News headlines for July 31, 2014

*Click HERE for our West Central "Back-to-School" calendar


Most retail purchases exempt from state sales tax on Friday, Saturday

BATON ROUGE – Just in time for back-to-school shopping, most retail purchases in Louisiana are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax on Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2. The 2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday applies to most individual consumer purchases of tangible personal property. More HERE.

VCAC audit findings note tax issues, deficit

An independent audit of the Vernon Community Action Council includes findings regarding late federal payroll taxes and problems with unpaid state withholding taxes due to cash flow shortages.
The audit report was released publicly Monday through the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office.
It was conducted by accountants Steven M. Derouen & Associates, of Lake Charles, and was for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2013.
Auditors found that the VCAC had a net deficit of $141,373 for the fiscal year. More HERE.

Many back-to-school expenses eligible for state income tax deductions
Save receipts while shopping during the statewide sales tax holiday Aug. 1-2

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Revenue:

BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Department of Revenue encourages families to retain their receipts while shopping for back-to-school items such as books, uniforms, supplies and equipment required by schools.
Many families will buy these items during the state’s annual sales tax holiday Aug. 1-2, when most retail purchases are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax. But they might not know these expenses may qualify also for a series of income tax deductions on their state individual income tax returns. More HERE.

Vernon Parish on NSU Demon Football's 2014 "Victory Tour"

NATCHITOCHES -- Vernon Parish will be a stop on Northwestern State University's Demon Football 2014 "Victory Tour."
Coach Jay Thomas, team members, cheerleaders, athletic staff and other coaches will preview upcoming games and greet supporters during the tour.
A total of nine stops are slated around the state from July 21-Aug. 7.
The group will stop in Leesville on Thursday, July 31, at Mexico Lindo, 2503 McRae Road, beginning at 6 p.m. More HERE.

SC man booked in Vernon following alleged texts, phone calls and visit to juvenile

VERNON PARISH -- A South Carolina man has been booked into the Vernon Parish Jail on contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
According to Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft, 48-year-old Frankie Maldonado, of Reeseville, South Carolina, is accused of communicating with a 15-year-old Vernon Parish juvenile.
Craft said the two were speaking over the telephone and texting one another. More HERE.

Natchitoches man sentenced in multi-parish drug trafficking case

SHREVEPORT -- A Natchitoches man was sentenced last week to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his part in a cocaine and methamphetamine distribution operation in parts of northwest and southwest Louisiana.
According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, 38-year-old Michael R. Casson was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth E. Foote for one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and methamphetamine. More HERE.

Authorities find suspicious item in Ragley to be replica of explosive device

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- A suspicious item, later found to be a harmless replica of an explosive device, caused concern Wednesday in Ragley.
According to Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joe Toler, authorities were alerted early Wednesday by sanitation workers to what appeared to be some kind of homemade explosive device. More HERE.

"Pushups for Charity" raises $6,970 for troops

LEESVILLE -- "Pushups for Charity" raised $6,970 for troops, according to officials with the Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce.
The event, held Saturday at the Leesville High School Stadium, was sponsored by the Chamber and the national, non-profit organization, Boot Campaign. More HERE.

Calcasieu woman accused of leaving children in hot car during shopping trip

CALCASIEU PARISH -- A Calcasieu Parish woman is accused of leaving her children in a hot car while she shopped at the Prien Lake Mall in Lake Charles.
Faith D. LaFleur, 26, was arrested Friday.
Calcasieu authorities say three children, ages 11 months, 2 years old and 5 years old, were left in the car, unattended with the engine turned off and windows rolled up, in the mall parking lot. More HERE.

CLTCC to implement tobacco- and smoke-free policy Aug. 1

ALEXANDRIA -- Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) and its  extension sites will become tobacco- and smoke-free effective Aug. 1, 2014, to comply with Louisiana Senate Bill 36. More HERE.

DeRidder Fire Dept. takes part in "Operation Save a Life," offers smoke alarms

DERIDDER -- The DeRidder Fire Department is taking part in a program with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office called "Operation Save a Life."
The program is to assist DeRidder residents who do not have working smoke alarms in their homes. More HERE.

Campaign finance seminars to be held around the state

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Supreme Court:

Attorney Marta-Ann Schnabel, Chair of the Louisiana Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee announced that following the Aug. 21-22 qualifying period for the fall 2014 elections, the Louisiana Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee, in conjunction with the Louisiana Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, will be conducting free educational seminars throughout the state. More HERE.

More headlines this week:

Soldier dies following Fort Polk training accident

PEASON RIDGE -- A 101st Airborne soldier died in a vehicle accident during a training accident late Thursday at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.
According to The Chronicle, a Fort Campbell, Kentucky, area newspaper, the soldier was 20-year-old Sgt. Tyler A. Zody. More HERE

Burton inducted into Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame

BATON ROUGE -- Beauregard Parish District Attorney David Burton was among those inducted Friday into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame.
A ceremony took place in Baton Rouge. More HERE.

