Local News Archives for 2021-04

Cleco officials will be in our KVPI Studios Wednesday at 9:00am to talk your calls

KVPI Sponsors Cleco Thank You Shoutouts April 28, 2021 Cleco President and CEO Bill Fontenot will be live in our KVPI studios along with Cleco Manager of Distribution Operations Chris Guillory to talk with our listeners Wednesday morning at 9:00am immediately after La Tasse de Café. KVPI General Manager Mark Layne will be talking with both officials in a live in- studio interview. We will also accept your phone calls to do shout out -thank you messages to Cleco front line workers such as linemen and other employees. The challenges they faced included numerous hurricanes and ice storms to restore electricity to our homes and businesses. You can call in your special messages at 337-363-2124. Bill Fontenot began his career with Cleco in April 1986 holding numerous executive leadership positions. During his 30 plus years in the energy industry Bill has managed the development and restructuring efforts of generation projects valued at over 900 million dollars including Cleco Power's $1 billion generating unit, Madison 3. Bill has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University. Bill is native of Ville Platte. He and his wife, Michele have four children. Chris Guillory is a manager of distribution operations for Cleco Power in Evangeline, St. Landry and Acadia Parish. Chris oversees the power line technicians and other personnel who keep the lights on in these areas. He began his career with Cleco Power in June 1999. He was part of the line crew for ten years and also worked in the engineering department for eight years. Chris was born and raised in Vidrine and graduated from Vidrine High School. He has two children: Remi is a senior and Harlie is a freshman.

S.L.C.C. Vice Chancellor Lana Fontenot guest speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Club

Rotary Club Meeting April 26, 2021 South Louisiana Community College Vice Chancellor Lana Fontenot was the guest speaker at today's (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club. She announced that the new chancellor was selected earlier this year: Dr. Vincent June who was serving as Vice Chancellor for some time before chosen. S.L.C.C. offers 50 different majors serving 17,000 students on campuses in eight different parishes. Recently, an additional campus was added to the S.L.C.C. system: Cotton port in Avoyelles Parish. She reported that S.L.C.C. offers technical diplomas and Associate Degrees to transfer to four year universities. Some 65 percent of graduating students go on to transfer to universities such as U.L. Lafayette while some 35 percent get their technical diploma in such courses as welding, nursing and air conditioning work. She said over 200 Evangeline Parish students have graduated in the last 3 and a half years from S.L.C.C. schools. The local Coreil campus of S.L.C.C. offers courses in welding, medical associates, LPN, Business and General Studies. Carlene Jones is the local campus director. In other news, Club President Peter Strawitz announced that the annual installation of rotary club officers will be held June 22 at Café Evangeline.

Evangeline Parish voters approve Sheriff's Department New Sales Tax Proposal

Evangeline Parish Voters approve new Sales Tax April 24, 2021 Evangeline Parish voters approved a new one cent sales tax called by the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office. The final vote total was 2512 votes for the sales tax and 1772 votes against the tax. Nearly 59 percent of the voters who voted were in favor of the sheriff's new tax proposal. The issue was the only item on the parish ballot. Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel said polls throughout the parish remained busy through the day. In his statement to the voters of Evangeline Parish over KVPI FM, the sheriff said" Thank you to his wife, family ,friends, employees and citizens of the parish. It was a team effort. History was made tonight after 44 years as the first sales tax earmarked for the sheriff's office was approved by voters. As your sheriff I will spend your tax dollars wisely and continue to do a good job as I have done in the last nine months. My first item to accomplish is a new parish jail to help relieve precious tax dollars for housing pre trail inmates outside the parish." KVPI FM was there covering the election returns live from the Clerk of Court's Office for listeners throughout the parish.

