Local News Archives for 2021-08

Community Foundation of Acadiana speaker at Rotary Club Tuesday

Rotary Club hears Community Foundation of Acadiana spokesman August 31, 2021 Raymond Hebert with Community Foundation of Acadiana was the featured speaker at today's (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club. The Community Foundation of Acadiana was founded some 21 years ago committed to building legacies and improving communities by connecting generous people to the causes they care about. The Foundation is now the third largest community foundation in the state and serves the 8 parish Acadiana area including Evangeline Parish. He reported that the Evangeline Foundation, an affiliate of the C.F.A. was created in 2018 to help create a legacy for parish residents and their families. Each parish affiliate has an affiliate advisory board and is comprised of investors that are residents or natives of that parish. The goal is to raise at least one million dollars in named permanent funds for each parish. That permanent fund is the "engine" that generates discretionary resources to be used at the discretion of the Evangeline Advisory Board. The C.F.A. sponsors the SOLA giving Day. In 2021, there were a total of 3737 donation received raising a total of $1.88 million dollars that were distributed to non profit groups and organizations. The next SOLA Giving Day will be May 5, 2022. The speaker was the guest of Rotarian Bob Manuel.

French Immersion Teachers speak at Ville Platte Rotary Club

Ville Platte Rotary Club August 24, 2021 The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from some of the new French Immersion teachers that just arrived to teach students at Mamou Elementary and Ville Platte Elementary. Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard told club members that students from kindergarten to 5th grade are eligible to attend French Immersion classes. There are 70 students enrolled in Ville Platte and 110 children in Ville Platte. Katrina Ardoin, principal at Ville Platte introduced her new teacher whose home is Tunisia in northern Africa. Rebecca Fontenot, Assistant Principal at Mamou Elementary, introduced her three new French Immersion teachers who come from France, Quebec, Canada and from Natchitoches, Louisiana. Mike Lombas, Assistant Superintendent, thanked the community for supporting the teachers and the French program in our local schools. He is asking for the public's help in finding two rental units, an apartment or a small home for two new teachers that will be arriving soon in the parish The superintendent shared with Rotary Club members his plan to make major improvements to every school campus in the parish and to give pay raises to employees. The school board earlier approved a plan to pass a bond issue to raise some $4.6 million dollars in revenues to make improvements like: outdoor classrooms at Ville Platte Elementary, W.W. Stewart and Chataignier Elementary; a new athletic track at Pine Prairie and Ville Platte High; install air conditioning at the Mamou High gym , a new softball field at Basile High along with other renovations. Also, Senator Heather Cloud was able to secure $1 million dollars in state funding to construct a new multi-purpose building at Bayou Chicot Elementary. The school board also approved giving pay raises $1400 to teachers and $670 to support workers from state and local sources. Lazard said all of this is being done without any additional taxes to the taxpayers of the parish. Elementary Supervisor Cherie Fontenot explained the school board's plans to improve test scores and increase academic achievement

Drug Arrests

Drug Arrests August 23, 2021 Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles Guillory reported to KVPI News: On Saturday August 21, the sheriff's department criminal patrol unit stopped a vehicle on Oberlin road for a traffic violation. The deputies made contact with the driver and noticed a strong odor of marijuana from the car. The deputies searched the vehicle and found narcotics and currency. This led to the following: Queen Lentoria Evelyn Smith age 22 of 1001 Maple Avenue of Mamou was charged with possession with intent to distribute Oxycodone and was also cited and released for possession of marijuana and traffic violations. Also on Saturday, criminal patrol agents stopped a truck for a traffic violation. When they made contact with the driver, agents noticed a bag of marijuana in plaint view. This led to the following action: Jermaine Dalcour age 37 of Kinder was cited and released for possession of marijuana and traffic violations. As always, Sheriff Guillory and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office is always seeking information on criminal activity and urges the public to contact their investigation department at 363-2161. All calls will remain anonymous.

Evangeline Parish School Board Addresses Lower Testing Scores

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Evangeline Parish School Board, the board presented their “Closing the Learning Gap” plan, intended to address the lower testing scores from recent years. According to the latest data, Evangeline Parish schools performed better than 40% (28 out of 70) districts in LA, but the board feels that our schools can do much better. They have not received a new district score since 2019 due to the pandemic.

With this new plan, teachers will make weekly data reports and provide at-risk students with direct instruction to help close learning gaps. Students at the basic level will receive targeted instruction to accelerate them into Mastery level. The same approach will be used for students already at Mastery levels, but with enrichment time instead of acceleration. K-2 students, though not tested, will also be assessed to help keep them on grade level.

