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Entergy provides noise update

During Monday’s regular meeting of the Washington Parish Council, Beth Putnam, the Washington Parish 4-H Youth Development Professional and Parish Chair for the LSU AgCenter, gave a detailed written report to the council and a summarized oral report to the public. Putnam wants to relay to the public that updates can be found on the Washington Parish 4-H and LSU AgCenter Facebook page, and any student interested in the 4-H program should reach out to her or the Franklinton office. She said that their objective is to serve.

A report was given by Entergy representative Patrick Handy on the progress of sound mitigation at the power generation plant just west of Bogalusa. Handy said there will be a “significant noise reduction.” When pressed on how much of a reduction, Handy said that they should have a decibel level at their next report to the council. Currently, Entergy has agreed to give the Parish Council monthly reports concerning their noise reduction efforts. There are three mitigation recommendations including replacing horizontal duct work and installing improved silencers, constructing an acoustical barrier roof, and insulating expansion joints on duct work. Entergy predicts a 30-45 day shut down for the construction once started.

Chad Conerly, a retired Air Force Colonel from the Kentwood area, came before the council to announce his candidacy and explain why he was running for the Louisiana 5th Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives. This seat has been vacant due to the untimely death of Rep. Luke Letlow who was elected to the position, but never was able to serve.

Conerly said that “D.C. is toxic and not going to change from the inside.” He went on to explain that in the 1970s, around 80 percent of Congress had military experience, and that today that figure is around 18 percent. Conerly said that personally he is a fiscal and social conservative, but in the military it is taught “country before self” and that he believes that political parties are important, however “country has to come before party, something that was once understood.” He went on to say that he had “no political ambitions, but plenty of political qualifications.”

Before Monday’s regular meeting, a Public Hearing was held on “An ordinance directing the renewal of the levy and collection of an ad valorem tax of 10 mills tax on assessed valuation of all property subject to taxation in the Parish of Washington, State of Louisiana, for a period of 10 years … for the purpose of constructing, improving, maintaining and resurfacing Parish roads and bridges, including incidental drainage…”

During the regular meeting, the parish council adopted the ordinance referred to above, which is a formality of the Road Tax renewal that passed a public vote with 2,737 for and 1,520 against. Then, the council adopted a resolution authorizing the Parish Government to apply for and administer a $120,000 grant through LGAP for improvements to the courthouse. After that, board members were appointed to Fire District #2, and a resolution was passed authorizing the signing of the LA Compliance Questionnaire for the audit of last year. On the Public Participation item on the agenda, no one came forward.

During the president’s report, Richard Thomas conveyed his appreciation to Ken Wheat and Donna Graham for their work on the LGAP grant, saying, “I couldn’t ask for a better Public Works Director and Finance Director.” He mentioned the International Paper investment in the Bogalusa Mill, and announced free COVID testing sites scheduled for that week. Thomas also commended Bobby Jo Breland from the Parish Homeland Security Office for “doing an excellent job.”

He reported a weekly increase of parish COVID cases for Jan. 17-22, with 61 new cases and five deaths. The total cases reported in Washington Parish as of Jan. 22 was 3,720 with 109 deaths. The positivity rate on Jan. 6 was 11.9 percent, dropping Jan. 22 to 7.1 percent. Thomas said that vaccines are becoming available by appointment only at Creel’s, Sumrall, and Nielson’s Pharmacies.

During Council Discussion, Councilman Rusty Fornea mentioned problems with trucks using parish roads designated as no-thru roads for trucks, and asked about the options of dealing with the situation. Thomas indicated that the parish government could use the parish code enforcer to review permits on logging, to make sure the correct routes are being used and, if necessary, fine or deny permitting to offenders. If an individual lives on a no-thru road, it is permissible and understandable to park a truck or use the road for ingress or regress to a residence with an unloaded truck.

The ongoing litter problem in the parish was discussed and Council Chairman Reginald McMasters talked about not only the parish roads, but “state highways are getting trashed really bad.” Councilman Clark Harry warned everyone that the COVID epidemic is not over, and to be careful. The consensus of the council thanked Col. Conerly for his military service, showed gratitude to the parish administration for their work, and thanked citizens for coming to the meeting either in person or by watching on their computers with Zoom.

This article was written by Perry Talley, for The Daily News.