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Category Archives: Ascension

Contractor given $780,000 bail in Livingston; more counts await in … – The Advocate

Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:36 pm

LIVINGSTON A state district judge in Livingston Parish has set bail at $780,000 for a Baton Rouge contractor facing more than three dozen counts of defrauding homeowners and contracting without a license in that parish.

Matthew J. Morris, 39, remained Friday in Livingston Parish Detention Center in Livingston and has been booked with 40 counts filed by sheriff’s deputies and police in Walker and Denham Springs, online jail records show.

The counts apply to 10 alleged victims in the town, city and parish, authorities have said. Judge Elizabeth “Beth” Wolfe of the 21st Judicial District Court set the bail Friday.

Morris, owner of Complete Construction Contractors, has been accused of using a complicated contract and billing system to run up construction bills primarily on victims of the August flood in multiple jurisdictions for work that these residents contend was not done or for which they were grossly overcharged. He has already been arrested on 100 counts related to 24 victims in five jurisdictions, with more counts and victims possible, authorities said.

Even if Morris can make bail in Livingston, which will require a cash bond, Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies have a hold on him. They want to book him on five more counts in that parish, deputies said.

Baton Rouge contractor Matthew Morris hasagain been arrested on fraud, this time in Walker

He was first arrested in Ascension Feb. 8 on dozens of counts in 13 cases but was able to leave jail Feb. 10 on $635,000 bail. He was rearrested Tuesday to be booked in Baton Rouge and then brought to Livingston to be booked on counts there.

Ascension Sheriff’s Det. Lt. Chris Fontenot said deputies want Morris on two counts of residential contractor fraud, two counts of insurance fraud and one count of theft of assets from the aged.

Those charges apply to two more victims. Fontenot added that in addition to those two new cases, deputies are investigating possible charges on two more for a total of 17 cases.

Lori Steele, spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish sheriff, said deputies in that parish also are investigating more cases involving Morris, in addition to the eight for which counts have been filed.

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.

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Contractor given $780,000 bail in Livingston; more counts await in … – The Advocate

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Church of the Ascension

Posted: at 3:36 pm

Regular Mass Schedule: Saturday 5:30pm Sunday 8:45am and 10:30am 12:15pm (Nursery available @ 8:45am & 10:30am)

Tuesday 7:00pm Wednesday-Friday 9:15am Gluten Free Host now available, see Sacristan prior to Mass. Reconciliation: Saturday 4:30pm

First Friday Eucharistic Adoration 10:00am to 6:00pm in Chapel

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Engineer says Ascension Parish elevation standards for construction are appropriate for most of the parish, with … – The Advocate

Posted: February 24, 2017 at 6:41 pm

GONZALESParish consulting engineer Michael Songy concluded Thursday that a new parish analysis of the August flood suggests the parishs elevation standards for new construction are sufficient for much of the parish.

But pressed by some council members about parish flood mitigation rules, Songy also acknowledged that to avoid flooding in the parishs lowest areas, it might be worth looking at requiring builders to elevate homes on piers or try other home-raising methods that dont require dirt.

Songy warned, however, that such rules would have to apply equally across a region or a subdivision so that all homes follow them and some are not later allowed to build on slab homes raised with dirt.

I certainly think it can be done, but it has to be done globally with an entire area or an entire development. Based upon what Im seeing here, yes, I think theres merit to that discussion, Songy said.

Songy offered the assessment at a council workshop as he presented a new analysis of the August flood in Ascension and how high the water got.

Louisiana State Climatologist Barry Keim also spoke to the council about the weather system that dropped all the rain that resulted in the flooding. Keim said rain in some areas north of Ascension Parish grossly exceeded what would be expected to fall in a 1,000-year rainfall event, or a rain that has a 0.1 percent chance of happening in a given year.

Councilmen Todd Lambert and Benny Johnson used the analysiss findings to raise questions about how the parish requires developers to account for the flooding impact on mounds of dirt used in new construction.

The fill and other drainage development rules prove controversial because residents often blame the fill required for elevation of new homes for neighboring drainage problems.

The August flood has been no exception, but Songy, as many parish officials and developers have in the past, defended the rules because no dirt can be imported into a new project and detention ponds must be built to account for the lost drainage storage capacity created by development.

Stirring the question about the elevation policies was Songys new flood analysis, which compiled a variety of data to come up with flood elevation measurements across the parish.

