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Local News Archives for 2019-01

Rotary Club Hears About Honduras Mission Trip

The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Winston Lafleur with the Ville Platte Christian Mission. Lafleur announced that the mission is sponsoring a benefit dance and meal February 16 at the Ville Platte Civic Center from 5-8pm. Free admission to the dance. A donation of $10 is being asked for the meal. There will be a live band, Cajun food, a silent auction and face painting for the kids. All proceeds will benefit the mission in Honduras. Last year, Lafleur had 18 Ville Platte area residents travel with him on the mission trip to Honduras. Last year, the mission raised some $7,000 to construct a home for a family in an impoverished village. A year ealier, $8,000 was spent on painting a church and constructed a new roof on another church. This year, the mission trip is planned for June 28-July 5 at a cost of $1200. The mission has begun a flea market that is operating in Lawtell. Lafleur was a guest of Rotarian Eric Gil and introduced by Rotarian Kermit Miller.

All Evangeline Parish Schools Closed Tuesday

  All Evangeline Parish Public Schools will be closed Tuesday due to expected  snow or icy conditions Tuesday morning according to Supt. Darwan Lazard. Also, all school district offices will be closed. KVPI News has learned that Sacred Heart Schools will also be closed Tuesday.

Annette Johnson speakers at Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting

The Rotary Club of Ville Platte Tuesday (Today) received a report on rotary dues for its members. Annette Johnson was the guest speaker and she explained in detail on what the rotary club dues pay for. The dues include dues for Rotary International, Rotary District 6200, Rotary magazine and the weekly meals. Johnson also shared with club members new tax laws now in effect for tax payers preparing to file their taxes. She reported that the I.R.S. is going through a "perfect storm" with the government shutdown. Some 70,000 I.R.S. workers were laid off. About half were called back to come to work without any pay. Due to the tax cuts earlier in the year, the I.R.S. is waiving any penalties for under with- holding during the year. Annette Johnson was the special guest speaker of Rotarian Annie Fruge.

2019 Evangeline Parish 4-H Livestock Show and Sale

Despite cold blustery winds Saturday, the final day of the 2019 Evangeline Parish 4-H Livestock Show and Sale was a big success with a good crowd of students showing their livestock and supporters. The annual livestock sale began at 1;00pm with Col. Ricky Duhon from Basile the primary auctioneer with assistance from student auctioneer Hosea Deshotel. The traditional cake auction for the benefit of the 4-H program was sold several times before it finally raised $240. The ring men were Richard Fontenot and Scotty Fontenot. Here are some of the results of the show and sale: The grand champions hog was Olivia Soileau, the daughter of Gabe and Caroline Soileau; The Grand Champion Lamb was shown by Greg Zaunbrecher of Basile, the son of Mark and Melissa Zaunbrecher; The Grand Champion goat was shown by Dane Fontenot, the son of Neil and Shelly Fontenot; The Grand Champion Broiler was shown Cale Bieber of Mamou, the son of Charles and Michelle Bieber. The Reserve Champion Hog was shown by Olivier Soileau, the daughter of Gabe and Caroline Soileau; The Reserve Champion Lamb was shown by Isabella Manuel, the daughter of Duffy and Caroline Manuel; The Reserve Champion Goat was shown by Elliot Fontenot of Sacred Heart, the son of Ched and Holly Fontenot; The Reserve Champion Broiler was shown by Wesley Vidrine of Ville Platte High, the son of Dustin and Kristie Vidrine. Those 4-H'ers who showed here will advance to show their animals at the District 4-H Show in Lake Charles in the next few weeks. The Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI road crew, A.J. and Mark, covered the show and part of the live auction sale Saturday for our listeners who could not attend.

