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Local News Archives for 2020-07

KVPI Sports plans to broadcast Ville Platte 10U All stars in the World Series in Texas

The Ville Platte 10U all star girls will be attending the World Series softball tournament next weekend August 7-9 in Texas. KVPI Sports is making arrangements to broadcast these games with our Sports Announcer Tracey Jagneaux. We plan to carry all of their games in Texas. We are currently contacting sponsors to help carry the games. The girls came visit KVPI studios to record special shoutout messages all next week. They also did a live shoutout on the air with DJ Lauren Soileau at the controls. Shown with the girls are Assistant Coaches Sunny Lahaye and David Lahaye. Dr. Brandon Fontenot, who could not attend, is the head coach. The Team Mom is Ashlee Fontenot. Good luck to our girls and bring home the World Series Title.

Evangeline Parish Chamber of Commerce Met Wednesday

Evangeline Chamber of Commerce Meeting July 29, 2020 The Evangeline Parish Chamber of Commerce Wednesday held a virtual meeting with Chamber President Dr. Gwen Fontenot conducting. The chamber board will be reviewing nominations to replace former member Mark Suellentrop who has left the area. The election of the new board member will take place in early August. She said it has been a challenge for the chamber and tourism since its executive director and assistant both resigned. Dr. Fontenot commended Elizabeth West who has been working for the tourism board and has volunteered to assist with office work for the chamber as well. The chamber is due to hire a temporary part time assistant in the near future. Both the chamber and tourism boards are due to meet soon to discuss whether to continue having one director handling both responsibilities in chamber and tourism or consider move forward as two separate organizations. Tourism Director Jay Gielow told chamber members that he is hoping that the governor will allow each parish determine what phase they should be in whether than on a statewide level based on their case load. Guest speaker State Representative Rhonda Butler urged small businesses to apply for the Main Street Recovery program where grants are given for up to $15,000 to pay for Covid-19 expenses. She announced that her Economic Task Force will be meeting with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser to help plan strategies and programs to help local businesses through tourism projects. Butler said she is working with local officials to develop a drug court to help young people get off drugs rather than go to jail. She was able to assist Sheriff Charles Guillory in getting grant funds for new vehicles. Connie Lamke with the Acosta Foundation is scheduling webinars to help local small businesses obtain needed grants.

Boil Advisory for Turkey Creek has been Lifted

The boil advisory for the Village of Turkey Creek issued Saturday, July 25, 2020 has been lifted. Water is safe for consumption according to Village Clerk Melissa Ferguson.

University Scholoarship Announced Today for Evangeline Parish Public School Grads

New Scholarship Announced for Evangeline Parish Students July 28, 2020 Evangeline Parish School Superintendent Darwan Lazard announced the donation of an endowed University of Louisiana at Lafayette academic scholarship for Evangeline Parish public school graduates. The Ivy and Edley (Kye) Fontenot Memorial Scholarship was created by their daughter, Dr. Gwen Fontenot, Vidrine resident and alumna of the former Vidrine High School and Associate Professor of Marketing at UL Lafayette. Dr. Fontenot made the official announcement at a special meeting this (Tuesday) morning with parish school counselors and other school officials. The purpose of the fund is to provide academic scholarships to students who meet the following eligibility requirements: Must have an ACT composite of 23 or greater or SAT composite of 1130 or greater, Must be admitted to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as a full-time student, Must be an Evangeline Parish resident, Must be a graduate of an Evangeline Parish Public School System High School with preference given to an incoming freshman, Must have at least a 3.0 cumulative Grade Point Average to be eligible and May be majoring in any undergraduate degree program at the UL-Lafayette. The amount of the scholarship is dependent on the annual earnings of the endowed principal. The award has recently ranged between $1000-$1300 per year. Students are eligible to renew the scholarship as long as they maintain the criteria. In her comments at the Tuesday morning gathering, Dr. Fontenot remarked "I have provided this scholarship in memory of my parents who instilled in me a desire to learn and provided me with every opportunity to do so. It is my wish that my parents' values and drive will live on through this scholarship and that it will make a difference in the lives of the recipients so they, too, will be successful and give back to their communities."

