Local News Archives for 2011-11

Election Returns from Saturday's Elections


     Complete by unofficial election return coverage from Saturday’s General Election in Evangeline Parish shows that Randy Deshotel was elected new Clerk of Court to replace long time Clerk Walter Lee. The vote totals show Deshotel with  3861 votes or 52 percent of the vote to Ben Soileau’s 3536 votes.

      In the police jury runoff races:


--Rocky Rider was elected new police juror in District One with 613 votes or 51 percent of the vote to his opponent, Blyn Rozas who got 579 votes. There was no incumbent in that race;


--In District Four, Incumbent Lamar Johnson was re-elected with 51 percent of the vote with 645 votes over challenger Stan Leger who received 599 votes.


--In District Five, Challenger Kevin Veillon with 894 votes or 71 percent of the vote defeated incumbent Bob Manuel who received 360 votes.


 --In the BESE Board election in Evangeline Parish, Jim Guillory got 1035 votes or 51 percent of the vote over opponent Carolyn Hill who received 966 votes.


 --In the Village of Pine Prairie sales tax proposition, the issue passed with 140 yes votes while 91 people voted no.


--In the Ward Four Pine Prairie Fire District millage renewal for ten years, the issue passed with 551 votes for the renewal while 202 voted no.


--Here in Evangeline Parish, the constitutional amendment to prohibit new taxes on real estate transfers passed 4934 votes yes while 1625 voted no.

   KVPI Classic Country 1050 was there covering the election returns live from the Clerk of Court's Office.

Ville Platte High Students View New Gym


       Ville Platte-- Evangeline Parish Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin informed the members of the Evangeline School Board of the ribbon cutting of the new Ville Platte High gym that took place earlier in the day. It was the first chance for school students to actually view the athletic facility. Hamlin said the students were very pleased with the gym. The old school gymnasium did not have a regulation size court and the school  basketball teams were  forced to use area school gyms in post season playoff games.

        The gym project is part of the $3 million dollar Ville Platte High School renovation project that is substantially complete.

        Hamlin announced that there will be an open house and walking tour of  the school board and the general public  December 8 from 5:00-6:30pm.

        In other business, the school board agreed to review a proposed contract with  American Academy. The firm is an online academy that that concentrates on drop out recovery at no cost to the school district.  The company receives funding from  Minimum Foundation Program  funds for that student.

      The school district would provide a list of drop out students which the firm would contact in an attempt to re-enroll the student.

      Personnel Supervisor Michael Lombas called it a “win-win” situation both for the student and the school district. “If we can recover 1-2 drop outs and have them earn their diploma, it would be worth the effort.”

      In other action, the school board:

--approved a 2 year contract renewal for Title One Director Mary Ann Fontenot;

--was notified there will only be one meeting of the board in December: on December 14.

Ville Platte Police Arrest Stabbing Suspect


Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports to KVPI News that on November 15, 2011 the Ville Platte Police Department received a report of a stabbing in an apartment on McArthur Drive.  Upon arrival the officers found a black male that had been stabbed several times.  Acadian Ambulance responded to the scene and the male subject was checked and refused to be transported.  After further investigation it was discovered that a trustee named Carlos Ardoin was on work detail assigned to a city employee and had asked the employee to bring him to his house to pick up some money.  Upon arrival at the apartment Ardoin kicked in the door to the residence and began fighting with the female inside.  At some point during the altercation the female escaped the residence and Ardoin returned to the residence and stabbed the black male several times causing injury to his thigh, wrist, lower back and hand. Ardoin was charged with Aggravated Second Degree Battery, Unauthorized entry of an Inhabited Dwelling and Criminal Damage to Property.  Ardoin was transported to the Ville Platte City Jail without further incident.  Ardoin remains incarcerated at the Ville Platte City Jail. The stabbing victim later went to the emergency room for treatment.


Evangeline Parish To Receive Federal FEMA Funds


Ville Platte   -   The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, took a major step forward Monday toward obtaining federal FEMA funds in the Hazard Mitigation Grant program. The jury approved engaging the services of J. Ronald Landreneau of Ville Platte for engineering  and grant management. The jury also awarded Risk and Vulnerability Solutions LLC as project manager.

                    Already, the parish is due to receive $1.33 million dollars in funds to help mitigate future hurricane losses.  The funded projects include the following:

--$920,000 to harden emergency facilities such as fire and police stations throughout the parish.  The term harden means to install impact resistant glass and stronger roofs and doors to withstand hurricane force winds;

--$80,000 to harden the Ville Platte Northside Civic Center and $330,000 for major drainage improvements near Savoy Medical Center in Mamou.

                    Engineer Ronnie Landreneau commented that that there is one more project under consideration by FEMA: $620,000 for drainage improvements along Beacon’s Gully east of Mamou.

