Local News Archives for 2016-09

August Sales Tax Collections Show Decrease in Evangeline Parish

Evangeline Parish Sales Tax Report

September 30, 2016


    The Evangeline Parish Sales and Use Tax Commission met this week for this week for their monthly meeting.

     Commission Director Mike Veillon reported that sales tax collections for the month of August dropped by 8.33 percent as compared to August of 2015. Last month, the collections totaled $1.3 million as compared to $1.4 million in August of 2015, a decrease of $120,390.

     For the individual governmental bodies, only Ville Platte and Turkey Creek showed positive increases in sales tax collections. Ville Platte showed a slight 2.22 percent increase of about $4800. Turkey Creek showed a 44 percent increase of $3800.

    The Town of Basile showed the biggest decrease in sales tax collections for August: a 51 percent drop in collections over August of last year, a $10,646 decrease. Next was Chataignier showed a 24 percent decrease or $428 drop. The Town of Mamou was next showing a 19 percent drop or $10,985 decrease. Pine Prairie, a drop of $3153 or 17 percent decrease; Evangeline Parish School Board, a decrease of $55,000 or 9.45 percent drop; Evangeline Parish Solid Waste Commission, a $27,714 decrease in sales taxes; and the Evangeline Parish Police Jury, a drop of $20,749 or a 8 percent decrease.

Former Chief Civil Deputy of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Enters Into a Plea Agreement and Will Begin Jail Sentence on October 5, 2016

The Honorable Judge Chuck West, Division B in Evangeline Parish accepted a plea agreement today in the case The State of Louisiana vs. Rebecca Devillier.  The former Chief Civil Deputy of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office pleaded guilty in open court to one count of Theft over $1,500.00 and one count of Malfeasance in Office.  From the terms of the plea agreement, Devillier has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor with 7 years suspended; 5 years of active and supervised probation after her release and she has been ordered to pay restitution to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office in the amount of $114,981.00.  She has also been ordered to pay $63,290.00 to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.  Devillier will also be responsible for multiple court costs and fines in association with the charges.


As previously reported, Devillier was charged with performing her duties as the Chief Civil Deputy in an unlawful manner with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office by diverting funds and issuing checks to herself, unauthorized use of credit cards, etc. over a span of approximately 3 years.

Devillier’s attorney, Remy Jardell, requested a 7-day reprieve after what time Devillier will begin her 8-year sentence.  Judge West granted the request and ordered Devillier to report to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office at 8:00 a.m. on October 5, 2016.


Devillier addressed the Court today and apologized for her behavior in last week’s hearing and said “I want the public to know that I am sorry for all that I did.”  Assistant District Attorney, Kelly Tate, who worked out the plea agreement with Devillier’s attorney asked the Judge to stress how important it is for Devillier to present herself on the 5th to start her sentence.

Louisiana Lt. Governor Visits KVPI Studios

Louisiana Lt. Govermor Billy Nungesser visited Ville Platte today to speak at the Rotary Club and stopped in at KVPI to record an interview . You can hear that interview Wednesday at 12:30pm on KVPI AM 1050 and FM 92.5.

Rotary Club Hears Nicole Wenger of DryMax and Lt. Governor Nungesser

Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting

September 27, 2016


     The Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard two guest speakers: Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and Rotarian Nicole Wenger.

     The Lt. Governor, who in charge of the state parks along with recreation and tourism, visited Chicot State Park and its employees. Due to the state’s limited resources, his office is looking at finding new ways to raise revenues for the state parks without new taxes. For example, at Fontainebleau State Park near New Orleans, the state is working at bringing a hotel and conference center. His office is looking at selling Louisiana products at Louisiana Welcome Centers. “We want to work with local businesses and look at creative ways to bring in additional revenues,” he said.

    Speaking about the scale of the flooding in August , the Lt. Governor  said “it was like opening up the Mississippi River for 18 days on our state” or in other words  7 trillion gallons of water fell. He said he is proud of the citizens who  have worked together without much assistance from government resources to  overcome their losses. “It is a pleasure and honor to be a citizen and work with the great people of Louisiana”, said Nungesser.

     Nungesser , after his appearance at the Rotary Club, came to KVPI studios and recorded an interview to air Wednesday at 12:30.

      The scheduled guest speaker was Rotarian Nicole Wenger. She is the co- owner of DryMax Water and Fire Restoration. She reported that even her business  had water in it during last month’s flooding rains. In fact the Ville Platte area received about 18 inches of water.

