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4 racehorse deaths at New Orleans track spark concern

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An animal advocacy group in Washington D.C. is criticizing a New Orleans racetrack after four thoroughbred racehorses there were euthanized in a 10-day span. Officials at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course didn't specify why the animals were euthanized but said each case is being investigated. Fair Grounds officials say the deaths were “unfortunate and most unusual." Advocacy group Animal Wellness Action says the number of deaths in the short span is why the group is supporting a bill that would set a standard for drugging racehorses. Fair Grounds officials say the bill is controversial but they do agree with medication reform.


Lawsuit filed to protect turtles in Mississippi, Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two environmental groups have sued the Trump administration, saying it has failed to protect two species of turtles found in Mississippi and Louisiana under the Endangered Species Act. The Center for Biological Diversity and New Orleans-based Healthy Gulf want endangered or threatened status for the Pearl River map turtle and the Pascagoula map turtle. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says both are endangered. The U.S. Justice Department says it's reviewing the suit. Map turtles are also called sawbacks because their shells have a central ridge that sometimes develops saw-like points.


Ex-Louisiana state senator pleads guilty to federal charge

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former Louisiana state senator has pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal agency about a Hurricane Katrina recovery loan. The Times-Picayune/ The New Orleans Advocate reports that Wesley Bishop was accused of lying to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by claiming certain individuals were tenants at his rental property that was renovated with federal dollars through the Road Home program. But officials say the people were not Bishop's tenants. Bishop received a $188,000 forgivable loan to renovate and rent the apartments. The New Orleans Democrat wouldn't have to pay back the loan if he agreed to keep the rent at agreed-upon low prices for 10 years. But the Sewerage and Water Board says the building hasn't had an active water meter since 2013.


New Orleans Mardi Gras parades to avoid collapsed hotel site

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two major New Orleans Mardi Gras parades will alter their traditional routes to avoid the site of the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel that crumpled in October, killing three workers and injuring dozens more. The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports the intersection beside New Orleans’ historic French Quarter where the hotel was being built has been blocked since Oct. 12, when the upper floors collapsed. Demolition of the site isn't set to begin until after Mardi Gras on Feb. 25. Both the Endymion parade and the Zulu parade will navigate around the Canal Street blockage. The city hasn't announced route changes for any other parades.


Baton Rouge student accused of making terrorizing threat

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana say a high school student was arrested after making a threat against a school. News outlets report a 14-year-old from Lee High School in Baton Rouge was arrested Tuesday and charged with terrorizing. The decision to charge him came after a meeting attended by the student, his family, school officials and deputies. East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office say the boy made an electronic threat over the weekend which prompted heightened security. An East Baton Rouge Parish school system spokeswoman says the threat was of a “general nature” and didn't name the school.


New Orleans zoo celebrates births of 2 lion cubs

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans zoo is celebrating the birth of cubs to lions which came to the zoo from Oregon and Illinois. The Audubon Zoo says in a news release that 4-year-old Kali gave birth Jan. 11 to three cubs, and two of them survived. Kali and two other females came to New Orleans in March from the Peoria Zoo in Illinois. The father, 4-year-old Arnold, is from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. He arrived in February. Audubon Zoo official Steve Marshall says the birth is a huge success for the lion species survival plan.


Court tosses Louisiana's suit over widening waterway

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected Louisiana's lawsuit alleging that a federal canal has expanded well beyond its legal boundaries. The 2018 suit claimed the Army Corps of Engineers failed to maintain the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The state says that resulted in the waterway extending onto state land. When the lawsuit was filed, Attorney General Jeff Landry and Congressman Graves said the problem contributes to coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the law cited by Landry does not require the Corps to maintain the waterway at a certain width.


Supreme Court rejects fast-track review of health care suit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is refusing to consider a fast-track review of a lawsuit that threatens the Obama-era health care law. That makes it highly unlikely that the justices would decide the case before the 2020 election. The court on Tuesday denied a request by 20 mainly Democratic states and the Democratic-led House of Representatives to decide quickly on a lower-court ruling that declared part of the statute unconstitutional and cast a cloud over the rest. Defenders of the Affordable Care Act argued that litigation should not drag on for months or years in lower courts.