Ville Platte Council Approves Pay Raises for Police
February 26, 2020
In a special called meeting tonight (Wednesday), the Ville Platte City Council unanimously approved raising the starting pay for police officers to $15 an hour from the current $11.68 an hour. Also the city council agreed to raise the pay for police sergeants from $12.10 an hour to $16.50 an hour.
The total cost of the pay raises amounts to $133,136. The funds were originally going to be used by the city to buy new computer software.
The action was taken to attract new police officers and to maintain the current force. The city has had a difficult time keeping trained police officers on the force patrolling streets . It was reported that officers are getting the training to become post certified and then leaving for higher paying law enforcement jobs elsewhere.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city had to make cuts to the police budget last year due to overtime pay abuses. After saving money by dropping dispatcher services and using the parish 9-1-1 communications system, the city has set aside funds for additional patrol officers.
The mayor explained the city has five eligible patrol officers, three are in training at the police academy and four open positions. The city council has authorized the police chief to hire immediately any post certified officer that applies without having to wait for approval from the city council.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city is planning to apply for a community policing federal grant to fund the police department. She said "Our main priority is your safety. "She said she plans to call on additional law enforcement help from the state police and even the national guard to help fight the growing crime problem in the city.
"This is not the Ville Platte I grew up in. We want to find out where the guns used in the shootings are coming from. I am hearing 60-70 shots almost every night.", the mayor commented.
All of the council members pledged their support to help the police department in any way possible
Councilman Bryant Riggs agreed that gun crimes have greatly increased in the city. He said the guns are related to organized gangs that are recruiting juveniles to commit many of the burglaries and thefts in the city.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that a public hearing will be called soon at the Ville Platte Civic Center to hear comments and concerns by business owners and the general public over the growing crime problem in the city.
A number of business owners and concerned citizens asked questions and commented over who is ultimately responsible for law enforcement in the city.
The city council provides the funding for the police department. However the police chief, who is an elected official, has the legal authority to oversee how he spends his operating budget.
Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office has released the following:
Early Saturday evening, February 22, 2020 Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to the 2200 Block of W Main Street Ville Platte (Teet's Food Store) regarding a Shooting. Deputies arrived and spoke with an Officer from Ville Platte Police Department, who stated a disturbance occurred that ended in a shooting and subjects fleeing the scene.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigation Division assumed the case, during their preliminary investigation, it was learned from the initial responding Deputy that a male subject later identified as Hezekiah Washowski Obrien Thomas had been shot and was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center. After further investigations, the assigned investigator gathered that Thomas had suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and he was being Air-Med to Lafayette General Hospital for surgery.
Suspects are said to have fled in a dark grey colored 4 door sedan with tinted windows which at the time headed North on US Highway 167N. The vehicle is believed to be a Nissan Altima or Maxima which was caught on video surveillance.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office are searching for the following subjects as persons of interest at this time Lionell Herbert Ardoin, Roderic Darone Thomas, and Jennifer Ann Fontenot all are wanted for questioning. No charges have been filed at this time. Investigation is still ongoing.
Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to contact the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigations Division by phone at 337-363-2161 or via our agency's website evangelineparishsheriff.org. All callers will remain anonymous.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine told members of the Ville Platte Rotary Club today and later during a KVPI interview that she is considering taking serious measures over the soaring crime in the city. She told Rotary Club members today " I am at the point of calling in the state police or the National Guard with their machine guns to help patrol our streets if necessary to restore law and order."
She reported that a local pharmacy was broken into overnight. She told KVPI listeners during the interview that she is tired of hearing gunshots being fired every night.
She promoted the new Ville Platte Police Tip line app available for residents to turn in anonymous tips to the city police. Some 25 tips have been received by the city police during the first week of operation. Also, the city is planning to install eight additional street crime cameras in high crime areas of the city.
The city had authorized the hiring of ten additional patrol officers. The problem the city has been having for many years is that many police leave after training to go to other departments making additional money.
