2020 Census to End Oct. 5 Despite Court Order

The 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling last week that the head count of every U.S. resident should continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted on the Census Bureau’s website on Sept. 28.

The tweet said the ability for people to self-respond to the census questionnaire and the door-knocking phase when census takers go to homes that haven’t yet responded is ending Oct. 5.

The announcement came as a follow-up to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s preliminary injunction, which suspended the Census Bureau’s deadline for ending the head count on Sept. 30, allowing for the ending of field operations on Oct. 31.

Koh said the shortened schedule ordered by President Donald Trump’s administration likely would produce inaccurate results that would last a decade. She sided with civil rights groups and local governments that had sued the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the statistical agency, arguing that minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ends this month.

Attorneys for the federal government said they were appealing the decision. During hearings, federal government attorneys argued that the head count needed to end Sept. 30 in order to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for handing in figures used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.

SOURCE: Associated Press – Florida


Representative Firment on Special Session

House District 22 Representative Gabe Firment is representing our area in the Louisiana Legislature during the Special Session. Last week Firment posted:

I signed two important documents today designed to move our state forward and restore the individual rights and freedoms we cherish. First, I signed a petition to call the legislature into special session beginning one week from today to deal with Hurricane Laura recovery, Covid-19 response, and budgetary issues such as the imminent crisis with the unemployment trust fund.

Second, I proudly signed a petition that with a simple majority of the House or Senate could immediately override the governor’s emergency proclamations. This would end the oppressive and unconstitutional executive mandates that have been forced upon the people of District 22 with no legislative input or representation. This would allow for the immediate repeal of the mask mandate, opening our nursing homes to common sense visitation, allowing families to attend high school football games, and reopening our small businesses that have somehow managed to survive this government imposed shutdown of our economy.

The hard working people of District 22 have made it clear to me that they are sick and tired of the government being involved in every single aspect of their lives. It’s time to stop living in fear and start demanding that our Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are honored by the government that exists solely at the will of the governed. Thank you and God Bless.


Dry Prong Couple Killed in Grant Parish Crash

Grant Parish – On September 11, 2020, shortly after 3:00 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop E began investigating a two-vehicle, fatal crash on U.S. Highway 167, at the intersection of Louisiana Highway 8. This crash took the lives of two Dry Prong residents.

The initial investigation revealed that a 2008 Nissan Rogue, driven by 28-year-old Brian Valentine, was traveling westbound on Louisiana Highway 8. As the Nissan approached the intersection of U.S. Highway 167, Valentine failed to properly stop. As a result, the Nissan entered the northbound travel lanes of U.S. Highway 167 and was struck by a northbound 2020 Peterbilt.

Valentine and 28-year-old Jessica Saizan, were restrained at the time of the crash, but ultimately succumbed to their injuries. The Nissan was also occupied by three juvenile passengers, who were also restrained. They sustained minor injuries and were transported to a local hospital. The driver of the Peterbilt sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital. Toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis.

While the cause of this crash remains under investigation, distracted and inattentive driving continues to be a leading cause of crashes in our state. Louisiana State Police urges all motorists to stay alert while driving. A lapse in one’s awareness can have deadly consequences. If motorists witness hazardous situations on any Louisiana highway, they may dial *LSP (*577) to be connected to the nearest Troop to report that activity.

In 2020, Troop E Troopers have investigated 35 fatal crashes resulting in 43 fatalities.


Multi-parish Burn Ban Issued Following Hurricane Laura

BATON ROUGE- State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain have issued a cease and desist order for all private burning, pursuant to authority under R.S. 40:1602, for the following parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Concordia, GrantJackson, Jeff Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red RiverSabine, Union, Vernon and Winn.

Private burning shall only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government. This order is effective as of 8 a.m., August 31, 2020 and shall remain in effect until rescinded.

“The extensive damage caused Hurricane Laura includes several water systems. That means many communities are without adequate water service for potential fire suppression needs,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “This order will hopefully assist local first responders by reducing unnecessary fire calls that they will be challenged to answer due to a lack of infrastructure, resources and personnel already tasked with Laura recovery efforts.”

This ban shall not apply to prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, by those trained and certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or by those who conduct prescribed burning as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law

(R.S. 3:3601 et seq.).

Violation of this Fire Marshal order could result in criminal and/or civil penalties.


IRS Announces Tax Relief For Hurricane Laura Victims

Louisiana — Victims of Hurricane Laura that began August 22 now have until December 31, 2020, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

Following the recent disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced today that affected taxpayers in certain areas will receive tax relief.

Individuals and households who reside or have a business in Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, La Salle, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Union, Vermillion, Vernon, and Winn parishes qualify for tax relief. Taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.

