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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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News in Brief- November 6, 2019

News in Brief- November 6, 2019

Louisiana holding free flu shot events around the state

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's health department is holding one-day flu vaccination clinics around the state where people can get free flu shots.

The free flu shot events began in October and are continuing this month. Events are open to the public, without appointments needed. The free flu shots will be available locally in Thibodaux at the Warren J. Harang Jr. Municipal Auditorium, 310 North Canal Blvd., on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 3 to 7 p.m.

Those who don't have private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid to cover the cost of the flu shot won't have to pay for the vaccination.

The Department of Health says more than 1,400 people in Louisiana died last year from the flu and more than 14,000 people were hospitalized.

The agency is encouraging people to get their annual vaccination against the flu, saying a shot is recommended for anyone over 6 months old who doesn't have a complicating condition.


Louisiana volunteer rescue crew 'Cajun Navy' changes name

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A volunteer search and rescue group in Louisiana says it has changed its name to avoid confusion with a similarly named organization whose leader is accused of taking money from a fundraiser meant for children.

The director of Pinnacle Search and Rescue, formerly known as Cajun Navy 2016, told KADN-TV it sped up its name change when the president of a separate group called America's Cajun Navy was charged with fraud two weeks ago. News outlets report the change also comes as its own president, Jon Bridgers, faces fraud charges after a homeowner said he agreed to do contracting work on a house but never finished.

Pinnacle Search and Rescue director Ben Husser said some were confusing the two organizations.

Both groups include private boat owners who assist rescue operations.


Report: Louisiana tuition increases led the nation

THE CENTER SQUARE - A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says tuition at four-year public universities in Louisiana increased by 107 percent, or $4,810 per student, from 2008 to 2018, the biggest collective increase by percentage in the nation during that time span and the second-biggest by dollar amount behind Arizona. State funding per full-time student fell 38 percent during that time, or $4,454 per student, the second-greatest decrease by percentage behind Arizona, the report says.

Cuts to higher education have worsened racial and class inequality, since rising tuition can deter low-income students and students of color from college, says the Louisiana Budget Project, which focuses on how state policy affects low- and moderate-income residents.

"Obviously these numbers are alarming, but it's important to note that this report measures a 10-year time span," said Jan Moller, the group’s executive director. "It shows that while funding has stabilized, we still have a lot of catching up to do."


Lockport man succumbs to injuries in Valentine crash

VALENTINE, La. – Shortly before 2:30 a.m. on the morning of October 27, Troopers with Troop C began investigating a serious injury crash on LA 1 near Gaspard Drive. The single-vehicle crash would ultimately take the life of 24-year-old Dezman Allen.

The preliminary investigation revealed Allen was traveling north on LA 1 in a 2006 Ford Focus, when for unknown reasons, he ran off of the roadway to the right and his vehicle struck a boat dock near Bayou Lafourche. He suffered serious injuries and was transported to University Medical Center by Acadian Ambulance Air Med where he died early Wednesday morning. Impairment is unknown at this time and a standard toxicology test is pending.


Still near bottom, but some progress for Louisiana schools

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A national education assessment released Wednesday shows math scores for Louisiana's eighth graders went up five points over the past two years — the best rate of improvement in the nation.

The Nation's Report Card shows Louisiana still near the bottom in math and reading scores for fourth and eighth graders. And the percentage of students judged at least proficient was below 30% at each level: 29% for fourth grade math, 26% for fourth grade reading, 23% for eighth grade math and 27% for eighth grade reading.

Still, the state's education superintendent, John White, pointed to the nation-leading improvement rate for eighth-grade math as a sign of progress. The state education department also released figures showing Louisiana ranking high among states in improving proficiency for math and reading in grades four and eight.

"Over the last decade, Louisiana ranks in the top 10 among all states for improvement on each of the four NAEP tests," White said in a Wednesday news release. "This is further evidence that Louisiana's children are as smart and capable as any in America."