Archive for July, 2008

Blighted Property Next Door?
July 28, 2008

 

photo courtesy flikr.com

photo courtesy flikr.com

Bare
Leftover from Katrina
Insecure
Gloomy
Hazardous
Troublesome
Eye sore
Dilapidated

Click Here: Watch The Story 

Katrina, Katrina, Katrina… after 3 years and lots of sweat and tears you have rebuilt your home (some of us anyway).  If you have been fortunate enough to come out of our great tragedy as such but are stuck next to abandoned property you feel is an eye sore and a danger, you now have a chance to change your neighboring scenery … that is if you can spare some extra change.

This week the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is sending out letters to more than 2,000 Orleans Parish residents who are eligible to buy the blighted property next door. The New Orleans City Council created the ‘Lot Next Door’ program for property owned by NORA.  All properties for sale through the Lot Next Door program will be sold for fair market value to be determined by an appraisal.

If NORA already owns the lot next door,  they say you could aquire the property in as soon as 2-3 months, but NORA owns a small number of properties and has limited sources of property. NORA expects to receive more property sold to the State as part of Road Home program and can file expropriation lawsuits to acquire property officially designated blighted.    

To be eligible, Lot Next Door participants must:
1. Have a homestead exemption on your property; 
2. Live directly to the right or left of the property NORA owns or will come to own; 
3. Currently comply with City building codes and health and safety ordinances on all properties you own in Orleans Parish; 
4. Be current on taxes on all property you own in Orleans Parish; 
5. Be prepared to pay NORA the appraised, fair market lot value plus legal fees and costs; and 
6. Plan to hold ownership of the subject property for at least five years or pay a penalty

There are other options if you don’t qualify but would still like to purchase the lot next door. (see link below for more info) Don’t put this off… If you receive a letter you must send back a statement of interest form WITHIN 30 DAYS of the letter.

To search for blighted property owned by NORA and find out more information on the Lot Next Door program click here

Please let me know what you think of this program. Do you plan to buy the lot next door? To write in your comments, click on the ‘response’ link at the top of this post.

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Satellite Radio Customers…
July 28, 2008

FEDS APPROVE SATELLITE MERGER
      WASHINGTON (AP) – It’s now “done and one” when it comes to the satellite radio industry. Federal regulators have formally approved the merger of the nation’s only two satellite radio companies. The move means Sirius can complete its proposed buyout of rival XMSatellite. And it also means that Sirius and XM subscribers will be able to receive programming from both services. The vote by the Feds ends a 16-month-long drama that had been closely watched by observers both in Washington and on Wall Street. Executives of the satellite companies say the merger will mean huge cost savings for the satellite radio industry. But opponents of the merger believe the union of the only two companies in the industry will hurt consumers and is not in the public interest.

Automated Customer Service Making You Wait? I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Understand Your Number
July 24, 2008

(Video Here) Whether you’re trying to get answers from your insurance company, dispute a credit card charge, or get your cable fixed… it’s the same story via phone… an automated voice asks you to press a number for language, please listen to the 9 options and select a reason you’re calling,  the tech voice doesn’t understand your account number, then you’re put on hold for 3-30 minutes while you listed to elevator music… blah blah… it’s all for the birds.

Save yourself the time and frustration of waiting on the phone. We found a database of secret phone codes for specific numbers that will get you through to an actual person at each company.

CHECK OUT THESE EXAMPLES:

  • AMERICAN AIRLINES BAGGAGE – 800-535-5225 – PRESS 7
  • CAPITOL ONE – 800-548-4593 – PRESS 0
  • COX COMMUNICATIONS – 800-229-6542 – PRESS 1, 0#, 0#, 1
  • SAMS CLUB- 888-746-7726- PRESS 4 AT THE 1ST PROMPT AND 6 AT 2ND PROMPT

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL CHEATSHEET OF COMPANY PHONE NUMBERS AND CODES.

You can also read about and rate each customer support system for each company.