The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after August 22, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, are postponed through December 31, 2020, This includes individual and business tax filers that had a valid extension to file their 2019 return due to run out on October 15, 2020. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2019 returns were due on July 15, 2020, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

The Dec. 31 deadline applies to the third quarter estimated tax payment due on September 15. It also applies to the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on November 2. In addition, it applies to tax-exempt organizations, operating on a calendar-year basis, that had a valid extension due to run out on November 15. In addition, penalties on deposits due on or after August 22, 2020, and before September 8, 2020, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by September 8, 2020.

If an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date that falls within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate the penalty. For information on services currently available, visit the IRS operations and services page at IRS.gov/coronavirus.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area should call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

Covered Disaster Area

The localities listed above constitute a covered disaster area for purposes of Treas. Reg. §301.7508A-1(d)(2) and are entitled to the relief detailed below.

Affected Taxpayers

Taxpayers considered to be affected taxpayers eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts are those taxpayers listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(1), and include individuals who live, and businesses (including tax-exempt organizations) whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c) are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area and any individual visiting the covered disaster area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster are entitled to relief.

Under section 7508A, the IRS gives affected taxpayers until December 31, 2020, to file most tax returns (including individual, corporate, and estate and trust income tax returns; partnership returns, S corporation returns, and trust returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; annual information returns of tax-exempt organizations; and employment and certain excise tax returns), that have either an original or extended due date occurring or after August 22, 2020, and before December 31, 2020.

Affected taxpayers that have an estimated income tax payment originally due on or after August 22, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, are postponed through December 31, 2020, will not be subject to penalties for failure to pay estimated tax installments as long as such payments are paid on or before December 31, 2020.

The IRS also gives affected taxpayers until Dec. 31, 2020 to perform other time-sensitive actions described in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2018-58, 2018-50 IRB 990 (December 10, 2018), that are due to be performed on or after Aug. 22, 2020, and before Dec. 31, 2020, are postponed through December 31, 2020.

This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns that were required to be filed on or after August 22, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, are postponed through December 31, 2020, in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2018-58. The relief described in section 17 of Rev. Proc. 2018-58, pertaining to like-kind exchanges of property, also applies to certain taxpayers who are not otherwise affected taxpayers and may include acts required to be performed before or after the period above.

Unless an act is specifically listed in Rev. Proc. 2018-58, the postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1094, 1095, 1097, 1098 or 1099 series; to Forms 1042-S, 3921, 3922 or 8027; or to employment and excise tax deposits. However, penalties on deposits due on or after August 22, 2020, and before September 8, 2020, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by September 8, 2020.


FEMA Individual Assistance Approved for Seven Additional Parishes

Baton Rouge —  Gov. John Bel Edwards announces that FEMA has approved an additional seven Louisiana parishes for Individual Assistance following Hurricane Laura, bringing the total number of parishes where residents are eligible for aid to 16. The newly approved parishes are Rapides, Natchitoches, Sabine, Winn, Grant, Jackson and Lincoln.

“These parishes were affected when Hurricane Laura made its way up our state, keeping its hurricane-strength winds until it exited. These residents should begin applying for aid from FEMA now. More than 71,000 Louisianans have already applied for FEMA Individual Assistance following Hurricane Laura,” Gov. Edwards said. “We continue to make the case for the additional parishes to be approved because of the severity of this terrible storm.” 

Hurricane Laura made landfall on Louisiana’s coast on Thursday, August 27. Gov. Edwards’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration was approved on Friday, August 28. In his request, the Governor requested Individual Assistance, which is for people who suffered damage in the storm, for those affected in 23 parishes total. So far, FEMA has approved IA for 16 parishes. 

Federal FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property loss and other programs to help people and businesses recover from Hurricane Laura. 

People who sustained losses in Hurricane Laura in the designated parishes of Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Ouachita, Vermilion, Vernon, Rapides, Natchitoches, Sabine, Winn, Grant, Jackson and Lincoln can begin applying for assistance today by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

More than 10,000 Louisianans are sheltered in state, with thousands more in Texas hotels as well. If you need shelter, text LASHELTER to 898-211 for information about where to go or call 211.


Remember This? Bad Jacks

The brutal unsolved murders by the individual commonly referred to as Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous criminal cases in history.  In 1888, Jack the Ripper violently murdered at least five women in London’s Whitechapel district.  Some authors claim there were many more victims, several even speculate on the real identity of the murderer.  However, the case remains unsolved.

Since his horrifying murder spree, newspapers columnists have used the name Jack as a place name whenever the culprit of a crime was unknown.  There have been many bad Jacks such as “Jack the Kisser,” a man who kissed unwilling women, “Jack the Peeper,” what we now call a “Peeping Tom,” “Jack the Smasher,” who broke into homes and destroyed everything within without taking a single item.  One irritated newspaper columnist argued that “the ‘Jack’ business has become a fad among the vicious and nothing short of a few doses of cold lead will cure it.”

