8:30 am Newscast

There are burn bans in affect in parts of Louisiana this morning after dry and windy conditions contributed to a record number of wildfires over the weekend. State Ag and Forestry officials say there were 124 fires in Louisiana from Friday to Monday. Commissioner Mike Strain says dry vegetation and high winds allowed brush piles that were being burned to quickly get out of control and others who were burning timber.

Cut 14 (09) “…get away from you.”
As rural hospitals across the country struggle to maintain services and some even to survive, Louisiana is right there as one in four here are at risk.   But Tulane Professor of Health Policy and Management Mark Diana says Louisiana has taken some steps that may put us in a better position than other states.

Cut 11 (08) “…expanded Medicaid.” 

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Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple will push for fewer regulations as part of his agenda for the regular legislative session. Jeff Palermo has the story…

Cut 1 (31) “…I’m Jeff Palermo”
The number are in on Mardi Gras and law enforcement is reporting they made 383 arrests in New \Orleans and removed 143 guns from the French Quarter and Downtown Development District during a twelve day period leading up to Fat Tuesday. That’s a slight increase over last year. Meanwhile New Orleans Emergency Medical Services saw a 41 percent increase in calls this year over the same time last year.

 

 

7:30 am Newscast

Rural hospitals across the country are in precarious financial situations and in Louisiana more than one in four are struggling financially, putting them at risk for closure. Tulane Professor of Health Policy and Management Mark Diana says closure isn’t the only risk…

Cut 10 (12) “…communities.”

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple is talking about the upcoming regular legislative session, saying he wants to cut down on the number of regulations insurance companies face in Louisiana, so more providers will want to do business here. Temple says he’ll lobby for the end of the three-year rule, which prohibits insurers from dropping a customer they’ve insured for three years…

Cut 5 (05) “…in the state.” 

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Ahead of the upcoming special legislative session, there’s buzz about setting lifetime limits on our state’s top job. As it stands now, a governor can serve two consecutive terms and then must sit out the next election cycle but can run again in four years. Chalmette Republican Representative Mike Bayham’s measure would limit gubernatorial terms to two and no more.

Cut 8 (09) “…for Louisiana?” 
State officials are urging residents to be extremely cautious about lighting anything on fire after dry and windy conditions contributed to a record number of wildfires over four days. State Ag and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says from Friday to Monday there were 124 fires in Louisiana.

Cut 13 (07)  “…four-day weekend.”

 

6:30 am Newscast

Legislation to place a lifetime limit of two terms as governor in Louisiana has been filed for the upcoming regular session. Chalmette Republican, Representative Mike Bayham says serving as governor is one of the highest honors any civilian can have in the state.

Cut 7 (07) “…already served?”

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple is discussing his agenda for the upcoming regular legislative session. Temple says he’ll ask lawmakers to put more state dollars towards the popular fortified roof program, which gives homeowners in south Louisiana ten thousand dollars to strengthen their roofs.

Cut 4 (11) “…stay dry.”

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More than one in four Louisiana rural hospitals are at risk of closing or having to cut services according to a report from Chartis, a national health care consulting firm. Colleen Crain has more…

Cut 3 (32) “…I’m Colleen Crain.”
LSU’s star gymnast, Olivia Dunne, is getting more prominent endorsement deals, with her latest NIL contract earning her a spot on a billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square, according to our partners at Nola.com. Dunne’s ad for Nautica appeared in Times Square on Monday. Earlier this month, Nautica announced it signed a deal with Dunne, making her a brand ambassador for women’s sportswear.

 

 

5:30 LRN Newscast Feb 27

51-year-old Leon Ruffin, who escaped when he was being transported back to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center from the hospital Sunday, is back in custody. Sheriff Joe Lopinto says Ruffin, who pepper-sprayed a female deputy and stole her vehicle was located Tuesday afternoon in an East New Orleans hotel. He says it was a group effort by multiple agencies.

Cut 13 couple of days. :13

Lopinto expects there will be multiple arrests and the investigation of his escape is far from over.

