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BR woman wanted in theft of designer handbags from Hammond store

A Baton Rouge woman is wanted on a felony count of stealing designer handbags from TJ Maxx in Hammond, according to city police in Hammond. Gaberel Smith, 25, has previously been arrested for stealing from the TJ Maxx stores in Denham Springs and Baton Rouge. She’s also been picked up for shoplifting in Gonzales and Lafayette,… Continue reading →

FEMA grants helping owners of Livingston Parish properties battered by floods, hurricanes

Advocate file photo by ADAM LAU -- A car and trailer sit in floodwaters in the Maurepas area of Livingston Parish on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.  An $11 million FEMA grant being used to purchase flood-prone properties in Livingston Parish and either tear them down or raise them above flood levels has been applied to many properties along La. 22 in the parish. Within the next year and a half, the parish plans to look over  90 flood-risk properties, most of them which will be elevated in accordance with flood standards. According to the grant, property owners will pay a quarter of the cost to raise their property, with the parish covering the remainder.

La. 22 winds along the Amite River for a stretch in south Livingston Parish, where homes tower on stilts or rest on stacks of bricks or cinder blocks. A few small buildings and mobile homes sit in the soft earth, though many are storm-battered and abandoned. At a bend — in… Continue reading →

Feds: Ponchatoula man had one of largest child porn collections ever found in Louisiana

Photo provided by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office -- Robert Swan

A Ponchatoula man faces 15 to 40 years in prison for downloading more than half a million images of child pornography — one of the largest collections ever found in the state, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Robert Swan, 52, pleaded guilty Thursday for his role in a massive child porn network that included pictures and… Continue reading →

Judge allows engineering firm to seek payment in Livingston Parish’s ongoing Gustav cleanup controversy

After months of debating whether to sue its monitoring firms, Livingston Parish now has no choice but to square off in court against the firm that oversaw a portion of the $59 million in Hurricane Gustav debris removal that FEMA has refused to reimburse. Alvin Fairburn & Associates, which oversaw debris removal in the parish’s canals… Continue reading →

Music company representing Jimmy Buffett, Van Morrison sues Denham Springs restaurant

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Jimmy Buffett joins Allen Toussaint on the Acura Stage on the second Saturday of Jazz Fest 2014 in New Orleans, La. Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Jimmy Buffett, Van Morrison and Bret Michaels are featured artists in a lawsuit filed against a Mexican restaurant in Denham Springs. Broadcast Music Inc. earlier this month sued Papi’s Fajita Factory on South Range Avenue for copyright infringement. In a civil complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge on Dec. 8, BMI and various… Continue reading →

Denham Springs man arrested on 500 child porn counts; bond set at $51M

Brian Lee Schaller

A Denham Springs man was arrested on 500 counts of child pornography possession after local, state and federal agencies searched his home last week and found hundreds of images on a computer. Brian Lee Schaller, 42, of Linder Road, was arrested Dec. 10 and also faces 40 counts of distributing pornography involving juveniles, possession of a… Continue reading →

Messenger family lights up Christmas display

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The annual Messenger's Christmas light and decoration extravaganza has been thrilling children and adults since 1964. This is the first year the display will be at Jeremy Messenger's home on Prince Charles Street in Denham Springs.

Now in its 51st year, the Messenger family Christmas display, which has boasted more than 10,000 lights and 20 custom-built scenes, has withstood the test of time. Last year, more than 60,000 people stood in line for hours at Clyde Messenger’s Plantation Estates’ home to view the display after it was… Continue reading →

La. 22 lighting project work to begin soon

Construction is set to begin on the long-awaited lighting of La. 22 from Interstate 55 west to the Natalbany River Bridge, which was designed through the parish’s Road Lighting District. Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said project specifications call for 5.03 miles of new lighting. Approximately 64 existing utility poles and 184 new utility poles will… Continue reading →

Crowds line up for free Chick-fil-A

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- People play games and spend time singing and playing instruments while camping out in the parking lot Dec. 10 at the Chick Fil A store in Denham Springs. The store opened at 9 a.m. Thursday, and the first 100 customers received free meals for a year.

