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HOUMA SCORES HIGH MARKS
TOUR SAYS OUR AREA GET'S "3 THUMBS UP"

Logan McCracken won the Mary Bird Perkins Terrebonne General Medical Center Golf Classic this weekend, shooting a 14-under 274 — four strokes better than Eric Ricard and Taylor Montgomery who tied for second.

But while McCracken left Ellendale with the trophy and the prize money, he and others with the All Pro Tour said it was the city of Houma that was the big winner in the weekend event.

Officials with the APT said the Houma area is an ideal host for the all-week event, adding that the Pro Am was first-class and the Friday Night Glo-Ball was also a hit.

All Pro Tour Director Kris Corbett said the week got "three thumbs up, if I had a third thumb."

Proceeds for the event go to the Mary Bird Perkins TGMC Cancer Center.

"We feel incredibly welcome when we roll into Houma," Corbett said. "That's why we continually come back. The hospital does a great job. The volunteers and workers make us feel welcome. They all put on a great week. It ended up being a fantastic golf tournament."

The pros arrived in Houma last weekend to begin preparations for the event. They arrived to a wet course on Monday, then a Pro Am on Tuesday before opening up the tournament last Wednesday.

Corbett said the Pro Am is one of the best events the APT golfers see all year, adding that there were food and drinks on literally every, single hole.

"It's one of the most top notch days on our tour," Corbett said. "It's an amazing day — just the people alone make the day. There are food and drinks everywhere you look. The people welcome us. They welcome the players. Our pros really enjoyed it."

"It's always a great time," APT pro and 2017 champion Michael Arnaud added. "The food in this area is first-class and can't be beat. This is one of our favorite stops. And we're not just saying that. It's really, truly, an event and a city that we all appreciate coming to every year."

Corbett and pros on the tour say that Ellender is perfect for tournament golf, too, which helps in hosting a big event.

The Tour Director said she didn't know how scoring would be after rains early last week, then windless days in the early rounds.

But she added that while scoring was low on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Ellender bit back a little bit on Saturday with winds in excess of 30 mph at times, which made things difficult for the players.

"The golf course was in great shape," Corbett said.

McCracken won the event on Saturday, playing through swift winds ahead of the front that swept through the area on Saturday night.

He entered play in the final round with a 4-stroke lead, but 1-over-par front 9, then a bogey

on No. 12 allowed challengers to trim his lead down to one stroke.

But McCracken came back with the hole of the tournament —an eagle on No. 16, which separated himself from the pack and allowed him to take home the trophy and the $20,000 cash prize.

He said he battled early in the round— not because of nerves, but more because he simply wasn't playing well.

But to finish and win the event was Special, according to McCracken.

He finished second at the tournament last year.

"I have a good feel for the golf course, but it was a test. The golf course played different today than it did the others." he said. "It was an adjustment, but I'm just glad I was able to put together a couple good swings there on the back nine and hang on to the lead and get the win."

The APT is a traveling golf tour that plays a full season of events throughout the spring and summer. Several players on the APT have active status on the Web.com Tour, which is one rung below the PGA Tour.

Five APT Tour alums — Bubba Watson, Kevin Tway, Andrew Landry, Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed — played in the Master's this past weekend.

"Our players are talented and the people in Houma really appreciate that" Corbett said "The dub really welcomes us and the hospital does a great job. We're ready for next year already."


TERREBONNE TO SWITCH GARBAGE PROVIDERS

Terrebonne Parish residents will no longer have their trash picked up by the firm which has done the job for the past three years, following the Parish Council's recommendation that the lowest bid in response to a request for proposal be accepted.

Florida-based Waste Pro has done solid waste pickup in Terrebonne for the past three years. They had filed a lower bid three years ago than Pelican Waste, which had held the contract. In response to a new request for proposal this year, it was Pelican that brought in the lowest bid, knocking Waste Pro out of the running.

Pelican bid $5.2 million and Waste Pro's was a million dollars more. At Wednesday's meeting, as at a committee meeting two days before, council members praised Waste Pro for the work it has done for the past three years. But stood firm on their contention that the new contract must go to Pelican because it was lowest.

Representatives from Waste Pro addressed the council, asking that the decision be reconsidered.

"We strive and make every effort to respect the bid process," Waste Pro spokeswoman Jolene Johnson said. "We request that you reconsider and table this item."

Johnson noted that her firm's work has not resulted in complaints from residents, as opposed to prior haulers whose work was questioned on numerous occasions in the past.

Waste Pro president Sean Jennings noted the financial contributions the company has made in Terrebonne. Although the company is Florida-based, Jennings said the firm and its people want to be viable members of the community they serve.

The company, he said, puts more trucks out on the street and more workers, meaning that there is a higher cost. Some of that could change, Jennings said, if a proper negotiation took place.

Parish Attorney Julius Hebert advised the Council that they must stay the course that has now been chosen, and that there could be legal consequences if they do not. Council members appeared to take the attorney's admonition seriously.

