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The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
November 20, 1986     The Ponchatoula Times
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November 20, 1986

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Thursday, November 20, 1986--6th Year, Number 8 Subscribers pay half price And get free home delivery! See coupon - Page Two THE PON CHA TO UL A TIMES 50 ELCOME HOME HARDHIDE By BRYAN T. McMAHON Editor & Publisher Ponchatoula's Number One tourist attraction is coming home Saturday to a whole day of parades, fanfare and The parade forms up at 9 a.m. at Ponchatoula's Winn Dixie Supermarket, whose Manager Bill Hill has offered to supply marchers with Winn Dixie Dell cookies and with Kool-Aid. The "Hardhide and Heroes Homecoming" parade is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. from Berryland Shopping Center, heading east to the new alligator cage. Ole Hardhide has been at "summer camp at Shorty Rogers' Alligator Campground in Hammond while the Chamber completed a more spacious and humane cage for the famous reptile. Saturday will also mark the dedication the new municipal attraction at the alligator cage site downtown. Ole Hardhide the Alligator will be sharing the limelight on his return to Ponchatoula with the football greats of this past season, especially the Poncha- toula Green Wave and the Poncha- toula Gators. Darrell Adams' Junior Gators and all of the other gridiron squads in the city are invited by the mayor to join in the "parade of honor for the football heroes and a hearty welcome home to our alli- gator" Ole Hardhide is the nation's only newspaper columnist of his species, appearing weekly on the front page of The Ponchatoula Times. He is also Ponchatoula's single biggest tourist attraction, providing a draw of visitors to the Country Market, the Mail Car Art Gallery, Collinswood Museum, the old Cypress Locomotive and the war memorial marked by the nation's largest .... Z / i'? \\;3 !! : Winner Environmentalist Albert Poche of the Governor's Mansion - a prize put ,desboro, president of the up for raffle by Hebert, a member of lanchac Fisherman's Auoclation, the Ducks Unlimited committee the surprlm winner Thursday of which hosted Thursday's fundraislng eight with Governor Edwin banquet in the Blue Room. and Rep. Dennis Heberl at (Times Photo) s Unlimited a big success Staff Report Nearly a week after the event people still raving about the great food and times enjoyed at this year's Pon- toula Ducks Unlimited benefit Famed chef Ronnie Sledge prepared groaning board of wild game and sea- dishes. Louisiana Secretary of Jim Brown delivered a rousing address. And thousands of were raised at an after-dinner suction for the international con- on efforts of DU. The annual dinner was held in Cowen's Blue Room, put by a steering committee of 30 local DU members headed by Byard "Peck" Edwards. Next it was announced, will popular local sportsman and conser- Valley Kraft. Proceeds from the Ducks Unlimited are used to safeguard sensi- nesting areas and habitat for water- along the migratory route from Canada to Mexico. DU the vital lands outright so as to per- protect them from develop- The local organization, as mirrored by attendance Thursday, consists of conservationists and environ- And it was an environmental warning Jim Brown sounded during his key- speech. "1 have talked to the in New York and do you what they are saying? They say the two best places to build are of Baton Rouge and in Tangi- pahoa Parish. This is where the next big developments are expected to take place. "But these same people say that environmental concerns are the number one concern, making environmental concerns our number one priority. We now spend the least in the nation on protecting our environment. We are at an important crossroads," challenged the rumored candidate for governor. Brown's serious comments followed some good-natured ribbing of Poncha- toula's Rep. Dennis Hebert, who arranged for the Secretary of State's appearance and introduced him to the capacity crowd. Hebert, as a member of the DU com- mittee putting on the event, came up with one of the most sought-after raffle items, dinner for eight with Hebert and Guy. Edwin Edwards at the Governor's Mansion. That prize was won by environ- mentalist Albert Poche, president of the Manchac Fisherman's Association and a staffer in the Department of Environ- mental Quality. Other prizes included subscriptions to this newspaper, wildlife prints, DU col- lectibles, and a wide range of outdoor items contributed by area businesses. Large ticket items included a Mexican hunting trip and framed collector's item prints released on a limited edition basis by DU, which commissions the nation's top wildlife artists annually to create the posters, and limited edition firearms- all of which were auctioned off to the highest bidder by DU committee member and professional auctioneer Henry Arnold. pole-supported American Flag. He will be accompanied down main street by the Ponchatoula High School Band under the direction of Larry Villa- Iobos. It is hoped that weather will allow the band to display one of Ponchatoula's giant flags on its march downtown, as it did at the recent Ponchatoula-Hammond football game - a first for downtown Ponchatoula. Mayor Charles Gideon, Chamber President Mrs. Jeanne Zaleski, and the Chamber's Alligator Cage Committee Chairman Mrs. Joel Smith are organizing the Chamber-sponsored parade and dedication ceremony. They said that everyone is invited to march or drive in the parade Mrs. Zaleski said that street dancing (music