COLD CASE ARREST
BR Police arrest man in 1995 double homicide
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge police have arrested a 39-year-old man in the 1995 slaying of a Baton Rouge couple who were shot to death in an apartment during an apparent robbery.
An 11-month-old girl hit in the gunfire survived her injuries.
The Advocate reports James I. Johnson, of Baton Rouge, faces charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of 23-year-old Lester Yarbrough and his pregnant girlfriend, 22-year-old Patricia Jackson.
Police, in a news release Monday, said a witness recalled seeing Johnson enter his mother's home the day of the killings "crying, cursing and making statements referencing the murders and also that he had shot a baby."
Bond information was not immediately available. It was unclear whether Johnson has an attorney.
La seeks to block docs from steering patients
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Doctors who steer Medicaid patients into specific health insurance plans could face heavy sanctions under an emergency rule the state started this month.
Calder Lynch, chief of staff for the state's health agency, says the policy is needed to make sure Medicaid recipients maintain their "freedom of choice" when deciding into which of the five Bayou Health plans to enroll.
The Advocate reports Bayou Health is the Jindal administration's program that moved about 880,000 Medicaid recipients into privately run insurance plans that would manage their patient care. Under the new rule, physicians would be subject to potential removal from the program and a financial penalty of $5,000 per recipient improperly steered to a particular plan.
A Louisiana State Medical Society official said the "anti-steering" policy infringes on doctor-patient relationships.
Business leader talks of focus on worker training
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The new leader of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says since he took the job in September, he's heard the same complaint from companies: the state has too few skilled workers to take available jobs.
Stephen Waguespack, LABI president, acknowledges the complaint isn't new. But he says it will be amplified by a multibillion-dollar industrial boom headed to south Louisiana, with a slew of new energy sector plants planned.
Waguespack said Monday that the state needs to retool its education programs, to focus on matching student skills to available jobs.
He says LABI supports toughened educational standards being rolled out in Louisiana's public schools, called the Common Core. And he says LABI will be pushing for change to higher education policies, to offer incentives for meeting workforce needs.
Suit challenges state's 2nd Congressional District
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District curls from the eastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain through New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River to northern Baton Rouge.
The Advocate reports those boundaries are now the focus of a lawsuit that could result in new election boundaries for all congressional districts in Louisiana.
Incumbent Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, the only black member of Louisiana's congressional delegation, represents the 2nd District.
With Richmond's next election less than a year away, three Baton Rouge residents are asking U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick to declare the district's boundaries racially gerrymandered. The plaintiffs also want Dick to bar Louisiana from holding the 2014 election in District 2 until it is redrawn.
The state has until Dec. 16 to respond.
Pedestrian critical after being hit by train
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A Lafayette man is in critical condition after police say he was struck by a train.
Police say it happened Monday about 12:30 p.m. at the railroad crossing at North Loop.
Authorities say the 59-year-old man was trying to cross the tracks, but was struck by an Amtrak train traveling west. The impact threw the man about 50 feet.
An Amtrak spokesman did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Witnesses say all of the warning devices at the crossing appeared to be operating correctly at the time of the accident.
Police say the man was transported to an area hospital where he's listed in critical condition.
No one on the train was injured.
The investigation into the crash remains ongoing.
LSU opens medical education center in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU medical students training in Baton Rouge have a new, high-tech education site that university officials say will help expand graduate medical education in the city.
The new LSU Health Medical Education and Innovation Center is housed on the campus of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, which took over as the main site for LSU's medical training programs in Baton Rouge when the university's hospital was closed in April.
A ribbon cutting for the new facility was held Monday, with both Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne touting the center as the future of LSU's physician training.
The four-story building includes simulation rooms that allow students to practice surgery and other medical procedures on high-tech mannequins. Operating room procedures can be streamed live into classrooms.
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