Category Archives: Local News

What’s going on in Covington, LA?

Local Events Local News Parish News

Tri-Parish Works Job Fair in Covington

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(Slidell, LA) – Job seekers looking for careers with ample opportunities for advancement can connect with employers hiring in many business sectors at the “St. Tammany Getting Back to Work” free job fair, on Friday, August 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Bogue Falaya Hall in the Greater Covington Center.

Presented by Tri-Parish Works in partnership with the City of Covington, St. Tammany Parish Tourism and Convention Commission, St. Tammany Corporation, Pelican State Credit Union, and Northshore Lodging Association, the event will feature 40 employers that are hiring across all areas in entry-level, mid-level, and professional roles.

Tri-Parish Works, a partner of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, runs the public workforce centers in St. Tammany, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. The agency aims to foster a thriving and inclusive regional economy, with increased economic opportunity and prosperity for the entire region.

Don Shea, Director of Business Services, describes Tri-Parish Works’ multi-level support for both employers and job seekers in the region. “As the workforce development agency serving our region, Tri-Parish Works connects talent to opportunity. We invest substantial funding every year to train, educate and certify job seekers across all industry sectors, and we work closely with area employers to understand their workforce needs and provide them with financial support to offset the cost of providing on-the-job training that upgrades the workforce. Tri-Parish Works is proud to have the partners to produce this job fair.

Interviews and offers may be made during the event, so job seekers should come prepared in professional attire with several copies of their resumes. Tri-Parish Works workforce professionals are available to assist job seekers, from reviewing resumes to offering tips to nail the interview. Schedule a visit by calling (985) 646-3940.

To register as a job seeker and for more information, visit triparishworks.net, or contact Don Shea at (985) 646-3940.

Local Events Local News

Back To School Pep Rally Aug. 14th

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Join Pastor Ozell Addison and Joyce R. James, Youth Minister for a Back to School Pep Rally and Summer Birthday Celebration at Rev. Peter Atkins Park! Featuring prizes, free food and fun.

The Back To School Pep Rally takes place on Saturday, August 14, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a free event, and all are welcome. Reverend Peter Atkins Park is located at 701 N. Tyler Street.

General Local News Parish News

STPL Continues a Hybrid of Virtual and In-person Outdoor Programming

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COVINGTON- As the St. Tammany Parish Library prepares for upcoming fall programming, patrons can expect the hybrid model of in-person outdoor programming and virtual programming, to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

“We have social distancing mitigation measures in place and we’ve designed the spaces inside our branches to ensure that our libraries are a safe place to visit for everyone. The programming we provide is based on this also,” said Kelly LaRocca, Director of the St. Tammany Parish Library. “We value our patrons and their safety, and we want tour staff to feel safe as well. We appreciate the patience of everyone, as we continue to work toward this goal during this pandemic.”

As the school year kicks off, beginning the week of Aug. 9, small branches of the St. Tammany Parish Library will begin evening hours on Wednesday nights. The six small branches — Abita Springs, Lacombe, Pearl River, Lee Road, Folsom, and Bush — will open at noon and remain open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. The six large branches will maintain their current hours: Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Masks are required in all St. Tammany Parish Library branches, after St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper announced increased COVID-19 preventative measures in late July. Beginning Wednesday, August 4, 2021, all patrons five and older will be required to wear a mask inside library branches in cooperation with Governor John Bel Edwards statewide indoor mask mandate announced August 2, 2021. Patrons are also asked to maintain proper social distancing. In addition, every other public computer will be available for use for the safety of our patrons. Masks and sanitizing supplies are provided. All St. Tammany Parish Library branches offer curbside service until dusk each evening for patrons who do not wish to come into the library. Find more information or register for an event: www.sttammanylibrary.org

General Local News Parish News

St. Tammany Financial Disclosure Bill

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Covington Weekly has an archive of economic development-related articles that suggest St. Tammany Parish is in need of greater transparency with regard to the flow of tax-derived money.

For this reason, a request for a Financial Disclosure Bill in St. Tammany Parish was sent by e-mail to Senator Patrick McMath, Representative Mark Wright and Parish President Mike Cooper.

