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Louisiana Supreme Court suspends two district court judges for misconduct, one for a year

Judge James Best, left, and Judge J. Robin Free

The 18th Judicial District Court will likely lose two of its judges — who together have spent more than 40 years on the bench — following rulings handed down Wednesday from the Louisiana Supreme Court over their misconduct. The state’s highest court has ordered Judge J. Robin Free be removed from the bench for one year… Continue reading →

Cattle rustlers make off with 18 head of Brangus heifers from Iberville farmer

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Rancher Tim Andre, right, closes a gate as the last of his 18 stolen Brangus heifers runs off a trailer to a pen on his  Rosedale-area ranch, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Lopinto Farms employee Mike Hayden, who drove animals back from the Amite Stockyard, where they were kept after recovery, is at left, and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry  Commissioner Mike Strain is at center. Taken last late Sunday night or early Monday morning, along with a trailer from his neighbor's property, the cattle were returned after investigators say the cattle were found along I-12 eastbound near Hammond, after the 'older trailer was abandoned, after having an axle problem and two flat tires. Sorting out who the cattle belonged to took a little while, because the cattle were not branded, and there was a mistake with records of the trailer's registration number. 'We encourage all livestock owners to properly identify their animals with official ear tags or brands,' said Strain, who said that proper identification of farm equipment also helps, and added the option of micro-chipping animals, for identification. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call the LDAF hotline at 855-452-5323 or Iberville Parish SheriffÕs Office; a reward up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime, through the LDAF Livestock Crime Stoppers Program. 'Thank God, and were glad to have them back,' said Andre of the well-over $30,000 worth of cattle, which will go to sale shortly.

A trailer load of cattle found Monday along Interstate 12 heading east near Hammond were stolen from an Iberville Parish cattleman, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry. Authorities also say the trailer carrying the cattle had been stolen from another Iberville Parish farmer; the trailer was abandoned on I-12 after having an axle… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for June 29

Plenty of family activities are on hand for Plaquemine’s 16th annual July 4th Hometown Celebration. The free celebration will be held at the Mark “Tony” Gulotta Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park with a host of activities kicking off at 3 p.m. Activities at the Waterfront Park will start with live music from Box of Crackers with children’s… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office defends hiring of East Baton Rouge prison security worker fired for soliciting sex

The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday defended its decision to hire a man who was fired a year ago by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office following his arrest on soliciting a woman for prostitution. Capt. Steve Juge said the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office was aware of Jordan Zachary’s arrest… Continue reading →

West Baton Rouge trusty sneaks out for marijuana run, leaves handmade dummy that fooled deputy

Photp provided by West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office -- A West Baton Rouge Parish Prison inmate used this "dummy" to fool correction officer as he escaped.

Another deputy assigned to the West Baton Rouge Parish work-release facility has been suspended without pay, this time after an escape by a 37-year-old trusty Saturday night went unnoticed for a short time because the deputy didn’t perform a proper head count. The armed-robbery convict was caught as he re-entered the… Continue reading →

Louisiana families dig into their history, find they are descendants of slaves sold by Georgetown University

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --A vintage photo Rachel Scott-Hicks with her two sons Beverly Hicks, right, and Nace Hicks, Sr., left.

Growing up in tiny Maringouin, Jessica Tilson often heard that everyone in town was somehow related. The 34-year-old Southern University student brushed off the statements as just a colloquial expression for the kinship residents living in the quaint Iberville Parish town felt toward one another. However, Tilson recently learned more than… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee Police Jury sending home rule charter proposal to voters, despite some misgivings

Pointe Coupee Parish voters in November will have the opportunity to reshape parish government should they approve a home rule charter. But the game-changing proposition is drawing mixed reviews from members of the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury, which this week accepted the final draft of the charter and called for the special election on… Continue reading →

Contract with interim Iberville schools superintendent precludes her from applying for permanent post

Advocate  Staff Photo by  Mark Saltz   August 4, 2009  Trax # 00018156a Super Search Linda D'Amico mugshot as the Pointe Coupee School Board interviews five finalist for the Superintendent job on August 4, 2009.

The Iberville Parish School Board made its appointment of an interim schools superintendent official Monday by approving an employment contract with Linda D’Amico, a retired superintendent from a neighboring parish. The board named D’Amico as interim during the June 8 meeting after accepting the resignation of its superintendent,… Continue reading →

Iberville School Board taps retired Pointe Coupee superintendent Linda D’Amico as its interim school leader

Advocate staff file photo by  Mark Saltz  -- Linda D'Amico, in Aug. 4, 2009.

The Iberville Parish School Board on Wednesday appointed former Pointe Coupee Parish schools Superintendent Linda D’Amico to serve as its interim superintendent while the board searches for a new leader for the school district. The board’s unanimous decision came after it accepted the resignation of its current superintendent, Ed Cancienne, who is… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for June 8, 2016

Plaquemine’s Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing at its June 14 regular meeting to consider “rolling forward” a property tax millage used to pay for local government services, a move that would generate a small additional amount of revenue for the city.… Continue reading →

Two Baton Rouge siblings on way to funeral in White Castle die after train slams into their SUV

Two people were killed Thursday afternoon when a truck was hit by a train at a railroad crossing just north of White Castle. (Photo from Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office)

Investigators with the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office are hoping footage captured by the cameras installed at the front of the train that crashed into an SUV on Thursday, killing a pair of Baton Rouge siblings, will show why their vehicle had stopped on the railroad track. “At this point, we’re really… Continue reading →

Iberville School Board to hire an interim superintendent while it searches for a permanent replacement

After learning schools Superintendent Ed Cancienne is in contract negotiations to take over as the head of another school district, the Iberville Parish School Board decided to find an interim replacement to lead the district, at least until school starts, as the board tries to select a new leader. The board… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for June 1

Library celebrates renovations, new exhibits The West Baton Rouge Parish Library is inviting the public to an open house celebrating the renovation of its young adult and children’s departments, along with the installation of “The Language of Light and Color,” an exhibit of paintings by Janeece Caradine Font. The open house is scheduled 3 p.m.… Continue reading →

Louisiana transportation officials looking at fixes to daily traffic snarls in West Baton Rouge Parish

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Drivers on northbound LA 1 wait to merge onto the Highway 190 bridge to head into East Baton Rouge Parish, Thursday, May 26, 2016, in Port Allen, La.

State transportation officials are considering a number of fixes to the daily chaos of traffic snarls besetting West Baton Rouge Parish motorists, short of building an expensive new bridge across the Mississippi River. The ideas range from a dedicated traffic lane on U.S. 190 and closing the Interstate 10 Washington Street… Continue reading →

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 of the church are possibly descendants of the slave sale by Georgetown University in 1838.

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 →