News for Tuesday 012114
By Dave Graichen
The National Weather Service says there's a slight chance we could see frozen precipitation, maybe even snow, for areas of southeast Louisiana later this week. Forecaster Danielle Manning says a cold front with precipitation will cross the state on Thursday and if that precipitation sticks around when the temperatures drop, we could see a wintry mix. But, before you get excited, the chance for snow is not high, only 20-to-30-percent.
The House Criminal Justice Committee meets today to discuss the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana in Louisiana. Chairman Joe Lopinto says the meeting is to get more time for the panel to hear testimonies from parties interested in the topic. They will also receive feedback from the
states that recently legalized pot to see the positives and negatives. Lopinto says there will be discussions about decreasing the penalties for marijuana possession in the meeting. But he doesn't see a strong push to legalize marijuana.
Lafayette-based Acadian Ambulance is having a difficult time expanding, because there's a national shortage of paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Randall Mann of Acadian Ambulance says many people don't think of being an E-M-T or a paramedic as a career, but he thinks it's a great opportunity with a solid income. Acadian Ambulance has its own training academy and they are seeking recruits for their fall courses.
Four teen-agers are in custody today accused of manufacturing and using bombs illegally. Seventeen-year old Blaine Burkett of Greenwell Springs has been charged with manufacturing and possessing bombs with explosives and the intent to be used on people and houses; along with contributing to the delinquency of juveniles. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office did not identify the other teens involved.
Doctors, hospitals and other providers aren’t getting paid for the care they deliver to a quarter-million state employees and retirees insured through the Office of Group Benefits. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana recently took over, in a private contract, the management of the agency that had overseen health care coverage for state employees and retirees. Blue Cross notified the state by letters that payments would be delayed while computer programs were upgraded. Patients should not be affected, according to Blue Cross, but physicians and health care providers may not get paid for six to eight weeks.
Though most of LSU’s charity hospitals and clinics have been turned over to private managers, federal officials still haven’t decided whether they’ll agree to the financing plans that are being used to pay the new hospital operators. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration expresses confidence that the deals will eventually gain approval from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, but says that these types of complex arrangements take time. CMS isn’t talking about how far apart the two sides are in negotiating final terms. The deals are costing the state $1.1 billion this budget year, much of it paid with federal health care dollars.
For one of Louisiana's darlings of the Olympics, it's a shot of redemption for the upcoming games. Former LSU track star Lolo Jones will be teamed with Lauryn Williams on the U.S. bobsled team. The games begin on February 6th.
January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer is caused by the sexually transmitted infection, human papillomavirus (HPV). Dr. Ann Moriarty, a pathologist says around 80 million Americans have been exposed to HPV. A pap smear and a HPV test are the only ways to check for the cancer and virus. Sexually active women should begin testing at 21. She says without getting tested there is no way to know if you have the disease because cervical cancer does not have any symptoms. Moriarty says women in Louisiana could be at a higher risk because they tend to not get tested.