Morgan City summer power outage
The Joseph Cefalu Steam Plant transformer in Morgan City exploded and the plant burned June 26. A subsequent widespread power outage ensued over the next couple days. Intermittent power outages, which lasted several hours at a time, continued for about a month after the explosion. In December a power bill surcharge was approved by the city council to pay to install a breaker in front of the new transformer, when it comes in in May, and to pay to relocate the transformer currently in use to an alternate site to serve as a backup transformer.
Tourist building collapse
The Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretive Center sank several feet in the ground June 14, about one month before the construction on the center was scheduled to be completed. Plans to reconstruct and raise the building are in the works. The Cajun Coast commission recently approved the settlement of all claims relating to the construction and completion of the center.
Morgan City election
Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi was elected Morgan City mayor in the Dec. 8 run-off against Lee Dragna, getting 69 percent of the vote to Dragna’s 31 percent, after facing Larry Bergeron, Bart Mancuso and Kevin Voisin in the primary election. James Fontenot was elected to his first term as a city councilman in District 4 and Barry Dufrene ran for city councilman in District 2 for the first time unopposed. Councilmen Louis Tamporello, Tim Hymel and Ron Bias were re-elected.
Hurricane Isaac lumbered into Louisiana and the Tri-City area with 70 mph winds and up to 6 inches of rain Aug. 29. Isaac resulted in power outages, downed trees and minor flooding in the area. The bulk of the storm struck the Tri-City area at mid-day.
Of the $116.7 million the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved in disaster assistance, 2,024 St. Mary Parish residents received $2.06 million, while the parish received $18, 460 in public assistance.
The November disaster aid tally also included 10 Small Business Administration loans totaling nearly $2.48 million. Of those, eight were for homeowners and two were for businesses.
Miles Liner and his high school sweetheart, Taylor Adams, were returning from their respective colleges in Baton Rouge to Berwick High School in October to participate in a skit during the school’s homecoming pep rally when they were struck by Yancey Hebert, 46, of Pierre Part, on La. 70 near Shell Beach Road in Belle River.
Hebert was traveling east in a 2002 Chevy Silverado when he attempted to pass another vehicle traveling east, the sheriff said. Before he finished the maneuver, he hit the 2006 Nissan Sentra Liner was driving westbound head-on, Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said.
Hebert was charged on a warrant with one count of vehicular homicide, driving left of center and one count of first degree vehicular negligent injuring. Liner died shortly after the accident.
Penny T. Crappell
Penny T. Crappell, a former Berwick councilwoman, pleaded no contest at the beginning of November to theft over $1,500 for the theft of nearly $59,000 from Berwick Elementary School where she worked as a secretary.
She was arrested Aug. 23 by the Louisiana State Police on charges of theft and forgery. Crappell eventually was ordered by the court to pay $77,347.54 in restitution to the school system. This includes $58,647.54 that went directly to the school and an additional $18,700 the school system incurred in audit fees. She resigned from both her town council and school system positions the day before.
Her position on the council is temporarily being filled by Jacki Ackel. There will be a special election to fill her seat April 6 with a runoff, if necessary, on May 4.
Shrimp & Petroleum Festival
The Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival continues to be the premiere festival in St. Mary Parish.
Hurricane Isaac delayed the 77th edition of the festival by one day. With the help of numerous volunteers, the City of Morgan City and neighboring businesses quickly prepared for this year’s festival featuring music, food and a carnival.
Also on tap were the 49th Art Show & Sale, the Cultural and Heritage Expo, the 35th Arts and Crafts Sale and Show, the Cypress Corvette Car Show, Children’s Day activities, children’s parade, children’s village, the gospel stage, Queens’ Day activities, Mass at Holy Cross Catholic Church, the Blessing of the Fleet, the street parade, the Fireworks on the River and the Cajun Culinary Classic.
Chase ends in Morgan City man’s death
A high-speed chase in downtown Morgan City Oct. 10 ended with the death of Irvian Singleton Jr., 44.
The fatal wreck began when St. Mary Parish sheriff’s narcotics agents attempted to stop Singleton on Railroad Avenue during a drug investigation, according a report from St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert.
Singleton fled in a 1995 Mercedes Benz he was driving and struck a 2009 Nissan Altima driven by Ronshawna Ruffin, 27, of Vinton at Oak Street and Railroad Avenue.
Armed robbery in Morgan City
The owner of Mi Ranchito had an extremely close call Nov. 1 when three men entered the store and forced him into a cooler at gunpoint.
During a struggle, one shot was fired, and the bullet grazed the owner’s head. Another assailant struck the owner with a bottle.
The male owner and at least two women were inside the store at the time of the robbery.
The three men and a fourth man left the scene in a blue Ford Aerostar minivan with the license plate FTP4497.
Morgan City police report no progress in bringing the assailants to justice.
Two separate incidents of gun violence resulted in arrests this summer, but only one resulted in injuries.
On June 28, Terrence Lee Hollins of Morgan City allegedly began shooting at three victims, striking two, while riding in a gold Impala driven by Bryan Kemp. The Impala pulled alongside the victims’ vehicle in the opposing lanes of travel as they approached the Greenwood Overpass on La. 182 nearing Morgan City.
The victims were treated and released from the hospital for their injuries, while Hollins and Kemp were arrested.
Then, at around 1 p.m. July 5, a shooting occurred in the proximity of Shannon Homes and Terrebonne Street. The one shot that was fired was not known to have struck anyone, and then the shooter’s gun apparently jammed, according Morgan City police.
Bryson Skinner is alleged to have pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a shot near the subject. The gun then jammed, witnesses said, and Clauderious Darby, 23, took the gun from Skinner and allegedly attempted to fire another shot, police said. Darby and Skinner were subsequently arrested.
Online views also provide a gauge of the top stories in the Tri-City area. Among the top stories in Google rankings are the following:
—Berwick homecoming turns tragic – Former king, queen injured in wreck, 31,412 views.
—New Cajun Coast visitor center collapsing, 12,364 views.
—Charges upgraded in fatal wreck, 7,118 views.
—Chase ends in Morgan City man’s death, 8,633 views.
—St. Mary Parish’s Most Wanted, 6,973 views.
—Morgan City police report arrest made in rape case, 5,515 views.
—Liner dies following wreck, 6,850 views.
—Morgan City electrical plant fire, 3,953 views.
—2012 Election Results, 3,310 views.
—Rousse awaits bail hearing in Jefferson, 7,240 views.
The Daily Review’s website count’s top stories include the following most viewed stories:
—Berwick homecoming turns tragic – Former king, queen injured in wreck, Oct. 26, 31,415 views.
—New Cajun Coast visitor center collapsing, June 14, 12,372 views.
—OUTDOORS: Rare blue and red crawfish found in local waters, Jan. 5, 10,275 views.
—Morgan City armed robbers at large, dangerous, Nov. 2, 8,396 views.
—Chase ends in Morgan City man’s death, Oct. 11, 8,636 views.
—Rousse awaits bail hearing in Jefferson, Jan. 12, 7,242 views.
—Charges upgraded in fatal wreck, Oct. 30, 7,121 views.
—Liner dies following wreck, Oct. 29, 6,854 views.
—Morgan City man killed in accident, July 9, 6,001.