Local News Archives for 2012-02

Ville Platte Police Make Drug Arrests


Chief Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department reports that an investigation has led to the arrest of Aaron Freeman, 31 of 1050 C.J. Avenue, Ville Platte.   Freeman was charged on February 25, 2012 with no reflective gear and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  Freeman was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.


On February 28, 2012 a traffic stop led to the arrest of Tommy Ardoin, 24 of 320 East Beauregard Street, Ville Platte.  Ardoin was transported to the Ville Platte City Jail and booked on charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and resisting and officer with force.  No bond information available at press time and Ardoin remains incarcerated with a hold for Probation and Parole.


Chief Lartigue reminds residents to report illegal activities at 363-1313.  All callers will remain anonymous and your tips can help reduce crime in Ville Platte.


Ville Platte Police Make Drug Arrests

Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte City Police Department reports multiple arrests on February 17, 2012.  Both arrests were made during traffic stops.


 Nathaniel Semien, 33 of 844 St. Mary St. Eunice, La was arrested and charged with two tail lights required, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of crack cocaine.  Semien was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail were he remains incarcerated on a $10,000.00 bond.


Angela Jack 38, of 1901 Railroad Ave, Ville Platte, La was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Semien is was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail where she remains incarcerated on a $5,000.00 bond with a hold for Probation and Parole.



Chief Lartigue reminds citizens to contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313 to report illegal activity in the city.  All callers will remain anonymous.

Evangeline School Board Awards Transportation Contract


Ville Platte      The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday awarded First Student a new three year contract to provide transportation services for the school district. First Student will be entering its third contract with the Evangeline Parish School System. The winning quote was 2.4 million dollars, which is $293,000 below the second lowest bidder, Durham Transportation. The third quote came from Student Transportation of America from Massachusetts.

     Transportation Supervisor Ted Soileau said the buses will continue to be all air conditioned for the comfort of the students and not be any older than 5 years old. In addition, the new contract stipulates that all of the First Student buses will have security cameras on board as well as having a GPS tracking system. The great majority of the buses are owned and operated by First Student. Soileau said there are still a few bus driver owned school buses.

    In her remarks to the school board, Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin said she and members of her staff recently  participated in a conference call with new State Superintendent of Education John White. She reported that each school will be graded based on two factors: school ACT scores and the school’s graduation rate.

    Hamlin said “I am flabbergasted by this new state policy. This is discouraging our school principals since only about 20 percent of our graduates enter college.” She said the new policy will mandate that every high school junior will be required to take the American College Test which will be paid by the state.

    In a related matter, she informed the school board that the state of Louisiana will be asking  for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind program with the Department of Education in Washington. As a trade-off, the state will adopt a new tougher evaluation system where half of the evaluation will be based on student achievement.

    “This will be a tremendous challenge to our school principals since only principals will be able to conduct the evaluations for school teachers,” said Hamlin. In the past, both principals and their assistants could provide the monitoring and evaluations.

     In other action, the school board:

--recognized the following parish wide students of the year: Elementary Division: Kirsten Goodley, 5th grade student at Mamou High; Junior High Student of the Year- Layton Langley, 8th grade student at Basile High; High School Student of the Year- Garrett Cantu, senior at Ville Platte High School;

--approved the appointment of Kevin Manuel as new Head Football Coach at Mamou High School;

--approved the appointment of Christina Fontenot as a new social worker;

--announced that due to President’s Day and Mardi Gras holiday , there will be no school Monday through Wednesday Feb. 20-22 in parish public schools;

--received news that there will be a Technology Fair Saturday Feb. 25 at Vidrine Elementary school from 8:30a, to 3;00pm.

