The Ville Platte City Council approved their 2018-2019 budget, in a special meeting Thursday, following a public hearing. The budget was proposed June 12th, and was made available for public inspection at City Hall. Dana Quebedeaux, CPA, addressed the Council a second time to discuss questions concerning the budget.
Public concerns involving the 2018-2019 budget:
The salaries listed for the Council, and Mayor, shows a total salary amount (allowances/benefits included) without providing a breakdown of what the allowance money goes towards, and how much of it is being used. Quebedeaux offered to provide a salary breakdown for the Council’s next meeting.
The Council adopted the City of Ville Platte’s policies and procedures (a new requirement).
The Council adopted a resolution to move forward with applying for the FHWA Recreational Trails Program grant. This grant affords communities the opportunity to express their concerns over the recreational needs in their area. The City of Ville Platte chose to focus on sidewalks.
In a special meeting Wednesday, the Evangeline Parish Police Jury approved a financial commitment resolution of $270,000 (a 52% cash match) per Delta Authority Grant requirements, to refurbish the existing rail spur at Industrial park, extend the spur by 102 feet, and build a second rail spur, totaling 785 feet.
According to the grant application, submitted by Secretary-Treasurer Donald Bergeron, the jury is seeking to “improve the Evangeline Parish Police Jury’s rail spur capacity for economic resilience of the Parish Industrial Park and to streamline Cabot Corporations rail storage operations”.
In order to be considered for the grant, the D.R.A is requesting that Cabot agree to use the spur for job retention, and job creation. Bergeron informed the jury that Cabot has no issue with agreeing to job retention, but can’t guarantee job creation.
According to the grant application, “Cabot is the third largest employer for the town of Ville Platte. In coordination with Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Cabot is moving towards expanding their Ville Platte operation which will likely result in the creation of 5 new full-time jobs in 2022.”
The grant application is due Friday, June 29th, and without Cabot signing to commit to job retention and creation, their only option is to send the application in as is, until Ville Platte Cabot discusses the matter with corporate. Until then, the Police Jury approved a 2nd motion to commit to job retention, and the hiring of one full-time employee to manage the spur.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Rotarian Dr. Phillipe Vidrine. His topic was the growing opioid epidemic in our country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the opium poppy has been around since 34 BC. The ingredients from the poppy have been used in legal drugs and illegal drugs. Opioid deaths have tripled in the fifteen period from 1999 to 2014. In 2016, one in five deaths for those ages 24-45 during the child rearing ages were caused by drug overdose.
The worst area in the country for drug overdoses are states in the Rust Belt. Louisiana is ranked #12 in the states with the highest number of opioid related deaths.
In 2012, in Louisiana for every 100 residents in the state, 118 prescriptions were written.
Addition to pain killers and opioids lead to drug abuse and overdoses.
Medical professionals like Dr. Vidrine are now required to take continuing education to prescribe non narcotics.
In closing, Dr. Vidrine said Addition is a treatable disease.
In other news, outgoing Club President Wayne Vidrine said “It was a great year for Rotary. We got a lot of things done.” He said incoming club president Richard LeJeune plans to continue supporting moves to improve Chicot State Park and reestablish a rotary scholarship at the Coreil Campus.
WEEKEND EVENT FATAL SHOOTING IN BEAVER LEAVES ONE DEAD AND ONE INJURED
On Sunday, June 24, 2018 at approximately 0115 hours Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office received a transfer call from 911 Dispatch. Patrol Deputies were dispatched to a report of a Shooting at the address of 1201 Joe Fontenot Road.
The initial investigation by the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office revealed that a male subject attending the event identified as DeLanzo Veal had been shot in his upper body and a second victim later identified as Katrina Thomas also suffered from a gunshot wound beneath her lower lip.
A verbal altercation occurred between the victim (DeLanzo Veal) and another male subject Brandon Perkins who was also attending the event. The altercation led to the victim (DeLanzo Veal) being shot multiple times. He was rushed to Oakdale hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The shooter fled the scene.
