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Gov. Edwards signs order extending Phase Two and other restrictions in Louisiana until Sept. 11

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an order today that extends Phase Two and the statewide mask mandate, closure of bars to on-site consumption and gathering size limits in Louisiana for another two weeks, until September 11, 2020. Despite progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the state, The White House Coronavirus Task Force still has Louisiana in the red zone for new cases, just as schools and colleges return to campus and Hurricane Laura is set to impact the state. Further, almost half of the state’s parishes have positivity rates in excess of 10 percent.

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Main Street grants can be paid to additional small businesses

State Treasurer John Schroder announced Thursday all qualifying small businesses now can receive a grant from the Main Street Recovery Program, even if they got prior federal assistance such as a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
Act 311 of the Louisiana 2020 Regular Session set aside $275 million from the CARES Act for the Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program but prioritized businesses who didn’t receive prior funding for the first 21 days. The restriction has ended.

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A crawfish producer runs the traps in a field near Eunice. Crawfish producers hurt by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be able to receive compensation from a program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter)

USDA assistance available for crawfish farmers hurt by pandemic

From now until Sept. 11, crawfish farmers can apply for assistance from a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to compensate them for losses related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This program will help producers deal with economic problems caused by the low prices and the inability to move crawfish,” said LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry. “This will help them close the gap between what revenue they were able to generate and what they would have expected to generate this year.”

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James Newsom, director of the Acadian Baptist Center, stands in front of the new worship center completed in May. The center in Richard has been emptied of campers due to the coronavirus. (Photos by Harlan Kirgan)

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Inside the new worship center at Acadian Baptist Center.

COVID-19 batters Acadian Baptist Center

There was reason for celebration at the Acadian Baptist Center where a new worship center was completed in May, but then coronavirus pandemic hit.
James Newsom, center director, describes it as the “best of worlds and the worst of worlds.”
In April 2019, there was ground breaking event for the new worship center with hopes it would take the pressure off crowded conditions at the center that usually is filled by campers all summer.
“Attendance had been great until the pandemic,” Newsom said. “We had over 4,000 kids come to camp last summer, which was a record.”

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Pollution linked to virus transmission

For more than 20 years, LSU Chemical Engineering Professor Kalliat T. Valsaraj’s research has focused on atmospheric aerosols and environmental behavior, including investigating issues like India’s poor air quality for more than 10 years.
Valsaraj and his colleagues have turned their attention to a new problem in their recently published article in Environmental Research titled, “Potential Link Between Compromised Air Quality and Transmission of the Novel Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) in Affected Areas.”


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