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Thibodaux teen accused of threatening students, teachers

Thibodaux teen accused of threatening students, teachers

THIBODAUX - Louisiana authorities say a 17-year-old faces terrorizing charges after schoolmates said he had a list of students he planned to kill and also had threatened some teachers.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says in a statement that the student told investigators he no longer had the list but remembered the names, and had planned to bring a shotgun to Thibodaux High School to shoot specific students.

Lt. Brennan Matherne says the youth was hospitalized for a mental health evaluation after being taken into custody and will be arrested on terrorizing and assault charges once he's out of the hospital. The teen wasn't identified.

Webre says more charges are possible.

He says other students "bravely" told an administrator about the alleged comments and threats.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 8:59 pm


Bicyclist blames Waze for directing him into Lincoln Tunnel

Bicyclist blames Waze for directing him into Lincoln Tunnel

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York City bicyclist delivering Chinese food is blaming the Waze navigation app for directing him into the busy Lincoln Tunnel, where bikes are banned.

A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman says 19-year-old Bruce Lee was stopped Tuesday evening after he pedaled into the tunnel, which connects Manhattan and New Jersey.

The Staten Island man told police that he was directed into the tunnel under the Hudson River by the Waze app on his phone.

He was arrested on charges of trespass and criminal possession of a weapon after a dagger was found in his possession. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could comment.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 8:48 pm


Several bodies still unidentified in cemetery impacted by 2016 flood

Several bodies still unidentified in cemetery impacted by 2016 flood

DENHAM SPRINGS - About 15 cemetery vaults still sit above the ground at Plainview Cemetery in Livingston Parish.

They were pushed out of their graves during the 2016 flood.

"We had a record problem and identity problems," Plainview Cemetery Board member Fred Banks said. "Some of these were old graves that have been here for a long period of time."

The only thing indicating who's inside are plaques with the gender of the person and a state ID number. Names are unknown.

"Some of these washed out of caskets and we tried every means to identify them," Banks said.

Plainview was the worst-hit cemetery in the state by the flood, with more than 240 graves disturbed. The damage ranged from minor to entire vaults removed from the ground.

"Caskets, bodies, vaults were all over the place."

All but the last 15 have been identified and reinterred.

Even with the help of a state archeologist and the FACES lab at LSU, the bodies in these 15 vaults still could not be identified.

"We're going to set a section of the cemetery up. It's going to be called the unknown section and we are going to bury these 15 in that one section," Banks said.

But they will have to wait a little longer. Because the ground at Plainview is still too wet to rebury the vaults.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 7:39 pm


BREC hires group to study possible new site for Baton Rouge Zoo

BREC hires group to study possible new site for Baton Rouge Zoo

BATON ROUGE - BREC has hired an engineering group to study a piece of land that could be the future home of the Baton Rouge Zoo.

According to BREC, Duplantis Design Group was hired to do preliminary feasibility analysis of the Airline Highway Park. That contract now includes site investigative services, conceptual plan assistance and wetlands delineation as well.

A BREC spokesperson says the site is now considered feasible and they're looking into what further work would need to be done.

The analysis is the latest development in an ongoing effort to relocate the Baton Rouge Zoo after commissioners on the public parks board voted to identify "alternative" locations back in August.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 6:36 pm


US: Pence ready to talk to North Korea, but they canceled meeting

US: Pence ready to talk to North Korea, but they canceled meeting

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration says Vice President Mike Pence was ready to meet with representatives from North Korea during his visit to the Olympic Games in South Korea, but North Korea canceled at the last minute.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says that Pence "was ready to take this opportunity" and would have used the meeting to emphasize U.S. concerns about the North's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Nauert says the U.S. regrets North Korea's "failure to seize this opportunity."


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 6:31 pm


Police patrols back at Baker city schools

Police patrols back at Baker city schools

BAKER- Police are on patrol at Baker School campuses for the first time in months.

The decision to bring officers back on the schools campuses came after the recent tragedy in Florida. Baker Police Chief Carl Dunn says schools are now a part of the daytime officer's routine patrols.

"We're going to walk the halls, and I told them if they have time they could stop and eat lunch with the kids in the cafeteria and check in with the office," says Chief Carl Dunn.

In September, the Baker School Board voted down an option to put school resource officers at campuses. The decision came from the the lack of funding and the board said principals felt like the officers weren't needed at that time.

