Mark L. Verbois and Angelia Schenk Beadle's Letter to the Editor on the Parish Government Session
Leadership Tangipahoa classmates pictured with Parish President Robby Miller
Back left to right: Brian Walker-Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation, Jeffery Jarreau-North Oaks Health System, Kyle Johnson-Pelican State Credit Union, Jason Wilson-First Guaranty Bank, Amanda Bennett-PJ's Coffee Owner & Relator with ReMax, Angelia Beadle-Tangipahoa Parish Government, Mark Verbois-Theta Xi Alumni Association, Abigail Comeau-Holly & Smith Architects, Kellie Wheat-Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce, Edward Hebert-Southeastern Louisiana University, TPG Housing Director Tonya Mabry, TPG Councilmen Louis "Nick" Joseph District 3, Nick Gagliano-facilitator.Dennis Braziel Tangipahoa Parish Sherriff's Office.
Front row left to right: Ashley LeSaicherre-ReMax Select, Kathryn Edwards-Edwards & Stevens Law Firm, Roslyn Varnado-Tangipahoa Parish School System, Robby Miller-Parish President, Kristen Pecararo-Clerk of Council, Erica Kelt-Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Mandy Lee-First Guaranty Bank, Sibyl Cannon-Tangipahoa Parish Tourism, Kristen Hebert-Enmon Enterprises, LLC & Jani King, Tammy Murphy Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce, Myra Sharpe-Solom Episcopal Conference Center & Amite Chamber of Commerce
We, the 2018-2019 class of Leadership Tangipahoa, write you today with excitement and enthusiasm as we start a new year together, learning and exploring, our amazing parish. We began our journey through the program with a class retreat last month at the Rosary Ville Spirit Life Center, and our first session began this month with an insight into Tangipahoa Parish Government. The day was filled with an impressive serving of facts and information paired with visits with parish employees who exhumed a true love and passion for their job and this parish!
Our first stop was at the Tangipahoa Parish Government main building in Amite. We heard from Parish President, Robby Miller, on the progress of the parish since taking office. He explained the challenges the parish and his office faced with two catastrophic floods that happened in the early months of his administration. One of his main focuses since taking office has been to sustain and improve the economic landscape of the parish. He encourages the class to spread the word of how special this parish is and what we have to offer. He was followed by an educational talk from District 3 Councilman, Louis "Nick" Joseph, who explained the role of the council, how they were formed, and what they are govern by. Mr. Joseph was also joined by Director of Finance, Jeff McKneely, Director of Public Works, Andy Currier, and Director of Housing, Tonya Mabry. All spent time explaining the roles of the position and how their office impacts the parish and the citizens. A wonderful breakfast was gratuitously provided by President Miller.
The class then walked over to the courthouse and first met with newly appointed Registrar of Voters, Andi Matheu. Mrs. Matheu took time and explained her responsibility of maintaining the voting rolls for the parish, getting voters registered, and her role during elections. She explained the parish actually has about 85% of its population registered to vote but explained the importance of getting voters to the polls on election day. She discussed with us ways to register to vote, and the tools to educate voters regarding the entire voting process, especially with an upcoming election approaching in a few months.
We then spent time with long time parish Tax Assessor, Joaquin "Jr" Matheu. Mr. Matheu toured us through his office and gave a brief overview of their responsibility. He explained how the assessor does not raise or lower taxes, nor make the laws which affect the tax payer. The main responsibility of the Assessor is to find the "fair market value" of the tax payer's property so that may pay only their fair share of taxes.