Pine Prairie Police arrest local woman on drug Charges

Pine Prairie Police arrests local woman on drug charges July 26, 2020 A Pine Prairie woman was arrested by local police on drug charges , according to a news release by Pine Prairie Police Chief L.C. Deshotel. The suspect was identified as Stacey Babin age 36. She was charged with possession of Marijuana and Crystal Meth and possession of drug paraphernalia The arrest took place on Saturday July 11 when police received a complaint about a juvenile in possession of what appeared to be marijuana. Upon further investigation, Officer Eckhart made contact with the mother of the juvenile, Stacy Bain. That is when police discovered she was in possession of what is believed to be drugs. The suspect was transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail on a $9,000 bond set by Judge Gary Ortego. Chief Deshotel urges Pine Prairie citizens to report any suspicious activity and thanks the public for the information received.

Qualifying for the November Primary Election ended today

Qualifying for the November 3 Primary Election July 24, 2020 Qualifying has ended for the November 3 primary election in Evangeline Parish. Since Wednesday, candidates have been coming in to the Clerk of Court office in the courthouse to file their qualifying papers to seek political office. Here is the list of qualifiers: For US Senator (statewide): Incumbent Bill Cassidy and challengers: Beryl Billiot, John Paul Bourgois, Reno Daret, Derrick Edwards, Xan John, David Knight, M.V. Mendoza, Jamar Montgomery, Dustin Murphy, Adrian Perkins, Antoine Pierce, Melinda Price, Aaron Sigler and Peter Wenstrup. For Congressman, 4th Congressional District: Incumbent Mike Johnson and challengers: Ben Gibson, Kenny Houston and Ryan Trundle. Both District Court Judges, Gary Ortego and Chuck West and District Attorney Trent Brignac were unopposed so they were re-elected to another term in office. Also City Court Judge Gregory Vidrine was unopposed and was re elected for another term. For Ward One City Court Judge, three qualified for the November election: Lisa Doucet, Horace Johnson and Nicole Snoddy. The following candidates were unopposed and were re-elected: Nick Chaumont, District Two School Board member, Dave McGee and Charlotte Smith for the two Justices of the Peace in Ward Two, Pamela Hall for Justice of the Peace Ward Three; Wade Riley for Justice of the Peace Ward Four, Mike Causey for Justice of the Peace for Ward Five; Earlin Fruge and Mike Stockwell for the two Constables in Ward Two; Tim Causey for Constable in Ward Four; Derrick Guillory for Constable in Ward Five; and Quint West for Pine Prairie Mayor. The following will face off in November: Joe Brady and Michael "Gorilla" Fruge for Constable in Ward Three; Incumbent L.C. Deshotel and challenger Joshua Estes for Pine Prairie Police Chief; Carmen Cortez and Herbert "Rip" Rippeon for Alderman in District Two in Basile and for Aldermen in Pine Prairie where three are to be elected: Incumbents Gilbert Bordelon, Tammy Hammond and Debbie Oge and challengers Gretchen Long Lamke and Kevin Rodriguez. Voters will also for President of the United States.

Ville Platte Police Arrest Subject on Attempted Murder Charge

Ville Platte Police Arrest local suspect on Attempted Murder Charge July 24, 2020 Ville Platte Police responded to a call of shots being fired at a local store Friday in the 700 block of Edward Notto Street. When they arrived, police found the male victim with a gunshot wound to his leg. He was transported to a Lafayette area hospital for treatment. During their investigation, police found out that the wounded subject was shot by his brother. Police Detective Darrien Guillory secured an arrest warrant from 13th Judicial District Court Judge Gary Ortego for the arrest of the suspect. The suspect, Ahmed Ali , of 218 North Latour Street, Ville Platte was arrested by Bunkie Police, the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff deputies and U.S. Marshals. Police Chief Neal Lartigue would like to thank the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bunkie Police, Avoyelles Sheriff Office, Lafayette Sheriff Office, U. S. Marshals Office and the Louisiana State Police for their help.