Representative Wright responded:

email exchange in entirety

Good Morning Representative Wright,

The St. Tammany Parish Public Financial Disclosure Bill
A bill to disclose all public monies/subsidies/allowances received by any entity operating within the parish of St. Tammany.
While working in the capacity of correspondent for Covington Weekly, I often found information regarding the flow of public money (i.e. money in the arena of parish government and related agencies) to be extremely lacking with regard to the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation (now defunct).
In researching its origins, I found two pieces of bad legislation, one written by former representative Tim Burns, and another by senator Donahue. One allowed for conflicts of interest to exist between the foundation and other areas of parish government; the other affected the board appointment process. At least one of the pieces of legislation violated the state constitution’s ethics laws.
In another investigation into disaster relief funds, I found that the parish government diverted a portion of hud funds to private development projects, resulting in a wrist-slapping from hud (and probably more oversight).
Then there is the former parish president Brister’s appointment to a Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas that lent exclusively to one local banking family that had something to do with a little utility company.
On a more sinister note, I was contacted by a representative of a local women’s shelter after publishing an article about trafficked children. She wanted to meet and discuss the angle of the article, which described the problem as ‘institutional’.
A week later, she cancelled the meeting, and i was told that her funding was threatened (my speculation is that her funding was threatened for talking to me. She spoke of a facility that consistently sent her individuals that were there to recruit other girls.)
This implicates a local foundation that has a 7 million dollar off-shore account and a larger operating budget than the city of Covington. I’ve gotten the insinuation over the years that another large parish bond-holder may also be implicated in the above scenario.
It is for these reasons that there is a need for full financial disclosure of all entities operating in St. Tammany Parish with any public monies/ subsidies/ allowances.
Every corporation operating in the parish of St. Tammany under revenue bond should be public information with full financial disclosure.
Every non-profit/ foundation receiving any public funding should have full public financial disclosure.
Every religious/church entity receiving any public funding should have full public financial disclosure.
Please consider this information, as my request is a result of my experience.

Best Regards,

Timothy Gates
Wright, Rep. Mark (Chamber Laptop) mwright@legis.la.gov

Jul 27, 2021, 11:19 AM (20 hours ago)

to me
Thanks for the email Timothy.

Just so I’m clear, are you suggesting I file a bill mandating this or simply look into the matter in St. Tammany?

Regards,
Mark Wright
985-590-1204
Timothy Gates codexproventus@gmail.com

Jul 27, 2021, 11:51 AM (20 hours ago)

to Mark
I took it upon myself to look into the matter.

Over the years, I communicated with both the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office and the HUD IG with regard to public funds and bond-related issues.

I am asking for a bill mandating full financial disclosure for all entities operating within St. Tammany Parish that receive any public monies/ subsidies /allowances.

There are many examples why this should be in place.

I hope this clarifies the request.

Best Regards,

Timothy Gates
Timothy Gates codexproventus@gmail.com

Jul 27, 2021, 11:56 AM (20 hours ago)

to fernsolutions
Wright, Rep. Mark (Chamber Laptop)

Tue, Jul 27, 1:10 PM (19 hours ago)

to me
Okay, I’ll look into it. Since the next session isn’t until next Spring, it will be a while until I get back with anything substantial, but I’ll be back in touch.
Mark

Get Outlook for iOS
From: Timothy Gates codexproventus@gmail.com
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2021 11:51:17 AM
To: Wright, Rep. Mark (Chamber Laptop) mwright@legis.la.gov
Subject: Re: St. Tammany Parish Public Financial Disclosure Bill

[Message clipped] View entire message
Timothy Gates codexproventus@gmail.com

Jul 27, 2021, 2:28 PM (17 hours ago)

to Mark
Thank you for your attention and response.

I look forward to hearing further, and I will follow up as well

I find the standard response to be lacking with regard to the material and examples offered.

If you support my efforts toward a financial disclosure bill, PLEASE phone, email, fax, tweet or write a letter to Representative Mark Wright’s office stating as such:

Representative Mark Wright https://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/members?ID=77

312 South Jefferson StreetSuite A & BCovington, LA 70433

Phone: (985) 893-6262Fax: (985) 893-6261 wrightm@legis.la.gov

Legislative Assistant: Anecia Kenley

Representing Parishes: St. TammanyCorresponding Senate District(s): 11 and 12

Local Events Local News

Pelican State Credit Union Hosting Free Financial Workshop in Covington

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Covington, LA—Covington residents looking to increase their credit scores can join Pelican State Credit Union on Tuesday, July 27, for a free credit workshop and jambalaya dinner—complete with dessert and coffee!
Guests will learn all about the fundamentals of credit reports and scores, including a full breakdown of how credit scores are calculated and the information provided in credit reports. Whether they’re looking to buy a house, save extra money, or just take their credit score to the next level, guests will learn tips and facts from one of Pelican’s Credit Counselors on how to get there!
Have questions about a specific credit situation? All guests will have the opportunity to get their questions answered at the end of the workshop.

