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    Teacher at Risk of Being Deported Because of an Attorney's Mistake

    A French Immersion teacher at Prairie Elementary is at risk of having to leave the country because of a mistake her immigration lawyer made.

    French Immersion teacher Florence Klein has taught at Prairie Elementary for three years. Her work visa is set to expire this year. Klein filed for a waiver and hired an immigration lawyer to help with paperwork.

    "We started months ago, but because something didn't happen well, now it's a matter of days," said Klein.

    Klein's attorney didn't follow up and the waiver was never processed. Now Klein only has a few days to complete a months-long process.

    "If they say I have to leave, I have to go. I have no choice. I just follow the law," said Klein.

    "I think it's unfair because she shouldn't have to pay the consequences for somebody else's mistake. It's her professional life at stake," said Klein's colleague, Delphine Coumpouras.

    Colleagues and parents created an online petition. They're hoping immigration services speeds up the process.

    "She's an asset to the school and community and she needs to stay," said Kerrie Leblanc, whose three kids are in French Immersion at Prairie Elementary.

    "I don't want to see Madame Klein go cause there's not other 1st grade teachers that I really want to go in there class," said Abbie Leblanc, who's about to start 1st grade.

    Staff at Prairie Elementary say losing Klein would be a devastating loss because French Immersion teacher are not easy to come by.

    "We would have to go out and not only find someone to come in, but train someone to do what she already knows how to do," added teacher Stephanie Dupuis.

    Klein also helped create an after-school reading program at the library, as well as a recycling program at the school. So far, her colleagues have collected 300 signatures. Klein has until July 14th to get everything processed before she's asked to leave the country.

    To sign the petition visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-for-florence-kleins-h1b/

     




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    LPD Corporal Joel Grayson laid to rest

    Police Officers from across Acadiana say goodbye to one of their own today. Lafayette Officer Joel Grayson was killed in a boating accident this past weekend. Hundreds of officers, from surrounding parishes to state police, rode in the procession honoring Lafayette Police Corporal Joel Grayson.
    A Lafayette resident says the loss of Officer Grayson is devastating, knowing how he changed her life. Lafayette resident Forenisha Newcoste stood along the procession route for Corporal Joel Grayson.
    "One time he came to my house, that was the last time he ever came to my house," said Newcoste. "He told me he's tired of coming to my house and all the domestic violence and everything I'm going through. That I need to stop it, I need to put it to an end, and I took his advice."
    Funeral services were held at Our Savior's Church. The procession left immediately following the service. Officers lining up, turning on lights and sirens. The procession lasted about 40 minutes, blocking traffic around Lafayette. The fire department draped an American flag across University Avenue, in front of LPD headquarters. It stopped momentarily for fellow officers to salute Grayson's casket as it passed. They arrived at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens where Grayson was laid to rest.
    "Knowing that he was someone, like my brother, serving the community knowing that he passed," said Newcoste. "It's hurting because, mixed with everything else that's going on, its like, just it's devastating."
    28-year old Grayson passed away last week following an off-duty boating accident. Corporal Joel Grayson was a 5 and a half year veteran of the Lafayette Police Department. He was assigned to the LPD S.W.A.T team and crime suppression department. Grayson was the recipient of the LPD's most prestigious award----the Medal of Valor.
    "Seeing all this for him, it really touched my heart, because it lets me know that he was a good person, he was a good officer, he gave me a lot of good advice," said Newcoste.




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    New Orleans detects West Nile in mosquitoes

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans officials say West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected in the city.

    No human West Nile cases have been reported in New Orleans so far this year, although one human case has been reported in nearby St. Bernard Parish.

    Most people infected do not get sick. However some develop flu-like symptoms and a few will develop serious illness.

    A Thursday news release says the New Orleans Mosquito Control Board has increased spraying for mosquitoes and is issuing the familiar warnings to residents. People are urged to use mosquito repellants, keep screens on doors and windows in good repair and eliminate places where water collects allowing mosquitoes to breed.




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    WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday's votes holding him in contempt of Congress are the culmination of a misguided and politically motivated congressional investigation by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa and others who focused on "politics over public safety."

    Speaking in New Orleans, the attorney general called the House action "unnecessary and unwarranted" and defended his performance in regard to the failed gun-tracking program called Operation Fast and Furious that precipitated the unprecedented votes against a sitting Cabinet member.

    "Today's vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is - at base - both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the American people," Holder said.

    The House held the attorney general in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents on how the Justice Department came to the realization that federal agents in Arizona had used a controversial investigative tactic known as gun-walking. A separate vote Thursday on civil contempt passed 258-95. It will allow the House to go to court in an effort to force Holder to turn over the documents.

    Issa is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that has been investigating Operation Fast and Furious for the past year and a half.

    Holder told reporters that "as a result of the action taken today by the House, an unnecessary court conflict will ensue. My efforts to resolve this matter short of such a battle were rebuffed by Congressman Issa and by his supporters."

