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Leadership Tangipahoa

Press Releases

Date Press Release
10/26/2011

Cynthia Watson's Letter to the Editor on Local Government Session

For Immediate Release:                                                       10/26/11
Contact:                                                                                 Patrick Farris
                                                                                                985-748-3309
                                                                                                farrisp@tpso.org

Cynthia Watson's Letter to the Editor on Local Government Session

Even though I've lived in Tangipahoa Parish most of my life, I am more
confident than ever that this parish has many leaders that's striving to make our
parish the best and it's makes me a very proud citizen. Thanks to Leadership
Tangipahoa I've learned a lot more about this parish.


This month we had the honor of visiting the City Government of Hammond
and Ponchatoula. Our first stop of the morning was the Hammond Recreation
Center, in which we were greeted by Joey Keen the Recreation Director. I visited
the center on a few occasions previously, but I didn't realize how much more that
this Center does besides hosting sporting events. This center host activities for all
ages, which include youths, adults, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.
We were also informed a new 90-acre parish recreation park which will be
located off Airport Road is in the process of being constructed. The park will
include a handicap park, 2 football fields, 21 soccer fields, 2 gyms and a 1.5 mile
walking track.


Our next visit was to the City of Hammond, where Mr. Mayson Foster is the
Mayor. The Mayor updated our group on various projects going on in the city.
Several department leaders were introduced to us. They described their duties
and updated our group on improvements that were being made. Interim Fire
Chief, John Thomas has been in office since the retirement of Chief Paul Collura.
We were honored to hav~ Chief Ronnie Schillace speak to our group. Last year
there were 4000 alarms, which included EMS calls, wrecks and fires. We also
heard from Lacey Landroum, the grant director. According to Ms. Landroum, most
of the grants are for infrastructure. Nash Bono, the building official, who stated
that there are 1.6 new residential homes per month and 5.3 commercial
buildingsper month. We also heard from Captain Sal Mike and Chief Devall, of the
Hammond Police Department. The Police department has over 100 employees.
And it's apparent that they work diligently to serve the community. We ended
with Gary Knight with the Water and Sewer Department, which stated they have
38 employees and operate on a 4.1 million budget.


The Leadership Tangipahoa group then went to the City of Ponchatoula,
where Mr. Bob Zabbia is the Mayor. Mayor Zabbia updated us on ongoing
projects for the City of Ponchatoula and provided a wonderful lunch. He went
over the city's budget and the plans for the new Walmart. Representative Steve
Pugh also spoke to our group. After visiting with Mayor Zabbia, we visited the
Sewer Plant, with Terrell Bordelon. Judge Grace Gasaway spoke to our group
later that day. Judge Gasaway, a judge which presides over the ih Ward City
Court serves in the Criminal, Traffic, Civil, Small Claims and Juvenile Division. Our
last visit of the day was to Section 8, where Jessica Lewellen is the Director.
Section 8 is a housing assistance program that provides assistance to at need
families based on their income and other qualifications.


I'm very thankful to be a part of Leadership Tangipahoa. There's so many
things that I'm learning about this wonderful parish.


2011 Leadership Tangipahoa Member
Cynthia Watson