Hope this helps! As always, let me know if you have a story idea.

~Melanie

Still Concerned About NOLA Area Water
July 24, 2008

An oil spill in the Mississippi + officials ask you to conserve water + 21st century bottled water craze = information overload.  Which bottled water should you buy? If you’re a middle class Louisiana family of 5 my guess is you’re not buying Perrier.  But what’s with all the subtitles on bottled water?  Do you know or care where it’s coming from?

The FDA has established “Standards of Identity” for bottled water products sold in the U.S.  What’s the difference? 

Artesian Water
This is water that originates from a confined aquifer that has been tapped and in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

 

Fluoridated
This type of water contains fluoride added within the limitations established in the FDA Code of Federal Regulations. This category includes water classified as “For Infants” or “Nursery.” 

Ground Water
This type of water is from an underground source that is under a pressure equal to or greater than atmospheric pressure.

Mineral Water
Mineral water contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids (TDS). It comes from a source tapped at one or more bore holes or spring, and originates from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. No minerals may be added to this water.

Purified Water
This type of water has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, or other suitable processes. Purified water may also be referred to as “demineralized water.” It meets the definition of “purified water” in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

Sparkling Water
Sparkling water contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source. The carbon dioxide may be removed and replenished after treatment.

Spring Water
This type of water comes from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the Earth’s surface.

Sterile Water
This type of water meets the requirements under “sterility tests” in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

Well Water
Well water is taken from a hole tapping, etc. This hole may be bored, drilled, or otherwise constructed in the ground.

(www.nsf.org)

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July 24, 2008

 

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What is this about conserving water today?
July 23, 2008

photo courtesy Associated Press

Talk about a Mississippi muddy mess today … More than 419,000 GALLONS of heavy, almost tar-like fuel oil spilled from a barge after an accident in New Orleans early this morning.  Just to give you an idea how big the spill is … a 29-mile stretch of the river is closed, along with water intakes in 4 parishes (Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard). Residents and business owners are being asked to CONSERVE WATER  as much as possible while clean-up efforts are underway; however, maybe this should serve as a good lesson in HOW to conserve water.  Let’s use this incident to get into better habbits and stop thinking the idea is for left-coast conservationists.

For the FOUR hundred NINETEEN thousand gallons of fuel in the river today… Check out FORTY NINE ways to save water (indoors, outdoors, and in the community).

http://www.americanwater.com/49ways.htm

Out of 49– we can each incorporate a few tips into our daily routines.  (for starters, stop letting the shower run while you make your morning coffee…)

Have a good day! ~ Melanie

Have you ‘checked up’ on your doctor?
July 21, 2008

I just moved to New Orleans a month ago from California, but I’m no stranger to the Crescent City as it is my hometown.  I am, however, starting over with doctors, tailors, hair stylists, etc… so I’m conducting consumer research now from which you too can benefit.  Please let me know if you have a topic of concern that you would like for me to examine, and I will do my best to add it in my work schedule.  In addition to being around my family and friends I am here to help all of you, my hometown friends.

How about starting with healthcare, a hot topic these days.  Not to be a pessimist, but if you’re happy with your current doctors you might not know the whole truth. Would you care if you found out any of them had been disciplined by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners? Many health consumers don’t know the full medical history of their doctors.  I have to admit, I’ve never looked into it myself … I relied solely on referrals.  But as you may have seen in our story, a referral isn’t enough. The first step to give your doctor a proper ‘checkup’ is to check with the board.  Here’s what you do:

Log onto www.lsbme.org and click on “Verifications” on the left side of the home page.  The easiest way to conduct a background check online is to click “here” under “online verification.”  Here you can type in your doctor’s first and last name, and the state.  Happy check-ups to you!  In the meantime, we uncovered some medical backgrounds in the NOLA area that you might find of interest.   (information from Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, follow instructions above for most recent status and full background descriptions online)

