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Voters consolidate area’s levee boards

Sun., Oct. 1, 2006

Louisiana voters on Saturday approved consolidating the New Orleans area’s levee boards, the generations-old agencies whose politically appointed members took criticism after Hurricane Katrina for failing to maintain the area’s levees and floodwalls.

The constitutional amendment – passing with about 80 percent of the vote – will combine 10 southeast Louisiana boards into two – one for each bank of the Mississippi River – and require that their members have expertise in engineering, geology and hydrology.

After Katrina breached New Orleans’ levees last August, the existing boards were criticized as disjointed, full of cronyism and patronage, and badly lacking in technical knowledge.


Councilman wants parents sterilized

A City Council member, reacting to a video store holdup believed to have been carried out by children, says parents who can’t properly care for their kids should be sterilized.

“We pick up stray animals and spay them,” Larry Shirley said in a story published Saturday by the Post and Courier of Charleston. “These mothers need to be spayed if they can’t take care of theirs. Once they have a child and it’s running the street, to let them continue to have children is totally unacceptable.”

Shirley’s comments come after police say a video store was held up by a group of children, including a 14-year-old girl suspected of wielding a BB gun that looked like a pistol.

The holdup happened about 9 p.m. Wednesday at a Hollywood Video store. A 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy were charged as juveniles with armed robbery. A 9-year-old boy was not charged because police said he was too young. He was released to his mother.

“What we’ve got is a failure in society, whether it’s in Mount Pleasant with yuppie parents or whether it’s on the East Side with poor crackhead parents,” he said, referring to areas in and around Charleston.


Hospital staff gets whooping cough

Whooping cough has been diagnosed in more than two dozen medical workers at the same hospital in the past three weeks, and 55 others who have shown symptoms are being tested, a spokesman said Saturday.

Since Sept. 7, 28 cases of whooping cough have been confirmed at St. Vincent Hospital, said Dennis Irish, a hospital spokesman.

The outbreak appears to be confined to the hospital staff, with all victims part of the surgical department except one records worker, said Dr. Anthony Esposito, the hospital’s chief of medicine.

Whooping cough is a highly infectious bacterial disease that can produce a rattling cough. The symptoms linger for months and cause patients to lose sleep and weight.

The disease is rarely fatal for anyone past infancy. None of the infected staff members worked in the pediatric or maternity wards, Irish said.


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