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News in Brief- June 20, 2018

News in Brief- June 20, 2018

Nicholls receives high marks for online program 

THIBODAUX, La. -- Nicholls Online was ranked in the top five of online programs in Louisiana by an online school option resource. ranked online programs by their tuition and fees and academic strength. Nicholls Online came out No. 4 in the state.

“This stellar ranking of our Nicholls Online venue will certainly be attractive to all of our students, current and prospective, by providing more options to those wanting access to a quality education at affordable costs,” said Dr. Sue Westbrook, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This exemplifies what we’ve said all along, and that is Nicholls offers a quality education at low cost. The Nicholls Online venue allows for easy access to an affordable, quality education often desired by working students with families who are more non-traditional.”

The online resource used information made available online including degrees, tuition rates, details about the program coursework and data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Started in 2004, offers free, easy-to-use tools that allow prospective students to find schools based on attributes including degree programs, tuition, student recommendation rate and military benefits.


Human finger found in alligator snapping turtle's body

SLIDELL, La. (AP) — A Louisiana sheriff's office is investigating the discovery of a human finger inside the body of an alligator snapping turtle.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said in a news release that a man called deputies last week after finding the finger inside a large turtle he was cleaning and processing for consumption.

Investigators used a dog to search the area where the turtle had been caught in a river.

The sheriff's office says a crime lab and coroner's office haven't been able to get a fingerprint from the finger. Investigators also contacted local hospitals, but they haven't helped identify the finger's owner.


No system-wide fee hikes for Louisiana community colleges

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's community and technical colleges won't increase mandatory fees at its schools next year.

The college system's Board of Supervisors announced that it unanimously agreed not to back system-wide fee hikes for students in the 2018-19 school year, amid worries that could price some students out of school.

Individual, program-specific fees could be raised, however.

Louisiana's public colleges don't currently have authority from lawmakers to raise tuition rates, so many of them turned to fee hikes in recent years to help offset some budget gaps.

Campuses are threatened with state budget cuts in the financial year that starts in July.

Lawmakers are meeting in a special session that opened Monday to decide if they'll pass a sales tax renewal to lessen or eliminate those and other cuts.


Man gets 10 years in prison for plot to defraud Walmart

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Connecticut man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges that he defrauded Walmart nearly $1 million through identity theft and hundreds of bogus checks.

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson in Louisiana sentenced Walter Glenn on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin's office said in a news release that Glenn and others used the personal information of more than 400 people to create bogus identification cards and counterfeit checks. Prosecutors say Glenn and others traveled the country and tried to cash more than 800 counterfeit checks worth more than $2 million at more than 450 Walmart stores in 23 states from January 2014 through August 2015.

In December, a jury convicted Glenn of charges including aggravated identity theft after a weeklong trial in Baton Rouge.


National rig count falls by 3 to 1,059; Texas loses 4

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by three this week to 1,059.

At this time a year ago there were 933 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 863 rigs drilled for oil this week and 194 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico and North Dakota each added three rigs and Louisiana gained one.

Texas lost four rigs, Alaska declined by two and Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one.

Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.


New riverboat to cruise on the Mississippi River this year

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A new riverboat will be cruising on the Mississippi River this year.

The Sun Herald reports the American Song is set to take its inaugural cruise from New Orleans on Oct. 6. The new riverboat is the first of a new series by American Cruise Lines, which has been operating paddlewheel boats out of New Orleans and Baton Rouge for several years.

The cruise line says the boat boasts expanded suites, with 900 square feet of space to host small cocktail parties or private dinners.

The cruise line has already begun construction on the second ship in its Modern Riverboat Series, named American Harmony, but it won't be ready until 2019. It will take over on the Mississippi River from American Song, which will move to the Pacific Northwest.