First Baptist Church of Ville Platte is planning a Harvest Tyme Cook off Sunday November 6 at the church’s new property on Chicot Park road. The event will begin at 1:45 with a flag ceremony by the national Guard and a special yellow ribbon salute to the troops. The cook off officially begins at 2;00pm and judging will begin at 4;00pm. There is no charge to enter the cook off. All food samples will be free. There will be over 50 door prizes to be given away. Groups, businesses or individuals can enter in the pork, beef, poultry, seafood and wild game categories to compete for First, Second and Third Place . The Grand Overall Prize winner will win an LSU Tailgating kit. There will also be a booth decorating contest. Men are encouraged to enter a dessert challenge. You can also compete the hillbilly costume contest, hat or bonnet decorating contest or the ugly tie contest. There will be free hot dogs, fun jumps, live music, celebrity judges and a bake sale. KVPI-FM will broadcast live from the cookoff Sunday from 2-4pm. To register contact Rachel Ortego at 296-9737.
Evangeline Parish’s 100th birthday celebration last Saturday was a big success according to organizers. The centennial had cool fall weather attracting hundreds of people from near and far from all over Evangeline parish.
Former Governor Edwin Edwards and his wife Trina Edwards were there to sign his new book.
For the first time in over 35 years, the bell in the cupola from the original courthouse was rung in honor of the centennial. Also the bronze statue of Evangeline was unveiled to the crowds. Mrs. Emilie Frazer of Mamou was the model of the Evangeline statue. The introduction of the oldest citizens in the parish including our parish’s oldest citizen, “Notto” Thomas who is 102 years old. The centennial royalty were recognized in the various age categories.
Camille Fontenot of the Chamber of Commerce was the emcee for the event. There were lots of live musical entertainment all day long. Inside the courthouse, visitors enjoyed a slice of the huge centennial cake and got to see the original silent movie of “Evangeline” starring Delores Del Rio on big screen tv.
Annette Johnson , President of the Rotary Club of Ville Platte displayed the time capsule that will be buried in the next few weeks for 50 years.
KVPI was there broadcasting the event live .
In a press conference held today at the Evangeline Parish Courthouse, State Police Troop I Public Information Officer Stephen Hammonds announced to reporters that escapee Brian Keith Soileau was located in Oklahoma. Hammonds announced that he was sighted at a Wal-mart in Norman, Oklahoma. A pursuit began that lasted 35-45 minutes and shots were exchanged between Oklahoma authorities and Soileau. He was finally apprehended and was taken to a local hospital. Soileau was shot and injured. No law enforcement officials were injured. He is expected to be extradited back to Evangeline Parish to face bank robbery and escape charges. After his escape, Soileau robbed the Guaranty Bank in Vidrine at gunpoint Tuesday morning. Hammonds said 100 law enforcement personnel and 15 area agencies were involved in his capture after his escape from the Pine Prairie Correctional Center.
Also speaking was Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau who thanked all of the law enforcement personnel for their assistance. He praised his deputies who worked non stop on this case.
KVPI AM/FM carried the press conference live from the courthouse.
Complete but unofficial election returns from Saturday’s primary election show that State Senator Eric LaFleur won re election in his bid for a second term. The Evangeline returns show Lafleur had 6045 votes to his opponent Doctor Paul Miller who received 4670 votes. State Representative Bernard LeBas was re elected to another term in office. In Evangeline Parish vote totals, LeBas received 5739 votes while Julie Harrington received 1982 votes and Peter Vidrine got 1941 votes.
Sheriff Eddie Soileau was re elected as Sheriff in Evangeline Parish for another term. Final vote totals shows Soileau the top vote getter with 5847 votes. Ted Soileau received 4236 votes, David Cedillo had 885 votes while Russell Moose Evans had 467 votes.
For Clerk of Court there will be a run off between Randy Deshotel who received 2939 votes and Ben Soileau who got 2674 votes. Incumbent Walter Lee came in third with 2390 votes. Greg Tate received 1877 votes and Weber Lee Deshotels Jr. got 1535 votes.
