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July 06, 2020

WPSS 2020-2021 School Calendar

On May 28, 2020, the WP School Board adopted a REVISED school calendar for 2020-2021. In order to maximize instructional time, days were added to the calendar. Should the WP Fair Committee decide to cancel the Fair, that week will become an instructional week for students. Also, if Mardi Gras is cancelled, those will be instructional days as well.

WPSS Reopening Plan 2020-2021

Have questions about the reopening of school in Washington Parish for the 2020-2021 year? Email them to WPCOVID@WPSB.INFO. An FAQ will be updated on the WPSB website based on questions received. 

The Washington Parish School System is planning to begin school on August 6, 2020 in a traditional manner. However, the school system has developed a plan for each possible phase in which schools may be required to open due to COVID-19. These plans are based on guidance from the LA Department of Education, the LA Department of Public Health, & the LA Governor’s Office. It is subject to change as guidance from these lead agencies change.

Washington Parish Jail Bookings July 4-5, 2020

Steven Hunt was booked on the charges of Domestic Abuse Battery (3rd Offense), Domestic Abuse/Child Endangerment (2 counts), Disturbing the Peace/Drunkenness, Allowing Unlicensed Minor to Drive, Child Restraint Violation (2 counts), and Criminal Damage to Property Under 500
Chester Alsobrooks was booked on the charges of No Bike Headlight, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Schedule II Drugs (2 counts)
Kevin Blackmon was booked on the charges of Driving While Intoxicated (2nd Offense), Careless Operation, Expired License Plate, and Open Container in Vehicle

Abita Man Indicted for Murder, Sexual Abuse of an Animal, and Drug Possession

District Attorney Warren Montgomery announces that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury has indicted
John Jacob Jenkins (49) of Abita Springs on charges of second degree murder, sexual abuse of an animal, and possession of a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance.

Jenkins is accused of killing Jennifer Deblonde Jacob (37) on October 7, 2019. He also is accused of “knowingly and intentionally filming, distributing, or possessing pornographic images of a person and an animal engaged in sexual contact.”

The grand jury also indicted Angela Lynn Griffin (47) of Covington, on a charge of sexual abuse of an animal in connection with the case.

Assistant District Attorney Blake Peters presented the case to the grand jury. An arraignment has been set for Aug. 25 before District Judge Raymond Childress.

Click here for previous related story.

Grand Jury Indicts Lacombe Man In Murder of Girlfriend

District Attorney Warren Montgomery announces that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury indicted
Fernando Randolph Cortez (26) of Lacombe Thursday (July 3, 2020) on a charge of second degree murder. Cortez is accused of stabbing to death Sandra Aldridge, his live-in girlfriend, on April 17, 2020. The case has been assigned to District Judge William J. Knight.

The St. Tammany Sheriff's Office previously reported that Cortez called 911 to report that he had stabbed his girlfriend and himself during in altercation at their residence. Deputies located the mutilated body of a deceased female inside the residence.

Cortez was still at the residence when deputies arrived, and he became combative, forcing deputies to use non-life-threatening means to subdue him. Once in custody, he was transported to a local hospital where he received treatment for non-life threatening stab wounds to his face and shoulder area. Cortez reportedly told deputies his stab wounds were self-inflicted.

Upon his release from the hospital, Cortez was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail for Second-Degree.

Assistant District Attorney William Macke presented the case to the grand jury.

Click here for the previous related story.

Franklinton Police Make Arrest in June Arson Case

On June 3, 2020 the Franklinton Police Department responded to an aggravated arson at a residence
on Bene Street. On arrival Officers located a fire which was quickly extinguished. Officers obtained video surveillance from the residence with images of two individuals pouring an accelerate and lighting a fire. The video was uploaded to FPD Social Media pages and, with the public’s assistance, both individuals were identified. One of the suspected arsonists was determined to be a juvenile (age 16) and the other an adult identified as Mardeontae J. Lee (age 22) of Franklinton. The juvenile’s identity is not being released due to his age.

