Associated Press

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 TORNADO WATCH 363 REMAINS VALID UNTIL 1 PM CDT THIS AFTERNOON FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS IN LOUISIANA THIS WATCH INCLUDES 9 PARISHES IN NORTHEAST LOUISIANA  CATAHOULA CONCORDIA EAST CARROLL FRANKLIN MADISON MOREHOUSERICHLAND TENSAS WEST CARROLL IN MISSISSIPPI THIS WATCH INCLUDES 30 COUNTIESIN CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI - COPIAH HINDS LEAKE -MADISON RANKIN SCOTT-SIMPSON SMITH YAZOO-IN EAST CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI-CLARKE JASPER KEMPER -LAUDERDALE NESHOBA NEWTON    IN SOUTH CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI -JEFFERSON DAVIS LAWRENCE LINCOLN- MARION IN SOUTHEAST MISSISSIPPI -COVINGTON FORREST JONES-LAMAR   IN SOUTHWEST M

marikeller / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Three men have been arrested in a counterfeit art scheme that stole about $400,000 from unsuspecting buyers world-wide who believed they were getting limited edition prints signed by British artist Damien Hirst.

Manhattan prosecutors on Monday announced the indictment of 52-year-old Vincent Lopreto, of New Orleans, 34-year-old Marco Saverino, of Cottonwood, Arizona and 50-year-old Paul Motta, of Sedona, Arizona on grand larceny and scheme to defraud charges.

Information on their lawyers wasn't immediately available.

Cell Phone Tax

Jun 20, 2017
Hamza Butt / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that he has signed into law a bill enacting a new 4.5-cent monthly tax on cellphones.

The dollars will pay for technology assistance and services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Current law imposes a 5-cent monthly tax on landline phones, with the money deposited into the Telecommunications for the Deaf Fund. The bill will drop that rate to 4.5 cents a month but expand the tax to wireless services.

The tax change by Rep. Patricia Smith, a Baton Rouge Democrat, takes effect Oct. 1.

   

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has honored a National Guard helicopter crew that rescued six people during floods last year. 

 The Bayou 69 crew first rescued a wildlife agent and firefighter whose boat overturned while they tried to rescue two people along the Dugdemona River east of Winnfield in Winn Parish. Other boats and a high-water vehicle couldn't get to them, and the two held onto their overturned boat for hours.

A planned $100 million entertainment district in El Dorado has a new name as the city gears up for a grand opening later this year.

 The entertainment district will be called the Murphy Arts District. The first phase of the project is a music hall, amphitheater, restaurant and children's play area. The second phase is a $32 million renovation of the 1920s Rialto Theater plus the creation of a new art gallery, exhibition hall and artist-in-residence quarters.

Electric car company Tesla says it will be unable to sell cars directly in Louisiana, under a bill Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law. 

Tesla enthusiasts had urged the Democratic governor to veto the legislation, but it was on a list of signed measures released by Edwards' office Tuesday. 

The electric car brand is sold through a direct-to-customer model, rather than the franchise dealership relationships other auto manufacturers use. The bill strips language in law that allows limited exemptions to a Louisiana ban on manufacturer-to-consumer sales. 

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A man is being held in the Crawford County jail in Arkansas after authorities say he intentionally slammed on his brakes and caused a motorcyclist to strike the rear of his pickup

Thirty-one-year-old Lawrence Finn of Pettigrew remained in jail Friday on a charge of second-degree murder after the resulting crash killed the biker.

Arkansas State Police described the death Wednesday of 41-year-old Jason Miller of Alma as the result of a road-rage incident along Interstate 40 near the Oklahoma line.

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Louisiana residents can buy supplies to prepare for hurricane season at a lower state sales tax rate this weekend.

 The Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is Saturday and Sunday, with lower tax rates for flashlights, batteries, portable generators and other emergency supplies.

 Eligible items will be charged a 3 percent state sales tax, rather than the full 5 percent rate. The tax break applies to the first $1,500 of eligible purchases. 

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Pianists who play music popularized in America during the early 20th century have begun competing for $6,000 in Mississippi.

 The Oxford Eagle reports the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest is being held Thursday through Sunday in Oxford. The competition, in its 43rd year, also includes workshops with judges.

 University of Mississippi music professor Ian Hominick brought the contest to Oxford after it spent 41 years in Monticello, Illinois. He says between 400 and 500 are expected to take part in the weekend's events.

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A prisoner at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is facing murder charges in the alleged beating death of his cellmate, one in a string of inmate-on-inmate attacks at the facility. 

The Advocate reports 37-year-old Wilbert Carter was rebooked on a count of second-degree murder in the death of 62-year-old Willie Brunner.

 West Feliciana Parish District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla says jailers found Brunner - who was serving a life sentence for a 1983 killing - March 24 on the floor of his cell. He died April 23. 

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