The second victim (Katrina Thomas) was also rushed to Oakdale Hospital for her wounds. She was treated and later released.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested Brandon Perkins after being questioned. He was charged with 2nd Degree Murder and Aggravated Second Degree Battery. He is being held at the Evangeline Parish Jail without bond.
Anyone with any information or videos is urged to contact the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division by phone at 337-363-2161. All callers with information will remain anonymous.
Evangeline Parish 4-H students were welcomed home Friday, after a successful week at 4-H University in Baton Rouge. Louisiana 4-H’ers competed for best in the state in more than 40 events, and Evangeline Parish 4-H’ers placed in the following 7 events:
Consumer Decision Making: Madison Fontenot, Drew Latour, James Wilson - 2nd place statewide
Environmental Conservation Illustrated Talk: Gabrielle Fontenot- 2nd Place statewide
Fashion Review Creative Choice: Iyana Freeman, Mena Newman Blue Ribbon (Top Ten)
Family Consumer Science: Emily Deshotel, Lily Guillory- 4th place statewide
Plant Science: Andrew J. Fontenot, Monty Fontenot, Evan Miller- 4th place statewide
Teens Driving Teens: Andrew T. Fontenot, Ethan Jose Deshotel- 2nd place statewide
The Next 4-H Food Star: Olivia LaComb, Makayla Jones, Abby Duplechain- 4th place statewide
7 Evangeline Parish 4-H’ers were also elected as State Board Members:
Sam Gil- State Science, Engineering, and Technology Board
Sam Hollier- State Science, Engineering, and Technology Board
Ethan Jose Deshotel- State Science, Engineering, and Technology Board
Gabrielle Fontenot- State Executive Board
Emily Deshotel- State Executive Board
Charley Bieber- State Shooting Sports Board
Iyana Freeman- State Fashion Board
KVPI would like to congratulate the students, faculty and staff of Evangeline Parish 4-H, on a job well done.
After a unanimous vote yes, The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce approved a historic name change Wednesday, from Ville Platte, to Evangeline Chamber of Commerce.
Business owners and dignitaries gathered at Cottage Couture to celebrate the unification of the parish. Chamber Executive Director, Renee Brown, stated that she has received support from Mayors across the parish on this new endeavor saying, “everyone is excited and the feedback has been wonderful”.
The meeting was followed by a “Business after Hours” where sponsors, LA Folk Roots and JD Bank, welcomed guests and briefly discussed both businesses. Guests were also treated to LIVE Cajun music.
Businesses approved for new membership: Butler & Co. Tree Service, Tincy’s Corner LLC, Sisters on the Go, Gator’s & Papa Gator’s Cajun Foods, and Union Tank Car Co.
Cleco Incentive Program for businesses, to be held at the Chamber meeting room, Wednesday, June 27th, at noon.
Executive Director, Renee Brown, announced the new Shop Local Campaign currently underway, and plans for a September meeting with media and small businesses to plan for the Christmas holidays.
According to Ville Platte Police Chief, Neil Lartigue, the following individuals have been arrested and booked into the city jail:
Shaquille Robinson, 24, of E. Jefferson, was arrested on domestic abuse battery charges on June 14th, and is out on bond ($1,000).
Vonetta Comeaux, 48, of Laran St., was arrested on charges of disobeying a stop and first offense DWI on June 14th, and is out on bond ($1,200).
Chelsea Champagne, 31, of Cheyenne St. in Scott, was arrested on theft charges on June 15th, and is out on bond ($1,000).
Cody Brignac, 24, of Belaire Cove, was arrested on possession of schedule I controlled substance on June 17th, and is out on bond ($2,500).
Ebony Adams, 24, of MLK Dr., was arrested on theft charges on June 17th, and is out on bond ($500).
Charles Coreen, 28, of Hospital Dr. In Opelousas, was arrested on charges of resisting an officer, and possession of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids on June 19th, and is currently incarcerated.
