News for Thursday 012617
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana isn’t seeing as many flu cases as we usually do this time of year. That’s according to the state’s flu bug expert, Dr. Frank Welch, who says right now, 4 out of every 100 doctor visits in the state is for the flu. He says there’s several reasons we’re seeing a slower flu season this year. Welch says while the Deep South has seen few cases, other states are seeing an uptick. But he says we aren’t out of the woods yet. He anticipates cases will pick up, once the weather gets colder, which will happen this weekend.
The state wildlife agent who was shot five times, is scheduled to be released from a Shreveport hospital Today. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot in the temple, jaw, shoulder, arm and back while questioning a motorist last month in Morehouse Parish. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says Wheeler is expected to make a full recovery.
President Donald Trump says he’s asking for a major investigation into voter fraud; specifically probes into whether people are registered in two states, illegal or dead. The Louisiana Office of the Secretary of State says there were no widespread irregularities here or fraud during the 2016 Presidential Election Cycle; as there are several layers of legal protection to prevent any such thing. The Trump Administration believes illegal ballots cost him the popular vote.
The Governor’s Office says a Republican lawmaker’s plan to close a $304 million dollar deficit would cripple public-private-hospitals, lead to the release of 45-hundred inmates and make a historic cut to public schools. Communications Director Richard Carbo says Lance Harris of Alexandria’s proposal would devastate state agencies. Harris released his proposal last week as an example of how the state can close a large midyear deficit without tapping tap into the rainy day fund. But Carbo says it is imperative rainy day dollars are used to ease some of the pain of the cuts. Harris has also said the governor can make the necessary cuts without the need of a special session. But Carbo says without a special session, spending cuts will be focused primarily on health care, higher education and the Department of Corrections.
The American Lung Association says the state is failing to reduce tobacco use in Louisiana. Regional Policy Director Ashley Lyerly says the state is not spending enough on tobacco prevention and could do so by raising tobacco taxes, plus that will reduce the number of smokers. It’s estimated 22-percent of Louisiana adults are smokers.
Louisiana has issued a standing order that makes Naloxone, which is an antidote that reverses an opioid overdose, available at pharmacies without a prescription. The governor says narcotic overdose deaths surpassed homicide deaths in both East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes by mid-year 2016.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the Edwards administration will likely not increase aid to public schools when they present a budget to lawmakers for next fiscal year. But the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would like to see a 35-million dollar increase in funding for K-12 schools. Funding for public schools has been relatively stagnant since 2009.
Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approves more than $1.5 million in funding for teaching residencies. Department of Education Assistant Superintendent of Talent, Hannah Dietsch (HAHN-ah), says beginning in 2018 teacher candidates will be required to complete one year residencies, similar to doctors. She says $1 million of the investment will go to Louisiana universities that will offer the programs. She says part of the funds will provide $2,000 stipends to 233 teaching residents.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance announces they recovered $7.6 million for policy holders last year as a result of efforts by their consumer affairs division who work to resolve consumer complaints. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says it’s a significant increase over the previous year. Policyholders can file complaints online at the state insurance department’s website.
Doctors in Shreveport were able to remove a massive facial tumor from a three-year-old girl’s face. Doctor G-E Gahli, chairs the Department of oral and facial surgery at LSU Health Shreveport, and says the little girl from Brazil was on her way to becoming malnourished because of the tumor. Gali says the child will require follow up surgeries, but at least now she has full use of her tongue.
Walker Police are working to identify a female body that was found under an I-12 bridge. Captain John Sharp says employees of Gravity Draining District Five of Livingston Parish were working to clear debris under the bridge when they made the gruesome discovery. Sharp says the woman appears to have been dead for at least a week. He says at this point they have a lot of unanswered questions.