Posts tagged ‘calcasieu’

SW La. officials map out plan to tackle coastal erosion

*published Mar. 24, 2011
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

Armed with information from a half-dozen studies, Southwest Louisiana officials spent Wednesday laying out possible coastal restoration projects and how to get them completed.

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said one important factor would be to change people’s thinking.

“Everyone has this ‘deltaic’ thinking, they keep comparing us to southeast Louisiana, which is completely different. We have the Chenier Plain here,” Roach said.

When dealing with the Chenier Plain, the best option is multiple lines of defense, said Sherrill Segrera, a Vermillion parish farmer and member of the Acadiana Resource Conservation and Development Council.

“We can’t really do levees here, so we would need to work on rebuilding Chenier and marshland,” Segrera said.

A sore subject among the discussions was the now-stalled Southwest Louisiana Coastal Feasibility Study.

The study by the Army Corps of Engineers was authorized in 2007 and was set to be the first comprehensive look at Southwest Louisiana’s coast, focusing on Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermillion parishes.

It was also supposed to develop a plan to rebuild the Chenier Plain, barrier islands and coastal marsh.

Because of lack of funding, the study has been delayed and officials said the chance of completing the study soon is unlikely.

“If we had the money right now, the study could be done by 2012, with an optimistic implementation of 2020 — and Cameron and Vermillion don’t have that long to wait,” said Sidney Coffee, senior advisor for America’s Wetland Foundation.

“The corps is a group of good guys, but they are not going to change,” said Ernie Broussard, Cameron Parish planner. “The parish as a whole has elected not to dwell on the bureaucratic tape of the federal government and we continue to have our own robust agenda.”

The best option for a doable project is the Dredged Material Management Plan, a study that has been completed but has not been funded. It is a 20-year plan for effectively using material dredged from the Calcasieu River and Pass.

Coffee suggested that officials have projects prioritized in case something has to be dropped because of funding.

Sherill added that they shouldn’t think about building a project unless they factor in maintenance.

March 24, 2011 at 12:58 am

Smash and grab

Two men wanted in nine Calcasieu burglaries
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on two men they believe have committed nine smash-and-grab burglaries at convenience stores.

Since Dec. 24, someone broke into the stores — all in rural areas — by either ramming the front door with a truck or breaking it open with a sledgehammer, said Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

He said all of the trucks used were stolen, usually at night, with the owners not discovering and reporting the thefts until the morning.

“We believe it’s two people, stealing the whole register or safe and sometimes cartons of cigarettes and store goods,” Mancuso said.

He said the suspects may be two white males in their mid-20s, but that in all of the incidents the men wore hoods or bandanas to cover their faces.

“They are hitting these places pretty quickly and sometimes moving to another store to hit,” Mancuso said.

According to Sheriff’s Office records, three stores in the Moss Bluff and Westlake areas were broken into a one-hour period on Jan. 26.

On Feb. 3 and 4, two stores in the Carlyss and Sulphur areas were hit in a two-hour period.

“We think they are purposely hitting stores in rural areas like Carlyss, LeBleu Settlement, and the areas between Moss Bluff and Westlake because they are low-traffic areas at that hour,” Mancuso said.

He said five trucks have been stolen — some personal trucks, others company or utility trucks.

“Along with the items they are taking, these suspects have caused about $500,000 worth of damage to these stores,” Mancuso said.

In some surveillance footage, the suspects drive the truck into the store and ram the checkout counter multiple times, probably to dislodge a safe, detective said.

“If you have heard anyone bragging about doing this or seen a person having extra items for no reason, please let us know,” Mancuso said.

Anyone with information can call the Sheriff’s Office at 491-3605 or Crime Stoppers at 439-2222.

link: http://bit.ly/bnsOP9

February 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Local DA backs Texas pain clinic legislation

Bill could reduce ‘doctor shopping’ across border
*published May 14, 2009
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

With a Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office official present at the Texas Capitol in Austin “for support,” Texas lawmakers on Wednesday advanced legislation to regulate pain management clinics.

