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Local News Archives for 2019-08

Evangeline Chamber honors Parish Citizens

Evangeline Chamber of Commerce Civic Awards Banquet August 27, 2019 The Ville Platte Civic Center was packed with chamber members along with families and friends of the nominees Tuesday night to pay tribute to honored citizens of the parish. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Renee Brown was the emcee. New Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce President Peter Strawitz and Vice-President Dr. Gwen Fontenot both spoke about their plans and goals for the new year. The guest speaker was Supt. Of Schools Darwan Lazard who made a presentation on the progress being made in our Evangeline Parish Public School System , which is the largest employer in the parish. Here is the list of winners from the event: Man of the Year-James Craig Pitre of Mamou; Woman of the year- Connie Lamke of Ville Platte; Farmer of the Year- Farrell Joe Costanza of Grand Prairie who farms some 4,000 acres of land; Business Person of the Year- Tie- Gene Burge, Chief Executive Officer of Savoy Medical Center of Mamou and Jay Gielow of Café Evangeline in Ville Platte; Business Person of the Year under 40- Ross Lafleur of Kary'sRoux in Ville Platte ; Business of the Year- Tie- Savoy Cancer Center of Mamou and Butler Tree Service of Turkey Creek; and selected as the Economic Development Person or organization of the Year- The Evangeline Parish Foundation. Congratulations to the winners and all of the nominees.

New LSU Eunice Chancellor speaks at Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting

The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from new LSU Eunice Chancellor Nancy Sorenson. The new chancellor is a native of Indiana and received her master’s degree from the University of Texas. She said “It is an honor to be a part of the LSU system”. She and LSU Eunice Director of University Advancement Carey Lawson reported to Rotary Club members that student enrollment for this semester has increased 2 percent over the same period a year ago. The school has some 3300 students enrolled . She thanked the local Rotary Club for their annual endowment scholarship. Five local students will be awarded $1000 scholarships this year as a result of the rotary funding. LSU Eunice is looking to obtain 12.1 million dollars in state funding for a new science building. The building will house the school’s chemistry and science labs. She also stated that the school is in need of more housing for its students .The housing complex, Bengal Village, is completely sold out with 214 students. She announced that some 300 students were turned away because there were no more housing units available. The school has 800-1,000 students taking on-line courses. The chancellor said the school is proud of its athletic programs with national championship titles. The women’s softball program won the national N.J.C.A.A. championship last year. This past year, the school introduced three new sports: men and women’s soccer and men’s basketball. The two guest speakers were guests of Rotarian Dr. Ted Ardoin.

Local Man dies in a vehicle accident according to Sheriff's Office

Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Reports Man Killed After Vehicle Falls on Top of Him at a Local Salvage Yard Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office has released the following: A Ville Platte man was killed after he was crushed by an old vehicle at a local salvage yard. Deputies report the man, identified as Randy James Dupre, was working at a local salvage yard on the 1200 block of Chauncey Pitre Road Tuesday afternoon and performing mechanical work underneath a salvaged vehicle attempting to remove the vehicle's engine. It is believed that the device used to support the engine collapsed, causing it to fall on top of Dupre. Dupre was immediately removed from beneath the engine as CPR was administered. However, later Dupre was pronounced dead at Mercy Regional Hospital in Ville Platte.

Rotary Hears Sacred Church and School News

The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from two special guests from Sacred Heart Church and School at their weekly meeting. Fr. Tom Voorhies, pastor at Sacred Heart Church and St. Joseph Catholic churches announced that a food drive is now on for the Christian Care and Share Center. Parishioners may drop off their non perishable food items at the church. In School News, the Sacred Heart school student count has increased by 12 students over last year. There are 578 students enrolled at Sacred Heart schools this year. The school has two new teachers: Megan Donovan and Emily Ortego. Last year, the school was awarded over $1.2 million dollars in student scholarships. Kimberly Lejeune, Sacred Heart Development Director reported on the school’s Interact club sponsored by the Rotary Club. She reported that the club is busy with bingo games for seniors at the Heritage Manor Nursing Home. She would like to invite local Rotary club members to attend the Interact club member meetings and share information about their business and profession. She announced that the “Meet the Trojans” Pep Rally is planned for August 29. The Tee Cotton Bowl is scheduled for Sept. 6 and the school homecoming is set for Nov. 8. The annual Sacred Heart School Foundation benefit dance with music by “One Trick Pony” is scheduled for February 8 at the school gym. The two guest speakers were the invited guests of Rotarian Wayne Vidrine. Club President Nicole Wenger thanked club members for their hard work last week in a service project assisting with the flooring project at “The Refinery” Men’s Shelter in Opelousas.

