GOHSEP, the Louisiana National Guard and other key state agencies are taking part in an Emergency Response Exercise on Saturday. Jeff Palermo reports…:
A bill that will be debated in the upcoming legislative session calls for the elimination of the death penalty in Louisiana. Emelie Gunn has more….
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Louisiana National Guard are getting together with several key state agencies for an Emergency Response Exercise on Saturday. GOHSEP spokesperson Mike Steele says this is an effort to synchronize response efforts the next time disaster strikes…:
Steele says experts continue to say our warm winter conditions could mean an increase in severe weather for the spring and early summer. He says there is a lot that goes in to responding to an emergency, from the communications side, to partners on the local level indicating where the needs are…:
Steele says the response efforts from these groups continue to get better and better thanks to exercises like this, but it’s also important for the public to know that rescue may not come right away. He says with the floods last year, some communities were completely isolated because of water impacting roadways which is why residents need their own strategy:
The University of Louisiana at Monroe is looking for new homes for some of the biology research collections at the Museum of Natural History. Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Eric Pani says preserved specimens of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and plants will be given to other institutions.
The fish collection has three to six million specimens. Pani says the animal specimens, which are preserved in a mixture of alcohol and water, and the dry organic plants are flammable. He says they need proper fire suppression and alarm systems, which is why they have to be moved. He adds ULM isn’t using the collections as much since research funding has been cut.
Pani says a portion of the collections will be kept on campus for teaching purposes, and the faculty will decide what specimens are needed to support their classes. He says it was a difficult decision to let these collections go.
The timeline for rehoming the collections is sometime this summer.
A Baton Rouge lawmaker is calling for the end of the death penalty in Louisiana for first degree murder and first degree rape offenses committed after July 31st. Republican Senator Dan Claitor says the death penalty cheapens life, which degrades society. He says his Catholic religion teaches everyone’s life is sacred from conception to natural death.
The last person to be put to death was Gerald Bordelon in 2010. Currently, Louisiana does not have the drugs needed to perform a lethal injection. Claitor says locking up offenders for the rest of their life is a better punishment than the death penalty. He says if signed into law, this bill would not affect inmates on death row at the present time.
Claitor says Louisiana spends a tremendous amount of money on the lethal injection drug and the death penalty is not reducing murders in the state. He expects he’ll receive a lot of support because the death penalty is a costly case to prosecute.
Two charter buses carrying students from Lee Magnet High School in Baton Rouge collided on I-10 in LaPlace sending over two dozen kids to the hospital. State Police Trooper Melissa Matey says the students were on a field trip to visit the World War II Museum and attend a New Orleans Pelicans game. She says the buses were traveling behind each other.
Matey says over two dozen students aged 16 to 17 were transported to multiple hospitals in the area with minor injuries. She says the bus driver who hit the other bus faces charges.
Adonica Pelichet Duggan with the East Baton Rouge School System says all parents have been notified with the location of their child. She says it’s upsetting that these kids were injured after being rewarded with a field trip for good behavior.
Former Marksville City Marshal, Derrick Stafford, who fatally shot a six-year-old autistic boy during a chase has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. Stafford was convicted of manslaughter. Judge Billy Bennett ruled he must severe at least 20 years before he’s eligible for parole. Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino…
Stafford faced a maximum sentence of 60-years because he was also convicted of attempted manslaughter. Ciolino says he’s surprised Stafford will spend 40 years behind bars because this wasn’t a premeditated shooting. But he says this is a crime of violence.
The shooting occurred in November of 2015. The boy’s father, Christopher Few, was also shot. Police body camera video showed Few with his hands up at the time of the shooting. Stafford testified during the trial that he fired his weapon in self-defense and didn’t know the boy was in the car. Ciolino says this is a lengthy sentence for a terrible mistake.