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Dispute settlement talks shelved when quorum fails to show up for special Livingston Parish Council meeting

An attempt to settle a dispute between Livingston Parish and its former road engineering firm was delayed again Thursday when the Parish Council canceled a special meeting due to a lack of a quorum. The discussion will be taken up instead in an executive session during Monday night’s regular council meeting, the council’s clerk said… Continue reading →

Independence man accused of raping four-year-old child

Joseph Underwood

Tangipahoa deputies have arrested an Independence man accused of raping and molesting a 4-year-old. Joseph Underwood, 61, was taken into custody Wednesday after a parent of the victim contacted authorities, said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto. Underwood, an acquaintance of the child’s family, admitted in a polygraph interview to being sexually aroused by the child, according… Continue reading →

Settlement possible in Livingston road dispute

Livingston Parish appears once again on the verge of a possible settlement of a legal dispute with its former road engineering firm. The Parish Council called a special meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday to discuss in executive session a pair of lawsuits between the parish and Alvin Fairburn & Associates. The dispute began in 2012 after the… Continue reading →

Hammond garbage pick-up fees rise slightly

City residents will pay a slightly higher rate for solid waste and recyclables pickup under a new contract approved by the City Council on Tuesday. The council agreed unanimously to authorize Mayor Mayson Foster to enter into an agreement with Progressive Waste, of Independence, to serve as the city’s solid waste collection company… Continue reading →

Tangipahoa Parish School Board looks to desegregation plan

Tangipahoa Parish school officials agreed Tuesday to an action plan for complying with the parish’s desegregation orders for student assignment, infrastructure, long-term financing and teacher employment. The School Board did not discuss the plan publicly Tuesday night, after spending more than an hour in executive session hammering out the details, but… Continue reading →

Two set in runoff for Denham Springs council seat

Photos provided -- Denham Springs City Council elections will end in a Dec. 6 runoff between Republican Chris Davis, left, or party-unaffiliated Julie Dyason-Norris.

Denham Springs City Council elections will end in a Dec. 6 runoff between a challenger who owns a business in the city and an incumbent whose sole term has won him praise from the outgoing mayor but was marred by a drunken driving arrest. Four of the council’s five at-large seats were filled during November’s election.… Continue reading →

Library festival celebrates more than just books

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Books from Cavalier House Books are on display Saturday during the Livingston Parish Library's second annual Book Festival at the Livingston Parish Library.

Guests at the Main Branch of the Livingston Parish Library were greeted with a carnival atmosphere Saturday, a contradiction to the traditional quiet atmosphere. However, this wasn’t a typical Saturday. Livingston Parish residents attended the second annual Livingston Parish Library system Book Festival.… Continue reading →

Albany High School meets the press

Advocate staff photo by CHRISTINE MORGAN -- Staff writers at 'The Buzz,' first row from left, are editor Harley Bourgeois, Dana Hudson, Luke Callahan, Keri Disedare, Elizabeth Blackburn, Jacob Pettigrew, Haley Banks, Emily Anthony, Savannah Woodward, Margaret 'Neally' Kent and Tyler Updyke; and second row, Breanna Carver, Rebekah Graef, Tanner Frazier, Katrina Taylor, Dustin Spring, Joey Bates, Dakota Wild and Austin Tullier. Not pictured is Laytyn Addison.

Students at Albany High School believe they can improve communication among teachers, students and members of the community with a new school newspaper. Called “The Buzz,” the newspaper, which started last month, profiles students and teachers, details high school sports and features club news, said editor Harley Bourgeois, a student at the high… Continue reading →

Around Livingston for Nov. 20, 2014

Shady Bower Pentecostal Church, 13375 Galloway Gardens, Walker, invites senior citizens to a Thanksgiving luncheon at 11 a.m. Thursday. For information, call (225) 571-8793. Go Ministries will minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ with videos, skits, music and ministry at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. Sunday at Glory of God… Continue reading →

Livingston-Tangipahoa pets available for Nov. 20, 2014

Photo provided -- Priscilla is an adult female black Labrador mix.

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 denhamspringsanimalshelter. Pets also are available at Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control,… Continue reading →

French Settlement students tie hot rods to lessons

Photo provided by SHANEA BURNS -- Fifth-grade students at French Settlement Elementary School attend a car show as part of their curriculum. The students used the show to research topics, create an outline and draft a paper, school officials said.

Fifth-graders at French Settlement Elementary watched each classic car as they approached the Gerald Keller gymnasium parking lot during a car show Oct. 17. The students greeted car owners, examined their classic cars and admired the features of each car, a news release from the school said. National Street Rod Association state representative, Larry Teal, who brought… Continue reading →

University names Huss its Alumnus of the Year

Photo provided by RANDY BERGERON -- At the Alumni Awards Evening, Craig Huss, far right, retired vice president with the agricultural firm Archer Daniels Midland, was honored with the Alumnus of the Year Award. Also honored at the event as the Young Alumnus of the Year was James 'Jay' Prather III, of Ponchatoula, second from left, a 2005 graduate with a degree in biology. Congratulating them are President John L. Crain and Alumni Association Director Kathy Pittman.