Our next stop took us to the office of Gary Stanga, Clerk of Court for Tangipahoa Parish. Mr. Stanga was the longtime Chief Deputy under former Clerk of Court Julian Dufreche who passed recently. The Clerk is considered the Chief Elections Officer of the parish and oversees the election process on election day. He was joined on the visit by the current Chief Deputy Clerk of Court, Alicia Fussell. Both Mr. Stanga and Mrs. Fussell explained the wide array of services offered through the Clerk's offices (a satellite office in Hammond, and the main office in Amite). They recently began offering copies of birth certificates to the area, as well as handling suits in their Civil Division, mapping, a Mortgage & Conveyance department, issuing of marriage licenses, acceptance of passport documents, and a Criminal division that handles minute recording in legal cases and jury duties. Mr. Stanga explained how their office is intertwined with basically all the departments in the parish. He also emphasized how his office does not receive tax money. They are funded solely with fees collected on services.
Before boarding the buses for lunch, we stopped at the very impressive Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to speak with Homeland Security Director, Dawson Primes. The EOC was built with federal dollars set aside from previous hurricane events. Tangipahoa Parish was the second to apply for these grants, first to be accepted, and first to break ground! It serves as the centralized location for all head of emergency groups to meet, plan, operate, and make collective decisions during an emergency event. The building itself is extremely impressive with 8" thick - 36ft tall steel reinforced cement walls connected by steel beams sunken 6ft in the ground to 6'x6'x9' cement footings. It includes twelve 75" TVs, a call center, HAM Radio center that can link cell phone and over the air radios plus receive map images, and redundant water supplies, sewage systems, and A/C units (which include sensors that can detect 200+ chemicals which shut off the units). The citizens of this parish should have a sense of pride and security knowing what is in this building.... that includes the structure/equipment AND the highly trained professionals running the show!
We then made our way to the beautiful Florida Parish Arena where Kelly Wells, Arena Director & Retention Coordinator for Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation (TEDF) told how Amite was "selected" to be the recipient of the Arena and Event center. He informed us that that the facility has 35 camper spots that that are generally utilized by horse trailers with living quarters built in. We then made our way over to the event center where we enjoy a delicious meal of brisket and Italian sausage complimented with green beans, a sweet mixed greens and pecan salad and finished off with Ms. Toni Jean's famous white chocolate Bread Pudding. We would like to thank Mr. Miller and his staff for sponsoring the delightful meal.
Louisiana's Director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), James Waskom, who was appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards in January 2016, was our lunch time guest speaker. Through GOHSEP, Director Waskom is responsible for homeland security and emergency and disaster preparedness and responsefor the State of Louisiana. His office coordinates the State's activities to prepare for, preventwhere possible, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against emergencies or disaster events. He informed us of the top 6 threats to Louisiana which are: floor, hurricane, tornados, winter weather, wild fires, & earthquakes and advised us to download the "ALERT FM" app to our mobile devices.
After lunch we boarded the buses and headed to the landfill where we picked up Donnie Colona - Operations Manager, Connie Henry - Administration Manager, and Jason Williams - Methane Gas Technician, who guided our tour to the "top of the hill". These three very knowledgeable individuals shared with us how trash is weighed in, dumped, and covered. We also discussed some of equipment used to capture and burn off the methane gases, as well as what future plans the parish has for utilization of the gases. They also showed off the newly completed cells and the future cell sites in our landfill.
The next stop in our tour of the parish government was the Mosquito Abatement-District 1 Facility in Hammond. Director, Dennis Wallette, introduced us to his staff Gary Crosby, Colby Colona, Cheri Vining, Bill Shaw, and Chris Fayette. They helped us better understand how the mosquito district 1 works, why it is limited to certain areas, and by using GPS and other technologies.... how precise their technology truly is. Then Mrs. Colona took us to her lab where she enlightened us with some new equipment they just acquired. It's one of the first available in the area to test mosquitoes for west Nile virus that possess the capabilities to receive the results back overnight. The wait is normally several weeks when using outside labs.
From there we walked next door to visit with some much cuter critters at the animal shelter. Mr. Chippy Fitz, Director of Animal Control/Animal Services, let us know that they really are 2 entities in 1. The animal shelter side has a 97% placement rate with many services including education and assistance. Once you adopt you are not on your own, they are there to answer questions, offer vet services, and much more. The Animal Control side is the department that enforces local ordinances and state laws pertaining to animals and protects the health and safety of both animals and people through the enforcement of laws regarding rabies control, dangerous animals, nuisance animals and cruelty to animals.