City of Ville Platte Plans to Sponsor Boys and Girls Club

        The Ville Platte City Council, Monday, approved a proposal by Mayor Jennifer Vidrine to open a bank account dedicated for a new Boys and Girls Club in Ville Platte. The mayor wants the city to sponsor the youth club and have it funded through fund raisers and private donations. The city plans to use the old City Hall building on Main Street which is accessible to young people throughout the city.
       Also the city council approved the following: naming Hope Park after former city councilwoman Gloria Frank; naming the Town Square Park after Allen Ortego who donated the property to the city several years ago; and voted to re-name Cypress Street after 102 year old  Edward Notto Thomas, the oldest citizen in Ville Platte.
       In other business, the city council approved a resolution to authorize Demographer Mike Heffner to prepare a re-districting plan for the city council districts based on new census figures.
Heffner said the city must approve a new reapportionment plan before the end of the year.
      Also, the council introduced an amendment to its ordinance regulating businesses that sell alcoholic beverages. The proposed amendment would permit the waiver of the 300 foot distance requirement for package liquor and convenience stores that sell alcoholic beverages to go. The distance figures would remain for lounges and clubs. There will be a public hearing March 13 at 4:45 at city hall.
     Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that the City of Ville Platte will be featured in a national TV show called “Small Town America.” A crew will be coming to Ville Platte in the next 90 days.
     It was also announced that the mayor will be meeting with a film production company official this week to determine the possibility of using Ville Platte as the site of a movie or TV series. The economic impact would be major should the city be selected for a film crew and actors to be here for up to a six month period.
     In other action the city council:
–approved hiring four new police officers for the City Police Department;
–approved the appointment of the following members of the Ward One Recreational Board: Kane Thomas,Tommy Jones and Lula Richardson Guillory;
–approved a liquor permit for the sale of liquor on Feb.20 for the Swamp Pop Reunion dance;
–voted to remove the speed bump on Coreil Street;
–received news that the city water project is about 98 percent complete according to engineer Ronnie Landreneau;
–received news that a representative of Public Service Commission Member Clyde Holloway will be visiting Ville Platte City Hall the second Monday from 10:30-11:30 each month to meet with citizens who have concerns and complaints with their utility bills.


Evangeline Police Jury Enters Agreement for Lone Pine Fire Protection

        The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, approved entering into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Ward Five Fire District to provide fire protection services to unprotected areas of the parish such as Lone Pine, Golf Course area and Cazan Lake area. The agreement calls for the parish to reimburse the Ward Five Fire District based on a fee schedule. The jury plans to recoup any costs from the property owner.
        In a related matter, the jury approved calling a millage tax election for the Lone Pine area to help fund a new fire department. The measure calls for a 20 mill tax to help for the cost of new fire equipment and vehicles.
        In other business, the police jury approved a request from Clerk of Court Walter Lee to help fund the cost of five new computers for the criminal court. The Clerk of Court plans to purchase a total of 15 new computers with ten of the new computers to be paid by the Clerk’s office.
        Also, the police jury is considering a proposal to purchase the old probation and parole office building located across the street from the courthouse.
        Jury President Eric Soileau said the property owner is offering to sell the building for $300,000. The jury is looking to possibly move out of the courthouse to a new facility to provide more space to the District Attorney’s office. District Attorney Trent Brignac is offering to help pay for the additional office space.
        The jury is asking engineer Ronnie Landreneau to prepare a study on the cost to remodel the proposed building for the jury’s use.
        In other action the jury:
–appointed Benny Fontenot to replace Gary Vidrine on the Reddell Vidrine Water District.

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Meeting


    The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Monday) heard from Lisa DeRouen, Director of the Evangeline Council on Aging. She is urging members of the Chamber and the general public to contact our local legislative delegation to oppose the proposed consolidation of the Council on Aging programs within the State Department of Health and Hospitals. Currently, Council on Aging operates within the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs. The proposed move could adversely impact the services Evangeline Council on Agency to the elderly of the parish. Evangeline Council on Aging services 362 meals a day or 89,500 meals a year. The council provides public transportation to the elderly. Last year, 4500 trips were made to assist senior citizens. The program also provides home maker and nutrition services.


   In other business, the chamber heard from Gilbert Winky Aucoin report on the 2012 Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week planned for April 20-27 at Chicot State Park. So far, the people that have registered for the week long classes of instruction represent 22 states and several foreign countries. He also reported that the popular boucherie event will be held April 21.


   In other action the chamber of commerce:


--has 144 members enrolled;


--was informed that the Chamber Business of the month is the Evangeline Parish Solid Waste Commission;


--received news that hotels are also sold out for the Swamp Pop Reunion Dance planned for Monday Feb. 20 at the Ville Platte Civic Center. It is nearly a complete sell out for this year’s benefit event;


--was informed that this year’s Annual Man and Woman of the Year Awards Banquet is set for May 3 at the Civic Center.;


--is considering ways to fund an annual scholarship fund for LSU-Eunice.

