Local News Archives for 2014-05

Ronnie Landreneau Gives Update Report on Library Project to Rotary Club


MAY 27, 2014


    The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Rotarian Ronnie Landreneau explain the long delay in the opening of the Ville Platte Library branch. He reported the original move-in date was set for early September. The long delay was caused by the original contractor, Troy Frick of Lake Charles who , according to the engineer ran into financial trouble and abandoned the project. When the project stopped it was 97 percent complete. The owner of the library, the Evangeline Parish Police Jury working on behalf of the Library Board, consulted with their legal advisor and voted to invoke their performance bond. The surety company took over the project in early March and hired a new contractor, Patriot Construction of Houston to finish the project.

     The engineer said landscaping work is going on. Also, paint work and the completion of the circulation desk is scheduled to get done in the near future. Landreneau is predicting all the work should be finished in three weeks and then the move can begin. The move will include moving over 40,000 books to the new facility.

    The local club welcomed a visiting Rotarian, Marcel Dupre of the Baton Rouge Sunrise Club.

    Also, Mark Sullentrop reminded the club that the United Way of St. Landry and Evangeline are teaming up with the City of Ville Platte to help clean up and renovate the old City hall building to convert into a Boys and Girls Club. Volunteers are needed.

    Mayor Jennifer Vidrine informed the Rotary Club that the city will issue a proclamation Friday May 30 at 10:00am at City Hall on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. All World War Two veterans are invited to attend. KVPI-FM will be there.

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting


May  21, 2014

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting Wednesday night in the Media Center.  The Board approved a Pine Prairie High School Parking Correction Plan that stems from a complaint filed in 2009.  The Board approved the bid from F. Phillips General Contractors in the amount of $129,394.00 to make the improvements at the high school.  Those improvements will include new handrails, raised sidewalks, extend or place canopies, repair parking lots, install appropriate signage in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and repairs to doors and entrance ways at the school.

There was much discussion on the importance of getting and keeping the schools in our parish up to speed in this age of technology.  The controversial, mandated PARC program and the funding of that project were also discussed.  The Board now awaits possible decisions from the governor’s office as to whether the program will or will not be implemented.  If it is not removed by the governor, the estimated cost for implementing the program in Evangeline Parish will be $2. 3 million dollars.  Vice President, Scott Limoges, expressed his disagreement with “unfunded mandates” that are pushed through to parishes who are already financially struggling.

Technology Supervisor Connie Guillory explained to the board that the district’s highest priority  services were approved for the 2014-2015 funding.  She explained that being part of the E-RATE program saves the parish $661,946.48 a year in necessary technological services such as email, internet access, webhosting and fiber.  Evangeline Parish receives the 85% discount rate based upon the district’s free/reduced lunch count as of February 1, 2014.

Superintendent, Toni Hamlin announced:

  • Payday for all school board employees will be this Friday, May 23rd instead of Monday, Memorial Day.

  • All schools in the parish will have classes on Memorial Day .

  • There will be early dismissal/half day at all schools in the parish on Thursday, May 28th and Friday, May 29th (last day of school).  Lunch will still be provided on those days.

  • The Media Center and School Board will stay open all day on the 28th and 29th.

  • Tests scores for Spring Testing have not been compiled yet, since they have only received the individual, student test scores.  EOC testing is still underway, and summer school scores will need to be included in the results.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Inducts Three New Members


MAY 20, 2014


    The Rotary Club of Ville Platte inducted three new members into their organization: Peggy Tate, Tony Ducote and Jeremy Ortego during their meeting today at noon at Nick’s on Main.

    Rotarian Larry Lachney gave a short orientation about the Rotary organization. Rotary has 1.2 million members worldwide. It was founded in 1905 by Attorney Paul Harris in Chicago. The purpose of the club is to promote good will, peace and service above self.

   Rotarian Dr. Jerry Veillon reported that the Ville Platte club was formed in 1928. The club was instrumental in its early years to begin Chicot State Park. Originally, the land where the park is was called Garland Swamp. During the 1930’s, with the assistance of workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps, they constructed a dam and formed the park. The local club has assisted with scholarships to LSU Eunice and Coreil Campus.