Craig Huss, retired vice president with the agricultural firm Archer Daniels Midland, was honored with Southeastern Louisiana University’s Alumnus of the Year Award Oct. 17 during the university’s Homecoming Week, a news release from the university said. The Decatur, Illinois, native was recruited to attend Southeastern on a basketball scholarship, earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration… Continue reading →

Bolton joins Our Lady of the Lake clinic in Walker

Photo provided -- Dr. Jonell H. Bolton

Dr. Jonell H. Bolton has joined Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group’s Walker Clinic, 5000 O’Donovan Blvd., Suite 507. Bolton treats children of all ages and specializes in the evaluation and care of pediatric illnesses and minor injuries. She offers well-child visits, immunizations, preventive health care and school or sports physicals, a news release from Our… Continue reading →

Options participants help with garage sale

Photo provided by CHRISTIE GARDINER -- Gabrielle Miceli sets up items for a recent garage sale at First Christian Church in Hammond.

Options Enrichment Program participants dedicated their time to help First Christian Church set up for a garage sale Oct. 11 in Hammond. “I am happy to help the church organize, and we should all help each other,” Gabrielle Miceli said. Community involvement and volunteerism are founding principles of the Enrichment Program, Options officials said… Continue reading →

Volunteers needed to give children a voice

Child Advocacy Services in Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes and the Court Appointed Special Advocates program need volunteers to be the voice for children in the community who have been victims of abuse and neglect, a news release from CAS said. CASA is the only volunteer program that empowers everyday citizens as officers of the… Continue reading →

Live Oak High School celebrates homecoming with circus theme

“Welcome to the Big Top” was the theme Live Oak High School adopted for this year’s homecoming celebration Oct. 27-31. In honor of the school’s homecoming football game against Tara High School, Live Oak High School celebrated with many traditions and festivities, a news release from the school said. One of the school’s most-famed traditions is the… Continue reading →

Confederate training camp plans re-enactment event

Advocate photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA -- Reenactor Shawn 'Moose' Mefferd shows Zachary Onstatt, 2, the campsite's fire pit at the 2012 Camp Moore Historical Association's annual Civil War Living History Encampment and Reenactment in Tangipahoa.

The Camp Moore Historical Association will hold its annual Civil War Living History Encampment and Re-enactment Saturday and Sunday. Camp Moore was the largest Confederate training camp in Louisiana and the only one in the country still open to the public, a news release from Camp Moore said. Camp Moore features six acres of grounds, a… Continue reading →

Students drive to stop texting behind wheel

Photo provided by LAURA DUNLAP -- Cade Johnson, from left, Haley Johnson and Peyton Hubbard promote Celebrate My Drive campaign Oct. 21 at Seventh Ward Elementary's Fall Parent Night.

Denham Springs High School students Cade Johnson, Haley Johnson and Peyton Hubbard registered parents for the campaign sponsored by State Farm on Oct. 21. The campaign encourages teens to make positive choices as they start driving, a news release from the school said. Parents and teachers were asked to commit not to text while driving.… Continue reading →

Chamber of Commerce honors Foster

As Mayor Mayson Foster’s third term in Hammond’s highest office comes to a close, the Hammond Chamber of Commerce is celebrating him and his service during November’s general meeting starting at 11:30 a.m. Thursday on the third floor of the new Southeastern Student Union. Foster will speak at the meeting, discussing the many successes that have helped… Continue reading →

Livingston-Tangipahoa community photo gallery for Nov. 20, 2014

Photo provided by EMMA JAMES -- Livingston Parish Library hosts teddy bear picnic -- Head of Adult Services Sarah Colombo narrates a teddy bear-themed puppet show Oct. 20 during the Watson Branch of the Livingston Parish Library’s Teddy Bear Picnic. Children brought their favorite teddy bears to the event. They watched a puppet show, enjoyed snacks, sang songs and completed a craft.

