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State approves controversial drilling permit in St. Tammany

Drilling Permit

Helis Oil & Gas scored a win Friday in the battle over fracking in St. Tammany Parish, as the state Office of Conservation granted the company a permit to drill a 13,000-foot vertical well on a 960-acre tract of land south of Lakeshore High School. The approval was granted by the agency but with a list of… Continue reading →

Mandeville council rejects moratorium on Trailhead residential units

When Mike Waller built several mixed-use buildings along the Tammany Trace in Old Mandeville in the mid-2000s, he was optimistic that the area would continue to develop and that some older, industrial-type sites would give way to a more pedestrian-friendly retail and dining district several blocks from the lake. That has happened — to a degree.… Continue reading →

Concerned Citizens moves to join Tammany government’s fracking suit

The activist group Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany and its president, Rick Franzo, have been frequent and vociferous critics of parish government. But the two have found common cause in fighting the plan by Helis Oil & Gas Co. to drill a fracking well near Lakeshore High School. Attorneys for Concerned Citizens have filed a motion in… Continue reading →

Causeway officials see hope in railings designed to keep vehicles out of Lake Pontchartrain

The truck speeds toward the bridge railing at over 60 mph. On impact, puffs of white can be seen as the tires explode, shards of glass and metal go flying and the back end of the truck rises off the ground, the wheels akimbo and still spinning. In slow motion, it’s like a ballet, hundreds of… Continue reading →

New $15M St. Tammany road to open Monday seen as catalyst for economic development

The 4.2-mile roadway that will connect Airport Road near Slidell with U.S. 11 beginning Monday was 14 years in the making, but when the project was first conceived, Parish Councilman Steve Stefancik envisioned something far more modest: a relatively simple and inexpensive gravel road. He wanted to provide another way in and out of the area… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Parish deputies search for man who exposed himself at Covington, Mandeville tanning salons

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Deputies are searching for a man who allegedly exposed himself and masturbated in two tanning salons in October, according to the department’s Facebook page. The man, described as approximately 40 years old and about 5-foot-8 with a bald head, allegedly walked into Baja Tans on U.S. 190 in Covington and asked if a… Continue reading →

Board of new St. Tammany levee district holds first meeting

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --   Ronnie Simpson, director of St. Tammany Parish's intergovernmental relations, shows new board members how to use the mircrophones during the first meeting of the St. Tammany Parish Levee, Drainage and Conservation District Board Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, at the St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers north of Mandeville. The levee board members are, from left: Dan McGovern IV, Henry DiFranco Jr., Stephen Phillippi, Lou Sandoz, Shelby LaSalle Jr., and Rykert Toledano Jr.

When Isaac’s storm surge pushed water into the north shore communities of Slidell, Mandeville and Madisonville in 2012, many officials felt neglected by the regional flood protection authority, which they said focused on the storm’s effect on areas south of Lake Pontchartrain. That’s why many of those same officials, including St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister,… Continue reading →

Surprising result in St. Tammany district attorney race might signal voter discontent

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Warren Montgomery celebrates his election to 22nd Judicial District Attorney Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at the Castine Center at the Clarion Hotel in Covington. Montgomery defeated Brian Trainor in Saturday's runoff.

A jubilant Tony LeMon grabbed a reporter in the middle of a crush of bodies at the Clarion Hotel in Covington on Saturday night. LeMon, one of the key players behind Warren Montgomery’s successful run for district attorney of Washington and St. Tammany parishes, had to shout to make himself heard over the din. “We are going to change this whole… Continue reading →

Slidell council approves higher sales tax at North Shore Square

Advocate file photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan addresses the audience Tuesday, June 24, 2014, during ceremonies opening a courtyard at Slidell's municipal complex.

In Slidell officials’ ongoing effort to revive North Shore Square mall, the City Council on Tuesday approved an additional half-cent sales tax at the struggling retail center, hoping the extra money will spur improvements that can help stave off competition from newer shopping venues. Money from the new 30-year tax can be used for infrastructure improvements… Continue reading →

Audit finds raft of shortcomings at St. Tammany recreation district

A Lacombe-area recreation district previously under fire for questionable hiring practices also had a litany of other financial and personnel problems in 2013, according to a report released Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office. For example, according to the audit, St. Tammany Parish Recreation District No. 4 hired relatives of children enrolled in… Continue reading →

Montgomery wins close north shore DA’s race

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Warren Montgomery celebrates with his wife, Valarie, left, and family members his election to 22nd Judicial District Attorney Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at the Castine Center at the Clarion Hotel in Covington. Montgomery defeated Brian Trainor in Saturday's runoff.