The grand opening of a Chick-fil-A in Denham Springs meant more than the arrival of a fast food restaurant to the growing town. For 100 participants, it was the possibility of a free weekly meal for a year. For the first 100 participants in line at the newly opened chain who camped out overnight, the… Continue reading →

Around Livingston for Dec. 18, 2014

The award-winning Livingston Parish Children’s Choir is now enrolling singers for the spring semester, choir officials said. Registration forms can be downloaded from www.LPCCsing.org and mailed in, or parents can register and pay online. The Livingston Parish Children’s Choir has two treble choirs: its Apprentice Choir for… Continue reading →

SLU professor reveals history behind famous carols

Southeastern Louisiana University communications professor Joseph Burns researched the history of Christmas carols thoroughly for a presentation he made recently at the university’s annual Fanfare festival, a fall celebration of the arts, humanities and social sciences. Burns said many people can get the wrong idea by going solely according to the title or lyrics. For… Continue reading →

Increased call volume leads to need for new Albany fire station

Call volume has increased almost fivefold since Livingston Parish Fire Prevention District No. 1 in Albany began handling emergency medical response calls, according to a news release from the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority. With the additional call volume, officials with the Livingston Parish Fire Protection District No. 1 determined they needed a larger, more modern and better-equipped… Continue reading →

Mater Dolorosa School class gets dictionaries

Photo provided SANDRA MADERE -- Mater Dolorosa students from Independence, from left, front row, are Camren Yeager, Braylyn Wright, Jason Thigpen, Savannah Rahn, Keller Powell, Dylan Peco, Madison Nicoll, Brady Mendez; and back row, Luciana Martello, Michelle Lemane, Nathaniel Langston, Brayden Gillies, Brason Costa, Trinity Clement, Tyler Cefalu, Isabella Cefalu, Austin Anthony accept dictionaries from Busy Bee members Terry Voight, back row, second from left, and Terry Voight, back row, far right, last month. They are pictured with teacher Karen Wilder.

Tangipahoa Volunteers for Family and Community Busy Bees, an all-volunteer arm of the LSU Extension Service, visited Karen Wilder’s third-grade class at Mater Dolorosa School in Independence last month to celebrate National Dictionary Project Week. The Bees presented each student in Wilder’s class with a new dictionary. Mary French founded the Dictionary Project in 1995 to… Continue reading →

Girl Scouts launch site for online cookie sales

Photo provided by MARIANNE ADDY -- Kilee Posney, Abbigail Delanoix and Jessica Smith, of the Watson Girl Scout Troop 10384, encourages customers to purchase and donate Girl Scout cookies to ship to troops overseas, during last years Cookie Sale. The troop sold more than 18 cases of cookies, more than 216 boxes, which were donated and shipped to the military serving overseas.

The traditional Girl Scout Cookie Program is going digital. For the first time since sales began nearly 100 years ago, Girl Scouts of the USA will allow its young cookie-selling entrepreneurs to sell their wares online. Members of the Girl Scouts Louisiana East Council will be among the group of Girl Scouts embracing the new Digital… Continue reading →

Livingston-Tangipahoa pets available for Dec. 18, 2014

Photo provided -- St. Bernard mixed puppies are available.

Pets are available at the Denham Springs Animal Shelter, 600 Bowman St., in Denham Springs. The shelter is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. The shelter accepts donations of newspapers, food and animal supplies. Call (225) 664-4472 or (225) 788-3101. Visit www.facebook.com/ denhamspringsanimalshelter. Pets also are available at Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control,… Continue reading →

North Oaks doctor named Physician of the Year

Photo provided - Dr. Jay Smith

Dr. Jay Smith has received the 2014 North Oaks Health System Physician of the Year Award for exceptional service to others, leadership, performance excellence and his dedication to the community, according to a news release from North Oaks Health System. Smith is North Oaks Medical Center’s Emergency Services medical director and a 24-year veteran of the North… Continue reading →

SLU visual arts program given ‘seal of approval’

Southeastern Louisiana University’s visual arts program has received full-member accreditation status by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The accreditation signifies that the program meets national criteria following an academic peer review, said Ken Boulton, interim head of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. “Accreditation is considered a seal of approval,” he… Continue reading →

Options program gets $21,400 boost

Photo provided by CHRISTIE GARDINER -- Standing in front of a display of handmade weaving products, Karen Pfiefer, owner of Middendorf's restaurant in Manchac and the head of Options' weaving program, left, receives an appreciation collage from Options while Options CEO Sylvia Bush receives a check from the Manchac Run last month.

