BR power outage causes dining by cellphone

Thursday, 24 April 2014 23:02

When Hello Sushi on Highland Road went dark Wednesday night, customers turned on the flashlights on their cellphones, propped them up on their tables or booths and continued their meals by artificial candlelight.

“Everybody just kind of rolled with it. Everyone was just super cool. Nobody freaked out or panicked,” manager Hera Gavin said.

When Entergy Corp. suffered the power outage, the restaurant was packed.

Hello Sushi’s staff opened the back doors so smoke from the grills could escape, since the electric fans in the hoods were no longer operating.

Published in Baton Rouge News

Lengthy efforts to reach a compromise on New Orleans’ controversial sound ordinance suffered another reversal Thursday, with the latest draft revisions rejected by the City Council on a 3-3 vote after nearly three hours of debate and a slew of last-minute amendments.

The vote leaves a major question mark over hopes for revising an ordinance that dates from 1956, and which all sides agree needs an overhaul.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration still wants the law changed, as do various neighborhood groups.

Published in New Orleans News
Wine ice cream bill advances
Thursday, 24 April 2014 21:46

The third try really was the charm.

The House Committee on the Judiciary voted without objection Thursday to advance legislation that would make alcohol-infused ice cream sales legal in Louisiana.

The committee struggled with House Bill 471 twice in the past few weeks, getting stuck on the idea of minors scooping up the adult treat.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Marcus Hunter, presented a compromise Thursday. Only licensed alcohol retailers and distributors would be able to sell the frozen treat.

Published in Baton Rouge News
Minimum wage proposal killed
Thursday, 24 April 2014 21:46

Despite impassioned testimony Thursday about struggling families, leather-worn shoes and pockets devoid of change for the smallest chocolate bar, efforts to increase wages for the working poor in Louisiana appear to be dead for the legislative session.

What was likely the last gasp came in a meeting of the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations, where Sen. Ben Nevers asked his colleagues to advance legislation setting minimum wage at $9.50 an hour. Committee members listened, asked a few questions, killed Senate Bill 123, then adjourned for the weekend.

Published in Baton Rouge News

Arguments of choice versus public safety were heated in a fight about whether to let Louisiana farmers sell raw milk to the public.

The full state House will consider a bill that would allow sales of unpasteurized milk, after it was advanced in a 9-6 vote Thursday by the House Agriculture Committee.

Approval came despite opposition from Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, who said farmers couldn’t guarantee that unpasteurized milk would be safe because it doesn’t go through the heating process designed to kill harmful bacteria.

Published in Baton Rouge News

A cost-of-living raise for retirees of Louisiana’s four statewide pension system is nearing its final hurdle as legislation providing for the increase headed to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

The House Retirement Committee advanced Thursday the package of bills, which include the raises as well as tying future increases to financial health of the systems.

The bills’ legislative fate are tied together. If one fails, all of them tumble.

Headed to the House floor for debate are four Senate-passed measures that would provide a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase for some 100,000 retired state employees, teachers, school employees and State Police.

Published in Baton Rouge News
Belle of BR bucks statewide decline
Thursday, 24 April 2014 21:46

The Belle of Baton Rouge bucked a statewide decline in riverboat gambling revenue in March, but not enough to offset a nearly 10 percent drop for the Baton Rouge market.

Statewide, riverboat casino winnings dipped 4.3 percent to $154.4 million, as all four riverboat markets in the state posted declines. The state’s four racetrack slot casinos also dipped — 5.6 percent to $37.0 million. However, the land-based Harrah’s New Orleans casino saw its winnings increase 3.2 percent to $32.6 million.

Published in Baton Rouge News
‘Jammer1954’ cleared by judges
Thursday, 24 April 2014 21:30

A pair of federal judges who pressed the website Nola.com to turn over information on two anonymous online commenters so the judges could determine whether they were prosecutors or other federal agents have ruled out that possibility in one case.

The person who went by “Jammer1954” and posted comments under stories about the scandal surrounding former New Orleans Affordable Homeownership Director Stacey Jackson “was not an agent or employee of the United States Attorney’s Office or any of the five governmental agencies involved in the investigation, grand jury proceedings or prosecution of this case,” U.S.

Published in New Orleans News
Lab owner fined; false reports filed
Thursday, 24 April 2014 21:30

A Kenner woman received probation Thursday after an investigation revealed her company falsified pollution reports for oil and gas companies working in the Gulf of Mexico over a period of four years.

Martha Hebert, 64, was sentenced to two years of probation and a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony — essentially, hiding information about a crime — in federal court in January after investigators with the Environmental Protection Agency and FBI found evidence her company had been submitting false reports.

Published in New Orleans News
Scott woman, 22, booked in fatal accident
Thursday, 24 April 2014 20:35

State Police arrested a Scott woman accused of drunkenly driving head-on into a pickup truck Thursday afternoon on La. 342, killing the pickup truck’s driver, a 74-year-old Duson man.

The crash happened about 12:45 p.m. east of La. 35, also called Abbeville Highway, on La. 342, also known as Golden Grain Road, State Police reported in a news release.

Blaire Duhon, 22, was driving a 1993 Chevrolet pickup truck westbound on La. 342 approaching a right curve when, for reasons still under investigation, the truck crossed the center stripes and struck an oncoming 2006 Chevrolet pickup truck head-on, Trooper First Class Stephen Hammons, a State Police spokesman, said in the release.

Published in Baton Rouge News
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