provided by Butch Meyn) on Northeast Railroad Avenue will follow a brief cage dedication ceremony and nraise of the local sports teams and the P.H.S. Band. Dressed as an alligator, American Legionaire E.J. Rolling is expected to take part in the parade and post-parade ceremonies and will also be leading citi- zens to a craft show at the Legion Home on Saturday. Civic and non-profit organizations have been requested to provide booths in the area of the cage to sell edibles, according to the mayor and the Chamber ladies. Among the booths will be one manned by the Chamber, set up to sell tickets to the upcoming Volunteer of the Year Banquet, personalized alligator cage bricks and Swamp Stomp posters. The new cage was built through a grassroots citizen effort that included a charity subscription drive donated by The Ponchatoula Times, two successive charity auctions supported by the merchants and hosted by the annual Councilman apologizes City Hall uproar ends By BRYAN T. McMAHON Editor & Publisher The long,and fruitless investigation into a councilman's allegations of public theft by city employees came to an end at Thursday's meeting of the Poncha- toula City Council. Councilman Danny Pepitone capped the flap he had created with a public apology to Ponchatoula city workers gathered in the council chambers to hear Mayor Charles Gideon sum up the results of his and the sheriff's criminal investigation into Pepitone's charges. Gideon, speaking to a packed council chamber filled with members of the local Cub Scout pack, citizens and city workers, recounted Pepltone's allegations of theft one-by-one, and reported the findings of the investiga- tions showing that the charges made bl Pepitone were groundless. Following tense minutes of this, Gideon at last turned to the council- man and said, "If you have something more concrete than this I want you to bring the information forward." Pepitone admitted that his charges and the investigation had "put a cloud over the city." And he attempted to stand by his earlier story that his alle- gations were the result of "a city employee coming by my house on numerous occasions. Why he denied this during the investigation is some- thing he has to live with," said Pepitone of the city employee, identified by an investigative report in this newspaper as James Quinn. "'1 never mentioned any names (of who his information was) except when l spoke to the two detectives, l guess some reporters do not have the sources that one reporter has," said Pepitone. It was The Times that first revealed that Quinn had been named by Pepitone and had passed a lie detector test administered by deputies during which time Quinn denied telling Pepi- tone of any theft of city property by city employees. That same investigative report revealed that Pepitone had turned down an offer to take a lie detector test to back up his claims. Pepitone's public apology was laced with elements of his original story, that he made his charges after being told by a city employee of cases of theft: "1 take full responsibility for what has happened and because of this l apologize to anyone who might have been offended. But I apologize for be.ing naive enough to beltmse this employee," Pepttone l. Gideon closed the affair by praising the assembled city workers for standing up under the allegations of thievery, and the public embarassment: '1 want to congratulate the city workers for passing this examination. You are the only municipal force to be found honest by your sheriff in this parish," said Gideon, who went on to praise city worker honesty in light of what he said are substandard wages: "1 don't know how you live. I don't know how you pay your rent, your light bill. The only thing that keeps you working is dedication." Dentist awaits drug sentence Staff Report NEW ORLEANS---Ponchatoula's Melvin Allen D.D.S. faces a possible sentence of 45 years in federal prison and a $375,000 fine following his appearance in federal court here Thursday. Allen pleaded no contest to three federal charges of dispensing narcotics, a heroin substitute, without a legitimate medical reason. Allen, 41, was charged with selling prescriptions for Dilaudid, a powerful pain-killer often used as a substitute for heroin, according to authorities quoted in the Sunday edition of The Times Picayune. The specific charges against Allen centered on his alleged sale to a state police officer of three separate pre- scriptions for 20 Dilaudid tablets, at $400 per prescription. Allen was arrested at his downtown dentist office Monday, June 2 of this year by State Police, agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency and officials of the U.S. Attorney's Office. He had been indicted by a federal grand jury and was arrested on a federal warrant. U.S. District Judge Henry Mentz Jr. on Thursday ordered a pre-sentence report. Maximum jail time on each of the three counts is 15 years in the penitentiary and $125,000 fine. The day of sentencing has not yet been released. Prominent in the Ponchatoula com- munity, Allen last year served as com- missioner of Dixie Youth Baseball here and currently sits as president of the Ponchatoula Rotary Club. A busineuman from El Salvador (second from right) poses with LiUian was In Ponchatoula this past week to Rose with the Commrtlum for Service share Information and learn to Latin America, Francis Williams, American business techniques from Dolores McCoy, and Allen Ernest of the owners and staff of Ponchatoula's BrickAmerica. BrickAmerica. Nester Galdanez (Times Photo) Ponchatoula Antique Festival, by can collections at Atop the Gator, a dance at Aw Shucks, a poster