More candidates qualify on Day Two at the Clerk of Court's Office

As per Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, candidates that have qualified as of 4:30 p.m., Thursday, July 23, 2020, to run for office in the upcoming November 3 Fall election are as follows: Constable, Ward 2 Mike Stockwell Constable, Ward 5 Derrick Guillory School Board, District 2 Nick Chaumont Alderman, District 2, Basile Carmen Cortez City Judge, City Court, City of Ville Platte Gregory Vidrine Justice of the Peace, Ward 2 Charlotte D. Smith Justice of the Peace, Ward 3 Pamela H. Hall Mayor, Village of Pine Prairie Quint West Alderman, Village of Pine Prairie Debbie Oge Gilbert J. Bordelon Tammy M. Hammond Chief of Police, Village of Pine Prairie L.C. Deshotel Qualifying ends Friday July 24 at the Clerk of Court's Office in the courthouse.

Evangeline Parish School Board Adopts a "Hybrid" Covid-19 School Plan and delays the start of school

Evangeline Parish School Board Delays School Opening July 22, 2020 The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday night in a lengthy meeting approved delaying the start of public schools in the parish to permit teachers more time to prepare for students under a new approved Covid-19 plan. The original calendar date for the start of school was August 12 with teachers due to come in two days earlier. The vote to delay was 10-1 with Wanda Skinner voting no. . The board authorized Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard and his staff survey the teachers and prepare two proposed calendars for the start of school in time for the next school board meeting on August 5 . After a presentation by Superintendent of Schools Lazard and Assistant Supt. Michael Lombas on a blended plan for students returning to the classroom along with the choice of students attending the Evangeline Virtual Academy, the board approved the plan by a 10-1 vote with Wanda Skinner voting no. Skinner had earlier made an earlier motion to go 100 percent virtual and her motion died for a lack of a second. A survey of parents showed that over 60 percent of parents responding want to send their children back to school while some 20 percent do not. That is why the school district has given parents the option to have their children attend the Evangeline Virtual Academy online from their homes. Some 1072 of the 5700 students have signed up so far , for the online school. The deadline to sign up is July 31. The major problem facing the school system is some rural areas of the parish have no internet service. School officials have met with the Louisiana Public Service Commission and the local internet provider, Centurylink but have yet to resolve the issue. Each school will have three temperature checking devices that can check the temperature of each student crossing through it. Supt. Lazard gave an overview of the adopted plan: No more than 25 students in a classroom in Phase two. Face coverings are mandated for school employees and students. All students will receive face to face instruction Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday depending upon the group they are in. The other days will be home instruction through distance learning Students refusing to wear a face covering at school will be removed from class and sent home and will have to attend the online school. School Board Attorney Bob Hammonds said he is preparing an official policy for the school board to follow to stay in line with the act of the legislature that will provide immunity to the school system from any liability should someone come down with Covid 19. Alex Hickerson, a parent, said he was pleased the board voted to delay the start of school but he is concerned that some board members are not taking the wearing of face masks seriously. Yvonne Johnson, local Louisiana Association of educators representative, announced that 150 teachers have responded to a survey about the start of school: 29 percent of teachers are ready to start school, 37 percent are unsure about the start of school and 34 percent said they felt pressured to return to school. In other business, the school board: --Recognized the new principal at Ville Platte High School Chenile Tezeno ; --Heard from Supt. Lazard announce that the French Immersion teachers from Belgium and France were given special waivers from President Trump to come teach at Ville Platte and Mamou Elementary. Special thanks to Wanda Verette and Eric Soileau for their work along with Congressman Mike Johnson; --approved the purchase of 1100 additional chromebook devices so every student will have one to start the school year at a cost of $435,000; --received news that large ceiling fans will be installed at six school gyms in August.