Where: St. Tammany Parish Library – Covington Branch
310 W 21st Avenue, Covington, LA 70433
When: Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Doors open at 5:30 pm, presentation begins at 6:00 pm

This event is particularly special because it also celebrates the one year anniversary of Pelican being a part of the Covington community!
A free jambalaya dinner will be provided to all guests as well as cookies, coffee, and soft drinks. In addition to the free food and credit information, everyone who attends also has the chance to win a Keurig coffee machine!
This workshop is completely free and open to the public. Pelican membership is not required to attend the workshop, receive dinner, or win a prize. Residents can RSVP for the event at pelicanstatecu.com.
To learn more about this event and any other upcoming events, visit pelicanstatecu.com/events. ###

About Pelican State Credit Union
For over 60 years, Pelican State Credit Union has been providing financial services to individuals and their families throughout the state of Louisiana. The credit union is dedicated to improving the lives of its members through safe, competitive products and educational services. Pelican was originally chartered as the Department of Hospitals Credit Union, located in downtown Baton Rouge, to serve Louisiana charity hospitals, mental health centers, and state office personnel. They have since grown into the largest state-chartered credit union in Louisiana now serving over 60,000 members. For information, visit pelicanstatecu.com.

Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

12th Annual Red Beans & Rice Cook-Off

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The 12th Annual West St. Tammany Red Beans ‘n’ Rice Cook-Off & Take-Out United Way Campaign Kick-Off is Monday, July 26th from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Greater Covington Center (located at 317 N. Jefferson Ave.). Tickets are $10 with Dine-in, Drive-thru and Take-out options available. Free delivery for orders over 20 meals.

Proceeds benefit suicide prevention, mental health services and other United Way programs serving St. Tammany Parish. Presenting Sponsors are St. Tammany Health System and Ochsner Health System.
If you are interested in being a sponsor or would like more information, contact Sonja Newman at SonjaN@UnitedWaySELA.org or call 985-778-0815. Thank you to co-hosts:
Camellia Beans, St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 4 and Covington Fire Department.

City Updates Local Events Local News Public Meetings

A Morning With Mayor Mark

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A Morning With Mayor Mark for Coffee and Conversation takes place Thursday, July 15, 2021 from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Firehouse Event Center, located at 432 Theard Street.

This is an opportunity to meet informally with the mayor in a comfortable setting for city updates and pertinent information. Refreshments provided by Campbell’s Coffee.

For more information, visit the City of Covington in person at 317 N. Jefferson Avenue, call 985-892-1811 or email to info@covla.com. Visit the City of Covington online: covla.com

Local News Parish News

STPL Initiates Strategic Plan Process

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COVINGTON- The St. Tammany Parish Library has begun the process to create a Strategic Plan for services. After a series of special meetings last week, the St. Tammany Parish Library Board of Control selected Carson Block Consulting, out of a pool of six total applicants who responded to the Request for Proposals, to implement the planning process.

“We are ready to start this process and we are excited to invite the community — both current and future patrons — to be a part of strategic planning for the future of our St. Tammany Parish Library system through their input and participation,” said Kelly LaRocca, Director St. Tammany Parish Library. “This plan will be our roadmap for the future, and will give us foundational tools to move the library forward for many years to come.”

This will be the first Strategic Plan for Services for the St. Tammany Parish Library. Carson Block Consulting will work collaboratively with the St. Tammany Parish Library, the St. Tammany Parish Library Board of Control, and the entire St. Tammany community to gather data through community research to identify several key metrics including: aspirations of the community; strategic areas of focus, obstacles and opportunities; and potential library service strategies. The planning process will offer several opportunities for community input including public meetings, focus groups, surveys, and interviews. The planning process will culminate with the creation of the Strategic Plan containing actionable and attainable library service goals, activities and objectives for the short, medium and long-term future. The entire process is expected to be completed in early 2022.

The estimated cost of the planning process is $75,000 excluding travel expenses.

The St. Tammany Parish Library has been serving the citizens of St. Tammany Parish for over seventy years. Our twelve branches offer over 542,000 loanable items including books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, and magazines. The library’s website offers 24/7 access to downloadable audio and e-books, music downloads, research tools, magazines, and newspapers. Our programs and services are designed to meet residents’ cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs.

Local News Parish News

West Nile Virus Found in St. Tammany

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Per St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District (STPMAD), a sample from a mosquito trap collected on June 15 with 126 mosquitoes of multiple species tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV)-infected mosquitoes at the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the LSU Veterinary Medicine School. This trap was located in the vicinity of Covington.

