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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell fills eight key leadership positions

Posted: 01 May 2018 01:34 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell has announced the hire of eight key members of her new administration's leadership team.

Sunni LeBeouf will become the new City Attorney.  Lebeouf comes to this position after serving as the Acting Civil Chief of the United States Attorney`s Office, eastern district of Louisiana.

The city`s new Chief Financial Officer will be Norman White. White has over 20 years of accounting, finance and management experience in the public sector, having served in several senior executive roles including chief financial officer for the city of Detroit.

Liana Elliott will serve as the Deputy Chief Of Staff.  Elliott is an urban planner and policy analyst who focused on social justice issues around public health and community resilience.  Ms. Elliott has served the city of New Orleans in various roles over the past four years, most recently as Councilmember At-Large Jason Williams’s Chief of Staff, and as a program manager in the Chief Administrative Officer overseeing lot maintenance and blight policy programs.

Ellen Lee will be the Director Of Community And Economic Development. Lee currently serves the citizens of New Orleans as the Director of the Office of Housing Policy and Community Development.

Dr. Brice Miller will serve as the Director Of The Office Of Cultural Economy. Miller has earned a national reputation as a leader experienced in developing innovative strategies for cultural and community initiatives. He has spent his career vested in the city's cultural and creative communities. Dr. Miller is a native son, second-generation jazz musician, Grammy-nominated performer, leader of Mahogany Brass Band, and trumpeter and vocalist for Delfeayo Marsalis' Uptown Jazz Orchestra

Marjorianna Willman will become the Director Of Housing Policy And Community Development. Willman is a Louisiana licensed attorney with over 14 years of experience in the housing industry.  Ms. Willman has overseen the administration of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Community Development Block Grant Program, HOME Investment Partnership Program and other government programs that allocate funding for the acquisition, rehabilitation and construction of multifamily developments

In addition, Chad Dyer and Ramsey Green will join the administration as Deputy CAOs.  Dyer has most recently served as the Director of Code Enforcement for the City of New Orleans. Green is a construction and real estate developer and entrepreneur. From 2007-2012, he served as the budget director and the deputy superintendent for operations for the Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD), where his responsibilities included managing the reconstruction of New Orleans's public school facilities, finances, and general district operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell will take office on May 7th.


Today is GiveNOLA Day

Posted: 01 May 2018 01:00 AM PDT

New Orleans – The Greater New Orleans Foundation is holding its 5th Annual GiveNOLA Day on Tuesday.

The community-wide 24-hour online giving day has raised more than $15 million for non-profits over the past five years.

This year’s goal is $5 million.

There are more than 750 local non-profits participating this year.

All donations can be made on the GiveNOLA.org website.

5 shot in incident on St. Claude Avenue

Posted: 01 May 2018 12:34 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS– NOPD investigators say that 5 people were shot in one incident on St. Claude Avenue.

Officers responded to a call of people shot on St. Claude around 12:30 A.M.

When they arrived, they found 3 victims in a crime scene that spanned the 3100 and 3200 blocks of St. Claude.

As the investigation unfolded, 2 other victims were located at area hospitals.

At least one victim is said to be in critical condition.

Investigators have not released any information on possible suspects in this incident.

If you know anything, please call CRIMESTOPPERS at (504)822-1111.

Young siblings reunite 3 weeks after surviving car crash that killed parents, sister

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 07:41 PM PDT

FORT WORTH, Texas — Two Texas siblings were able to see each other for the first time this week after a crash killed their parents and baby sister earlier this month, KTXS reports.

Jim and Karisa Clemens and their 2-month-old daughter Juliana were killed on April 7 when their SUV was hit by another vehicle.

Four children survived the crash; 8-year-old Angie, 5-year-old Zachary, 4-year-old Wyatt and 2-year-old Nicholas. Angie, Zachary and Wyatt were all critically injured.

Family members this week said Zachary was able to "leave his bed and get into the wheelchair for the first time" to go see Angie.

Nicholas was treated and released from the hospital.

126 pounds of meth found in semi carrying Starbucks products

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 07:40 PM PDT

The bundles of meth found in the cab of a semi en route from California to Spokane, Wash.
(Photo: Centralia Police Dept.)

