
Smith, along with actors Rodrigo Santoro and Margot Robbie, are starring in “Focus,” which follows a con man (Smith) who falls for a rookie (Robbie) as he’s planning an elaborate theft.
The stars are expected to be on set for two crowd scenes that producers need the public to participate in. The film crew is setting up a crowd scene at the Superdome on Tuesday, Oct. 29, and in the French Quarter on Nov. 4.
Interested locals, ages 18 and older, can participate on one day or both. Everyone must sign up and print a set pass at www.BeInAMovie.com. Free parking and food will be provided.
Lawmakers look into flood insurance rate increases
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers are gathering information about dramatic rate increases in flood insurance costs for homeowners and businesses.
The House and Senate insurance committees planned a special public hearing on the topic today, as they look for ways to stop or lessen the skyrocketing rates.
But the state has few options since the program is federally-run.
The rates charged through the National Flood Insurance Program are slated to rise steeply for many homeowners around the country, including Louisiana, as part of a bipartisan overhaul of the program passed by Congress last year to cut the federal government’s costs.
Members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation are seeking to keep lower rates in place, but that has stalled in Congress.
About 500,000 Louisiana homes and businesses have federal flood insurance.
Oyster season to close in Sister Lake
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The oyster season will close Friday in Sister Lake in Terrebonne Parish.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the season will close at one-half hour after sunset Friday in the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation.
Wildlife regulators say protection of the remaining oyster resource and recently-settled oyster spat is in the long-term best interest of oyster conservation in that area.
Officials say the area holds a limited oyster supply and harvest pressure since the season opened Oct. 15 has provided the industry with much-needed oyster resources.
Water protection program moves
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Ascension Parish is the next stop for the state’s drinking water protection campaign.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality says the program, “Protect Drinking Water One Drop at a Time,” aims to increase public awareness and participation in protecting drinking water sources.
The campaign will kick off Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Gonzales City Hall Council Meeting Room. A second community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Donaldsonville City Hall.
The meetings will outline the program and provide the public the opportunity to get information, talk to the Drinking Water Protection Team members and sign up for the committee.
For more information, contact the team at 225-219-3510 or visit DEQ’s web page at www.deq.louisiana.gov/AEPs.
Former Livingston deputy pleads guilty to felony
LIVINGSTON (AP) — A former Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
The state Attorney General’s Office said 38-year-old Clarence Brister, of Denham Springs, was set for trial Monday but chose to enter a guilty plea to one count of felony contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Brister was arrested in January 2012 on one count of molestation of a juvenile and three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.
He was fired after his arrest.
Deputies say Brister was accused of molesting a 15-year-old girl.
Sorrento may ask sheriff for law enforcement
SORRENTO (AP) — The liability insurer of the Sorrento Police Department will cancel its coverage in mid-November, prompting town officials to consider whether to disband the department in favor of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Mayor Mike Lambert said Chief Earl Theriot Jr., an elected official, must make a recommendation to the town about how to proceed, whether to seek a new insurer, disband the department or possibly start fresh with a new department.
Lambert said the consensus of the council is to disband the department and seek Sheriff’s Office protection or restart the town department.
The newspaper says Theriot did not return a message for comment.
AMITE (AP) — A state district judge found a 21-year-old woman guilty of criminal negligence for an April 2012 incident in which her pit bull attacked an 8-year-old girl.
Judge Bruce Bennett sentenced Natalie Newton, of Roseland, to six months after a 2 1/2-hour bench trial.
Newton and a co-defendant, 40-yeaer-old Bridgette Harper, of Loranger, were arrested on negligent injuring counts after their pit bulls attacked Mikayja Oliver on April 27, 2012.
Harper was set for a bench trial but pleaded no contest Aug. 12 to negligent injuring.
She was sentenced Oct. 7 to six months in the parish jail.