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Local News Archives for 2016-03

Rotary Club Hears From State Rep. Bernard LeBas Tuesday

 

 

 

    State Representative Bernard LeBas gave Ville Platte Rotarians an update on what is going in Baton Rouge during the regular session of the state legislature.

     LeBas explained that the legislature held a special session to prior to this regular session to find $750 million to balance the budget before the fiscal year ends June 30.  Lawmakers approved adding a one cent sales tax for the next 27 months.

    During the regular session now going on, the legislature discovered they are still 70 million dollars short from having a balanced budget. The governor has decided not to make any additional cuts in higher education so the cuts will primarily be made in health care.

     The Tops program to help students pay for their college education was cut by 20 percent this year. The colleges are absorbing the cuts rather than passing it on. Lawmakers are looking at making it tougher to get the Tops funding like raising the ACT scores and capping it. He said the current formula to pay for Tops is “unsustainable”. Another proposal is if students don’t make the grades they will have to pay the tuition back to the state.

    LeBas said lawmakers are trying to reach across the aisle and work together to solve the major fiscal problems.  There should be no further cuts to local services such as Chicot State Park, Health Unit and Driver’s License Office.

    One area, the legislature is looking  over with a fine tooth comb is reviewing the large number of consulting contracts to see if they could save money by dropping them. Lawmakers are also looking at the 197 tax exemptions the state is giving to groups and companies.

    LeBas was the special guest of Rotarian Nick LeBas.

Jury Selection Begins in Murder Trail in 13th Judicial District Court

JURY SELECTION UNDERWAY IN MURDER TRIAL

MARCH 28, 2016

 

    A 12 person jury is being selected today (Monday) in 13th Judicial District Court, Division B, to hear the case of Samuel Brent Anderson. An Evangeline Parish Grand Jury  last year has charged the defendant with First Degree Murder and Armed Robbery. Anderson’s charges are in connection with the armed robbery of a business operated by Ann Nguyen on July 28, 2014. In commission of that armed robbery, the business owner, Ann Nguyen was killed. Judge Chuck West will preside.

Murder Trial Begins Today in 13th Judicial District Court

JURY SELECTION UNDERWAY IN MURDER TRIAL

MARCH 28, 2016

 

    A 12 person is being selected today (Monday) in 13th Judicial District Court, Division B, to hear the case of Samuel Brent Anderson. An Evangeline Parish Grand Jury  last year has charged the defendant with First Degree Murder and Armed Robbery. Anderson’s charges are in connection with the armed robbery of a business operated by Ann Nguyen on July 28, 2014. In commission of that armed robbery, the business owner, Ann Nguyen was killed. Judge Chuck West will preside.

Ville Platte Police Arrests

VILLE PLATTE POLICE ARRESTS

MARCH 28, 2016

 

    Ville Platte City police arrested a number of suspects this past week on a number of charges. They included:

Hannah Thomas age 29 of 609 West Oak. She was arrested March 27 and chared with Simple Battery  and other charges. She is currently incarcerated on a $2200 bond;

Tranisky Williams age 21 of 902 North Coreil was arrested March 22 and charged with Domestic Abuse Battery, Obstructing Passage and Resisting and Officer. The susject is out on a $1950 bond;

Ricky Thompson age 46 of 1348 Morrison Avenue was arrested on March 25 and charged with Simple Battery. He is out on a $1000 bond;

Zachary Johnson age 18 of 1325 Kendall Street and was arrested on a charge of theft of goods. He is currently incarcerated on a $500 bond;

Abselon Herbert age 20 of 1019 Booker T Street was arrested March 24 and charged with Flight from an Officer and Possession of Schedule Two drugs. He is currently incarcerated on a $3250 bond;

Dawn Guillory age 33 of 112 East Street and charged with theft of goods. She is out on a $500 bond;

Tyler McGoldrick age 23 of 212 Enola Street was arrested March 17 and charged with Simple Battery and other charges. He is out on a $1250 bond;

Patrick Guillory age 32 of 1008 West Wilson and charged with Criminal Damage to Property and other charged. He is out on a bond of $1200.

Evangeline Parish Sales Tax Collections Report Released by Tax Commission

EVANGELINE PARISH SALES TAX COMMISSION

MARCH 24, 2016

 

    The Evangeline Parish Sales and Use Tax Commission met Wednesday for their monthly meeting. Commission Director Mike Veillon  reported  on sales tax collections for the month of February. He announced that Ville Platte, Chataignier, Mamou and Turkey Creek showed increases in their collections over the previous year. Turkey Creek had the greatest increase showing a 125 percent increase from $3,892 in 2015 to $8794 this year, a $4901 increase. Chataignier showed a 55 percent increase, Mamou had a 4.94 percent increase while the City of Ville Platte showed a $10,261 different or a 4.86 increase.

    Those government agencies showing a drop in sales tax collections included the Evangeline Parish School Board, Evangeline Parish Solid Waste Commission, the Village of Pine Prairie and the Evangeline Parish Police Jury. Pine Prairie showed a 24 percent decrease, the Town of Basile showed a 23 decrease, the police jury a drop of 14 percent, while the school board showed a drop of 3.95 percent.