Additionally, “homework hotlines” will be coming in September to help students with their work and answer question. Targeted support for teachers and teacher quality will also be implemented.

Dr. Chuck Aswell was in attendance to give a follow-up from their last meeting. He says that while he understands the public’s frustrations at the current situation, the board has to follow Gov. Edwards’ mask mandate for ages 5 and older. He clarified that the mandate is 100% legal, since the state of Louisiana has the right to preserve public health and safety.

Temperatures will be taken at schools and, if they are too high, the individual will be tested for COVID-19. If the test comes back positive, the individual will be sent home for a 10-day quarantine along with all household members. As of Wednesday, quarantine is no longer required if contact with COVID-19 is made, but only if an individual is vaccinated. Dr. Aswell remains adamant that the pandemic is not just an individual fight, but something that affects everyone. The number of children on ventilators in ICU is going up rapidly, but the vaccine is here and needs to be utilized not only for our own sakes, but for the future of our children.

Mr. Lazard finished by stating that he is adamant about keeping the students in in the classroom and that the public’s cooperation is appreciated.

The board received an update on “Leader in Me,” a program intended to better not just the schools, but also the community. The program is intended as a “culture change” in how students live, relate to others, and work in their community. It gives each child a job or responsibility within the classroom and forms good habits by preparing them for the future. Instead of reaching individual students, the program allows teachers and mentors to present 100s of students with equal opportunities. Right now, the program is only in 4 schools beginning with elementary, but they plan to bring it to every school and every grade in the future.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: all school board employees can wear tennis shoes until further notice

Turkey Creek K-9 Balu receives Body Armor Donation

Turkey Creek Police Department's K9 Balu has received donation of body armor Turkey Creek Police Department's K9 Balu has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Balu's vest was sponsored by Dr. Robin Ballina of Shakopee, MN and embroidered with the sentiment "In memory of K9 Luna, Duluth, MN- EOW 2/26/21". Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,301 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations. The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lb., and comes with a five-year warranty. For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718. Turkey Creek Police Department would like to thank everyone involved with assisting with keeping the narcotics off of our streets and out of our homes. We would also like to thank the community for their continued trust in the Department and that we continue to keep the community safe.

Sheriff Department Drug Arrests

Drug Arrests by Sheriff's Deputies August 12, 2021 Evangeline Parish Sheriff Charles Guillory reported to KVPI News the following drug arrests: The Sheriff's Department Narcotics Division conducted a traffic stop on a truck on Tuesday on Armand Street in Ville Platte . After smelling the odor of marijuana, the drug dog, Diego alerted to the presence of narcotics. Agents searched the vehicle and found narcotics, guns and U.S. currency. This led to the agents obtaining a search warrant for a residence at 117 Armand Street. Agents and deputies located additional narcotics and weapons. This led to the following arrests: Malcolm Jawaski Smith age 31 of Ville Platte charged with possession with intent to distribute over 20 grams of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute over 3.5 ounces of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute over 21.8 grams of fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute over 59 ecstasy pills, possession of PCP, possession of oxycodone, possession of a firearm in presence of controlled dangerous substance and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of drug paraphernalia. Also arrested at the home was Ashley Smith age 31 of Ville Platte. She was charged with possession with intent to distribute over 20 grams of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute over 3.5 ounces of fentanyl, possession of with intent to distribute 59 pills of ecstasy, possession of PCP, possession of a firearm in the presence of controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The sheriff remarked that she was a corrections officer working for Ville Platte City Police at the time of her arrest. She was also charged with malfeasance in office. Also on Wednesday, the Narcotics Division conducted a traffic stop on another vehicle. The driver gave permission to search and agents located narcotics hidden under the hood. This led to the arrest of Daniel Scott Guillory age 36 of Ville Platte charged with possession with intent to distribute over ten grams of methamphetamine, possession of one gram of heroin, possession of one gram of fentanyl and possess of drug paraphernalia. As always, Sheriff Guillory and the Sheriff's Office is always seeking information on criminal activity and urges the public to contact their investigations Department at 363-2161.

Royalty Announced for 2021 Louisiana Cotton Festival

2021 Cotton Festival Royalty Announced! Members of the Louisiana Cotton Association have been working on the 67th annual La Cotton Festival, which will be observed on Tuesday October 19 through Sunday October 24, 2021. They are pleased to announce the royalty for the 67th Louisiana Cotton Festival: Mr. Jeff Willis – Head Coach of Louisiana State University at Eunice will be crowned King Cotton 67th Mr. Chris Guillory – Evangeline Parish Tax Assessor has graciously accepted duties of Colonel Cotton, Mrs. Patricia Duplechin – Activity Director at Heritage Manor of Ville Platte will serve as the Grand Parade Marshal of Grand Parade of Cotton. Miss Shelbi McClay Rials is the reigning Queen Cotton 66th. She will crown her successor Saturday October 23rd at our Cotton Coronation starting at 5:30pm. Friday night we will have our annual "Fais-Do-D0" Starting at 6:00 pm with The Trever Causey Band to kick of the night , then Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie will be our head-line entertainment and he will take the stage at 9 p.m. Members of the Cotton Festival Association would like to invite everyone to join them on October 19 through October 24, 2021 at the North Side Civic Center to have a Cotton Pickin Good Time!

