The St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce presented St. Tammany Parish Public Schools Superintendent Trey Folse with the Community Leader Award during the chamber's annual officers' installation and awards ceremony held recently at Tchefuncta Covington Club.

The award honors leaders who work within the St. Tammany community to have a positive impact on the parish.

“We are presenting him this prestigious award to convey our sincere appreciation for his passion to make our children’s education the best in Louisiana on behalf of the entire business community,” said Lacey Osborne Toledano, chamber president and CEO. “We do not take his 24/7 commitment to his role for granted, and we respect the time and leadership he offers to building partnerships across our parish.”

William Wainwright, interim chancellor of Delgado Community College, presented the award.

“(Folse) is a leader among leaders, as evidenced by his proven record of student and school-system accomplishments that have received local, state and national recognition. ... h is leadership empowers thousands of students and educators to succeed, therefore strengthening the fabric of our communities through economic, educational and professional growth.”

“I’m honored to receive this award and realize it is a great privilege and responsibility to continue making a positive impact on the educational and economic future of St. Tammany Parish,” Folse said.

As superintendent, Folse oversees administration of a system that has 55 schools, 39,000 students and 5,800 employees. 

School board's Sharon Drucker enters diversion program 

St. Tammany Parish School Board member Sharon Lo Drucker, who pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft in October, has entered a diversion program that could result in the charges against her being dropped next year.

Drucker, 53, was detained in a Walmart store in Covington on July 7 on suspicion of shoplifting, and a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office deputy arrested her. She was released on a summons for theft under $1,000. The summons did not say what she was accused of taking.

Drucker did not return a call concerning her participation in the diversion program. She also did not return calls last year about her arrest, which took place as she was running for re-election to her District 9 seat on the School Board, representing the Madisonville area.

Her attorney entered a not-guilty plea in October. A Nov. 5 trial date was continued at the request of the defense, and a Jan. 10 date was set.

But in December, she entered a 12-month diversion program. If she successfully completes the program, the charges will be dropped. She is scheduled to appear in court in March 2020.

District Attorney Warren Montgomery said that Drucker, who has no prior arrests, met the criteria for diversion, which is aimed at first-time offenders accused of nonviolent misdemeanors.

There was internal discussion at the 22nd Judicial District Attorney's Office about whether Drucker, a public official, should be treated differently. But in the end, Montgomery said, the decision was made to "treat her as we would treat anyone else," with the exception of law enforcement officials, who Montgomery said are held to a higher standard.

The DA's Office successfully prosecuted a former Mandeville police officer last month for shoplifting a pair of batteries from a Home Depot store.

Drucker was re-elected with 69 percent of the vote in the November election. Her only opponent, Meg Good Hackney, had announced  before the election that she was moving from the parish. Drucker was first elected to the School Board in 2014.

Sara Pagones

Herigate Park marina project officially complete

The Slidell City Council accepted the Slidell Municipal Marina at Heritage Park as complete when the board met earlier this month.

The marina is a welcome addition to the popular park in Olde Towne Slidell, even though it was a long time in the making.

The city applied for a Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) in 2011 and it was awarded $1.5 million in 2012. After going through a process of paperwork and permits that took several years, construction finally began in summer 2017 and work was completed in May 2018.

The project cost about $2.6 million, though that total was defrayed by the BIG grant. Gulf Engineers and Consultants of Baton Rouge served as project engineer and Gill’s Crane Service of Slidell was the contractor.

The marina, which is located on Bayou Bonfouca, contains three separate fixed and floating docks with enough space to moor dozens of boats, as well as power, water and pump-out services for visiting vessels. Construction included installation of more than 1,600 feet of new bulkhead and sidewalks. Similar structures at the park were heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Reservations can be made through Dockwa, the City of Slidell’s third party service, via the website at www.dockwa.com.

Andrew Canulette

Registrar of Voters has new location in Slidell

The St. Tammany Parish Registrar of Voters Slidell office has moved to the second floor of the Towers Building, 520 Old Spanish Trail, Suite 2F.

Early voting will continue to be held on the ground floor of the Towers Building in the conference training area.

For more information, call (985) 809-5500.