The weaving program for Options — a private nonprofit agency located in Hammond providing services for people with developmental disabilities — received a big boost for its expansion efforts, thanks to Middendorf’s Manchac Run. The restaurant’s owners, Horst and Karen Pfeifer, hosted a luncheon on Dec. 4 for sponsors and organizers of the event and presented Options… Continue reading →

Jindal appoints 2 to port commission

Gov. Bobby Jindal has appointed Cheryl Quinn Brumfield and James Wesley Daniels II to the South Tangipahoa Parish Port Commission, the Louisiana governing authority for the Port Manchac inter-modal terminal. Brumfield’s seat was nominated by the Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation, and Daniels’ seat was nominated by state Rep. Steve Pugh, a news release from the Port Commission… Continue reading →

Livingston-Tangipahoa community photo gallery for Dec. 18, 2014

Photo provided by LINDA FALLER JOINER -- Hammond Westside Montessori teachers create word wall -- First-grade teachers at Hammond Westside Montessori dress like 'word walls' Oct. 31. They used the initial of their last name and made a list of 10 high-frequency or sight words that begin with that letter, school officials said. First row is Rae Scarcello; second row from left, are Amy Peco, Hilary Davenport, Kaci Puglia, Jamie Callihan; and third row, Dana Allen, Jenna Bellina, Colette Taillon, Jodi Rogers, Alli Ricks, Gabby Smith and Desiree Ricks.

The Livingston-Tangipahoa Advocate this week includes photos from local civic, community and school groups and highlights recent events around Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes.… Continue reading →

Livingston Parish calendar for Dec. 18-25, 2014

BOOK BABIES: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Livingston Parish Library, Watson Library Branch, 36581 Outback Road, Denham Springs. Book Babies is a new monthly program for ages 2 and under. WATSON TEEN ANIME CLUB: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Livingston Parish Library, Watson Library Branch. Meetings include previews of anime, manga, crafts, fan art,… Continue reading →

Tangipahoa Parish calendar for Dec. 18-25, 2014

Thursday CPR CLASS: 5 p.m., E. Brent Dufreche Conference Center, North Oaks Diagnostic Center. Certification available. Registration required. (985) 230-7777 or northoaks.org. CHAMBER AFTER HOURS: 5 p.m., Regions Bank, 201 N.W. Railroad Ave., Hammond. An evening of networking, conversation and business. (985) 386-2536. WHAT’S COOKIN’: 6:30 p.m., Tangipahoa Parish Library Hammond Branch, 314 E.… Continue reading →

Livingston-Tangipahoa Council on Aging for Dec. 18, 2014

LIVINGSTON PARISH COUNCIL ON AGING AND TANGIPAHOA VOLUNTARY COUNCIL ON AGING: Meal site menus. (For more meal site locations, please call (225) 664-9343 in Livingston Parish or (985) 748-7486 in Tangipahoa Parish.) Pinto beans with sausage, steamed rice, mustard greens, carrifruit salad, cornbread, oatmeal cookie, milk.… Continue reading →

Mayson Foster honored for 12 years as Hammond mayor

The City Council honored Mayson Foster for his dozen years as mayor on Tuesday, the last meeting Foster will attend as mayor. “This is a token of the respect and love we have for you,” Council President Bobby Martin said. “We are grateful for all the progress that Hammond has made during… Continue reading →

Livingston council members plan to appeal judge’s decision to send defamation cases to trial;

Marshall Harris and Cindy Wale Franz

Two Livingston Parish Council members say they will appeal a state court judge’s ruling allowing a pair of defamation cases against them to advance toward trial. The court order also taxed the two officials with their opponents’ legal costs, prompting the parish legal adviser to question whether the parish should pay the bill. Councilmen Marshall Harris… Continue reading →

Tangipahoa homeowner holds suspected burglar at gunpoint until cops arrive

Lonnie Ray Pennington, Jr.

