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Around the Westside for May 25

The application process for New Roads’ 2016 summer employment programs for local youth and senior citizens starts Friday and will last until June 3. Both programs provide senior citizens and youth an opportunity to earn extra cash if they qualify for temporary employment with the city, Mayor Robert Myer said in a news release. The… Continue reading →

WBR school officials consider teachers’ pay increases, new schools as key to becoming A-rated district

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Superintendent Wesley Watts addresses teachers at West Baton Rouge Parish School's annual kick-off conference Thursday, August 7, 2014, at the West Baton Rouge Convention & Vistors' Bureau.

Officials with the West Baton Rouge Parish school system are looking toward the future — about 34 years to be exact — and mulling over increasing teacher pay and making building improvements that possibly could mean one or two new schools by 2050. “We do have some schools that are overcrowded — especially on the… Continue reading →

Report: 'Carelessness' led to Addis reserve police officer accidentally killing wife; listen to frantic 911 call

Advocate staff photo TERRY JONES -- Scene of shooting.

The Addis reserve police officer who shot and killed his wife while cleaning his handgun took apart the weapon in a manner not recommended by experts or outlined in the owner’s manual, according to a State Police report. State Police investigator William Cox wrote that Ivy Thibodeaux didn’t follow guidelines that advise a user to ensure… Continue reading →

Attorney: Reserve officer who accidentally shot, killed wife says he’s sorry; wife was ‘love of his life’

Emily Gassie-Thibodeaux

The Addis reserve police officer who fatally shot his 23-year-old wife offered his apologies and deepest sympathy to her family Thursday, a day after a West Baton Rouge Parish grand jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant criminal charges against the man. Baton Rouge attorney David Rozas, who represents Ivy Thibodeaux… Continue reading →

Carencro man, 31, drowns after boating accident at Whiskey Bay launch

A 31-year-old man drowned Thursday following a single-vehicle boating accident he was involved in with his father, authorities said. Adam Einck, a spokesman with the Department of Wildlife of Fisheries, identified the victim as Justin Viator, of Carencro. Viator and his father were doing repairs to their boat when they crashed into one… Continue reading →

Ex-Iberville teacher of the year sentenced to 2 years for sex with students, one of whom bore child

Keavin Keith

A former Iberville Parish teacher who had sexual relationships with three of his teenage students admitted to moving on to the second victim after the first became pregnant and then on to a third girl after falling in love with her, a judge noted Wednesday in sentencing him to two years in prison.… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee moving toward November vote on home rule charter

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury took a key step on Tuesday toward getting a proposal on the November ballot that would revamp the parish’s current government structure. The Police Jury voted unanimously Tuesday to give the attorney working with the parish’s Home Rule Charter Commission the… Continue reading →

After much controversy and debate, see Iberville School Board's new social media policy

Icons for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are displayed on a window, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) ORG XMIT: OTKNYML304

The Iberville Parish School Board’s nearly two-month debate over board members’ online behavior came to an end Monday night when the board approved new guidelines regulating its use of social media. The new policy, approved in an 8-1 vote, was adopted after the board unanimously killed a motion to… Continue reading →

'It's a puzzle': Georgetown University comes to grips with sale of slaves to Louisiana plantations

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Juan Barrazca trims between the markers in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church cemetery in Maringouin. Some Maringouin African-American members are possibly descendants of the slave sell by Georgetown University in 1838. Story is on the efforts of officials at Georgetown University who are trying to track down the descendants of the 272 slaves that were sold by Jesuit priests in 1838 in order to save the then financially struggling university and church. Officials are part of the movement trying to find these individuals and believe a good number of them could still be living in the Maringouin area. A lot of the town's catholic African-Americans attend Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. One descendant is Maxine Crump who is a Maringouin native and her direct ancestor, who was sold in the slave sell, is buried in the church's cemetery, bottom foreground. The broken off grave marker is leaning in the background, center.

Driving back to her hometown of Maringouin to visit a relative in February, Maxine Crump picked up her cell phone to answer a call. In that moment, her understanding of her family history changed forever. The stranger on the other end had a question: Did the name Cornelius Hawkins mean… Continue reading →

POST certification would be lost if an officer gets convicted of malfeasance in office, proposed law says

Law enforcement officers convicted of malfeasance in office would immediately lose their state-mandated training certification under a proposed law up for a final vote in the House of Representatives. The bill, authored by state Sen. Rick Ward III, D-Port Allen, already has been unanimously approved by the Senate and sailed through the House’s Administration… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee jail guard arrested for malfeasance after internal investigations led to five guards being terminated or resigning

Darnell VanBuren

The Pointe Coupee Parish Detention Center on Monday became the latest correctional facility to be rocked by controversy when two guards were fired and three others resigned after allegations surfaced about inappropriate dealings with inmates. The employees were accused of smuggling drugs and cellphones into the facility for inmates, Sheriff Bud… Continue reading →

Woman’s husband arrested after her strangled body found in Whiskey Bay, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s office says

Jonathan Christopher Allee

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said Friday that an investigation has determined the 29-year-old woman whose naked body was found in Whiskey Bay was in a “volatile relationship” with an abusive husband who detectives believe killed her before tossing her body off the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. Stassi did not know Friday how long Jonathan… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for April 27

An exhibition titled “Huey Long and the Noble Experiment: Prohibition in Louisiana” is set to open at the West Baton Rouge Museum on May 7. The exhibit, which will run through Sept. 4, will complement the National Endowment for the Humanities On the Road exhibit “Spirited: Prohibition in America,” which also will be on display… Continue reading →

Prosecutor won't pursue accusations against West Baton Rouge councilwoman: ‘It’s dead on arrival’

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- WBRP councilwoman Charlene Gordon talks about proposed Veterans Day observances at Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee's breakfast meeting with city ministers to discuss their vision for the city. Lee is trying to fulfill his campaign promise of bringing the community together. This marks his six month benchmark as mayor.