    When concerns about Operation Fast and Furious first came to light, Holder said he took action by ordering an independent investigation into what happened. The probe by the Justice Department's inspector general is still under way.

    In relying on gun-walking, federal agents allowed the buyers of illicitly purchased guns to transport the weapons instead of intercepting the guns. The goal was to track them to major arms-traffickers. In Operation Fast and Furious, the effort failed when agents lost track of some of the weapons. The operation identified more than 2,000 illicitly purchased weapons. Some 1,400 of them have yet to be recovered.

    Holder pointed out that gun-walking was carried out during the George W. Bush administration.

    "We learned that the flawed tactics used in this operation began in the previous administration - but I made sure that they ended in this one," Holder said. Three such operations took place from 2006 to early 2009.




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    La. parish aims to save itself by building land

    BELLE CHASSE, La. (AP) - To save Plaquemines Parish from disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico, leaders in this sparsely-populated citrus and ranch country south of New Orleans want fight hurricanes by building new marsh land and forested ridges. Officials want to use Mississippi River sediment and pump it into the open water surrounding their towns and businesses.

    The Plaquemines Parish Council voted 9-0 on Thursday to approve a bond issue valued between $50 million to $65 million so the parish can hire contractors to pump sediment to buffer Plaquemine's 23,000 people against hurricane waves.

    "We can't wait," said Parish President Billy Nungesser. "We decided to go it alone. It's an emergency."

    Plaquemines is a 70-mile-long strip of land that hugs the Mississippi River.

    The plan is to lease an electric-powered dredge designed specifically for Plaquemines so it can take coarse sediment lying 90 feet deep in the Mississippi's channel and pump it through pipelines into open water just outside levees. Once ridges are built, the parish wants to plant trees on them to slow down hurricane surge.

    The parish is working with federal and state agencies on getting permits for the first ridge, which they want built between Boothville and Venice, two towns at the end of La. Highway 23 not far from the mouth of the Mississippi.

    Once berms are in place, Nungesser said Army Corps of Engineers modeling has shown storm surge would be reduced by 5 feet.

    The bonds would be backed by a steady stream of offshore oil and gas revenues the parish expects to get starting in 2017 and from other sources, such as money BP PLC is expected to pay for damage caused by its 2010 oil spill which hit Plaquemines hard. Plaquemines expects to receive millions of dollars in compensation from BP.

    There are still many hurdles - including concerns that the work will harm wetlands by creating what in effect would be levee-like structures where there are currently bays, marshes and other natural features.

    "It's totally well-intentioned, but we have to make sure that we don't get in the way of natural processes that desperately need to be re-established," said Aaron Viles of the Gulf Restoration Network, a New Orleans environmental group that monitors coastal restoration plans.

    The parish still does not have the federal permits from the Army Corps and other agencies. Also, the Plaquemines plan may be at odds with a new 50-year, $50 billion state master plan designed to coordinate efforts to restore coastal Louisiana, where about 1,900 square miles of land have been lost since the 1930s.

    Regardless, Plaquemines officials say their land is too at risk.

    Over the past five decades, Plaquemines has become increasingly exposed to the Gulf's hurricanes because it has lost more than 250 square miles of marsh and wetlands. It's under assault from sea-level rise, subsidence, oil and gas development, hurricanes and salt water intrusion.

    Katrina devastated the parish, too. The catastrophic storm made landfall in the parish at Buras and most of Plaquemines south of Belle Chasse saw flooding that washed away entire towns. Belle Chasse, the seat of the parish government, lies behind federal levee protection but the rest of the parish's levee protection falls below federal standards.

    Nungesser said building the existing levees higher is not much of an option because that would mean taking away what little land people and businesses have in Plaquemines.

    Mining the river of sediment is seen as a must.

    "It's more necessary than it is innovative," said Mark Davis, the director of Tulane University's Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy. "It's the latest chapter in the same book."

    Louisiana has experimented with river sediment before as a land-building tool. One well-known example is a 1995 marsh creation project at the LaBranche wetlands near New Orleans where some 300 acres were constructed in three months with sediment taken from the Bonnet Carre floodway.

    Although the project was successful, state and federal delta managers since then have moved in other directions and stayed away from using river sediment as a land-building tool, said Joseph Suhayda, a longtime coastal oceanographer and consultant who helped develop Plaquemines' plan. He said in the past 25 years, delta engineers have focused more on rebuilding the coast with big river diversions designed to restore ecological balance and flush much-needed sediment into starved marshes.

    "There is no doubt that dredging makes land," Suhayda said. "The drawback over the years has been the cost."

    Plaquemines officials think they can cut those costs in half or more by developing a specialized dredge. Typical dredges in use are run by fuel rather than electricity, are equipped to house work crews and are not designed to grab material deep down in a river, all of which makes them more costly than what Plaquemines is proposing, Suhayda said.

    Nungesser said plans to build up land with river diversions wouldn't do enough to help Plaquemines quickly.

