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St. Tammany DA, Parish Council still at odds over representation

The St. Tammany Parish Council and District Attorney Warren Montgomery are still wrangling over who will control the parish’s legal representation. The council had planned to create a new position for a council attorney who would be chosen by the council and serve at its pleasure. The measure was up for introduction last week and would… Continue reading →

Expect vicous political battle between Donald Villere, Rick Danielson for Mandeville mayor

Rick Danielson

When Mandeville’s voters go to the polls March 5, they’ll be faced with two Donalds. Yes, brash New York billionaire Donald Trump will be on the Republican presidential ballot, but further down, another Donald will be fighting for his political life. That would be Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere, who is locked in a battle for his… Continue reading →

Slidell man convicted of aggravated rape of 5-year-old girl

A St. Tammany Parish jury deliberated less than two hours Wednesday before convicting Terral Brand, 33, of attempted aggravated rape of a 5-year-old girl who had been left in his care, according to Lisa Page, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Warren Montgomery. The girl’s mother had left her with Brand in October 2013 so that the mother… Continue reading →

Longtime Slidell Police Department dog dies

Photo provided by Slidell Police Department -- Chase, the 15-year-old retired K-9 who died Monday. ORG XMIT: 1SwOe24PLfM2swNKedZq

Chase, a dog that joined the Slidell Police Department in 2003, helped catch nearly 100 suspects in almost 10 years on the job, according to department spokesman Sgt. Daniel Seuzeneau, but the 15-year-old German shepherd succumbed to a spinal cord disorder Monday. Chase, who retired from duty in 2013, suffered from degenerative myelopathy, a… Continue reading →

Former lawyer for St. Tammany School Board faces ethics charges for alleged double-dipping

Advocate file photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  Harry Pastuszek Jr., attorney for the St. Tammany Parish School Board

Harry Pastuszek Jr., a member of former north shore District Attorney Walter Reed’s inner circle, has been charged by the state Ethics Board with a raft of violations related to his lucrative and controversial contract with the St. Tammany Parish School Board. The probe by the Ethics Board followed a series of 2014 Continue reading →

Parish leaders ask for voice in Louisiana’s budget debate

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister addresses the media after a meeting of southeast Louisiana parish officials Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, at the St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers in Mandeville.

Saying they want “a place at the table,” 13 south Louisiana parish presidents gathered in St. Tammany Parish on Tuesday and urged state lawmakers to consult them during Louisiana’s upcoming budget debate. The meeting was convened by St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister and included parish presidents from around the New Orleans and Baton… Continue reading →

Slidell awards contract for street, sidewalk, drainage work in area hit hard by Katrina

Slidell’s efforts to repair damage Hurricane Katrina caused to its streets and underground utilities took a leap forward last week, when the City Council voted to accept a $5.4 million bid for work in the Schneider Canal drainage basin, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. Magnolia Construction LLC submitted the low… Continue reading →

Mandeville woman accused of stealing $99,000 from dentist’s practice

A woman who is accused to stealing $99,000 from a Mandeville dentist is facing more than 240 counts, including fraud, identity theft and other crimes, Mandeville Police said. Katie Lykins, 33, was booked Friday after an investigation revealed she had been paying her mortgage, insurance, cable, phone and electricity bills with funds from the dentist’s office where… Continue reading →

North shore agencies launch new cooperative protocol for handling sex-assault cases

St. Tammany and Washington parishes are taking a new team approach to investigating and prosecuting sexual assaults, a process that St. Tammany Parish Coroner Charles Preston said will focus on victims and make prosecution of their assailants more efficient. Victims will be examined by a specially trained nurse instead of emergency room physicians who must… Continue reading →

'Greatest thing that's happened' to WWII vet as he finally gets Warren Easton letterman jacket, diploma in surprise ceremony

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Michael Decker, right,  is all smiles Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, as he tries on a new Warren Easton High School letter jacket, 73 years after he earned it, during a ceremony at the Trace Senior Living Community in Covington. Bill Myers of the Recognition Company, left, and Tony Hull, head coach of the Warren Easton football team, presented Decker with the jacket. Decker was a member of the Warren Easton 1942 state championship football team. Though he had enough credits to graduate at the end of the school year, Decker left early without graduating to serve in the Marines in World War II. David Garland, president of the board of directors for Warren Easton Charter High School, presented Decker with his 1943 high school diploma.

In the fall of 1942, Michael Decker anchored the Warren Easton Fighting Eagles state champion football team as a center on offense and a linebacker on defense. But before he completed his senior year, Decker laid down his shoulder pads to take up a rifle as a Marine, and he headed off to the Pacific to fight in… Continue reading →

Man accused of masturbating, driving naked on lakefront pleads guilty to obscenity offense

A man accused of driving naked along Mandeville’s lakefront in a Cadillac and masturbating during an incident last summer has pleaded guilty to obscenity and been sentenced to five years of probation and a $1,000 fine, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s office said. Keith Cangiamilla, 51, of Mandeville, offered his plea to… Continue reading →

St. Tammany president sets sights on cultural arts district, parish-owned mental health campus and continued Safe Haven development for second term

Pat Brister Candidate president St. Tammany arish

Two weeks after her swearing-in for a second term, St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister laid out goals Monday that include continued development of Safe Haven, the parish-owned mental health campus, and a cultural arts district that she said will be a top priority. Brister was surrounded by parish councilmen Steve Stefancik and T.J. Smith, Covington… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Coroner’s Office still fighting lawsuit by official fired by former coroner

