Covington Weekly » March 13, 2020

Daily Archives: March 13, 2020

Quote of the Week Word of the Week

Word and Quote of the week

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Word and Quote of the Week

surreptitious – 1. done, made or acquired by stealth; clandestine 2. acting or doing something clandestinely; stealthy

“If knowledge is power, clandestine knowledge is power squared; it can be withheld, exchanged, and leveraged.” – Letty Cotti Pogrebin

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday, March 16, 2020.

Non Profit Spotlight

NHS Pet of the Week

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Hansel and his sister Gretel were found homeless running the streets together. After trying to find their owners or a new family to call their own with no luck, their finder turned to us for help! 
Hansel is a one-year-old medium breed mix and your typical puppy – fun-loving and playful! He would do great in a home with other pups and is going to make an awesome companion to someone out there! Visit online: northshorehumane.org

The mission of the Northshore Humane Society is to be the premier organization dedicated to enhancing and saving the lives of pets in the Northshore region through community engagements, adoption, spay and neuter programs and sheltering.

This Week at the Farmer's Market

Farmer’s Market Saturday Preview

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Last Chance Bluegrass Band is in the house this Saturday so there will be lively tunes wafting from the gazebo. Lots of great thing happening at the market.
Ms. Betty is back with Maidenhair fern and her signature Staghorn Fern and the market is again alive with bright, happy verge from all quarters. Trudy says she’ll have plenty of japanese maples this week. Did you know that she is very well known throughout the South for the quality of her japanese Maples? She’ll also have some native azaleas with which to grace your garden. Dennis had some amazingly gorgeous magnolias in bloom this past week and the roses – oh my!
I stopped by Mauthe’s for some cream and found Garlic & Herb and Cajun soft cheeses and Farmhouse Cheddar. I also noticed a cinnamon sugar cheese spread! Can you imagine that, liberally spread, on the perfect slice of toast? Now, don’t you worry, our bakers have fantastic bread just for this purpose. Windfield Farms’ French Batard comes to mind, as does Bear Creek Road’s Sourdough. Happy Flour has introduced an oatmeal honey white bread – a healthier alternative to traditional white bread. So make sure you set your alarm for incredible and we’ll see you at the market.
Lots of Love, Charlene LeJeune, Abundant Life Kitchen

The Covington Farmers’ Market is open each Wednesday, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire and every Saturday from 8a.m. to 12p.m. on the side lawn of the Covington Police Station, 609 N. Columbia St.
Call (985) 892-1873 for information or visit www.covingtonfarmersmarket.org

Featured Posts General Local News

COVID-19: City Events Cancelled, parish Advice

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Out of an abundance of caution over Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) concerns, City of Covington leaders together with event organizers have announced the cancellation of weekend events. These events include the Covington Celtic Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Block party (Saturday, March 14, 2020), the YSB Chef Soiree (Sunday, March 15, 2020) and the St. Joseph Abbey Monk Run (Saturday, March 14). The Covington Farmer’s Market will remain open this Saturday.
“Covington Celtic Club’s St. Patrick’s Parade set for Saturday, March 14th at 12 pm has unfortunately been cancelled. However, the block party portion of the event will be postponed for a later date. We are grateful for all of our vendors, sponsors and participants and look forward to celebrating in a even larger capacity at Covington’s Celtic Celebration at the corner of Rutland and New Hampshire at t nearby date! We are as disappointed as you are, and ask for your understanding in the matter as many months of hard work and money have been put into these events and these are not decisions we make lightly. We hope to have you attend our parade and celebration next your on Saturday, March 13, 2021,” Cody Ludwig, Covington Celtic Club.
Important* Many of the local businesses in downtown Covington will continue to need your support during this time, so please remember to Shop, Eat, and Enjoy Local.