    "To think you're going to open up a diversion to combat the Gulf of Mexico is ludicrous," he said. "I want a dredge in that river by the end of next year."




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    New health insurance tax could hurt small businesses

    Small businesses like Begneaud fear the plan designed to save them money may end up taking more money out of their pockets.

    "We do provide health insurance for all of our employees, but we're really hoping not to see the rates increase more than they already have," says Begneaud Chief Operating Officer Aaron Broussard.

    87 percent of small businesses purchase insurance in the fully insured marketplace. Insurance companies that provide this coverage will bear the brunt of an $87 billion health insurance tax. Self-insured plans are exempt from the tax. Insurance companies will have two choices: either eat the costs or pass the costs on to their customers.

    "It may impact our hiring, it may impact our expansion. Future plans all have to be reconsidered now after looking at this bill going through."

    The National Federation of Independent Business predicts this rise in cost could reduce the annual take-home wages of the average small business employee by $500 every year..

    Despite the strain the health insurance tax could put on small businesses like Begneaud, they say they're in it for the long haul.

    "I'm committed to this company, to this team, everyone working here. We're here to stay," says CEO and founder Don Begneaud.

     




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    Man accused of killing pregnant girlfriend pleads not guilty by insanity

    The man accused of shooting to death his pregnant girlfriend pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Joshua Tyler McKeel, 21, is charged in the first degree murder of Hannah Parker, 19, of St. Martinville. The shooting happened in January at her mother's home. The jury could find McKeel guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter.




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    Health Reform Could Be Trouble For Doctors

    Doctors are having mixed reactions about health care reform.

    "There's a concern we're going to have a lot of new patients coming in with an insurance that may not reimburse as well," Dr. Joseph Orgeron said.

    With 30 million people becoming insured in the near future doctors will be seeing more patients. That's the good news for them. But the problem is that health care costs are rising, while reimbursements from insurance companies are going down. Doctors may not be able to make as much money per patient depending on the insurance provider.

    "A lot of doctors are concerned that they won't be able to continue to practice medicine the way they are used to," Dr. Orgeron said.

    Many older doctors talked about how this is a very similar situation to when Medicare was passed years ago.

    "There was a lot of fear about how it was going to end the practice of medicine as they knew it, but they adjusted and things went on," Dr. Orgeron said.

    Doctors aren't sure what will happen in the next three to five years. Many younger doctors who have student loans, or large business loans to pay off could face trouble in the future.

    "It's kind of scary not knowing where things are headed," Dr. Orgeron said.




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    Saints Sign 3rd Round Pick DT Akiem Hicks

    New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced today that the club has agreed to terms with rookie DT Akiem Hicks on a four-year contract, the Saints' first selection in the 2012 NFL Draft (third round, 89th overall).

     

    The 6-5, 324 pound Hicks spent his final two years of college at the University of Regina (Sask.), where he was All-Canada selection as both a junior and a senior, playing both defensive end and defensive tackle. In the Fair Oaks, Calif. native's final two campaigns, he posted 76 tackles (43 solo), 13 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles and four pass defenses. As a senior in 2011, he started all eight games he appeared in and recorded 42 tackles (29 solo), eight tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three pass defenses. He earned All-Canada West Universities Athletic Association and All-Canadian InterUniversity Sport honors.

     

    Hicks first attended Sacramento City College from 2007-08, where he recorded 65 tackles (32 solo), 20.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and one pass defense, earning Junior College All-American honors as a sophomore.

     

    Hicks attended Del Campo (Fair Oaks, Calif.) High School, where he played on both the offensive and defensive lines. He earned All-Sac Joaquin section and All-Capital Football League honors his junior and senior years. He registered 52 tackles with two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery his senior year. As a junior, he recorded 48 tackles with four sacks.

     




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    Hornets Extend Qualifying Offer to Eric Gordon

    The New Orleans Hornets announced today that the team has extended a qualifying offer to guard Eric Gordon for the 2012-13 season, making him a restricted free agent. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

     

    Gordon averaged a team-leading 20.6 points in addition to 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in nine games (all starts) while shooting 45.0% from the field. The Hornets were 6-3 when Gordon played this season and he led the team in scoring in all but one of those contests.

     




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    Lafayette's Savannah Vinsant Wins Women's Trampoline, Qualifies for London Olympics

    Savannah Vinsant of Newton, Texas/Trampoline and Tumbling Express (Lafayette, LA), and Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Heights, N.J./ETA Gymnastics, will represent the United States in trampoline at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors. Both won their respective U.S. trampoline titles at the 2012 USA Gymnastics Trampoline Championships at the San Jose (Calif.) Convention Center, which served as the final qualifying event for Olympic selection.

    "I'm speechless - I have no words for it," said Vinsant, who won all three selection events. "I'm filled with joy and I'm at peace that it's over. I had a big group of girls out there with me this year who were awesome, and they definitely kept me on my toes all year. I'm honored to be representing Team USA."

