Local News Archives for 2013-10

Evangeline Police Jury Monday Considers Granting Enterprise Zones

      The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, heard a report from Dr. William “Tojo” Ward and Rebecca Shirley of the Acadiana Economic Development District. Ward also serves as chairman of the local Parish Industrial Development Board. Shirley and Ward suggested  the jury  consider offering ”enterprise zones” in the parish. Enterprise zones assist existing businesses and new businesses in low income areas of the parish by  receiving  tax credits from the state for hiring workers. The jury voted to postpone any action until their next meeting in November.

    In other business, the police jury approved a request from Cameron officials to beef up security measures around their facility. Bart Latour representing Cameron said he is concerned about  plant security and the security of the 600 plus employees at the facility at the Industrial Park. Latour says Cameron is proposing to erect a fence  at the Cul-de-Sac along with a guard shack.

    In other action, the police jury:

--received news that Terry Arceneaux , the  Acadian Ambulance Service Community and Governmental Affairs Officer for this area is retiring after 40 years. He will be replaced by Paul Fuselier;

--reappointed Darrell Miller to another five year on the Te Mamou Water District Board;

--scheduled their annual all French meeting for December 10 at 2:00pm while a special meeting has been called to amend their 2013 budget and adopt their new 2014 budget for Dec. 16;

--voted to give permission to the vice president or secretary treasurer to sign a road use permit for a logging firm in the event the jury president in not available;

--after spending a considerable amount of time reviewing a new policy for road crews to track purchases as recommended by their auditors voted to table the issue.

Ville Platte City Council Meeting

    The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, approved a request from Mayor Jennifer Vidrine to permit the food bank from New Orleans known as Second Harvest to transport food to Ville Platte residents on a monthly basis. Starting in January, the truck will deliver free food to anyone in need at the Ville Platte Civic Center. There will be no income requirements. All you will need will be an ID. Everyone will be eligible to receive food.

     Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that the city has received a $750 grant from Centurylink for the purchase of a computer for the new Ville Platte Boys and Girls Club. The mayor said the paperwork is under way to establish a charter for the city to begin clubs for boys and girls in Ville Platte to be located at the old city hall location at the corner of Main and Court street.

    The city council approved a request from Dr. Greg Ardoin, who is representing a group of concerned citizens, to call a special meeting on October 15 at 6:00pm at City Hall to discuss drainage issues in the city. Members of the police jury will be in attendance. The city will be appointing a special committee to help guide city and parish officials to overcome drainage issues impacting this area.

     After holding public hearing prior to the regular meeting the city council: adopted an ordinance permitting the usage of propane only for recreational purposes outside the home and not inside the home. The council also adopted an ordinance regulating the re location of used mobiles homes inside the city limits. Used mobile homes will have to pass inspection by the city building inspector before they can be moved inside the city limits.

   In other action the city council:

--received news that expenditures dropped by $55,260 from August to September;

--approved the hiring of three new patrol officers and three part time jailers for the city police department;

--approved moving its next meeting to November 5 so city officials can attend a conference;

--announced that trick or treating hours in the city will be October 31 from 5-8pm and city hall will be opened for trick or treaters from 5-7pm that night. Last year, 502 children visited city hall for Halloween;

--approved a liquor permit for S&K Retail Liquor on Railroad Street;

--heard the mayor reminding residents to be on the lookout for a scam going around.  There is  a mail out going to local residents asking them to pay for insurance for your pipes. This letter is not coming from city hall but from out of town scammers. Mayor Vidrine is urging residents to throw away such mailings;

Cotton Festival Begins with Contredanse


    The 60th Louisiana Cotton Festival began Tuesday night with the traditional “contredanse” dancers and the crowning of the King and Queen of Heritage Manor Nursing Home.

    The new King is Roland Clouthier, age 88, a native of Detroit, Michigan. He is a former jockey and horse trainer and owner of race horses. He has two sisters. He replaces last year’s King: Pershing Jack Deville age 80.

     The first runner up was  Gary Landreneau age 71.

      The new 2013 Queen of Heritage Manor Nursing Home is Bobbie McCauley age 74. She has one daughter, two grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. She is a retired bank manager who enjoys music and reading. She replaces last year’s Queen Andrea LeBas age 70.

      This year’s runner up is Nathalie Fontenot age 85, a retired store clerk.

      A Cajun band of local musicians accompanied the young group of Contredanse dancers who performed for the large audience in attendance.

      Another highlight at Tuesday’s opening event were musical performances by the Cotton Pickers.

      The Cotton Festival continues today (Wednesday) with the 4-H Food Fest at the Ville Platte Civic Center and the 4-H Cotton Pickin Pet Show at 4:00pm in the Civic Center Pavillion. Oldies 92-5 KVPI’s Becky and J.C. will be covering the event live.

       The Cotton Festival carnival opens its rides and attractions Wednesday at 5:00pm with Bracelet Night from 5-9pm.

Armed Robbery Trial Ends with Guilty Verdict

     An Evangeline Parish Jury Trial which began Monday, September 30,2013 ended Thursday afternoon with Isaac Thomas Jr., age 25 of Ville Platte found guilty of Armed Robbery, Attempted Manslaughter and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

     The prosecution presented evidence which included testimony and physical evidence. Significant evidence presented at trial included the video surveillance of the crime as it was being committed. Part of the cash register from the crime scene as well as the white “hockey” mask the defendant was wearing at the time of the robbery was  found along the getaway route. Acadiana Crime Lab matched DNA from the white “hockey” mask to the defendant, Thomas. Testimony from two co-defendants, Jordan Harris and Johnaton  Antoine, also corroborated the State’s theory of the case. (Harris is represented by Alex Chapman and Antoine is represented by Alicia Phillips-Kelly, their trials are still pending.)

     The case involved the armed robbery of a local business near the Kennedy Subdivision during which shots were fired in the direction of two employees of Angel Food Store 2.

     Sentencing of the defendant is scheduled for February 20, 2014 before Trial Judge Thomas Fuselier. Isaac Thomas is facing ninety-nine (99) years on the Armed Robbery conviction, twenty (20) years on the Attempted Manslaughter, and another twenty (20) years for Felony Possession of a Firearm, for a total maximum sentence of one-hundred thirty nine (139) years.

   District Attorney Trent Brignac commended  the efforts of lead prosecutor, Marcus Fontenot and Timmy Fontenot who assisted, as well as his staff for their support during the trial. Brignac also extends his thanks to all the jurors selected, as well as all the other prospective jurors for their time and effort. Finally Brignac expresses his appreciation for the time and effort put forth by the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office in this investigation.

Evangeline School Board Discusses Homecoming Court

      The Evangeline Parish School Board, Wednesday, discussed concerns and complaints over the selection of Ville Platte High’s Homecoming Court.

       The school policy handbook calls for the selection of ten members to the school’s homecoming court in a vote. To qualify, the potential court member must meet certain standards.

       This year, there were 18 girls that qualified.  A voting machine was brought in by Registrar of Voters Lucas Buller and the ten girls with the most votes were chosen. Arthur Sampson spoke at the board meeting asking the board to change the policy to permit every girl who qualifies be allowed to serve on the court.

     After much discussion, the board took no action.

     In other business, the school board:

--heard from Personnel Director Michael Lombas give board members an update report on the new highly publicized Common Core curriculum that is being introduced in parish schools;

--went into executive session behind closed doors to deal with a student disciplinary case.


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