Jamie Arvie, 18, of David St., was arrested on disturbing the peace and battery, 2nd count, on June 19th, and is out on bond ($2,750).
Shekiah Poullard, 20, of w. Beauregard, was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace and battery, 2nd count, on June 19th, and is out on bond ($2,750).
Whitney ben, 17, of east church St. In Bunkie, was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, and simple battery, 2nd count, on June 19th, and is out on bond ($5,500).
Lee Tezeno, 27, of Ramsey St. Was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace on June 19th, and is currently incarcerated ($200 bond).
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Liz Hill, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and 9-1-1 in Evangeline Parish.
Hill said the 9-1-1 staff has been in their new two million dollar facility at the Industrial Park for the past two years. The dispatchers service all six fire departments in the parish as well as police departments in Pine Prairie, Turkey Creek and Chataignier. The agency receives approximately 35-40,000 9-1-1 calls a year.
Some of the calls are unusual. For example, Hill referred to a call she received this week from a homeowner to complain that someone had stolen a washing machine with the clothes still in it..
All medical calls are transferred to Acadian Ambulance dispatchers to handle.
Hill said this hurricane season in the Gulf and Atlantic is expected to be about average with last year. However, her agency is prepared to handle all types of weather including flooding and icy winter conditions. She uses social media such as Facebook to keep residents informed on the latest weather advisories.
Liz Hill was the special guest of Rotarian Scott Soileau.
In other business, Dr. Phillipe Vidrine was awarded a Paul Harris recognition award by Rotarian Leonard Fontenot for his donation to Rotary International.
Rotarian Larry Lachney reported that his business, Gators Drive Thru will celebrate its 25th anniversary Saturday June 30 with a BBQ Rib Cook Off, food, live music and a live KVPI remote broadcast.
Jessica Williams, 25, of 306 West Long Street in Ville Platte has been arrested and charged with negligent homicide. Williams was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail on a $125,000.00 bond.
On June 14, 2018 the Ville Platte Police Department Officers and Detectives began an investigation where a domestic disturbance appeared to have taken place leaving one man dead, possibly from a stab wound. Details of the death are not being released at this time pending a report from the Coroner’s Office.
Chief Neal Lartigue is asking anyone with further information to contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Investar Bank has helped establish the newly created Evangeline Parish Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Acadiana with an initial investment of $50,000. The bank challenged community leaders, both public and private to match this donation so the Foundation can being with $100,000 of seed funding.
The Foundation will get started by engaging with the University of Louisiana in Lafayette to conduct a community needs assessment to identify where the greatest needs lie which will take 3-6 months.
The Foundation will provide grant opportunities to Evangeline Parish non- profits and organizations that align with the results of the needs assessment. The Foundation will launch a one million dollar fund raising campaign.
At a special event at Investar Bank , Ville Platte Branch, held today (Thursday) Mark Suellentrop, was the emcee. Among the speakers: Raymond Hebert, CEO of Community Foundation of Acadiana. Hebert said “The Foundation will be something good for Evangeline Parish.” Also speaking were Anita Fontenot of the Foundation, Robert Lott, Investar Acadiana Market President and Matt Marcantel, Evangeline Market President of Investar Bank.
Among the guests were Mayor Ricky Fontenot of Mamou and Mayor Heather Cloud of Turkey Creek , School Superintendent Darwan Lazard and school supervisors along with Police Jury Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron and members of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury and Evangeline Parish Chamber President Renee Brown. Also attending was Dr. Tojo Ward with the Industrial Development Board.
The Evangeline Parish Foundation Board will be comprised of Mark Sullentrop, Rhonda Butler, Gwen Fontenot, Randy Deshotel, Donald Fontenot, Kitty Deshotel, Eugene Fontenot and Leonard Fontenot.
