St. Bernard Parish residents looking for a free way to cool off this summer should take a drive to St. Bernard State Park to check out its new water feature.

Park manager Tony Hall said they’ve installed a 25-square-foot water playground complete with dumping buckets, water cannons, jet sprays and a nonslip coated cement surface.

Hall said the water playground will replace the park’s swimming pool, which is permanently closed and set for demolition.

“The pool was about 30 years old and was in need of major repairs that would have cost us around a half million dollars,” Hall said. “The pool was always costly to maintain, but the new splash pad is unique in that it doesn’t use chemicals and doesn’t require us to have paid lifeguards on staff. It’s just a lot cheaper to maintain, and we can keep it open longer than the pool.”

Another plus for visitors, Hall said, is they do not have to pay the $2 per person, per day charge that was required for use of the pool. Admission to the water playground is free to all ages, he said, but anyone age 12 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The water playground, which opened this month, will remain open until late September or early October, depending on the weather, Hall said.

Hours for the water playground are seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The park is open year-round from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call the park at (504) 682-2101 or visit LaStateParks.com.

Old Arabi Marketplace

The Old Arabi Neighborhood Association will hold its first marketplace event May 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Aycock Barn, 409 Aycock St., Arabi.

The Old Arabi Marketplace will present a collection of local arts, crafts and food vendors. Friends and neighbors will gather at the Aycock Barn to shop in an outdoor atmosphere with live music and children’s activities.

For more information, contact Maegan Dobson at (504) 756-7143 or oldarabi@gmail.com.

Summer reading program

The St. Bernard Parish Library will kick off its 2014 summer reading program, “Fizz, Boom, Read!” on Monday, June 2, at its Chalmette branch, 2600 Palmisano Blvd.

Each reader will receive an official summer reading bookmark, a timed-reading Circuit Board sheet or an easy-to-complete activity sheet and a calendar of events. The first 100 families to register also will receive a “Super Summer Reader” yard sign. In addition, pre-readers through fifth-graders who sign up between June 2 and June 12 will receive a free movie pass to see “Ernest and Celestine,” compliments of Chalmette Movies. Movie passes may be redeemed only at the 2 p.m. show between June 6 and 12.

The summer reading program will consist of six weeks of fun activities with weekly story programs at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. Special guests will make appearances at the library at 11:30 a.m on Thursdays and a variety of artists will share their talents during the library’s Fridays with the Arts performances at 3 p.m. on Fridays.

Summer festivities will end with a grand finale and prize drawing July 11.

Readers also will have the opportunity to win prizes by completing Circuit Board timed-reading sheets and activity sheets. Pre-readers through 12th-graders who finish by July 10 will be eligible to have their names entered into the library’s grand finale prize drawing. Younger readers also will receive a certificate of completion along with McDonald’s coupons. Older readers will receive McDonald’s coupons and a magnetic bookmark, while supplies last. Adult readers can turn in completed activity sheets through Aug. 2 and register for their Aug. 5 prize drawing.

Summer reading prize sponsors include: Audubon Institute, Chalmette Movies, J & M Jewelers, Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard-Arabi, Local Flair, Louisiana Children’s Museum, McDonalds, MeMe’s Bar and Grille, National World War II Museum, New Orleans Paddlewheels Inc., Pets Plus and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.

For more information, visit the library, call (504) 279-0448 or visit mysbpl.org.

Emergency siren testing

The St. Bernard Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness will test its emergency siren system on Tuesday, June 3, at approximately 1 p.m. The test will last about three minutes.

Nunez summer registration

Nunez Community College is holding registration for its summer semester through Tuesday, June 3.

The summer semester will begin Monday, June 2, and students may opt to attend classes during the regular summer session from June 2 through July 31, or during one of two mini-sessions scheduled for June 2 through 27 or July 7 through 31.

Students interested in construction technology have two class options for the full summer session, both with built-in certifications from the National Center for Construction Education and Research: introduction to construction on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and electrical on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m.

Nunez also will offer technical competency areas, certificates and associates degrees in accounting, business administration, medical office management, new entrepreneurship and hotel, restaurant, and tourism administration programs.

Registration is available online at nunez.edu and at the Arts, Sciences, and Technology Building May 29 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Returning students who were not enrolled during the two previous semesters and new students must also apply at nunez.edu/Admissions/admissions.htm.

Students seeking financial aid must complete and submit a 2013-14 Federal Application for Student Financial Aid Form online at fafsa.ed.gov using the Nunez school code, 015130.

For more information, contact the admissions office at (504) 278-6467 or advisinghelp@nunez.edu.

Sheriff’s Association scholarship

Bryson Polk and Celeste Scheuermann, both of Chalmette, have been named recipients of $500 academic scholarships from the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association for the 2013-14 school year.

Polk, the son of Elaine and Bryan Polk, is a 2014 graduate of Brother Martin High School and will attend Louisiana State University, where he plans to major in mechanical engineering. He played football during high school.

Scheuermann, the daughter of Kathryn and John Scheuermann, is a 2014 graduate of Cabrini High School and will attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she will pursue kinesiology as a field of study. Celeste played volleyball and participated in track and field in high school.

The scholarship is funded through donations to the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association Honorary Membership Program. Louisiana sheriffs provide scholarships to graduating high school students from each parish in which the sheriff is an affiliate of the program. Qualities including academic achievement, leadership and character are considered. Applicants must be residents of Louisiana and the scholarships must be used for higher education within the state.

Kiwanis Club field trip

The Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard-Arabi, a community service organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, sponsored a field trip to Barnes & Noble on May 7 for 13 third- and fourth-graders from Willie Smith Elementary School in Violet.

The field trip was the culmination of an incentive program aimed at encouraging students to improve their reading scores and demonstrating the value of reading beyond the classroom. Each month, while eating pizza or chicken fingers, students with improving scores heard their Kiwanis sponsors read from their favorite books, recipes, magazines and even joke books.

During the field trip, students were each allowed to pick out a book to take home, compliments of the Kiwanis Club. The program is spearheaded by past Kiwanis Club presidents Anthony Cole and Polly Campbell.

The Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard-Arabi meets Tuesdays at noon at Rocky and Carlo’s Restaurant, 613 W. St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette. For more information, visit www.st bernardkiwanis.org.??

Kim Gritter writes about people, places and events in St. Bernard Parish. She can be reached at parishlines@gmail.com.