NEW ORLEANS — High school students, college students close to starting professional careers or heading to graduate school and professionals in search of other opportunities are invited to attend The Empowerment Exchange — the Bayou Classic’s official career and college expo.
The free event is scheduled Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. The expo is one of several events held prior to the annual Bayou Classic football matchup between Grambling State and Southern University. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Town Talk reports two panel discussions also will be held, including one on hazing. Grambling State President Frank Pogue and Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. are expected to participate in the 2 p.m. panel moderated by CNN political analyst Roland Martin.
State to pay $1.3M to end battle over cypress mill
BATON ROUGE — The state will pay $1.3 million to settle litigation stemming from the financing of a failed cypress mill in Tangipahoa Parish.
Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/SigO0H ) that the decision to settle came after the state lost court battles that went as far as the state Supreme Court.
At issue was former commissioner Bob Odom’s granting of state financial backing to a $3.2 million loan that Louisiana State Cypress secured from Texans Federal Credit Union. The cypress mill failed and Louisiana Cypress stopped repaying the loan. So, the credit union went to court seeking money from the state.
Gretna woman sentenced for stealing S.S. funds
NEW ORLEANS — A 76-year-old Gretna woman has been sentenced to three years of probation for theft of government funds.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan sentenced Shirley A. Bunda on Wednesday and ordered her to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration in the amount of $133,297.
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said in a news release that Bunda shared a joint checking account with her mother, who was receiving Social Security benefits. Prosecutors say Bunda failed to inform the agency of her mother’s death on Feb. 15, 1998, and the agency continued to send monthly benefits to the checking account via direct deposit.
Bunda received $173,297 in benefits to which she was not entitled from the date of her mother’s death through Aug. 3, 2011. Bunda has since repaid the agency $40,000.
Man found dead inside car in N.O. neighborhood
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans’ homicide detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old man, whose body was found in the driver’s seat of a car.
Police say the victim, whose name has not been released, was discovered just before 9 a.m. Thursday. Authorities say he had been shot several times and died on the scene.
Police say a weapon was recovered at the scene.
Anyone with information about the shooting can contact the police department’s homicide division or call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.
2 die in Calcasieu Parish crash
LAKE CHARLES — An early morning crash in Calcasieu Parish has left two men dead and critically injured a third.
Louisiana State Police say it happened at 1:17 a.m. on Louisiana 109, between Vinton and Starks.
A preliminary investigation shows 34-year-old Donald Ray Richardson, or Orange, Texas, was headed north when he ran off the road and hit a tree. Richardson was pronounced dead at the scene. A rear seat passenger, 40-year-old Gregory Joseph Wilson, of Starks, was transported to an area hospital, where he died a short while later.
The front seat passenger, 29-year-old Venroy Anthony Ogle, of Brewster, Wash., was transported to a hospital in Beaumont, Texas, with critical injuries.
No one in the car was wearing a seat belt, as required by law.
The crash remains under investigation.
64 months for man in drug, gun, counterfeit case
NEW ORLEANS — A Metairie man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison in a case involving a weapon, counterfeit money and drugs.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans said Wednesday that 33-year-old David Outlaw was sentenced to 64 months by U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle.
Court records show Outlaw illegally possessed and sold a sawed-off rifle, counterfeit currency and methamphetamine to undercover agents in November 2011.
Outlaw was also sentenced for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Today is Acadian Day
BATON ROUGE — State government employees are getting a long Thanksgiving weekend, with offices closed Friday in a holiday that commemorates Louisiana’s Cajun heritage.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has continued the annual tradition of designating Friday as Acadian Day, which remembers the arrival in Louisiana of the Acadians, many of whom settled in large southern areas of the state after being deported from Nova Scotia in 1755.
Acadian Day is an optional holiday for Louisiana governors to call each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
In his proclamation declaring the legal holiday, Jindal called Acadian Day additional time for families to gather “to remember their blessings and promote family values.”
Bossier to vote
on $205M budget
BOSSIER CITY — Bossier City’s City Council is expected to approve a $205 million budget at its Dec. 4 meeting.
The proposed budget was introduced during a brief meeting Tuesday.
The Times of Shreveport reports that the meeting also included a presentation on October financial numbers from Bossier City Finance Director Joe Buffington indicated the city’s year-to-date revenue collections are at 98 percent of the expected numbers.
La. transportation officials send help
BATON ROUGE — The state transportation department is sending two members of its core emergency response team to New York to help in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri LeBas says the specialists will provide onsite support, expertise and guidance in transportation coordination efforts beginning Thursday through Dec. 7.
Louisiana DOTD’s full-time emergency operations staff has first-hand experience in emergency response efforts, having refined and improved procedures based on lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Isaac.
LeBas says the department has developed a process to help people without personal transportation to evacuate.
From The Associated Press.