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'Incredible brains'

Photo by Connor Raborn

TOUR -- Intralox's Chris Verdigets gives a tour of the Hammond facility to Nathalie Simon of Laitram and Tom Abernathy of Woodward, the contractor that built the plant's new expansion.

By Connor Raborn Crime@hammondstar.com
Intralox's Hammond location welcomed members of Tangipahoa Parish government to a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday to celebrate its 60,000-square-foot expansion.
The new space creates room for 40 new machines to mold plastic . . . more »


Tradition lives on at Courtyard Cafe

Photo by Tori Savoy

SERENE -- A view of the outdoor area behind Courtyard Cafe where apartments are located. On the other side of the brick wall is a fountain and seating area for cafe customers.

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
On a Tuesday afternoon inside Courtyard Cafe, the Wongs greeted customers and chatted with old friends, sometimes popping behind the counter to help make coffee, crepes and Hawaiian ice at the family's recently opened . . . more »


Arts Council presents theatre to students

Photo by Charley Vance

IT'S SHOW TIME -- The Talented Theatre students from Chesbrough and Spring Creek elementary schools meet the cast of "Beauty and the Beast." From left are Macy Chauvin, Mattie Titus, Celise Simpson, Mariah Robertson, Mary Brown, Ivy Roberts, Emilee King, Katelyn Gordon and Kayden McIntyre.

The Amite Arts Council recently sponsored three performances of "Beauty and the Beast" performed by a professional touring theatre troupe.
Educational Theatre performed "Beauty And The Beast" for about 1,100 Amite area elementary and middle school students inside t . . . more »


Hammond Police Blotter

Oct. 8
Disturbance - domestic violence on Morris Road
Shoplifting on the 2000 block of Highway 190 East
Possession of stolen things at Rende's Quick Stop on University Avenue
Oct. 9
Burglary of a business on the 100 block of Pride Drive
Shoplifting on the 1700 bloc . . . more »


Economist presents sunny forecast

Photo by Lauren Langlois

PLANNING FOR FUTURE -- Business leaders from across Tangipahoa Parish, including major employers North Oaks Health System and Southeastern Louisiana University, listen to economist Loren Scott's Louisiana Economic Outlook for the next two years.

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Well-respected economist Loren Scott predicts Tangipahoa Parish will add about 1,000 jobs to its economy over the next two years.
Scott returned to Hammond Tuesday to present his annual economic forecast that looks at . . . more »


Folk singer will be honored at ceremony


By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Songwriting comes naturally to Jim Oertling, a St. Tammany Parish resident who works with Options.
A renowned folk singer/songwriter, Oertling will be honored at a ceremony Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Covington Brew Hous . . . more »


School spending recommended

By Tori P. Savoy Reporter@hammondstar.com
A new lighting system is in the works for the Independence Magnet High School football field.
The Tangipahoa Parish School Board's capital outlay committee will recommend seeking bids up to $125,000 for the lighting system. . . . more »


Professor urges recording history

By Connor Raborn Crime@hammondstar.com
One professor's desire to record his father's memories of war led to the creation of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies' oral history project.
The center, at Southeastern Louisiana University's library, is now home to . . . more »


Parish proclamation

Photo by Connor Raborn

DYSAUTONOMIA -- Tangipahoa Parish Council Chair Lionell Wells presents an official proclamation declaring October as Dysautonomia Awareness Month in Tangipahoa Parish to Carmen Gonzales, who has been diagnosed with dysautonomia. They are joined by Parish President Robby Miller, Clerk of Council Kristen Pecararo and Angelia Beadle, a parish government worker who also is diagnosed with dysautonomia. This is a category of medical conditions that cause malfunctions of the autonomic nervous system.


Pumpkin Center Pumpkins

Photo by Sandra Spano

'GOURD' GEOUS -- Just in time for the fall season, Herman Coates and daughter Jeanette LeBlanc show impressive looking pumpkins they grew at their place in Pumpkin Center. The larger pumpkin weighs 68 pounds and the other one weighs 45 pounds.