     Rotarian Leonard Glen Fontenot explained the Paul Harris Fellowships . The Rotary Foundation began in 1917 to help in poor countries to help alleviate poverty and improve health and educational opportunities. A club member becomes a Paul Harris Fellow by contributing $1000 toward Rotary Foundation. Each year, the local club financially supports two members by contributing half of that amount.

    Rotarian Dr. William Buller said the LSU Eunice scholarship fund began 20 years ago and is funded through a yearly Super Bowl pool. Each year two students are chosen from the local area to receive scholarships. A separate pool helps fund a scholarship fund for the Coreil Campus.

   Lachney explained the local club is sponsoring a Interact student club at Sacred Heart High that meets monthly during the school year.

   Rotarian Wayne Vidrine reported that the local club sponsors two students to attend Boys and Girls club each year. Also two students are chosen to attend the RYLA Youth Leadership Camp at Camp Fausse Point. This year the students are: Savanna Watts and Lance Kincaid from Sacred Heart.

Ville Platte Chamber Hears from Smoked Meat Festival Officials


MAY 19, 2014


   The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce met today at noon for their regular meeting of the month at Nicks on Main.

   The guest speakers were Renee Brown, Ava Vidrine and Kayla McFarlain discussing the Smoked Meat Festival.  This year, festival goers may purchase advance festival tickets for the entertainment at a discount price by going to the festival website. Vendors and sponsors may also sign up at their website. The festival is in need of volunteers to make this year another successful one. Last year, 4500 people attended the two day festival. They are expecting even more people this year.

  Chamber President Dr. Kirk Soileau announced that the recent Chamber Banquet was a big success. The chamber grossed $15,196 and netted $10,588.

    The chamber voted to move its monthly meetings from Mondays to Wednesdays each month beginning in June. The next meeting is set for Wednesday June 25 at noon at Nicks on Main.

    Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot reported that a map company may be soliciting ads to print new maps for the Chamber of Commerce. Members are under no obligation to buy an ad.

     Celebrity chefs are in Evangeline Parish at Chicot Park as part of a Louisiana Culinary magazine promotion scheduled for this fall. The event is being promoted by the Evangeline Parish Tourism Commission and the City of Ville Platte.

Ville Platte City Council Recognizes Students of the Year

May 13, 2014 Ville Platte City Council Mtg.

Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and the Ville Platte City Council held their monthly meeting last night at City Hall.  Student of the Year were recognized and presented with certificates and gift baskets.  The Students of the Year were:

  • Kamryn West – Bayou Chicot Elementary

  • Cameran Berzas – Basile High School; and

  • Elizabeth Ortego – Basile High School

The City Council approved a Resolution for Ville Platte to become a member of the Louisiana Community Development Authority which will give the city access to grants for various large projects in the community such as sewer, parks, etc.

The Council also approved partnering with Evangeline Council on Aging to utilize the MLK Center  from 8 a.m. until 12:00 noon, M-F, beginning on July 1st to provide hot meals for Senior Citizens.  There is no cost to the city and no charge to the seniors for the meal.  Evangeline Council on Aging also reminded the public of the Senior Day scheduled for today 10:00 – 2:00 at the Civic Center.

Mayor Jennifer Vidrine had a few announcements which included a Big Thank You to everyone in Ville Platte who came out and made the KLFY TV-10 event a huge success.  She also thanked the city workers inside and out for making everything run so smoothly.  The Mayor also announced that since the event was such a success, they will be utilizing the Pavilion to hold monthly celebrations including bands and/or D.J.’s.  This will provide families with a place to come and congregate while utilizing all the Pavilion has to offer.

In the next four weeks, the plans will continue on Southside Park wherein a walking trail, volleyball courts and picnic pavilions will be put in.  Work had ceased for a while due to the heavy water in the area, but plans are being worked out with landowners in the area to stop drainage of water into the park.  They will be keeping the big baseball field and when it is not in use, it will be used for soccer.  No bicycles or four-wheelers will be allowed on the walking trail.  The gates to the park will be locked at 8:00 p.m.

