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This Hour: Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment

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Sentencing delay for key Nagin witness

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Rodney Williams was scheduled for sentencing Wednesday. But U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan delayed the sentencing until Sept. 10. Her Tuesday order said an ongoing jury trial made the delay necessary.

Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was convicted in February on 20 criminal counts stemming from his two terms as mayor from 2002 to 2010.

Williams pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiracy to commit bribery. He testified that he and his partners paid Nagin tens of thousands of dollars in return for city contracts. His plea agreement calls for a prison sentence ranging from 30 to 37 months.


New Orleans officer faces sexual battery case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Authorities say a 26 year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department is on unpaid emergency suspension following his arrest on two counts of sexual battery on a juvenile and two counts of indecent behavior with juveniles.

Police says 58-year-old Willie A. Gant Sr. was arrested Tuesday.

Police did not elaborate on the allegations against Gant.

Gant's attorney, Patrick Giraud, told Times-Picayune his client "vehemently" denies the charges against him.

Giraud says investigators served a search warrant on Gant's home Tuesday evening.

He would not say what they were looking for, but said Gant shares the home with his wife and four young children.


Canal Street ferry weekday hours expanding Aug. 1

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Starting Aug. 1, New Orleans' Canal Street ferry will be adding more than four hours to weekday schedules.

The Algiers Economic Development Foundation says Veolia Transportation plans to run the ferry from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. It now runs from 7:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays.

Weekend schedules will remain 10:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Veolia runs the ferries for New Orleans' Regional Transit Authority.

On July 30, evening hours will be added for the foundation's Wednesdays on the Point concert. Starting times won't change. But the last trip from Algiers Landing will leave at 9:15 p.m. and the last one from Canal Street at 9:30 p.m.


Explo to plead guilty in September

MINDEN, La. (AP) - The Webster Parish District Attorney's Office says Explo Systems Inc. will plead guilty in September to charges related to the improper storage of millions of pounds of explosives materials at its Camp Minden location.

Webster Parish District Attorney Schuyler Marvin tells The Times the plea was scheduled to have been entered Tuesday but was postponed because of pending action in federal court with the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Marvin wants Explo to have a guilty plea on its record in case anyone associated with it attempts to obtain explosive licenses in the future in other states.


Man booked with 29 counts of insurance fraud

MONROE, La. (AP) - State police have booked a 58-year-old West Monroe man with 29 counts of insurance fraud and one count of theft.

Trooper Albert Paxton tells The News-Star John Whittington, a licensed insurance agent, allegedly obtained insurance premiums in cash from customers in the Winnsboro area in 2013 and failed to turn in the money to an insurance office in Monroe.

An audit of Whittington's customer accounts showed nearly $2,200 was paid by the customers but never remitted to the insurance company.

Whittington surrendered to investigators in front of the Ouachita Correctional Center.

It was unclear whether Whittington has an attorney.


Lafayette board rejects superintendent's budget

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Parish School Board has rejected Superintendent Pat Cooper's latest budget proposal.

The Advertiser reports only two board members supported the new scenario, which used a combination of board-suggested cuts and staff recommendations to offset a $20.4 million shortfall in the budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.

In addition, the board would have used about $5.7 million of its economic stabilization fund. That would have resulted in a balanced budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Several board members asked why the proposal was the only item on Tuesday's agenda. Board President Hunter Beasley said he had expected more discussion on possible cuts to specific funds.

The board's next budget meeting is Thursday.


SW La. visitors bureau to conduct tourism study

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - The Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired a firm to research how visitors feel about the region and how the local tourism industry can capitalize on travel trends.

Executives with Charlotte, North Carolina-based Young Strategies spoke with community leaders Tuesday about what the four-monthlong process will entail. The study costs $50,000.

Surveys will be sent to tourists who have responded to the bureau's advertising and who are in its database. The firm will ask those who visited about what their perception of the area is, what they enjoyed about their visit and how long they stayed in the region.

Shelley Johnson, bureau executive director, tells the American Press the survey will help her and her team learn its strengths and weaknesses.


Catholic Diocese secretary arrested in thefts

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Police say a former secretary for the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has been arrested after an audit alleged she used a credit card to buy several prepaid debit cards to pay her bills and make other purchases.

Baton Rouge police Cpl. Don Coppola tells The Advocate 57-year-old Alice W. Faucheux (FOH' shay) , the secretary to the superintendent of Catholic Schools, is accused of unauthorized purchases totaling more than $41,000 during a three-year period beginning in 2011 to June 2014,

Faucheux was booked Tuesday on counts of felony theft and unauthorized use of an access device card.

Donna Carville, spokeswoman for the diocese, said the diocese would not comment on Tuesday's arrest other than to say that Faucheux's employment has been terminated.

It was unclear whether Faucheux has an attorney.


Lafayette chief seeks funds for cameras, pay

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Police Department wants to install crime cameras in troubled neighborhoods throughout the city, allowing officers to monitor activity from headquarters and on their laptop computers.

The Advocate reports the department's proposed budget for next fiscal year sets aside $700,000 for the cameras.

Police Chief Jim Craft said at a city-parish budget hearing on Tuesday the plan is to install about 50 cameras in selected neighborhoods for surveillance of street activity.

The proposed budget for next year also sets aside $782,000 for pay raises, bringing starting pay up to $2,850 a month.


Joey Broussard new LDWF Enforcement Division head

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 23-year veteran Joseph "Joey" Broussard has been named head of the Enforcement Division. The 55-year-old from Port Barre ("barry") was also promoted to colonel.

Broussard was chief of staff for Jeff Mayne, who recently retired as colonel of the Enforcement Division.

Broussard graduated in 1991 from the department's cadet academy. He was the state's Agent of the Year in 1994, when he also won the outstanding officer award from the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners

He also served as the lieutenant colonel overseeing field operations and search and rescue under former Chief Winton Vidrine.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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