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MAYOR-AUDIT

Louisiana mayor has to give back part of car allowance

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A Louisiana mayor will pay back part of a city car allowance following an audit. The Shreveport Times reports that the audit says Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins should pay back $2,700. The report says Perkins sought and received the allowance after receiving erroneous advice from members of his administration. Perkins' spokesman issued a statement saying the mayor is “happy to return the recommended amount.” It says he will implement procedures to prevent such confusion in the future.

LOUISIANA GOVERNOR-RAISES

Louisiana governor plans nearly $1M in raises for appointees

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to dole out nearly $1 million in pay raises to his staff, Cabinet secretaries and other high-level political appointees across state government. In response to a request from The Associated Press, the Edwards administration provided the names of more than 150 top-level political appointees who have already received or are in line to receive salary hikes. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told lawmakers the employees hadn't received pay raises over the governor's first term. He says most of the raises are 4%.

STUDENTS ARRESTED

8 Louisiana students accused in juvenile sexual battery case

MANY, La. (AP) — Eight students at a Louisiana high school face charges after an alleged sexual assault on another student. Louisiana State Police said Wednesday that authorities arrested seven juvenile students and an 18-year-old identified as Quacie Kerlegon. Each is enrolled at Many High School in DeSoto Parish. Kerlegon is being held on charges of sexual battery and second-degree kidnapping. It was unknown if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.  Senior Trooper Casey Wallace says the juveniles also face sexual battery and second-degree kidnapping charges as well as pornography involving juveniles.

AP-US-COLD-CASE-SERIAL-PODCAST-SUSPECT

DNA links dead criminal to a 1996 South Carolina cold case

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — A cold-case slaying in South Carolina has been closed, as police believe the killer died in a Louisiana jail more than a decade ago. Shawn Marie Neal was found strangled in her North Myrtle Beach condo in 1996. North Myrtle Beach police told news outlets Wednesday that DNA in the case was tested and was a match to Ronald Lee Moore, a convicted serial burglar from Baltimore County, Maryland. Detectives reopened the case in 2017. In 2014, the popular podcast “Serial” had named Moore as a possible suspect in the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee in Baltimore.

CLERGY ABUSE-NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Judge orders open hearing on NFL team's emails with church

A hearing on the confidentiality of emails between Catholic officials and the New Orleans NFL franchise will be open to news media and the public. A Louisiana judge ruled Thursday in favor of motions by The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate and three TV stations. The news outlets want to cover a Feb. 20 hearing on whether emails between the Archdiocese of New Orleans and New Orleans Saints executives should be released. Lawyers for victims of clergy sex abuse have told The Associated Press that the emails show how Saints executives helped the archdiocese with public relations damage control arising from the clergy abuse scandal.

SOUND CONTROL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER

New manufacturing facility planned for northwest Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Canadian company says it plans to create an industrial sound control equipment manufacturing facility in northwest Louisiana. E.I. Williams will make improvements to an existing building in the North Webster Parish Industrial District for its manufacturing facility. Gov. John Bel Edwards' office announced the plans Thursday. The governor's office says the Sarepta site will be the company's first manufacturing site in the United States. Officials say E.I. Williams will create 100 new direct jobs over the next five years, with an average annual salary of $37,000 plus benefits, to manufacture its vent silencers, fan silencers and other noise enclosure equipment. The state is providing E.I. Williams workforce development assistance, a $250,000 infrastructure grant and tax breaks.

PUSHUP PUNISHMENT-LAWSUIT

Student hospitalized after pushup punishment gets $183K

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An appeals court says a former Louisiana high school student who was hospitalized after being ordered to perform 200 push-up as school punishment was rightfully awarded over $180,000 in damages. Former McKinley High School student Tristen Rushing was late to band practice in 2014 and was told to do 200 push-ups as punishment. He was later hospitalized with muscle and kidney issues. Rushing and his mother sued the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, McKinley High and the school's former volunteer assistant band director in 2015. The pair were originally rewarded $185,000 in September but an appeals court on Tuesday slightly reduced the amount given.

JUDGE RESIGNS

Suspended New Orleans judge resigns amid harassment probe

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A suspended New Orleans judge has resigned amid an investigation into accusations he displayed inappropriate sexual behavior in the courthouse. News outlets report Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Byron C. Williams submitted his resignation to Louisiana's Secretary of State on Wednesday. Williams was initially suspended from the bench in 2018 during a Louisiana Judiciary Commission investigation. A letter from the Orleans Public Defenders office that was obtained by news outlets says someone reported Williams had groped and harassed a clerk. Williams didn't reference the accusations in his resignation letter. News outlets said they couldn't reach him for comment. He has in the past denied harassment allegations.