City stands up for VA clinic; hears reqeust for chief vote

Mark Bogan of Verdunville told the Franklin City Council Tuesday that he is pushing the United States Senate to change guidelines for eligibility to Veterans Affairs medical care.
“If I make $10 a month and the other guy makes $20 a month, he cannot get medical care,” Bogan illustrated. “If you serve in the military you’re supposed to get medical care, and I’m going to fight this thing to my grave.”
Bogan also spoke on the potential closure of the VA clinic in Franklin, saying that while patient numbers had been low for a time, they have improved. He asked the mayor and council for their support in keeping it open.
Mayor Raymond Harris said he spoke to Sen. David Vitter and learned from Vitter that rather than closing the clinic operating days will be reduced. Vitter told Harris if patient numbers improve the number of open days may be extended.
“We still have life, but we have to make sure our veterans are using the clinic,” Harris said.
Bogan said he is attempting to get guidelines changed because the veterans he referred to that are excluded based on income could be using the clinic.
Councilman Joe Garrison, a veteran, said he was denied at the clinic. “That was heartbreaking because I served my country for a number of years,” Garrison said. He urged veterans who are not using the clinic to do so.
Also Tuesday, Franklin resident Barry Granger urged the council to place a referendum on the ballot to change from an appointed chief of police to an elected position.
Granger said the council has the authority without a petition of the people to order a referendum. “Let’s see who wants it, if they don’t want it I can live with that,” he said. “Give us the opportunity to see.”
He pointed out that the sheriff and marshals as well as other police chiefs are elected in the immediate area.
In other business:
—Police Chief Sabria McGuire said that based on a month-long traffic survey at Third and Willow streets, she recommended placing a pedestrian crosswalk across Willow. McGuire also suggested eliminating the parking spaces at each corner of Willow Street, on both sides, and painting yellow stripes to indicate this. A sign would also be installed signaling the pedestrian crossing.
—Mayor Raymond Harris, after the invocation, said a prayer for the victims and families of the wreck on U.S. 90 near Centerville last weekend.
—An ordinance was introduced setting the speed limit to 15 on Roseville Street.
—An ordinance was adopted to refinance water and sewer revenue bonds at a lower interest rate.
—The council approved a resolution in support of the Franklin VA clinic.
—Community Development Director Arlana Shields said nonprofit organizations are still needed for vendors and childrens’ games at the Mardi Gras event to be held on the bayou at Parc sur la Teche after the parade on March 4.

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