Qualifying for the November Primary Election began today at the Clerk of Court's Office

As per Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, candidates that have qualified as of 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 22, 2020, to run for office in the upcoming Fall election are as follows: Constable: Ward 2 Earlin Fruge Constable; Ward 3 Joseph "Joe" Brady Michael "Gorilla" Fruge Constable; Ward 4 Tim Causey City Marshall, City Court, Ville Platte Nicole Latour Snoddy Lisa M. Doucet Horace Johnson Alderman, Village of Pine Prairie Gretchen Long Lamke Kevin P. Rodriguez Chief of Police, Village of Pine Prairie Joshua C. Estes Alderman, District 2, Town of Basile Herbert "Ripp" Rippeon District Judge, 13th JDC, Division A: Gary Ortego District Judge, 13th JDC, Division B: Chuck R. West Justice of the Peace, Ward 4 Wade Riley Justice of the Peace, Ward 5 J. Michael "Mike" Causey District Attorney, 13th JDC Trent Brignac

Rotary Club Hears from Jennifer Feucht of Mercy Regional Medical Center

The Ville Platte Rotary Club, today (Tuesday) heard from Jennifer Feucht, a registered nurse and the Director of Infection Prevention and Employee Health and Education at Mercy Regional Medical Center. Feucht reminded club members that the number one way to prevent infection is hand hygiene by keeping your hands clean. The hand cleaners need to contain 60 percent alcohol to be effective. Two other important factors to stop the spread of the Corona Virus is wearing a mask and social distancing. The respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes will usually fall from 3-4 feet so health experts urge residents to keep a safe distance of six feet. She said the virus is easy to kill through alcohol and cleaners. Some of the symptoms those who have the virus include headaches, a fever and a sore throat. Others are asymptomatic which means they show no symptoms but they could spread the virus to other people with underlying health problems. Feucht says hospitals are filling up and starting to strain the bed capacity but on the good side, death rates and the demand for ventilators have decreased. She said most corona virus tests take 7-10 days to get results. Feucht was the guest speaker of Rotarian Renee Brown. Rotary Club President introduced the new club secretary Barbara Buroker.

Evangeline Parish District Attorney announces Grand Jury proceedings for Wednesday and Thursday Cancelled

Here is a special news release from Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac: "Pursuant to the recent Governor's proclamation as well as Louisiana Supreme Court's orders, the Evangeline Parish District Attorney's office in conjunction with the District Judges have cancelled grand jury proceedings set for Wednesday July 22, 2020 and Thursday July 23, 2020. The rescheduling of the grand jury will be announced at a future date. If any one with the grand jury has any questions, please fee free to contact the District Attorney's office at 337-363-3438."

Evangeline Parish District Attorney announces Grand Jury proceedings for Wednesday and Thursday Cancelled

Here is a special news release from Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac: "Pursuant to the recent Governor's proclamation as well as Louisiana Supreme Court's orders, the Evangeline Parish District Attorney's office in conjunction with the District Judges have cancelled grand jury proceedings set for Wednesday July 22, 2020 and Thursday July 23, 2020. The rescheduling of the grand jury will be announced at a future date. If any one with the grand jury has any questions, please fee free to contact the District Attorney's office at 337-363-3438."