More Sheriff Department Drug Arrests

More Drug Arrests from Sheriff's Office April 21, 2021 Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles R. Guillory reported to KVPI News that sheriff's deputies stopped a car in Mamou last Saturday April 17 for a traffic violation. While speaking to the driver, the deputy detected a smell of marijuana coming from the car. The deputies were granted permission to search the vehicle. The driver, Keith R. Thomas age 30, 604 Second Street, Mamou was cited for possession of marijuana and released. Also last Saturday, deputies stopped a car in Mamou for a traffic violation. Deputies noticed the driver acting nervous and jittery. When they asked the passenger to exit the car, a bag of marijuana fell on the ground. Darrel James Guillory age 36 of 1008 Railroad, Mamou was cited for possession of marijuana and released. On Monday deputies stopped a vehicle in the Mamou area. This driver confessed to deputies that she had marijuana in the car. Carolyn Denise Thomas age 21 of 121 3rd Street Mamou was cited for possession of marijuana and released. Also on Monday, deputies stopped another vehicle in the Mamou area. When deputies walked to the car, they could see in plain sight, a bag of pills and marijuana. The suspect was identified as Dequincy Record, age 35 of 517 Chestnut Street, Mamou charged with Possession of Ecstasy and Possession of Marijuana. On Monday, deputies stopped a vehicle in the Reddell area for a traffic violation. The driver had an active warrant for his arrest. When deputies arrested him, they located narcotics in his pockets. The K-9 dog, Diego, was deployed on the vehicle and he gave a positive alert. Arrested was Market Anthony Freeman age 35 of 1101 Railroad , Mamou charged with Possession with intent to distribute Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of controlled dangerous substances in the presence of minors and two active warrants. Another traffic stop in the Mamou area on Monday resulted in the following action: Izail Demonte Richard , age 18 of 701 First Street, Mamou was cited for Possession of Marijuana and released. A traffic stop on the Vidrine road on Monday by sheriff's deputies led to the arrest of a wanted subject and the recovery of narcotics. The subject was identified as James Kayson Desho Garlow age 20 of 401 West LaSalle, Ville Platte. He was cited for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia and arrested on an active warrant for carrying a firearm on school grounds. In a statement to KVPI News, the sheriff said "These arrests bring the total number of drug arrests and citations since July 1, 2020 to 261 . I , Sheriff Charles Guillory and my entire department are totally committed to doing everything possible to clean up and take back our parish. Our parish has been plagued by criminal activity for too long. Our citizens, children and grand children deserve a safer and better Evangeline parish."

Evangeline Parish School Board approves industrial tax exemption for Cabot Corporation

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting April 21, 2021 The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday approved by a vote of 9-3 to give Cabot Corporation an Industrial Tax Exemption . Those voting against giving the tax break were Mike Fontenot. Wanda Skinner and Sheila Joseph. Board member Nancy Hamlin was not present. The board held the meeting in the much larger Ville Platte High gym to permit those interested in the issue to attend. The motion was similar to one approved by the police jury last week. It gives Cabot a five year exemption. In five years, the school board will make a determination whether to grant a second five year exemption to Cabot. Cabot has been in Ville Platte for the past 78 years according to local plant manager Derrick Turner. The plant is preparing to begin a 147 million dollar project which will include reducing carbon emissions and generate its own power. Also attending the meeting were Evangeline Parish Tax Assessor Chris Guillory and Evangeline Chamber President Dr. Gwen Fontenot. Johnell Fontenot, assistant principal at Vidrine Elementary said after meeting with Cabot officials, "This Company is a blessing to our parish. This project is for the betterment for all Evangeline Parish." Board member Mike Fontenot asked the Superintendent if he had a recommendation and asked "Do we not need the tax monies we will be giving up?" Supt. Darwan Lazard replied that he wanted board members to make up their own minds on the issue. "I have gotten the facts and the experts to address you for you so you can make an informed decision on this important issue" said Lazard. Lazard said he will be addressing plans for improvements at school campuses throughout the parish at next month's meeting based on expected federal stimulus dollars. In other action the school board: --approved extending the contract for Supt. of Schools Darwan Lazard an additional two years; --approved a contract for demographer Mike Heffner to prepare the school board redistricting plan based on new 2020 census numbers in time for the 2022 school

Evangeline Chamber announces Nominees for 2021 Civic Awards

Civic Award Nominees Announced April 19, 2021 The Evangeline Chamber of Commerce has released the names of nominees for the 2021 Civic Awards, according to Chamber executive director Tobin Deville. For Woman of the Year: Carleen Bellard, Annette Johnson and Nicole Wenger. For Man of the year: Brian Ardoin and Dr. Chuck Aswell. The Ag Person of the Year will be announced the night of the event. Business of the Year: Boco's Inc, Invision Technical Solutions, Mercy Regional Medical Center, New Horizons-Savoy Medical Center, T Boy's Slaughterhouse and Top Cop Driving Academy; Business Person of the Year: Paul "T Boy" Berzas, Dr. Armand Coreil, and Dr. Brandon Fontenot; Business Innovation of the Year: Butler and Company Tree and Storm Recovery, Laville Funeral Home and Vidrine Ace Hardware; Young Business Person of the Year: Darion Arvie with Arvie Janitorial, Damon Blanchard with Invision Technical, Ashley Deville with Sign Gypsies; Aubree Fontenot with Summer Swim Lessons and Dance Place; Martin Jason with New Level Fitness and Kayla Lazard with Kayla Lazard Photography. The winners will be announced at the annual Chamber Awards Banquet Thursday May 6 at the Chauncey Pitre Ag Arena.