Poliscientist featured in Common Read

Photo from Southeastern Public Information Office

'COMMON READ' SPECIAL GUEST — Yuri Herrera, a prominent Mexican novelist and political scientist, will hold a series of events at Southeastern Louisiana University Monday (Oct. 23) as part of the university's Common Read program.

Prominent Mexican novelist and political scientist Yuri Herrera will visit Southeastern Louisiana University Monday as part of the institution's Common Read program.
Herrera, who teaches at Tulane University where he is a Mellon Fellow, will meet with students and . . . more »


Hammond Fire Reports

Oct. 10
Dispatched and cancelled en route to Stephenson Lane at 12:02 a.m.
Dispatched and cancelled en route to Range Road at 11:33 a.m.
Passenger vehicle fire on Martin Luther King Avenue at 5:28 p.m.; the entire engine compartment of a parked car was engul . . . more »


Elizabeth Rodriguez


Elizabeth Rodriguez of Ponchatoula spent part of her Monday afternoon dress shopping at Hammond Square with her 2-month-old and one of her best friends.
Rodriguez's graduation from Virginia College in Baton Rouge's surgical technology program this Friday is the occ . . . more »


Parish voters support changes

Most Tangipahoa Parish voters voted yes Saturday on the three proposed constitutional amendments that passed statewide.
Voter turnout for the parish, along with the state in general, was low. In Tangipahoa Parish, the unofficial voter turnout was around 11.8 percen . . . more »


Stewart pleads guilty to malfeasance

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
The former Tangipahoa Parish landfill manager pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of malfeasance in office Monday and received a suspended sentence as part of a plea deal.
Terrance Stewart, who was the m . . . more »


John Berry tells stories

AT THE COLUMBIA -- Singer and songwriter John Berry is one of four artists scheduled to participate in "Heart Behind the Music" at Columbia Theatre on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

By Tori P. Savoy Reporter@hammondstar.com
Singer and songwriter John Berry plans to do more than just perform Wednesday during his first visit to Hammond.
"I just love going to place that I've never been. Because typically all the stories I tell are new again, and . . . more »


Ponchatoula receives clean audit report

By Tori P. Savoy Reporter@hammondstar.com
The City of Ponchatoula received a clean financial audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30.
James, Lambert, Riggs & Associates presented the 2016-2017 audit report before the city council last week.
"The financi . . . more »


Sword-wielder arrested


Ponchatoula Police Department officers arrested Shawn Verret around 2 a.m. Sunday for allegedly walking into a bar wearing a mask and holding a samurai sword.
It was determined that earlier that night, Verret was involved in a verbal altercation with another man in . . . more »


'Good Schooling'

Photo by Connor Raborn

SOLUTION - A simple mesh hangs on the top edge of Ponchatoula Fire Departments main station on East Pine Street as the method by which the buildings bat infestation ended. Although bats were able to slip under the netting and the edge of the aluminum facing on the top of the building when they went flying at night, they were not able to reenter. Repairs on the aluminum facing to make it inaccessible to bats will begin this week.

By Connor Raborn Crime@hammondstar.com
Come guano or high water, Ponchatoula Volunteer Fire Department will not be prevented from serving its community.
A bat infestation at the agency's main station and flood damage in March and August to another station were two . . . more »


Parish plans for projects

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Tangipahoa Parish Council is set to vote Oct. 23 on its proposed operating and capital improvement budget for 2018. The budget was introduced at the most recent council meeting.
The total estimated cost for the five-ye . . . more »


Books, animals and pumpkins galore

FALLING FOR FALL -- While the weather felt more like summer on Saturday, it did not deter people from getting in the fall spirit at the parish library system's Free Book Festival, Autumn Adventure. Here Angelle Castella carefully selects the pumpkins for her family to decorate at the event.