    "It's surreal right now," said Gluckstein, who also took top honors at all three selection events. "The greatest thing right now is the relief. I'm the kind of person who puts a lot of stress and a lot of pressure on myself, and it's just been building since we qualified (for the Games) in January.

    "We have such an amazing team with all the finalists here," said Gluckstein, "and I knew it was going to be tough, but my dream is coming true and right now I'm ecstatic."

    Earlier in the day, the men's and women's teams of Michael Devine of Winnebago, Ill./J and J Tumbling and Trampoline Team, and Jeffrey Gluckstein of Atlantic Heights, N.J./ETA Gymnastics, and Landry and Alicia Powder of Ladera Ranch, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, earned this year's synchronized trampoline national titles.

    Vinsant won the U.S. title after scoring a 53.140 for her routine in the finals and posting a 153.195 total, which clinched her ticket to London. Shanelle Landry of Lafayette, La./ETA Gymnastics, was second at 149.655, followed by Dakota Earnest of Plains, Texas/Acrospirits with a 148.880.

    Gluckstein won the men's title with his 56.355, sealing his Olympic berth. Logan Dooley of Lake Forest, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, was second with his 56.150, followed by Jeffrey Gluckstein of Atlantic Heights, N.J./ETA Gymnastics, in third at 55.105.

    The USA Gymnastics Championships was the third and final event in for ranking competitors to determine the men's and women's Olympic slots. Of the three competitions, which also included the Elite Challenge and Stars & Stripes Cup, the lowest point score was dropped for each competitor when figuring total score.

    In synchronized trampoline, Landry and Powder won the women's final with a 137.900, defeating Audrey Ghanian of Holmdel, N.J./ETA Gymnastics, and Deana Parris of Burtonsville, Md./Fairland Gymnastics, who finished at 106.800.

    Devine and Jeffrey Gluckstein earned a 137.900, followed by Steven Gluckstein and Dooley at 130.900. Hunter Brewster of Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, and Neil Gulati of Irvine, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, were third at 89.800.

    2012 USA Gymnastics Trampoline Championships
    San Jose Convention Center
    San Jose, Calif.

    Women's Trampoline Finals
    1. Savannah Vinsant of Newton, Texas/Trampoline and Tumbling Express, 153.195
    2. Shanelle Landry, Lafayette, La./ETA Gymnastics, 149.655
    3. Dakota Earnest of Plains, Texas/Acrospirits, 148.880
    4. Hayley Butcher, Saint John, Ind./Midwest Training and Ice Center, 144.315
    5. Alicia Powder, Ladera Ranch, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, 143.380
    6. Alaina Williams, Norman, Okla./Acrospirits, 141.865
    7. Audrey Ghanian, Holmdel, N.J./ETA Gymnastics, 138.685
    8. Erica Owen, Mission Viejo, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, 136.895

    Men's Trampoline Finals
    1. Steven Gluckstein, Atlantic Highlands, N.J./ETA, 56.355
    2. Logan Dooley, Forest Hills, Calif./World Elite, 56.150
    3. Jeffrey Gluckstein, Atlantic Highlands, N.J./ETA, 55.105
    4. Neil Gulati, Irvine, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, 54.915
    5. Michael Devine, Winnebago, Ill./J and J Tumbling and Trampoline Team, 54.590
    6. Hunter Brewster, Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, 53.195
    7. Casey Chandler. Reno, Nevada/Legacy Trampoline and Tumbling, 51.680
    8. Tanner Page, Bellevue, Wash./Action Athletics Inc., 51.170

     




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    Hornets Select Kentucky's Anthony Davis With Top Pick in NBA Draft

    With the 1st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Hornets selected forward Anthony Davis from the University of Kentucky. Davis becomes the Hornets' second top-overall selection (Larry Johnson, 1991), 12th Lottery pick and 24th first-round selection in the NBA Draft in franchise history.

    "We're thrilled to welcome Anthony to the Hornets family," said General Manager Dell Demps. "Anthony is an incredible person and very talented basketball player. We look forward to him being a part of the sustained success of our franchise on and off the court going forward."

    "I'm excited about having the chance to work with Anthony," said Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams. "We have added an incredibly talented, athletic big man with great length who is also a proven winner. In getting to know him, he's also a high-character kid and someone I look forward to helping develop further."

    "The first thing I said after the Lottery was ‘it would be great to win another championship in New Orleans.' It's a great city,' said Davis. "Monty is a great coach who has played in the league and will tell you how it is. He has given me some great advice and I can't wait to get out on the court with him."

    In his only collegiate season, Davis (6-10, 220) won six of the seven major National Player of the Year awards, getting the nod from the AP, USBWA and Basketball Times, and capturing the Wooden, Adolph Rupp and Naismith awards. Additionally, the Chicago, Il. Native was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player after leading Kentucky to national title in New Orleans.