Suspects arrested for Attempted Murder Charges

Two suspects arrested for attempted murder April 16, 2021 Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles Guillory reported to KVPI News on Wednesday, the United States Marshall's Fugitive Task Force in conjunction with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Department executed arrest warrants on two suspects in Ville Platte. The Task Force included twelve agents along with deputies went to Gabriel Villa Apartment Complex on Lincoln road, the agents entered an apartment and arrested two suspects without any incident. They were identified as : Jadarius Simmins age 25 of Rayne wanted for one count of Attempted Murder and one count of Solicitation of membership to criminal gang. He was also charged with Possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; Crystal Savoy age 40 of Crowley wanted for one count of attempted murder and one count of solicitation of membership to a criminal gang; Both suspects were returned to Acadia Parish.

Sheriff's Office Drug Arrests

Drug Arrests by Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office April 14, 2021 Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles Guillory reported to KVPI News the sheriff's office K-9 unit Monday, conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle on Oberlin road west of Mamou near L.D. Verette road. While the deputy was speaking with the driver, he could smell marijuana coming from the car. The deputy deployed his drug dog and received positive alerts on the car. The following subjects were arrested: Martin L. LeBleu age 46 of Mamou , Michael Jean Charlie age 23 of Mamou and Alexis Lynn Lowery age 23 of Mamou were each charged with possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a firearm in the presence of controlled dangerous substance . LeBleu was additionally arrested on a bench warrant for non support. On Tuesday the criminal patrol unit stopped a car for a traffic violation in Ville Platte . Permission was given for deputies to search their vehicle and both the driver and passenger were in possession of narcotics. They were identified as Crystal Renee Johnson age 42 of Ville Platte cited for possession of marijuana and released. Also charged was Carol James Guillory age 55 of Ville Platte with a charge of possession of Methamphetamine. Also on Tuesday, the Sheriff's Department conducted a search warrant on a residence at 602 North Reed in Ville Platte. The department had been receiving numerous complaints of criminal activity including drug trafficking. The deputies entered the residence and began a search with their drug dog, Diego. Deputies recovered 87 grams of marijuana and 19 ounces of PCP along with a 9mm handgun. Arrested was Dustin Raushuan Johnson age 29 of Ville Platte charged with possession with intent to distribute Marijuana over 87 grams, Possession with intent to distribute PCP over 19 ounces, possession of a firearm in the presence of controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Evangeline Police Jury Grants Tax Exemption to Cabot Corporation

Police Jury Grants Tax Exemption to Cabot April 14, 2021 The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Wednesday, meeting in a special session voted 8-1 to grant an Industrial Tax Exemption to Cabot Corporation. Following the vote, there was a loud applause by members of the audience. The lone police juror voting against the action was District Two Juror Sidney Fontenot. In his comments after the vote Fontenot stated" We are a financially strapped parish. The money we are giving up is money we desperately need. Since we're giving Cabot a tax break , can we ask the public to vote for a tax next year?" The motion to grant the exemption was made by Juror Bryan Vidrine. Vidrine said this was a hard decision to make. "We need more money for our parish but Cabot has been a good steward and they have greatly benefited out parish." The proposal calls for approval of the tax exemption for a five year term. It stipulates that the police jury will have the authority to review the exemption after five years to decide whether to allow the exemption to proceed for an additional five year period. Cabot Facility Manager Derrick Turner said he has cleared the offer by the police jury with Cabot leaders. Juror Eric Soileau said the initial ten year exemption was too long. He thanked Cabot officials for working with the parish. Cabot will now seek approval by the Evangeline Parish School Board which decides on April 21 and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff by the end of the month. The 147 million construction project includes reducing carbon emissions as mandated by the E.P.A. and producing its own source of electricity. The project including the creation of 15 new permanent jobs.

