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Year in Review. BPT’s Top Ten stories from 2021 Part 2

  1. Rubico Acquisition Corporation officially takes over Louisiana Downs

Staff Reports:

Rubico Acquisition Corporation is the official new owner of Louisiana Downs in Bossier City. The transfer happened at midnight on November 1, 2021. The casino floor shut down at midnight and will remain closed until 1 p.m. on Monday November 1, in order to complete the transfer.

Rubico paid $22 million for the facility, which includes the casino and horse racing track. In late October, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana Racing Commission gave final approval to the sale.

“A new era for Louisiana Downs begins today,” said Kevin Preston, President of Rubico
 Acquisition Corporation. “Our team will begin restoring this iconic facility to its former glory. We know it has a lot of untapped potential and we are ready to make this a family-oriented destination once again,” said Preston.

Under the agreement, Caesars Entertainment employees working at Louisiana Downs will transfer to the new ownership.

  1. Bossier City has a new CAO

At its Wednesday September 8, 2021 regular meeting, the Bossier City Council unanimously approved Amanda Nottingham as the City of Bossier City’s new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

“I can’t wait to get to work for the citizens of Bossier. I look forward to working with the mayor on our vision and to getting to work on both our short term and long term goals. I also look forward to working on how we can move Bossier forward. We have a great foundation and I’m excited to build on that,” said Nottingham.

The council was scheduled to vote on making Nottingham interim CAO but during the meeting, Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler asked the council to vote on approving Nottingham for the position permanently.

  1. Bossier Parish Administrator retires after 25 years of service


Family and friends, along with state and local elected officials, honored Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 in celebration of his many years of service to Bossier Parish.

“It’s been quite a ride,” Bill Altimus said, as he pondered his 25 years serving Bossier Parish as a member of the parish police jury and as parish administrator. “Who would have thought in just twenty years we would be recognized as one of the most progressive and fastest growing areas in the state,” said Altimus.

Since 2002, Altimus has guided the parish from his administrator’s chair. During that time, he has played an integral part in helping the parish become an example of what establishing relationships with government and civic organizations (at all levels), teamwork and a “never say no” attitude can accomplish.

Now, Altimus says, it’s time to hand over the reins of leadership, and he will officially retire from service with Bossier Parish on December 31. He will be handing over a parish that went through some lean years on its way to becoming a positive example for others.

“I was appointed in 1997 and when I came on board, the police jury was filling potholes with dirt and clay,” he remembered. “If it rained, they’d go back and do it again. That’s all they could afford and they did the best they could,” Altimus said.

Over these 25 years, things have changed dramatically. In 1997, the police jury worked with a budget of just under $29 million and served a parish with 98,000 residents. At its last meeting, the police jury approved a 2022 budget totaling $183.7 million. And, the latest census figures show that Bossier Parish is now home to just over 128,000 residents.

“There was no magic bullet that caused us to grow. It was a combination of forming relationships, looking ahead in order to recognize opportunities and being aggressive in economic development. Also, there was a continuity in leadership on many levels that contributed to much of the success we’ve had as a parish,” he said.

As the budgets grew over the years, Altimus said the Bossier Parish team set priorities that would meet the needs of both current and future residents. And now, over the next two to three years, Bossier Parish will spend about $100 million on a variety of infrastructure projects that Altimus said will accommodate development and future growth. “We look at the growth patterns and comprehensive land use studies we already have,” he said.

  1. Governor Edwards, Louisiana Department of Health Highlight One Year of COVID-19 Vaccine Progress

BATON ROUGE — More than 2.29 million Louisianans – nearly 50 percent of the state’s population – became fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the first year of vaccinations. In addition, Louisiana has seen a decrease in the number of people hospitalized with COVID and in the percent of COVID tests that are positive. Today, the vast majority of COVID related hospitalizations, cases and deaths are in those who have not yet been vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccinations began on December 14, 2020 and since that day, more than 4.7 million doses have been administered in Louisiana alone. More than 2.5 million Louisianans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 544,000 booster doses have been administered. According to the CDC, nearly 25 percent of Louisiana’s eligible population has received a booster dose.

In addition to a nearly eight-fold decrease in COVID hospitalizations today when compared to a year ago, the percent of COVID tests that were positive in Louisiana was nearly 10 percent a year ago, which signals out-of-control community spread. Today, the state’s percent positivity rate is 2.3 percent, which signals a much lower risk level across Louisiana.

  1. Brian Hammons wins Bossier City Council District 1 runoff

Randy Brown, Bossier Press-Tribune

In a runoff for the Bossier City Council District 1 seat, unofficial election results from the Louisiana Secretary of State website show that Republican Brian Hammons has defeated Independent Michael Lombardino. In Saturday’s runoff, Hammons received 791 votes (55.20%) to Lombardino’s 642 votes (44.80%).

In the Saturday November 13 primary (special) election for the District 1 city council seat, Hammons garnered 48% of the vote compared to Lombardino’s 36% (Democrat Darren Ashley finished third with 16% of the vote). The results from the November special election forced the December 11 runoff between Hammons and Lombardino.

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