Former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan is expected to regain his freedom in May when he finishes serving a state sentence for theft. But while his debt to society is soon to be paid, the public office that he ransacked as coroner is still paying for his actions, including an expensive civil lawsuit filed by… Continue reading →

Two die in head-on crash Friday evening on La. 25 near Covington

Two people died Friday evening in a two-vehicle crash on La. 25 just north of Covington, State Police said. The victims were identified as Edith R. Brown, 82, of Mandeville, and Joseph Cyprian Jr., 83, of Folsom. Troopers were dispatched to the crash site shortly after 6 p.m. They determined that Brown was driving… Continue reading →

St. Tammany officials report overall drop in crime

Crime declined on the whole in St. Tammany Parish in 2015 compared with the prior year, officials said, with only the city of Slidell showing what the police department there described as a small increase. St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain said crime in unincorporated parts of the parish was the second-lowest in a five-year period. Violent… Continue reading →

Former utility clerk for Pearl River booked on theft of town money

A former utility clerk for Pearl River was arrested and booked on theft this week following an investigation by the state Legislative Auditor’s Office into money missing from the town’s bank account. Crystal Folse, who lives in Picayune, Mississippi, turned herself in to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday and was booked on felony… Continue reading →

Teenager walking to school killed by freight train in Slidell

A pedestrian was killed Wednesday morning after being struck by a train in Slidell, police said. (Photo provided by Slidell Police Department)

A teenager who was walking to school Wednesday morning with headphones on was killed when he was struck by a southbound Norfolk Southern freight train, Slidell police said. The victim was identified as 16-year-old James Pulsifer. The train’s conductor told police that the teen was walking down the center of the tracks. The conductor… Continue reading →

KKK recruiting fliers proclaiming 'We also have a dream' hit Covington driveways on MLK Day

While many marked Martin Luther King Day this week with speeches, marches and public gatherings, at least one person decided it would be a good time to recruit new members to the Ku Klux Klan. About two dozen fliers were tossed in Covington driveways sometime late Sunday or early Monday and were discovered by residents when… Continue reading →

Sentencing postponed for pastor expected to testify against Walter Reed

Jerry Wayne Cox

Jerry Wayne Cox, a Franklinton pastor with ties to former north shore District Attorney Walter Reed, will not be sentenced for structuring financial transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements until after Reed’s scheduled April trial on tax and fraud charges. Cox pleaded guilty to a single count in October and was scheduled to be sentenced Jan.… Continue reading →

Ethics Board seeks to revive charges against Mandeville mayor

Donald Villere

Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere is gearing up for what promises to be a bruising re-election campaign this spring. But even as he battles Councilman Rick Danielson for the city’s top spot, Villere will have to fight on a second front: The state Board of Ethics has appealed a September decision by a three-judge administrative law panel to dismiss… Continue reading →

Slidell Memorial Hospital, Ochsner Health System kickoff new partnership

Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Health System kicked off a partnership Tuesday that was first announced in April. Bill Davis, chief executive officer of Slidell Memorial, will oversee operations of both hospitals, Ochsner President and CEO Warner Thomas said. Brad Goodson, chief executive officer of Ochsner Medical Center North Shore, will have expanded duties as chief… Continue reading →

Construction of new fire station on Airport Road underway

Location of new fire station

St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 broke ground on its eighth fire station last week, and fire officials said the new location at Airport Road and Meadows Boulevard will shorten response times and could help lower insurance premiums in that area. The $1.4 million project, which has been planned for years, was delayed… Continue reading →

Financing in place to begin building marina at Slidell Heritage Park

Progress on plans to create a marina in Slidell’s Heritage Park has been as meandering and slow-moving as the bayous that snake through St. Tammany Parish, but the long-awaited project is finally getting close to launch. The Slidell City Council voted last week to provide $600,000 to meet the city’s share of a federal grant to… Continue reading →

Slidell city workers, elected officials to get 2.5 percent raises

The Slidell City Council agreed this week to give all city employees, including its own members, a midyear 2.5 percent raise with the adoption of a supplemental budget. The supplemental budget boosts the city’s operating budget for the year by $197,200. The raise, which covers only the final five months of the fiscal year, accounts for… Continue reading →

Man charged with arson and 32 counts of attempted murder in Slidell apartment fire

David Rutledge

The Slidell man who is accused of setting fire to the Act X apartments near Slidell, igniting a blaze that injured no one but forced the dramatic rescue of several residents, has been formally charged with aggravated arson and 32 counts of attempted second degree murder. The District Attorney’s office filed a formal bill of… Continue reading →

St. Tammany sheriff-elect names transition team

Five months before he takes over from Sheriff Jack Strain, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff-elect Randy Smith has named the team that will guide the transition. The team includes Mandeville lawyers Chadwick Collings and Tommy Discon; Leslie Long, the St. Tammany Parish finance director; Pastor Lawrence Weathersby, of Slidell; Harold Bartholomew, an assistant district attorney;… Continue reading →

Public invited to review St. Tammany social studies textbooks

Beginning this month, the public will be able to review samples of social studies textbooks that the St. Tammany Parish School Board is considering buying for the next school year. Students in grades third through 12th will have new textbooks for the fall semester, and the school system will have to order the books by April… Continue reading →

Caught urinating on Causeway, Mandeville mayor asked for break from police, another official

Donald Villere

Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere, who was given a citation for public urination on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway last Thursday, asked the officer writing the ticket for “a little help being (that) he was running for re-election,” according to a police report obtained by The New Orleans Advocate through a public records request. When that didn’t work, Villere… Continue reading →