Metairie

John Russell Davis, M.D.  (Medicine and Surgery) – Voluntary Surrender- Not Licensed- Convicted August 2007 of felony charge pertaining to the sexual exploitation of children

Luling

David Paul Sampognaro, M.D. – (Medicine and Surgery) – Suspended- Can not practice. January 2004- Indicted by a state grand jury for 21 counts of possession of child pornography. December 2006 – Pleaded ‘no contest’ to one count of attempted possession of child pornography. Sentenced to five years imprisonment, which was suspended, and was placed on probation for a period of five years, subject to a number of conditions. These included registration as a sex offender, and attending approved sex offender counseling.

Kenner

Dana Ray Fouchi, M.D. – (Medicine and Surgery) – Suspended, can not practice. Accused of examining and treating female patients without a chaperone, engaged in inappropriate behavior with two female employees whowere also patients, inappropriate behavior with female nurse at an area hospital, associated himself with an unlicensed practitioner, provided false information to the Board on the renewal application for his 2007 license, and failed to self-report violations of the chaperone requirement on his license.  At the time of discharge, Dr. Fouchi was not deemed capable of returning to practice. 

Marksville

Wallace Reynolds, MD  – (Medicine) – Reinstated and unrestricted. 

Raceland

Timothy Y. Maines, M.D.  – (Medicine and Surgery) – Active but on probation.  License was previously suspended due to psychiatric conditions, abuse and/or dependence on controlled substances, and prescribing medicine without proper registration.  Currently practicing with on-going treatment, mentoring, therapy, and neurocognitive testing and clinical skills assessment.  Dr. Maines has complied with ongoing treatment and attempts to undergo retraining in a medical residency training program.

Metairie

Fernando J. Martinez, Jr. M.D.– (Medicine and Surgery) – Active and Unrestricted, previously suspended for overprescribing pain medicine. 

New Orleans
Herbert L. Muncie, Jr. M.D. – (Medicine and Surgery) – Active but on probation, previously accused of having inappropriate relations with a female patient, prescribing that same patient excessive amounts of controlled substances, and providing her with false medical excuses.

Leslie E. Lawrence, M.D. – (Medicine and Surgery) – Reinstated, active and unrestricted.  Has had prior board action.

Anthony S. Jase, M.D.  – Active but on probation.  Previously accused of over-prescribing controlled substances.

Leo Joseph Vial, CRT – (Licensed Respiratory Therapist) – License suspended pending administrative action.  Physician may suffer from a condition, mainly substance abuse, that may interfere with his ability to practice respiratory care with reasonable skill and safety to patients. 

Mandeville

Heber E. Dunaway, Jr. M.D. – (Dispensation Registration) – Suspended and can not practice.  (Medicine and Surgery) – Reinstated, Active and Unrestricted, prior board action. Reason for board action concerned certain practices that were unrelated to his practice of obstetrics and gynecology.

Mary Christine Webster, M.D. – Active, On Probation.  Previously accused of overprescribing controlled substances without legitimate medical cause.

Covington

Kami Kay Dehler, MDW – (Midwife) – Revoked, can not practice.  Accused of practicing in a manner not in compliance with Midwife Practice Act.  Treated a client without proper physician supervision, accepted a client that was not eligible for home delivery based upon maternal age, did not arrange for emergency backup, did not maintain appropriate treatment records, and when the patient’s conditions deteriorated, Dehler tried to dissuade the patient from obtaining emergency care.  Dehler then did not inform the Board of the infant death within 48 hours.

Lacombe

Charles David Mayeux, RRT– Suspended, can not practice.  Investigation reveals Mayeux was terminated from employment at a New Orleans area hospital in 2005 for engaging in inappropriate conduct with a cognitively impaired, hospitalized, former patient with whom he was familiar. Investigation also reveals he did not disclose the underlying reasons or fact of his termination to a subsequent employer, nor did he reveal the investigation, suspension of his privileges or termination to the Board on his 2006 renewal application for his license.