The Mayor was excited to tell the council that they have received a dividend check from LWCC in the amount of $103,983. The amount of the dividend has increased substantially since her term in office began.

She was also pleased to say that plans for the Boys and Girls Club are coming right along.  They have been working closely with the Boys and Girls Club of America and has also said they are working with the budget to provide $30,000 a year for that program.  More information will be forthcoming.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting


MAY 13, 2014


    The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Rotarian Leonard Glenn Fontenot discuss the Rotary Foundation. He urged members of the club to consider contributing to the foundation. In fact, club members who would like to become Paul Harris Fellows should contact a board member for more information. The foundation is an international organization that has gone a long way toward eradicating polio worldwide and helping the poor in developing countries.

    Fontenot also shared his experiences recently of visiting Panama. After the French government failed in digging the canal and lost 2200 people to various diseases such as yellow fever and malaria, it took the United States to successfully construct the canal using locks and dams. The Panama Canal Authority that operates the canal takes in 20 billion dollars in fees.

    Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine wanted to thank the citizens of Ville Platte for their attendance at the recent TV 10 Showcase at the Pavillion.

    Rotarian Mable Forman reminded the club that Senior Day is planned for Wednesday from 10-2 at the Civic Center sponsored by Evangeline Council on Aging and the Viet Nam Veterans , Evangeline Chapter.

Evangeline Police Jury Discuss Abandoned Roads and Naming Roads


MAY 12, 2014


      The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, after receiving objections from property owners during the earlier public hearing , voted to abandon roads where there were no objections. Also one of the proposed abandoned road will continue to be maintained by the parish should property owners remove a gate on Kip Lane.

        Also, the jury agreed to follow its own parish ordinance when it comes to naming parish roads or changing the name of a parish road. That decision was reached following a plea by Evangeline Parish Communications Director Liz Hill and two of her dispatchers. Hill objected to two of the names ,RLT on Chataignier Road and Tee Ed road on Opelousas road. The two new names are either similar to what is in use in another part of the parish or sounds very similar to a current road.

       Hill also reminded the jury that the parish ordinance calls for the property owner to pay $1500 to get a change in the name of a parish road from Rocklin road to Tatman road. The parish ordinance was adopted in 1995 and it details the procedures on the naming of parish roads or changing the name of a parish road.

     The two dispatchers, shared a number of medical emergencies where they had a difficult time understanding where the calls were coming from such as trying to determine if the emergency was on Beaver road or Bieber road.

     Police Juror Kenny Burgess, who has been working in the E.M.S. field for more than 20 years, said “We need to follow our own ordinance.”

    On another issue, the jury agreed to follow the advice of its legal advisor on whether to issue a permit for a Four Wheeler Trail Ride. Jury legal advisor, Marcus Fontenot, said his advice is to not to  issue permits since the ATV’s are not licensed for on the road use. Some jurors were also concerned with liability issues.

    In other business, the police jury:

--called a meeting for May 21 at 6;00pm to review a proposed list of parish asphalt roads that need to be improved as recommended by the parish engineer;

--called a meeting with parish contractors and service professionals such as electricians and plumbers to review the new proposed building code for May 20 at 10:00am;

--received a report from Brenda Hubbard with Acadiana Work Force introduce her team including local Office Director Judy Guillory;

Dixie Youth Radio Auction


MAY 10, 2014


        Despite a change in location and day of the week, the annual radio auction for the benefit of Ville Platte Youth Incorporated and Ville Platte Girls Incorporated was a big success. The radio auction took place over KVPI FM 92.5 from 2;00-8;00pm last Saturday at the Veterans Home. Dixie Youth President John Pitre said there were more cash donations, more donated items and the bidders were there in person or on the phone. Last year, the boys and girls summer leagues each split $8000 in proceeds from the radio auction. Pitre said he expects the results this year should be a lot higher.  Among those who emceed the event over the air include John Pitre, Nick LeBas, Thomas Scully and Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel. There were several tables full of home made cakes, pies and other baked goods. Among some of the bigger ticket items were football tickets to a Saints and LSU Tiger game. Pitre would like to thank the businesses, public officials and individuals who donated their items and time toward this auction and to those who  purchased items. All of the funds raised from the radio auction are divided between Ville Platte Youth Inc. and Ville Platte Girls Incorporated

