Local News Archives for 2013-03

City of Ville Platte comes in Second in Cleanest City Competition


       The City of Ville Platte has placed in the district competition for the Cleanest City contest, according to Joyce Coreil with the Magnolia Garden Club. First place honors went to the City of Rayne. Last year, Ville Platte came out first and competed on a statewide level.

      Coreil would like to thank the city and parish along with homeowners and business owners for working extra hours in cleaning up around their homes and businesses to prepare for the cleanest city judging. She is urging residents to continue showing civic pride throughout the year.

Ville Platte Police Make Arrests

Ville Platte Chief Neal Lartigue reports an anonymous tip provided leads to the arrest of 4 suspects.


On February 18, 2013 the Ville Platte Police Department received a complaint that items were stolen from a house in the 300 block of West Cotton.  Homeowners returned home after a weekend away to discover that their house had been broken into and 1 large screen television and two smaller flat screen televisions along with a small amount of cash had been stolen.  Investigators began their investigation and also had help from anonymous information. 


The investigation led to the February 21, 2013 arrest of Patrick Lonette 51, of 314 West Cotton Street, Ville Platte. Lonette was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and charged with simple burglary.  His bond was set at $15,000.00 by Judge John Larry Vidrine. Lonette was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office where he later posted bond.


Also arrested on February 19, 2013 was Angela Rogers 22, of 314 West Cotton Street, Ville Platte, Rogers was charged with simple burglary and was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine. Rogers was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office where she later posted bond.


On February 21, 2013 Jonathan Gallow 28, of 102 West Pine Street, Ville Platte, was arrested and charged with illegal possession of stolen items.  Gallow was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a bond of $15,000.00 set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.  Gallow was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office where he later posted bond.


Also on February 21, 2013, Mitchell Seraille 36, of 506 South West Railroad, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with illegal possession of stolen items.  Seraille was booked into the Ville Platte Police Department on a bond of $10,000.00 set by Judge John Larry Vidrine. Seraille was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office where he later posted bond.


Chief Lartigue reminds residents that your information helps solve cases.  An anonymous tip can help Detectives remove criminals from our city and make our streets safer.  Call in your anonymous tips to the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  All callers reporting illegal activity will remain anonymous.

Ville Platte Police Arrest Church Burglary Suspect


Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports that an arrest has been made in a church break in.


On March 22, 2013 Officers responded to a report of a break in at a church on East Main Street at approximately 5:30 p.m. Upon arrival Officers learned that items inside the church had been knocked over and a couple of items were stolen.  A witness stated that they had observed a black male rummaging through items in the church and upon being discovered the black male then left the building. Detectives were notified of the break in and had observed someone matching the suspect’s description in the vicinity of the Church that same day and also witnessed that the suspect had what appeared to be one of the stolen items.  The Detectives had no report of any items stolen or a break in at the time they observed the male in the area.  Detectives identified the suspect and arrested was Samuel Fontenot 26, of 605 N. Soileau St. Apartment 147, Ville Platte.  Mr. Fontenot was charged with burglary of a religious building and simple criminal damage to property.  Mr. Fontenot was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.  Mr. Fontenot was later transferred to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail where he remains incarcerated.  


If you have information on any type of illegal activity please contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.

Evangeline Parish School Board names Teachers of the Year


    The Evangeline Parish School Board  Wednesday recognized its teachers of the year in each of the parish schools. The parish wide teachers were also announced: Travis Fontenot from Pine Prairie High School, was selected as High School Teacher of the Year; Kelly Bellard, a teacher from Ville Platte High was selected as Junior High Teacher of the Year and Aleah West, from Bayou Chicot Elementary was selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year. The three finalists will advance and compete for State Teacher of the Year honors.

    In other business, the school approved by a vote of 8-2 to approve an executive committee recommendation to  spend $29,782 to begin paying assistant coaches. However they voted to keep the pay for head coaches at their current level and that every coache will coache two sports. Coaches will be compensated for the additional responsibility. Board members Scott Limoges and Jerry Thompson voted no.