Ville Patte City Council 13 April 2021

Brian Ardoin visited Tuesday’s meeting of the Ville Platte City Council to discuss with members his opposition to Sheriff Charles Guillory’s proposed 1% sales tax. Ardoin stated that the taxes in our parish are already over 50% higher than that of the rest of Louisiana. He said that Evangeline Parish is in the top 2% highest sales tax in the state of Louisiana, and that we’re in the top 5% highest sales tax nationwide. He personally believes that to call on another sales tax is asking too much of the people and that there are other, more effective solutions to the budget should be discussed.


Brian Ardoin visited Tuesday’s meeting of the Ville Platte City Council to discuss with members his opposition to Sheriff Charles Guillory’s proposed 1% sales tax. Ardoin stated that the taxes in our parish are already over 50% higher than that of the rest of Louisiana. He said that Evangeline Parish is in the top 2% highest sales tax in the state of Louisiana, and that we’re in the top 5% highest sales tax nationwide. He personally believes that to call on another sales tax is asking too much of the people and that there are other, more effective solutions to the budget should be discussed.


Finally, Brian Ardoin stressed that the 1% sales tax is a perpetual tax and not a temporary one. While he agrees that the Sheriff’s Office’s current $2.5 million budget is not a lot of money, he questions the ethicality of voting in a tax that would continue with future generations.


In other news, Mayor Jennifer Vidrine would like to remind everyone that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccinations will be available via drive-thru and walk-up at the Ville Platte Civic Center. The first dose will be on April 22nd starting at 8 a.m.; the second dose will be on May 20th starting at 8 a.m.


Mayor Vidrine would also like to remind the public to register or apply for Louisiana rental assistance, even if you are on an assistance program like Section 8. The assistance is available retroactively from April 2020, and renters can apply online.

Cabot Public Hearing

Cabot Public Hearing April 13, 2021 A large group of concerned citizens comprised of Evangeline Parish School Board members, Cabot workers, Evangeline Chamber Members and local residents attended a public hearing Tuesday night at Ville Platte High School Auditorium. The meeting was called by the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce and co-sponsored by the Evangeline Parish School Board. Board President Wayne Dardeau welcomed those in attendance and the rest of the meeting was conducted by Dr. Gwen Fontenot, President of the Chamber of Commerce. The meeting was called to give citizens to ask questions over a request by Cabot Corporation requesting permission from the Evangeline Parish School Board, Sheriff Charles Guillory and the Evangeline Parish Police Jury to receive an Industrial Tax Exemption. Rebecca Shirley with One Acadiana gave an overview on the Industrial Tax exemption that has been in existence since the 1940's. In 2016 Governor Edwards approved an executive order that the exemptions must be approved by local government agencies that will be impacted. Derrick Turner, local Cabot Facilities Manager explained the plant will undergo a proposed 147 million capital construction project which in part will reduce carbon emissions and also generate electricity to the plant. Turner stressed to the group that the project is not an expansion. The work will provide much cleaner air to local citizens and create 15 new jobs and protect the current 90 job holders. Of the 90 employees some 62 residents in the parish. There will be some 250-300 contractor workers each day during the construction period. It was also mentioned how Cabot has given to local school groups and non- profit agencies through the years. Mamou School Board Member Mike Fontenot said "we have a school gym in bad shape with no air conditioning. We need to pass a tax and yet you want us to give a tax break." Evangeline Parish Assessor Chris Guillory said "This is not an easy decision for you. I commend you for your concern by showing up tonight. I know our parish will make the right decision and move forward. Café Evangeline Owner Jay Giehlow warned school board members and the public to be mindful of the decision they reach. He said "If this exemption doesn't pass, we could lose this company, then we have nothing. We could lose the third highest taxed industry in the parish by making the wrong decision over the exemption." Several Cabot employees spoke up during the meeting including Cody Ortego and Jackie Ortego who asked the school board to approve the industrial tax exemption. The school board will make a decision on the matter at their meeting on Wednesday April 21. The Police Jury will decide Wednesday at 5;30pm at the courthouse. The sheriff is expected to a decision later this month.

