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Pearl River's former town clerk pleads guilty to theft charges, gets five years’ probation

Diane Bennett Hollie

Diane Bennett Hollie, the former town clerk of tiny Pearl River in eastern St. Tammany Parish, was sentenced to five years of probation Thursday after pleading guilty to theft and other charges. Hollie, 54, answered “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” to the questions posed by 22nd Judicial District Judge Raymond Childress, who made sure Hollie understood… Continue reading →

Attorney for indicted former DA Walter Reed asks judge to dismiss half the counts against him

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Former St. Tammany/Washington parish District Attorney Walter Reed leaves federal court in New Orleans after being arraigned on an 18 count indictment Monday, May 4, 2015.

Calling the case against Walter Reed an “Olympic-sized leap over the prudent bounds of federalism,” his attorney on Thursday asked a federal judge to dismiss half of the charges against the former north shore district attorney. Reed, who served as DA for St. Tammany and Washington parishes for 30 years, was indicted by a… Continue reading →

St. Tammany leaders hoping to create mental health crisis center on former hospital campus

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister speaks during a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, at the Northlake Behavioral System near Mandeville.

Back when St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain was a cop in Abita Springs and Covington and he came across somebody having a mental health crisis, he would take the person to Southeast Louisiana Hospital east of Mandeville. These days, that person would go to the jail Strain runs. Now, parish leaders, led by President Pat… Continue reading →

St. Tammany judge orders return of leaked documents used in lawsuit against parish

A 22nd Judicial District Court judge has clamped down on a legal file that St. Tammany Parish officials argue was misappropriated by Covington resident Terri Lewis Stevens, who has used information from the documents in her legal battle with the parish. Judge Allison Penzato agreed with attorneys for the parish that a protective order should be… Continue reading →

St. Tammany looks to its schools in remembering Katrina

Photo provided by St. Tammany Parish Public Schools -- Brock Elementary student Makai Hammond leads guests in the Pledge of Allegiance during the Katrina +10 Remembrance event held at Salmen High School on Friday, August 28, 2015.

The photographs that lined Salmen High School’s cafeteria Friday morning testified to the destructive force of a powerful storm but also to the strength of those who persevered. Images of destruction appeared side by side with those of renewal: pictures of new schools and smiling students, labeled with the words “community,” “pride,” “resilience” and “optimism.”… Continue reading →

Mandeville Councilman Rick Danielson won’t push to override mayor's veto of lakefront ordinance

It seems that Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere’s veto of a controversial lakefront ordinance will go unchallenged. Facing likely defeat, City Councilman Rick Danielson said he does not plan to try to override the mayor’s veto at the council’s first meeting in September, meaning the veto will stand. Danielson’s decision likely averts another… Continue reading →

Pearl River man sentenced to 40 years for molesting 12-year-old girl

A Pearl River man who pleaded guilty this week to molesting a juvenile younger than 13 was sentenced to 40 years in prison by 22nd Judicial District Judge August Hand. Loren Wright, 35, molested a 12-year-old girl in October while the girl was visiting a friend, according to Lisa Page, a spokeswoman for District Attorney… Continue reading →

Covington man leads deputies on north shore chase

Marlon Brumfield

A Covington man led St. Tammany Sheriff’s deputies on a chase Wednesday before eventually crashing into a downtown Covington business, a Sheriff’s spokeswoman said. Deputies were attempting to arrest Marlon Brumfield, 27, just after 9:30 Wednesday night when Brumfield fled in a pickup truck, Suzanne Carboni said. Brumfield drove south on La. 21 to… Continue reading →

Judge unseals 2012 restraining order Kacie Breen secured against husband she later killed

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD  -- Kacie Breen leaves court following a succession hearing for her late husband, Dr. Wayne Breen, Thursday, June 18, 2015, at the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center in Covington. Kacie Breen said she shot her husband March 1, after the two argued and she feared for her life. The case is under investigation by the St. Tammany Sheriffs Office.

A St. Tammany Parish judge has unsealed records related to a 2012 temporary restraining order Kacie Breen obtained against her then-husband, Wayne, whom she shot and killed in March in their home near Folsom. She has said she acted in self-defense. The unsealed records refer to a complaint by Kacie Breen that her husband pinched and… Continue reading →

Engineer: Adding steel rails on top of Causeway’s concrete barriers would make bridge much safer

Adding a steel rail atop the concrete barriers that line both spans of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway would make the bridge safer, a Texas A&M engineer told a Mandeville audience Wednesday night. The present barriers, especially the 25-inch-high ones on the southbound bridge, are too low to prevent high-profile vehicles, such as trucks and… Continue reading →

Behind $2M estate, federally charged Franklinton preacher 'uses control and fear over his people,' ex-parishoner says

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Jerry Wayne Cox, right, a Pentecostal minister from Franklinton, leaves his arraignment in feederal court Thursday, August 20, 2015.