CENTRALIA, Wash. — Officers have seized 126 pounds of methamphetamine from a semi that was hauling Starbucks products between California and Spokane, Wash., the Centralia Police Department said Friday.

The driver and passenger in the 1996 Freightliner tractor and refrigerated trailer began acting suspiciously during a traffic stop on Thursday, police said, prompting the officer to request a narcotics-sniffing K-9.

The dog alerted officers to the presence of drugs in the truck’s cab, police said, and a search of the sleeper berth revealed 40 bundles of meth, weighing a total of 126 pounds, hidden in a television box. Also found were 2.4 pounds of suspected heroin, several thousand Oxycodone pills and a few grams of cocaine, police said.

The driver of the truck, a 22-year-old man from Mexicali, Mexico; and his passenger, a 62-year-old man from Fontana, Calif.; were booked into the Lewis County Jail on drug charges. The truck had California license plates.

“No contraband was found in the trailer and none of the food product in the trailer was exposed or compromised,” police said in a news release, adding that the load was transferred to another truck and continued on its way.

The semi that was carrying 126 pounds of meth, police said.
(Photo: Centralia Police Dept.)

Bundles of meth found in a TV box in the cab of a semi headed for Spokane.
(Photo: Centralia Police Dept.)

ACLU: Thousands sitting in Louisiana jails waiting too long for trials

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 03:45 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS -- The ACLU of Louisiana joined local politicians and other civil rights groups on the steps of City Hall Monday morning to shed some light on the growing number of incarcerated people who are awaiting trials in Louisiana.

According to the ACLU, the Louisiana Sheriff's Association has released contradictory information about the number of people across the state who are sitting behind bars waiting for trial.

Initially, the report said there are more than 1,300 people who fit the bill, but that number later changed to more than 2,000, according to the ACLU.

"Most of the these people will be offered deals for less time than they have served by the time they finally got to court," New Orleans City Councilman Jason Williams said. "Another group of these people will have their charges completely dropped.  You are paying for innocent people to sit in jail because a prosecutor has not brought a case."

In Louisiana, time limits for bringing a case to trial vary depending on the crime the defendant is charged with.

The ACLU of Louisiana filed 64 public records requests Monday morning requesting information on trial delays. Ultimately, the ACLU wants to see people who have been waiting longer than they are supposed to released from jail.

Local dress giveaway helps underprivileged girls dress to impress

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 03:43 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS -- Four local Boys and Girls Clubs are coming together for a very special event.

They are teaming up with the "Believe in Yourself Project" to help underprivileged girls receive brand new dresses to wear at upcoming school dances.

These are never been worn, designer dresses and they are given to promote a positive body image and self-worth.

"These kids are telling me that all of their clothes are hand-me-downs and they've never had a new item. So, I thought it would be cool to give everything brand new, with the tags on it, so they could really feel empowered," says founder and director of Believe in Yourself, Sam Sisakhti.

The girls also have a chance to set a short term goal for themselves, and if that goal is achieved, they will receive two more dresses.

"I want to give the first dress based off of need, but, I want to also instill them with a life skill and mentality which is if I pursue something, the juice is worth the squeeze, and there will be something for me on the other end," says Sam Sisakhti.

For more information on the "Believe in Yourself Project," click here.

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Giants of the Fest: Irma Thomas occupies rare air in the music world

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 03:32 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS -- Irma Thomas is the Grammy-winning Soul Queen of New Orleans -- and she's been rocking at Jazz Fest since 1974.

Thomas, who pursued a career on the West Coast before moving home in the '70s to raise a family, remembers that first Jazz Fest performance fondly.

"It was a pleasant homecoming, and I realized how much I missed my city," she said.

As someone who has graced the stages of Jazz Fest for more than four decades, Thomas has a unique appreciation for what those seven days at the Fair Grounds offers to both locals and the world.

"It's a big festival that really gives the locals and when I say locals, I mean not just New Orleans, but the state of Louisiana, musicians, an opportunity to be seen by people from other countries, not just other cities and states, but other countries," she said. "They're eager to soak up the talent that we have here."

Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis noted how incredible it is that New Orleans has such amazing musicians who, after all these decades, are still "at the top of their game."