In the Police Juror Races:
District One- there will be a runoff between the top vote getter Rocky Rider with 536 votes and Blyn Rozas with 443 votes. Sherman Fontenot came in third with 285 votes and Henry Watson got 285 votes.
District Two- Challenger Kenny Burgess defeated incumbent Sidney Fontenot, 478 votes to Fontenot’s 432 votes.
District Three- Incumbent Ryan Ardoin with 727 votes defeated Joe Jason who received 325 votes.
District Four- Challenger Stan Leger was the top vote getter with 632 votes will be going into a run off race with Incumbent Lamar Johnson who got 583 votes. Robert Johnson received 161 votes.
District Five-Challenger Kevin Veillion with 733 votes will be going into a runoff with Incumbent Bob Manuel who got 444 votes. Justin Deshotel received 267 votes and Joseph LeBleu Jr. got 53 votes.
District 7- Incumbent Bryan K. Vidrine won re election with 825 votes to challenger James Jimbo Blood who received 480 votes.
District 8 Ryan LeDay Williams-the incumbent won re election with 784 votes defeating challenger Earl T Doucet who got 511 votes.
District 9- Incumbent Richard Blood Thomas with 735 votes defeated Virginia Freeman who received 626 votes.
In the Town of Mamou Proposition, the tax proposition was approved 424 votes to 248 votes
In the statewide races among Evangeline Parish voters, for Governor Bobby Jindal was the top vote getter with 7094 votes; For Lt. Governor, Jay Dardenne won the most votes for Lt. Governor, 5184 votes over Billy Nungesser who had 4185 votes.
For Secretary of State- Jim Tucker among Evangeline parish voters was the top vote getter with 4653 votes over Tom Shedler who had 4232 votes;
For Commissioner of Agriculture- Mike Strain defeated his two opponents with 63 percent of the vote;
For Commissioner of Insurance- Jim Donelon defeated Donald Hodge, with 64 percent of the vote;
For BESE Board District Five- Jay Guillot had 67 percent of the vote over Keith Guice while in District 8, Jim Guillory was the vote getter with 1334 votes over his three opponents in Evangeline parish.
A spokesman for Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau has just verified by LCS Prisons, there is a $5000 reward for escapee Brian Keith Soileau. Brian is considered armed and dangerous. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONTACT HIM. Be careful while you are hunting this weekend. Contact the sheriff's department with any sightings or information about Soileau. Soileau escaped last week from the Pine Prairie Correction Center. Anyone with information on her whereabouts call 9-1-1 or 363-2161.
Business Manager Amy LaFleur informed the Evangeline Parish School Board on Wednesday of the rate increase for its group medical plans. Lafleur said 640 employees are enrolled in the various medical plans provided by the State Office of Group Benefits.
It was learned that the school board/employer share will increase by $205,806 next year. The individual employee rates will increase anywhere from $7.38 to $24.22 a month.
The group plan enrollment period has moved from April to October each year. Employees will have until November 2 to choose between a PPO plan administered by the State Office of Group benefits and the HMO plan administered by Blue Cross. Most school district employees are under the Blue Cross plan.
In other business, School Superintendent Toni Hamlin announced to the school board that every school employee will be required to take an ethics training course conducted by the State Board of Ethics. The Ethics Board has declared that all employees are considered public servants. All 900 school district employees will undergo the ethics training this school year.
Hamlin reported that Sarah Thomas, a Chemistry, Physics and Math teacher at Mamou High School, has been recognized by the National Science Teachers Association and the Dow Chemical for her accomplishments.
In other action the school board approved the low quote of Lafayette Music of $15,629 for a new Public Address System at the Pine Prairie High School Gymnasium.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue of the Ville Platte Police Department reports the following arrests.
An undercover investigation led to the arrest of Jamison Thomas, 19 of 616 East Wilson Street, Ville Platte. Jamison was arrested on October 11, 2011 and charged with possession of Schedule I with a bond of $15,000.00. An anonymous tip led to further investigation of firearms and on October 19, 2011 Jamison was charged with Possession of stolen firearms and his bond is set at $10,000.00 by Judge Thomas Fuselier. Jamison remains incarcerated.
