News for Monday 012113
By Dave Graichen
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and activities are planned throughout the area. In Alexandria, the MLK parade will kick off at 10a on Bolton avenue and finish up at the River Front center downtown, where a noon service will be held with special guest speaker and Pineville native Judge Monique Freeman Rauls.
The Grambling State University Band is participating in today's Presidential Inaugural Parade. The Grambling Marching Band is one of only two making a return trip to the inaugural parade. Band
Director Larry Pannell says he's heard President Obama and First Lady Michelle are big fans of the Grambling band. The marching band from Grambling is the only historically black college slated to participate in the parade. Pannell says they plan to make Louisiana proud.
New federal labor statistics show Louisiana's unemployment rate at 5.5%; its lowest level since late 2008. According the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, just under 2-million people in Louisiana were working in December. The number of jobless benefits claimants was just under 115-thousand; a decrease of nearly 30-thousand in one year. Louisiana is tied with Minnesota and Virgina for 11th lowest jobless rate in the U.S.
State lawmakers and medical professional hope they can restore midyear state budget cuts that will cut Medicaid payments for hospice care. St. Martin Parish state Senator Fred Mills says he was with lawmakers who met with hospice providers, who worry the cuts will cost the state more, not less. Mills says that families who can no longer afford hospice care for a loved one, will be force to use hospitals and emergency rooms for end-of life medical care. He says that racks up much higher Medicaid costs
than would hospice. He hopes the Governor's Office will reconsider the matter.
Poverty Point in northeast Louisiana has a chance to be included with other famous sites like the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge and Taj Mahal. The U-S government has nominated Poverty Point's ancient Native
American mounds for a spot on the World Heritage List. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is glad to see this archaeology site being recognized. There are 962 sites recognized by the World Heritage Center in Paris,
only 21 of those are in North America. Dardenne says the ancient Native American mounds were built over three-thousand years ago and scientists believe they were constructed in 90 days.