Almost a White Christmas here

By Renee Allemand Simpson
JUST ENOUGH
OF THE WHITE STUFF
Jack Frost’s early, infrequent visit was the big story across the parish last week. Parish government offices stayed open. Though the snow fascinated us, work continued as usual.

Water meter readers were out performing their normal job duties as Emergency Operations personnel were at alert dealing with road closures. The Hale Boggs Bridge closed for a short time due to slick ice on the roadway.

Thankfully, though, the snow proved just enough to provide some excitement, but not enough to cause any major problems. In South Louisiana, that’s the best way to enjoy it.
To view snow scenes from around the parish, log on to www.stcharlesgov.net or tune in to Cox Cable Channel 6 to see video. I am also putting together an online photo gallery with your pictures. Please e-mail them to rallemand@stcharlesgov.net.

NEW WEB SITE,
NEW CONTENT
St. Charles Parish is gearing up to launch its brand-new, state-of-the-art Web site in January. The new site will be much more user-friendly and will include special features, such as an events calendar, opt-in e-mail notifications and information for residents, businesses and visitors.

The Web address will become www.stcharlesparish-la.gov.
With this new site, we’re focusing not only on government, but also on our community as a whole. We want to feature your stories and photos on the new site, too. The Public Information Office will sponsor a contest beginning Jan. 8 that will showcase your best stories and photos about St. Charles Parish.

Do you have a special memory about growing up here? Do you know someone who is making a difference in our community? Do you have a beautiful photo of Bayou Des Allemands? If so, let us know!

We’ll pick three winners to receive valuable gift certificates from Adam and Eve Day Spa, 90 West Restaurant and Jackie Bee Petroleum.

For an entry form, visit www.stcharlesgov.net or look for our ad in the Jan. 8 issue of the Herald-Guide

WORKFORCE
INVESTMENT GETS
POSITIVE RATING
An annual performance report administered by the federal government shows River Parishes Workforce Investment Act Program Business and Career Solutions Centers have met or exceeded set goals during the fiscal year of July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008.

WIA centers provide an integrated array of high-quality services for workers and job seekers, including resume writing help, training opportunities and labor market information. Offices are located in Luling, Lutcher and LaPlace.

The 2007 Common Measures Performance Report identifies specific areas for achievement, including participation in youth education retention programs and whether those participants obtained a degree or certificate.
Areas of study include in-demand fields such as nursing and process technology.

“I think we’ve outdone ourselves this year because our operations are much smaller and our level of funding is much less than the other areas in our region,” Sharon Simpkins, River Parishes WIA Director, said. “We’re doing a lot with much less. These reports show a proven track record of our success.”

Of adult participants, average earnings equaled approximately $13,000 quarterly, well above the goal of $11,800 and more than six of the 18 areas included. Of those entering WIA programs, over 70 percent became employed.
WIA is funded by the Federal Department of Labor through the Louisiana Department of Labor currently known as the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Of the 18 local areas within the state, the River Parishes and one other area received recognition for meeting and/or exceeding the Federal Performance Measures.

To view the complete report or get more information about WIA, please visit www.stcharlesgov.net.

GRANT WILL HELP FUND PUMP
IMPROVEMENT
 A $1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is set to help improve drainage during heavy rain events in the communities of Boutte and Luling. 

The grant will help fund the installation of automated bar screen cleaners on the intake of the Cousins Canal pumping station in Luling. The cleaners keep trash and debris from plugging the intake, which allows the pump to operate at its maximum capacity of 414,000 gallons-per-minute during rain events. Debris can include tree limbs, leaves and lily pads.
St. Charles Parish Public Works Director Sam Scholle said the project would make easy work of a previously impossible task.

“Workers use hand-held raking devices and a long arm excavator to clean the fixed screens before and after rain events,” he said. “But high winds and lightning prevent the cleaning of screens during the actual rain event, when pump operation is most critical.”

Construction is expected to cost $3,556,300.

The new bar screen cleaners will also keep pump intake levels consistent. This ensures the pump runs at a more efficient pace.

“Without these bar screen cleaners, the pump will cycle on and off due to the varying water levels,” Scholle said. “That reduces the overall capacity of the pumping station and increases and risk of flooding streets and homes.”

Renee Allemand Simpson is the Public Information Officer for St. Charles Parish. She can be reached at (985) 783-5000 or rallemand@stcharlesgov.net.

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