The analysis found that, with the exception of a limited area which roughly corresponds with the St. Amant and Lake areas near the Amite River, water levels matched within a foot to what would have been expected in a 100-year flood.

But, in the St. Amant and Lake areas of far eastern Ascension, flood water rose up as much as 2 feet higher than the predicted height of the 100-year flood.

I think the fact that if water got pretty well right to the 100-year (flood elevation) and youre asking them to build their structures 1 foot above, I think, you know, thats certainly appropriate, Songy said of the elevation standards.

When Songy offered his take on the parish elevation standards, he noted an exception for the St. Amant and Lake areas.

Parish standards require new homes be built 1 foot higher than the elevation expected in a 100-year flood, which is a flood that has a 1 percent chance of happening in a given year.

Questioned later, Songy said his firm did not yet know why those areas of St. Amant and Lake saw much higher water but are a topic for further study.

The 100-year-flood is deemed the benchmark risk level on federal flood insurance rate map. Those within the 100-year flood plain must have flood insurance on their homes if they have bank loans.

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.

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Engineer says Ascension Parish elevation standards for construction are appropriate for most of the parish, with … – The Advocate

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Ascension cancer patients to benefit from community gala – Donaldsonville Chief

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Ascension Parish community members helped take the fight against cancer forward by hosting the second annual Gonzales Gala, Saturday, Jan. 28 at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens.

The $150,000 raised will benefit local patients at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Gonzales, as well as advance local flood relief efforts.

The Gonzales Gala is a signature event of the newly founded Gonzales Area Foundation, which was established by DeEtte DeArmond, Ronnie Daigle, Wendy Daigle and Melanie Boudreaux. The gala planning committee consisted of dedicated community volunteers, representing various industries and geographic locations, along with DeArmond and Ronnie Daigle serving as co-chairs.

Our committees mantra has always been: the more we give, the better life gets in Ascension Parish, and especially for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center patients, DeArmond said. People we all know and love are being treated at the Center in Gonzales. And many of them have expressed to us how comfortable, convenient, and reassuring it is for them to be treated locally and receive the highest quality care. We want to ensure these services are always there for anyone in the area who needs them.

A sold-out crowd enjoyed a festive evening, including dinner, a live auction and musical entertainment. Speakers provided an update on the Centers progress and how funds raised will directly impact the more than 750 patients treated each year.

Mary Bird Perkins and St. Elizabeth Hospital have partnered for years to provide high-quality cancer services in Ascension Parish. Today, the Center offers the most advanced cancer-fighting technology and vital on-site services including nutritional and social services, early detection and outreach and patient financial counseling.

We practice without compromise, and we provide care for everyone who needs us. Fundraisers like the gala allow us to continue doing that, said Maurice King, MD, radiation oncologist at the Center. This generous effort makes a strong statement about the community, especially with the devastating flooding in Ascension Parishits a clear demonstration that the kindness, compassion and dedication toward neighbors transcends all.

A highlight of the event was the triumphant ringing of the Sound of Hope bell by a breast cancer survivor in front of all gala attendees. Ringing the bell after a patients last treatment has become a celebratory tradition at the Center, signifying completion of this phase of their journey and offering encouragement to others whose day has yet to come.

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center thanks the many sponsors who made the successful evening possible, including: R.J. Daigle and Sons Contractors, Price LeBlanc Toyota/Nissan/Lexus and Houmas House Plantation and Gardens.

For sponsorship or ticket information for the 2018 gala, contact DeArmond at (225) 715-1561 or Boudreaux at (225) 803-6322.

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. For more information, please visit

Contributed report

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Ascension cancer patients to benefit from community gala – Donaldsonville Chief

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Teen in custody related to Ascension cyberbullying investigation – WBRZ

Posted: at 1:30 pm

GEISMAR – A teenager was taken into custody at Dutchtown High School Wednesday related to a cyberbullying investigation.

The sheriff’s office handled the arrest, but could not provide the teenager’s name due to their age. However, WBRZ has learned the teenager is a 16-year-old student at Dutchtown High. The situation remains under investigation, the Ascension Parish Sheriffs Office said, and could not provide specifics about the case.

The Ascension Parish School System said it was not able to speak on the situation.

The school district and sheriff’s office are tied together in a strong anti-bullying campaign that solicits anonymous tips from students at each of the district’s schools. It’s not clear if the arrest Wednesday came about after a complaint to the tip line, though.

