Jessica Andrews' Letter to the Editor on the City Government Session
I am very excited to tell you about our second adventure with Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2016. We had a busy fun filled day in Tangipahoa Parish October 20, 2015. We started our day with a presentation from the Mayor of Hammond, Pete Panepinto and its department heads. Wow, was I impressed. I was mostly impressed to see they had a full time grants department that continues to try to get money to help improve the city and the mayor had some great things to say about his staff that he called "Team Hammond". They were very passionate about their city and they work together with the Hammond fire departments and the police department to find different resources to make the City of Hammond better.
We then traveled to the Hammond North shore Regional Airport where we got a full tour of the airport tower. I was shocked to hear that in our own parish, approximately 8,000 aircrafts come through the airport in a month . We were given an overview of the airport and its operations by Director David Lobue. He was very knowledgeable about the airport and has had an eventful few months including the unfortunate plane crash a few weeks ago. This was the first accident with aircraft on the airport grounds. Next we traveled to the New Orleans Air and Marine Branch, a Bureau of Customs and Border Protection located on the grounds of the Hammond Airport. We got to hear from federal agents and see their impressive helicopters and aircraft. It is amazing to see the equipment used to do their jobs.
The City of Ponchatoula provided us with a delicious lunch and a presentation by Mayor Bob Zabbia. In addition, we were greeted by Marshall Pat Phares, Rhonda Sheridan, and Representative Steve Pugh. Mr. Zabbia has put alot of work into his city and I was excited to hear that a Rouses Supermarket is coming soon. Rhonda Sheridan presented us with plans for a new park that she seemed very passionate about.
Then it was off to the swamp for a tour of Hammond's Wetland Assimilation Project. This sure was interesting to see. It is 7 miles of pipe that ends at the swamp where filtered waste water is emptied to ensure growth and health of the wetland. Southeastern Louisiana University students plant cypress trees into the swamp area to help with land erosion.
We ended our day with a tour if Ragan and Massey located in Ponchatoula's Industrial Parkway. They are a leading marketer for seeds for forages, food plots, and professional turf users along with insecticides. This day has opened my eyes to some new and growing things happening in Tangipahoa Parish. I am so lucky to be a part of Leadership Tangipahoa and to have such a dynamic group of people that I enjoy spending time with each month. You are never too old to learn something new. #classof2016