Associated Press

courtesy Percy Sledge/Facebook

(AP) -Percy Sledge, the soul singer who took "When a Man Loves a Woman" to the top of the charts in 1966, died this morning at his Baton Rouge home.  He was 73.

According to East Baton Rouge Parish coroner Dr. William "Beau" Clark, Sledge died of natural causes while under hospice care.

legis.la.gov

(AP) - One Louisiana lawmaker had a particularly rough first day of the 2015 legislative session.

nola.com

  The Louisiana National Guard has released the names of the four-person flight crew of a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off the Florida Panhandle last week.

All eleven on board were killed when the helicopter crashed in about 25 feet of water in the Santa Rosa Sound.

Three members of the crew were from Louisiana and one was from Virginia.

lahospitalcareers.com

Private hospitals say Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget proposal would shutter a program that cares for sickly babies and cut money they're paid for emergency room care for Medicaid patients.

Louisiana Hospital Association President Paul Salles said Wednesday those $25 million in cuts are included in Jindal's spending recommendations for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

courtesy

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has picked up a challenger to his re-election efforts.

Political newcomer Matt Parker, a businessman from West Monroe, officially announced his candidacy Monday for the Oct. 24 election.

Both men are Republicans.

In a statement, Parker criticized Donelon for taking campaign contributions from the insurance industry, saying that leads to higher insurance rates. Parker described his campaign as a "crusade for the consumers ofLouisiana."

ACLU

Five Monroe police officers enter the final stretch of field testing new body camera equipment that may be distributed to all officers after May.

Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes says field tests of body cameras by police officers will be completed in late April.

After the events in Ferguson, Missouri, Holmes decided to begin field testing body cameras on selected officers.

Officers have worn the body cameras since November while evaluating the performance of the cameras to determine if they benefit the department.

nola.com

Governor Bobby Jindal will propose to scale back spending on tax credits and offer lawmakers money-generating ideas to keep colleges from facing deep, damaging cuts next year.

The governor's recommendations for closing a $1.6 billion gap in the fiscal year that begins July 1 will be presented to the Legislature's joint budget committee Friday. The Associated Press received a preview Thursday.

Jindal chief of staff Kyle Plotkin says the goal was to protect higher education.

eFile989 / Flickr.com

  Louisiana taxpayers who quickly filed their state taxes and are eagerly waiting for their tax refunds will have to keep waiting.

The state Department of Revenue announced Wednesday that it won't start issuing refunds until the week of March 2.

The department said it was taking "extra precautions to verify the filings" because of concerns about fraudulent tax returns that had been discovered around the country.

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  Reports outlining the fundraising and spending that candidates for statewide elected positions did last year are due to the state ethics board.

One of the heftiest campaign accounts belongs to state Treasurer John Kennedy. The Republican, serving his fourth term as treasurer, brought in more than $715,000 in 2014 and wrapped up the year with just under $3.5 million.

Kennedy hasn't yet announced what position he'll be seeking in the Oct. 24 election, saying he's considering running for governor, attorney general or re-election to his current job.

IBM to Create 400 Jobs in Monroe

Feb 17, 2015
North Louisiana Economic Partnership

 IBM will create 400 new jobs in Monroe during the next 10 years.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says the state also will provide $4.5 million in higher education funding at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University to create more computer science graduates to meet workforce needs.

IBM's service center, which will be built on U.S. Highway 165 North across from CenturyLink's headquarters, will serve both CenturyLink and other customers.

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