Evangeline Parish 9-1-1 Director Liz Hill Guest Speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Meeting

Ville Platte Rotary Club April 14, 2021 The Ville Platte Rotary Club Tuesday heard from Liz Hill, executive director of the Evangeline Parish Communications District (9-1-1) and Office of Emergency Preparedness. This is National Dispatcher Week. The 9-1-1 dispatchers takes calls throughout Evangeline Parish with an area of 660 square miles with a population of 33,000 people. They dispatch for all six fire departments in the parish and five police departments. The only two agencies that do their own dispatching are the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office and the Mamou Police Department. The office employs 14 full time dispatchers and several part time dispatchers to handle the daily calls. Last year, the calls totaled 39,000. There are three dispatchers that each work a 12 hour shift. Each dispatcher must undergo a 54 hour class to become certified. In inclement weather, dispatchers can sleep in the facilities with shower, beds, kitchen and back up generator. Dispatchers are unsung heroes who are there to send life saving services for people in need. Liz Hill was the guest of Rotarian Wayne Vidrine. Club President Peter Strawitz reminded club members that Thursday through Saturday is the District Rotary Conference in Opelousas. He also urged club members to consider becoming a Paul Harris Fellow. By making a $500 donation to Rotary International, the local club will match the donation.

Turkey Creek Arrest

Turkey Creek Drug Arrests April 11, 2021 Turkey Creek Police Chief Steven Ardoin released the following arrest report to KVPI News. Just before midnight Saturday, officers with the Turkey Creek Police Department was working traffic control around the area of US 167 and Pine Street. Officers observed a white SUV speeding. Once contact with the driver, a strong odor of marijuana was coming from the vehicle. After investigation and consent to search, it was learned that Erik Kidd was in possession of marijuana in the presence of a juvenile, possession of controlled dangerous substance and possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance with intent to distribute. Kidd also had an outstanding warrant with the Lafayette City Police for Armed Robbery. He was booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail without incident. Also on Saturday, Officer Ronnie Stevens stopped a vehicle for a minor traffic violation and approached the vehicle. After a brief conversation and a verbal warning to the driver, the officers got a surprise from the young passenger. The child called the officer "Awesome" for the job he was doing. He received a letter and a lucky penny. The letter stated "Dear Police Officer, you can't hear us right now because of all of the noise, but there are millions of Americans who appreciate you, support you and thank you for your service." Officer Stevens, who is a father himself, said he had never got anything like this before and it was much appreciated. The Turkey Creek Police Department would like to thank the public for their continued support and to report all suspicious activity and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

Operation Spring Cleaning Drug Roundup

Operation Spring Cleaning April 9, 2021 On Wednesday and Thursday, April 7 and 8, the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Department, in conjunction with the Mamou Police Department, Ville Platte Police Department and the K-9 interedition association hit the streets of Evangeline Parish in what was called "Operation Spring Cleaning". The agencies were armed with four different K-9 teams. Throughout the two day event, deputies arrested 13 suspects, recovered narcotics, impounded vehicles for no insurance or proper registration and issued summons for driving with a suspended drivers license. The following suspects were arrested: Shannon V. Edwards age 37 of 310 South Chataingier, Ville Platte cited for Possession of Marijuana and for traffic violations; Deanna Clark age 54 1963 Mayo Road, Ville Platte charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute over 14 grams of Methamphetamine and possession of marijuana; Justin Derrick Clark age 39 of 3195 Turkey Creek Glenmora Road charged with possession of Methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant; Shawanna Deville age 41 of 1020 North Reed, Ville Platte cited for Possession of Marijuana; Jody Charlie age 48 of 316 East Beech, Ville Platte charged with Resisting an Officer, Probation Warrant and Possession of drug paraphernalia; Kimberly Frank age 28 of 806 North Latour, Ville Platte cited for Possession of Marijuana and a traffic violation; Malinski Thomas age 25 of Eunice cited for Possession of Marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia; Jennifer Rose Brady age 30 of Sulpher charged with Possession of Heroin, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Zoe Paige Million age 23 of Sulpher charged with Possession of Heroin, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Parphernalia, Stacy Paul Fontenot of 2243 Blood Bend Road, St. Landry charged with Possession of Methamphetamine; Joseph Andrew Credeur age 33 of 804 North Coreil, Ville Platte charged with Possession with intent to distribute Methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant; Taylor Zacary age 25 of 1431 Huey Road, Mamou cited for Possession of Marijuana; Alvin Ford age 37 of Washington charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a firearm in the presence of controlled dangerous substances and Joseph Nolan Fontenot age 42 of 1251 Peach Tree Lane charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Outstanding Warrants.