Tuesday, two police units were outside of the building and a officer spent time walking around the Baker High.

Superintendent Dr. Herman Brister says he's appreciative of the police department's volunteer efforts and says everyone is on the same page in regard to school safety and protecting the students. 

The school system plans to revisit the budget at the end of June 2018.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 6:09 pm


Police: Man's target practice leaves bulletholes in neighbors' walls

Police: Man's target practice leaves bulletholes in neighbors' walls
CAPE CORAL, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a Florida man who was taking target practice in his home was arrested after bullets went through the wall into his neighbors' apartment.
  
A Cape Coral police news release says 61-year-old Ivan Bakh was arrested Sunday and charged with firing a weapon in public and shooting into a dwelling.
  
Police say Bakh's neighbors called them Sunday morning after awaking to a loud bang and finding holes in their bedroom and living room walls.
  
When officers went to Bakh's apartment, they reported seeing holes in the wall he shared with his neighbors, as well as several books taped together with a red target drawn on them. Police say they also found a loaded 9mm handgun.
  
Bakh was released Tuesday on $10,000 bail. Jail records didn't list an attorney.

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Published on 20 February 2018 | 5:32 pm


Congregation praying for pothole help

Congregation praying for pothole help

BATON ROUGE - A church is facing a large obstacle:there's a deep pothole that stretches the width of the road and cars cannot pass.

Recently, the church's calls for help took a turn, which is why the pastor called 2 On Your Side.

Liberty Deaf Assembly of God church is located off Brightside Drive on Harwich Drive. It's a small mission church that sits adjacent to the Louisiana School for the Deaf.

Pastor Cheryl Ragas says two months ago, she found out the hole is not the City's responsibility to fix. The drive where the church is located, along with a number of apartments and homes, is private.

"That's new to us," said Ragas.

Ragas is deaf and everyone who attends her church is either deaf, blind or both. The large hole at its deepest is estimated to be about two and a half feet deep. The ground has caved underneath and cars cannot pass.

Some believe the garbage services in the area contributed to the damage, repeatedly dropping a Dumpster.

The church says it first made calls to the City-Parish in May 2015. Around that time, it says someone with the City-Parish visited the area and patched it with asphalt. Over the last two and a half years, the issue has only gotten worse. Ragas says calls and texts to the City-Parish have not been returned.

"It hindered us," said Ragas. "They should have cooperated with us. We need to know and they need to be honest with us so we know what's going on."

The church bus, which is used to pick up parishioners who can't drive themselves, is permanently parked in the church's lot. It cannot pass the deep hole.

Now, Ragas says her church members must park far off on the street and walk. Navigating the front yards can be dangerous.

"The grass is very hard for them to walk, it's very unbalanced," she said.

Ragas says that had the church known the drive was private and not the City-Parish's responsibility, it would have repaired the road sooner. Now repairs have grown costly. Ragas says it'll cost about $10,000 to dig up the road and put down a new one.

"We don't have enough to pay this and meet our needs too," said Ragas.

This church is hoping its prayers are answered.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 5:19 pm


Corrections officer charged with smuggling drugs into prison

Corrections officer charged with smuggling drugs into prison

ST. GABRIEL - A corrections officer has been arrested in Iberville Parish after she attempted to smuggle drugs into the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, according to the Department of Corrections.

The DOC says 29-year-old Samantha Suel of Donaldsonville was arrested Tuesday after she confessed to ditching a package containing four ounces of marijuana and synthetic marijuana inside the prison over the weekend.

The package was reportedly found in the area following a routine shakedown of prison employees. The department says Suel was caught on surveillance cameras as she tossed the drugs.

She was arrested by St. Gabriel police after she arrived for work Tuesday morning and charged with introduction of contraband into a penal institution and malfeasance in office.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 4:39 pm


Crews responding to fire at construction site of OLOL Children's Hospital

Crews responding to fire at construction site of OLOL Children's Hospital

BATON ROUGE- Officials are responding to a reported fire at the construction site of the Children's Hospital at OLOL.

The fire was reported around 4:00 p.m. Tuesday off Essen Lane.

St. George Fire told WBRZ that the fire was minor, and only damaged scrap construction material and insulation.

No injuries were reported.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 4:18 pm


Future service dogs play together in adorable video

Future service dogs play together in adorable video

MARYLAND- Video footage shows an adorable litter of Labrador retrievers roughhousing together. These playful pups will soon go through rigorous training to become future service dogs for Veterans with disabilities.

