NEW IBERIA — A 47-year-old Mississippi woman faces a kidnapping charge after she allegedly refused to return a 4-year-old girl to her mother, who had been arrested in Louisiana.
Jessica Hebert of Picayune, Miss., is being held on one count of simple kidnapping in Pearl River County.
Iberia Parish sheriff’s Capt. Ryan Turner says the 4-year-old was spending the night with Hebert last week when Delcambre police arrested and briefly jailed the girl’s mother for allegedly failing to appear in court for a traffic violation.
Deputies say Hebert allegedly traveled back to Mississippi and refused to return the child after the mother was released from jail.
Detectives traveled Sunday to Mississippi and have returned the child to her mother.
It was unclear whether Hebert has an attorney.
Lafayette Parish may end tax rebate
LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette City-Parish Government is considering ending a sales tax rebate that helps area businesses cover accounting expenses related to collecting and paying the tax.
A long-standing local law has allowed businesses to keep 2 percent of total collections for city-parish government sales taxes as long as the sales tax payment is on time.
The council is considering ending that practice, a change that could bring more revenue to a local government that has been struggling to meet annual expenses.
Councilman Jay Castille says the ordinance is scheduled to be introduced today and to come up for a final vote Feb. 5.
Officials say ending the rebate could bring in an additional $1.5 million a year for city-parish government.
$6.4M recovered for policyholders
BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Department of Insurance helped policyholders recover an additional $6.4 million in disputes with insurers in 2012.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said insurers made the additional payments after consumers complained to the Insurance Department about the original claims payments. The department worked with both sides to resolve the disputes.
Donelon says the department received 4,927 consumer inquiries and more than 3,074 consumer complaints in 2012.
GPS system for riders to track buses
BATON ROUGE — Bus riders in East Baton Rouge Parish will soon be able to get real-time updates on smartphones and computers about the location of Capital Area Transit System buses.
CATS officials said they are putting the finishing touches on a series of technology upgrades they’re preparing to unveil at the end of the month — the most transformative change being the addition of GPS, or global positioning systems — on the agency’s 79 vehicles.
Iberville Parish adds to school patrols
PLAQUEMINE — The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office is set to hire three new school resource officers to enhance school security as districts across the state evaluate the safety of their schools following the shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Iberville School Superintendent Ed Cancienne said the school board is allocating to the sheriff’s office more than $150,000 a year to add the three officers.
The parish has only one school resource officer, who works primarily at Plaquemine High School.
The sheriff’s more than $150,000 request from the school district will help pay for the officers’ salaries, benefits and equipment.
Chief Financial Officer Jolain Landry said the school district spends about $100,000 annually on school security measures, which include crossing guards and the lone resource officer at Plaquemine High.
Teen dies after
BATON ROUGE — Baton Rouge police say a rifle accidentally discharged, killing an 18-year-old Denham Springs man.
Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said in a news release that Trevon Wilson died at a hospital from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
McKneely said the rifle went off when five to six people in the house were examining it at 2:09 a.m. Saturday.
Prima to be honored with fest
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans singer and trumpeter Louis Prima is getting a festival in his honor.
The inaugural Prima Fest is set for March 7 to 10 at the Mississippi River Heritage Park. Admission will be $10.
Organizers have yet to announce the full musical lineup, but Prima’s daughter, Lena Prima, will perform several times.
Prima, who died in 1978, had a career that spanned from the Swing Era through the emergence of Las Vegas as an entertainment center. He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1958 and celebrated for his work in Disney’s 1967 film, “The Jungle Book.”
App may help track impact
of coastal losses
HOUMA — An Internet-based app under development may help a Web app may help document the disappearing culture of south Louisiana communities are they are displaced by coastal erosion.
Called “Vanishing Points,” the app is being developed by Florida International University student Sandra Maina, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.
The app is designed to allow community members to log memories, interviews and photos of places that are disappearing because of coastal erosion.
Ag program designed
BATON ROUGE — Young people interested in careers in agriculture can apply for admission to the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Young Ag Producers Program.
The program runs for one year.
The 2013 summer session will be held July 22 to 26 on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.
The current class includes 13 students, each matched with an agriculture mentor to study beef, rice, sugar, crawfish, goats and specialty crops.
More information on applying to the program is available online at www.lsuagcenter.com/layapp. The application deadline is March 1.
is Prejean topic
NEW ORLEANS — Death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean will talk about her efforts to abolish the death penalty on today at Loyola University.
Her presentation is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Loyola’s Jesuit Social Research Institute, St. Gabriel Catholic Church and Trinity Episcopal Church.
It is set for 7 p.m. in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall.
Prejean began her prison ministry in the 1980s when she became pen pals with death row inmate and convicted killer Patrick Sonnier.
The nun witnessed the execution process firsthand and wrote about her experiences in the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.”
More information is available by calling 504-861-5448.
From The Associated Press.