Posts tagged ‘multimedia’

Biden returns to SW La.

Vice president back in Cameron today for first time since 2006
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

Vice President Joseph Biden will be in New Orleans and Grand Lake today, discussing how the administration is helping with recovery and rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast.

A schedule released by the White House says his day will start at about 11 a.m. in New Orleans with a visit to Delgado Community College’s City Park campus.

After touring the school, he will be joined by Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu at the St. Bernard Recreation Center.

They will discuss Recovery Act investments and hear updates on the area’s hurricane recovery. Biden, his wife, Jill, and Landrieu will continue on to Grand Lake at about 3 p.m. They will meet with Cameron Parish officials to get updates on hurricane recovery in the area and will speak at the Grand Lake Elderly Apartments.

To see video of the Vice President’s visit, CLICK HERE.

Landrieu brought Biden — then a U.S. senator from Delaware — to south Louisiana in early 2006 to see the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He was the only non-Louisiana senator to view Southwest Louisiana.

Biden acknowledged that most politicians focused on New Orleans, and he pledged to help Landrieu lobby for funding to rebuild Cameron, saying the area reminded him of Delaware Bay, which also supports the fishing and oil industries.

He promised to return, and has kept tabs on the area. As Hurricane Gustav made its way toward Louisiana in September 2008, Biden, then a vice presidential candidate, called Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach on his cell phone.

“He said he was praying for our safety and wanted us to know we were on his mind,” Roach said at the time. “And it wasn’t an assistant — it was him.”

link: http://bit.ly/bDQJxu (advance story)
daily article BY ELONA WESTON: http://bit.ly/9p39Hg
http://bit.ly/ckjf6m

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January 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm Leave a comment

$68,000 worth of drugs seized

*published Nov. 3, 2009

Three traffic stops on I-10 lead to busts
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS
Three separate traffic stops on Interstate 10 last week led to the seizure of more than $68,000 in prescription pills and illegal drugs — not record confiscations but a “significant pop,” said Lt. Billy Chapman, director of the Combined Anti-Drug Task Force.

At 6 p.m. Oct. 25, officers reportedly stopped Sylvinnia S. Moore, 28, and Samantha J. Lewis, 21, both of Mobile, Ala., on Interstate 10 in Lake Charles and found 120 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of their rented vehicle. They were traveling from Houston to Mobile, officers said.

At 9 p.m. Oct. 28, officers reportedly stopped Jonathan K. Kennerson, 23, of Houston, and Camiece M. Groves, 21, of Huffman, Texas, and found three bags — with 2,016 hydrocodone pills and 504 Xanax pills — hidden in the fender of their car. Kennerson was going to Lafayette, officers said.

At about midnight Oct. 29, officers stopped John H. LeGros, 30, of Roanoke, near Vinton and found 613 Lorcet pills and 46 Somas in his vehicle.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the seizures were significant because District Attorney John DeRosier has been working hard to help control prescription drug abuse in the area.

“These are the pills that have been killing our young people in Calcasieu Parish,” DeRosier said.

He said state doctor-shopping laws and prescription pill monitoring systems have made it difficult for people to get such large amounts of drugs in the state.

“We made strides this year with the Texas Legislature passing laws to regulate pain management clinics,” he said. “We still have to get a doctor shopping statute there.”

TO HEAR PARTS OF THE NEWS CONFERENCE, CLICK HERE.

Mancuso said agencies here are working with the Houston police, Harris Country deputies, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and drug task forces in Lafayette and Mobile.

“It’s been so important to combine our efforts with other local and federal law enforcement,” Mancuso said. “We have major waterways and a major interstate coming through the parish.”

Sgt. Gene Pittman with the local task force said well over 90 percent of the drugs in the area come in through Houston.

link: http://bit.ly/1Pchg0

November 3, 2009 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

Re-opening of Cameron Wildlife Refuge

*published Oct. 15, 2009

Video by Brad K. Puckett and Claudette Olivier
Editing and Voice by Vanessa C. Deggins

To see the video, CLICK HERE.
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October 15, 2009 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment

Local Flavor: Taste Test

*published Oct. 14, 2009
taste test

Abita area manager Jennifer Atherton explains the Abbey Ale beer.

Abita area manager Jennifer Atherton explains the Abbey Ale beer.

Southwest Louisiana re-introduced to Abita
STORY AND PHOTOS BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS
To introduce two new products, Abita Beer area manager Jennifer Atherton hosted a tasting in Lake Charles on Oct. 7.

Atherton said many people are also not aware of the New Orleans area-based company’s more than one dozen different types of regular and season brands.

The two newest beers, Andygator and Abbey Ale, were only available on draft, but now come in 32-ounce bottles.

