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Longtime WAFB anchor and investigative reporter Paul Gates passed away peacefully at the age of 69.
Visitation was held at Rabenhorst Funeral Home on Government Street on Thursday from 5 p.m.to 8 p.m. Another visitation will be held on Friday at 9 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.
A native of the small town of Tullos, Louisiana, Paul's first job in broadcasting was at KNOE in Monroe. He joined as a reporter at WAFB in March 1977 after replying to a job opening listed in a broadcasting magazine.
Paul served as the station's 5 p.m. news anchor beginning in 2001. His many investigative reports, titled "Paul Gates Investigates," uncovered corruption, pollution, and wrongdoing across Louisiana.
Paul and his wife Michele were married for 33 years.
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In 2001, his series of investigative reports on contamination in Bossier Parish led the governor to make an environmental policy change. Paul uncovered the fact that residents in a small community in that parish were not informed of benzene contamination in their drinking water although documents showed that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) knew the contamination existed. Paul's reports led then Louisiana Governor Mike Foster to issue an Executive Order requiring the DEQ to put contamination notice procedures in place for all future incidents. He won numerous reporting awards for his work including the prestigious Reporter of the Year Award from the Associated Press.
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In 2011, Paul revealed his diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. It took nearly a year before he was accurately diagnosed.
In a message that aired on the station's 5 p.m. newscast, Paul thanked viewers for their "flattering emails and news tips over the years."
"My wife Michele and I talked at length about me retiring," Paul said at the time. "We both agreed the wise thing is for me to take care of myself and take retirement."
Paul passed away Tuesday, June 21 at 12:15 p.m. He was surrounded by his family.
Paul's passing has been felt by all with several people sharing condolences and memories.