Ville Platte City Council Approves Additional Ambulance Service in City

Following major decisions at the Ville Platte City Council's July regular meeting, the city will have another choice in ambulance service and ten new single-family homes. In a unanimous decision the Council voted Tuesday to allow MedExpress Ambulance Service to operate in the city limits. Up to this point, only Acadian Ambulance served Ville Platte. MedExpress will now begin looking for a location in the city to put its office, where it will house one unit. Until then, its ambulances will be dispatched from Opelousas. Director of Operations Tyler Martin told the Council that the move will bring eight jobs to the city, including four EMT positions, four paramedic positions, and two office jobs. He said that MedExpress is committed to having local workers fill the jobs. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said that she has already spoken to Evangeline Parish 911, which told her that there would be no problems with rotating the calls between Acadian and MedExpress. Martin told the Council that having two ambulance services in the city would ensure that the patient is always getting the closest ambulance in the case of an emergency. Although MedExpress can only operate within the city limits for emergency calls, Martin also told the Council that the company is investigating putting a unit in Mamou, and possibly one in Vidrine. MedExpress has a VIP Membership plan that does not have any membership fees. Anyone who is enrolled in the VIP plan receives up to 30 percent off of transportation costs. Martin and MedExpress attorney Alyssa Tassin emphasized the community outreach that MedExpress is dedicated to providing, including cooperating with public schools to conduct EMT classes and partnering with the police department for telemedicine. In another important decision, the Council agreed to sell twelve lots in the Eloi Demourelle Subdivision along North Dossman Street to Community Directions, Inc., for $20,000. The non-profit organization based in Opelousas will develop the 1.7 acre property, building ten single-family detached homes for rent or purchase. The homes will have two bedrooms. Chad Hesnor Contractors will build the homes, using local laborers and purchasing the material locally. In other business, Mayor Vidrine reminded residents and business owners of the Gov. Edward's recent mandate for people to wear masks. "The City of Ville Platte is following the mandate," Vidrine said. "We are also requesting that business put a sign on its doors when entering that masks are required." "Let's take politics out of it," she said. "It's not political. It's about health. It's to save lives. Be kind. Be considerate. Be good Ville Platte human beings that car about each other." In an interview with KVPI after the meeting, Vidrine said that business that fail to enforce the mask mandate could be cited, but the citations do not apply to individuals. Before citing the businesses, Vidrine said that the police would first have a discussion with the business owner to emphasize the seriousness of following the mandate. "But, I hope it doesn't come to that," she said. The mayor added that the citywide curfew is still in effect: from 11 pm – 5 am for adults; and from 8 pm – 6 am for minors. Councilman Bryant Riggs suggested a bonus program to help with hiring police officers. He noted that Ville Platte has raised it's salary to $15/hour for officers, which is higher than the surrounding police departments. Riggs mentioned that both Opelousas and Eunice pay just $12/hour for its officers. He suggested a hiring bonus for experienced, post-certified new hires. Mayor Vidrine said that the city's legal department will look into the possibility of such a program and implement it if possible. "Unlike in other places of the United States," Vidrine said, "we do not believe in defunding the police. In fact, we added $300,000 to the police budget. The City Council has done everything in its power to have officers on the road patrolling and protecting our community." Vidrine reminded the public that there are openings in the police department and encouraged people to pick up an application. She also noted that there are currently 12 positions open in the city's street department, and encouraged people to apply for those positions. The Council approved spending $18,040 to repair a cave-in at the intersection of South Dossman and Magnolia streets. According to City Engineer Ronnie Landreneau, there is a chance that the cost could go up if the proposed method of repair isn't feasible. Mayor Vidrine announced a partnership with Evangeline Parish Tourism to clean up and improve Heritage Park.

Legislative Interview with State Rep. Rhonda Butler

Be sure to tune to a legislative interview with State Representative Rhonda Butler to talk about the recent completed session of the legislature and some of the highlights and accomplishments. We plan to air the interview at 12;30pm Wednesday on KVPI 1050 AM and KVPI FM 92.5.

Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office conducts drug arrests

Sheriff Charles R. Guillory, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office releases the following: A recent drug transaction came down to just good ole police observation, when Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office Investigators noticed suspicious activity in the parking lot of a neighborhood store. Investigators noticed a 1995 green colored GMC single cab pickup pull up to the store near the gas pumps. A white male subject approaches the vehicle and he and the driver conducts a hand to hand drug transaction. Upon completion of the transaction, a traffic stop was made on the driver of the GMC pickup later identified as Bart Fontenot. During the traffic stop investigators located and confiscated 9 Scheduled II pills in his possession (8 Oxycodone / 1 Amphetamine) along with cash money. Fontenot is being charged with one count of Possession w/Intent to Distribute CDS Schedule II (Methadone), and one count of Possession of CDS Schedule II (Oxycodone and Amphetamine). The investigation was furthered by conducting a Search of the residence and property where Fontenot resides. Upon completion of the search, 6 marijuana plants were located that was being cultivated in the back yard of the property. Charges are being filed on Shane Fontenot DOB 07/01/1990 for Cultivation of Marijuana.

