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The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
July 28, 2016     The Ponchatoula Times
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July 28, 2016

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THE NEWSPAPER OF AMERICA'S ANTIQUE CITY JULY 28, 2016 36th YEAR NUMBER 43 50 Knowing good news was Rotary Hut, Tuesday, July Sonic Henry welcomed every- one and led in a time of silence in memory of recent Law En- forcement tragedies. The silent tribute was as quiet and mean- ingful as the exuberant meeting and greeting had been happily noisy just moments before. After commending the Cham- ber of Commerce for its success- ful efforts, Mayor Zabbia rec- ognized elected and appointed city and parish officials and be- gan by telling of "new faces" in his administration: Jeff Doug- las, City Clerk; Jenel Secrease, City Prosecutor, Gwen Barsley, filling vacancy in District E un- til the November election; Jeff Daniels, District C; and Roslyn Batiste, District B. Reports were so positive and outstanding that at times they were greeted with applause. The June Budget Adoption of 10.6 million dollars was the l rgest ever, funded by the fol- lowing: 1. Sales taxes, Last year col- lections exceeded projections by $697,000 and collections this fiscal year are expected to be 4.2 million dollars. 2. Increase in Ad Valorem Taxes - example: 2012 was as- sessed at 46.549 million dollars and in 2016, 52.831 million, an increase of 6.28 million. The in- crease was due to Elmer Candy Company's $40M expansion, J&M's $4M expansion, Ragan and Massey's $2M expansion, First Guaranty Bank's $4M ex- pansion, Race Trac $2.5M, Taco Bell $1.5M, Murphy Oil $2.5M, and Walmart $26M 3. License and Permit Fees 4. Franchise Fees 5. Revenues from grants 6. Police Millage 7. Fire Millage Mayor Zabbia continued with a report on the State Capi- tal Outlay Funded Projects received with assistance from Steve Pugh and Bodi White. This included the Law Complex of the former Homestead site for $1.875M and our part of $468K and the Downtown Parking Lot on the former First Guaranty Bank site of $666K and our part of $166K. The New Budget includes matching funds for State Capi- t ..... i. By KATHRYN J. MARTIN forthcoming from Mayor Bob Zabbia, the largest crowd in Ponchatoula Chamber's Brown Bag Lunch 19, to hear his state-of-the-city report. history gathered early and eagerly at the Mayor Bob Zabbia speaking on the State of the City tal Outlay Projects as follows: Funds to complete repairs and painting Athletic Park Wa- ter Tower $100K for as needed Water System Improvements Continuation of Public Trans- portation City Hall improvements of $216K in grants and our part of $151K Matching funds for the East Ash Street and Esterbrook Road Drainage and Improvements, more for safety reasons Louisiana (north side) sidewalk improvements Planning funds ,for the City- scape Project Barringer Road Sidewalk Feasibility Study Annual Street Overlay Proj- ect $700K which as in past can "piggyback" with parish One additional fireman - adding one additional for the next three years. Police units. U.S. Highway 51 Widening Project to be taken from west side as most utilities are on east side. Roundabouts will be at Campbell Lane and North Oaks. In answer to a question about Campbell Lane's narrow size and deep ditches, the may- or said that part of the street is City and part is Parish and will be a joint effort. (While speak- ing about Highway 51 improve- ments, Mayor Zabbia explained that" the Gateway Project is composed of Hammond, Pon- chatoula, North Oaks, South- eastern Louisiana University and Sterling Properties, the owners of Hammond Square.) Funding for all city parks Phase II of the Wellness Pla- za- Which is right now being considered for a State award. (Kim Howes Zabbia and Rhon- da Sheridan headed this effort and mentioned that donations helped get the Plaza get under- way with Phase I completed and in use withinonly six months. More donations of any size are welcome any time.) Funds for our City Wide Alert System. (To applause, Nancy Lowentritt graciously thanked Mayor Zabbia and the City for this service, saying she'd received Sunday's first alert immediately. That due to The Formation of a Focus aged. forward to working together. Group. The mayor recently or- We were encouraged that our Plans, drawings and photos ganized a Focus Group of young city is prepared for Hurricane the mayor used to describe up- professionals who are dedicated Season and brown-water issues coming work in the downtown to the City's progressive growth, are still being addressed imme- areas were on exhibit and are He said he wants to keep them diately, available for viewing in City aware of plans that affect their To recap, the City finds itself Hall. They give an excellent future in Ponchatoula and to in very good financial situation idea,includingmeasurements of allow them to feel free to offer and having been debt free for plans and proposals of improve- suggestions for new innovative six years means, unlike manyments to main street, Wellness ideas. "After all, they will be cities and towns, we do not have Plaza Phase II, parking areas the next movers and shakers in to make loans and if we did,and widening of U. S. Highway town!" would easily qualify. 