Local News Archives for 2014-10

Rotary Club Hears from Felicia Manuel with Ville Platte Iron Works


OCTOBER 28, 2014


   The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Felicia Manuel, co owner along with her husband , Nick Manuel , of Ville Platte Iron Works. Ville Platte Iron Works has been in business since April 1, 1949 and began as a welding and fabricating shop. She and Nick Manuel moved back to Ville Platte in 2001 to begin working at the family business. Nick began learning how to operate the C&C industrial machines. Cameron offered the company to give them additional business if they bought these  large industrial machines. Ville Platte Iron Works began making the internal parts for the large valves used in pipelines. Also Ville Platte Iron Works would provide sandblasting and coating the vales. It was in 2009, Ville Platte Iron Works moved into the old Holloway building next door to Cameron. They went from 15 employees to 35 employees over night. She also announced that the Evangeline Economic Development District chose Ville Platte Iron Works as its top home grown business with a special award. She was the special guest of Rotarian Wayne Vidrine.

    In other news, the rotary club was notified:

--that the annual Christmas social is planned for December 9;

--New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will be visiting Ville Platte at Nicks on Main at noon;

--that the club has been approached by the Boy Scouts of America to be a sponsor for the Ville Platte Scout troop.

Breakins of Storage Buildings Solved


On October 21, 2014 the Ville Platte Police Asked for help in identifying a silver truck and locating the 3 white males and 2 white females involved with multiple break ins of storage buildings on South Chataignier Road.  Chief Lartigue is now reporting that these suspects have been identified, located and 3 of the suspects have been charged in this incident.  Two of the suspects were juveniles and no further information is being released on the juveniles at this time.  According to information learned by investigations these 3 suspects are facing charges with other agencies including Oakdale, Oberlin and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office.


Christina G. Hartzfelds 34 of 2234 Old Hwy. 13, Mamou, has been charged with simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property.  Hartzelds is awaiting extradition on a $20,000.00 bond issued by Judge John Larry Vidrine. 



Joshua P. Guillory Jr. 19 of 1140 Harmony Road, Ville Platte, has been charged with simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property.  Guillory is awaiting extradition on a $20,000.00 bond issued by Judge John Larry Vidrine. 



Wesley Daniel Landry 20 of 1430 Magnolia Street, Pine Prairie, has been charged with simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property.  Landry is awaiting extradition on a $20,000.00 bond issued by Judge John Larry Vidrine. 





On October 21, 2014 officers responded to a home invasion call on North Latour Street.  Officers and Detectives learned that a male suspect had forcefully entered the residence, attacked a female who was a former girlfriend and then fled the scene.  .  Officers apprehended the suspect a short time later that evening. 


Arrested was Hilton Wilson 34 of 128 east Pine Street.  Wilson was arrested without incident and charged with home invasion, second degree battery, simple battery, criminal damage to property and resisting an officer.  Wilson was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $20,000.00 bond issued by Judge John Larry Vidrine



Chief Neal Lartigue reminds citizens to report any suspicious activity by calling 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.


Over 500 voters voted on First Day in Early Voting


OCTOBER 22, 2014


     A record number of voters packed the Evangeline Parish Courthouse Tuesday for the first day of early voting at the Registrar of Voters Office. Over 500 voters stood in line to vote early for the November 4 primary election according to Registrar of Voters Lucas Buller. The lines stretched as far away as to the Clerk of Court’s Office.  The lines were not as long today. There is much interest in several of the local races in Evangeline Parish. Early voting ends Tuesday October 28. Voters are urged to get a sample ballot because in some of the areas, the ballot is very long that includes 14 constitutional amendments.

Constitutional Amendments Discussed at Rotary Meeting


OCTOBER 21, 2014


     The Ville Platte Rotary Club today(Tuesday)  heard  State Representative Bernard LeBas and Judge John Saunders discuss the constitutional amendments that will be on the election day ballot.

      LeBas went through all 14 amendments and explained in some detail the pros and cons for each amendment. He suggested people acquaint themselves with the amendments and sample ballot to prepare to go vote.

