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‘You call me a liar again, you’re going to hear from my lawyer’ — sparks fly at Pointe Coupee Police Jury

A Pointe Coupee Parish developer and a police juror exchanged heated words Tuesday night as the Police Jury was forced to renege on a variance the developer was hoping to secure for a subdivision he has under construction. Luke Grezaffi on Tuesday threatened to sue Juror Justin Cox if the police… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Aug. 26, 2015

Plans already are coming together for Port Allen’s annual “Veterans on Parade,” one of the city’s largest and most popular events, to take place downtown Nov. 8. The city is asking businesses, organizations, families and friends of veterans to participate in this year’s event by entering a float or vehicle in the parade. There is… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee School Board starts process of turning Central High into STEM campus by 2016

Advocate staff photo by TERRY JONES -- A federal court judge recently approved a motion from the state's Recovery School District that will shut down Pointe Coupee Central High in Morganza forcing more than 180 students to attend Livonia High in the fall. The judge's decision has angered some community members who feel Central is the better option as the parish's lone high school because of its size and location.

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board has agreed to pay $1.2 million in renovations to transform Central High School’s campus into the district’s new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy by fall 2016. During a special meeting last week, the board hired Baton Rouge firm Mougeot Architecture to handle a laundry list of repairs at the… Continue reading →

Military-grade chemical detection system to help Pointe Coupee deal with possible disasters, chemical releases

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Steve Mooney, left, with Bruker Detection and George Lane, right, with Emergency Response Technology, explain how fixed and mobile sensing equipment will provide the Regional Fence Line Monitoring (RFLM) Standoff Detection and Chemical Security Network that will provide comprehensive protection against chemical threats and risks in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Pointe Coupee Parish is arming itself with military-grade technology that will give its local emergency response teams the ability to detect hazardous chemical threats even before many state agencies. That protection is being made possible through the installation of a $300,000 chemical security network being integrated into the parish’s recently upgraded 911… Continue reading →

Expect lane closures on Interstate 10 in West Baton Rouge during road repairs beginning Friday

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will begin repairs Friday on Interstate 10, between La. 415 in Port Allen and the Iberville Parish line, which will mean overnight lane closures until the work is completed. Crews will be replacing asphalt mainly on the outside eastbound and westbound lanes of the affected area, DOTD said in… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Aug. 19, 2015

The Plaquemine Board of Selectmen is the latest governmental entity on the west side of the Mississippi River to adopt a resolution urging state leaders to take swift action to address traffic issues plaguing La. 1 and the Mississippi River bridge. The board on Aug. 11 unanimously adopted the same resolution nearly every legislative body in… Continue reading →

Plaquemine High teen arrested, accused of bringing loaded gun to school

A 16-year-old Plaquemine High student was released to his parent’s custody Monday morning after his arrest Friday for bringing a loaded gun to school and threatening to use it on another student. Maj. Ronnie Hebert, of the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, said one of the department’s school resource officers found a .22-caliber… Continue reading →

Lottie man dies after head-on crash with Acadian Ambulance on LA 411 in Pointe Coupee Parish

A 61-year-old Lottie man died Friday after a head-on collision with an Acadian Ambulance on La. 411 in Pointe Coupee Parish, according to State Police. An initial investigation indicates Brett Bergeron was traveling southbound on La. 411 in a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado about 7 p.m. when his pickup truck, for unknown reasons, crossed the center line… Continue reading →

Port Allen voter fraud probe finds ‘irregularities’ but evidence lacking for criminal charges

The West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it lacks evidence that would support bringing criminal charges against anyone for alleged voter fraud during the city’s 2014 special mayoral race. But Col. Richie Johnson said “irregularities” were verified in a grand jury investigation of the claims, and he’s keeping… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee Police Jury adopts recommendations on Home Rule Charter Commission

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury on Tuesday adopted recommendations outlining how its proposed Home Rule Charter Commission will be populated, funded and function as the parish strives to shift to a parish president/parish council form of government. The set of recommendations came from the jury’s five-member Selection Criteria… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Aug. 12, 2015