Most of the crimes, according to the mayor, are being committed by juveniles as young as 12 years old. "These juveniles are burglarizing people's homes and stealing their vehicles.: She is saying the parents will be held responsible for the actions of these juvenile offenders. She told KVPI in an interview that will air later this week "Last week, a parent discovered her son had four guns hidden in his bedroom. The parent did not know the son had these guns."
Last week, a local pizza delivery driver was kidnapped and his car was stolen as part of a car theft ring operating out of Texas. Fortunately the driver escaped serious injury.
She announced that she plans to contact GOSEP, the governor's office of emergency operations to get help for city residents.
During the KVPI interview, Mayor Jennifer said she is considering a state of emergency to bring in additional law enforcement resources to Ville Platte. Last week, state police units came in to help patrol local streets.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Makes Efforts to Remove Illegal Firearms off the Streets
Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office has released the following:
On the afternoon of Thursday, February 13, 2020, Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigations Division received an anonymous tip in reference to a male juvenile subject illegally possessing multiple firearms within his residence at 1802 Kembo Street, Ville Platte.
On Friday, February 14, 2020 Detective Tyla Godeaux with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office responded to the anonymous tip by drafting and executing a Search Warrant on the above-mentioned residence.
During the search, Detectives were able to locate and confiscate multiple handheld firearms, approximately $1,700.00 in cash, and a small amount of Marijuana. A total 5 firearms were taken into evidence.
Upon completion of the Search Warrant, Detectives immediately went to Mamou High School to apprehend and detain the juvenile. The juvenile was transported back to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office for questioning. Immediately following the questioning, the juvenile was charged with 4 counts of Illegal Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile (2nd Offense), 1 count of Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm, and 1 count of Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance (Marijuana).
The juvenile was held without bond pending a special hearing to be held by 13th Judicial Judge Chuck West.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office would like to thank the anonymous caller for their assistance. Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office is always seeking information on criminal activity and urges the Public to contact the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigation Division via phone at 337-363-2161 or through the agency's website at www.evangelineparishsheriff.org. Any person reporting information will always remain anonymous.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Captures One of its Most Wanted Fugitives
Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office has released the following:
On the evening of Friday February 14, 2020, Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office received an anonymous tip in reference to the description of a vehicle and the possible whereabouts of Dalonzo Davon Alfred.
Investigations Division immediately responded to the tip by patrolling the immediate outskirt areas of Ville Platte. Detective Tyla Godeaux and Detective Tommy Gallow discovered a male subject driving a white 2 door Chevrolet Monte Carlo on Enola street fitting the description of the vehicle given from the anonymous tip. A traffic stop was conducted due to the license plate on the vehicle being switched. Alfred was wanted by the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office for several Outstanding Warrants. During the Traffic Stop a positive identification was made of Dalonzo Alfred. Investigators immediately and peacefully detained him and placed him under arrest without further incident. He was transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail where he was booked on the Outstanding Warrant of Principal to Armed Robbery and Principal to Theft with a bond of $82,500.00 signed by 13th Judicial Judge Gary Ortego.
Alfred was charged with Switched Plates, No Insurance, No Registration, and Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm from the traffic stop that was conducted as well. No Bond was set. He is also wanted by Louisiana State Probation and Parole Ville Platte District as a Probation Violator.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office would like to thank the pubic for their anonymous tips in the capture of Dalonzo Alfred. Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office is always seeking information on criminal activity and urges the Public to continue contacting our Investigation's Division via phone at 337-363-2161 or through our agency's website at www.evangelineparishsheriff.org. Any person reporting information will always remain anonymous.
Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting
February 18, 2020
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Guest Speaker Mitch Pellorin with Louisiana Hospice and Palliative Care of Opelousas.
Pellorin, a life-long resident of Ville Platte, explained that hospice care is available to patients with illnesses who can no longer benefit from curative treatment and usually have a life expectancy of six months or less as determined by a physician.
Hospice focuses on patient and family centered care that addresses the physical, spiritual, emotional and practical needs of the patient. Services can be provided in the home, nursing home or assisted living facility and is usually covered by Medicare. He was introduced by Rotary Club Member Peter Strawitz.
Shown in the photo are from left: Nicole Wenger, club president, Mitch Pellorin and club member Peter Strawitz.