    She and her team have been extremely busy helping local and area residents, many of whom had no flood insurance.

    Her company is now offering emergency disaster planning for businesses to prepare for any future disasters that may happen.

    Wenger showed to club members several tools that her team uses including infra-red cameras and meters to help detect moisture content in homes and businesses.

      Rotarian Wayne Vidrine conducted the meeting in the absence of Club President Peter Strawitz.


United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Morgan City woman was sentenced Monday to 25 months in prison for her role in a scheme to use stolen identities to file false tax returns and pocket refunds. Laphrida T. Watts, 40, from Morgan City, La., currently residing in Palmdale, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $45,252.02 restitution.


According to the January 13, 2016 guilty plea, from February 2013 to August of 2013, Watts and co-defendant Louis W. Carbins Jr., 36, of Patterson, La., knew and allowed individuals from overseas to use stolen identities to file tax returns. The overseas individuals then directed the IRS to deposit the refunds into Carbins’ bank accounts. Watts and Carbins would then wire some of the money overseas and keep the rest. The IRS issued more than $815,000 in refunds to Carbins’ accounts. Watts and Carbins spent $45,681.22 of the funds. Carbins was sentenced on August 29, 2016 to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $45,252.02 restitution. He was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, seven counts of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft after a three-day trial that ended May 25, 2016.


The IRS conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly P. Uebinger and Robert F. Moore are prosecuting the case.


United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Franklin woman was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in prison for stealing more than $61,500 from the company where she worked. Michelle Leann Berry-Ortemond, 41, of Franklin, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi on one count of wire fraud. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $55,346.66 restitution.


According to the May 25, 2016 guilty plea, Berry-Ortemond stole $61,696.41 from a Lafayette construction company from February 2010 to April 2011 while employed there. She forged and cashed forged checks, initiated wire transfers and accessed a line of credit in the corporation’s name without consent. The U.S. Secret Service conducted the investigation.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Abendroth is prosecuting the case.


United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Breaux Bridge woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $64,000 from a New Iberia company. Joan C. Edgar, 66, of Breaux Bridge, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna to one count of wire fraud.


The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell. According to the guilty plea, Edgar worked as an office manager for a New Iberia company. The company’s sole stockholder began negotiating with Edgar for her to buy the company in 2011, and while still working for the company, she stole $64,860. She concealed her actions by altering company records. Edgar faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set. The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly P. Uebinger is prosecuting the case.

Former Employee of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office to Stand Trial October 3rd for Theft and Malfeasance in Office

The Evangeline Parish Courthouse was very busy today as Judge Chuck West presided over a courtroom full of Assistant District Attorneys, Defense Council, and charged Defendants.  Several Defendants chose not to enter into pleas with the State and will now continue to trial on October 3rd, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.  In the case of The State of Louisiana vs. Rebecca Devillier, Docket No. 101922, it was ordered by Judge West that Devillier will stand trial on October 3rd as well.  Devillier, a former employee of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office, is charged with Count 1: IN THE PARISH OF EVANGELINE, the Defendant, Rebecca Lynn Devillier, on or between August 1, 2011 and September 30, 2014, committed the offense of Theft by misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practice or representations of U.S. Currency, having a value of $1,500.00 or more; and Count 2: : IN THE PARISH OF EVANGELINE, the Defendant, Rebecca Lynn Devillier, on or between August 1, 2011 and September 30, 2014, committed the offense of Malfeasance in Office by intentionally refusing or failing to perform any duty lawfully required of her, as such officer or employee. 


Devillier’s attorney, Remy Jardell, out of Lafayette, was not present in court today and through  stand-in defense council, Jacob Fusilier, she requested a continuance of the trial due to an illness in Jardell’s family.  Judge Chuck West denied the Motion and set the case for trial stating “This has gone on long enough.  This started in 2013 and we are going to get done with it.”  

The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce holds its September meeting

The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce held its September meeting (today) Tuesday at Main Street Pizza and Pub in Ville Platte.  Guest speakers included Jermaine Ford, SLCC Director of Corporate College and Allison Vanneck with the Miles Perret Cancer Center.