     

    The 19-year-old led the nation in blocks (4.65 bpg) as a freshman, while leading his team in scoring (14.2 ppg), rebounding (10.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.623). Davis broke school and SEC records as well as the NCAA freshman record for blocks in a season (186). He finished the season with 20 double-doubles, tops in the SEC and tied for the UK freshman record en route to being named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, First Team All-SEC, SEC All-Freshman Team and SEC All-Defensive Team.

     

    The Hornets also pick 10th and 46th in tonight's draft, marking the first time in franchise history the Hornets have held two Lottery selections in the same draft. The last time the Hornets had three picks in the same draft was in 2006 (12th, 15th and 43rd).

     




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    LSU's Katz to Compete In College Home Run Derby

    LSU junior outfielder/first baseman Mason Katz will compete in the 2012 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby on Tuesday, July 3 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The event will be taped and televised nationally on Saturday, July 7 from 1-2 p.m. CT.

     

    The other participants in the eight-player event are Daniel Aldrich of the College of Charleston, LB Dantzler of South Carolina, Derek Fisher of Virginia, Tyler Horan of Virginia Tech, Aaron Judge of Fresno State, Daniel Palka of Georgia Tech and Zach Stephens of Tennessee Tech.

     

    Katz, a native of Harahan, La., earned 2012 first-team ABCA All-South Region honors and second-team All-SEC recognition after hitting .320 on the year with 15 doubles, one triple, 13 homers and 52 RBI. Katz led the SEC in runs scored (65), and he was No. 3 in the league in home runs, No. 4 in slugging percentage (.552), No. 4 in total bases (133) and No. 6 in RBI.

     

     




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    Hornets Select Duke Freshman Austin Rivers 10th Overall

    With the 10th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Hornets selected guard Austin Rivers from Duke University. Rivers becomes the Hornets' 13th Lottery pick in franchise history and first selection from Duke.

    "This is who we wanted (at number 10)," said General Manager Dell Demps. "We were impressed by him during his workout and we're excited to bring Austin to New Orleans."

     

    "I have known Austin and his family for a long time," Head Coach Monty Williams said. "He is a stand-up young man and brings the type of character and talent we are looking to add to this team."

     

    "It is an amazing feeling to be drafted and it's something I have been waiting for my entire life," Rivers said. "I love the city, the people and they have a great fan base. The team has some solid pieces and a great Head Coach and great GM."

    In his only collegiate season, Rivers (6-4, 200) was an NABC Third Team All-American selection and led the Blue Devils in scoring with 15.5 points per game, just the third freshman in school history to do so.

     

    The Winter Park, Fl. native finished ranked in the top five in seven different freshman categories in school history: points (3rd), points per game (3rd), free throws (1st), attempts (1st), three-pointers (5th), double-figure games (3rd), and 20-point games (5th). The 19-year-old posted a career-high 29 points and hit a game-winning three-pointer to beat then-no. 5 North Carolina on February 8, 2012.

     

    With his selection, Rivers, whose father is ex-NBA player and current Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers, makes 10 consecutive NBA Drafts where the son of a former NBA player was selected.

     

    The Hornets will also pick 46th in tonight's draft and selected 1st overall (Anthony Davis) as well, marking the first time in franchise history the Hornets have held two Lottery selections in the same draft. The last time the Hornets had three picks in the same draft was in 2006 (12th, 15th and 43rd).

     




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    Lafayette Arson Investigators Need Your Help Finding Who Set Fire To Third Street Building

    KATC has received an update on the fire that occurred earlier. At 4:20 Thursday afternoon, Lafayette Fire Department responded to a three alarm fire at 120 E. Third Street, intersection of N. Chestnut and Third, to a reported building fire. When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke and flames were coming from the rear of the building. The flames quickly spread to the attic and roof area of the large vacant building. The fire took approximately one hour to extinguish utilizing thirty firefighters from Lafayette and fifteen from Scott and Carencro Volunteer Departments. Heat exhaustion was a major concern with the high temperatures. No one sustained any injuries.

    The building was the old office for Koury and Abraham Law Firm. The building is currently owned by Louisiana DOTD. It has been vacant for several months. The fire caused considerable damage to the building.

    Fire investigator determined that the fire originated on the exterior. The fire was intentionally set.

    Lafayette Fire Department arson investigators are asking anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers.

     




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    Youngsville Police Department Lacking Officers

    Some people in Youngsville are raising the question, why is there a shortage of police officers in the small city? The issue of police staffing came up Monday at a special council meeting to discuss a one cent sales tax that is dedicated to police protection.

    At the meeting, Chief Earl Menard told the council he only has nine officers currently on staff, but would like to have 16 to 18 officers. But for some reason, he can't seem to fill the positions.

    Pay did not seem to be an issue. Youngsville just increased new officer pay to $2,583 a month. That salary is on target with similar sized cities in Lafayette Parish. Carencro pays new officers $2,400 a month and is currently fully staffed with 25 officers. Scott pays $2,500 a month and has 25 officers on staff. They currently have one opening. And Broussard pays news officers $2,762 a month, has a staff of 27 officers with currently one opening.