Turkey Creek Police Make Arrests

Turkey Creek Police Chief Steven Ardoin released the following arrest reports to KVPI News: On Tuesday, August 03, 2021 Officers with the Turkey Creek Police Department observed a Beige in color Honda Accord commit a minor Traffic violation. Upon stopping the vehicle and making contact with the driver a Mr. Saengatith Xanamane of Forrest Hill it was learned that he had an outstanding warrant With the Turkey Creek Police Department for possession of Schedule II with intent to distribute. Officers advised Mr. Xanamane of the warrant and then had a brief interview on the side of the road. K9 Ice was deployed on the vehicle and gave positive alert on the vehicle for the odor of possible narcotics. A search of the vehicle was conducted and presumed Crystal Meth was located along with presumed Marijuana. Mr. Xanamane was booked into the Evangeline Parish jail for the outstanding warrant and the additional charges occurred after the stop. On August 06, 2021 Officers with the Turkey Creek Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a yellow four wheeler driving on the roadway. Officers made contact with the driver a Mr. Donald Holden of Ville Platte and advised him of the reason of the stop. When asked for his driver's license Mr. Holden advised that it was in his bag but didn't want to get it out due to it being a lot to deal with. Officers asked him to retrieve the license and he was hesitant to go inside the bag. Officers obtained enough reasonable suspicion to deploy the K9 for an open air sniff on the baggage to which K9 Ice gave a positive alert on the baggage. When searching the bag officers located a revolver and drug paraphernalia within the bag used for smoking Crystal Meth. When officers attempted to place Mr. Holden in Handcuffs he began to attempt to run. Officers gave chase and K9 Ice was deployed for apprehension. K9 Ice assisted in apprehending Mr. Holden by doing what he was trained to do by biting Mr. Holden several times. He was able to escape from the bite then continued to run into a neighboring yard where he was tased by officers and able to escape again. After a brief foot pursuit a neighbor assisted with taking Mr. Holden to the ground while K9 Ice assisted with the apprehending him as well. Mr. Holden was placed in handcuffs then transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail after being treated for his bite wounds. Turkey Creek Police Department would like to thank everyone involved with assisting with keeping the narcotics off of our streets and out of our homes. We would also like to thank the community for their continued trust in the Department and that we continue to keep the community safe.

Tensions Rise Over Masks at Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting

Evangeline Parish School Board

4 August 2021


Mask wearing was the hot topic at Wednesday’s meeting of the Evangeline Parish School Board. At their last meeting, it was decided that masks would be voluntary unless the state of Louisiana ordered otherwise. Since the state has issued a mask mandate, the decision is no longer in the hands of the school board; they must abide by Governor John Bel Edwards’ orders.


Dr. Chuck Aswell was in attendance to give everyone information on masks and how they work. He said that clear plastic face shields, while comfortable, are not effective on their own. COVID-19 is a droplet disease, meaning that it is not airborne and that those droplets can slide down the plastic and defeat the purpose of the mask. Handmade cotton masks should be 3 layers thick: a cotton interior to absorb, a poly-woven blend in the middle, and polyester on the outside to prevent the droplets from escaping. Surgical masks are best for public use, while N95 masks are recommended for healthcare workers. Essentially, he said, N95 masks protect the wearer since they absorb what comes in, and surgical masks protect the public by absorbing what goes out.


All students and employees will be required to wear a surgical mask or a 3-layer cotton mask on campuses.


Dr. Aswell also says that while over 300 million people in the US are vaccinated, only 6,000 deaths are attributed to adverse effects of the vaccine. Again, he warns everyone to be wary of misinformation spread online.


Several parents and citizens showed up at the meeting to argue for or against mask-wearing; however, since public comments were not on the agenda, the public was not permitted to speak. Individuals who chose not to wear masks were asked to remain outside. Instead, some upset individuals chose to shout over the board members to express their anger over the mask mandate and accuse the board of dictatorship. Tensions quickly rose, with some people taking off their masks and others shouting their opinions from outside the room. Authorities were called and an officer arrived to keep watch at the door. Mr. Arthur Sampson spoke in favor of the mask mandate, but since public comments were not allowed from either side, he was still asked to remain silent. He left after threatening to sue the school board for silencing the public but returned later to inform them that his attorney would be in touch.


