11:30 LRN Newscast February 23

A bill for the regular legislative session next month would expand what constitutes “justifiable homicide.” Kevin Gallagher reports on a bill to allow the use of a gun to defend one’s property from rioters.

Cut 3 (31) “…I’m Kevin Gallagher.”

Entergy is appearing before the Public Service Commission seeking to charge customers more than $3 billion to cover storm repair costs. If approved, households would see a $10 monthly surcharge added to their bills for the next 15 years. PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell says Entergy would pay nothing under that plan.

Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell is once again attempting to pass her “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” after last year’s legislative effort forced the first veto session in modern Louisiana history. The bill prohibits a female sports team from allowing students who are not biologically female to participate.

Cut 7 (07) “…of this bill.”

Governor Edwards said he vetoed the bill because it was mean-spirited and searching for a problem that doesn’t exist.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other elected officials were photographed not wearing facemasks at the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball last Friday evening, drawing some ire from the public. Despite the city’s COVID requirements that face masks must be worn inside public spaces, with the exception of eating and drinking, photos from the event appear to show otherwise. City spokesperson Beau Tidwell says the guidelines will remain in place throughout Mardi Gras.

Cut 14 (08) “…this time.”

9:30 LRN Newscast February 23

The bill called the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” that received pushback from transgender advocates and even sparked the first veto session in modern Louisiana history is going for round two. Brooke Thorington has more.

Cut 2 (32) “…I’m Brooke Thorington.”

After photos and videos surfaced of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other elected officials not wearing face masks at a Mardi Gras Ball Friday, spokesperson Beau Tidwell had to address the subject at a press conference.

Cut 13 (07) “…going forward.”

LSU will have its hands full tonight when the men’s basketball team travels to Rupp Arena to face sixth-ranked Kentucky. After going on a three-game win streak the Tigers lost a heartbreaker at South Carolina, dropping them to 2-6 away from home this season. Kentucky is an SEC-best 16-0 on its home floor, and Coach Will Wade has to figure out how to stop possibly the most talented team in the conference.

Cut 16 (13) “…really good pieces.”

The Louisiana Department of Health has confirmed three more pediatric deaths due to the Omicron surge. Two of the three were under five years old. Twenty-one children under the age of 18 have died from COVID-19 in Louisiana since the start of the pandemic. Of those 21, 19 were not yet eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. The Louisiana Department of Health recommends that every one five years of age and older get vaccinated and that everyone 12 years old and above gets boosted when they are eligible.

5:30 LRN Newscast February 22

Members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation express concern as Russian forces show signs of invading Ukraine. Jeff Palermo has the story…

Cut 2 (31) “…I’m Jeff Palermo.”

Two Jefferson Parish Sheriff deputies face manslaughter charges after Sheriff Joe Lopinto says lethal force was not justified in the fatal shooting of Daniel Vallee in Marrero last week. The two deputies turned themselves in Monday night and were booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Facility.

Cut 5 (06) “…defense here.”

Lake Charles is ready to revitalize its lakefront. 2022 has seen a number of new businesses announce their intentions to open locations on the lakefront, bringing food, entertainment, and recreational activities to the long underdeveloped area. It’s been 17 years since talks began on how to bring it back, and Mayor Nic Hunter is glad that things are finally in motion.

Cut 6 (12) “…on our lakefront.”

Hunter says that many of the businesses are expected to be up and running by early next year.

Former St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain will spend the rest of his life behind bars as a judge sentenced Strain to four life sentences, plus another 30 years on top of that. Strain was convicted in November on aggravated rape and incest charges. A mother of one of the victims blames herself for not doing more

Cut 14 (13) “…thought.”

Strain also faces sentencing in federal court on a bribery charge.

4:45 LRN Sportscast February 22

Former New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick raised plenty of eyebrows with his appearance on ESPN’s First Take with some very pointed criticism of Zion Williamson. Redick said Williamson is a “disengaged teammate” and that he had direct conversations with him during his rookie year in front of teammates about his dedication to the franchise. Williamson has not played a game for the Pelicans since May 4th of last season and has missed 118 games since he was taken with the number one pick in 2019.

In baseball matchups from around the state today: the U-L Cajuns host Southeastern at Russo Park in Lafayette, and Grambling is in New Orleans to face UNO.  And Houston makes a visit to Lake Charles to take on McNeese.

Cajuns slugger Connor Kimple has been named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week. Kimple bashed three home runs in just 10 at-bats and drove in six RBI as the Cajuns took two of three over then 14th-ranked Cal-Irvine. He went yard in all three games, becoming the first UL player since 2019 to homer in three consecutive games.

LSU will have its hands full tomorrow when the men’s basketball team travels to Rupp Arena to face sixth-ranked Kentucky. After going on a three-game win streak the Tigers lost a heartbreaker at South Carolina, dropping them to 2-6 away from home this season. Kentucky is an SEC-best 16-0 on their home floor, and Coach Will Wade has to figure out how to stop possibly the most talented team in the conference.

Cut 16 (13) “…really good pieces.”