Plaquemine police officers are now required to wear body cameras while on duty in an effort to improve community relations between the police department and the public. “Body cameras just make sense; they are a great, practical and reliable tool for strengthening police-public relations,” Interim Police Chief Kenny Payne said in a news release. “My… Continue reading →

Iberville School Board approves School Choice Policy — students can transfer from low-performing schools

The Iberville Parish School Board on Monday night approved the district’s school choice policy, which sets the standards by which students enrolled in Iberville schools with poor academic performance can transfer to better schools within the parish. The board’s 8-1 vote comes a year after the state Legislature adopted Act 853, which… Continue reading →

Port Allen has 'no sense of place,' and leaders ready to change that

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- During the lunch rush, Court Street Cafe, a locally owned restaurant, sits on a popular strip in Port Allen -- Court Street -- that's poised for a major revitalization effort, as community stakeholders and city leaders try to create a thriving downtown. Most business owners on Court Street are excited about the proposed developments but are hoping it attracts more small-town, locally owned businesses such as theirs. Much of the downtown efforts are being driven by the Port Allen Master Plan Steering Committee.

The leaders of a little city across the Mississippi River from Louisiana’s capital say they hope to create an appealing identity akin to that of other small cities in the region such as New Roads and the antique district of Denham Springs. “When I think of Port Allen, I think of… Continue reading →

Iberville School Board to receive proposal on school-based health centers while school system grapples with Medicaid funding cuts

A Kenner-based community health center could open offices in several parish schools under a proposal set to go before the Iberville Parish School Board. A partnership with Access Health Louisiana is being touted as a way to provide quality health care to Iberville students amid annually shrinking Medicaid allotments the district uses, in part, to pay… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee Police Jury committee recommends first steps to appointing a Home Rule Charter Commission

The 11-member commission that could reshape Pointe Coupee Parish government through the creation of a home rule charter would likely be made up of no more than three members from the parish’s Police Jury, members of a Selection Criteria Committee recommended Tuesday night. The five-member selection committee, made up of police jurors… Continue reading →

New $22 million medical complex in Plaquemine a hit — use nearly double the projections

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Iberville Parish and Ochsner are set to hold the ribbon-cutting on its new $25 million medical complex next Friday Jan. 16, 2015. Weekend tours are being given for the community before the facility opens on Jan. 19.

Iberville Parish officials were right six months ago in saying residents were eager to have the new Ochsner Medical Complex in the parish. Since opening in January, the $22 million medical complex is seeing nearly double the daily traffic officials had projected would visit its free-standing emergency center and is… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Aug. 5

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi and his office recently received the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association’s exemplary performance award for local residents’ response to the Sheriff’s Office’s direct mail membership campaign. Based on the parish’s population, Iberville Parish had the highest percent response rate in the state in the Sheriff’s Association’s Honorary Membership Program’s direct mail campaign in 2015.… Continue reading →

Former Iberville Parish teacher pleads not guilty to charges he had sex with students, fathered a child with one

Keavin Keith

The former Iberville Parish teacher indicted on having sex with several of his students was in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to five counts of carnal knowledge and 31 counts of prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and a student. Keavin Keith, 58060 Desobry St., Plaquemine, appeared alongside his attorney… Continue reading →

Battle ends between Pointe Coupee Police Jury and New Roads city officials over management of Civic Center

William H. Scott Civic Center in New Roads

The prolonged saga over an agreement between the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury and New Roads City Council on management of the William H. Scott Civic Center ended Tuesday night with the parish caving to the city’s demand that it be given the authority to hire temporary workers without prior approval of… Continue reading →

Video camera inside church captures two burglars in the act

A small video camera tucked away in the sanctuary of a Port Allen church on Saturday night captured the images of two males burglarizing the building, which was one of three Baptist churches burglarized in the town that night. Kevin Cyrus, a detective with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, said… Continue reading →

School Board: Pointe Coupee’s new superintendent brings change, saves money

Newly hired School Superintendent Kevin Lemoine was able to shave off nearly $1.3 million in expenditures from the 2015-16 proposed $22.2 million budget for the Pointe Coupee Parish School District. School Board members rejected a previous spending plan, primarily from former superintendent Linda D’Amico, which included a projected deficit of nearly $630,000 for the upcoming school… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 22, 2015

