THIBODAUX — Thibodaux Regional Medical Center is moving forward with plans to build a $63 million wellness center that will focus on preventative health care with an education and fitness focus.
Thibodaux Regional is a 185-bed hospital that employs about 1,100 people, including 225 doctors. The hospital sees about 100,000 people annually on an outpatient basis.
Hospital CEO Greg Stock said the need for such a center was evident in the face of emerging health care crises such as rising rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Stock said the center will have 100 employees and an annual payroll of about $4 million.
The center will be located across the road from the Thibodaux Regional Cancer Center. It should be completed in summer 2015.
during online date
MANDEVILLE — Mandevillle police say a couple is accused of robbing a 53-year-old man at knifepoint while the victim and one of the suspects were together after arranging a meeting on an online dating website.
Kasi Lynn Ferguson, 23, of Belle Chasse and 22-year-old Blaise Thomas Pertuit of Westwego were arrested Tuesday and booked with one count each of armed robbery.
Lt. Gerald Sticker says Ferguson and the victim arranged a meeting through the online dating website SeekingArrangement.com.
Sticker said Ferguson and the victim were sitting in his car at around 1 a.m. Sunday when Pertuit arrived and pulled the victim from the car at knifepoint.
He says the couple beat and robbed the victim.
Sticker says police found the victim’s watch and camera at Ferguson’s home.
Transocean drops bid to depose BP rig supervisor
NEW ORLEANS — Transocean Ltd. has asked a judge to vacate an order requiring BP rig supervisor Donald Vidrine to submit to a medical exam to determine if he is fit to answer questions about his actions on the Deepwater Horizon before an explosion killed 11 workers in 2010.
A court filing Wednesday says rig owner Transocean has agreed to submit a list of written questions to Vidrine instead of questioning him at a deposition.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ordered Vidrine to undergo a medical exam before he and fellow BP well site leader Robert Kaluza were indicted in November on manslaughter charges over the workers’ deaths.
Vidrine’s lawyers appealed, claiming medical problems preclude his testimony. His attorneys also said he will assert his right against self-incrimination under any form of questioning.
Kentwood police chief arrested
KENTWOOD — State police say the chief of the Kentwood Police Department has been arrested and booked with malfeasance in office and obstruction of justice.
A state police news release said 59-year-old Gregory Newton surrendered to state detectives early Wednesday.
The arrest followed an investigation that began last month when state police detectives received a citizen complaint alleging that approximately $2,000 in currency recovered from a burglary had been misappropriated.
Newton was jailed in Tangipahoa Parish with bond set at $50,000.
fund honors grad
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s Department of Biological Sciences has established a scholarship fund in memory of a Nicholls graduate who died earlier this month after a fall while hiking in the Andes Mountains.
The university said Wednesday that Rachel Ianni was a 2011 graduate of Nicholls’ marine and environmental biology master’s program.
The memorial funds will go toward travel scholarships for marine and environmental biology students.
While at Nicholls, Ianni worked on a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries project to remove invasive tilapias from a Port Sulphur canal system. She also was a teaching assistant for a University Honors course in Costa Rica. Her Nicholls degree led her to jobs with the Indiana Dunes National Forest, Chicago Public Schools and The Field Museum of Chicago.
Delay sought for ex-N.O. cop’s trial
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has been asked to postpone the retrial of a retired New Orleans police sergeant charged with helping cover up deadly shootings on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt didn’t immediately rule on the joint request by lawyers for Gerard Dugue and the Justice Department.
Dugue’s retrial is scheduled to start March 11, but both sides said Engelhardt may need more time to consider Dugue’s recently filed motion to dismiss his indictment.
His first trial ended in a mistrial when Engelhardt ruled that a prosecutor may have unfairly influenced the jury by mentioning the name of a man beaten to death by a New Orleans police officer in an unrelated case.
Dugue is charged with writing a false report on the Danziger Bridge shootings.
Pitbull, Flo Rida
to perform at Super Bowl party
NEW ORLEANS — Rap stars Pitbull and Flo Rida and “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon are the latest in a string of celebrities headed to New Orleans for Super Bowl weekend.
The rappers are performing at an invitation-only party on Feb. 1 hosted by Rolling Stone and Bud Light, the official beer sponsor of the NFL. The lineup also includes Cannon, a comedian and actor married to singer Mariah Carey.
Elsewhere on Feb. 1, Grammy-winning R&B singer Fantasia headlines a Super Bowl gospel celebration hosted by Sherri Shepherd of ABC’s “The View” and Grammy-winning gospel musician Kirk Franklin.
Gospel singers Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Winans and Bishop Paul S. Morton of New Orleans are also performing.
The game will be played at the Superdome on Feb. 3 with Beyonce as the halftime performer.
Council OKs verbal resignation
SORRENTO — The Sorrento Town Council has voted to accept the verbal resignation of police officer Tige Scott because Scott had failed for more than a month to respond to requests for his formal written resignation.
Police Chief Earl Theriot told council members during their meeting Tuesday that Scott turned in his police-issued equipment Dec. 10 but never formally resigned in writing.
Town Attorney Donovan Hudson told the council Scott advised Theriot he was resigning and did not come to work or receive pay after that date.
Theriot said the town sent Scott a certified letter a week later asking him to submit his resignation in writing but Scott never responded.
Secretary of state wants more oversight
BATON ROUGE — Secretary of State Tom Schedler technically has about 700 employees, but he has no control over more than half of them.
Registrars of voters and their employees are paid through the Secretary of State’s Office.
And that’s concerning Schedler because he’s paying the bills but doesn’t know what’s going on in the field.
Schedler told a legislative committee that he’s been trying to get the registrars to develop such things as time and attendance policies. He said he’s been ignored.
Schedler said one day a problem is going to come up and he’s going to get the blame.
Report: B.R. second in HIV cases
BATON ROUGE — A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds the Baton Rouge metro area ranks second among major United States metro areas for new HIV infection diagnoses.
The report, released Jan. 10, is based on 2010 data of all U.S. metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 people.
The Baton Rouge metro area consists of nine parishes: East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Livingston and St. Helena.
Baton Rouge’s rate of people diagnosed with HIV in 2010 is 52.1, meaning about 52 people per 100,000 population were diagnosed with the virus. New Orleans’ rate is 44.3, which ranks third in the U.S.
Miami tops the list with a rate of 59.2.
Driver killed in La. 447 collision
WALER — State police have identified the man killed in a wreck on La. 447 as 52-year-old Alan K. Vinet of Denham Springs.
Troopers say the wreck occurred around 6 a.m. Wednesday after an SUV by 44-year-old Jeff D. Pratt drifted off the road to the right. Pratt overcorrected and ran head-on into Vinet’s southbound pickup.
Troopers say Vinet was not wearing a seat belt.
The accident remains under investigation.
From The Associated Press.