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Members elect new fire chief

Ponchatoula Volunteer Fire Department members have voted Stormy Joiner to be their chief effective Jan. 1, ending current Chief Rodney Drude's term.
Drude has held the position since 2013.
"It wasn't by my choice, but that's the . . .


Snow and Ashes


Photo Courtesy of Amite Fire Chief Bruce Cutrere

NIGHT FIRE -- Amite firefighters with the help of three other local departments work to put out a fire Friday night on Lathers Road south of the Velma community.



BY TORI P. SAVOY reporter@hammondstar.com
As he stood amid the ash and remains of the place he called home for over 30 years, Herman Lathers expressed hope and confidence.
"God is going to take care of us," he said.
Lathers and . . .


'One Night in Bethlehem'


WORK DAY -- Larry and Tina Thonn whitewash a structure that will be a set piece for the Caesar scene in Calvary Christian Church's "One Night in Bethlehem" experience Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Randall Road.



by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Volunteers dressed sets, adjusted costumes and rehearsed dances last week as they put the final touches on this year's production of "One Night in Bethlehem."
This will be the 10th . . .


'A Christmas Carol'


SPOOKY VISITOR -- Dara Drum and Madison Perez rehearse a scene for their performance in "A Christmas Carol" at St. Thomas Aquinas tonight and Sunday at 7 p.m.



The beloved story of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" takes a new twist this weekend on the stage of the St. Thomas Aquinas Berryland Theatre.
Remaining showtimes are tonight and Sunday at 7 p.m. Admission is $7 for students . . .


Winter Wonderland


Snowman photo courtesy of Nicole McCullough Belmonte of Ponchatoula



By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Sanding and salting had to be halted at one point Friday because the snow was coming down too quickly and steadily for the methods to create traction on roads and bridges.
Tangipahoa . . .


Cold affects some events

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Southeastern Louisiana University has set commencement today at two hours later than planned due to concerns about icy road conditions.
The university has rescheduled the graduation . . .


Cajun Frosty


Photo courtesy of Darci Goodwin

ALBANY NEIGHBORS -- Families and friends gather around their Cajun Frosty on Friday. Shown are Heath Brunies, Timmy Morgan, April Morgan, Darci Goodwin, Haiden Goodwin, Penny Brunies, Rachel Woods, David Woods, Peyton Woods, Scarlet Brunies, Camryn Woods, Sarah Foster and David Foster.



By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
He started out as an average snowman but then grew to become an 8-foot giant lovingly formed by neighboring families and friends.
Dubbed the Cajun Frosty, he was born in a . . .


Cajun Frosty


Photo courtesy of Darci Goodwin

ALBANY NEIGHBORS -- Families and friends gather around their Cajun Frosty on Friday. Shown are Heath Brunies, Timmy Morgan, April Morgan, Darci Goodwin, Haiden Goodwin, Penny Brunies, Rachel Woods, David Woods, Peyton Woods, Scarlet Brunies, Camryn Woods, Sarah Foster and David Foster.



By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
He started out as an average snowman but then grew to become an 8-foot giant lovingly formed by neighboring families and friends.
Dubbed the Cajun Frosty, he was born in a . . .


Storm Benji freezes parish

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Winter Storm Benji quietly covered Tangipahoa Parish in snow and ice late Thursday into Friday afternoon.
Although as of Friday afternoon the wintry conditions had resulted in no major . . .


High school graduation dates scheduled for May

The Tangipahoa Parish School Board has approved the following high school graduation dates:
Exiting Pathways -- Thursday, May 3
Loranger -- Wednesday, May 9
Independence -- Thursday, May 10
Kentwood -- Friday, May 11
Sumner -- . . .


Hammond Police Blotter

Nov. 27
Assist other agency on Morris Road at Vineyard Road
Residential burglary on the 1400 block of Hooks Drive
Schedule I narcotics on the 300 block of East Thomas Street
Simple battery on West Robinson Street at Northwest . . .


Crash results in death of Kentwood man, 21


Two unknown males are suspected of allegedly stealing an iPhone X from Verizon in Hammond Square.



State police believe speed was a contributing factor in the wreck that resulted in the death of Derek Jerel Martin, 21, of Kentwood, Thursday on Louisiana Highway 1054 near the intersection of North River Road.
Louisiana State . . .


Pleas taken in 21st Judicial District Court

The following people appeared in court Monday and pleaded no contest to crimes, including attempted murder, in front of Judge Douglas Hughes:
Jerroy Brumfield, 29, of Kentwood, will be sentenced on Jan. 23 after he pleaded no . . .


Cold weather brings fire concerns

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
One of the most traditional items found in homes during the holidays, a Christmas tree, also poses one of the highest potential fire risks.
This and other decorations, coupled with the onset . . .


Two-inch snow expected

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Parts of Tangipahoa Parish will likely see an inch or two of accumulated snow this morning, weather officials said.
Wintry precipitation after midnight will continue cooling surface areas, . . .


Arguments in jail case to be heard

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards and parish government officials will present arguments to Judge Jeff Johnson on Dec. 15 in the civil lawsuit over the jail's funding.
The . . .


Defendant in Loranger slaying facing March pretrial conference

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
The man accused of murdering a Loranger woman in October 2016 will have pretrial conference March 16.
Brian Gregory Anthony, 31, of Albany, is charged with second degree murder, . . .


