Local News Archives for 2015-05

Ville Platte Rotary Hears From Cleco Official


MAY 26, 2015


       The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Guest Speaker Willie Bergeron of Cleco. He gave some conservation measures for customers to save on their electricity bill this summer. He said heating and cooling amounts to 45% of the monthly power bill. Cleco suggests the thermostat should be set at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer and to use a programmable thermostat. The next greatest user of energy in the home is the water heater which takes about 15 percent of the power bill. The water heater should be set at not higher than 125 degrees. Bergeron mentioned plugged in devices that are known as energy vampires such as computers, cell phone chargers and TV’s. Bergeron works for Cleco out of the Eunice office and was the guest speaker of Rotarian Nicole Wenger.

       Rotarians were notified by Wayne Vidrine that three students from Ville Platte schools will be attended the Rotary sponsored RYLA camp at Lake Fausse Park: McKenzie Fontenot, Taylor Leger and Tracy Trahan.

      Leonard Fontenot reported that Peter Strawitz and Wayne Vidrine will be named Paul Harris Fellows at the upcoming June 16 Installation Banquet for their $500 matching contribution to Rotary International.

      Rotarian Mark Suellentrop reported that the recently completed Choices Program reached over 300 students in all but three schools in the parish.

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting May 20, 2015

May 20, 2015


The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center at Ville Platte High. 


Parent, Tiffany Allison of Mamou, addressed the Board about two alleged incidents that took place on the school bus her children rode.  One involved an alleged slapping of a child by the school bus driver and the other involved the driver allegedly dropping her 2nd child off a mile and a half away from the correct drop off point.  Board Members, Wanda Skinner and David Landreneau also expressed concerns about other complaints that have been reported to them.  Lance with First Student addressed the concerns and stated that he, along with the school principal, reviewed the video tapes from the bus and found no incident of a slapping; however, did acknowledge that the driver did drop the second child off at the wrong point.  Wanda Skinner advised that the driver does not reside in the parish.  Lance with First Student advised the driver has been taken out of the parish.


Recognition was given to Pine Prairie Student, Lelia Deville, by Pine Prairie Assistant Principal, Andrew Dwyer, for her upcoming attendance at the 2015 National Future Business Leaders of America Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois from June 26th through July 3rd.  The School Board unanimously voted to contribute $200.00 for her attendance. 

The School Board voted to continue the millage rates that are currently in effect for this year.

Rotary Club Hears From Liz Hill


MAY 19, 2015


   The Rotary Club of Ville Platte Tuesday heard from Evangeline Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Liz Hill, who is also in charge of the 9-1-1 Communications District. She informed club members that construction work is progressing on the new  9-1-1 communications facility at the Industrial Park. The concrete slab has just been poured for the 8,000 square foot building located next the Coreil Campus of South Louisiana Community College. This compares with their current location which is only 1400 square feet.

    The 9-1-1 communications board has been working and saving for over ten years for this new building which will have larger space for the communications center that will have the latest technology with a price tag of $400,000. It will house training rooms and other offices and space for emergency agencies to re locate during hurricanes and other critical times for use as incident command. The $2 million dollar facility is being built through a bond issue using local banks. It is expected to be completed in the next eleven months. The board is making every effort to keep jobs locally by using local sub contractors when possible.

     Liz Hill was the special guest of Rotarian Hillary Hill. He reminded club members of the Ville Platte VFW 75th anniversary celebration June 13 at the Our Lady Queen of All Saints Family Life Center. The State VFW Commander and Adjutant are expected to attend.

     Rotarian Mark Suelentrop reported on the success the club is having with the Choices program being taught in schools through out the parish. Club members are going to classrooms and encouraging students to stay in school. So far the program has reached 318 students parishwide.

Ville Platte City Council May Meeting

The Ville Platte City Council

May 12, 2015


The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight in City Hall.  Prior to the meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the issuance of a liquor permit to J.C. Ceasar who has purchased the property on the corner of MLK Drive and Dr. Carver. He intends to remodel the property and open a restaurant named The Creole House.  There were quite a few in attendance of support for Mr. Ceasar and there were also those who voiced concerns about parking in the area as well as problems from alcohol sales.  Mayor Jennifer Vidrine explained that she had received approximately 60 calls from residents voicing concerns as well.  After long discussions back and forth and with advisement from City Attorney Eric Lafleur, the Council voted to grant the liquor permit for a 6 month period and will continue it should Mr. Ceasar meet the requirement of having sales of food of more than 50% of total sales.


It was a happy time, when Ms. Ville Platte, Candace Bennatt, who is now Ms. Louisiana came and spoke to the council.  She received a standing ovation from everyone when the Mayor announced that Candace has chosen her “city to represent” as Ville Platte.  She said she chose Ville Platte because it reminds her of her hometown of Huffman, Texas and that she is very proud of Ville Platte.  Her boyfriend, Jack Walker was also in attendance.  The Miss USA Pageant will air on NBC at 8:00 p.m. on July 12th from Baton Rouge.


