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The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
June 30, 2011     The Ponchatoula Times
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June 30, 2011

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TIMES ON WHEELS: 2011 Lexus CT 200h 0 REMINDER: Help Minutemen raise the flag at 8 a.m. Monday .:=::.."...H:"..:":.:r.":...:...r.hrvir !'-':!)]iq]: .ii!;'!=!'- ii. i!, ii,? ;qc:!...f;:fa....::q:. ...................... !, ii!;:) ":;.. .. ::/i=;!.;  i Pf"rT./.: ,:::. .... L) i::::i-.!!::' "iQi.J i&'.7,= c,..y.:::...-.. -,=- .... lV SPORTS: DUDEK; LIFE WITHOUT FANTASY LANCASTER; THE ,,,, l   .  CINCINNATI BUNGLES 2011-2012 Annual budget inside Page 2 THE NEWSPAPER OF AMERICA'8 ANTIQUE CiTY = www. ponchatoula.corn/ Fireworks show set for Saturday, July 2; time capsule to be buried after July 4 flag raising Times Report The annual Ponchatoula Fireworks Show at the Pon- chatoula Area Recreation District Park will light up the skies on Saturday, July 2. And on July 4, following the 8 a.m. raising of Ponchatoula's giant American Flag by the Minutemen organization, a his- toric time capsule will be buried downtown so Ponchatoulans in 2061 will have a glimpse of the city as it exists today. The recreation park will open to the public at noon on Satur- lay, entertainment will be fea- tured 2:30-8:30 p.m., with the fireworks set to begin at dusk. .Games and a Best Hamburger Cooking Contest and a Hot Dog eating contest are all planned for the big day. Sponsors of the Fireworks Show include: Ponchatoula Recreation District, City of Pon- hatoula, First Guaranty Bank, Ponchatoula Strawberry Fes- ival, Berryland Motors, and North Oaks. Following close on the excite- ment created when a time cap- sule buried 50 years ago during Ponchatoula's bi-centennial cel- ebrations was unearthed and opened, the capsule to be buried July 4 will be in the same loca- tion as the first one, next to the fire station on Railroad Avenue and Hickory. At the request of City Hall, The Ponchatoula Times has presented several recent news- papers depicting life here in our time to be placed in the time capsule. Harry McKneely and Son Funeral Home is donating a crematory vault to house the newspapers, photos, computer disks, and other memorabilia. The vault will then be placed inside a stainless steel capsule for burial atop a base of lime- stone next to the fire station. Its contents will not be seen again until the capsule is un- earthed in 2061. Police chief debunks brutality charges By BRYAN T. MeMAHON Still smarting from public accusations leveled against him at the June 13 meeting of the Ponchatoula City Council that his force is tainted by a "paramilitary demeanor" common among a youthful officer corps that especially targets black citizens. Police Chief Bry Layrisson spoke out in an exclusive interview Monday with The Ponchatoula Times. The chief was not allowed to defend his officers at the meet- ing because he had failed to request a spot on the council meeting agenda. He had come to the meeting with a computer disc and computer printouts in hand but was not allowed to share their contents with the council. He was not gagged in his Times interview, however, and a very different picture emerged than the one advanced at the council meeting by Gwendolyn Jones, who did secure a spot on the meeting agenda. She referred to the May 27 arrest of her son and a friend by Ponchatoula Police. Mrs. Jones at the council meeting said her son was tackled, kicked and beaten by police, who refused him access to his anti-seizure medicine after he was taken into custody. Sounds like an open and shut case of police brutality, right? Yes it does, until Chief Layris- son tells the police version of the incident. It turns out the computer disk he had brought with him to the council meeting but the council did not hear contained a recording of a 911 call for po- lice assistance from a citizen who believed he was about to be robbed by two black men who appeared to be wearing masks. Responding to the 911 call were officers Melvin McGary, Bronwynn Crosby, and Mark Perrin. They found Darius Her- rod and Tywain Jones at the PLEASE SEE PAGE 5 Ponchatoula zooming forward on major infrastructure projects By BRYAN T. McMAHON Proclaiming the $110,000 main street sidewalk project linking Eighth Street to the Berryland Shopping Center "75 percent com- plete," Mayor Bob Zabbia is now focused on building another five foot wide handicap accessible sidewalk on the city's east side, link- ing Fifth Street to Wayne Street. Zabbia is pursuing $337,000 in state and federal funds to pay for building the sidewalk on the north side of Pine Street where one does not now exist. Ponchatoula's share would be $47,00O. It is all part of the mayor's continuing drive to shore up the city's infrastructure. On Wednesday of this week he faced a full say meeting in Baton Rouge seeking an $800,000 block grant to pay for a major sewer project on the city's southwest side. And Zabbia is continually working to keep Ponchatoula ahead of stringent state re- quirements to improve the city's wastewater treatment system. On July 1 he will be submitting a schedule to the state for up- grading the system over three years. The crowning jewel of the city's vastly improved drinking water system will come with the erection of a third major water tower that will be electronically linked tb the existing two tow- ers to provide a dependable wa- ter source, not only for drinking but also for firefighting. "All three water wells have PLEASE SEE PAGE 5 mes THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 2011 30th YEAR NUMBER 37 50 CENTS Celebrate Independence Saturday and Monday Police hunt vandal who flooded Community Center ByRYAN T. "$IcMAHON Massive damage was inflicted on the Ponchatoula Community Center in the early hours of Saturday, June 25 when a vandal pic- tured on surveillance video used a purloined water hose to flood the first floor of the city's largest municipal building. Police know of no motive. Officials opening the building for a Saturday morning event were confronted with flood con- ditions that put the main floor under two to three inches of wa- ter, and several feet swamping the elevator shaft. 