St. James Council honors area youth

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

VACHERIE – The St. James Parish Council took time to give a special congratulations to two age groups of the St. James Parish Biddy Basketball team during their regular Wednesday night meeting in Vacherie.
The 8-year-old division West St. James All-Stars became the national champions after placing first in the World Biddy Tournament that was held in Thibodaux in March. The age group also came in fourth place for the 17th District Tournament in Opelousas, and placed second during the 24th Regional Tournament in Raceland in in the same month. The 12-year-old divison West St. James All-Stars placed first during their regional tournament in March in Lutcher. The 12-year-old biddies lost to Kenner in the AA Biddy Basketball Champsionship Game but managed to come in second place.
The children received certificates from the council members along with congratulations.
The council also received another update on the progess of Ascension Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack’s takeover of the St. James Youth Detention Center from Ridgely Mitchell, assistant director of operations for St. James Parish. Acccording to Mitchell, Waguespack has satisfied all of the requirements of the Department of Children and Family Services and should be ready to shut the center down in June.
Councilman Ken Brass asked if there were plans in place for the youth center building once the facility was switched over to the Napoleonville location. Parish President Timmy Roussel said that two people had expressed to him interest in purchasing the building and that Councilman Terry McCreary had also an idea about how to utilize the space once it was it was vacated.
McCreary elaborated his recommendation for use of the empty building: “The youth center is actually a minimum security prison. And so, sometimes, it has worked in the past that when the parish and the state has an overflow, they would actually send minimum security prisoners to our facility.”
McCreary said that although he didn’t know the legal ramifications of his suggestion, using the building as an overflow facility might help the parish turn a profit and also create jobs.
“I understand your recommendation. I’ve always understood you. The problem I have is the state never paid us back to justify housing state prisoners, and the cost (of housing them) is more than what we get from the state,” replied Councilman James Brazan.
Brazan did agree that they should look into the matter, however.
In his president’s report, Roussel also mentioned that the Louisiana Department of Justice approved Trina Moll to serve as Sixth District Justice of the Peace temporarily because of the pending status of Vondra Steib, the director of special education for the St. James Parish Public School System, who was tapped to fill the position during
the council’s April 3 meeting. Moll will also represent District 6 until Steib received notication and approval from the Supreme Court.
The next St. James Parish Council meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 1, in Convent.