It was announced there will be no rotary club meeting next Tuesday due to the Mardi Gras holiday.
Chief Neal Lartigue Reports two arrested in incident. Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of a missing person in the area of Edward Knotoe Thomas Jr. Street. According to the report a delivery driver could not be located after traveling to Edward Knotoe Thomas Jr. Street to make a delivery. As the Officers began investigating it was learned that while making a delivery, two black males approached the driver in the yard of the residence. One of the male suspects had a handgun and pointed it at the victim. The victim was ordered to get into the back seat of his own vehicle and was then blind folded. During this time a cell phone was tracked and they located the driver in the Bayou Chicot area. The 2 suspects left the victim on the side of the road and fled the scene. Continuous communication with Evangeline 911 dispatch and Texas authorities led to a pursuit where the vehicle was abandoned and the suspects fled on foot. Orange County Sheriff’s Office searched for the suspects and also used K9 tracking. Apprehended was Jarvis Jacoby Gallow, 28, of 1209 Peach Street, Ville Platte. Gallow was booked into the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to await a court hearing on charges he faces there, in relation to this incident. Upon completion of processing in Orange County, Gallow will be extradited to the Ville Platte Police Department on charges of armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and car-jacking. Gallow will remain incarcerated with no bond. Also arrested was Dylan Williams, 28, of 501 Court Street, Ville Platte. Williams was booked into the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to await a court hearing on charges he faces there, in relation to this incident. Upon completion of processing in Orange County, Williams will be extradited to the Ville Platte Police Department on charges of armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and car-jacking. Williams will remain incarcerated with no bond. Chief Lartigue remind citizens of Ville Platte to report suspicious or illegal activity using the new Tip Ville Platte app. Your text tip will remain anonymous. For Police assistance or to speak with dispatch, call 363-1313.
For the second month in a row, the main item of business and discussion at Tuesday's Ville Platte City Council meeting centered on the police department.
Due to budget restraints and a high turnover of police officers leaving to higher paying jobs, Police Chief Neal Lartigue announced again that he is forced to have only one officer on patrol per shift. The sheriff's department along with the state police and the city marshal have offered to help with backup.
Most members of the city council along with Mayor Jennifer Vidrine expressed the need to hire additional police officers and raise their pay a #1 priority. The goal is to raise the police starting pay is to $15 an hour. The department will have an additional $80-100,000 a year with the move to have the parish 9-1-1 take over the dispatching duties.
The council approved hiring two additional police officers: Matthew Willis and Drake Fontenot.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced two new crime fighting measures: the launch of a new anonymous tip smart phone app and new street cameras. She said the cameras will be upgraded and used in high crime areas of the city. The free application can be downloaded to I-phones and Android phones. Callers can send text messages to the police department for crime tips to help deter crime. Go to the App store and look for the "Tip Ville Platte" app.
Mayor Jennifer said "We are all concerned about safety in our city. We want the shootings to stop. Parents, your child shooting a gun is not a game. Parents will be held accountable for their child's actions."
In other news, the city council :
--approved closing Southwest West railroad street from Main to Magnolia on May 16 for a street dance;
--asked the public and city councilmen to notify city hall to report pot holes on city streets;
--heard from Fire Chief Chris Harrison that 18 fire calls took place in January included 2 structure calls, four grass fires and one vehicle fire;
--was notified by Mayor Jennifer that the city spent $114,771 less in January than they did in December;
--announced that the next city council meeting will be held March 17 at 5;00pm;
--received a report from Police Chief Neal Lartigue that the police department responded to 276 calls, wrote 24 citations, investigated 50 misdemeanors , nine felony cases and 39 traffic accidents;
--got a report from Mayor Jennifer that she met with Centurylink officials to see if they could increase internet speed in the city.
Former Louisiana Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown was the guest speaker today (Tuesday) at the Ville Platte Rotary Club meeting at the Ville Platte Civic Center.
Brown, who writes a newspaper column, has written a memoire entitled " My Louisiana Odyssey". Brown has served 28 years in public service including as state senator. He was seated next to Judge John Saunders who have been good friends while they both served in the state Senate.
