A single vehicle crash killed three people Tuesday in Vernon Parish. State police responded to the crash around 1:40 a.m., which occurred on LA Hwy 1146 near Rosepine. The crash involved a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The Chevrolet was eastbound on LA Hwy 1146 when the driver lost control and ran off the right side of the roadway. The vehicle collided with several trees before overturning and becoming fully engulfed in flames. There were three occupants in the vehicle at the time of the crash. All three were trapped inside and were pronounced dead. The identities of all three are being withheld, at this time, pending positive identification by DNA analysis. The crash remains under investigation, and routine toxicology tests are pending.
Louisiana's midyear deficit has been pegged at $313 million, a figure that Governor John Bel Edwards' administration says will trigger the governor to call a special legislative session to rebalance the budget. An income forecasting panel downgraded Louisiana tax collection estimates Friday, to account for unemployment that is dragging income, business and sales taxes below expectations. Edwards' chief budget adviser Jay Dardenne says the governor will call lawmakers into a special session - expected next month - to make cuts and consider using Louisiana's "rainy day" fund to close the gap. Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras showed resistance to the idea, suggesting the budget could be rebalanced without the full Legislature. Dardenne says constitutional limits would make cuts fall too heavily on colleges and health services without a special session.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy is calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to ban public officials and their family members from receiving flood recovery rebuilding contracts financed with federal disaster aid. Kennedy, who took office this month, released his letter sent to the governor Wednesday, urging Edwards to issue an executive order with the ban. Edwards is proposing that $1.3 billion of the $1.6 billion in disaster recovery block grant aid allocated to Louisiana by Congress for the March and August flooding be spent on homeowner rehabilitation and rebuilding. Kennedy says politicians and their families shouldn't profit from Louisiana residents' tragedy. He says the ban he proposes would prove that Louisiana is being a good steward of the federal dollars as the state seeks additional disaster aid from Congress.
The IRS is delaying tax refunds for more than 40 million low-income families this year as the agency steps up efforts to fight identity theft and fraud. The delays will affect families claiming the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. These tax breaks are geared to benefit the working poor, and many families claim both. The tax filing season starts January 23. But a new law requires the IRS to delay tax refunds for people claiming these credits until Feb. 15. Processing times will delay most of the refunds until the end of February. The delay is designed to give the agency more time to screen the returns for fraud. The IRS estimates that it issued $3.1 billion in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves in 2014. The year before, the agency says, it paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds. Over those two years, the IRS says it blocked nearly $47 billion in fraudulent refunds.
Louisiana's top higher education policymaking board is weighing proposals to cut TOPS payments, consolidate campus administrative functions and give more tuition-raising authority to school governing boards. The recommendations are included in a draft report released Monday by Board of Regents staff. They come in response to a state law requiring the board to review Louisiana's higher education structure. Among the most sweeping ideas is a proposed reworking of the TOPS college tuition program. The suggestion would have lawmakers restructure TOPS starting with the freshman class of 2018. Freshman would get 80 percent of tuition covered, while sophomores would get 90 percent. Juniors and seniors would get the full 100 percent. Monday's recommendations have not been finalized, and the board is taking public comments before settling on proposals it will submit to lawmakers.
Winn Parish Sheriff's Department Arrest Report:
On Friday, January 13, the Winn Parish Sheriff's Department arrested Dylon Howell, of Sterlington. Howell was charged with simple burglary of a religious building and criminal damage to property. Also arrested Friday was Jason Small, of Natchitoches, on a warrant for failure to appear. Kristie Knight, of Winnfield, was arrested Friday for probation violation, possession of a Schedule II CDS, criminal damage to property, and self mutilation. Jan Henderson, of Robeline, was arrested for improper lane use, driving under suspension, and misrepresentation while being issued a misdemeanor summons. On Saturday, January 14, deputies arrested Cody Ryan Sweat, of Joyce, for driving under suspension, domestic abuse battery, criminal damage to property, and failure to appear.LifeShare Blood Center will hold a blood drive at Wal Mart in Jonesboro Saturday, January 21, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. There will also be a blood drive at Winn Parish Medical Center Monday, January 30, from 12:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Congressman Ralph Abraham has announced satellite office hours for Central Louisiana parishes. Office hours for Winn Parish will be in the Winn Parish Police Jury meeting room at 119 West Main Street, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month. Constituents are encouraged to visit the staff during these hours if they need help with any federal agency. Staff members are also available during business hours at the Central Louisiana District Office in Alexandria, which can be reached at 318-445-0818.
The next meeting of the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board will be on Tuesday, February 14, 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