Murder defendants to return for pretrial hearings

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
A murder defendant in the Grace Lamonte homicide case will have a hearing Feb. 26 to consider pretrial motions.
Attorneys for Ronald Dean Bandy of Hammond, who is accused of being . . .


Man to serve 10 years for illegal bond activity

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
A Hammond man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading no contest to illegal consideration for criminal bail bonds and drug charges Tuesday.
Specifically, Ronald Berry, 41, . . .


Church treats Amite council before meeting

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Amite City Council meeting was short and sweet Tuesday night, made sweeter by the dinner provided by House on the Rock church.
After council members, city administrators and attendees helped . . .


Man gets 12 years for sex offenses

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
A Ponchatoula man has pleaded no contest to having pornography involving juveniles, including victims under the age of 13, as well as committing video voyeurism.
Stephen Chupko, 32, . . .


William Dopp




William Dopp, a senior from Loranger High School, placed second in the Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition in New Orleans just a few months ago. He was awarded $500.
He placed first in the same competition the previous year.
For . . .


Board wants educator as chief

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Tangipahoa Parish School Board members say they aim to do a nationwide search for the next superintendent.
Superintendent Mark Kolwe announced his retirement at the board meeting . . .


Safety advised for cold weather

With the Tangipahoa Parish's increasing chances of seeing wintry weather late today and early Friday, state police are urging safe driving and Entergy is recommending setting the thermostat to 68 degrees to keep control of energy . . .


Hammond man gets 10 years for attempted murder

Hammond resident Jeremy Jones Sr. will serve 10 years with the department of corrections for attempted second degree murder.
The 24-year-old was found guilty by a Tangipahoa Parish jury in November.
According to the 21st . . .


It's Snowing!


Actually, it snows every year at the Columbia Theatre in the "Nutcracker" snow scene.

Hammond Ballet Company will present "The Nutcracker" Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with a cast of more than 100 including professional dancers, guest artists and excellent dancers from 11 parishes.


Sheriff arrests suspect in Baton Rouge shooting


TOOM



Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards and sheriff's deputies recently arrested Taher Toom, 53, of Hammond, in connection with a fatal shooting in Baton Rouge.
Toom is accused of fatally shooting Zakaria Toom, 50, around 1:45 . . .


Snow slightly possible Friday

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Tangipahoa Parish may see some snow as a cold front moves through southeast Louisiana Thursday night.
Temperatures will approach freezing after midnight into early Friday morning before all . . .


Victim's family troubled by parole

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Family members of fatal shooting victim Greg McGary have taken issue with the parole eligibility of the man who was convicted for the shooting.
Rashad Evans of Ponchatoula was released Nov. . . .


Victim's family troubled by parole

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Family members of fatal shooting victim Greg McGary have taken issue with the parole eligibility of the man who was convicted for the shooting.
Rashad Evans of Ponchatoula was released Nov. . . .


Court hears from investigator about infant's murder

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
The investigation of the murder of infant Da'Quavien "DJ" Collier is relying in part on testimony from children who were at the scene of the crime.
Suanne Guaraggi, a juvenile . . .


Jayden LeBlanc and James Teel


LeBlanc, Lexi and Teel



James Teel enjoyed a meal and the Christmas festivities with his daughter and his dog in downtown Ponchatoula Friday night.
Born and raised in Ponchatoula, Teel has lived there his whole life, as have generations of his family. . . .


Shooter in homicide case out of prison

by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
A man sentenced for fatally shooting a Ponchatoula resident was released on supervised parole last month after being transferred to a state facility in September.
Rashad Evans of Ponchatoula . . .


'Green Book'


Photos by Connor Raborn

PLACES, EVERYONE -- Hammond Police Officer Jennifer Payne stops traffic on East Thomas Street so that vintage cars used in filming a scene for "Green Book" can cross the intersection to get in places.



by Connor Raborn crime@hammondstar.com
Downtown Hammond starred in a delicate balance of daily life and Hollywood action Monday.
Pedestrians about their usual business on East Thomas and North Cypress streets stopped to watch as . . .


Ponchatoula lights up


Photo by Connor Raborn

LIGHT THE WAY - Christmas lights hang over a sidewalk in downtown Ponchatoula, creating a festive glow on passersby.



'Deputy Susie' will serve as Amite parade's grand marshal


GRAND MARSHAL -- Deputy Susie Cambre will serve as the grand marshal of the annual Amite City Christmas Parade on Thursday at 6 p.m.



Deputy Susie Cambre will serve as the grand marshal of the annual Amite City Christmas parade on Thursday.
Hosted by the Amite Chamber of Commerce, the parade will roll at 6 p.m. through the downtown streets.
The theme this year . . .


Court continues homicide cases

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Homicide cases scheduled to go to trial this week were continued to Jan. 23.
Raheem Doby, 27, is facing two counts of first degree murder and one count of armed robbery. He is one of . . .


Board to consider Kolwe tonight

BY TORI P. SAVOY reporter@hammondstar.com
The Tangipahoa Parish School Board will consider extending School Superintendent Mark Kolwe's contract to June 2019 during a meeting set to start tonight at 6:30.
Kolwe has been . . .


Loranger Middle School announces honor roll

Loranger Middle School announces the following students made the honor roll for the second six-weeks period:
5th Grade
4.0 -- Holden Beliele, Suri Billingsley, Brandon Boudreaux, Maia Boudreaux, Emilie Currier, Chase Davis, Aaron . . .