On June 20, 2020, Patrol Officers located the juvenile in Franklinton The juvenile was interviewed by and reportedly confessed to his involvement in the crime. Detectives were unable to locate Lee and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

On July 6, 2020, Detectives arrested Lee at his residence without incident. Lee was charged with 3 counts attempted first degree murder (Felony), 1 count aggravated arson (Felony), 1 count contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile (Felony) and 1 count simple possession of marijuana (Misdemeanor). The investigation is on-going and it is believed to be in retaliation for an earlier homicide which occurred on June 1, 2020 where Paul Robinson was arrested.

Chief Brown acknowledges the outstanding work of FPD Investigators for their relentless pursuit of those responsible. Chief Brown went on to thank the community for their assistance in identifying both individuals.

Veterans Park in Washington Parish Dedicated on the 4th

On the 4th of July, 2020, a group of approximately 75 persons gathered at the intersection of Dollar
Road and Highway 10 in Washington Parish to celebrate the dedication of the Veterans Memorial Park.

Louisiana State Senator Beth Mizell was the emcee of the event and reviewed how the park developed from an idea to the realization of a park to recognize veterans - past, present, and future. American Legion members were present to play taps and make a 21 gun salute.

The property is provided by Louisiana State University, funding is from unused funds to bring "The Wall That Heals" (a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memoria) to Franklinton in 2018, and the Washington Parish Government will maintain the park.

Today's Message from Judge Beth Wolfe

You’ll probably never appear in court, but If you do, you want a process that is fair and just. Judge Beth Wolfe has the experience to serve you on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.

Follow her on Facebook and visit her website.

Local Weather Forecast for the Next Few Days

For an extended forecast and more details, go to our weather page.

Today in History for July 6th

AP Top Stories July 6, 2020 AM

July 05, 2020

Driver Dies in Wrong-Way Crash on Interstate 55

On Saturday, July 4, 2020 after 1:00 am, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to
a fatal crash on Interstate 55 south of LA 10 in Tangipahoa Parish. The crash claimed the life of 23-year-old Hannah D. Mcallister of Hammond.

The initial investigation led Troopers to determine that Mcallister was southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 55 in a Kia Optima. Mcallister’s vehicle impacted an Infinity QX6. The Infinity was then pushed off the roadway where it overturned and caught fire. After the first impact, Mcallister’s vehicle rotated in front of a northbound Dodge Charger that impacted it on its passenger side. Mcallister died as a result of injuries she sustained in the crash. All of the drivers and occupants involved were restrained and impairment is suspected as a contributing factor. As part of the investigation, a blood sample was collected for scientific analysis from Mcallister.

Obituary

Paula Jean Kennedy
November 12, 1958 - July 02, 2020

Obituary

John Nelson Parker
January 26, 1952 - July 3, 2020

Obituary

Inez Kennedy Crain
August 27, 1919 - July 3, 2020

Today's Message from Judge Beth Wolfe

Judge Wolfe's priorities in life are faith, family, and the Constitution of the United States.

Follow her on Facebook and visit her website.

Today in History for July 5th

July 04, 2020

Washington Parish Jail Bookings July 3, 2020

Keith Byais was booked on the charge of Domestic Abuse/Aggravated Assault
Tasharae Myers was booked on the charges of Theft of Firearm and Convicted Felon in Possession of Firearm
Carnell Smoot was booked on the charges of Monetary Instrument Abuse/Counterfeit Moneys (3 counts) and Theft Less Than 1000 (3 counts)

Local Weather Forecast for the Next Few Days

For an extended forecast and more details, go to our weather page.

