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

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Former LSU tight end pleads guilty in shooting

PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) - A former LSU football player is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to three counts of attempted second-degree murder in a 2011 shooting at a Port Allen truck stop.

The Advocate reports 32-year-old Demetri Robinson, of Port Allen, entered his plea Monday, a day before he was to stand trial for shooting several employees at the Cajun Circus Casino truck stop on Sept. 18, 2011.

Robinson will be sentenced Nov. 5. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Authorities say Robinson shot a cashier then fired shots at two other employees after he was asked to leave the casino on U.S. Highway 190.

Robinson, who played tight end on the 2003 LSU National Championship football team, fled the casino after the shooting.


Residents push Tangipahoa board on desegregation

AMITE, La. (AP) - Members of Tangipahoa Parish's black community gathered at the school system's central office Tuesday to demand the school board abandon its pursuit of a modified desegregation plan.

The school board voted last month to seek court approval for a plan that would use magnet programs and school choice options - rather than new buildings and drastically different attendance zones, as the current court order requires - to desegregate the parish's schools.

District officials have said they simply cannot afford the $48 million price tag of building the three new elementary schools required under the parish's current, court-approved desegregation plan.

The Advocate reports the plaintiffs' attorney filed a series of motions asking a federal judge to force the board to abide by the desegregation plan he approved in 2010.


Monroe school turf construction hits new delays

MONROE, La. (AP) - Field turf construction at football stadiums in the Monroe City School District has once again hit a snag.

When construction began at Neville, Carroll and Wossman High Schools back in June, it was supposed to be done by the time the teams played their jamborees.

The News-Star reports now the completion dates for each field have been pushed back even further.

Neville and Carroll are now anticipating a date of Sept. 14, while work at Wossman will wrap up on Sept. 28. The three schools were forced last Tuesday to move their jamborees set for Aug. 29 to Louisiana-Monroe's Malone Stadium.

To compensate for the delays, Hellas Construction replaced the work crews that had been assigned the project and brought in crews from other completed jobs.


Sorrento council terminates last police officer

SORRENTO, La. (AP) - The Sorrento Town Council has voted to terminate the town's last remaining police officer and give him back pay for working as assistant police chief for nearly three weeks without receiving a salary.

Mayor Mike Lambert tells The Advocate after Tuesday's meeting where, in a 4-1 vote, the council accepted his recommendation to terminate Assistant Police Chief Ricky Smith.

Lambert cited budget issues and the police department's inability to secure liability insurance for its vehicles and officers as a reason for his recommendation.

Funding for the police department was drastically cut July 22 when the council amended the town's 2014-15 budget by eliminating salary line items for police officers and a part-time police clerk.

The amendment also eliminated Police Department funding after July 31.


Hammond council regulates open burning

HAMMOND, La. (AP) - The Hammond City Council has adopted an ordinance requiring residents who want to burn leaves or trash to get a permit to do so and to conduct the burn in an underground incinerator.

The Advocate reports Louise Bostic told the council Monday she feared the new regulations will be a hindrance to people trying to clear overgrown lots. She said she worked all summer to clear a lot she owns and she burned some of the debris in an above-ground incinerator.

But Fire Chief John Thomas said such open burning was never allowed in the city.

The issue was raised at an earlier meeting when Councilman Lemar Marshall said some of his constituents were confused about rules regulating the setting of open fires in the city.


UL-Lafayette student union offers campus view

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's student union edges closer to completion.

Scheduled for a November opening, the student union will become a hot spot for students to meet, eat and study.

The Advocate reports the 178,000-square-foot compound dwarfs the former student union, which was about 55,000 square feet smaller.

The union will provide both meeting spaces and offices for student groups.

The university's Student Government Association will call home a large space on the first floor, where windows spill natural light onto the burgundy carpets.

The dining hall, which encompasses most of the union's second floor, will overlook the university on three sides, giving diners a view of Cypress Lake, the residence hall's Rose Garden and Hebrard Boulevard.


La. job-matching site launches

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State officials say more than 700 job seekers visited the Louisiana's new online service for matching employers' needs with workers' skills.

On Monday, became available for the first time to job applicants.

By that time, LJC Executive Director Kristi Barnett Williams tells The Advocate ( more than 600 employers had listed thousands of vacant jobs on the LJC website.

Both employers and job seekers can limit their online matches to people or firms that fall within ranges they specify as acceptable. Some companies and people may want to view only matches that meet at least 90 percent of their specified needs. Others may want to view all matches above 60 percent.


Couple's estate contributes $3M to LSUA

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - Louisiana State University of Alexandria has received nearly $3 million for student scholarships and support on behalf of a couple's estate.

The Town Talk reports John and Rebecca Anne Cox McCann left more than $2.9 million to the LSUA Foundation.

John McCann, a lifelong Alexandria resident, died in November 2010 and wife Anne in January. Their only child died in a trucking accident in 2001.

The couple created the charitable trust in 1995. The estates were settled in June. A contribution from the estate earlier this year brings the McCanns' contribution to LSUA to about $3.1 million.

LSUA Chancellor Dan Howard says the donation is especially needed as state support for public higher education has dwindled.


Bench trial in endangered frog habitat suit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge is hearing arguments on the claim that federal wildlife officials made an illegal land grab by listing 1,500 acres of private land in Louisiana as critical habitat for an endangered burrowing frog.

An estimated 100 to 200 dusky gopher frogs live in Mississippi, with fewer than 900 more in zoos.

The Pacific Legal Foundation sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year for the Louisiana landowner. Attorney Reed Hopper calls the designation unreasonable and illegal since no frogs live there and the landowner won't make changes needed to make it suitable for the frogs.

The land was the frogs' last known breeding ground in Louisiana. It holds five temporary ponds - the sort in which gopher frogs spawn - close to each other.


BESE backs Battle of New Orleans curriculum

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Students will get the chance this fall to learn more about the Battle of New Orleans as the state commemorates the 200th anniversary of the final major conflict of the War of 1812.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne last week presented the curriculum, which discusses how the battle blocked the British Army from seizing the city and territory the United States had acquired with the Louisiana Purchase, during a meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. BESE quickly endorsed the teaching material, which will be available to teachers throughout the state.

The Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism's education team will present the curriculum to teachers at the Louisiana Council for the Social Studies annual conference in October.

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