Parish Government Advice on COVID-19

With regard to COVID-19, St. Tammany Parish Government encourages people to follow the advice put forth by health experts:
Cover your cough. Stay home if you are sick.
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Avoid close contact (within six feet) with those who are sick.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Visit stpgov.org for additional information. – Thank you
Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President

Featured Posts Local News

Covington: On the Serious Side

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Mayor Mark recently launched a constant contact email blast to update the citizens of Covington with city news and events. Covington Weekly is printing ‘Covington: On The Serious Side’ to help facilitate this information reaching the public.
Mayor Mark: “In October, I was bothered to learn that the Covington Police Department has been short staffed for at least the past ten years. Our officers are the lowest paid in St. Tammany Parish. We hire, pay for the Academy and field train them only to have them move to other law enforcement agencies. In the past ten years, over 35 officers have left to work for other agencies. 75% of our officers have been with us for 5 years or less.

Three Divisions (chart above):
1) Far left is traffic. The three “orange” are reserves. They don’t count. The three purple were actually in the Academy at this time. Since I have been Mayor, we have had zero traffic enforcement officers in the traffic division.
2) Center is Admin and investigations. “Yellow in investigations means two vacancies. Red ‘X’ at top of Admin left for personal reasons. He will have to be replaced with someone from Patrol, causing Patrol to have one less officer.
3) Patrol should consist of 4 shifts, 12 hours each, every other week – five officers per shift. In reality, we have 3 or 4 officers patrolling our streets. During that time they will typically have an arrest, an accident with injury and/ or a domestic violence situation.
Each requires two officers on site, leaving us with one or two responding to all other calls for service. Net result is little time for non-emergency matters such as speeding or stop signs. Since this October chart, another patrol officer has left and three have given notice. They will be replaced by five new hires.

Public Works Short Staffed More recently, I learned that of our labor workforce in Public Works, we have a shortage of 20%. It is difficult to hire and retain employees with a pay scale that ranges from $10.50 an hour for straight labor to $16.00 an hour for skilled operators.
Per Human Resources, ‘candidates for the Labor I spots have had a multitude of issues – no driver’s license, failed drug tests, non-returned calls, background issues and poor quality candidates.’
I now understand what a strain this shortage puts on those employees that remain. I am grateful to them for the work they do to keep our infrastructure cleaned and draining.
Fire Department Our primary pumper response truck is a 1993 model. It should have been decommissioned in 2008. Of note, the new truck we just received is a ladder-truck. It was paid for by a grant. We have applied for grants for a new pumper truck, but unsuccessfully.

Waste Water Treatment Plant
Receives, treats and discharges 1,000,000 gallons of effluent into Tchefuncte River 24/7/365.
Does so in compliance.
Receives 9,000,000 gallons on a rainy day due to ‘I n I’ i.e. inflow and infiltration. We are aggressively attacking this problem. Lacks redundancy of key components.
Utility Fund Transfer In our budget we have a line called “Utility Fund Transfer.” Basically, what the City of Covington charges to provide sewer and water does not cover the cost to provide sewer and water. Tax dollars (sales and property) are taken from the General Fund to make up the difference. This year, of an $18,000,000 operating budget, we will be taking over $2,000,000 to cover this cost. Much of this expense is related to improving or replacing failing terracotta sewer pipes throughout the community.
In an effort to rebuild the Police force, fully staff Public Works, replace aging fire trucks, insure we properly maintain the treatment plant… then tackle Collins Blvd., Tyler and 21st and other deferred priorities, I have suggested raising utility rates an average of $20 per month. The rates have not been raised in over ten years. Under this scenario, we would still be subsidizing our utility rages by over $1.2 million.
None of us like to pay more, whether in utilities or in taxes. However, I believe we have an expectation of the City to provide the basic services described above… and to do so in a professional manner.”

50 Broken Sewer Lines Downtown

On March 16, 2020, contractors begin repairs of over 50 broken sewer lines in downtown Covington. The work will include repairing sewer mains, replacing damaged sewer laterals, lining the old pipes with a synthetic lining and stalling sewer clean-outs at the property line.

Residents should expect short term traffic detours on most streets while this work is being done. Roadway patches will be installed to minimize traffic disruptions. The streets affected will be Rutland, Boston, Gibson, Lockwood, Florida, Lee and Courthouse Alley.
To minimize traffic delays, work on LA HWY 21 (Boston Street) will be performed at night. The street will be reopened during the day.

This work will take several months to complete. It is another big step to improve our sewer infrastructure, help care for our environment and prevent large potholes or cave-ins on our streets. Thank you for your cooperation and patience. – Mayor Mark