The UL Cajuns picked up honors on the hardwood as Redshirt freshman forward Kobe Julien posted averages of 20.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, including setting career highs with 26 points and 10 rebounds in a win over ULM on his way to being named the Sun Belt’s basketball Player of the Week.

Nicholls guard Ty Gordon was named Southland Conference Player of the Week for the sixth time this season and the eighth time in his career, both conference records. He averaged 29.5 points and 3.5 assists in two wins for the Colonels, including a career-high 31 in a win over McNeese.

1:30 LRN Newscast February 22

Two Jefferson Parish Sheriff deputies are charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daniel Vallee in Marrero last Wednesday. Brooke Thorington has more.

Cut 1 (34) “…I’m Brooke Thorington.”

Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain was sentenced to four life terms plus 30 years following Strain’s November conviction on aggravated rape and incest charges. Each of the life sentences were mandatory for the aggravated rape charges. Strain was also found guilty on two counts of aggravated incest, one count of sexual battery, and one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Lake Charles is ready to revitalize its lakefront. 2022 has seen a number of new businesses announce their intentions to open locations on the lakefront, bringing food, entertainment, and recreational activities to the long underdeveloped area. It’s been 17 years since talks began on how to bring the area back, and Mayor Nic Hunter is glad that things are finally in motion.

Cut 6 (12) “…on our lakefront.”

U-S Senator Bill Cassidy supports strong economic sanctions against Russia as reports indicate Russian forces have moved into eastern Ukraine. He says sanctions worked against Russia when President Ronald Regan was in office.

Cut 9 (12) “…you name it.”

Cassidy says Louisiana can help play a role in weakening Russia financially as that country relies heavily on revenues from natural gas.

11:40 LRN Sportscast February 22

Entering the season, expectations for LSU baseball’s offense were sky-high. The Tigers did nothing to lower those after posting a program-record 51 runs in their opening series against Maine. Cade Doughty did his part, with five extra-base hits, including two home runs and 12 RBI on his way to winning SEC Player of the Week honors. He likes where the Tigers are right now in their approach at the plate.

Cut 16 (10) “…strive for.”

LSU is back in action on Wednesday at Louisiana Tech, which swept Wichita State in its opening series.

Other in-state baseball matchups today: the U-L Cajuns host Southeastern at Russo Park tonight, and Grambling takes on UNO. Houston visits Lake Charles to take on McNeese.

It’s also a big week for college hoops as the regular season nears its end. Tulane hosts 14th-ranked Houston on Wednesday with the chance to claim sole possession of 3rd place in the American Conference. LSU and Louisiana Tech have big conference matchups on Thursday and Southern will try to reclaim the top spot in the SWAC on Friday.

Brackets are out for the 2022 LHSAA Boys’ Basketball Playoffs. Zachary takes the top seed in Class 5A, Carver is tops in 4A with Madison Prep number one in 3A. In the 2A bracket, Lakeview is the favorite, and North Central leads the way in 1A.

The first round begins on Friday with Marsh Madness scheduled for March 7-12 at Burton Coliseum on the campus of McNeese State University.

The Girls quarterfinals start this weekend, with all top seeds still in action. Their semifinals and championships will be held February 28-March 5 at the University Center at Southeastern.

Nicholls guard Ty Gordon was named Southland Conference Player of the Week for the sixth time this season and the eighth time in his career, both conference records. He averaged 29.5 points and 3.5 assists in two wins for the Colonels, including a career-high 31 in a win over McNeese.

After making contact with a Wisconsin assistant coach following a loss to the Badgers on Saturday, University of Michigan head coach Juwan Howard has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season and fined $40 thousand by the Big Ten. Three players, two from Michigan and one from Wisconsin have been suspended for one game each. Howard will be eligible to coach in the Big Ten tournament next month.

5:30 LRN Newscast February 21

The New Orleans Police Department is investigating the mysterious death of a UNO student who died hours after getting into an Uber after spending Friday night attending parades in Metairie. Jeff Palermo has the story…

Cut 2 (30)…I’m Jeff Palermo”

A shooting at a club rental in Alexandria kills a 17-year-old male and injures two others. Alexandria Police spokesperson Lt. Lane Windham says they were called to Club 318 just before midnight Saturday after shots were fired inside the building. Police are also investigating why so many people were in attendance at the club that night.

Cut 5 (09) “…that many.”

In just six weeks the NCAA men’s Final Four returns to New Orleans. The Superdome has hosted more Final Fours than any other venue, but this is the first since 2012. Today, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Governor John Bel Edwards started the unofficial countdown to the championship and touted the impact of the return of one of the nation’s biggest sporting events.

Cut 6 (11) “…for our economy.”

The Final Four is expected to bring more than 75-thousand visitors to The Crescent City, generating an economic impact of $170 million.

Authorities say no fatalities or major injuries are reported after an explosion at the Marathon Refinery plant in Garyville this morning.  St. John Parish President Jaclyn Hotard says it happened shortly after 9 am and they’ve received several calls from those in the community that heard the explosion of the unit at the refinery.

Cut 10 (07) “…our residents.”

Hotard says Marathon is monitoring air quality in the area.

