Ascension’s midyear sales tax collections soar amid growth

Photo provided by CF Industries -- A new urea plant takes shape earlier this month as part of the $2.1 billion expansion of the CF Industries' nitrogen complex near Donaldsonville. The 100-acre construction site off La. 70, which Friday had no fewer than 30 cranes towering over it, is one of several major industrial projects fueling a surge in sales tax collections in Ascension Parish. The new urea plant, one of three major facilities planned in the expansion, will be able to produce about 1.3 million tons of urea once completed in the second half of 2015. The entire expansion is expected to be finished in mid-2016.

Beneath a forest of cranes set against the backdrop of an already sprawling chemical plant, more than 2,000 construction workers are building a $2.1 billion expansion of CF Industries’ nitrogen complex on the west bank of Ascension Parish. Not expected to be finished until mid-2016, the 100-acre addition to the nation’s largest nitrogen … Continue reading →

Maurepas man dies in crash on La. 22

Photo provided by St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department -- Ascension Parish authorities investigate the scene of a single-vehicle crash on La. 22 that claimed the life of 37-year-old Robert G. Falcon Jr. of Maurepas on Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.

A Maurepas man was killed early Monday in a single-vehicle crash on La. 22 in Ascension Parish, State Police reported. Robert G. Falcon Jr., 37, was driving a 2003 GMC Yukon eastbound on La. 22 shortly before 3:15 a.m., police said. As Falcon approached a right-hand curve, his vehicle ran off the … Continue reading →

Ascension Parish deputies seek suspect in vehicle burglaries

Steven Vasquez

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office is seeking a man in the burglaries of seven unlocked vehicles during the early morning hours of Aug. 19 in the Quail Creek Subdivision in Prairieville, according to Maj. Kevin Hanna. Steven Vasquez, 33, who was identified in surveillance videos, is facing counts of trespassing, simple … Continue reading →

Work begins on Ascension Parish government complex

Advocate staff photo by David J. Mitchell -- An excavator digs up part of the site of the future Ascension Parish government complex on East Worthey Road in Gonzales Wednesday to prepare for laying the new building's foundation. Construction began Aug. 7. Parish government officials and other dignitaries marked the start of work Wednesday on the nearly $6.5 million building. Parish government officials say the complex will allow spread-out parish offices to be brought under one roof and allow the parish government to stop leasing space for the District Attorney's Office and to store parish records.

Contractor SBS Construction recently started building a nearly $6.5 million Ascension Parish government complex, and work is expected to take a year, parish officials said Wednesday. Parish officials have pitched the new 33,500-square foot, modern-styled building as a long-needed consolidation of the now spread-out parish offices, improving parish worker efficiency … Continue reading →

Local artist inspired by Hank Williams

Advocate photo by Von de Leigh Hatcher --Gaynell Moore with painting based off the wooden Indian 'Kaw-Liga', which is the title of a Hank Williams song.

Growing up in St. Amant, Gaynell Bourgeois Moore never thought that her career as a self-taught artist and musician would enable her to travel the world and sing among the superstars of country music. Moore is a modern, local renaissance woman, whose artistic interests have led to careers as a musician, singer, painter, and writer. Since … Continue reading →

Fire department hosts open house

Advocate staff photo by Darlene Denstorff -- Galvez-Lake opens fire department doors -- Galvez-Lake Volunteer Fire Department's Open House  Saturday with demonstrations, games, free food and information on services. Department Deputy Chief Bo James, center kneeling, explains a demonstration by the Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office as a group of children look on.

The doors to the Galvez-Lake Volunteer Fire Department were wide open Saturday as the department hosted an open house with demonstrations, games, free food and information on services. The daylong event featured demonstrations from the Fire Department, Acadian Ambulance, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office and other agencies. … Continue reading →

Around Ascension for Aug. 28, 2014

All Ascension Parish governmental offices and departments will be closed Monday in observance of Labor Day. All parish government offices will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Answering the Call, a Donaldsonville citizen’s group, is hosting a community brainstorming session at 6 p.m. Tuesday at city hall in Donaldsonville. … Continue reading →

2014-15 youth council ushered in

Photo provided by Aaron E. Looney -- New members of the Donaldsonville 2014-15 Mayor's Youth Advisory Council were officially sworn into office during Tuesday's City Council meeting. Councilman Charles Brown Sr., an ordained minister, holds the Bible used for the ceremony.

