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Fitness on the Lakefront

The University of New Orleans' Recreation and Fitness Center will reopen on June 12, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Students enrolled in UNO's 2006 summer session may use the center by showing their ID card. Students who were enrolled in the fall 2005 or spring 2006 semester but are not attending summer school can join for $29. Other people can buy a summer membership for $100.

The center is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Sleep Well

If you or a loved one is having a tough time slumbering restfully, you might want to hear what Dr. Lauren Davis has to say on the subject. Davis will lead a public discussion titled "A Good Night's Sleep" at 7 p.m. June 22 at the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Conference Center (1202 S. Tyler St., Covington; www.stph.org and www.sthfoundation.org).

During the hour-long talk, Davis will give the audience an overview of the most common impediments to sleep and ways to alleviate them and restore or improve both their health and well-being.

To register for the talk, leave a message at (985) 871-5750.

Good News on Prescriptions

Victims of Hurricane Katrina who are eligible for Medicare have until Dec. 31 to enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The extension was announced recently by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The deadline originally was set for this spring.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity that will allow those along the Gulf Coast who were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina to choose the prescription drug plan that is right for them," says George Renaudin, president of senior products for Humana Inc., one of the nation's largest Medicare benefits providers. "Being able to successfully enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or a prescription drug plan and have the confidence that their medical needs will be met is key to helping everyone in the recovery efforts. It is highly important that those eligible for Medicare not let this opportunity pass by without taking advantage of the potential savings they can realize when enrolled in a prescription drug plan."

In a related story, Humana Health Benefit Plan of Louisiana Inc. will return to its offices at One Galleria Boulevard in Metairie nine months after the devastating hurricane.

Upon its return, Humana will award $501,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations in recognition of and as a contribution to their continued relief work after Hurricane Katrina. The bulk of the grants will go to the Greater New Orleans Foundation ($200,000), the David Toms Foundation ($150,000) and the Foundation for the Mid South ($101,000), with the remainder awarded to the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits and the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations. To date, Humana has provided more than $1.5 million in aid to those displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Dare to Prepare

WWL TV's chief meteorologist Carl Arredondo will discuss hurricane preparedness from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 27 at Lakeview Regional Medical Center. (95 E. Fairway Drive, Covington). Call (866) 4-LAKEVIEW to register.

Research Grant Awarded

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $997,133 grant to Dr. Gaungyu Wu, assistant professor of pharmacology at LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) to research drugs to treat conditions such as cancer, heart disease and nerve problems. The grant was awarded just as LSUHSC was moving its pharmacology laboratories back to its New Orleans campus, which it had to leave following Katrina.

The grant will support research Wu is conducting to allow a better understanding of disease processes so more effective therapies can be devised. Since the hurricane, the Department of Pharmacology at LSUHSC's New Orleans School of Medicine has received about $4.3 million in grants for various research projects.

A Gift from Qatar

Children's Hospital last month received more than $5.3 million from the state of Qatar, the largest gift the hospital has received in its 50-year history. The donation is part of Qatar's $100 million pledge to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The hospital will use $5 million of the money to establish the Qatar Cares Fund to help pay for medical care for needy children affected by the hurricane and to restore and expand services at the hospital's primary care clinics.

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