Study: Pastors think highly of themselves

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Pill Box Pharmacy open and ready to serve the Lower Third community

Pharmacist Michelle Smith talks to customer Martha Lowe about the pharmacy's services. Lowe lives on Lower Third Street in Alexandria.

Pharmacist Michelle Scott

The Pill Box is located at 3203 Third St., Alexandria.

By Sherri L. Jackson

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here.

It is a pharmacy, and here is on Third and Douglass streets in the Lower Third community of District 3.

And Martha Lowe, who lives in the community couldn’t be prouder that there is finally a pharmacy in her community.

“I’m proud that they put something down here for us. I am ecstatic,” Lowe said as she was questioning Pharmacist Michelle Smith about the business’ services.

Joe Williams and Smith, who has been a pharmacist for 23 years, are the owners of The Pill Box, a full-service pharmacy located at 3203 Third St. Smith previously worked at Rite-Aid on MacArthur Drive.

The Third Street location is the second Pill Box Pharmacy in Alexandria. The first location, which opened in January, is located at 4740 Jackson St. The Pill Box is the former The Medicine Shoppe.

The pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  All forms of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, are accepted.

Though the Third Street location has not had its official grand opening, it is open for business and awaiting customers, especially the community’s elderly who’ve expressed concerns about the lack of a community pharmacy.

And service is what Williams and Smith hope to bring to the community.

Williams said his desire is to bring the pharmacy to Lower Third Street surfaced about a year ago when he noticed there was not a pharmacist near Rapides Primary Health Care Clinic located on Willow Glenn River Road and that people were outside of the clinic waiting on a bus.

“I looked at a building next door to the clinic, but that didn’t work out. Then the word got out and the city approached me about (participating in) SPARC,” he said.

SPARC stands for Special Planned Activity Redevelopment Corridors. It is the City of Alexandria’s infrastructure investment project that includes three Cultural Restoration Areas known as CRAs. Lower Third Street is one of those CRAs.

In March, Williams was one of the potential investors Mayor Jacques Roy said was interested in bringing retail development to Lower Third Street.

“The ultimate goal is to bring something bigger to the community, but I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to get going,” he said.

Smith said the pharmacy located in the small building that once served as a food establishment has the same amenities as a larger pharmacy.

“We are full service, and we have the top 200 medications in stock. What we don’t have in stock, we can get the same day or the next day. If we have the drug in stock, we will fill the prescription right away. The service goal is 10 minutes, Smith said.

“Also we can match any competitor’s price, and it’s easy to transfer transcriptions. If you need a refill, we can call the doctor and get it for you,” she said.

Additionally, as business picks up, both Williams and Smith said there will be job opportunities available to community residents. Until then, Williams and Smith are working at the pharmacy.

Meanwhile, Attorney Jonathan Goins, who represents the Lower Third community on the Alexandria City Council, said having the pharmacy in the community is a “positive beginning to a bright future of economic development in the Lower Third Area.”

“I applaud Mr. Williams for taking the step that many businesses are afraid to do. Even before I became a councilman, one of the main concerns of the elderly is that they didn’t have any way to get their medicine in the community,” he said. “When the opportunity arose, I was excited to hear Mr. Williams was coming to the community.”

“This is the catalyst needed to spark other businesses to come down and participate in the growth and development of our community.”

Goins said he encourages the community to visit the pharmacy and to spread the word throughout their communities that the pharmacy is available and open for business.

Two Alexandria men charged with burglary

Two Alexandria men were arrested Monday morning in connection with recent burglaries at Kyles Collision Center in which copper wiring may have been the motive, 13651 Harris St., according to the Alexandria Police.

Bobby Ray Thomas, 48, 2300 8th St., and Edward King, 36, 802 Bogan St., were booked into the Rapides Parish Jail each on a charge of burglary.

Earlier, the business’ owner reported to police that copper wiring for a rooftop air conditioning system had been cut and left stretched across the rooftop as if someone had hopes of returning to remove it. The owner requested additional patrols in the area.

