in Terrebonne Parish
HOUMA — Three people were killed in a head-on crash on LA. 182 in Terrebonne Parish at about 9 p.m. Sunday, reported Trooper Evan Harrell of Louisiana State Police, Troop C.
A 1996 Isuzu Rodeo driven by Juan Martinez-Silva, 56, of Lockport, was traveling west on La. 182 just past La. 660, Harrell stated.
The Rodeo crossed the center line and struck a 2000 Cadillac Deville driven by Belinda Leonard, 48, of Raceland, that was traveling eastbound on La. 182, he stated.
After the head-on impact, the Rodeo began to rotate counter-clockwise and rolled onto its passenger side, Harrell stated. Martinez-Silva, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead on the scene by a Terrebonne Parish Coroner’s Office representative. Leonard, who was wearing a seat belt, was also pronounced dead at the scene.
John Steve, 34, of Raceland, a passenger in the Deville, died while in route to the hospital, Harrell stated. Steve was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Natasha Rogers, 28, of Gray, also a passenger in the Deville, was transported to Terrebonne General Medical Center with severe injuries. Rogers was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Wreck kills Raceland man
GIBSON — A Raceland man was killed shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday after his vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree on La. 182 in Gibson, according to a state police news release.
The police investigation revealed that a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado was traveling west on La. 182 in Gibson. The driver of the truck was Tommy Lebouef, 34, of Raceland. The vehicle was exiting a left-hand curve when it left the roadway and struck a tree. Lebouef, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene by a Terrebonne Parish Coroner’s representative.
Alcohol use is suspected to be a factor for Lebouef, the release stated. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The crash remains under investigation.
Sentencing set in Lafayette church vandalism case
LAFAYETTE — A sentencing date has been set for a black man who pleaded guilty to defacing two churches with predominantly black congregations in February 2011 in an attempt to frame his ex-girlfriend, who is white.
Brian Toriano Crimiel of Lafayette is scheduled for sentencing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Richard Haik.
Crimiel, who is black, admitted he wrote racial slurs on St. James Baptist Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
Crimiel pleaded guilty to one count of damage to religious property and one count of making a false statement.
Crimiel faces not more than one year on the damage to religious property count and up to five years on the false statement count.
Patagonia founder to speak at Tulane environmental summit
NEW ORLEANS — The annual Tulane Summit on Environmental Law is set for Friday and Saturday.
Keynote speaker will be Yvon Chouinard, founder of the group Patagonia.
The summit, which will take place at the Tulane Law School, is open to the public.
SW La. could benefit
from rice exports to China
WELSH — Southwest Louisiana rice farmers could reap benefits from growing Chinese agriculture markets by exporting rice there.
State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, discussed opening the rice market and other agriculture-related issues with nearly two dozen farmers during a Farm Day forum last week.
“I think we may see more rice moving to China,” Strain said. “Right now China has 20 percent of the world’s population and produces 20 percent of the world’s agriculture, but they are reaching finite limits where they can’t produce any more. I think consumption is going to outpace their ability to produce.”
Boustany said China is currently a net importer of rice, much from Thailand and Vietnam. But he says rice production is those countries has been shaky so China is looking to the United States.
“This opens the doors for us, especially with the expansion of the Panama Canal to ship rice from the Gulf Coast,” Boustany said. “The bottom line is there are going to be opportunities and as China increases its need to import rice, it will have an effect on the world market price, which will be beneficial to us.”
China, the world’s largest grain consumer, imported a record high amount of rice in 2012 — mainly from Vietnam, according the General Administration of Customs. Rice imports rose 305 percent, to 2.34 million tons last year.
Strain said the quality of U.S. rice is better suited for the Chinese, especially discerning Chinese who he said want better quality.
“Looking at China, we have a framework where we deal with them at a high level called the strategic and economic dialog and agriculture trade is part of that,” Boustany said.
sheriff reduces fleet
HOUMA — Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter says he has traded in 40 vehicles — mostly older SUVs and pickup trucks — and used the money for 14 new cars and an unmarked pickup truck. He also is trying to sell a $300,000 fishing boat bought under former sheriff Vernon Bourgeois.
Larpenter said the office will pay less on gas and maintenance since it has sold the older, heavier vehicles.
The office is smaller because Larpenter laid off 23 deputies when he took over in July. He says several others quit.
Larpenter says that when he left the sheriff’s office in 2008 it had a $9 million surplus. He says that’s gone, and money is tight.
Fighters to leave Barksdale AFB
SHREVEPORT — By October, the 47th Fighter Squadron will be gone from Barksdale Air Force Base.
The Air Force Reserve squadron’s 24 A-10 Thunderbolt II and most of its pilots and personnel could be at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Ariz., as early as late August.
Some of the 580 people already have left, said Col. John Breazeale, commander of the 917th Fighter Group, which controls the 47th Fighter Squadron and is scheduled to shut down.
He said some personnel will remain at Barksdale to fill open slots in available at the Air Force Reserve’s 307th Bomb Wing.
The 917th Fighter Group had 409 part-time reservists and 171 full-time technicians when the cuts were announced in March 2012.
They are the result of cutbacks announced before the current sequestration and budget disputes that have embroiled Washington in recent months.
Clinton to speak
at N.O. conference
NEW ORLEANS — Former President Bill Clinton and a cardiologist-geneticist are keynote speakers for a medical information technology conference March 3 to 7 in New Orleans.
Dr. Eric J. Topol of Scripps Health in La Jolla, Calif., has written a book that says social networking, smartphones and new tools to map each patient’s DNA will give people control of their own genetic and medical information.
He will speak March 5 at the conference, which is called HIMSS13.
Clinton’s speech on March 6 will be streamed on the Internet. So will 10 educational sessions. Another 11 pre-recorded educational sessions will be available through the web for participants who can’t get to New Orleans.
The exhibition floor will include an area where doctors can view and directly compare a variety of electronic health record programs.
Corps plans forum on surge barrier
NEW ORLEANS — The Army Corps of Engineers plans a public meeting Tuesday focusing on proposed operating procedures for the Industrial Canal surge barrier and Seabrook floodgate complex.
Corps project managers will be available to answer questions and will make a presentation on the proposed operating rules.
The surge barrier is located at the place the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Mississippi River Gulf Outlet meet, about 12 miles east of downtown New Orleans. The barrier works in tandem with the Seabrook complex, which is at the north end of the Industrial Canal near Lake Pontchartrain.
The structures are designed to control storm surge, such as that driven by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Tuesday’s session will be held at 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1200 Robert E Lee Blvd.
Forums planned in Terrebonne Parish
HOUMA — Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet has scheduled a series of community meetings beginning next month at which parish residents can comment on the state of parish services.
The meetings will be in an open-forum format with a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Presentations will be tailored to each community but will include parishwide issues such as drainage, hurricane protection, road improvements and economic development.
All meetings will start at 6 p.m.
The first meeting is set for March 14 in Chauvin at the American Legion Hall on Louisiana 56.
launch mobile app
SCOTT — The Scott Police Department is offering a new smartphone app for residents to contact its officers.
The app, available to download for free on every iPod, iPhone, iPad and Droid device, allows users to make quick calls to the Scott Police Department, send in tips and obtain access to staff information such as email addresses.
The app also makes it easier for officers to get need-to-know information out to users through push notifications and emailed newsletters.
Chief Chad Leger says the police department will be able to send out emergency alerts to keep Scott residents informed on any emergencies such as road closures, accidents and hurricane updates in Scott itself and the surrounding area.
From The Associated Press and staff reports.