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Fun abounded inside and outside the Hammond library branch on Saturday at the annual Free Book Festival that featured pumpkins, live theatre and of course books for all.
Just outside the library, families poked around . . . more »


Stanga wins clerk of court election

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Gary Stanga was elected to be the clerk of court for Tangipahoa Parish.
According to complete but unofficial results from the Secretary of State's Office, Stanga captured 79 percent or 7,327 votes while his opponent Ar . . . more »


Hammond Fire Reports

Oct. 6
Outside rubbish, trash or waste fire on Cannino Road at 12:08 a.m.; home owner was burning trees; fire was contained
Overheated motor on Cherry Pointe Loop at 1:50 p.m.; smoking motor, but no fire; car had stopped running; driver was picked up
Odor of . . . more »


Dollar General coming to Roseland

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Construction will soon begin on a Dollar General in the Town of Roseland.
According to Andrew Klein, permit specialist for Dorsey Development Companies LLC, construction of the store at 16073 Highway 10 should begin i . . . more »


New town hall open for business

Photo by Tori P. Savoy

MAYOR'S OFFICE -- Independence Mayor Angelo Mannino proudly sits in his new office with a deer head on the back wall behind his desk.

By Tori P. Savoy Reporter@hammondstar.com
After weeks of renovations, the new Independence City Hall is officially open for business.
Mayor Angelo Mannino said city operations moved into the old Whitney Bank building on Tuesday, and many local residents have been u . . . more »


Parish, towns to get water improvement grants from state

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Tangipahoa Parish Government and four municipalities in the parish have received grants from the state Community Water Enrichment Fund to improve the quality of drinking water.
The fund is under the state Division of . . . more »


Students tour fire station

Photo by Connor Raborn

HANDS ON -- Tucker Memorial Elementary School student Leah Reed takes up the hose at Ponchatoula Fire Department's main station Friday during a Fire Prevention Week program. Please see related photos on Page 3.


Kolwe open to meeting with Independence leaders

By Tori P. Savoy Reporter@hammondstar.com
Following comments at an Independence board meeting on Tuesday, School Superintendent Mark Kolwe said he is open to meeting with Mayor Angelo Mannino and his board to discuss some of their concerns.
Kolwe said he would be s . . . more »


Three sought in car burglaries

Surveillance footage

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying three subjects in connection to reports Wednesday of numerous vehicle burglaries and a report of a stolen vehicle in Landings Subdivision off Louisiana Highway 22 East, Ponchatoula.
Burglary detectiv . . . more »


Sheriff's office to host drug disposal

People wanting to anonymously dispose of unwanted and unused drugs will have the chance Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Night Out Against Crime Event in Memorial Park, 301 N. 6th St., Ponchatoula.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office will be there participating in National . . . more »


Jones, 22, of Hammond accused of sexual battery


Marquanvius Jones, 22, of Hammond, who is accused of committing sexual battery, was taken into custody Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office said.
Jones allegedly committed the sexual battery Aug. 23 at a residence in the Hammond area, the spok . . . more »


Infant dies after being left in car

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office began an investigation Wednesday into the death of an 8-month-old baby boy who was left in a car for a long period of time.
The baby was found unresponsive inside a vehicle parked outside ABC Academy, a Natalbany daycare, when the . . . more »



SUIT UP -- Independence firefighter Arthur Shar speaks to Independence Leadership Academy students in his fire gear after explaining the purpose of the suit's parts Thursday. The program was held as part of National Fire Prevention Week.

Photo by Connor Raborn

By Connor Raborn Crime@hammondstar.com
"Am I scary now?" Independence firefighter Arthur Shar asked as he put on each additional part of his protective gear at a fire prevention talk.
Shar and other staff of Independence Fire Department offered safety education to . . . more »


Former landfill manager will be in court Monday

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
A jury trial is scheduled to begin Monday for a former manager of the Tangipahoa Parish Landfill unless a plea deal is reached.
Terrance Stewart is scheduled to go before Judge Brenda Ricks. He is charged with two coun . . . more »


Whitlow: Education is key to overcoming poverty

Photo by Tori P. Savoy

WHITLOW -- Tangipahoa School Board President Mike Whitlow speaks at Hammond Rotary on Wednesday about the upcoming tax election and the school's current status.

By Tori P. Savoy Reporter@hammondstar.com
If upcoming votes match the responses from a past poll, Tangipahoa Parish School Board President Mike Whitlow said there is a good chance the three tax propositions on the Nov. 18 ballot will pass.
"There are a lot more peo . . . more »