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Wednesday storms in northwest Louisiana claim life of Shreveport woman


The National Weather Service in Shreveport says a bad storm that blew through northwest Louisiana last night left thousands without power and claimed the life of one person. Senior Meteorologist Jason Hansford says they saw 60-70 mile per hour winds which downed numerous trees and power lines.

"At one point during the peak of the power outages we had 70,000 people without power," said Hansford.

Hansford says as of early this morning there were still over 50,000 people who did not have power. He says one woman even lost her life.

"A 64-year-old female was struck by a very large tree limb that fell during the height of the storms there yesterday evening," Hansford said.

Hansford says the victim was walking down a street during the height of the storms when the winds really started picking up.

"So she turned around and was heading home, and at the same time a big gust of wind blew threw and downed the limb that fell on top of her," said Hansford. "Unfortunately she later succumbed to her injuries."



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The push is on to produce more oil workers in the Gulf


A commitment is in place to produce more workers for the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry. Higher education leaders, state officials and representatives from the oil industry have formed a long-term public-private partnership to come up with solutions to meet with workforce needs.
 
Louisiana Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association President Chris John says about 40-percent of the workforce that's experienced in the Gulf of Mexico will retire in the next ten years. He says that's a concern, especially since deep water exploration and production is expected to increase.
 
"The biggest concern to our members is that we don't have the skilled workforce to handle the kinds of projects that were are doing out in the Gulf." 
 
John says this Memorandum of Understanding between the various entities will come together to form a curriculum so prospective gulf of mexico oil workers could be certified in two years.
 
"Once that person graduates and gets that certificate they almost certain to get a job at that point of time."
 
 
 


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Rate hikes coming for thousands who purchased insurance through the ACA


State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says 60-percent of the Louisiana residents who purchased insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act face a double-digit rate hike next year. Donelon says that's based on paperwork filed by the federal government with the state's insurance department.

"The question then becomes does the premium increase make it unaffordable again for them, even after they qualify for the subsidy."

Donelon says 101-thousand Louisiana residents have health care through the individual marketplace and they anticipate the average rate increase to be about 12 to 13 percent. 
 
He says the double-digit rate hike is the result of a federal premium tax that's been placed on the policies and the rates have been capped for the elderly and least healthy. 
 
"That's going to drive up cost for young and healthy policy holders."
 
 

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Monroe couple charged with abusing their 7-week-old child


A man who is reportedly a teacher at Carroll High School and his wife are under arrested for allegedly repeatedly abusing their 7 week old infant. Monroe Assistant Police Chief Don Bartley says neither 29-year-old James Hall or his wife 27-year-old Emily Rae Hall could give an explanation as to why their baby was in the hospital with bleeding on the brain.

Bartley says doctors,who examined the child, told cops the 7-week-old had been abused. 

"After tests were performed, they advised the police department, the child had a history of abuse, based on the various stages of healing they observed on the brain." 

James and Emily were booked into the Ouachita Correctional facility each on $50,000 bond. Bartley says the infant remains in the hospital in critical condition. 
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Traps set for Emerald Ash Borer


Following a discovery in Arkansas, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says the USDA is conducting trap surveys across the state to watch for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetles.  Strain says the EAB is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees.
 


"This particular insect will bore into the ash trees.  Ash trees are located mainly in urban areas. They are also found in our estuaries and our swamps and also on a lot of our land that's in CRP, the Conservation Reserve Program."
 
He says when the pest gets into an ash tree, it generally kills the tree in three to five years.  The EAB was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and is now present in 24 states.  Strain says the beetle is often transported into an area by infested firewood.
 
"We recommend that you don't move firewood any more than ten miles from where you buy it.  If you use it for camping, use all the firewood before you leave the campground or the forest.  Use it all, burn it all.  Don't leave any unused firewood."
 
He says the EAB has a distinctive look.
 
"It is a brilliant green little beetle.  It is about a half an inch long and about an eighth to a quarter inch wide.  It is a very, very noticeable beetle once you take a look."
 
For more information on the EAB go to www.emeraldashborer.info

 
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Black and Gold merch flying off shelves as Saints training camp gets underway


Michelle Southern reporting.
The New Orleans Saints report to football camp in West Virginia today and the Black and Gold nation is already stocking up on their gear for the mega-hyped 2014 season. Lauren "FleurtyGirl" LeBlanc is the owner of a popular Saints fan shop in New Orleans.

"This is the time of the year when we want our customers to walk into the stores and the black and gold just hits them in the face," said LeBlanc. "That's all they're coming in for."

The Saints begin pre-season play August 8th and the regular season begins less than a month later.

Many have said that this year's team could be better than the Black and Gold Superbowl team on paper, but LeBlanc says Saints fans will load up on swag before ANY season.

"Saints fans love this team and want to wear the colors of this team no matter what," said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc says even though the Saints aren't practicing in Metairie this year, it's not stopping the merchandise from flying off the shelves.

She says her regulars come in every year looking for the one shirt that's going to be their lucky shirt for the season.

"The fans want to feel like they are contributing to the success of the team," said LeBlanc. "It's funny how the wearables play into that."




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LSU AgCenter launches statewide healthy living campaign


Michelle Southern reporting.
The LSU Ag Center has launched a statewide billboard campaign urging people to engage in a more healthy lifestyle. Diane Sasser is the AgCenter director of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Educational Program. She says the first message that will be promoted is to eat more fruits and vegetables.

"Increasing fruits and vegetables contributes to good health," said Sasser. "Then in our next quarter we'll be promoting physical activity."

Sasser says this effort also includes banners and posters that will be displayed in schools, stores and parish extension offices. She says the campaign will run for about a year and a half.

Sasser says they will also be spreading messages about increasing activities together as a family.

"And having family meals together because the family that prepares meals together and does physical activity together tends to thrive more," said Sasser.

Sasser says by displaying these simple suggestions in places that people will see easily and frequently, the hope is that they will absorb the information and starting thinking about their own health habits.

"It introduces this teachable moment," said Sasser. "We want everyone to live a lot longer."



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Boustany files legislation to help south Louisiana vets receive health care


Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany files legislation that would give  south Louisiana veterans the option to receive health care from a non V-A provider. Boustany says the federal government pay for the care.

"This is about access for high quality care. This is about not having veterans wait on the V-A bureaucracy and it's about giving them the finest care available." 
 
Boustany says he filed the legislation because the Lafayette V-A clinic has admitted to crowded conditions and access problems for primary and mental care. He says the situation is not much better in Lake Charles. 
 
There's another bill that would authorize new V-A clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles. But Boustany says our veterans in those areas shouldn't have to wait for the new clinics to open, so he wants to give them the option to receive care from non V-A provider. 
 

 

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LSP investigating officer involved shooting in Calcasieu Parish


State Police detectives are investigating a shooting that involved a Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's deputy. L-S-P Sergeant James Anderson says the shooting happened Tuesday night as a sheriff's deputy was attempting to perform a traffic stop in Lake Charles on a 33-year-old woman from Sulphur, who was not cooperating.
 
"They were able to box that vehicle in," Anderson said. "That subject then apparently tried to run over one of the sheriff's deputy and that sheriff's deputy fired his weapon in an effort to protect himself." 
 
Anderson says Dargin was shot in the face. 
 
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office says Dargin was taken to a local hospital and her condition is unknown. She faces numerous charges, including attempted first degree murder of a police officer.


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