About 2:09 a.m. Monday, Sept. 20, the police department received information of the missing wiring and that the suspect was likely still on the rooftop. Police arrived, covered the building’s perimeter and requested the Alexandria Fire Department come to the scene.

With the building surrounded, officers began hearing movement on the rooftop and allegedly saw two men, later identified as Thomas and King, on the roof. The men allegedly ignored the officers’ commands to give up. Officers observed each man peeking over the edge of the roof, run away and occasionally jump to the roof of neighboring buildings.

At about 3 a.m., the men allegedly surrendered and climbed down a ladder that the fire department had in place.

UPDATE: Fire destroys Heyman Lane home Tuesday night

Firefighters with Rapides Parish Fire District 2 and the Alexandria Fire Department battled a blaze at the home of Theresa Earthly  Tuesday  night.

Fire District 2  sounded the alarm about 9:25 p.m. to respond to 215 Heyman Lane. When firefighters arrived at 9:32 they found the home engulfed in fire, said Assistant Fire Chief Gary Leggett.

It appeared that no one was injured as homeowners gathered outside of the home.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, Leggett said.

Saints bring championship to Alexandria

More than 10,o000 Cenla fans of the New Orleans Saints visited the Alexandria Riverfront Center on Wednesday to get a glimpse of 2010 Super Bowl memorabilia.

Enjoy these photos by Eric Reed.

Evangeline Parish man accused of attacking ex-girlfriend with knife

Authorities are searching for a local man, originally from the Bunkie area, who is allegedly responsible for assaulting a female with a knife.

The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to an assault call on Campbell Avenue early Monday morning, July 5, involving a female who had been cut several times. According to reports, the female victim was attacked by a former boyfriend, Barry Glenn Roy, 35, 239 Lithcote Road, Ville Platte, who is originally from the Bunkie area.

Captain Keith Dupre said the female had been out with friends, and when she returned home, Roy was allegedly waiting for her. He cut her several times which required medical attention. Dupre said the victim could lose an eye from a wound she received above the eye.

Sheriff Eddie Soileau said authorities are searching for Roy, who is described as a black male, 5’11”, approximately 155 pounds. He said deputies searched several homes early Monday where they believed Roy might be staying, but they were unable to located him. He thanked the Ville Platte Police Department for its assistance and encouraged residents with information on Roy’s whereabouts to call 363-2161. He said all callers will remain anonymous.

This investigation is still ongoing. When Roy is apprehended, he will be charged with second-degree aggravated battery. His bond has been set at $50,000 by 13th Judicial District Judge Tom Fuselier.

Rapides Regional Medical Center now found on Smartphones

Rapides Regional Medical Center recently announced the launch of its first ever Smartphone app, iTriage.

This Smartphone medical application contains information on more than 300 symptoms, 1,000 diseases and 350 medical procedures. It also lists the current Emergency Room wait times at Rapides Regional Medical Center – as well as a list of RRMC services, specialties, campus map and driving directions.

“The iTriage application is designed to help consumers make the most appropriate decision about their healthcare needs,” said Charla Ducote, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s vice president of marketing and business development. “And it’s information available to them when they can’t be in front of their computer. It’s information available on-the-go.”

Consumers can download the free iTriage app for their iPhone, iPod touch, Android  or Palm – or access the medical application at BlackBerry® smartphone users will soon have their own iTriage application, as well.

iTriage was developed by two Colorado emergency physicians who wanted to give patients the ability to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

For instance, if your child comes down with stomach pain, you can search iTriage “symptoms” – and get a list of possible causes. From there, you can click on a list of procedures typically used to diagnose the condition.

And finally, based on your specific medical problem, iTriage will tell you how to get in touch with the most appropriate physician or hospital and provides a list of physicians based on your zip code.

“Rapides Regional Medical Center sets the pace for the rest of Louisiana healthcare providers in offering this cutting-edge technology to advance their patient services,” said Peter Hudson, M.D., Healthagen CEO and iTriage developer. “We look forward to a flourishing partnership with Rapides Regional as more Americans adopt smartphones as their frontline communications tool.”