Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. CDT

June 15, 2018 - 12:00 am


Bill Curl, longtime Superdome spokesman, dead at 77

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The color-changing lights that usually illuminate the Superdome in New Orleans were to remain dark Friday night in memory of the man who spent more than three decades as the venue's spokesman.

Bill Curl died Friday at age 77. Dome officials said in a news release that the lights outside the dome and the adjacent arena were to remain off for a night in his memory.

New Orleans news outlets report that Curl moved from his home state of Ohio in 1966 to become Tulane's sports information director. He took a job with the University of Arkansas in 1974, but soon returned to New Orleans. He was the Superdome's spokesman from 1977 to 2010.

Curl is survived by his wife Carolyn, sons Scott and Rocky and daughters Kate and Christy.


Man gets 10 years in prison for plot to defraud Walmart

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Connecticut man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges that he defrauded Walmart nearly $1 million through identity theft and hundreds of bogus checks.

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson in Louisiana sentenced Walter Glenn on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin's office said in a news release that Glenn and others used the personal information of more than 400 people to create bogus identification cards and counterfeit checks. Prosecutors say Glenn and others traveled the country and tried to cash more than 800 counterfeit checks worth more than $2 million at more than 450 Walmart stores in 23 states from January 2014 through August 2015.

In December, a jury convicted Glenn of charges including aggravated identity theft after a weeklong trial in Baton Rouge.


Marsh fire burns in eastern New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans firefighters are monitoring a blaze that broke out in the marsh in the eastern part of the city.

News outlets report the fire started sometime Thursday at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Pon Dixon says it likely started as a result of lightning from a dry thunderstorm that passed through the area.

The fire is burning in the marsh off Highway 11 between Chef Menteur Highway and Interstate 10.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents flew over the marsh fire Friday morning. Photos show smoke and flames on the edge of the fire.

No injuries have been reported.


Spain's king gets key to New Orleans for 300th anniversary

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The king of Spain, Louisiana's governor and the mayor of New Orleans are celebrating historical ties during the city's tricentennial.

King Felipe (feh-LEE-peh) VI says the city's cultural heritage and immense archives deserve to be better known and studied.

Gov. John Bel Edwards mentioned three Spanish governors of Louisiana during a ceremony Friday in 165-year-old Gallier Hall , which was renovated for the anniversary.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said New Orleans would not be where it is without Spain, adding that the city's strength has always been rooted in diversity.

She gave Felipe and Queen Letizia (leh-TEE-thee-uh) a framed ceremonial key to the city.

Louisiana was a Spanish colony from 1763 to 1802, but Felipe noted that historical links date back to 16th- and 17th-century Spanish explorers.


Police: Woman shot, killed while walking on sidewalk

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Police say a woman was fatally shot while walking on a sidewalk in Louisiana.

News outlets report that 20-year-old Dedawn Jewell Bush was killed in the Wednesday shooting.

Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. says a man approached Bush and opened fire. Investigators found Bush on the sidewalk, but the man had fled on foot.

WBRZ-TV reports that police had no clear motive.


Louisiana patients could get more medication cost details

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers are trying to offer patients more details about what happens at the pharmacy counter and whether they've gotten the most affordable medication for an ailment.

In the regular legislative session, lawmakers passed bills requiring more transparency about the complex structures that determine prescription drug prices.

Gov. John Bel Edwards recently signed the proposals into law.

The measures target pharmacy benefit managers, middle-management firms hired by insurance companies and employers to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

Among the changes, those firms will be outlawed from using so-called gag rules that bar pharmacists from telling patients when they could save money by paying cash instead of using insurance or if there's a more affordable medication.

Reporting will be required about whether drug rebates are passed on to customers.


Board denies suspended Louisiana trooper's request for pay

(Information from: The Advocate,

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana board has denied a state trooper's request for paid leave during his indefinite suspension stemming from accusations that he claimed overtime for hours he spent at home.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported Thursday that the Louisiana State Police Commission denied Trooper Daryl J. Thomas' request but allowed him to continue receiving annual leave and any compensatory time he's owed from Louisiana. The commission said it may also reconsider Thomas' compensation as the criminal proceedings and a related administrative inquiry moves forward.

Thomas said he has been a "pariah in the community" since his arrest in April on counts of theft and filing public records.

The newspaper says Thomas was among four current and former troopers arrested after state police's own investigation of a traffic-ticket program funded by district attorneys around Louisiana.



National rig count falls by 3 to 1,059; Texas loses 4

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by three this week to 1,059.

At this time a year ago there were 933 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 863 rigs drilled for oil this week and 194 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico and North Dakota each added three rigs and Louisiana gained one.

Texas lost four rigs, Alaska declined by two and Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one.

Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.

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