Evangeline Parish Authorities searching for Missing Man

ST LANDRY, LA – The Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office needs the public assistance in locating a missing person. On Wednesday, January 16, 2019 the reporting person (Esther Smith) reported that her friend Gary Smith (DOB 9-14-1956) was last seen at 1430 hours, January 16, 2019 at her residence on the 1500 block of Lone Pine Road in St Landry, LA. The reporting person stated the missing person (Gary Smith) arrived unannounced and disoriented at approximately 1300 hours wearing jeans and a blue shirt. He appeared to have been lost. He did not have on any shoes nor was he wearing his dentures. The reporting person stated that Gary has suffered in the past from 3 strokes and a heart attack. Gary Smith (DOB 9-14-1956) is described as a tall male approximately 6'1, weighs about 140 lbs, brown hair with some grey, blue eyes and a fair skin tone. He was driving a 2018 Maroon Toyota Camry Louisiana License Plate #812BKG. A photo of Gary has been included below. Gary Smith is originally from Walker, LA and may have just come to visit. If anyone has any information or comes into contact with Gary Smith is asked to contact the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigations Division at 337-363-2161.

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting

The Evangeline Parish School Board met Wednesday night, and the first order of business was the swearing-in of board members. Members who were not present were sworn in before the meeting. The first discussion of the night happened when board member Wanda Skinner questioned why the athletic director job description states that the director will assist with performance reviews. Superintendent Darwin Lazard said it's because the athletic director serves as an advisor to the principal at the school in regards to the athletic department. The director would not evaluate employees; that job would fall on the principal, with Lazard saying, "Any good leader would get input from a variety of sources." Skinner said, "I'm just making sure this is not a smoke screen where they're trying to get rid of someone and trying to get the athletic director to do the work." Lazard said it would "not be appropriate for the athletic director to hire or fire, that it doesn't fall within the jurisdiction of that position's authority. The recommendation of hiring and firing of teachers falls on the principal." In other business, the board recognized Mamou Elementary teacher Kelli Schatzle who received first place in the state VFW Citizenship Education Teacher's Award for 2018-2019 in grades K-5th division. Schatzle involves her students in various charitable projects, such as Pennies for Pets and Change for a Chance, and writing letters to veterans. WWII veteran Maynor Fontenot wrote back and said he's been a veteran of the U.S. Navy for 70 years and Schatzle's letter was the first he ever received thanking him for his service. Schatzle said her upcoming community involvement with her students will be raising money for the nursing home in Mamou to buy them BINGO and Pokeno cards, puzzle books and jigsaw puzzles, etc. Schatzle will next be considered for the National VFW Citizenship Education Teacher Award. In other action, the board approved: • The low bid of $5,980.00 from Flynn Building Specialties, LLC for doors and frames for Ville Platte High School Special Education Department classroom/apartment. • $22,790.00 for 60 touchscreen Chromebooks, 2 Chromebook charging carts, etc. for Ville Platte High School. • $279,314.13 to First Student, Inc. for transportation services.

Mamou Elementary Teacher Honored by VFW

A teacher from Mamou Elementary has won the First Place award in Grades K-5th division for the Louisiana Veterans of Foreign Wards Citizenship Education Teacher's Award. The honoree, Kelli Schatzle, is a fourth grade teacher at Mamou Elementary. She has been an instructor at the school for five years. She taught Third Grade for three years and is in her second year of teaching in the fourth grade. Her grandparents are Robley and Shirley Duplechain of Cester Young's Appliance in Mamou. Kelli teaches community involvement through her citizenship unit in social studies. Some of her projects include: Pennies for Pets (a local animal shelter project) and Change for a Change (a local cancer foundation fundraiser). Her biggest project is "Letters to Veterans" every October. She was nominated by the local VFW post. She will be honored Saturday January 19 at the State VFW Conference in Alexandria and will go on to compete on the national level.

Ville Platte Chamber sponsors meeting to plan to Revitalize Downtown Ville Platte