"I think she just had her 70th birthday, right? Her voice is ringing like a bell. I mean it's amazing. It's thrilling. It's one of the great things that not only the festival has but that New Orleans has because we have Davell and Jonathan Batiste coming back, but we also have the giants. We have Aaron Neville. We have Irma Thomas," Davis said.

‘They are so tall’: Sean Payton shows love for the Pelicans in their playoff bid

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 03:27 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS -- There's quite a bit of crossover between the Saints and the Pelicans. They have the same owner, their facilities are next door to each other, and home games are played across the street from one another.

This is only the second time the Pelicans and the Saints have made playoffs in the same calendar year (last time they did the Pelicans were the Hornets) but the teams have showed constant support for one another, attending each other's games and practices.

Rajon Rondo went to Saints camp a few times and impressed Coach Payton with his arm, while Coach Payton impressed Rondo with his dance moves.

"He needs to work on those," laughed Rondo in January 2018, when the Saints clinched playoffs and Sean Payton's hit dance move broke the internet.

But to be fair, Payton notes, "he only got a small taste."

"Somewhere down the line, maybe at a Christmas party, he'll get the full sense of my game," Payton said with a laugh.

Payton found himself on the hardwood during recent home games, showing his support for the team in their playoff run.

"It's amazing to see the athleticism, they are so tall and move so well. Alvin Gentry has done a great job. At this point it is just managing the schedule but he and his staff are doing  a great job."

The Pelicans play Golden State Tuesday night at 9:30 PM central time, in Oakland.

‘Boopie’ and the Golden Age of Plaqumines Parish

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 03:20 PM PDT

PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. -- The boat sloshed through the chilly, powerful Mississippi River as Boopie recalled his memories about the golden age of Plaquemines Parish.

"I love south Louisiana, I'll never leave," says Felix J. Hoskin Jr., who is affectionately known as "Boopie."

Down south in Louisiana, you'll find the parish that stretches 90 miles long.

It's surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on three sides, traversed by the mighty Mississippi, and plagued with marshes.

Here lies the remnants of historic Plaquemines Parish like Fort Jackson, Fort St. Phillip, and vibrant personalities like the one that Boopie flaunts.

"Me, I'm a coonass, French, Italiano. The rich people they call them high cockaloors, huh? How ya read?" Boopie says with a laugh as he gives us a taste of some of the old Cajun talk.

Born and bred in the heart of this peninsula parish, Boopie gets nostalgic as he talks about his past and his parish.

"You didn't have to go far to get a job, now you can't get no work down here. It's pitiful and it's still a gold mine, just nobody wants to do nothing. After Katrina everything changed. The whole world," says Boopie.

Scars of the storms like Betsy, Camille, and Katrina have manipulated the past and turned it into an uncharted present for Boopie.

"The storm tore up everything down here, but its a shame the way it's coming back, but it could come back more better," says Boopie.

Pre-Katrina, the parish was populated with more than 28,000 people, but that has changed.

Now, southern parts of the parish feel like a ghost land and are filled with mobile homes and scattered risen properties.

Many properties were never rebuilt.

Traveling out to Port Eads, there is a small marshy island that sits at the edge of the gulf on the Mississippi River's southwest pass.

Here is where Boopie tearfully told me about old family and friends.

"They had ole Kopkop Blanchard, he use to act like when he was at the american legion, he was a little short guy who use to work for the parish down here, he would do like a donkey's like. He'd take his lip and go hee haw hee haw," Boopie says with a cheesy grin.

"My mother had orange trees and all of that years ago and the women used to pick the oranges and the guys use to bring them to the office and I use to go with my daddy to the french market. That's how it is, you know? Everybody tries to help everybody, you got to, ya know? We're here to help people and that's what we've gotta do," says Boopie.

Boopie says the best way to see his Plaquemines flourish again is to rely on its biggest resource.

"The only thing keeping us going right now is the fishing. They say the oil will come back up, but I don't know how much it is a barrel. Everybody has got to stick together and you've got to love each other and you've got to pray, because we have too much to lose down here. It's beautiful down here, and we've lost a lot of good people, so, ya know?" Boopie says.

It's a parish full of life that refuses fade away due to the ghosts of ferocious storms and companies that have retreated.

Southern parts of the parish look towards a bright future.

Port Eads even won the Sporting Classics Award of Excellence this year as the best spot to fish.

