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Nearly 140,000 Pounds of Household Hazardous Waste Collected at St. Tammany Parish’s Summer Event

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today the collection of an estimated 139,113 pounds of Household Hazardous Waste, at the June, 2018 St. Tammany Parish Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day (HHW Day), through the Parish’s Environmental Services Department and Keep St. Tammany Beautiful. Volunteers collected over 800 pounds of batteries, nearly 8,000 pounds of liquid pesticides and poisons, and an estimated 40,000 pounds of electronics from 748 vehicles. Over 900 households were served at this event. 

“Household Hazardous Waste Day is one more way we are protecting the environment. This growing and popular event allows our residents an opportunity to dispose of potential pollutants in a responsible way,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “Our Environmental Services employees and Keep St. Tammany Beautiful do an impressive job. We are happy to organize it and offer it, and we encourage residents to utilize it, so the waste is disposed of and does not end up in our local environment.”

With the large demand for HHW Day and its continued growth in usage, St. Tammany Parish Government is exploring ways to make disposal of these types of waste items more convenient. The Parish is considering several constructive, innovative and cost effective ideas to make HHW Day more efficient.

Upcoming Keep St. Tammany Beautiful events include a second HHW Day in the Slidell area currently slated for November 2018.  More information on the event will follow as it gets closer. Keep St. Tammany Beautiful has information on upcoming events on their website: www.keepsttammanybeautiful.org.

To organize a cleanup event for your neighborhood, or if you or your group would like to volunteer, call Rick Moore, Executive Director of Keep St. Tammany Beautiful, at 985.898.5214.

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St. Tammany Parish is committed to protecting the environment and sustainability, through initiatives like Keep St. Tammany Beautiful, launched in 2015, the implementation of green energy throughout our Parish-owned facilities, daily litter abatement crews, our Green Guide, elevated water quality standards, and Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days. To learn more or to volunteer with Keep St. Tammany Beautiful, visit, www.keepsttammanybeautiful.org.

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43 Pets from the Department of Animal Services Find Families during the 2018 Clear the Shelters Event

43 Pets from the Department of Animal Services Find Families during the 2018 Clear the Shelters Event

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President announced the adoption of 43 animals from the St. Tammany Parish Department of Animal Services shelter during their participation in the nationwide 2018 Clear the Shelters event, on Saturday, August 18, 2018. During this event, all adoption fees were waived.  According to www.cleartheshelters.com, over 90,000 pets were adopted nationwide on this day.

“In 2017, the Department of Animal Services adopted out nearly 1000 animals, and returned 362 lost pets to their owners,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We can only do this through the help of our neighbors and friends — our residents — who choose to adopt an animal in need. We encourage everyone to consider adoption first when choosing a pet.”

All animals adopted from the Department of Animal Services are socialized, spayed or neutered, up-to-date on their vaccines, and microchipped. Animals available for adoption can be viewed at www.stpgov.org/departments/animal-services, click on the Pet Harbor and Pet Finder links. Animal Services is located at 31078 Highway 36 in Lacombe, with adoption hours from 8 a.m. – 4p.m. Monday through Saturday.

See a photo gallery of animals who found their forever homes on Saturday, here.

 

 

 

The mission of Animal Services is to balance the health, safety and welfare needs of people and animals in St. Tammany Parish by: protecting the rights of people from dangers and nuisances caused by uncontrolled animals, ensuring the legal protection of animals from mistreatment, and promoting, motivating and enforcing responsible pet ownership. The Animal Shelter provides a safe and clean facility for stray animals or unwanted pets. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/animalservices.

 

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Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, Warns Citizens of Extreme Heat

The National Weather Service in Slidell has issued a Heat Advisory for St. Tammany Parish and the surrounding area through the weekend, including  Monday, July 23rd.