Public officials, business leaders and concerned citizens packed Café Evangeline Wednesday for a meeting sponsored by the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce to begin a concerted effort to revitalize downtown Ville Platte. Chamber Executive Director Renee Brown thanked the huge crowd that showed up and said the plans are to "keep Ville Platte alive and growing." One of those efforts is to keep streets clean by adopting a street each month. She is asking a different group to commit to help clean up Main Street. The group from First Baptist Church and 4-H'ers has already agreed to the cleanup effort for February. Brown called for groups and volunteers to help clean up and paint store fronts especially abandoned buildings in an effort she calls "curb appeal". Jay Gielow, owner of Café Evangeline said he is working to bring back a "Farmers Market" to downtown Ville Platte near the Swamp Pop museum beginning in March on the third Friday of each month. There will be musical acts, vendors and he is asking shop keepers and business owners away from downtown to sponsor a "popup shop" booth at the Farmers Market. They will be charged $20 for the booth which will be used for marketing and pay for musical entertainment. Ville Platte City Councilman Mike Perron said "This was a dream for me. I have been working hard to bring improvements to Ville Platte and finally we are all coming together." Donald Bergeron, Police Jury Secretary Treasurer, reported that President Trump has designated "opportunity zones" in low income areas for tax investments and all of Evangeline Parish has been targeted as an Opportunity Zone. Dr. William "Tojo" Ward referred the group to the efforts by the former mayor of Crowley who worked to revitalize her downtown area. He also referred to efforts now going on in Abbeville. Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine welcomed the group's efforts and pledged the city's backing in their project. "We want to beautify and bring people to our downtown area again." Dr. Gwen Fontenot, of the University of Louisiana and a member of the Evangeline Parish Foundation introduced Dr. Jeff Stuart, a U.L. Professor in Marketing. Dr. Stuart, a native of Ville Platte, said he plans to work with Chamber and Foundation officials and bring some of his students to prepare a study on downtown Ville Platte and make recommendations for the committees to began acting on.

Ville Platte City Council has first meeting of the New Year

The Ville Platte City Council met Tuesday evening. Before the meeting, council members were sworn in for the new year. During the regular meeting, Mayor Jennifer Vidrine welcomed new councilpersons, Faye Lemoine of District A and Coach Lionel Anderson of District D. Councilman Mike Perron brought up the issue of loitering. The mayor said that when the clubs close, people go to the Exxon and the Shell stations, and that's where some of the loitering occurs. Councilman Bryant Riggs suggested that business owners who experience loitering should pay for security to help curb loitering when police are unable to assist. The hiring of more police officers was addressed. Police Chief Neil Lartigue said, "I have a solution. You give me more men and more money in the budget and I'll have more people to spare." Chief Lartigue said the department can't compete with the bigger towns, budget-wise, so officers leave to go to the bigger towns where they will make more money. Mayor Vidrine said, "Our budget for the police department is exhausted to the hilt." Chief Lartigue said the police do resepond to loitering, but sometimes can't make it there right away if they're on another call. Mayor Vidrine added that the city is implementing a tip line for citizens to report suspicious or criminal activity anonymously. The city is looking at possibly using the app Tip 411. In his report, Chief Lartigue announced that the department responded to a total of 410 calls for assistance, which required 386 reports, 13 citations, and 52 arrests which includes 12 felony arrests. Officers responded to 34 accidents in the month of December. Felonies and arrests were each down by 4 from November, but accidents were up by 7 from the previous month. Fire Chief Chris Harrison reported that the department responded to a total of 17 calls for the month of December, which included 2 vehicle fires, 1 gas leak, and 1 bomb threat. There were no fatalities. For the year 2018, the department responded to 274 calls, among them were 33 structure fires and 17 vehicle fires. Chief Harrison said they are waiting on the contract for a new fire ladder truck which is mostly being paid for thanks to a federal grant. The city would only be responsible for 5% of the cost. In other business, the council set a public meeting for Monday, February 11 at 5:30 PM to let citizens voice their concerns over a new internet service that wants to use local towers. Mayor Vidrine asked the council members to make a list of all the things that need to be done in their districts. She said they are reorganizing and revamping how they take and perform tasks so that future work will run more smoothly. Chamber of Commerce Director Renee Brown addressed the council to announce a meeting this (Wednesay) evening at Café Evangeline at 4:30 PM. The meeting is to discuss the beautification and revitalization of downtown Ville Platte. The public is invited. New Library Director Margie Mealer asked for council members and the mayor, and any other prominent members of the community, to be recorded on video reading Dr. Seuss books in conjunction with Dr. Seuss month in March. Interested persons should contact Margie Mealer at the Ville Platte library before the end of February. Mayor Vidrine announced that the city is cleaning out culverts to better the drainage issues in town. She also announced that the city spent $205,525.04 in December, which is $54,822.76 less than November.