True love, New Orleans style: Roosevelt Hotel chef makes Popeyes-themed wedding cake

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 03:15 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS —  Wedding season is about to be in full swing, and one bride and groom had a very unique wedding cake.

They had the Roosevelt Hotel’s Chef de Cuisine Deborah Heyd create a Popeyes cake.  The bride and groom must really love that chicken from Popyes.

As you can see in the picture, the cake looks like the traditional Popeyes fried chicken box with Cajun fries, a biscuit, and a fountain soda.  Do you think this will be a new trend for wedding cakes in Louisiana?


Playing football young may mean earlier cognitive, emotional problems

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 02:34 PM PDT

Sports may be a great way to keep kids active, but a new study of players finds that the earlier players with CTE started tackle football, the more vulnerable they were to emotional and cognitive problems.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System studied nearly 250 football players, of whom 211 were diagnosed with CTE after their death. CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a degenerative brain disease that often starts after repeated head trauma. Earlier studies have shown that the brain may change even after one hard hit.

Many football players have donated their brains to give researchers a chance to better understand this Alzheimer’s like-disease, which has been most commonly associated with former professional football players. Researchers are working on finding indicators that will help detect CTE in the living, but currently, the only way to diagnose it is with an autopsy.

For the new study, published Monday in the journal Annals of Neurology, researchers focused on amateur and pro football players who are part of the UNITE (Understanding Neurologic Injury and Traumatic Encephalopathy) study, a retrospective analysis of professional and amateur athletes and veterans who had repeated traumatic brain injury before they died and to the VA-BU-CLF (Concussion Legacy Foundation) Brain Bank. The players’ careers varied in length.

After phone interviews with families and friends, the researchers discovered for those players who had CTE, every one year younger the individual started playing tackle football predicted the earlier onset of behavioral and mood problems by 2.5 years and cognitive problems by 2.4 years.

That means they experienced earlier problems with memory and planning and organizing skills, they had emotional problems, and they struggled with depression and aggression much earlier than those players that started playing tackle football later. Playing tackle football before age 12 did not, however, seem to impact the severity of the CTE.

“What this study found was that playing tackle football lowers your resilience by about 13 years, and that is pretty profound, because that is a big difference,” said Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at Boston VA Healthcare System and director of Boston University’s CTE Center, an author of the study.

This research is consistent with previous research that has shown a possible association between youth tackle football and problems with emotional and cognitive problems. It is sure to add fuel to the debate about when kids should start playing football, as even some former pros have started to call for an end to tackle football for children under the age of 13.

Kids who get brain injuries before the age of 12 seem to recover slower, research finds.

Polls have shown that a growing number of Americans believe that it isn’t safe for kids to play tackle football before high school, and some state lawmakers have tried to restrict the game to children 12 and up or even high school-age.

The researchers behind the new study emphasize that much more research needs to be done to determine whether studies like this can apply to the general player population. And more research is needed to figure out what long-term impact youth football may have on a player’s health.

Dr. Chad Hales agrees. The neurologist and assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Emory University said that until there is a test or some kind of biomarkers that can pinpoint when and how CTE starts, it’s going to be a challenge to fully understand the nature of the disease.

“As the authors emphasize in the study, there are challenges with the way this information is collected. Right now, it’s all retrospective, for instance, and families have to fill out questionnaires, remembering information that may come from several decades back, and it’s hard enough for most of us to remember what happened last week,” said Hales, who was not involved in the new study. “That said, this does add to the data that is out there suggesting concern.

“In general,” he added, “we do know, it’s probably not a great idea to have little kids have repetitive head injuries.”

But until we know what injuries contribute to this pathology or how, it’s difficult to know whether there would be a safer way to tackle, for example, or to know what the age cutoff should be for playing the game. “I don’t think there is a way scientifically to answer that yet,” Hales said.

NOPD releases video of carjacking at gas pump on Elysian Fields

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 02:21 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS — The NOPD is investigating an unarmed carjacking at a gas station on Elysian Fields.

According to NOPD, the carjacking happened about 8:45 p.m. April 22 in the 3100 block of Elysian Fields.

The victim entered the business while leaving his keys in his cup holder and the door unlocked.

When he walked back to his car, an unknown man approached him and said, "Move or get popped."

