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St. James Council hears about composting program

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / March 7, 1998

CONVENT – The St. James Parish Council heard a presentation Wednesdayon a regional composting program proposed for southeast Louisiana by Hartman Engineering.

Environmental planner J. Chris Emmer of Hartman outlined three parts ofthe project: backyard composting, site selection for a regional plant and development of a regional composting authority.

“This is the wave of the future,” added Rob Martin of Hartman.

The aim is to take trash such as yard debris, paper, plastic, glass and other wastes and create compost material. The proposal is beingconsidered for Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles,St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and St. James parishes.Funding for the feasibility project came from the U.S. Department ofEnergy by way of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

Initial plans are for the distribution, at a cost of $10 each, of 9,700 backyard “Earth Machines,” lightweight plastic holding bins for refuse.

Locations of the bin sales will be advertised throughout the region, Emmer continued.

A Master Composter class is scheduled March 27 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.and March 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Audubon Zoo. Interestedpersons should contact Leonce “Tut” Clement in St. Charles Parish at 764-7834, Shane Landry in St. James Parish at 265-6002 and Greg Bush in St. John Parish at 652-4815.

Next, the Parish Council reviewed the annual report of the parish recreation program, supervised by Dennis Roussel.

Parish President Dale Hymel Jr., in Roussel’s absence, presented thereport on the parish’s fitness center, boys’ baseball, girls’ softball, men’s slow-pitch softball, men’s flag football, adult sand volleyball, soccer, biddy basketball and other programs.

The other activities include summer camps, livestock show, punt-pass- kick competition, senior bowling and tennis tournament.

Parish Councilman Elwyn Bocz commented: “I’m surprised at the number of people in the community who don’t know about the programs. This is thefirst I’ve heard of the volleyball program tonight. And many don’t knowabout the parish health club.”In a deviation from the published agenda, Gilroy Huguet of Convent told the Parish Council about the construction of a cellular phone tower within 100 feet of his home.

As the parish has no building permit program, the parish government was unaware of the tower’s construction. Meanwhile, Huguet’s home hassustained damage to the sheetrock, he said, by the pounding of the piledriving for the tower’s construction.

The Parish Council, unable to halt construction in progress, unanimously approved a moratorium on any new tower construction pending the establishment of guidelines.

A special meeting was also called by the Parish Council for March 12 at 7 p.m. in Convent to discuss such guidelines as well as parish finances andthe economic development task force.

Parish Councilman Timothy Roussel, during the Councilmen’s Report segment of the meeting, announced the 2000 Census will be soon hiring 100 people to assist in gathering census information. The workers will bepaid $8 to $15 per hour.

Hymel announced the release of new parish street maps, available at many local businesses. Also, information from Entergy showed the cost forconstruction and first-year operation of street lights from the Veterans Memorial Bridge near Gramercy to Interstate 10 would be $80,000. Thiscost estimate includes the installation of 144 lights.

Also, a regional job fair is being planned for the River Parishes on June 5.

More details are forthcoming.

The Parish Council approved a contract with Gen-Con Inc. for security andbuilding renovations at the St. James Youth Center, at a cost of $198,469.The low bidder, Executive Construction Inc., did not qualify, Hymelreported. The second-lowest bidder, Michie Construction Inc. cited their30-day guarantee to sign and did not sign the contract. Gen-Con Inc. ofVacherie was the third-lowest bidder.

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