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Desoto Parish resident claims Council on Aging van sweltering - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Desoto Parish resident claims Council on Aging van sweltering

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DESOTO PARISH, La. -

"We're not supposed to have to go through these conditions."

37-year-old Charleston Pauley has been depending on the Desoto Council on Aging's transportation services three days a week for the past 8 years.

Lately, though, Pauley - who's blind - says the 30 mile round trip from Pelican to Mansfield for dialysis treatment has been sweltering.

He says his 4-hour dialysis treatments are physically draining and a trip on a hot van afterward is nearly unbearable.

He is provided vouchers to ride the council's van through Medicaid.

"It's very hot and muggy and there's no air conditioning and they seem not to care because van number 4 has been without air conditioning for over a year."

Van number 4 is parked now at the Desoto Council on Aging and is not being used for any routes because the council confirms the air conditioning is indeed broken.

The council also says the van was used recently on one occasion to pick up clients but only because there were no other vans available.

Though the council's director, Barbara Jacobs, couldn't go on camera, she did say that DCOA is Desoto's only form of public transportation, servicing residents across the parish.

She says their three vans are inspected yearly by the Department of Transporation & Development and wouldn't be certified if the vehicles didn't have air conditioning.

"I don't understand why something can't be done or won't be done."

Pauley's mother, Fannie Thomas, says when they've complained to the council, they're met with hostility. But Jacobs says - not true.

In fact, she says the council recently used their SUV to pick up Pauley instead of a van.

Still, Pauley is concerned other clients are afraid to speak up.

"Yes, I am disabled but I'm still alive and I still deserve to be treated with respect."

The DCOA provides transportation or other services to over 550 residents in the parish.

That's not including those who call and request van pick-ups daily.

They also deliver 2,000 meals to seniors every month, as well as make 1,400 trips to bring seniors to three different meal and recreation sites in Desoto Parish.

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