Letters to Leaders

Letters to Leaders

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, AUGUST 18, 2021

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Good afternoon,

We can officially say that more St. Tammany Parish citizens are vaccinated for COVID-19, than not.  Currently 51% of our neighbors have received their first dose, while 42.6% are fully vaccinated. Vaccinations have risen substantially in the past several weeks from 43.6% (first dose), from when I held the initial press conference addressing the 4th surge of COVID-19.

As more St. Tammany Parish residents make the decision to receive the vaccine, it is critical that we continue to maintain social distance and mask up when in public.  Our main goal right now is to relieve the immense amount of pressure that rests on the shoulders of our hospitals and medical staff. It is my sincerest intentions to keep St. Tammany Parish open for business, but it will require the efforts of us all together.

St. Tammany Parish Government has made great strides to improve infrastructure, procedures and continue operations since March 2020.

Recently, we began upgrading Soult Street in Mandeville. The $2.6 million renovations include a mill and asphalt overlay of Soult Street, turn lanes at U.S. 190 & LA 1088, and other turning lane and radius improvements. The project is expected to be complete in Spring 2022.

Furthermore, Public Works crews recently completed erosion repairs on the levee near Oak Harbor Boulevard and U.S. 11 in Slidell. In addition to providing fresh dirt, the crews fertilized and hydro-seeded the area, which has proven to be beneficial in stopping erosion.

Parish employees completed approximately 5700’ of lateral ditch clearing behind the Tuscany subdivision, near I-12/I-59 interchange. I anticipate the cleaning will greatly improve drainage for the neighbors of Tuscany.

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe,
Regards,
 


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, AUGUST 12, 2021

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Good morning,

This past Monday I gathered our Parish medical professionals to inform our community on the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the rise of the Delta variant and hospitalizations.

Without a doubt, this fourth surge of COVID-19 is the most dangerous and prolific we have endured.  Within two weeks, one St. Tammany Parish hospital reported an increase from 66 to 115 hospitalizations. Hospital beds are dwindling rapidly and staff are exhausted.

Now more than ever, we are asking our citizens to keep their guards up regarding COVID-19. As our doctors shared on Monday, taking all mitigation precautions to slow the spread of this highly transmissible virus is strongly recommended. Please consult with your medical professional to see if vaccination is a viable decision for you and your family.

Our schools, businesses, and churches are open. It is my most sincere intention to keep it that way, but the efforts to do so will require all of us together.

While we continue the fight against COVID-19, St. Tammany Parish Government remains open and is diligently working to improve our Parish.  On the latest edition of my monthly show, Open Mike, I spoke about one of the many creative ways we are addressing current and future needs in upgrading water quality in St. Tammany Parish. Our Parish Landscape Architect, Spaff Goodnow, provided insight into pond maintenance, which has a multitude of benefits.

While water hyacinth may seem like an ordinary plant, it has taken over some of our ponds, especially the Turtle Creek pond in the Slidell area and the Del Sol pond in the Covington area.  By removing the water hyacinth from the pond, we were able to improve drainage and eliminate mosquito hot beds.

These are just a few of the ways we are working to improve our natural water ecosystem and infrastructure.  If you wish to hear more about how we are improving the water system in your community, you may view this month’s edition of Open Mike here.

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe,
Regards,
 


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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A Parish Update Addressing Executive Order 08.04.2021

Friday, August 6, 2021

Good afternoon,

As I am sure all of you have seen, there have been countless posts distracting from the efforts of St. Tammany Parish Government to mitigate COVID-19. Through misinterpretation of the Executive Order that I signed on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, these posts have redirected the focus of our plea to MASK UP.

While the purpose of the Executive Order provides for an indoor mask mandate, the third paragraph on the last page details Parish government’s abilities to assist citizens in an emergency situation as provided for in state law.

Thursday evening, social media posts contained false information, which was a clear misunderstanding of that statute.