'We received a call Saturday morning when they were pre- paring the Community Center for a beauty contest," Police Chief Bry Layrisson told The Ponchatoula Times, adding: "The suspect used a garden hose taken from the library and ran it all night into the Community Center. All the floors will have to be redone, furniture was de- stroyed, and we're still waiting for the elevator specialist to in- spect the damage and give us a cost estimate for repairs, but obviously the cost of this van- dalism will be in the thousands of dollars." Chief Bry Layrisson (File Photo) Chief Layrisson said that a review of surveillance video showed that the damage oc- curred starting at 1:16 a.m. and the perpetrator was pictured on the video. Police are following those leads and welcome any and all information related to the crime. City to strip permits from scofflaws Times Report At the next meeting of the Ponchatoula City Council, Mayor Bob Zabbia will propose an additional tax on liquor permits in the city, and Zabbia says he is prepared to strip permits to do business from those who have not paid their city taxes. The move follows similar action in other municipalities, most recently in ' Independence. With the budget fresh in the minds of city leaders, new streams of income and collecting what is already owed have become a pri- ority. Mayor says he definitely wants to keep his job Times Report Qualifying for candidates interested in being elected to munici- pal offices in the next city election is scheduled for December 14-16 this year. The primary election will be held February 11, 2012 and March 10, 2012 has been slated as the date for the general election. Given rumors circulating of at least one former elected official set to vie for the mayor's post, current officeholder Bob Zabbia em- phatically stated that he will be a candidate to stay on as mayor. Pickup trucks rampage in Ponchatoula TPSO Report Tangipahoa Parfsh Sheriff information regarding two in- Daniel Edwards is asking for cidents which occurred in the your assistance in gathering PLEASE SEE PAGE 2 Progress being made on Flood of '83 case, says Jean-Paul Layrisson By BRYAN T. MeMAHON "I have very good news to report regarding the flood case," At- torney Jean-Paul Layrisson told The Ponchatoula Times, in re- sponse to a request for an update on what was a successful court case with a huge judgment in favor of the local victims of the Flood of 1983. Despite the victory in the courts, the victims have next to nothing to show for their suffer- ing. The courts ruled, and other courts upheld, the state was at fault because of its construc- tion of 1-12, creating a dam that held flood water and created havoc in the affected residential and business community when heavy rains fell in 1983. The amount of the judgment to-date, with interest, is over $300 million owed to the vic- tims. Layrisson reports, "Just this week the Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives have approved a budget that con- tains a $4 million appropria- tion to go with the $2 million appropriation we were able get last year. It's headed to the gov- ernor to sign. The money, once received by the administration, will then be a special trust ac- count for the benefit of the class and will be distributed at a time the court deems it appropriate to administer the claim s. "The hope istheir first pay- ments made with no strings at- tached (i.e. with no long term payout agreement finalized yet) will be the building blocks for an agreed long term payout and resolution of this decades old case. And long-term settle- ment or workout, once reached, will of course be presented to the court for approval and the court will give notice to all cli- ents who will have a chance to attend and speak (a fairness PLEASE SEE PAGE 3 OuR PONCHATO UL4 By OLE HARDHIDEfrhe Alligator You know that obnoxious hat of fake hair that Hardy Richard- son has been wearing around town? Ole Pinchpenny swiped it so he could pose up different people wearing it but only got as far as Coach Johnson when Hardy caught up to him and angrily de- manded its return. The idea had been to send it around the world so everyone from the pope to poets could have their pictures taken wearing the gross thing, and of course have their photos printed in The Ponchatoula Times. Well, justice was not to be denied. This week Scott Vaughan was brave enough to put his hands on Hardy's hairy fedora and he flung it into the active fireplace at Jacmel where the pelt burned like a Slow moving skunk in a forest fire. A man lay sprawled across three entire seats in the posh theater. When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the man, "Sorry, sir, but you're only allowed one seat." The man groaned but didn't budge. The usher became impatient. "Sir, if you don't get up from there rm going to have to call the manager." Again, the man just groaned, which infuriated the usher who turned and marched briskly back up the aisle in search of his manager. In a few mo- ments, both the usher and the manager returned and stood over the man. Together the two of them tried repeatedly to move him, but with no success. Finally, they summoned the police. The Cop surveyed the situation briefly then asked, "All right buddy, what's your name?" "Sam," the man moaned. "Where ya from, Sam?" With pain in his voice Sam replied "the balcony." Our own Alicia Stewart has been selected to audition July 28 for The Voice television show in Nashville. This is the same sweet gal who this week was singing on stage at John O. and Becky Faye's Paradise. There is no end to the talent in Our Ponchatoula. Two pretty women were seated on a bench near my gator cage, so I couldn't help but overhear, 'qVien are like a fine wine ..... They all start out like grapes, and it's our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd like to have dinner with." Tangi Clean Chairman E.J. Forgotston, Chamber President Dr. Karen Carter, and a gaggle of Gardenettes took it upon themselves to defunk Carpenter's Landing of its obnoxious litter. Some of you humans, some of the time, aren't half bad. Give yourself a treat and go visit my buddy Ole Smoky the cy- press locomotive across Pine Street from my cage. He's all decorated in bunting and flags for the 4 th. But Amen, I say to you, if we don't all heed the good advice of Jim Perrin, and soon, Ole Smoky is going to be a memory no amount of RustOleum is going to be able to revive. o