4:45 LRN Sportscast February 21

The LSU women’s basketball team continues to roll. The Tigers beat number 17 Florida on Sunday, 66-61. With the victory, LSU claims sole possession of second place in the SEC standings and climbs to number eight in the A-P rankings. It’s the highest the Tigers have been since the 2007-08 season when they reached the Final Four. Before beating back the Gators, Kim Mulkey told her team to enjoy the moment.

Cut 21 (16) “…at their school.”

Alexis Morris scored a game-high 20 points for LSU.

After a three-game sweep of Maine where LSU scored a program-record 51 runs, it should come as no surprise that one of the Tigers has earned the first SEC Player of the Week award of the new season. Sophomore infielder Cade Doughty was selected for the honor after batting .571 with three doubles, two home runs, seven runs scored, and 12 driven in over 14 at-bats.

The U-L Cajuns took two of three from 14th-ranked Cal-Irvine, the defending Big West Conference Champions, over the weekend. UNO won three games over three different opponents at the Andre Dawson Classic, while UL-M dropped two of three against Southern Illinois. Louisiana Tech swept its three-game set with Wichita State, with reliever Kyle Crigger earning Conference USA Pitcher of the Week honors after picking up a win and a save in two scoreless appearances.

Dennis Allen continues to fill out his staff, as University of Tennessee receivers coach Kodi Burns has been hired for the same role with the New Orleans Saints, according to a report by ESPN. The Saints have struggled to find consistent production at the wideout position over the last two seasons with Michael Thomas missing 26 of the 33 games in that time. Last season, Marquez Callaway led the team with 698 yards, the lowest total for a Saints top receiver since Eric Martin’s 675 in 1986.

Back in Baton Rouge, LSU’s new receivers coach and passing game coordinator, Cortez Hankton, will remain with the team after interviewing with the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Hankton joined Brian Kelly’s staff last month after four seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs.

1:30 LRN Newscast February 21

A shooting at a club rental in Alexandria kills a 17-year-old male and injures two others. Alexandria Police spokesperson Lt. Lane Windham says they were called to Club 318 just before midnight Saturday after shots were fired inside the building. Windham says they are also investigating why several hundred people were in attendance at the club in the 2100 block of Lee Street.

Cut 5 (09) “…that many.”

Police are asking for anyone with information about the shooting to contact them.

The State Fire Marshal’s office says a six-year-old child rescued from a burning mobile home in New Iberia has died. Spokesperson Ashley Rodrigue says two adults and six children were inside the home on Sunday afternoon when the fire started and the six-year-old was the only one that didn’t get out safely.

Cut 11 (11)   “…later died.”

Rodrigue says the exact cause of the fire is not yet known.

In just six weeks the NCAA men’s Final Four returns to New Orleans. Today, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Governor John Bel Edwards started the unofficial countdown to the championship. With Mardi Gras already in full swing, and Festival season following right behind, Mayor Cantrell is excited to see the city reopening itself to the world. She said that New Orleans has done its part by reducing COVID rates in the city after 2020 and rallying its civic and business partners.

Cut 8 (12) “…spirit of this community.”

Authorities say no fatalities or major injuries are reported at an explosion at the Marathon Refinery plant in Garyville this morning.  St. John Parish President Jaclyn Hotard says it happened shortly after 9 am, and they’ve received several calls from those in the community that heard the explosion of the unit at the refinery.

Cut 10 (07) “…our residents.”

Hotard says Marathon is monitoring air quality in the area.

11:40 LRN Sportscast February 21

With four games left in the regular season, the LSU men’s basketball team is 7-and-7 in the SEC tied with three other teams for fifth place. The Tigers let one get away on Saturday as they fell to South Carolina 77-75. Tari Eason had 21 points to lead the way for the Tigers, but he also had six turnovers, including a critical one with 1:43 left that led to a South Carolina dunk and a three-point Gamecocks lead…

Cut 18 (20) “…fought hard.”

The LSU women, however, continue to roll. The 11th-ranked Tigers beat number 17 Florida on Sunday, 66-61. With the victory, LSU moves into sole possession of second place in the SEC standings with just two games to play. More than 13 thousand were on hand to watch the Tigers, the fourth-largest crowd in program history. Alexis Morris scored a game-high 20 points for LSU.

After shooting 34-percent from the field in a loss Thursday to UTEP, Louisiana Tech rebounded to shoot 53-percent Saturday in a 95-71 win over UTSA. Bulldogs coach Eric Konkol says his team responded well to Thursday’s loss…

Cut 19 (20) _“… playing with confidence”

On the diamond, Bulldogs baseball took three from Wichita State. In Lafayette, the Ragin Cajuns won their series with 14th-ranked Cal-Irvine and UNO won three straight as hosts of the Andre Dawson Classic.

The Jay Johnson-era of LSU baseball is off to a swinging start. The Tigers opened the season with a three-game sweep of Maine and in doing so, scored a program-record 51 runs topping the previous record of 45 set against Western Kentucky in 1996. LSU batters combined to hit .388 with 45 hits, including seven home runs and 49 RBI.