Mamou Man arrested on Attempted Murder and Arson Charges

Mamou Man Arrested for Attempted Murder, Arson EVANGELINE PARISH- A Mamou man is facing multiple charges following a series of crimes that began with allegedly setting a house on fire with a woman and three children inside. James N. Rozas, 33, has been booked on four counts of Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, one count of Aggravated Arson, one count of Simple Arson and one count of Violation of a Protective Order. Additional charges from other agencies are expected. Around 3 a.m. on Friday, April 9, Evangeline Fire District #1 responded to the 1100 block of J J Street in Mamou for a report of a house fire. Upon arrival, firefighters learned a woman and her three children were in the home when Rozas entered to announce he had set the house and a vehicle on fire. The woman and her children, one an infant, were able to escape unharmed. The SFM was then called to investigate the origin and cause of the fire. Upon arrival, deputies learned Rozas had fled the scene armed with a gun and wearing only a hoodie sweatshirt. The agency's Fugitive Apprehension Team (FAT) was activated to locate the suspect while deputies investigated the fire. Following an assessment of the scene, SFM investigators were able to confirm multiple areas of origin both inside of the home and in a vehicle parked outside of the home, deeming the fires intentionally set. With the assistance of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office, Allen Parish Sheriff's Office, Eunice City Marshal's Office, Coushatta Tribal Police and Louisiana State Police, the FAT tracked Rozas from the scene to Kinder where he was taken into custody without incident. It was confirmed that Rozas had stolen three vehicles between leaving the scene and being apprehended. At this time, Rozas' bond is set at $915,000. The SFM would like to thank the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office, Allen Parish Sheriff's Office, Eunice City Marshal's Office, Coushatta Tribal Police and Louisiana State Police for their partnership in quickly and safely closing this case with a suspect in custody.

Union Tank Official was guest speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Meeting

Ville Platte Rotary Club hears from Union Tank Official April 6, 2021 Union Tank Car Company Safety Supervisor James "Spanky" Vidrine was the guest speaker at today's (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club. He has been with the company for 27 years. Current plant manager Martha Guidry has been with the company for 45 years. The plant came to Ville Platte in 1967 and was called Lithcote. Later in the early 80's, Union Tank purchased the plant. Union Tank has 29 repair shops around the country. The Ville Platte plant repairs and refurbishes railroad tank cars while its Alexandria facility builds brand new cars. On average, Alexandria builds some 70 tank cars a week. By law, railroad tank cars have to be serviced every ten years. Also Union Tank owns a fleet of over 130,000 rail cars it leases to private companies. The plant currently employs some 135 employees working two shifts a day. Despite Covid, the plant has remained busy. There are plans to expand the coatings shop and hire more welders. They anticipate increasing its work force to 170 workers in two years. Vidrine mentioned the president of Union Tank is expected to visit the local facility next week.

More drug arrests made by Evangeline Parish Sheriff Deputies

Evangeline Parish Sheriff Deputies Make Drug Arrests April 7, 2021 Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles Guillory reports the following drug arrests by members of his patrol division. On Saturday April 3, deputies made a routine traffic stop of a car on Vidrine road. The deputy made contact with the driver and advised the reason for the stop. The deputy conducted an interview with the occupants and advised him he could smell marijuana coming from the car. After receiving consent to a search, the deputy located narcotics. The driver, Sadie White age 20 of Oakdale was cited for possession of marijuana over 27 grams. On Monday April 5, the patrol unit stopped a vehicle on a traffic violation on Vidrine road at Highway 13. The deputy received permission for a search. Following the search two people were arrested: Raymond Dawson age 34 of East Street, Mamou charged with possession of Methamphetamine and Vindezz Terrell Thibodeaux age 21 of 1005 Chestnut Street, Mamou charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of schedule two narcotics and an outstanding warrant for failure to appear. As always, Sheriff Guillory and his department is always seeking information on criminal activity and urges the public to contact their investigation department at 363-2161.