The Warrior Canine Connection is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping recovering Veterans and service members reconnect with life through pet therapy.

What's even more unique about the program is it's training techniques: the dogs are trained by former combat vets, which helps better prepare the animals in understanding the livelihood of Veterans with disabilities.

Until that time comes, the pups will enjoy each other's company in their playpen stocked with toys.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 4:13 pm


Trump urges ban on gun devices like bump stocks

Trump urges ban on gun devices like bump stocks

WASHINGTON D.C.- President Donald Trump says he's signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to "ban all devices" like bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre.

The president is making the announcement to curb the use of the rapid-fire devices during a ceremony recognizing bravery by the nation's public safety officers.

BREAKING: President Trump says he's directed Attorney General Sessions to propose regulations to ban "all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns." https://t.co/O0pXTKVqV6 pic.twitter.com/SnM7pyCiLn

— ABC News (@ABC) February 20, 2018

Trump is responding days after the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school. He's pointing to the need to propose regulations to ban the device that was used in the October shooting deaths of 58 people in Las Vegas.

White House officials say the president will be meeting with students, teachers and state and local officials to discuss ways of providing more school safety and address gun violence. Past efforts to address gun violence in Congress have failed.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 3:24 pm


Edwards fills top aide's job vacated after harassment claims

Edwards fills top aide's job vacated after harassment claims
BATON ROUGE (AP) - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has hired a new deputy chief of staff, three months after the previous jobholder resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.
  
The Democratic governor announced Tuesday that Adren Wilson will work as deputy chief of staff for programs and planning, filling the position Johnny Anderson left in November.
  
Anderson was accused of sexual harassment, 11 years after several women made similar accusations when Anderson worked for Gov. Kathleen Blanco and was a university system board chairman. Anderson denies wrongdoing in both sets of claims.
  
Wilson will start in March in a job that oversees community outreach, faith-based initiatives, elderly affairs, the office of women's policy and other areas in the governor's office.
  
He most recently worked as CEO of Public Allies, a nonprofit national service program.

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Published on 20 February 2018 | 3:13 pm


Multiple threats against Evangeline Parish schools force closures

Multiple threats against Evangeline Parish schools force closures

VILLE PLATTE - All Evangeline Parish public schools will be closed Tuesday, February 20, 2018, because of multiple threats against schools posted online.

According to Superintendent Darwin Lazard, six threats were reported. Only one of those cases has been solved. School board members told KATC that crews will search all parish schools to determine if the threats are credible.

"The safety of our students, staff, and communities is of utmost importance to school board members, my staff, and me," Lazard said.

Principals, assistant principals, custodians, and central office personnel are expected to report to work. Lazard says further instruction will be provided to school system employees.

Sacred Heart School in Ville Platte will also be closed Tuesday because of the online threats on social media.

A number of threats have been reported at Louisiana schools over the past week. On Monday alone, three people were charged in Tangipahoa Parish, including an 18-year-old who threatened to shoot faculty and his fellow classmates.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 3:11 pm


Legislators won't hear assault rifle ban bill

Legislators won't hear assault rifle ban bill
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) - Less than a week after 17 people were fatally shot at a Florida high school, the state House has voted down a motion to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles, effectively killing the measure for this session.
  
The motion failed by a 36-71 vote.
  
As the Florida House opened its session Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee asked for a procedural move that would have allowed it to consider a bill to ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines. The bill had been assigned to three committees but was not scheduled for a hearing. The committees won't meet again before the legislative session ends March 9.
  
McGhee said that means the bill would be dead unless the House voted to remove it from the committees and let it be considered by the full House.
  
Republican leaders in the House and Senate say they will consider proposals including raising age restrictions for gun purchases and the red-flag bill regarding temporarily taking away someone's guns if they are deemed a threat to others.

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Published on 20 February 2018 | 3:02 pm


Teen convicted in brother's slaying after fight over candy

Teen convicted in brother's slaying after fight over candy
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio teenager charged as an adult for the killing of his younger brother after an argument over Halloween candy has been convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
  
Court records show Nicholas Starling recently pleaded guilty to the charge in a courtroom in Springfield, 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Columbus. Clark County's prosecutor says Starling was sentenced to life in prison with parole possible after 15 years.
  