                     In other business, Landreneau reported that the long awaited Global Information System computer project should be up and running in the next few months. The $170,000 project was funded through a $70,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority and the rest from Evangeline Parish Tax Assessor Dirk Deville. All parish agencies will be able to merge their records with the program.

                     The computer program will merge parish maps with current data and will be accessible on the internet. Evangeline Parish is one of only three parishes in the Acadiana area that has this computer program.

                     In other business, the police jury announced that their annual all French meeting will be conducted Tuesday at 2:00pm. The French Consul General Jean Claude Brunet from New Orleans will be invited to attend the meeting.

                In other action the police jury:

--called a special meeting for December 28  at 5;30pm to adopt its fiscal year budget;

--appointed Cody Bieber to replace Peter Savoy on the Mamou Drainage Board;

--reappointed Greg Monier to another term on the Mamou Fire Protection District Board;

--approved the resignation of Acadia-Evangeline Fire District Chief Mike Arnold and appointed his replacement, Greg Savoy.

Ville Platte City Council Meeting

   After a public hearing, the Ville Platte City Council Tuesday approved amending its foot traffic ordinance to  give the mayor and council authority to authorize a walking curfew in the future should crime increase in the city.
    Last month, the council suspended the walking curfew for adults after receiving advice from its attorneys and getting sued by the ACLU. The council meeting room was packed with residents in support of keeping the curfew ordinance on the books. The city announced that the curfew is still in effect for minors under the age of 17 where they are prohibited from walking the streets after 10:00 at night.
   After the public hearing last (Tuesday) night, the council approved the following amendment: “if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the general public and when it is believed that a curfew would assist in the reducing of violence, drug abuse and crime, authorization is granted to the Mayor to call for a temporary curfew up to 30 days with an extension of 30 days with a vote of the council.
    Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said she will monitor the crime rate in the city each month with the police chief.
    In other business, the city council approved an amendment to the nuisance ordinance to toughen its laws dealing with abandoned property. The amendment adds fines to the penalty of being found guilty of not cleaning up abandoned property. The fine for a first offense is $500, second offense is $500 and third offense is $2000. City Attorney Eric LaFleur reminded the council that the fines cannot be suspended.
    In other action the council:
--received news that the city will be receiving a $5000 grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful to purchase 12 trash receptacles to be placed in various neighborhoods;
--approved the hiring of two new police officers to the force: Keisha Evans and Kendall Williams;
--agreed to purchase three used trucks from the Federal Property Auction in Baton Rouge at a cost of $32,700;
--approved applying for a $800,000 water improvement grant from the Community Development Block Grant program and naming Landreneau and Associates as the engineering consultant;
--received news from Mayor Jennifer Vidrine that the city plans to crack down on the growing problem of  residents stealing city water meters and water service.

Good News From Evangeline Parish School Board About Ville Platte High


  Ville Platte-   Mike Holt, a representative with the architectural firm of Yeager and Watson of Alexandria, had some good news about the construction project at Ville Platte High School. He announced that the 18 month renovation project is substantially complete.

     The 3 million dollar program involved improvements to the school offices, restrooms, gymnasium, auditorium and other areas.

     Holt said the contractor has a punch list to complete within the next 45 days.

      The Ville Platte High project , in the facilities area, was the last factor, in the overall federal desegregation case before the Evangeline School District can be declared  unitary  and be free from federal oversight. Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin told the school board that representatives from the United States Justice Department will be visiting the school in the near future to review the work.

    In other business, the school board approved amending a motion by Board Member Jerry Hoffpauir to advertise for quotes for the board’s transportation contract for a three year period. The original agenda item called to extend the present contract with current transportation provider, First Student.  The vote was 10-3 with board members Nancy Hamlin, Peggy Forman and Lonnie Sonnier voting against the amendment.

    First Student’s current two year contract is costing the school board $2.3 million dollars a year.  February 3 will be the deadline for private transportation companies to turn in their quotes.

    School Board Business Manager Amy LaFleur reported on the sales tax excess distributions to employees. This year, full time degreed personnel will receive $2681 which is about $281 less than last year. Full time support personnel will receive $1204 each which is $126 less than last year. The checks will be issued on November 18.

   Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin said a firm is interested in leasing property from the school board and other property owners along LA 13 west of Mamou to erect a wind farm. The company, Reliable Land Services, is doing a study to determine the feasibility of erecting 400 foot tall  windmills to generate electricity along that area and another area in Jeff Davis and Acadia Parishes

    In other action the school board:

--approved only one meeting  each in December and January due to the holidays: December 14 and January 18;

--received news that sales tax collections for October increased by $47,848 over the same period a year ago.

Second Degree Feticide

Racheal Bellard, 31, of 1014 Booker T Street, Ville Platte. La was arrested on October 31st 2011 for Second Degree Feticide stemming from a fistic encounter on October 15th 2011 in the parking lot of a local business.  The incident is still currently under investigation and another arrest is expected.  Anyone with information on this incident should contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 337-363-1313.


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