Brown told club members that the state is rich culturally with our music and food. He urged rotary club members to begin a diary to leave to your children and grandchildren.
He shared a story in 1958 how he was in a high school gym dancing up a storm to the big hit song by Jerry Lee Lewis "Whole Lot of Shaking Going On". Ten years later, after graduating from law school, he started his law practice in Ferriday, Louisiana where his very first client was Jerry Lee Lewis. He later did legal work for Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart, two cousins.
He did legal work for former Governor Jimmie Davis. He shared the story that he was called to prepare Davis's last will and testimony. He prepared the will and asked the governor who was sitting in his bed to sing a few lines of his famous song "You Are My Sunshine and he did. Davis died two weeks later.
He said he spoke to former Governor Edwin Edwards a few weeks ago and asked how he was doing. Edwards told him, "I am 92 years old, I have a 49 year old wife and a six year old son and I feel great.".
Brown has a famous daughter, Campbell Brown who worked on "The Today Show" on NBC and later worked as a reporter on CNN. She is now in charge of News for Facebook.
Brown was the special guest of Nick LeBas.
The Rotary Club welcomed its newest member, Erin Hoffpauir, with the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce.
Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office has released the following:
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigations Division is actively investigating a residential burglary that occurred on the 1000 Block of Miller's Lake Road.
On February 4, 2020, Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to the 1000 Block of Miller's Lake Road for a Burglary. Deputies learned upon arrival that 2 unidentified male subjects enter into the residence through a window in the rear of the home. The suspects were wearing dark colored hoodies and their faces appeared to have been covered. The suspects were driving a green colored Chevrolet Lumina with temporary tags.
Assigned Detective immediately began receiving anonymous tips in reference to the burglary. Contact was made with Shannon Fontenot the owner of the vehicle seen in the crime scene photos. Fontenot's juvenile son is listed as a person of interest. Fontenot and her juvenile son are wanted for further questioning. Also wanted for questioning at this time is Trincal Herbert-Collins along with her juvenile son.
Evidence was collected from the crime scene and will be submitted to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office (Metro Forensics Investigations Division).
Anyone with information on the Miller's Lake Road burglary is asked to contact the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigations Division @ 337-363-2161 or submit a tip via our website evangelineparishsheriff.org. All callers will remain anonymous.
Evangeline Parish School Board Goes Behind Closed Doors to discuss Possible Legal Action
The Evangeline Parish School Board, Wednesday, upon advice from its attorney, Bob Hammonds, went behind closed doors in executive session to discuss a possible law suit.
Hammonds told the school board that he received a letter from an attorney from Lake Charles representing a school board employee. The attorney from the Johnson Law Firm is threatening legal action against the school board should the board make any changes to its salary schedule regarding supervisor pay.
The board along with Hammonds stayed behind closed doors for more than an hour.
When the doors opened again, Board President Wayne Dardeau announced that no immediate action would be taken by the school board on the salary schedule issue.
The board did approve a proposal by Superintendent of Schools to appoint a committee of employees to review the salary schedule for the past five years. The committee will work with board attorney Bob Hammonds and make recommendations to the full board for the future.
After the meeting Hammonds told KVPI News that the salary schedule for teachers and the accompanying index schedule for supervisors and principals was approved by the school board last June. The attorney said there may been a lack of communication and some confusion over the new schedule.
Rufus Serailles reported that he is having trouble getting public access to past salary schedules going back to 2015. He said state law requires public records requests must be honored within five days.. " I have been waiting for two weeks for some of these records", he told the board.
Yvonne Johnson, former local teacher and now a representative of the Louisiana Association of Educators said her group would like to partner and work with the committee that will review the salary schedule.
In other business, the school board:
--approved an offer to provide free dental screening for students in grades 1, 2 and sixth grades in the parish. Brook Voorhies with the sponsoring group said her group will offer up to $100 in free dental care per student;
--approved to proceed with a pilot program to install large over head fans in all six un air -conditioned gyms in the parish;
Evangeline Parish Police Jury Meeting
February 4, 2020
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday voted to raise their pay by $400 per month. The vote was 7-2 with jurors Sidney Fontenot and Eric Soileau voting no. The pay raise brings the total monthly salary to $1600 a month. It has been 20 years since the last time the jury received a pay raise. The vote followed a public hearing on the issue prior to the regular meeting.