The campaign is called “Report Bullying!” It’s built around a text message reporting system that is monitored by the sheriff’s office. To report bullying, students can text to 847411, type in “APSO” and then text their tip. Click HERE to link to the website.


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Teen in custody related to Ascension cyberbullying investigation – WBRZ

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Adriondack ascension to nationals for three Durango Nordic skiers – The Durango Herald

Posted: at 1:30 pm

Three Durangoans can book their trip to the land of miracles.

Days before the 37th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, Durango Nordic skiers took to their home course looking to earn a trip to the site of those historic Games.

After the final Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifier series race of the year on their home track at the Durango Nordic Center, Cobe Freeburn, Logan Moore and Maggie Wigton all qualified for the 2017 Junior Nationals to be held March 3-11 in Lake Placid, host of the 1937 and 1980 Olympics.

Marit May also was selected as an alternate for nationals. Durango Nordic placed fifth in the Colorado Cup Team series.

Racing at the Durango Nordic Center was held Saturday and Sunday under varying weather conditions. Mass start classic races were held Saturday. Durangos team had increased numbers without having to travel for the event, and medals came flooding in.

The snow was so variable on the course that it was nearly impossible to find a wax that worked everywhere all the time, head coach Paige Elliot said in a news release.

Our athletes stayed mentally tough, though, and put in some really strong efforts.

Skiing on the 7.5-kilometer course, Wigton finished sixth overall and was the top 20-and-under finisher in the 20- and 18-and-under category. May was 18th, and Carter Reiter placed 21st.

Rebecca Bowers led Durangos 16-and-under girls in the 5K race in 17th place.

In th 16-and-under boys competition, Freeburn placed sixth with Moore in seventh. Luke Tichi took 10th, while Paul Knight and Miles Broncos were 32nd and 34th, respectively.

The 14- and 12-and-under skiers competed on a 3K course. Ruth Holcomb finished third in 14-and-under. Halle Moore and Georgia Mynatt also finished in the top 10 in sixth and eighth, respectively. Ruby May was 22nd, Hannah Garvey placed 25th, Lilly Tichi was close behind in 26th and Bailey Freeman earned 28th.

Wiley Corra earned a silver medal in second, while Ethan Craig was 12th, and Aiden Quayle placed 25th.

Maggie Holcomb claimed silver in the 12-and-under girls division. Kiri May was 10th, Nina Quayle was 13th and Zoe Freeman placed 14th.

Fred Reiter was seventh for the 12-and-under boys. Tanner Coddington placed 20th.

Betty Holcomb skied to sixth on the 1.5K course for 10-and-under athletes. Mira Quayle was eighth.

James Garvey earned bronze for 10-and-under boys. Andre Craig was fourth, and Rei Rasmussen placed sixth.

Sunday featured individual start skate races. The snow fell heavy, making it even more difficult on the athletes.

Wigton placed sixth overall and was first among 20-and-under girls for the second consecutive day. May was 15th, and Reiter took 17th. Alma Wold also came in 25th.

Bowers placed 17th for the 16-and-under girls. In that age group for boys, Moore earned gold in first, the best result of his young career. Luke Tichi was eighth, Freeburn placed 11th, Knight was 32nd and Broncos took 34th.

Mynatt earned her first podium of the year in second place in the 14-and-under girls category. Ruth Holcomb was fourth, Halle Moore was eighth, Ruby May placed 21st, Hannah Garvey earned 23rd and Bailey Freeman took 28th.

Corra earned a gold medal in first for the 14-and-under boys. Ethan Craig placed fifth, and Aiden Quayle was 25th.

For the 12-and-under girls, Maggie Holcomb skied to bronze. Kiri May was eighth, Nina Quayle was 13th and Zoe Freeman placed 14th.

Fred Reiter was 11th for the 12-and-under boys, while Coddington took 16th.

Betty Holcomb placed sixth for the 10-and-under girls on a 2K course. Mira Quayle was seventh. In the boys race, James Garvey earned his second bronze of the weekend, while Andre Craig was sixth and Rasmussen eighth.

We had athletes who have been racing with the team for years skiing alongside athletes who started just this year, Elliott said. I was so impressed and pleased with not only how hard they worked but how supportive everybody was of one another.

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Adriondack ascension to nationals for three Durango Nordic skiers – The Durango Herald

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Volunteers take a chilly plunge to benefit Special Olympics – The Advocate

Posted: at 1:30 pm

Wrapped inside a pink flamingo inner tube, Brandy Carroll, from Maurepas, was ready to brave the foggy, 61-degree weather to jump into the pond at Cabelas.