School has started a few weeks early for students enrolled in Iberville Parish’s new Starship Program. The district’s new science, technology, engineering and mathematics program launched July 13 with a STEM camp for sixth through ninth grades geared toward helping the inaugural class prepare through project-based learning before school starts on Aug. 10. The Starship Camp… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 15, 2015

The West Baton Rouge Museum on Monday opened its new exhibition “Holding Out and Hanging On: 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina,” featuring the photography of retired LSU professor and first responder Thomas Neff. The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 13, features photographs and stories of Katrina’s survivors that Neff gathered in the days following the… Continue reading →

Port Allen man, 66, perishes in fire at his small trailer home

A 66-year-old man was killed Monday night after his small trailer home erupted in flames in what authorities say they suspect was an accidental fire. Deputy Chief Brant Thompson of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said his investigation into the blaze is still in the early stages, but they suspect Jesse… Continue reading →

Audit: More New Roads credit card spending questioned; about $13,100 in purchases by city officials lacked receipts in 2014

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- New Roads Mayor Robert Myer speaks in his office in November 2014 about discrepancies in his use of the city credit card.

The use of city-issued credit cards was called into question again in New Roads after an audit report released Monday revealed that 21 percent — roughly $13,100 — of the transactions made by city officials in 2014 lacked receipts explaining purchases and charges. The audit report, conducted by New Roads… Continue reading →

City Council joins parish in effort to get Congress to help with I-10, La. 1, traffic issues

The City Council on Wednesday night joined West Baton Rouge leaders in their effort to address the parish’s growing traffic headaches by urging the state’s congressional leaders to find a way for emergency improvements to be made along Interstate 10 and La. 1 in Port Allen. City Councilman Hugh “Hootie” Riviere… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 8, 2015

The West Baton Rouge Museum is set to receive the 39th annual preservation “Brick and Mortar Award” from the Foundation for Historical Louisiana for the preservation and restoration of the Arbroth Mercantile Plantation Store. The awards ceremony and banquet will be held at the City Club of Baton Rouge at 6 p.m. July 16.… Continue reading →

Shooting death case involving St. Gabriel police chief’s son to go to Attorney General’s office

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has been asked to step in and take over the investigation, and possible prosecution, in the shooting deaths of two brothers who were killed on Mother’s Day in which the suspected shooter is the 25-year-old son of the St. Gabriel police chief. Angela Stewart, the mother of Dominique… Continue reading →

Wasting no time, new Pointe Coupee superintendent sets ambitious agenda for improving parish’s schools

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- New Pointe Coupee Parish Schools superintendent Kevin Lemoine, left, talks Wednesday about physical changes occurring to the Livonia High School cafeteria, and possible procedural changes in the flow of students through the cafeteria, during a site tour with school principal Stacy Gueho, right, on Lemoine's first official day as the new superintendent.

In his first week as Pointe Coupee Parish’s new school superintendent, Kevin Lemoine has already toured all five of the district’s campuses, met with principals and key staff and started crunching numbers for the district’s next fiscal year budget. And it looks like things won’t be slowing down any time soon for the 51-year-old educator.… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 1, 2015

The Plaquemine Main Street Program is geared up to host its 15th annual Fourth of July Hometown Celebration this Saturday with a variety of events kicking off at 2 p.m. and lasting until 9 p.m. The family-oriented festival, which will feature a boat parade, live music, games and rides for children, includes a free admission… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee School Board halts pending lawsuit against the state, bids farewell to Superintendent Linda D’Amico

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 Pointe Coupee Parish School Board on Thursday put the brakes on pending litigation to recoup more than $1 million from the state’s Recovery School District, which the school district intended to use for much-needed repairs at Pointe Coupee Central High School. The board made the unanimous decision after… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for June 24

Tickets are now on sale for a community appreciation prayer breakfast being held in honor of retiring Pointe Coupee Parish School Superintendent Linda D’Amico. The community prayer breakfast, at 7 a.m. Tuesday, is being hosted by the False River/New Roads Rotary Club. Tickets to the breakfast, taking place at the Scott Civic Center, are $250 for… Continue reading →