    Overall, the parish wide totals in sales tax collections showed a 4.29 decrease in sales tax collections or a $60,277 drop in collections.

Fr. Voorhies was guest speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Club

ROTARY CLUB MEETING

MARCH 22, 2016

 

    The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Fr. Thomas Voorhies, pastor of Sacred Heart,  St. Joseph and belaire Cove Catholic Churches. He is a native of Lafayette and has served at a number of churches in the Diocense including Eunice. Fr. Voorhies on the occasion of Holy Week read the Gospel of John for the Last Supper account of Jesus  and his apostles. He announced Holy Week services that included the Walk for Christ on Good Friday. Fr. Voorhies was the special guest of Rotarian Larry Lachney.

    In other news, Club President Mitch Fontenot announced that the rotary club sponsored “Shots for Tots” will beheld the week of April 18-22 at the Evangeline Parish Health Unit.

   The club is sponsoring a clean up project jointly with the Sacred Heart Interact Club on April 23 to clean up the Heritage Park Walking Trail from 9-12 noon.

Ville Platte Mayor calls School Community Meeting

Ville Platte Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, held a School Community Meeting last night in the MLK Center regarding possible actions by the Evangeline Parish School Board regarding The School of Choice Plan.  If the proposed changes are voted in by the School Board at their bi-monthly meeting tomorrow night, the School board could plan to re-assign Ville Platte students attending Chicot and Pine Prairie Schools.  In attendance last night were School Board Members, Nancy Hamlin, Georgiana Wilson, Wayne Dardeau, Ellis Guillory and Superintendent of Schools, Toni Hamlin.  KVPI met with the Mayor and she explained that she wanted to hear from parents and other concerned citizens and that is why she called the meeting.  She was concerned that the School Board would vote on the matter during Wednesday’s meeting without hearing from members of the community.  The Mayor urges everyone who would like more information or to speak on the matter, please come to the School Board meeting tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. in the School Board Media Center. 

 

KVPI reached out to Superintendent Hamlin and she stated she "was Invited last night to the meeting was because of what is called the “Sub Zone” which is comprised of Hickory to West Main and Alton Locks and David on the West Side.  Those students have been zoned for Pine Prairie High School since 2004.  We have reached a point now where we are at capacity.  We checked to see which schools who was at capacity, who is over-capacity and I showed the information at the meeting last night.  My role in that was to provide the information to them but it is the school board who will decide the capacity at various schools in the area."

Rotary Club Hears from LSU E Chancellor

VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB

MARCH 15, 2016

 

   The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from a number of guest speakers at Nicks on Main.

   LSU E Chancellor Dr. Kimberly Russell addressed the club to share her concerns over the continuing budget issues with the state over higher education funding. She said when she became new chancellor replacing retiring Dr. William Nunez, the budget had been reduced 13 times following six years of declining enrollment.

   Dr. Russell said “LSU E has turned the corner with enrollment up for the spring.” However the university is facing more problems from Baton Rouge. If the legislature does not find the extra revenues, LSU E will be facing a $110,000 short fall in funding for the next four months. In addition, the university is having to absorb a ten percent loss in Tops funding.

   She said “I will continue to fight to make LSU E affordable and accessible to every student to help educate the next generation of tax payers.”

   Dr. Kimberly Russell who was accompanied by Denise Foret was presented a check for its Rotary Scholarship fund by Dr. Willie Buller. The fund has over $90,000 in its account.

   In other business, the club heard from:

--Gilbert Winky Aucoin speaking about the “Le Grand Hoorah Cajun Heritage Festival planned for April 15 and 16 at Chicot State Park with a special tribute to Steve Riley, Cajun Bands and plenty of food including a Cochon de Lait that Friday night;

--Valerie Cahill, the new owner of Cazan Hotel, spoke to the Rotarians, said she has fallen in love with our local residents and our local culture. She wants to work with local groups in promoting Mamou and Evangeline Parish to the world.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury Approves Health Plan for Employees

EVANGELINE PARISH POLICE JURY SPECIAL MEETING

MARCH 11, 2016

 

     The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Thursday decided to stay with its current group health care plan through Blue Cross despite a 2 percent increase. Jury Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron told KVPI News that initially, the Blue Cross plan submitted a 4.3 percent increase in premiums. The jury entertained other quotes from the state police jury association and United Health Care. The jury asked Blue Cross to re consider their first quote and last night, a new lower quote was submitted through local agent Lemoine Insurance and was approved.

    Also the jury last night during their special meeting:

--appointed Hubb International as its agent of record for supplemental policies such as vision and dental insurance;

--approved having jurors attend Legislative Day March 31 in Baton Rouge to meet with its local legislative delegation and other lawmakers.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Hears from VFW Member Hillary Hill

VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB

MARCH 8, 2016

 

     The Ville Platte Rotary Club, today (Tuesday) heard from Rotarian Hillary Hill discuss the Ville Platte Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. The post was first organized in June 1940. Hill commented that when he first joined the organization there were 240 members and now the membership has dwindled to 112. To be a member, a veteran must have served overseas in a combat or “hot” zone.