The Ville Platte City Council reviewed the 2018-2019 budget proposal, delivered by CPA, Dana Quebedeaux, at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Before the budget is adopted, the proposal must be available for public inspection for a standard of 10 days. A copy of the budget can be found in the front lobby of City Hall. The budget will be formally adopted on Thursday, June 28th at noon, following a public hearing at 11:45 am. When evaluating the budget, Quebedeaux asks the public to keep in mind, that the Mayor’s proposal takes anticipated grants into account. As time progresses, the budget will be amended to reflect grants awarded/ not awarded. When giving her opinion on the proposed budget, Quebedeaux stated, “If you’re going to have an accurate budget, this is the budget it’s going to be”.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine addressed the council with plans to adopt new tools and techniques from the city of Rayne to clean the cities culvert system. This tool, made of steel parts, allows for quicker, more efficient culvert cleaning. The tool will cost around $2,000. Mayor Vidrine states that the city is doing its part in flood prevention by digging the necessary ditches but encourages the public to call on Evangeline Parish Police Jurors to do their part by regularly cleaning city canals.
In other business:
The Council adopted two resolutions, one being a re-adoption of the previous years millage rate resolution, and the other being an overgrown property resolution, approving a $50,000 LCDA loan that is part of the LCDA “overgrown lot program”. This program would help to beautify the city of Ville Platte by tackling its issue of overgrown lots.
The Ville Platte Gazette was approved as the official municipal journal.
Mayor Vidrine announced that the city spent $262,309.63 in May, which is $56,614.90 more than the month of April. Vidrine credits this to payment of necessary bills and expenses.
Chief of Police, Neil Lartigue announced three new hires: part-time jailer, Jaquine Anderson, part-time dispatcher, Cheryl Fontenot, and full-time police patrol, Kyle Marsh. During his monthly report, Lartigue reported 625 calls for assistance, which required 592 reports, 28 citations, 28 arrests, which included 26 felony arrests. Officers also responded to 49 motor vehicle accidents. Lartigue reported one homicide with suspect in custody.
Fire Chief, Chris Harrison reported for the month of May, 2 structure fires, 2 grass fires, 3 alarm activations, 4 service calls, and 1 search and rescue. In Fire District 2, Harrison reported 1 structure fire, 9 grass fires, 1 medical call, 1 vehicle situation, 3 service calls, and 7 search and rescues.
Mayor Vidrine announced that 5 abandoned property demolitions have been completed since the last meeting, and 9 are currently underway.
Tuesday, June 12th, Chateau Des Amis residents, citizens and city officials gathered at Ville Platte City Hall for a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Program, put on by Chateau Des Amis.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Elder abuse, including neglect and exploitation, is experienced by 1 out of every 10 people, ages 60 and older, who live at home.”
Pine Prairie Baptist Church Pastor, Daniel Holsumback provided a powerful testimony on the cycle of abuse, and how to put an end to that cycle. Guests were treated to an A cappella performance by Carleen Bellard.
Chateau Des Amis Community Manager, Debbie Clark, along with the Ville Platte Boys & Girls Club, presented certificates of recognition to community leaders who have greatly helped the elderly in our community. Those recognized were:
Ville Platte City Marshall, Ronald Doucet.
Ville Platte City Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, who also accepted a certificate on behalf of Dianna Johnson and the Ville Platte Girls-Boys Place.
Mable Foreman with Ville Platte Home Health.
Lisa Derouen with Evangeline Council on Aging.
Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel.
Pine Prairie Baptist Church Pastor, Daniel Holsumback.
Carleen Bellard with Evangeline Parish Community Action.
Mayor Vidrine reminds the public that elderly abuse is more than just physical abuse. No matter if it’s physical, sexual, emotional, neglect, abandonment, or financial abuse, Mayor Vidrine says, “We must take care of those who took care of us”.
The 2018 Outstanding School Support Personnel of the Year Awards were announced by Supervisor, Philip Buller, at Wednesday’s Evangeline Parish School Board meeting.
Buller stated, “School support personnel are the most important people in our system, but too often they go unrecognized.”
