Local News Archives for 2018-02

Ville Platte Police arrest burglary suspect

Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports arrest for simple burglary

 An arrest has been made in a burglary reported in November of 2017. According to the report a hot water heater was stolen from a house on Park Ave in Ville Platte.  After gathering information and evidence, Detectives issued a warrant for Casey Lane Tate 29 of 115 South Soileau Street, Ville Platte.  Tate was arrested on February 26, 2018 on the charge of simple burglary.   Tate was transferred to the Evangeline Parish Jail on a $7,500.00 bond. 

 Chief Lartigue reminds citizens to report suspicious or illegal activity, call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.


Raymond Hebert of The Community Foundation of Acadiana spoke Tuesday at Rotary Club

   The Ville Platte Rotary today (Tuesday) heard from Raymond Hebert, C.E.O. of the Community Foundation of Acadiana. This non- profit agency covers the eight parish Acadiana area including Evangeline Parish. The group provides services, civic leadership and stewardship by building legacies and improving communities.

    Hebert said a number of parishes have begun their own foundation under the Community Foundation umbrella. He announced that the Evangeline Parish Foundation began last year to assist and benefit Evangeline Parish citizens and groups. Anita Fontenot is a leader in the local foundation. An advisory board will soon be appointed to determine where the funds will be spent in the parish. Fontenot said the local group’s focus will be to support non profit organizations, churches, schools and public entities through the generosity of residents and businesses who want to make their community a better place to live, work and play.

   Club President announced the new slate of officers that will take office later this year:  Richard LeJeune-President,  President Elect-Nicole Wenger, Vice President-Maggie Ortego, Treasurer-Vic Slaven, Secretary- Susan Saunders, Sgt At Arms-Dr. Jerry Veillon and Wayne Vidrine-Immediate Past President.

  The club will hold a spring social on April 10.

Ville Platte Police Searching for Bed and Breakfast Theft


      Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department is seeking assistance in identifying burglary suspects.

      On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of a burglary on South Soileau Street.  Upon arrival Officers learned that the suspects cleared out the entire contents of the Cottage Bed & Breakfast.  Officers notified Detective Clark who determined that the suspects gained entry and started removing items after 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday and into the early morning hours of Wednesday

    The following items are listed as stolen.  An antique bed, couch, coffee table, antique end table, antique rug, tufted antique chairs, antique crystal lamps, 46” flat screen tv, Centurylink modem, AC Unit, mattress, box spring with vintage bedding, handmade table cloth, microwave, espresso machine, cooktop, utensils, bathroom towels, linens, rug, and toiletries. The suspects also caused property damage to the interior of the residence while removing items. 

    Chief Neal Lartigue is asking for information regarding the whereabouts of the stolen items and if you can identify the truck in the picture that we have posted on our Facebook page , call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.

Eric Soileau of Reddell Sworn in New La. Police Jury Association President


     KVPI News has learned that Eric Soileau of Reddell was sworn as the new President of the Louisiana Police Jury Association Thursday night during a meeting of the group at the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria.

    Soileau has been serving as a member of the Executive Board of the association for the past five years. He has been a member of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury representing District Six for the past 13 years.

    Soileau said his plans to work closely with the executive board and director to represent parish governments before the state legislature. Soileau wants to make sure parish governments continue to get their funding from the state and to prevent unfunded mandates from state and federal agencies.

   Soileau is the third Evangeline Parish Police Juror to serve as President of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana: Larry Buller and Bob Manuel both served in that position.

  He is a resident of Reddell and is employed at T’s Boy’s Meat Market. He is active in many local and civic organization including the Mamou Cajun Music Association. He is married to the former Cathy Deshotel for 39 and they have two children and four grandchildren

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce met today at Cottage Couture

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Meeting

February 21, 2018


     The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) received a report on the infrastructure meeting held earlier this week by One Acadiana. It was determined that the top two priorities for infrastructure projects in Evangeline Parish would be: the four laning of US 167 from Ville Platte to Opelousas. A second priority would be drainage improvements after flooding events the past two years. It was announced that the police jury has recently been awarded special grant funds to build an 81 acre retention pond to hold water after flooding rains. This project will not only help Evangeline parish but also Acadia and St. Landry Parishes in alleviate flooding.