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its monthly meeting last night.  Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, introduced Mamou High School Principal, Liz Chatlin, who recognized two teachers for their outstanding efforts in the FFA Program and the Oil & Gas Program.  Christina Lejune is the sponsor of the FFA program and introduced: Jacob Fruge, Adam Beaber, Hayden Kidder, and Zac Isreal as the leadership in the program.  She also announced that Fall Forestry has taken 4th place in our area…which includes Oakdale, Kinder and Elizabeth.  Recognition was shown to Adam Beaber and Zac Isreal for achieving State Degrees in FFA; and to Jordan Isreal, a senior, who has received a $3,500.00 FFA scholarship.

Kip Manual was introduced as the leader of the Oil & Gas Program at Mamou High.  Mr. Manual explained the importance of the program and how after completing the two phase certification process, which includes 1) Basic Production and T-2 training; and 2) Tech II training, a student will be well ahead of the game if they are going to go into the oil field and offshore work.  There is currently a “waiting list” to get into his program.

The Board also announced the following personnel changes:

  1. Bazille High - Hazen Havarro – translator – gave verbal resignation effective 4/30/14;

  2. Bazille High - Darrell Lejeune – regular education teacher – submitted letter of retirement - effective 6/1/14;

  3. Pine Prairie High - Robert Davenport – regular education teacher – received retirement notification from Teacher’s Retirement System of LA – effect 5/31/14;

  4. Mamou High – James Agent, Jr. – regular ed teacher will replace Kevin Manuel – effective 4/7/14; and

  5. W.W. Stewart Elem – Anabel Martinez – translator will replace Hazel Navarro effective 5/5/14

Superintendent Toni Hamlin and the Board scheduled an Executive Session Mtg for 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13th.  Discussions will entail “next steps” for the 2014-2015 school year; a new math curriculum text book; the EUREKA Math program, which is currently being considered; and the controversial and expensive PARC program that is being considered in the legislature.

Rotary Club Hears From Smoke Meat Festival


MAY 6, 2014


   The Ville Platte Rotary Club heard from representatives of the Louisiana Smoked Meat Festival Association: Renee Brown and Eva Vidrine with the festival’s marketing committee.

     This year the festival is scheduled for June 27-28 at the civic center and grounds. This year, cook off teams and vendors can enter electronically from their website at smfvp.com or on their face book page. Also for the first time, festival goers can purchase advance tickets at a discount price online.

     The group is in need of volunteers. Renee Brown said “To put on a festival of this size requires a lot of people and we need more people to share their talents with us.” Volunteers can sign up at their website.

     Eva Vidrine announced the list of entertainers that include Daryl Singletary, Kyle Veillion, James Dupre, Jaryd Lane and Mark Chestnutt. Last year, there were 175-200 cook off entries last year.

    Also speaking at the club meeting was Emily Claire Soileau, President of the Sacred Heart Interact Club and the District 6200 Interact Student of the Year. Emily is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joey Soileau. Rotarian Larry Lachney was in charge of the program.

Chamber of Commerce Presented Civic Awards During Banquet Thursday

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Banquet

May 1, 2014


    Business and Civic leaders packed the Ville Platte Civic Center Thursday for the 2014 Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Civic Awards. Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel was the emcee. Executive Director Camille Fontenot welcomed the group and all the nominees for the various awards. Chamber President Dr. Kirk Soileau also addressed the large crowd in attendance.  Fr. Richard Vidrine offered the invocation. The Ville Platte Jr. ROTC presented the colors.

    Here are the winners:


Ville Platte Man of the Year- Jesse Muse-Ville Platte Volunteer Firefighter

Ville Platte Woman of the Year- Wanda Verette-Evangeline Parish School Teacher

Business Person of the Year-Mark Suellentrop, Plant Manager at Cabot Corporation

Business of the Year- Two were chosen- Nicks on Main and Vidrine’s Ace Hardware

Farmer/Rancher of the Year-presented by County Agent Keith Fontenot- Thurman Floyd


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