Mr. Ford spoke regarding a new Automotive Training Program being put together to be offered soon at the C.B. Coreil Campus in Ville Platte.  The program will provide two levels of training, including Level 1: Maintenance and Light Repair, which will last 4 months and Level 2: Advanced Automotive, which will last 6 months.  Ford said they will need 10 students to begin the training program and they hope to start in October.  He said they currently have two individuals that have shown interest in the training.  The Program is open to men and women who are interested in the automotive industry.  They have partnered with Acadian Ambulance in their efforts and Ford said they already have dealerships such as John Young Automotive interested in recruiting from the Program.  They hope to have companies with fleet vehicles and others who will allow their students to perform work on the vehicles for training purposes.  If you would like more information on enrolling in the Program or to see how your business can help, please call (337) 521-9000.


Allison Vanneck, with the Miles Perret Cancer Center, spoke about the services that are provided to Cancer patients and their families through the Center.  Vanneck said the Center is completely funded through donations and they do not have any federal funding.   That is why their fundraising efforts are so very important.  They offer medical supplies, treatment care, wigs, hats, bras and prosthesis, nutritional supplements, and many other services for Cancer patients.  They even have a mobile unit that travels to different hospitals such as Savoy Cancer Center in Mamou, to provide their services to those who cannot travel to their Center in Lafayette.  They service a 10- parish area and have provided services to over 13,000 families since their formation in 2002.  Their biggest fundraiser is the “Games of Acadiana” which was held in Lafayette on August 20th.  Their next big event is a 5k Camelia Crossing Glo-run called “I’m In”.  It will take place on November 23rd.  Log onto milesperret.org to see how you can donate or volunteer.


New members of the Chamber that were voted in include Cajun Partie, LLC and CASA of St. Landry.


The next Chamber meeting will be held on October 19th; The Annual Chamber Christmas Social is set for December 8th and The Annual Christmas Parade is scheduled for December 11th.

Louisiana Ag Official Speaks at Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting


        The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Rene Simon with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. Simon was the special guest of Rotarian Wayne Vidrine.

        Simon said agriculture is an important part of the economy in Evangeline Parish. In fact, agriculture has a $140 million dollar impact on our local economy. It also plays a big part in our local culture.

       He announced that the LSU Ag Center economist Dr. Kurt Guidry reported that the August floods caused a $277 million impact in crop and livestock losses. The rice crop took the biggest hit .

       However, Evangeline Parish and Louisiana residents are “resilient and they will come back.” He reminded club members that in 2008, the state took a one billion dollar economic loss following Hurricane Gustave.

      Louisiana Ag Commissioner Dr. Strain and other agriculture officials along with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will be on a trade mission to Cuba in the next few weeks. The mission is to promote Louisiana rice consumption. He reported that the average Cuban consumes 180 pounds of rice a year, more than the Chinese. Cuba is a very poor country with the average citizen makes $20 a month while a surgeon makes $60 a month.

    In other rotary club news, it was announced by Club President Peter Strawitz:

--the club made a $1000 donation to the Coreil Campus at South Louisiana Community College for equipment to the Welding department;

--approved a $1000 donation to the Casa to purchase office furniture for the new Casa (Court Appointed Special Advocate) office in Ville Platte;

--reminded club members that a membership and fellowship meeting is set for October 18 at Main Street Pizza at 6;00pm to invite potential new members to attend.

Ville Platte Man Killed in Traffic Mishap

Ville Platte Man Killed in Weekend Crash

Evangeline Parish – On September 18, 2016, shortly after 2:20 a.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop I began investigating a fatal crash that occurred on LA 13 near Gilbert Road in Evangeline Parish. The crash took the life of 31year old Dustin Vidrine of Ville Platte, LA.

The initial investigation revealed 31 year-old Arthur Velasquez of Mamou was operating a 2006 Ford F-150 southbound on LA 13.  For unknown reasons, Velasquez crossed the centerline, and struck a northbound 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, operated by 31 year-old Dustin Vidrine of Ville Platte.

Velasquez was not wearing a seat belt and sustained moderate injuries.  He was transported to Opelousas General and is being treated for his injuries.  Dustin Vidrine was properly restrained, but sustained fatal injuries.   Vidrine was pronounced dead at the scene by the Evangeline Parish Coroner’s Office.  Impairment is suspected to be a factor, but standard toxicology tests are pending on both drivers.  

This crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that impaired driving continues to be a major problem throughout Louisiana. Whether impaired through alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, the consequences of driving while impaired remain the same.  Making good choices while in motor vehicles such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, and avoiding all distractions can often mean the difference between life and death.