All of the fear-mongering is deflecting from the most important, real issue St. Tammany Parish is dealing with currently – the steepest surge of COVID-19 in the past 18 months.

The critical care units at our hospitals are at capacity. Our doctors, nurses and medical personnel are spread thin. Emergency medical service providers are short-staffed and over-worked.

As we all know, COVID-19 does not discriminate when it chooses its next victim.

I am a man, who passionately cares about my community, but I am not a medical professional. I adhere to the advice of our medical advisors when making decisions for our Parish as a whole.

Click this link to view a message that I sent to the citizens of St. Tammany earlier today.

Regards,
 


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, AUGUST 4, 2021

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Good afternoon,

With the interest of the health and safety of our citizens in mind, I am following the advice of medical professionals in re-issuing the mask mandate in St. Tammany Parish.  

Over the last 18 months, we have made remarkable efforts in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, however, all progress has been lost. Sadly, COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket, well beyond previous records set earlier this year. Local hospitals have also reported record hospitalizations with no signs of slowing down. The Louisiana Department of Health recently reported a 17.7% positivity rate in St. Tammany, which is the highest since December 2020 (16.7%).

Now is the time to refocus our efforts once again on mitigating the spread of the virus.  In order to move forward together, we are encouraging all able citizens who have not been vaccinated to do so and wear a mask when with others.

I am pleased to share that single-dose vaccinations in St. Tammany have risen steadily for the last two weeks to 47%. While we have made great strides, they are simply not enough.  With an exponential surge to our average daily case count per 100,000 residents, Louisiana is currently ranked as the highest in the country.  We must act now more than ever.

Soon, schools will once again be filled with faculty and students.  We are encouraging all parents to consult their medical professionals regarding vaccinating their children before they attend school and follow CDC guidelines with regards to masking.  

By working together, we can overcome this public health crisis.  I know our citizens are exhausted. We all are, but we have not crossed the finish line yet.  I challenge each of you to take personal responsibility and to help us move forward towards a healthy and normal future.

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe!

Regards,
 


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, JUNE 11, 2021

Friday, June 11, 2021

Good morning,

It has been six weeks since the Governor’s decision to lift the statewide mask mandate, leaving masking policies up to local governments.  As you know, we opted out of the mask mandate and no longer require masks, with the exception of those places and agencies remaining under the Governor’s Order.

I am pleased to report -- our percent positivity rates have remained around 2%.  Our vaccination rates are still among the highest in the state, although we have seen a reduction in the amount of vaccines we are dosing at each event.  I believe it is important to get the word out about vaccination events and the availability of vaccines in order to keep our percent positivity rates low.  Vaccines are also available at local pharmacies.

Hurricane season is upon us and we are continuously monitoring activity in the Gulf of Mexico.  As you know, we can never be too prepared for extreme weather.  Our desire for preparedness is why we choose to keep our citizens informed about the vaccines.  Should we have a situation where storm shelters are activated and our citizens are kept in close proximity to one another, vaccinations could be a factor in mitigating a spike in COVID cases. 

Our community has been diligent with their efforts to fight against the spread of COVID-19 and because of their hard work, we have been able to balance the health of our economy with the health our community.  We will continue that balance going forward, in working with the citizens of St. Tammany to be as healthy as possible.

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe!

Regards,


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, JUNE 2, 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Good afternoon,

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season has begun.  We have been working year-round to ensure that we are prepared for any situation that may arise.  I ask that you also be prepared by reviewing your plans and checking supplies.

For information on hurricane preparedness, visit our Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness webpage.  You can view links to Evacuation Routes, Emergency Supplies Check Lists and a sign-up link for Alert St. Tammany.  While we are not in control of the weather, we can do our part to engage with our citizens and disseminate critical information on how to be properly equipped and weather aware.

Being weather aware goes hand in hand with being hurricane strong.  Hurricane strong is about working together within our communities, practicing personal safety, family preparedness and damage prevention, while communicating the importance of these efforts with our neighbors.

