07:30 Newscast December 31, 2014

Many across the state will celebrate New Years’ Eve by shooting fireworks and State Fire Marshal Butch Browning encourages everyone to be safe. He says you should never light fireworks in your hand. Browning says his office investigated 12 serious firework related injuries during the 4th of July season this year…

cut 5 (11) “injuries occur”

He says you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Elmer Chocolate announces a 40 million dollar expansion to their Ponchatoula factory. CEO Robert Nelson says this addition will create a variety of new jobs at Elmer. He says they look at this expansion as a model for other U.S. manufactures to follow.

cut 11 (10) “at Elmer”

Nelson says this addition is necessary to stay in business for the long haul.

The Hammond Police Department says a 58-year-old man was struck by a train and killed Tuesday. They say 58-year-old Ernest Watts was hearing and speech impaired and believe he did not hear the train as it approached. Authorities say that witnesses yelled out to warn Watts, but he apparently did not hear them. Investigators are trying to determine why Watts was on the tracks.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announce that fourteen juvenile whooping cranes have been released into White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. Wildlife Biologist Sara Zimorski says says even with some set backs, the birds are doing well in this environment. She says last year a young pair of birds nested twice with unfertilized eggs but took the proper steps to incubate…

cut 8 (11) “really positive steps”

Zimorski says a total of 64 whooping cranes have been released since they started to regrow the population in Louisiana and 40 birds are still alive.