Troop I has investigated 37 fatality crashes resulting in 38 deaths as of this date in 2016.

Man Dies in Ville Platte House Fire

Man Dies in Ville Platte House Fire

Ville Platte, LA – Investigators of the State Fire Marshal’s Office are continuing to examine the facts surrounding the cause of a residential structure fire where a man’s body was recovered.

Just before 1:00 a.m. Sunday, Ville Platte firefighters responded to a report of a fire at 724 Calcasieu Street where, upon their arrival, they found smoke and flames venting from a wood-framed home. While conducting suppression efforts, the lifeless body of James Malveaux, 62, was located within the residence, which was heavily damaged by fire.

State Fire Marshal investigators were then summoned to the scene to assist in determining the cause of this deadly fire.

After a thorough examination by investigators, the victim’s body was released to the Evangeline Parish Coroner for autopsy where an official cause of death will be determined.

After combing through the structure, investigators established that the fire originated within the southwest portion of the home where a number of possible heat sources were located.

The official cause of the fire, however, has not been determined at this time and the investigation continues.

There were no smoke alarms found in the residence.


Facing Budget Woes and Cutbacks, Evangeline Parish Sheriff Issues Statement Explaining the Workings of His Office to Residents

Ladies and gentlemen of Evangeline Parish, as I stated in my two previous articles I promised you more information concerning how I run my department, both civil and criminal divisions. The Evangeline Parish Sheriff Office (EPSO) is divided into two divisions a civil division and a criminal division.


Our civil division is run by a Chief Civil Clerk. It was established many years ago that the Sheriff’s chief job was to be first the Tax Collector for his parish and secondly he was to be the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for this parish. The Sheriff is also referred to as the Keeper of the Jail. Most people believe that he is a law enforcement officer first and a tax collector second, however you may look at it, both jobs get done. These jobs get done because I took an oath when you elected me as your sheriff to be there in the good and the bad days and these are the few bad days, but we are persevering. I have faith that we will get this problem fixed to you the public’s satisfaction.


The civil division is where the taxes get collected, and then redistributed to the proper public entities. These public offices are funded by taxes and used for operating expenses. The civil division is also where you go for conducting business that concerns tax sales, seizures, banking business, attorneys, law suits, etc. The civil division also makes money by charging these different transactions performed for the public. The civil division is the "heart beat" for the parish’s business. It is funded by a 5 mil. tax called the "Ad Valorem Tax". This millage was established by the rewriting of the Louisiana Constitution in the mid-seventies.

As Keeper of the Jail, the Sheriff receives from the Evangeline Parish Police Jury $3.50 for each prisoner for operating expenses of the jail. You the public are also charged a 10% sales tax on all purchases you make in the parish, however the Sheriff’s Department does not receive one penny of this tax collected.


The administrator’s office and the entire civil division is located in the front portion of the courthouse. The administrator who conducts various duties such as payroll, billing, record keeping, etc. is set up in the front office also.

The criminal division which includes communications, the jail, criminal investigations, and a patrol division along with my personal office are all located in the rear of the courthouse. Evangeline Parish is home to 34,000 people who at one time or another seek me out with an assortment of problems that they need help with. I do try my best to solve these problems, and if I can’t I most certainly try to point them into the correct direction to someone who can help them.


The criminal division has no sales tax or millage to help support the operations of this division. This criminal division is as important maybe even more so than the civil division, but yet the criminal division gets little to no money to operate it. This division is the part of my job that I consider the most important because it deals with domestic disputes that have a variety of causes, thefts, bank robbery’s, rapes, murders, and a variety of other crimes. All of these crimes have to be investigated and this cost money. Money that must be found or generated. If the investigation of a crime takes 2 days or 2 weeks the investigators must be paid for their time. They work their regular shifts, and then depending on the investigation like for murders, they may work long hours until they get a break and solve the case which is never a guarantee. All of these investigations cost my department in excess of $150,000. My investigators always give me 100% effort. I’ve always said you have to love the job of law enforcement to settle for the little pay you get. I can be fierce when it comes to locating funding for my patrol officers and my investigators. I know the sacrifices they and their families make for the job of law enforcement.