Alongside Carroll was her daughter, Josie, wearing a doughnut-shaped inner tube.

We used to do fundraising while Josie played softball in high school, Carroll said. She graduated, but we wanted to continue helping others. This is something everybody enjoys watching, and its something different.

Carroll and other jumpers helped raise money for the Special Olympics in the Freezin For a Reason ninth annual Polar Plunge.

Special Olympics Louisiana is a statewide organization that promotes understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities.

More than 200 jumpers registered to plunge. The cost to jump was $50 a person.

The event also included a silent auction, raffle and food.

Last year, the event raised $90,000, while this years goal was $100,000, according to Casey Minton, director of communications for Special Olympics Louisiana.

The event brought out jumpers from many law enforcement agencies, including the Ascension Parish Sheriffs Office, Galvez Volunteer Fire Department and the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Its very interesting that people in Louisiana think its too cold here to plunge, said Pat Carpenter, president and CEO of Special Olympics of Louisiana. But, there are those who brave the cold for Special Olympics. They usually do it for two reasons. Their friends challenged them, and its a crazy way to have a great time while helping out the Special Olympics.

We have school groups, church groups and of course, law enforcement participating, Carpenter added. Law enforcement have been big supporters because they realize they are helping the athletes become more empowered. Through their involvement, they are teaching people without disabilities to accept those with disabilities.

Lt. Col. Ward Webb, of the Ascension Parish Sheriffs Office, dressed in a Captain America costume. Webb is one of the biggest fundraisers for the plunge and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Webb focuses on fundraising in the Ascension area.

This gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing we are helping others, Webb said. Its a real pleasure and joy.

There were those outside of law enforcement who also raised money and jumped into the pond, including the St. Amant High Student Council.

Also taking the plunge was Lydia Roberts, a longtime participant and a Special Olympics athlete who jumped into the cold water after a bit of coaxing from her mermaid-costumed team called Lydias Sea of Acceptance.

We are helping to raise money because all of our lives have been affected positively by Lydia, said Anna Robertson, 19, a member of Lydias Sea of Acceptance.

Wearing a sparkling top and a tulle mermaid tail, Robertson said before the jump it was her first year and she was scared.

After the jump, Robertson admitted, It wasnt horrible, but it was cold. I would definitely do it again. Its worth it.

Carroll, who wore matching flower hats with her daughter, Josie, said the jump was not as bad as I thought it would be.

Josie Carroll disagreed.

It was worse than I thought it would be, Carroll said. Im freezing.

But mom and daughter both said they would do it again given the chance.

Special Olympics Louisiana offers year-round programs for over 14,830 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in all 64 parishes with 15,000 volunteers.

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Volunteers take a chilly plunge to benefit Special Olympics – The Advocate

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Contestants chosen for 2017 Ascension Idol competition – The Advocate

Posted: at 1:30 pm

Singers for the 2017 Ascension Idol competition have been chosen from auditions held Feb. 2, where judges chose 16 youths to compete to become the seventh Ascension Idol.

Ascension Idol is an annual fundraiser for the Ascension Fund, which provides educational grants to area teachers.

Contestants include Brooklyn Burt, of Central Middle; Aniya Ally, Julia Falgout, Emily Galeano, Ariana Robinson and Baylee Sullivan, all of Dutchtown High; Cadence Jenkins and Caydence Lachney, both of Dutchtown Middle; Cameron Soulier, of East Ascension High; Julia DeGeneres, of Prairieville Middle; Taye-Rafael Jackson, of River Parishes Community College/Donaldsonville High; Maya Fernbaugh, of River Parishes Community College/Dutchtown High; and Lauren Delhaye, Daiton Reed, Shalome Remondet and Avery White, all of St. Amant High.

The competition will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Centers Trademart Building, hosted by Matt Pryor and 2014 Miss Louisiana Lacey Sanchez. Alison Duboc, Clayton Decoteau, Julie Jones and Mike Waguespack will serve as judges.

Prizes are $1,000 in cash for the champion, a Samsung Smart HDTV for second place and Beats by Dre headphones for third place.

Tickets are $20 each for VIP front section seating, $10 for general admission and $5 for students; visit

Call Ascension Fund Executive Director Jennifer deFrances at (225) 290-3322 for details.

