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Administrator of troubled St. Tammany fire district resigns, claims harassment and intimidation

The administrator of a troubled St. Tammany Parish fire protection district resigned Tuesday, the same day that the board governing the district scrapped an ambulance service that had proved to be a financial drain. Ray Newton’s resignation followed calls by the Parish Council last week for an investigation into possible malfeasance at Fire Protection… Continue reading →

Pentecostal pastor with ties to former DA Walter Reed pleads guilty to federal financial crime

Jerry Wayne Cox

Jerry Wayne Cox, a Pentecostal pastor with ties to former 22nd Judicial District Attorney Walter Reed, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to one count of structuring transactions to evade federal reporting requirements. U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown asked the 72-year-old Franklinton resident numerous times whether he understood the charge against him and whether he… Continue reading →

St. Tammany fire district to end ambulance service, citing financial trouble

Officials of a St. Tammany Parish fire district who last week endured nearly two hours of scolding from the Parish Council over a budget shortfall voted Tuesday to get rid of their financially underperforming ambulance service. That had been the strong recommendation of Parish Council members who chided Fire District 12 leaders for getting… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Council approves loan for financially troubled fire district but calls for investigations

A financially troubled St. Tammany Parish fire district managed to wring an $800,000 loan from the Parish Council on Thursday, but not before angry council members blistered officials’ ears for nearly two hours and asked the district attorney’s and state legislative auditor’s offices to investigate the district for possible malfeasance. Joe Mitternight, chairman of the… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Parish president proposes $134 million budget for 2016, 7.6% larger than this year

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister submitted a proposed $134 million budget to the Parish Council on Thursday, calling it a fiscally conservative blueprint that continues her administration’s effort to reduce parish debt. The 2016 budget is 7.6 percent larger than last year’s, with the increase attributed to anticipated modest growth in sales taxes and new… Continue reading →

70-year-old Slidell man dies from West Nile virus

A 70-year-old Slidell man who was diagnosed with West Nile virus on Sept. 14 died Thursday morning, according to St. Tammany Parish Coroner Charles Preston. The patient had been admitted to a local hospital on Sept. 7 with signs of a stroke. His cause of death, however, was the virus and an end-stage stroke, according to… Continue reading →

Judge allows state AG’s Office to prosecute St. Bernard President David Peralta on stalking charge

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta

State District Judge Scott Gardner rejected a motion Wednesday to recuse the state Attorney General’s Office from prosecuting St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta on a charge of stalking his ex-wife in St. Tammany Parish. Gardner’s decision came after nearly four hours of testimony and arguments between Peralta’s attorney, Martin Regan, and Assistant Attorney Generals David… Continue reading →

Former St. Tammany assessor, who's not running for office, becomes part of debate

Former St. Tammany Parish Assessor Patricia Schwarz Core isn’t running for the office she held for five terms, but that didn’t prevent her from being part of the debate between incumbent Louis Fitzmorris and challenger Chip Bankston on Monday night. Fitzmorris, who defeated Core in 2011, told the audience at Abita Town Hall that he inherited… Continue reading →

Incumbent Jack Strain leads in fundraising for St. Tammany sheriff’s race, but opponents also raising sizable sums

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Slidell Police Randy Smith

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain laid his campaign finance cards on the table back in July — when he was the only candidate in the race to file a report 90 days out from the election — and it was a strong hand that he displayed, with nearly $350,000 in his coffers. Strain wasn’t required… Continue reading →

Former Tammany DA Walter Reed sells Covington condo

Walter Reed, who ended a three-decade career as 22nd Judicial District Attorney when he bowed out of last fall’s race, has sold his north shore digs, a luxury condo in Covington that he’s been trying to unload since last November. Reed, who was indicted on 18 counts in April, was under the cloud… Continue reading →

Deputies respond to altercation between student, employee at Boyet Junior High near Slidell

A 14-year-old Boyet Junior High School student was booked on a felony count of battery on a teacher after he allegedly shoved a school employee to the ground, a Sheriff’s spokesman said. The incident caused school personnel to call the Sheriff’s Office, who located the male student near Gause Boulevard and North Pearl Drive just… Continue reading →

Mandeville mayor cleared of ethics charges stemming from 2010 campaign

Advocate Photo by MISSIE NOEL (Hospice) - Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere

A state ethics panel formally dismissed charges against Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere this month, more than four years after they were filed. The charges dated back to Villere’s first run for mayor in 2010, when he opposed then-City Councilwoman Trilby Lenfant. In the days before the election, Villere’s campaign accused Lenfant of… Continue reading →

Bail set at $1 million for St. Tammany woman accused of fatally beating foster daughter

Trenique Faciane

A Lacombe woman accused of fatally beating her foster child pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge Monday in a St. Tammany Parish courtroom. Bail was set at $1 million. Trenique Faciane, 41, did not speak as her attorney, Buddy Spell, offered her plea and asked for bail. During the bail hearing, Susan Johansen,… Continue reading →

Man killed Saturday in St. Tammany after chase was shot 18 times by deputies and police, coroner says

Lucien Rolland

Lucien Rolland, who led police from several agencies on a chase back and forth between St. Tammany Parish and New Orleans early Saturday morning before being shot by deputies on a highway overpass in Slidell, was struck 18 times by bullets to the chest, abdomen, pelvis and limbs, a St. Tammany Coroner’s Office spokesman said Monday.… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Parish jail employee fired after DWI arrest

A St. Tammany Parish jail employee was fired after he was arrested and booked on a driving while intoxicated count at 2 a.m. Saturday, St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain said. Strain said Kendall Terrell Twillie, 23, of Slidell, was pulled over by Slidell police in Old Towne Slidell, arrested on a count of misdemeanor DWI… Continue reading →

Officers from three local agencies fatally shoot man who fired upon them in chase across Lake Pontchartrain

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY FAIMON ROBERTS -- A police chase in St. Tammany Parish ended in Slidell with gunfire in which the suspect was killed, a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s spokesman said. No law enforcement personnel were injured.

A 46-year-old man was fatally shot early Saturday after he fled from an attempted traffic stop in Slidell and then fired on police during a lengthy chase that twice crossed Lake Pontchartrain, according to St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain. Law enforcement officers from several agencies were involved in the chase and the shooting that left… Continue reading →

Hospital loses bid to seal CEO’s pay

CEO Bill Davis of Slidell Memorial Hospital

A state district judge in Baton Rouge has rejected a bid by Slidell Memorial Hospital to keep CEO Bill Davis’ pay confidential, permitting the legislative auditor to disclose the $462,821 salary and benefits package as part of the hospital’s annual audit. The hospital had sought to block the release, arguing that the information should… Continue reading →

Walter Reed’s attorney takes aim at language in federal indictment

Of all the competing motions filed in court this week by Walter Reed and the government prosecutors trying to put him in jail, the last one was probably the most lively reading. In that motion, the former district attorney’s lawyer accused the U.S. Attorney’s Office of filing a “press release indictment” full of extra and unnecessary… Continue reading →

Federal prosecutors dispute Walter Reed’s request to dismiss half the charges against him

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--  Former St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed enters the Federal Court House to face indictments  in New Orleans, La. Monday, May 4, 2015.

Walter Reed, the former district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes, won’t go to trial until January, but attorneys for both sides have been arguing about the scope of the government’s case in recent weeks, with federal prosecutors filing their answer Thursday to Reed’s earlier motion to dismiss half the charges against him.… Continue reading →

Rating agency upgrades some St. Tammany bond issues; officials site strong income levels, retail sales in region

Two of St. Tammany Parish’s bond issues have been upgraded by Standard & Poor’s rating service, with one attaining a AAA rating, the highest the agency offers. The AAA rating was awarded to the bonds for parish libraries, according to a parish spokesman. The bonds previously had been rated AA+, Ronnie Simpson said. AAA bonds… Continue reading →

Traffic stop of St. Tammany deputy raises questions of special treatment by state trooper

The traffic stop captured on the state trooper’s dashboard camera in the early morning hours of May 24 appears routine: A car moves close to the center line of La. 25 and swerves slightly toward the shoulder, pulling over when the cruiser turns on its lights. The driver, dressed in shorts, walks haltingly to the… Continue reading →

Challengers in St. Tammany Parish sheriff's race take incumbent to task on race issues

Race emerged as an issue at a St. Tammany Parish sheriff’s race forum as challengers took shots at long-term incumbent Jack Strain for incidents that involved employees sharing racist jokes via email and a racial slur used by Chuck Hughes, a lawyer whose firm represents the department. Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith said he would have fired… Continue reading →