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 Nov. 20-27, 2014

ARTS COUNCIL OF LIVINGSTON PARISH ART EXHIBIT AND SALE: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Art Gallery, 133 Hummell St., Denham Springs. The exhibit includes paintings, pottery, jewelry, blown glass, fiber art and books. Also Friday and Monday-Wednesday. THE WATSON LIBRARY TEEN: 5:30 p.m., Livingston Parish Library Watson Branch, 36581 Outback Road, Denham Springs. Anime Club… Continue reading →

Livingston-Tangipahoa Council on Aging for Nov. 20-27, 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.) Sausage link and pinto beans, steamed rice, mustard greens, carrifruit salad, cornbread, oatmeal cookie, milk.… Continue reading →

Three Hammond residents arrested in stabbing, wounding of 19-year-old man

Quebin Gutierrez

Tangipahoa sheriff’s deputies arrested three Hammond residents in the weekend stabbing of a 19-year-old. Deputies were called to Milton Road about 3 p.m. Sunday, where they found a crowd of people and a 19-year-old man with “a large stab wound to the face,” according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. Investigators believe the victim had gotten… Continue reading →

Tornado touches down in Livingston Parish; peels off roof, rips branches, fences

Advocate Photo by Steve Hardy  --  Sunday's storm ripped the roof off this home on Brown Road near Juban Parc Junior High School in Denham Springs.

Christopher Watson was in his home, watching TV with his family Sunday evening when he heard the wind swell, and within minutes, a tornado was prying at his roof. “We took off running,” he said. Watson, his wife and their children took cover inside, waiting for the… Continue reading →

Livingston council calls public hearing on proposed gravel pit rules

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- As the wind billows the fabric, Clegg's Nursery workers Kyle Cassano, left, and Nikki Krieg cover philodendrons in anticipation of below freezing temps on Siegen Lane.

The public will get to voice its opinion of a proposed set of gravel pit regulations for Livingston Parish at a Dec. 11 public hearing, the Parish Council decided. The regulations were put forward by Councilman Jim Norred, who proposed the plan after Southern Aggregates announced that it would start mining gravel near… Continue reading →

Despite opposition, Denham Springs council approves rezoning for apartment complex

For three hours Thursday night, Denham Springs leaders and residents heaped scorn on a rezoning request that would allow construction of a 272-unit apartment complex, but a divided City Council passed the ordinance with a 3-2 vote and with conditions. “We are definitely, violently against it,” Fire District 5 Chairman Jim… Continue reading →

Three booked in Nov. 7 armed robbery in Albany

Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested three men Tuesday accused of an armed robbery of the McDonald’s restaurant on La. 43 in Albany. Deputies arrested Kelly Stewart, 17, of Slidell; Christopher Smith, 20, of Slidell; and Trevor Smalls, 19, of Mobile, Alabama, in the Nov. 7 incident. Two of the men robbed the restaurant around 6… Continue reading →

Suspect in Tangipahoa car theft, flight from officers caught

Zachery Lepine

Tangipahoa deputies tracked down and arrested a man accused of wrecking a stolen car during a high-speed chase followed by a manhunt Thursday. Early Thursday morning, a white Audi was taken from a home in Hammond, the Sheriff’s Office reported. Deputies saw the vehicle “traveling at a high rate of speed” on Interstate 55 near… Continue reading →

Retooled gravel pit rules up for consideration Thursday in Livingston Parish

A set of gravel pit regulations the Livingston Parish Council will consider introducing Thursday night is a far cry from where the proposal began. The council’s ordinance committee completely retooled the ordinance Councilman Jim Norred proposed in September after learning that Southern Aggregates intends to locate a 238-acre mining operation next to his Watson subdivision.… Continue reading →

WWII soldier’s story finds its way home

Advocate staff photo by CHRISTINE MORGAN -- Geraldine Schexnayder accepts the last letter her father, Ivory Disotell, wrote home before he was killed in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

With tears in her eyes, Geraldine Schexnayder accepted a framed photograph of her father and his last letter home — treasures she never knew existed. “For 30 years, I kept waiting for him to come home,” Schexnayder said of her father, Ivory Disotell, a U.S. Army soldier who died in the… Continue reading →

Happiness at the Pine Tree Festival

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Bryleigh Sutton, 5, left, and her sister, Brynn Sutton, 3, enjoy a roller coaster ride on the Orient Express Saturday during Walker's Pine Tree Festival.

Walker celebrated at the Pine Tree Festival in Sydney Hutchinson Park on Nov. 7-9.… Continue reading →

Mayor-elect Landry ready to tackle new role

Gerard Landry

Gerard Landry needed every one of his votes to win a close race for the Denham Springs mayorship. With 3,447 ballots cast, only 111 votes separated Landry from his opponent, John Wascom. The eventual winner, with 52 percent of the vote, and his family waited into the night, checking returns on multiple devices and wondering how… Continue reading →

Around Livingston for Nov. 13, 2014

The Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce will partner again this year with American Express as a Neighborhood Champion for Small Business Saturday. Neighborhood Champions encourage small businesses to participate and inspire their communities to shop small in support of locally owned businesses. Small Business Saturday will be the Saturday after Thanksgiving,… Continue reading →

School districts receive donation of children’s books

Photo provided by the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana?s Children -- As part of an initiative to promote literacy and encourage reading among Louisiana?s children, the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana?s Children and Raising Cane?s Chicken Fingers donated the children?s book 'Corduroy' to kindergartners in every school district in Louisiana. Jindal and Raising Cane?s Founder and CEO Todd Graves partnered to donate more than 8,500 books to students across Louisiana.