    While every department said officers come and go often, Youngsville seems to have a harder time filling vacancies than other departments in the parish. It faces some of the same issues as other smaller cities because it's often a starting point for young officers and doesn't offer the most exciting police work.

    Still, three former Youngsville police officers told KATC they left because of a deeper problem within the department.

    "It's a great small town for a police man to work, the pay is competitive to other departments, the crime rate is relatively low, and the citizens treat you fantastic," said Louie Berges. "The only problem with the department as a whole is it lacks a lot of structure."

    Louie Berges worked for the Youngsville Police Department for eight years. He said he finally left because of the way officers are treated by administration.

    "There's so much turmoil in the front office that it kind of bleeds down to the regular patrolmen that for a lot of new guys it just becomes too much of a headache," said Berges.

    But Berges is not alone. Two other former Youngsville officers, who did not want their identities revealed, said the department is mismanaged and complained that they didn't get the training classes and certifications they requested.

    "They don't re-certify officers on certain things, CPR, yearly training, what you need for legal updates," said another officer.

    Chief Earl Menard declined an on camera interview, but did say that officers are sent to training and classes. However, the 2011 budget shows that only $452 was spent on training, while $6,444 was spent on conference fees. The officers said the chief and secretary are the ones who go.

    "The first two years we would take all the classes, but for whatever reason that stopped," said Berges.

    As for management, the Chief said his secretary is the one who handles all police reports, payroll and other duties. But the officers said it should be a senior law enforcement officer who oversees their work.

    "You would think the chief of police is the person that runs the department and not your secretary," said the former Youngsville officer.

    Berges added that other departments he's worked for operate quite differently.

    "I've worked at two other law enforcement agencies, the structure it's night and day, for the better at the other agencies," he said.

    No one at the Youngsville Police Department is facing any formal complaints or charges. The Chief said they have nothing to hide and the secretary said she's just doing her job.

     




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    UK's Darius Miller Drafted by Hornets in 2nd Round

    The New Orleans Hornets have selected Kentucky's Darius Miller with the 46th overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, making him the sixth Wildcats player drafted.

    Miller, a 6-foot-8 forward who played four seasons at Kentucky, will join college teammate Anthony Davis, whom New Orleans selected first overall.

    The Hornets acquired the 46th pick in a trade last week that sent center Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza to Washington. Hornets coach Monty Williams has said he expected the Hornets to find a player in this year's second round who could make their team.

    Miller was a full-time starter as a junior, but played mostly a reserve role, averaging 9.9 points, as a senior for Kentucky's 2012 national championship squad.

    The Hornets also selected Austin Rivers 10th overall.




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    UL's Christi Orgeron Leads Team USA to 8-0 Win vs. Puerto Rico

    U.S. softball coach Ken Eriksen calls it "aggressive discipline" - the art of being patient and drawing walks.

    His squad excelled at it Thursday on the opening day of the World Cup of Softball.

    The U.S. combined seven hits with seven walks and cruised to an 8-0 win in five innings over Puerto Rico. Four of those walks came during a five-run third-inning outburst by the U.S., which scored in each of its four at-bats. All but one U.S. starter reached base safely at least once.

    "Little things win ballgames and our execution tonight was pretty good," Eriksen said. "We got aggressive pitching, but we got very aggressive discipline at the plate tonight."

    U.S. starter Chelsea Thomas struck out six batters in 3 2/3 innings and combined with Jackie Traina on a one-hitter. The lone hit for Puerto Rico (0-2) was a first-inning single by Karla O Claudio down the left-field line.

    Christie Orgeron had a pair of doubles for the U.S. (1-0), which has won the World Cup of Softball in each of the last five years the event has been played. The American squad will face Australia on Friday night, The Netherlands and Canada on Saturday and Brazil on Sunday. The top two teams in the six-team round-robin event will play Monday for the title.

    "A lot of people would not recognize the fact that, yeah, we had seven hits, but we did have seven walks," Eriksen said. "You combine the walks with the hits, that's 14 on base and this game is about being on base. I'm very, very excited about our team discipline tonight."

    Sam Fischer's single to center drove in Rhea Taylor, who had walked, to give the U.S. an early lead in the first inning. Jenae Leles doubled off the wall in left-center on the first pitch of the second inning by Claudio, Puerto Rico's starter. Leles came around on a sacrifice by Orgeron and a sacrifice fly by Molly Johnson, making it 2-0.

    In the third, the U.S. sent 11 batters to the plate. Two wild pitches by Claudio led to two U.S. runs. A two-out single by Valerie Arioto chased Claudio. Reliever Kaylyn Camacho fared even worse, failing to retire any of the four batters she faced, surrendering three walks and a double by Orgeron. Laura Ramos issued a bases-loaded walk to Katie Cochran before recording the final out.