Today in History for July 4th

July 03, 2020

Obituary

Frank "Zack" Myers
June 16, 1956 - July 02, 2020

Obituary

Louise Raborn
September 19, 1928 - July 02, 2020

Washington Parish Jail Bookings July 1-2, 2020

Ryan Smith was booked on the charges of Domestic Abuse Battery/Strangulation, Domestic Abuse/Child Endangerment, Failure to Appear, and Probation Violation
Roy Burton was booked on the charge of Probation and Parole Hold
Ryan Fortenberry was booked on the charges of Burglary of Inhabited Dwelling, Theft of Firearm, and Convicted Felon in Possession of Firearm

Today's Message from Judge Beth Wolfe

Have you early voted yet? Early voting is open today and tomorrow from 8:30AM until 6:00PM each day. GEAUX VOTE early for Judge Wolfe!

Follow her on Facebook and visit her website.

Local Weather Forecast for the Next Few Days

For an extended forecast and more details, go to our weather page.

Today in History for July 3rd

AP Top Stories July 3, 2020 AM

July 02, 2020

Have You Seen Me?

My name is Spike. I am a 10-month old dark tabby kitten with a bobtail. My human friend is a little boy who is heartbroken without me. Please help me get back to him. If you have seen me, please call 985-515-0666.

WPSO Jails MS. Man for Domestic Violence

A visit to his ex-girlfriend’s house in Washington Parish on Tuesday (June 30, 2020) landed Ryan
Nicco Smith (age 35 and a resident of Carriere, MS) in the Washington Parish Jail. Smith entered the woman’s residence without permission and committed battery on her in the presence of her child.

The victim called the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office for assistance. Patrol Sgt. Michael Thomas responded, but Smith had fled the scene when Sgt. Thomas arrived, likely headed to his residence in Mississippi. Sgt. Thomas broadcast an alert, asking other deputies to be on the lookout for the vehicle Smith was driving. Patrol Deputy Chad Cassard intercepted Smith in eastern Washington Parish and took him into custody.

Smith had outstanding warrants and was booked on those warrants as well as current charges. In addition to warrants for probation violation and failure to appear in court, Smith is charged with domestic violence strangulation and domestic violence child endangerment.

Smith has one previous stay in the Washington Parish Jail. In 2010 he was arrested by the Louisiana State Police for driving while intoxicated.

“Poor decisions, coupled with raw emotion, always produce negative results,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal, “and this incident is a good example. Three main priorities of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office are investigation of crimes, capture of criminals and protection of victims. I appreciate the response of our officers to protect this victim and to apprehend Mr. Smith.”

Message from Washington Parish School System Superintendent Frances Varnado

Washington Parish Families & Community,

I hope you and your families are healthy, safe, and well. I am coming to you today with several updates regarding the important planning our district and school administrators have been engaging in over the last several weeks as we prepare to welcome students and employees physically back to campus in August as scheduled.

Despite the uncertainty that lies with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to implementing a safe, efficient, and equitable return to school in accordance with guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). As a district, we are using available information and collaborating with local and state leaders to carefully and strategically plan for multiple potential scenarios for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Our commitment to our families is to provide strong learning opportunities for all students regardless of the scenario.

For the past several weeks, our teams have been planning for three possibilities for students’ return to campuses in August. Using guidance and expert knowledge from across the state, and knowing that health restrictions may call us to switch between scenarios, we are currently planning for the following types of learning situations:
  • Traditional learning with schools open to students as usual while following CDC recommended safety guidelines for class sizes, social distancing, and movement;
  • Hybrid learning with schools open to groups of students using a combination of traditional and distance learning; and,
  • Distance learning with teacher led remote instruction and learning.
Later this week, Superintendent of Education, Dr. Cade Brumley, will be providing additional guidance regarding the start of school. Upon receiving that guidance, our administrators will be working around-the-clock to secure plans to provide instruction while at the same time addressing the physical, mental, and social well-being of our students, and the needs of the community.

As we get further clarity regarding what families can anticipate, we will share that information. Parents and families can expect continued updates to be found on our school and district websites and Facebook accounts over the coming weeks.

While there are still many unknowns in the coming months, I want to assure our families that our school system is working hard to ensure that children will begin the upcoming year as safely and successfully as possible, given the current situation. As always, the health and safety of our students and employees remain our top priorities.