We then entered the hub of the Tangipahoa Parish Government's Hammond Facility, located in the Clausen building across the parking lot from Animal Control and Mosquito Abatement...all located right off Club Deluxe Road. Inside the Clausen building we met Mr. Tom Fagan, who works in the office of Environmental Services which does inspections of all businesses and septic systems working closely with our parish permit office also located in the Clausen building. Next, we met Mr. Nathan Diamond, Chief Code Enforcement Officer/Supervisor who indicated some of the ongoing projects the parish is involved in for cleaning up and keeping our beautiful parish clean. Then Mr. Bill Moorman, our residential GIS mapping specialist, explained more about what the GIS maps are and how we can use them, as well as how we will be better able to help our citizens and emergency personnel maneuver during emergency situations. Lastly Bridget Bailey, the Director of Community Development told us about the many projects that are in the works at this time in the parish, including some possible changing of regulations for subdivisions and her involvement in TRACC (Tangipahoa - Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change), a local non-profit community coalition that is working to improve the safety and quality of life for the citizens of our area. Bridget also introduced us to several other staff members such as Reynae Langlois, Office of Community Development Planner, and Lauren Brinkman, Floodplain Manager /Environmental Specialist.
We would also like to thank Tangipahoa Parish Government and the Theta Xi Alumni Association for their student sponsorship this year, along with help from the John Vaughan Memorial Endowment. These groups have allowed us the opportunity to experience this wonderful program and without their support, it would not be possible.
Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2018-2019
Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2018-2019
Leadership Tangipahoa classmates pictured at Parish Landfill
Back row left to right: Abigail Comeau-Holly & Smith Architects, Brian Walker-Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation, Kyle Johnson-Pelican State Credit Union, Mark Verbois-Theta Xi Alumni Association, Jason Wilson-First Guaranty Bank, D'Ann Davis - Louisiana Children's Discovery Center, Jeffery Jarreau-North Oaks Health System, Edward Hebert-Southeastern Louisiana University, Amanda Bennett-PJ's Coffee Owner & Relator with ReMax, Donnie Colona-Operations Manager,
Front row left to right: Dennis Braziel Tangipahoa Parish Sherriff's Office, Angelia Beadle-Tangipahoa Parish Government, Myra Sharpe-Solom Episcopal Conference Center & Amite Chamber of Commerce, Mandy Lee-First Guaranty Bank, Kristen Hebert-Enmon Enterprises, LLC & Jani King, Roslyn Varnado-Tangipahoa Parish School System, Sibyl Cannon-Tangipahoa Parish Tourism, Kellie Wheat-Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce, Ashley LeSaicherre-ReMax Select, Kathryn Edwards-Edwards & Stevens Law Firm, Tammy Murphy Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce, Kristen Pecararo-Clerk of Council, Erica Kelt-Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
Mark L. Verbois
Mark L. Verbois
Mark L. Verbois is a Production Statistician at Rubicon Chemical Plant in Geismar, LA. He is a current board member of the Theta Xi Alumni Association and former officer for the Theta Xi Alumni Club. Mark was also a long-time board member of the Hammond 'Sweet 16/Ladies Top 28' Basketball Steering committee and former board member of Ponchatoula Youth Basketball. He is a graduate of Ponchatoula High School and Southeastern Louisiana University. He is also the former TV host for "The Dennis Roland Show" (former Head Football Coach of the SLU Lions)and past "In-Stadium" PA Announcer for many Southeastern Athletics events.
Angelia Schenk Beadle
Angelia Schenk Beadle
Angelia Schenk Beadle is currently the administrative assistant to the public work director of Tangipahoa Parish Government and is a 17-year employee of Tangipahoa Parish Government. She is a graduate of Jewel M Sumner High School and Southwest Mississippi Community College