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September 28, 2018 - 12:00 am

PRISON VISITOR ARRESTED

Prison visitor arrested after body scanner finds contraband

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A visitor to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is in custody after a new body scanner detected contraband and helped officers block a drug smuggling attempt.

The Department of Public Safety and Corrections, in a news release, says the scanner detected a foreign object Friday inside of 22-year-old Brittany Alexus, of Lafayette.

When officers questioned Alexus, authorities say she rapidly headed to her vehicle in the parking lot. The prison's shakedown team searched her vehicle and discovered a plastic bag containing several water bottles with hidden compartments. One of the bottles contained 58.3 grams of synthetic marijuana.

Alexus faces charges of possession with intent to distribute Schedule I Sythetic Cannabinoids. It was unknown if she's represented by an attorney.

DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR

Library moves 'Drag Queen Story Time' to bigger venue

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Interest in a Louisiana library's planned "Drag Queen Story Time" is so high that the event is moving to a community college auditorium.

A notice on the Lafayette Public Library's webpage states that it's moving the Oct. 6 event from the library to South Louisiana Community College because of safety concerns resulting from an expected overflow crowd.

Libraries and book stores around the country have held programs in which men in drag read stories to children. Some drew protests.

The Lafayette event is being presented by members of a University of Louisiana-Lafayette chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity of "gay, bisexual and progressive men."

Public comments at a city-parish council meeting last month were overwhelmingly supportive. At a library board meeting last week, opponents appeared to outnumber supporters.

LSU PLAYER KILLED

LSU basketball player Wayde Simms shot to death

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU basketball player Wayde Sims has died after he was shot near the campus of another school in Baton Rouge.

Police say in a news release that the 20-year-old Sims was shot around 12:30 a.m. Friday near the campus of Southern University. Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. said Sims was taken to a hospital with an apparent gunshot wound and died.

LSU basketball coach Will Wade issued a statement saying the team is devastated. Wade asked for prayers for Sims, his family and the team.

The circumstances of the shooting weren't immediately available.

No arrests have been reported.

Sims was entering his junior season at LSU. The A 6-foot-6 forward averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last year with 10 starts in 32 games.

BURNED WOMAN-MISSISSIPPI

Jurors see interview videos of man accused in burning death

BATESVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Prosecutors are playing hours of interrogation videos in the trial of a man charged with burning a Mississippi woman to death.

The videos were played Friday in the capital murder retrial of Quinton Tellis, accused of killing Jessica Chambers in 2014. A jury couldn't reach a verdict in Tellis' first trial last year.

The interrogations of Tellis came while he was jailed in Monroe, Louisiana, in relation to another killing for which he was eventually indicted. They show how the 29-year-old changed his story about when he was with Chambers the day she was burned when confronted with more evidence.

Also Friday, a forensic DNA analyst testified about DNA present on Chambers' keys. She says male DNA present could belong to Tellis, though she can exclude 99.7 percent of men.

EDWARDS-FILM TRIP

Edwards meeting Hollywood execs to tout Louisiana tax breaks

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards will travel to California in a bid to promote Louisiana's film and TV tax break program to entertainment companies like Netflix and HBO.

The governor's office says Edwards, Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson and economic development officials leave Louisiana on Sunday and return Wednesday.

The delegation meets Monday with executives from Netflix, Warner Brothers, NBC Universal and Walt Disney Studios. Edwards' office says Tuesday meetings will be with representatives from HBO, Hulu, CBS and Sony.

Louisiana's film tax credit program has been debated for years in the state, both derided as a wasteful giveaway and championed as an economic driver.

Edwards says spending caps added to the program, along with incentives to encourage a homegrown industry, have provided opportunities for investment in Louisiana and job creation.

HEALTH CLUB FRAUD PLEA

Health-club ex-finance director pleads guilty to $1.7M fraud

COVINGTON, La. (AP) — A Louisiana prosecutor says a health club's former finance director has pleaded guilty in an eight-year, $1.7 million fraud scheme.

District Attorney Warren Montgomery said in a news release Friday that 43-year-old Emily Davis pleaded guilty Wednesday in St. Tammany Parish to several counts of theft and identity theft.

District Judge Richard Swartz suspended nine years of a 10-year sentence and ordered Davis to spend the remaining year under house arrest.

Montgomery says she may leave home only for work, so she can begin monthly restitution payments totaling $25,000 over the next three years. He says she has paid back $100,000.

Montgomery says the owners of Franco's Athletic Club agreed to terms of the guilty plea.

The club's former human resources director is awaiting trial.

GUNNISON SAGE GROUSE

Court upholds protection for rare bird in Colorado, Utah

DENVER (AP) — A rare bird found only in Colorado and Utah will stay on the endangered species list, at least for now.

A federal judge in Denver on Friday upheld a 2014 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Gunnison sage grouse as a threatened species.

State and county governments in Colorado and Utah had challenged the decision. Colorado officials said they haven't decided whether to appeal.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said only about 4,700 Gunnison sage grouse remained in 2014.

The Gunnison grouse is related to the larger and more numerous greater sage grouse.

Greater sage grouse can be up to 2 feet (61 centimeters) tall and weigh 5 pounds (2.25 kilograms). The Gunnison birds are about one-third smaller.

Both are ground-dwelling birds known for the males' elaborate mating rituals.

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This story has been corrected to show the government estimated 4,700 birds remained in 2014, not 5,000

HOSPITAL TRANSFER

Louisiana Catholic hospitals could add Mississippi hospital

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana Catholic hospital system is likely to take control of one of Mississippi's largest hospitals.

St. Dominic's Health Services runs a 571-bed hospital in Jackson and said Friday that its founding Catholic religious order has started talks to hand over control to a different Catholic group.

Spokesman Andy North says the dwindling membership of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, makes it "unsustainable" for that religious order to continue overseeing the hospital.

North says the Dominicans want to hand over sponsorship to another order, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Sisters. That group oversees a hospitals anchored by Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. St. Dominic would become part of that system, which includes Louisiana hospitals in Lafayette, Monroe, Gonzales and Bogalusa.

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