Ted Eytan / https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/5493768345/in/photolist-de9zmG-zVnCB-zVnGo-4CfMwf-bj1yFi-dnyySh-dnyz2Y-dVZMdM-5BMJWL-5FHUCQ-amPiu-zGH4G1-2fmcDqe-2fgx86s-2fmcDsi-9nsZVT-anp8id-9upXo9-9Eg9X-4DbqJs-6gzLzu-bB8tK-bB8tL-FHhBSs

A United States Department of Justice release says a Monroe doctor is among a group who have agreed to pay a total of $1.1 million to resolve allegations that they have received illegal kickbacks. 

Dr. Gregory Sampognaro of Monroe, Dr. Warren Strickland and Dr. Isabella Strickland of Huntsville, Alabama, and Cardiology P.C. of Birmingham, Alabama are all included in the allegations according to the release.

Sampognaro was accused of receiving kickbacks from a Seattle-area testing company for referring people for genetic testing.

This allegedly happened between 2012 and 2013. The doctors were alleged to have accepted payments from a now-defunct testing company called Natural Molecular Testing Corporation. The Department of Justice says that the scheme was allgedly in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Civil False Claims Act.

The Dept. of Justice says the claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Dr. Sampognaro responded to the release on Wednesday:

"I have had the privilege of serving patients in our community for more than 20 years. Recently, local news media outlets have released an article regarding me without once reaching out to me for a statement. I want to set the record straight.


"To be clear: This was purely a civil issue and the fact that I settled is not an admission of wrongdoing. I chose to settle because it was far less expensive than the cost of my legal team fighting it in federal court. The actual amount of money my practice received from Natural Molecular Testing Corporation (NMTC) was far less than the settlement amount.


"I want you, my community, to have the facts and full story. In 2012, My practice became involved with Natural Molecular Testing Corporation (NMTC) because it was providing a cutting edge genetic testing service, with similar testing now considered the standard of care in many patient situations. At the time we were most interested in Plavix metabolism with my patients’ best interest in mind.


"Also of interest to us was NMTC’s offer to become part of a national research registry that promised to provide profiles of my patients and practice against national experience. NMTC paid modest fees for the practice’s overhead cost for inputting data into the registry. This was a national registry and many physicians across the country were involved and compensated in the same fashion, including other physicians in our community.


"At no time was my practice involved in billing for the genetic testing to Medicare nor did the practice ever receive any such funds from Medicare in this matter, and the settlement with the government was many multiples of the amount of money paid to the practice by NMTC. I fully cooperated with the government’s investigation of NMTC.


"Although I fully disagreed with the government’s position, they ultimately offered a settlement that was substantially below my projected costs of taking my litigation against the government. I decided to put this matter behind me so I could focus on providing the best care to my patients, as I have done over the past 20 years.


"I would like to thank everyone for their support, thoughts and prayers."

Greg Sampognaro, MD

Henrique Pinto / https://www.flickr.com/photos/henriquev/3427039944/in/photolist-6dQtzA-bgtHF-yqUhY-anDXfr-5HwMsg-22mTmpD-4sdLX-4F7pni-bkuAmg-rabUA-dDYsQT-27g3Ggs-dE4Q9u-dE4QeG-8tLab1-fNXjaf-5geV3w-rw12Dn-cJY747-cJeD-ob2Nxr-iuP6MX-KefPnU-2muLa1-8qXnvG-9ph9pk-p5fkeg-a7gYov

A chemical manufacturing plant in Louisiana leaked gaseous hydrochloric acid, causing a visible haze and leading to a brief highway shutdown.

News outlets report the leak found Wednesday at Westlake Chemical in Geismar led state environmental officials to worry about a possible acid cloud. A state Department of Environmental Quality report says Westlake officials say they don't believe such a cloud formed.

Jay Curtis / KEDM

Ouachita Parish residents had a chance to meet local candidates at the 90.3 KEDM Public Radio Candidate Forums. KEDM, the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce and the University of Louisiana at Monroe Student Government Association hosted three Candidate Forums in September. 

The Louisiana Senate Candidate Forum took place Thursday, September 5 at 6 p.m. for Senate Districts 32, 33, and 35 at “The Terrace” 7th Floor Conference Center at the University of Louisiana at Monroe Library.

Jail / Flickr.com / https://www.flickr.com/photos/710928003/1254166079/in/photolist-2UPVT6-9WqXK2-cf2umd-7ZGDbN-2sdTFc-p9mEFr-ajJ8sx-5ZKy8T-6s8yjB-7ZGH2q-2vkxeC-4xKLM9-KAyGi-64kAUe-6qvCYX-aSWxAx-8bKZzq-9t8rLM-REHCWo-cTB3yN-bGM5fa-bgDwvv-rcHj6N-77EvvT-4qJ4Sk-oDyutU-Swwq1E-7RM

Nelson Bell Jr., 52, of Monroe, was sentenced today to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty for possessing two sawed-off shotguns. He previously pleaded guilty to the federal charges on April 9, 2019.

Linda/Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/akahodag/2935088189/in/photolist-5tn6sM-nyMD42-FvcFMn-8a9CDC-eErJB5-e15Nrc-bJBdgK-dFSZzq-YKePxQ-pjKKmt-7PuFAj-4iQhNf-9J3kHQ-6EprqC-fDwu4r-9Bmzx4-8a6MXR-9VoH1c-7od6pJ-7LgPde-8aa3ML-7LgGsR-9VrAdb-43k7ST-pAGt59-9HZwkc-bg2WW2-cAF

Some residents of a central Louisiana town are protesting after a man crashed an all-terrain vehicle and died during a police chase.

Local television reports the protest stems from the Aug. 3 death of 20-year-old Bunkie resident Reginald Smith Jr.

The Bunkie Police Department says officers spotted an all-terrain vehicle speeding around 1 a.m. with lights off.

Police pursued, and Smith crashed and died.

Kathleen Blanco: Louisiana Gov Brought Down By Katrina Dies

Aug 19, 2019

Even after Hurricane Katrina ended her political career and as cancer ate away her strength, former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco still described her life as "charmed." With strength in her faith and her family, the state's first elected female governor time and again refused to wallow in disappointment or disaster.

Blanco called it an "honor and blessing" to lead Louisiana through the fury and destruction of Katrina. As she knew her end was near from an incurable melanoma, Blanco talked of her final months as a "wonderful time for me."

BATON ROUGE — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards sent a letter to Pres. Donald J. Trump requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Louisiana due to the impact of Hurricane Barry last month. Barry made landfall July 13, 2019, near Intracoastal City with maximum sustained winds of 71 mph and gusts up to 85 mph. 

The hurricane triggered extensive rainfall, flash flooding and multiple tornadoes. In addition to Barry's landfall, the state was already dealing with months of elevated river levels and continuous river flood fighting before the hurricane threatened the state.

Connor Tarter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/connortarter

SHREVEPORT, La. – A Bossier City man pleaded guilty today for his leadership role and participation in an anabolic steroid distribution conspiracy in the Shreveport/Bossier City area. 

Cory Crowe / KEDM

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican challenger Ralph Abraham made spending promises to sheriffs Thursday while offering diverging tax pitches to mayors and municipal leaders, as the pair traveled to campaign forums on opposite ends of Louisiana seeking to woo local officials' support in the governor's race.