We have a patrol division that works 24/7 so that when you call for assistance and officer responds.... However, due to the lack of funding it’s hard to keep enough patrolman on the road. This really, really makes me mad because I wish I could have more officers on patrol every shift, but I don’t have enough money. I would like to have every call responded to as quickly as possible and this is a large parish to cover, but the funding is not there. I fight for every dollar because when you call us I know you really need us. You voted for me to be your Sheriff three times. You voted for a law enforcement officer. This tells me that you trust me to protect you. But you the public don’t know that the criminal division does not automatically every year get the necessary funds needed to properly protect you. This fact makes for many sleepless nights on my part. This is the concern that I live with every day.


It is not only a problem that I face, other Sheriffs have this same fight also. Some parishes are richer than other parishes for varying reasons, for example more funding is available and special taxes are passed etc. This lack of adequate funding puts the Sheriff in the unique position of trying to raise funds just to pay basic expenses and any other unforeseen investigations that pop up randomly from month to month and the promise to the people to keep them safe.


As your Sheriff of Evangeline Parish, I’ve always promised to protect you and your family and all of the citizens of this parish and its people. I want you to be proud of where you live! I want you to feel safe where you live! I hope that I have given you the citizens an "eye opener of information" as to the funding of the criminal division of Evangeline Parish your home. I’m not exaggerating the situation I am trying to inform you of the dire situation in which we find ourselves the citizens of Evangeline Parish. The protection of all citizens of this parish is my greatest concern on a daily basis. Example, the housing of LA State prisoners was one way of getting the criminal division monies for funding of this department. I entered into an agreement to take in an overflow of prisoners from the state at a rate of $24.39 per day per prisoner. This extra money is used to help pay the operating expenses of the jail, and if able it is used to help fund the criminal division. This venture helped us and the state as well. A problem soon began to show itself. As time passed it was clear that the jail was in need of lots of repair to satisfy the state guidelines for housing prisoners. No matter how loud my voice was, no one was listening. The jail is still not able to pass a state inspection.


It was not a surprise to me, when the state removed its prisoners from our parish jail. The loss of the state prisoners cost the department in excess of $300,000.00 a year in revenue, monies urgently needed to help fund the criminal division. The building of the two centers one in Basile and one in Pine Prairie has helped with monies the last 5 or 6 years. I have been telling the police jury and frankly anyone I could talk to that the EPSO was being grossly underfunded. It became apparent that we were paying out more monies than we were taking in for the criminal division. It was also clear that nobody was listening or cared about the fact that the budget suffered several major losses in the funding for our criminal division. The public never really knew or thought of the possibility that this large loss of funding meant we as a parish had to absorb the monetary loss and try and try again to continue to operate afterwards as if we had enough money. It became real clear to me once again no one was listening to our pleas for help.


The first major loss of funding for the criminal division was the collapse of the Pine Prairie Police Department. I was required as the Sheriff, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for the parish to just make it happen. I had to find monies for the patrol of the city by my officers, investigations of crimes by my officers, etc. This included the recent bank robbery in Pine Prairie. We had to investigate the escape of a parish prisoner in the Pine Prairie Jail who escaped from jail. Also, the recent murder in Turkey Creek required from us a large amount of man hours to investigate the crime and in turn required a large amount of expenses for our parish in talking with the public I get the impression that they never understood that the criminal division was responsible for the extra expense of running an investigation. Now you know. I hope you have a better understanding of where the criminal division must get its money and how it is dispersed in this division.


All the unexpected criminal activity can really drain the budget. Just in time came the sale of the Southwest LA Corrections to the GEO Group. We had to renegotiate a new contract with the GEO Group for the prisoners. With the help of our District Attorney Trent Brignac, this the possibility of monies for the criminal division came to pass. Soon after the sale, GEO Group closed the Pine Prairie center, and we lost money with less prisoners.


Ladies and gentlemen I’ll leave you with your thoughts. I hope that I’ve given you a better understanding of how my two divisions operate. My hope is and plans are to show the public the inside of Evangeline Parish Sheriff Department.




Eddie Soileau, Sheriff

Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department






Ville Platte City Council Meeting

Ville Platte City Council Meeting

September 13, 2016


     A large group of concerned residents from Shady Acres subdivision Tuesday packed the city council meeting room asking for the city’s assistance after the recent historic floods that damaged many of their homes last month. Spokesperson Faye Lemoine said she had water in her home three times in the last five years and the problem is no drainage. She said “We are financially and emotionally drained. We deserve to have good drainage.:

    The city council voted to authorize the street department to begin immediately to clean out drainage ditches and authorize its city engineer to make an elevation study of the subdivision properties and make recommendations. The council also asked the engineer to make a drainage survey of the entire city.