     Chamber members were notified some 4 or 5 applicants have applied so far for the executive director position. The application period continues through Friday. Interviews will begin next week and a new director will be selected by the chamber board.

   Pine Prairie Energy has made a donation to the Industrial Development Board in the amount of $10,000.

    Outgoing Chamber President Dr. Tojo Ward was given a plaque of appreciation by new Club President Luke Deville.

     The turnout was good at the organization’s new meeting headquarters: Cottage Couture.

LSU Eunice Chancellor speaks at Ville Platte Rotary Club



         The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from LSU-Eunice Chancellor Kimberly Russell give an update report on what is going on at the college.

   Russell and members of her staff were presented a $5100 check by Dr. Willie Buller to the LSU-E Scholarship Fund. Club members have been contributing to this scholarship fund since 1984. Over 100 students have been awarded scholarships as a result of this special fund through the years. The fund will award three new recipients this year and is one of the top five endowments the college receives.

   Russell spoke about new programs that have begun at the college: the LSU-E Academy where High School Jr’s and seniors can get a jump start on their college education. These high school students could actually end up graduating from high school with an associate degree. There are currently 65 students enrolled in the program, of which 20 are from Evangeline Parish.

  This fall, LSU Eunice will begin new courses for diagnostic medical stenography and surgical technology funded through state grants and local and area hospitals.

  LSU-E will launch a Pharmacy Technology program where students completing the program an Associate Degree.

   Also, the college is looking at expanding the school nursing program by partnering with Lafayette General Medical Center.

   The college is adding three new sports: Men’s basketball and Men’s and Women’s Soccer.

   Russell reported that enrollment is up 22 percent since 2015. The school has a 104.3 million dollar impact upon the area’s economy and employs 182 people.


Evangeline Parish Police Jury Receives Grant

Evangeline Parish Police Jury Awarded Grant


        Evangeline Parish Police Jury President Ryan Williams announced that Evangeline Parish received a grant of $1.9 million Wednesday for flood control at a meeting of the Acadiana Planning Commission. A total of 20 projects were submitted from 7 Acadiana Parishes totaling $94.5 million. Evangeline Parish was one of nine projects that were approved by the Acadiana Planning Commission. This award stems from the Louisiana Resilient Recovery Initiative Governor John Bel Edwards announced in August of 2017. A total of $25 million for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds for regional drainage projects in Acadiana was awarded.

       Evangeline Parish’s $1.9 million project as approved would create a water retention area located North West of Ville Platte. The purpose of the project is to create an area which will retain water flowing south from the most northern portion of Bayou Joe Marcel. The purpose of this retainage is to reduce the amount of water flowing south down Bayou Joe Marcel during large rain events. The goal of the project is to allow the water level in Bayou Joe Marcel to be maintained at the optimal level during a 100 year storm, thus preventing flooding in the areas drained by the canals. There would then be a controlled release of water after the flooding event. The reduction in downstream water during large rain events will benefit all areas south of the structure. The project timeline is setup to be completed within 36 months.

Ville Platte City Council Discusses Audit

On Monday, February 12th, the Ville Platte City Council was presented their audit (ending June 30,2017) for the first time by Vic Slaven CPA, who helped clear up some confusion surrounding the audit.


Slaven stated that while the numbers are correct on the audit, they are misleading because the audit does not take into account the transferring of funds. Slaven had this to say about the audit:


"The City does not have a four-million-dollar deficit. It does not. The city has a $160,000 spendable, unassigned, general fund balance going into the next fiscal year. Which means, if you don't monitor your revenue and expenses on a close basis to where you break out even to what you budgeted for, and you start over spending that budget again... You only have 160,000 dollars to play with. And then, once that's gone, you're going to be operating in a deficit spending budget situation, which is against state statutes. And if you don't fix that then they will send an administrator over here to make the decisions for you to make sure you comply with state statutes."


Slaven also noted that there were fewer reports in this year’s audit than last years.


According to Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, the police department has over spent their budget due to their insurance tripling in price from civil liabilities. They overspent their budget by $220,000.


