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Statement on Recycling Changes From Covington Mayor Mark Johnson

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“Can’t you smell that smell? The smell of trash surrounds you … ” (apologies to Lynyrd Skynyrd). Councilmen Patrick McMath and Mark Verret joined Mayor Mark and CAO Gina Hayes on a visit to Coastal Environmental Services, the trash processor for Covington, Mandeville and Slidell. As I mentioned previously, due to national and local trends, recycling as we know it has changed significantly in the last 6 months. There is now only one recycling facility in the state of La (Baton Rouge) and it does not accept glass – – neither does the facility in Sumrall, MS that takes our recyclables. I also confirmed that crushed glass (i.e. sand) is not a detriment to landfills. I was disappointed to learn that, since we have not allowed a landfill to be constructed in St. Tammany Parish, most of our garbage is trucked (13-14 tons / truck, 60 mile trip) to Waggaman – both dangerous and inefficient. Covington residents: Put your recycle receptacle out for Thursday – no glass, no plastic bags.

Mayor Johnson visited Coastal Environmental Services recently to survey the facilities and discuss changes in the recycling service. Covington recycling pick up is now Thursday city wide. Recycling no longer accepts glass or plastic bags. No Glass/No Plastic Bags
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Mark Johnson Elected Mayor of Covington

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Congratulations to Covington’s newly elected Mayor Mark Johnson, whose term begins July 1.

Patrick McMath was reelected to his at-large council seat, and he is joined by Larry Rolling.

Peter Lewis won District A Council seat, John Botsford fills the District B seat, and Cody Driskell Ludwig represents District D.

A runoff for the District E seat is May 4 between Meghan Garcia and Mark Verret.

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Covington Mayor, Council At Large Forum at Fuhrmann

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The St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce and the Covington Business Association present a City of Covington Mayor and Council-at-Large Forum on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 from 5 – 7 p.m. At the Fuhrmann Auditorium in Covington. The Fuhrmann is located at 128 W. 23rd Ave. (in the Covington City Hall Complex off Jefferson St.)
Meet and hear directly from the candidates for the City of Covington’s Mayoral and Council-at-Large races. The following candidates have confirmed that they will attend: Council-at-Large – Jerry Coner, Patrick McMath and Larry Rolling; Mayoral Candidates – Mark Johnson, Timothy O’Hara, Rick Smith and Candace Watkins. Free and Open to the Public.

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City of Covington Special Election

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The City of Covington Special Election for the Council At Large seat is  Saturday, March 25, 2017.  The candidates are Trey Blackall, Jerry Coner and Patrick McMath.  Trey is a former council member, Jerry Coner is a current council member and Patrick McMath has no previous political experience.  The At Large position is generally a position of greater responsibility.

Paid for by the Committee to elect Trey Blackall

“The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.”

–   Plato, The Republic

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Truth and Consequences on the Campaign Trail

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The City of Covington is holding a special election on March 25, 2017 to fill the vacant At Large Council Seat.  Early voting begins this Saturday, March 11, 2017.   There are three candidates running:  a current council member, a previous council member and one political newcomer.  The candidates are, in alphabetical order by last name, Trey Blackall, Jerry Coner and Patrick McMath.

Paid for by the Committee to elect Trey Blackall

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The reaction to hearing the words  “crack house” was harsh and condemning; meanwhile the Jefferson Parish president keeps his office after sex-texting a minor.  What would be the reaction to a destitute young woman trapped in a vicious cycle of drugs and prostitution, exhibiting a haphazardly stitched laceration on one hand that appears to require immediate medical attention?  Compassion, or Disgust?  How Does It Feel, To Be All Alone, indeed.  A good first step might be to examine things realistically in order to arrive at a viable solution.  Trey chose to stay in the race, indicating that he has more to say.


Slow and Steady Wins The Race – Watching Jerry Coner’s determination in this race reminds me of the story of the hare and the tortoise.  The hare may be fast, but he is also fickle, and maybe a little lazy.  The tortoise on the other hand, just continues on, despite the odds.  A current district councilman, Coner is hard at work right now.  Every time I’ve spoken with him in the last week, which is a few times, he  just completed another neighborhood, good old-fashioned campaigning door-to-door.  You have to respect that resolve.  The day the Advocate broke the Blackall story, I called Coner around 6 or 7 p.m.  He was completing another full day, oblivious to the news.
The third candidate in the race, and I was first to call him about the story, which is interesting in itself.  After I told him the gist, his attitude stayed exactly the same.  He will still visit the rest of the neighborhoods on his maps, and the likelihood that he will complete his campaign goals are very good based on what he’s accomplished so far.