Mamou Police arrest suspects in Good Friday Shooting

Good Friday Shooting in Mamou April 6, 2021 Mamou Police Chief Brent Zackery reported to KVPI News that a Good Friday family gathering led to a shooting incident. Chief Zackery said police were called out to a disturbance at the 300 block of East Street in Mamou Friday night. Jacoby Jack who was at the gathering was asked to leave after causing a disturbance. Jack came back with his brother Nicolas Jack and a cousin, Gary Freeman continuing the conflict. A fight began and witnesses saw one of the subjects , Jacoby Jack, was seen stabbing one of the victims multiple times. The other two subjects returned to their vehicle and began to open fire on the gathering. Shots were returned by Jariah Jordan, the nephew of the stabbing victim. Gary Freeman was struck in the head by a stray bullet. After an investigation, police arrested Jacoby Jack and Nicholas Jack and charged them with attempted murder. Also arrested was Roger Gradney charged with obstruction of justice for tampering with evidence. Jariah Jordan turned himself to authorities. All suspects are being held at the Mamou City Jail. The victims were admitted to area hospitals with severe injuries. More arrests to follow.

Fugitive wanted in shooting captured

Angie Lane Fugitive Captured April 5, 2021 Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles Guillory reported to KVPI News that the fugitive wanted in the shooting incident last Wednesday on Angie Lane was captured by Acadia Parish Deputies. Rodney Van Bernard age 55 of Comanche, Texas was arrested and charged with Aggravated Second Degree Battery with a Firearm. His bond was set by 13th Judicial District Court Judge Gary Ortego at $75,000. He has since been transported and booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail on the charge. The incident occurred Wednesday March 31 at a home on Angie Lane. Sheriff's deputies learned that a verbal altercation occurred between the residents at the home and led to the victim being shot in the lower left leg. Bernard had been seen leaving in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The victim was taken to Rapides Regional Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries which were not life threatening.

Police Jury tables action on Cabot request for Industrial Tax Exemption

April 5, 2021 A standing room only packed meeting room comprised of Cabot employees, Chamber of Commerce members and others were in attendance at Monday's meeting of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury. Most of the attention came during a public hearing that lasted 90 minutes prior to the beginning of the regular jury meeting. Cabot Corporation and their representatives were in attendance asking the police jury to grant an industrial tax exemption for a ten year period . Cabot will also be asking for similar exemptions with the School board and the sheriff's department. Cabot is a world wide company with a carbon black plant in Ville Platte. Derrick Turner, local Cabot plant manager, explained that the company is planning major upgrades to clean up emissions and double its own power supply to help remain competitive with other carbon black plants. The project is expected to cost $147 million dollars. The work will create 15 new permanent high paying jobs. The state has a program that allows companies like Cabot to get a break on its taxes if it reinvests the money into its operation to remain competitive. Several jurors spoke up including Bryan Vidrine said they are undecided on the request. Jurors are facing a looming budget crisis over how to pay the huge costs to house and transport parish prisoners that are in LaSalle Parish. In the past year, the number of parish inmates have dramatically increased. Cabot has been operating in Evangeline Parish for the past 78 years. "We need to re-invest to be able to compete with the latest technology."said Turner. Cabot employees like Joshua Ortego spoke up. He has been an employee for the past 12 years. He said "It's a great place to work for". Cabot Advisory Panel Members Mark Buller and Bob Manuel both spoke up in favor of the project. However, jurors like Eric Soileau and Keith Saucier said it is a tough decision. They felt the jury is playing favorites by giving tax breaks to large corporations while not giving help to small mom and pop stores. Saucier said he has lost sleep for several nights over deciding on the request. Gwen Fontenot spoke up in favor of the proposal. "Without Cabot and its 90 employees, we will lose a lot of Mom and Pop stores." Café Evangeline Owner Jay Giehlow said he and his wife moved to Ville Platte to invest in a local restaurant. After working in corporate business, he said if Cabot does not get their request granted, the parent company will close the facility down then the parish will have zero tax dollars and will cause a domino effect upon the rest of the business economy. After much discussion, the police jury voted to table any action on the request until a special meeting and public hearing could be held Wednesday April 14. In other action, the police jury: Heard from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron that the parish has just about spent its entire budget allowance for inmate housing in the first three months of the year, some $300,000. The jury has a reserve to keep the parish running through the month of June. Reappointed Felix Morein to the Te Mamou Water District Board; Reappointed Sandra Salazar to a five year term on the parish library board; Received word that the police jury has been awarded a $100,000 grant for new electrical improvements at Crooked Creek park.


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