    The police jury is also expected to join in assisting through a cooperative endeavor agreement to clean out the major canals near Shady Acres.

     In other business, the city council approved the purchase of five new police body cameras at a cost of nearly $900 each and a server for $4000 to download the videos from each camera. Also the city agreed to apply for a federal grant to purchase 20 additional cameras. The city of Ville Platte was among the very first cities in the state to buy body cameras for police officers a number of years ago.

    Two representatives of Keep Evangeline Beautiful addressed the council. Becky Buller asked the city to remind residents to cut their grass to the curb side especially along Main, LaSalle and Lincoln. Sharon Fontenot received approval from the city to have Ville Platte  be a collection point for a parish wide Electronic Waste Recycling Program next spring.

   In other action, the city council:

--approved increasing the minimum wage for city employees from $7.25 to $8 an hour effective at the next pay period;

--approved accepting the donation of the old Heritage Manor Nursing Building and property. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the facility will be used as a public works building to house the city’s gas, water and sewer departments as well as most of its equipment;

--recognized a local Ville Platte team that won a national championship from the AAU;

--heard from CASA(Court Appointed Special Advocates) officials asking for the public’s help to find volunteers to assist in the monitoring of  foster children. Currently there are 67 foster children in Evangeline Parish area homes;

--Fire Chief Chris Harrison was presented a special plaque of appreciation on behalf of the fire department and volunteers for helping rescue some 25 people from their homes and flooded out cars last month during the floods;

--also the city approved a liquor permit for the Louisiana Cotton Festival Association to sell alcoholic beverages during the festival and the council authorized the closure of Constitution Drive during the festival;

--approved applying for $50,000 worth of basketball courts and other recreational equipment for the north side city park;.



Rotary Club Hears from Insurance Agent Eric Gil Tuesday


SEPTEMBER 13, 2016


    The Rotary Club of Ville Platte met today (Tuesday) at noon and heard from Rotarian State Farm Insurance Agent Eric Gil discuss flood insurance.

    Gil said the most asked question he has been asked by customers “Do I need flood insurance?”  

    He said he was impressed with FEMA officials and how quickly they have been working processing claims and working with local residents. The fact that Evangeline Parish was declared a disaster area helped tremendously.

    He said flood insurance coverage can range from $25,000 to $250,000 on the structure with deductibles from $1,000 to $10,000.

    Gil said Hurricane Katrina helped make people realize that flood coverage is not included in your standard insurance policy.

    He also mentioned flood coverage on your vehicle is handled through comprehensive coverage. He reported that as of two weeks ago some 20,000 vehicles were declared as totaled by State Farm insurance due to the flood. He expects the number to double once all the claims are in.

    Eric Gil was the guest speaker of Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine.

    Rotary Club President Peter Strawitz announced that October 18 there will be a fellowship meeting at 6;00pm at Main Street Pizza where potential new members will be invited. There will be no noon meeting that day.

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Holds September Meeting

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting Monday night in the Police Jury Room at the Evangeline Parish Courthouse.  The meeting was postponed from last week due to the Labor Day holiday.  There were three appointments to various districts on the agenda.  One of those appointments was the appointment to the Te Mamou Water District.  Police Juror, Bryan Vidrine, recommended appointing Jason Fontenot to the Board, while Juror, Daniel Arvie, recommended appointing Darwin Lazard to the Board.  Things became a bit tense when Vidrine stated that according to the “requirements set by the Police Jury” for someone to be considered for an appointment by the Jury, they must first complete the necessary forms.  And, that Lazard had not done that.  Arvie and Juror, Ryan Leday Williams, both pointed out that there was no problem with getting the required form.  Arvie stated he did not know a form was required.  Vidrine stated that the Jury is who passed the requirements and that he himself had gone to Mr. Fontenot and told him to submit the form.  He said Arvie should have done the same. So, with a 3 to 3 tie vote on the matter, President Ryan Ardoin, opted to “not vote” to break the tie.  He then declared no action would be taken.  Two more appointments were made: Troy West was appointed to the Eunice Gravity Drainage District #9 and Roderick Thibodeaux was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Evangeline Parish Water District No. 1.  Those recommendations came from those respective committees. 
Earlier, Evangeline Parish Assessor, Dirk Deville, addressed the Jury regarding millages and reassessments.  He stated that if reassessments are not done, new property owners who will pay market value will be the only ones paying the majority of taxes based on market value.  Once every four years they adjust based on deflation, inflation and new home values.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, addressed the Board and said the money that has been spent on the sewer system is almost gone.  The Budget had allowed for $6,000.00 until the end of the year and as of September, he has had to spend $5,239.00.  He said the sites has been poorly maintained and he has had to get them up to speed, otherwise he would keep getting fines from the DEQ.  The Jury took recommendations from Granger about cutbacks but then decided to go back and amend the budget for that department.
The Jury approved the hiring of Lauren Manuel as the new part-time receptionist at the Police Jury office.  She will replace the late Jan Godfrey who was with the Police Jury for 37 years.  Juror, Sidney Fontenot, recommended to the Jury that a picture of Ms. Godfrey be hung in the Police Jury Room for her service of over 35 years.
President Ryan Ardoin, reminded everyone that prayer service takes place every Tuesday night in front of the Courthouse at 6:00 p.m.  Also, the Police Jury will begin advertising for CDL drivers as there is a need in the Parish.