Authorities say Starling was 16 when he killed 14-year-old Harley Starling in October 2016. Police say he told them he went into his brother's bedroom and hit him in the head multiple times with a baseball bat before stabbing him in the neck.
  
A message seeking comment was left for Starling's attorney on Tuesday.

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Published on 20 February 2018 | 2:59 pm


7th-grader with distraction device shoots himself at school

7th-grader with distraction device shoots himself at school
MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say a seventh-grader who shot and injured himself inside an Ohio middle school bathroom also had a device in his backpack meant to cause a distraction.
  
Police emphasized the device wasn't an explosive that would've harmed anyone.
  
Investigators say no other students were hurt Tuesday morning in the shooting at Jackson Middle School, near Massillon. It's not clear yet whether the shooting was intentional.
  
Authorities say the student is being treated at a hospital, but his condition hasn't been released.
  
Jackson Township Police described the weapon as long gun. Officials didn't know how the boy got the gun or if anybody else may have been involved or knew something.
  
Parents rushed to the school to get their children after the school sent out a notice about the shooting.

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Published on 20 February 2018 | 2:45 pm


Video of man destroying his AR-15 goes viral

Video of man destroying his AR-15 goes viral

SCOTCHTOWN, N.Y. — A man's post on Facebook is going viral after he recorded himself destroying his AR-15 rifle in the wake of last week's mass shooting at a Florida school.

Scott Pappalardo said he legally purchased and registered the firearm more than 30 years ago. He also says he's a firm believer in the Second Amendment, going as far as to have it tattooed on his arm.

After 17 were killed by a shooter wielding an AR-15 in Parkland, Florida Wednesday, Pappalardo said he felt he had to do something.

“Is the right to own this weapon more important than someone’s life? Look at the pictures of those victims. Is that right more important?” Pappalardo said in the video before declaring he wants to make sure his gun is never capable of taking someone’s life.

He added that other factors can contribute but, “ultimately, it’s a gun like this one that takes away the lives.”

Pappalardo then takes the weapon to a sawing machine and cuts it into pieces on camera.

“Now, there’s one less,” he said. “I hope and I pray that it doesn’t take the barrel of one of those guns pointed at your child’s head to change your mind.”

As of Tuesday, the video has been viewed more than 19 million times.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 2:29 pm


Vatican investigator meets with Chilean sex abuse victims

Vatican investigator meets with Chilean sex abuse victims

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - The Vatican's sex abuse investigator has begun a series of meetings in Chile with abuse victims and others who have opposed the appointment of a bishop accused of covering up for the country's most notorious pedophile priest.

Pope Francis has strongly backed Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse of young parishioners by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was removed from ministry and sentenced to a lifetime of "penance and prayer" in 2010.

The Chilean conference of bishops said that Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna began his four days of meetings Tuesday. He will also talk to a delegation of lay Catholics and priests from the Chilean diocese of Osorno.

Scicluna told reporters that he will exclusively be gathering information on Barros.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 2:19 pm


LSP: Unrestrained 17-year-old driver killed in crash on LA 10

LSP: Unrestrained 17-year-old driver killed in crash on LA 10

GREENSBURG - A 17-year-old was killed in a single-vehicle crash on LA 10 Tuesday afternoon.

According to Louisiana State Police, troopers began investigating the fatal crash around 2:40 p.m. on LA 10 east of LA 1043 in St. Helena Parish.

The crash claimed the life of 17-year-old Lacie Marie Randall of Albany.

Through the initial investigation, State Police determined that the crash occurred as Randall was driving a 2012 Hyundai Sonata westbound on LA 10.

As Randall's vehicle exited a left-hand curve, her vehicle entered the eastbound lane. Randall overcorrected to the right and back left, causing the vehicle to exit the roadway to the left.

After exiting the roadway, Randall's vehicle crashed into two culverts and overturned several times. Randall was unrestrained at the time of the crash and was ejected from her vehicle.

She sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced dead on scene by the St. Helena Parish Coroner's Office.

Randall's vehicle was occupied by 18-year-old Dana Marie Bowlin of Greensburg and a 13-year-old juvenile. None of the occupants were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. Bowlin and the juvenile passenger sustained minor injuries and were transported to North Oaks Health Systems by Acadian Ambulance.

Impairment is not suspected to have contributed to this crash. As part of the ongoing investigation, blood samples were collected and will be sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.


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Published on 20 February 2018 | 10:45 am








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