 

The National Safety Council says Louisiana saw a ten-percent decline in the number of highway deaths in 2023.  Louisiana Highway Safety Commission spokesperson Mark Lambert says fewer drunk driving wrecks has led to the decrease…

Cut 3 (05) “…alcohol fatalities”  

Louisiana Farm Bureau President Jim Harper is not seeking a fourth-term Bureau spokesperson Avery Davidson.

Cut 9 (11) “…came on.” 

Davidson says this ends Harper’s 25 years of service with the federation, having also served as first vice president and a board member. Delegates will elect a new president at their annual convention in June.

Dr. Martin Lemelle has been chosen to serve as Grambling State University’s 11th president. As a graduate of GSU, Lemelle says he’s looking forward to leading the university in its next chapter. He says he wants the HBCU to continue to grow programs launched under former president Rick Gallot, like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and nursing.

Cut 7 (10) “…of history.”  

 

4:30 PM Newscast

Authorities have recaptured Leon Ruffin, the murder suspect who escaped custody by pepper spraying a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy while being transported back to jail from the hospital Sunday. Sheriff Joe Lopinto says Ruffin was found locked up in a New Orleans East Hotel

Cut 26 (08)…most of the time

He was taken into custody and transported to the Orleans Parish Correctional Center.

Louisiana saw a ten-percent decline in the number of highway deaths in 2023 According to the National Safety Council. There was a rise in fatal wrecks at the end of the pandemic. But Louisiana Highway Safety Commission spokesperson Mark Lambert says law enforcement agencies have brought back strategies that can reduce crashes, like the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It Or Ticket campaigns.

Cut 4 (09) “…2023”

State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter has resigned. Brooke Thorington has more on the physician who led the state through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cut 2 (32)  “…I’m Brooke Thorington.” 

Grambling State University has chosen Dr. Martin Lemelle to serve as its 11th president. Lemelle is a 2006 graduate and served as the executive vice president and chief financial officer at GSU from 2016 to 2021. He says the appointment is a lifelong dream come true.

Cut 6  (08) “…to serve.” 

3:30 PM Newscast Feb 27

The 11th President Grambling State University has been chosen Dr. Martin Lemelle a graduate of Grambling will serve. As an undergraduate Lemelle served as president of the student government association and since being named the next president of the university, he hopes it serves as an inspiration for students.

Cut 8 (11) “…their education.” 

Lemelle most recently served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Maryland Institute College of Art. In October former President Rick Gallot was named UL System President.

Louisiana Farm Bureau President Jim Harper is not seeking a fourth term Bureau spokesperson Avery Davidson says Harper, who’s 71 years old, began his first term as president in 2020, which was a difficult year at the height of the pandemic.

Cut 10 (07) “…this organization.”

Delegates will elect a new president at their annual convention in June.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has received criticism for using only one deputy to transport escaped murder suspect Leon Ruffin from the hospital to the jail. But Sheriff Joe Lopinto says single-deputy cars are used almost every single day and if the critics want to help, they can become a deputy…

Cut  14 (15) “..in real life.”

The National Safety Council says Louisiana was one of 12 states that saw a decrease in car accident deaths. Lambert says while people dying in vehicles is on the decline, they are seeing an increase in fatal wrecks involving people outside of the vehicle…

Cut 5 (06) “..has been up”

2:30 PM Newscast Feb 27

51-year-old Leon Ruffin, from Algiers is still at large after he escaped while being transported back to jail from Ochsner Westbank Sunday. Ruffin was charged in November with second-degree murder in the death of a longtime friend. Sheriff Joe Lopinto believes Ruffin faked a seizure in order to be taken to the hospital and it was his plan the whole time to break free.

Cut 13 (09) “…original charge”  

Dr. Martin Lemelle is the choice to lead Grambling State University as its 11th president. As a graduate of GSU, Lemelle says he’s looking forward to leading the university in its next chapter. He says he wants to the HBCU to continue to grow programs launched under former president Rick Gallot, like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and nursing.

