LRN PM Newscall April 21

The Louisiana Department of Education is asking childcare providers impacted by the economic shutdown to apply for a piece of a 10 million dollar federal award. Matt Doyle has more.

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The Pastor of Life Tabernacle Church who continues to hold large church services was arrested at the Central Police Department after he allegedly tried to run over a protestor Sunday. Brooke Thorington has more.

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The Louisiana Department of Education will award nearly 10 million dollars to childcare providers who are hurting for cash during the coronavirus shutdown.

Assistant State Superintendent Jessica Baghian says only about 30 percent of childcare centers are still open, and even the ones still open are bleeding cash.

Cut 3 (08)  “…and it happens.”  

A report indicates child care providers have already experienced a 1.7 million dollar loss in revenue since the shutdown began.

Applicants must complete an assistance form by Thursday, and the money is expected to be disbursed in early May. Baghian says it’s a vital injection of funds.

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One-third of providers say they’ll have to close permanently if the state remains shutdown, and Baghian says we can’t afford to lose them.

Cut 5 (11)  “…of making payroll.”

The money comes courtesy of the congressionally passed CARES Act.


Defiant Pastor Tony Spell was arrested today for allegedly backing a church bus into the direction of a protester on Sunday. Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran says Spell wanted to be arrested at his church this morning following a press conference, but he was handcuffed at the Central Police Department instead.

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Spell was booked in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for aggravated assault, improper backing, plus two outstanding bench warrants. He was released a short time later on bond. Spell’s attorney Joe Long says the pastor was only going to confront the protestor not run him over.

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When questioned if today’s arrest would deter Spell from holding large services as opposed to live stream, Corcoran wasn’t sure.

Cut 8 (09) “…President’s order”

Long says the Life Tabernacle Church plans to hold services tonight as usual. Police say the number of people attending the services has declined lately. Spell already faces six misdemeanor counts for violating the governor’s order regarding crowd sizes.


Congressman Garret Graves is optimistic Congress will approve additional funding for a program designed to help small businesses maintain payroll.

The 350 billion dollar program ran out of cash just 13 days after it began dispersing money earlier this month, and Graves says now many businesses can’t access the funds.

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The program offers forgivable loans to companies with fewer than 500 employees who spend 75 percent of their loan allotment on payroll. Graves says it was highly popular.

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Qualifying businesses received a loan worth 2.5 times their average monthly payroll from 2019.

Graves says the program has bipartisan support but it’s being held up by politicians who want to tie it to pet projects.

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Graves says if the program isn’t replenished by the end of the month then everyone in Congress should be thrown out.


A survey of crawfish producers shows the decreased demand for their crop has pummeled the industry at a time when producers usually make their most money. LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry says a dip in demand has resulted in lost income of about $500 per acre.

Cut 12 (07) “…farm gate value.”

The survey findings are being used to showcase the pandemic’s impact on the industry to the US Department of Agriculture and Louisiana congressional delegation.

The normal crawfish production season starts near the end of December and will go through the middle of June, but Guidry says some producers have already pulled the plug on their season or will end it by the first week of May because of prices falling below their breakeven point.

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Guidry says producers who hired foreign labor to bring in the catch are still on the hook to pay those workers for a guaranteed amount of a full season’s work due to contractual obligations.

Cut 14 (07) “…pay for that.”

A total of 67 producers responded to the survey, representing more than 10% of the acres in the state.