The car is described as a Nissan Altima with a Louisiana license plate ZZW622.

The victim moved away from the vehicle, and the suspect entered the vehicle and fled towards Interstate 610 East.

The subject is described as having a dark complexion and a stocky build. He was wearing a dark colored hoodie with stonewashed jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Third District detectives at 504-658-6030 or call Crimestoppers anonymously at 504-822-1111 or toll free at 1-877-903-7867.

Flu vaccine, even when just 20% effective, saves tens of thousands of lives

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:22 PM PDT

Each winter, many people wonder whether its worth getting a flu shot while health officials repeatedly warn against not getting one.

Now a new study sheds light on the benefit of doing so. Even when the flu shot is just 20% effective it can still reduce US doctor visits due to illness by an estimated 20 million in a single year, the new report published in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States) finds.

In addition, vaccination also can prevent thousands of hospitalizations and deaths, the study authors estimated based on the average vaccination coverage rate in the United States.

“Getting vaccinated against influenza is beneficial to the individual and to the community even when the vaccine is of relatively low efficacy,” said Burton H. Singer, co-author of the study and an adjunct professor for the Emerging Pathogens Institute at University of Florida in Gainesville.

Caused by viruses, flu is a contagious respiratory illness with mild to severe symptoms that can sometimes lead to death. The flu virus evolves rapidly and new viruses circulate in different parts of the world, so each year scientists must reformulate the vaccine. Add to that an imperfect manufacturing process and even a ‘good match’ reformulation may not be as effective as scientists would like.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated just 36% effectiveness for the 2017-18 seasonal vaccine as of February 3. (The season ends in May.)

For the new study, Singer and his colleagues created a mathematical model of flu transmission and vaccination to evaluate how much illness is prevented by even a very low effectiveness flu vaccine. The research team found that at the average rate of US coverage even a poor vaccine would prevent a significant amount of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

For example, at just 43% coverage (the average rate of Americans who received a flu shot for the years 2012 through 2017), a vaccine with just 20% effectiveness could avert more than 20 million infections or illnesses as compared to not getting the vaccine. In addition, 129,000 hospitalizations and 61,000 deaths could be prevented.

Based on the model, if more people got a flu shot, say half of the US population, the same 20% effective flu shot would prevent an additional 3.63 million infections, 21,987 hospitalizations and 8,479 deaths.

“When a vaccine is fully effective on 50% or more of the people who are vaccinated, you need to primarily focus on vaccinating young children,” said Singer. The reason? Children are still building immunity and they pass germs around at school.

“As efficacy of the vaccine decreases, it becomes increasingly important for the elderly to be vaccinated in addition to young children,” said Singer, since the elderly are more likely to develop complications from the flu, such as pneumonia, which can be deadly.

The CDC reported a total of 160 flu-related deaths in children and 30,064 flu-related hospitalizations overall between October 1, 2017 and April 21, 2018. The highest rate of hospitalization occurred among adults 65 years old and older.

Richard Webby, a flu scientist who is part of the World Health Organization’s advisory board and a member of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases, said “effectiveness estimates go up and down based on a number of factors including match of vaccine and circulating strain and probably other factors we don’t fully understand.”

“The take home message from the past few seasons is that there is much room for improvement,” said Webby, who was not involved in the research.

Still, more people, particularly the elderly, need to get vaccinated even when the vaccine effectiveness is lower than hoped, Webby said: “This study suggests that even with a less than optimal vaccine there is still much public health benefit that can be achieved if these are used properly and widely.”

Trump doesn’t get what makes the Paralympics great

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:22 PM PDT

The scene at the White House on Friday should have been one of celebration and positivity — a time to honor Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Instead, it quickly became one of derogatory rhetoric and confusion.

“What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me,” President Donald Trump said during the ceremony, surrounded by members of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. “And I watched — it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.”

Trump’s words reflects an ever-growing troubling pattern of treatment toward the disability community. People with disabilities are often dismissed, devalued and discriminated against, even though progress has been made over the years to change society’s perception.

And, in 2018, perhaps there’s no greater offender than the President himself.

Naturally, it didn’t take long for the backlash to the President’s remarks to begin, with everyone from actress Minnie Driver, star of ABC’s “Speechless,” to athletes themselves voicing their disgust and disappointment.

