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U.S.
5:08 am
Sat July 7, 2012

How One Drought Changed Texas Agriculture Forever

Siblings Charles Hagood and Nancy Hagood Nunns grew up in Junction, Texas, in the 1950s. Charles says the drought drove ranchers to find other types of work.
Michael O'Brien Michael O'Brien

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 2:40 pm

In Texas, there is still the drought against which all other droughts are measured: the seven-year dry spell in the 1950s. It was so devastating that agriculture losses exceeded those of the Dust Bowl years, and so momentous that it kicked off the modern era of water planning in Texas.

From 1950 to 1957, the sky dried up and the rain refused to fall. Every day, Texans scanned the pale-blue heavens for rainclouds, but year after year they never came.

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West Nile Virus
5:10 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

3 new Louisiana West Nile cases, 1 serious

Louisiana's health department says three new cases of West Nile virus infection have been confirmed in the state — including a potentially fatal case in Vernon Parish.

Two of the people who tested positive for the infection showed no symptoms. They were in Tangipahoa Parish.

But the Vernon Parish case involves what officials call "neuro-invasive" disease — the first such case in the state this year.

A neuroinvasive illness is severe and typically results in a swelling of the brain or spinal cord. It can cause brain damage or death.

Medicaid Cuts
5:06 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Vitter talks of highway bill, skips Medicaid cuts

U.S. Sen. David Vitter is highlighting his role as Louisiana's lone member on the congressional committee that drew up a final version of the federal highway bill. But he's omitting the detail that the bill blows an $859 million hole in Louisiana's Medicaid funding.

As President Barack Obama was set to sign the measure into law Friday, Louisiana's Democrats were questioning Vitter's role in slashing the Medicaid dollars and asking if he fought against the cuts.

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Unemployment
5:02 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Louisiana first-time jobless claims decrease

First-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in Louisiana for the week ending June 30 decreased from the previous week's total.

State labor department figures released Friday show initial claims fell to 3,456 from the previous week's total of 3,633. The figure was lower than it was for the comparable week a year earlier, when there were 4,169 initial claims.

The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 3,792 from the previous week's total of 3,972.

Louisiana Supreme Court
4:56 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

3 judges recuse themselves from La. justice's suit

Three federal judges in New Orleans have recused themselves from presiding over Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson's lawsuit seeking to block her colleagues from debating and voting on whether she is legally entitled to be the court's next chief justice.

The case was transferred Friday to U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan after three other judges — Jay Zainey, Ivan Lemelle and Carl Barbier — disqualified themselves. It wasn't immediately clear if Morgan will keep the case.

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Louisiana Supreme Court
11:30 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Suit Filed Over Naming Chief Justice

A Louisiana Supreme Court justice is suing to block her colleagues from debating and voting on whether she is legally entitled to become the court's next chief justice.

A federal suit filed Thursday on behalf of Justice Bernette Johnson says she is next in line for the job because she qualifies as the court's longest-serving justice.

But Justice Jeffrey Victory also has staked a claim to succeeding Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball, who retires next year.

Kenner Charter Election
11:25 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Kenner Council Refuses to Call Off Charter Vote

Residents in Kenner will be able to vote Nov. 6 on two amendments to the Home Rule Charter. Both charter revisions, if adopted by voters, would check the mayor's power by stopping his appointees from politicking for him and by giving the council oversight of more contracts.

Hammond Economy
11:20 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Hammond's Economy on 17-Month Roll

The city of Hammond's economy is on a 17-month roll. Sales tax receipts are up 7 percent compared to the first half of 2011. Mayor Mayson Foster says the numbers indicate not only a strong economy in Tangipahoa Parish, but also that people are staying in Hammond to make their purchases rather than going elsewhere.

Missing Student
11:13 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Sheriff: Man Booked in Missing Louisiana Student Case

LAFAYETTE — Lafayette police this afternoon will discuss an arrest in the case of a University of Louisiana student missing since May 19. Investigators say 33-year-old Brandon Scott Lavergne was booked on first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. Mickey Shunick was last seen riding her bicycle home from a friend's house.

Shots - Health Blog
11:13 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Under Pressure, Pfizer Agrees To Change Vitamin Claims

Pfizer will drop or qualify some health claims on labels and in ads for Centrum vitamins and supplements.
CSPI

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 11:56 am

If you pay any attention at all to ads for vitamins, you'd be forgiven for thinking they're good for just about anything that could ever ail you.

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