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today, “that St. Tammany Parish citizens need to take the necessary precautions to prevent heat related illnesses.” Brister went on to say, “heat waves are the leading cause of extreme weather-related deaths in the US, so we are urging all residents and visitors that it will be important to take precautionary measures to prevent illness or death because of the heat and heat-index over the next few days. ”  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heat-related death or illnesses are preventable if you follow a few simple steps:

o    Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. 
o    If you do not have working air conditioning in your home, go to a public place such as a shopping mall or a library to stay cool. 
o    Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.
o    Drink water often. Do not wait until you are thirsty.
o    Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities if you are outside or in a building without air-conditioning.
o    Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and always wear sunscreen.
o    Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked-open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying.

When traveling with children, remember to do the following:

    Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
    To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
    When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Air conditioning is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illness. Exposure to air conditioning for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related illness.  See the image included in this post  how you can learn to identify the signs and symptoms of heat related illness, as well as what the CDC suggest you do.
 

Additionally, precautions should also be taken for pets and livestock during the extreme heat conditions, such as keeping them out of direct sunlight, making certain they have a fresh water source, and never leaving a pet in a locked vehicle. For more information on pet heat safety visit the American Red Cross, or well-known pet related websites.

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St. Tammany Continues to Pursue the Prioritization of the I-12 Widening Project 

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today that Parish Government has submitted its application for a $36 million federal BUILD Grant to help fund the next phase of widening I-12 in St. Tammany Parish. This application follows her pledge to testify before a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and requests to the Governor and U.S. Senator John Kennedy to provide bi-partisan support for this grant as well as other funding sources. She has also committed $7.2 million dollars of match funding from Parish Government. 

“We want this project to become and remain a top priority until its completion. We will continue to seek support and funding from every possible source, until we see action,” Said Brister. “The safety of this community is my primary concern, and we will not rest until the project is complete.” 

The grant details the necessity of the project and provides a detailed analysis for its justification. It states that Interstate 12 is part of the National Highway Freight Network and Louisiana’s Tier 1 Freight Network. The segment between Louisiana State Highway 21 and U.S. 190 provides a level of service well below the national standards for that designation. Even non-fatal accidents can block traffic in this corridor for hours. In the past five years, more than 900 crashes have occurred in the corridor affecting approximately 2800 vehicle occupants. Congestion will only grow, with traffic forecasts predicting an average Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for this segment to be between 104,300 and 126,800 by 2038. 

Congress has dedicated nearly $5.6 billion for nine rounds of National Infrastructure Investments through the BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant with $1.5 billion available through this round. These funds are for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. According to the U.S Department of Transportation, no more than $150 million can be awarded to a single state in this round. Applications will be evaluated based on merit criteria, including: safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection, state of good repair, innovation, partnership, and additional non-Federal revenue for infrastructure investments. This project’s benefit cost ratio of 8 to 1 demonstrates a very high return on investment benefitting the residents of St. Tammany Parish. 

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Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, Asks Citizens to Help Do Their Part in Preventing West Nile

With the first human case of West Nile Virus in St. Tammany Parish confirmed today by the Louisiana Department of Health, it is even more important to do everything you can to prevent mosquito breeding, and to take precautions to protect you and your family.

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today, “that all St. Tammany Parish residents need to do their part in preventing other cases of the West Nile Virus by taking the necessary steps to reduce the risk of mosquito breeding and bites.” Brister went on to say, “the St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District personnel do a wonderful job, but we each have a responsibility to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.”  

To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, the Parish is asking that all citizens drain standing water. A small amount of standing water can be enough for a mosquito to lay eggs and multiply. Look around your home and business for possible breeding places. Empty standing water from buckets, cans, pool covers, flowerpots and other items, as well as check to ensure rain gutters are not clogged. Clean pet bowls weekly, and if you store water outside or have a well, make sure it is covered. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Additionally, keep mosquitoes outside by fixing or installing window screens.

Families should take precautions to protect themselves by applying insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Permethrin sprayed on clothing provides protection through several washes. Products with a higher percentage of DEET as active ingredient generally give longer protection. Wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks sprayed with repellent while outdoors can further help prevent mosquito bites.

