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Unemployment
12:16 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Jobless rates drop in 62 of 64 Louisiana parishes

Unemployment rates fell from June to July in 62 of Louisiana's 64 parishes, according to figures released Friday.

Lafourche Parish has the lowest jobless rate at 5.2 percent. East Carroll Parish's 20 percent rate is the highest. Only Concordia and Franklin parishes saw increases.

The oil-fueled Houma metro area, with 5.4 percent unemployment, is lowest among Louisiana's eight urban areas. Joblessness in metro New Orleans fell to 8.1 percent from 8.7 percent in June. In metro Baton Rouge, it fell to 8 percent from 8.7 percent.

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LSU Hospitals
12:14 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Fred Cerise removed as LSU health care leader

The LSU System's top health care leader has been ousted from his role overseeing the university's network of public hospitals and clinics.

Fred Cerise had clashed with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration over budget cuts that stripped hundreds of millions of dollars from the LSU safety net health care system.

Cerise's replacement was announced Friday by LSU with no explanation. But in an e-mail to The Associated Press, Cerise said he was notified a day earlier by LSU System President William Jenkins that, "I will no longer lead the LSU Health System."

West Nile Virus
12:06 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Three new West Nile deaths, total cases up to 53

State health officials confirm three more people have died from West Nile virus, bringing the total to nine so far this year.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals also said Friday that 53 new human cases of the virus have been confirmed and mark 145 reported infections so far in 2012 — the highest number of cases the state has seen in the past several years.

St. Tammany Parish Grass Cutting
11:46 am
Fri August 24, 2012

St. Tammany residents face fines for overgrown property

Residents who live in the unincorporated areas of St. Tammany Parish and fail to mow the grass on their lots could face a penalty of $300 and a possible property lien.

The Times-Picayune reports the parish is funding a new grass-cutting initiative with $15,000 and a focus on chronic violators.

The owners of property with growth taller than 15 inches could get a letter from the parish giving them 10 days to remove weeds, grass or deleterious, unhealthy growth or the parish will take action.

NOPD
11:43 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Police arrest man in cab driver's death

New Orleans police have arrested a suspect in last month's shooting death of a cab driver.

The Times-Picayune reports Rodney Thornton was booked Thursday with second-degree murder in the slaying 44-year-old Ali Husnain. Investigators say Husnain was shot in the back of the head on July 9.

Police found Husnain slumped over the steering wheel of his cab in eastern New Orleans.

Thornton was already in prison when he was booked with the murder charge. He was arrested earlier on a burglary charge.

It was unclear whether Thornton has an attorney.

Cajundome
11:40 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Subsidy increase to Cajundome to be considered

The Lafayette City-Parish Council is considering an increased subsidy to the Cajundome.

The Advertiser reports the council this week briefly discussed City-Parish President Joey Durel's proposed $550,000 allocation to the Cajundome for the upcoming fiscal year, which marks a $50,000 increase from the current fiscal year.

The Cajundome subsidy has come under fire from some of the council's nine members in the past. On Tuesday, however, no councilmen suggested eliminating the allocation, as has been done in previous years.

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LA Swift
11:38 am
Fri August 24, 2012

LA Swift bus service hits millionth ride benchmark

LA Swift, the state-run commuter bus service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, will reach its millionth ride this month.

That's according to the state Department of Transportation and Development.

The bus service began in October 2005 to help people displaced by Hurricane Katrina get to and from New Orleans to work on their homes and look for jobs. But officials say it's expanded into a regular means of transportation for some commuters.

On average, more than 10,000 riders use the bus service each month, according to DOTD.

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Utilities
11:36 am
Fri August 24, 2012

EPA awards $17M grant to La. for water systems

Louisiana is receiving a $17 million federal grant for improvements to public drinking water systems.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the funding Thursday.

The dollars, from the EPA's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, are going to the state Department of Health and Hospitals for loan assistance for water system infrastructure upgrades and repairs.

The program is designed to promote safe drinking water for communities.

Tropical Storm Isaac
11:08 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Isaac expected to stay below hurricane force until in Gulf

National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened slightly as it spun toward the Dominican Republic and vulnerable Haiti on Friday, threatening to bring punishing rains but unlikely to gain enough steam to strike as a hurricane.

Forecasters now expect the storm to stay below hurricane force until it's in the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to stay to the west of Tampa, Fla., where the Republican National Convention starts on Monday, though there is still an outside chance it could hit there.

Bayou Corne Sinkhole
10:55 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Texas Brine may be fined $5K a day for sinkhole

The company believed responsible for the massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne may have to pay a fine of up to $5,000 a day if it doesn't retroactively compensate evacuated residents.

Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh said Thursday Texas Brine Co. is required by the permit issued for a brine cavern they own in the Napoleonville salt dome to provide assistance to residents if a sinkhole develops.

The Houston-based company began providing a weekly housing check of $875 to evacuated locals last week.

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