by artist Sally Craig, donations and a brick sponsor- ship drive that has seen sources of local citizens put up five dollars apiece to have the names of themselves or their loved ones included on bricks needed to complete the tourist attraction. The non-profit Ponchatoula Country Market agreed to the use of additional land. Ronnie Perrin donated his contracting skills, Southern Pride Concrete didn't charge for all of the concrete needed and a committee of changing member- ship labored for three years at the Pon- chatoula Chamber of Commerce to bring the idea, first proposed by then- Chamber President Joe Singerman, to fruition The designer and builder of the original cage, Hiram Caves, graciously donated time and materials to provide for the superstructure additions. Others too numerous to mention participated in this non-qovernment fund drive and construction effort. MY PONCHATOULA By OLE HARDHIDE The Alligator Can you Ielievei.l'm coming home at last! All of you youngples who have been patiently dating, jOst waiting for a private audience with me to determine whether or not to go ahead and get married, can now relax. Ole Hardhide's back. (Run, don't walk to the nearest marriage license bureau). Talk about Thanksgiving! Hammond might just offer the world its finest reptile luxury condominium, health spa and fat farm in Shorty Rogers' Alli- gator Campground, but home it ain't. And l'm oh-so-thankful to be home! I enjoyed training the Saints this past Summer. l enjoyed snacks at City Huts while tt and they lasted. 1 even took a regular shadowed corner table at Buddy Bers Cabby's Restaurant and enjoyed many an evening spying on my Ponchatoula swains and lasses catching a bit of fun outside the city limits. But boy have 1 missed my Flower Lady, my galfriend Swampbreath, my cousins Greenback, Ski-eater, and Manchac Muncher clown south of Hammond in My Ponchatoula and the great swamp kingdom beyond. I miss seeing Doc Get-it-On parade by in the matching white Lincoln. I miss waking up at 3:30 a.m. to the soft gentle crooning of my Care Girls on their way to work at Pauls. I miss the Saturday Clean Sweep Party with their talk of clean main streets and cleaned out Council desks. (They'll be the ones with the push brooms walking behind the marching alligators in this Saturday's parade in my honor). I look forward to the smoky scent of Rusty's Care as soon as she gets her barbecue pit set-up set up. I miss my buddy and Will Ed Butler's buddy, Ole Smoky the Cypress locomotive. 1 miss the volunteers of the Collinswood Museum, the artists of the Mall Car Gallery and the Artisans Gallery and those displaying their works at Charlotte s Webb, and I miss the tinkers and craftsmen, and knitters, and nailers of the Country Market and I suspect them of running a back shop for Santa Claus. I was able to sneak back to town on occasion, such as when I wrapped myself in trench coat and sunglasses and masqueraded as Linda Fairburn's camera bearer during the Ponchatoula-Hammond football massacre, but I've missed a lot more than that. The countless pilgrims who have journeyed from far and wide only to find my poor cage the victim of a jackhammer s mean tricks should not give up the quest. I have returned. And wait until you see my new cage. Who can doubt that the Chamber will have all the names of all the donors printed in brass and put in place on the bricks, even with all this rain? Who says musical petrified rock fountain builder Doug O'Bannon won't have my new fountain ready in time for Saturday's big event? Have faith. Ole Hardhlde is back and now downtown can thrive again, anxious singles can be wed again (Pete Hoover has jumped the gun a mite by carting over a giant rock surrounded by fist sized diamonds in a wheelbarrow to his Norma, according to brother Ace Joey), and when the politicians get crazy they can be flailed with reptile tail until they behave. Let the good times once more roll! One nice thing about coming home is I'U be able to start collecting the donations of my faithful fans in plenty of time to help Mrs. Scuttle Kupper at the big Lions Club benefit December 5. Big dackie has cooked many a pot of jambalaya and manya chicken to help out others. Pay back time is now, or to be more precise, December 5 at the benefit dinner. l note that in the Kupper news Ktppy Kupper is a new employee at Gulf South Machine. Yeah Ponchatoula industry! Congratulations to Dawn Rocco and Cynthia Orgeron for opening the newest booths in the Country Market, My Ponchatoula's Santa Workshop. (Anybody got a little girl who needs a doll?) President Gordon Burgess says he Will use the $50,000 per year Causeway fund contribution to Tangipahoa that Dennis Hebert arranged for ay for road repairs. That's fine, but could we not have one or two measly his at one of the most-used launches in this part of the state, down at Manchac. Dago Kraft would really appreciate it, as would Charles Branch, as would Percy Boute, as would Valley Kraft, as would Rat Poche, as would just about every sportsman, boater, skier and fisherman. As I reported earlier, the only ones voting against the launch lights are my alligator cousins who would have to work harder for their human feasts if the lights were lit and they didn't have the stray pickings of boaters falling into the inky waters of the Borrow Canal. Hey Homer Hardin the church organist, has Assessor Lester turned up to hear Dixie yet? Dig this. Mtllville's Ron Centani the sailor is in this military exchange in Sasebo, Japan when he runs across, you guessed it, pretty Miss Lisa Ordoyne of Ponchatoula. A real rustling of the lotus blossums 1 am sure! SEE PAGE TEN