     Judge John Saunders of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals  urged members of the Rotary Club to consider voting in favor of Amendment 5. A yes vote for Amendment #5 would eliminate the mandatory age of 70 for judges.  Judge Saunders  said the time has come for voters to seriously look at changing the age law for judges. Saunders has been serving on the court of appeals for the past 21 years and served several terms in the state legislature.

     In other news, Evangeline Parish Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin reported that the school and student performance scores were released this morning. It showed a marked improvement in scores. She announced that 8 out of 12 schools in Evangeline Parish Public Schools scored A or B. The School district score improved to a grade of B.

   Rotary Club President David Mayeaux announced that the Mamou Rotary Club will be folding at the first of the year and those Mamou members will be transferred to the Ville Platte club.

    Also the Rotary Club Board approved the purchase and installation of new rotary signs at various areas throughout Ville Platte.

    The Sacred Heart Interact Club will be preparing  donation baskets to help fight polio to be displayed in rotary business locations throughout Ville Platte.

Evangeline Parish School Board To Release School Performance Scores

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting Wednesday in the Media Center.

Superintendent, Toni Hamlin announced that on October 21st, a press release will go out regarding school performance scores and district performance scores.  KVPI will sit down with Ms. Hamlin in an upcoming “Let’s Talk About It” to discuss the scores.

Thursday, October 16th at 12:30 p.m. and again on Friday the 17th at 9:30 a.m., Bob Hammonds, Special Counsel to the Board, will hold meetings to update principals and assistant principals on legal issues and 2014 legislative actions.

Ms. Hamlin received a “packet” of information regarding the growing concerns of the Ebola virus.  She will be forwarding the packet to all EPSB users tomorrow.  The packet includes information about the virus that will clarify how it is spread, etc.

The 911 office will hold a meeting next Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at the skating rink in Mamou.  Ginger Landreneau, R.N., will speak on the Ebola virus as well.

Ms. Hamlin also congratulated Evangeline Parish First Student on receiving two awards:

  • Location of the Year

  • Shop of the Year

The President of the company presented the awards for excellence to First Turn.  KVPI extends congratulations for the recognitions!

There will be a Policy Committee Meeting next Monday, October 20th at 5:00 p.m.

Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue Addresses Chamber


OCTOBER 15, 2014


     Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue addressed the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce at its meeting today(Wednesday) at noon.

     The chief addressed some of the concerns chamber members had last month after a number of businesses were broken into. Chief Lartigue said the rash of burglaries finally ended as of September 22 after implementing a special overnight patrol unit to check on businesses and targeting those walking without reflected gear.

     He told chamber members cases cannot be solved in an hour like a TV show. Also on fingerprints, not all prints can be lifted and it all depends upon the surface. Also, if a print is lifted and submitted to the crime lab it may take 6 months to a year to come back for a match.

     Chief Lartigue said it has always been the policy of the department not to identify the business place that was burglarized. However he will now give the business the option to permit their name to be used in the news release.

    Stolen items are primarily being sold to private individuals or out of town. He said his department receives a list of pawned items each week that his investigators review for a possible match of stolen merchandise.

    He announced that his department had 480 arrests since the beginning of the year with 58 felony arrests. For the month of October, the department responded to 611 calls, 45 citations were issued, 61 people were arrested, 12 felony arrests and they worked 31 traffic accidents.

    Chamber member Mark Buller said his business and his neighbor were both recently broken into. He said he got a sense there “was a lack of concern by the police officers who worked the crime scene.” The chief said a new policy is now in place where detectives will have to follow up and contact the business to inform them of the status of their investigation.

   One major issue facing the police department is the low starting pay. The starting pay for a police officer is $10.38 an hour. After they become certified, they receive a $500 raise in salary. It costs the city $4000 to train and certify officers.

   In other business, Suzie Lemoine informed chamber members of a host of activities planned at the new Ville Platte library including “Ask A Lawyer” where two attorneys will offer free legal advice on October 23. The library is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8-6, Tuesday-8-8, Wednesday from 10-6 and Saturday from 8-12 noon.

     In other business the chamber:

  • Approved two new members: Glen LeLeux and Dirt Cheap;
  • Reminded chamber members that the annual Chamber sponsored Christmas parade is Sunday December 7 at 5:30pm.