Sheriff Charles Guillory was guest speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Meeting

Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting July 14, 2020 The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from new Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles Guillory. Sheriff Guillory urged the citizens of Evangeline Parish to follow the directions of Governor Edwards to wear a mask to help stop the spread of Covid-19. How ever he told club members that he will not issue a citation since there is no penalty with the governor's orders. The sheriff is facing the same funding issue previous sheriff's have had to tackle: a lack of revenues. The sheriff said his revenue base has not increased since 1977. His 1.3 million dollar budget is a far cry from nearby departments whose budgets range from 8-12 million dollars a year. "Protection and Safety is not free", the sheriff commented. The department was able to acquire 12 used patrol cars from Desoto Parish. The sheriff remarked that he plans to begin a traffic division to run radar along I-49 as a means to raise some revenues. He is also applying for a matching grant to purchase three new vehicles. The sheriff wants to have a DARE program in parish schools along with school resource officers. "We have 14 schools in the parish and none of them are secure and that worries me," said Guillory. He announced that his Chief Deputy is Scott Fontenot who recently retired from the State Wildlife and Fisheries Department; Jeremy Mitchell, is remaining to oversee the traffic division and public relations work. Also, Chase Melancon is the new Financial Officer for the department.

Election Returns Saturday night July 11 in Evangeline Parish

Complete but unofficial election returns for the Primary election held Saturday July 11 shows an apparent runoff for the two vote getters for Ward One Ville Platte City Marshal. The top vote getter was Horace Johnson with 1046 votes or 38 percent of the vote with incumbent Lisa Doucet, the widow of former Marshal Ronald T Doucet receiving 781 votes or 28 percent of the vote. Coming in a close third was Brian Keith Fontenot with 746 votes. The other candidates and their totals include: Lucian McKenney Jr. with 113 votes and Adam Toussaint with 66 votes. Both Johnson and Doucet will face off in the runoff election in August. There were two millage tax renewal issues on the ballot and they both passed by the voters. The City of Ville Platte 4 mill renewal passed 918 to 427. The Prairie Mamou Gravity Drainage District #8 3.5 renewal issue was approved 27-5. The Presidential Preference Primary showed the two top front runners in each party winning by a large margin: In the Republican field, Republican incumbent President Donald Trump received 97 percent of the vote or 1297 votes. In the Democratic field, former Vice President Joe Biden received 68 percent of the vote or 1353 votes. Over all the turnout was very low parish wide, according to Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel.

KVPI Election Returns Saturday Night July 11

The 2020 Presidential Preference Primary election is scheduled for Saturday July 11 in Evangeline Parish and throughout Louisiana. In Evangeline Parish, the ballot includes a Ward One City Marshal's race and some tax renewals. The polls open at 7:00am and close at 8:00pm Saturday. Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI urges you to go vote and then hear your vote count at 8;00pm as we broadcast live from the Clerk of Court's Office in the courthouse to broadcast complete election return coverage for our listeners . Special thanks to our sponsor: Savoy Medical Center.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Meets

Rotary Club July 7, 2020 The Ville Platte Rotary Club held their first weekly meeting since mid March due to Covid-19. The club is now holding their weekly noon luncheons at Café Evangeline. New President Peter Strawitz conducted the meeting. He announced that State Senator Heather Cloud will be the guest speaker at next week's meeting. Rotarian Eric Gil will be the local Paul Harris Fellow chairman encouraging club members to contribute to Rotary International. Barbara Buroker will be the new club secretary. There are a number of annual events that the local club has done in the past that remains a question mark due to the Corona Virus Pandemic including the annual football pools and the Choices program in the schools. The new president is promoting a possible new springtime event for club members called a "Peace Picnic" where members and their families would gather at a local park and enjoy a pleasant evening together. The new club officers are: President Peter Strawitz, President Elect Michael Lemoine, Vice President Jimmy LeBlanc, Treasurer Annette Johnson and Secretary Barbara Buroker, Song Master and Sgt. At Arms Dr. Joey Soileau. Board members include: Eric Gil, Larry Lachney, Bob Manuel, Wayne Vidrine and Nicole Wenger.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday discuss guidelines for Covid-19