    "I think we did an excellent job as a team to be disciplined at the plate," Orgeron said. "No one was getting overanxious trying to make something happen. Being able to do the little things right at the plate, laying down sac bunts when we needed to, stealing bases, moving up on (wild pitches), those are the kind of things that will win you ballgames without ever having to get a hit."

    Thomas, a two-time Big 12 pitcher of the year at Missouri who played on the gold medal-winning U.S. team in last year's Pan American Games, retired the last 10 batters she faced and allowed only one ball out of the infield. She credited catcher Jessica Shults for calling a good game.

    "I thought she threw the best I've seen her throw in three years," Eriksen said of Thomas.

    Traina's last appearance at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium - earlier this month - came while leading Alabama to its first Women's College World Series title. She retired all four batters she faced.

    In other games Thursday, Virginie Annevelt went 3 for 4 to lead The Netherlands past Canada 7-6 in eight innings.

    Nilze Higa struck out nine and Brazil scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat Puerto Rico 2-1.

    Stacey Porter went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and three runs scored, and Jodie Bowering went 2 for 3 with two RBIs as Australia routed Brazil 11-1 in six innings.

     

     




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    Hornets Make Big Splash in NBA Draft

    The Hornets have officially made Anthony Davis the most popular big man in the Big Easy.

    As expected, New Orleans took Davis with the top overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, giving fans gathered in the New Orleans Arena more of a reason to cheer than they had through most of a difficult 2011-12 season.

    Davis' new teammates in New Orleans will include guard Austin Rivers, whom the Hornets drafted with the 10th overall pick.

    The 6-foot-11 Davis, nicknamed the "unibrow," has been the consensus No. 1 pick for months, so it was only a matter of the Hornets making the addition of the Kentucky star official.

    The 19-year-old Davis, who was The Associated Press Player of the Year as a freshman, will now earn his living in the city where he helped the Wildcats win a national title last spring.

    "I'm excited about having the chance to work with Anthony," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "We have added an incredibly talented, athletic big man with great length who is also a proven winner. In getting to know him, he's also a high-character kid and someone I look forward to helping develop further."

    Davis was also named most outstanding player of the Final Four, tying an NCAA championship game record with six blocked shots against Kansas to go with 16 rebounds, five assists and three steals.

    "The first thing I said after (the Hornets won the NBA draft lottery) was it would be great to win another championship in New Orleans," Davis said. "Monty is a great coach who has played in the league and will tell you how it is. He has given me some great advice and I can't wait to get out on the court with him."

    Davis, who has not only embraced but even trademarked his "unibrow" nickname, is already a crowd favorite in New Orleans, judging by the hundreds of fans who took up the Hornets on their invitation to watch the draft inside the arena. They cheered when the scoreboard's massive video board showed Davis shaking Commissioner David Stern's hand at NBA draft headquarters in Newark, N.J., knowing they'll have plenty of chances to see him in person next season.

    "We look forward to him being a part of the sustained success of our franchise on and off the court," Hornets general manager Dell Demps said.

    Davis is expected to start right away. Last year's starting center, Emeka Okafor, was traded last week, and the Hornets have not indicated that they intend to bring back free agent center Chris Kaman.

    Davis, a Chicago native, is not a typical big man in that he started high school playing guard before a growth spurt turned him into a center. He can handle the ball, pass and has a smooth jump shot that has proven accurate from inside 18 feet.

    Davis led the nation in blocks with 4.65 per game. His 186 total blocks set Kentucky, Southeastern Conference and NCAA freshman single-season records. He was also named the SEC Player of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year.

    While he did not score in the national title game, that performance was an anomaly. He led the Wildcats in scoring with 14.2 points per game, as well as in rebounding with 10.4 per game and field goal percentage at .623. He recorded 20 double-doubles in his lone college campaign.

    The 6-foot-4 Rivers, whose father is Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, averaged a team-high 15.5 points per game as a freshman at Duke, and could play both guard spots. Williams had said going into the draft that he wanted not only to add length inside, which he knew he would do with Davis, but also to add a guard or wing player who could create his own shot.

    The Hornets hope Rivers can quickly develop into that kind of player, complementing the scoring ability of restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon, whom the Hornets intend to re-sign. Certainly, Williams knows the 19-year-old Rivers well. The Hornets and Celtics coaches have been close friends for years. The elder Rivers coached Williams three seasons (1999-2002) in Orlando, and Williams has seen the younger Rivers grow up.

    Demps said he received some trade offers for the 10th pick, but he stressed that the ability to add Davis and Rivers is "what we wanted."

    "With Davis, (the Hornets get his) defensive presence and his offensive upside is great," Demps said. "With Austin's play-making ability to go along with Eric, I'm hoping we're going to be really hard to guard and score on."

    The Hornets went 21-45 last season, which tied with Cleveland for the third-worst record in the NBA.

    The addition of Davis and Rivers continued some recent positive momentum for the club, which was recently purchased by New Orleans native Tom Benson, also the owner of the NFL's Saints.