Warren Montgomery, whose outsider candidacy for district attorney of the 22nd Judicial District gained momentum just before the Nov. 4 primary, repeated that pattern in the runoff Saturday, defeating Brian Trainor with 52 percent of the vote, making him the first new district attorney in St. Tammany and Washington parishes in 30 years.… Continue reading →

Montgomery wins hard-fought race for 22nd Judicial District DA

Warren Montgomery, a former federal prosecutor and private attorney who ran as the anti-machine candidate, has won the race to succeed Walter Reed as 22nd Judicial District Attorney, beating Brian Trainor by 52 percent of the vote . With 198 of 199 precincts reporting, Montgomery had 44,795 votes to Trainor’s 40,757. Montgomery, the last candidate to… Continue reading →

Trainor gains votes in Washington Parish as 22nd Judicial District DA precincts begin to report

Brian Trainor is continuing to show strength in Washington Parish, where he has 2,555 to Warren Montgomery’s 2,058 with nine of 41 precincts reporting in the 22nd Judicial District attorney race. No results are in from St. Tammany precincts yet, and Montgomery continues to lead over all with 10,780 votes for Trainor’s 8,841, based mainly on early… Continue reading →

Montgomery leading in early voting for 22nd District Attorney

Early voting tallies in the race for 22nd Judicial District attorney showed Warren Montgomery leading 10,780 to Brian Trainor’s 8,841. Montgomery was ahead in St. Tammany Parish with 9,622 votes to Trainor’s 7,522, but Trainor, who had shown strength in Washington Parish in the primary, was leading slightly there, with 1,319 votes to 1,118 for Montgomery.… Continue reading →

Madisonville subdivision boil advisory rescinded

A boil advisory put in place for a Madisonville-area subdivision after a Wednesday power surge has been rescinded, officials said. Tammany Utilities issued the order for the Savannah Trace subdivision after a power outage damaged a number of well components. The order was rescinded Saturday after tests from the state Department of Health and Hospitals showed the… Continue reading →

Raymond Paul Scheer, longtime Covington pastor, dies at 77

Pastor Raymond P. Scheer

Raymond Paul Scheer, 77, who was pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Covington for nearly 30 years, died unexpectedly Wednesday at his home in Covington while recovering from hip replacement surgery. Scheer, a native of New Haven, Missouri, spent his entire ministry in Louisiana, initially at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Shreveport from… Continue reading →

Boil advisory in place for Madisonville subdivision

Residents of Savannah Trace subdivision in Madisonville are under a boil order because of a power surge on Wednesday that caused damaged to a number of well components, an order that will remain in place until a state lab determines the water is safe. All water should be boiled before it is consumed, including water used to… Continue reading →

St. Tammany narcotics task force arrests 11

A St. Tammany Parish narcotics task force arrested 11 people and issued summonses for six more in a crackdown last month that included members of what officials describe as a family drug-dealing operation on the eastern side of the parish. The task force executed four search warrants in Slidell in late November, aided in two cases… Continue reading →

State ethics panel raises new charges against Galvan

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- St. Tammany parish coroner Peter Galvan leaves the federal courthouse in New Orleans after his arraignment, Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

Former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan has been in federal prison for nearly eight months and has seen his two-year sentence grow to three years following a September guilty plea to state theft charges, but the fallout for the disgraced ex-official isn’t quite over yet. The Louisiana Board of Ethics also has weighed… Continue reading →

Bogalusa man dies in West Pearl River

A Washington Parish man died after jumping from the boat he was piloting to try to save his grandson in the West Pearl River near Slidell, officials said. Rodney Varnado, 65, of Bogalusa, was piloting a 12-foot flatboat holding five other people, including three of his grandsons, about 6 a.m. Saturday when the boat began to… Continue reading →