Ville Platte City Council honors 5 year old shooting Victim

Ville Platte City Council Meeting August 13, 2019 The Ville Platte City Council Tuesday recognized and honored shooting victim, Diamonte J. Wilson during their meeting Tuesday night at City hall. The young boy was shot and injured in the leg while riding in his father's car in a shooting incident by a 17 year old subject. He has made a complete recovery. The boy and his family attended the city council meeting where he was given a cake for his birthday, a plaque, money and a basketball goal set. In fact the youth got to sit on Mayor Jennifer Vidrine's lap for part of the meeting Tuesday night. Mayor Jennifer said "It was a senseless shooting but he has made a miraculous recovery with not even a limp." The mayor urged anyone with information on any criminal activity "If you see something, report it to the police ." The city council discussed the growing problem of criminal activity involving guns in the city. In a question from City Councilman Mike Perron about the Y Not Stop closing earlier on the weekends to stop crowds of people gathering there after hours, the police chief had good news to report. The business has been closing its doors at 1:45am until 4;00am on Fridays and Saturdays since a shooting incident took place. The chief said the closing has made a difference. In another area of town, city councilman Lionel Anderson is concerned that the business that was known as L&V Store is refusing to working with city officials in closing its doors a little earlier to keep crowds and criminal activity from forming. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city's attorney is preparing steps the city can take to enforce an earlier closing time. City Councilman Bryant Riggs announced that utility rates have not increased dramatically as some people were fearing. He said his personal bill went up $10 while a bill for a family of four increased by some $16. He checked on a business and their bill increased by $52. Riggs said some of the predictions being made about huge utility increases were to "scare people". He said the rates are all based on your individual consumption. In other business, the city: Watched as Mayor Jennifer Vidrine presented a special plaque to Louisiana Middle School Teacher of the Year Lisa Celestine Jack. She announced that that she has been named as the new Ville Platte Elementary Assistant Principal;; --presented special plaques to Father Tom Voorhies on behalf of Sister Rita Darrensbourg and Sister Lucille Stelly who have recently left St. Joseph Catholic Church; --approved a request from Jay Giehlow on behalf of the Evangeline Parish Arts Council to close a portion of South railroad street so the group can sponsor a benefit dance with Steve riley and the Mamou Playboys on Saturday Nov. 2; --heard from Evangeline Tourism Director Renee Brown announce that there will be a parishwide Arts and Treasures Trail Sept. 27 and 28 for individuals, church groups, and businesses to hold a garage sale to attract tourists and visitors to our parish; --approved the appointment of five additional police officers as patrolmen bringing the total number of patrolmen to ten on the police force; --introduced an ordinance to issue a citation to motorists who drive in flooded streets like LaSalle street during rain events causing the eaves of water to enter into people's homes and businesses; --approved liquor permits to the Cheap and Best Store (old K&B Store) and the Louisiana Cotton Festival for a liquor permit; --heard a report from Mayor Jennifer Vidrine that the city is attempting to hire ten additional workers for the street department. She reported at the meeting all ten applicants so far have failed the drug test.

Dr. Philippe Vidrine was guest speaker at Tuesday Rotary Club Meeting

The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Rotarian Dr. Philippe Vidrine talk about the Louisiana Iris plants. He reminded club members that now is the perfect time to plan the Iris. He said there are five species that are native to Louisiana and grow well in our special climate. He urged club members to stay away from the yellow Spanish flag Iris. The five Louisiana varieties all grow well in various colors. You can buy these beautiful plants by mail order and in area nurseries. In other business, Rotary Club President Nicole Wenger informed club members that the local club has teamed up with the two Opelousas rotary clubs to obtain a grant from Rotary International. The $9,000 grant will be used to make improvements to the kitchen at the Refinery Men's Mission in Opelousas. Rotarians Bob Manuel, Jimmy LeBlanc, Susan Saunders, John Mayeaux and Nicole Wenger will be working at the mission later today (Tuesday). Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine reported to club members that the Solid Waste Commission is still working hard to pick up all the limbs and branches throughout the city and parish. She is asking residents to please be patient.