The school board would like to remind everyone that all public schools in Evangeline Parish will return on Wednesday, August 11th; teachers are to return to work on Monday, August 9th. They would also like to stress that NO child will ever be tested for the virus without parent approval.

Acadian Ambulance Spokesperson Guest Speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Meeting

Ville Platte Rotary Club August 3, 2021 The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Amy Guidry, Operations Coordinator with Acadian Ambulance Service. Guidry is a 22 year veteran with the ambulance service and a native of Avoyelles Parish. Acadian Ambulance Service is celebrating its 50th anniversary September 1. The company began with eight employees and two ambulances in Lafayette. Since that humble beginning, the company has grown and expanded to serve residents in Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee. The company has also grown to include six different divisions including Air Med, Fixed Wing aircraft, Total Security and National EMS Academy. Currently the company has 5000 employees and 640 ambulances. It is the only nationally accredited ambulance service in the state. In 1974, Acadian Ambulance expanded to Evangeline Parish. The company now has 30 employees working in the parish with a 1.5 million dollar payroll. Since 1971, Acadian Ambulance has been having an annual membership drive to help provide discounted services to members. In 1993, the company became 80 percent employee owned. The speaker was the guest of Rotarian Eric Gil.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury looking at new revenue Sources

Evangeline Parish Police Jury reviewing funding sources August 2, 2021 The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, was notified by Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron that the parish is some $63,000 over budget in housing parish prisoners in out of parish prisons and there is still five months left in the budget year. The jury is mandated to house prison prisoners. More bad news came from Jury legal advisor Christopher Ludeau. He informed the jury , due to new Covid restrictions, the Department of Corrections has stopped  the transporting of D.O.C. prisoners plus possibly suspending jury trials which will aggravate the jury’s financial problems. The jury advised Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron to look at the possibility of having excess funds from the Parish Library and Health Unit taxes be re-dedicated to a special court fund to help pay for parish inmates during this financial crisis facing the parish. Juror Sidney Fontenot “We have to let the public know what our problems are and what options we have. If we don’t do something, it’s going to bankrupt this parish.”. In other business, the police jury voted to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with L.U.S. to secure funding sources for Evangeline Parish to get high speed fiber to the homes of parish residents. Ryan Meche of L.U.S. Fiber spoke to the jury during the meeting. His company offers the fastest internet service in America at 10 GB. The police jury will be applying for a number of state and federal grants to bring high speed internet and broadband service to residents throughout the parish. In other action the police jury: --approved keeping the Lake Cove precinct at Berl Clark’s store after earlier last month voted to move it to the Lake Cove Baptist Church; --will open bids for an electrical system upgrade at Crooked Creek Recreational Park. The park has remained busy this camping season with over 500 campers checking in during July; --received a report from Section 8 housing director Anna Frank that her program has secured 15 emergency housing vouchers to assist homeless families. The program is serving 159 tenants throughout the parish with a maximum of 140 applicants on the waiting list; --approved a capital improvement plan for the parish library and its branches; --took in $417,600 in sales taxes from the 2 percent sales tax in July, a 28 percent increase over the same period a year ago.

Ville Platte Police investigate attempted murder-suicide at local business Sunday

Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports an attempted murder and suicide. On Sunday, August 1, 2021 at approximately 11:30 a.m. Officers responded to a report of a shooting at a business on the 500 block of Tate Cove Road. Witnesses stated that the male suspect shot the female and then fled to the back of the building with a gun held to his head. Officers learned that a male suspect had shot a female and then shot himself near the doors of the business. Officers located the injured female sitting in the back seat of a vehicle with multiple gunshot injuries. She was transported by a bystander to Mercy Regional Hospital where she was met by air med for transportation to Rapides General Hospital. The male was pronounced dead at the scene. No further identification information is being released at this time pending notification to the family. The female victim is reported to be in stable condition at this time.

Turkey Creek Police arrest Mamou resident

On July 30, 2021 Officers with the Turkey Creek Police department made contact with Regina Grant of Mamou. After a brief discussion Mrs. Grant was found to be in possession of presumed Crystal Meth and one glass pipe used for smoking the presumed meth. Mrs. Grant was placed into custody and transported to the Evangeline Parish jail for charges pertaining to narcotics. Turkey Creek Police Department is continuously striving to make Turkey Creek a safer place for our community and as always Chief Steven Ardoin would like to thank the public for their continued support and to report all suspicious activity and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.


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