BRIDGE SHOOTING-NEW ORLEANS
2 arrested in fatal shooting of father, infant son
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans police have arrested two men in the shooting deaths of a 7-month-old infant and his father in an ambush near a New Orleans bridge spanning the Mississippi River.
Police spokeswoman Remi Braden says 23-year-old Kevin Thomas and 20-year-old Isaac Pierre were arrested Thursday. Both men were booked with two counts of first-degree murder in the Nov. 13 deaths of 7-month old Deshawn Kinard and his father, 25-year-old Deshawn Butler.
Butler and his son were riding in the back of a car when a car drove up beside them and someone in the second car opened fire.
Butler died on the scene. The baby, who was fastened in a car seat, was struck once in the head and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Former Navy officer convict in wife's slaying
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A New Orleans jury deliberated for an hour and a half before convicting a former Navy officer on charges of second-degree murder in the crossbow shooting of his wife in their home in 2011.
The Times-Picayune reports David Marx sat quietly with his head hung low Thursday as Judge Ben Willard read aloud the unanimous verdict.
During the course of the four-day trial, prosecutors told jurors the story of how Marx, a 43-year-old man involved in an out-of-state extra-marital affair, began to see his wife as an "inconvenient burden" and then "planned and executed her brutal murder."
Police said 52-year-old Mary Marx suffered two very serious puncture wounds, one to the face and one to the chest, which an autopsy showed were the result of arrows fired from a crossbow.
LSU Health Shreveport establishes new center
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - A new center at LSU Health Shreveport will help people who suffer strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
The Times reports the Louisiana Board of Regents approved the new center Thursday. The LSU Board of Supervisors in November approved a five-year plan for the center, which will be funded with money from the Feist endowment. The center has a $2 million proposed operating budget.
LSU Health researcher Chris Kevil believes the center will help coordinate existing efforts and spur more research. Kevil will head the center.
Funding sources explored for I-49 project
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Tolls, taxes and selling bonds backed by unclaimed property are some of the ideas floated to pay for construction of Interstate 49 South between Lafayette and the west bank of New Orleans.
The Advertiser reports speakers at an I-49 stakeholders meeting held Thursday in Lafayette discussed the need for I-49 and how to fund it.
Wes Bollinger, the Federal Highway Administration, made the point that there is not currently enough federal money to pay for I-49 in Louisiana.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says it appears Louisiana will have a $140 million to $180 million surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. He says that's one-time money that can be used only for certain things, including highway construction.
ST TAMMANY BUDGET
St. Tammany Parish Council adopts 2014 budget
COVINGTON, La. (AP) - The St. Tammany Parish Council has adopted a $118 million operating and capital budget for 2014 that represents an overall 4 percent increase over the 2013 budget.
The Times-Picayune reports the spending plan, the subject of a series of council budget hearings in the past month, appeared unchanged Thursday from what Parish President Pat Brister presented to the council in October.
At about $103 million, the operating budget will be 1.75 percent higher than that of 2013.
The $15.2 million capital budget is about 27 percent higher than 2013, reflecting an anticipated increase in sales tax revenue that goes toward road improvements and associated drainage work.
ST JAMES-MASTER PLAN
St. James steps closer to adopting master plan
CONVENT, La. (AP) - St. James Parish's proposed master plan, which could direct parish growth over the next 20 years, moved closer to adoption.
The Advocate reports the parish assistant director of operations, Blaine Gravois, asked councilmen Wednesday to adopt the proposed draft.
Gravois says the proposed master plan seeks to encourage economic development and improve infrastructure, reduce land use conflicts between residents and industry, promote affordable housing and preserve historic sites.
GONZALES BALLOON FESTIVAL
Ascension Parish may take over balloon festival
DONALDSONVILLE, La. (AP) - An Ascension Parish Council subcommittee is recommending that the parish take control of the Louisiana Balloon Championship Festival under a new organizational structure.
The Advocate reports the group also proposed having the parish pay up to $100,000 to the nonprofit that put on this year's event in exchange for festival trademarks and leftover merchandise, such as T-shirts and pins, and to cover some event expenses.
The full council is expected to vote on the subcommittee recommendations Dec. 19.
The festival has been put on the past two years at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center by the nonprofit Ascension Festivals and Cultural Council as a promotional event for the parish and the parish government-owned multi-use facility near Gonzales.
Man booked with false billing in Gustav work
LIVINGSTON, La. (AP) - Prosecutors have filed 81 formal charges against a former Livingston Parish contractor accused of falsifying billing invoices and theft related to parish Hurricane Gustav cleanup work.
The Advocate report district attorney's office filed a bill of information Tuesday charging Corey Delahoussaye with 73 counts of filing or maintaining false public records and eight counts of theft.
The bill says the false public records were filed between July 2010 and September 2011.
The action comes about two weeks after a Livingston Parish grand jury, on an 8-2 vote, declined to indict Delahoussaye in the case.
The newspaper reports District Attorney Scott Perrilloux and Delahoussaye declined comment Thursday about the formal charges.
LIVINGSTON PARISH BUDGET
Livingston Parish council slashes budget
LIVINGSTON, La. (AP) - The Livingston Parish Council has refused for the second year in a row to fund the parish's long-delayed road overlay program. It's the latest chapter in the council's ongoing dispute with Parish President Layton Ricks over the hiring of an engineering firm for the work.
The Advocate reports the council also deleted funding for legal fees from the parish's 2014 budget in an attempt to curb costs that have risen dramatically over the past two years.
Ricks declined to comment Thursday night when asked whether he will again issue line-item vetoes for the funding reductions, saying he wanted to think about it over the weekend.
ST LANDRY SCHOOLS
7 St. Landry schools to receive security equipment
OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - The St. Landry Parish School Board is moving forward with plans to install security camera systems at seven of the district's rural school campuses.
The Advocate reports the board agreed Thursday to accept a $91,000 federal grant through the sheriff's office to help pay the costs of the installations and awarded the $146,059 contract for the security equipment to Louisiana Special Systems.
Schools to receive the security devices are Washington Elementary, Northwest High, Plaisance Elementary, North Central High, Grand Prairie Elementary, Lawtell Elementary and Beau Chene High.
The equipment includes hi-resolution cameras, digital video recorders, flat screen monitors and power supplies.
ST MARTIN-FATAL CRASH
St. Martinville man thrown from truck, killed
ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) - State police say a 55-year-old St. Martinville man was killed when his truck struck a ditch embankment and overturned.
Troopers say Brady Hebert was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from his pickup.
Trooper Stephen Hammons says Hebert was traveling north on La. Highway 96 at 10:41 p.m. Wednesday in St. Martin Parish when he crashed.
The accident remains under investigation.
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