Around the Westside for July 30, 2014

SE Tylose Louisiana, along with LED FastStart and the Louisiana Workforce Commission, is hosting a job fair from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Math, Science and Arts Academy-West campus in Plaquemine. The company has positions open for process operators, laboratory technicians, electrical and instrument technicians and mechanical maintenance personnel. Candidates must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma or GED certification. A two-year vocational/technical degree is preferred, plus… Continue reading →

DOTD promises congestion fixes along La. 1

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Drivers merge onto the Mississippi River Bridge for eastbound Interstate 10, Friday, July 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge. Traffic already on the bridge headed west is at a standstill.

As daily congestion along La. 1 and the Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 10 continues to infuriate drivers sitting in traffic, West Baton Rouge Parish officials received word recently that some relief is on the way. But it’s not necessarily the kind of big state commitment they ultimately want. In a July 10 letter to the West Baton Rouge Parish school system, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and… Continue reading →

Plaquemine man dies after pickup hits tree

Louisiana State Police logo

A 64-year-old Plaquemine man died late Thursday after his pickup ran off of La. 75 and hit a tree south of La. 3066 in Iberville Parish, State Police said. Winsley J. St. Pierre Jr., who was unrestrained, suffered fatal injuries, Trooper First Class Jared L. Sandifer said in a press release. Troopers began investigating shortly before 11:30 p.m. and determined St. Pierre southbound in his 1992 Ford F-150 when he failed to negotiate a left hand… Continue reading →

Street name motion stirs strong emotions at WBR Council

Pointe Coupee board approves plan for alternative school

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board on Thursday approved a plan from School Superintendent Linda D’Amico to create an off-site alternative school — an endeavor most of the board has wanted for several years. The new school, which will consist of a modular building housing two double classrooms with restrooms, will be located on the south end of the campus where the school system’s Central Office is located on Napoleon Street… Continue reading →

Jurors find Richardson guilty in 2012 shooting death

Marcus Richardson

A West Baton Rouge Parish jury deliberated for approximately two hours before convicting a 24-year-old Port Allen man of second-degree murder Thursday in the May 2012 fatal shooting of a Brusly High student. Marcus Richardson, 24, Freeman Lane, was found guilty as charged after two days of testimony in the shooting death of Justin Warner. Warner’s death is rooted in a longtime turf war between the Lukeville… Continue reading →

WBR new schools superintendent signs contract, begins Aug. 1

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Former West Baton Rouge Parish School Board Superintendent David Corona.

West Baton Rouge Parish’s new school superintendent, Wesley Watts, signed the dotted line of a two-year contract with the school district Wednesday night, and will be assuming the role as its new head Aug. 1. Watts was selected for the position a month ago. The approval of his contract Wednesday came shortly after the School Board said goodbye to David Corona, who retires from the position July 31… Continue reading →

PC jurors vote to investigate employee fuel charges

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury on Tuesday launched a probe into its employees’ use of parish-issued fuel cards, asking the parish treasurer to obtain surveillance footage from several gas stations where employees fuel up parish vehicles. The item touched off a fiery exchange among several jurors and an attorney representing parish Recreation Director Salvadore Genusa, who found himself at the center of Tuesday night’s controversy. Attorney Cy D’Aquila accused… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 23, 2014

New Roads Mayor Robert Myer says the splash pad, playground and skate park at the city’s Community Park is set to open Aug. 1. Myer said in a news release that the three projects, along with the construction of a walking and fitness trail, meditation garden and landscaping, are nearly complete. All components of Phase III of the Community Park’s development are expected to be complete in September, Myer said. “Upon… Continue reading →

Iberville tops state in improving on-time graduation rate

Iberville high school graduation rates

The Iberville Parish School District landed at the top of the class this year in the state’s graduation rate report, logging the biggest percentage improvement in the number of students finishing high school within four years. The school district experienced a 14.1 percentage point increase in the Louisiana Department of Education graduation rate report, which was released earlier this month. The report says that 74 percent of Iberville Parish… Continue reading →