Senate Bill 911 would require such clinics to be owned by doctors certified by the Texas Medical Board.

The Senate approved the measure with a 31-0 vote earlier, and the House Public Health Committee did the same, sending the bill to the full House.

Russell Haman, chief administrative officer for the District Attorney’s Office, was to testify before the panel in place of District Attorney John DeRosier, who was under the weather.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Tommy Williams, whose district includes Orange, Jefferson and Liberty counties near the Louisiana border.

“Tommy has been the biggest proponent of the bill from the beginning,” Haman said. “This would help us, but it was all Texas officials (who drafted the bill).”

Haman, who decided not to sign up to testify, said the committee had little discussion before unanimously approving the bill.

“I was only there for support,” Haman said. “For at least two years, John had been working with Texas officials with the hope there would be little or no opposition to the bills.”

Louisiana enacted a law against doctor shopping in 2008, but that sent more people to Texas pain management clinics, which were subject to lax regulation.

“John began meeting with the Harris County district attorney, who was also seeing an increase in illegal possession of prescription pills,” Haman said.

DeRosier attended a series of meetings on the subject, inviting any organization that may be affected by the legislation. That included Texas Drug Enforcement Administration agents, district attorneys, doctors, pharmacists and medical board members.

“And they just kept the door open,” Haman said. “They wanted as much input as possible.”

The Criminal Jurisprudence Committee had not met Wednesday evening on S.B. 1281, a doctor-shopping bill also sponsored by Williams.

It would set tougher penalties for people attempting to obtain controlled drugs by fraud.

It also easily passed through the Senate.

article link: http://bit.ly/6bhDs

May 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

OEP ready for flu

*published Apr. 27, 2009

No cases confirmed in La.; officials stress prevention
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS
Calcasieu Emergency Preparedness officials said they are ready for the possibility of a viral outbreak in the area in the wake of recent reports on the spread of swine flu.

“We put procedures in place back in 2003 when the first cases of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) made news,” said Dick Gremillion, director of the Calcasieu Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness. “There has been a lot planning since that and news of the avian bird flu.”

Gremillion said he and area officials will meet today to discuss the flu outbreaks and plans the local officials have to handle potential pandemics.

A meeting scheduled Tuesday to discuss the coming hurricane season will also include talk about preventative steps against the swine flu.

Symptoms of swine flu are fever, coughing, sore throat, headache, chills and fatigue. There have also been reports of vomiting and diarrhea.

In a Sunday news conference in Baton Rouge, Gov. Bobby Jindal also stressed prevention.

He stated in a Sunday press release that the state Office of Homeland Security has activated its Crisis Action Team, which will monitor national trends on the swine flu and any reported cases in Louisiana.

There are no confirmed cases in Louisiana.

Hospitals and physicians were notified Friday, and the Louisiana Hospital Association is tracking hospital patient volumes, assessing hospital capacities’ and working with Louisiana pharmacies to maximize the availability of antiflu drugs.

Jindal encouraged residents to see a doctor as soon as possible if they experience any of the listed flu-like symptoms.

At a Sunday news conference, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the department had declared a public health emergency.

This allows a federal stockpile of about 12 million doses of Tamiflu to be moved to places where states can quickly get their shares, with priority given to the five states with known cases.

Jindal said 669,000 antiviral doses are earmarked for Louisiana, and should be shipped within seven days.

Until then, he said Louisiana has 370,443 Tamiflu treatments and 94,360 Relenza treatments in the state stockpile.

There are also 64,000 pediatric antiviral doses stockpiled in the state.

As of Sunday, the World Health Organization had 20 lab-confirmed human cases of the H1N1 swine influenza in the U.S., according to a press release.

Eight were in in New York; seven in California; two in Texas, two in Kansas and one in Ohio.

There were no deaths and one brief hospitalization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in a news teleconference Sunday that the seasonal vaccine has no affect on this strain of the virus, but treatments with drugs such as Tamiflu have proved successful.

link: http://bit.ly/7QAXBo

April 27, 2009 at 7:54 pm Leave a comment