The Paralympics responded as well the next day, tweeting: “Record numbers around the world are not finding @Paralympics tough to watch. Billions of viewers now take in the Paralympics in hundreds of countries around the world. We hope the US President continues to watch and be inspired by the Paralympics.”

Still some, like The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, were quick to dismiss Trump’s statement as “innocuous” and merely referring to time constraints placed on the President.

Honestly, that explanation seems far more unlikely, especially when you consider Trump’s fondness for watching television and his past behavior toward people with disabilities. It’s an explanation that’s too simple and too neat.

To be sure, the Paralympic Games were considerably shorter than the Olympics (94 hours and 176 hours, respectively), and, yes, Trump is arguably a very busy man. But surely he could skip a round on the golf course to support the fine athletes of Team USA. And, if his time constraints really did prevent him from watching, then wouldn’t those same constraints apply to the Olympics, making them “tough to watch” as well? Why single out the Paralympic team?

The far more likely explanation is that, once again, Trump’s words highlight his deep-seated ableism — that pervasive prejudice against people with disabilities.

Trump’s thoughtless words are something we should all be concerned with, especially when they’re yet another example of his damaging treatment of the disability community. And it’s particularly problematic considering that, too often, the disability community is overlooked and undervalued.

Of course, Trump has a long and storied history of derogatory words and insulting, demeaning gestures when it comes to the topic of disabilities. Not even one month after his January 2017 inauguration, the Disability section on the White House website was removed. Although it’s common practice for each new administration to revamp the site, this section has yet to be added back and White House officials haven’t commented on its absence.

And it’s even harder to forget his crude mocking of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski during a speech in 2015 — an incident for which Trump refused to apologize despite a public outcry and video footage.

Which is why to go from calling the athletes “incredible” to downright insulting them in the very next sentence is nothing short of dangerous. By saying it’s tough to watch, Trump is invoking that archaic stereotype that people with disabilities shouldn’t be seen — that they make people too uncomfortable to be out in public.

As Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, tweeted on Sunday, “It’s not ‘tough to watch’ incredible @Paralympics athletes compete and showcase their talents, it’s inspiring. These brave athletes overcome a lot to get to the finish line.”

Indeed, Trump missed an important opportunity here to support people with disabilities. Now more than ever, we need positive representations when it comes to disabilities, and the Paralympic team is such a powerful force in the movement.

Trump could have thanked the team for their wonderful contribution to the Olympic spirit, but he didn’t. He could have lifted them up instead of putting them down, but he didn’t. And that subtext behind his words spoke volumes.

Horrific details in court reveal tragic death of Norfolk 2-year-old

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:17 PM PDT

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NORFOLK, Va. — A Norfolk judge has denied bond for a mother and her boyfriend charged in her 2-year-old daughter's death.
John Hardee and Shelby Love are charged with felony child abuse.

Police say they were called to the home on 20th Bay Street in the Ocean View section of the city around 3:30 last Tuesday morning. They say the child had burns all over her body. She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

In court Monday morning, the Commonwealth said the child had burns over 30% to 50% of her body.

They claim Hardee was alone with the 2-year-old and sent text messages to Love around 4:30 p.m., on April 23 saying "I'm going to prison" and "hurry home". According to them, the couple didn't call 9-1-1 until about 11 hours later when the child began having seizures.

Allegedly, the only medical treatment they did performing before contacting police was applying vinegar to her wounds.

Hardee is a father of three children.

In 2014, Hardee pleaded guilty to strangulation and child neglect and abuse. According to court documents, Hardee hit his child in the head multiple times, resulting in a fracture to the child’s skull. During the same incident he strangled his girlfriend. Hardee was sentenced to three-years-behind bars.

According to the prosecution, Hardee was not supposed to have unsupervised contact with children following the incident in 2014.

However, he was alone with Love’s daughter on the on April 23, 2017.

The judge looked at pictures of the child’s injuries saying she was “at a loss for words”, calling the incident “horrific.” She immediately denied Hardee’s bond request.

The autopsy states the child had burns to her back, legs, arms, buttock, and feet.

As for Love, her attorney told the court she met Hardee four months ago and moved in with him just two months ago. The defense claimed Hardee was abuse and Love feared for her life.