A traffic stop on October 13, 2011 led to the arrest of Jessie Thomas, 24 of 513 East long Street, Ville Platte on charges of Possession of Schedule IV with intent to distribute. Thomas was booked and remains incarcerated on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge Thomas Fuselier.
An undercover operation led to the arrest of Kizzy Cullivan, 35 of 404 West Hickory Street, Ville Platte on charges of distribution of crack cocaine. Cullivan was booked into the Ville Platte City jail where she remains incarcerated on a $20,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
Chief Lartigue stated that anonymous tips are helping officers and detectives remove drugs from our streets and helps put criminals behind bars. If you have information on illegal activities call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
An early morning mobile home fire claimed the life of an elderly Ville Platte resident, according to Ville Platte Fire Chief Ted Demourelle. Chief Demoruelle told KVPI News that the identity of the fire victim is being withheld until next of kin has been notified. The fire department was called out to the fire at 1:01 this morning at the 200 block of East Wilson Street in Ville Platte. By the time firefighters arrived, the fire was fully involved. A total of 12 fire fighters responded to the early morning fire. Chief Demourelle suspects the heating system played a part in the cause of the fire.
In an interview with KVPI News that aired at 12:45 today, Pine Prairie Mayor Terry Savant reported on his meeting with Pine Prairie Correctional Center officials following the escape of a dangerous criminal last week. Brian Soileau who was awaiting trial on bank robbery charges escaped Thursday night by climbing over the razor wire fence . He is still at large.
Mayor Savant said he spoke with Prison Warden Terry Hines who informed him that the prison is installing a 9-1-1 reverse system which will immediately contact everyone who is on the list in the event of an escape. Mayor Savant is urging everyone in the Pine Prairie, Turkey Creek and Bayou Chicot areas to mail your contact information to the Pine Prairie City Hall at Post Office Box 380, Pine Prairie 70576. Give your name and your phone number, land line or cell phones so everyone can be warned of a future escape.
The prison has installed a new razor wire fence. The new higher has a thicker razor wire to help prevent escapes. Also the prison will install a new state of the art camera system.
Also the prison will activate a horn warning for the citizens of Pine Prairie. In the event of an escape, the horn will sound. Every Monday at noon, the horn will be tested. It will not be an escape.
Mayor Savant said the prison is adding these security measures and he said “I will follow up to make sure they make those improvements.”
Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau has issued an update on the Pine Prairie Detention Center escapee, Brian Soileau.
Sheriff Soileau wants the public to know that the state police as well as the U.S. Marshal’s Office and the Angola Chase Team are using blood hounds and a helicopter to canvass the area in which the escapee was last believed to be seen.
Sheriff Soileau has asked the Angola Chase Team to remain in the parish overnight in order to reduce response time in the event the escapee is sighted. The targeted search area is between Pine Prairie and the Beaver community towards Oakdale. If any hunters or people outdoors spot anything suspicious such as someone running in the woods or identifies an area in the woods with blankets or other items suggesting someone may have slept in the woods, please mark the area well and contact 911 immediately.
Additionally, the temperatures will be dropping tonight so if anyone spots a fire or smoke in the woods, or sees or hears suspicious activity in or around their home, please contact 911 immediately.
The sheriff would like to note that Brian Soileau was in fact a state prisoner and not a parish prisoner at the time of his escape. He was in the custody of a State Department of Corrections facility owned by LCS located in the Village of Pine Prairie. He was incarcerated as a result of violating his parole and he is awaiting trial for a Bank Robbery which occurred on August 3, 2011 in the Village of Pine Prairie.
The sheriff was disappointed to learn both that the electrical fence which would have likely prevented this escape was not properly functioning as well as the fact the escape warning horn which is intended to notify the public of such an escape was not sounded. However, the sheriff will conduct a thorough investigation to provide the public with answers to these questions and ensure that these privately owned State Prisons located in the parish implement policies and procedures to reduce the risk of such an escape in the future.