Paid for by the committee to elect Jerry Coner

The Young and the Restless – Patrick McMath is the Tammany West Chamber endorsed candidate, and brand new to the political scene.  I met McMath at the “Keller Williams” Alliance for Good Government endorsement night (Mrs. Fandal, president of AGG, is a Keller Williams realtor;  a search on will yield a substantial list of land transactions between Fandal and McMath), and he flinched slightly when I introduced myself.
When the moderator asked about the family business, which according to his campaign literature, he began working for after allegedly voluntarily giving up his law license, McMath’s voice cracked slightly.  If the conflicts of interest that exist within the AGG endorsement are any indication, there is already an agenda behind a McMath seat on the City Council.  At the very least, the public has a right to know who is buying their politicians.  Beyond that, I waved at Patrick recently, and he didn’t wave back.
May The Best Man Win – With Trey Blackall staying in the race, a runoff is likely.  The City of Covington is at a pivotal point.  Exponential growth is predicted for this area, and experienced leadership is essential to alleviate those growth pains and address the existing infrastructure issues.  The current political trend, from the national level down, seems to be the merging of corporation and state to a frustrating degree; the trend of the public is vigilance.
Timothy Gates, CW Correspondent 985-288-9609

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City of Covington Special Municipal Election

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The City of Covington holds a special Municipal Election to fill the At Large Council Seat held by Lee Alexius, who passed away last year.  Mr. Alexius is remembered as a family man, dedicated council member and founding member of the Covington Heritage Foundation, among many other contributions to the community.
The qualifying candidates in the March 25th election are Trey Blackall, Jerry Coner and Patrick McMath.

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Coffee With Mayor Cooper Recap

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Mayor Cooper Highlights 2017 City Events

Wednesday was a beautiful morning for Coffee With Mayor Cooper at the Covington Trailhead Museum. The room was packed, and Mayor Cooper discussed some of the upcoming events in 2017.
The Lions Club Parade, Covington’s family oriented day parade, is getting an upgrade.  Patrick McKnight, the Covington Lions Club Chairman, invites participants to the 58th Annual Mardi Gras Day Parade!  This year’s theme is “Playtime.”  The 2017 Covington Lions Club Honorary Grand Marshall is Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, and you could be right there along with him.
After the parade, be sure to catch the merriment at the Covington Trailhead with an awards ceremony for the floats and antique cars.  Music, food and fun await at Carnival in Covington 2017, a family Fat Tuesday tradition.  To pick up an application, or for more information, contact Kirstie at the Department of Cultural Arts, phone number 985-892-1873.  The Krewe of Olympia parade  rolls on Saturday, February 18, 2017.
The Mayor mentioned a couple of March events, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 11, presented by the Covington Celtic Club and ending near Jewel’s Cigar & Briar.  Also happening in March is the Youth Service Bureau annual fundraiser, Chef Soiree.  This event will again take place at the Covington Trailhead with some of the best restaurants on the Northshore participating.
April brings some of Downtown’s most popular events, with the return of Rockin’ the Rails (Line up will be posted as soon as it’s finalized by the City!), St. Tammany Art Association’s Spring For Art, and of course, A Taste of Covington, both taking place the second week/weekend of April!  The Covington Heritage Foundation Antiques Festival returns the third weekend of April also, and the OnStage at the Fuhrmann series continues through 2017.
Mayor Cooper turned the floor over to Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz with regard to the Police’s Department’s award from the Metropolitan Crime Commission.  The MCC awarded the Department the Excellence in Law Enforcement Award in recognition of Operation Angel, a drug abatement and crime prevention initiative.  The award was received January 24, 2017.  Chief Lentz noted that over 100 people have been helped by the program, and crime is down %14 overall for 2016.

Mayor Cooper Discusses Road Projects

Mayor Cooper’s informal meeting also included some important information about the much anticipated road work projects around Covington.  He related that the contractor working on the 15th Avenue Bridge at Mile Branch gave assurances that it would be completed at the end of this week(!), when the official notification is given from the City, Covington Weekly will update.
With regard to the Washout Project on 15th, Mayor Cooper stated that Open Bidding begins February 8, and Bids are selected by DOTD.  Cooper also noted that the culverts would be replaced to increase capacity, with the project focusing on DOTD upgrades as opposed to FEMA requirements.  The Mayor also informed the audience that Councilman Wright is hosting a meeting for River Forest Residents at Kehoe France on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, with regard to that project and other street paving projects.
Mayor Cooper reported that the Highway 21 Bridge Project is on schedule, with State projections for a finish date at late Spring/ early Summer;  Cooper added that his projections were late summer, to the agreement and amusement of those in the audience skeptical of road work finish dates.

Public Feedback at Coffee With Cooper

Two separate issues discussed as questions from the audience included incidents of speeding in and near the Savannahs Subdivision, and sewerage infrastructure.
The speeding problem stems from the fact that the neighborhood is used as a cut-through when it should be local access only.  Mayor Cooper noted that the speed limit was dropped to 20 mph, stop signs were added, and patrols increased, but there are still speeders.
In other areas of the country, police departments have installed a speed check with a camera that will take a picture of the license plate and automatically send a ticket to the speeding vehicle.  While this method has been contested depending on the application, it seems both a reasonable and feasible solution to a continuing problem that has not been solved by traditional and previously mentioned measures.
The sewerage infrastructure issue is a common one in the city ever since the flooding of March 2016.  Other factors affecting sewerage and plumbing infrastructure include root intrusion, common in areas with many trees.

City of Covington Special Municipal Election

The City of Covington holds a special Municipal Election to fill the Council Seat formerly held by Lee Alexius, who passed away last year.  Mr. Alexius is remembered as a family man, dedicated council member and founding member of the Covington Heritage Foundation, among many other contributions to the community.  The qualifying candidates in the March 25th election are Trey Blackall, Jerry Coner and Patrick McMath.