Local News Archives for 2011-06

Evangeline School Officials Show Concern Over New School Performance Letter Grades


Ville Platte-    Evangeline Parish Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin, Wednesday  joined with other school officials in addressing concerns and questions over the scheduled switchover to a letter grade to grade schools based on student performance test  scores.
                        A state department of education report indicated that if the grading plan was in place now, most of the schools would be getting a D grade or worse.
                          Hamlin told members of the Evangeline Parish School Board that the grading system would not reflect a true picture on improvements a school may be making. For example, a school that would have been labeled academically unacceptable and had made strides to improve the scores, would still be ranked in most cases a D.
                          The school board, in other business, received reports that summer school at Mamou High School is going well. It was reported that ninety  4th and 8th grade students are attending   LEAP remediation.
                          Business Manager Amy Lafleur explained that sales tax collections for the month of May showed a decrease of $126,071 over the same period a  year ago. The year to date sales tax comparison reveals that collections have decreased by $235,517 over the same period a year ago. Lafleur said there will be one more month to wait for to determine over how taxes have dropped for the entire year.
                         In other action, the school board approved the opening of the Pine Prairie High School Canning Center that is due to be opened three hours a day, five days a week for a six week period for the general public to shell peas and for canning purposes.

Evangeline Parish Day in Baton Rouge Big Success






      A large contingent of Evangeline Parish residents and public officials visited the state capitol in Baton Rouge on Tuesday for Evangeline Parish Day. The event was sponsored by the Evangeline Parish Tourism Commission in connection with the parish centennial celebration later this year. Several businesses and groups attended and prepared delicious Cajun treats. Cajun bands such as Don Fontenot and Jamie Berzas performed for members of the state legislature. A special resolution commemorating Evangeline Parish as well as Mamou and Basile’s 100th birthday was ready by State Representative Bernard LeBas and read in French in the Senate by Senator Eric Lafleur. KVPI was there all day with Randy Guillory doing live reports and interviews including an interview with Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne. Be looking for photos of the event taken by Mable Forman on our website in the next few days.

NAACP Claims Racial Bias in Ville Platte Abandoned Housing Program






   The Ville Platte City Council Tuesday heard from Arthur Sampson, President of the NAACP Chapter, who complained that there appears to be a racial bias in the city’s project to clean up abandoned homes and vehicles.

    Sampson said it appears that the city is targeting minorities in making homeowners clean up their properties. He gave an example of one person who received notice from the city to clean up their property. The person in question, according to Sampson, said a Caucasian neighbor has abandoned vehicles on his property for years and has never received a notice from the city.

    Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine replied to Sampson’s accusations “I can guarantee you that we are not targeting people along racial lines.”

    Sampson also had a complaint about a city employee that he wanted to talk openly about during the meeting.

     However, Mayor Vidrine said city protocol calls for the citizen with a complaint against an employee to meet privately with the supervisor of that employee. In this case, Sampson is due to meet with the mayor to hear his complaints.

     In other business, the city approved calling a public hearing on June 23 at 11:45am to receive public comment on the city’s new fiscal year budget that begins July 1. The new budget will be formally adopted in a special meeting after the hearing at noon on that same date at city hall.

     Also the city heard a proposal from  Consultant Samuel Stewart of Houston who is proposing constructing a combination convention/event center and hotel in the city. The 28,000 square foot event center would hold conventions and special musical concerts. The hotel would house approximately 100 rooms. He said the project would create 200 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs.

     The project would be funded through municipal bonds to be paid back from the use of the convention center and hotel over a 25 year period.

     His detailed written proposal was referred to the city’s legal advisor for review.


Evangeline Police Jury Monday Discusses Road Hard Surfacing Program






   Ville Platte-  The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday approved adopting a master plan for the jury’s road building process known as “chip sealing”.

      The chip sealing program began four years ago and since then, about 70 miles of parish roads have been hard surfaced. The process involves three layers of tar and limestone along with a sealer.

       The process is economical to the parish compared to asphalt. Chip sealing a mile of road costs $50,000 compared to $220,000 for a mile of asphalt road.

       The jury agreed to develop a master plan that includes a parish wide standard as far as the number of  layers of tar and limestone. The plan would also set a deadline for jurors to turn in their roads for the chip sealing program each year.

       In other business, the police jury approved a request from Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac to reimburse his office $1000 a month for the rental of office space.

       Brignac said, because of a lack of office space in the courthouse, he is planning to rent an office building at 414 Cotton Street in Ville Platte. He asked the jury to reimburse his office $1000 a month toward the office rental and upkeep of the additional offices.