Ville Platte Water Project Begins Phase 3


OCTOBER 14, 2014


     The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, heard from City Engineer Ronnie Landreneau announce that the city will be opening bids next week to begin Phase 3 of the City Water project. Phase 3 will include work in areas south of Main that has not been done in Phase 1. The multi -phase project is designed to completely replace all of the old city water lines. Landreneau said Main Street and LaSalle will be done last in Phase 4.

    It was also reported that the fire marshal is reviewing the plans and specs for the proposed new City sponsored Boys and Girls Club that will be located in the old City Hall/Evangeline Bank building on Court street.

    Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced five new businesses opened in the city in the last month including the Dirt Cheap store that is employing 42 workers.

    It was announced that city hall is now accepting  credit cards and debit cards. Ville Platte residents will be able to pay their utility bills on line within the next 2-3 weeks.

    In other action the city council:

--approved the installation of large four way stop signs at the intersection of Lincoln and North Chataignier and Laran and Jefferson streets;

--received news that sales tax collections were up for 12 of the past 13 months in the city;

--announced Trick of Treating hours for Halloween October 31 will be 5-7pm;

--voted to move the next city council meeting from Nov. 11 to Nov. 5 at 5:00pm due to the original date falling on the holiday, Veterans Day; Also Tuesday Nov. 4, city hall will be closed for election day;

--approved the hiring of three full time patrol officers, two part time dispatchers and four part time jailers as recommended by the police chief;

--adopted a proclamation by Faith House for Domestic Violence Month. Faith House is sponsoring a “Take Back the Night” gathering Oct. 21 with a five block walk and a candlelight vigil;

--adopted a proclamation proclaiming October as Catholic Daughters Month;

Rotary Club Hears from St. Landry Parish Official


OCTOBER 14, 2014


    The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard  from  Bill Rodair, Director of the St. Landry Parish Economic Association. Rodair said his group works at bringing the parish together and preparing  a plan of economic priorities. One of the projects he shared with Rotarians is the proposed St. Landry Parish Expo Center. The center will be located on donated property off I-49 and Harry Guilbeau road . The center will have the potential of bringing in 100,000 people a year. The center is expected to be constructed by 2019. He suggests Ville Platte and Evangeline Parish community and business  leaders do the same thing in working for economic growth here locally. Rodair was the special guest of Rotarian Peter Strawitz.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury Discuss Solutions To Damaged Roads Through Road Use Fees

October 13, 2014

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight (Monday) in the courthouse.  It was a lengthy meeting that contained much discussion on a few subjects.

Kevin Belanger, CEO, with the South Central Planning and Development District addressed the jury and went over a handout regarding a new commission that is being formed consisting of Parish Presidents, Mayors, etc., from a multi-parish area, to correct the problems that previously existed causing the areas to fall into a “D-Designation” status, which prevents the areas from receiving federal funding in many areas.  The new commission would be to re-create stability and the status of the district.  Mr. Belanger advises that “if the parish decides to join the commission, he feels the re-establishment could be up and running in a year to a year and a half.

The agenda included discussion on Road Use Permit changes.  The Police Jury had asked the parish attorney, Marcus Fontenot, to draft an ordinance making some changes to the permitting process when a company is going to be using parish roads for a project.  As written, the new ordinance would have required a bond of $15,000.00 for those who would use the roads for commercial use with the chance the roads could be damaged.  It also gives the Police Jury President and Public Works Director, authority to decide who the ordinance would pertain, if so needed.   Police Juror, Eric Soileau, voiced concern with the way the permitting process is as of now saying “Changes need to be made before more roads are damaged.  There needs to be something in place to hold companies accountable.”

Police Juror, Bryan Vidrine, added  “…there are exceptions made to people and they promise to fix any roads that are damaged…then the work gets done and then the parish gets left with their thumbs in the air.”

Concerned citizens, farmers, loggers, etc., spoke out on the issue and said the ordinance would cause great harm to their industry, especially with the $15,000 bond.  It would cause a de-value in their crop or timber, etc., because of the additional cost for what “may happen” to the roads.  There will be further discussions on the issue before a final decision is made.