In other business, the police jury discussed a cooperative endeavor agreement the parish has entered into with Every Paw Animal Rescue for the construction of an animal shelter. Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron reported EPAW will construct a privately owned animal shelter to house animals picked up outside municipalities. The shelter will be built on a 1.07 acre tract of land east of Ville Platte owned by the police jury.
Also, the police jury discussed a state L-Gap grant to expand full service sewer and water hookups at the parish owned Crooked Creek park. Bergeron felt the parish can maximize the funding since the jury will be using its own manpower and equipment to do most of the work.
In other action, the police jury:
--has authorized the secretary treasurer to prepare a resolution requesting state assistance to help in combatting crime. The jury will ask the state police to come into the parish to help in patrols and investigations;
--approved giving a 3 percent pay raise to road workers in District Two;
--re-elected Ryan Williams to a third term as President of the jury and elected Ryan Ardoin as new Vice President;
--received news from its building inspector people, that 90 building permits were approved in January for construction estimates of $346,673;
--heard that sales tax collections in January totaled $284,927, an increase of $1925 over the same period a year ago;
--called a public hearing on March 2 to abandon a portion of Continental Pond Road near Cazan Lake road and abandon a portion of Ferdie Lane between Mamou and Chataignier.
The 2020 Boudin Bowl took place Wednesday in Holly Beach. The final score: The 39ers defeated the Chefs 22-17 in a good game. KVPI Sports Announcer Tracy Jagneaux and color analyst Tim Fontenot were there to call the game for KVPI Sports.
Congratulations to our Boudin Bowl Football Pool Winners: First Quarter Winner: Daniel Thibodeaux; Second Quarter Winner-Lisa Deshotel; Third Quarter Winner-Darrel Dupre and Fourth Quarter Winner: Beverly Vidrine. Each of our winners won multiple prizes including food and beer.
Thank you to our sponsors and a special thanks to all of our many listeners who signed up for the free football squares.
Runaway Juvenile Reported
VILLE PLATTE, LA – The Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office needs the public's assistance in locating a runaway juvenile.
On Tuesday, January 27, 2020 the reporting person (David Courvelle) stated his daughter Trinity Rene Taylor (DOB 4-2-2003) left her residence from the 1100 block of Andrea Road at around 2:00 pm for work at Champagnes Quality Foods (901 Tate Cove Road) in Ville Platte. The reporting person stated his daughter never returned to work after taking her 5:00 pm break.
Trinity Rene Taylor (DOB 4-2-2003) was last seen wearing a maroon colored long sleeve work shirt embroidered with the Champagnes logo and blue jeans. A photo of Trinity is included below.
Trinity is said to be travelling in a 2005 charcoal grey 4 door Toyota Camry bearing Louisiana License Plate PF09506 registered to her father David Courvelle.
If anyone has any information or comes into contact with Trinity Rene Taylor is asked to contact the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigations Division at 337-363-2161.
Ville Platte Rotary Hears from Winston Lafleur on Christian Missions
January 29, 2020
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from guest speaker, Winston Lafleur with Ville Platte Christian Missions. The group has been having fund raisers and benefits to raise money to help natives living in a small village in Honduras since 2009. The group will once again have a fund raiser including live music, food and a silent auction coming up February 15 at the Ville Platte.
In past years, missionaries from the group have worked on churches, schools, water projects and delivered food commodities to the poor by day and ministered spiritually to them at night.
Lafleur said, 20 missionaries traveled with the group to Honduras last year. This year, so far, 26 have made plans to make the journey. Everyone who travels pay their own way. All of the money raised in the benefits go to help those living in Honduras.
Lafleur thanked everyone who have made donations and helped in the benefits through these past years. He was a guest of Rotarian Ronnie Landreneau.
Also speaking at the meeting was new member Rose May, who grew up in Dequincy and worked as a paralegal and in accounting in Houston, Texas.
