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December 01, 2018 - 12:00 am

BALD EAGLE-NEW HOME

Bald eagle gets new home, but will it move from dying tree?

(Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)

MORGANZA, La. (AP) — People in a Louisiana village hope to persuade a highly visible local eagle to stick around, even though its nest atop a dying tree is in jeopardy.

They're offering it a new nest.

The Advocate reports work crews erected a nesting structure and 65-foot (19.8-meter)-tall utility pole within the Morganza Spillway on Thursday. Leaders in Morganza hope it will attract the eagle, whose current nest has become a tourist attraction.

The eagle has nested in the tree since state wildlife officials released it 20 years ago. Some Morganza Cultural District members didn't want to see it leave once the tree withers as all others in the area have.

Residents hope the eagle will get comfortable on the sturdier foundation, although state wildlife officials have said it's not guaranteed.

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BODY FOUND

Body found wrapped in cloth; 3 arrested

SULPHUR, La. (AP) — One man is accused of murder and two of helping him afterward in the death of a man whose body was found, wrapped in cloth, at a west Louisiana intersection.

News agencies report that 21-year-old Blaine Daniel Kennedy was arrested on a murder charge in the death of 58-year-old Steven Woodruff of Sulphur. He also faces charges of aggravated burglary and felony theft.

Forty-nine-year-old Clifton Bergeaux Jr. and his 21-year-old son, SirMalachi Bergeaux, face accessory after the fact charges.

Woodruff's body was found near Sulphur. Police began investigating after one of Woodruff's children returned to their house and found the house in disarray, items missing, and Woodruff gone.

It's unknown if any have attorneys. Kennedy's bond was set at $1.3 million, Clifton Bergeaux's at $350,000 and SirMalachi Bergeaux's at $25,000.

INTERSTATE SERIAL RAPIST

Boy, 15, arrested as suspect in series of rapes in 2 states

DALLAS (AP) — Police in Dallas have arrested a 15-year-old boy as the suspect in a series of sexual assaults, including two in Louisiana, and also are investigating whether he was involved in a woman's death this week.

Police said in a statement that the teenager was taken into custody Thursday and charged with aggravated sexual assault in connection to three separate rapes in Dallas in September and October.

Authorities say DNA and other evidence also link him to attacks that occurred in Bossier City, Louisiana, one in March and another in April.

Police say he's a suspect in the death Tuesday of a woman because of the proximity to where the Dallas attacks occurred.

In each assault, the suspect knocked on a door and either asked a woman for money or work before forcing himself inside.

VOTING MACHINES

Louisiana voting machine work stalls, with no date to resume

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's work to replace voting machines it bought 13 years ago has remained stalled for months, amid bid-rigging allegations, a voided contract award and claims of political meddling.

Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has no immediate timeline for restarting the replacement effort as he waits to learn if the cancelled contract award will prompt litigation.

That means there's no schedule for when Louisiana will get new voting machines, with a major statewide election year approaching.

Louisiana's chief procurement officer found problems with the bid and selection process and cancelled a deal with Dominion Voting Systems to replace the voting machines. Ardoin has criticized that decision.

Dominion has nearly two weeks to determine if it will sue. Ardoin's office said it won't determine next steps until Dominion makes that decision.

HIRING-METHANOL PLANT

Yuhuang Chemical executives questioned on local hiring

(Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)

VACHERIE, La. (AP) — Yuhuang Chemical executives and its Georgia-based general contractor have been pressed for greater hiring opportunities for workers on a $1.5 billion methanol plant under construction in Louisiana.

The Advocate reported Thursday that St. James Parish Council members pressed Yuhuang Chemical executives and Wood, citing concerns that include canceled job fairs. But executives said the plant only has 16 percent of its construction completed and will be ramping up hiring next year.

Plant Manager Jim Tidwell and Bryan Campbell with Wood explained that 105 of the nearly 495 Yuhuang employees and contractors working on the site are from the parish. Campbell said job fairs are being planned for 2019.

In 2014, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that Yuhuang Chemical would be building facilities in phases near Vacherie that would generate 2,100 construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs.

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LOUISIANA GAS TAX

Anti-gas tax hike ads planned for Louisiana's gas stations

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A conservative group that helped squelch a 2017 proposal to raise Louisiana's gasoline tax is launching an early ad campaign aimed at derailing any similar tax proposal next year.

Americans for Prosperity-Louisiana, funded by the Koch network, says its campaign will use Christmas-themed videos shown on gas pump screens at heavily-used stations in Louisiana's urban areas.

The Advocate reports that digital ads also are planned.

Any legislative efforts aimed at increasing the gas tax are expected to be nearly impossible to pass next year, in a statewide legislative election year. But supporters of more road and bridge money still are seeking the tax hike.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration proposed a 17-cent-per-gallon increase last year, but the measure died without a vote in the House, unable to pass amid strong opposition.

MOVIE BET KILLING

Conviction in shooting over bet about movie's ending

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans man has been convicted of killing one woman and shooting another in the chest during an argument over a bet about a movie's ending.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office says 27-year-old Leo Dorsey faces an automatic life sentence. He was found guilty Thursday of second-degree murder in the January 2017 death of 25-year-old Tiffany Thomas.

A news release says the 24-year-old survivor told investigators they had bet about the ending of the 2016 crime thriller "Don't Breathe."

It says Dorsey was carrying the gun used in the shooting when he was arrested at a restaurant eight days later.

The statement said Dorsey also was convicted of attempted second-degree murder, obstruction of justice in a homicide investigation and of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

ELECTION 2018-LOUISIANA

Louisiana's early voting period for runoff wraps up Saturday

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Early voting for Louisiana's Dec. 8 election is wrapping up.

The last day for voters to cast ballots in advance is Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., at parish registrar of voters' offices and other locations .

A runoff election for secretary of state is top of the ballot, with Republican Kyle Ardoin and Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup vying for the job. They were the top two vote-getters in the November primary. Ardoin has been working in the interim role as elections chief since his former boss resigned in May amid sexual harassment allegations.

Also on the ballot are runoffs for local elected seats across 47 parishes. Several parishes have local proposition elections, such as taxes, up for consideration. Eight parishes only have the secretary of state's race on the ballot.

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