Sales taxes net $6.3M for school system

Revenues from sales tax collections continue coming in at a healthy pace for the Ascension Parish school system, with $6.3 million generated for the school district in July, Diane Allison, director of business services for the district, told board members Tuesday. The figure was $1.2 million more than budgeted, Allison said. … Continue reading →

River Region Art Association releases fall art classes lineup

Photo provided by River Region Art Association -- Mary Crochet, local folk artist, demonstrates her painting techniques at a River Region Art Association meeting. She and other artists will teach art classes starting Sept. 15.

The fall lineup of art classes offered by River Region Art Association begins Sept. 15. In addition to a variety of drawing and painting classes, photography, jewelry-making and three classes for youths will be offered. The River Region community art classes are held in six-week sessions that are offered four times a year. Classes are held … Continue reading →

Ascension Parish pets available for Aug. 28, 2014

This 6-month-old male beagle mix.

The Ascension Parish Animal Shelter, 9894 Airline Highway in Sorrento, is open from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for viewings and pet adoptions. Animals can be adopted for $50. Animals can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Fridays. For information, call (225) 675-6557. Available … Continue reading →

Ascension Chamber announces leadership class

Photo provided by Liz Laurent-- Members of the 2014-2015 Ascension Chamber of Commerce Leadership Ascension class include, first row from left, Jane Rabalais, Jenny Heroman, Aleaha Morgan, Michelle White, Tevora Tabor and Olivia Simpson; and second row, James Flanagan, Jo Broadway, Justin Champlin, Ethan Babin, Brant Mayer, Garrett Ganucheau, Jaime Malveaux, Shannon Sing, Khalli Hagan, Lorie Bercegeay, Craig Beaman, Joey Mayeaux and Jason Bonaventure.

The Ascension Chamber of Commerce announced its 20th Leadership Ascension Class Aug. 19 at a reception held at Parc 73 in Prairieville. The class, one of the program’s largest, has 38 members. Leadership Ascension, like similar programs nationwide, is designed to develop responsible and informed community leaders, a news release from the chamber said. Recognized … Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Police Bookings for Aug. 14-21, 2014

The following people were booked into the Ascension Parish Prison from Aug. 14-21. AULTMAN, ALFRED D.: 49, 11209 Roddy Road 22, Gonzales, fugitive from another jurisdiction, simple burglary. BALLARD, DARREN: 55, 6229 I-49 South Service Road, Opelousas, failure to appear in court, theft of goods under $500. EALEM, JEREMY JOHN: 27, 315 … Continue reading →

Ascension Civil Court for Aug. 11-15, 2014

Court cases filed in Ascension Parish between Aug. 11-15. Donyale Day, structured settlement. Santander Consumer USA Inc v. Jerry W. Millet, executory process. Lisa Hood Mucker v. Kim dba Truong Nails Anns and Allstate Insurance Co., damages. Alvin Turner Jr. and Cherlynn P. Turner v. City of Gonzales, Barney … Continue reading →

Teachers receive grants for innovation

Contact: Jennifer deFrancesThe Ascension Fund225.290.332214320 InfiniEdge WayPrairieville, LA 70769www.ascensionfund.comjdefrances@ascensionfund.comFor Immediate Release: Aug. 20, 2014Ascension Fund awards $46,000 in grants to educators for the 2014-15 School Year From left:  Gonzales Primary Assistant Principal Roddy Melancon, Gonzales Primary Principal Jaimee Williams, Grant Recipient Casi Grady, Grant Recipient Crystal Kleinpeter, Ascension Fund Secretary Lisa Dunigan, Ascension Fund President Donald Songy and Ascension Fund Board Member Sherrie Despino.

Teachers at 13 Ascension Parish schools received Ascension Fund grants to support innovative and creative methods of learning for students, an agency official said. The nonprofit organization awarded $46,000 in grant funding in its latest round of competitive grants. A total of 36 grants were awarded this year including 8 School Impact Grants for $2,500 each … Continue reading →

Church celebrates 50 years of service

Galvez Baptist Church parishioners celebrated the church’s 50th anniversary Aug. 17 with music, fellowship and sermons. The church organized on Aug. 12, 1964 with the Rev. J.F. Hartner as its pastor. The first services were held at the home of Alyne Nickens in Galvez until a church could be built. It took church members and others … Continue reading →

St. Amant High gets exchange students

Photo provided by Kimberly Stein -- Laurane Spaens, left, and Carolina Carbajal Ascenico are attending St. Amant High School as part of the International Student Exchange program.