The Rev. Jerry Wayne Cox cuts an imposing figure on the Washington Parish landscape — bigger, even, than the gorilla and other huge statues that dot the landscape of his $2 million estate. The Pentecostal preacher is folksy and charismatic, and he has a devoted flock at his Franklinton church, Faith… Continue reading →

10 years after Hurricane Katrina, why, how St. Tammany is still vulnerable

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Mike and Nancy Zimmerman of Slidell, photographed Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, rode out Hurricane Katrina with Zimmerman's mother, Evelyn Navaille, but were forced to evacuate  when water rose about waist high. The Zimmerman's were able to restore the cypress planks in their den but left the watermark as a reminder of the ordeal. After the storm, a pepper plant popped up under the home of Evelyn Navaille, who lived next door. She died in January. 'Through this plant, I feel like her spirit is still with us,' Nancy Zimmerman said.

The water came in fast. The storm had passed, the winds subsided, but the water kept coming. It spilled over the railroad tracks along Front Street in Slidell and rushed toward William Tell Street a block away, where Mike and Nancy Zimmerman lived. About 1 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2005, the water in… Continue reading →

Covington High School student arrested for selling synthetic marijuana that may have caused Thursday’s overdoses

Caleb Badeaux

Officers with the St. Tammany Parish Narcotics Task Force have arrested an 18-year-old Covington High School student for distributing mojo, a synthetic marijuana product, Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz said Friday. Caleb Badeaux, of Folsom, was booked at the St. Tammany Parish jail on counts of distributing a narcotic to a student and possessing a controlled substance… Continue reading →

Three Covington High students treated for possible drug overdoses that likely occurred at school

Covington High School

Three Covington High School students were being treated for possible drug overdoses that likely occurred while they were at school Thursday, police said. The resource officer at the 1,500-student school was notified of an unresponsive student about 1 p.m., according to Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz. Medical personnel were called, but before they arrived, another unresponsive… Continue reading →

North shore preacher with ties to Walter Reed pleads not guilty in financial case

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jerry Wayne Cox, right, a Pentecostal minister from Franklinton, leaves his arraignment in federal court Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.

Jerry Wayne Cox, a Pentecostal preacher with close ties to former 22nd Judicial District Attorney Walter Reed, pleaded not guilty Thursday to a single federal count of structuring financial transactions in an effort to evade federal reporting requirements. Cox, 72, whose case has been allotted to U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, entered his plea before… Continue reading →

Audit cites problems with credit card use, paid leave and accounting under former DA Walter Reed

An audit released Monday pointed out lapses in oversight of credit card use and paid leave at the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office during 2014, the last year of former DA Walter Reed’s tenure. LaPorte, the auditing firm that prepared the report, also found some accounting problems. It said the office didn’t reconcile bank accounts on… Continue reading →

Man wanted in Slidell armed robbery caught in Jackson, Miss.

James Brister

A man wanted for a daytime stickup at Slidell phone store was arrested Aug. 8 in Jackson, Miss., after he tried the same thing there, a Slidell police spokesman said. What’s more, the man was wanted for similar crimes in Gulfport, Biloxi and Hattiesburg, Miss. James Brister, 36, of Gulfport, is accused of going into a Slidell… Continue reading →

Man, 24, convicted of manslaughter, arson gets 70 years

Devin Baham

Devin Baham, a 24-year-old Slidell man convicted in May of manslaughter, arson and obstruction of justice in the 2012 death of Ashley King, was sentenced Friday to 70 years in prison. Judge Allison Penzato, of 22nd Judicial District Court, gave Baham 55 years on the manslaughter charge, 15 years on the arson charge and… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Public Defender’s Office getting new start with renovated offices, new approach to management

John Lindner’s new office is small, with a tile floor and two vertical windows that overlook a gravel parking lot. It certainly doesn’t compare favorably to the office his courtroom counterpart, District Attorney Warren Montgomery, inhabits a few blocks to the north. But Lindner, the chief public defender for St. Tammany and Washington parishes, can’t… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Parish Assessor’s Office opens tax rolls for review

The St. Tammany Parish tax rolls will be open for public inspection Monday through Aug. 31, Parish Assessor Louis Fitzmorris said in a news release. Although this is not a reassessment year, Fitzmorris said it is important for property owners to check their assessed value and verify their property’s physical address, mailing address, special assessments and… Continue reading →

WWII veterans to be honored at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery

A tribute to veterans of World War II will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, 34888 Grantham College Road, Slidell. The state Department of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is hosting the event, part of an Around the World Wreath Tribute that began at the American National Cemetery… Continue reading →

Mandeville City Council passes budget for next fiscal year

Following a summer of at-times contentious budget hearings, the Mandeville City Council on Thursday approved a $45 million budget for the city’s next fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1. The budget anticipates $27 million in revenue and includes a $19.5 million operating budget, of which $11.1 million will go to employee salaries and benefits. The $25.8… Continue reading →

Covington man accused of attacking girlfriend abruptly pleads guilty

A 45-year-old Covington man’s trial came to a sudden end Wednesday when he pleaded guilty to aggravated second-degree battery and second-degree kidnapping in a brutal 2014 attack on his girlfriend. As part of a plea agreement, 22nd Judicial District Judge Allison Penzato sentenced David Scott Temple to 15 years on the battery charge… Continue reading →

Paramedic challenges incumbent in St. Tammany Council race

Haley Galloway

Haley Galloway, an EMT and paramedic, is running for St. Tammany Parish Council, challenging long-time incumbent Steve Stefancik for the District 11 seat. Galloway, a St. Tammany native who lives in the Bayou Liberty area, graduated from Slidell High School. She received an associate’s degree from South Louisiana Community College in science and received two degrees from… Continue reading →