First Responders recognized by Ardoin's Funeral Home Today

      Ardoin’s Funeral Home of Ville Platte  held their 14th Annual Appreciation Day today (Friday) for all of the First Responders. The staff served BBQ Boston Butt dinners with the trimmings. Local Funeral Home General Manager  Lowell Sibille said to KVPI News “We do this because our first responders are not recognized for the hard work they do four our community and this is our way of saying thank you. Due to the events that have been taken place, more than ever, we need to show our appreciation for these first responders that put their lives on the line for our safety.”

    KVPI ‘s Becky Vidrine covered the event and spoke with Ville Platte Police Chief Neil Lartigue, Fire Chief Chris Harrison and Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel along with several local police officers and fire fighters.

   The appreciation event is held every year near the anniversary of 9-11.

Tournoi Qualifiying Postponed

*********Press Release*********** Due to unfavorable weather forecast and track conditions, The Louisiana Tournoi Qualification that was scheduled for this Sunday, September 11th has been re-scheduled for Sept. 18th @ 2pm. Riders will need to report to track at 1pm.

The Evangeline Parish School Board Holds Its Bi-Monthly September Meeting

The Evangeline Parish School Board met Wednesday night in the School Board Media Center.  Chief Financial Officer for the School Board, Amy Lafleur, addressed the Board about the 2015-2016 Revised General Fund Budget.  Lafleur reported that the revised budget, which had an expected deficit of $564,881.08, actually had a deficit of $1,090,073.57.  Three other budgets were discussed from the 2015-2016 year.  The budgets from the Parish Wide Maintenance Fund came in with a surplus of $206,276.86, the Basile Maintenance Fund came in with a surplus of $173,870.30 and the Basile High School Athletic Fund came in with a surplus of $8,241.41.  The Board voted to adopt the revised budgets along with the 2016-2017 Consolidated Budget. 


The Board approved the purchase of CLEP Vouchers for high schools.  These vouchers are used for students to “test out” of classes and receive college credits in return.


Superintendent of Schools, Toni Hamlin, reported that there will be an additional MFP student count taken on September 16th because of the flooding and get a better count on children who have been displaced.  She said three students to date have been displaced.  Hamlin also stated that twenty-five students in the Parish have been identified as “homeless” after meeting the criteria.  She stated how sad it is to see the “level of need and poverty with some of our families.”  Hamlin stated the Official MFP Count will be performed on October 1st.

Some Point Blue Water System Customers will be under a boil advisory beginning Thursday morning

Those residents in Evangeline Parish who reside on Attales Road, Johnson Road and Whispering Pine Lane will have their water shut off Thursday morning for approximately four hours for the re-routing of a 6-inch main line.  After water is restored, those residents will be under a boil advisory until further notice.  If residents need additional information, they can call 337-363-5885

Evangeline Parish Sheriff, Eddie Soileau, issues statement regarding budget shortfalls and layoffs

FROM: THE DESK OF THE SHERIFF Dear Citizens of Evangeline Parish:


In my previous article in the Ville Platte Gazette on September 1, 2016, I promised to  you the public that I would keep you up to date on the Investigation into the Evangeline  Parish Sheriff’s Office recent budget shortfalls and unavoidable layoffs along with the  budget cuts. This Investigation is being conducted by my office and the departments  CPA firm.


