February 1, 2023
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Horse racing and trains top Shreveport business news this week

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Hello, Shreveport. In the news this week, a Shreveport hospital introduces a procedure to reduce epileptic seizures and Louisiana Downs sits down with the Shreveport Times to discuss the future. Keep reading to find out more about this week’s business news. 

Northwest Louisiana hospital is the first to offer a new way to reduce seizures

Ochsner LSU Health

A group of medical professionals have pioneered the path to reducing epileptic seizures in North Louisiana. .

Through a small hole in the skull, electrodes as well as a small pacemaker device are placed in the part of the brain causing the seizures. When the RNS system detects an oncoming seizure, it sends an impulse to that part of the brain to stop it. 

The groundwork laid by these medical professionals have allowed patients in North Louisiana to remain in town rather than traveling to to Dallas, New Orleans, Little Rock or Birmingham to have this type of procedure. 

SWEPCO will waive late fees and offer solutions for high fuel rates

A SWEPCO substation.

Southwestern Electric Power Co. will be helping residential customers facing high bills due to increased demand and rising fuel costs. 

On Tuesday, Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and Chief Operating Officer said “we understand customers are concerned about the rising cost of electricity across our region as we have experienced record-breaking heat this summer coupled with rising fuel costs.”

These flexible options will be available through Oct. 31, 2022. 

To learn more about how SWEPCO is helping customers, click here. 

What is going on at Louisiana Downs?

Opening Day at Harrah's Louisiana Downs on Saturday featuring kind zones, tasty food trucks, derby drinks, and live thoroughbred horse racing on the racetrack.

Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack has seen its share of controversy.  It was recently reported that money was missing from the horse racing purse. In that same time frame, two managers suddenly left their positions, and a decision was made about the Super Derby. 

Since Rubico Gaming’s complete takeover in Feb. 2022, Louisiana Downs has seen the hardships of infrastructure conversion and management shifts. 

On Aug. 11, Louisiana Downs announced they will be postponing the Super Derby for 2022 and will be returning in 2023. 

Preston said that this move will allow for an extra year of adding revenue to the purse structure. 

A new solar energy company is coming DeSoto Parish

Cleco is being sold for $3.4 billion.

A leading renewable energy producer is coming to DeSoto Parish in hopes of growing its fleet.

“This solar project is another step forward in Cleco’s journey to becoming Louisiana’s leading clean energy company,” said Bill Fontenot, President and CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings. “This project continues our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint while affordably and reliably serving our customers.”

This project is expected to provide many benefits to the community by offering jobs and tax revenue. 

To learn more about this new solar energy company, click here.  

Check out the new Highland neighborhood community center

The Highland Center hosted a grand opening for the new neighbor-led library Saturday in the heart of the Highland neighborhood.  Aug. 20, 2022.

The Highland neighborhood welcomed a new community center Saturday morning where children and their families can read, meet, access technology and even exercise. 

This new center is home to more than 100 books for all ages, a computer lab, printer and meeting space.

Berry, with funding from the Noel Foundation and Rotary Club of Shreveport, organized this new space in hopes of making sure local students and their families have access to books year-round. 

“We still have a lot of work to do here at the Highland Center,” said Poche. “This is just a step in that direction.”

Is Amtrak coming to Shreveport?

FILE - An Amtrack train passes by a freight train as it travels north.

Louisiana’s potential passenger rail expansions across the Interstate 20 corridor and connecting Baton Rouge to New Orleans are gaining steam and will grab the Deep South spotlight when the Southern Rail Commission meets in Shreveport next month.

The Southern Rail Commission, which is focused only on expanding passenger train service, includes 18 members appointed by Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama governors — six from each state.

Louisiana’s proposed Amtrak expansions have gained funding momentum this summer.

To learn more about Amtrak expanding Louisiana, click here

Be on the lookout for Thursday and Sunday for Life in the 318 and The 318 to catch up on all the best stories you might have missed.

Makenzie Boucher is a reporter with the Shreveport Times. Contact her at mboucher@gannett.com.

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