Qualifying for the October Primary Election Ends Today

Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel reported to KVPI News that qualifying for the October 12 Primary Election has ended. Here is the complete list of local candidates that have qualified : Senator District 28- Heather Cloud , Bernard LeBas, Robert Johnson State Representative 38th District- Taranza Arvie, Phil :Cowboy" Lemoine and Rhonda Butler Sheriff- Neal Lartigue, Charles Guillory, Dirk Deville, Brian Ardoin, Jamie M. Fontenot, Joseph "Joe' Brady and Michael Kevin Fontenot Assessor-Josh Fontenot and Chris Guillory Clerk of Court-Randy Deshotel was re elected with no opposition Coroner- Dr. Thomas G. Fontenot was re elected with no opposition Police Juror District 1- Keith Saucier, Rocky Rider, incumbent and Camille Lafleur Fontenot Police Juror District 2-Sidney Fontenot was reelected with no opposition Police Juror District 3-Ryan Ardoin, incumbent and Cliff Fruge Police Juror District 4- Lamar Johnson, incumbent and Robert Johnson Police Juror District 5-Derek Marcantel and Kevin Veillon, incumbent Police Juror District 6- Eric Soileau, incumbent, Cora Chretien-Veal and Donald Vidrine Police Juror District 7-Brian Vidrine, incumbent, David Ortego and Kevin "Cabon" Fontenot Police Juror District 8- Ryan LeDay Williams was re elected with no opposition Police Juror District 9-Daniel Arvie, incumbent and Shawn D. Gallow.

Evangeline Parish School recognizes new French Immersion Teachers

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting August 7, 2019 The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday heard from Assistant Superintendent Mike Lombas recognize the newest French teachers who will be instructors in the expanding French Immersion program. The new instructors are Alice Renard of Paris , France and Ali Sarr of Canada. The teachers will teach students in the Third grade. The program is already being taught in K-2 grades at Mamou Elementary and Ville Platte Elementary. Lombas thanked the many people who donated furniture and other household items to furnish their living quarters while here. The two new French instructors will be special guests on KVPI's La Tasse de Café Friday morning at 8:00am. In a related matter, Lombas said the Evangeline Parish French Immersion program will be featured in am upcoming New York Times Story. Richard Fausse, a feature reporter for the Times, is preparing to do a story on the first few days of a new Immersion teacher in a rural school. He chose to "shadow" new teacher, Alice Renard who will be teaching class at Mamou Elementary. Fausse was the author of a feature with the New York Times on KVPI for its French language programming some five years ago. Special Education Director Kelli Lafleur recognized two J.A.G. teachers who were honored at a National Conference in Orlando, Florida for their efforts in the classroom. The Jobs for American Graduates instructors are Jaselyn Griffith and Diana F. Johnson.. Technology Coordinator John Deranger updated school board members on internet security. He reported that four school districts in the state were attacked recently using ransomware software. As a precaution, Evangeline as well as all other school districts are limiting internet usage to protect its data. Supervisor Grace Sibley recognized Lisa Jack who was honored by the State Department of Education as the state Middle School Teacher of the Year. Everyone in attendance gave her a standing ovation. Sibley said "Out of 69 school districts in the state "We're Number One". It was announced that Supt. Of Schools Darwan Lazard was honored on July 27 by United Way of St. Landry and Evangeline with the "Man with Heart" award for his service to the community. In other action the school board: --announced that the first day of classes for students for the new school year is August 13; --the annual Launch ceremony for school employees is planned for Friday at 9:00am at the Ville Platte High Gymnasium.

More Candidates Qualify on Day of Qualifying for the October Election

Second Day of Qualifying Ends in Evangeline Parish August 7, 2019 More candidates qualified with Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel on Wednesday on the second day to officially run in the October Primary Election. Here is the list of candidates who qualified on day two: Sheriff: Michael Kevin Fontenot Coroner: Dr. Thomas G. Fontenot, incumbent Police Juror in District Six- Donald R. Vidrine Police Juror in District Nine- Shawn D. Gallow We failed to list the two candidates who qualified on the first day of qualifying for Assessor:Josh Fontenot and Chris Guillory. Qualifying ends Thursday from 8:00am to 4;30pm .

First Day of Qualifying Took Place Today for the October Election

Qualifying Begins in Evangeline Parish August 6, 2019 Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel reported to KVPI News the list of political candidates who qualified today in his office on the first day of qualifying for the October 12th election. District 28 Senator: Heather Cloud and Bernard LeBas 38th District State Representative: Taranza Arvie, Phil "Cowboy" Lemoine and Rhonda Butler Sheriff: Neal Lartigue, Charles R. Guillory, Dirk Deville, Brian Ardoin, Jamie M. Fontenot and Joseph "Joe"Brady; Clerk of Court: Randy Deshotel, incumbent; Coroner: Nobody Qualified Police Jury District One: Sidney Fontenot, incumbent; Police Juror District Two: Sidney Fontenot, incumbent; Police Juror District Three: Ryan Ardoin incumbent and Cliff Fruge; Police Juror District Four: Lamar Johnson, incumbent; Police Juror District Five: Derek Marcantel and Kevin Veillon, incumbent; Police Juror District Six: Eric Soileau incumbent and Cora Chretien-Veal; Police Juror District Seven: Brian Vidrine, incumbent, David Ortego and Kevin "Cabon" Fontenot; Police Juror District eight: Ryan "Leday" Williams, incumbent Police Juror District 9: Daniel Arvie, incumbent. Qualifying continues through 4:30pm Thursday at the Clerk of Court's Office.

