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November 22, 2018 - 12:00 am

ARSON-WANTED MAN

Man accused of setting fires in mom's trailer home

AMITE, La. (AP) — Louisiana authorities are looking for a 43-year-old man accused of trying to set fire to his mother's mobile home when she tried to kick him out.

A news release sent Wednesday by the State Fire Marshal's Office says Dwayne Vining allegedly set fire to a tablecloth and a pillowcase July 1 in Amite.

His mother told investigators he lit them during an argument after she told him to leave, but she removed them without damage.

The statement says a warrant accuses Vining of aggravated arson.

Spokeswoman Ashley Rodrigue says Vining is known to frequent Tangipahoa Parish and the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

Anyone with information about Vining's whereabouts is asked to call the state arson hotline at 1-800-256-5452 or use the online tip form at lasfm.org.

ARYAN CIRCLE-SENTENCE

Aryan Circle gang leader, member sentenced in slaying

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A leader and a member of a prison-based "whites only" gang have been sentenced for being accessories-after-the-fact to a murder.

U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph, in a news release, says 38-year-old David Wayne Williams, of Sulphur, was sentenced Tuesday to 157 months in prison, while 47-year-old Richard Alan Smith, of Little Rock, Arkansas, got 150 months.

Williams pleaded guilty to accessory-after-the fact to racketeering murder of Clifton Hallmark, another Aryan Circle member, drug trafficking and weapons possession. Smith pleaded guilty in July to the accessory charge.

Prosecutors say both men were at a meeting where Hallmark was shot after a fight broke out in Turkey Creek, Louisiana, in 2016.

Authorities say the Aryan Circle began in the Texas prison system and spread throughout rural and suburban Texas, Louisiana and Missouri.

SHELTER DONATIONS

Louisiana animal shelter's emergency plea fills food room

WEST MONROE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana animal shelter's cupboards were almost as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's, but a request on its Facebook page brought in thousands of pounds of cat and dog food.

News agencies report that the donations began pouring in soon after Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter posted an emergency request on its Facebook page Tuesday morning. People came in with trucks loaded with bags of dog and cat food.

The shelter's social media manager, Dustin Campbell, says there was enough dog food Tuesday for two or three days. Now, he says, the storage room is full.

One Facebook message said such shelter calls usually result in five to 10 bags being brought in. It says it also received money from the community, other parishes, states and rescues.

HIDDEN GULF SPILL

Company can be ordered to drill to end 14-year-old oil leak

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A federal regulatory board has ruled that a New Orleans company can be required to perform more underwater drilling and excavation work to end a 14-year-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Interior Board of Land Appeals refused to excuse Taylor Energy Company from requirements to permanently plug wells that could be leaking oil and gas. The board publicly released its Oct. 30 decision on Tuesday.

One week before the board ruled, the Coast Guard ordered the company to install a new containment system to capture and remove leaking oil until a permanent solution can be developed.

Government lawyers recently disclosed a new estimate that 10,500 to 29,400 gallons (39,747 to 111,291 liters) is leaking daily from the site where slicks often stretch for miles off Louisiana's coast.

BRIDGE CRASH

Louisiana expects 1 lane in each direction soon on bridge

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The transportation department in Louisiana says it hopes to have one lane open in each direction on a bridge damaged by a barge collision earlier this year.

The department said Wednesday it hopes to have a lane in each direction open on the Sunshine Bridge over the Mississippi River northwest of New Orleans by mid-December.

The bridge was hit by a crane barge Oct. 12.

Crews have begun installing concrete barriers on the westbound side of the bridge in preparation for the lane opening.

Transportation Secretary Shawn Watson said getting one lane open in each direction will not solve travel problems, but it will help until repairs are completed.

State officials have said it will probably be January before repairs are completed.

CAMPAIGN MONEY-CHILD CARE

State board says campaign funds can't be used for child care

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Ethics Board says a woman running for a state office can't use campaign funds for child care while she attends campaign events.

News outlets report the board's 5-2 Friday vote reverses an 18-year-old ruling that allowed a man to use campaign funds for campaign-related child care. Morgan Lamandre is an attorney for a sexual assault victim's advocacy group in Baton Rouge. She is running as a Democrat for the House District 66 seat against incumbent Republican Rep. Rick Edmonds.

Board member and former state legislator Peppi Bruneau told Lamandre it's her responsibility to balance her priorities. Lamandre and her husband work full time and have a toddler and 6-year-old.

The Federal Election Commission ruled this year that congressional candidates can use campaign funds for child care.

CAR DEALER FIRE

Employee charged with arson in Louisiana car dealership fire

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A car dealership employee in Louisiana has been arrested and charged with starting a fire at the building.

News outlets the fire was reported at Price LeBlanc Toyota in Baton Rouge late Monday morning.

Twenty-three-year-old Dymond West of Gramercy has been charged with aggravated arson.

Authorities say another employee discovered the fire, pulled the fire alarm and put out the blaze before firefighters arrived. A police report states there were more than 200 employees and customers in the building. No one was hurt.

The report said West told officers she set a piece of paper on fire in a storage area and dropped it on a pallet of boxed paper wrapped in plastic.

The report does not provide a motive. It was not known if West has an attorney.

AP-US-EXONERATION-ARGUMENTS

Free after 36 years, he won't face prosecution in 1980 death

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans district attorney is ending efforts to prosecute a man who was freed last year after spending 36 years behind bars for a murder he insists he didn't commit.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's decision Tuesday ends a long legal ordeal for 69-year-old John Floyd.

Floyd long maintained the he was beaten and coerced into falsely confessing to the 1980 stabbing death of William Hines. He was freed after a federal judge ruled that his claims were credible. An appeals court upheld the ruling in June.

Floyd confessed in two similar 1980 murders but was convicted on only one. The federal judge cited evidence that someone else committed both murders.

Cannizzaro said he remains convinced of Floyd's guilt but that efforts to defend the conviction have been exhausted.

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