In other business, the City Council:


  • Presented a plaque to city retiree, Carroll "Sexy" Fontenot.
  • In honor of Black History Month, Mayor Vidrine presented a plaque to the family of John Alfred, Sr., a Ville Platte man, who in the 1800's who was murdered for wanting to be involved with local government.



Ville Platte Man charged in Cattle Theft

Arrest Made in St. Landry Parish Cattle Thefts


Baton Rouge, La. (February 9, 2018– A Ville Platte man is under arrest in connection with the theft of six cattle valued at $7,500 according to Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.


Thirty-five year old Dovinski Doucet was arrested February 6, 2018 in St. Landry Parish by Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Livestock Brand Commission inspectors.


On December 5, 2017, the LDAF received a report of the stolen cattle from a farm in the Lawtell Community of St. Landry Parish.  Following an investigation, brand inspectors determined Doucet sold the stolen cattle at a local livestock market.


“We advise livestock owners to use registered brands or official ear tags on their livestock which greatly aids in recovery of stolen livestock as well as tracing livestock diseases,” said Strain.


Doucet was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail. If convicted, he could face a penalty, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.


The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected.


All enforcement personnel are commissioned by Louisiana State Police and have authority in the performance of their duties.

Ville Platte Police urge businesses to wathc out for counterfeit money

Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue is advising businesses to be aware of counterfeit money


On February 7, 2018, Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of counterfeit money at a business located on Tate Cove Road.  Upon arrival Officers learned that a customer attempted to make a purchase with a ten dollar bill that was counterfeit.  The customer had received the ten dollar bill from someone and had no knowledge that the bill was not real.

Chief Lartigue reminds business owners to be vigilant in checking money at their place of business.  Some people assume that only large bills are the ones being counterfeited when that is not always the case.

Chief Lartigue reminds business owners to call the Police Department if you have a suspicion that someone is trying to use a counterfeit bill at your place of business. 

To report suspicious or illegal activity of any kind, please contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.


The Evangeline Parish School Board heard from Elementary Supervisor, Linda Lafleur, at the boards meeting Wednesday as she recognized the 2018 students of the year. The outstanding student award for the work-based learning program is Carlondus Ardoin from Mamou High School. The outstanding student award for High School JAG is Tereek Seriale. District winners include 5th grade, Prisha Makey from Ville Platte High School, 8th grade, Ethan Bergeron from Basile High School, and 12th grade, Cort Fuller from Pine Prairie High School.


The board then heard from Title I Director Mary Ann Fontenot, and Title I Supervisor Penny McDaniel who recognized two Evangeline Parish Elementary Schools for receiving excellent on their early child performance scores. Vidrine Elementary scored highest in the state with a score of 6.69/7. W.W. Stewart received an excellent score of 6.19/7. The parish received an overall score of 5.26/7. Only one-third of schools in the state received excellent scores. Staff members from both schools were recognized.


Lance Enkey then approached the podium to deliver his transportation update. Enkey reports that in an effort to battle the nationwide opioid epidemic, changes have been made to the State Law D.O.T testing process. Four semi-opiates were added to the drug screen.

The board then heard from Maintenance & Operations Facilitator, Jason Hazelton, who provided a PowerPoint presentation showcasing some of the work Hazelton and his crew of 6 have completed at Evangeline Parish Schools. Since the 1st of 2017 till now 2,858 work orders were processed and completed.


Amy Lafleur approached the podium next to discuss the Evangeline Parish sales tax comparison. As of January, the sales tax collection is down by $91,002.71 compared to last January.


Next, the board approved an instructional minutes recovery plan, proposed by Superintendent Darwan Lazard for school days missed. The first proposal applies to Basile schools only. The second proposal applies to Mamou High School, Mamou Elementary, Vidrine Elementary, Evangeline Central, Pine Prairie High School, Bayou Chicot Elementary, Ville Platte High School, Ville Platte Elementary, James Stephens Montessori, and Chataigner Elementary. The proposal for Basile schools includes February 14th (Ash Wednesday) and 19th (President’s Day) as instructional days rather than holidays, and 5 minutes of instruction will be added to each day beginning February 8th. The second proposal, for the ten schools, includes February 19th as an instructional day, rather than a holiday. Also, 5-11 minutes of instruction added to each day (depending on amount needed for each school) beginning February 8th. In the event that another instructional day is needed, both proposals include Memorial Day, May 28th, as a possible instructional day.  


