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Wednesday, December 19, 2018



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News in Brief- Oct. 28, 2018

News in Brief- Oct. 28, 2018

Southeast mostly drought-free, Alabama and Georgia worsening

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern United States is mostly free of drought, but a new federal assessment shows conditions are worsening slightly in Georgia and Alabama.

A new map released by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows about one-third of Georgia is either abnormally dry or in a moderate drought. About one-quarter of Alabama has the same problem.

Statistics show both states were less arid the week before. The biggest problem areas are southeastern Georgia and northwestern Alabama, where multiple counties in each state are abnormally dry.

Conditions are either unchanged or improving in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Forecasters say a broad area of moisture associated with the remnants of Hurricane Willa could spread rain across the region Thursday and Friday as it moves eastward.

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Lawsuit: School didn't protect teacher assaulted by student

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana teacher is suing a charter school network, saying the network didn't protect her when she was sexually assaulted by a special needs student.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reported Wednesday that the lawsuit was filed this month against the Collegiate Academies charter school network. The lawsuit says the student, who's a legal adult, threw the teacher into a wall last month and groped her, causing "severe and disabling injuries."

The lawsuit says the student has "attacked at least five" other women at the New Orleans school since he started attending two years ago. It says the network failed to put parameters in place to protect the teacher despite knowing about the established risk of assault. Academies spokeswoman Zoey Reed says network staff has been retrained on safety protocols.

Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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Edwards: Sunshine Bridge to reopen in January

DONALDSONVILLE, La. (AP) — Residents will likely have to wait until January before they can travel the Sunshine Bridge again.

The bridge has been closed to traffic since it sustained damage from a barge collision Oct. 12.

Gov. John Bel Edwards says Coastal Bridge Company, LLC, has been contracted to repair the bridge and crews will be working 24-hours a day to fix it.

News outlets report Edwards and Dr. Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, got firsthand views of the damage Wednesday. Edwards says the damage was more severe than he expected.

Additionally, Edwards says the state is pursuing a claim against Marquette Transportation, the company responsible for the accident. Marquette was at the center of a similar incident involving the Gross Tete Bridge in 2014.

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2 deputies fired after Louisiana inmate escapes

GREENSBURG, La. (AP) — A St. Helena Parish inmate is on the run and authorities are asking for the public's help in finding him.

WAFB-TV reports Taylor Miller, of Kentwood, escaped the parish jail about 1 p.m. Saturday. The sheriff's office confirmed Tuesday that two deputies have been fired as a result of the escape.

Details of how he escaped have not been released.

Miller, whose hair is cut low and has a goatee, was last seen wearing dark pants and a white T-shirt. He had been held on charges of simple burglary, theft, forgery, criminal damage to property, aggravated criminal damage to property and theft of a motor vehicle.

Anyone with information that might help police locate Miller should contact the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office at 1-800-200-4905 or 225-222-4413.

Information from: WAFB-TV, http://wafb.com

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2 New Orleans charter schools to close next year

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two charter schools in New Orleans will close next year because they have failed to meet the standards to continue operations.

Nola.com/The Times Picayune reported the Algiers Charter Schools Association said the William J. Fischer Accelerated Academy and McDonough No. 32 Literacy Charter School will close in June.

The students at McDonough No 32 are moving to the Fischer campus Wednesday because of low enrollment at both schools.

The academy was one of four schools in the city that serves students expelled from other schools.

Since 2015, state-authorized charter schools had to obtain a C grade or higher in the state's assessment system in order to have their charter renewed. Both McDonough No. 32 and Fischer have received "F'' grades based on their school performance scores since 2016.

Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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Student fees increasing at University of Louisiana campuses

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — After giving students a pass in the fall, Louisiana's largest university system will boost student charges this spring, to raise $9 million across campuses.

The University of Louisiana System's board approved the fee hikes Thursday without debate.

Fees will grow per credit hour by $15 at McNeese State University, $18.59 at UL-Lafayette, $10 at UL-Monroe and $7 at Northwestern State University. Grambling State University will charge a $100 technology fee. Some campuses will increase charges for students taking more than a full-time course load.

The system says the money will pay for faculty pay raises, expanded student services and increased course offerings.

The LSU and Southern University systems increased fees earlier this year. The TOPS tuition program doesn't cover fees, so students and families have to pay the boosted costs.