Her attorney said she moved to Virginia from Oklahoma because of domestic abuse.

Because Love didn’t take her child to the hospital, the judge denied her bond.

The prosecution said a doctor told them had the two-year-old received medical care immediately she may have survived.

Both are due back in court in July.


2 current and 2 former Louisiana State Police Troopers arrested for payroll scam

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:08 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – Two senior Louisiana State Troopers and two former Troopers have been arrested for stealing tens of thousands of dollars in a payroll scam.

Master Trooper Daryl Thomas has been charged with two counts of filing false public records and felony theft for an amount greater than $15,000, and Senior Trooper Wayne Taylor faces 14 counts of injuring public records and one count of malfeasance in office.

Former Trooper Byron Sims has been charged with four counts of filing false public records and felony theft for an amount greater than $21,000, and fellow former Trooper Jimmy Rogers faces 74 counts of injuring public records and one count of malfeasance in office.

The current and former Troopers abused the Local Agency Compensated Enforcement program, which allows Troopers to supplement local, parish, and state law enforcement agencies.

The theft was related to the LACE program in New Orleans, according to the Louisiana State Police.

The program was suspended during the investigation and reinstated on February 5 after a series of changes and safeguards were put in place.

"This is an extremely disappointing day for our agency; however, we must hold ourselves accountable before we can be expected to hold the public accountable," State Police Superintendent Colonel Kevin Reeves said. "These arrests are not indicative of the vast majority of Troopers who serve their communities and perform their jobs well each and every day. The actions of a few should not be a reflection on the agency as a whole. This has been a long and unfortunate journey, but we are prepared to move forward as an agency that expects nothing less than professionalism from its employees and strives to produce the best public safety product to the citizens we serve."

World’s tallest geyser keeps erupting, and scientists aren’t sure why

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:07 PM PDT

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Yellowstone National Park’s Steamboat Geyser just erupted for the third time in two months, and scientists aren’t sure why.

It doesn’t erupt very often, but when it does, it is the tallest active geyser in the world. The Steamboat Geyser — known to eject a column of water 300 feet in the air — erupted for the third time April 27.

“It is a spectacular geyser. When it erupts, it generally has very big eruptions,” Michael Poland, the US Geological Survey’s scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, wrote in an email.

According to seismicity data, the recent eruptions have been a little bit smaller than in the past. Even if these latest eruptions are smaller, they are still impressive compared with, say, Old Faithful.

The April Steamboat eruptions discharged about 200 to 400 cubic meters of water each, about 10 times the amount of water released by an Old Faithful eruption. The problem is that Steamboat lacks the faithfulness.

This geyser is in an area of the park called the Norris Geyser Basin, known to be the hottest and most changeable thermal area in Yellowstone.

“Most geysers erupt infrequently, unlike Old Faithful, so Steamboat is not enigmatic in that regard. But Steamboat has a mystique about it because it is the tallest active geyser in the world. It gets attention because of this, and rightly so,” Poland said.

Before March 15, the last time this geyser spewed was in September 2014.

The day of the first eruption, park staff detected activity on nearby seismometers, thermal gauges and water discharge on a US Geological Survey stream gauge.

Yellowstone National Park staff arrived in time to observe steam from the geyser but no water column. According to the Geological Survey, this is a usual occurrence after a vigorous water eruption. The steam phase can last several hours.

Not one person is known to have witnessed the initial water column from these three eruptions. This time of year, the Norris Geyser Basin is closed to tourists until the snow melts and winter damage to trails can be repaired. Once the trails are clear, guests will be able to hike out to the geyser.

If it wasn’t for sensors near the eruption site — and the rocks and mud strewn about that were ejected by the geyser — there it would be little confirmation.

Scientist missed the second eruption by only minutes. A team of Yellowstone National Park Geologists was in the area for the April 19 eruption, but the geyser became active only 15 minutes after they’d left the site.

Poland says the scientists “were bummed. Especially because they didn’t realize that an eruption had occurred until after they returned to the office (about an hours drive from the geyser). If they had left just a few minutes later, they might have seen the eruption in their rear-view mirror.”

The activity of the third eruption was observed from a driver passing through the area.

“Some scientists consider Yellowstone to be a ‘supervolcano,’ which refers to volcano capable of an eruption of more than 240 cubic miles of magma,” according to the National Park Service.

