Natchitoches police are investigating a fatal shooting involving two Natchitoches Parish sheriff's deputies. Natchitoches police said that 26 year-old Robert Vercher was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon when he exchanged gun fire with deputies, who were trying to serve a protective order. Vercher was taken to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The names of the deputies involved have not been released, and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones said that the deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay. Natchitoches police said in a news release that there would be no further statements until the investigation is complete.Americans have become less confident in the federal government's ability to deal with an outbreak of Ebola. Fifty-two percent of Americans are now confident in the government's ability to handle Ebola, down from 61% in early October. Twenty-four percent of Americans say they worried about getting Ebola, little changed from 22% two weeks ago. The percentage believing it is at least somewhat likely that they or someone in their family will get Ebola has also remained stable at 15%. The drop in Americans' confidence in the federal government to handle the Ebola situation has occurred in part because the issue has become politicized. A dispute over whether Louisiana ended last year with a budget surplus or deficit threatens to delay borrowing needed to keep state construction work on track. Treasurer John Kennedy said Friday that he wonít sign financial documents needed for the $200 million in borrowing until he believes they accurately depict the budget picture. Otherwise, he said he could run afoul of federal anti-fraud laws. Kennedy wants the documents to spell out that there is disagreement over the surplus figure. Jindalís chief budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, said her office submitted language clearly explaining the additional cash reserves the Jindal administration identified as a nearly $179 million surplus.
Governor Bobby Jindal's administration will hold a public hearing on the new government health care benefits for 230,000 state workers, retirees and teachers on November 25, two days before Thanksgiving. The Jindal administration said it is unable to schedule the public hearing for an earlier -- and possibly more convenient -- date because of legal restrictions. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 10:00 a.m. in the Claiborne building at 1201 N. Third Street in Baton Rouge, but could be moved to the Louisiana Capitol. There are concerns that the Claiborne building -- with its capacity for fewer than 300 people -- won't have enough space to accommodate the crowd.
The Louisiana Legislature is looking into the cost associated with carrying out the death penalty in the state. Louisiana Senator J.P. Morrell, of New Orleans, is heading up a new Capital Punishment Fiscal Impact Commission. The group's first meeting was held last Wednesday morning. Currently, Louisiana does not have a well-researched estimate of how much it is spending on capital punishment trials and execution, according to Morrell. The commission's goal is to get an idea of what the overall price tag is for executions in the state.
Louisiana delinquent taxpayers have until November 14, to pay off delinquent tax bills without having to pay all the penalties or interest on the debt. The program is intended to provide an incentive for people to pay the government the money they owe more quickly than they would have otherwise. Louisiana's state budget is depending on the tax amnesty to bring in at least $100 million. If it falls short, there will could be midyear cuts to the state's higher education and health care spending. Secretary Tim Barfield of the Department of Revenue and Taxation is fairly confident the program will reach the $100 million goal. Last year's amnesty program brought in about $435 million.
Voters trying to sort through the details of 14 constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot have an online guide they can consult. The nonpartisan Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, known as PAR, has released its online informational guide on the proposals to rewrite the state constitution. PARís guide provides background information for each amendment, describes the change and offers arguments both in support and opposition. It also includes a checklist, so voters can decide which amendments they support or oppoe and take that list into the voting booth. The guide is available at www.parlouisiana.com.
Winn Parish Sheriff's Department Arrest Report:
On Wednesday, October 22, the Winn Parish Sheriff's Department arrested Christopher Wise, of Dodson. Wise was arrested for probation violation. On Thursday, October 23, deputies arrested Aubrey Dale Weatherford, of Winnfield, on a warrant for fourth-offense DWI. Also arrested was Charles Hattaway, of Winnfield, for domestic abuse battery. Ricky Marshall, of Winnfield, was arrested last Thursday on an unspecified warrant. On Friday, October 24, Dustin Ber, of Houma, was arrested for possession of marijuana. On Saturday, October 25, deputies arrested Rachel Bishop, of Joyce, on warrants for failure to appear and probation violation.
The Winn Parish School Board will hold its regular meeting Monday, November 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the Winn Parish School Board office. Items of business include committee reports and personnel.The next meeting of the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board will be on Tuesday, November 11, at 9:00 a.m., at the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement Office, at 602 North Fifth Street in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend this meeting, and assistance will be provided to those who need special accommodations in order to attend this meeting. For more information, persons may call 225.342.1500
The Juanita Pharr Cancer Support Group meets on the first Friday of each month at 12:00 noon for a dutch treat meeting. All cancer survivors and caretakers are invited. There is a different meeting place each month, and persons may contact Maxine Godman for more information at 628-3858.