The Council voted to approve the V.P. Youth on the Move Summer Program which employee 24 children ages 16-18 over a 2 month period.  The child must live in the City of Ville Platte.  They will work in area businesses and receive other training pertaining to entering the work force, interviews, etc.

The Mayor announced that she has been appointed to the Louisiana Housing and Transportation Commission and this will help with planning for transportation in Ville Platte as well as working for affordable housing. 


She also reminded everyone that if you have an abandoned property, clean it up or you will be fined if you receive a warning and don’t.  The first fine is $1,000.00 and goes up from there.  If the City has to clean it, the cost will be put on your tax bill.


The expenditures for the month of April were $192,411.07 and that is down $25,360.18 from the month of March.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Hears from Judge West


MAY 12, 2015


        The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from special guest speaker District Judge Chuck West.

         Judge West told club members that he and Judge Gary Ortego  in cooperation with the Clerk of Court have made changes and improvements to the jury selection process. He said the public needs to be aware of the need to appear for possible jury duty. Some 300 people are subpoenaed in a given month for civil and criminal trials. As a means to inform more of the general public, the public can now go on line and see when the jury trials are set and if they need to report.

     Also both judges have signed up to speed up the process for arrest and search warrants. In the past, sometimes it could take hours to notify a judge after hours or on weekends to review and sign a warrant. Now, Judges West and Ortego have signed up for an online warranty generator. Through this process, it reduces the turnaround  time from up to two hours down to 15 minutes.

     Judge West is also concerned with security in the court rooms and throughout the courthouse. “Sometimes we deal with tense and explosive situations between the accused and victims and we need better security, “the judge said. Currently courthouse departments are pooling their resources to ramp up security personnel and measures. Judge West was the special guest of Rotarian Jimmy LeBlanc.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury May Meeting

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury

May 11, 2015


The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the Courthouse.  Discussions were had during the thirty minute meeting about a request from FEMA for OEP to refund $8,367.15 is was given nine years ago to use for overtime pay after Hurricane Gustov.  Since FEMA determined the Jury did not have a policy in place regarding overtime at that time, FEMA decided to “not allow” the funds to be kept and repayment has now been requested.  The Jury voted unanimously to give FEMA the refund out of the General Fund.


The Police Jury voted to “deny” an alleged auto damage claim in excess of $2,000.00.  The Claimant says his “rims were bent” from a pothole in the parish. 

Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, reported that he and Ryan Williams both attended the Acadiana Planning Commission Meeting where Mr. Eric Kolabota with the LA Department of Transportation and Development spoke regarding the list of road projects that will be coming in the future should funding for those projects go through.  Proposals for “Dues” to be in the Planning Commission could run approximately $5,000.00/year should everything move forward.  The next meeting will be held on July 30th and will be held in Evangeline Parish.


Mr. Bergeron reported that the Sales Tax Collection for the month of March was $299,095.09.


Public Works Director, Chester Granger, reported that due to all of the rain, it was put a delay in the chip and seal project.  Until the roads dry out, they are unable to prepare the roads to continue with the project.  The Police Jury voted to allow the Public Works Department to replace a bridge on James Lane in District 1 in the amount of $11,200.00


City Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, reported that there will be a “Pre-Bid Conference” tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in the Police Jury Office in the conference room regarding the bids being received soon in the micro-surfacing project.

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting May 7, 2015


The Evangeline Parish School

May 7, 2015


The Evangeline Parish School Board held it’s bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center.  The Board was presented with a Resolution currently being submitted by the Iberia Parish School Board opposing any changes to the Inventory Tax Repeal.  Superintendent, Toni Hamlin explained that if the repeal of the tax collection is passed it would cost the School Board $1.1 million dollars and the Parish would suffer losing $3.5 million dollars.  The Resolution asks that the State of Louisiana find alternate ways to recover from its $1.6 billion dollar deficit.


There were quite a few teachers and administrators in attendance at the meeting and the topic of teacher and support staff salary structure were discussed.  The Executive Committee recently met to establish a salary structure which is based on “levels” teachers and workers are placed in and each level carries a different financial aspect to the structure.  Yvonne Johnson, Resource Teacher at Pine Prairie High School addressed the Board and thanked them for addressing the salary issue.  She also voiced concern over certain levels regarding the difference in a Bachelor’s Degree vs. a Master’s.  Cheryl Deseneaux also addressed the Board and stated “After 36 years working in the Parish, she never was part of the financial aspect until now.”  She now understands how the Board has been consistent with preserving the jobs of “everyone”.  She stated due to all of the different financial aspects the Board and Parish continues to go through, she feels the Board should keep the current structure “as it is.”


Chief Financial Officer, Amy LaFleur, reported that the sales tax comparison for the month of April was $701,001.31 and that is down $51,631.07 from this time last year.  However, she stated that the Board is still ahead for the fiscal year by $234,745.07.


Toni Hamlin announced the following graduation dates:

Mamou High School – May 15th ,Pine Prairie High School – May 14th ,Ville Platte High School – May 14th, Basille High School – May 15th


Ms. Hamlin also announced that it is Teacher’s Appreciation/Employee Appreciation Week and she thanked all employees for the hard work and great job they do every day.


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