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Tensions high in Louisiana GOP after House speaker's vote

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republicans on the losing side of the Louisiana House speaker’s vote are still bristling a day after the election. A breakaway faction of Republican lawmakers banded together with Democrats to choose the chamber’s new leader, GOP Rep. Clay Schexnayder of Ascension Parish. That meant Democrats had a stronger say in who became House speaker than Republicans, even though nearly two-thirds of House members are in the GOP. Schexnayder was not the candidate favored by several prominent Republican officials and donors — and he didn't have support from a majority of the GOP lawmakers in the House. On Tuesday, House Republican leader Blake Miguez criticized Schexnayder's election.


LSU fans can snap photo with National Championship Trophy

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State University fans reveling over the Tigers' College Football Playoff National Championship win can continue the party by snapping a photo with the championship trophy. The trophy will be displayed for fans in two Baton Rouge locations this week. Fans can head to Rouse's located at 600 Arlington Creek on Wednesday between 4 to 7 p.m. or the Walmart on College Drive on Thursday also from 4 to 7 p.m. Spectators will be able to view the trophy and have their photo taken with it. The trophy will later go on permanent display at LSU. The Tigers defeated South Carolina's Clemson University, 42-25, on Monday.


Amite Mayor Milton Bel, 74, dies after fall

AMITE, La. (AP) — The mayor of a Louisiana town has died after being injured in a fall last week. McKneely Funeral Home in Amite said funeral services will be held Friday for 74-year-old Mayor Milton “Buddy” Bel. The Daily Star reported that Bel died Sunday after a fall early last week. Bel's family issued a statement Monday calling him “an incredible husband, father, grandfather and brother.” Bel was elected mayor of Amite in 2012 and had begun the last year of his second term.


Caddo, Calcasieu plan high school 5th year pilot programs

LAKE CHARLES (AP) — Some Louisiana students can spend an extra year in high school, working toward advanced credentials in a pilot program that's spreading from New Orleans to northwest and southwest Louisiana. Authorities say the Caddo and Calcasieu Parish “extension academies” will allow debt-free training for students who have enough credits to graduate but don't qualify for Louisiana's free college and trade school tuition programs. Like the one in New Orleans, the pilot programs will cover three years. The new ones are planned to start in the 2020-21 school year with up to 25 students. Officials say New Orleans' program has 17 students.


Robbers smash into Louisiana truck stop, take ATM

HAUGHTON, La. (AP) — Louisiana authorities are searching for at least three people who reportedly rammed a vehicle into a truck stop and took the store's ATM. The Haughton Police Department is investigating after getting a call around 5 a.m. Tuesday to the Pilot Truck Stop. Upon arrival, Assistant Chief Ricky Bridges tells KSLA TV officers found the front of the store smashed, possibly by a pickup truck.  Police are currently reviewing the store's security video footage to learn more.


Louisiana man accused of detonating explosive to extort $10K

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man was arrested and accused of detonating a pipe bomb in an attempt to scare and extort a pay-day loan business for $10,000. A Department of Justice press release says 37-year-old Daniel Dewayne Aikens was charged with extortion. A criminal complaint says Aikens told an employee of PayDay Today that he lost a set of keys. The release says while the employee was in the parking lot looking for the keys, a device exploded in a trash can near the building. Aikens told the employee he caused the explosion and demanded $10,000 in cash. Aikens was discharged from his position as a commissioned officer in the Louisiana National Guard. It's unclear whether Aikens has an attorney.


Let the celebrations begin: LSU champs party ahead of parade

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A locker room dance party that included some Louisiana State University football players puffing on cigars was just the start of the celebration for the team that capped off a perfect season with a win against Clemson University in the College Football Playoff national championship game. Nothing could put a damper on LSU's excitement after winning 42-25 Monday night in New Orleans. Fans celebrated from Bourbon Street in the French Quarter to the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge after the game. New York City honored LSU by lighting up the Empire State Building in LSU's colors after its victory.


Fallen journalists honored at LSU-Clemson championship game

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two sports journalists who recently died have been honored in the press box of the Superdome in Louisiana. The honors came Monday night during the College Football Playoff national championship game between Louisiana State and Clemson universities. The Lafayette Daily Advertiser reports seats were reserved in the press box for Carley McCord and Edward Aschoff. The 30-year-old McCord died in a plane crash in Louisiana last month on her way to watch LSU play in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. She was the daughter-in-law of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. Aschoff died Dec. 24, on his 34th birthday. He had been battling pneumonia. LSU won the title game over Clemson 42-25.