4th DWI offense
RACELAND — The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested a 32-year-old man for his fourth, driving while intoxicated offense.
Sheriff Craig Webre says Shawn Rodrigue, of Gray, was booked into the parish jail in Thibodaux on the impaired driving charge as well as improper lane usage and failing to have a court-ordered interlock system in his vehicle as a condition of probation from his previous DWI offense. Bond was set at $50,150. He is also being held on a probation violation.
Webre says deputies responded to a call at about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday of a car having driven off La. 182 in Raceland into a set of bushes. When deputies arrived at the scene, the sheriff's says they found Rodrigue inside a car with the engine running.
He was not injured.
7 remain for Rapides school job
ALEXANDRIA — The Rapides Parish School Board has selected seven candidates to interview for the superintendent’s job.
The field will be narrowed to three finalists before the board hires a replacement for interim Superintendent Gerald Woodard. Interviews will begin Monday.
The candidates include Nason “Tony” Authement, a supervisor of secondary education in Terrebonne Parish; Karl Carpenter, principal of Pineville High School; Bill Higgins, director of federal programs for the Rapides Parish School District; Rena Linzay, principal of Peabody Montessori Magnet Elementary School; Maria Pitre-Martin, most recently the state director of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; Jeff Powell, principal of Tioga Junior High; Rick Williams of McKinney, Texas, most recently the assistant director in the Region 10 Education Service Center.
La. man gets house arrest for bribery
NEW ORLEANS — The owner of a Louisiana seafood distribution business has been sentenced to six months of home confinement for trying to bribe an Internal Revenue Service agent to influence an audit of his business.
U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown also on Thursday sentenced 63-year-old Vinh Q. Tran, of Cutoff, to three years of probation.
Tran pleaded guilty in January 2012 to a bribery charge. Prosecutors say he paid the agent $6,000 in cash and gave him 75 pounds of free shrimp. The agent was cooperating with investigators.
Tran had faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
He owned and operated St. Vincent Seafood Co. in Leeville. Prosecutors say Tran and his business owed the IRS roughly $2 million.
Council seeks coroner’s resignation
MANDEVILLE — The St Tammany Parish Council has voted 13-1 to ask parish Coroner Peter Galvan to resign.
The council also voted unanimously to ask Galvan to pay back about $175,000 that he allegedly paid himself in unused vacation and sick time.
Council members asked the state attorney general to help the parish get records from Galvan. And council members said they would look into cutting tax revenue that goes to the coroner’s office, currently estimated at $4 million to $5 million a year.
Galvan did not attend Thursday’s meeting but said in an email to council members that he would address the public “at the proper time.” Galvan has been under scrutiny from New Orleans area media for expenses and his $200,000 annual salary.
of employers at tech college event
HOUMA — Employment seekers at a Fletcher Technical Community College job fair were encouraged by the number potential employers.
The Tuesday and Wednesday event included international oil companies and major contractors. There were also representatives of the Louisiana State Police, Thibodaux Police Department and Terrebonne and Lafourche sheriff’s offices.
Fletcher took over its two-year criminal justice program from Nicholls State University two years ago, so Fletcher officials said they were pleased to see interest from local agencies.
But, while a strong showing from law enforcement was encouraging to many students, others were drawn to the fair because of the demand for offshore jobs.
LSU’s B.R. hospital reducing services
BATON ROUGE — Declining staff levels at LSU’s Earl K. Long Medical Center and its clinics in Baton Rouge have led to a reduction of inpatient and outpatient services to the poor and uninsured.
Employee departures have picked up since late January when LSU officials moved up the Long facility’s closure date to April from its original November target date, while turning operation of Long’s four free-standing clinics over to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
Buku music fest returns to NOLA
NEW ORLEANS — Hip-hop singer Big Freedia and an entourage of booty-shaking “bounce” dancers are using a Mardi Gras float for a stage when the Buku music festival returns to New Orleans this weekend.
