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The Interstate 20 Economic Development Corp.’s governing board recently agreed to extend Fontana Road to a service road north of I-20 in eastern Ouachita to benefit the expansion of a local tractor dealer.

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The joint budget committee of the Louisiana Legislature gave Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration the authority last week to spend $331 million in federal funds but not before a contentious debate about how officials will distribute aid to rental property owners.

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Following almost six weeks of improvements in Louisiana’s COVID-19 case counts and a sustained decrease in COVID-related hospitalizations, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday that the state would move forward to Phase 3.

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Morehouse Community Medical Centers, Inc. dba CommuniHealth Services (CHS) last week announced the closing of $12 million in New Markets Tax Credit funding that will finance the development of a new, 41,267 sq ft state-of-the-art clinic facility in Morehouse Parish.

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BATON ROUGE—With an estimated $2 billion provided to Louisiana from a federal coronavirus aid bill passed in December and the likelihood of another federal stimulus package, state legislators are hopeful they can balance the budget for fiscal 2022 with no more than modest cuts.

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The Second Circuit Court of Appeal recently overturned a ruling by Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Alvin Sharp, of Monroe, who dismissed a couple’s claims for damages against the state in a collision lawsuit.

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Former interim Monroe Police Chief Reginald “Reggie” Brown wants subpoenas issued to 34 people including former Mayor Jamie Mayo and the district attorney to testify in a hearing where he will appeal his termination from the police department.

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The Monroe City Council this week signed off on another step toward the completion of the $36-million Kansas Lane Connector, which entails the construction of a thoroughfare linking Interstate 20 with U.S. Hwy 80 and U.S. Hwy 165.

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Ouachita Parish Schools lost 87 students since October, reflecting a trend of declining enrollment that could cost the school system as much as $3 million in state funding this year.

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FEMA announced federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Louisiana to supplement state and local response efforts in areas affected by a severe winter storm beginning Feb. 11, 2021 and continuing.

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The city of Monroe is currently trying to repair numerous leaks that weakened the city’s water pressure for the municipality’s water customers.

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“Jim” Davis, a local minister, substitute teacher and small business owner in Monroe is announcing his campaign for the vacant seat in 5th Congressional District left by the untimely death of Luke Letlow.

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Monroe officials said they were sad to learn of the passing of Asian elephant, Shirley. Shirley was living at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee at the time of her death; she was 72.

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State Sen. Stewart Cathey (District 33) will serve on the Joint Legislative Committee on Technology and Cybersecurity, as appointed by Senate President Page Cortez.

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BATON ROUGE—Voters in most parishes supported the legalization of sports gambling last Nov. 3, but it may be 2022 by the time bettors are legally allowed to wager in Louisiana on football and other games.

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Louisiana will maintain its current mandates and restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, Gov. John Bel Edwards said last week.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana recently issued statements critical of state Attorney General Jeff Landry's decision to sue a newspaper when one of its reporters sought access to public records.

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The state Republican party's executive committee agreed to censure U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy on Saturday after the senator voted with six other Republicans to convict former President Donald Trump for allegedly inciting an insurrection.

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A local lawmaker predicted last week his proposed 22-cent increase of the state’s gasoline tax will attract a “groundswell” of support this year, despite the failure of similar efforts in 2017 and 2019.

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G.B. Cooley Hospital Service District posted a general fund surplus of some $1.1 million in the past fiscal year as well as a finding related to the arrest of the district's former chief financial officer for allegedly embezzling some $400,000.

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Several Fourth Judicial District Court judges accused of concealing illegal activity at the court recently asked a special appointed judge to save them from having to defend themselves against those accusations in front of a jury.

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Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III issued the first handful of subpoenas earlier this month seeking testimony before a trial as part of his ongoing lawsuit against Fourth Judicial District Court officials who allegedly conspired to conceal illegal activity at the court.

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State lawmakers are beginning to draft legislation for the upcoming legislative session in April where they hope to gain support for measures reducing the tax burden on farmers and luring new residents and businesses to the state with tax credits.

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Due to the extreme forecasts, Ouachita Parish Schools will remain closed the rest of the week. Classes will resume on Monday, February 22 as scheduled. Thank you for helping get the word out.Downsville Charter School has also announced closures for the rest of the week.This article will be u…