St. Charles Herald-Guide

Read THIS if you like GOOD NEWS

Derek Clontz - January 31, 2007

Editor Derek Clontz talks about St. Charles Parish's population explosion ... and throws in a few interesting quotes.

Love is space and time measured by the heart. - Marcel Proust

Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties. - Jule Renard

The population of little ol' St. Charles Parish more than doubled between 1982 and 2006, rising from 25,950 to 63,336, according to a Louisiana Tech update.

And with some guestimates claiming an additional population surge of up to 7,000 over the past 12 months, it’s possible that we’ve already - are you sitting down for this? - eclipsed the 70,000 mark.

Scratch the "little ol' parish" - I think we're talking "medium-sized city" if we stop calling everything by the name of its postal route, i.e., Boutte, Ama, Montz, Paradis ... and starting thinking, "Hey, we're all in this together ..."


Valero Energy Corp. has been named one of Fortune magazine's Best Companies to Work For. It's also been tagged as one of Forbes magazine's Platinum 400 Best Companies - period. In the Fortune list, Valero ranked No. 22 overall - strong - and No. 6 among companies with 10,000 or more employees - even stronger.

This is good news for Valero, its employees, and also Valero's neighbors, i.e., you and me.

That's because, as Fortune points out, "Of the 23 refineries designated by OSHA as having the best safety programs, 11 are Valero units."

Back to Valero's workers, Fortune rightly made much of the fact that "the company has never laid off a single employee."

Just so you'll know, Fortune's rankings are based on an evaluation of company policies and culture, and also the opinions of employees, whose feedback is weighted at two-thirds of the total score.

Nice going, guys. Yep, real nice.


With national think tanks such as Washington's United Health Foundation trashing Louisiana’s health and economy over the past few weeks, finally, I've got some good news to report - and it’s very local.

Louisiana Life Magazine has gathered the facts, crunched the numbers and listened to the feedback - and named Willow Ridge, in Luling, and Ormond Estates, in Destrehan, Top 25 Communities for the entire state.

And just look at the company we keep. Other winners include Old Metairie, in Jefferson Parish, and the Warehouse District in New Orleans.

Does this mean we’re getting hip? All right!


Quote of the Week

"A bowling alley or a mall for sure. Teenagers need a place to go and hang out to keep out of trouble."

So said Luling's Brittany Allen in response to our "teen in the street" interview on what parish kids would like to see in the way of entertainment options ... and why.

Reported by our super-sharp interns, Nattie Swan and Megan Waters, the story that's slated to appear in next week's issue might surprise you.

The teens our guys talked with are a level-headed bunch. They say there aren't many entertainment venues for young people in St. Charles Parish, and just a few shops and "pit stops" - and perhaps a well-placed park - or two would make them happy ...


Our guy in Congress, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, has a hot new job as vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations - a mouthful for sure, and a big deal.

And if that doesn't get your motor running, listen to this: Melancon says he's itching for a fight with anybody who wastes our tax dollars.

“The American people deserve to know how their money is being spent and whether their government is operating efficiently and effectively,” he said.

“But there have been almost no oversight hearings held or subpoenas issued in the past six years,” he added. “It’s time for that to change."

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has jurisdiction over agencies, departments, and programs that include those dealing with health, energy, the environment, telecommunications, and commerce issues and legislation.


Derek Clontz is accessible! Write to him with your questions, comments, kudos or complaints at: ... he answers every e-mail.