Both of these beers are definitely for the beer connoisseur, or frat boys.

Interested beer aficionados check out the different types of Abita beers at a recent tasting session.

Interested beer aficionados check out the different types of Abita beers at a recent tasting session.

The Andygator is a Helles Dopplebock and is strong along the lines of Turbodog, except you get more of a sweet, sharp kick on the first sip.

The Abbey Ale deserves the nickname “liquid bread.” For all you Guinness lovers, here’s a local version of the thick porter.

This beer is as complex as it is thick. For me, the Abbey gave off a clove aroma, but others smelled caramel and fruit.

The Abbey finishes as strong as it starts, leaving you a little warm inside, which is why the monks drank this to get them through the winters.

The suggested food pairings for these are uniquely southern: crawfish — anything heavy to match the strong flavors.

And be forewarned, both are eight percent alcohol, so you might want to split the bottle with someone else.

For freshman beer drinkers, Purple Haze is the way to go.

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To see more photos, CLICK HERE.

Wheat beers tend to be sweet and you can see, smell and taste the raspberry puree. This is added after filtration, so don’t be bothered by the cloudiness. Just enjoy.

Despite possible sensory overload, Purple Haze has a light and smooth taste and it finishes with a subtle raspberry taste lingering on the palette.

Amanda Racca described the Haze as smooth and fruity. The avid wine-drinker had only had Coors light, which only served to turn her away from drinking beer.

Restoration ale was developed after Hurricane Katrina to help the company and area recovery, but it became so popular, it’s been added on as a flagship beer.

You automatically get the mild citrus aroma. A slight bitterness makes the citrus taste a little sharp, but in a good way.

Heading back to some stronger flavors is the Pecan Harvest ale.

Area manager Jennifer Atherton pours a sample of Purple Haze raspberry beer.

Area manager Jennifer Atherton pours a sample of Purple Haze raspberry beer.

A beer tasting attendee takes in the beer’s aroma before giving it a taste.

A beer tasting attendee takes in the beer’s aroma before giving it a taste.

The flavor is added when roasted pecans — grown in and around Alexandria — are added to the mash tin at the beginning of the brewing process.

Add in a little brown sugar and you’ve got a cash crop you can drink.

After the pour, you’re hit with a mild nutty smell. The first taste is a smooth, slow roasted taste that is not necessarily pecan.

link: http://bit.ly/4kgeY2

October 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

Police arrest 6 over ambush

*published Sept. 7, 2009
lawrencetrahan
droyster
jroyster
aaron
banks





Dixon: Attack on LCPD lieutenant was assassination attempt
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

Lake Charles police have arrested six men for the Sept. 2 attack on a police lieutenant as he was leaving work at a community policing substation.

Police have arrested Brandon Andra Trahan, 33, of 17618 Lasting Rose Drive in Houston; Edmond Lawrence Jr., 23, of 1617 12th St.; David Dwayne Royster, 22, and Joshua Wayne Royster, 23, both of 1712 8th Ave.; Anthony James Aaron, 23, of 1505 Hunter Drive; and Eddie Joseph Banks, 23, of 1725 13th St.

The men were arrested over the past three days and each faces a single charge of attempted first degree murder. Judge David Ritchie set their bonds at $2 million each.

At around 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 2, Lt. Arnold Bellow was leaving his office in the 2400 block of Anita Drive when he was fired upon by up to six men, said Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon.

“Lt. Bellow returned fire, took cover and was not injured,” Dixon said. “These cowards clearly had no regard for human life whatsoever.”

Dixon called the attack a “deliberate attempt on Lt. Bellow’s life.” He said residences surrounding the scene were hit by bullets from the shootout.

Bellow is now under 24-hour police protection.

Dixon said he believes the attack was the result of recent investigations by Lt. Bellow that “severely disrupted narcotics trafficking” in the Carshop area of Lake Charles — mainly Progressive and Tulip streets and 9th and 10th avenues.

“Search warrants in the past few weeks have led to arrests and seizures of narcotics, drying up the drug trafficking in the area,” Dixon said.

He said the people arrested were major suppliers of drugs in that area.

Other agencies that contributed to the investigation are the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bellow has been with the department for 22 years and was most recently working in the community policing division, which works with neighborhood watch groups.

He previously worked as a patrol officer and with the narcotics task force.

Dixon did not say how many of the attackers were armed or how many guns have been recovered or the types used.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and we asked anyone who had contact with the six men to come forward or to call the lead detective, Franklin Fondel, at 302-8207 or 491-1456, ext. 1219,” Dixon said.