Two St. Amant High School students are learning about more than history, math and English. Carolina Carbajal Ascenico, of Mexico, and Belgium native Laurane Spaens are attending the school as part of an international student exchange program. Ascencio, 17, arrived in July and was welcomed by host parents Tim and Danna McCormick. Spaens, 18, is … Continue reading →

Youth football group to hold jamborees

The Southern Louisiana Youth Football Association kicks off its season Saturday with jamborees in Live Oak and Denham Springs. In addition to games Saturday and Sunday for players in four age groups, cheerleaders will compete at noon Saturday in Denham Springs. Ascension Parish teams start play at 11 a.m. Saturday when Prairieville and St. Amant C … Continue reading →

Ascension Parish calendar for Aug. 28- Sept. 4 2014

A GUIDE TO WRITING RESUMES: 6 p.m., Ascension Parish Library Gonzales, 708 S. Irma Blvd., Gonzales. (225) 647-3955. LOSS AND GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP: 6 p.m., St. Elizabeth Hospital, Sister Vernola conference room, 1125 W. La. 30, Gonzales. Meetings are open to anyone experiencing a loss. Registration is preferred. Call (225) 621-2906. … Continue reading →

Jamboree action comes to Ascension Parish

Louisiana River Parish Youth Football teams hit the field Saturday and Sunday for jamboree action. Donaldsonville played Zachary in four games, winning the B team clash, 12-8. Zachary won the A team game, 24-6; C team, 14-6 and D team, 16-8. The Ascension Bulldogs beat the White Castle teams in the C and D team … Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Qualifying for Office

The following candidates in Ascension Parish qualified for constable and justice of the peace races on the Nov. 4 ballot, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website. The runoff election, if needed, is Dec. 6. Qualifying ended Friday. D = Democrat R = Republican L = Libertarian O = Other party N … Continue reading →

Police to do emergency exercises at schools

The Ascension Parish School Board, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and Gonzales Police Department will conduct simulated emergency exercises in the schools at various times during the school year, beginning the week of Sept. 1, School Board officials announced. The exercises, which will practice lock-down drills, will not involve actors or props, according to a news release from … Continue reading →

Ascension Council on Aging for Aug. 28 - Sept. 4, 2014

Hamburger, baked beans and cardinal citrus mold. PILATES: 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Gonzales Senior Center. PIYO: 9 a.m., Donaldsonville Senior Center. BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKS: 10 a.m., Donaldsonville. CAJUN NEEDLERS: 12:30 p.m., Gonzales. Smothered chicken, Normandy-blend vegetables, seasoned potatoes, bread and applesauce. ZUMBA GOLD: … Continue reading →

Gonzales police accuse two in fuel theft scheme

Joe Rodriguez

City police officers arrested a U.S. Environmental Services supervisor and a Gonzales man in a kickback scheme that rang up nearly $1,500 in unauthorized fuel purchases on a company fuel card. The scheme, which happened once a week over four weeks in July, also earned the U.S. Environmental Services supervisor, Joseph Rodriguez, … Continue reading →

State Police search for vehicle in hit and run

State troopers are looking for a silver vehicle with a missing driver’s-side mirror that was involved in a nighttime hit-and-run crash on La. 429 in Ascension Parish about a week ago. Trooper Jared Sandifer, spokesman for State Police Troop A, said Monday that the westbound vehicle, possibly a passenger car, crossed La. … Continue reading →

Ascension council agrees to new tax plan with Donaldsonville

St. James may form committee to address flooding, drainage

Great-grandmother, 71, enters race for Sorrento police chief

Advocate staff photo by David J. Mitchell --- Fern Barnett, a 71-year-old great-grandmother and retired assistant town clerk, qualified Wednesday for the Nov. 4 special election to fill the remaining term of convicted former Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. as Barnett already had campaign signs in her front yard. Barnett is resisting a push from town officials who are also asking voters Nov. 4 to abolish the Police Department and the elected position of chief of police. Barnett wants to retain the department and office.

Fern Barnett, a 71-year-old great-grandmother, is running to be the next chief of police Nov. 4, and in doing so, has likely prevented the quick end to the Police Department that town officials have been building momentum toward for more than a year. Barnett, who recently retired as assistant town and Police Department … Continue reading →