There was another Jack, who had his own unique crime spree.  Unlike Jack the Ripper, our Jack struck in broad daylight rather than at night.  Like Jack the Ripper, our Jack attacked and disappeared seemingly without a trace.  Jack the Ripper’s murder spree, by most accounts, only lasted a few weeks and occurred within a small geographic region.  Our Jack victimized girls in multiple cities and in multiple states.  The first reports of our Jack were in Brooklyn, New York. 

On Thursday morning, January 8, 1891, Miss Lulu Hewitt walked the several blocks from her home on Schermerhorn Street to her school at the corner of 3rd Avenue and State Street in Brooklyn.  During her walk, Lulu felt something cold touch her neck, but thought little of it since it was a cold morning.  When she arrived at school, her friends pointed out that something of hers was missing.  She remembered that a man, whom she was unable to describe except that he was tall and slim, had passed unusually close to her while she was walking.

A week later, January 15, a young girl named Mamie McMurray peered into a store window on Grand Street.  After a few minutes, she realized something of hers was missing.  Mamie was focused on the items displayed in the shop’s window and failed to notice anyone approach her.  She looked around but saw nothing and no one unusual. 

On January 20, two young girls, Eva Whitehead and Nellie Kaiser, left their school at noon to visit Eva’s aunt’s home for lunch.  Eva’s aunt lived just a few houses down from the school.  In the middle of a crosswalk, Eva felt a slight tug and thought something had gotten caught on one of her jacket’s buttons.  She adjusted her jacket and continued to her aunt’s home.  When she and Nellie arrived, Eva’s aunt pointed out something was out of place.  Only then did Eva realize someone had tried to steal something from her.  Jack had failed this time.  Eva remembered that a tall, slim man had brushed close by her side in the crosswalk.  Nellie was unaware that anything had happened and had not noticed the man.  

At about 8:30 a.m. on January 26, Gertrude Breast left her home and walked toward her school.  During her walk, she noticed a man whom she had seen on several occasions.  She had previously suspected that the man was watching her.  As she neared her school, she noticed someone was walking unnaturally close to her.  She turned and saw the man whom she had suspected of watching her.  The man, armed with a large knife or a pair of scissors, grabbed the object of his obsession, cut it free, and quickly walked away.  Gertrude was in shock.  She was the first to give a proper description to police.  She said the man was “about 30 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches, medium build, light mustache, black derby hat, blue pea jacket.”  Even with Gertrude’s description, police were unable to locate a suspect. 

At first, police doubted that the attacks had taken place.  However, three young boys had seen Gertrude’s attacker, armed as Gertrude had described, just before the attack.  During their investigation, police learned of other girls who had been Jack’s victims.  In the Summer of 1890, Florence Billings had an almost identical encounter with Jack.  Unlike Gertrude, she was unable to provide a description of Jack.

Jack seemed to disappear for a while.  He, or most likely a copycat, began his dastardly deeds again in 1914, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  This Jack used the darkness of “5 and 10 cent ‘movie’ theaters” to commit his crimes.  Jack sat in theaters and watched as the crowd entered and took their seats.  Then, he selected his victims and calmly sat directly behind them.  Only after the film ended would the girls realize that they had been victimized.  These incidents became so frequent that movie theaters in the region began showing warnings on their movie screens before the feature presentation.

Although Jack put a cold blade next to the throats and necks of numerous young girls, he was no murderer.  Jack never physically harmed his victims.  Most of them only realized they had been victimized well after the attack had taken place.  Incidents such as these occurred in multiple cities in the United States.  Many more cases certainly occurred but were never reported to police or printed in newspapers.  Jack had a condition known as trichophilia.  Jack’s obsession was cutting and collecting long braided hair.  Because of his infatuation, newspapers dubbed him “Jack the Snipper.”

Sources:

  1. Buffalo Morning Express and Illustrated Buffalo Express, February 20, 1889, p.4.
  2. The Brooklyn Citizen, January 21, 1891, p.1.
  3. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 28, 1891, p.6.
  4. The Hope Pioneer (Hope, North Dakota), April 22, 1892, p.2.
  5. The Des Moines Register, June 5, 1905, p.5.
  6. The Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1914, p.13.
  7. The Sacramento Star, April 28, 1914, p.8.
  8. The Ottawa Citizen, January 3, 1947, p.21.
  9. The News (Paterson, New Jersey), January 22, 1947, p.30.
  10. The Birmingham News, July 27, 1947, p.10.