Regarding the condemned property issue that the Jury has been tackling, out of the 12 property owners who were sent the “certified letters” regarding the clean-up or demolition to their property, only 3 have contacted Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, about addressing the issues.  Tonight anyone who has been sent a letter regarding their condemned property had the opportunity to address the jury.  No one did so.  The jury will now proceed with getting bids and moving forward with the clean- up or demolition of the properties.

It was agreed that the fees for renting the Pavilion at Crooked Creek will be $125.00/partial day and $200.00 for a full day.  If someone also rents 12 camping sites around it, they will receive an additional day free.

Donald Bergeron reported that he received a letter from D.O.T. finally clearing the replacement of two bridges.  One in District 6 and one in District 9.

2% Sales Tax revenues were $284,735.51.  That is an increase from 2013 which was $257,280.06.

Results of the 2014 Running of the Tournoi

Tournoi Results

October 12, 2014


     The 2014 running of the Tournoi took place this afternoon at the Industrial Park after the Cotton Festival Grand Parade.

    Congratulations to Tournoi Champ Eric Guillory who repeats as Champ for a second year in a row. Guillory also won the Fastest Time award. Rusty Lafleur was the coveted Sportsmanship award.

   Here are the results of the tournoi:

First Place and Tournoi Champ- Eric Guillory; Second Place- Alex Haller; Third Place- Kent Saucier, Fourth Place- Bryan Fontenot; Fifth Place- Paul Fontenot; Sixth Place- Shane Lee; Seventh Place-Marcus Guillory; Eight Place- Austin Trahan; Ninth Place- Ryan Haller and Tenth Place-Shane Trahan. The top ten finishers will not have to qualify to run in next year’s event.

    Charlie Manuel was the emcee and Tee Rob Soileau handled the music and the audio system. Classic Hits 92.5 KVPi was there with Jenn and Steph covering the event  from start to finish.

Lousiana Cotton Festival kicks off with Contredanse Tuesday Night


October 7, 2014.


      It was a beautiful night to begin the 2014 Louisiana Cotton Festival. The Ville Platte Civic Center was the setting for the first night’s events with Emcee Pat Derousselle, President of the Louisiana Cotton Festival.

      Congratulations to the Royalty at Heritage Manor Nursing Home: New King is Emige Stagg and First runnerup to the King is Warren Fontenot age 63.

      Congratulations to the new Queen Dorothy Edwards age 76. Her first runnerup is Laura Ortego age 94.

     There was standing room only during the annual event. Among the dignitaries in attendance were Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, Col. Cotton Kary Lafleur and Parade Marshal Larry Lachney.

      The Cotton Pickers entertained both the crowds of people and the new royalty. A Cajun Band provided the musical entertainment through out the program.

Rotary Club Hears from Union Tank Official


OCTOBER  7, 2014


   The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Steve Williams, plant manager of Union Tank Car Company. Williams, a native of Winfield served 27 years in the Air Force. Union Tank began as UTLX owned by the Rockefeller family to transport their Standard Oil nationwide. Union Tank leases cars to private companies and is the largest owner of tank cars in the country. The company has six maintenance facilities in the United States including Ville Platte. The local plant employs 126 hourly workers and 21 salaried employees.  He explained that the workers have a tough job especially in the summer working in those hot rail cars. His company is currently training 48 welders at the Coreil Campus in a special two week program. Williams was the special guest of Rotarian Dr. Joey Soileau.

    In other business, Rotary Club President David Mayeaux presented a $100 check on behalf of the club to the Faith House of Ville Platte.

Ville Platte Police Make Drug Arrest

On October 2, 2014 the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a tip regarding a suspicious white male going in and out of local businesses.  Officers located the male on West Main Street and attempted to make contact with him.  The suspect fled on foot and a short foot pursuit ensued.  Officers caught the suspect and placed him under arrest without incident.  Darrell Glenn May, 38 address unknown, was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting and officer and vagrancy.  Officers and Detectives also discovered that May has an extensive criminal history and an outstanding warrant out of Calcasieu Parish. No bond information was available at press time.

Chief Lartigue reminds residents to continue being vigilant and alert to your surroundings.  This incident led to an arrest because someone called in a tip that let officers know that this person was in the area lurking around businesses.  If you have information on suspicious activity or illegal activity call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.

