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Negotiations for private takeover of West Jefferson hospital hit new snags

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014.

Negotiations to lease parish-owned West Jefferson Medical Center to a private operator appear once again to be in trouble, with a key negotiator for the Jefferson Parish Council accusing LCMC Health of radically altering its offer for the hospital, potentially lowering the value of the deal by $29 million. Also, once again, LCMC officials have sought to… Continue reading →

Jeff School Board member casts decisive vote to have board pay his legal fees

Michael Delesdernier

In what appeared to be a violation of the state’s Code of Ethics, a Jefferson Parish School Board member voted Wednesday night to reimburse himself for legal fees stemming from a case he brought against another board member. Michael Delesdernier’s vote to have taxpayers pay the roughly $8,000 in legal fees he racked up… Continue reading →

Killer found not guilty by reason of insanity in Jefferson Parish court

Albert Green

Albert Green sat alone in the jury box in a Gretna courtroom Wednesday, listening calmly as two forensic psychologists testified about his mental state during a string of evaluations over the past two years. Now on a regimen of Klonopin, Cogentin and Abilify, the 51-year-old’s serene demeanor and trimmed, gray-flecked beard had him looking the part… Continue reading →

Attorney denies feds offered plea deal to ex-Gretna Councilman Jonathan Bolar

The attorney who previously represented former Gretna City Councilman Jonathan Bolar on extortion charges offered a vigorous defense Tuesday of his performance in the case, denying a claim that prosecutors proposed a formal plea bargain to Bolar before he rolled the dice with a jury and received a stiff punishment. Bolar, who is serving 17 years… Continue reading →

Judge overturns death sentence of one of the ‘Angola 5’

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- David Brown

A judge this week overturned the death sentence of an Algiers man who was one of the “Angola 5,” a group of Angola State Penitentiary lifers who were convicted of killing a prison guard, Capt. David Knapps, during a failed 1999 escape attempt. Retired Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Jerome Winsberg, who is handling the… Continue reading →

Gretna bans garage sales on weekdays

Gretna residents who want to have a garage or estate sale will have to do it on a weekend. The Gretna City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Wednesday that restricts the days people can sell personal items from their homes. The council acted after receiving complaints about people having garage sales that… Continue reading →

Jefferson council and ethics panel agree on IG’s access to executive sessions

Jefferson Parish’s inspector general will be allowed to sit in on executive sessions of the Parish Council when invited by the council, according to an agreement reached between the council and the parish’s Ethics and Compliance Commission. Councilman Ben Zahn on Wednesday withdrew a measure he proposed recently that called for a change in state law… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board majority flips to pro-union side

For four years, local business interests have enjoyed majority representation on the Jefferson Parish School Board, watching in satisfaction as the five board members they backed successfully in 2010 elections enacted key elements of the business groups’ plan to improve the parish’s school system. But after voters sent two teachers union-backed candidates into office in Saturday’s… Continue reading →

Kenner man arrested for attempted murder

Photo provided by Kenner Police Crime Scene Photo Evidence -- Darren âD-Whizâ Thomas

The Kenner Police Department said it has arrested a man wanted for attempted murder. Just after noon Friday, police responded to a shooting in the 400 block of Warren Street, Sgt. Brian McGregor said. Upon their arrival, a 25-year-old man said he had been sitting on his porch when a man shot at him… Continue reading →

Traffic stop leads to narcotics arrest in Kenner

A traffic stop conducted by a Kenner policeman led to a narcotics arrest and money seizure, the Kenner Police Department said. Just before 2 p.m. Friday, narcotics detective David Schlueter stopped a 2011 Nissan Maxima in the 2800 block of Tifton Street for a windshield tint violation, police said. During the stop, the detective said,… Continue reading →

Honduran students swell Jefferson Parish public school enrollment

Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent James Meza has to manage growth of nearly 1.500 more students than from 2013 school year.

Enrollment at Jefferson Parish’s public schools swelled by almost 1,500 students in the current school year, with the lion’s share of the increase coming from Hispanic children — mostly Honduran — who came to the New Orleans area this summer after fleeing their strife-ridden Central American communities. The enrollment figures, which are reported twice a year… Continue reading →

Accused killer seeks to have confession quashed in dismemberment case

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Terry Speaks is escorted by Kenner Police after being extradited from New Jersey. He is a suspect in the murder of Jaren Lockhart.

