A Natchitoches Central High School substitute teacher has been arrested in connection with an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student. According to Natchitoches police, 27-year-old Nickol Smith is accused of sending inappropriate photos and messages to a 17-year-old male student. The investigation leading to Smith's arrest was reportedly prompted by a tip from a concerned citizen, which led to a search warrant for both the teen's and Smith's cell phones. Smith was arrested at Natchitoches Central High School, booked on a charge of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student. Police said she was released on $2,000 property bond, and that she should be in court next month. In a public statement, Natchitoches Parish Superintendent Jesse Skinner indicated that such behavior in the school system will not be tolerated.
Obesity rates of many U.S. states are actually higher than previously thought, according to a new study. The new findings are based on doctors' measurements of people's height and weight, whereas many previous reports were based on people's reports of their own measurements. Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control used a new method for estimating state obesity rates and found that 49 states had an obesity rate of 30 percent or higher. Only Hawaii had an obesity rate under 30 percent, and a few states, including Louisiana and Mississippi, had obesity rates over 40 percent. In contrast, previous reports indicated that most states have rates under 30 percent, and no states had a rate over 40 percent.
Governor Bobby Jindal will shield Louisiana's public colleges from cuts when he reveals his proposal Friday to rebalance this year's budget, which contains a $171 million hole that must be eliminated. The Jindal administration said Tuesday that it will present its deficit-closing plan to lawmakers on the joint House and Senate budget committee within three days, rather than take the full month available to devise its strategy. Despite the emergence of the budget gap, no grim news is expected for Louisiana's public colleges, which, after six years of state funding reductions, escaped the chopping block in Jindal's plan. The Division of Administration confirmed that the same protection will be given to all four public college systems, which have lost $700 million in state financing since 2008, one of the steepest declines for higher education across the nation.
A 27-year-old Zwolle man is being held on a $25,000 bond following his arrest late Sunday night in the stabbing death of his stepfather. Sabine Parish deputies said that Dustin G. Rivers has been charged with second-degree murder. A Sabine Parish spokesman said Rivers admitted to stabbing 51-year-old Howard L. Ferguson during an altercation. Ferguson was pronounced dead at Sabine Medical Center. Both men were reportedly armed, when Ferguson hit Rivers in the head with an aluminum bat. Rivers pulled out a four-inch locked blade folding knife, and stabbed Ferguson seven times in the upper body.
The number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached historic levels, an estimated one out of every 30 children, according to the Huffington Post. The data comes from a new report by the National Center on Family Homelessness that breaks down the problem on a state-by-state basis. Louisiana ranked 35th in the nation, with nearly 40,000 homeless children in 2013, a decrease from almost 45,000 two years earlier. The problem is particularly severe in California, which has one-eighth of the U.S. population but accounts for more than one-fifth of the homeless children with a tally of nearly 527,000. The states with the least amount of homeless children were Minnesota, Nebraska and Massachusetts with Alabama, Mississippi and California coming in at the bottom.
Winn Parish Sheriff's Department Arrest Report:
On Wednesday, November 12, the Winn Parish Sheriff's Department arrested Deann Gorham, of Atlanta. Gorham was charged with simple battery. Also arrested was Elizabeth Box, of Dodson, for flight from an officer, possession of a Schedule II substance, possession of drug paraphenalia, passing in a no-passing zone, expired inspection, and careless operation. On Thursday, November 13, deputies arrested John Williams, of Alvin, Texas, for first-offense DWI, speeding, and an open container. On Friday, November 14, deputies arrested Elizabeth Box, of Dodson, on three counts of burglary of a religious building, two counts of trespassing, and two counts of criminal damage. Also arrested Friday was Timothy Smith, of Winnfield, for domestic abuse battery. On Sunday, November 16, Roy Eichelberger, of Jena, was arrested as a fugitive from Texas and for parole violation.The Winnfield Recreation Department is holding registration for youth basketball now through Friday, December 5. The registration fee is $40.00 per person, and boys and girls age 4 through 15 are eligible. Late registration will be Monday, December 8 through Friday, December 12, with a $10.00 late fee. Tryouts will be held on Saturday, December 13. For more information, contact the Winnfield Recreation Department at 628-3413. The next meeting of the Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board will be on Tuesday, December 9, 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.