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Business & Technology
11:00 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Jeff company wins drainage contract

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded an $18.6 million contract for drainage construction in the Industrial Canal area on Jefferson Parish's west bank.

The contract, an element of the Louisiana Urban Flood Damage Reduction Project, seeks to reduce flooding that might result from about 9 inches of rain falling over a 24-hour period.

The contract was awarded to Fleming Construction Co. of Jefferson Parish.

The 36-month project includes removing underground drainage pipes and replacing them with a reinforced concrete open channel.

Hurricane Gustav Cleanup
10:55 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Livingston Parish will fight Gustav lawsuit

Livingston Parish will hire a lawyer to defend a $53 million lawsuit against the parish over the costs of cleaning up after Hurricane Gustav.

The Advocate reports International Equipment Distributors Inc., the parish's main contractor in the 2008 cleanup, filed suit last year claiming Livingston had paid only "a small fraction of the money it owes IED."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has refused to pay the parish for most cleanup costs, and the parish is in the process of making a final appeal to FEMA for payment of a portion of the bills submitted by IED.

Huey P. Long Bridge
10:52 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Some lanes on Huey P. Long Bridge closed

West bank bound lanes on the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish are closed until 5 a.m. on Monday while workers place girders for wider lanes.

State officials are urging motorists to use the Crescent City Connection in New Orleans or the Interstate 310 Bridge in Lulling as alternate crossings of the Mississippi River.

The Huey P. Long Bridge widening project will include three 11-foot lanes in each direction. The total width, including shoulders, will more than double from the current driving surface.

Completion is projected for 2013.

Hornets
10:48 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Hornets to pick new Honeybees dancers

The New Orleans Hornets are holding auditions in Westwego, Baton Rouge and Biloxi, Miss., to pick members of next season's Honeybees dance squad.

Auditions at the Alario Center in Westwego start Saturday morning. The Baton Rouge auditions are Sunday afternoon at Tari's School of Dance. The Biloxi auditions were held Thursday.

Roughly 40 finalists will be picked from the three auditions to compete July 22 for spots on the squad. Only those final auditions will be open to the public.

Environment
9:44 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

State working to save 640 acres of swamp cypress

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources says an agreement with the St. Martin Parish School Board has been hammered out to save 640 acres of cypress and hardwood forest under threat of being logged in the Atchafalaya basin.

The school board had allowed the tract to be logged but environmental groups recently intervened and threatened to sue. The lawsuit prompted DNR's conservation plan, according to Dean Wilson, the head of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper.

Environmentalists oppose cypress logging in south Louisiana because the trees are so hard to grow back.

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West Nile Virus
7:46 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

State reports six more cases of West Nile Virus

State health regulators have confirmed six more human cases of West Nile Virus, bringing the year's total to 10, including two cases of the more serious neuroinvasive disease.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, in a news release Friday, said the new cases are from East Feliciana, Jefferson, Rapides, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.

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Jobless Claims
7:44 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Claims rise for unemployment benefits

First-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in Louisiana for the week ending July 7 increased from the previous week's total.

State labor department figures released Friday show initial claims rose to 3,960 from the previous week's total of 3,456. The figure was lower than it was for the comparable week a year earlier, when there were 4,053 initial claims.

The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 3,714 from the previous week's total of 3,792.

Medicaid Cuts
4:11 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

LSU health care system takes brunt of Medicaid cut

LSU's network of charity hospitals and clinics will lose a quarter of its budget, with the Jindal administration choosing to levy the largest slice of Medicaid cuts on the facilities.

Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said nearly $317 million of the $523 million in cuts announced Friday will fall on the public health care system run by LSU.

Hospital officials had previously warned that they couldn't make deep cuts without shuttering facilities.

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Arts & Culture
4:07 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Pan-Am crash film set for Houma

A documentary film will be shown Saturday in Houma to mark the 30-year anniversary of the crash of Pan-American World Airways Flight 759 in Kenner.

The Courier reports the program starts at noon at the Terrebonne Parish Main Library, 151 Library Drive.

New Orleans filmmaker Royd Anderson directed and produced "Pan Am Flight 759," which focuses on the July 9, 1982, crash that killed 153 people.

Seven of those killed were from Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

The screening is free and open to the public.

Politics
4:02 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Jindal doesn't tell Dardenne when he leaves the state

Gov. Bobby Jindal doesn't notify Louisiana's second-ranking official when he travels out of state, even though Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne technically becomes governor whenever Jindal leaves.

The Republican governor has been out-of-state more than 25 percent of the time since May, campaigning for Republican presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, raising money for GOP causes and candidates and participating in conferences.

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