New Orleans area briefs for June 30, 2013

St. Tammany clerk offers new services

The St. Tammany Parish Clerk of Court will resume offering passport services and will offer death certificates for the first time under a pilot program with the state.

Beginning Monday, the Slidell and Covington locations of the clerk’s office will be able to offer death certificates filed in Louisiana since July 9, 2012, Clerk of Court Malise Prieto announced in a news release Friday.

The new web-based vital records system, the Louisiana Electronic Event Registration System, or LEERS, became available in 2011 and offered detailed searching techniques to secure system users.

The office’s participation in death certificate component of the LEERS system will assist people in changing over ownership interests and proving eligibility requirements for next of kin. Death certificates will be available at a cost of $16.00.

Details and full information on the application process is available at or by calling (985) 809-8745.

Passport application services, which were suspended in 2011 because of the U.S. State Department’s new space and staffing requirements, will resume Monday at the Clerk of Court’s Covington office in the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center.

The Clerk of Court’s Election Department and the Registrar of Voter’s office relocated to new offices across the street on Jefferson Avenue in May, creating space within the Justice Center for passport services to resume.

Individuals wishing to apply for a passport may appear at the office between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The application process, with passport photos being taken onsite, takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

A full list of required documents which must be presented and for general information, applicants is available at or by calling (985) 809-8700.

Independence Day celebration set

St. Charles Parish will hold its 23rd annual Independence Day Celebration Wednesday from 6 until 9 p.m. at the West Bank Bridge Park, 13825 River Road.

The event will feature a performance by the Topcats, beginning at 6:30 p.m., with a fireworks extravaganza to begin at 9 p.m.

An opening ceremony is set to begin at approximately 6:15 p.m.

Local nonprofit organizations will sell food and drinks, with vendors located in the West Bank Bridge Park’s concession stand and permanent shelters.

The levee bike path in Luling just down river from the Hale Boggs Bridge will be barricaded Tuesday morning for fireworks equipment setup. The West Bank Bridge Park parking lots will be completely closed beginning Tuesday afternoon. Any cars left parked in the lot will be in danger of being towed.

Interstate-310 southbound and northbound off ramps to La. 18 and La 18 (River Road) from Ashton Road to the School Board Office will be closed 15 minutes prior to, throughout, and 15 minutes following the 9 p.m. fireworks show.

Pets and glass bottles are not allowed in the park, but guests are allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages, ice chests and folding chairs.

No one will be allowed to enter or leave the park 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the fireworks show by order of the fire marshal to allow time for the area to be checked for safety.

Research office takes award nominations

The Bureau of Governmental Research is accepting nominees for its 2013 Excellence in Government Awards noon, July 29.

Nomination forms can be mailed to 938 Lafayette St., Ste. 200, New Orleans, 70113 or faxed to 504.525-4153.

The awards recognize public employees and citizens who have significantly improved local government service.

The Innovation Award recognizes employees who have used innovating solutions to address pressing problems. BGR will present up to three Innovation Awards, with cash prizes of $1,000 each.

The Merit Award recognizes outstanding performance by public sector employees. BGR will present up to four Merit Awards, with cash prizes of $500 each.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes sustained performance over a career in public service. Nominees with a minimum of 15 years of public employment are eligible. BGR will present up to two Lifetime Achievement Awards, with cash prizes of $1,000 each.

The Citizenship Award recognizes a private citizen who has worked to improve the quality of government. BGR will present one Citizenship Award.

Requirements for the awards and the application form can be found at

St. Charles official
to head association

Jim Polk, senior emergency coordinator for St. Charles Parish, has been selected as president of the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association, a statewide, nonprofit support organization in the field of emergency response.

LEPA consists of a group of emergency preparedness and response practitioners with the common goal of improving public safety in emergencies. Formed in 1980 by a group of local civil defense directors, its mission is to provide support and leadership to advance public safety.

In conjunction with his LEPA post, Polk was appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal to serve on the state’s Louisiana Emergency Response Commission as a representative of LEPA in April.

Commission on Families to meet

The St. Tammany Commission on Families will meet July 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at First Baptist Church of Covington, 16333 La. 1085.

The meeting will be held on the second floor of the “ROC” Center located toward the back of the property.

The topic of the meeting is Support Services for Children: Screenings, Assessments, & Referrals, and guest speakers will be Debbie Blanchard of the St. Tammany Parish School Board, Mary Smith of Regina Coeli, and Linda Serpas.

Training offered
for charter boards

The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools is hosting two free one-day seminars to help charter school boards, Caroline Roemer Shirley said in a news release.

The July 12 event in New Orleans will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Tulane University’s Lavin-Bernick Center in the Rechler Conference Room. It is designed for current board members or those who need a refresher course.

The July 13 seminar will be July 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, 5500 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouse. It is designed for the board members of newly authorized charter schools opening for the 2013-2014 school year. Pre-registration is required.

Those interested in participating can contact Makiyah Moody, Governance Initiatives Director, LAPCS at or call (504) 274-3649.

St. Tammany property millage unchanged

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain announced in a public meeting on the agency’s budget and millage rates that the Sheriff’s Office will not increase the millage rate used to calculate its property tax revenue this year.

For the 2013 tax year, the Sheriff’s Office will hold its millage rate steady at 11.66 mils. A family living in a home valued at $200,000 and claiming homestead exemption will pay approximately $145 per year in property taxes to the Sheriff’s Office.

Approximately $100,000 in extra revenue would have been generated if the Sheriff’s Office had set their rate to the maximum allowable level.

A summary of the budget will be posted on the Sheriff’s office website,

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau