Rotary Meeting Hears Book Author
November 12, 2019
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Glen Duncan, the author of a new book "The Modern History of the Louisiana Pelican Flag". Duncan is a former journalist and a civil engineer.
Duncan gave an interesting tale on the history of our state flag and how the current design came to be. Through his research, he discovered that an 8th grade F.F.A. student who prompted the state to amend a law on the official state flag in 2005. The flag at the time did not have the three drops of blood as required in the legal description of the flag's insignia. It shows the pelican wounding itself and shedding drops of blood to feed her young.
Duncan began researching and discovered there were many different state flags and the state motto as well through the years. The motto is "Union, Justice and Confidence."
He realized the pelican used in the state flag and motto came from one of three sources: Religious theme- The original "Pelican in Piety" showing the mother pelican feeding her young is still used in many Catholic scenes; Tradition or Folklore- research shows a news article going back to 1813 about pelicans in Louisiana; Masonic Symbol-the pelican is used in the 18th degree masonic symbol.
It took about 100 years in 1902 for the Louisiana Secretary of State to publish the criteria of the state seal.
Evangeline Parish Library Outreach Director Suzie Lemoine introduced the guest speaker. They were both guests of Rotarian Leonard Fontenot.
Club President Nicole Wenger reminded club members to turn in the names of needy families for gift baskets. The annual Christmas Social is set for December 10.
It was one of the biggest celebrations for Veteran's Day in Mamou in many years. The weather was spring like. Crowds of people lined up on both sides of Sixth Street to view the extra long Veteran's Day parade that included marching bands from Mamou High and Basile High, classic cars, political candidates and queens.
The crowds of people poured around the speaker's stand on the grounds of the American Legion Post 123. The emcee was Post Commander Charles Perdices. The guest speaker was Julian Green, commander of American Legion Post 551 in Lake Charles. One of the major fund raisers of the year, the cake auction, took place with guest auctioneer Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel. More than a dozen cakes as well as bags of pecans and satsumas were all auctioned. Two cakes, each brought the highest bids, R$130 each. One was a coconut cake while the other cake was honey bun cake.
State Representative Elect Rhonda Butler and State Senator Elect Heather Cloud both spoke to the crowds. Evangeline Parish Sheriff candidates Charles Guillory and Brian Ardoin also spoke..
Here are the Mamou elementary show box float winners according to the judges: First Grade- First Place- Noah Granger; Second Place- Jaylen Richard; Third Place- Bentley Lavergne; Third Grade- First Place- Blaine Duplechain; Second Place- Riley Rudd; Third Place- Jeremy Semien; Fifth Grade winners- First Place- Camille Bieber and Second Place- Jekila LaSalle.
KVPI's Mike Perron and Mark Layne covered both the parade and memorial program at the Legion post with a live remote.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club, today (Tuesday), heard from guest speaker, Zack Hager, with One Acadiana, the nine parish regional economic agency in South West Louisiana that includes Evangeline Parish. Hager works on helping local agencies and property owners develop their property as a certified site by the state for business and industry.
He reported that currently Evangeline Parish has one certified industrial site and that is at the Ward One Industrial Site, north of Ville Platte that is industry ready. There are 15 such sites in the region. The cost to do the study and prepare a site to become certified is $40-50,000 and takes 4-6 months to complete.
Hager was the special guest of Rotarian Mark Suellentrop.
In other business, the club members:
--heard from Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announce that Governor John Bel Edwards will be visiting Ville Platte High School Friday afternoon to recognize the school for being named as one of the top schools by U.S News and World Report;
--was notified that the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission is advertising for the position of executive director;
--was reminded that club members need to turn in the names of needy families by November 12 for gift baskets for the holidays.
KVPI and the Ville Platte Gazette teamed up tonight to co-sponsor a political forum targeting the two run-off candidates for Evangeline Parish Sheriff: Charles Guillory and Brian Ardoin. The free event took place at the Ville Platte Civic Center with a large audience in attendance. The emcee was Ville Platte's woman of the year: Connie Lamke. The questioners were Garland Foreman, publisher of the Ville Platte Gazette and Mark Layne, General Manager of KVPI AM/FM. The candidates were each given ten questions to answer plus given a five minutes closing statement. KVPI streamed the forum live on our website at firstname.lastname@example.org and will be loaded as a podcast on our website Tuesday while the Gazette had it on Facebook live.
A total of 559 Evangeline Parish voters voted early today on the first day at the Registrar of Voters office in the courthouse. Thanks to Registrar of Voters Lucas Buller for the voter information. Early voting continues through Saturday for the November 16 runoff election for races such as Governor, Sheriff and two police jury elections. Let your voice be heard, go vote!!!
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from District 6200 Rotary Governor Harold Domingue of Lafayette. He has been a member of Rotary in Lafayette since 1988.
Domingue met with the club's board and Club President Nicole Wenger earlier in the day and reviewed their activities for the year.
He reported to the local club members that Rotary is a worldwide organization with over 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs. The organization is finding its fastest growth in Asia.
There are 52 clubs in District 6200 which comprises South Louisiana. The district is one of 31 districts in Zone 31 while there are 34 zones worldwide.
Mark Malone, President of Rotary International is urging clubs to grow locally and to keep members active in the club.
One of the proudest achievements is nearly the totyal eradication of polio on the face of the earth. Polio cases have been reported in only three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rotary International along with the assistance of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have spent over two billion dollars worldwide on eradicating polio.
Domingue urged the local club to apply for additional Rotary Foundation grants. This past year, the club applied and received for $9000 grant to help fund improvements to a Men's Shelter in Opelousas.
Dr. Phillipe Vidrine was the high bidder in purchasing a basket of goods from the Deridder Rotary Club. The funds will be donated to Rotary International. The local club donated a basketful of prizes that will be auctioned at the next club Domingue visits. Special thanks to Tony Marks of the Ville Platte Gazette for the photo.
Local High Schools Honored on a National level and School Board Introduces a Revised Assignment Policy
It was clear by Wednesday's Evangeline Parish School Board meeting attendance that many held strong feelings regarding the assignment policy that was sent for revision during the last school board meeting. There were so many people in the board room that many were left standing or simply sitting on the floor. The proposed assignment policy does not allow for school principals to work with immediate family members on their staff unless the immediate family member was employed at the school for at least one year prior to the principal or department head's appointment and a Disqualification Plan (which provides an alternate evaluator for the employee) is approved by the Louisiana Board of Ethics.
Retired Basile High School Principal, Georgie Courville spoke out about hardships that the adoption of such a policy would impose on the schools in small communities such as Basile and gave testament to the instances in which had no choice but to hire an immediate family member because there simply were no other educators to fill teaching positions at the school. She argued that contrary to what some people believe, principals are less lenient when supervising family members on their staff than they are with other teachers. Mrs. Courville asked the Board to consider these statements before voting on whether or not to adopt this policy.
Ultimately, the School Board members voted to only introduce the policy, request that the Ethics Board provide a written opinion on the revised policy, and to vote on whether or not to adopt the revised policy once that Ethics Board review is received. Special Counsel, Jon Guice advised that if the Ethics Board agrees to provide a written opinion on the policy the School Board may not have that document to bring to a vote until December.
Administrators from Basile High School, Mamou High School, Pine Prairie High School, and Ville Platte High School were honored at the meeting for their national recognition by the US News and World Report for their academic performance. Mamou High is ranked #102 in the state of Louisiana, Ville Platte High is ranked #111, Basile High is ranked # 158, and Pine Prairie High is #162 in the state. These rankings are based on college readiness, math and reading proficiency, graduation rate, etc.
Ville Platte High School principal, Melanie Moore was presented with a plaque as this is the school's first year being recognized for a ranking. All of the administrators were commended for their hard work and dedication to improving their schools and the lives of their students.
The next Board meeting will be held on October 30, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Evangeline Parish Election Results
October 12, 2019
In complete but unofficial election returns from the Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court's Office, with beautiful Fall weather voted in high numbers in the various races from local to statewide races.
In the State Senator's race in District 28, where there were no incumbent, former Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud defeated both of her opponents to win. Cloud received 63% of the vote or 22,282 votes. Coming in second was Robert Johnson with 24% of the vote and State Rep. Bernard LeBas received 13% of the vote.
In the race for State Representative, Rhonda Butler won the election and defeated both of her opponents with 60 percent of the vote or 8880 votes. Coming in second was Phil Cowboy LeMoine with 27 percent of the vote and Taranza Arvie with 13 percent of the vote.
For Sheriff in Evangeline Parish, there will be a run-off between the top vote getter, Charles Guillory who received35.9 percent of the vote or 4146 votes and second place finisher Brian Ardoin with 22 percent or 2637 votes. Coming in third was Assessor Dirk Deville with 22.6 percent of the vote or 2616 votes, Jamie Fontenot came in next with 1177 votes, Ville Platte Chief Neal Lartigue with 499 votes, Michael Kevin Fontenot with 371 votes and Joe Brady with 101 votes.
For Assessor, Chris Guillory was elected with 51.1 percent of the vote or 5653 votes to challenger Josh Fontenot who got 5355 votes.
For Police Juror in District One: Incumbent Rocky Rider was the top vote getter with 41.2 percent of the vote o r 583 votes and will go into a runoff with Keith Saucier who got 525 votes.
For Police Juror in District 3- incumbent Ryan Ardoin won re election with 70 percent of the vote or 694 votes over challenger Clifton Fruge who got 290 votes.
For Police Juror in District Four, incumbent Lamar Johnson was re elected with 63 percent of the vote or 859 votes against his opponent Robert Johnson who had 504 votes.
For Police Juror in District 5, incumbent Kevin Veillon was re elected with 58 percent of the vote or 943 votes compared to his opponent, Derek Marcantel who got 658 votes.
For Police Juror in District Six, Eric Soileau, the incumbent was re elected with 62 percent of the vote or 879 votes with second place finisher Donald Vidrine receiving 282 votes and coming in third place Cora Chrietien Veal receiving 251 votes;
For Police Juror in District 7, incumbent Bryan Vidrine was the top vote getter receiving 45.8 percent of the vote or 680 votes and will go into a runoff with David Ortego who got 443 votes and Kevin Cabon Fontenot received 361 votes;
For Police Juror in District 9, incumbent Daniel Arvie was re elected with 60 percent of the vote receiving 760 votes and his opponent Shawn Gallow receiving 488 votes.
For Governor in Evangeline Parish: incumbent John Bel Edwards was the top vote getter with 35.4 percent of the vote or 4105 vote, Eddie Rispone coming out second with 31.6 percent . Both men will go into a runoff. Coming out third was Congressman Ralph Abraham with 3483 votes. Patrick Landry got 139 votes, Gary Landrieu and ralph Dantzler each got 89 votes.
For Lt. Governor in Evangeline Parish, Incumbent Billy Nungesser received 74 percent of the vote or 7982 votes and his opponent , Willie Jones got 2700 votes.
For Secretary of State, incumbent Kyle Ardoin ws the top vote getter in Evangeline Parish with 5980 votes or 55 percent of the votes. Gwen Collins Greenup got 2411 votes, Thomas Kennedy received 1681 votes and Amanda Jennings Smith got 640 votes;
For Attorney general, Incumbent Jeff Landry got 76 percent of the vote or 8245 votes compared to Ike Jackson Jr with 2486 votes.
For State Treasurer, incumbent John Shroeder with 67 percent of the vote or7167 votes was the top vote getter in the parish, next was Derrick Edwards with 2896 votes and Teresa Kenny with 484 votes;
For Commissioner of Agriculture, the top vote getter in the parish was incumbent was Mike Strain with 57 percent of the vote or 6108 votes, Next was Charlie Greer with 1413 votes, Marguerite Green with 1193 votes and Peter Williams with 528 votes.
For Commissioner of Insurance, incumbent Jim Donelon was the top vote getter in the parish with 61 percent of the vote or 5922 votes. His opponent Tim Temple received 3780 votes.
For BESE Board member in District Five: Ashley Ellis was the top vote getter with 3690 votes and opponent Stephen Chapman with 2997 votes.
For BESE Board Members in District 8- Preston Castille was the top vote getter with 1475 votes, Next was Jonathan Loveall with 565 votes, Next Chakesha Web Scott with 423 votes and then Vereta Tanner Lee with 361 votes;
In the Constitutional Amendments in Evangeline Parish:
Amendment #1- for Tax Exemptions for the Outer Continental Shelf : Yes votes 4494 and No votes 5046 ;
Amendment #2- to amend Educational Excellence Fund Yes votes 4075 and No votes 5405 votes;
Amendment #3- Remedy for Unconstitutional Tax Paid, 4851 voted Yes and 4595 voted No;
Amendment #4- allow New Orleans Property tax exemption, yes 2557 and No votes 6914.
Ville Platte City Council Meeting – October 8, 2019
For their October meeting, the Ville Platte City Council wore pink to help raise breast cancer awareness. The meeting chamber at City Hall was decorated with pink ribbons and messages of hope for those currently fighting a battle, those who have lost their battle, and for the survivors of breast cancer.
It was a full agenda meeting with Fire Chief, Chris Harrison and Chief of Police, Neal Lartigue each providing their monthly reports of happenings with each of their respective departments. Ms. Suzie Lemoine and Ms. Jan Veillon spoke about Evangeline Arts Council and the plans that the EAC has for community programs. The Arts Council hosts art classes every Saturday at the Chamber of Commerce building. Classes begin at 10:00 a.m., with children's classes going until 11:30 a.m. and adult programs beginning at 12:30 p.m. Mayor Vidrine also added that EAC will be helping to create beautiful art for the pocket parks that are planned for the abandoned properties that have been adjudicated to the city.
Much like last month's meeting, the problem of criminal activity involving guns was discussed by the Council. There were many solutions discussed, but none decided upon. An anonymous tip line was discussed and Chief Lartigue is obtaining quotes as well as working with some out of state and one local police department that currently have this tip program implemented.
Halloween hours have been set for Thursday, October 31st, 2019 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the city of Ville Platte.
A city wide clean up is set for Saturday, October 26th, 2019. Mayor Vidrine said that the Solid Waste Commission will be working that Saturday to do curbside pickups and four bins will be placed within the city for convenient drop-off for residents of Ville Platte. Mayor Vidrine strongly urged local citizens to start the cleaning effort within their own yard, their own ditch, and their own neighborhood- if that is all cleaned and free of trash and junk, move on to the next yard, ditch, and neighborhood. She asked that all leaves be bagged for pick-up rather than thrown into ditches so as not to affect the drainage of these ditches. This cleanup comes just in time for the Bulldog homecoming on October 1st, 2019 and the Trojan homecoming on October 8th, 2019. Mayor Vidrine expressed the importance of cleaning up our town for its citizens and for the visitors that these homecoming festivities will undoubtedly bring in.
Be on the lookout for a revamped City of Ville Platte website as maintenance for the site has been scheduled for the end of the month.
An ordinance to amend budgeted allowances will be brought to public hearing on November 12th, 2019 at 4:45 p.m.. with the monthly Ville Platte City Council meeting to follow at 5:00 p.m.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from guest speaker Pat Derouselle, the president of the Louisiana Cotton Festival Association. He was the invited guest of Rotarian Brent Coreil.
Coreil reminisced of his memories of the Cotton Festival when it was on Main Street and later was moved to Court Street with the carnival rides and street dance in front of the Courthouse.
Derousselle said this is the 66th year the Cotton Festival has operated in Ville Platte. He reported that traditional events like the Contredanse has shown a new burst of enthusiasm with a new group of young dancers. He said there will be 37 dancers participating in the traditional Cajun square dancing.
He announced that the Cotton Festival is one of the oldest festivals still active in the state with some 22 festivals that have disbanded during the past few years.
Derousselle announced that he will be stepping down as President after this festival after serving for many years with the organization in various capacities. He will continue to serve in an advisory capacity.
This year the festival will be dedicated to the late Peggy Ritter who died earlier this year. She served for many years on the board.
The coronation will take place Saturday at 5;30pm at the Ville Platte where Queen Cotton 65 Abigail Fruge will crown her successor from 7 contestants.
In other rotary business, it was announced that the Rotary Club is teaming up with Ville Platte High School to form a new Interact student club with Virginia Shiver as club sponsor. Both Virginia Shiver and Ville Platte High Principal Melanie Moore attended the meeting Tuesday. The rotary club already has an active Interact club at Sacred Heart High School.
2019 Bras on the Bayou
As reported by Mallory Moser
The Steamboat Warehouse was lively with a sea of pink shirts and sashes last night as every seat in the restaurant was filled for the Bras on the Bayou event. This year's event sold out of tickets in three hours from the opening of ticket sales with a waiting list of over 50 hopeful attendees! All of the money raised for this event goes to Savoy Indigent Patient Support (SIPS) in Mamou which provides financial assistance to cancer patients receiving treatment at Savoy Cancer Center.
Chef Jason Huget served a limited menu and did not disappoint with his dishes. He also issued a challenge to the attendees of the event to sell thirty bottles of wine for $20 a cork. That challenge was complete before the salads even made an appearance! Together, Chef Huget and Connie Lamke of the Ville Platte Police Department have raised over forty-thousand dollars for SIPS in the six years that Bras on the Bayou has been hosted at The Steamboat Warehouse.
There were many breast cancer survivors in the crowd and they wore light pink sashes. The event started with the survivors being honored and anyone who lost someone to cancer being remembered. There was not one person in the room whose life has not been affected by cancer. Faye Lemoine, a three-year breast cancer survivor spoke during this time and urged everyone to get your mammograms and request ultrasound tests if you find a lump. She said, "Take care of yourself because nobody else can do it for you."
Everyone was invited to decorate a bra and enter it into a contest for an entry fee of $5. Dinner was served as the final votes were made by the crowd on their favorite decorated bras. As soon as the dessert plates were cleared and it seemed that enough liquid courage had been served at the bar, the men in the crowd were asked to volunteer to model the decorated bras.
It was a hilarious show as the men danced with pink pumpkins to collect their tip money while wearing the decorated bras. A total of $1,500.00 was raised from the dances alone. Votes were tallied and the winners were Peggy Fontenot, who was crowned Queen Tata and Chief Neal Lartigue, who modeled Ms. Fontenot's decorated bra won King Tata.
Thank you to Connie Lamke, Randy Deshotel and their team for their tireless efforts in putting together another successful event.
Evangeline Parish Police Jury Meeting
October 7, 2019
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday night got some good news from Alex Strohman with T C Energy. The multi- national company owns and operates some of the largest national gas pipelines in the country.
Strohamn reported that Evangeline Parish is included in its "Louisiana Express" project. The project includes the construction of a national gas compressor station near Cleco and Chicot Park in the St. Landry area. The project will create 34 construction jobs and two permanent jobs. The company has over 900 compressor stations in ten states.
He reported that the land for the new station has been purchased and work can begin just as soon as the company get federal and state regulatory approval. He announced that the parish will receive $1.5 million dollars in new ad valorum taxes in the compressor's first year of operation.
In other business Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron reported that the parish is finally starting to see the sewer bill delinquency total start to drop for those who are behind in paying their sewer bills. The police jury has referred the delinquent client bills over to the newly created Louisiana Debt Recovery agency. Some $32,000 in past due bills have been recovered with the current delinquent total is $103,663. The state agency tacks on an additional 25% fee and can pull drivers license and hunting license and other measures to force those customers to pay their past due bills.
In other action, the police jury:
--Received news that police jurors Bryan Vidrine and Eric Soileau have been appointed to serve on the Louisiana Rural Action committee with the National Association of Counties;
--heard from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron report that sales tax collections from the 2 percent sales tax amounted to $255,868 in September.
--set trick or treating hours for all non- municipal rural areas of the parish for 5-8pm Halloween night.
The last day of early voting for the October 12 primary election took place today (Saturday) with 358 people casting votes at the Registrar of Voters office in the courthouse. It was the only day where fewer than 400 people came in to vote in a single day. The grand total of people casting early votes amounted to 2963.
If you did not vote early, KVPI is urging you to go vote next Saturday at your voting poll and make sure your vote and voice count. It is an important election with offices for Governor and other statewide offices as well as State Senator, State Representative, Evangeline Parish Sheriff, Tax Assessor, police juror seats in seven of the nine districts, BESE Board Seats and a number of constitutional Amendments.
Listen to complete election return coverage on KVPI FM 92.5 and on classichits925.com live from the Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court's office at 8:00pm when the polls close with Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel. We are continuing a tradition of live election night coverage since we began FM night time coverage in 1967.
Physical Therapist Tim Fontenot was the featured speaker at today's (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting.
Tim shared with club members the history of the Tee Cotton Bowl, the annual city championship game between Sacred Heart and Ville Platte High School that he and his son helped start in 2000.
Fontenot said the first Tee Cotton Bowl had its humble beginnings with Sacred winning 24-21. The whole purpose was to help promote sportsmanship, effort and respect among players on both sides.
He said the game has grown to become nationally known. NFL Films did a special focus film on the game that has been shown over 90 times. The game has been blessed by the pope. Also, a book has been written about the history of the game.
The game was stopped for four years however through the efforts of several local concerned residents and prayers, the game resumed again. He said "God brought it back".
He thanked everyone who came forward to help with financial contributions for the recent game.
He reported that two TV stations came to do a live morning show for the Tee Cotton Bowl as well as a film crew from Seattle, Washington came in to do a documentary on the game.
A Who's Who of well known guest speakers who addressed the players through the years included Tony Robichaux, Tommy Casanova, Ernie Ladd and Warren Morris.
Rotarian Bob Buroker introduced Tim Fontenot and was in charge of the program.
Election Early Voting
September 29, 2019
Early voting for the October 12 primary election began Saturday at the Registrar of Voter's office in the courthouse. According to Evangeline Parish Registrar of Voters Lucas Buller, a total of 488 cast early votes on that first day. The early voting continues each day this week Monday through Saturday. There is a full slate of offices up for voters to decide from Louisiana Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Ag. Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner, BESE Board members , as well as parish and local offices: State Senator, State Representative, Sheriff, Assessor and Police Jury offices. Voters will also decide the fate of several constitutional amendments.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Richard Fontenot, local farmer and a representative with the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation.
Fontenot is a fourth generation farmer in the Vidrine area. He told club members that Agriculture is important to our economy in Evangeline Parish to the tune of some 96 million dollars. Some seventy percent of his crop is being exported to other countries.
Through his volunteer work with Farm Bureau, Fontenot is a strong advocate for agriculture.
One area that passed the state legislature is "Truth in Labeling" He asked club members "Is Cauliflower rice a rice product? Would you eat plant based shrimp or plant based beef? We want our shoppers and restaurant clients to know if they are buying La. Beef and Louisiana crawfish".
The last few years have been tough for Louisiana producers with floods and hurricanes that has impacted the rice crop.
He commented that the tariffs against China will hurt producers in the interim but in the end will be better for everyone. Fontenot said the soybean crop has been rated fair to average.
Fontenot commended Evangeline Supt. of Schools Darwan Lazard and his staff for supporting giving students the opportunity to become engaged in agricultural professions.
Rotarian Barbara Buroker was in charge of the program.
Club President Nicole Wenger announced that the Club Fall Social is planned for October 22.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports one injured in shooting.
On Sunday, September 22, 2019 at approximately 2:45 a.m. Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of shots fired on Anita Street in Ville Platte. Deputies with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office also responded to the incident to assist.
Upon arrival Officers and Deputies located a black male with a gunshot wound which required medical treatment. The victim was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center and later transported to New Orleans for treatment.
Chief Lartigue has stated that they do have a person of interest in the incident and at this time the investigation is ongoing.
Detectives are requesting anyone with information about the shooting the early morning hours of September 22, 2019, to contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 337-363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Evangeline Parish School Board discusses cross curricula and Parent Empowerment and Community Engagement Day
As reported by Mallory Moser
Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting September 18, 2019
The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday heard from Lisa Jack on how the new curriculum allows for cross-curricula in ELA (English-Language Arts) and Social Studies. This presentation came at the request of Board President, Wayne Dardeau. Ms. Jack explained that with this curriculum, textbooks have been replaced with text sources such as articles, graphs, videos, maps, etc. This curriculum requires a lot of preparation by the teachers, but Ms. Jack says that she loves it- it's applicable to real life for the students and she and the other teachers are able to come together to plan as a team to lessen the amount of work on the individual. Ms. Jack's thoughts on the matter were echoed by Curriculum and Operational Facilitator in Science and Social Studies, Anita West, and Basile High School science teacher, Kenneth Kidder during their requested presentation on why textbooks do not drive the curriculum Ms. West led the presentation by informing the Board on the changes the State of Louisiana has made to the curriculum standards for Science and stated that there is no textbook out there to meet these new standards. Much like what Ms. Jack stated in her presentation, Mr. Kidder and Ms. West spoke about how first and secondary sources, articles, and videos are being used in lessons and any textbook that is in the classroom is used as a supplement. Simply stated, the textbooks are not being used. Mr. Dardeau expressed some concern about how much work this seems to be for the teachers and how the concern is about teacher burnout. Ms. West and Mr. Kidder both stated that Ms. West's role as Facilitator has greatly helped to take the burden off of the teachers. Superintendent Darwan Lazard further stated that with curriculums that are not constantly changing, the focus is on preparing the students to perform at a high level and that they remain committed to supporting the teachers to ensure that they have the help and resources they need to keep everyone performing at their best.
Special Education Director, Kelli Lafleur gave a presentation on the creation of a Special Education Advisory Panel. The Evangeline Parish Special Education Advisory Panel (Evangeline SEAP) will consist of eight (8) panel members, four parents of exceptional children, two Evangeline Parish district employees, and two community stakeholders appointed for a one-year term. The panel will meet three times a year. Applications will be accepted until Friday, October 25, 2019. Accepted applicants will be notified of their selection.
In the closing statements of the meeting, Superintendent Lazard spoke about the upcoming EPSB Title I Parent Empowerment and Community Engagement Day which will be held at the Ville Platte North Side Civic Center on September 27th, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. There will be games, educational programs, and over $13,000 in cash prizes to give away. He also congratulated Ville Platte High School on their victory against Sacred Heart High School in the Tee Cotton Bowl.
The next Evangeline Parish School Boar
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Lorenzo Richard who represents the Krewe de Evangeline Coalition. The non profit community mission statement is to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of underage drinking.
Richard said "Alcohol is a drug and is the #1 drug used by young people. More young people drink alcohol than smoke cigarettes or use illegal drugs."
He shared statistics from the 2016 Caring Communities Youth Survey using surveys from our parish school students. In every category, Evangeline Parish students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 nearly doubled the state and national average of alcohol usage.
Richard also gave information about teen drinking. He said "Teens tend to mix alcohol with energy drinks which is even more dangerous than drinking the alcohol by itself.
The coalition is planning to have a "Youth Blast" event Friday Sept. 13 from 8-12 noon at the Mamou Recreation Center for all 7th graders in Evangeline Parish Schools. Some 467 students will be bused in from all schools for this special program featuring guest speakers and music.
Club President Nicole Wenger announced that plans are being made to begin a second Rotary Youth group in Ville Platte: this one at Ville Platte High. The RYLLA student group has been in existence for several years and has been heavily involved in community events.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday approved the purchase of a 1.7 acre tract of land for an animal shelter that will be operated by Every Paw Animal Rescue (E.P.A.R.). Currently the parish has no parish shelter. The proposed shelter will be located near the old Pizza Hut and Dirt Cheap on East Main Street. Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron reported that there will be five kennels constructed on the new site.
Also, the police jury approved cooperative endeavor agreements with Chataignier and Ville Platte. The jury plans to provide labor and equipment to help "blade out" ruts on Rosa Lane in the Village of Chataignier. Also, the jury voted to provide labor and equipment to help open up a drainage ditch on Progressive road in Ville Platte.
In other action, the police jury:
Appointed Dr. Dale Reed as the new Right of Way and Compliance Agent for the parish at a pay rate of $18 an hour for up to 20 hours a week;
Approved a request from Public Works Director Chester Granger to purchase a railcar to replace a bridge on Pin Oak Lane;
Received news from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron that sales tax collections for July collected in August was $276,442 or some $3700 less than for the same period a year ago;
Approved the reappointment of three members to the Evangeline Parish 9-1-1 Communications Board for another two year term: Tony Rozas, Pat Derousselle and Ronnie Broussard;
Approved the tax rolls as compiled by Assessor Dirk Deville despite appeals by two oil companies over valuation prices. The appeals will be heard by the Louisiana Tax Commission;
And voted to adjust the millage rates and roll forward to rates not to exceed the maximum authorized rate approved by voters.
Support Personnel in the Evangeline Parish Public School District will be honored on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 5:00pm at the Ville Platte High School auditorium, according to Supervisor Sherral Tezeno.
Mike Anderson, custodian at Ville Platte High School was chosen by the judges to be the District Support Person of the Year. Here are the rest of this year's nominees: Suzanne Andrus, Paraeducator at Basile High School; Paula Bergeaux, Paraeducator at W.W. Stewart Elementary; Le Ann Guillory, Paraeducator at Pine Prairie High School; Mary Soileau, Paraeducator at Bayou Chicot Elementary; Cindy Deculus, Paraeducator at Mamou High; Vashanski Thomas, Warehouse Manager at the Media Center; Ms. Jerry Bradley, Bus Driver at First Student at Bayou Chicot Elementary; Kimberly Soileau, Secretary at Mamou Elementary; Benita Wilson, Paraeducator at Vidrine Elementary; Lisa Miller, Administrative Professional at Media Center; Judy Guillory, Administrative Professional at the Central Office; Cinema Edwards, Secretary at James Stephens Montessori; Tanya Celestine, Paraeducator at Chataignier Elementary; Emerald Janice, Paraeducator at Ville Platte Elementary; Mark McCauley , Technology in the Central Office; and Joshua Ricks , Paraeducator at Evangeline Central School.
Following the recognition program at Ville Platte High, all of the nominees will be taken to the Crawfish Barn via limousine service to enjoy dinner with the staff members of the school board, family and friends.
Six riders qualified Sunday to compete in this year's running of the Tournoi next month. Facing temperatures near the 100 degree mark, the riders and their horses qualified at the Ward One Industrial Park to participate in the Tournoi scheduled for Sunday Oct. 13.
The riders who qualified are: Shane Trahan (who is the father of another rider Austin), Cody Guillory (son of the late Tournoi rider Cody Guillory), Keith Saucier, Shane Lee, Todd Manuel and Nick Fontenot. The six will join with the top ten riders from last year's event. The top ten riders were: Champion Eric Guillory, Alex Haller, Bryant Fontenot,, Ryan Haller, John Ross Guillory, Marcus Guillory, Kent Saucier, Chuck Manuel, Austin Trahan and Paul Fontenot.
Also attending the qualifying Sunday were the Tournoi Queens: 2019 Miss Louisiana Tournoi Queen Courtlyn Paige Bieber, a senior at Louisiana College, whose parents are Courtney and Rachel Bieber; 2019 Miss Teen Tournoi Queen-Charley Marie Bieber, a junior at Mamou High School whose parents are Charles and Michelle Bieber; and 2019 Little Tournoi Queen: Arris Fontenot, a student at Sacred Heart Elementary whose parents are Dirk and Rose Fontenot.
KVPI FM 92.5 will be there covering the Tournoi live on October 13 as we have every years since we first signed on in 1953. Special thanks to Tournoi Association member Steve Buffy Guillory for the information.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from two of its newest members during their meeting at the Family Life Center: Brian Ardoin and Garland Forman.
Brian Ardoin is a native of Pine Prairie. He served in the Louisiana State Police for 11 and a half years. He later taught criminal justice courses at LSU-Eunice. He owns a driving school "Top Cop Driving Academy". He is married and has four sons. He is a deacon at the Ninth Baptist Church.
Garland Forman is a native of the Bayou Chicot area. He graduated from Louisiana College in Pineville. He worked for the Eunice News, Gazette and for the past 31 years worked in Bunkie for the Bunkie Record newspaper in various capacities including as general manager. He is currently publisher and general manager of the Ville Platte Gazette. He is past president of the Louisiana Press Association. Garland is married with four children and two grand children.
In other rotary club news, Club President Nicole Wenger reminded club members:
The annual Rotary Club social is set for Oct. 22 at Nob Hill lodge;
On Oct. 29, the Rotary District Governor will make his annual visit to the club.
Evangeline Chamber of Commerce Civic Awards Banquet
August 27, 2019
The Ville Platte Civic Center was packed with chamber members along with families and friends of the nominees Tuesday night to pay tribute to honored citizens of the parish.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Renee Brown was the emcee. New Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce President Peter Strawitz and Vice-President Dr. Gwen Fontenot both spoke about their plans and goals for the new year. The guest speaker was Supt. Of Schools Darwan Lazard who made a presentation on the progress being made in our Evangeline Parish Public School System , which is the largest employer in the parish.
Here is the list of winners from the event:
Man of the Year-James Craig Pitre of Mamou; Woman of the year- Connie Lamke of Ville Platte; Farmer of the Year- Farrell Joe Costanza of Grand Prairie who farms some 4,000 acres of land; Business Person of the Year- Tie- Gene Burge, Chief Executive Officer of Savoy Medical Center of Mamou and Jay Gielow of Café Evangeline in Ville Platte; Business Person of the Year under 40- Ross Lafleur of Kary'sRoux in Ville Platte ; Business of the Year- Tie- Savoy Cancer Center of Mamou and Butler Tree Service of Turkey Creek; and selected as the Economic Development Person or organization of the Year- The Evangeline Parish Foundation.
Congratulations to the winners and all of the nominees.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from new LSU Eunice Chancellor Nancy Sorenson. The new chancellor is a native of Indiana and received her master’s degree from the University of Texas. She said “It is an honor to be a part of the LSU system”. She and LSU Eunice Director of University Advancement Carey Lawson reported to Rotary Club members that student enrollment for this semester has increased 2 percent over the same period a year ago. The school has some 3300 students enrolled . She thanked the local Rotary Club for their annual endowment scholarship. Five local students will be awarded $1000 scholarships this year as a result of the rotary funding. LSU Eunice is looking to obtain 12.1 million dollars in state funding for a new science building. The building will house the school’s chemistry and science labs. She also stated that the school is in need of more housing for its students .The housing complex, Bengal Village, is completely sold out with 214 students. She announced that some 300 students were turned away because there were no more housing units available. The school has 800-1,000 students taking on-line courses. The chancellor said the school is proud of its athletic programs with national championship titles. The women’s softball program won the national N.J.C.A.A. championship last year. This past year, the school introduced three new sports: men and women’s soccer and men’s basketball. The two guest speakers were guests of Rotarian Dr. Ted Ardoin.