New Roads mayor downplays auditor’s concerns about revenue

An accountant urged city leaders Tuesday night to consider raising utility rates for residents in an effort to generate much-needed revenue for city coffers, which he said took a major hit last year from several capital improvement projects. The likelihood of that happening, however, seems slim after Mayor Robert Myer responded to those concerns by saying most of the capital outlay projects the city invested in last fiscal year were for… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 16, 2014

The West Baton Rouge Parish Library and the parish’s parks and recreation department are staging a family-friendly comedy show at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Erwinville Community Center, 5110 Rougon Road. The show will feature Doug Berky, a multitalented actor, comedian and mime known for his physical comedy and improvisation. Also known internationally for the masks he designs and builds for many theater groups as well as his own shows, Berky combines clowning, storytelling, masks and… Continue reading →

Iberville SB objects to state funding formula for charter schools

The Iberville Parish School Board unanimously adopted a resolution Monday urging the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to re-evaluate how it funds local charter schools through local tax revenue. The resolution came at the request of Linda Johnson, a former BESE board member who lives in the parish and who said it’s unfair that charter schools are allowed to receive funding meant for local public schools based simply on enrollment… Continue reading →

State troopers still searching for SUV in July 4 hit-and-run in WBR

State Police are still searching for the white SUV that on July 4 hit and injured a 7-year-old Brusly boy riding his bicycle on River Road, north of La. 989-1 in West Baton Rouge. Trooper 1st Class Jared Sandifer said despite the mountain of tips and leads they have received, investigators are still looking for the vehicle, believed to be either a mid-90s Chevrolet Tahoe or GMC Yukon. They are not looking for a Chevrolet Suburban,… Continue reading →

Iberville administrator questions charter enrollment claims

An Iberville Parish school system administrator says she’s puzzled by how the state figures the school system will be losing 376 students to a new charter school opening this year — a projection that has big financial stakes for the system. Jolain Landry, the school system’s chief financial officer, says she’s puzzled because there haven’t been nearly that many requests to transfer student records to the new charter. It’s no small matter for Landry because… Continue reading →

Willis announces candidacy for at-large board seat in Iberville

Brian Willis

Brian Willis, a lifelong resident of Iberville Parish and outspoken member of the Iberville Parish School Board, has announced he’s seeking the at-large seat on the revamped School Board during the fall 2014 elections. Willis, 53, has served as the representative for District J for the past 20 years on the School Board and for the past decade has worked as the solid waste director for the parish. As the… Continue reading →

Port Allen addresses high turnover rate at Police Department

The Port Allen City Council took action Wednesday night on two measures addressing concerns about the Police Department’s high turnover rate. The first measure gives Police Chief Esdron Brown authority to advertise the most recent vacancy within the department. The second sets a public hearing for a proposed ordinance that would require police personnel to reimburse the city for any training and equipment costs they incur as new hires if they… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee juror calls for probe of building permit flap

A controversy that erupted over a building permit issued to the developer of an $8 million nursing home project appears to now be headed for the Pointe Coupee Parish District Attorney’s Office Police Juror Justin Cox said Wednesday that he and some other jurors plan to ask the DA’s Office to investigate possible malfeasance by a fellow juror and the parish administrator in how the permit was handled. Cox said… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee jurors hurl insults over permit issue

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury’s decision to adopt an amended version of the parish’s building permit fee ordinance Tuesday night ignited several outbursts of accusations tossed back and forth between jurors on opposing sides of the measure. Juror Kyle Olinde was called a liar by juror Justin Cox and in turn jury President Melanie Bueche accused Cox of “terrorizing” the Police Jury. At the center of the infighting is… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 9, 2014

The annual Corey and Cody Co-Ed Softball Tournament will tee off Saturday at the Fordoche Ball Park. Corey and Cody Gueho were twins who both died from leukemia. Cody passed away in November 1995 and Corey died in September 2013. The annual tournament is held to raise money for the St. Jude’s Children Hospital in the twins’ memory. The twins were both patients at the hospital. The family encourages people to participate… Continue reading →