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Ascension Parish students explore healthcare careers at medical program – The Advocate

Posted: at 1:30 pm

Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center and Our Lady of the Lake College-A Franciscan University in Baton Rouge recently presented the CI: Healthcare program for high school juniors and seniors.

The program provided students the opportunity to explore nursing and allied health fields. Students rotated through departments to gain experience of a variety of medical career choices.

On Jan. 13, 62 students were able to investigate and participate in several health care fields and given the opportunity to observe firsthand procedures used in each field. Our Lady of the Lake College students and faculty were on hand to answer questions about specific careers.

Attending of Ascension Parish were Micah Daggs, Jordan Diez and Alyssa Gros, of Ascension Catholic High School; Alexis Johnson, of Donaldsonville High School; Terrence Carlin and Lindsey Oxford, of Dutchtown High School; Julia LeBlanc, of East Ascension High School; Kaylee Dencausse, Kristen Faggard and Renee Firmin, of St. Amant High School; and Evan Thompson and Madison Campbell, of Ascension Christian High School.

CLAHEC is a nonprofit, community-based agency that serves as a training and information resource for health and education professionals for a 17-parish region, according to a news release. A primary goal of CLAHEC is to identify local needs and develop programs that will encourage young people to consider a career in health care and to practice in rural and underserved communities.

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Ascension Parish students explore healthcare careers at medical program – The Advocate

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Girls basketball roundup: East Ascension surprised by Pineville in regional round – The Advocate

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:27 am

PINEVILLE The second-seeded East Ascension High girls basketball team had its 23-game winning streak and season come to end Monday night.

Krystal Freeman hit two free throws with 14.7 seconds left, giving No. 18 seed Pineville a 48-46 over the Spartans in a Class 5A nonselect regional-round game. Freeman scored a game-high 25 points for the winners, who beat Walker to open the playoffs last week.

EAHS (24-2) had a final chance to tie the score or win but turned the ball over with 10 seconds remaining as Freeman made the game-clinching steal. Diniaa McZeal led EAHS with 14 points; Lariah Ealy added 11 for the District 5-5A champion Spartans.

BRUSLY 70, MARKSVILLE 57: Caitlyn Williams scored a game-high 30 points to help ninth-seeded Brusly (22-11) advance to the Class 3A nonselect quarterfinals.

Angel Bradford added 19 points, and Morgan Spriggs had 10 for the Panthers of District 6-3A. Brusly gained an early advantage by outscoring MHS 16-8 in the first quarter.

Teeona Barkley led No. 8 Marksville with 28 points.

SOUTHERN LAB 80, ASCENSION EPISCOPAL 33: The fourth-seeded Kittens got a game-high 26 points from Stephanie Stewart in a Division IV select win.

LSU commitment Cailain Williams had 18 points, and Silas Payne scored 12 for SLHS.

HOLDEN 64, HICKS 29: In Class B, defending state champion Holden (27-4) outscored Hicks 19-0 in the first quarter and never looked back. K.K. Kropog set the pace for the No. 4 Rockets with 15 points. Kaylee Hughes added 14 and Jaycee Hughes finished with 10.

Kropog had three 3-pointers for Holden. Kelsey McFarland led Hicks with eight points.

ALBANY 60, DONALDSONVILLE 45: Cameron Woods finished with 18 points to lead sixth-seeded Albany (21-14) past No. 11 Donaldsonville (19-14) in a game that matched teams from area 3A districts.

Mahogany Williams contributed 11 for the Hornets. Mya Chapman also had 11 for Donaldsonville.

EPISCOPAL 33, SACRED HEART-New Orleans 18: Shannon Ahmad scored eight points to lead a balanced attack as Episcopal (19-11) advanced in Division III select. The Knights played in their main gym for the first time since Augusts historic flooding.

Tera Snell and Corrine Talbot each had seven points for Episcopal.

HANNAN 39, CHRISTIAN LIFE 38: Also in Division III select, No. 7 Hannan (16-12) held off a late charge from CLA.

Kennedy Martin and Miranda Kramer each had 11 points for Hannan. Joy Jones and Jewel Jones each had 11 for No. 10 seed Christian Life (19-8).

DUNHAM 44, ST. CHARLES CATHOLIC 43: Kelsey Day finished with 16 points to lead No. 10 Dunham (17-12) past seventh-seeded St. Charles in Division III select.

The Tigers made six 3-pointers. Hannah Barrow finished with 11 points.

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