Evangeline Parish Sheriff Arrests

     On February 09, 2012, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Criminal Investigations Division were investigating a theft of a television in the St. Landry area.  Jenna Holston was arrested with assistance from Patrol Division in connection with the theft.  Detectives recovered the television in Ville Platte and returned the property to its rightful owner.  Jenna Holston was booked in the parish jail for theft over $500.
     On February 10, 2012, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Criminal Investigations Division arrested Chadwick Fontenot related to a burglary which occurred on Robert F. Kennedy in Ville Platte.  Detectives were able to recover a 40” flat screen television and a laptop computer stolen from the residence. Chadwick Fontenot was charged with burglary of an inhabited dwelling, theft over $500 and criminal damage to property and booked in the parish jail.
    Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau encourages residents to contact his office with information about illegal activities and to report all suspicious activity to his office.  He said all callers will remain anonymous.
Shawn Eckhart/Chief Investigator

Evangeline Sheriff's Office make burglary arrest

     On January 31, 2012, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Criminal Investigations Division arrested Dennis Allison Jr. of Ville Platte Louisiana, in connection with six different burglaries throughout Evangeline Parish.  During the investigation, Allison admitted breaking into several houses in the Chataignier and Mamou areas, where he and another male tore copper wiring from the houses and stole tools and equipment.  Detectives recovered numerous tools and equipment from a residence where Allison was staying which has been entered into evidence.  Allison was booked into the parish jail for six counts of burglary, six counts of criminal damage to property, five counts of theft of utility property and four counts of theft over $500.  Additional charges are pending the outcome of their investigation and additional arrests are expected.
    Sheriff Eddie Soileau encourages residents to contact his office with information about illegal activities and to report all suspicious activity to his office.  He said all callers will remain anonymous.
Shawn Eckhart/Chief Investigator Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Department

Justice Department Representative Tours Ville Platte High


      The key facilities expert for the U.S. Justice Department  made a personal visit last week to inspect all of the work done at Ville Platte High School this past year, according to Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin.

       Hamlin told the Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday, Frank Brewer, toured the renovated areas of Ville Platte High School and was impressed with the work. Accompanying Brewer on the tour was a representative of the architectural firm that oversaw the 3.3 million dollar project.

       The construction work was one of the final hurdles the Evangeline Parish School District was facing to end its 40 year old desegregation case.

       Hamlin said Brewer was very complimentary over the work done at the 80 year old school. In fact Brewer was heard to exclaim “Wow” when he viewed the gymnasium foyer area. He said “This is what a foyer should look like.” Brewer told the Superintendent that he plans to send a favorable written report to Justice Department Representative Franz Marshall.

      In other business, the superintendent announced that she will make a decision on school early this morning and will inform KVPI. She said “It’s hard for me to dismiss school because it impacts 6000 students”.  After speaking with an official with the board’s transportation provider, there will probably be several low lying areas in rural portions of the parish where buses will not be to reach because of the high water.    She expects that absenteeism will probably be high today should there be school because the buses will not be able to pick them up. However, in those cases, the absences will not count against the student.

      In a related matter, Mamou High students were sent home early Wednesday because there were  about three inches of water in the main building due to a drainage problem at the school campus. Today, maintenance workers will be using a backhoe on the school campus to try to alleviate the water problem.

     In other action:

--approved a request from District Two Police Juror Kenny Burgess to have the school board enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement to permit the parish do drainage work on the Basile High Football Field;

--received a report from Business Manager Amy Lafleur that showed Sales Tax Collections for December sales showed a decrease of $18,207 from December 2010;

--commended Cabot Corporation for their recent donation of $2000 to Ville Platte High

January Weather Stats


        The Ville Platte area received 3.36 inches of rain for the month of January while the Vidrine rarea received 3 inches for the month. The wettest day was Jan. 25 when we received 1.42 inches of rain.


         The coldest day of the month was Jan. 3 when the thermometer dropped to 28 degrees. It was a mild month over all with just two days during the month where we dropped below freezing.


         The warmest day in January was January 21 where the temperature reached 79 degrees.


        The windiest day of the month was January 28 where winds gusted to 26 miles per hour.


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