Louisiana news briefs
New Orleans’ longtime coroner retiring at age 84
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Longtime Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard won’t run for an 11th term, after all.
The 84-year-old coroner filed a notarized form Monday asking Louisiana’s secretary of state to drop his name from the Feb. 1 ballot.
Minyard — an off-hours amateur jazz musician whose campaign posters showed him playing trumpet — has been coroner for 40 years.
He scheduled a news conference Monday.
“I still love the job, but the position needs young blood, somebody who’s computer literate,” Minyard said. “I feel like it would be selfish for me to continue.”
Minyard’s medical training is as an obstetrician-gynecologist. So is that of political newcomer Vincent Culotta Jr., one of three remaining candidates.
The others are Minyard’s deputy, forensic psychiatrist Jeffrey Rouse; and Dwight McKenna, an internist, surgeon and former school board member who has challenged Minyard several times.
Minyard, whose term ends March 31, said he’s endorsing Rouse.
Levee around 26-acre sinkhole cracking again
BAYOU CORNE (AP) — Assumption Parish officials say that the levee around the 26-acre Bayou Corne sinkhole has cracked during a wave of underground micro-tremors.
It’s the same area where the earth-and-limestone levee sank a bit and cracks developed in late October. Those were repaired.
The levee was built to keep the salty and sometimes oily water out of surrounding freshwater swamps.
The sinkhole developed in August 2012 after a salt dome cavern operated by Texas Brine Co. collapsed deep underground.
It’s now oval, with growth zones moving northeast and southwest, toward Louisiana Highway 70 and the Bayou Corne waterway.
Texas Brine documents filed with the state don’t suggest the sinkhole will reach either. But they say it is edging closer to the southern levee just north of Bayou Corne.
Body believed to be that
of missing woman found
OPELOUSAS (AP) — A missing woman’s husband led investigators to her body, but told them he’d found her dead in June, St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said.
A bond hearing was scheduled Monday for Arthur Tillett, 59, who was booked with obstructing justice in the search for Sandra Tillett, 64. It was not clear whether he had an attorney.
“He did not admit to contributing to her death,” Guidroz said. “Our investigation is ongoing.”
A woman’s body was found Saturday under a shed. An autopsy will be conducted in Lafayette to confirm the body’s identity and whether the cause of death can be identified.
Man accused of hitting
3 police officers, DWI
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say a man was booked with drunk driving and hit-and-run after an accident that injured three police officers.
Officer Frank Robertson says the officers were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. He says they were hit about 3 a.m. Sunday while standing on the interstate near the Esplanade Ave. exit from Interstate 10 to investigate an earlier accident.
Robertson, a police spokesman, says 34-year-old Percy R. Smith was booked with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, disregarding the officers’ signal, and hit-and-run.
The online information search for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office shows that Smith also was being held on two drug charges and one of violating parole.
12-year-old arrested in attempted killing of baby
NEW ORLEANS — Authorities say a 12-year-old girl has been charged in Washington Parish with attempted first-degree murder for allegedly trying to kill her 8-month-old niece.
Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Haley said the girl gave the baby two doses of liquid prescription medicine over a two-day period.
Haley says the 12-year-old told authorities she was jealous of the attention being given to the infant.
The Sheriff’s Office began investigating the incident about five days ago after it received a report of the alleged abuse from the Department of Children and Family Services.
The 12-year-old’s name is being withheld because she is a juvenile.
2 top officials leave
BP oil spill claims office
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two top officials of a fund that pays compensation in connection with the 2010 BP oil spill have resigned, just months after the two were accused of engaging in improper conduct.
Program head Patrick Juneau confirms that CEO David Odom and Chief Operating Officer Kirk Fisher have resigned.
“They desire to move on to other business opportunities,” he said in an emailed statement.
The process of paying claims will not be interrupted by their departure, Juneau said. Attempts at reaching both Odom and Fisher by phone or by other contact information were unsuccessful.
Juneau refused to comment on BP’s allegation that the resignations follow reports that the men entertained subordinates at a strip club that got $550,000 in oil spill claims. The allegation is online in an ad BP says will run Monday in three major newspapers. BP won’t identify the club.
Reward offered for information on dead black bear
BATON ROUGE (AP) — State wildlife officials are offering up to $6,000 for information leading to the conviction of whoever shot and killed a black bear in Concordia Parish.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Enforcement Division was notified Dec. 20 about a dead black bear in the woods in the Yancey Wildlife Management Area.
A necropsy revealed the bear had been dead for about week and had been shot through the ribcage. The angle of the bullet wound indicates it was shot from an elevated deer stand.
The department’s Operation Game Thief program is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is offering up to $5,000 to find who shot the animal.
Violators can get up to six months I jail and a $50,000 fine plus restitution of $10,000.
The department’s Operation Game Thief program is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is offering up to $5,000 to find who shot the animal. Anyone with information should call the game thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511.