The good news is that this is a late start for the WNV season as it is usually well underway in May. Generally, the later they start the lower the risk to people.

Starting the night of June 28th (weather permitting), STPMAD will be sending trucks to abate flying adult mosquitoes. Beginning June 29th, night truck crews will be conducting area-wide larviciding activities to abate larval mosquitoes that are produced in containers in backyard environments.

To learn more about mosquitos and mosquito abatement in St. Tammany Parish, visit stpmad.org

Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

7th Annual Quack A Falaya Saturday

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Covington Rotary Club presents the 7th Annual Quack-A-Falaya this Saturday, June 26, 2021. The Rubber Duck Race Fundraiser benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Covington, Keep Covington Beautiful, Miracle League Northshore, NAMI, Pontchartrain Conservancy, Safe Harbor, Save Haven and the Covington Rotary Foundation.

The race begins 8 a.m. at the Bogue Falaya Park, ducks are $20 apiece. The fastest 10 ducks win a prize; Grand Prize is $1000 (need not be present to win). The Covington Rotary Club is a service organization that joins the efforts of over 1.2 million men and women worldwide in addressing the needs of local communities. Ducks and further information can be found at covrotary.org.

City Updates CPD Updates Local News

City of Covington Announces Michael Ferrell As Chief of Police

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Covington Chief of Police Michael Ferrell was sworn in last week after approval by the City Council. Chief Ferrell is a 28-year law enforcement veteran, beginning his career at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Chief Ferrell also worked for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and is a graduate of Leadership St. Tammany. Mayor Mark had this to write in his latest e-blast:

“Mike Ferrell is a twenty-eight year veteran of the Law Enforcement arena, with a history of promotions leading progressively to positions of more responsibility. In 2011, he was chosen to attend the FBI National Academy to represent the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Covington Police Chief Michael Ferrell

He has:

· Extensive training in many areas of Law Enforcement including, but not limited to, Investigations, Narcotics, Tactical, Hostage Rescue, Firearms and SWAT Management.
· Extensive instructor certifications including Police Sniper, Taser, Explosive Handler, Clandestine Lab Site Safety Officer, Glock and Colt M-4 Armorer.
·
An uninterrupted work history in the field of Law Enforcement for twenty-eight years.

· In 2017, he was chosen to represent the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in the Leadership St. Tammany Class. This is where I came to know Mike Ferrell as a Policeman’s Policeman and as a hardworking and dedicated professional with Leadership qualities.

After working at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office for several years, Chief Ferrell began working at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, where he worked in the Criminal Patrol Division, Street Crimes/Narcotics, SWAT, served as the District 3 Commander and served as a Deputy Chief in Administration.

Commendations
· Medal of Valor, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, 2004
· Medal of Merit, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, 2000
· Medal of Merit, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, 1999
· Medal of Merit, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, 1996

For the sake of time, I’m not going to list all 26 of his Training Certificates.

Without offering any names, I asked Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker who he would choose as a Chief. His answer was Mike Ferrell.

Assistant DA Head of Criminal Division Colin Sims endorses Mike.

Fire Chief Gary Blocker attended Leadership St. Tammany with Mike and endorses the appointment: “For many years, I have gotten to know Michael Ferrell on both a professional and personal level. He has always demonstrated professionalism, responsibility and dedication to the service. I know he will be an asset to this great leadership team that this city has. He will bring his leadership philosophy and professionalism to the Covington Police Department, making it the best police department it can be.”

One member of the Sheriff’s Department told me, “Mayor, you nailed it. Mike Ferrell is the right person for Covington at this time.”

Sargent Brett Miller of the Covington Police Department wrote, “On behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 43 and as a representative of the men and women of the Covington Police Department, I would like to applaud you on your decision to appoint Michael Ferrell as the new Chief of Police for the City of Covington … The men and women of the Covington Police Department fully stand behind your decision to appoint Ferrell and we all look forward to the accomplishments our agency can conquer under his leadership.”

I spoke to District Attorney Warren Montgomery. He offered and subsequently sent a letter of recommendation. In it, he states that, “Mr. Ferrell served with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office and engaged with my staff in a positive manner. His performance at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and interaction with my staff ultimately resulted in my hiring Mr. Ferrell as one of my felony investigators. While serving in this capacity, Mr. Ferrell demonstrated his aptitude for the job by balancing a high caseload of several felony divisions of court, each having hundreds of defendants pending trial. The experience that Mr. Ferrell received by being a felony investigator will be an advantage to the City of Covington as Chief of the Police Department.

