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Independence residents brave heat to eat unique vegetable

CUCUZZA – Independence Italian Cultural Museum board member Larry Calmes shows Jerry Gulotta's winner for oddest-looking cucuzza at the museum's first annual Cucuzza Day on Saturday.

Photo by Connor Raborn

Some pronounce it "coo-coot-sa," while others favor the slang "ga-gootz."

Most people's mouths were too full of Sicilian delicacies at Independence Italian Cultural Museum on Saturday to overly concern themselves with speaking. They ignored the afternoon heat to . . . more »


Mississippi man killed in St. Helena Parish crash

Shortly before 5 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a single-vehicle fatal crash on Louisiana Highway 38 west of Louisiana Highway 43 in St. Helena Parish. The crash claimed the life of 36-year-old Douglas Glass of Osyka, Mi . . . more »


Troopers investigate five-vehicle fatal crash on I-12

Mandeville "" On Thursday Aug. 15, around 5:30 p.m., troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to a five-vehicle fatal crash on Interstate 12 near Louisiana Highway 1088. The crash claimed the life of 44-year-old Byron Lee Sanford of Laurel, MS.

T . . . more »


Faculty, staff receive awards at convocation

Photo courtesy of Southeastern

HONORED -- Southeastern Louisiana University opened the 2019-20 academic year Friday (Aug. 16) with its fall convocation that included presentation of the President's Awards for Excellence, the university's highest honor for faculty and staff. From left are award recipients Irene Nero, Benjamin Diller, Corliss Dupuy, Kent Neuerburg, and Dayne Sherman.

Southeastern Louisiana University opened the 2019-20 academic year Friday with its fall convocation that included presentation of the President's Awards for Excellence, the university's highest honor for faculty and staff.
The event also included announcement of ne . . . more »


New alternative: Reform

REHABILITATION -- Student Quincy Hooker works on an assignment at the Tangipahoa Alternative School, which has been revamped this school year to have more rigorous academics and more emotional and social support services.

Photo courtesy of Terran Perry

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Tangipahoa Alternative School has new leadership, and a new philosophy that focuses less on punishing and more on reforming students.
The school system partnered last school year with the organization Discipline Revolu . . . more »


Pastor: Service dogs welcome if under control

Photos provided by Russ Wood

SERVICE DOG -- This photo shows the Assistance Dogs of America license issued to Russ Wood's dog, Sargeant, who is certified in PTSD assistance.

By Jesse Brooks Crime@hammondstar.com
Service dogs are welcome in the First United Methodist Church of Ponchatoula during services as long as they are properly trained and their behavior is under control, said Rev. Jessica Lowe, the pastor.
Her comments come as a r . . . more »


Pugh pledges to unify city

By Jesse Brooks Crime@hammondstar.com
People have asked him to run for mayor to unify the City of Ponchatoula, said state Rep. Steve Pugh.
Pugh surprised many in the city by qualifying for the race the day before the deadline, joining a suddenly crowded field that . . . more »


Public can give input on request for rezoning

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Hammond City Council members will reconsider a rezoning request they had previously denied.
Jamestown Properties is seeking to rezone lots in the Hundred Oaks Subdivision on Old Covington Highway to subdivide the lots . . . more »


Joyce Hills, Shasta Bell

Joyce Hills, Shasta Bell

For Joyce Hills and Shasta Bell, the best thing about working at Rucker's Family Mart these days is it's a great way to escape the blistering summer heat.
Bell smiled as she revealed that she even wears a jacket while working at the checkout counter because the bui . . . more »


Police seek 'peeping tom'

WHO? -- Hammond police are trying to identify a suspected "peeping tom" who allegedly looked in the window of a teenage boy in the city.

Hammond police are asking the public to help identify a man who looked through a teenage boy's bedroom window about 11:18 p.m. Aug. 6 on Ozone Drive.
The person appears to have a medium-sized black tattoo on his upper left bicep.
Ozone Drive is off Hewitt Road betw . . . more »


Allen aims to strengthen downtown

PLUGGING AWAY -- Director of The Downtown Ponchatoula Revitalization Program Faith Allen dives deep into city structuring guides and research about making main street areas strong districts.

Photo by Jesse Brooks

By Jesse Brooks Crime@hammondstar.com
Having researched the accomplishments of Hammond's Downtown Development District since its establishment in 1984, Faith Allen says she wants to lay the groundwork for an organization that can give Ponchatoula similar potential. . . . more »


City needs another lagoon


By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Hammond urgently needs an added treatment pond at the sewer plant to be in compliance with the state and to prepare for future growth, says Mayor Pete Panepinto.
In an interview with the Daily Star Wednesday for an upd . . . more »


New businesses look to Independence

By Connor Raborn Reporter@hammondstar.com
New business is moving into the old train depot in Independence.
Robert Esponge, owner of Wolf Pack Nutrition in Loranger, told the board of aldermen Tuesday about plans to open a new location in the part of the depot which . . . more »


No one gets out of traffic duty

Photo provided by Chief Edwin Bergeron

TRAFFIC CHIEF- Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron directs morning school traffic as part of an initiative he started to take the pressure off of officers on duty. Bergeron's initiative is to assign office administration staff to school traffic for officer relief.

By Jesse Brooks Crime@hammondstar.com
No one in the Hammond Police Department, not even the chief himself, is exempt from school traffic duty.
Before school started this week, Chief Edwin Bergeron started an initiative for all department office administration staf . . . more »


Candidates lean in on community involvement

By Jesse Brooks Crime@hammondstar.com
Veronica Palmer, a Democrat running for Ponchatoula City Council's District B, is engaged in her first-ever political campaign on the promise of bringing more community involvement to the district.
"I am a lifelong resident, an . . . more »


Pedestrian bridge to be extended

Photo by Lauren Langlois

JW DAVIS PEDESTRIAN — JW Davis Drive's pedestrian bridge has had issues with a washed out embankment and the City of Hammond plans to extend the bridge by adding spans to secure it better.

By Lauren Langlois Staffwriter@hammondstar.com
Hammond city officials plan to extend JW Davis Drive's pedestrian bridge to make it safer after a heavy rain damaged the canal embankment below it.
The council agreed Tuesday to spend $30,770 to cover added work in the . . . more »


Feds charge woman with fraud


From AP and staff reports
Federal prosecutors in New Orleans have charged a Tangipahoa Parish woman with fraud in connection with a scheme to drug and steal from prostitution customers -- including one who died after being drugged.
The charges were filed Wednesday . . . more »