In the News

Alliance for Affordable Energy: The Advocate

Utility regulators reject $5 billion sale of Cleco, but battle may not be over yet

Louisiana regulators Wednesday rejected a $4.9 billion bid by international investors to buy Cleco.

Based in Pineville, Cleco Power LLC sells electricity to about 286,000 customers on the North Shore, in Acadiana and throughout central Louisiana.

Alliance for Affordable Energy: The Town Talk

Cleco sale rejected

The proposed $5 billion sale of Cleco Corp. fell short at the final stage Wednesday when it was rejected by the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

An investment group had proposed buying the Pineville-based company, which provides power to most of Central Louisiana. After nearly six hours of testimony Wednesday, a motion to deny the sale went unopposed.

Alliance for Affordable Energy: Bloomberg News

U.S. Utility Deal Rejection Casts Shadow on Foreign Buys

Louisiana just delivered a warning to the growing ranks of foreign companies looking to snap up U.S. utilities for their regulated returns.

On Wednesday, the state’s Public Service Commission rejected a $3.4 billion takeover of utility-owner Cleco Corp. by an investor group led by Sydney-based Macquarie Group Ltd.that also includes Canadian pension funds. The commission decided in a 5-0 vote that the deal wasn’t in the best interest of customers.

The Alice Report: The Advocate

Meet ALICE: Working poor a large part of 40 percent of Louisiana households struggling, reports says

Forty percent of households in Louisiana are in poverty or fall into a class of the working poor who barely scrape by, struggling to afford day-to-day necessities, according to a new report from the Louisiana Association of United Ways.

The report is the first of its kind in Louisiana. It highlights the difficulty of stretching an estimated $42,444 for a family of four or $17,304 for a single person over one year to buy basics including housing, food, health care, child care and transportation.

The Alice Report: KALB

United Way study reveals problem of working poor in Louisiana

They called them “ALICE” — “asset limited, income constrained and employed.” They’re people you see everyday — cashiers, mechanics, waiters and even nurses. News Channel Five’s Diamond Davies tells us The United Way is looking to put a stop to their struggles.

Ramona Rogers is out of work again.

“I lost my job and it has been kind of rough,” said Rogers.

The Alice Report: KEEL

United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana Released Today

Today, the United Way of Northwest Louisiana is launching the ALICE report that places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who are struggling to make ends meet, have little or no savings, and are one emergency away from falling into poverty. This in-depth report contains specific information on where individuals live by city and parish.

The Alice Report: IND

‘ALICE’ report sobers, disturbs, illuminates

A new report by the Louisiana Association of United Ways paints a stark portrait of the economic insecurity in which millions in Louisiana live. The ALICE report — that’s an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — finds that nearly 700,000 households in Louisiana, or a staggering 40 percent, cannot afford the most basic cost of living and are one auto accident or broken arm away from insolvency.

The Alice Report: American Press

ALICE: Breaking down the findings

A recent report says 47 percent of households in Lake Charles live in poverty or just above the poverty level, but can barely afford everyday expenses like housing, food and transportation.

The report, by the Louisiana Association of United Ways, describes the households classified as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, or ALICE, using statistics from 2013.

The Alice Report: The News Star

Thousands in NELA barely make ends meet

Ashley Duran is one of the many “ALICE” residents living in Louisiana, working minimum wage and struggling to survive pay check to pay check.

Duran, a coffee barista living in Lafayette, is a single mother with a 5-year-old son, making tough decisions to make ends meet and provide for her child.

The Alice Report: KATC

United Way Releases New "ALICE" Report

The United Way released a report Wednesday that shows financial hardships facing so many Louisiana families.

The “ALICE” report, which stands for “Asset limited, Income Constrained, and Employed,” shows that 40 percent of Louisiana families struggle to afford the basic cost of living. With the “ALICE” report, the United Way is giving a name to the thousands who are working, but still struggling. They’re hoping this starts the conversation on making reforms.

Houston Business Journal: Neal Verma

Multifamily company launches new payment method to curb thefts

Neal Verma once had a problem on his hands.

On the first day of each month, Verma’s apartment residents brought hundreds of dollars of cash to Verma’s front offices to pay their rent. Some even brought in blank checks and money orders because they didn’t know how to write English and relied on employees to fill them out, Verma said.

Houston Business Journal: Neal Verma

Houston apartment vacancies climb as energy, construction layoffs mount

Neal Verma started noticing them a few months ago — move-out notices that blamed layoffs as a reason. They trickled in, one by one, into his 16 apartment properties — Class B and C complexes located primarily on the west side of Houston.

“The oil slump is definitely affecting us,” the president of Nova Asset Management Inc. said. “ It’s a huge hit to the multifamily industry.

Houston Chronicle:  Neal Verma

Houston apartment owner sees occupancy slide with price of oil

Occupancy rates at Nova Asset Management’s well-leased portfolio of 16 apartment complexes in Houston are starting to slip amid sustained low oil prices.

The Houston-based owner and manager of 6,000 local apartment units is just starting to see the effect of the slowdown in Houston’s economy from energy layoffs, said Neal Verma, president and co-founder of Nova Asset Management.

Houston Chronicle: Neal Verma

Technology curbs theft of rent checks

Houston apartment owner Nova Asset Management is using technology to solve a problem that was costing it $30,000 to $50,000 a year: theft of rent payments.

“We would have all types of theft with the night drop-off,” Nova president and co-founder Neal Verma said. “We even brought in mailboxes you couldn’t break from the outside. People would use fishing wire and a piece of gum and would literally go and fish a money order out. We tried everything under the sun to prevent it. It was like a never-ending nightmare.”

Essence Magazine: Celebrity Chef Jess

#ItsYourYear: A 6-Month Plan for Your Mind & Body Breakthrough

Along with a glass of bubbly and a little confetti, welcoming another year often includes thinking about parts of your life you would like to improve. Building a better relationship with yourself can lead to the next 12 months being your best ever.

Shape Magazine: Fitness Expert Jennifer Forrester

Circuit Training Goes Old School for a Total-Body Burn

You may recognize Jennifer Forrester as one-half of @twobadbodies, the superstar fitness duo that consistently served up incredibly in sync partner workouts in 15 seconds or less. Now, the personal trainer and former University of Washington Track & Field member is going solo, and turning the city of Seattle into her own personal gym—to our benefit, of course.

Prevention

10 Habits Of People Who've Lived To Be 100

Want to live forever? Even if you’re not going for immortality, it’s a safe assumption that you want to be around for the long haul. And while 70 or 75 is more than enough time to live a fulfilling life, why not aim higher? As in triple digits. Believe it or not, more people are reaching the century mark. According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, the centenarian population has grown more than 65% nationwide over the past 3 decades. So it’s possible.

Nanny Connections: The Tennessean

New nanny service comes to Brentwood

Williamson County families have a new option when it comes to child care.

Nanny Connections, a company specializing in nanny placement, entered the Nashville-area market this month with the opening of a new office in Brentwood. The company serves families in Madison, Wis.; Milwaukee; Chicago; and California.