Club member Mark Suellentrop announced that the club will be sponsoring the "Choices" program once again this year in area schools to encourage students to stay in school.
KVPI had a drawing of everyone who qualified for our promotion to win Wayne Toups concert tickets. Congratulations to our three winners: Danny Lahaye, Darrell Fontenot and Lisa Lee. Each of our winners have won a pair of tickets to see Wayne Toups on concert Saturday Feb. 1 at Paragon Casino in Marksville Platte. Thank you to everyone who qualified to win.
Ville Platte City Council Meeting
January 22, 2020
The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday , discussed a growing crime problem through the city and agreed upon solutions to combat the crime issue.
Two representatives of the business community attended the meeting, Cody Vidrine of Ace Hardware and Angie Shexnayder of Ville Platte Clinic Pharmacy.
Vidrine related three recent incidents of crimes around his business involving juveniles. He said "I am not worried about dirty streets . We need to get more police on our streets." He was commenting about the fact that the police chief announced he has only one officer on patrol per shift in the city. "It is time for us to do something. This is getting out of control. If something is not done, someone is going to get killed."
Angie Shexnayder was surprised at the low pay a police officer gets. "My pharmacy techs are making more money than our police officers who are risking their lives."
City Councilman Bryan Riggs commented "We lost population in the city and crime increased. We raised utility fees to correct the budget deficit and to give more money to our police force.
The city council has approved hiring ten additional police officers. Two were hired last night. The problem is that a police officer has to become post certified by attending special training at a police academy for several months. One of the two officers hired last night is post certified so she can go to work immediately.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that as of Thursday, all calls to the city police will automatically go to 9-1-1 dispatchers. The savings of some $80-100,000 will be used to beef up the police force.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine also announced that a new free anonymous tip app will launch for Ville Platte residents in February to help fight crime.
The problem is low pay for police officers. The city council agreed to gradually raise the pay for police officers to $15 an hour to compete with police departments such as Opelousas. The police chief said the newly trained officers in Ville Platte are leaving the city to better paying jobs elsewhere.
The city council approved giving the authority for the police chief to hire new officers after consultation and approval with the mayor without having to wait for the full city council's approval.
The city council asked the city attorney to review options to restrict operations at the L&V Store where loitering is common and has been the scene of a shooting.
In other action:
--C.P.A. Vic Slaven reviewed the finding of an audit on the city's financial records that ended as of June 30 of last year and gave the city a clean unmodified opinion;
--the city spent $57,000 in December than in November and Mayor Jennnifer Vidrine blames the increase to payment of the auditor, the payment of an insurance premium and repairing a sewer pump;
--voted to get an estimate on the cost to repair its city street sweeper;
--approved paying a longevity pay increase to city employees who have been with the city for five years or more. The cost will be $14,688;
--the city council welcomed the new Evangeline Chamber Director Erin Hoffpauir;
--heard the fire chief report for December: 27 calls, 4 structure fires and 6 grass fires;
-heard the police chief give his December report: 360 calls, 19 citations, 32 arrests, 11 felony arrests and worked 38 accidents;
--announced that the city has demolished five abandoned properties in December;
--approved a liquor permit for the Swamp Pop Reunion dance on Feb. 24 at the civic center.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from two guest speakers representing Cameron in Ville Platte. Abby Landreneau and Jared Blanchard spoke about what is going at Cameron/Schlumberger.
Abby Landreneau began her presentation with a video clip produced by an employee giving a history of the Ville Platte facility. Cameron opened at the Ward One Industrial park in 1983. In 2015, the plant was purchased by Schlumberger. The facility manufactures valves for the oil and gas industry ranging in size from 2 inch to 42 inch.
There are currently 310 employees working at Cameron. In 2019, 59 percent of the workforce lived in Evangeline Parish. The plant produced 11 million dollars in sales for Evangeline Parish and paid 1.5 million dollars in taxes to the parish.
She reported on the numerous community outreach projects they do every year including: the annual children's Christmas party for hardship students, giving tours to school students and assisting with the special Olympics.
