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Some of the stories we are working on for Live at Five on KFDM:

A Hardin County woman is indicted on charges of forging here employer's checks. Investigators are trying to unravel more of what happened.

A Lamar student spills burning hot water on her chest and arms. See what happened next.

Salvage teams retrieved a plane from Lake Steinhagen today.  Hear why they are now disassembling the plane.

It's Thursday's Pet time again -- Mary Jane Benning brings us another lovable friend.

Air Rescue transports Lamar student after she is burned by hot water

BEAUMONT -- A Lamar University student was transported by Air Rescue Thursday to UTMB for treatment after she spilled hot water on her chest and arm, Lamar Univeristy spokesman Brian Sattler said.

According to Sattler, the student was carrying several items and hot water in the Nest inside the Setzer Student Center when she was burned.

Capt. Earl White said that with burns of the upper torso there is a good chance of infection, so the unit makes burns of that type a priority transport.

Air Rescue landed a the Lamar University Track and Field to pick up the student. 

Sattler said Lamar University will notify the family of the injury.

New SE TX sales tax figures show slowing sales in cities, up in counties

SOUTHEAST TEXAS -- After a year that started with a healthy 4.4 percent growth in sales taxes for 29 local cities, October figures show almost no growth for the year.

October figures for October released by the Comptrollers office show that October was close to a dead heat with October of 2015 for Southeast Texas cities.

For the January to October time frame, 2015  was up less than 1 percent over 2014.  (0.8 percent)

For the current month, the 29 cities KFDM follows received back only a tenth of percent more money from the state this year in October vs. October 2014. (0.01 percent)

Rose City has the largest increase in sales taxes of the 29 cities, having collected back just shy of 29 percent more revenue this year.

Bridge City followed with a 26.6 percent increase, followed by Bevil Oaks with 24.8 percent higher revenues.

The large cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur have yet to catch back up with 2014 with Beaumont down 2.17 percent for 2015 vs last year.  Port Arthur is down a meager  .24 percent compared to last year.

The group of cities started the year out up 4.4% over the previous year in January.  That increase over the previous year slid to 2 percent by May.  With October's small year-over-year increase, the sliding trend continues.

However,  Jefferson and Hardin counties are seeing strong growth in sales taxes with Jefferson County up 9.1 percent over last year figures through October.  Orange County was up 10.2 percent in the first 10 months of 2015 vs 2014.

This sets up a scenario where most small cities in Southeast Texas are seeing growth from 3 to 10 percent (with the three standouts Bridge City, Rose City and Bevil Oaks noted above)  which are offset by the much larger markets of Beaumont and Port Arthur.

Hardin, Jasper, and Newton counties do not collect a sales tax.

The State Comptroller collects taxes of the cities and then returns the taxes to the city the following month. 

The cities followed by KFDM include Beaumont, Orange, Nederland, Lumberton, Groves, Bridge City, Silsbee, West Orange, Newton, Kountze, Rose City, Kirbyville, Pine Forest, Colmesneil, Bevil Oaks, Chester, Nome, China,  Jasper, Pinehurst, Vidor, Port Neches, Woodville, and Port Arthur.

Bicyclist killed in drive-by shooting in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police say a bicyclist has died after someone fired at him from a vehicle.


Police tell the Houston Chronicle ( ) that the man was riding a bicycle along the roadway when he was shot late Wednesday night.


The man, whose name has not been released, was wounded and later died. The car sped away.


Investigators found several bullet casings on the street.


So far, police have no motive or suspects in the case.


Information from: Houston Chronicle,

Famed chef Paul Prudhomme dies at 75

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Paul Prudhomme, the Cajun who popularized spicy Louisiana cuisine and became one of the first American restaurant chefs to achieve worldwide fame, died Thursday. He was 75.

Tiffanie Roppolo, the CFO of Prudhomme's businesses, told The Associated Press that he died early Thursday after a brief illness.

Prudhomme became prominent in the early 1980s, soon after opening K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, a French Quarter diner that served the meals of his childhood. He had no formal training, but sparked a nationwide interest in Cajun food by serving dishes — gumbo, etouffee and jambalaya — that were virtually unknown outside Louisiana.

The distinctly American chef became a sensation at a time when the country's top restaurants served virtually nothing but European food.

"He was always on a mission and nothing was impossible for Paul. He did things his way and let the food speak for itself," said chef Frank Brigtsen, who worked for Prudhomme for seven years. "He changed the way we eat in New Orleans in a major way, by bringing Acadian or Cajun cuisine to the restaurants of the city."

Prudhomme was known for his innovations. His most famous dishes used the technique he called blackening: fish or meat covered with spices, then seared until black in a white-hot skillet. Blackened redfish became so popular that Prudhomme lamented over customers who stopped ordering the traditional Cajun dishes that he loved.

"We had all this wonderful food, we raised our own rabbit and duck, and all anyone wanted was blackened redfish," he said in a 1992 interview.

