Roundup: Flu season ramps up / Main Street program grants / Best places for small business 

    Wash your hands: The U.S. winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years. An early barrage of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there’s a decent chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say. The last flu season to rev up this early was in 2003-2004—a bad one. Some experts think the early start may mean a lot of suffering is in store, but others say it’s too early to tell. Read the full story. 

    Revitalization: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser today announced $100,000 in grant funding has been awarded through the Louisiana Main Street program to 10 Main Street communities to revitalize historic commercial buildings. The program offers grants annually for either interior or exterior rehabilitation for historic buildings. Slidell, Plaquemine, New Iberia and Crowley were among the towns awarded grants. 

    Small business: A study from financial technology firm SmartAsset ranks East Baton Rouge Parish as the third-best place for small businesses in Louisiana, after Plaquemines and Orleans parishes. The study weighs three factors: the percentage of people in a parish with small business income, the proportion of that income to total income in the parish and taxes paid by small business owners. See the list here.

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