Nominees from Evangeline Parish schools were in attendance to find out the overall category winners for Elementary, Middle/Jr. High, High School, and District Offices. The winners are as follows:
Elementary: Twyonna Fontenot, Paraprofessional at Ville Platte Elementary.
Middle/Jr. High: Michael Anderson, Custodian at Ville Platte High School.
High School: Cathy Lafleur, Paraprofessional at Ville Platte High School.
District Offices: Mary H. Fontenot, Title I Director’s Secretary at the Media Center Office.
Superintendent, Darwan Lazard presented custom plaques to the winners. Winners/nominees will be recognized at a special luncheon tomorrow.
In other business:
Pine Prairie High School Assistant Principal, Andrew Dwyer, submitted letter of resignation effective August 1, 2018.
Mamou High School Assistant Principal, Brian Brumfield, submitted letter of resignation effective May 30, 2018.
Board approved motion to change the official journal of the School Board from Basile Weekly, to Ville Platte Gazette, effective July 1,2018.
Board approved 2018-19 teacher salary & pay date schedule, presented by CFO Amy Lafleur.
Board approved low price quote from Fontenot’s Siding and Patio Center in the amount of $15,376.00 for fascial repair on main building at Ville Platte Elementary School, using parish-wide maintenance fund.
Board approved low price quote from Demoruelle’s AC & Heating in the amount of $5,507.00 for office/conference room A/C at James Stephens Montessori School using parish-wide maintenance fund.
Ville Platte Rotary Club members today (Tuesday) were introduced to the new incoming director of the Evangeline Parish Library Board system: Margaret “Margie” Mealer. Mealer lives in Alexandria and has been in charge of the Children’s services for the Lincoln Parish Library in Ruston. She has 18 years of public library experience in Lincoln and Rapides Parishes. The search committee identified three strengths that she would bring to the director’s position: 1-computing, bookkeeping and budgeting skills, 2- a talent to train and motivate people and 3- temperament. She told club members that her office doors will always be open to the public.
Rotary Club President Wayne Vidrine presented a bouquet of flowers to retiring parish librarian and club member Mary Foster Galosso who will retire in August. Galosso said she enjoyed working with the library staff and many members of the rotary club through the year. The library system has six facilities, a staff of 23 people and 1.2 million dollar operating budget.
Also speaking was Susie Lemoine, outreach coordinator who reported that 106 young people have signed up for the Summer Reading program.
Rotary club member Susan Saunders was in charge of the program.
In other news, it was announced:
--the annual Rotary Club installation banquet is set for June 12 at 6:00pm at La Veille Bank. As a result of the banquet, there will be no noon meeting;
--Mayor Jennifer Vidrine reported that 103 young people have registered for the Boys and Girls Club this summer; Also over 90 young people have registered for the new summer basketball league in Ville Platte.
Evangeline Parish Police Jurors accepted a resolution Monday to authorize President, Ryan Williams, and Secretary Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, to move forward in completing an application for the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Grant.
According to their website dra.gov, “The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region.”
Parish Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau suggested that the jury use the grant to repair the 12,000 ft. of existing railroad tracks in the parish, while adding on new tracks.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, reported that the bridge on Natchitoches Rd, and St. John Rd in Ville Platte are fixed, and no longer closed. A month ago, both bridges were closed due to failed D.O.T inspections.
In other business:
- Secretary-Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, announced a .0812% drop in April sales taxes in 2018 compared to 2017. In April 2017, $248,763.67 in sales taxes were collected. This April, $245,591.52 in sales taxes were collected.
- Police Jury approved a special December election for renewing a drainage tax for Vidrine Gravity Drainage District No. 7.
- The appointment of Ville Platte Gazette as the official newspaper for the city was approved.
- Reappointment of Gaynelle Coates to Library Board for 5-year turn was approved.
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KVPI AM and FM are
proud members of the L.A.B.
KVPI is a member of the
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Proud supporter of our own
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.
Admission charge is $3 adults,
$2 seniors and $1 for children under 12.
The museum is located on
Northwest Railroad Avenue.