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday ,after much discussion and a request for guidance from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron, agreed for the parish to follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines as far as protocols to follow dealing with personnel. Bergeron reported that two employees are in self quarantine after finding out members of their families have tested positive for Covid-19. Also the jury is considering a sanitizing company to come in and sanitize parish owned buildings due to Covid-19. The police jury, in other business, approved a request from the Sheriff's Office to purchase three tasers for the parish jail at a cost of $6143. The parish jail warden Josh Lafleur said he and his jailers are seeing more prisoners coming in high on meth and other drugs. In the past, the jail had been using tasers on loan from patrol officers. Crooked Creek Committee Chairman Lamar Johnson said from all indications this past weekend's July 4th bash at Crooked Creek Recreational Park was a big success . He praised Parish Director Kim Ortego for doing a good job. The park has over $81,000 in surplus funds. Johnson said it is important to urge the state to overlay Crooked Creek Park road and also US 167 north of Turkey Creek to encourage campers to travel to Crooked Creek Parks. It was learned that improvements to US 167 are in the state capital outlay budget this year. Evangeline Parish Tourism Commission President Jay Gielow asked for permission to use parish inmates on a project to spend some $2300 to improve the Heritage Garden off Lasalle Street. Gielow said there is a lot of cleanup and planting that needs to be done. The jury approved his request. He also reported that the tourism group plans to erect an historical marker honoring one of high school basketball's winningest coaches, the late Leslie Gaudet of Pine Prairie. Coach Gaudet in 30 years of coaching amassed a record of 1026 wins and 353 losses, a winning percentage of 73 percent. The tourism group will also be working with Crooked Creek to assist in marketing the park to provide online reservations. The police jury approved advertising for the renewal of millage taxes for Cemetery District Number 2, Number 3, Number 7 and the Lone Pine Fire District. The renewal election is scheduled for November. In other action the police jury: --approved renewing a cooperative agreement with the LSU AG Center to continue to provide offices for the County Agent's staff for another five year term. The term will decrease the annual installment paid by the police jury by some $6,000 a year from $27,476 to $21,702.; --approved the resignation of Elizabeth West on the Tourism Board; --received news that sales tax collections decreased by some 5 percent in June; --received word that fire insurance rebate checks were distributed to fire departments throughout the parish; --voted to advertise for a new custodian for the courthouse and a new full time permit clerk for the jury following retirements of personnel.

Evangeline Parish School Board discusses opening of School in August

The Evangeline Parish School Board, Wednesday, met and discussed the different options for the opening of school in August. Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard told board members that a lot will depend upon what phase the state will be in by August 10, the date classes are expected to start in Evangeline Parish public schools. Currently, due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, the governor has decided to keep the state in Phase two for another 30 days. The superintendent assured board members and the public that there will be school for school students in August. He said his office is getting daily updates from the governor, the state department of health and the state department of education. Supt. Lazard and Assistant Supt. Mike Lombas are promoting the new Evangeline Virtual Academy that will give parents an alternative if they are concerned about Covid-19. The academy will operate from Evangeline Central and will allow students to take all of the necessary courses for their grade level in the safety of their home. Students will be loaned a chrome book and will have access to a local teacher if they problems completing their assignment. So far, some 100 students have signed up from throughout the parish. Supt. Lazard met with school nurses earlier this week to come up with protocols for the opening of school for the safety and health of students and the staff. In other business, Supt. Lazard said he is cautiously optimistic that President Trump will permit an exemption to allow French Immersion teachers to travel to Louisiana. A recent order by the president would prohibit foreign workers to travel to the United States to protect American workers. Here in Evangeline Parish, the school system has Ville Platte Elementary and Mamou Elementary with a French Immersion program and employs foreign teachers through Codofil. In other action, board member Michael Fontenot had questions over the use of parish maintenance funds to purchase textbooks rather than using federal stimulus funds . Chief Financial Officer Amy Lafleur said the parish wide maintenance fund has been used for years for the overall operation of the school system . Fontenot asked for a breakdown on where the stimulus money is being spent on. The board approved the textbook purchase using maintenance funds with board members Michael Fontenot and Wanda Skinner voting no.

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