    Benson agreed to a lease of the New Orleans Arena running through 2024, giving the club a level of stability it has not enjoyed since being displaced by Hurricane Katrina to Oklahoma City for two seasons beginning in 2005.

    Benson visited the Hornets' draft headquarters, which was set up in the team's locker room at the arena. After Davis' selection, Benson went into part of the stadium where fans were gathered, offering a celebratory wave.




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    Italy Uses Fast Start to Take Down Germany in Euro Semifinals

    Mario Balotelli flexed his muscles in more ways than one.

    The 21-year-old striker quieted his of critics by leading Italy to an unexpected spot in the European Championship final, scoring twice in the first half in a 2-1 victory over Germany on Thursday night.

    After his second goal, Balotelli stripped off his jersey and flexed his muscles in a defiant pose - even if that meant an automatic yellow card.

    "This is the greatest night of my life, but I hope Sunday is going to be even better," Balotelli said, looking ahead to the final against defending champion Spain. "In the opening matches I had a lot of chances, and I wasn't able to finish them. But In football you also need luck."

    In the 20th minute, Balotelli had no trouble getting past Holger Badstuber to head in a pinpoint cross from Antonio Cassano. Then in the 36th, Balotelli received the ball behind the defense and blasted a long shot into the top right corner.

    With three goals, Balotelli is tied for the tournament lead. After the match, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli was asked if this was the best match of Balotelli's career.

    "Balotelli's career has just started," Prandelli said.

    Germany's winless streak against Italy in major tournaments reached eight matches. The Germans failed to trouble Italy for much of the match, although Mesut Oezil scored a consolation penalty in injury time after Federico Balzaretti was whistled for a handball.

    Germany entered the game on a world-record 15-match winning streak in competitive matches.

    "It's a very bitter defeat," Germany captain Philipp Lahm said. "We tried everything in the second half but our goal came too late. We have so much potential in our team but if we cannot give the right performance at the right time or are not clever enough, then we lose such a game."

    The final in Kiev, Ukraine, will be a rematch of Italy and Spain's 1-1 draw that opened Group C.

    "We showed we're on Spain's level and that's where we started this run," Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio said. "It's no longer a question of fear. Now we've got to pull out everything we still have inside ourselves."

    While Italy has won four World Cups, it's only European Championship title came in 1968. As they did in winning the 1982 and 2006 World Cups, the Azzurri have managed to maintain their focus despite a match-fixing and betting scandal at home.

    "All I can say is that when you talk about Italy, everyone needs to be careful," Prandelli said. "We played an extraordinary match. We displayed a model of fair play and attachment to this shirt."

    On a pleasant evening at the National Stadium Warsaw, Cassano set up the opening goal by befuddling Germany defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng to lift the ball in Balotelli's direction.

    The second goal began with a long vertical pass from Riccardo Montolivo, whose mother is German. Balotelli collected the pass with his back to the goal, controlled the ball with his chest and then sprinted forward and unleashed a blazing shot from the edge of the area as Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer again stood immobile.

    "We did what we had thought would put them in trouble," Prandelli said. "We played centrally and looked for one-on-one opportunities with Cassano."

    Even before scoring, Italy controlled the pace of the match, although Germany did have several chances from Hummels, Toni Kroos and Oezil.

    In the 35th, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon preserved the lead by swatting away a long shot from Sami Khedira - and Balotelli doubled the lead a minute later.

    To start the second half, Germany coach Joachim Loew brought on Miroslav Klose for Mario Gomez at center forward and replaced Lukas Podolski with Marco Reus on the wing.

    With Germany appearing slightly more organized, Lahm had a great look at the goal in the 49th but shot way over the bar.

    "If we had scored earlier, there could have been more for us," Loew said. "The disappointment is great. Nobody is speaking in the dressing room. The players are crying. ... But I am not going to question everything we've done. This team has great quality. It will continue to develop and learn."

    Buffon made another impressive save in the 62nd, leaping to push a free kick from Reus off the bar.

    While Italy largely sat back and protected its lead in the second half, the Azzurri did produce some dangerous counterattacks. Marchisio shot just wide in the 67th and 75th and substitute Antonio Di Natale missed another chance in the 82nd.

    Di Natale came on in the 70th after Balotelli went down with a cramp to his left leg.

    White-clad German fans greatly outnumbered Italian supporters, unveiling a huge banner before kickoff that featured a giant "G'' for Germany. However, most of the stadium was filled with Polish fans cheering for Italy.

    "We're living a dream along with millions of Italians," Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini said. "We're going to enjoy this victory a little longer, then we'll think about Sunday, because we want to continue dreaming."

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    Lineups:

    Germany: Manuel Neuer, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng (Thomas Mueller, 71), Mats Hummels, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mesut Oezil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez (Miroslav Klose, 46), Lukas Podolski (Marco Reus, 46).

    Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Federico Balzaretti, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio, Riccardo Montolivo (Thiago Motta, 63), Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano (Alessandro Diamanti, 57).

     

     




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