Local News Archives for 2011-12

Three Members of Evangeline Police Jury Say Goodbye During Meeting



      The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, in a special meeting Wednesday, adopted their new fiscal year budgets that begin January 1. The jury voted to adopt a balanced $2.6 million dollar general fund budget among its budgets. The only change in pay is reflected in District Two where the jury approved raising the pay for road workers there by $1 an hour as recommended by Juror Sidney Fontenot.

      Police Juror Richard “Blood” Thomas asked the jury and the sheriff if the issue of permits for trail rides has been resolved. Jury President Eric Soileau had suspended the issuance of permits for the past several weeks after receiving numerous complaints from neighbors about the loud music late at night at the end of a recent trail ride.

      Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau remarked that his department will enforce the ordinance by giving the trail ride organizer one warning to turn down the music. Should the department have to return a second time, the trail ride organizer will receive a citation. Should the sheriff’s department be forced to return a third time, the entire event will be shut down. Sheriff Soileau said the music must be turned down by 10:00 at night. He reported that in the past the security persons hired by the trail ride organizer has not been following the parish ordinance.

    President Soileau reported that in the future, the trail ride organizer will be given a copy of the parish ordinance so they will know what is expected of them.

    In other action three members of the jury said goodbye to their fellow jurors. Juror Bob Manuel said “It has been an honor and privilege to work with all of you and serve the people of District five for the past 19 years.”

    Juror Sidney Fontenot, who represents District Two said “ Since this is my last meeting, I want to say thank you to all of you. I have been representing District 2 for the past 24 years on this jury. We accomplished a lot but there is still a lot of work to do .”

    Juror J.D. Soileau, representing District One, “I have enjoyed serving as police juror for the past 6 months and it was a pleasure to serve with all of you.”

Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Department Arrests

 In a news release to KVPI News, Chief Investigator Shawn Eckhart reported the following:On December 8, 2011, Detectives with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department observed a vehicle driving in the wrong direction on a one way street.  A traffic stop was conducted where contact was made with the driver, Solomon Guillory Jr., who was driving with a suspended driver’s license and was also found to have an active warrant out for his arrest.  Detectives arrested Guillory for driving under suspension and the outstanding warrant.  While conducting an inventory of the vehicle, prior to tow, detectives located narcotics and paraphernalia related to distribution.  Guillory was booked in the parish jail for his outstanding warrant and also charged with possession with intent to distribute a schedule I controlled dangerous substance.  Guillory was issued a summons for the traffic violations.
On December 9, 2011, Detectives were investigating the recent burglaries and copper thefts in the Chataignier area when they observed a vehicle parked in the middle of the Rozas Road.  After conducting a field interview, the driver, Jacob Courville did not have a valid driver’s license and was found in possession of illegal narcotics.  Two passengers in the vehicle, Bryant Edwards and Daniel Thomas, were also found to be in possession of illegal narcotics.  All three were arrested on drug related violations and booked into the parish jail.
On December 10, 2011, Detectives arrested Lance Miller and Joshua Loera in connection with a burglary and theft in the Chataignier area.  Detectives followed up on leads from video surveillance and located the suspects in Eunice.  The majority of the items reported stolen were recovered and returned to the owner.  Several items were allegedly destroyed after being stolen and sold to local recycle yards.  Miller and Loera were booked in the parish jail for burglary and felony theft.  Additional arrests and charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.
On December 12, 2011, Jeremy Fontenot was charged with aggravated burglary and four counts of theft of a firearm in connection with a burglary of a residence in the Easton area.  Fontenot was booked in the parish jail.  Douglas Fontenot was arrested earlier last week in connection with this burglary and has been booked in the parish jail.
On December 14, 2011, Detectives with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division followed up on leads at 1731 Clarks Landing, which led to the discovery of an operational clandestine lab, also known as a meth lab.  Upon arrival Detectives observed a white male, later identified as Justin Derrick Clark, run from the back porch of the residence and throw an object, later identified as a one pot method meth lab, into the bushes in front of his residence.  Upon further investigation, Detectives identified several precursors associated with a meth lab in the immediate vicinity.   Due to the nature and danger associated with meth labs, investigators immediately obtained consent to search the residence from Clark, where additional precursors were located.  Detectives rendered the lab and the home in a safe condition and arrested Clark for the operation of a clandestine lab. 
Sheriff Eddie Soileau encourages residents to contact his office with information about illegal activities and to report all suspicious activity including the burning of wire for copper. Sheriff Soileau also encourages citizens to record serial numbers of new electronics received during the Christmas holidays and not to put boxes at the roadside as this displays the items within the residence.  He said all callers will remain anonymous.

Food For Families Food Drive Report


    The 2011 Food for Families Food Drive in Ville Platte was a success, according to Gene Fontenot, chairman of the local food drive. The drive collected just over 5 tons of food which is slightly less than last year. However the drive collected more money, a little over $2000. All of the donations will be used to help the needy at the Christian Care and Share Center. Fontenot would like to thank everyone who made donations and to all of the volunteers who worked during the day during the drive.

42 Year old School Desegegration Case in Evangeline Schools May End in 2012


Ville Platte-      The 42 year old  Evangeline Parish federal desegregation case may be coming to an end in 2012. That is the good news announced by Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin to members of the school board on Wednesday.

                            Hamlin reported that she, school board attorney Robert Hammonds, Franz Marshal with the U.S. Justice Department, Marion Over White, attorney for the original plaintiff had a one hour  conference call with U.S. District Court Judge Tucker Melancon on December 9

                             Attorney Hammonds was notified to have a motion  filed by February 15 asking the federal court to declare the Evangeline Parish School System a unitary status stating there are no longer any vestiges of segregated schools. A hearing has been scheduled for May 16, 2012 in federal court on the request for the unitary status filing. Once the court declare the unitary status, all supervision of the schools revert  back to the local school board.