Cut 7 (10) “…of history.”  

The National Safety Council says there was a ten-percent decline in 2023 in the number of people killed on Louisiana’s highways. Jeff Palermo has the story…

Cut 1 (31)  “…I’m Jeff Palermo”

Louisiana Farm Bureau President Jim Harper announces he is not seeking a fourth term. He wants to spend more time with family. Harper farms sugarcane, rice, crawfish, and soybeans with his brother in Rapides Parish. Davidson says while Harper’s decision to not seek re-election was a difficult one, family comes first.

Cut 11 (08) “…well represented.”

Delegates will elect a new president at their annual convention in June.

1:30 PM Newscast Feb 27

A manhunt continues for a murder suspect who escaped custody by pepper spraying a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy. Sheriff Joe Lopinto says a deputy was driving 51-year-old Leon Ruffin from the hospital back to the jail, when he complained from the back seat about a boot on one of his feet. Lopinto says the deputy stopped and attempted to help Ruffin…

Cut 12 (10)  “…the door”  

Lopinto says after Ruffin sprayed the deputy with the pepper spray and took off in the SUV. The vehicle has been recovered but Ruffin remains on the run.

According to the National Safety Council, Louisiana saw a ten-percent decline in the number of highway deaths in 2023.  Louisiana Highway Safety Commission spokesperson Mark Lambert says fewer drunk driving wrecks has led to the decrease…

Cut 3 (05) “…alcohol fatalities”  

State Health Officer Dr Joe Kanter has resigned. Brooke Thorington has more on the physician who led the state through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cut 2 (32)  “…I’m Brooke Thorington.” 

The Louisiana Farm Bureau announces President Jim Harper will not seek a fourth term instead he’s opting to spend more time with his family. Bureau spokesperson Avery Davidson says this ends Harper’s 25 years of service with the federation, having also served as first vice president and a board member.

Cut 9 (08) “…came on.” 

12:30 PM Newscast

Grambling State University has chosen Dr. Martin Lemelle to serve as its 11th president. Lemelle is a 2006 graduate and served as the executive vice president and chief financial officer at GSU from 2016 to 2021. He says the appointment is a lifelong dream come true.

Cut 6  (08) “…to serve.” 

In 2023, the national first-time pass rate for the National Licensure examination for registered nurses was 79-percent and LSU-Alexandria just had 100 of their 40 recent grads pass on the NCLEX on their 1st attempt.  Director of the LSUA’s School of Nursing Sarita James says most of their students are working parents or individuals working on a second career…

Cut 16 (09) “…very doable.” 

Legislation to expand methods to carry out the death penalty Senate Judiciary Monday. Brooke Thorington has more.

Cut 22 (34) “…I’m Brooke Thorington.”

11:30 LRN Newscast Feb 27

Senate-approved legislation to lower the age a person can be charged with a felony as an adult from 18 to 17 advances from House Criminal Justice. Louisiana Sheriffs Association executive director Michael Ranatza says 17-year-olds offenders at juvenile facilities are causing serious problems…

Cut 7 (13) “…35 year old.”

A bill to expand methods to carry out the death penalty passed in Senate Judiciary C Monday. Committee members heard from individuals on both sides of the issue. Speaking against House Bill 6 was Brett Malone, whose mother was murdered December 2000. He says killing the man who killed his mother won’t help anyone and he asked just how far they will go to carry out executions.

Cut 11 (11) “…to the lions.” 

The amended bill advances to the Senate.

WalletHub has named 2024’s Best and Worst States for Women and the news is not good for Louisiana. Colleen Crain has the story…

Cut 1 (32) “…I’m Colleen Crain.”

 

Funeral arrangements have been announced for St. Mary Parish Sheriff Blaise Smith. He passed away Saturday after a long illness. There will be a procession beginning in Franklin Thursday morning with visitation at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium at 11am and the funeral will begin at 3pm. Smith was 75.