Mr. Montgomery went on to write: “I hate to lose a good employee, but I look forward to working with Mr. Ferrell.”

It is important, very important, to note that none of these endorsements were solicited.

With all of this in mind, as the Mayor and per the City Charter, I hereby appoint Mike Ferrell as the City of Covington’s new Police Chief and respectfully request that the Council confirm this selection.

(L-R) Covington Police Chief Michael Ferrell and Covington Mayor Mark Johnson

Subsequently, Chief Ferrell was unanimously approved by the City Council.

Former Mandeville PD Chief Rick Richard sent me this note:
“Mark – just a quick note to say that you made an excellent choice in Mike Ferrell for your Chief of Police. I observed Mike firsthand during my tenure as Chief in Mandeville and I can attest that he certainly has the leadership qualities you desire and he possesses. Congratulations and I look forward to great things.”

ADA and Chief Investigator Vincent Saltaformaggio wrote, “As Chief Investigator who has worked in law enforcement on a parish, state and international level over the past forty-one years as a LA State Trooper, DEA special agent and now as DA Chief Investigator, Michael Ferrell has my highest recommendation for this position. I have no doubt he will be an outstanding addition to your team.”

Congratulations Chief Ferrell and welcome to Covington!

Local News Parish News

St. Tammany Parish Library Announces Operational Updates

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COVINGTON- The St. Tammany Parish Library announces opportunities for patrons to return and more fully enjoy our 12 branches, as most State and Parish-mandated COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

“We are happy to resume some pre-COVID services and lift capacity limits. As we move forward, we will continue to evaluate operations and modify as-needed, based on our progress through this pandemic,” said Kelly LaRocca, Director of the St. Tammany Parish Library. “Our goal is to make library usage as easy and as safe as possible for our patrons as well as our employees. We appreciate the flexibility our patrons and our staff members have shown during these months. ”

The hours of operation for library branches remain as they have been since early March of 2021: large branches (Causeway, Covington, Madisonville, Mandeville, Slidell, and South Slidell) are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., while small branches (Abita Springs, Bush, Folsom, Lacombe, Lee Road, and Pearl River) are open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Patrons will notice a few changes to services that were put in place during COVID-19, while some services will remain. Circulation desk staff has resumed full-service checkout of items for all patrons. Capacity numbers, social distancing recommendations, mask mandates, and materials quarantines are no longer in place. All library branches will continue to provide sanitizing stations for patrons who wish to access hand sanitizer, masks, and alcohol wipes. The CDC does recommend that individuals who are unvaccinated continue to mask.

Patrons may notice less furniture in our branches and remaining social distancing stickers on the floors. While not required, social distancing is still encouraged, and we’ve cleared the way for what we call “brisk browsing” as we remain in Phase 3. Manipulatives, activity cubes, and our AWE Learning Stations in our Children’s areas remain covered and unavailable for use at this time. Library administration will reevaluate and update their availability in the early fall.

Meeting and study rooms are open. Study rooms are available on a first-come-first-serve basis in branches with study room availability. Meeting rooms have resumed pre-pandemic capacities. These capacities are available online by location. Reservations are required for the meeting rooms, and can be made online at www.sttammanylibrary.org/application-for-use-of-meeting-room.

Public computers are available for use. Reservations to use these computers at small branches will no longer be necessary. Computer use is limited to one-hour time slots, and some computers will remain shut down to continue to maintain distancing.

As things return to normal, patrons will see overdue fines and other library fees resume. Currently, all fines and fees, with the exception of replacement costs for lost items, remain suspended until June 30, 2021. Beginning July 1st, all items currently checked out and currently overdue will begin to accrue overdue fines. All items checked out on or after July 1st, will be subject to overdue fines if they are returned after the due date. Fees for faxes and replacement library cards also resume on July 1st. Replacement fees for long overdues — or items that have been out for more than 90 days — will be posted to patron accounts beginning July 1st. When long overdue items are returned, the replacement fees are waived and patrons are not charged.

Fines and fees are as follows:

Books, audiobooks, and CDs – 10 cents per day.

DVDs – 25 cents per day.

Interlibrary Loan late fees – $1.00 per day.

Downloadable items return automatically and don’t accrue late fees.

The maximum late fee for an STPL item is $5.00.