District Attorney Trent Brignac was guest speaker at Rotary Meeting

The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac. Brignac has been serving as District Attorney in the parish for the past ten years. He praised his staff and especially his assistant District Attorneys for the good work they are doing. The Assistants include Marcus Fontenot, Betsy Jackson, Nicole Gil and Chris Ludeau. He told club members that their goal is "to get it right, the facts are correct and truth comes out." He shared the information about human remains found in the Point Blue area while authorities were searching for a missing youth. A human skull was discovered and turned over to LSU forensics for possible identification. LSU will attempt to determine the age, sex and DNA of the person. Early indications show that there does not appear to be any signs of trauma. Brignac also stated that juvenile crime is a major problem in our area. He said it is "frustrating" because there is no jail space for the offenders. New laws are aggravating the problem with 17 year olds who could be tried as adults under certain crimes will be considered juveniles. The District Attorney also discussed the new state law that requires a unanimous jury verdict in major crime cases. Brignac was the special guest of Rotarian Mitch Fontenot.

Evangeline Police Jury conducts first meeting of the New Year

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury met Monday evening. The first order of business was to appoint officers for the new year. Ryan Williams remains president, and Rocky Rider remains Vice President. Ryan Ardoin was appointed Chairman of the Equipment Committee. After appointments, the jury got down to business, which included moving operations and bidding accounts from Investar Bank to Evangeline Bank. Public Works Director, Chester Granger, mentioned in his report that he got into a scuffle over the weekend with someone who was tearing up a road. When Granger was called about this incident, he called 911 on his way there and requested a deputy meet him to make a report and assess damages. Granger went on to report that on Shuff Road, after the bridge, there is a 90-degree turn, and the constituent there is requesting putting white stripes on the outer edge of the road and center line. The constituent says people are driving through his yard as they come off the bridge. Granger said he would get some prices and see where they can go with that. Granger also said, with the new amendment that came in on January 1, there has been a request made by another parish that wants to use Evangeline Parish equipment. Granger expressed concerns, stating that there will need to be a major adjustment with how they handle requests and the loaning of equipment. The new amendment allows for government entities to share resources. Local governmental entities can donate goods and services to each other, without need for compensation in return. In other business, the jury discussed lowering the speed limit on Fernwood Rd. in district #1 to 25 mph. They said they would need a public hearing. The jury also discussed entering into a cooperative endeavor agreement for security at the front door of the courthouse for after-hours activities. Kim Ortego, Operations Manager at Crooked Creek, announced to the jury that a special concert will take place at Crooked Creek this weekend, weather permitting. Performing will be Ashton Dupre and Kasey Guillory. Ortego said that end-of-year totals for campers in Crooked Creek is a little over 1,900. In the closing report, Secretary Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, said the Sheriff's Posse is applying for a USDA grant for rescue equipment and requested the Chauncey Pitre Barn to use for meetings and to use as an address for the grant application. Bergeron expressed concern that maybe the Barn would not meet the required regulations for the grant application and said possibly the courthouse or another building would be better. Bergeron also stated, with regards to work orders, that sometimes police jury work is delayed by a couple of weeks, but the public doesn't realize that certain factors, such as the weather, can push projects back. Bergeron also reported that the 2% sales tax collected in December for the month of November 2018 is $246,928.59. That is an increase of $1,450 from the previous year.

Mike Perron Chosen as new Emcee at Fred's Lounge on KVPI 1050 AM

A new announcer has been chosen to continue KVPI's long association with Fred's Lounge in Mamou. General Manager Mark Layne announced that after reviewing applicants and their resumes, Mike Perron of Ville Platte has been chosen to be the new emcee at world famous Fred's Lounge in Mamou. Mike Perron is a Ville Platte City Councilman. "We are very pleased to have Mike continue our weekly live remote broadcast at Fred's Lounge in Mamou. Mike has shown a genuine love for our Cajun music and culture and especially our French language," said Layne. Perron will be taking over the emceeing duties from long time announcer Annona Balfa who has done a good job each week. She will continue her other duties at KVPI. Congratulations Mike Perron, the newest member of the KVPI family of announcers.

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KVPI AM and FM are

proud members of the L.A.B.

KVPI is a member of the

LSU Sports Radio Network

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.