By Cyndi Sellers
On Friday, May 15, the Cameron Parish Police Jury met in an open public meeting at the West Annex. It was the first day of Phase 1 re-entry period after the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. Parish Administrator Katie Armentor said all office staff will now be working in office Monday through Thursday. Road crews will be working, cutting grass, four days a week also. By June 1, she expects to be back to normal operations.
Cameron Parish OEP Director Danny Lavergne reported that the parish has had seven positive cases of COVID-19 reported by the state. The last report was Apr. 19, so it has been a month with no new cases reported. However, 25%-40% of cases may be asymptomatic, and therefore not tested or reported. Free testing services offered in Calcasieu Parish only had 15 Cameron Parish residents attending. As of May 19, the parish has had 115 tests performed. Testing is now available for antibodies, to find out who may have had the disease and recovered.
“Cameron Parish did real good,” Lavergne said, but we don’t want to go back. A lot of us go to Calcasieu Parish which has a lot of cases.” Under the Phase 1 guidelines workers do not have to be tested to return to work, but COVID-19 has more symptoms than just a cough and a fever, he said. “If you don’t feel good, don’t come to work or go out in public. Wear a mask and wash your hands often. Be especially careful if you work with the elderly or at-risk individuals.”
The OEP has ordered masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, and N95 masks for first responders to be ready for the possible return of COVID-19 in the fall. About 1500 masks were distributed through the school meal program, and 1000 masks were available to give to businesses for their employees.
Tropical Storm Arthur formed in the Atlantic over the weekend, making it the sixth year in a row that a named storm has formed before the June 1 start of Hurricane Season. Lavergne will be attending the state Hurricane Preparedness Workshop this week to discuss how to deal with the evacuation and sheltering of evacuees during COVID-19 restrictions. Social distancing requirements will likely lead to smaller shelters. The state shelter task force is looking at hotels, but some are reluctant to participate.
Evacuation guidelines call for moving people closest to the coast first, and Cameron Parish now has about 14,000 permanent and temporary residents to move in case of a severe storm. Many of these are living in recreational vehicles which should be moved out for every storm. About 60% were moved out in the last evacuation, Lavergne said. LNG companies have been asked to encourage their employees to take out their RVs in an evacuation, but it isn’t mandatory. “A lot of RVs in the parish are not really road ready. If they break down they will block traffic on the highway,” he said. “You will need to have a bulldozer on hand to shove them off the highway.”
The Police Jury approved the purchase of a lot in Hackberry across the highway from Brown’s Grocery for the purpose of building a new branch library to replace the old one which has been flooded twice. The .72 acre property at the corner of 613 Main Street and 120 Legion Street will be purchased for $101,400. Police Juror Thomas McDaniel, who is also on the Library Board, said the Library recently sold a lot in Cameron for $155,500, so they have the money for the purchase
The Jury also amended the parish ordinance on Library Board members, allowing up to seven board members in accordance with state law. This change was approved years ago, but the ordinance was never formally amended. The previous ordinance specified five board members.
In other business, the Jury accepted the Cameron Pilot’s bid to be the parish’s official journal, and approved a liquor permit for the Cameron Landing Restaurant & Bar, located at 1755 Marshall Street in Cameron.
The speed limit on Parish Road 225 (Miller Ave.) in Grand Chenier was reduced to 15 mph, and the northern part of Parish Road 3155 (C Street) in Cameron was abandoned.
The Jury voted to advertise for bids for the NAWCA Grant funded Kings Bayou Water Control Structure project in the Creole area. Requests for Proposals will be sought for program management for FEMA Public Assistance Program, disaster management and recovery monitoring services contract, and debris removal and disposal services, in case of a natural or other disaster. By advertising and securing a contract early, FEMA will reimburse the parish 90% Armentor said.
After an extensive executive session to update jurors on the status of oil company lawsuits potentially affected by the Coastal Bill legislation now working its way through the legislature, Jurors voted to accept a partial settlement with Freeport MacMoran.
The Presidential Preference Primary/Municipal Primary Election will be held on Saturday, July 11.
The deadline to register to vote in person or make changes to your registration by mail is Wednesday, June 10.
The deadline to register to vote or make changes to your registration through www.Geaux Vote.com registration system is Saturday, June 20.
The deadline to register an absentee by mail ballot is Tuesday, July 7, by 4:30 p.m. You can request an absentee by mail ballot online www.geauxvote.com or in writing through your Registrar of Voters Office (Other that Military and Overseas).
The deadline to receive a voted mail ballot is Friday, July 10, by 4:30 p.m. (Other that Military and Overseas).
Cameron early voting will be conducted at our main office on Saturday, June 20 to Saturday, July 4 (except Sundays) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Cameron Parish Police Jury West Annex, located at 148 Smith Circle, Cameron.
Grand Lake early voting will be held Monday June 22 through Saturday, June 27, from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Grand Lake Library, located at 10200 Gulf Hwy, Grand Lake.
Hackberry early voting will be held on Monday, June 30 through Wednesday, July 1, from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Hackberry Community Center, located at 980 Main St., hackberry
*Bring picture ID with you.
For more information call the Registrar of Voters office at 337-775-5493.