Replacement library card – $3.00

Faxes – 10 cents per page

Copies – 10 cents per page

Color Copies – 50 cents per page

The following services implemented during COVID-19 will remain:

Virtual Programming: Programming will remain both virtual and in-person as it is now, during the Summer Reading Challenge, as well as going forward.

Wi-Fi in branch parking lots. While Wi-Fi was always available at our branches inside and outside pre-COVID, Federal CARES Act Funding made available through the State of Louisiana through the State Library of Louisiana in the summer of 2020, coupled with funding from the St. Tammany Library Foundation, presented the opportunity to boost Wi-fi capabilities so that anyone can access and utilize a strong Wi-fi signal from the parking lot of every branch.

Contactless curbside service will remain in place at all branches. Curbside service ends after sunset each day.

Instant Access library cards for St. Tammany residents are now permanent. Residents can apply for a card online and get instant access to on-line library materials. These cards can also be used for inside and curbside service. Apply here: www.sttammanylibrary.org/library-card-request .

Virtual Programming will continue. Going forward, patrons can expect a blend of virtual and in-person programming.

You may read the Governor’s most recent Proclamation Number 93 easing Phase 3 restrictions, here. You may read St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper’s Executive Order here.

Patrons who have questions are encouraged to speak with staff at their local branches, or visit www.sttammanylibrary.org for complete information.

The St. Tammany Parish Library has been serving the citizens of St. Tammany Parish for more than 70 years. Our twelve branches offer over 542,000 loanable items including books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines. Our website, www.sttammanylibrary.org offers access to downloadable audio and e-books, music downloads, research tools, magazines, and newspapers 24/7. Our programs and services are designed to meet residents’ cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs.

City Updates Local Events Local News

Groundbreaking & Downtown Roadway Projects

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The City of Covington held a groundbreaking ceremony at Gulf Coast Bank for the Boston Street Overlay Project Tuesday morning. Mayor Mark thanked Senator Patrick McMath and Representative Mark Wright for their help in bringing the project to fruition, explaining that the Overlay Project was a result of needed improvements to the roadway after addressing sewerage and drainage issues over the last year. Parish President Cooper made a few brief statements and the group took some pictures. Other city officials in attendance included City Councilmen Mark Verret, Joey Roberts, John Botsford, Peter Lewis and Larry Rolling; Chief of Police Stephen Culotta, Fire Chief Gary Blocker and Assistant Fire Chief Steven Michel; representatives of City administration and Gulf Coast Bank.

(l – r) Parish President Mike Cooper, State Representative Mark Wright, Mayor Mark Johnson, State Senator Patrick McMath, Councilman Larry Rolling, Councilman Peter Lewis, Councilman Mark Verret, Councilman John Botsford and Councilman Joey Roberts.

For more information about the City of Covington, call 985-892-1811 and visit them online at covla.com, where you can also sign up for Mayor Mark’s E-list Sign Up! Find the City of Covington on Facebook.

City of Covington Getting Ready For Its First Roundabout

Covington is preparing for its first roundabout that DOTD will build at the intersection of Jefferson and 21st. Roundabouts in the area, including Abita Springs and Highway 59, have received favorable response and keep traffic flowing.

Proposed roundabout at the intersection of Jefferson and 21st.

Mayor Mark reports that:

“Although DOTD is responsible for design and construction of the road, we (the City) are responsible for the necessary utility line relocations.

We have completed moving the utility lines. DOTD is at 60% design completion.

The FAQ: Can’t we put a fountain, statue or plantings in the center?

The Answer: DOTD frowns upon anything which might obstruct the sight triangle within the circle.”

Sign up for Mayor Mark’s e-blast at covla.com

Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

Tour De Louisiane Bike Race This Sunday to Benefit NS Humane Society

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The 50th Annual Tour De Louisiane Bike Race takes place this Sunday, June 6, 2021 from 7 a.m. til 1 p.m. in historic downtown Covington. Spectators are encouraged and welcomed! This year’s race benefits the Northshore Humane Society and features a Dog Parade starting at 11:45 a.m. The route is the standard race route shown on the map below.

The Northshore Humane Society will be stationed at the Covington Trailhead (419 New Hampshire). Tour De Louisiane 2021 Bike Race is sponsored by the City of Covington, Gray Cat Cycle Worx, Southern Hotel, Palmares Cycling, Bicycle World, Stevenson & Murray Attys at Law, Baldwin Subaru, Apolline and Bike Law USA. To enter, go to www.neworleansbicycleclub.org
For more information, call 985-892-1873 or visit the City of Covington online at covla.com

City Updates Local News

City of Covington Looking for Lifeguards

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Would You Like To Spend Your Summer By The Pool? Lifeguards Wanted!