A suspected burglar was arrested Monday after a homeowner in Tangipahoa Parish held her at gunpoint until deputies arrived. Authorities were called to a home on Stafford Road, west of Natalbany, about 3 a.m., where a homeowner was holding 30-year-old Tyanna Wells, of Hammond, in place with a gun, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.… Continue reading →

Small town of Greensburg at forefront of police body camera use

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Greensburg Police Sgt. Paul Britton demonstrates the wearing of the department's cameras, Thursday, Dec. 4, outside their station on LA 37. The police department serves the town of Greensburg, La., a city boasting less than 1,000 residents in St. Helena Parish, has outfitted it's patrol officers with cameras. These cameras are mounted via headband and essentially give the viewer an eye-level view of the officers' interactions with the public.

From their squat building underneath the Greensburg water tower, the five officers of the town Police Department have quietly positioned themselves at the forefront of a debate about whether the use of wearable video cameras can improve relations between cops and the people they are sworn to protect. The technology has… Continue reading →

Southeastern to confer degrees on 1,200 grads

Southeastern Louisiana University will confer degrees on more than 1,200 graduates Saturday at the university’s fall commencement exercises. At the ceremony held in the University Center, Southeastern will honor one of Central America’s most influential business leaders with an honorary doctorate. Jose Barrios Ng, who has led current efforts to… Continue reading →

Homeland security looking for ‘safe houses’ in Livingston Parish

Homeland security officials are looking for some homes in Livingston Parish — specifically, “safe houses” strong enough to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes and floods that first-responders can use during emergencies. On Thursday, the School Board declined to take action on a proposed partnership, but Livingston Office of Homeland Security… Continue reading →

Roseland man killed in Wednesday fire

Photo provided by Louisiana State Fire Marshal -- State Fire Marshal investigators are currently on the scene of a fire that claimed one life and severely damaged a residence. Authorities were alerted to the fire at 12582 Tangipahoa Avenue in the community of Roseland just after 4:00 a.m. this morning.Upon arrival, firefighters of the Roseland Volunteer Fire Department and the Amite Fire Department, respectively, found the small two-bedroom wood frame house venting flames from the rear, south side, of the home.

A house fire killed a man in Roseland early Wednesday morning and investigators are trying to determine what started the blaze. Firefighters were called to 12582 Tangipahoa Ave. about 4 a.m., where they found a two-bedroom wood-frame house engulfed in flames, according to a news release from the State Fire Marshal’s Office. When the fire was… Continue reading →

Two Hammond residents compete to serve interim term on Tangipahoa School Board after judge orders member off the board

Two Hammond residents are competing for an appointment as an interim representative on the Tangipahoa Parish School Board until a new board member can be elected in the spring. The development comes in the wake of Friday’s state court ruling that board member-elect Eric Dangerfield cannot take office in January… Continue reading →

Denham Springs to limit overtime for city employees

Advocate staff photo by STEVE HARDY  --  The Denham Springs Animal Shelter is receiving two new donations.

Denham Springs City Council on Tuesday closed a loophole in the city’s employee pay code expected to save tens of thousands of dollars per year. Under the previous code, employees were able to include vacation time in the calculation to determine when they could begin receiving overtime pay. City employees —… Continue reading →

Johnson and Cashe claim judgeships

In an all-Republican field, Jeff Johnson and Jeff Cashe claimed the two open seats on the 21st Judicial District Court during Saturday’s runoff election. Johnson defeated Mike Betts with 62 percent of the 61,090 votes cast in the race for the bench in Division A. Cashe won a much closer race against Glenn Westmoreland in… Continue reading →

Mock crash held for students

Advocate staff photo by CHRISTINE MORGAN -- Logan Broussard, a student at Albany High School and a member of the school’s Students Against Destructive Driving, checks on his friend and former classmate Thursday at the school during a mock crash.