51 North. Regional Planning Commis- Sales tax and ad valorem Attendees left the open meet- sion. (This is composed of a taxes are healthy and consis- ing on even more of a positive number of parishes but Gordon tent. The City has received note, having participated in Burgess, Mayson Foster and its share of State and Federal expressing gratitude, appre- Bob Zabbia's being included in funds - around $10M. ciation, suggestions and discus- the commission has brought at- Mayor Zabbia concluded by sions. tention to the North Shore and saying we are "well poised" for Indeed, it was a great report Tangipahoa Parish and contin- the future, have a lot more to with proof of accomplishments ues to open doors for us to get in accomplish, have good co-opera- in the year past and solid visions on the ground loor of opportu- tion in the new council and look of more in the year ahead. nities not available to us in the past. The Metropolitan Plan- ning Organization meets the a power failure at the Veterans second Tuesday of each month and keeps us in loop for the Avenue well, we had a tempo- latest.) ..... rary brown-water problem and residents who'd signed up knew Continued planning and what had happened and to flush projects are to attract new busi- lines.) nesses and to work hard in as- Louisiana 22LightingProject sisting in making our existing and Studies for U.S.Highway 51 ones stronger. South and Barringer Road Two very important Sewer Employee Raises (To laugh- Treatment Plant Projects - one ter, not raises for Mayor and involving levee system. $1M Chief) including the longevity with our part $90K check An upcoming major and ex- Further included in the May- pensive Citywide Sewer System or's report were as follows: Rehabilitation Project as much of our sewer system is quite Special to The Times How well do you know the story of Old Glory? Members of the American Legion challenged citizens to put their krmwledge to the test and win cash and other exciting prizes on Monday, August 1, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. Old Glory Trivia Night & Flag Retirement Ceremony is present- ed by Brandon G. Thompson Funeral Home. American Legion Post 47 members and the Boy Scouts will be on hand to show the proper way to retire the American flag. Worn flags in need of retirement can be dropped off at Bran- don G. Thompson Funeral Home, 12012 U.S. 190 in Hammond Monday-Friday. Hot dogs, apple pie, and more of America's favorite food will be provided! Black Tie Affair supported by First Guaranty Bank A presentation was made to the Tangipahoa African Ameri- can Heritage Museum and Veterans Archives for the upcoming Black Tie Affair to be held on August 6, 2016. Pictured in the photo are: (left to right) First Guaranty Bank's Vice President, and Independence Branch Lending Manager Cheryl Brumfield, President of the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Muse- um and Veterans Archives Delmas Dunn, and Branch Opera- tions Manager, Guaranty West Branch Stacy Williams. First Guaranty Bank also recently made a contribution to the Lal- lie Kemp Foundation Board for the Annual Christmas in July Gala held Saturday at Fleur de Lis in Ponchatoula. (Courtesy Photo) e,.s By OLE HARDHIDE The Alligator Is it warm enough for you yet? Ladies, a beauty tip: stay out in this weather long enough and I guaranty you will develop the ideal complexion that for centuries has been in favor amongst the galigator population of0ur swamps. If for some reason that eludes your gator you want to duck the sun, my suggestion is that you head indoors, and stay there. And the best place to hang out has to be Swamplight Theatre in the shadow of Ponchatoula's Acadian Cypress on Southwest Railroad Avenue where the current production is Greater Tuna by Joe Sears, Jaston Williams, and Ed Howard, directed by Kit Friedrichs-Baumann. Friday the play starts at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee starting at 3 p.m. on Sunday. And if you manage to miss those play dates, relax, you have another bite at the apple when the players return to the stage August 4-6, at 7:30 p.m. each night. If you guessed that Ponchatoula's premier thespian fam- ily (the Vallots and the Butlers) is somehow involved in our getting this refreshing cool water face splash of culture in our community, you would of course be absolutely correct. If I have to make a case for live entertainment over the boob tube variety, then I hope I have reached you in time. There is simply no comparison between having a live actor or actress speaking their lines scant inches from where you are sitting, and viewing the drama on a cathode ray tube. Legendary director Kay Butler and her daughter Bar- bie Vallot are to be profusely thanked by all of us for caring enough to bring the performing arts bravely to the Ponchatou- la Industrial Park campus. While writing your Thank-You notes on behalf of Our Pon- chatoula, please do not forget to address one to Kit Friedrichs- Baumann, the play's director. Actors, "Speak the speech I pray you as I have pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. Do not mouth it, as so many of you players do, or I would lief the town crier spoke my lines..." That is what Hamlet would tell you if you gave him half a chance. And I bet that until this very moment you assumed the only reptile thespian you would ever expect to encounter would be PLEASE SEE PAGE 6 The Ponchatoula Times - Call 985-386-2877 - P.O. Box 743- Ponchatoula, LA 70454-0743 - L