St. Tammany Parish has been recognized by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community, which means being prepared when severe weather strikes through advanced planning, education and awareness.  No community is storm proof, but being StormReady can help save lives.

We pray that this year is less active than the last, but we are prepared as leaders and emergency personnel to guide St. Tammany through any hurricane season.

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe!

Regards,


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, MAY 27, 2021

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Good afternoon,

We had a tremendous turnout last week at our groundbreaking for the new Training and Education Center on our Safe Haven Campus.  Governor Edwards, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, and Safe Haven Foundation Chairman Jack Donahue were all in attendance, along with many other state and local elected officials and community leaders.

If you were unable to attend and would like to view the press conference from the event, you may click here.

Our COVID-19 positivity rate for the past week is at 1.4%, the lowest rate we have seen this year.  With our vaccination rates among the highest in the state, we are proud of our citizenry for taking advantage of the vaccine and maintaining personal responsibility to continue mitigating the spread of the virus.

On Monday, May 31, all St. Tammany Parish Government offices will be closed in observance of Memorial Day.  I ask that all of our citizens take a moment to honor our nation’s fallen heroes.  I will be attending the ­Memorial Day Ceremony at 10:00am, hosted by the Robert H. Burns American Legion Post #16, at the St. Tammany Justice Center.  You may find more information about the ceremony here.  

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe!

Regards,


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, MAY 21, 2021

Friday, May 21, 2021

Good morning,

Yesterday, I presented my State of the Parish Address before a sold-out St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce event.  In attendance were many local dignitaries, community leaders and members of the Chamber of Commerce.

In my address, I covered a wide variety of topics including: our drainage and infrastructure projects, mental health initiatives, our Comprehensive Plan update process, improvements at the Department of Animal Services, and more!  We looked back on 2020 and the events that taught us so much, but more importantly, we talked about the first quarter of this year, and the progress that we have made thus far.  If you would like to stay in the know about what is happening in our Parish, you may subscribe to our newsletter here.

This morning I will be attending a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Safe Haven Campus for the Training and Education Center.  I will be joined by Governor John Bel Edwards, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, and the Safe Haven Foundation Chairman Jack Donahue. All are invited to attend the 11 a.m. event.

The Safe Haven Training and Education Center will provide innovative learning and focus on behavioral health, as well as provide a state-of-the-art meeting and conference space.

The Training and Education Center is scheduled to be completed in the Winter of 2022.  For more information about the Safe Haven Campus, please visit www.safehavenstp.org.

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe!

Regards,


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT, MAY 13, 2021

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Good morning,

This week is Hurricane Preparedness Week; a perfect time to review plans and check supplies before the official start of hurricane season on June 1, 2021. 

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active season ever recorded with 30 named storms - 14 developing into hurricanes - and recorded damages of more than $51.146 billion.    While we cannot control the weather, we can do our part to engage with our citizens and to disseminate critical information about how to be properly equipped and weather aware. I recommend visiting St. Tammany’s Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness website for tips and information.  On our site, you will see many links to documents such as Evacuation Routes, Emergency Supply Check Lists, and a sign-up link for Alert St. Tammany.

Alert St. Tammany is a great tool to show our citizens that when an emergency threatens our community, St. Tammany Parish is ready to respond quickly.  It is one way you may receive updates and warnings should they be issued; however, we recommend everyone have multiple ways to receive information in case of an emergency. Being hurricane strong is about working together within our communities.  We must practice personal safety, family preparedness, and damage prevention, while communicating the importance of these efforts with our neighbors.

St. Tammany Parish has been recognized by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community.  Being StormReady means being prepared when severe weather strikes through advanced planning, education and awareness.  No community is storm proof, but being StormReady can help save lives.

As always, should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay Safe!

Regards,


Michael B. Cooper
Parish President

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