Friday, May 24 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:20:27 GMT
For a family in Lake Charles, one phone call changed everything. The aftermath of the Moore, Okla. tornado revealed the loss of a loved one. One of the children who died at a school destroyed by the tornadoMore >>
A family in Lake Charles mourns the loss of a young relative in the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.
Friday, May 24 2013 8:43 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:43:00 GMT
The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office is looking for a bank robbery suspect. The Vernon Bank branch on Colony Boulevard in New Llano was robbed Thursday afternoon. Investigators say a black male subjectMore >>
The Vernon Bank branch on Colony Boulevard in New Llano was robbed Thursday afternoon.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:33 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:33:22 GMT
A kindergartner at T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School in Lake Charles read 875 books in one school year. Sophia Moss is 5-years-old and she loves to read. "A lot of the days I read books. It's justMore >>
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Friday, May 24 2013 7:24 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:24:38 GMT
Southwest Louisiana is doing its part in the Oklahoma tornado recovery effort. In Westlake, people from all over Southwest Louisiana donated items for the tornado victims. It all started with one manMore >>
Southwest Louisiana is doing its part in the Oklahoma tornado recovery effort.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 5:51 PM EDT2013-05-24 21:51:00 GMT
The following are closures and changes in garbage collection schedules in Southwest Louisiana related to the Memorial Day holiday: Lake Charles: The City of Lake Charles will observe the Memorial DayMore >>
The following are closures and changes in garbage collection schedules in Southwest Louisiana related to the Memorial Day holiday:More >>
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -
Government labs that test for things like bacteria in surface water and seafood, and sexually transmitted diseases in humans play a vital role in protecting public health. But the state lab that has provided this service in the Lake Charles area for decades is closing.
Lake Charles Regional Health lab has a long and rich history in the area-- even in the 1950s and '60s, helping provide a laboratory classroom for microbiology students at McNeese studying under the late Nell Roberts.
In more recent years, after Sept. 11, 2001, the lab provided vital testing during the anthrax scares. Then, the scientists had perhaps a heightened sense of the contribution they were making to keep people healthy as Dr. B.J. Foch explained back in 2001. "Many of these incidents have turned out to be hoaxes, but we're always concerned that there may be one particular incident that we need to be watching out for. So they take it very seriously and are very careful about their new role,"said Foch.
The Calcasieu Police Jury considered the lab a feather in the area's cap and even built a new building to house it back in 2000. The cornerstone bears the names of then police jurors who are now legislators, including Chuck Kleckley and Mike Danahay.
But now, employees are packing it up and it's closing-- to be consolidated with other labs in the state. Lab director for the Louisiana Office of Public Health, Stephen Martin, says closure is more efficient. "The way we do lab testing is changing from manual testing to highly automated, computerized testing. And it just doesn't work well to have a lot of separate, small facilities. When Lake Charles is closed there will be three. One in Amite, Louisiana. One in Shreveport and one is being built in Baton Rouge."
As well, he says advances in technology have eliminated concerns that transporting specimens used to cause. "Those problems and those limitations don't apply to testing we're doing with molecular techniques," said Martin.
And Martin says they don't want labs south of Interstate 10 where hurricanes hit. "We don't want to be in the area where we have to evacuate for storms every year at the same time we really need to be offering public health testing," said Martin. Martin says the people who depend on the testing will not notice a difference.
Martin says the current state budget situation may have escalated the closure but that it's been part of their long term business plan for a while.
He says closure will save an estimated $300,000 a year.
The Calcasieu Police Jury still owns the building. No word on who will move into it.