An assistant district attorney for the 18th Judicial District said Monday his office has no intentions of moving forward with a case against West Baton Rouge Parish Councilwoman Charlene Gordon over allegations she used social media to threaten and intimidate her grandchild’s school bus driver. “It’s dead on arrival.… Continue reading →

Woman found in Whiskey Bay was strangled; deputies search for leads, Iberville sheriff says

Elizabeth Ann Ferrell

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said Monday he’s sending two deputies to Humble, Texas, in hopes of uncovering who killed a 29-year-old woman and dumped her body into Whiskey Bay. DNA testing and fingerprint analysis positively identified the woman, who’s body was found Saturday by a fisherman, as Elizabeth Ann Ferrell. Her last known address… Continue reading →

West Baton Rouge Councilwoman arrested after allegedly threatening grandchild’s bus driver

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- West Baton Rouge Parish Councilwoman Charlene Gordon talks about proposed Veterans Day observances at Port Allen Mayor breakfast meeting in 2014.

A West Baton Rouge Parish councilwoman was arrested Wednesday on a count of public intimidation and retaliation over accusations she used social media to threaten her grandchild’s bus driver. Councilwoman Charlene Gordon on Thursday downplayed the incident with the bus driver, which was described in an affidavit… Continue reading →

Sheriff: Remains found on St. Gabriel levee bank those of Grosse Tete woman who jumped off bridge

Marlena David Kauffman

The human remains discovered along the levee bank in St. Gabriel last week were those of a 38-year-old woman who jumped off the Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge in February, Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi reported Thursday morning. Stassi said LSU Faces Lab confirmed that the woman was Marlena David Kauffman, of Grosse Tete.… Continue reading →

Elayne Hunt officer in training accused of smuggling alcohol, cell phones and tobacco into prison

Jessica Dedon

A woman training to be a correctional officer at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center was arrested this week on allegations she smuggled alcohol, cellphones and tobacco into the prison, authorities reported Tuesday. Assistant Warden Stephanie Michel said officers with the St. Gabriel Police Department arrested Jessica Dedon, 29, of Denham… Continue reading →

Free speech limits tested when Louisiana public agencies restrict employees' social media

Icons for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are displayed on a window, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) ORG XMIT: OTKNYML304

Rapides Parish teacher Deborah Vailes was called into the office and reprimanded by the principal on the day she posted sharply critical remarks on her personal Facebook page about Louisiana’s Common Core curriculum. Vailes didn’t mince words. Under a photo that had been floating around the Internet of a visibly upset little girl struggling with the… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee Police Jury gives ultimatum to Progressive Waste Solutions: Shape up or ship out

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury decided Tuesday to put the company that handles residential trash pickup parishwide on notice: If service doesn’t improve soon, the parish will start levying fines or terminate its contract. The police jury’s threat was fueled by more than 50 complaints the parish has received the… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for April 13, 2016

West Baton Rouge Parish is spearheading a community clean up initiative parishwide on Saturday as part of the The Great American Clean Up and is seeking volunteers to help. The Great American Clean Up is the time of year Keep West Baton Rouge Beautiful uses to focus on bringing the community together to work beautify the parish.… Continue reading →

West Baton Rouge voters approve health unit tax renewal

West Baton Rouge Parish voters agreed to renew a 1.75-mill property tax Saturday that provides a portion of the funding for the parish’s health center. The property tax, which has been in place since 1956, will generate approximately $633,924 annually from 2017 to 2026, said Phillip Bourgoyne, the parish’s finance director. The property tax provides… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee voters defeat property tax for school teacher raises

Pointe Coupee Parish voters Saturday defeated a property tax proposal that would have provided public school teachers with $5,000 raises. The School Board’s 10-mill tax proposal would have generated an additional $4.5 million annually. The Secretary of State’s office reported that unofficial turnout was about 26 percent. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposal, with… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for April 6, 2016

New Roads will begin implementing its comprehensive master plan this month with consultant-led training sessions to inform community leaders of approved changes to the city’s land-use regulations and zoning map. Consultants with Mougeot Architecture and Aillavaso and Associates will conduct the training sessions for the city’s staff, City Council members, planning and commission members and other… Continue reading →

Hot topic: Iberville School Board debating proposal to control board members’ social media posts

It remains unclear whether the Iberville Parish School Board will include board members under the school system’s social media policy, which regulates how school district employees can use websites like Facebook. What did become clear Monday night was that the board members who feel targeted by the effort have very little intention… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for March 30

The West Baton Rouge Parish Museum opens its newest exhibit Saturday titled “Angela Gregory: From Paris to Port Allen,” which will be on display until June 12. The exhibit features the sculpture and other art of Angela Gregory, a New Orleans native and 1925 graduate of Newcomb College. Gregory studied art in Paris before returning… Continue reading →

Eagle - yes; orange and purple - wait a minute! Pointe Coupee School Board holds off, for now, on school colors for new STEM academy

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board spent the tail end of its regular meeting Thursday discussing setting the character of its new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy through school uniforms and mascots. The board decided to table a vote on picking uniform colors for the new program, which… Continue reading →