Maringouin man ejected from vehicle, killed

A 56-year-old man who wasn’t wearing his seatbelt died in a single-vehicle crash along La. 977, Louisiana State Police said Monday. Izel Givens, of Maringouin, was traveling southbound on La. 977, south of La. 77 in Pointe Coupee Parish, around 11:30 a.m. Monday when he veered into the opposite lane for unknown reasons, Trooper 1st Class Jared Sandifer said. Givens overcorrected his vehicle, swerved off the road and crashed into… Continue reading →

Facing demolition, historic black school to be remembered through WBR Museum

Advocate staff photo by TERRY JONES -- The old Cohn High School building.

Even though its historic hallways are set for demolition soon, the “old” Cohn High School will still be a beacon of education for West Baton Rouge Parish, just in a different way. The West Baton Rouge Museum has announced plans to salvage several items from the first campus to offer a secondary education to the parish’s black children during the days of segregation. The museum intends to use those… Continue reading →

Police seeking driver who struck child on bike in Brusly

State Police are searching for a white SUV involved in a hit-and-run with a child riding his bicycle on River Road, north of La. 989-1 in West Baton Rouge Parish on Friday afternoon, a State Police spokesman said. The incident occurred at 1:30 p.m. in Brusly as a white SUV, possibly an early to mid-90s Chevrolet Tahoe or GMC Yukon, hit a child cycling north on River Road in the southbound lane and kept on driving, Trooper… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for July 2, 2014

The Iberville Parish School System holds registration for 3- and 4-year-olds for Iberville Elementary, Dorseyville Elementary and Crescent Elementary on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the School Board’s Media Center at the Central Office. According to 2014-15 guidelines, pre-K students must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 30 to register. Head Start students must be 3 years old on or before Sept. 30. Parents need to bring their child’s birth certificate,… Continue reading →

Woman killed in East Feliciana crash

Louisiana State Police logo

A 66-year-old Jackson woman died Sunday night after her 2005 Nissan Quest left La. 10, striking several trees and a culvert west of La. 961 in East Feliciana Parish, State Police announced. Jo Ann M. Ryals was unrestrained at the time and died from her injuries, Trooper 1st Class Jared Sandifer said in news release. State Police responded to the crash shortly after 10:30 p.m. and determined she had been traveling west when first she ran… Continue reading →

McCain v. Slaughter headed for trial in Port Allen

Left, Demetric 'Deedy' Slaughter; Audrey McCain

After a protracted legal fight lasting more than a year, a state district court judge this week will hear arguments in the wrongful termination lawsuit Port Allen Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain filed against former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter. Attorneys for McCain said the three-day bench trial, set to begin Tuesday in the 18th Judicial District Court, will rehash many of the headline-grabbing deeds leading up to the embattled former… Continue reading →

Plans for new gym and auditorium at Iberville’s MSA-East don’t quell talk of breakaway district

Photo provided by Bani, Carville, & Brown AIA Architects Inc. -- This digital rendering of the proposed gymnasium and auditorium addition to MSA-East in St. Gabriel.

Although the Iberville Parish School System’s plan to build a $6.7 million gymnasium and performing arts auditorium at the Math, Science and Arts Academy-East Campus is a welcome addition to a community that many feel has been ignored by school district officials, St. Gabriel Mayor Lionel Johnson says it will take more than pretty buildings to quell talk in the city of forming its own breakaway school district. “We’re basically in a holding pattern,” Johnson said… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee board to wait on opening Central High as a career academy

A plan by Superintendent Linda D’Amico to transform Pointe Coupee Central High into a college readiness and career academy holds such promise that two School Board members want that academy to start in the fall. But that was too soon for D’Amico, whose plan calls for opening the academy in August 2015 and who expressed doubts she could properly staff the new program to open this August. And six other… Continue reading →