In accordance with proper protocol and procedure, the Pine Prairie Police Department was the primary response agency, however the sheriff’s department responded to the scene as soon as they were aware of the situation. Although the Pine Prairie Chief of Police has had very limited participation in the investigation, the Sheriff has communicated closely with Pine Prairie Mayor, Terry Savant, with regard to all new developments.
He emphasizes that the Sheriff’s Department will continue to work with all assisting law enforcement agencies as well as Pine Prairie Police Officers in dedicating its resources to the capture of Brian Soileau. Please direct any information which may assist law enforcement in the capture of Brian Soileau.
The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department along with State Police will keep the public updated as the situation progresses.
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Monday) heard from Madelaine Landry, the Executive Director of the LSUE Foundation. She is asking the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce to join with other local chambers to provide scholarships for local students attending LSU-Eunice. She is proposing the Chamber consider asking its members to add $20 a year to its membership fees to be used to fund a LSU-Eunice scholarship. The same proposal is being considered by chambers in Eunice, Crowley and Opelousas. She stated that universities are spending $70 to $157 per student on scholarships at UL-Lafayette and LSU while LSU-Eunice is spending only $14 per student on scholarships.
Pam McGee reported on the Ready City project. She said a site selector specialist recently paid a visit to the city to tour the city and report on its strengths and weaknesses. The specialist said the city had a lot to offer business and industry. “All we need to do is do a better job of marketing Ville Platte, “said McGee. He reported that we have two jewels: The Industrial Park that was recently certified as a Industry ready park and Chicot State Park.
Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot announced that the chamber currently has 162 members including the newest members: Deb’s Prints and Louisiana Family Practice.
In other business the chamber:
--announced that its business of the month is the Evangeline Parish Police Jury;
--asked members to send comments on whether the chamber should rotate the meeting place;
--announced that ribbon cutting for Deb’s Prints will be held Thursday Oct. 27 at 10:00am;
--the kickoff for the holiday shopping season will be Nov. 4 and 5 and called “Joyeaux Noel a la Ville Platte and encourages all shops to participate;
--announced that the annual Chamber of Commerce Open House will be held at La Veille Banque Dec. 1 at 5:30pm and the Christmas parade is set for Dec. 11 at 5;30pm.
The Tournoi was held Sunday at the Ward One Industrial Park with perfect weather. The new Tournoi Champ is Kirk Guillory who rode the horse, Stretch. He got 20 out of 21 rings. The second place finisher is Alex Haller who also got 20 out of 21 rings. Third place went Marcus Guillory who also got the fastest time award. The Sportsmanship Award went to Jed LaFleur. The rest of the top ten yesterday: 4th place- Kent Saucier, 5th Place- Shane Lee, 6th Place- Eric Guillory, 7th Place- Kent Guillory, 8th Place- Nick Ortego, 9th Place- Paul Fontenot and 10th Place- Cody LaFleur. Last year’s Champ Todd Manuel did not compete this year. The tournoi was dedicated to the memory of the late Gerald Attales who was the 1962 Champion. The Oldies 92-5 Road Crew, Randy and Bill, were there covering the event Sunday.
Voters will be going to the polls Saturday October 22 for the Primary Election. Here in Evangeline Parish voters face a number of statewide, parish and district races as well as five constitutional amendments.
In the race for Governor, incumbent Bobby Jindal faces nine opponents: David Blanchard, Lenny Bollingham, Ron Ceasar, Cary Deaton, Tara Hollis, Bob Lang, Scott Lewis, Niki Bird Papazoglakis and Ivo Trey Roberts.
For Lt. Governor, Incumbent Jay Dardenne faces challenger Billy Nungesser.
For Secretary of State, incumbent Tom Shedler faces challenger Jim Tucker.
For Commissioner of Agriculure, Incumbent Mike Strain faces two challengers: Belinda Alexandrenko and Jamie LaBranche.
In the race for Commissioner of Insurance, Incumbent Jim Donelon is seeking re-election against Donald Hodge.
