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Public Health
11:54 am
Tue August 14, 2012

New flu strain spreading from pigs at county fairs

Livestock exhibits are a popular part of farm country fairs, but they're coming with a warning this year: Don't pet the pigs. And wash your hands well after exhibiting swine.

Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain is relaying word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It says human cases of swine flu rose last week from 29 to 158. Most of the patients were children who probably were infected while raising, displaying or visiting pigs at the fairs.

The CDC says the H3N2v virus may spread more easily to humans than is usual for swine flu viruses.

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Work Sharing
11:05 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Louisiana gets $1.5M work-sharing labor grant

The U.S. Department of Labor has set aside nearly $100 million in grants for states to set up or improve existing short-term compensation programs, commonly referred to as "work sharing."

Louisiana's share of the grant is $1.5 million. Work sharing allows employees to keep their jobs and helps employers to avoid laying off their workforce during economic downturns by reducing the hours of work for a group of affected workers.

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Politics
10:58 am
Tue August 14, 2012

State GOP to stay out of Boustany/Landry race

The Republican Party of Louisiana won't endorse candidates in the Nov. 6 election for races that have two or more GOP contenders seeking the same office.

That includes the most high-profile Republican battle in Louisiana: the race between U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette and U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia. The two men were forced into the same district when Louisiana lost a congressional seat.

Business & Technology
10:56 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Chevron completes storage facility in Terrebonne

Chevron has completed construction on a 150,000-square-foot storage facility in Terrebonne Parish to support its operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

The facility, located on Louisiana Highway 24 in Gray, will employ 25 people and serve as the storage hub for materials essential to Chevron's oil and gas exploration activity in the Gulf.

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Healthcare Cuts
10:30 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Senator asks for legal opinion on hospital closure

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is asking for an attorney general's opinion about whether Gov. Bobby Jindal can close a state-run mental health facility in St. Tammany Parish without legislative approval.

Sen. Jack Donahue, a Republican from Mandeville, says closing Southeast Louisiana Hospital in a parish that has one of the state's highest suicide rates is unwise. He's pushing to keep the facility open.

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LSU Hospital
10:26 am
Tue August 14, 2012

LSU seeking hospital partners amid funding woes

The head of the LSU System, William Jenkins, says he's talking to private hospital leaders about ways to partner and keep the university-run hospitals open despite ongoing budget woes.

But he acknowledged Monday that with shrinking funding and large numbers of uninsured patients, LSU will have a lot of persuading to do.

Jenkins said LSU will need to bring in private health care facilities to operate some of the public hospitals, if all will be able to remain open.

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Environment
10:24 am
Tue August 14, 2012

In Henderson area, gators destroying hoop nets

Fishermen in the Henderson area said their hoop nets were falling victim to alligator overpopulation. The gators were finding easy prey in the fishermen's catch.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter says that after Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette explained the problem at a July town hall meeting in St. Martin Parish, he asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to check.

He says the corps found too many gators on some of its land and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries increased the number that could be killed there next year.

Bayou Corne Sinkhole
10:23 am
Tue August 14, 2012

State approves permit for sinkhole relief well

The state Department of Natural Resources says is has approved a drilling permit for a relief well near a massive sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

DNR Secretary Stephen Chustz says Houston-based Texas Brine Co. will drill into a brine cavern the company owns in the Napoleonville salt dome.

Scientists believe the cavern may be the cause of the sinkhole, which opened 10 days ago. Officials say they hope the relief well will reveal possible structural damage to the cavern.

Budgeting For Outcomes
6:00 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Mayor Landrieu Hears Budget Ideas at Community Meetings

Mayor Landrieu says using a refurbished Charity Hospital as a new City Hall is a good idea.
Erin Krall WWNO

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has begun his annual round of community meetings to set budget priorities for the coming year. Some suggestions range from fixing streets to using the shuttered Charity Hospital as a new City Hall.

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Real Estate
12:01 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Land prices booming on Jefferson strip

The cost of land along Veterans Memorial Boulevard — east Jefferson Parish's main commercial corridor —has reached historic highs indicating a strong retail market, according to SRSA Commercial Real Estate of Metairie.

SRSA partner Donald Schwarcz tells New Orleans CityBusiness his figures show the strip's most valuable property costs as much as $60 per square foot, six times as much as land in eastern New Orleans, four times the cost along Lapalco Boulevard in west Jefferson and nearly twice as much as the most expensive commercial areas of St. Tammany Parish.

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