   In other action the school board voted to join a new cooperative of school districts headed up by Vermillion parish. The cooperative is being created to help save money through volume discount buying of such items as computer hardware and software courses.

   Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin reported that the schools and offices will be closed March 25 through April 1 for the Easter holiday.

Ville Platte Police searching for TV thief

Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue is asking for assistance with information on the identity of a black male who went to Walmart on February 25, 2013 and walked out of the store with three 32 inch televisions.  According to the report filed with the Ville Platte Police Department the unknown male was observed in electronics looking at the televisions and put three 32 inch televisions in a shopping cart.  The male then went to other areas of the store including the customer service counter.  After standing around the customer service counter for a few minutes the male left through the door of the store with the three televisions in the shopping cart without paying.  The weather at the time of the incident blocked the direction of travel from the view of the cameras.  The male was wearing a dark blue or black t-shirt, a white baseball cap and blue jeans.  He is described as medium skinned black male and was clean shaven.  If you have information about the identity of this man please contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.Your call will remain anonymous and your information could help remove this criminal from our community.

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Meeting


      The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce had two special guest speakers at its noon meeting today (Monday).

       Lisa DeRouen, director of the Evangeline Council on Aging, reported that the renewal of the elderly services tax will be on the election day ballot parish wide on May 4. She emphasized that it is simply the renewal of 1.2 mills for another ten years. Even though, the agency receives state and federal funds for its services, a large portion of the operations  comes from the elderly services funding.

     Evangeline Council on Aging provides such services as congregate and home delivered meals, home maker services and transportation services. She announced that more than ever, with anticipated reductions in outside funding sources, the Council on Aging will be depending upon elderly services millage tax.

    Also speaking to Chamber members was Margaret “Chicken” Aucoin with Louisiana Folkroots discussing the 2013 Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week planned for April 19-26 at Chicot State Park.  Currently they have 102 people from all over the world registered as full time students for the week long classes. Among the musical acts scheduled to perform are: Balfa Toujours, Bruce Diagrepont Band, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and Geno Delafosse and French Rocking Boogie.

     Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot announced that there are 150 paid up chamber members. The annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet and Silent Auction is planned for Wednesday May 1 at the Ville Platte Civic Center. Volunteers are still needed  to assist. Call the chamber office for more information at 363-1878.


Ville Platte Police worked School Bus Accident Thursday

    According to Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department, on March 14, at approximately 3:15pm, an accident occurred between a school bus and a City of Ville Platte truck. According to information reported from the scene, the City of Ville Platte truck was heading north on Young Street and a school bus was headed West on Magnolia Street. The City of Ville Platte truck failed to yield the right of way and was struck by the school bus. Several students were transported by Acadian Ambulance to Mercy Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

Ville Platte Police arrests Drug Suspect

Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department reports the following:
On March 8, 2013 a search warrant was executed and one was arrested.  Bonnie Leday 52, of 7 East Jefferson Street, Ville Platte was charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.  Leday was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail where he bonded out on a $15,000.00 bond issued by Judge Thomas Fuselier. 
If you have information on illegal activity please call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.

Evangeline Police Jury Urges Assessor to drop proposed legal action against Pine Prairie Energy


     The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday went on record to approve a resolution to honor the agreements in place between the parish and Pine Prairie Energy. Also, the jury is asking the Evangeline Parish Assessor to drop any and all efforts to assess taxes on property owned by the Industrial Development Board in accordance with the original payments in lieu of taxes (Pilot) agreement.  The action came as a recommendation by the Evangeline Industrial Development Board Number One.

     The resolution follows a decision by the Evangeline Parish Assessor to go to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Pilot payments and to assess the property taxes owed by the Industrial Development board in direct contradiction of the  agreement between the parish and Pine Prairie Energy.