   There are very few World War Two and Korean War era veterans remaining in Evangeline Parish. He said Bervic Celestine, a Pearl Harbor survivor and long time chaplain for the VFW post now resides at Savoy Care center in Mamou.

    He listed some of the post commanders through the years: Parker Fuselier, Lionel Deville, Jules Ashlock, Bernie Daigle (longest serving at 14 years), Preston Aucoin, Dallas DeVille and Cecil Colligan.

    The post members are still active in the community cooking for the nursing home every month and at Chateaux Des Amies.

     In other rotary news,

--the annual Spring Fellowship is scheduled for April 26;

--shots for Tots will be held the week of April 18 at the Evangeline Parish Health Unit;

--the District Rotary convention is set for March 31 through April 2 at L ‘auberge Du Lac Casino in Lake Charles.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury March Meeting

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting as well as Committee Meetings tonight (Monday) in the Evangeline Parish Courthouse. 

 

Outgoing Coroner, Dr. Charles Fontenot, addressed the Jury and stated he has been the Coroner for the last 34 years.  He became the Coroner in 1978 and then a Special Election was held in 1979 where he was voted in as Coroner for the Parish.  He stated “After 34 years, it’s good to let a younger doctor take over and after a little arm bending, Dr. Tommy Fontenot has agreed to take over as Coroner.  He then described some of the situations the Coroner’s office handles including investigating all sexual assault cases and all deaths that occur as well as cremations.  Dr. Charles provided statistics about our area regarding suicide by the use of a firearm.  In 2010, there were 5 suicides by guns and as of 2014 that number had grown to 14 suicides with a firearm.  He thanked the Jury for always having a good relationship with him.  Juror, Eric Soileau, thanked him for all of his years of service and for his professionalism.

 

Tommy Tuma with Wildlife and Fisheries addressed the Jury regarding Cocodrie Lake.  Part of the Lake is in Evangeline and part of it is in Rapides Parish.  He stated that Wildlife and Fisheries would like our local government to know they have the power to adopt their own Rules and Regulations for use of permanent blinds, etc. at the lake.  Those Rules would ultimately go through Wildlife and Fisheries to be approved and that brought some comments from Police Juror, Lamar Johnson.  He questioned everyone whether they knew of any program run by the state that has ever been a success.  More information was requested by Juror, Bryan Vidrine and will be provided to the Jury by Mr. Tuma in the near future.

 

Renee Brown and Daniel Fruge spoke to the Jury regarding the Smoked Meat Festival and the possibility that the festival may have to be moved this year IF the improvements to the City Park will interfere with the date.  She stated that they are going to get clarification from Mayor Jennifer Vidrine as to their tentative schedule for the Festival (June 24th and 25th) will conflict with the improvements to the park.  They asked the Jury for permission to possibly hold the festival at the Chauncey Pitre Arena.  She also asked if a few improvements could be made and that their organization would meet half of those costs.  The Jury voted to allow them to use the Arena should they need to.

 

We will have an update on the 2% Sales Tax Collections and Projects in a separate report.

 

The 2% Sales Tax Collections for January were $211,471.05.

Evangeline Parish School Board March 2, 2016

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight (Wednesday) in the School Board Media Center.  It was a light agenda, but the Board was briefed on the sale of 8.5 million dollars of The Evangeline Parish District No. 7 General Obligation Bonds.  Advertisement for bids were posted and four entities placed bids on the bonds:  BOSC (Bank of Oklahoma) at a rate of 2.569; First Tennessee at a rate of 2.6706; Robert Baird – 2.728; and Raymond James at a rate of 2.759.  The Board was informed the lowest bidder was Bank of Oklahoma.  The sale was approved in the November 2015 election.

 

In other news, the Board approved permission for Ted Soileau of the School Board to advertise for multi-purpose welders, Lincoln Invertec V350 PRO in order to upgrade the NCCER Welding Program at Evangeline Center using Carl Perkins and Career Development Funds.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Discusses Rotary Foundation

VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB

MARCH 1, 2016

 

   The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Rotarian Leonard G. Fontenot discuss the Rotary Foundation and the purpose of the Rotary Club.

    Rotary began in Chicago when businessman Paul Harris and some of his fellow business people began meeting on a regular basis. The aim and purpose of the new organization was to provide service. The world- wide organization has grown to 1.2 million people world wide.

    The goals and ideals of Rotary was to encourage service to others while keeping high ethical standards.

     Rotary Foundation is the giving arm of Rotary International and has raised over a billion dollars in projects all over the world. One of the primary goals has been the total eradication of polio and they are very close.

    Rotarians who donate $1000 or more to Rotary Foundation are recognized as Paul Harris Fellows. The Ville Platte Club is continuing to match two first time donors each year who donates $500. The club will match the donation with $500 so they can become a Paul Harris Fellow. The club currently 38 Paul Harris Fellows who have contributed $58,000 to the Foundation.

   Also speaking was Toni Aguillard, candidate for the State Republican State Central Committee who spoke about the Democratic and Republican caucuses to choose their delegates and candidates.

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