Blanchard reported that the TC Energy Trans Canada Louisiana Express Pipeline from Appalachia to Louisiana will add three compressor stations in the state. One of those stations will be located in the St. Landry area near Chicot Park in Evangeline Parish. All of the control valves being used in this project are being manufactured at the Ville Platte facility.
The facility is known for building the "Cadillac" of ball valves in the oil and gas industry known as the "Cameron Valve"that are shipped world wide. The cost of a 2 inch valve is $2000 while the huge 42 inch size value has a price tag of $130,000.
Landreneau, in an answer to a question from a club member, said market conditions may change but she did not expect any additional personnel layoffs.
In other club business, the rotary club approved the appointment of Bob Manuel to the board replacing Dr. Jerry Veillon who has retired. Bob joins the rest of the board: Annette Johnson, Larry Lachney, Dr. Joey Soileau, Wayne Vidrine and Nicole Wenger.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced she will be meeting with Suddenlink and Centurylink officials soon to encourage the companies to improve their internet service to Ville Platte. She will also talk with Suddenlink about putting KVPI back on KVPI on cable lineup.
Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting
January 15, 2020
Certified Public Accountant Vic Slaven of the C.P.A. firm, Kolder, Slaven and Company on Wednesday presented the findings of its audit of the financial records of the Evangeline Parish School Board during the board's meeting. Slaven gave the board a "clean" opinion with no findings. He called it a good report. The ending fund balance in the general fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 showed the school district having $8.6 million dollars in its account.
A member of the audience, Rufus Serailles, addressed the board after the audit report to complain about a salary discrepancy. He asked board members if they were aware that certain members of the school board office staff received a $6,000 a year pay raise while teachers only received a $1000 pay raise.
School Board Legal Advisor, Assistant District Attorney Betsy Jackson, told Serailles that he was out of order since his subject matter did not deal directly with the subject of the audit. Board President Wayne Dardeau suggested to the speaker that the issue he raised would have to be brought at another time.
Chief Financial Officer Amy Lafleur announced that two schools in the Basile area will pilot a new program using school accounting software. The software will offer the option for parents to pay fees on line rather than cash to the schools. It is expected other schools will soon be offering the payment options as well.
School Superintendent Darwan Lazard praised CFO Amy Lafleur and her staff for the good audit report findings. She has been serving in that capacity for the school district for 19 years. Lazard also announced that she has been named as new Finance Secretary to the Louisiana School Business Officers Association.
Amy Lafleur reported that sales tax collections dropped by $18,000 over the same time a year earlier for the month of December. However, overall collections, year to date still show a healthy balance with over $219,000 more that the same period a year earlier.
Supt. Lazard introduced two new appointments: Miss Willie Goodley will serve as Interim Principal at Ville Platte High . She has over 40 years in education with 20 years serving at Basile and Mamou schools;
Cherie Fontenot will serve as new Acting Elementary Supervisor for the school district. She has served more than 27 years in education. She was named as Louisiana Elementary Principal of the Year and worked at James Stephens Montessori School.
Mr. Lazard also announced that Tom Prudhomme was recently appointed in the maintenance crew in AC, Heating and Electrical work.
It was announced that Monday is a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day while Tuesday will be a day of Professional Development where students will not attend classes.
As per Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, candidates that have qualified as of 4:30 p.m., Friday, January 10, 2020, to run for office in the upcoming April 4, 2020 election are as follows:
City Marshall, City Court, City of Ville Platte
Lisa M. Doucet
Horace Johnson, Jr.
Lucian McKinney, Jr.
Brian Keith Fontenot
Democratic Parish Executive Committee, Member at Large
Chasity Ann Vidrine
Kelli Ritter Buller
Phillip Allen Lemoine
Brian James Ardoin
John B. Vidrine
Democratic Parish Executive Committee, District 1
Democratic State Central Committee, Office "A"
Jennifer L. Vidrine
Democratic State Central Committee, Office "B"
Republican Parish Executive Committee, Member at Large
Bryan Kirk Vidrine
Warren James Lafleur
Toni Lyon Aguillard
Republican Parish Executive Committee, District 1
Warren James LaFleur, Jr.
