A large group of Bayou Chicot Elementary teachers and parents Wednesday filled the Evangeline Parish School Board meeting room as the school was being showcased for their ability to secure health and wellness grand funding. Chicot School Principal Mary Chris Fontenot and Food Supervisor Karen Soileau announced that some $25,000 in grant funding was awarded to the rural school through the hard work of two school teachers: Ann Soileau and Amy Andrus.
The two instructors explained some of the projects that were funded: walk kits that let students walk around and listen to instructive pod casts through an “Eat, Move and Grow grant; they were able to get grant funds to install basketball goals for Jr. High students; involving school students to grow and appreciate home gardening by involving students to grow the largest cabbage head and win a $1000; a grab and go breakfast to encourage students to eat a healthy breakfast by giving them the option to grab a healthy breakfast kit and eat it in the classroom; received an award to take a school class on a fully funded class trip to a civil war site. Their big goals now are to secure funding to air condition the school gym, construct a school track and install an electronic sign for the school. Supt. Darwan Lazard and members of the school thanked the two teachers and principals for their hard work. Principal Mary Chris Fontenot played an original song sung by seventh graders called “We Got Class” using the music from a Lady Antebellum song “You Look Good.” KVPI plans to play the song back during La Tass de Café Monday morning at 8:30am on KVPI AM and FM.
In other action, Chief Financial Officers Amy Lafleur reported that sales tax collections are down $47,210 in September as compared to the previous September.
Supt. Lazard, members of the staff and all of the school board were all wearing special shirts recognizing bus drivers. This week is “National School Bus Safety Week”. “This is our way of saying how much we appreciate their service to our students”, Lazard said.
Technology Supervisor Connie Guillory reported that with the assistance of E-Rate funding, the Evangeline Parish School District was able to save nearly $500,000 in funding for technology such as internet access, Wi Fi and Wide Area Network.
Supt. Lazard announces that businesses who hire school students in the new work based special education program will be able to get tax credits from the state.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Vicky Dupre, with the Louisiana Dept. of Insurance’s S.H.I.P. program. SHIP stands for Louisiana Senior Health Insurance Information Program. The program offers free Medicare counseling. There are 816,000 Medicare recipients in Louisiana. Right now, it is Medicare Open Enrollment through the end of the December. Her agency offers free counseling for Medicare. Her counselors have no connection with any insurance company or product. She encourages seniors to call her office toll free at 1-800-259-5300 for information and advice. She was the special guest of Rotary Club member Lisa Deshotel.
In other club news, Club President Wayne Vidrine announced that the Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser was given a tour of Chicot State Park by State Rep. Bernard LeBas and shown how the park needs additional financial assistance.
Also, it was announced that that the rotary club will sponsor a Halloween social next Tuesday night Oct. 24 at 6;00pm at Dr. Aswell’s Camping Lodge near Chicot Park. Due to the social taking place, there will be no noon meeting next week.
The 2017 Grand Parade of Cotton rolled down Main Street today at noon with a long line of marching units, floats and queens and dignitaries. Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI was there broadcasting live from the start of the parade at Investar Bank.
The weather was warm and the crowds of family, friends and well wishers packed along the side of the track Sunday afternoon for the 2017 running of the Tournoi. Here are the results of the running of the Tournoi:
Congratulations to the 2017 Tournoi Champ-Eric Guillory who has won it for the sixth time in a row. No Tournoi champ has ever done that before. Eric and his horse, General Lee also won the fastest time award. Eric is a third generation rider: his father Kent Guillory won the championship in 1991 and Eric’s grandfather, Winston Guillory, -a three time champ in 1963, 1965 and 1971. Eric also won the champion saddle in memory of Alyssa Guillory donated by Mr and Mrs. John L. Soileau.
Second place-Marcus Guillory, Third Place-Ryan Haller, Fourth Place-Kent Saucier, Fifth Place- Alex Haller; Sixth Place- Keith Saucier; Seventh Place- Lisa Crane; Eith Place- John Ross Guillory; Ninth Place- Paul Fontenot and Tenth Place- Shane Lee. The top ten this year are automatically qualified to run in next year’s running of the Tournoi. The sportsmanship award went to Bryce Johnson who fell off his horse while competing in the second round. Acadian Ambulance medics attended to him and said he is going to an area hospital to be treated for a fractured arm.
Once again this year, we had the mother-daughter team of Lisa Crane and Cheyenne Crane competing in the Tournoi.
This year’s Tournoi was dedicated to the Late Jerry Dupre, past Tournoi board member. Once again this year’s emcee was Charlie Manuel. Miss Tournoi Queen is Holly Kay, Teen Tournoi Queen is Charley Bieber and Junior Tournoi Queen is Samara LaFleur.
KVPI-FM 92.5 was there covering the entire Tournoi with Mark and A.J. from start to the announcement of the winners. KVPI has been covering Tournoi events since we signed on in 1953.
The turnout for Saturday’s election in Evangeline Parish as well as statewide was light due to the few local races to generate a lot of interest among the voters.
There were no local elections in Evangeline Parish. Here are the parish results:
For Secretary of State: Angele Davis was the top vote getter with 479 voters, followed by John Shroeder with 407 votes, Derrel Edwards with 358 votes, Neil Riser with 331 votes, Terry Hughes 51 votes and Joseph Little with 32 votes. Statewide, there appears to be a runoff in the works for State Treasurer between Derrell Edwards with 31 percent of the vote and the second place finisher John Shroeder with 24 percent of the vote. Angele Davis was third with 22 percent, Neil Riser with 18 percent, Terry Hughes with 3 percent and Joseph Little with 2 percent of the vote.
In the amendments: Amendment #1 which offers an exemption of property taxes for construction sites passed by 66 percent of the voters statewide. Here in Evangeline Parish, 1119 votes for and 474 votes no;
Amendmbet #2- offers homestead exemption for unmarried surviving spouse, 67 percent of the voters statewide said year. Here is Evangeline Parish, voters passed it 1119 votes for and 534 voters no;
Amendment #3 dedicates any new taxes into a construction sub-fund. That amendment passed statewide by 53 percent of the voters. In Evangeline Parish, it was voted down 822 to 817.
Special thanks to the Clerk of Court’s staff for their assistance in getting these numbers for our listeners.
One of the largest crowds ever jammed into downtown Mamou this morning to join with Savoy Cancer Center and its sponsors for the annual benefit walk/run. All of the funds raised from this 5K walk/run help indigent cancer patients.
The weather was perfect as teams gathered on Sixth Street in Mamou across from Fred’s Lounge to begin the walk and run. There was a Zumba warm up and the cancer survivors were recognized.
The Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI road crew, Becky Vidrine and Carly Chaumont covered the event live for listeners who could not attend. Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI was a corporate sponsor for the event.
The annual St. Peter’s/St. Theresa Fall Festival in Pine Prairie was another big success. The weather cooperated with clear skies and warm temperatures,
The event began Friday night with fish fried dinners and a talent show held in the old church building. First place winner was Bryce Boyles of Alexandria won first place honors and Jolie Aucoin came in second place.
On Saturday, the church hall building was full of young children enjoying breakfast with their favorite Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck and the characters from Frozen. There were hayrides and train rides, bingo games, a silent auction, face painting and much more.
There was a gumbo cook off and the grand champion winner was Donald Vidrine.
A dunking booth was something new where celebrities were dunked.
Live music was played with Fr. Maynes and a trio of musicians in the church hall.
Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI was there covering it with a live remote today
The 4-H Cotton Pickin' Pet Show took place this afternoon in the Civic Center pavilion with parish 4-H'ers showing off their prized pets . Some of the students dressed up for the event. I am sure the judges had a tough time in deciding who the winners would be. Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI was there doing special live reports with Becky Vidrine and Simon.
A large crowd of festival goers attended the first night of the 2017 Louisiana Cotton Festival Tuesday night at the Ville Platte Civic Center. The highlights of the night were the crowning of the King and Queen of Heritage Manor Nursing Home and the showcasing of the young Contredanse dancers. Cotton Festival Association Board President Pat Derousselle was the emcee. KVPI FM 92.5 was there covering it live for our lsiteners.
The new 2017 Heritage Manor King is James Brown, age 80 of Plaisance. He has two children, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He loves fishing and hunting and playing his harmonica, fiddle and accordion. He replaces the late Eldridge Vidrine, last year’s King. The first runner up to the King was Allen Ardoin age 94 of Grand Prairie. He has one child, three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He was raised on a cotton and corn farm. He is a Navy veteran and operated the Evangeline Electric Fixit Shop for many years.
The new Queen of Heritage Manor is Hazel Ortego age 91 of Grand Prairie. She was an LPN for 30 years. She has 3 children, 6 grand children and 12 great grandchildren. She was raised on a farm with her siblings. She replaces outgoing Queen Gertrude Soileau. The first runner up to the Queen was Marjorie Chapman, 80 year old resident of Mamou. She was a beautician for 27 years. She has 7 children, 19 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren. She was also raised on a farm.
Another major highlight was the presentation of the Contredanse dancers all comprised of young pre teen dancers doing the Cajun square dancing. The dancers this year are: Grace Bordelon, the daughter of Melanie and John Bordelon; Beau Fontenot, son of Shelly and Joey Fontenot; Kaden Ardoin, son of Nicholas and Erica Ardoin; John Bordelon, son of Johnny and Melanie Bordelon; Stephanie Vidrine, the daughter of Caralire and Jason Vidrine; Peyton Fontenot, son of Ebony Fontenot; Marcus Sam, son of Donald and Christina Sam; Ashlynn Thibodeaux, the daughter of Daniel and Courtney Thibodeaux; Lillian Stanfield, the daughter of Justin and Destiny Lafleur; Susan Lafleur, the daughter of Justin and Destiny Lafleur; Hannah Arabie, the daughter of Dustin and Miranda Arabie; Deana Blankenship, the daughter of Bruce and Sharon Blankenship; Marlinskie Viltz, son of Wesley Winfrey and Sharin Wiltz; Joshua Williams, son of Vasean and Jamie Williams; Baleigh Williams daughter of Vasean and Jamie Williams; Kaislyn Lafleur, daughter of Michelle Brown and Jeremy Lafleur; Leslie Forman, son of Kim Leger and Shanendoah Forman; Bailey Edmund, daughter of Elizabeth Edmund and Zoey Goudy, daughter of She’re and Julian Goudy. The dancers were under the direction of Anita Fontenot and Melanie Soileau.
Among the festival royalty in attendance was Col. Cotton Bernard Lebas.
The dancers danced to the music of Lennis Soileau and the Country Playboys.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte , Tuesday, heard from club member, Brent Coreil review the articles of incorporation and the goals of the organization. Coreil is one of the longest serving members of the club having been a member for 43 years. Rotary was organized to help develop acquaintances in the community, support high ethical standards in our businesses and advance international relationships. The avenues of service include club service, vocational service, international service and youth service. Potential club members must be of good character and possess leadership qualities.
Club member Larry Lachney announced there will be a Halloween social Tuesday Oct. 24 at 6;00pm at Dr. Chuck Aswell’s lodge near the arboretum. There will be no noon meeting that day.
It was also announced that $2100 was collected by the rotary club for hurricane relief for victims of the storm in Southeast Texas. The club is looking at possibly donating the funds to the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce for use to help needy students with school supplies.
Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office has released the following:
Tuesday evening, September 12, 2017 Deputies discovered a male subject fitting the description of Matthew Deville who was wanted by Lafayette Police Department for 2nd Degree Robbery near the 3900 Block of the Whiteville Road. After a positive identification was made Deputies and the wanted subject ensued in a foot pursuit.
Shortly after, Deville was located inside the culvert of a ditch. He was ordered by Deputies on scene to exit the culvert in which he complied. Deville was peacefully detained and transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail where he was charged with Aggravated Battery of a Police Officer and Resisting an Officer.
Since then Deville has made bail, and was transferred to Lafayette to face charges of 2nd Degree Robbery.
64th Louisiana Cotton Festival Schedule:
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
5:00 pm-- Doors open for live music & dancing then Contradanse & Crowning of Le Roi et La Reine of the local nursing home at 6:30pm, North Side Civic Center
(Admission: $5.00 for Adults and $2.00 for Children 5 years and under)
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
3:30 pm-- 4-H Cotton Food Fest, North Side Civic Center (judging begins at 4:00pm)
4:00 pm-- 4-H Cotton Pickin’ Pet Show, North Side
Civic Center Pavilion
5:00 pm--Family Night at the Carnival
(Admission to fairgrounds is FREE)
5:00 pm to 10:00 pm -- Bracelet hours at Carnival
Thursday, October 12, 2017
5:00 pm-- Family Night at the Carnival
(Admission to fairgrounds is FREE)
5:00 pm to 10:00 pm -- Bracelet hours at Carnival
Friday, October 13, 2017
Admission all day into fairgrounds
Adults & children 13yrs & over=$6.00
$2.00 for Children 12yrs to 6 yrs. old
5 yrs. and under =FREE
1:00 pm-- Carnival opens
1:00 to 5:00 pm-- Bracelet hours at Carnival
6:00 to 12 Midnight – ‘ Fais-Do-D0’ - Street Dance
6:00 to 7:45 pm – Travis Matte and the Kingpins
8:00 to 9: 45pm – Keith Frank and The Soileau Zydeco Band
10:00 to 12 Midnight – Category 6
Saturday, October 14, 2017
10:00 – 10:30 am – Contestants and Visiting Queens arrive
11:00 am – Contestant interviews (private event)
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Royal Reception (private invite)
1:00 pm – Family Day at the Carnival
(Admission to fairgrounds is FREE)
1:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Bracelet hours at Carnival
5:30 pm -- Cotton Coronation - Crowning of King & Queen Cotton (Admission to Coronation- $5.00 for adults and children)
Sunday, October 15, 2017
8:30 am—Cotton Harvest Mass-Our Lady Queen of All Saints in Ville Platte 1220 West Dardeau Street
12:00 pm—“Grand Parade of Cotton”, Main Street running West to East
1:00 pm – Family Day at the Carnival
(Admission to fairgrounds is FREE)
1:00 – 5:00 pm – Bracelet hours at Carnival
3:00 pm—Running of the Tournoi-Industrial Park
6:00 pm— Cotton Festival 2017 Closes!
Cotton Fair is Gold Star Amusements
All Cotton Festival events are held at the North Side Civic Center –704 N. Soileau Street
Crowds of people, young and old, attended the 2017 Evangeline Parish Library book Fest Saturday to buy used books at incredible low prices, visit with book authors , shop for arts and crafts and enjoy a tasty meal.
The weather cooperated with cloudy skies that kept temperatures from getting too warm for those visiting the various booths in the front and in the courtyard. Book lovers were picking up their favorite books as low as ten cents. The book sale had over a thousand used books and was a major fund raiser for the Friends of the Library.
Some 14 authors showed off their books to passers -by while children enjoyed face painting and a petting zoo. People enjoyed delicious foods like jambalaya, BBQ sandwiches and BBQ boudin.
A special presentation was made to Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine by Library Director Mary Foster-Galosso. Mayor Vidrine recently retired after serving many years as a member of the Library board.
KVPI FM 92.5 was there covering the event with a live remote during the morning.
Turnout has been low for early voting in Evangeline Parish where there are no local races or local issues to generate interest among voters. Registrar of Voters Lucas Buller announced 149 voters have voted so far through Thursday for the October 14 election for State Treasurer and to decide the fate of three constitutional amendments. Here is the breakdown: 22 voted Saturday, 26 voted Monday and again on Tuesday, 38 people voted Wednesday and 37 people voted Thursday. The early voting is going on today through Saturday at the Registrar of Voters office in the courthouse.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports police are searching for a suspect in stabbing incident.
On September 29, 2017 at approximately 8:45 p.m. Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to Mercy Regional Hospital in reference to a stabbing. Upon arrival Officers made contact with the victim who stated that as he was attempting to break up a fight between two male subjects, one of the male subjects swung and hit him in the neck area. The victim stated that he then realized the suspect had a knife and he had been stabbed in the neck. Officers notified Detectives and turned the incident over to them for investigation.
Officers obtained the suspects information and an arrest warrant was issued for Sandress Calvin, 32 of 1214 Martin Luther King Drive, Ville Platte charge of aggravated battery.
Chief Lartigue is asking anyone who knows the whereabouts of Sandress Calvin to contact the Ville Platte Police Department by calling 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous
Evangeline Parish public school student enrollment showed an increase in the final enrollments on October 2 according to Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard. The school superintendent told members of the school board Wednesday that there are 6001 students enrolled in parish schools as compared to the earlier count of 5985 students. Mamou High is the largest school with 818 students followed closely by Ville Platte High with 806. Bayou Chicot is the largest elementary school with 736 students.
In other business, Lazard said he attended a meeting with school leaders and public officials to learn more about the new accountability program. He said most leaders are upset over the proposed changes. The current means of testing students are showing 43 percent of all schools in the state are rated with an “A” or “B” grade. In fact, 10 of the 11 schools in Evangeline Parish this past year were either ranked A or B. It was predicted that once the new accountability program kicks in, 45 percent of all schools in the state will drop to a “D” grade. The public will become upset with the drop in grades because they will not understand that the state is using a different instrument or a different form of evaluation to arrive at the grade.
It was also announced at Wednesday’s meeting that the newly constructed Teacher Training and Technology building is substantially complete located next to the school board building on Tee Mamou road. The building will begin to be staffed today. The superintendent announced that a grand opening is planned in the near future for the general public to come and tour the new facility.
In other action, the school board:
--approved the price quote of Joey West construction of $9,900 to make repairs to the Pine Prairie High stadium bleachers;
--approved payment of $80,945 for payment to Pat Williams construction for a new multipurpose building at W.W. Stewart Elementary in Basile.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Pat Derousselle, President of the Louisiana Cotton Festival Association. Next week’s festival will be the 64th annual festival. He announced that since the beginning of the year, 14 festivals have folded due to either lack of funding or participation. “I am happy to say, Cotton is still here and we plan to be here for a long time to come,” said Derouselle. He noted that Goldstar Amusements, that bring sits carnival to the festival each year has recently won a national award for safety for its riders.
Derousselle announced that this year’s festival royalty includes: King Cotton- Lt. Governor Billy Nungessor; Col. Cotton-State Representative Bernard LeBas and Parade Marshal-Janie Knighten. The festival begins Tuesday Oct. 10 with the Contredanse and the crowning of the King and Queen of Heritage Manor Nursing home at the Civic Center; 4-H Cooking contest and Pet Show Wednesday Oct. 11 at the Civic Center and pavilion. The carnival rides open Wednesday. On Friday night, the street dance includes Travis Matte, Keith Frank and Category Six; On Saturday , the coronation of the Cotton Festival Queen 65 at 5:30pm; On Sunday Oct. 15, the day begins with the Cotton Festival Mass at Our Lady Queen of All Saints at 8:30am; the Grand Parade of Cotton at 12 noon and the running of the tournoi at the Industrial Park at 2:00pm. He was the special guest of Rotarian Bill Brunet.
Club President Wayne Vidrine announced the newest club member to join the group: Maggie Eaves. It was also announced that the next club social is scheduled for October 24.
October begins Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and on Monday, October 2nd, Bras on the Bayou celebrated their fourth year of fundraising. The event was held at the Steam Boat restaurant, in Washington. Within days of advertising, tickets were all sold out, but KVPI was lucky enough to grab a ticket. The night's festivities included door prizes, a dance off, a bra decorating contest, fine dining, inspiring stories, and fireworks to close out. The bra decorating competition and the parade of bras, modeled by men, raised $629.00 for cancer research. The winner of the bra decorating contest was crowned "Queen Ta Ta" and the inspiring design was "Take care of your pumpkins". Bras on the Bayou, and it's hard working volunteers, want to thank everyone who helped make this year's fundraiser a success
Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Camille Fontenot addressed the Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday to show her concerns over the Industrial Park and the lack of jobs in our parish. She said “Evangeline Parish is dying for the lack of jobs and industry”. She noted the industrial Park is 40 years old and said the tall grass at some of the sites is not appealing for potential industrial clients. She proposed to the police jury to engage the services of an architect from Baton Rouge to prepare a master plan for the industrial park and secondly find the funds to construct a waste water plant to treat the industrial waste from the park. Funds are available through the State Department of Economic Development from Cleco for areas serviced by Cleco.
Former District Attorney Brent Coreil also complained about some of the park sites such as the deserted National Guard armory site where the grass is not being cut and the windows are broken. He said we need to rejuvenate our site to make it presentable for future industries.
The jury approved a motion to our local legislative delegation to inquire in to the possible funding sources and if the parish is eligible to be granted some of these funds through the Department of Economic Development.
State Representative Bernard LeBas told the jury that he confirmed that Cleco has set aside $7 million dollars for economic development through the state for areas served by Cleco.
Dr. William “ToJo” Ward, Chairman of the Evangeline Parish Industrial Board, was more upbeat. “Our Industrial Park is industry ready and we will eventually land an industry tenant. Industries like Cameron, Cabot are truly blessings to our parish.”
In other business, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine asked for the parish’s help in cleaning out drainage canals and laterals to help reduce flooding problems in the city.
Jurors explained to the mayor that the parish does not have tax funds to help pay for the cost of using equipment and labor inside the city. They can legally go help out the city but the parish will have to charge the city for the work done.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city does not have the large heavy equipment to do the work that needs to be done so she wanted the parish to step In under a cooperative endeavor agreement at no cost to the city.
Jurors explained to the mayor that the jury can handle the drainage work of the city canals but going into road side ditches is another matter all together. The jury agreed to help with the city canals but it may take up to a year for the work to be done.
In other action:
--advertised to lease new equipment like a limb cutter, track hoe and a mini-excavator;
--received news that the police jury was dismissed from any liability in the long running U.S. Justice Department investigation against the sheriff’s office and city police over the use of investigative holds used against suspects;
--re-appointed Bryan Bieber to the Prairie Mamou Drainage Board and Nat Thomas and Lyn Gooden to the 9-1-1 Board; and appointed Hilda Thomas to the Evangeline Council on Aging;
-- heard from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron announce that the jury is still reviewing and studying the possibility of leasing Crooked Creek Park to private groups. He said no decisions will be reached until sometime next year.
Friends and supporters of St. Edmund’s High School packed the LSU E Student Union Wednesday night and many more were listening to 92.5 KVPI FM for the annual radio auction for the benefit of the St. Ed’s Athletic Booster Club.
Once again, KVPI FM 92.5 was there broadcasting the four hour radio auction live from LSU-E. Some 130 items went on the auction block including popular hunting trips. The announcers were St. Landry Parish Judge Gerard Caswell and C.P.A. Mike Johnson. Supporters gathered in the nearby cafeteria to hear the radio broadcast and enjoyed gumbo and refreshments while bidding.
St. Ed’s Booster Club President Dr. Randy Miller expressed his appreciation and thanks to the club members, parents and supporters of the school for their hard work and support of the auction.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Pre-Need Funeral Specialist Barbara Charlie Thibodeaux. Barbara said she has been doing this type of work for the past 23 years and is currently employed at La Ville Funeral Home. She told rotary members that her mother died suddenly of a massive heart attack on an Easter Sunday several years ago and she and the rest of her siblings had to make the final arrangements while they were grieving. “I want to make sure others don’t have to face the tough decisions at a time of losing a loved one like I did.” Pre planning is vital and she said by pre paying your funeral expenses, a person can lock in the cost at today’s prices. She was the special guest of Rotarian Darin Bordelon.
The Rotary Club welcomed its newest member: Bob Buroker. It was noted that this is the first time a husband and wife were both members of the club: Barbara and now her husband Bob Buroker;
Club President Wayne Vidrine read a letter of thanks from First United Methodist Church of Fulsheer, Texas for the generous donation from the local rotary club to help victims of the recent hurricane in the Houston, Texas area;
Club members were reminded that Rotary is planning a social October 24 where spouses and potential new members will be welcomed.
Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue reports multiple vehicle break-ins and two arrests.
On , September 9, 2017 Officers and Detectives with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of a break in of a vehicle in a parking lot of a school on East Main Street. Upon arrival Detectives learned that the suspect had broken a side window with a brick or rock and had stolen a Coach purse, a wallet and approximately $200.00 in cash.
On Friday, September 15, 2017 Officers responded to a report of multiple vehicles that were broken into at the same location. A witness heard glass breaking and observed a black female and a black male run from the area. Officer’s in the area observed the black female and black male running from the area as the report was dispatched to them. Officer’s located the suspects that fled and detained them.
Officer’s determined that four vehicles were broken into at that location. Side windows were broken, vehicles mirrors and door handles were damaged and cash and purses were taken.
The black male juvenile was released to the custody of his parents until his court appearance. Arrested was Nakaya Joseph, 17 of 116 East Lincoln Road. Joseph was charged with 1 count criminal mischief, 4 counts simple burglary, 3 counts of criminal damage to property. Joseph was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office on a total bond amount of $39,000.00.
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) had Brian Miller with Premiere Data Systems as the guest speaker. Miller did a presentation on Cyber Security. He said the #1 threat facing businesses and individuals surfing the net is ransom ware. Malware is encrypted in a file which locks up your computer. The perpetrator demands bitcoins or something in return to unlock your computer so you can access your files. Miller advised those who get infected with the ransom ware, do not pay what they are demanding. Have your data backed up and have a plan prepared. He offered the following tips: manage your passwords, back up your data on a regular basis, keep your anti -virus and firewalls updated, use caution in clicking on an unknown website or email and be aware of social media posts.
In other chamber news, Library outreach director Suzie Lemoine announced that there will be 27 vendors with booths for the upcoming Library Book Fair Saturday Oct. 7.
Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot announced that the chamber has been invited by Pine Prairie Energy to tour their 600 million dollar facility in Easton Tuesday Oct. 17 at 5;00pm. Plans are to have chamber members take a bus ride to the plant and be treated to a meal.
A large group of citizens from the Shady Acres subdivision attended the Ville Platte City Council meeting Tuesday complaining the city is moving too slow in improving the drainage problems in that area of the city. Faye Lemoine said flooding took place in homes last August and again in April of this year. She felt the city does not have place drainage as a high priority.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine told Lemoine and the residents “You have my word as mayor that the flooding is a high priority. We have to follow procedures and sometimes it takes time to accomplish the plan of action.”
Engineer Ronnie Landreneau , who lives in the same subdivision, is recommending the city bid out a part of the project to a contractor with the proper equipment to clean out all of the ditches in the area and remove and replace about a half mile of 12 inch pipe.
Residents were also asked to attend police jury meetings to make sure jurors are cleaning the area canals that the city water drains into. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city is also working on other areas that are prone to flooding such as Railroad, MLK and Soileau Streets .
In other business, the mayor announced:
--the city spent $31,000 more in August than in July because of an insurance premium was due;
--the hiring of four new part time officers in the police department: three jailers and one dispatcher;
--that seven abandoned homes were torn down including the Dr. Dupre home on West Main and seven over grown lots were cleaned up;
--received news that a grant was approved to construct a subdivision of ten single family homes that will be sold to first time home buyers or rented;
--that the police reported for August that 641 calls came in, worked 38 traffic accidents and 35 people were arrested;
--the fire department announced that in August, they received 12 fire calls including one house fire.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Robin Stokes with the Better Business Bureau of Lafayette. Stokes heads up the educational arm of the local bureau informing the public of scams going on in our area. She reported she visits local senior groups on a regular basis to warn them about scammers. Stokes was informed that a local Ville Platte senior lost $15,000 in a funeral scam over several years. The scammers had taken her money over several years. The caller ID’s doesn’t help anymore as the scammers can use local number. Some of the more popular scams are that the person being called won a grant or they owe money to the IRS for back taxes. She advised those who get calls like this, to contact the Better Business Bureau and also report it to local police. Stokes said she does special seminars for investment frauds and cyber security and often visits schools. Rotarian Nicole Wenger was in charge of the program.
In other business, Club President Wayne Vidrine announced that the Ville Platte club reached its goal of matching a $1000 anonymous donation to assist those victims from Hurricane Harvey. Earlier, the club had raised $2500 in donations from club members to help victims through a church shelter. With the newest donations, the club has now raised $4500 all for hurricane relief.
Vidrine reported that the club has scheduled a Halloween social planned for October 24 where spouses and potential members will be invited.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports 3 arrests and recovered four wheelers
On Sunday afternoon September 10, 2017, Officers and Detectives with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of multiple black male juveniles riding on the roadway on four wheelers. Officers attempted to stop the two four wheelers near Alton Locks Drive, a short pursuit ensued as the juveniles traveled down multiple streets in the city. After following and tracking them, Detectives located the four wheelers near Lornette Street in a field, the juveniles fled on foot and were apprehended a short time later. Three black male juveniles were arrested and released to the custody of their parents pending a court appearance.
One of the four wheelers that was located had been reported missing the morning of September 17, 2017 and was returned to the owner. Detectives found the wiring system had been cut on the four wheeler.
The pictured four wheeler was also located and at this time the Ville Platte Police Department is searching for the owner. If you believe that this four wheeler belongs to you and you can provide paperwork or identifying information, please contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.
The Evangeline Parish E-9-1-1 Office held a successful open house and ribbon cutting at its facility today at the Industrial Park. Many parish officials, first responders, and emergency officials gathered at its new site to congratulate Liz Hill and her staff along with Board chairman Pat Derouselle. KVPI FM 92.5 was there with Becky Vidrine covering the entire event.
1 SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR:
14:81 Indecent Behavior with juvenile
On August 2nd, 2017 Pine Prairie Police received a complaint in reference to Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile. During the investigation, it was alleged that Jimmie D Duhon age 47 performed indecent acts of a sexual nature with a juvenile subject while living in the Village Limits of Pine Prairie. During the 3 week investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Duhon by Judge Chuck West with a $50,000 bond. Mr. Duhon was located by Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office on September 12, 2017 and held on our warrant. He was brought to Evangeline Parish Jail where he was booked on those charges where he awaits bond. We thank the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in locating Mr. Duhon.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, received two offers from local residents to lease Crooked Creek Park. Jury Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron said the jury is looking at exploring that option. The parish owned 300 acre park is about 40 years old and contains over 100 camping sites along with a fishing lake and a sandy beach. Bergeron said jurors plan to be cautious of any lease to make sure the taxpayer’s investment is protected. The jury agreed to formally advertise to lease the park and review the bids.
In other business, the police jury approved the following appointments: Sandra Jacobs to replace Mayor Jennifer Vidrine on the Parish Library board and Pam Hall to the Mamou Drainage Board; the following were re -appointed to serve another term: Charles Benny Fontenot and Wendell Brunet to the Vidrine Drainage board; Bryan Bieber and Darrell McGee to the Prairie Mamou Drainage Board; Clem Manuel and Paul Berzas to the Duralde Gravity Drainage Board; Ralph Celestine to the Mamou Drainage Board; Lynn Gooden and Nathaniel Thomas to the Evangeline Parish Communications Board.
Also the jury approved picking up the election day expenses for the following polls that do not meet the minimum voter numbers: Lake Cove, Faubourg, Chauncey Pitre Ag Arena, Veterans Home and Lincoln Road. The state mandates that a poll must have a minimum of 300 registered voters. If not, they should consolidate. The jury did request the state to consider paying the election expenses for Lake Cove under extra ordinary circumstances since the majority of voters are low income and it would cause a hardship for voters to travel to another precinct.
In other action, the jury was notified that the security camera project is completed for the courthouse at a cost of $40,000; sales tax collections for July amounted to $266,692, a drop of $40,000 from the month before; and the Beacon’s Gully Bridge project is finally complete after eight years at a cost of $600,000.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Casey Duos with Savoy Medical Center. Duos is a pharmacist with Savoy Medical but also works in chemo therapy at Savoy Cancer Center. She is the chair person for the annual Savoy Cancer Breast Cancer Walk Saturday Oct. 14. All of the funds raised from this annual benefit go to help indigent cancer patients with co-pay payments, prosthesis and wigs.
The event will attract some 500 participants in the 5-K run/walk, activities, food and live music. They are still looking for additional sponsors from businesses and corporations.
She was the guest of Rotarian Dr. Ted Ardoin.
In other business, Rotary Club President Wayne Vidrine announced the names of four local student recipients of a local Rotary Club scholarship at LSU Eunice.
Also it was announced that $600 has been collected so far in a fund raising drive to match a $1000 donation from an anonymous donor from the club to assist victims from Tropical Storm Harvey in the Houston Texas area. This is on top of $2500 collected earlier.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports a search for suspect for attempted second degree murder
On the date of September 11, 2017 Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of shots fired in the 100 block of East Oak. Upon arrival Officers observed a white male subject walking out of the residence with blood all over his clothing. The subject had a single gunshot wound underneath his left arm. Witnesses stated that the subject was in an altercation with four black males where he was struck repeatedly including being struck physically with a pistol. The subject had cuts and marks on his arm, face and head. At some point during the altercation one of the black male suspects pulled out a pistol and shot the white male.
The gunshot victim was transported by Acadian Ambulance to Mercy Regional Medical Center. The on call Detective responded to the scene and after further investigation an arrest warrant was issued for Lawrence L. Fontenot, 24 of 2930 Kenneth Street, Ville Platte. Fontenot was charged with attempted second degree murder. Fontenot’s bond is set at $100,000.00.
Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Lawrence L. Fontenot is asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Tournoi eliminations were held Sunday at the Industrial Park Tournoi track. Unlike last year, the weather was perfect for the riders. Steve “Buffy” Guillory told KVPI News that the time keepers were retired Tournoi riders. Here are the six riders who will join the top ten riders from last year for this year’s running of the Tournoi: 1st- Marcus Guillory; 2nd- Kent Saucier; 3rd- Bryce Johnson; 4th- Jordan Sylvester; 5th- Shane Trahan and 6th- Chuck Manuel.
These riders will join last year’s top ten riders: 2016 Tournoi Champ- Eric Guillory; 2nd place- Ryan Haller; 3rd place- Alex Haller; 4th place- Shane Lee; 5th place- Paul Fontenot; 6th place- Keith Saucier; 7th place-Lisa Crane; 8th place- John Ross Guillory; 9th place- Cheyenne Crane and 10th place- Logan Floyd.
The three new 2017 Tournoi Queens were on hand Sunday to view the eliminations: 2017 Miss Louisiana Tournoi- Holly Kay of Natchitoches, the daughter of Robin and Keith Kay; 2017 Teen Louisiana Tournoi- Charly Marie Bieber of Mamou, the daughter of Charles and Michelle Bieber and the 2017 Jr. Tournoi Queen is Samara Lafleur of Pine Prairie, the daughter of Kasey and Jade Lafleur.
The 2017 Tournoi will be run in the memory of the late Jerry L. Dupre. This year’s Tournoi will be run Sunday October 15 at 2:00pm right after the Cotton Festival parade at the Industrial Park Track. KVPI-FM 92.5 will be there broadcasting the event for those who cannot attend.
The Evangeline Parish School Board met Wednesday night in the School Board Media Center. The room was packed with supporters of the Cheerleaders from Bayou Chicot Elementary. School Superintendent, Darwan Lazard introduced the cheering team and announced that three of the cheerleaders were recently selected as All-American Cheerleaders. Jesa Vidrine, Mayzee Lafleur and Ainsley Dutton were chosen after attending UCA Camp this summer. Only 10% of those who attend the Camp are actually chosen as an All-American. The three are sponsored by Anne Soileau and Fallen Ortego. The girls will not only be performing during the half-time show at the LSU game this Saturday night; but, they will also be performing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Orlando, Florida.
First Student Representative, Lance Enkey, gave an update to the School Board on how things are going since school started. Enkey said there was a driver’s meeting held with principals from schools, drivers and some members of the Board and Administration attended. He said he received a “ton” of feedback from the drivers and said it was a very productive meeting. He said there are currently 89 routes being run daily in the Parish consisting of approximately 4,521 miles driven by approximately 25 drivers. Each bus contains 4 digital cameras and they have implemented safety practices on the buses to ensure that no child is left on a bus at the end of the day. A few of the drivers have already found children sleeping due to their safety practices.
School scores will be changing next year and will continue to change until the target year of 2025 when new standards in student scores will take full effect. According to Roxanne West and Penny McDaniel with the School Board, ‘BASIC’ is no longer acceptable and the State is sending schools to achieve a “MASTERY” status by students in order to receive the points required to score schools. The Superintendent said “Some schools that were at an ‘A’ last year may not come in at an ‘A’ next year due to the changes. He said they are working very hard with children to achieve the new levels.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue would like to thank everyone who donated items for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. He has been working with Connie Lamke, also with the Ville Platte Police Department who teamed up with Kerri Courville – Area Manager (Central Louisiana Market) of AT&T- Live Mobile to collect donations of supplies such as water, diapers, wipes, soaps, shampoo, deodorant, undergarments etc. Staff at both locations helped greet donors and gather donations. In three days over 150 cases of water were donated and enough supplies to fill and truck and trailer. “We are thankful and proud to have been a part of this donation drive” Chief Lartigue said, “We will continue to be a drop off point for anyone who wishes to donate.”
Chief Lartigue has been hands on for this donation drive as well as helping personally, He recently made a trip to Beaumont to help rescue a family. “Chief Lartigue has encouraged the department to get involved and help and continues to lead by example”, Connie Lamke stated, “He was on the road when the group photo was taken but kept in touch with me to make sure we had what we needed before our team left for Texas.” Kerri, Connie and Chief Lartigue had a meeting at the Police Department before the trip to Texas to discuss routes, logistics and safety.
On Sunday Kerri and Casey Courville left Ville Platte headed for Texas with the supplies in tow. As most of the interstate was still closed to traffic, it took many detours and extra hours of travel to reach their destination. Kerri stated that they were met by friendly faces and much appreciation. “We saw so many people helping and giving” Kerri said, “It was a humbling experience that I’m happy to have been a part of.”
Donations will still be accepted for another trip. “We already have donations that have come in even after the team left for Texas and we will continue to accept donations at the Ville Platte Police Department and AT&T- Live Mobile.” Chief Lartigue stated, “Our focus will be on what is a continued need for our neighbors in Texas and we will keep the public informed as their needs change.”
Our parish residents have risen to the needs of victims with donations of huge proportions. Staff at both drop off points were kept busy helping offload donations as they arrived. “We were proud to be able to reach out and help those affected, “Chief Lartigue stated, “We’ve been there ourselves, our neighbors in Texas needed help and will continue to need help for some time.”
If you would like more information on donating or other ways to help, contact Connie at the Ville Platte Police Department, 363-1313.
Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced today that an Opelousas man pleaded guilty to possessing a pistol even though he was previously convicted of a felony and prohibited from possessing a firearm. Willie Jamal Reynolds, 28, of Opelousas, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. According to the guilty plea, police arrested Reynolds on June 3, 2017 for possessing a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol. After further investigation, police found a 15-minute video online of Reynolds and a friend in the presence of numerous firearms. Reynolds is a felon after receiving a conviction in September of 2013 and is not allowed to possess a firearm. Reynolds faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The court did not set a sentencing date.
This investigation and prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which is a Department of Justice initiative to promote firearm safety and to reduce firearm crimes by preventing the possession and use of firearms by dangerous and persistent felons and others not authorized to possess a firearm. The ATF and the Opelousas Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dominic Rossetti is prosecuting the case.
Starting Wednesday at 4:30pm, join us on 92.5 KVPI as we carry a new weekly radio show "LSU E News" with the latest news coming from LSU Eunice. This week's show will feature Travis Webb.
On or about the evening of August 31st and the morning of September 1, 2017 items were stolen from a local business on East Main Street in Ville Platte. Officers and Detectives report that a padlock was cut and the suspect entered the business grounds and stole a welding machine, 60 pound air compressor, aluminum tool box, and a 6 x 8 custom made trailer with a sheet metal roof.
Chief Neal Lartigue is requesting that anyone that has information on these items or suspects to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine give a status report on projects going on in the city.
Mayor Jennifer said work crews are continuing to clean drainage in Shady Acres, LaSalle and Chataignier streets to prevent future flooding events. She said there was no street flooding last week with Hurricane Harvey.
She reported that a new software system will detect water leaks anywhere inside the city limits. Every week, homeowners will be notified if the software finds there is a leak on the home owners property instead of waiting until the end of the month when the water bill could be considerable.
The city of Ville Platte will be getting a $1.6 million dollar grant for the Ville Platte Recreation complex for four additional fields.
Work is progressing on cleaning up abandoned property and abandoned vehicles. She reported that in the last two weeks, 14 abandoned homes were torn down. The mayor said homeowners have 30 days to clean up their property once they have been notified by the city. For abandoned cars, they have three days.
The city is building 10 single family homes on city owned property along Dossman Street using grant funds for rent or purchase.
Also the city is looking at erecting a new welcome sign on East Main next Tobacco Plus with a fountain and flags.
Mayor Jennifer said a group of citizens is urging the city to remove the reflective gear ordinance. The mayor feels it is a good ordinance to protect the safety of motorists and pedestrians walking at night.
In other rotary business, Rotarian Dr. Willie Buller was named fund raising chairman to raise funds for flood relief victims. Already, $3,000 have been collected. An additional $1000 was given by an anonymous rotarian challenging fellow club members.
KVPI joined with Tee Cotton Bowl organizers by taking the French News and La Tasse de Cafe on the road broadcasting live this morning at the Meet and Greet at the beautiful home of Dr. and Mrs. Chuck Aswell on West Main Street. Special thanks to Dr. Chuck for opening his home to us and the many people who showed up. There was a virtual feast of food. After our La Tasse de Cafe, Steph stayed on the air doing live remote breaks over 92.5 KVPI.
Savoy Cancer Center in Mamou, Louisiana is now scheduling appointments to treat patients from areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Any patient receiving Chemotherapy, Radiation, or Infusions outside of Central Louisiana can receive continued treatment through their Cancer Center. Please call (337) 468-3099 for more information.
The Ville Platte Police Department and your local AT&T retailer are hosting drop off points for bottled water and baby supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Beaumont has lost all of their consumable water. The hurricane waters have damaged their water pumps for their main line and their secondary line which means they have no clean water at this time. They cannot repair the damage until the water recedes. Beaumont has a population of over 100,000 people that will be affected by the water outage. They are in critical need of consumable water.
You can drop off supplies at either the Ville Platte Police Department or the AT&T store next to Walmart in Ville Platte starting now and throughout the weekend.
If a business wishes to make a larger donation of supplies, we can arrange for the supplies to be picked up.
Along with bottled water we are hoping to collect baby wipes, diapers and blankets, soap and hand sanitizer.
For more information or to arrange a pick up time please call Connie at the Ville Platte Police Department. 337-363-1313
Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC (BEE), a privately held limited liability company headquartered in Houston, Texas, was sentenced today on eight felony violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and one misdemeanor count of violating the Clean Water Act before the Honorable U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The charges stemmed from events causing an explosion in November 2012 on an offshore oil production platform that resulted in the deaths of three workers and injuries to several others. This case is also related to the recent conviction of Wood Group PSN in the Western District of Louisiana for their role in operations on the platform.
In accordance with a plea agreement, the Court ordered BEE to pay a $4.2 million monetary penalty. However, due to BEE’s bankruptcy, the $4.2 million agreed monetary penalty will be a general unsecured claim against BEE’s bankruptcy estate entitled to a pro rata distribution from the trust with other allowed unsecured claims against BEE. On Aug. 11, 2015, four of BEE’s creditors filed an involuntary chapter 7 bankruptcy case against BEE in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. The case converted to a voluntary chapter 11 case shortly thereafter. Under a Chapter 11 plan of liquidation confirmed on July 13, 2016, BEE’s assets were transferred into two trusts, and a trustee will administer distributions to creditors from funds in one of the trusts.
According to the court documents, beginning on Nov. 3, 2012, after pipeline repairs, BEE undertook platform repairs to include replacing equipment and installing a divert valve on the platform’s Lease Automatic Custody Transfer (LACT) unit and tying it into the sump line piping. The LACT system was the last point in the production process prior to the oil leaving West Delta 32 and entering the sales transmission pipeline.
Some of the construction projects on West Delta 32 required “hot work,” or welding, grinding, and/or any other activity that may produce a spark. Hot work on an oil production facility is a hazardous activity capable of causing injury or death. Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that written permission, commonly referred to as a “hot work permit,” be issued by the welding supervisor or designated person in charge (PIC) before any hot work on a production platform begin. At a maximum, a hot work permit is valid for 12 hours. Once a hot work permit expires, all the precautionary steps should be complete before a new hot work permit is issued.
Starting on or about Nov. 8, 2012, Christopher Srubar, a co-defendant and Wood Group PSN employee and West Delta 32 PIC, issued hot work permits for the construction work related to the West Delta 32 projects. However, Srubar stopped issuing hot work permits and conducting all-hands safety meetings and instead delegated the permitting to the Wood Group PSN “C” operator. Neither Srubar nor the “C” operator conducted a daily pre-work inspection with the construction crew, staffed by Grand Isle Shipyards (GIS), nor did they designate a fire watch for the hot work areas.
On or about Nov. 15, 2012, hot work commenced on the LACT unit with the knowledge of co-defendants Don Moss and Curtis Dantin. Moss and Dantin did not ask Srubar if he completed a safety check of the area. In addition, they did not complete a pre-work inspection or issue a warning to the GIS crews to step welding on the sump line piping. Instead, Dantin instructed some of the crew to begin the welding of the sump line piping for the LACT unit upgrade. The single hot work permit the “C” operator issued for Nov. 16 did not state that the LACT unit or sump line piping as areas that were safe for hot work.
Workers started to make cuts to the sump line piping leading to the Wet Oil Tank, causing liquid to spill from the piping. At approximately 9:00 a.m., hydrocarbon vapors that escaped from the Wet Oil Tank ignited, causing a series of explosions in the three oil tanks on the platform. The fire and explosions resulted in the deaths of GIS employees Avelino Tajonera, Elroy Corporal, and Jerome Malagapo. Other workers were seriously burned and physically injured.
BEE admitted that its employees and agents were negligent in the manner in which they planned and executed the hot work on West Delta 32 platform, and that the acts of their agents and employees violated the regulations in 30 C.F.R. § 250.113 promulgated under the OCSLA.
Co-defendant GIS faces manslaughter charges, and Dantin, Srubar, and Moss face criminal violations of the Clean Water Act in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The OCSLA charges against GIS, Moss, Srubar, and Dantin, were dismissed by the district court and are pending an interlocutory appeal by the government to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, argued on May 1, 2017.
The U.S. Department of the Interior-Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-CID conducted the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Greenfield and Nicholas Moses, and Senior Trial Attorney Kenneth Nelson of the Environment and Natural Resources Division prosecuted the case.
Children should expect to return to the classroom Thursday in Evangeline Parish. Superintendent, Darwan Lazard announced that busses will be running and all public schools in Evangeline Parish will be open Thursday.
The National Center for Disaster Fraud reminds the public to be aware of and report any instances of alleged fraudulent activity related to relief operations and funding for victims. Unfortunately, criminals can exploit disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey, for their own gain by sending fraudulent communications through email or social media and by creating phony websites designed to solicit contributions.
Tips should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721. The line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, e-mails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and information can be faxed to (225) 334-4707.
The U.S. Department of Justice established the National Center for Disaster Fraud to investigate, prosecute, and deter fraud in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when billions of dollars in federal disaster relief poured into the Gulf Coast region. Its mission has expanded to include suspected fraud from any natural or manmade disaster. More than 30 federal, state, and local agencies participate in the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which allows the center to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information related to disaster relief fraud.
The public should remember to perform due diligence before giving contributions to anyone soliciting donations or individuals offering to provide assistance to those affected by the tornadoes. Solicitations can originate from social media, e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, flyers, mailings, telephone calls, and other similar methods.
Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, including:
Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.
Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of charitable organizations or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
Rather than follow a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status.
Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use such tactics.
Be aware of whom you are dealing with when providing your personal and financial information. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.
Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. Most legitimate charities’ websites end in .org rather than .com.
Lafayette Ballet Theatre invites area dancers to audition Saturday, Sept. 9, and Sunday, Sept. 10, for two performances of the full-length classical ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Auditions are divided into two different days according to age and skill level.
Saturday auditions are for advanced to professional dancers, ages 15 through adult. Saturday auditions will take place at Lafayette Ballet Theatre, 100 Pillette Road. Sunday auditions are for dancers ages 8 through 14. Sunday auditions are scheduled to take place in Burke -Hawthorne Hall, located on Hebrard Avenue, on the UL Lafayette campus.
Roles are available for beginner through advanced level dancers, male and female. To qualify for audition, a dancer must be at least 8 years old; have completed at least one year of ballet study; and be currently enrolled in an established dance program. Dancers are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to scheduled audition time to register. Registration forms are available at www.lafayetteballettheatre.org.
(Click “Tickets” on the homepage, then select “Nutcracker Auditions” on the menu.) Audition times and locations are as follows:
Saturday, Sept. 9, at Lafayette Ballet Theatre Studio, 100 Pillette Road
Ages 15-professional, advanced pointe work: 11:00 -1:30 p.m.
Ages 15 and up, no pointe work (advanced level character variations): 1:30-2:00 p.m.
Feel free to arrive early to warm up.
Sunday, Sept. 10, at Burke -Hawthorne Hall on the ULL campus (*new location)
Beginner/Intermediate Levels, ages 8-10: 1-3 p.m.
Intermediate/Advanced Levels, ages 11-14: 3-5 p.m.
Tumblers: 5-5:30 p.m. (No audition fee required for tumblers.)
All dancers (except tumblers) should wear ballet attire and be prepared to stay for the duration of the audition period as listed on the schedule. A $35 registration fee is required of all dancers ages 8 to 17 at the time of audition. There is no fee for tumblers participating in 5 p.m. audition. Please make checks payable to Lafayette Ballet Theatre (LBT) or bring exact change.
Lafayette Ballet Theatre, along with Principal guest artists of the Pacific Northwest Ballet will present two performances of “The Nutcracker” Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Heymann Performing Arts Center.
Want more information? Visit www.lafayetteballettheatre.org or call 337-262-0444
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from KVPI General Manager Mark Layne speak about new developments going on at KVPI and a brief history of the two Ville Platte radio stations.
Layne said construction is complete on the new power upgrade. KVPI FM 92.5 has increased its signal strength from 8,000 watts to 25,000 watts to reach a wider audience of listeners in South Central Louisiana.
He also shared the early history of KVPI. KVPI AM 1050 signed on in 1953 as a day timer. The station has to sign off at local sundown. The need for night time service for sports and emergency announcements showed the need for an FM station. KVPI FM signed on in 1966.
The station has received numerous honors from Louisiana broadcasters for its community service for the past seven years in a row.
In other business, the rotary club:
--agreed to make a donation from the club to help the victims of the hurricane in the Houston area;
--received news from Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine that so far the drainage is working good in Ville Platte and there have been no street flooding;
--heard from Supt. of Schools Darwan Lazard that none of the school building have suffered any flood damage from the recent rains.
--heard from Jessie Muse that the Tee Cotton Bowl is going forward with many planned activities weather permitting including the players banquet Thursday, the TV 10 Passe Partout broadcast early Friday morning and Meet and Greet Friday morning at Dr. Chuck Aswell home. There will be 12 cooking teams cooking for the Tail gating Friday afternoon.
Due to the anticipated road closures as a result of rising water, we will have an early dismissal for K-12 students at 11:00 A.M. today, August 28th. Updates for possible school closure will be sent via flocknote, email and local media. As soon as we receive confirmation on the availability of bus transportation, we will inform everyone as soon as possible according to Kim LeJeune.
KVPI News has received an update to a story we brought you when Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department employee, Bobbi Jo Fontenot, was arrested when it was discovered funds were missing from the department. Josh Fontenot, CPA discovered the theft.
In a statement from Sheriff Eddie Soileau, he states “An employee of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Civil Department, Bobbi Jo Fontenot, through a check substitution scheme, was failing to document and deposit checks, for the most part, from automobile repossession companies, into their proper accounts. Rather, she was holding those checks until enough cash deposits built up and when it was time to deposit the case into the appropriate account, whether the Operating Account, Ad Valorem Tax Account or some other account, she would deposit the checks she was holding in place of the cash, then would pocket the cash. We have determined that she stole in excess of $13,000.00. We are confident that we have identified most, if not all, of the monies she stole in this manner.
He said “Given the recent acquisition of the services of Mike Fontenot, CPA, I am pleased with the controls he has implemented in order to deter and prevent future occurrences of employee theft.”
Fontenot turned herself in and was booked on $20,000.00 bond in May on charges of Felony Theft. She later posted bond and was released.
Governor John Bel Edwards held a Press Conference Friday afternoon regarding Hurricane Harvey. Edwards referred to the storm as “catastrophic” and reflected on how saturated the ground already is in Louisiana due to all of the rain over the last months. Edwards said that everyone is in agreement with Harvey hitting Corpus Christi; however, after that, there is no agreement. He said “worst case scenario, the storm heads back into the Gulf over the warm water and comes to Louisiana. He said no one has ruled that out. The Governor urged Louisiana residents not to become complacent just because the storm is currently affecting Texas.
Edwards urged all residents that as we move forward to please be careful and stay informed on road closures by using 511LA.org. He said if you are going to travel, please do not drive on a road covered with water. “Don’t try to drive through it.” Last year, there were a lot of fatalities from people driving through water without knowing the depth.
Lake Charles Mayor, Nick Hunter spoke at the conference. He said “We do expect to have flooding on our streets. He said to expect those areas in the past that have flooded to flood during this storm. We remember what Rita was like and that was a bad experience. We cannot predict what is going to happen with this storm. We encourage people to stay up-to-date with information on the storm. He said “You can replace property but you cannot replace lives.”
The Governor’s office is working with State Police and local officials to make sure they are successful in their efforts. He asked for the public’s patience during this time. And said “Pray…not just for ourselves but for our neighbors in Texas.”
The National Weather Service in Lake Charles is still monitoring Hurricane Harvey, expected to be a category 3 or 4 hurricane when it makes landfall on the central Texas coast Saturday morning. Harvey will weaken to a tropical storm on Sunday, before slowly moving up the upper Texas coast early next week. It is too early to know for sure if it will move offshore, or stay inland as it moves up the Texas coast next week.
Heavy rain and flooding will be the most significant impact. Southeast Texas is expecting 10 to 20 inches of rain, southwest Louisiana 8 to 15 inches, central Louisiana 5 to 7 inches, and south central Louisiana 7 to 10 inches. Some of this rain is already beginning in southeast Texas and parts of southwest Louisiana today.
Due to the rains, major river flooding is expected. Pine Island Bayou near Sour Lake, and the Calcasieu River near Old Town Bay and Sam Houston State Park. Other river forecast points could be included as we go through this event.
Storm surge values of 1 to 3 feet above ground level are expected in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana, and 1 to 2 feet above ground level in south central Louisiana. High tides will occur around 630 pm and 630 am, so expect to see the highest water levels during high tides. This could continue through the entire weekend.
Winds will be from the east, gusting 25 to 25 mph along the coast tonight through Sunday night. This could be extended as well, depending on the track of Harvey next week.
The tornado threat is increasing for today and Saturday in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana as rain bands move onshore across the region.
There are many different scenerios as to the path Hurricane Harvey and as he continues to strengthen residents in Texas and Louisiana are bracing for his visit. One by one local municipalities are making sandbags available.
For residents inside Ville Platte city limits, sandbags are available Friday until 3:00 p.m. at City Barn. They will open again on Monday morning at 7:00 a.m.
KVPI has been told that the Parish of Evangeline will be handing out sandbags beginning Monday. Residents will need to go to Parish Yard nearest to where they reside your area to get the sandbags. According to Secretary/Treasurer Donald Bergeron: They “made the decision yesterday based on National Weather forecast of 5-7" of rain "for our area between yesterday and next Friday". Today's most recent update "for our area" is 1 inch of rain forecast thru Sunday and a possible 5-7 inches of rain thru next Friday. Granger and the road crews are working overtime to clear as many drainage ditches as possible before then. We are prepared with sand and bags in the event the storm makes a turn for our area.”
For St. Landry Parish residents, the Yambilee Buildling sandbag operation located at 1939 West Landry Streeet in Opelousas is open today and over the weekend from 7:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. for those residents needing sandbags. Please bring your shovel as this is a “fill yourself” site.
KVPI will continue to keep you updated as we wait for Harvey's departure.
KVPI News has been informed by Mayor Jennifer Vidrine that the Boil Advisory that was previously issued in Ville Platte has now been lifted. It is now safe to consume your drinking water.
In a release from Sacred Heart Administration, KVPI News has been told that due to anticipated weather events, the high school football Jamboree between Sacred Heart and St. Ed’s has been rescheduled and moved up to Thursday, August 24th at 6:30 p.m. at Eunice High. As a result, the 2017-2018 Meet the Trojan Faculty (Open House) and the Meet the Trojans have been postponed to Thursday, September 7th. The times of the events remain the same beginning at 5:30 p.m.
According to Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue, on August 22, 2017 at approximately 8:00 p.m. Officers responded to a report of a vehicle accident in the area of North Chataignier and East Lincoln Road. Upon arrival Officers learned that a Chevrolet Pickup had struck three people who were in the roadway. The driver remained at the scene and stated that he was blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. Acadian Ambulance was dispatched to the scene and transported three people to Opelousas General Medical Center with minor injuries. The three pedestrians were cited for obstruction of a public passage and no reflective gear.
Chief Lartigue remind citizens that reporting suspicious and illegal activity will help remove criminals from our streets. You can report information anonymously but calling the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from guest speaker Deborah Enicke. She discussed the services she provides as a certified legal nurse consultant. Enicke has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years. There are only 25 certified legal nurse consultants in Louisiana. She plays the go between the attorney and medical records in legal cases. She works for both plaintiffs and defendants. Her role includes: screening cases for merit, develop chronologies, medical records analysis, locate testifying experts and medical cost projections. She was the guest of Rotarian Renee Tate.
The Ville Platte 10 and under girls all- stars, who captured the USSSA World Series Championship Title last month in Gulf Shores, Alabama were honored by the City of Ville Platte and numerous sponsors with a special banquet.
Head Coach Nick LeBas thanked the entire community for their support throughout the season. Also speaking were Assistant Coaches Gene Latour, Joe Bordelon and Brian Bergeron along with Team Mom Julie Bergeron. All of the girls and coaches received special gifts from the sponsors. James Shiver, who called all of the games for KVPI Sports received a gift. Also speaking was Shane Darbonne, President of Ville Platte Girls Recreational Association.
In attendance at the banquet were Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel, Police Jurors Kevin Veillon and Brian Vidrine along with Fr. Mitch Guidry, pastor of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Church.
The players included: Amelia Bergeron, Madalie Bertrand, Hailey Bordelon, Emily Jesclard, Denay Lachney, Alexis Lafleur, Sophee Latour, Lacie LeBas, Laila Lewis, Layla McElwee, Victoria Spears and Kenzie Stevens.
After the presentation of gifts and talks, a highlights video from the World Series games was shown on a big screen for those in attendance
On August 18, 2017 at approximately 11:30 a.m. Officers and Detectives with the Ville Platte Police Department were advised that an inmate had escaped from the Ville Platte City Jail. Officers and Detectives began searching and schools nearby were put on lockdown for safety. Approximately Thirty minutes after the search began the suspect was located at his residence at 119 East Pine Street where he was found hiding in the bathroom.
Jordan Semien, 26 of 119 East Pine Street was apprehended without incident and booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on the charge of simple escape. Semien’s bond is set at $7,500.00
Chief Lartigue stated that there is no further information available at this time as the incident is under investigation.
Chief Lartigue reminds citizens to report suspicious and illegal activity to the Ville Platte Police Department by calling 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
KVPI FM Power Increase
August 18, 2017
After being off the air for more than 12 hours with a tower and engineering crew that worked for more than 13 hours, our wait was worth it. KVPI-FM is now operating at 25,000 watts from its former 8,000 watts. The tower crew, who battled rain delays and even working after dark, was able to get the entire project done in one day removing the old antenna system and installing a new high power 10 bay system giving 92.5 KVPI FM the increase in power. Since the work involved going up and down the tower, our sister station KVPI AM had to go off the air as well. Both stations came back on at 9:30 last night.
The results are promising. Our engineers informed us they are picking us up loud and clear at their homes in Scott and Alexandria. The tower crew chief was picking us at his home in Moss Bluff. Our signal is louder and fuller.
We want to hear from our listeners especially those who live in the fringe areas of our listening area. Call us at 337-363-2124 and tell us who we’re sounding and where are you calling from.
Thank you for your patience. It was worth the long wait!!
According to Ville Platte Police Chief, Neal Lartigue, on August 15, 2017 at approximately 10:00 p.m. Officers responded to a report of shots fired North Fontenot and North Soileau Streets. Officer’s arrived in the area and observed a black Camaro leaving the area at a high rate of speed. Officer’s attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle but the vehicle did not stop until it reached Ortego Street. Once the vehicle stopped a black male exited the vehicle with injuries to his leg. The victim stated that he had been shot. Officers secured the area, called for an ambulance and a Detective to respond to the scene. Officers received information that multiple shots were fired in the air and then towards the victim who was hit by one bullet in the calf area. The victim was transported by Acadian Ambulance to Mercy Regional Hospital and was air lifted to Opelousas General for medical treatment of his injury.
Nathan Thomas Jr. 18, of 1122 Edward Knotoe Thomas Street was arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. Thomas was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and was transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail on a $100,000.00 bond.
Chief Lartigue reminds you to report suspicious and illegal activity by calling the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting Wednesday night in the School Board Media Center. A representative from Spring Market in Mamou presented a check for $2,190.39 for the participation by Mamou Elementary and Mamou High School in the Cash for My Class program. Spring Market donated a percentage of all eligible purchases to the two schools. At the launch of the program only two schools were eligible to participate; however, now, any school in Evangeline Parish can participate. Schools interested should contact Spring Market in Mamou.
Superintendent Darwan Lazard spoke to the Board about the 2016-2017 budget and upcoming budget. He explained that previously CPA Vic Slaven had reported losses in the budget that could not keep happening and that because of that report, Lazard’s office and the district as a whole practiced very conservative fiscal practices and followed the guidelines put in place by the Board. He said “We owe it to the taxpayers to be responsible in our spending.” He noted, the Board receives less and less money from Baton Rouge and less and less money from the “Feds” so it is important to do the best we can to conserve. Lazard said “It’s great to have a lot of great ideas to put in place, but not if you don’t have the money.” CFO, Amy LaFleur made the exciting announcement that all major funds had surpluses for the 2016-2017 budget. There will be an Executive Committee Meeting next Wednesday at 4:30 to discuss the proposed 2017-2018 budget.
Lazard reported that staff from Evangeline Central, Assistant District Attorney, Betsy Jackson, School Board Member, Mike Fontenot, and representatives from the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office will be traveling to Alexandria Friday to view the program they are mirroring Evangeline Central to. As you will remember, the Board recently approved the hiring of a new Resource Officer at the school. Please note, that only students of Evangeline Central will not have school Friday. All other students in the Parish will have school.
The Launch Breakfast that was recently put on for all returning staff was a great success and Lazard reported that approximately $20,000 in door prizes was randomly given out to those in attendance over 2 different sessions. Sam Glenn, a motivational speak kept the crowds entertained throughout the event.
Lazard announced a press release that KVPI Power will be increasing on Thursday from 8,000 watts to 25,000 watts which is highly exciting. However, due to the work to be done on the towers, KVPI AM and FM will be off the air Thursday morning beginning at 9:00 until Thursday night. KVPI thanked everyone for their patience through this upgrade.
Jesse Muse spoke about the Tee Cotton Bowl and assured everyone that everyone involved will be adhering to the rules of the schools and School Board during the event. This event is for the children.
We have good news and bad news for our KVPI listeners. The good news is that KVPI FM 92.5 will be increasing its effective power from 8,000 watts to 25,000 watts tomorrow. The power increase will expand our listener range to a larger area of South Central Louisiana.
The bad news is to accomplish the power increase, we will need to go off the air both on KVPI AM and FM starting at 9:00am Thursday so a tower crew can mount the new FM antennas for the power increase. The work will take the rest of the day so we do not expect to be back on the air until later Thursday night. So please bear with us while the work is going on.
We think you will like the signal reach once the work is completed. Please share the news with your friends and neighbors of KVPI AM and FM being off the air for the rest of the day for the tower work.
Thank you for your patience and consideration.
All Point Blue Water customers that live on Abraham and King Blvd. are under a boil advisory until further notice due to repairs on a 3” main line. Water was cut off earlier today, but has been restored. If customers have any further questions, please contact their office at 337-363-5885.
Rotary Club hears from Chamber Director Camille Fontenot
August 15, 2017
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from guest speaker Ville Platte Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot discuss activities going on at the chamber and Tourism Commission.
Fontenot said both the chamber and tourism are important to the financial well being of our community. She said she is working closely with Valerie Cahill, the owner of Hotel Cazan, who has experience and connections to international trade.
She said the chamber is looking at doing a symposium with Evangeline Parish crawfish producers. She is looking at bringing in Ronnie Gonzales, from New Orleans who is involved in international trade to help our crawfish producers.
Fontenot is looking at possibly creating a foreign trade zone for the Evangeline Parish Industrial Park to attract international businesses.
A company from Florida is looking at leasing a large building in the Ville Platte area to store safety equipment for the oil industry. Fontenot said she has been in conversation with a number of possible sites for the company to look at.
She said she has been working to keep Chicot Park open and to have private business and industry to partner with Chicot Park to attract additional visitors to the park.
Fontenot reminded club members that the Mamou Cajun Music Festival is scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9. Also, lots of activities are planned in connection with the Tee Cotton Bowl including a banquet the night before, fireworks display, and a parade that Friday at 4;00pm. TV 10’s Passe Partout program plans to broadcast live at Ville Platte High the morning of the ball game Sept. 1.
Camille Fontenot was the guest of Rotarian Peggy Tate.
In other business, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine informed club members that the new Tee Cotton Bowl uniforms are on display at City Hall along with the beautiful World Series trophy won by the Ville Platte 10 year old girls last month.
Evangeline Parish - The Te Mamou Water District has announced that the water will be cut off on Snooks Road, Pine Point Road, Cousins Road and St. Johns Road for approximately 3 – 4 hours. They have men working on the lines in that subdivision. Residents in those areas will also be under a boil advisory until further notice. They apologize for any inconvenience caused to its customers.
Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced today that a man from Duson pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection to a scheme to defraud a Eunice pipeline company out of more than $2.6 million.
Richard Walter Borek Jr., 43, of Duson, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna to one count of wire fraud. The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote. According to the guilty plea, Borek worked as the information technology (IT) manager for a Eunice pipeline company from 2012 to 2016. He conducted a scheme where he bought cell phones and electronic tablets using company funds from two nationwide cellular phone companies. He then sold them online to another company and kept the money for his own personal use. He also sold web hosting services and computer equipment to the pipeline company through his own company called Statix even though the web hosting services were being provided by another company and the computer equipment was never delivered to the pipeline company’s office. The loss from both schemes resulted in both cell phone companies charging the pipeline company $2,436,487 and Statix charging the pipeline company $236,234.14 for a total loss to the pipeline company of $2,672,721.14.
Borek faces 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine. The court set a December 7, 2017 sentencing date.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Myers P. Namie is prosecuting the case.
The Ville Platte City Council and Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine held its monthly meeting Tuesday night in Ville Platte City Hall. The Mayor announced that the lobby and drive-thru at City Hall will be closed on Wednesday due to staff development.
The Ville Platte Girls 10’s Softball team who recently won their division in the World Series were celebrated by the Mayor. Coaches Nick Lebas, Brian Bergeron, Joe Bordelon and Gene Latour brought the girls to show their giant trophy and World Series Rings. The Mayor presented plaques to each girl. Lebas spoke to the crowd and thanked the Mayor for the recognition. The girls then enjoyed pizza and cake courtesy of Judge Gary Ortego, Judge Chuck West, Judge Greg Vidrine, District Attorney Trent Brignac and City Marshall Ronald T. Doucet. You can find additional pictures on our Facebook page.
The Mayor announced that the city has demolished six abandoned houses, towed away three vehicles, cut two overgrown grass lots. Three more houses will be demolished and five more abandoned vehicles are scheduled to be towed. She explained that letters go out to property owners giving them ten days to respond. If no action is taken by the owner, the City handles the demolition or clean up and then attaches the cost of the bill to the property tax bill of the owner.
The Council approved getting an appraisal for property that they would like to trade for another property to build single-family homes on. City Attorney, Eric La Fleur explained that in order to make a trade, the two properties to have match in value. That is the basis for the appraisal. The Council also approved leasing space in the new Boys & Girls Club to Christian Academy and Adult Education.
Expenditures for the month of July was $172,480.56 that is down $36,430.43 from the previous month. The mayor also said they will be doing street repairs in town according to urgency.
Several City Departments as well as the Ville Platte Police Department will be getting new vehicles soon due. They are currently working with fleet dealers to decide the appropriate vehicles.
The next council meeting will be September 19th.
Grab your popcorn and call the Louisiana State Arboretum at 337-363-6290 for your group or organization to attend a Eclipse viewing on August 21, 2017 from Noon until 2:30 p.m. at the Nature Center. NASA maps indicate that the sun will be obscured by about 75% beginning at 11:51 a.m. and peaking at 1:23 p.m. Experts recommend that people do not look directly at the sun, even with a partial eclipse. For more information about the eclipse, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov
The Evangeline Council on Aging will hold its Annual Meeting on September 13, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. in the dining room at Village de Memoire. All interested parties as well as all members of the Council on Aging are invited to attend. There are currently 4 vacant Board seats to be filled. Those seats should be filled by people who reside in Police Jury District 2, 3, 4 and 9, one member from each district. All nominations for Board members should be forwarded to Lisa DeRouen at 337-363-5161.