Evangeline Parish School Hears Updates on Group Benefits Changes

Evangeline Parish School Board

October 1, 2014

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight (Wednesday).  Chief Financial Officer, Amy Lafleur updated the Board on the changes in group benefits for all employees and retirees of the School Board.  The open enrollment has been extended until November 30th and the effective date for the policy changes has been extended until March 1, 2015 instead of the January 1st date.  She said to look for an email that she sent out…it contains an enrollment form people can use if they choose to.  Also, be on the lookout for an informational booklet to arrive in the mail.  Retirees are encourages to use the 800# to make their decisions in choosing a new plan.  They are also encouraged to contact their physicians to ensure they are in the BC/BS network.

Superintendent, Toni Hamlin asked everyone to look very closely at the benefits and out-of-pocket expenses in the new plans.  There are very big changes that they need to really look at.

Ms. Hamlin recognized Ms. Dianna Johnson for receiving the 3rd place National Barriers Award for the JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) Program at Evangeline Central.  KVPI also congratulates Ms. Johnson on a job well done.

Ms. Hamlin announced that they had a recent conference call with State Supt. of Education White’s office and were told to move forward with preparing for the students to be given the PARC assessment at the end of the year .

There was discussion between Board members of great concern with using the Common Core and PARC assessment.

And, as of October 1st, the Student Membership Count (including Pre-K children) is 6,171 students.  Ms. Hamlin pointed out that number is very close to where we were last year as a parish and it is positive to see stability.

School performance scores are due to be released the week of October 20th. 

Chief Civil Deputy Arrested


OCTOBER 1, 2014


     Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau told KVPI News today that his Chief Civil Deputy has been arrested. She has been identified as Rebecca DeVillier of Ville Platte, who has been serving as the Chief Civil Deputy in the Tax Department since 2003. DeVillier has been arrested and charged with malfeasance in office and felony theft. Her bond has been set at $25,000.

    Sheriff Soileau stated that a preliminary investigation reveals that $40,000 was stolen over a one year period. It appears she was writing checks on the department general fund account.

   The investigation has been turned over to the state police. The sheriff said their investigation began after officials in his department began finding irregularities in their checking account. The department auditors are reviewing all of the sheriff’s department financial records.

Police Warns Counterfeit Scheme

Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department warns of counterfeit scheme.


Recently the Ville Platte Police Department has received several complaints from businesses who have discovered counterfeit bills.  Chief Lartigue warns businesses to check for watermarks, color fibers, vertical security threads and other identifiers that will help determine if a bill is fake or counterfeit.  If there is bleeding ink anywhere on the bill then the bill is certainly suspicious and likely counterfeit.  Chief Lartigue also stated that it is important to note that the commonly used counterfeit detection pen does not work on these bills and should not be the only verification used.  Visual inspection can help determine if it is real or counterfeit. 


 If you see anything suspicious that would make you think the bill is counterfeit then you should be cautious and call the Ville Platte Police Department and report this information. 

Chief Lartigue reports that several businesses have fallen victim to recent counterfeit bills and the amount has now reached almost $ 500.00 combined.  Some of the bills are twenty dollar bills but the counterfeit bills are not limited to twenties.  “If you have what you believe to be a counterfeit bill at your business please call right away.” Chief Lartigue said, “Calling after the customer leaves allows them to move on and do this to another business.”  Quickly identifying these suspects will stop the distribution of these bills to other businesses.  


If you have information on counterfeit money recently being distributed in the area or if you think that you have counterfeit money that is being presented at your business, call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.



On Saturday September 27, 2014 at approximately 12:30 am officers on normal patrol discovered a truck parked behind a local business on Lucy Street.  Contact was made with two suspects at that time.    Arrested was Donnie Johnson 25 of 1174 L’anse De Tate Road, Ville Platte on an outstanding failure to appear warrant.  Johnson was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sherriff’s Office jail for booking.  Also arrested was Layton Michael Ashurst, 25 of 420 Wyble Road, Ville Platte.  Ashurst was charged with no driver’s license, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Ashurst was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail where he remains incarcerated on a $5,200.00 bond.


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