The Army says a helicopter pilot from Franklin Parish was among five people killed in a crash last week in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Twenty-seven-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Henderson was on his second deployment. His awards included the Air Medal. He joined the Army in May 2007.
The Army says the crew from the 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, was flying a routine training mission using night-vision goggles a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The cause of Monday’s crash was still being investigated.
Also killed were Capt. Sara M. Knutson of Eldersburg, Md., Staff Sgts. Steven P. Blass of Estherville, Iowa and Marc A. Scialdo of Naples, Fla., and Spc. Zachary L. Shannon of Dunedin, Fla.
A memorial ceremony is planned at Fort Stewart in April.
Jindal OK after crash
BATON ROUGE — A large rental truck sideswiped a sport utility vehicle carrying Gov. Bobby Jindal home from his son’s soccer game in Baton Rouge, but the governor was not hurt, officials said Sunday.
A news release from Louisiana State Police sent Sunday night said a trooper driving a second SUV swerved to avoid the large rental truck and then hit a utility pole. The release said that trooper had minor injuries, but no one else was hurt in the wreck around 5 p.m. in Baton Rouge.
Police said the rental truck made an illegal U-turn from the outside lane and sideswiped the first SUV carrying the governor and another trooper. They were not hurt.
The governor has state police escorts around the clock, which is required under state law.
Jindal spokesman Sean Lansing said the governor had been on his way home from his son’s soccer game.
The crash is under investigation. The driver of the truck was cited for making an improper turn, police said.
DNR to appoint sinkhole commission
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Stephen Chustz will appoint the members of a “blue ribbon commission” by the end of this week to determine when Bayou Corne residents can safely return home.
The sinkhole led to evacuation of about 150 homes in August.
Patrick Courreges, DNR spokesman, said experts are being sought from federal and state government, academic institutions and consulting firms to fill an estimated 12 to 17 spots.
The appointments will cap a busy week of meetings, buyout talks, a governor’s visit to Bayou Corne and key seismic testing related to the failure of the Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern believed to have caused a 9-acre sinkhole in the area.
On Sunday, Assumption Parish officials say another belch of oily hydrocarbons and debris surfaced.
to restore island
HOUMA — A coalition of volunteers from around the country spent the week in Terrebonne Parish working to restore Raccoon Island with a new tool for rebuilding land.
The New York-based Restore the Earth Foundation partnered with San Francisco-based For the Bayou. Volunteers from AmeriCorps and other groups placed 4,000 land-building Gulf Saver bags on the island in just four days to help stabilize and restore it.
Gulf Saver bags are biodegradable sacks of soil mixed with nutrients that support, feed and protect planted native vegetation.
Raccoon Island, part of Terrebonne’s Isle Dernieres barrier island chain, protects Terrebonne communities against storm surges. It is also host to a vibrant and diverse array of nesting shorebirds and hosts the largest brown pelican colony in Louisiana.
Burglar tracked by pickax bar code
METAIRIE — Authorities in Louisiana say they tracked a man accused of stealing drugs from a pharmacy because he left behind a pickax he used to break in — and forgot to remove the price tag.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Col. John Fortunato says the sticker included a bar code indicating when and where the pickax was bought. The store had video of the purchase.
Fortunato said a store near the pharmacy had surveillance video from the night of the burglary, showing the same man and a vehicle license plate.
Fortunato says drugs from the pharmacy were found during a search of 43-year-old Scott Rodrigue’s home.
Rodrigue was booked with pharmacy burglary and drug possession and freed on $70,000 bond.
3 groups weigh in against vouchers
NEW ORLEANS — Three organizations opposed to Louisiana’s private school tuition voucher program are weighing in on the issue ahead of state Supreme Court arguments next week.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, The Interfaith Alliance Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday they filed a friend of the court brief against the program, which uses government money to make private school tuition available for some students in poorly performing public schools.
The state is appealing a district judge’s ruling that the program unconstitutionally takes money from an education funding program meant for public schools. Americans United and the other groups argue that the program also unconstitutionally uses public money for religion-based education.
The state defends the program’s constitutionality and says it provides parents with needed educational choices.
From The Associated Press.