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News in Brief- March 6, 2019

News in Brief- March 6, 2019

New Orleans police: Motorcycle officers crash; both injured

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say two officers on motorcycles crashed into each other and that both have been injured.

Police spokesman Gary Scheets tells Times-Picayune that their injuries were not considered life-threatening. He says the traffic officers were on motorcycles when they collided Sunday night near an intersection in the city's Lower Garden District.

Scheets says both officers complained of leg pain after the crash. He says they are receiving a full medical examination.

It is unclear how fast the officers were going. Police are investigating.

Information from: The Times-Picayune,


SW Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Festival July 19-20

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A hot air balloon festival is coming to southwest Louisiana, with the first night being an alcohol-free "Church Night" and a beer festival the second afternoon.

The festival is scheduled July 19 and 20 at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles.

Airport Executive Director Kevin Melton tells The American Press it's an educational opportunity, since human flight began with balloons.

Pat Harwell holds a world distance record for balloon flight without a basket. He will be overseeing balloon operations at the festival.

Tickets are $15, $25 for both days. Kids age 14 or under get in free.

There's a balloon glow and a fireworks display each night.

An afternoon beer tasting adds $35 to Saturday's admission fee.


ExxonMobil moving forward with plant expansion


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — ExxonMobil is moving forward with a more than half-billion-dollar expansion of its polyolefins plant in Louisiana, the oil and gas giant's largest local capital project in nearly a decade.

The final investment decision, announced Friday, comes a year after Exxon first said it was considering the project in north Baton Rouge, and just weeks after the company warned it might reduce its local investments after being rejected for two unrelated tax breaks by the East Baton Rouge school board.

The Advocate reports construction will begin this year. It is expected to add 45 permanent jobs, 20 permanent contractor jobs and support 600 temporary construction workers.

The project will add a new polypropylene line with a capacity of 450,000 tons a year, a unit that will start up in 2021.

Information from: The Advocate,


Man whose unlit trailer got stuck acquitted in crash death


THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — A man whose utility trailer got stuck on a turn off a Louisiana highway has been acquitted of negligent homicide in the death of a motorcyclist who hit the unlit trailer.

The Daily Comet reports that a six-member Lafourche (luh-FOOSH) Parish jury took 45 minutes Wednesday to clear 41-year-old Benny Chambless Jr. in the death of 61-year-old James Marcel Jr.

Louisiana State Police said Chambless had trouble with a right turn from Louisiana Highway 316 onto a private driveway, and was outside his pickup truck when Marcel's 2002 Harley Davidson hit the trailer.

Assistant District Attorney Rene Gautreaux (GOH-troh) said Chambers was negligent because he pulled a camper without lights across a dangerous highway.

Defense attorney Matt Ory said it was a tragic accident but not negligent homicide.

Information from: Daily Comet,


North Louisiana prison to undergo security upgrade


PLAIN DEALING, La. (AP) — A North Louisiana prison will undergo a sweeping security upgrade later this year.

KSLA-TV reports Bossier Maximum Security Facility, a 140,000-square-foot (13006.4-square-meter) detention center, is getting new cameras, monitors, electronic locks and security software used by deputies to monitor inmates in various parts of the facility.

Officials say the lockup in Plain Dealing opened in 2005. It holds an average of 460 inmates, with enough space for about 100 more.

Although officials say they've never had a major security issue over the past 14 years, deputies are looking forward to the impending enhancements.

Bossier Parish Police Jury Administrator Bill Altimus says the improvements are being funded by the corrections budget and the new system likely will be installed this summer.

Information from: KSLA-TV,