Louisiana news briefs
Progress made on Lafourche levee system
THIBODAUX (AP) — The South Lafourche Levee District plans to finish raising the levees protecting Larose to Golden Meadow in the coming year.
The district began raising the system’s levees to 16 feet in the more vulnerable southern sections and 13 feet along its northern reaches following Hurricane Katrina.
After some 4 million cubic yards of earth was moved, the district is nearing completion of that goal with this year’s $36 million operating budget.
Windell Curole, South Lafourche Levee District general manager, said the levee system is 5 to 6 feet higher in some places since Katrina.
DeSoto sales taxes level out
MANSFIELD (AP) — You can see it in sales tax revenues — the Haynesville Shale drilling boom is over in DeSoto Parish.
DeSoto Parish sales tax collections for the fiscal year that ended June 30 are up nearly 4 percent from the previous fiscal year. But they’re down 66 percent from the 2010-11 fiscal year, when they totaled a record $120 million.
Administrator Chris Robinette says sales taxes totaled $39.7 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year. That’s up about $1.4 million from the previous year’s $38.3.
Municipalities, where retail and grocery stores are located, are feeling the brunt of the drop.
Certified public accountant Ryan Todtenbier recently reviewed Mansfield’s 2013 audit. He says collections were down $249,800 year-to-year — and $500,000 over two years.
Sulphur woman found dead
SULPHUR (AP) — Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputies are investigating the death of a 66-year-old Sulphur woman.
Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Pamela Parker was found dead in her home Sunday
Mancuso says it appears Parker had been dead for a couple of day.
The cause of death has not been released.
Mancuso said there are no suspects at this time, and there was no evidence of forced entry.
However, a family member told the American Press his aunt had four or five drug users staying in the shed behind her home.
Ernest Parker said his aunt was always trying to help people. He says they were staying in the shed rent-free.
Deputies say no one was in the shed Sunday during the investigation.
Elderly man dies
in Baton Rouge house fire
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Baton Rouge firefighters say an electrical malfunction near an air conditioning unit caused a fire that claimed the life of a 90-year-old man.
Fire department spokesman Mark Miles said firefighters carried both 87-year-old Helen Paxton who was in her living room and her husband, Steve Paxton, who had fallen down in a rear hallway from the burning house.
He says firefighters performed CPR on the couple, but Steve Paxton died at the scene Saturday night.
Firefighters say Helen Paxton noticed smoke accumulating in the home shortly before 8 p.m. and called her son at his home in Denham Springs. He notified neighbors who called 911.
Helen Paxton was taken to nearby hospital for treatment.
Man killed in 4-wheeler crash
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say a man has died after crashing his four-wheeler into a parked vehicle.
Police says 32-year-old man was driving at “a high rate of speed” on the four-wheeler Sunday night when he sideswiped a parked car before striking a parked SUV.
Police have not released the victim’s name.
SLCC nears fundraising
goal for new building
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Less than $23,000 stands between South Louisiana Community College’s goal of raising more than $2 million for its new $17 million health sciences building.
The project is part of more than $250 million in planned Louisiana Community and Technical College System projects approved by the Legislature in 2013 — with the caveat that the colleges raise a percentage of construction costs on their own. SLCC had to raise 12 percent of its project’s cost.
Christine Payton, SLCC public relations director, said plans to start construction of the health sciences building in 2015 are still on track with the state Bond Commission’s approval of the project on Thursday.
Gonzales man killed in Ascension Parish crash
GONZALES (AP) — State police say a 22-year-old Gonzales man died when the car he was riding in was involved in a crash with another vehicle in Ascension Parish.
Trooper Jared L. Sandifer says Patrick Breaux was a front seat passenger in a car driven by 22-year-old Sara Andrews, of Baton Rouge.
Sandifer said Andrews was headed southbound on KC Road Saturday and stopped for a stop sign at La. 74. As Andrews proceeded through the intersection, Sandifer said, her vehicle was struck by a car driven by 35-year-old Robert Deaton, of Geismar.
Sandifer says Breaux sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash despite the fact that he was wearing his seat belt.
He says Andrews and Deaton suffered only minor to moderate injuries.
Former Ascension Parish worker booked with theft
GONZALES (AP) — Sheriff’s investigators say a former Ascension Parish fleet management employee has been arrested on theft and other counts and is accused of stealing more than $7,200 in gasoline.
Investigators say the thefts could end up costing as much as $50,000.
Ascension Parish sheriff’s investigators said 36-year-old Corey Richard, of Gonzales, allegedly used parish fuel cards to steal nearly 2,007 gallons of fuel in the month of June.
Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said Richard was booked Thursday on counts of theft greater than $1,500, identity theft and unauthorized use of access card as theft.
It was unclear whether Richard has an attorney.
Sailboat hits Causeway bridge, loses mast
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A violent storm slammed a sailboat into the 22-mile-long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, shaking up the two people on board and knocking down the sailboat’s mast.
A man and woman were on the 31-foot Beneteau sailboat when it hit the bridge Sunday.
“They seemed uninjured. But very shaken,” photographer Ted Jackson said.
The two got the boat away from the bridge, threw down an anchor and waited for the Coast Guard and Causeway police.
Causeway police said the bridge was undamaged.