The City of Covington is looking for Lifeguards for Summer 2021. Applicants must be 16 years or older and lifeguard certified or willing to successfully complete the Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Program (Paid for by the City of Covington).

To apply online, go to covla.com/city-departments/human-resources to find a full job description and employment application.

Healthy Living Local News

St. Tammany Health System Launches BeWellBus.health

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Be Well Bus to bring health education, outreach and screenings to Northshore residents

COVINGTON – St. Tammany Health System today announced a new outreach tool for improving health on the Northshore, the Be Well Bus, community health screening mobile unit.

“We’re excited to announce this amazing resource for our community,” Anne Pablovich, STHS community health coordinator, said. “We will take the bus to local businesses, events, festivals and other locations to bring health education, screenings and resources into the neighborhoods. It’s all part of our commitment to world-class healthcare, close to home.”

The Be Well Bus (BeWellBus.health) is a 40-foot mobile unit containing a registration area and two private care rooms to facilitate preventative healthcare in the field. Clinical professionals from St. Tammany Health System and its partner Ochsner Health will travel on the bus to destinations throughout St. Tammany and Washington parishes to offer 3-D digital screening mammography, education, outreach, vaccinations (COVID-19 and others), and health screenings including blood pressure, arterial ultrasounds and cancer screenings.

“We will be able to perform screenings on the bus for a broad array of cancers including breast, prostate, skin, head and neck,” Pavlovich said, “plus we’ll be able to provide the DNA fecal immunochemical test (FIT kit) for colon cancer screenings and do lung cancer assessments that may lead to follow up for those who need low-dose CT lung testing at the STHS Cordes Pavilion.”

The Be Well Bus is an initiative of St. Tammany Health System in partnership with Ochsner Health. It serves as part of a larger initiative called Healthier Northshore, aimed at improving the health and wellness of St. Tammany and Washington parish residents.

“In a state ranked 49th for overall health, in a region with higher cancer rates than Louisiana’s average and the state’s highest prostate cancer mortality rate, our community’s health directly impacts our success and quality of life,” STHS CEO Joan Coffman explained. “St. Tammany Health System’s Be Well Bus and the Healthier Northshore initiative we launched with likeminded Northshore leaders will elevate the overall health of our population and improve the quality of life for those who live here. We’re raising awareness, addressing barriers to good health and wellness, providing screenings, connecting patients to care and measuring outcomes for learning opportunities.”

The heartbeat of its community, St. Tammany Health System cares for patients and families with excellence, compassion and teamwork. It is recognized for quality, safety and service excellence by CareChex, Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Hospital Compare, Women’s Choice and US News & World Report. St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 and Ochsner Health work together in partnership to improve the community’s health and quality of life. Together, west St. Tammany’s top two independent health leaders represent the most complete system of care, aligning behind the common goals of improving access, expanding specialty care and making care affordable. Under their agreement, each retains its autonomy; neither manages nor owns the other. Self-supporting, not-for-profit STHS is A+ rated by Fitch and receives no tax funding. More at StTammany.health

Local News Non Profit Spotlight

BCBSLA Helps YSB Clients Stay Safe & Connected

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When face-to-face interaction became too risky during the Covid-19 pandemic, some Northshore families who depend on Youth Service Bureau for vital services could have fallen through the cracks.

But thanks to a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, YSB has continued serving our clients safely and effectively using telehealth.
Telehealth — sometimes called telemedicine — is the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to provide healthcare when the patient and the provider are not in the same place at the same time.

Perhaps no YSB clients have benefited more from telehealth than those served by our Options program. Options is our family-focused, licensed outpatient treatment program for adolescents experiencing problems with alcohol and/or other drugs and mental health concerns. Options’ mission is to intervene in the destructive cycle of addiction by assisting adolescents and families in the recovery process. Options provides a range of services such as intervention and outpatient treatment for children ages 12-17, family education and counseling, parenting and anger management classes.

Where does telehealth fit in? According to Options Program Director Jennifer Walkenford, “We are using telehealth to meet our clients’ needs for individual and family counseling. For instance, during the state’s stay-at-home mandate, our Anger Management clients were able to attend group counseling on Zoom. Later, when we were able to resume some in-person meetings, we began using Microsoft Teams to host hybrid online/in-person meetings for Anger Management and Parenting. A computer is set up at the meeting so that clients linking in virtually can see and fully participate with the in-person group.”

And the advantages of telehealth go beyond the challenges of Covid-19.