In Evangeline Parish, the parish is part of two BESE Board districts.
BESE Board Member in District 8: where there are no incumbents: Russell Armstrong, Jim Guillory, Carolyn Hill and Domoine Rutledge,
BESE Board Members in District 5: Incumbent Keith Guice faces challenger Jay Guillot.
In the race for State Senator in the 28th Senatorial District: Incumbent Eric Lafleur faces challenger Dr. Paul Miller.
For the office of State Representative in the 38th District: Incumbent Bernard LeBas is seeking re-election against challengers Julie Harrington and Peter Vidrine.
For Evangeline Parish Sheriff, incumbent Eddie Soileau is running for a second term in office against challenger David Cedillo, Russell Moose Evans and Ted Soileau.
For Clerk of Court, incumbent Clerk Walter Lee is seeking re-election to another term in office as he faces four challengers: Randy Deshotel, Weber Lee Deshotels Jr., Ben Soileau and Greg Tate.
Eight of the nine police jurors face opposition in the election. In District One: where there is no incumbent, Sherman Fontenot, Rocky Rider, Blyn Rozas and Henry Watson square off.
In District Two , the incumbent Sidney Fontenot faces challenger Kenny Burgess.
In District Three, police juror Ryan Ardoin is seeking re election against Joe Jason.
In District Four, incumbent Juror Lamar Johnson faces two opponents: Robert Johnson and Stan Leger.
In District Five, incumbent juror Bob Manuel is seeking another term in office and faces three opponents: Justin Deshotel, Joseph LeBleu Jr. and Kevin Veillon.
In District 7 incumbent Bryan Vidrine faces challenger James Jimbo Blood.
In District 8, police juror incumbent Ryan LeDay Williams faces Earl T Doucet.
And in District 9, incumbent juror Richard Blood Thomas is running against Virginia Freeman.
Voters state wide will decide the fate of five constitutional amendments:
Amendment 1- would re direct the tobacco settlement proceeds to help fund the TOPS scholarship fund;
Amendment 2- would require the legislature to designate a certain percentage of non recurring revenues to reduce the financial short fall of the state employee and teacher retirement funds;
Amendment 3- would protect the patient compensation fund from legislative appropriation by establishing it in the state constitution;
Amendment 4- would provide that if money is withdrawn from the rainy day fund, the state must begin to replenish the fund until it is fully restored
Amendment 5- would update the census change in a New Orleans Tax Sales law.
KVPI urges you to go vote on Saturday. The polls open at 6:00am and close at 8:00pm. Listen to complete election return coverage on Oldies 92-5 starting at 8:00pm live from the Clerk of Court’s office in the courthouse.
Ville Platte- The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, after meeting behind closed doors with their legal advisor to discuss a pending lawsuit by the A.C.L.U. on the city’s walking curfew ordinance, voted to amend the language of the ordinance in hopes it meets constitutional muster.
Some 28 residents addressed the city council during the public comment period over the issue of the city’s walking curfew ordinance. The only person who spoke in favor of doing away with it was Arthur Sampson, President of the Evangeline Chapter of NAACP. “The walking curfew violates our basic constitutional rights. If the city wants to do something, get with business and industry and help find our young people jobs. Remember this is America, not Iran.”
Some of those who addressed the mayor and council included: Rev. Eradley Ben who announced that his entire church association, the 3000 member Eastern Seventh District Baptist Association were in favor of keeping the walking curfew intact.
P.L. Fontenot said a recent newspaper survey showed that 90 percent of the respondents were in favor of keeping the curfew. “The majority rules in this country. If this ordinance prevents one death , it would be worth it. Remember it is the ACLU that supported removing prayer out of our classrooms.”
Camille Fontenot, Executive Director of the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce said many cities in the country that have implemented curfews have shown a dramatic drop in crime, vandalism and drug dealing.
Andy Poche said in comment to Sampson’s remarks about more jobs, “When crime goes down, there will be more businesses and industry coming in to bring more employment.”
