Kenner unveils new sign and sculpture for Laketown _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Kenner officials including Mayor Mike Yenni, right of sign, and Councilman District 3 Keith M. Reynaud, left of sign, at an LED sign at the entrance to the city's Laketown district in August 2014.

Kenner is one of the safest cities in Louisiana, according to the website OnlyinYourState.com.

OnlyinYourState.com compiled a list of the safest cities in Louisiana based on violent crimes reported to the FBI in 2013, Kenner officials said Monday. The city said Kenner registered 2.88 violent crimes per 1,000 people living there that year.

With about 67,000 residents, Kenner added that it was easily the biggest city on a list that included communities like Harahan and Mandeville. Kenner said the other Louisiana cities on OnlyinYourState.com’s list have populations ranging from 2,000 residents to about 14,000 residents.

OnlyinYourState.com eliminated communities that had fewer than 2,000 residents from consideration for the list because “larger cities tend to have more crime in general,” Kenner said.

In a prepared statement, Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni said the city’s appearance on the list was “quite a testament to the dedication and hard work of the city’s police officers, led by Chief Michael Glaser.”

Yenni’s statement added, “You would think that only smaller cities would make this list.”

Crimes that the FBI classifies as violent include murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

— Jefferson Chamber wants to wait on using BP settlement money —

Jefferson Parish should not commit any money from the recent settlement with BP over the 2010 oil spill to anything until a comprehensive plan on using those funds is developed, the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce said in a statement Monday.

Placing the one-time windfall in reserve; using it to enhance existing initiatives such as coastal restoration, flood protection, tourism, fisheries and economic development; or paying off existing parish debt with it would all be preferable to creating new recurring costs, the chamber said.

The chamber made no mention of Parish Councilman Ben Zahn’s proposal to use a portion of the BP money to fund 5 percent “cost of living” raises for parish employees. But it weighed in on the issue as Zahn’s proposal is scheduled for consideration Wednesday.

A separate proposal from Lagasse calls for putting the parish’s BP settlement money in an escrow account until a spending plan is hammered out. That certainly seemed to fall in line with what the chamber favored, even if the chamber’s statement didn’t explicitly mention Lagasse’s proposal either.

Lagasse’s proposal is also scheduled for consideration Wednesday. But the chamber asked the council to defer action on any proposal related to the BP money until more “meaningful analysis and dialogue” can take place.

Once attorneys’ fees are paid and special parish districts providing various services get some of the money, the parish will have about $34.7 million of the BP money left.

Jefferson Parish and other government bodies sued BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and ensuing oil spill, claiming the environmental and economic fallout cost them revenue. BP settled with Jefferson Parish and various other government bodies last month.

— State Rep. Stokes named to national committee —

State Rep. Julie Stokes, a Kenner Republican, is now a member of the Executive Committee of the National Conference State Legislatures, the Louisiana House of Representatives announced Monday.

Stokes earned election to the post last week at the conference’s Legislative Summit in Seattle, where state-level lawmakers from across the country gathered to discuss various issues.

Voters elected Stokes to the state House of Representatives during a special election in 2013. House committees she serves on include Ways and Means, Health and Welfare, Labor and Industrial Relations and Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Overlay. She is the vice chairwoman of the Legislative Audit Advisory Council and created the Sales Tax Streamlining and Modernization Commission, which will meet for the first time later this month.