Louisiana

Swamp Sleep

Mar 20, 2017

Swamps sleep naked and are slow to awaken.  Long after green-up in the uplands, deep overflow swamps that sustain Louisiana bayous and rivers remain quiescent, prolonging winter dormancy until the threat of natural spring flooding has past.

Louisiana's debate over how to rework its criminal justice system is heading to state lawmakers.

 

A study group Thursday approved its package of recommendations for a sweeping rewrite of Louisiana's criminal sentencing laws and its approach to prisoner rehabilitation.

 

The effort aims to lessen Louisiana's highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate and provide more training and treatment to reduce inmates' chances of returning to prison after release.

 

Jimmy Emerson, DMV / flickr.com / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

New jobs will be coming to theArkansas-Louisiana border region through a new partnership between the Delta Regional Authority (DRA)  and Economic Development Administration (EDA). 115 jobs will be created because of a $235,000 grant through  the Arkansas-Louisiana Multimodal Economic Corridor initiative. The 90 mile corridor runs through five Arkansas counties and four Louisiana parishes. 

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The Ouachita River may be in trouble due to lack of commercial use.  The ”Low Use” designation  means funds could be scarce for dredging and locks and dams.  The funding relies on a formula  of lock usage and tonnage.

Congressman Ralph Abraham thinks the formula for funding should be based on other factors.

Abraham thinks more commercial river traffic is a great thing.  He thinks the Ouachita River has a bigger impact than commercial traffic alone.

A Union Parish man has been arrested after police say they found meth and hydrocodone at a residence.

Edwin. T. Whitlock of Bernice was taken into custody after a call from Child Protective Services.

He was booked into the Union Parish jail on charges of drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and distribution of methamphetamine. 

Jonathan Williamson, 43, of Harrisonburg was involved in an incident on Monday that left his girlfriend dead.

Police say Williamson flagged them down and said he accidentally shot 44 year old Shelly Mixon with a 22 rifle. Mixon was taken by ambulance to Alexandria where she later died.

Williamson was arrested and booked for attempted manslaughter. More charges may be coming.    

The floods that inundated Louisiana in August also damaged rice harvested as seed for this year's planting. 

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says he's temporarily relaxed certification requirements to ensure farmers can buy enough for a chance at a good crop. 

Department seed programs director Lester Cannon says farmers will have to buy more of some lots to make up for the problem, but sellers will drop the price to make up for it. 

On Monday General Michael Flynn resigned from his post as National Security Advisor after questions about his involvement with Russia.

Congressman Ralph Abraham thinks there are forces within the government leaking classified information to the media.  

"The leakers are the problem not General Flynn," said Abraham. 

He said over 60,000 people have access to our national secrets but less than a dozen are revealing our secrets.

"Finding these people will be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but we have to look."

Opening day formalities behind them, lawmakers and Gov. John Bel Edwards are trying to negotiate a deal to close Louisiana's $304 million deficit. 

The Democratic governor met Tuesday morning with top House and Senate leaders in closed-door talks, on the second day of a budget-rebalancing special session. 

The central point of contention is whether to use Louisiana's "rainy day" fund to help close the gap and if so, how much. 

The National Weather Service says it has confirmed three tornadoes that have touched down in southern Louisiana. 

Danielle Manning, a meteorologist with the weather service, says one touched down in the eastern part of New Orleans, another touched down near the town of Donaldsonville and another in the town of Killian. 

She said they have heard reports of injuries but nothing that has been confirmed yet. Local media showed images of some severely damaged buildings in eastern New Orleans with downed power lines strewn across the road.

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