Frances Varnado
Superintendent
Washington Parish School System

Obituary

Carlton E. Smith, Sr.
July 21, 1935 - July 01, 2020

Obituary

Belva Jean Blough
June 27, 1946 - July 1, 2020

Bogalusa Man Dies in Crash After Hitting a Deer

On Wednesday, July 1, 2020 shortly before 8:30 pm, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to a fatal crash on LA 60 west of LA 1072 in Washington Parish. The crash claimed the life of 55-year-old John W. Helton of Bogalusa.

The initial investigation led Troopers to determine that Helton was eastbound on LA 60 in a Chevrolet C1500 pickup when a deer entered the roadway in front of him. Helton’s vehicle impacted the deer and then exited the roadway into a ditch where it began to overturn. Helton was unrestrained and sustained fatal injuries during the crash. He was pronounced deceased on scene by the Washington Parish Coroner’s office.

Obituary

Lucille Varnado Weary
May 26, 1926 - June 29, 2020

Today's Message from Judge Beth Wolfe

Early voting is OPEN! Whether you vote today, or on Election Day (July 11th), vote for the most experienced candidate. Vote for Judge Beth Wolfe for 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.

Follow her on Facebook and visit her website.

Local Weather Forecast for the Next Few Days

For an extended forecast and more details, go to our weather page.


Today in History for July 2nd

AP Top Stories July 2, 2020 AM

July 01, 2020

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC: Re: Washington Parish Government Offices

Washington Parish Government Offices remain closed to the public except for the following services:
1. Delivery of packages
2. Logging Permits (985.335.1307) please call for service
3. Occupational License (985.335.1304 or 1306) please call
4. Others by appointment only, please call 985.839.7825

Entrance to the administrative office of Washington Parish Government requires the following compliance:
1. “no touch” temperature will be taken.
2. We will log the date, name and phone contact information of the visitor.
3. Mask or face coverings are required, may be provided upon request.
4. Hand sanitizer is provided at multiple locations for frequent use.

Reopening of School 2020 – 2021: Message From Bogalusa City Schools Superintendent Lisa Tanner

To all Bogalusa City Schools’ families:

I know that each of you are concerned about what our year will look like when school reopens in the fall. Our preference will always be to provide educational opportunities for students face-to-face in our buildings while also providing opportunities for students to be served online if they choose. How we engage students in learning will be determined largely by the re-opening phase of our state.

As part of our planning process, the Bogalusa City School System has formed a Stay Strong 2020 task force, made up of several sub-committees. Parent feedback has been received through surveys and teacher/parent calls discussing preferences for educating our students and your children. This feedback, along with employee surveys and guidance from the CDC, LDH, and LDOE will guide our decision making.

The following is a general guideline for what to expect when returning to school in August.

4th of July Message from Sheriff Randy Seal

I wish each and every person an exciting and safe 4th of July holiday. This special day in the life of our country is a celebration of our independence 244 years ago; thus, the day is also referred to as
Independence Day.

It was July 4, 1776 that the 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. This new Declaration of Independence was first published by The Pennsylvania Evening Post and has since become our nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty. Since that time, our nation has grown to include fifty states, each of which is self-governed, yet united as one.

A year later, on July 4, 1777, citizens of Philadelphia heard public readings of the Declaration and celebrated with fireworks, parades and other displays of patriotism to the new nation. July 4th was officially established by Congress as Independence Day in 1870 and we have continued to celebrate each year with firework displays, parades, picnics and other events.

As you celebrate July 4th this year, I remind you to practice safety, whether it is in the preparation and consumption of food or enjoying at-home fireworks. Always remember that fireworks can pose a fire and safety hazard for those who use them. I recommend that anyone shooting fireworks follow a few safety rules.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher available and know how to operate it properly.
  • Provide adult supervision for children around fireworks at all times.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Point fireworks away from homes and keep them away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
  • Always have a bucket of water or a connected water hose nearby.
If you are traveling this weekend, remember to always wear your seat belt and never drive if you are under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs. Not only do you risk your life if you drive impaired, you put occupants of other vehicles at risk also. If you must travel on our roadways, use a sober designated driver.

