Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Members of Louisiana's congressional delegation say Fort Polk will lose fewer than 250 troops as the Army moves ahead with restructuring plans that will cut 80,000 nationally. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and Rep. John Fleming hailed the announcement Tuesday as a victory for the base's supporters. State officials had once worried that Fort Polk would lose more than 5,000 of its 9,500 troops. The Army is being reduced in size from a high of about 570,000 during the peak of the Iraq war to 490,000 — part of an effort to cut federal spending and reflect the country's military needs as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end.
THE LAFAYETTE CITY PARISH COUNCIL HAS CHOSEN BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD TO RUN THEIR EMPLOYEE’S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM, A MOVE THAT IS EXPECTED TO SAVE ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS OVER THREE YEARS. THE COUNCIL LAST NIGHT VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HAVE CITY PARISH PRESIDENT JOEY DUREL NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT WITH BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD. THEIR PROPOSAL PROJECTED A SAVINGS OF THREE-POINT-7 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR BASED ON PAST CLAIMS, WHICH WAS FAR HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER PROPOSAL. CITY PARISH ADMINISTRATOR DEE STANLEY SAYS THE CONTRACT IS EXPECTED TO STABILIZE THE PREMIUMS FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES, WHICH WOULD HAVE RISEN HAD THEY CONTINUED TO ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM ON THEIR OWN.
STATE POLICE SAY ELEVEN PEOPLE ARE SUSPECTS IN A SCHEME TO MAKE PHONY INJURY CLAIMS FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN IN STAGED AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS. JULIE DARCY HAS MORE.
Louisiana's voting laws and election districts no longer need federal approval before changes can take effect. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Tuesday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling means the state doesn't have to follow a pre-clearance requirement mandated in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, unless Congress redesigns the formula. Implications of the court ruling likely won't be immediately noticeable in Louisiana. State lawmakers already had redrawn U.S. House, legislative and education board districts after the latest census, and those maps received clearance from the Justice Department.
A MOSS BLUFF MAN WAS ARRESTED AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY FOUGHT WITH STATE TROOPERS. THE TROOPERS WERE RESPONDING TO AN EMERGENCY CALL JUST BEFORE FIVE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON ABOUT A MAN WHO WAS JUMPING IN AND OUT OF TRAFFIC ON HIGHWAY 171 NEAR L-A 30-59. TROOP D SPOKESMAN JAMES ANDERSON SAYS THAT THE TROOPERS MANAGED TO GET THE MAN, 21-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL JAMES GAUDIN THE SECOND, OFF THE ROAD THEY FOUND AN OBJECT THOUGHT TO BE DRUG-RELATED ON HIM. GAUDIN THEN BECAME COMBATIVE, STRIKING ONE TROOPER IN THE FACE AND FIGHTING VIGOROUSLY, AND HAD TO BE RESTRAINED WITH A TASER.
THE LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD HAS GIVEN TENTATIVE APPROVAL TO THE 2013-14 SCHOOL YEAR BUDGET AND THEY’LL HOLD A FINAL VOTE ON JULY 17TH. THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR ENDS ON SATURDAY, SO THE BOARD APPROVED A MEASURE THAT AUTHORIZES NORMAL SPENDING THROUGH JULY. INCLUDED IN THE BUDGET IS ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS. HOWEVER, THE BOARD REMOVED ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT TO REFURBISH TWO EXISTING BUILDINGS AT NORTHSIDE HIGH TO HOUSE PROGRAMS FOR NEW MOTHERS AND BABIES.
THE L-S-U AGCENTER’S RICE RESEARCH STATION IN CROWLEY IS HOSTING A FIELD DAY TODAY STARTING AT 7:30. THERE WILL BE STOPS TO LEARN ABOUT RESEARCH ON VARIETY AND HYBRID DEVELOPMENT, DISEASES, INSECTS, WEEDS AND AGRONOMY. THERE WILL ALSO BE TALKS ON RICE ECONOMICS, THE FARM BILL AND THE KELLOG’S MASTER RICE GROWER PROGRAM. LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED.
A new national report says Louisiana has one of the worst dentist shortages in the nation. The analysis, released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, comes as the state Department of Health and Hospitals is slashing reimbursement rates paid to dentists through the Medicaid program with the July 1 start of the new budget year.
Pew says more than 24 percent of Louisiana's population is underserved by dentists and living in a dental shortage area, second only to Mississippi.
Dentists say the planned 3 percent cut to their Medicaid rates will shrink services to the poor and worsen access.