The man accused of murdering Bourbon Street dancer Jaren Lockhart in 2012 and dismembering her body has asked a state district court judge to throw out the confession he allegedly made to another inmate while in a New York prison. Terry Speaks is charged with second-degree murder along with his girlfriend, Margaret Sanchez. He claims… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish school desegregation task force to meet

The task force charged with ensuring the Jefferson Parish school system complies with a desegregation order will hold two public meetings this week to get input on whether the district is complying with those requirements. The Dandridge Task Force stems from a decades-old desegregation lawsuit that was finally resolved three years ago. The settlement… Continue reading →

Jefferson voters to decide on numerous changes to parish charter

Jefferson Parish voters will be asked to consider 11 amendments to the parish’s home rule charter, its governing document, when they go to the polls Saturday. The charter amendments, most of which are largely technical, have been in the works since 2011, thanks to a requirement that an advisory committee review the parish’s governing document every 10… Continue reading →

Voters to settle board make-up

Ricky Johnson

The balance of power on the Jefferson Parish School Board hangs in the balance as voters go to the polls Saturday to decide whether candidates supported by the parish’s business community or by the teachers union will take the final two seats on the board. The majority of the seats were decided in… Continue reading →

Taylor, Anzelmo vie for Jefferson Parish judgeship

Thomas Anzelmo; Dannyelle Taylor

Runoff elections have a way of making candidates focus on their opponent, and the race for the Division O seat on the 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish is no exception. After voters whittled the field of four down to two in the Nov. 4 primary, Westwego family lawyer Danyelle Taylor and… Continue reading →

Man to stand trial in 2013 Metairie carjacking

Daryle Guillot

A man with the word “REDRUM,” a variant of “murder” backward, tattooed across his forehead will stand trial in Jefferson Parish for allegedly carjacking a woman last year in Metairie. Daryle Guillot, 38, is currently serving a 10-year sentence for attempting to rob a woman in New Orleans with a knife, but he will be tried… Continue reading →

Man’s family sues Kenner police over allegedly wrongful death

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Lisa White, the sister of Don White, left, and Adrian Gaines a long time family friend of the Whites don't understand why Don White was shot by a Kenner Police Officer while talking outside his home in Gentilly Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. White later died from the shooting and was shot by a Kenner Police Officer after White allegedly began driving a stolen car towards the officer.

The family of a suspected car thief who was fatally shot by Kenner police last year has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city and several unnamed officers. The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court, claims Kenner police violated the civil rights of Don White, 24, and used excessive force in “attempting to frame… Continue reading →

Costly dispute over Gretna fence continues to drag through court

Scott Schlegel

It started with a fence that City Hall said was 2 feet too tall, but an ongoing dispute between a Gretna lawyer and the city is now known mostly for how high the legal bills have piled up after three years in court. The city reportedly has spent $200,000 on the litigation thus far, and Mark… Continue reading →

Coming soon: design guidelines for Kenner’s Rivertown district

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Kenner's Rivertown on Williams Boulevard.

Kenner may not have developers beating down its doors to build high-rise condominiums in Rivertown just yet, but the city is nonetheless taking steps to preserve the district’s charm. The Tulane Regional Urban Design Center has a $15,000 contract with the city to come up with design guidelines by the end of the year… Continue reading →

Coyote sightings on increase in Gretna

In this Oct. 6, 2014, photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society, two coyote pups are seen in the tall grass at the Queens Zoo in New York. There has been an increase in sightings of coyotes in the Gretna area. (AP Photo/Wildlife Conservation Society, Julie Larsen Maher)

Gretna residents are seeing more coyotes and calling their City Council members about them, but local trapper Chuck Parker cautioned Wednesday night that the animals are not about to disappear and actually have some benefits for humans. Parker, who owns a wildlife control business, was asked to brief the Gretna council because of the… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish leaders focus on jobs, infrastructure in annual address

 Jefferson Parish President John Young

Jefferson Parish has made big strides with limited resources in recent years, but it must continue to focus on workforce and infrastructure development in order to meet the challenges of the next decade. That was the message delivered Wednesday by Jefferson Parish President John Young and Parish Council Chairman Elton Lagasse in their annual “State of… Continue reading →