PHASE ONE: Phase one of this Investigation is complete, and I will inform you the public of all  findings from the Investigations thus far.  The CPA firm and I have discovered due to  improper bookkeeping practices, transferring of monies from one fund to another, and  cover-ups by the guilty since 2015 have led to the budget shortfalls. With the guidance,  of our CPA firm the proper steps are being taken to get the budget back on track. The  CPA is overseeing the corrections that are needed to be made to the Administrator’s  office, and also the handling of the budget. This will ensure that this kind of problem  never happens again especially on my watch, I promise this to you the public.


PHASE TWO: This phase will inform the public of all the findings from the Investigation thus far. I will  break down all the problems that led us here. I assure you the public that you will know  everything. In the near future I will have an article in the Ville Platte Gazette explaining how the  Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office works. When I am done hopefully you have a  complete picture of the workings of our office, yours and mine.


I will explain how both the Civil and Criminal Departments are funded, where the funds  come from, and how the funds are spent. It will be a complete picture of the budget  broken down in detail. I feel sure this will be an eye opener to you the public. I have been your Sheriff for almost 9 years, and a public servant for 20 years. I can  confidently tell you the public that I have nothing to hide from you. I will do my best to  see that you are happy with all the information you will need to come to a satisfied  conclusion. The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, the governing authority of our parish called a special  meeting on August 24, 2016 to discuss budget cuts and recent layoffs at the Evangeline  Parish Sheriff’s Office. The meeting was supposedly held to get information about the  budget, but the problem was there was no information to get or give at the time. It was  too soon in the discovery of the problem and investigation. That did not stop the  Evangeline Parish Police Jury from conducting a “witch hunt”, and I was the hunted.  This meeting was held to get the attention of the public away from the fact that I have  been telling the Evangeline Parish Police Jury for 5 years, as early as August 9, 2016  that my budget was being seriously underfunded. Their only response was that they  were broke so I was responsible for finding my missing funds from somewhere else. I  feel they took the “monkey off their back and with total disregard for myself and our  office and just threw me under the bus.” Nothing was accomplished at this meeting  except for a bunch of name calling and wrong information.


These were the reasons I did not attend this meeting. I was not going to say something,  or just anything to the public in the very beginning of the Investigation, as there was just  questions and no answers at the time. 


I knew you the public would want to know what was going on, and I had no accurate  explanations to give you. This is why I asked for your patience while this Investigation  was on going.


I promise to you the people of Evangeline Parish that I will provide the best service that  I can with the monies at hand, just like I always have. I live here too, and I love this  parish. I was born and raised in Evangeline Parish so I am fighting for you the public  whom ultimately I answer to. You are my Boss, and I have only to answer to you since  you have elected me your Sheriff.


Ladies & Gentlemen of Evangeline Parish I ask of you to support your 2nd amendment  right of the United States Constitution of the United States of America, as may be in the  near future the only protection you may have. If able, do what you “think” you need to do  to protect the lives of you and your family. NOT YOUR PROPERTY!


Thank you to the great Citizens of Evangeline Parish.

Respectfully yours, Eddie Soileau, Sheriff


Ville Platte Police Department Arrest Report

According to the Ville Platte Police Department, the following individuals have recently been arrested and booked into the Ville Platte City Jail:


Jimmy Dunaway of W. LaSalle – arrested for Disturbing the Peace by Disorderly Language and currently incarcerated with a $200.00 bond;


Francena Sims, age 31 of N. Latour – arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and Simple Criminal Damage and out on a $1,700.00 bond;


Johnathan Bias, age 23 of S. Dupre – arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and out on a $1,000.00 bond;


Zackery Willis, age 31 of Prosper Street – arrested for Theft of Goods and out on a $500.00 bond;


Cathy Voorhies, age 45 of S. Stagg – arrested for Improper Supervision and out on a $250.00 bond;


Dylan Reed, age 21 of 167 Barkley – arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and out on a $1,000.00 bond; and


Kizzie Cullivan, age 37 of W. Hickory – arrested for No Reflective Gear, Disturbing the Peace, Obstruction of Passage and Public Intoxication and out on a $800.00 bond.

Mobile Disaster Recovery Center Open in Ville Platte

Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Evangeline Parish Sunday



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Swamp Pop music

The Louisana Swamp Pop Museum is operated by the City of Ville  Platte is open to the public every Friday and

Saturday from 10:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. Come view the amazing artifacts, photos,records, Wall of Fame and hear the music.

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