You can still enjoy the summertime activities St. Tammany has to offer, but you should take these preventative measures to protect yourself, your family, and your home. Do your best to avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn, when many mosquitoes bite.

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St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister Calls for Bi-Partisan Support to Widen Critical Stretch of I-12; Offers to Testify Before Senate Committee to Seek Federal Dollars

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister continued her appeal to accelerate widening of a 4.5 mile stretch of 1-12 by agreeing to testify before a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and by seeking bi-partisan support from Governor John Bel Edwards and Senator John Kennedy for a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Build Grant.

In a letter from Brister to Kennedy sent this morning, Brister thanked the Louisiana Senator for “…increasing funding for Louisiana road and transportation projects by $74 million.” She advocated for those dollars and more to be assigned to the I-12 widening project and cited the recent tragic accident that led to the death of four people and injured nearly one dozen as a clear reason why easing the traffic congestion in St. Tammany could no longer be ignored.  Wrote Brister, “It is unconscionable that the plea of my administration and the citizens of this Parish had largely been ignored until the fatal accident awakened transportation officials to the dire need for widening I-12 in St. Tammany.  Today, I am more encouraged than ever that this problem will be addressed and construction on widening this corridor will be accelerated.”

Brister noted in her letter that she was pleased to see the Governor and our U.S. Senator in agreement on this major capital improvement need.  Brister stated, “Senator, I am encouraged that you were able to raise funding levels … from the Federal Highway Trust fund to an estimated $814 million for Louisiana next year.  I also appreciated your outreach to Governor John Bel Edwards regarding the bi-partisan support for this critical measure.  We, too, are asking the Governor to approve a Build Grant request for this widening project, and we have agreed to work collaboratively and sign as co-applicants for the major infrastructure grant to address this portion of the roadway.”

Brister offered to assist the Senator in any way to help secure the needed funding to widen this critical stretch of roadway.  Wrote Brister, “… please let me know what is necessary to help St. Tammany begin building a safer, less congested roadway.  I am willing to do everything from contacting your fellow congressional leaders to launching a grassroots advocacy campaign for funding to testifying before a federal committee on the need for transportation funding.”

Read the letter here

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Comment Period Open on Proposed Changes to Tchefuncte River Drawbridge Operating Schedule

Parish President Pat Brister, and St. Tammany Parish Council Vice Chairman, Mike Lorino (District 14), are urging St. Tammany residents to submit comments on the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposed changes to the Tchefuncte River drawbridge operating schedule which would restrict bridge openings during peak evening traffic hours. The comment period is now open and will be open until July 16, 2018. Residents who wish to weigh in can submit comments here .

“Your voice is critically important in order for changes to occur to the traffic challenges in this area,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We are working closely with the Federal Government and the U.S. Coast Guard, so this is the time to make your voice heard, especially if the current bridge closure schedule impacts your travel time.”

“We need our residents to take a moment and offer your comments on these proposed changes,” said Lorino. “The more feedback officials receive, the greater the chance of seeing permanent change. We have heard residents voice their concern over the traffic issues because of this bridge, and we are in the next phase of making changes for the better happen, so your input is vitally important. Please take this opportunity to comment.”

In 2016, The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) and Town of Madisonville Mayor Jean Pelloat, implemented changes to the drawbridge opening schedule as well as traffic study. The entire scope of proposed changes can be viewed here .

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The 2019 Streamlining Budget Workgroup Presents Recommendations to Parish President Pat Brister

The 2019 Streamlining Budget Workgroup Presents Recommendations to Parish President Pat Brister

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President met with members of the 2019 Streamlining Budget Workgroup and members of the local media today to discuss the budgetary recommendations presented by the group in a final letter to Brister. The group was given extensive budget and operational information, and over the course of five meetings, was able to ask Parish Officials and Parish staff members in-depth questions.