Two guests from the Lafayette chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association spoke at today’s (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club. Luewana Hannon and Adrienne Mullens were the special guests of Rotarian Peter Strawitz.
Hannon said Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the USA. She said “It is a degenerative disease that destroys brain cells.” The disease impacted her family directly since her father died from the illness. The association offers awareness to the public by speaking in meetings and leaving brochures about the disease. The organization also offers workshops to educate the general public on the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Mullens reminded club members that a fund raising two mile walk is scheduled for Saturday September 16 at Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette. All monies raised will go to research. She announced that 85,000 Louisiana residents will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s this year. She reported that one third of dementia cases could be eliminated through a change to a more healthier lifestyle.
In other business, the rotary club:
--welcomed its newest member: Debbie Enicke;
--heard from Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine that there will be a Tee Cotton Bowl parade Friday September 1 at 4:00pm down Main street;
--received news from Maggie Ortego that there will be a free suicide prevention training program Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 at the Family Life Center.
Governor, John Bel Edwards spoke to a crowd of officials from parishes across Louisiana and others in attendance at the Watershed Summit held at the Lite Centre in Lafayette Thursday. He discussed issues about flooding in Louisiana and the effects on its residents and businesses. Edwards spoke about the Acadiana Planning Commission and its mission to bring parishes together to tackle drainage and waterway issues in the State. By working together in a collaborative effort, one parish will not due harm to another in its efforts. The Governor was proud to announce that over $35,000,000 will be coming to the parishes included in the Acadiana Planning Commission due to federal funds received due to Hurricane Gustav. He explained that some of the parishes would not have received any of the funds because they were not declared a disaster area at that time; however, he explained that all eight parishes will be able to share the money because they have formed as one body and will be working together.
KVPI News Director, Stephanie Ware, spoke with Evangeline Parish Police Jury President, Ryan Ardoin about the Summit. He, along with fellow Police Juror, Eric Soileau and Secretary/Treasurer Donald Bergeron attended the Summit that began at 1:30 in the afternoon and did not wrap up until 8:30 p.m. Ardoin said all eight parishes will share the money for “capital outlay and shovel on the ground projects.” The Commission will determine what the “priorities” are.
Ardoin said there will be more money to come because the Federal government is recognizing just how badly Louisiana has been impacted from rain and flooding. He said he learned from the Summit that there was $636,000,000 a day impact to the oil and gas industry alone due to flooding. He said in Evangeline Parish some priorities will be tackling undersized bridges and culverts. He also said that new technology is being looked at like gauges for our bigger waterways. Ardoin stated: “Between Chester Granger, Public Works Director, myself, Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau and Donald Bergeron, we will need to sit down and discuss all of the priorities. It takes a joint effort, not only here locally but on this multi-parish level.”
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting Wednesday night in the School Board Media Center.
The Board approved a request by Superintendent, Darwan Lazard to enter into an agreement with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office to provide a School Resource Officer for Evangeline Central for 10 months effective for the 2017-18 school year. After the Superintendent received the approval, he introduced the new Resource Officer as Tony Vidrine who has been with the Sheriff’s Office for five years, previously with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for twenty-five years, has a Bachelor of Criminal Justice and was a 1981 graduate of Ville Platte High School. Vidrine, along with personnel from Central and officials from the Sheriff’s Office will be traveling to Alexandria to view how the CAPS program works, which is the program they are patterning Central after. Lazard stated “This is going to be a better program at Central than we had before. It is much needed.”
The Superintendent reminds everyone that school staff are due back at work on August 8th and students’ first day of school will be on August 10th. He said there will be a New School Year Launch for ALL school employees on August 8th at Ville Platte High School. The mandatory lunch will be at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 and will run in two different groups. Buses will be picking employees up in their school area due to parking restraints. There will be a national spokesman attending. Sam Glenn “The Attitude Guy” will be speaking and there will be door prizes like computers, cash and more.
The Superintendent announced he and Board Member, Arthur Savoy attended a Driver Orientation at First Student. He says Principals and drivers were there and were able to communicate about needs for the upcoming school year.
Former Vidrine Elementary Teacher, Cheryl Tezeno was announced as the new Middle School Supervisor. Lazard stated “Tezeno has been with the school system in Evangeline Parish for almost forty years, has worked with grades 6, 7 and 8 and knows the battles those grades face.”
It was announced that Principal Anita West will now become the Principal at Vidrine Elementary. West was the former Pine Prairie High School Principal.
According to a Release from Ville Platte Chief of Police, Neal Lartigue, multiple burglaries have recently been solved with multiple arrests.
On July 25, 2017 Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department were dispatched to the area of Pine Street for a report of someone riding a four wheeler on the roadway. Upon arrival in the area Officers observed a four wheeler that then fled from them on South Chataignier going through both lanes of traffic. The driver then crashed the four wheeler as he went through a ditch on South Chataignier while attempting to reach Ash Street. Upon crashing the four wheeler, the driver fled on foot. After further investigation it was determined that the four wheeler was stolen from the Opelousas area where the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office had begun an investigation. On July 26, 2017 a male subject came into the Ville Platte Police Department to speak with investigators. Although the suspect at that point was not under arrest, he fled the police department once he was confronted with the evidence. A short foot pursuit ensued and Officers caught the suspect on East Washington Street. Arrested was Daniel Gallow, 22 of 873 Railroad, Ville Platte. Gallow was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on charges of illegal possession of stolen things (felony), off-road vehicle on roadway, criminal damage to property (felony), safety helmet required, careless operation and resisting an officer. Gallow remains incarcerated on a $36,250.00 bond.
Chief Neal Lartigue reports an update to a previous case where a purse and wallet were stolen from a vehicle. The theft took place on July 3, 2017 on North Thompson Street. During the investigation the suspects were identified and subsequently arrested. On July 26, 2017, Marcus Arvie 17, of 204 East Jackson Street, Ville Platte and two juveniles were arrested on charges of burglary and theft. Arvie was transported to the Ville Platte City Jail on a $12,500.00 bond and the two juveniles were released to the custody of their parents pending a court appearance.
The arrest of Marcus Arvie also ended in other charges for multiple recent burglaries. Arvie was arrested and charged in reference to burglaries from July 5, 2017 in the 1100 block of Parkview Street, on July 20, 2017 in the 900 block of Tate Cove Road, and on July 21, 2017 for multiple burglaries in the 2300 block of East Main Street. Items such as Xbox controllers, games, a Wii system and credit cards were stolen. These items have not been recovered along with a white Honda 450 ATV that was also stolen. Arvie was charged with four counts of simple burglary, four counts of theft, four counts of criminal trespass and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Arvie was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $65,000.00 bond.
Marcus Arvie was also arrested and charged for an incident that happened on July 22, 2017 where a burglary and theft took place in the 400 block of East Wilson and again in the 2300 block of East Main Streets. Arvie was charged with unauthorized use of a moveable, criminal trespass, simple burglary, theft, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Arvie was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $20,000.00 bond.
Arvie was later transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail on all three bond amounts.
Chief Neal Lartigue is asking anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of any of these stolen items to contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
State Senator Eric Lafleur was the guest speaker at today’s (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club meeting.
Senator Lafleur is the chairman of Senate Finance Committee. He said “it is the worst job in the world since the state has no money and you have to keep saying no to everyone.”
Lafleur said the state ,during the eight years under the Jindal administration, used one time money to plug the holes in the state budget rather than addressing the issue by raising revenues or cutting expenses. He called it a “poor fiscal policy” and the former governor held the veto threat over the heads of lawmakers when they considered other means to balance the state budget.
This year, a special non- partisan group of fiscal experts, formulated a plan for the state to meet its budget on an annual basis and the legislature rejected all of its recommendations. The state balanced its budget with the passing of a temporary one penny sales tax. Louisiana has the highest sales tax rate in the country. One bright spot, the legislature was able to fully fund the Tops scholarship.
During the question and answer period, Senator Lafleur said there are no plans in the budget for road improvements in Evangeline Parish. He told club members that he was in favor of a new gasoline tax to help pay for infrastructure projects such as new road improvements.
Lafleur was the guest speaker of Rotarian Vic Slaven.
In the rotary club minute, Club President Wayne Vidrine reminded members that the Ville Platte club was organized in 1928 and in 1943, during the term of Club President Prof Lafleur, Chicot State Park was created.
KVPI and The Coushatta Casino teamed up to send winners to see the ELVOLUTIONS Elvis Tribute Concert Saturday, July 29th at 8:00 p.m. When listeners heard the “Hound Dog” Cue to Call over Classic Hits 92.5 they called our hotline at 506-2444. After getting all of our qualifiers, our drawing was held today. Four lucky listeners won a pair of tickets to the show. Our winners were: Karrie Brooks, Truman Wilson, Caroline Fontenot and Lisa Daire. Keep listening for more chances to win concert tickets and many other prizes on Acadiana’s Greatest Hits Station, Classic Hits 92.5.
The Acadiana Planning Commission, FEMA and The Governor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness held a joint meeting in the Evangeline Parish Courthouse Wednesday to discuss Watershed Assessments that are being prepared by FEMA. Watershed (as pictured) is an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. The Pilot Assessment was performed for Vermilion Parish and that was the focus of the meeting for informational purposes. Assessments for the 22 Watershed that were affected by the March and August 2016 flooding will be released on August 3rd.
The Acadiana Planning Commission brings 7 parishes together: Lafayette, Evangeline, Acadia, Iberia, St. Landry, St. Martin and Vermilion. Parish Presidents, State Representatives, Emergency Officials and officials from around these parishes attended the meeting and many said the focus is to work together so one entity is not ‘dropping water on another one’ in efforts to solve drainage problems. These include in the Mermentau River, Vermilion River and Bayou Teche in our area.
In the March flooding there were over 14,000 structures damaged; and in the August flooding there were over 78,000. A representative from FEMA’s National Disaster Recovery Support Team said Louisiana “has had too much water moving over its land mass, too many times.” This was the first meeting of many to come to discuss this problem and continue discussions on how to work together.