State Police investigates fatality accident involving motorcylist

Motorcyclist Dies in Evangeline Parish Crash Ville Platte – At approximately 5:00 pm on August 5, 2019, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop I began investigating a two vehicle fatal crash that occurred on LA Hwy 10 near Crimson Lane in Evangeline Parish. The crash took the life of 39-year-old Able Barlow, Jr. of Ville Platte. The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Barlow was riding a 2002 Suzuki motorcycle southbound on LA Hwy 10. At the same time, 24-year-old Omesha Gallow was driving a 2011 Toyota Camry eastbound on Crimson Lane. Gallow failed to yield at the stop sign and was struck by the oncoming Suzuki as she entered the intersection. Despite the fact that he was wearing a DOT approved safety helmet, Barlow received fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased at a local hospital. Gallow and a passenger were properly restrained and were uninjured. Impairment is not suspected on the part of either driver. Gallow did provide a breath sample which indicated no alcohol in her system. A routine toxicology sample was taken from Barlow and was submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation. Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists to always make good decisions while in a motor vehicle. Making good choices such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, avoiding all distractions, and obeying all traffic laws can often mean the difference between life and death. While not all crashes are survivable, Troopers encourage all riders to take an approved motorcycle safety course. For more information on the Louisiana Motorcycle Safety, Awareness, and Operator Training Program, visit http://www.lsp.org/motorcycle.html.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury approved new Fiscal Year Budget

Evangeline Parish Police Jury Meeting August 5, 2019 Certified Public Accountant Vic Slaven presented good news to the Evangeline Parish Police Jury at their meeting Monday night. His staff has completed the audit of the police jury financial records and announced that he had a "clean" report. The police jury records showed that it ended the 2018 Fiscal Year in the General Fund with a fund balance of $1.6 million dollars in unassigned funds. Slaven announced that the parish was written up for the large number of past due sewer collection fees. However, he said the jury is teaming up with governmental and utility companies in an attempt to collect the delinquent sewer bills. Slaven commended the jury "for doing a fine job. Keep it up." Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron announced that a large portion of its budget , some $40,000 a month is going to pay for parish inmates being housed in prisons outside the parish because there is no room in the parish lockup. A building inspector with the Rapides Parish Area Planning Commission announced that 52 new housing projects since the start of the year and eight new homes in the last month. He said our parish is showing good growth. It was reported during their committee meetings that retention pnd application is still being reviewed. The proposed $1.9 million dollar project must show that there was at least $1.9 million dollars in damages were caused by drainage problems. Once the plan is approved, still another study must take place before it is determined how large a piece of property needs to be purchased. In other action the police jury: Received news from State Wildlife Agents that hidden litter cameras in the parish has charged with 31 people. Each of the 31 suspects were charged with littering carrying a fine of $150; Received news from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron that 72 nuisance abandoned properties were adjudicated to the parish by the court because the property owner did not pay the tax the property owed. Received news that sales tax collections in July showed a decrease of $6046 over the same period a year ago. The police jury approved purchasing two Railroad cars to be placed on the McGee road. The jury will purchase and install them the cars for drainage improvements to be reimbursed by the Vidrine Drainage Board.

Ville Platte Police searching for shooting suspect

Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports to KVPI News that police are searching for a shooting suspect. On Wednesday night, July 31, 2019 at approximately 8:00 p.m., the Ville Platte Police Department responded to an incident where a male subject fired one shot into a vehicle injuring a five year old boy in the leg. The incident occurred in the 700 block of Edward K Thomas Street in Ville Platte. According to Chief Lartigue, the suspect has been identified as Quantavis Durgin age 17 whose last known address is 108 Reverend E. D. Alfred Street, Ville Platte. Durgin is wanted on the charge of attempted second degree murder in the shooting incident. If you know the whereabouts of Durgin, you are asked to notify the Ville Platte Police Department immediately at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.

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