Some headlines last week:

Allen Parish Fire District 3 breaks ground on training facility

GRANT -- Allen Parish Fire District 3 held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the district's new 2,400-square-foot training facility.
Officials say the new facility will aid the growing district in preparing volunteer firefighters for not only fire response, but also for medical responder training, among other community benefits. More HERE.

McNeese's Fort Polk location helps give soldiers, families 'college experience'

FORT POLK --  McNeese State University now has classes available for soldiers, their families and the community at Fort Polk.
Jean Graves, director of McNeese State University's Fort Polk programming, said the first term of classes at Fort Polk started in January. Graves said the student count has been growing since. More HERE.

VPSO announces DARE report for second semester of 2013-2014 school year

The following is a news release from the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office:

VERNON PARISH -- Vernon Parish DARE officers completed DARE education classes for fifth grade students attending Anacoco Elementary School, Hornbeck High School, Hicks High School, Simpson High School, Faith Training Christian Academy, First Assembly and North Polk Elementary School. More HERE.

Pickering Elementary announces orientation information

PICKERING -- Parents of students in grades first through the sixth may come to Pickering Elementary on Thursday, Aug. 7 for orientation.
First grade through third grade should come at 5:30 p.m., and fourth grade through sixth grade, at 6:30 p.m., to meet their child's teacher, drop off supplies and receive other important information.
Parents should go directly to their child's classroom upon arrival. More HERE.

"Cafeteria Conversation" set Aug. 11 at North Polk Elementary

The following is from a news release:

LEESVILLE -- The Vernon Parish School District and Fort Polk will present a "Cafeteria Conversation" from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11 at North Polk Elementary on Fort Polk.
The event will provide parents the opportunity to meet with Vernon Parish principals and counselors to discuss the educational and extracurricular offerings the district makes available to students and how their children can take advantage of those programs. More HERE.

Hornbeck's decades-old water tower slated for revamp

HORNBECK -- The Town of Hornbeck's 50-year-old water tower is slated for a revamp.
According to Mayor Clarence Beebe, planning is underway and the project will be bid in the near future.
Beebe said the town received around $180,000 in state money for the $240,000 project. The town will put up the remaining $60,000. More HERE.

VPSO advises residents of scam

VERNON PARISH -- The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office wants to alert residents of a recently discovered scam.
According to Sheriff Sam Craft, efforts to pay citations through an online website have resulted in residents being scammed. More HERE.

Former Fort Polk soldier sentenced in sex abuse case

LAKE CHARLES -- A former Fort Polk soldier was sentenced Thursday to 210 months in prison and five years of supervised release for sexually abusing a minor under the age of nine, according to U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley.
Emil Roland Rath, 39, of Mena, Ark., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi for one count of abusive sexual contact with a minor under the age of 12. More HERE.

DeRidder man booked on rape, sexual battery

DERIDDER -- A DeRidder man is accused of aggravated rape and oral sexual battery.
According to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office, 31-year-old Jonathan Trahan was arrested July 11. More HERE.

DeRidder man accused of indecent behavior, sexual battery

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- A 56-year-old DeRidder man is accused of indecent behavior and sexual battery.
Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office authorities say Harris Fontenot was arrested July 15 following the investigation into an allegation. More HERE.

BPSO reports recent drug arrests

BEAUREGARD PARISH -- The Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office is reporting the following recent drug arrests. Click HERE for more.

"Hiring Our Heroes" military spouse fair set Aug. 27

FORT POLK -- The Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Opportunity Fair will be held at Fort Polk on Aug. 27 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the youth gym at 1882 16th Street, Building 2070.
This event is open to all military spouses. It is also open to active duty and transitioning service members. More HERE.

Rosepine High School announces "Back-to-School Days"

ROSEPINE -- Rosepine High School will hold "Back to School Days" on Aug. 5 and 6, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day. Students enrolled in the Rosepine schools last year are strongly encouraged to attend. Students will pick up schedules, pay school fees, and get their new ID card. The schedule is as follows, more HERE.

Constitutional amendment proposed by Armes on Nov. 4 ballot

Fourteen constitutional amendments will be on the Nov. 4 ballot for voters to decide statewide.
One amendment voters will determine was first proposed by Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville, and signed off on by state lawmakers to be put to a vote.
It would require that two members of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission be electors from parishes located north of the parishes of Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, Avoyelles and Pointe Coupee. More HERE.

Qualifying for Nov. 4 election set Aug. 20-22

Qualifying for the Nov. 4 primary election will be Aug. 20-22, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office.
Candidates qualify at parish clerk of court's offices.
Early voting for the Nov. 4 election will be Oct. 21-28.
The general election is slated Dec. 6. Any primary runoffs will be determined on that date. More HERE.

News headlines for the week of July 14
News headlines for the week of June 30

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