    Industrial Board Chairman Dr. William “Tojo” Ward said Pine Prairie Energy “is an outstanding corporate citizen of the parish”. The company has made: $450,000 in Pilot payments to the parish, $300,000 in charitable contributions, $1.2 million dollars annually in ad valorum taxes and has invested $700 million dollars in the parish facility.

     In other business, the police jury approved switching its group health insurance plan to Blue Cross of Louisiana at a savings of $3500 a month. The previous health insurance carrier was the Police Jury Association Group Plan which quoted  a 4 percent increase in premiums.

     David Broussard with Lemoine Insurance Agency informed the police jury that the Blue Cross quote came in at 4:30 that afternoon.

     It was noted during the meeting that the new health plan increases the employee co-pay from $15 to $40.

     In other business the police jury:

--called for a public hearing to adopt an ordinance mandating that there must be a tarp or  cover on trailers hauling trash and garbage to the dumpster sites in the parish;

--voted to increase the speed limit by 5 miles per hour to 50 miles an hour on Maxie Ray road which makes it the highest speed limit for a parish road;

--went behind closed doors for an hour to discuss legal matters;

--reappointed Nick LeBas, Dr. Tommy Fontenot and Desmond Thomas to another one year term on the Evangeline Parish Recreation District Board.

City of Ville Platte declares April 13 as Autism Awareness Day

      The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, approved a resolution to declare April 13 as Autism Awareness Day throughout the city in connection with the planned fund raising walk for the newly formed Evangeline Community Autism Network. Alisha Fontenot explained the new organization’s goal is  to educate the general public and to  give support to families with children with autism.

       Jennifer Meylian reported that the non profit organization has scheduled a one mile walk at the Ville Platte Civic Center along with games and activities for the family.

       In other business, the city authorized the mayor to enter into negotiations with the seller of the old Wal-Mart building on Opelousas road to determine if the city can possibly purchase the facility. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine envisions the 50,000 square foot  building could be used for many functions including a home for the new Ville Platte Boys and Girls Clubs, Skating Rink, Arcade and teen dances.

    Mayor Jennifer Vidrine was given the green light from the city council to enter into an agreement with C.G.I. Communications to have the firm come in and shoot a video documentary in the city of Ville Platte at no cost to the city. Mayor Vidrine said “It will give a chance for the rest of the country and the world to learn more about Ville Platte. It could be an economic boon to the city.”

     In other action the city council:

--viewed while Mayor Vidrine presented a special plaque of appreciation to Mary Jenkins who is retiring after 30 years of service at city hall;

--received news that the city spent $7606 less in February than they did in January;

--reappointed Tommy Jones and Carrie Thomas for another term on the Evangeline/Ville Platte Recreation Board and named Shonda Jack to replace the late Lula Richardson on the board;

--approved a retail liquor permit for the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce to sell liquor for the annual banquet in May;

--approved a retail liquor permit for the Ville Platte D.A.V. for their first annual “Biking Down South” festival April 5 and 6;

--reminded everyone that the city is sponsoring a city wide Easter Egg Hunt Saturday March 30 at the Hargrove City Park for those age 1-12 beginning at 10:00am. The city is also sponsoring a teen dance Friday March 29 at the Northside Civic Center for those age 13-18 for the benefit of the Boys and Girls Club

Eunice man charged with death of an Infant


St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Captain Megan Vizena said, “Robert Henry Miller, III of Eunice was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail for the murder of a 19 month old female.”


Vizena said, “On February 24, 2013, deputies received a 911 call reporting that a child was unresponsive at a residence in Eunice. The responding deputy noticed numerous bruising to the child’s face, head and body. The child was transported to Acadian Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.”


“After an investigation by our Juvenile Detective Division, it was learned that Miller, boyfriend of the child’s mother, had inflicted injuries to the child which ultimately resulted in the child’s death,” Vizena added.


Miller is currently being held at the St. Landry Parish Jail with no bond.


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