Albany High School student Kari’gan Kinchen, 16, lay lifeless and bloody atop a wrecked vehicle as her classmates watched. Kinchen was participating in a mock crash Thursday put on by Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the State Police, who towed two wrecked cars to the high school for the… Continue reading →

Around Livingston for Dec. 11, 2014

Messenger’s Christmas Land now has a new location at Prince Charles Street off Eden Church Road in Denham Springs. Parking is available across the street at North Park. Messenger’s will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, through Jan. 1. For information, call (225) 413-2580. Participants can… Continue reading →

Holy Ghost team picks up Relay for Life awards

Photo provided by CINDY WAGNER --  Members of the Holy Ghost Catholic School Relay for Life team are, first row from left, Jennifer Owens, HGCS student and ‘Youngest Survivor’ Brock Baudean and HGCS Relay for Life Coordinator Suzy Rogers; and second row, Robbyn Davis, Theresa Patti and Janell Flanagan.

After 20 years participating in South Tangipahoa’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the team from Holy Ghost Catholic School continues to win awards, a news release from the school said. With the theme “Knocking Cancer Out of the Park,” the team members donned baseball attire and decorated their campsite using the same theme during the Relay… Continue reading →

North Oaks names October Student-Athletes of the Month

Photo provided by MELANIE ZAFFUTO -- From left are North Oaks Sports Medicine Supervisor Jeff Schmitt, Ponchatoula High School Assistant Basketball Coaches Kristi Gill and Lauren Long, Morrison 'Airi' Hamilton and North Oaks Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer Jonathan Gantt.

North Oaks Sports Medicine athletic trainers have joined with North Oaks Physician Group orthopedic surgeons to select Morrison “Airi” Hamilton, Carly Johnson, Travis Shaw and Milan Love as Student-Athletes of the Month for October, a news release from North Oaks said. Hamilton is the daughter of Theresa and Alvin Hamilton. She is an active senior at Ponchatoula… Continue reading →

Busy Bees mark 15 years of helping kids

Photo provided by SANDRA MADERE -- Tangipahoa Volunteers for Family and Community members Ruby Galloway, left, and Terry Voight donate stuffed animals last month to the North Oaks Emergency Room in Hammond.

The Tangipahoa Volunteers for Family and Community’s Busy Bees, an all-volunteer arm of the LSU Extension Service, celebrated in November 15 years of providing stuffies and ouch dudes to the North Oaks Emergency Room this year. The small cloth animal shapes are given to children when they arrive in the emergency room as a source of comfort,… Continue reading →

O.W. Dillon Elementary honor roll

Honor Roll students from the second six-week period at O.W. Dillon Elementary in Kentwood: First grade: Alonzo Ard, Maquala Battiste, Angelina Ciccio, Jordan Cooper, Kaden Reed, Josef Williams and Madison Winters.… Continue reading →

Walker Freshman High student wins 4-H trip

Photo provided by MARY SORENSON -- Pictured at an awards luncheon last month, from left, are Jeff Bush, Louisiana 4-H Foundation executive director; Dr. Janet Fox, associate department head, 4-H Youth Development; Luke Seguin, 4-H award winner; and Dr. Mark Tassin, department head, 4-H Youth Development.

Luke Seguin, a 4-H member from Walker Freshman High, was one of the winners of the Louisiana 4-H Educational Trip this year. He won the trip recently for his outstanding 4-H records that he submitted on his leadership, volunteer work, service projects and project work, a news release from the LSU AgCenter said. The winners… Continue reading →

‘Gone Girl’ tops adult fiction titles at Livingston library

The top five adult fiction titles for November at the Livingston Parish Library are “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, “Unlucky 13” by James Patterson, “Burn” by James Patterson, “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie and “Festive In Death” by J.D. Robb. The top five adult nonfiction titles are “Killing Jesus: A History” by Bill O’Reilly,… Continue reading →

Jindal foundation donates tablets to Eastside

Photo provided by the Jindal Foundation -- Supriya Jindal, left, helps Eastside Elementary students Lily LaBauve, center, and Bryson McCabe on Dec. 4 learn how to use new LearnPad 2 tablets.

The Supriya Jindal Foundation, with the help of gold partner Verizon Foundation, has announced the award of 15 LearnPad 2 tablets to the kindergarten classrooms at Eastside Elementary School through the “School Surprise” program. The program provides kindergarten classrooms with center-related tools to aid in education, a news release from the foundation said.… Continue reading →