August 16, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tulane researchers have a $104,000 grant to study whether lead in polluted neighborhoods is making mockingbirds more aggressive than those in other neighborhoods. The university says Jordan Karubian and Renata Ribeiro have shown that mockingbirds in neighborhoods with high levels of lead in the dirt have more lead in their blood _ and tend to be more aggressive _ than those in other neighborhoods. Ribeiro says they need more work to see if other factors may cause that increased aggression.

RUSTON, La. (AP) — Two Louisiana residents are dead after a double homicide and one man is in custody. Lincoln Parish sheriff’s deputies were called Monday to a Ruston home and found Anthony and Rachel Denicola with multiple gunshot wounds. The Lincoln Parish Coroner’s Office pronounced Rachel Denicola dead at the scene, while her husband was pronounced dead at Northern Louisiana Medical Center. The News-Star reports John Nichols surrendered to deputies.

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — More than 600 miles (970 kilometers) of cable barriers will be installed in highway medians across Louisiana through state and a majority of federal funding totaling more than $100 million. KTBS-TV reports crews will begin installing the barriers for 41 miles (66 kilometers) on Interstate 49 in Caddo and DeSoto parishes this month and that a $1.3 million project was recently awarded to install barriers along 16 miles (26 kilometers) of Interstate 220 in Caddo and Bossier parishes.

BENTON, La. (AP) — A 25-year-old man is in custody after he allegedly shot his estranged wife in the stomach during a dispute at their home. The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office says 25-year-old Taylor Coffey, of Benton, was arrested Monday on charges of aggravated second-degree battery, obstruction of justice and possession of marijuana. The Shreveport Times reports detectives also arrested his neighbor, 27-year-old Brandy Mendoza, for obstruction of justice for hiding Coffey at her home during a search for him.

August 15, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawyers for Louisiana’s governor and attorney general are heading back to court to argue the constitutionality of an order aimed at protecting LGBT rights in state government. Gov. John Bel Edwards is hoping an appeals court will reinstate his executive order banning discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Attorney General Jeff Landry challenged the order as executive overreach and won in district court. Arguments are set for Tuesday.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A plan to build a 6-mile (10-kilometer) trail that will feature stops at Louisiana State University and Southern University is in the works. The Advocate reports the Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks Commission announced Monday that it received a $3.7 million grant toward building the trail, which will give pedestrians and bikers a route between downtown and north Baton Rouge.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An audit says Louisiana’s social services agency has been so short-staffed amid repeated budget cuts that it didn’t ensure the safety of its foster children. That’s the finding of a Legislative Auditor’s report that looked at the Department of Children and Family Services from 2012 through 2016, during former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tenure. Since taking office, Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says she’s reorganized, shuffled caseworkers to shortage areas and bolstered training for employees.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say a 27-year-old man who was seen carrying a stolen AK-47 assault rifle is jailed on gun charges. Times-Picayune reports that Kendrick Woolridge was seen early Saturday morning by officers patrolling an apartment complex in the Algiers neighborhood.


August 14, 2017

UNDATED (AP) — Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee was vilified during the Civil War only to become a heroic symbol of “The Lost Cause” and eventually a racist icon. Historians say his transformation, at the center of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, reflects the changing moods in the United States around race, mythology and national reconciliation. Lee monuments and schools erected at the turn of the 20th Century are now facing scrutiny amid a demographically changing nation.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The glitzy 90th birthday party for Louisiana’s four-term former governor Edwin Edwards drew a packed house, including the state’s current chief executive and other elected officials from around the state. Edwards said he was surprised and grateful by the turnout for Saturday night’s celebratory bash. He called it “one of the highlights of my long career.” The $250-per-ticket event drew more than 500 people.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana troopers determined that a fatal crash originally believed to have one vehicle involved had a second as a 22-year-old woman has come forward saying she drove it. State police say in a statement that Brittany Coupel told troopers she was driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am eastbound on U.S. Route 190 that collided with a 2002 Chevrolet in St. Landry Parish early Saturday. The crash killed 17-year-old Aaron Quebedeaux.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans man has been convicted of raping at gunpoint a 7-year-old girl who contracted a sexually transmitted disease following the October 2014 incident. Times-Picayune reports that jurors returned verdicts Friday night finding 26-year-old Andrew Hunter Jr. guilty of all five counts he faced.

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