“Many clients have transportation issues and time constraints that make it difficult for them to get to our offices,” Walkenford notes. “Telehealth allows these clients to receive uninterrupted services without physically traveling to the office or having to worry about transporting their adolescent to the office.

“Telehealth is an added resource we can offer clients once they have completed the initial face-to-face intake. Telehealth allows us to schedule clients in a way that is more convenient for them and enables our therapists to meet consistently with clients and their parents or caregivers.” All YSB therapists and interns are telehealth-certified.

YSB is deeply grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana for helping us stay connected with the families we serve throughout the pandemic and going forward.

General Local Events Local News

STOPS Announces Summer Training

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St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide announces their summer trainings for 2021

The Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) – a two-day suicide first-aid interactive workshop will be held on June 17th and 18th in Covington.
The program provides training for caregivers seeking to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Participants often include: people concerned about family or friends, emergency service workers, counselors, teachers, ministers, mental health practitioners, law enforcement workers and community volunteers. The emphasis is on suicide first-aid. This is a full two day intensive course taught by 2 to 3 trained staff. The course is approved by the NASW-LA Chapter for 14 general CEU credits. The cost is a nominal registration fee of $50.00. Scholarships are available.

Also being offered is the safeTALK training, Suicide Alertness For Everyone, which is a program to prepare persons to be suicide alert helpers in only a few hours. Participants will learn the TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen and Keep safe. Being trained in this process can assist in saving lives in our communities. The date for the safeTALK training is Thursday, June 24th in Covington. This course has been approved for 2.5 CEU general credits by the NASW-La Chapter. The cost is $35.00 to cover materials. Scholarships may be available for those who do not have the means to pay the nominal fees.

STOPS is now offering SuicideTALK which is a short exploration and awareness raising session. It is flexible to meet the needs of each group. SuicideTALK is aimed at all members and groups within communities. It is practice-oriented and provides open and honest dialogue for anyone interested in attending. It can last one to three hours with the content adapting to the needs of the group. By dispelling the myth that talking about suicide promotes suicidal behavior, SuicideTALK provides a solid foundation for suicide prevention. It aims to reduce stigma around suicide and promote awareness within the community. It also provides an opportunity for networking among participants. The TALK is a good starting point for those interested in learning more about suicide and attitudes around the issue. If you are interested in arranging a SuicideTALK for your workplace or community group, please contact Lynette Savoie, Executive Director of STOPS at 985.237.5506.

St. Tammany Parish has typically had one of the highest suicide rates in the state. STOPS has been working since its inception in December of 2001 to reduce the number of suicides through prevention and intervention with our ASIST and safeTALK classes, SuicideTALK sessions, and post vention with our SOS Support Group and our LOSS team. STOPS also provides speakers to inform community groups of signs to look for and how to handle those who may be at risk. STOPS has been a partner in the St. Tammany Parish School Board’s Youth Suicide Prevention Focus Group since its inception. For further information and to register for the trainings please visit the STOPS website at www.stops-la.com or call 985-237-5506.

Local News

Covington Named Tree City USA For 27th Year

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The Arbor Day Foundation designated the City of Covington as a 2020 Tree City USA
which marks the 27th year that the city has met the requirements set by the foundation.
The four core standards required are having an active Tree Board and a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

Pictured in the photo are, left to right:
Tree Board members Emily Couvillon, Ella Mae Selmon, Mayor Mark Johnson, Tree Board members Billie Stanga and Bruce Davidson

Keep Covington Beautiful sponsors the Tree Give-away each year in January to celebrate Louisiana Arbor Day. In 2020, 600 bare-root seedlings were given away at Farmer’s Market. The Covington Tree Board and Keep Covington Beautiful provide guidance to the city and coordination of the “Live Oak Preservation Project”. In 2020, 36 Live Oaks on public property received specialized professional care through this project.

City Updates Local News

City of Covington Utility Bill Update

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A message from the City of Covington via Mayor Mark regarding Utility Bills:

Due to an error by the utility bill printing company, duplicates of the April utility bills stating “Final Bill” were mailed out to all customers.You may DISREGARD this second bill and pay the amount due indicated on the FIRST bill mailed out. If you have already paid your April utility bill, please DISREGARD this second notice.We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience this situation has caused.

The City of Covington sustained a cyber attack several weeks ago resulting in the utility billing issue. For more information, call the City of Covington at 985-892-1873. Visit the City of Covington online at covla.com, where you can also sign up for Mayor Mark’s email updates.