       In other action the police jury:

--approved engaging the services of the engineering firm of  Landreneau and Associates to prepare a flood study of Bayou Nezpique as mandated by the state;

--approved increasing the monthly contribution the parish makes to the Office of Veterans Affairs by $100 a month for the Veterans Services Office next year;

--approved setting a flat $50 a month cell phone allowance to police jury road supervisors and drainage crew.

Ville Platte Lions Club Holds Installation of Officers




    The Ville Platte Lions Club held their annual installation of officers and ladies night Saturday night at the Lions Den meeting hall. Outgoing Club President Paul Ardoin conducted the meeting. Special guests former District Governors Russell LeBlanc and Ethel Robin. Also in attendance was Normal Dugeall, the Lions Club District Cub Sight Chairman.

    Glen M. Fontenot was selected as Lion of the Year and was also given a special award for recruiting new members.

    Special recognition was given to Lions Perry Meche and Darin Bordelon. Meche was chosen by his employer, Mercy Regional Medical Center as its employee of the year and competed among 49 other nominees company wide at Lifepoint Hospital’s annual meeting. Bordelon was nominated as Ville Platte Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce.

    Club Secretary John Floyd Soileau was given a community service award for 25 years of community service.

    Lion Charles Manuel was honored with a special award from the Lions Club International.

    Lion Leroy Olivier was given a special plaque for his years of service and was given a new club designation, a priviliged member. Olivier was in attendance aloing with his wife and family for the event. He has been a member since 1982.

    Past District Governor Russell LeBlanc installed the following new officers and board members:

President-Mike Ardoin; Immediate Past President and First Vice President-Paul Ardoin;

Secretary-Floyd Soileau; Treasurer-Sammy LaFleur; Lion Tamer-Ken Johnson; Tail Twister-David Matthew; Membership Chairman and one Year Board Member -Charles Manuel and Two Year Board Member-Michael Dess Fontenot. 

Three Local Residents Indicted by Evangeline Grand Jury


Evangeline Parish District Trent Brignac reported to KVPI News today that an Evangeline Parish Grand Jury has returned indictments on three local residents earlier this week. After meeting for two days, a grand jury returned indictments on all three cases which were presented on June 6 and 7, 2011.


The grand jury indicted Dannie Lee Lafleur, age 21, of Ville Platte, on charges of First Degree murder and Armed Robbery. The charges stem from an incident which occurred on or about May 6, 2011 wherein Lafleur forced his way into a local business located on Main Street in Ville Platte, Tat Nails, and robbed, shot and killed the owner, Tuc Thanh Do.


James Bertrand, age 67 of Ville Platte was indicted on several charges stemming from incidents which occurred on or about March 25 and 28 of this year. The grand jury returned indictments for the following: one count of Extortion, two counts of Aggravated Kidnapping and two counts of False Imprisonment with a Dangerous Weapon.


The grand jury also indicted Harry Joseph Reed, age 38 of Chataignier for three counts of Aggravated Incest and three counts of Molestation of a Juvenile. These charges stem from incidents which occurred in 2003.


Assistant District Attorney, Timmy J. Fontenot, represented the State in these matters and presented the cases to the grand jury.

Evangeline Deputies Witness Drug Transaction


    Sheriff Eddie Soileau said that on June 2, 2011, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division were attempting to locate a suspect, in an unrelated matter, when they witnessed a hand to hand drug transaction. The transaction was between Lee Randall Larnette and Jerome Fontenot at 418 Calcasieu in the city limits of Ville Platte.  After witnessing the transaction an investigation was initiated, which led to the arrest of Lee Randell Larnette (22) of 1314 Peach Street, Ville Platte.  Larnette was charged with simple possession of cocaine.  Fontenot fled the scene and is still being sought by the Sheriff’s Department. Fontenot is wanted for questioning and currently has outstanding probation warrants.  An additional arrest was made during the investigation.  Paula Marie Lyons (43) of 1020 Sunflower, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with resisting an officer.


Evangeline Police Jury Adopts New Reapportionment Plan






      The Evangeline Parish Police Jury , Monday, in a special meeting, adopted a redistricting plan to submit to the U.S. Justice Department ahead of its scheduled elections this October. The approved plan calls for moving the Easton area including Pine Prairie Energy over to District 6 over the objection of District Four Lamar Johnson.

      The vote came after a public hearing to get public comment on three plans under consideration. The approved plan, Plan One, calls for the Easton move and has only two precinct splits. A second plan, Plan 1-A, calls for keeping Easton in District Four but moves the Clearwater community to District 7. The plan calls for three precinct splits. That was the plan supported by Johnson.

       A third plan, endorsed by the NAACP, called for the creation of a third minority district by combining minority areas from Mamou to Ville Platte. However the plan calls for the creation of eight new precincts. It creates a third minority district with 53 percent minority population.