"Three years ago, y'all happened to be fortunate enough," Hebert told Johnson during her remarks, referring to her company's replacement of Pelican as the waste hauler. "My advice

to the council is because of a potential legal matter just vote on it and leave it to that tonight. It has already been approved and I don't think anything is changing."

Later interviews indicated that, indeed, the parish has the option of allowing an extension to the waste management contract for a current holder. But offering the option is not required. Nonetheless, Waste Pro officials questioned why their company – with a track record of exemplary service, was not given the contract.

One Waste Pro employee who spoke, Nicole Johnson, raised some council eyebrows when she suggested that loss of the contract could lead to unpleasant consequences.

Earlier, council members had noted that Pelican has offered to take on some of the firm's employees whose jobs would be lost due to the change.

"It doesn't mean they are going to hire everyone," the employee, Nicole Johnson, said.

"You will still have people looking for jobs," Johnson said. "The helpers ... young men, it is already a struggle for young men in today's world. Where that leaves them? If they're not working that could lead to them breaking in houses, stealing, robbing. So, we have them working, why not keep them working? I really wish you would reconsider."

Councilman Gerald Michel disagreed with the comments.

"I am sorry, I just find it really hard to believe we are going to take a look at these fine young people there and say we have only got two choices, they only work for one company and if not they will break into peoples' houses," Michel said. "I see a lot more class out there and I took offense to that statement."


RECREATION MILLAGE VOTE POSTPONED

A Terrebonne Parish Recreation property tax renewal vote has been pushed from May to October.

Officials with Recreation District 2-3 confirmed last week that they'd voted unanimously at a recent meeting to take the 5 mill renewal vote off the ballot, citing cost concerns for paying non-statewide election costs as the only item on a ballot — a tally which could have cost the district close to $30,000.

By placing the millage renewal in the fall during a state election, costs will be minimal and there will likely be far greater voter turnout.

Multiple attempts to reach Board Chairman Jeff Teuton via telephone were unsuccessful at press-time, but board members reached out to The Times and confirmed the decision, while panting to Teuton for additional comment,, which was never received.

BALLOTS HAILED WILL BE FUNDED BY EEC 2-3

The Terrebonne Parish Registrar of Voters confirmed to The Times late last week that the mill age vote was now off the ballot, while also giving additional information about the process.

Rec. 2-3 announced early last week on social media that a "unanimous vote" to postpone had been cast at a board meeting to delay the election,, but the Registrar said they didn't receive word from the Secretary of State's Office to confirm that until late last week.

The Times has no knowledge of exactly when the vote took place. An agenda was posted on the group's Facebook page for the April 4. 2019 meeting.

but no item on the agenda lists mention of a vote or discussion about the renewal.

"There wasn't anything secretive about it," Teuton said. "We knew going in that we were going to make that decision."

The decision to postpone the election came after the Registrar mailed more than 200 ballots to mail-in voters in that district.

The voting office wants locals to know that the ballots are no longer valid and that any votes mailed in will not be looked at or counted.

Rec. 2-3 will be on the hook for the cost of the ballots, but they will be spared the rest of the fees they could have incurred had the millage come to a May vote. Election sites will have notes posted on their front doors on the May election date stating that the vote has been postponed.

CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS MILLAGE RENEWAL

The millage renewal, itself, is not free from public backlash.

Board members say the renewal is needed because it will provide much-needed funding to continue what they believe is a recreation department that's now headed in the right direction after the scandals of the past 18-24 months.

Board members have used social media heavily to campaign for the renewal, adding that those monies would help the department move forward.

The millage ends in Jan. 2021.

But there is opposition.

A group named Rec Reform for Terrebonne is quickly growing and gaining support. Part of their mission is to reorganize populated rec districts with one, balanced millage.

A renewal of the existing millage would be a blow to reform efforts, according to Hank Babin, a representative with the group.

He said he wants the public to be given the opportunity to vote on reform before being asked for another renewal.

"Our concerns and message are the same no matter when the election is held," Babin said in a statement. "But this is a great opportunity for the people to be allowed to vote for reform before another renewal."

There were concerns within circles in Terrebonne Parish about the timing of a May renewal vote, given that the millage still wouldn't expire for 18 months and that a May election would likely have brutally low turnout, which could skew results away from what best represents the public's interests.

Babin said the people of the area need to know that what's being done currently in recreation can still be changed, adding that he wants a vote to be held for reformation before a millage renewal.

"(Our people) have the right to know there are other options on the table so that we can do even more with the recreation system in our parish," Babin said. "Our residents need a system that will speed up completion of the (Bayou Country) sports park, maintain our neighborhood parks and allow for future needs to be met while helping to grow our economy. Let's vote on a new direction first. Rec 2-3 still has all of 2020 and part of 2021 to get their millage renewed if we decide to keep things as they currently are."