dead in Port Allen
PORT ALLEN — Authorities say a 5-year-old boy with autism has been found dead near U.S. 190 in Port Allen after being reported missing from a Christmas party two miles away.
State Police believe the boy was hit by an unknown vehicle after wandering off from the party Friday night. His body was found after midnight Saturday, narly for hours after guests at the party realized he was missing.
Evidence shows that the boy walked west along North River Road where the party was held, then down a cane field road toward the highway.
Sinkhole prompts study for alternative road
BATON ROUGE — State highway officials say they’ll start a six-month study early next year into the feasibility of an alternative route around an eight-acre sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish.
Thestudy is the initial step the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development takes to consider a proposed highway.
DOTD spokesman Dustin Annison says the study will determine if “the route could be built in the affected area in the event that Louisiana 70 is compromised.”
Louisiana 70 carries an estimated 6,000 cars a day and cuts through isolated swamp and is a key connector between some areas.
The sinkhole is believed to have been caused by a failed Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern in the Napoleonville Dome.
in Bogalusa burns
BOGALUSA — Authorities say a historic church in Bogalusa has been destroyed by a fire.
Firefighters said that Bethlehem Baptist Church on East 7th Street caught on fire about 4 a.m. Sunday. The three-alarm fire destroyed what was the oldest African American church in the city.
The church was founded 102 years ago in the Old Mills Quarters before moving to its current location in 1958 and being rebuilt in the 1960s.
Pastor Christopher Matthews says it’s too early to talk about rebuilding. He says the congregation of 250 people would focus on taking time to heal.
Police say man shot at La. hotel
LAFAYETE — Louisiana authorities say a California man has been shot after three other men knocked on the door of his hotel room and one of them opened fire.
Lafayette police say in a news release that the shooting happened at the St. Francis Motel on Sunday about 12:30 a.m.
The 46-year-old victim was found in the parking lot suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
The release said the suspects fled in a vehicle.
The victim, whose identity and hometown was not released, was taken to an area hospital and treated for his injuries. He’s listed in stable condition.
Natural-gas bus fleet grows
LAFAYETTE — The initiative to transition Lafayette’s bus fleet from diesel fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas is about to get a big boost.
Lafayette has received 12 natural gas-powered buses at no cost from Gwinnett County, Ga., that phased out the units in favor of larger models.
City-Parish Transit and Parking Manager Mike Mitchell says the buses are now undergoing inspections and routine maintenance and should be newly painted and rolling by the spring.
The buses will add to the existing fleet of five natural gas-powered buses that Lafayette bought new in 2011, and five more new natural-gas buses are on order.
Teenager dies in crash on La. 77
FORDOCHE — A Morganza teenager died after a single-vehicle crash on La. Highway 77 in Pointe Coupee Parish.
State police say 18-year-old was driving a pickup south on Highway 77 around noon Sunday when he failed to make curve, ran off the road and struck a utility pole.
Trooper Jared Sandifer said Kirkland was wearing a seat belt but died in the crash.
Agencies to fund new courthouse
LIVINGSTON — Livingston Parish agencies are piecing together money to fill a shortfall of more than $3 million as they prepare to begin construction on an $18.4 million courthouse.
Marshall Harris, chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/12jQcSx ) the parish council realized it can save about $622,000 on building material sales taxes. Harris says the parish can claim an exemption on those taxes.
Clerk of Court Tom Sullivan said his office and three other agencies have agreed to come up with the other half of the shortfall.
Sullivan says it appears that the Clerk of Court’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office will each owe roughly $600,000, the district attorney will owe about $300,000 and the judges will owe a total of about $300,000 for their office space.
Residents oppose historic district proposal
MANDEVILLE — Dozens of Mandeville residents turned out for a public hearing earlier this week to vent about a plan to create a historic district.
Most expressed fears the district would lead to over-regulation of private property.
Members of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission assured residents the ordinance to create the district can be modified based on public input.
Still, some said it represents increased government intervention in their lives.
Planning Director Louisette Kidd said the ordinance was introduced “to find out how restrictive we want it (the district) to be.”
Under the plan, the City Council would establish the district for the Old Mandeville neighborhood.
2 receive LSU professorships
BATON ROUGE — Two LSU AgCenter faculty members have received professorships.
Beth Reames, a nutrition specialist, and Diane Sasser, an adolescent development specialist, each have had long careers within the LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service.
Reames, a registered dietician, was awarded the Ann Armstrong Peltier Professorship.
Sasser, team leader for the Healthy Beginnings for Your Baby program, was awarded the Adrienne Gravois Brazan Professorship.
Food business incubator organizing
BATON ROUGE— The LSU AgCenter has hired a veteran food consultant to organize a food business incubator.
Gaye Sandoz, who most recently was with Edible Enterprises — a food business incubator in in Norco — hopes to have the incubator fully developed over the next 12 months.
The AgCenter’s incubator will be the second such facility in Louisiana.
Headquartered on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus, incubator tenants will have access to expertise of LSU faculty and students.
Initial funding will come from reallocation of internal resources.
From The Associated Press.