        Demographer Mike Heffner felt the approved plan should pass Justice Department review. He said Justice has up to 60 days to review the plan once it is submitted. The pre cleared plan from Justice has to be at the Secretary of State’s Office by August 29 to have the police jury elections as scheduled in October.

       In other news, Police Jury President Eric Soileau welcomed the newest police juror, J.D. Soileau of District One who was officially seated after being sworn into office last week.



Evangeline Parish 4th and 8th Graders Did Well in Leap Test Results







      Evangeline Parish public school students in grades 4 and 8 did well in meeting promotional standards in Leap Test results released last week. Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin Wednesday at a meetingof the Evangeline Parish School Board  said “We are very pleased with the preliminary results our students showed. This is really a highlight for us and we take great pride and compliment all of our schools.”

                         The Leap Test results released last by the State Department of Education and as reported by the Advocate showed Evangeline Parish students did better overall than the statewide average.

                           The report showed 86% of fourth grade students in Evangeline parish met the promotional standards while the statewide average showed 80 percent of fourth graders met the standards.

                           Meanwhile, the report revealed that 80 percent of Evangeline Parish’s 8th graders met promotional standards while the statewide average showed 74 percent of the students met the same standards.

                           Hamlin plans to have her staff present a full breakdown on the Leap Test results at a meeting in July.

                            In another matter, Superintendent Hamlin said she should be able to report by next month exactly where  planned reductions in personnel will take place by next month. She and Personnel director are carefully reviewing each category and the exact dates personnel were first employed to determine who will actually be impacted.

                           Last month the school board approved implementing its reduction in force policy and to adopt $2.8 million in budget reductions for the new school year.

                            In other action the school board:

--announced that the school district is operating its state required summer school for Leap remediation for 4th and 8th graders, GEE and end of course algebra testing at Mamou High School;

-- recognized Bayou Chicot student Taylor DeVille who has won first place in  Group 3 of the 2011 Environmental Awareness Art and Language Arts Contest.



Ville Platte Man Found Guilty of Possession of Concealed Weapon


      A  criminal jury trial ended today when a Ville Platte man was found guilty of possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon. Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac told KVPI News that  the defendant was Christopher Guillory age 26 of 713 Rozas Street, Ville Platte. He was arrested last October when three Ville Platte Police Officers responded to a complaint which resulted in a struggle with Guillory, during which time Guillory was found to have a small .22 caliber pistol in his back right pocket.

       Christopher Guillory was convicted in 2003 for Possession of Cocaine, in 2004 for Aggravated Flight from an Officer and in 2005 for Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.

        The defendant is facing a sentence of not less than ten nor more than 20 years at hard labor, without benefit of  probation , parole or suspension of sentence. His sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 11, 2011.

         District Attorney Trent Brignac commended lead prosecutor Timmy Fontenot and Assistant District Attorney Betsy Jackson who assisted in the prosecution of the case. Brignac also complimented Ville Platte Police Officers Nathaniel Savoy, Tammy Bonnette, and Thomas Barney for their roles in the investigation, as well as at the trial. Finally, Brignac would like to thank all prospective jurors and especially the 12 jurors who were selected for their time and service to the community.


Bayou Darbonne Boat Launch Closed according to St. Landry Parish Officials



EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, by orders of St. Landry Parish President, Don Menard, all boat launches to Bayou Darbonne will be closed until further notice. This notice is being issued due to the increased water levels and the safety hazards boating posses for the residents in these areas. These orders include the Levee Landing Boat launch and the Public Boat Launch under Hwy 190. Please be advised the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department will be patrolling these areas and will strictly enforce these orders.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, by orders of St. Landry Parish President, Don Menard, the boat launch located at the Grimmett Canal is closed until further notice. The boat launch is located South of Hwy 190 off of Spillway Road in Port Barre. Due to the rising waters, this boat launch is no longer visible and poses a safety hazard.

The mandatory evacuation order is being lifted for all residents living on the east side of the levee and for all livestock previously on the levee. Upon returning, all Residents and livestock owners are cautioned about a possible increase in wildlife in the area.

May was a Dry Month in the Ville Platte Area






    Less than two inches of rain  fell for the entire month of May according to our KVPI weather charts. Only three  days of measurable rain for the month:.34 on May 2 ,  1.12 on May 3 and 0.01 on May 12 and that was it. It has not rained since May 12 in the Ville Platte area.

     The hottest day of the month took place on May 31 when the temperature rose to 97 degrees. In fact we had 12 days of 90 plus degree temperatures.

      The coolest day of the month was 46 degrees recorded on May 4.

      It was a windy month with ten days of recording wind gusts of 20 miles per hour or more. The windiest day was May 25 where winds gusted to 27 miles per hour.


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