Body pulled from waterway missing Reserve woman
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Nearly three weeks after a Reserve couple was reported missing, authorities say a body found in the Intracoastal Waterway in eastern New Orleans is that of 29-year-old Lakeitha Joseph.
St. John the Baptist Parish deputies say the Orleans Parish coroner's office used dental records to help make identification late Tuesday.
Joseph's husband, 34-year-old Kenneth Joseph, is still missing.
St. John's detectives and are working the case with the New Orleans Police Department and the sheriff in Fulton County, Ga., where the Joseph's van was found Monday afternoon.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports an autopsy performed Tuesday indicates that Lakeitha Joseph drowned.
Relatives of the couple have not heard from them since Feb. 18, and reported them missing Feb. 19 after finding their house unlocked. Relatives say the house had been ransacked.
DEATH ROW-INMATE RELEASE
Louisiana death row inmate released from prison
ANGOLA, La. (AP) - A Caddo Parish man walked free after spending almost 26 years on death row at Louisiana's maximum security prison at Angola.
Glenn Ford, now 64, had been on death row since Aug. 23, 1988, for the 1983 murder of 56-year-old Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport jeweler and watchmaker for whom Ford did occasional yard work. Ford has always denied killing Rozeman.
Ford's attorneys said a state District judge voided Ford's conviction and sentence based on new information that corroborated his claim that he was not present or involved in Rozeman's death.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections says Ford was released at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday.
La. appeals order to release execution drug source
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana corrections officials are asking a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling that would require disclosure of the seller and manufacturer of the state's execution drugs.
Judge James Brady ruled last week that the corrections department must reveal this week the information about where it obtained its two lethal injection drugs.
Instead of revealing the details, a lawyer for the Department of Corrections and the Louisiana State Penitentiary filed a notice of appeal Tuesday.
State officials say if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping facilitate an execution.
Brady said corrections officials failed to offer proof of their claims. He's requiring the state to provide the information by Friday unless the appeals court intervenes.
Health insurance sign-ups near 46,000 in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The number of Louisiana residents signing up for health insurance through the federal marketplace is growing, reaching nearly 46,000 people covered through February.
But that remains behind a target set last year by President Barack Obama's administration, seeking more than 75,000 enrollees in Louisiana.
The enrollment period ends this month.
Federal health officials released the latest enrollment data across states Tuesday, covering five months of sign-ups under the government-subsidized private insurance program created under Obama's health overhaul.
Another 12,700 people in Louisiana signed up in February, on top of the nearly 33,000 who were enrolled in marketplace plans a month earlier.
Four companies are offering insurance options through the federally-run marketplace in Louisiana. Eighty-seven percent of Louisiana residents who registered for insurance have received subsidies to help cover costs.
Feds to investigate of Gustav work in Livingston
LIVINGSTON, La. (AP) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will seek an investigation into the potentially fraudulent practices of a monitoring firm Livingston Parish hired to oversee debris removal after Hurricane Gustav.
FEMA also is considering reneging on the nearly $2 million already allocated for monitoring the removal of leaning trees and hanging limbs from parish rights of way.
The agency outlined its position in a 192-page response to Livingston's request for arbitration to resolve the dispute over $59 million in unpaid Gustav cleanup costs.
The Advocate reports the case is before the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals.
FEMA's response, filed Friday, claims monitors from Professional Engineering Consultants who oversaw the debris removal were inexperienced, poorly trained and specifically advised to document ineligible work and submit fraudulent claims.
Expert: Sinkhole showing signs of stabilizing
BAYOU CORNE, La. (AP) - A leading scientist studying the Bayou Corne-area sinkhole that emerged in an Assumption Parish swamp 18 months ago says the hole has shown signs of stabilizing.
The Advocate reports a CB&I hydrogeologist working for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources on the sinkhole, Gary Hecox, told about 40 residents and officials at a community meeting in Napoleonville Tuesday that a variety of scientific measurements show the sinkhole is trending toward stability and tracking with past models for its ultimate size.
Those models would mean the hole would not reach La. 70 to the north, Bayou Corne to the south or the Bayou Corne community to the west. Hecox said the hole is still growing, but the rate of growth has slowed.
Few lawmakers pledge opposition to expand Medicaid
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - It's been slow-going for a national tea party group trying to get state lawmakers to pledge their opposition to Democrats' efforts to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February. A month later, Phillip Joffrion, director of the AFP state chapter, says he has over a dozen signatures.
That's not enough to defeat a Medicaid expansion bill.
But Joffrion says he expects to get pledges from many more lawmakers now that the legislative session has opened.
He says AFP has signatures from key legislative leaders, including Senate President John Alario and Rep. Scott Simon, chairman of the House health care committee.
Plus, lawmakers rejected the Medicaid expansion last year, and it's strongly opposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Carver Theater set to open April 30
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Carver Theater developers have announced an April 30 opening date for the long-shuttered venue in New Orleans' Treme neighborhood.
The theater suffered serious damage in 2005 when federal levee failures led to flooding across New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The marquee lights on the historic theater flicked on just before Mardi Gras, but building owner Eugene Oppman was cautious about scheduling a ribbon-cutting event.
Nola.com/The Times-Picayune reports construction delays led Carver management to cancel a planned opening last September.
The free April 30 opening begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and musical performances from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event coincides with International Jazz Day. Details remain to be set for a planned opening night concert.
BATON ROUGE-COUNCIL ON AGING
No plans to cut Council on Aging services
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging continues to operate at a deficit of about $400,000 a year and a new audit out this week questions the agency's viability due to increasing demands that outpace funding.
Council on Aging Executive Director Tasha Clark-Amar tells The Advocate leaders are working to address the financial issues without affecting the seniors they serve.
At this time, there are no plans to cut back services, as is suggested in the audit.
The Council on Aging, which operates 14 senior centers throughout parish and runs the meal delivery program for low-income seniors, receives funding from the city-parish, state and federal governments, in addition to grants, donations and other outside fundraising efforts.
Clark-Amar said fundraising has become a key focus of efforts to address budget issues.
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