As part of an initiative to promote literacy and encourage reading among Louisiana’s children, the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers donated the children’s book “Corduroy” to kindergartners in every school district in Louisiana, a news release from the Foundation said. Jindal and Raising Cane’s owner Todd Graves partnered to donate more… Continue reading →

Middle school students invited to STEM Expo

Middle school students in public, private and charter schools and those who are home-schooled in Louisiana can participate in the 2015 Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Expo, hosted by Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge on Feb. 28. The theme of the 2015 expo is “Homegrown STEM in Louisiana.” The expo, an… Continue reading →

Period costumes mark school’s literacy night

Photo provided by KIM DUDLEY -- Teachers at Walker Elementary School take a break from the activities during Literacy Night. They are, from left, Katie Laley, Kristin Sedlock, Wendy Hall and Maranda Juneau.

Walker Elementary School hosted Literacy Night with approximately 400 students and parents on Sept. 18. The theme for Literacy Night was “Reading Through the Decades.” Students dressed in period costumes based on their grade level and they participated in a book fair, book walk and literacy stations. Literacy stations included table tennis with idioms, comparing ’80’s… Continue reading →

School holds first Grandparents’ Day

Photo provided by DESHEA D. JOHNSON -- Savannah Johnson, left, and Eva Delatte create picture frames with their grandmother, Jo Johnson on Oct. 15 during the Hammond Eastside's first Grandparents' Day.

Hammond Eastside’s Parent and Teacher Organization hosted the first Grandparents’ Day on Oct. 15 at the school. More than 300 family members participated in the event, school officials said in a news release. The festivities included refreshments, crafts, family photos and a Scholastic Book Fair. Grandparents and students chose between taking a fall-themed or… Continue reading →

Students win awards for documentary

Photo provided by RANDY BERGERON -- The Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana Universitys educational access television channel, recently won an international Telly Award along with a Gold Remi Award from the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. The awards are for the documentary 'McCrea 1971: Louisianas Forgotten Rock Festival' produced by students Nick Brilleaux, of Hammond, and Scott Caro, of Mandeville. From left are Southeastern Channel general manager Rick Settoon, Brilleaux holding the Telly Award and Caro holding the Gold Remi Award.

A Southeastern Louisiana University student-produced documentary has won a pair of international television and film awards. “McCrea 1971: Louisiana’s Forgotten Rock Festival,” produced by students Nick Brilleaux, of Hammond, and Scott Caro, of Mandeville, won both a Telly Award and a Gold Remi Award at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival recently. The two are student workers with… Continue reading →

Wal-Mart helps teachers provide for classrooms

Photo provided by MELANIE JOHNSTON -- Walmart representatives delivered gift bags and cash cards to teachers at Independence Elementary School on Oct. 17. First row from left are Stephanie Amos, Jamie Greer, Karla Douglas, Todd Arceneaux, Bernadette Legoria, Nicole Coxen, Walmart representative Tina Milner, Stacey Hager, Gail Caves, Lisa Davis and Walmart representative Ed Allen; second row, Jamie Madron, Timothy Jackson, Veronica Dunomes, Judy Demarco, Linda Morel, Joette Price, Catherine Campbell, Denise Savoy, Candace Anthony, Becky Bader and Dwayne Watkins; third row, Kayte Wold, Stephanie Smith, Kathy Candiotto, Megan Clement and June Willis.

Teachers at Independence Elementary School received a surprise visit by representatives from Wal-Mart’s distribution center on Oct. 17. Tina Milder and Ed Allen delivered gift bags and cake to teachers at Independence Elementary, and 20 teachers were selected to receive a $50 Wal-Mart gift card along with their gift bags, a news release from the school said.… Continue reading →

Speaker encourages Montessori students

Photo provided by LINDA FALLER JOINER -- At the All Pro Dads' Breakfast at Hammond Westside Elementary Montessori School on Oct. 15, first row from left, are Omari Alexander, Isabella Cavalier, Kiersten Bordelon, Tripp Cavalier, Neariah Garnette and Tristin Gill; second row, Tyshaun Leonard, Blythe King, Kaliegha Lee, Layla Williams and Darrius Vaughn.

Hammond Westside Elementary Montessori School held its second All Pro Dads’ Breakfast of the school year on Oct. 15. The speaker was Shaughnessy Haynes Sr. He talked to the students about working hard to accomplish their goals and be successful in school and in life, school officials said in a news release. He told students to… Continue reading →