Lazard then asked the board to adopt a resolution calling on the Governor and State of Louisiana legislative leaders to create a task force on teacher shortages. The motion was approved.


Lastly the meeting went into executive session to discuss workers compensation case 2018-001 and Superintendent evaluation.


Other items approved by board:

-          Permission to conduct structural assessment of James Stephens Montessori gymnasium                   building at a cost of $5,400.

-          John Deranger, technology coordinator, 2-year contract renewed effective 7/1/2018

-          Connie Fontenot, accountant, 2-year contract renewed 7/1/2018.

-          Ted Soileau, career/technical/transportation/textbook supervisor, 2-year contract renewed                 effective 7/1/2018.

-          Peggy Edwards, principal presently assigned to Chataigner Elementary School, 2-year                     contract renewed effective 7/1/2018. 

Reward Offered for Information in Ville Platte Murder Case


    Authorities are announcing that a $1000 reward is being offered for any information leading to the indictment and conviction of the persons responsible for the murder of Kathy Weston.  Kathy Weston was shot and killed on April 23, 2017 while walking near the intersection of North Chataignier and East Jackson on her way to a grocery store in Ville Platte. Anyone with information, please call the Evangeline Parish District Attorney Investigator at 337-363-3438 or the Ville Platte Police Department at 337-363-1313.

Student of the Year Winners address Ville Platte Rotary Club


               The Family Life Center hall was packed today (Tuesday) at the weekly Ville Platte Rotary Club meeting. Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard was in charge of the program. He invited the three district level “Student of the Year” award winners along with their parents to attend the noon luncheon.

    The winners who spoke to club members:  Prisha Makey, Fifth Grade student from Ville Platte High; Ethan Bergeron, 8th Grade student from Basile; and Cort Fuller, 12th Grade student from Pine Prairie. These three students will represent the Evangeline Parish School in regional competition.

    Supervisor Linda Lafleur reported that that the students must have a 3.2 grade point average or higher. They go through extensive interviews and write an essay. The school level and district level winners were honored at a special gala event at the Civic Center sponsored by the school board.

    In other business, Club President Wayne Vidrine said the police jury approved a motion endorsing the rotary club’s support for the state to construct a dorm style building at the group camp location at Chicot State Park.

   Vidrine read a letter of thanks from the Beaumont Rotary club for the local club’s donation to assist in the Hurricane Harvey recovery.

Evangeline Police Jury Planning Major Drainage Project for Possible Funding

Evangeline Parish Police Jury Meeting

February 6, 2018


   Evangeline Parish Police Jurors were notified Monday that a local project to prevent flooding events is in the running to be funded through a regional hazard mitigation drainage program. Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron informed jurors that the local project calls for an 81 acre retention pond to be located in the northern part of Ward One at a cost of $1.9 million dollars.  It will address drainage problems in the Mermentau watershed. The project is ranked in the top three to be funded out of a $25 million fund. The final deciding vote on the project will come Feb. 14.

    The Crooked Creek Recreation Area Park is drawing a lot of campers to the  parish owned park. The Park manager informed the police jury that the month of January drew $7,000 in receipts. The Tourism Commission and the Pine Prairie Prison company, GEO, has donated a total of $4,000 toward the purchase of playground equipment for the park. More special events such as cook-offs and zydeco dances are planned.

   In other business, the police jury:

--approve the low bid of F. Phillips General Contractor for the construction of the new Chataignier Library Branch Building;

-reappointed members of the parish tourism commission for another term: Hattie Johnson, Judy Guillory, Brenda Saucier, Suzy Lemoine, Daryl LeJeune, Belle Deshotels and Rhonda Butler;

--adopted a resolution to the Lt. Governor requesting the construction of new group cabins at Chicot State Park;

--reappointed Phil Lemoine as the jury’s insurance consultant;


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