Alfred Thomas commented “I feel it is safe to say these people who are walking at 1 or 2 in the morning are not carrying bibles, going to prayer meetings or singing Amazing Grace. Let’s keep this walking curfew going.”
Prior to the city council executive session, Councilman Freddie Jack said it was never his intention to remove t he entire curfew but have it only only address the state wide curfew to keep juveniles, age 17 and under and to once again permit adults to be allowed to walk at night.
After the executive session, the city council voted to call a public hearing on November at 4:45pm to get public comment on revising the walking curfew ordinance. City Attorney Eric LaFleur said the new language will “tighten up” and “address the constitutional concerns” in the ACLU lawsuit.
The new language provides exceptions that include:” to those individuals acting in an emergency situation, standing in the parking lot of a supervised and open business, exercising their constitutional right to commute to or from work or exercising their First Amendment rights such as commuting to or from religious gatherings, public speeches and legally permitted assembly.”
The walking curfew remains in effect immediately for those minors under the age of 17 between 10:00pm and 5;00am Sunday through Thursday and 12 midnight to 5;00am Friday and Saturday nights.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine thanked the overflow crowd of people who attended the meeting and expressed their concerns. “Our number one priority is to protect the public safety of our citizens and we will continue to do everything in our power to do so. “
Ville Platte- The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday heard from Thomas Drew with Wastewater Treatment Systems and Operation on his proposal to take over operation of the five parish owned sewer treatment systems.
Drew said he is proposing a long term lease with the parish to take over the operation, maintenance and liability of its sewer systems. Currently, customers in Evangeline Parish are paying $15 a month while Drew’s rates are $25 a month company wide. Rates would increase to the company rate should the lease proposal be approved. Once the rate increased to the $25 rate, it could only increase again with approval from the parish.
The police jury operates and maintains sewer systems in Vidrine, Reddell, Doucet subdivision north of Ville Platte, Dupre Subdivision east of Ville Platte and another subdivision south of Ville Platte. The matter was referred to the sewer committee to review the proposal.
In another matter, the police jury discussed having an updated standard for accepting roads into its road system. Currently, the parish planning commission has authority in setting minimum standards for subdivision streets. The parish referred to its road and bridge committee a proposal to use the same minimum standards that the parish planning commission uses to determine whether the parish can accept a new parish road into the parish road system.
Also, the police jury approved a request from County Agent Keith Fontenot to hire Shella Fruge as a part time police jury secretary to work as a 4-H secretary. Fontenot reported that the LSU Extension Service is reducing personnel and travel. In Evangeline Parish, his office is losing one full time and one part time secretary due to the budget cuts.
Fruge is the full time secretary ,who is losing her position with the extension service , who will be employed by the parish at $10 per hour for 24 hours a week to work as secretary for the parish 4-H program. The program has 22 4-H programs with 900-1100 students enrolled.
Despite the budget cuts, Evangeline Parish was able to maintain two 4-H agents for a small parish like Evangeline Parish because of the fact the 4-H program has been so successful.
In other business:
--received news that sales tax collections for the 2 percent sales tax in September brought in $270,353 .
--endorsed a new pilot program suggested by Becky Buller to have the parish work with the City of Ville Platte to encourage businesses to hire additional temporary workers to improve the economy.
It was another dry month for the KVPI listening area in September, according to our KVPI weather instruments. We had a total of 2.94 inches of rain for the month. We had nine days of measurable rain with the wettest day on September when we recorded 1.99 inches of rain.
On the positive side, we finally saw moderating temperatures after a very hot summer. We had one day in September where the temperature reached 100 degrees and that was on Sept. 1 where it reached 101 degrees. The coolest day of the month was September 7 where the temperature dropped to 54 degrees.
We had two consecutive days where wind gusted to 32 miles t0 32 miles per hour on Sept. 3 and 4.
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The Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum operated by the City of Ville Platte is open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Come view the amazing artifacts, photos, records, Wall of Fame and hear the music. Admission charge is $3 adults, $2 seniors and $1 for children under 12. The museum is located on Northwest Railroad Avenue.