During this period of COVID-19 awareness as Louisiana remains in Phase 2, I remind you to practice safe social distancing and wear a mask if you are around persons other than close family members.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not remind everyone to honor our grand old flag which is the emblem of the land we love. For a touching lesson about the importance of our flag, go to your preferred search engine and find the lyrics to George M. Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

I stand for our flag on this 4th of July weekend and I encourage you to do the same as you have a fun, safe and healthy 4th of July celebration.

Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal

Obituary

Anthony Joseph Morris
January 27, 1955 - June 25, 2020

Obituary

Lemenda Rester Pope
April 14, 1929 - June 28, 2020

Washington Parish Jail Bookings June 30, 2020

Lanika Warren was booked on the charges of Contempt of Court (2 counts), Domestic Abuse Battery, Domestic Abuse Aggravated Battery, and Resisting an Officer
Stanley Jones was booked on the charge of Protective Order Violation
Lance Smith was booked on the charge of Fugitive Other Jurisdiction
Thomas Herrington was booked on the charges of Fugitive Other Jurisdiction (2 counts)

Today's Message from Judge Beth Wolfe

Have you early voted yet? Early voting is open this week through Saturday from 8:30AM until 6:00PM each day. GEAUX VOTE early for Judge Wolfe!

Follow her on Facebook and visit her website.

Local Weather Forecast for the Next Few Days

For an extended forecast and more details, go to our weather page.


Today in History for July 1st

AP Top Stories July 1, 2020 AM

June 30, 2020

Woman Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Animal Cruelty In Case Of Dog With Missing Legs

District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced that Lynette Victor, age 51 and of Slidell, pleaded
guilty Tuesday (June 30, 2020) to aggravated cruelty to animals in a case involving a dog named Buddy.

District Judge Raymond S. Childress sentenced Victor to seven years in the Department of Corrections, which was suspended, three years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and restitution for veterinary expenses. Victor also is prohibited from owning any animals during the duration of her probation, and he ordered a mental health evaluation and any recommended treatment. The charge does not carry mandatory jail time, and the judge has discretion to sentence a first-time offender to probation.

“We are happy that we achieved justice in this case,” Montgomery said. “We were all outraged, as you were, by the criminal mistreatment of Buddy, which is why we pursued the most serious charge warranted by the facts of the case. We appreciate the judge’s order that the defendant may not own or possess an animal as a part of her sentence. We also urge would-be pet owners to consider the major responsibilities of owning and taking care of a pet properly before bringing a pet into your life. We are thankful for the tremendous community support and concern for Buddy, who is now doing well.”

Victor was arrested in September 2019, after Buddy, a mixed Dachshund-Chihuahua, was discovered, abandoned in a trailer park, suffering from severe malnutrition and internal parasites, and missing his two hind legs. Victor told investigators that the dog, who belonged to her daughter, had been shot by an unknown person in February and had begun dragging his legs. The mother and daughter took him to a veterinarian but were not able to afford the recommended treatment, and the veterinarian sent them home with prescribed medication and instructions to wrap the dog’s legs. The daughter created a “Go Fund Me” campaign to assist with the dog’s medical care but was unable to generate any funding.

The mother admitted that, since the dog belonged to her daughter, she required her daughter to take care of him. The daughter claimed she must have bandaged the dog’s legs too tightly, causing them to fall off.

Buddy, who has a new family, has recovered from his injuries and is mobile, thanks to a special wheelchair.

Click here for a previous related story.

This Week on "Washington Parish Community Connect"

Each week WP Community Connect Video Series features different local community organizations and the resources they provide for Washington Parish. This week features Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette, Jamie Bruins Cyprian, and Bogalusa Councilwoman Gloria Kates.