Prudhomme was raised by his sharecropper parents on a farm near Opelousas, in Louisiana's Acadiana region. The youngest of 13 children, he spent much of his time in the kitchen with his mother, whom he credited for developing his appreciation of rich flavors and the fresh vegetables, poultry and seafood that she cooked.

"With her I began to understand about seasoning, about blending taste, about cooking so things were worth eating," he said.

After high school Prudhomme traveled the country cooking in bars, diners, resorts and hotel restaurants.

He returned to New Orleans in the early 1970s and found a job as chef in a hotel restaurant. In 1975, he became the head chef at the esteemed Commander's Palace restaurant.

Prudhomme and his wife opened K-Paul's four years later.

K-Paul's was inexpensive and unassuming — formica tables, plywood walls and drinks served in jars — but it was soon the most popular restaurant in New Orleans.

Prudhomme's bearded face and oversized frame became familiar on television talk shows in the 1980s, where he encouraged Americans to spice up their meals. He expanded K-Paul's and turned it into an upscale operation. He published bestselling cookbooks and created a business that sold his spicy seasoning mixtures around the country.

After Hurricane Katrina he used the profits from his spice company to keep his restaurant afloat, bringing in trailers to the parking lot for his staff to live in and cooking thousands of meals for rescue workers, said Liz Williams, who heads the city's Southern Food and Beverage Museum.

Prudhomme's success brought regrets, as well. Prudhomme sparked the Cajun food craze, but he often said few Cajun restaurants outside Louisiana served the real thing. He worried over the common perception that all Cajun food is blistering hot.

"I'm at least partly to blame that so many people think all Cajun food is red-hot and spicy," he said. "I see people dumping red pepper on food and I feel like crying."

Prudhomme's weight, as much as his cooking skills, was a career trademark. Just over 5 feet tall, he had trouble squeezing into chairs. He had a bad knee, used a cane and usually moved in a scooter instead of walking. In the 1992 interview he said he was working on ways to take the fat out of recipes without losing the flavor.

But later in his career he significantly slimmed down. During a 2013 cooking demonstration in New Orleans — done from his motorized scooter — he told the crowd that at one time he was 580 pounds but now weighed in at 200 pounds.

Eating the right things and eating less had made the difference, Prudhomme said.

"I used to taste things this way," he said, filling his large cooking spoon. "Now I taste them this way." He poked a fork into a single piece of carrot and held it up.


Salvage company pulling plane from lake near Jasper

JASPER (From reports by -- A salvage company with offices in Jasper and Anacoco, Louisiana  and a Dallas-based company, began work Thursday morning to  recover an airplane that crashed into Steinhagen Lake early Tuesday.

Stayed tuned to KFDM at noon for more details. Tonight we will have full coverge and reactions.  You can get up-to-date details on throughout the day.

Randy Wilgus, of Dick and Sons Diving Service, said yesterday his company  will work with Lone Star Retrieval, of Lancaster, Texas, to recover the 1992 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, which currently rests at the bottom of the lake in about 10 feet of water. 

The plane was located at 9:00 Tuesday morning by the Jasper County Emergency Corps, about 6 hours after it crashed.

Wilgus said that the recovery crews will use inflatable bags that will be attached to the body of the plane. The bags will then be inflated, which will raise the plane to the surface, and it will then be pulled to shore.

According to Wilgus, the wings will then be removed, and the aircraft will be carried to the Jasper County Bell Field Airport where federal investigators will begin their investigation.

Wilgus said that both companies will work to ensure that no further damage is done to the plane so that, hopefully, it can be salvaged and once again be deemed airworthy.

Tragedies befall American heroes since French train attack

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped stop a terror attack on a French train over the summer, was stabbed and seriously wounded Thursday in a fight outside a bar — the latest tragedy to befall him and his buddies since they returned home as heroes.

Violence overseas made Stone, National Guardsman Alex Skarlatos and college student Anthony Sadler sudden celebrities in August. In the past week, bloodshed at home thrust them back into the spotlight and shook them personally, first in Oregon, now in Sacramento.

The stabbing happened days after a deadly shooting rampage at the Oregon community college Skarlatos attends.

Stone, 23, was stabbed repeatedly in the upper body outside a nightclub in a hip neighborhood in his hometown of Sacramento in what police described as an alcohol-related fight that had nothing to do with terrorism.

He was listed in stable condition at UC Davis Medical Center, and officials said he was expected to pull through.

Police searched for the two assailants, who fled in a car, and said there is no evidence they knew who he was.

"This incident is not related to terrorism in any way," Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard said. "We know it's not related to what occurred in France months ago."

Bernard said the fight was "related to a nightclub incident" involving Stone's circle and a second group, but he would not say what sparked the argument.