                              Hamlin also announced to the school board that Judge Melancon made an unscheduled visit to Ville Platte High School two weeks ago. The  school board just completed  $3.3 million in major renovation work to the school and gymnasium. Judge Melancon spent nearly three hours touring the school and meeting with teachers and students. She said the judge was “very pleased with the progress we made with the school.”

                                The superintendent commended the school board and staff for working  hard toward the goal of achieving unitary status for the school system.

                                 In other business, the school board approved a recommendation from Personnel Director Michael Lombas, pending a review by their attorneys, to enter into a contract with American Academy, to begin a dropout recover program in parish schools. A spokesman for the company said  once the program begins, a team will begin contacting  past students to enter their program.

                               In other action, the school board:

--voted to re-elect Wayne Dardeau as President and Jerry Thompson as Vice President for another term in office;

--received news that sales tax collections for the month of November increased $68,019 over the same period a year ago;

--voted to advertise for the appointment of a social worker and  an educational diagnostician

Ville Platte City Council Tuesday Recognizes Ville Platte Dixie Youth Team


   The Ville Platte City Council Tuesday recognized the Dixie Youth 12 year old Majors team who came out runner up in the Dixie Youth World Series this summer in North Carolina. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine recognized the coaches who in turn introduced each individual player. Special Ville Platte lapel pins were given to the players and coaches. The boys showed off their impressive World Series Trophy and State Championship trophy. All of the players were given special team shirts for the occasion. After the meeting, the players, coaches and parents were treated to a pizza meal  at city hall compliments of City Engineer Ronnie Landreneau.

    The City Council were in a holiday mood with the Mayor and council members all wearing Santa caps. The city hall meeting room as well as the main lobby were decorated  with Christmas trees and holiday ornaments.

    Mayor Jennifer Vidrine thanked the city employees for going above and beyond the call of duty in preparing the Christmas Lights all along Main Street, decorating City hall and lighting up the huge City Christmas Tree. “Our city workers did a masterful job. We want to bring Christmas back to Ville Platte for our citizens to enjoy,” said Mayor Vidrine.

    In other business the city council:


--appointed Michael Doucet as new City Park Superintendent for the North side City park, Downtown Park and the Swamp Pop Museum;

--appointed council man Taranza Arvie as Mayor Pro Tem for the year 2012;

--received news from Police Chief Neal Lartigue  that the Ville Platte Police Department responded to 754 calls for the month of November, made 113 arrests and worked 59 traffic accidents;

--received a report from Fire Chief Ted Demoruelle that the fire department responded to 13 fire calls in Ville Platte.

All French Evangeline Police Jury Meeting

Ville Platte-    A standing room only group of residents, public officials and dignitaries were on hand Tuesday at the Evangeline Parish Police Jury meeting conducted all in the French language. It has become a tradition for the police jury to conduct their last meeting of the year in French to show their support to the French Cajun/Creole culture of the area.

                         Special guest at the meeting  was  the newly appointed Consulate General of France in New Orleans, Jean Claude Brunet. Brunet, a native of Paris, was appointed four months ago. He said “It is a pleasure to see my cousins in Louisiana”.  Brunet recognized the recent 100th birthday of Evangeline Parish and Louisiana’s bicentennial celebration in 2012.

                           In his remarks to the overflow audience, he said “Nineteen years ago, I visited Louisiana for the first time as a tourist and I love what you have been able to preserve.” He thanked the police jury for their efforts in supporting our French culture locally.

                           Also speaking at the meeting was Brenda Monier, a native of Ville Platte who resides in Lafayette. She said “I am so proud to stand here today attending the only public governmental meeting conducted all in French.”

                           Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (Codofil) and a number of  local, parish and state officials including Appeals Court Judge John Saunders, Senator Eric Lafleur and State Representatives Bernard LeBas and Steve Ortego.

                          In other business, the police jury:


--watched as President Eric Soileau presented plaques of appreciation to outgoing police jurors: J.D. Soileau, Bob Manuel and Sidney Fontenot;

--heard from Gilbert W. Aucoin announce that the 2012 Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week will be held April 20-27 at nearby Chicot Park;

Pine Prairie Spill Causes Road Closure

    A private contractor is working on cleaning up and removing some 4000 gallons of liquid asphalt that spilled along LA 13 in the heart of Pine Prairie after an 18 wheeler flipped over early Saturday morning. Pine Prairie Mayor Terry Savant said he was notified that the driver of the 18 wheeler apparently fell asleep at the wheel at 2;30 Saturday morning.  Beside the 4000 gallons of liquid asphalt,  the accident ruptured the trucks fuel tanks causing a large amount of diesel to spill. Haz Mat teams were called in initially.  A large part of the business district in Pine Prairie was closed for a time over the weekend and motorists were detoured  while work crews were  busy cleaning up the spill. The matter has been turned over the State Department of Environmental Quality . Today’s rains are hampering and delaying the cleanup work according to Mayor Savant.

November Weather


       The month of November gave the Ville Platte area some much needed rain. According to our KVPI weather instruments, Ville Platte received 3.56 inches of rain for the month. We had eleven days of measurable rain. The wettest day was November 22 where we received 1.60 inches of rain.


        The coolest day of the month was November 29 where the temperature dropped to 35 degrees. The warmest day in November was recorded on November 15 where the temperature hit 84 degrees.


        November 26 was the windiest day where winds gusted to 29 miles per hour for a time.


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