Greensburg Police Officer Arrested on Multiple Charges

On Monday, June 29, 2020 before 3:00 PM, Investigators from the Louisiana State Police Special
Victims Unit arrested 20-year-old Greensburg Police Officer Cauy Christopher Phillips of Amite.

The Special Victims Unit began an investigation in May 2020 into accusations that Phillips had inappropriately battered a juvenile in a sexual way. After an interview, Phillips was booked into the St. Helena Parish Jail for 3 counts of Sexual Battery and 2 counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

The LSP Special Victims Unit works to rescue and seek justice for the victims of crimes involving the exploitation of children and the trafficking of humans for sex or labor. The public plays an important role in identifying suspects accused of these crimes, and is urged to report criminal or suspicious activity. The Louisiana State Police online reporting system is available to the public through an anonymous reporting form that is submitted to the appropriate investigators. The form can be found by visiting http://la-safe.org/?fbclid=IwAR2WgC1P1h3oEG_A4DhvOzwL8wsAgZmuj_0-RLi0EWq3CXrAAhqJENi2QOY and clicking on the “Suspicious Activity” link.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office is joining other local law enforcement agencies in a
coordinated effort to reduce impaired driving fatalities during the Fourth of July weekend. As part of the state-wide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, additional deputies will be assigned to saturated patrol efforts to target impaired drivers.

The campaign, which is coordinated and funded by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, will also include DWI checkpoints. “We want people to know that we are out there, not just this weekend, but every day looking for drivers that are under the influence, and we hope these checkpoints serve as a deterrent to drinking and driving. If you choose to consume alcohol, don’t drive.”

Remember that driving under the influence of illegal narcotics can also lead to a DWI arrest. In fact, some legal medications can impair your ability to drive. Always read warning labels and instructions on prescription and over-the-counter medications. “Our attitudes and actions have to change when it comes to drunk driving,” Sheriff Smith said. “If you choose to drink and drive—and it is a choice—you risk not only your own life but the lives of innocent people in our community.”

Sheriff Smith thanks citizens for their cooperation and patience when passing through these checkpoints and for recognizing the importance of raising awareness for safety issues.

STPSO Requesting the Public's Help in Two Hit & Runs

(BOLO 1)

(BOLO 2)


Man Arrested After Fleeing From Franklinton Police

The Franklinton Police Department has advised of the arrest yesterday (Monday, June 29, 2020) of
Zachary Scott Davis (29) on the charges of Aggravated Flight from an Officer and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Davis was arrested on a warrant after an incident on June 23, 2020. At that time, FPD officers were notified of a reckless driver entering the town limits. Officers attempted to make a traffic stop; however, Davis reportedly fled in his vehicle at a high rate of speed.

On June 29, 2020, officers and WPSO deputies located Davis at a residence on Joby Magee Rd. Davis was taken into custody and, at the time of arrest, was reportedly found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. Davis was booked into the Washington Parish Jail as a fugitive on a warrant of Aggravated Flight from an Officer and additionally charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Chief Brown expresses his gratitude to the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office for their assistance and to the work by FPD officers.

Obituary

Reverend Joseph "Joe" Blackwell
December 07, 1926 - June 26, 2020

Washington Parish Jail Bookings June 29, 2020

Bethany Hunt was booked on the charge of Simple Battery With Injury
Louanna Primeaux was booked on the charge of Simple Battery With Injury
Jeffrey Miley was booked on the charges of Failure to Appear (2 counts), Contempt of Court (3 counts), and Fugitive Other Jurisdiction
Zachary Davis was booked on the charges of Fugitive Other Jurisdiction, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Aggravated Flight from an Officer
Lenard Lee was booked on the charges of Failure to Appear (2 counts), Failure to Pay Fine, and Contempt of Court (3 counts)

Local Weather Forecast for the Next Few Days

For an extended forecast and more details, go to our weather page.

Today in History for June 30th

AP Top Stories June 30, 2020 AM