Republican Parish Executive Committee, District 4
Opal Andrus Johnson
Qualifying brought more candidates on Day Two
January 9, 2020
Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel informed KVPI News that the following candidates qualified in his office today for the various offices on Day Two of qualifying for the April 4 special election:
Member at Large for the Evangeline Parish Republican Executive Committee:
Kenny Burgess, Bryan Kirk Vidrine, Warren James Lafleur and Toni Lyon Aguillard;
District One, Evangeline Parish Republican Executive Committee: Warren James Lafleur.
Qualifying ends Friday at the Clerk of Court's Office in the courthouse
Five people qualified today for Ville Platte City Marshal
January 8, 2020
Qualifying for Ward One City Marshal began with five candidates officially qualifying for the office in the special April 4 election. The election is being held to fill the unexpired term of the late Ronald T. Doucet. Among the candidates who qualified with Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel in the courthouse include: Adam Toussaint, Lisa Doucet, Horace Johnson Jr., Lucian McKinney Jr and Brian Keith Fontenot. The qualifying continues through Friday at the Clerk of Court's office.
Also qualifying today for positions in the parish and state levels of the Democratic Party: Chasity Vidrine qualified for the Democratic Parish Executive Committee Member at Large while Jennifer L. Vidrine qualified for Office A in the Democratic State Central Committee.
Driver Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash in St. Landry Parish
Prairie Ronde – Shortly after 12:15 p.m. on January 5, 2020, Troopers from Louisiana State
Police Troop I began investigating a two-vehicle crash on LA Hwy 103 at McGuffy Road in St.
Landry Parish. The crash took the life of 57-year-old Stephanie Soileau of Ville Platte.
The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Soileau was driving
North on LA 103, in a 2014 Nissan Maxima, when she failed to negotiate a curve and crossed the
centerline. After doing so, her vehicle struck a southbound 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche.
Soileau was restrained at the time of the crash. She was transported to a local hospital in critical
condition where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries. The driver of the Avalanche was
properly restrained and was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. Impairment is
unknown but standard toxicology samples were obtained from both drivers. This crash remains
This marks the first fatality crash of 2020 for LSP Troop I.
Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that making good choices while in motor
vehicles such as observing all traffic laws, never driving while impaired or distracted, and always
ensuring every occupant is properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and
Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office has released the following:
Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Department is relieved after capturing a white male subject identified as Timothy Kordish a known suspect involved in a recent Carjacking at a camp outside the city limits of Mamou, LA.
Thursday January 2, 2020 Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Deputies apprehended Kordish safely and without incident at a residence on the 1200 block of Baldridge Road.
Initially on Thursday, December 19, 2019, Deputies were called out for the theft of a motor vehicle. After a brief gathering of information it was learned that a white male subject identified as Timothy Kordish had taken William Reed's vehicle without consent. Reed had invited Kordish to spend the day with him and his girlfriend at a camp off the Bond Road. Prior to departing while Reed was not present in the vehicle, Kordish armed himself with a rifle. He then threatened Reed's girlfriend with the rifle while they were waiting on Reed to return. At some point she was able to exit the vehicle without harm. After which Kordish drove off in the vehicle and didn't return. The vehicle was later recovered.
An Affidavit for Arrest and an Arrest Warrant was immediately authored for Carjacking and Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. The Warrant was approved and signed by 13th Judicial Judge Chuck West.
Kordish is currently being held at the Evangeline Parish jail on a $50,000.00 bond.
Ville Platte City Council Meeting
December 23, 2019
The Ville Platte City Council, in a special meeting today (Tuesday) approved a request from Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue to enter into a contract with Evangeline Parish 9-1-1 Communications District to provide dispatching services for the city police department.
The chief said the action will save the city some $100,000 a year. All but one police department dispatchers will remain on in another capacity such as jailers.
Chief Lartigue addressed concerns about the police station remaining open after hours. He reported that the police station will remain open and there will be a phone for the public's use in the police department lobby for emergency usage.
He expects the move over to 9-1-1 will take place in the next few months.