River Views: River Parishes to celebrate Independence Day on July 3 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--New River Parish columnist Lori Lyons in New Orleans, La. Monday, April 20, 2015.

Enjoy those last days of summer vacation, everyone. The new school year is just around the corner.

Actually, schools in St. James Parish open Wednesday, Aug. 5. St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parish students return to school on Monday, Aug. 10.

St. John Parish students have an extra reason to celebrate this year. It has been three long, hard years since Hurricane Isaac inundated the LaPlace area with a devastating tidal surge. Among the many structures damaged by the storm was East St. John High School in Reserve, which took in several feet of water. The school then sat mired in mud and muck and much red tape.

But last year, FEMA approved $17.5 million in repairs to the Airline Highway campus, and now the school is ready to reopen. It will do so officially on Saturday, Aug. 8, with a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held at 8 a.m. at the school.

St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom, Schools Superintendent Kevin R. George, School Board President Keith Jones, East St. John Principal Cory Butler and other dignitaries will be on hand. The East St. John band will perform and lead a second-line. Tours of the school will be offered following the event.

Weatherization grants

United Way of St. Charles is hosting a free informational event geared toward educating residents about new weatherization grant opportunities available in St. Charles Parish. The Weatherization Lunch and Learn will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, at the United Way of St. Charles office in Luling. Lunch will be provided.

Anyone interested in attending must preregister by calling the United Way office at (985) 331-9063.

“A few months ago, we learned that high summer utility bills are often causing residents (particularly seniors and the working poor) to get behind on rent or house payments or to skip prescriptions to pay for keeping their electric service on,” said John Dias, UWSC executive director. “The United Way does have an emergency financial need program, but why not prevent the need from occurring? Weatherizing your home can save you 20 to 40 percent on monthly utility bills.”

Through the weatherization assistance program, qualifying renters and homeowners may be eligible to receive home weatherization including installation of energy-efficiency measures, free of charge.

For information, call United Way of St. Charles at (985) 331-9063.

Pumpkin fair seeks crafters

The annual “Pumpkin Patch Craft Fair” will be held Oct. 10 at St. Charles United Methodist Church, 1905 Ormond Blvd., Destrehan. The pumpkins will be arriving the Saturday before that, on Oct. 3. Fair organizers are looking for crafters who would like to display their items in both indoor and outdoor booths. Anyone who signs up before Aug. 8 will get a free serving of jambalaya and a drink.

For information, call (985) 764-9282.

Humane Society offers special on cat adoptions

The St. Charles Humane Society has a special discount through Aug. 24: all cats can be adopted for $30.

Cats are available at the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter, 921 Rue La Cannes, Luling, or at Petsmart, 6851 Veterans Blvd., Metairie. There are many colors and ages to select from at both locations.

The adoption fee includes age-appropriate vaccines, deworming, spaying or neutering, flea and tick control, and microchipping.

For more information about adoption, be sure to visit the St. Charles Parish Animal Control website. Any questions may be directed to the shelter at (985) 783-5010.

Lori Lyons reports on the river parishes. Send information on news, events, accomplishments and story ideas to her at sportslyons@gmail.com.