The two-day Buku Music + Art Project, a hip-hop and electronic dance music festival launched last year, is back for a second year, with about two dozen more acts and four stages instead of two.
The festival is being held Friday and Saturday at Mardi Gras World, the huge studio and warehouse on the bank of the Mississippi River where Carnival floats are made.
Plaquemines deputy arrested, fired
BELLE CHASSE — A Plaquemines Parish sheriff’s deputy has been arrested and fired over allegations that he was paid for a ‘detail’ at the same time he was logged on to work a 12-hour shift with the department.
Sheriff Lonnie Greco says 35-year-old Norman E. Phillips Jr., a five-year veteran, was arrested for malfeasance in office in relation to payroll fraud.
Phillips worked an off-duty paid detail Dec. 19, 2012, while also putting in that he was present for his regular shift. During questioning by detectives, Greco says Phillips admitted working the off-duty detail and being compensated for his regular work.
Phillips, of Port Sulphur, was booked into the Belle Chasse Lockup. He was released after posting $12,500 bond.
Singer-songwriter Claude King dies
NEW ORLEANS — Country singer-songwriter Claude King, an original member of the Louisiana Hayride who was best known for the 1962 hit “Wolverton Mountain,” has died. He was 90.
King had just celebrated his birthday and 67th wedding anniversary last month. The couple’s eldest son, Duane King, said his father was found unresponsive in his bed early Thursday morning at his home in Shreveport.
King was one of the original members of the Louisiana Hayride, the Saturday night show where Elvis Presley got his start and Hank Williams Sr. frequently performed.
The show transformed country and western music from 1948 to 1960 — the Hayride’s heyday — with music genres including hillbilly, western swing, jazz, blues and gospel. Duane King recalls meeting Presley and Hank Williams Sr. backstage with his dad at the Hayride.
King’s hit, “Wolverton Mountain,” co-written with Merle Kilgore, was about an Arkansas mountain man, Clifton Clowers, who guarded his daughter from suitors.
“It was a story song, with a sense of humor, and it was an instant hit,” said Maggie Warwick, owner of the Louisiana Hayride trademark and the production company, Louisiana Hayride Co. Warwick recalled King as “a legend in the Louisiana music industry, one of the greatest songwriters, and a wonderful friend.”
Warwick, who also chairs the Louisiana Music Commission, said King and Tillman Franks were on the Hayride from the very beginning. She said King was known for his guitar-playing skills and knack for writing songs.
“He had a gift for melody and lyrics that was very definable,” Warwick said. “The range and melody and the feeling that goes with his songs, when you hear it, it’s very unique and identifiable with Claude King. He had a personal style that was all his own.”
King’s other hits included “Sheepskin Valley,” “Building a Bridge,” “Hey Lucille!,” “Big River, Big Man,” “I’ve Got The World By The Tail,” “Catch a Little Raindrop,” “All For The Love Of A Girl” and “The Comancheros,” which was inspired by the John Wayne movie of the same name.
King circulated with stars like Johnny Cash, Slim Whitman, Johnny Horton and Presley, who sent country music rocking from the Hayride stage. But Duane King says his father was never interested in being a big star.
“He could have been as big as anybody, but that’s not what he was about,” said Duane King, who is now 65.
He said his father loved performing in his home state and was a celebrity in Shreveport, where he was given a “Key to the City.” A star-shaped plaque with his name and hand- and boot-prints were placed on a downtown sidewalk as part of the city’s “Walk of Stars.”
King was a devoted family man who enjoyed fishing and gardening, his son said.
Duane King said he and his father had planned to go fishing on Friday. Although his father had some health issues, he had recently been feeling well, even asked for an exercise bike for his birthday.
“It caught us by surprise, and we’re going to miss him. He was such an easygoing, unpretentious person who didn’t have anything bad to say about anybody. He was my best friend, and I wish I could be half the person he was.”
Claude King served in the U.S. Navy, including in the Philippines during World War II, between 1942 and 1946.
He is survived by his wife Barbara, three sons and six grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
From The Associated Press.