Police said they do not know whether the Travis Air Force Base airman was drinking, but others in his group were. In a statement, the hospital said Stone's family "appreciates the outpouring of love and support" and requests privacy.

Skarlatos tweeted Thursday: "Everybody send prayers out to the Stone family today."

Over the summer, Stone and his friends were vacationing in Europe when they sprang into action aboard a Paris-board train and brought down Ayoub El-Khazzani, a man with ties to radical Islam. He was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, a pistol and a box cutter.

Stone suffered a severed tendon in his hand and needed 20 staples and eight stitches to close a knife wound to his neck from the struggle with the gunman.

President Barack Obama met with the three Americans last month, praising them for their quick thinking and courage and calling them "the very best of America." They were also awarded France's highest honor by President Francois Hollande. The three appeared on late-night talk shows and received a hometown parade.

Skarlatos, whose heroics led to an invitation from ABC's dance contest, was rehearsing in Los Angeles instead of attending Umpqua Community College when a gunman killed nine people there Oct. 1. After getting a text and seeing the news, he hid in a bathroom to escape the cameras. Soon after, he headed to Roseburg, Oregon.

"It's honestly the strangest emotion I ever felt," Skarlatos said in a taped segment that aired on the show Monday. "Even the train made more sense than this does. ... There's nothing you can do."

After the Oregon attack, Obama expressed frustration over gun violence in the U.S., pointing out that there are relatively few terrorism deaths in comparison with domestic killings

Court throws out flag desecration ban in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas' ban on flag desecration is unconstitutional, a state court ruled Wednesday, invalidating a seldom-enforced ban that lawmakers enacted in 1989 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down nearly identical legislation on First Amendment grounds.

This time, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals tossed the law, calling the 26-year-old misdemeanor "invalid on its face" in a challenge brought by a black man who says he angrily threw a storefront U.S. flag into the street after a run-in with a racist clerk.

"The Texas flag-destruction statute, by its text and its actual fact, prohibits a substantial amount of activity that is protected by the First Amendment," said Republican Judge Sharon Keller, writing the 6-3 majority opinion.

Terrence Johnson was 20 years old in 2012 when he was arrested and spent more than a month in jail in the small town of Lovelady. He faced up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine if convicted, though the case hasn't gone to trial because of the legal fight.

Prosecutors in rural Houston County argued that Johnson grabbing the flag and throwing it into the street wasn't an expression of speech but a random act of anger. The Republican-dominated appeals court, however, found that throwing a flag down could easily be protected expression.

Johnson's attorney, Joshua Liles, said anyone who respects free speech should welcome the law being knocked down.

"It was protecting the U.S. and the Texas state flag, which made it a very emotional issue for everyone involved. But you can't lose sight of the First Amendment," he said, noting he has never come upon another instance in which someone had been prosecuted for flag desecration under the law.

Texas lawmakers could again take another crack in the 2017 session, though the courts have struggled with imagining a way in which being prosecuted for damaging a flag would be constitutional.

"As long as a statute remains on the books, the threat of 'irresponsible' use remains," Keller wrote.


Texas official ends donations over link to abortion provider

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- A Texas official is telling his employees not to donate to the United Way because a portion of those donations are used for the "evil" done by Planned Parenthood.


Tarrant County tax assessor Ron Wright says his office has raised money each year for the United Way, which forwards donations to social service organizations.


But he learned some donors ask the United Way to send their contributions specifically to Planned Parenthood, which provides an array of services for women including the abortion services that Wright condemns.


Wright dismisses arguments that Planned Parenthood offers beneficial health care by saying, "Hitler made the trains run on time."


The United Way of Tarrant County tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ( ) that last year about $9,300 was earmarked for Planned Parenthood out of $7.1 million in donations.


Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram,

Fiery collision off Highway 90 in Jefferson County
At approximately 9:00pm, DPS Troopers responded to a two vehicle crash at the intersection of Highway 90 and Turner Road in China, Texas.  Three  people were transported to St. Elizabeth hospital.   A Jeep was traveling southbound on Turner Road.  A Chevrolet pickup truck was traveling westbound on Highway 90.  The driver of the Jeep attempted to make a left turn from Turner Road in front of the Chevrolet and was struck on the driver side of the vehicle.  The impact of the collision caused the Chevrolet pickup truck to veer into the center median, rollover and catch fire.   The 16-year-old driver of the Jeep and his three teenage passengers were not injured in the crash.  The driver of the Chevrolet, Obed Reyna was transported to St. Elizabeth hospital for observation.  His front passenger, a 30-year-old female, was transported to St. Elizabeth hospital with non life threatening injuries.  There was also a 5-year-old child in the Chevrolet, who was not injured in the crash.  The child was secured in a booster seat at the time of the crash.   The westbound lanes of Highway 90 were closed for about an hour.  The 16-year-old driver was issued a traffic citation for Failure to Yield the Right of Way at a Stop Sign and Violation of his Driver License restriction.  

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