Ex-cop's acquittal brings stirs Katrina memories
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Lingering memories from Hurricane Katrina were evident in New Orleans as residents considered the acquittal of ex-cop David Warren.
Warren was freed Wednesday after a jury found him not guilty in the shooting of an apparently unarmed man amid the city's 2005 post-Hurricane Katrina bedlam.
Warren was convicted in the death three years ago but won a retrial after an appeals court ruled he should not have been tried with others implicated in an alleged cover-up that included the burning of victim Henry Glover's body.
Opinions about the case varied Thursday in New Orleans.
MINERAL LEASE SALE
North La. oil tracts draw interest at sale
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Louisiana Mineral and Energy Board collected more than $770,000 during its December sale of mineral rights on state and local lands.
The Times-Picayune reports a Houston-based exploration firm drove most of the activity as it sought to build its holdings in a new oil discovery in northern Louisiana.
The sale offered fewer acres and drew a smaller group of companies compared to recent months, with total bids down from $2.7 million in November and $4 million in October.
The state awarded 26 leases covering 6,400 acres out of 49 available tracts covering 15,500 acres.
Houston-based Southwestern Energy Production Co. was the most active of the five participants, bidding $148,045 on 17 leases in Union Parish.
Ponchatoula man killed in La. 22 crash
PONCHATOULA, La. (AP) - State police say a 44-year-old Ponchatoula man was killed in a crash on La. Highway 22 in Tangipahoa Parish.
Trooper Greg Marchand says Dustin M. Tallo's car ran off the highway round early Friday morning, hit a driveway embankment and flipped over several times.
Marchand said Tallo the sole occupant of the car, was unrestrained and ejected during the crash. Tallo was pronounced dead on the scene by the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner's Office.
The crash remains under investigation.
GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
Ex-BP engineer isn't expected to testify at trial
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former BP drilling engineer isn't expected to testify at his trial on charges he deleted text messages about the company's response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to a trial transcript, a lawyer for Kurt Mix told a judge and prosecutor that her client isn't one of three witnesses whom defense attorneys plan to call to testify once they begin presenting their case on Friday.
Justice Department prosecutors called their final witness on Wednesday. Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments from the attorneys on Monday before they start deliberating.
Mix pleaded not guilty to charges he deliberately deleted text messages to and from a supervisor and a BP contractor to stymie a grand jury's probe of the spill.
DHH rebuilding its audit office after 2-year gap
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The state health department is bolstering its efforts to review spending and fight fraud, after going without its own auditor for more than two years.
The Department of Health and Hospitals has hired a new chief compliance officer, William Root, to oversee audit efforts, track the appropriateness of Medicaid spending and identify potential fraud.
DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert said Thursday that Root has built a three-person staff, and is combing through the offices in DHH. The health department is the largest state government department, overseeing $9 billion in spending.
In recent years, Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's Office has documented fraud and improperly-paid claims for services at DHH, repeatedly citing the lack of an internal audit division as a problem.
Purpera says he's encouraged that DHH is rebuilding its internal auditing.
Truancy roundup in Baton Rouge; 99 arrested
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge police say 99 people were arrested during a two-day truancy roundup.
Sgt. Mary Ann Godawa says the roundup also involved the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies and the Constables Office.
Godawa says the Family Youth Service Center provided the agencies with 148 cases involving students with unexcused absences and the focus was on those with excessive absences.
In working a case, Godawa said one or both parents of a frequently absent student were summoned and booked with improper supervision of a minor.
Teen booked with 2 break-ins at snowball stand
KENNER, La. (AP) - Kenner police say a 17-year-old boy arrested for burglarizing a snowball stand for the second time in a month told them he was homeless and needed money.
Investigators tell The Times-Picayune they received a tip before dawn Monday that someone was inside Danny's Gourmet Snowballs and Coffee Shop on Bruin Drive.
Sgt. Brian McGregor says the door had been forced open, and officers found the teen hiding in a closet. The business was closed at the time.
McGregor says the teen told investigators he broke in because he was homeless and had no money.
Officers say he also was booked with a Dec. 2 break-in at the stand.
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