Louisiana news briefs
Scabies quarantine ends at N.O. jail
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A quarantine has been lifted at Orleans Parish Prison after officials concluded that a scabies outbreak among female inmates has ended.
About 60 women inmates in a dormitory were quarantined from Wednesday through Friday. The move came after five inmates were found to have been infected with the microscopic mites, which spread quickly in confined spaces like jails.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Phillip Stelly says the scabies infestation was first noticed Tuesday after a female inmate complained to prison medical staff about itching. Four more female inmates exhibited similar symptoms the following day and medical staff also diagnosed them with scabies.
Stelly says the five infested inmates were treated with a medicinal lotion and their mattresses were disinfected. They were issued new clothing and laundry bags.
100s of birds confiscated
from trailer home
LAWTELL (AP) — St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot says authorities have confiscated hundreds of birds and about 20 dogs from a house trailer near Lawtell.
Donald James LaFleur, 61, was booked Friday on one count of animal cruelty.
It was not clear whether he had an attorney.
On Friday, dozens of people hauled cage after cage stuffed with birds from his trailer. There were barnyard fowl, pet birds, even peacocks and pheasants.
Fontenot says LaFleur’s business is selling birds, but a potential customer called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to report the conditions.
Fontenot says there were too many animals for the shelter, but LaFleur’s sister lives next door and agreed to care for some left in outdoor cages.
Hunter safety class offered in Lafourche
RACELAND (AP) — The Lafourche Sheriff’s Office will offer a free safety course for hunters Aug. 30 to 31.
The class will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lafourche Parish Government Complex on La. 1 and from 8 to 11 a.m. on Aug. 31 at the Sheriff’s Office shooting range on La.182.
Registration can be made online at www.register-ed.com/events/view/50505. More information about the class is available by calling 985-449-4480.
Commercial amberjack season to close Aug. 25
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Officials of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say the commercial fishing season for greater amberjack in Louisiana state waters will close Aug. 25 at 12:01 a.m.
The department says the harvest for the 2014 season is expected to be about 409,000 pounds by the time the season closes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has closed federal waters to recreational and commercial amberjack fishing for the remainder of 2014.
La. auditor critical of St. Joseph’s practices
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A state legislative auditor says she is concerned about the town of St. Joseph’s fiscal management after reviewing the town audit report for 2012-13.
Assistant Louisiana Legislative Auditor Joy Irwin said the auditor’s office will closely monitor the Tensas Parish town’s practices and will determine over the next few months how to best proceed.
“I will ultimately send them a letter asking them to detail what they will do to correct it,” Irwin said. “What’s going to happen from here on out, I don’t know yet.”
Actions by the auditor’s office could include bringing the town’s financial practices before the state’s audit advisory council for review. Among the findings was the fact that the report was not submitted to the auditor’s office within the required 180 days after the conclusion of the fiscal year.
The town also did not file payroll tax returns in a timely manner and did not file municipal retirement system forms on time, the report showed.
According to the auditor’s report, the town did not have liability insurance on its vehicles and held at least five town meetings without the required public notice. It also said the town donated more than $9,000 to charitable or private organizations without cooperative endeavor agreements.
Louisiana law requires such agreements to be made.
State law prohibits public bodies from donating taxpayer funds, “especially when the town doesn’t have the money to begin with,” Irwin said.
The mayor, who was not named in the audit, also had personal charges of $525 on the town’s credit card during the year. According to the report, the charges were repaid, “however, use of the town’s credit card is not allowed under state law.”
Assessor finds more properties through technology
GONZALES (AP) — Knowledge is power — and, in Ascension Parish, it apparently also means a lot more tax revenue for local government.
With a trove of new data collected earlier this year through an aerial imagery project, new electronically submitted building permits and an updated website, Ascension Parish Assessor M.J. Smiley Jr. is adding existing, unreported properties onto the tax rolls.
Smiley said the projected increase is estimated to mean about $11.5 million in additional tax revenue for the parish school board, Sheriff Jeff Wiley and other local governments.
Smiley says property owners can review their assessments on the office’s upgraded website and discuss them with his staff. The review period ends Aug. 29.
La. making push against drunk driving
LAKE CHARLES (AP) — Law enforcement from around the state are in the midst of a statewide push to curb impaired driving.
‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ will continue through Labor Day, Sept. 1.
State police Sgt. James Anderson said 63 percent of the people killed in fatal crashes worked by troopers in southwest Louisiana’s Troop D in 2013 were killed by impaired drivers.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is coordinating the efforts.
During the 2013 Labor Day holiday, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says11 people were killed in vehicle accidents around the state, seven of those in alcohol-related crashes.
Deputies: Parents passing out on heroin
METAIRIE (AP) — Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies say a mother and father passed out on heroin with their two young sons in the car.
Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, says 41-year-old Michael Pierce and 34-year-old Melanie Pierce, of Denham Springs, were found Sunday in their car in the parking lot of a Metairie restaurant.
Fortunato says they face charges that include endangering a child, having drugs and paraphernalia in the presence of a child and possession of heroin.
He says the children, aged 4 years and 11 months, were taken to the hospital, but suffered no injuries. Fortunato says the children were then released to their grandparents.
It was unclear if the Pierces have an attorney.