This distinction is based on massive eruptions over 600,000 years ago.

Although the caldera is considered active, scientists believe that it is unlikely to erupt in the next thousand years.

There doesn’t seem to be a direct relationship with these eruptions and the supervolcano, Poland wrote. “The geysering is reflecting processes that are occurring in the shallowest part of the system — tens to perhaps a few hundreds of meters deep, whereas the magmatic system starts about 5 km down. Geysers are supposed to erupt, and so what we’re seeing is normal behavior.”

Jamie Farrell, research assistant professor of seismology at the University of Utah and chief seismologist of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, wrote in an email that “The caldera has been subsiding since late 2015 and there hasn’t been any change in that behavior in the last couple of months that we could relate to the recent Steamboat activity.”

Scientists aren’t sure whether the new activity is due to a new thermal disturbance or whether the geyser is merely entering a period of more frequent eruptions, as in the 1980s, when numerous eruptions from the geyser were separated by weeks or even days. Multiple eruptions also occurred in 2003.

Or, the US Geological Survey notes, “the current eruptions may simply reflect the randomness of geysers.” It could be years until it erupts again.

“The fact that Steamboat has erupted three times in the past 6 weeks is a bit unusual for this specific geyser,” Poland wrote, but it’s not unprecedented.

Scientists are hoping that there are more eruptions and that they can figure out how to detect them before they start.

“We are planning on placing seismometers near Steamboat Geyser within the next week. If it erupts again, it would be nice to be able to record any (precusory) activity,” Farrell wrote.

With a seismometer near the geyser itself, they hope to pick up on signals they can’t record in a station farther away.

“By looking at these signals, we can see if there is anything that relates to the ‘build up’ to an eruption. These can possibly give us a way to predict when the geyser will erupt but can also give us insights into what is happening in the subsurface plumbing system before an eruption,” Farrell wrote.

For now, everyone who wants to see the geyser but who is not a scientist will have to wait until the weather warms.

“Perhaps Steamboat will erupt again this summer,” Poland said, “and then lots of people will get to enjoy the show!”

Lamborghini driver pleads guilty, faces 5 year sentence

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:27 PM PDT

Jason Adams

NEW ORLEANS – The man behind the wheel of a speeding Lamborghini involved in a deadly crash has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide.

Thirty-two-year-old Jason Adams had a blood alcohol content of 0.11 when the Lamborghini he was driving as fast as 118 miles per hour slammed into a floodwall along Tchoupitoulas Street.

Twenty-three-year-old Kristi Lirette was killed in the crash.

Adams was scheduled to stand trial for Lirette's death on May 8, but he entered a guilty plea on April 30.

He faces a sentence of between five and 30 years, according to the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office.

Lirette's family has agreed to a sentence of 10 years, with five years suspended, in state prison and three years of supervised probation after his release.

Adams has a sentencing bond of $75,000, according to the DA's office.

McCain in book excerpt: ‘This is my last term’

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:07 PM PDT

Republican Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer in his home state of Arizona, says in his new book that his current term is his last and, as a result, he feels he can open up about how he sees the current political climate.

“This is my last term. If I hadn’t admitted that to myself before this summer, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis acts as ungentle persuasion,” he wrote in his book, “The Restless Wave,” according to the excerpt published on Apple News on Monday. “I’m freer than colleagues who will face the voters again. I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much. And I can vote my conscience without worry.”

Referring to President Donald Trump, McCain wrote, “He has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones. The appearance of toughness, or a reality show facsimile of toughness, seems to matter more than any of our values.”

McCain said he wants to see the nation’s politics “return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history” and says, “you’re damn right, I’m a champion of compromise.”

“I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different,” he wrote. “We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and the responsibility to embrace it.”

McCain, 81, made public last summer his brain cancer diagnosis. He’s been recovering from side effects of the cancer treatment at his home in Arizona since late last year.

“‘The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in For Whom the Bell Tolls,” McCain wrote in his book. “And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.”

Cindy McCain, the senator’s wife, tweeted Monday that former Vice President Joe Biden visited the family.

“Enjoyed a wonderful visit from @JoeBiden yesterday. Such good family friends. Enjoyed catching up!” she tweeted.