To hear the news conference, CLICK HERE.

link: http://bit.ly/2Bat7C

September 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

Law enforcers stand by Taser usage, policies

*published Sept. 7, 2009

A recent incident with an autistic teen has raised questions within the community.
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

Despite the controversy surrounding the usage of Tasers and less-than-lethal weapons, many law enforcement agencies stand by the devices.

In a recent incident, a Taser was used on a 14-yearold autistic boy, which has raised questions about the use of the devices.

On Aug. 31, Lake Charles police officers were questioning the boy’s twin brother, who was a suspect in a robbery.

The officers heard someone scream, turned and saw another person coming towards them.

“The officers initially dodged the young man, which caused him to fall on the suspect, who we later determined was his brother,” said Lake Charles Police Sgt. Mark Kraus.

When officers tried to pull the boy off the ground, he reportedly bit one officer and scratched the other in the face.

The autistic boy’s sister later said she screamed at an officer not to use a Taser on him because he was autistic, but he ignored her.

The mother believes the officers were big enough to physically restrain her son and considered the use of the Taser unnecessary force.

“He (the officer) said he did not remember hearing the sister at all, but the entire situation happened very quickly,” Kraus said.

Less-than-lethal option

The use of force is an issue that law enforcers and residents tend to disagree on.

“For us, force is based on reasonableness, totality of the circumstances and the necessity,” said Lt. Frank Adams, who oversees training in the city police department. “Do I have time to use a Taser to stop this threat?”

Most law enforcement agencies in the parish use Tasers and other less-than-lethal weapons that include impact batons and pepper spray.

All officers and deputies are required to be stung by Tasers for five seconds before they are allowed to carry the device.

Adams said that officers very rarely have the option of 20/20 hindsight, especially when they are in a rapidly evolving, uncertain situation.

“Some tend to focus on one single circumstance and say this changes everything,” Adams said. “And it may be a determining factor, but it does not make the whole situation go away.”

Adams said officers have to prepare themselves on the way to any call.

“If that person has a previous violent criminal record, the officer has to consider that he’s less likely to comply,” Adams said.

Adams said over a 10-year period, less-than-lethal weapons have led to a reduction in suspect and officer injuries.

“And that translates to less taxpayers’ dollars going to medical care and worker’s compensation,” Adams said. “We’ve had officers who have had to retire because of injuries from fighting with a suspect.”

He said over a five-year period, fewer than 1 percent of those who were hit by Tasers died as a result of it.

“I just can’t see it as a fair trade to take away the mosteffective less-lethal weapon because of what happened to less than 1 percent of the total,” Adams said.

Dealing with mentally ill

Lt. David Anders with the department’s Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT, addressed the issue of dealing with mentally ill subjects.

CIT-trained officers go through a 40-hour training course which helps them recognize the behaviors people with certain mental illnesses. These officers will make in-thefield decisions over whether subjects they encounter will need to go to the hospital for evaluation instead of jail.

Anders said the program is voluntary, but most patrol officers have been through the training.

“And there are times when a person may be having an episode and you can’t talk to them to calm them down,” Anders said.

Anders said that through the CIT, the city and parish regularly consult with the Southwest Louisiana chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for all training.

“In dealing with the families of the mentally ill, they are not happy that their child was tased, but you stop and look at the options,” Anders said. “Someone could get hurt, have broken bones and, God forbid, we go to deadly force.”

Clarice Raichel, executive director for the Southwest Louisiana chapter, helped craft the CIT training and said the use of a Taser should always be last result after attempts to verbally de-escalate the situation fails.

She expressed her support for the CIT program, citing a big change in law enforcement attitudes and perceptions toward the mentally ill.

“I’m going to suggest a scenario of an encounter with an autistic person for the next round of training,” Raichel said.

Determining use of force

Both the city and parish require officers to fill out useof-force reports for any incident. The report is reviewed by a shift supervisor, who, in most cases, goes to the scene of the incident.

Commander James McGee with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office said he also reviews the reports.

Use-of-force techniques vary in levels of force, and there is no set protocol of which type of force the officer has to use first.

“The officer has the training and discretion to use what weapon or type of force they feel that is necessary,” McGee said. “They are the ones that are there with the subject.”

A little history

The Taser, an acronym for Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle, was invented by NASA scientist Jack Cover in 1970. Tom Swift was the main character of a early 1900s novel series.

The Los Angeles Police Department in 1974 were the first major department to put the device to use, according to the June 2005 issue of the Police Disciplinary Bulletin.

On the Web: To see officers explain and demonstrate different less-than-lethal weapons, CLICK HERE.

link: http://bit.ly/uQBke

September 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Profile of Killer

*published Aug. 28, 2009 (updated regularly)

Jeff Davis Serial Killer
IMG_1650
To view full map, CLICK HERE.

August 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

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