“This group voluntarily took on this task at my request, and I could not be more grateful,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “I appreciate the weight of their questions, and their willingness to further understand the way St. Tammany Parish Government operates so that they could make thoughtful recommendations in consideration of many scenarios.”

“We will look at every suggestion they gave us with careful consideration, as we continue to create our 2019 budget,” Brister went on to say.

The group suggested, among other things, that Parish Government must free up monies in the General Fund to pay State-mandated costs of the St. Tammany Parish Jail and Justice Center and also stated, all outside agencies must be prepared to reduce operations to fit within general fund allocations or use other available revenue. The entire letter to the Parish President from the Workgroup can be found online stpgov.org, or by clicking here .

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Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President Pushes LADOTD to Widen I-12 Now

 Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President Pushes LADOTD to Widen I-12 Now

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President met today with LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson and members of his staff to press the Secretary, and Governor John Bel Edwards, to improve the I-12 corridor in St. Tammany. Parish President Brister felt it was important to meet face to face with the Secretary to lay out a plan to accomplish the much-needed I-12 widening project, as well as propose short-term solutions to improve safety in the area.

“I went in to the meeting with three clear objectives,” said Brister. “First, the Parish and State will each work towards the same goal of securing funding for this project, and once funding becomes available, the State will guarantee that this project is first in line for that funding. Second, I asked for Sec. Wilson’s commitment that the design for the widening would continue to completion, to make this priority project shovel-ready when funding is identified. Third, to formally request the State work collaboratively on a joint infrastructure grant application for federal funding to be submitted in July. I am pleased to say that we have gotten these assurances from the Secretary.”

Brister went on to say, “I requested that LADOTD immediately institute short-term safety solutions. We asked that their engineers take the necessary steps to install flashing lights and signage alerting motorist of traffic backups, as well as the other safety improvements they identified in their Road Safety Assessment from 2013, that have yet to be implemented.”

Parish President Brister is also in conversations with the Congressional Delegation to help obtain funding commitments for this critical project. She has repeatedly stated that this project should be void of all politics, but instead be based on data, need and safety.

 

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Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, Continues Unyielding Effort to Achieve Priority Status for I-12

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, Continues Unyielding Effort to Achieve Priority Status for I-12

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, remains unrelenting in her efforts to have the safety and infrastructure needs of St. Tammany prioritized by the State. In a written response to the Parish President’s letter sent last week asking the governor to have the widening of I-12 moved up in the priority list of State projects, Governor Edwards indicated funding issues must be resolved before the State can move the project to the top of their priority list.

Brister said, “Neither I, nor the people of St. Tammany care who is to blame for the delay.  The people of St. Tammany expect action to prevent further tragedies and to give commuters peace of mind.”

“Spending by the State over the last four years is a reflection on the previous administration,” said Brister, “however, planning, designing and programming funding for the future, is a reflection on the current administration. We want this widening project to become a priority for our Governor, leaders in State government and the State Legislature. This matter must be free of political retribution.”

Brister went on to say, “For years, we have tirelessly pressed the State and LADOTD to make this expansion a priority, and we will continue to insist that the groundbreaking timeline be moved up to 2019. We are eager to work with anyone who can help us make this project a reality as soon as possible. We will continue to have an open dialogue and a good working relationship with LADOTD. But make no mistake, this project is a priority and I am committed to convincing the State and Federal Governments of the same.”

Brister said she would continue her discussions with the Parish’s Congressional Delegation, as well as its State Legislators, to make this expansion a priority and to acquire the funding to make it a reality. She also expressed her appreciation of the efforts of LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson in his exploration of short-term solutions to make drivers more aware of road conditions. 

Additionally, Brister is asking that residents join her in her efforts by contacting our State leaders and ask them to prioritize the I-12 widening project in St. Tammany Parish. St. Tammany Parish citizens can help in this effort by calling the Governor’s Office at 225-342-7015.

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Editor’s note: Please follow this link to view a short video, which will be distributed widely via email, posted on social media sites and played extensively on the Parish’s access television channel.

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