Home News-Free Year in Review. BPT’s Top Ten stories from 2021 Part 1

Year in Review. BPT’s Top Ten stories from 2021 Part 1

  1. Chandler takes over

The swearing-in ceremony for newly elected Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler, and the members of the Bossier City Council was held on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at the Bossier Civic Center.

The majority of the event consisted of Mayor Chandler presenting his appreciation speech both to those in attendance and to the City of Bossier City. Mayor Chandler gave his reverence and admiration for his family, members of the government, and all of the supporters that he accredits with helping him claim the position.

“I want to thank the citizens of Bossier City for electing me as mayor of this great city to work with the city council and to keep Bossier City as a place that everyone wants to live and work,” said Mayor Chandler.

He offered his respect and admiration to former Bossier City Mayor, Lorenz “Lo” Walker, former CAO, Pam Glorioso, and to the other members of the previous City of Bossier City administration mentioning the passion they showed during their years of service. He also mentioned the courtesy that was extended during Lo Walker’s passing of the city flag to him.

In March, Chandler unseated four term Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker in the Bossier City mayoral race. Chandler received 56 percent of the vote (4,623 votes) while incumbent Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker received 44 percent of the vote (3,603 votes). Unofficial voter turnout in the mayoral race was low at 23.1 percent.

  1. Bossier Parish “Snowpocalypse” 2021

A historic arctic winter snow and ice storm hit Louisiana in February, bringing snow, hail and freezing rain across the state.

From February 13–17, 2021, a major winter and ice storm caused widespread impacts across the United States, Northern Mexico, and parts of Canada.

The storm started out in the Pacific Northwest and quickly moved into the Southern United States, before moving on to the Midwestern and Northeastern United States a couple of days later.

On February 14–15, the storm dropped prolific amounts of snow across Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.

On February 16 alone, northern parts of Louisiana faced the deepest plunge, with a temperature recorded as low as 1 degree at the Shreveport Regional Airport. The previous record low in the area for Feb. 16 had been 20 degrees, set in 1903, according to the National Weather Service in Shreveport.

As a result of the winter storm (and a concurrent cold wave), power grids were unable to sustain the higher-than-normal energy and heating demand from residential and business customers and they failed.

Two of the electric reliability commissions servicing the southern United States, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), ordered rolling blackouts for 14 states amid the frigid temperatures, in an attempt to manage the strain on the power grid and to prevent widespread, long-duration blackouts.

  1. Gov. Edwards Announces New Amazon Robotics Facility in Shreveport

Staff Reports:

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Amazon announced the company’s first robotics fulfillment center in Louisiana, with over 1,000 jobs and a $200 million capital investment coming to an LED Certified Site in north Shreveport. Located in the Hunter Industrial Park, the site is near Interstates 20, 49 and 220 and provides ideal access for Amazon’s logistics operations.

The Amazon robotics fulfillment center will include contemporary robotics technology and inventory and shipping operations in a multi-level building with a 650,000-square foot foundation. The project will create over 1,000 full-time jobs with starting pay of $15 per hour and comprehensive benefits beginning on day one (full medical, vision and dental insurance; and 401(k) savings with a 50 percent company match). The development will generate 800 construction jobs and the Louisiana Economic Development Department estimates the project will result in an additional 1,118 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 2,100 permanent new jobs in Northwest Louisiana.

“This new Amazon project is a major advancement for the Shreveport-Bossier City metro area and for Louisiana’s economy,” Governor Edwards said. “In addition to providing strong benefits, Amazon will pay workers double the minimum wage or more in a state-of-the-art technology environment. Only a year ago, we dedicated Hunter Industrial Park as one site in a growing inventory of LED Certified Sites that now numbers 126 statewide. Through partnerships with our elected officials, economic development allies and utility partners, we are proving that great things are possible in Louisiana when we make smart plans for the future,” said Governor Edwards.

One of every five U.S. residents lives within a 500-mile radius of Shreveport, making the location enviable for distribution and logistics companies. Amazon will begin construction of its Shreveport fulfillment center immediately, with plans to open the site in September 2022, in time for its busiest e-commerce season of the year.

  1. Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler names Director of Police Operations

Staff Reports:

Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler announces that Chief of Police Shane McWilliams has been reassigned within the department, effective immediately, and will no longer have duties and responsibilities as the Chief of Police.

Mayor Chandler says, “I want to thank Shane McWilliams for his many years of dedicated service to the citizens of Bossier City and to the Bossier City Police Department as Chief of Police. And, I look forward to working with him in a different capacity within the department.”

Effective immediately, Mayor Tommy Chandler has designated Sergeant Chris Estess as Director of Police Operations. Estess will lead the Bossier City Police Department until a new Chief of Police can be appointed.

  1. Willis-Knighton Health System announces new President & Chief Executive Officer

On Saturday, September 11, 2021, Willis-Knighton Health System announced that James K. Elrod, President and Chief Executive Officer, plans to retire effective September 30, 2021. The Board of Directors has unanimously elected Jerry A. “Jaf” Fielder II to succeed Mr. Elrod as President and Chief Executive Officer. With a tenure of over 30 years, Mr. Fielder currently serves as a senior member of Willis-Knighton’s executive leadership team.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the medical staff, the management team and Willis-Knighton’s over 7,000 employees, we want to thank Mr. Elrod for his unparalleled contributions and indelible impact during his more than five decades at the helm of this organization,” said Board Chairman Frank Hughes, M.D. “Under his leadership, Mr. Elrod has grown Willis-Knighton from a small community hospital to one of the largest healthcare systems in Louisiana. We are fortunate that he will be President Emeritus and remain on the Board of Trustees so as to ensure a seamless changing of the guard”
 said Dr. Hughes.

With an unwavering vision toward the future, Mr. Elrod led the expansion of the original 60-bed hospital into a fully integrated care network consisting of four acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation institute, an extensive multispecialty physician network, and the state’s largest retirement community, The Oaks of Louisiana. Mr. Elrod created the characteristic that distinguished Willis-Knighton most, which is a commitment to innovation.

A few of the many “firsts’’ at Willis-Knighton during Mr. Elrod’s tenure include organ transplants, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, innovative eye surgery technology and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Willis-Knighton also was the first in the state to offer proton therapy for cancer treatment. Mr. Elrod has been recognized by numerous organizations for his ongoing commitment and dedication to the community, which led a regional newspaper to name him one of the most influential people in North Louisiana in the last century.

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